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 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 4:58 pm 
Keen Fingers
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Do not go gently into that good night.... rage...rage... against the dying of the light.

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Date: 6/4/16 – 6/11/16
Events taken from Anabus’s point of view

Mountain Border of the Kingdoms of North Osatia. South Osatia, and Reshan
11th of Sun’s Dusk (November), 1224 After Breaking

Olga hissed slightly between her teeth, muttering “This going t’be tricky…”

Anabus’s teeth showed white in the shadow cast by his robe’s hood, his red eyes narrowing. It was a cool afternoon, slightly warmer than it had been over the last few days but still cold enough to make your breath escape out in thick clouds. The overcast sky was breaking up, letting long beams of sunlight spear through, turning the impossibly white snow and ice that enveloped the Windcrag Mountains around them into infinite blinding candles. It would have been the most beautiful thing to him if he wasn’t freezing. His eyes rested instead on the pile of bones ahead, and the natural road ahead that carved a path through the towering walls of rock that reached up around them.

Marcus nodded, answering the woman with a smile and a brief grin of his own, “Many have died here over the years. Each of the surrounding Kingdoms claims it, and takes turns violently prying it from the hands of the others.”

Harrigan’s Pass, or as the locals called it the Path of Bones, was a natural route through the dangerous mountains. Most of it was just rock, very little water during the dry months, but it was safe and sable in a region known for its frequent avalanches and falling rocks. That made it a valuable trade road that shorted journeys between the various nations from weeks to days during the summer, and a decent place to mine during the rest of the year after some prospectors found silver and gold nearby. It hadn’t taken long for wars to break out over it, leaving thousands dead and buried by centuries of snow. You could find human bones everywhere.

The animals were back a bit, being watched out over by Hingi and Marcus. Kyur’gan walked near them, loudly crunching stone and gravel as he walked among the animals. Quesrik was near Olga, inspecting a pile of bones that had been uncovered by wind.

Otiian was further ahead, just at the edge of sight; Anabus was amazed again at how quietly the big man could move. Then he dropped prone behind a boulder. Several of them standing around the wagon had seen it as well, and everyone came to a tense stop.

The wizard had learned his lesson, and immediately cast [Mage Armor] on himself. To his surprise one of their new companions, Olga, did the same. He couldn’t help but blink as the shimmer washed over the tall Orc, and then again when she caught him staring and gave him a wink.

“They’re coming!” Otiian called out, wrenching Anabus’s attention away. He was running flat out away from where he had been hiding, bow in hand but not looking back. Before he could wonder what the dark dressed man was talking he got his answer as half a second later a half-dozen skeletons came shambling into view.

The armored undead moved in ways that would be impossible for the living, sending shivers down your spin just by watching them, but that didn’t prevent everyone from doing what was needed. Quesrik and Kyur’gan charged forward, throwing themselves at the enemy while making quips and questioning the skeletons parentage.

Anabus saw the creatures diving after Otiian. He raised a hand and pointed at the nearest monster, and began to say the words…but they caught in his throat. Imagines of Mittenz floated to the forefront of his mind.

He could see the dog-like monsters surrounding their camp. Their barking language cursing them, threating to kill them, promising to eat them. Kyur’gan, Quesrik and Mittenz held them at bay, neither side really getting the better of the other. Swords slashing and turned away, hammers swung and hitting only air, meanwhile Hingi and her badger fought their own battle that was going nowhere. Anabus agonized over the decision, but made up his mind in a split second. Raising his finger and unleashing a [Fireball!] at the enemy, the flames washing over the enemy as well as his friends.

Quesrik and Kyur’gan seemed to barely notice the flames licking at them, but cheered as half the enemy fell around them. As they dropped one by one, he notice how Mittenz was singed worse than the others…

Never again…

With an effort he ripped his mind back to the present, and instead of unleashing a powerful flame spell he casts [Shield!] on himself. Then a second later he reached for the ground and grabbed a smooth stone, whispered a few words at it, and then tossed it at the skeletons.

The [Molten Strike!] took down two more of the undead, and then a third fell when Quesrik ripped it apart. Marcus, still atop his horse, spoke a few words and cast a spell of his own, but the look on his face spoke of confusion and incredulity.

“Someone is controlling these things,” he called out over the roar of combat.

But it seemed to matter little as Ottian finished off the last of the undead, clapping his hands to knock the dust from his gloves.

Everyone seemed to stop and take a breather for a moment. There was a moment of tense suspension, as everyone expected more undead to spring forth from the ground at any moment. But it never came. The dead remained.

Otiian began walking forward once more, scouting out the rest of the path while everyone took a moment to themselves. Unfortunately it didn’t last long.

No sooner had Otiian passed the pile of bones when a there was a rumble ahead. More piles of bones were uncovered there, and out of one of them a monstrous hand punched forth and then began to pull a massive skeleton out of the ground.

It was indeed impressive, more than twenty feet tall and letting out a roar that was haunting.

As everyone surged ahead at it, Anabus once again thought about his friend.

He saw the Kobold bring the blade down, running Mittenz through in a single stroke. Watched the others as they drank and told tales of him through the night, while he remained by his friends side and the fires turned his body to ash. Stood by Kyru’gan as he tossed aside his Alchemist Fire’s, and swore to never use them again. Remembered handing Mittenz favorite cooking pot, which doubled as a helmet, to the Orc’s sister, Olga, who had been traveling with Marcus so she could find her brother.

He stayed his hand, instead summoning an illusion of the skeleton to distract the undead.

“No more fireballs, Mittenz,” He mumbled as the two undead faced off against each other, and as Olga charged forward to attack the beast. Behind her the rest of the party surged ahead to surround the two titans. “I promise.”

He followed shortly behind his friends, electricity crackling over his hands…

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Date: 6/18/16 – 6/25/16
Events taken from Anabus’s point of view. May or (likely) may not have happened this way

Mountain Border of the Kingdoms of North Osatia. South Osatia, and Reshan
11th of Sun’s Dusk (November), 1224 After Breaking

The Party panted hard, sucking in the crisp winter air as the remains of the monstrous skeleton crumbled into a pile of brittle fragments on the ground.

“Dat was a big boy,” Olga quipped as she laid her weapon down and went to check on Marcus.

But before the group could relax, Otiian, Hingi and Anabus rose their heads and looked down the pass. They could each hear something, or rather lots of something, not far away.

While Otiian scouted ahead, the rest of the party brought the wagon and pack animals laden with the supplies to keep the alive, up the pass and secured them not far away from where the battle with the skeleton took place. Hides and bolts, cloth, raw materials, food for the animals, books and ink, jars of medicines, all the vital items you needed to keep a team of adventurers moving. The horse and donkey were champs, having dealt with the trials without much of an issue.

The dark man returned much sooner than the others anticipated, his thin face frowning. “There must be three or four dozen ahead like these here.”

More skeleton warriors, but from the descriptions it was obvious these would be more trouble. While some were equipped much like those they vanquished, with simple weapons and armor, Otiian described some of them as having oversized crossbows that could prove troublesome and deadly.

Worse was the news of terrain. Up ahead the pass turned sharply and traveled up a steep hill. It turned the land into a natural fortress as archers on the upper levels could rain deadly arrows on those below while skeleton warriors served as undead barriers. Add to this was the trouble of actual barriers; felled trees cut and bound to form barricade walls were placed all along the path.

“Think we could wait them out,” Hingi asked, free hand calmly stroking her dire badger’s thick fur after Otiian explained the situation.

Marcus shook his head to reply, “The undead can wait forever, and who or whatever raise them knows we are here.”

Kyur’gan hefted his massive hammer over his shoulder, and sniffed, “Me smash.”

The others spared a glance at the massive man, before Otiian asked, “Okay, so we need to go through them. We know what ‘Gun wants to do. Any other ideas?”

“Fight magic wit magic?” Olga offered.

Maybe it was all his imagination, but Anabus could almost feel everyone’s eyes look at him.

Otiian said, “I know you don’t want to, but we could really use a fireball from you. We can walk out there, you fire one off and clear a path for us.”

Anabus tried to argue with him, but his heart wasn’t in it. The plan made sense, and it was likely to save lives rather than risk them. But the idea still didn’t agree with him.

After talking it over he agreed and walked forward with Otiian. They tried to be quiet, stealthy, but between the ranger being too loud and Anabus too visible in his bright red robes, the undead managed to detect them easily. Without much of an option the Red Wizard raised his hand, spoke the incantation, and a forty-foot wide ball of fire engulfed the target.

Unfortunately the skeletons had been prepared. More than half of them managed to avoid the full power of the attack, and came swarming after the two of them. This was followed by a barrage of crossbow bolts that rained across the area.

“Take cover!” Otiian exclaimed to the others as they ran back down the pass.

Kyur’gan surged forward, his hammer swinging and connecting with skull after skull and not stopping until he reached the hill and was out of the skeleton archers sight. It didn’t take long for everyone to notice the wisdom in this, and followed as quickly as they could.

Poor Hingi, her small legs not allowing her to keep up, was left in the alone as the archers unleashed another volley. Impossibly, she curled up into a ball and somehow ever bolt sunk itself harmlessly into the snow around her. Afterwards she run badger-like up to the wall alongside everyone else.

Kyur’gan and Quesrik continued to advance, pushing themselves forward over barricades and swinging at undead, but the creatures are parrying well and both attacks miss. Ottian and Olga fire at range, but their arrows mostly pass through between bones. Marcus tries to repell the creatures, but again he claims some other force is controlling these things and he can’t do anything about them. And Hingi mostly hides behind Olga while her badger rampages against the undead.

Then it happened. Before everyone, the unleashed an arrow volley that ripped the warforged to pieces. Quesrik went down as heavy bolt after bolt ripped through his armor.

The world slowed to a crawl. From where he was Anabus could only see the effect, not the cause, but that didn’t matter now. His friends were pinned down and they needed help. Stepping away from cover the Wizard walked into the open so he could see a target, and was greeted with nearly twenty undead at the top of a hill.

He didn’t hesitate.

The fireball was magnificent, a perfect orb of fire and pain that turned everything inside it into a pile of ash. Nothing escaped.

Hingi and Ottian had taken the opportunity to move forward and heal Otiian while Marcus and Anabus laid down cover fire with their wands. With the healed bot and a angry Kyur’gan leading the way, the remaining creatures were defeated in short order until the Party were Kings of the Hill.

Once they had gathered, standing proudly above their foes, they heard a cold voice echo across the mountains, “Face me!”

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:08 am 
Keen Fingers
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Date: 7/16/16
Events taken from Kyur'gan's point of view. Totally did NOT happen this way... probably.

West Osatia, outside the Four Sister's Pass
14th of Sun’s Dusk (November), 1224 After Breaking

Kyur'gan munched noisily on a large chunk of Sabertooth Cat meat. They had a whole wagon full of it and now that they were no longer in the freezing snow, they would soon have to get rid of it before it spoiled. That suited Kyur'gan just fine though. 10 days of cat was beginning to get old. "but not too old" Kyur'gan thought as he ripped off another chuck with his teeth, settled back into his comfortable spot propped against a fallen log and flipped the page of his Elven Boobie Book with a contented grunt. The images were impeccable. Kyur'gan could recognize the fine details and firm grasp of anatomy and symmetry within the writhing forms of the female elves on the pages. Aesthetically, they were posed perfectly, and he fully appreciated that. Kyur'gan glanced up briefly as he felt Hinji walking by behind him, her arms full of various herbs and tubers she had collected around the camp on one of her many scavenging trips. "Boobies!" Kyur'gan belched out around a mouth full of greasy cat-flesh, waving the book in Hinji's direction. The short halfling only "tched" in disgust, rolling her eyes and walking quickly away with a sneer on her lips. Kyur'gan only shrugged. "Some people just didn't appreciate fine art" he thought to himself as he settled back into place, looking about the rest of the camp.

Olga and Ottian were across the way, comparing the fletching of their arrows while Quesrik was endlessly knocking out the dings and dents of his metal body. Marcus looked slightly lost. He was still clearly a greenhorn and looked as if he much preferred the luxury of city life. Then there was Anabus, who was currently sitting alone, tapping his fingers while staring at one of the several scrolls they had managed to acquire recently. Kyur'gan understood his hesitation. Anabus had a habit of causing the scrolls to explode around his head, and that surely wasn't a sensation he was looking forward to repeating any time soon.

Kyur'gan frowned in the direction of the bald mage. Someone was going to have to say something to the man about the danger of magic, especially after this latest incident. They had been making their way through the rest of the pass. the temperature had still kept them frozen with teeth chattering, but the weather had been mind and good for traveling for several days after their encounter with the Skull Lord. They had encountered a bridge alont their path, with Ottian getting a strange feeling about the area in front of them. "Looks clear...." Ottian whispered. Which caused Kyur'gan to wonder why they were stopping if it looked clear. He was still contemplating this when Ottian muttered "A little too clear...." making Kyur'gan's head hurt.

Ottian set out to investigate after a few short words with the rest of the party, who with various sighs, agreed to hang back. Kyur'gan continued to mull over Ottians words. "if the food looks safe... why would you hesitate to eat it? how can the food look a little too safe?" Kyur'gan was still thinking about this when suddenly Ottian was back. "there is a cave up at the top of the bridge, but everything is abandoned. It's strange... there are no birds or animals around..." Ottian said half to himself in a worried tone. "So... is the pass safe to eat or not?!" Kyur'gan said aloud to Ottian in frustration, earning him strange looks from everyone around him. Ottian openly ignored him and the party set off down towards the bridge.

They were mostly there when suddenly Kyur'gan and several others spotted movement at the top of the cliff faces. He could just make out a blue multi-legged body simply sitting there calmly watching them, when Ottian screamed out "SPIDERS!" and let loose a pair of arrows. The spider hissed angrily at being injured, and launched it's self down the cliff towards the archer while several of it's brethren suddenly srrounded the party around the cliff edge.

The battle was quick and frantic, with the agile Snow Spiders darting in or taking massive leaps towards the party, delivering a painful bite, and then scurrying back out of reach. The party was harried and forced to huddle together on the defensive with Ripley the horse taking several nasty bites. Ottian was bit several times, the spiders quickly getting within the effective range of his bow and sinking their fangs into his flesh. The venom was taking it's toll on him. Kyur'gan however was far too busy to notice. He was dashing back and forth, charging spiders as the came to a halt and smashing them as quickly as he could. It wasn't long until everyone around him was covered with spider goo and bits of carapace. Suddenly there was an explosion and a scream. the unlucky Ottian had caught part of Anabus' poorly aimed fireball. Kyur'gan couldn't help himself despite his rage, yelling the name of a fallen friend. "Mittenz!" He had been on the receiving end of one of Anabus' fireballs alongside Mittenz. Kyur'gan had been lucky to make it out alive. Mittenz was not.

Kyur'gan continued the fight, sparing glances towards the limping Ottian when he could, but in the process of his retreat, Marcus was left alone and was quickly swarmed, barely surviving the attack himself. Finally the spiders retreated, leaving their fallen brethren behind scattered across the blood smeared snow. Hinji finished providing healing to those that needed it most while Kyur'gan was panting and calming himself down. The spiders had almost taken another friend from him. Hinji and Olga were issuing orders, loading the injured into the wagon and healing Ripley so that she could carry them to safely.

(to be continued)

Do not go gently into that good night.... rage...rage... against the dying of the light.

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:31 pm 
Keen Fingers
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The party limped their way under the bridge, spurred by the thoughts that in only a few short ours they would finally be below the frost line and out of the freezing cold. Kyur'gan Winterborn didn't mind the cold too much. He felt an affinity towards it, though that hadn't stopped him from making sure to dress warmly in appropriate clothing. many of his friends hadn't thought that far ahead and prepared properly, instead relying on magical aid to keep them safe, if not entirely comfortable.

two weeks of constant snow, ice, and even some blizzard conditions was taking it's toll on the morale of the party as if the frost were seeping into their bones. Kyur'gan hefted his new hammer as he kept watch for any more spiders as they slowly trudged along. He glanced down at his arm, where a spider had inflicted a bite on him. His wounds were already almost healed, and he could actually watch the process as it happened. It was a reminder that Kyur'gan had magic in his blood, and that he too, was a powerful wizard like Anabus and Marcus. He shook his head sadly at the rememberance of the way he had been up until just a few short days ago. Magic had robbed them of a friend. Careless magic was the fiend to be slayed, and Kyur'gan was no stranger to it. "how could i have been so arrogant and stupid..." Kyur'gan muttered to himself as he rubbed the dried scab off his arm where it was now fully healed. How many times had Kyur'gan unleashed his own mighty (if still not as mighty as anabus') fireballs, and caught a hapless friend in it's flames as one of the victims? Kyur'gan continued to shake his head. "no more... no more friends hurt or dead by our own hands" Kyur'gan pleaded without conviction. it would happen again... unless someone could convince the mages to give up their magic ways.

Kyur'gan glanced up from his inflection upon his arm and his own magic to see that Marcus was making his way up the path and towards the cave at the top of the bridge. The rest of his friends were continuing on their way. "i'm going to check this out with Marcus" Kyur'gan called out to the party, who made some resistance to being split up. in the end they agreed to continue and let the unlikely pair catch up to them on the path. Kyur'gan felt it important that they check to see if there were any more spiders ready to lay ambush on them, and made his way across the bridge beside Marcus.

They entered cautiously. Kyur'gan's massive hammer was at the ready and he was on full alert as they investigated. the first thing they spotted inside the icy cave was that the walls looked like clear glass. flowing water had collected over many months and formed a thick layer over everything. Soft light from outside reflected through the ice walls. It didn't provide any light to see, but it was beautiful none the less. Marcus lit a torch and the area was illuminated, along with the gruesome sight before them. Several Merchants were laid upon the floor, fang marks on their shrunken bodies, several still wrapped in their sleeping bags where they were ambushed. Frost covered them all, refusing to let the bodies decay and serving as a constant reminder of the frailty of life. Their Wagon loads of supplies behind them sat untouched from the months of being stored within the improvised tomb. "Check some of this stuff out" Marcus said, making his way over to the gear and riffling through it. He held up a packed case filled with a few greenish vials. Kyur'gan grunted, still glancing about for danger. so far they hadn't seen anything. He Glanced into one of the crates and saw a very good quality set of full plate that was still well greased and hadn't succumbed to rust. "you should take that" Marcus suggested, and Kyur'gan complied, strapping the armor to his pack and shrugging back into the shoulder harness. Marcus glanced in the south passage way and whispered "nope!" in a scared way as he backed away. Kyur'gan glanced inside and saw the corpse of the frost giant that was sucked dry and encased in ice. it still looked like the Frost Giant was napping peacefully where he died. "It's dead" Kyur'gan said, hoping to calm Marcus. "yea... well.. so was the giant skeletons and wolves we just got through fighting" Marcus retorted unconvinced and made his way towards the north and remaining passage.

"whoa" Marcus exclained, causing Kyur'gan to lose interest in examining the place where the Frost Giant had laid to rest and cost him his life. Making his way over to Marcus, he saw the 4 giant statues of females surrounding the pool of flowing water. "This water is magical, Marcus said while dipping his pinkie into it. "we should take some". Kyur'gan wasn't listening though. The artwork on the statues was exquisite. every curve and nipple was pronounced and perfect. Kyur'gan felt a stirring within him and he grunted in appreciation. Good art was supposed to make the viewer feel something after all, and kyur'gan was moved for sure. The craftsman was very good. "booooooooobieeessss" was all that Kyur'gan whispered. "Hey!" Marcus said, slapping Kyur'gan on the arm and breaking his stare at the well endowed statues. "was there anything else in that other room?" Marcus asked. "err.. big bag in the ice next to the giant" Kyur'gan said, gathering his thoughts and glancing back at the statues. "i wanna try something" Marcus said, as they re entered the room with the Frost Giant. He took the water skin and poured a small amount over the boulder of ice encasing the Giant Bag. Kyur'gan glanced about, not sure what to expect. Marcus had a look on his face like he was anticipating something spectacular to happen... so they waited.. and waited.. finally marcus frowned and looked at the water skin filled with magic water. "that was supposed to work..." he said accusingly. "what are you trying to do?" Kyur'gan said confused. "melt the ice so we can get the bag!" Marcus replied with a hint of exasperation. Kyur'gan grunted and hefted his hammer. He swung the massive weapon down into the glassy surface of the ice, shattering it into a million tiny pieces. Marcus was covered in ice shards and was left sputtering. "thanks for the warning, jerk" Marcus said attempting to dust ice off of himself. "Grab the bag and lets go. theres nothing left here" Marcus said as he walked out. "i'll put the armor in my bag of holding if you will carry that thing." Kyur'gan only shrugged. He didn't see a problem. Marcus wanted the bag, now they had it. what was the problem? He hefted the bag out and they traveled through the pass out of the mountains. it was sunset when they finally caught up to the others, the camp already made, where they began to rifle through the dead giants belongings.

Do not go gently into that good night.... rage...rage... against the dying of the light.

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:57 am 
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I’ve spent the last seven years on the road, ever since they kicked me out of the University of the Far Horizon. I’ve travelled across and around half the continent. I’ve had good and bad experiences, met people from all over … but my current companions, I must say, are the most interesting bunch I’ve come across in my travels so far. I’m very glad I chose correctly at the last fork in the road …

As we make our way down the mountainside, I inhale deeply. The scent of the forest on the still-chill wind is a welcome addition after the last few weeks spent moving through the mountains. I can tell that the others are enjoying it as well, especially Hingi, who’s prancing around through the light woods with a huge grin plastered on her face.

We find a suitable place to set up camp, and get a good night’s rest. The next morning, after Marcus graciously volunteers to magically help those of us affected by the spider’s venom, a couple of us – myself included – range ahead to gather some much-needed fresh supplies – something to supplement the meat that we’ve been mainly subsisting on during their journey across the mountains. Olga, by some stroke of luck, actually comes across something rather odd – a basket filled with usable herbs, vegetables, and other sundries. Odd that such a thing would already be in place, but I’m not one to question her luck – perhaps Fharlanghn left it there for us to find to boost our spirits.

Once everyone returns to the campsite and has a bit of lunch, it’s time to take stock of the party’s remaining supplies and retool the wagon so that it can better travel through the forested hills. Whistling tunelessly under my breath, I help Olga and Kyur’gan trim what remains of the load of half-frozen meat the wagon carries, as well as dispose of a couple of furs that had rotted through despite the cold weather. Once that’s taken care of, I take a look at the cart itself … but what little time I spent studying engineering in the library stacks avails me not. Marcus and Anabus helpfully point out that, no, wheels should *not* be square. After a bit of good-natured bickering back and forth, along with some assistance from the burlier members of our group, we manage to get the cart re-jiggered so that it will travel properly over the forest floor.

I’m still stiff and sore from the venom of those rather nasty spiders we encountered in the pass (note – remember to let the University know that the Temple of the Four Sisters needs to be re-established as a waypoint!), so I rest for the remainder of the day. Olga volunteers to help me work out a few of the kinks in my muscles, so I gladly take her up on the offer … that turns out to be rather more of a workout that I think either of us intended!

Much later, sometime in the middle of the night, I’m awoken by the cries of the other members of the party. Pulling my pillow off of my face (how’d that get there?), I untangle myself from my bedroll and roll sideways over my elvencraft bow and quiver, coming to my feet with the bow strung and an arrow knocked … only to relax once I see that there’s nothing following the party into the camp.

After everyone tries to talk at once for about ten minutes, I manage to get the gist of the story – Marcus’s rather ... odd ... pet? familiar? tentacle-faced abomination against nature? … hadn’t returned from its terrorizing of the small creatures of the forest when it should have, so several of the party had set off in search of it. They had been ambushed by what they believed to be elves, who had shot poisoned darts at them … which set off alarm bells in my head. I couldn’t exactly recall which clans of elves inhabited these parts, but one thing I did know was that most elves rarely used poison, or darts for that matter … surface elves, anyway ...

Olga and Marcus are working themselves up into a lather over the attacks, so I decide to head out to the “ambush” site and see if this isn’t just a rather big misunderstanding over hunting rights or something. I move quickly – far more quickly than someone my size should be able to – through the night-darkened forest, trying to get ahead of the rest of the group, until I arrive at the area they described. Suppressing a shiver of revulsion (as I must always do when I use the abilities thrust upon me after my … incident), I step sideways into the shadows, subtly shifting them around me and concealing myself from view.

What’s this, then? … two black-haired elves examining an area of trampled grass … a discarded bow (hey, that’s Olga’s) … darts stuck into nearby trees …

I move behind the massive bole of a tree and shout, “Who are you? Why did you attack my companions?”

Their reaction is electric. They leap to conceal themselves, almost faster than I can follow. What follows next is a rather tense, yet oddly comic conversation … neither of us can see the others, but we shout back and forth, maneuvering around to try and spot each other. From what I can understand of their dialect, they are denying having attacked my group, but refuse to parley face-to-face. I’m just starting to make some progress with them (I think) when a herd of galumphing lummoxes charges into the clearing … wait, no, that’s just the rest of the party …

The rest of the encounter goes better than I expected it to … while there are a few arrows and a LOT of harsh words exchanged, nobody is hurt, and the elves eventually return Stitch (Marcus’s … pet) unharmed … they had thought it was injured due to its oddities, and were going to attempt to heal it. Marcus and the others are still incensed over its temporary capture, however … I’ll try to calm them down and discuss the situation with them rationally later on. We also discover, to my particular ire, that there are some “elf-cousins” (note – look up possible meanings for this phrase in the Wood Elf dialect) who are operating as thieves and – even worse – slavers in this area. By my sore and aching feet, I hate slavers … anyone who forces others from the paths they’ve chosen needs to be shown the error of their ways. This is also something that the University will need to know about.

We eventually return to our campsite and bed down for the rest of the night, yet most of us can’t sleep very well with this new information buzzing in our minds …

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:07 pm 
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West Osatia Forest
16th of Sun’s Dusk (November), 1224 After Breaking

Anabus stared up a the immense tree before him, its green canopy of thick leaves looming over him like a giant. “Are you sure there is no other way?”

A robe dropped down the length of the tree, beating softly against the gnarled brown bark before making a soft thud on the forest floor. Olga stood next to him, a hand on his back as she answered him in her thick Orc drawl, “Ou saw the gron. It not safe down’ere.”

He wasn’t sure if the hand on his back was for friendly support or to push him along. Kyur’gan was standing on the other side of him, his massive form seemingly insignificant next to the monstrous flora rooted next to him. The creature’s voice boomed even as he whispered, “I carry you if want?”

Anabus sigh heavily, staring at the rope, the tree, and back at Kyur’gan who was smiling like some massive dumb puppy. He didn’t like heights. Not sense the mountains…

A week earlier the party had been nearly out of the mountains and into the pass that would see them free of the cold and snow. Instead of fighting their way through the undead and leaving the cause for someone else to deal with , they had instead backtracked even higher up the mountains to find the source. At the time he thought it was a good idea. Remove the threat, do a good deed for the people who travel through here, and maybe find some loot in the process. He had no idea how much of a pain in the ass it would be.

When they arrived at the summit they found a ruined fortress nestled in a circular outcropping of rough rock. The pale grey towers were knocked down, but the lower levels looked clear. There was a lengthy, narrow bridge connecting the ruins to the rest of the mountain, spanning a gully that was at least a thousand foot drop. It was nearly a perfect defensive structure in its prime, and a terrifying visage today.

They had managed to cross the bridge without incident, but once on the other side the looming high formation of rock and eerie silence gnawed at Anabus. While the others moved on and into the open, he thought he would be clever. He climbed the rocky crag around them, hoping to get a great view and help protect his friends.

All went well at first, reaching the first twenty feet up easily enough. But one slippery, ice covered rock later he had fallen and slide into a little gully in the boulders. Thirty feet in a body-hugging, tapered gap, struggling to breathe in the dark because your only source of light was a high above you. To him it was hell.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been in that death trap. Seconds? Minutes? Hours? He remembered vividly clawing at the dark walls, finding any space he could move his fingers into and pulling his way up. A few times he managed to get near the top, only to slip and fall back into the hole once more. Pain shooting up his legs and back as he hit the bottom hard, curses spilling from his lips in a constant river of anger.

Once he was finally able to reach the top, he didn’t waste any time getting back down off the rocks. In his hate he managed to fall once more, this time into a snow-covered pile of ancient bones from a mass grave. But at least he wasn’t back in that crack of earth.

When he caught up to rest of the party he found charged ground, the smashed bodies of multiple undead beasts, massive footsteps from a rampaging construct that was currently busy with Quesrik, and a badly injured Olga. She seemed mortally wounded, blood flowing from multiple cuts across her body and down her arms. When she opened her eyes to see who was upon her, the look of relief on her face was instant.

While he knelt down next to her, she raised a shaky arm to point at some small figuring trading blows with Kyur’gan in the distance. Her voice gurgled slight as blood fought against the sound to form a single word, “Fireball.”

There was no hesitation. No endless calculations that constantly surged through the back of his mind to decide what spell, when, or where. No questioning about where the other party members were and if they may be harmed. It just happened. Fires reached for the skies around the indistinguishable figure, hiding him and Kyur’gan from sight for a moment. A few seconds later the construct broke, falling to the earth as countless fragments of bone. When the fires cleared all that remained was a very angry, charred, Kyru’gan screaming wordlessly.

Fighting to bring his mind back to the present, Anabus looked at the smiling giant next to him and grabbed Otiian’s offered rope. Scrambling up the cord hurriedly, he soon found himself a hundred and fifty feet in the air faster than the mysterious man had expected, climbing up and over the mans outstretched arms like a spider on a tree branch.

He hugged the lower crown of the tree and gave thanks to Boccob that he managed to get up here without falling. One by one the rest of the party made it up, and once they were safely off the ground he helped coil the rope back up.

When he finally stopped to look around, he was amazed by the sight. Thick, five to ten feet wide branches crisscrossed the canopy like roads between trees. Smaller branches and offshoots swam off in various directions and heights, giving one the impression of green rivers, hills and valleys. All of it was beautiful, and dangerous as one misstep could see you falling to your death.

They wandered the branches for some time, trying to find anyone who may be able to help them navigate the world laid before them and find the slavers who had attempted to steal some of them the night before. They continued to call out for help, with Otiian and himself calling out in Elvish as the only ones who knew the tongue. But still, nothing.

Otiian was getting frustrated, and Olga made the off handed remark of burning the trees to get some attention. Anabus couldn’t see the logic in setting fire to trees when he and the rest of the party were currently in them, but it did remind him of a spell called “Dancing Lights.” It was a spell he learned back in Thay, used by Mages on the sea to communicate with other ships and find land, and it might be useful here as well.

As the various spheres of brilliant light appeared and he made them dance from branch to branch, they witnessed a trio of figures following them. It turned out to be three small Elf children, giggling and laughing as they chased the lights through the tree branches and leaves like fish through water. Their movements were impossibly graceful, and he became so lost in their infectious joy that he forgot all about the reason they were there and simply continued to make the lights dance for their amusement.

Otiian’s harsh dialect of Elvish brought him back to reality, as did the anger seemingly steaming off the Orc.

“Can you tell us where your parents are?”

 Post subject: Re: D&D game
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 Post subject: Re: D&D game
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West Osatia Forest
16th and 17th of Sun’s Dusk (November), 1224 After Breaking

“No!” the rest of the party yelled in one voice as the half-orc drove the dart tip-first into the Elven Elder’s chin.

The effects of the poison were immediate, and the man collapsed into her arms. Olga hefted the man over her shoulder, grunting in mild surprise at the lack of heft, and carried him over to the base of a nearby tree. “Dark-skinny-man, help me tie this’un up.”

Anabus’s mouth hung upon, shocked at the display. While Otiian shook his head and walked over to help her, the wizard exclaimed, “Why did you do that? He was here to talk.”

“A na’ow we can makes sure he does,” she answered in her harsh Orc drawl, her sharp eyes never leaving the sleeping elf. After a few moments she finally glanced back over her shoulder to add, “Why you care about this slaver?”

Exasperated, Anabus declared, “Because we don’t know that he is a slaver!”

Kyur’gan was starting to look uncomfortable, his head glancing back and forth between the Human and Half-Orc. Hesitantly he offered, “But, the kids said they were taking them.”

“And ze older ones we met yesterday,” Olga added sternly. With Otiian having firmly tied their prisoner to the tree she was finally willing to look away from him. “Dis are slavers. We learn all we can from this one, then killz them and ze rest.”

Anabus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. They have all made up their minds already, without any proof of anything. He brought his hand up to face, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. How can I make them see, he thought desperately.

After a moment he raised his head and looked at Otiian. “Oti, you scouted the small community he came from. He followed you back from there. Did you see any signs of slavery?”

The thin man was still as much a mystery as the day they met, his face and body always shrouded by dark clothing that left you only to guess who he was or what he looked like. But Anabus knew he was honest, or at least had been so far in their travels. From behind the cowl came his deep, muffled voice replied, “If you are asking about chains or whips, no. But there are other ways to enslave.”

Olga jumped on the opening, “Ze funny man speaks true. Magic make people do things.”

Anabus wanted to scream in frustration, but that would just be admitting defeat. “The absence of proof, isn’t proof either. Did you see anyone who looked like they didn’t want to be there?

Otiian shook his head, and Olga frowned. “We shall see what the monster has to say when it wakes.”

It would be some time before the elf was to awaken. The poison on the darts worked fast, and lasted long. Over the next few hours the party would wait there in the woods, masked by the darkness. A little stream nearby brought them fresh water to drink, but it was obvious the time was grating on their nerves. Especially Kyur’gan who looked constantly on edge and ready to bring his war hammer down on anyone or anything. Olga sat cross-legged in front of the prisoner, waiting. Otiian passed the time by patrolling, while Marcus played with his owl abomination.

As for Anabus, he spent the hours racked with doubt. What if the elf was a slaver? What if he wasn’t? What if this entire series of events had been a misunderstanding? What if everything was exactly as they were told? His lifetime in a noble family, and his years as a merchant, taught him few things are ever so black and white. A land dispute could actually be caused by a broken marriage contract. The coin earned from fishing could be spent on ale instead of medicine for the sick daughter. So far they only had one side of the story.

They needed the other.

While they waited they heard the creaking of wooden wheels and angry animals slowly overcome the ambient hum of insects. Over a nearby ridge came the familiar sight of Hingi and Quesrik, the tiny druid and the automaton who had become unlikely friends since they met.

Once the wagon came to a stop and greetings exchanged, the first question blurted out came from Otiian. “How the hell did you get a wagon through woods occupied by Bulettes? We had to climb the trees and walk across the branches!”

Hingi nonchalantly shrugged, dismissing the man’s worry like it that of a child. “Those things have a massive hunting range. You would actually have to be very unlucky to be anywhere near one of them at any given time.”

“But I made boom.” Kyur’gan stated, as if that was all that needed to be known.

Hingi turned to the rest of the party for an explanation, and was greeted by Marcus’s response, “He fell out of the tree. We figured that would get their attention.

She looked back at Kyur’gan who just smiled and rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. Hingi shook her head, and that was when her eyes fell on the new addition to their party. Her hair seemed to bristle as she asked, “Who is this and why are they tied up?”

Otiian and Olga proceeded to explain how the elven children led them to the “slaver camp.” How their rouge scouted the “camp” and how it was actually a small village. Then explained how the man managed to follow Otiian back to the camp without being seen.

Anabus interrupted, “You forgot to mention that there is no evidence of him being a slaver.” But his objection was simply waved off.

“Arg…wa…what happened.” The words flowed softly out of the Elves still-numb lips. His head rolled from side to side, trying to cast off the groggy effects of the poison. Finally his eyes began to focus, and his situation started to become intently clear. “What’s going on here!?”

Olga crouched down in front of the man, one green hand casually rolling the dart between its fingers while the other reached out and grabbed the man’s collar. She brought her nose to his, snarling, “You slaver. We free them. Now start talking.”

The Elf fumbled over his words for a few seconds before finally saying clearly, “I-We-what are-I am not a slaver you fool!”

Otiian mumbled under his breath, “You also aren’t very smart if you are calling the person holding your neck a fool.”

“I run a school for the wild elves who inhabit this land. We don’t enslave anyone!” the old man declared. His face turned a cherry shade of red, enraged by the accusation.

Otiian countered, “I saw your school. Wild elves don’t dress so well.”

“Of course they don’t. Otherwise my school wouldn’t be needed,” he exclaimed, exasperated. The Elf took a deep breath, slowly let it out, and started again more calmly, as if speaking to a child, “This is a cultural outreach facility. Here, I and a few fellow educators attempt to tame the wild elves and show them better ways to live.”

“You make them forget they elf,” Kyur’gan started, eyes wide in disbelief.

“No, no, no,” the Elder began to explain. “We teach them easier ways to survive. How to cultivate and garden, rather than eat whatever happens to be growing. How to build strong shelters, instead of sleeping through a thunderstorm protected by leaves. How to purify water in the absence of magic. Teach them why relieving themselves downstream and downwind from where you live is better than just going wherever you happen to be standing. And we teach mid-wives better ways to care for the young to make sure they live to adulthood.”

A little more frustrated he barked out, “By the Gods, we are a school! Reading, writing, math, sharing the love of art and joy of games. We don’t enslave anyone!”

A few eyes glanced from the angry Elf to Otiian, who nodded at the unspoken question, “It did look a lot like a school.”

Olga was unconvinced. She bared her teeth in a snarl, “If you school, why other elves call you slavers?” Anger firmed her voice, “Why you shoot us? Little man over there looked like a porcupine!”

The Elder’s eyes glanced at Marcus, and then back at the angry Orc in front of her. “We are not armed, but we do hire a group of men to protect the school from bandits. Perhaps this was all a misunderstanding?”

Otiian made a sharp clicking sound with his tongue, and offered, “How about we just take him back to the elves? They made the accusation, so we let them decide.”

Silenced stretched out for what seemed like forever, punctuated by the occasional sound of Olga grinding her teeth in thought. Wordlessly, with only a single sharp nod to show her agreement, she released the Elder’s collar and walked away to ready the animals. Kyur’gan, more gently than one would expect, lifted the man without a single grunt of effort and gently placed him down in the wagon so they could begin the journey.

Hours passed in relative silence. Navigating the forest at night was difficult, but not impossible, so nearly everyone’s attention was on the task of watching for difficult terrain or dangerous animals. Marcus used his owl to scout a few hundred yards ahead of Otiian, who was in turn a hundred yards ahead of the wagon plotting their course to avoid obstacles. Hingi piloted the wagon, occasionally chittering at Diggles who patrolled nearby. Quesrik marched not to far to the rear of the wagon, the steady clank-clunk of his mechanical steps echoing softly off the massive walls of wood that surrounded them. Kyur’gan forgot about patrolling after a few minutes and began to have a loud and lively conversation with donkey.

That left Olga and Anabus in the wagon with the Elf. Olga refused to let the “slaver” leave her sight, and held a bow in her lap, while Anabus refused to leave the Elder alone with her. For the longest time nothing was said. The Elder kept his eyes on the tree canopy as it passed overhead, so thick it blocked out light from the stars and moon.

Without prompting, Olga suddenly started speaking softly, [“Ani, waz you care so much about him?”]

Anabus had retreated into his robes, attempting to stay warm during the cold night, and was caught off guard by the question. He looked at the Elder, who seemed oblivious to the words. When he looked at the half-Orc, her lips were sealed tight, but her hand was touching the side of her head. As tired as he was it took him a minute to catch on, but once he did a magical aura rippled its way down his arm and to his index finger which he then touched to his temple.

[“’Message’ is a wonderful and often overlooked spell, yes?”], he grinned back at her. When he got no response, Anabus frowned, pulled his robes a little tighter, and said, [“Why are you so sure he is guilty? He has done nothing to you, but you are ready to rip his arms off and beat him with them.”]

Olga pulled her knees up to her chin, her eyes flickering back and forth between the Elder and the Wizard. For a moment he thought she had decided to ignore him, but tentatively she replied, [“I waz slave once. Labored in fieldz. Hunted for ‘boss.’ Fought in pits for ‘boss.’ Sold to new ‘boss.”] Her fingers played across the surface of the weapon, gently pulling at the string. [“He not know I smart. He paid for it.”]

Anabus recalled the tale she shared when they first met. She had beaten her master to death with a spell tome he had been studying and escaped with whatever valuables she could carry. Fenced the items for gold, and paid for an education. Realized she had magical potential and never looked back. Her body was covered in scars, but she wasn’t afraid to tell the stories of how she earned them – taking pride in the survival and conquest. But about the masters themselves, she was often very tight-lipped.

[“I hatez slaves. I hatez bosses. They all die.”], she stated stubbornly.

A cool wind rushed over them, leaves rustling loudly as the wagon creaked and popped over a rock. Anabus spent a few moments thinking about his next response, and eventually decided on, [“You know, a short decade ago you would hate my people.”] When she looked up at him, eyes wide and brows raised, he continued, [“Thay only recently outlawed Slavery. Our family stopped using them only a few years before that. Oh, sure we had laws and rules and taboos to regulate how they were treated but slavery is slavery. Do you hate me? Want me to die?”]

It looked as if she was about to say something when a figure dropped into the wagon from the canopy above. In a heartbeat the wagon came to a wrenching stop, while the rest of the party turned and readied weapons. They had all gotten used to the low light, having forgone using flames or magic to light their way inside dangerous territory, and they all were able to see and recognize the figure that stood before them.

He was one of the elves the party had encountered the night before, standing tall and glistening slightly with sweat under what light managed to break through. The man tilted his head to the side slightly, and pulled a knife out from a small belt that wrapped around his waist. He said a few words in elvish, a series of excited sounds interwoven with each syllable. He kept pointing at the Elder and then back at the party, repeating the words.

Anabus translated it as, “What have you done? Why have you taken him. Release him now.”

Not waiting for a response the Wood Elf advanced on the Elder, prompting Olga to move between them and hold up a hand. “I thought this what youz wanted. You said he’z slaving you.”

The native shook his head violently, and shouted back at her in his language. From behind them both, Anabus translated back and forth. “We said he was taking us. Not slaving us. Taking our language, our way of life. Not all like. But not slave.”

A somber silence descended on the party as they realized that they had done. Broken by Hingi exclaiming, “This is why we shouldn’t help people!”

The rest of the party let out an exasperated sigh, while the native elf took his blade and moved to free the Elder. Olga however held up her hand once again, and this time turned to the now hopeful prisoner. “You don’t go free until youz explain this.”

In her hand she held up the small dart with its vibrant crimson feathers. “We walk through woods. Do nothing wrong. Get attacked by this.”

The Elder let out a deep nervous sigh, “The men we hired to protect the school use those darts. They dart trespassers and thieves to carry them out of the woods. You must have provoked them.”

Marcus snorted, “Provoked them, we were collecting firewood and berries. They didn’t say anything to us, they just started shooting.”

“Skinny-man right. We walking. Not fighting,” Olga added.

Hesitantly, the Elder added, “He…may have been overzealous. That was why I was so curious about you when you reached the school. I thought perhaps we finally had visitors from the nearby towns. It has been a long time since the traders came here.”

Anabus reached down and undid the bindings, allowing the man to stand. “How long? Since about the time you hired him?”

When the Elf nodded, Otiian, whom had ghosted his way right back up to the wagon without being noticed, offered, “The man you hired to keep out bandits turned into a bandit.”

There was a long sigh that escaped the Elder as he stretched and rubbed his wrists. “I had feared as much.”

Hingi had been listening so far, and picked that moment to angrily yell out, “No, do not even think about it. It’s not our problem. Let’s just make our way out of the woods and find our way to the Capitol. We have an artifact to find and I’m tired of trying to help everyone!”

Anabus, Marcus and Otiian shared a glance, then looked at Kyur’gan, Olga and Quesrik. Finally Anabus nodded, “I suppose you are right. This was all a massive misunderstanding, and it has nothing to do with us.” He turned to the Elder, smiling sheepishly, “Unless you happen to know anything about the First Emperor.”

The Elder furrowed his eyebrows for a moment, then blinked and stared back at Anabus. “Actually, I do.”

Hingi growled, “DAMN IT!” into the still night air.

The Elder, whom introduced himself as Er’Ilist’teo’oren’aloa – and cringed as the party unanimously decided to give him the nickname of “Ernie,” was apologized to for the misunderstanding. For his part, he seemed all rather amused by the misunderstood translations and pointed out that this was one of the reasons he was teaching the native elves the common tongue. Forgiveness was given, and he invited the party to join him in his private residence not too far from where they currently were. During the journey, they explained to him where they were from, what brought them together, and where they were going.

By the time they arrived at his home, the sun was just beginning to peak out from the eastern hills. Birds were beginning their singing, and cool morning dew was collecting on every blade of grass. The air tasted sweet as the sun rose, and only seemed to get richer as they grew closer to the Elder’s home. When they came upon it, it wasn’t what anyone had been expecting.

They came upon a clearing, cultivated with hundreds of thousands of wild flowers and herbs. In this center of this clearing was a group of four trees, each with a narrow staircase of linked branches twisting their way up the trunks to an opening in the bark. The trees are massive, easily thirty to forty feet across and a hundred high, with amber trunks and leaves that sparkled like emeralds. Between the smooth trunks, at least thirty feet above them, were bridges of bound branches binding them into a single structure.

After the animals were secured and allowed to graze, Ernie confirmed that none of the planets were poisonous, they made their way up the largest tree in the very center of the clearing. Anabus could swear he smelled honey as he approached the tree, but it wasn’t an overbearing or unpleasant in any way. Once they followed the Elder inside they found themselves in what could only be described as a living room. The ceiling was high, at least twenty feet, while artwork hung from polished living wood walls. The floor was smooth, level, and also alive. In the eastern section of the wall was a naturally occurring fireplace grown out of the tree, while to the north and south were openings to bridges that lead to the other trees.

Er’Ilist’teo’oren’aloa beamed, “Sit. Sit. Enjoy yourselves and be comfortable. I’m just going to get a book, but you are welcome to follow.”

Anabus and Marcus were hot on the Elder’s heels, enraptured by all they saw. As they passed Hingi, you could hear her muttering to herself and shaking her head in disbelief, “How is this possible? It isn’t. It can’t be.”

They passed through the southern opening and crossed the bridge, entering another hollow tree and being greeted by what could only be described as a spring. The walkway ringed the outer wall, while a small pool protruded out of the center a few feet high. Inside this protrusion was clearest water Anabus had ever seen, beautiful in its purity, and glowing ever so slightly.

The Elder saw the two of them staring in wonder, and smiled at them. “It’s the roots. They draw water from the ground and store it here.” At that he waved, “Come, come. More to see.”

An opening was seen heading south-west, and they followed the Elder into another tree. This one could have been a study pulled straight out from any castle. The walls were covered in books, held there by natural shelves. A table had been formed from the walls as well, almond colored and forming a circle as it started on one side of the opening and ended on the other. Atop the table was numerous books and alchemical tools, each item placed with care and located just-so as the Elder wanted them.

Er’Ilist’teo’oren’aloa scanned the highest shelves for a few moments, then abruptly reached out and snagged a tome. He opened it and read a few pages before quickly closing it and picking a few ingredients from off the table. “Follow me,” he said, and left the way they came in.

They moved quickly through the next room and back into the living room, to which the Elder waved his arms excitedly and declared, “Come! Answers!”

He left out the northern opening, and after a brief exchange of words the party followed him into the four tree. This one seemed like a parlor of some kind. While the rest of the trees and its components were all part of the trees, this room was filled with elven made divans and pillows. To the north-west was a massive window formed from the tree, fifteen feet tall and arching to a sword-like point. This allowed the natural light to make the various shades of emerald, ruby, and gold silks to pop with splendor.

The only exception to this was in the center of the floor. At first Anabus thought it was a hearth of some kind, but as he got closer what he believed to be a pile of coal turned out to one massive singular piece of stone. It was black as onyx, shimmering with a impossible polish and seemed to be a world unto itself. It was only one a second inspection that he noticed that it was not reflecting anything. He, the others, the Elder, not even the light from the window was mirrored on its magnificently terrifying surface.

As everyone took a seat in a circle around, the Elder began to explain, “When you spoke of the First Emperor, it made me remember an incantation I learned a lifetime ago. This spell should allow you to see what you are seeking. If everyone would sit, and relax…”

“NOPE!” Hingi defiantly proclaimed. “I’m not being a part of this. You have trees here that should be dead, but are still somehow alive. Your school almost got us killed because it hired bandits. I’m not taking part in this.”

As she and Diggles rebelliously stormed out of the room, the rest of the party took a deep breath. Ernie held his hands out over the stone in the floor, reciting an incantation that was in a tongue Anabus didn’t know. He looked at the rest of the party, and it was clear on their face that none of them knew what was being said. It was also clear that none of them cared as their eyes became glued to the stone.

Pinpoints of light began to emanate from the blackness. They weren’t reflections, and instead the light seemed to flow outward. One by one the lights appeared, slowly at first but eventually becoming a tidal wave as the entire surface glowed in radiance.

Then Anabus blinked.

He was on a battlefield. In his hands were sword and shield, both they and he covered in blood. He could smell the mud and shit in the air, taste the cooper and bile in his mouth. Everything was hazy. What was he doing? How did he get here?

His questions disappeared as he raised his sword. Around him was three against twenty, they were separated from the rest of the host. His party was mounted, the enemy on foot save for their commander. A charge might break them free, but it was still chancy.

The commander laughed at him, then removed his helmet to push back wet hair with his fingers. He stepped forward, a challenge, and then glanced back his men to say, “see that no harm comes to him. He is mine.”

“As you say.”

Then he smiled. Bone-white teeth pierced the evening’s night sky. “Kill his men.”

“No!” Anabus screamed. The Commander was walking away, while his men closed in on either side of them. Anabus rode one down, cutting at figures in grey armor who parted way before him. His companions put heels to their mounts and charged. A steel-shod hoof caught one of the enemy in the face with a sickening crunch. A second man reeled away and for an instant the companions were free. Then one of them cursed as they pulled him off his dying horse, swords slashing as rain began to fall. Anabus galloped to him, bringing his sword down on a man’s helm. The jolt rang up his arm and made him grit his teeth, but the man stumbled to his knees, his kraken-crest sheared in half as blood ran down his face. Another companion was hacking at the hands that had seized his bridle when a spear caught him in the belly. Suddenly he was amongst them, a red rain flying from his sword.

His horse slipped under him and came crashing down into the mud. There was a moment of blinding pain and fresh blood in his mouth. Anabus watched as they cut the legs from his friends mount and drag him to the earth, swords rising and failing as they moved on him. When Anabus’s horse lurched back to its feet, he tried to rise only to fall again, choking on his scream. He could see the splintered bone poking through his calf. It was the last thing he saw for a time. The rain came down and down.

When he opened his eyes again, Anabus was with his dead. His horse caught the scent of blood and galloped away. He began to drag himself through the mud, gritting his teeth at the agony in his leg. It seemed to take years. He could hear the battle still raging not far away, and begs the gods for a mage to heal him.

A figure found him there in the mud. He was tall, young, but his eyes were ageless. He raised his spear into the air, the tip began to glow like a fresh dawn. All around him his guards raised their swords, and then like a wave the warring armies raised their swords as well. Anabus reached for his blade, not understanding. He touched the hilt, and despite himself he raised the point into the air. He didn’t feel the pain anymore, or the anger, or the hate.

He felt loved.

Time passed once more. He stood around a table in some foreign castle. Around him was generals from dozens of different clans and nations. Even the Commander he had been fighting was there. They were all much older now, grey in their hair and beards. They wore identical armor, but Anabus couldn’t see a crest or insignia of any kind. What he did see was the young man.

The man wasn’t so young anymore, and held a golden crown atop his head. Laid out before him was the spear, and underneath it a map of the known world. Anabus could see it was fairly complete, and the King stabbed his finger at a point. He looked at Anabus, and then reached for the spear. He broke the spear, separated piece from piece and handed one of them to him. “They are waiting for you there,” was all that was said.

Then it felt like he was being pulled, ripped rather, from this place. The world turned white and spun around his head. He wanted to vomit, but held himself still and waited for the spinning to cease. When he opened his eyes again his eyes were clear and glued to the onyx stone. He was gasping for air, and as he looked as each of his companions they were sucking wind just as hard as he.

The Elder smiled, and soothingly said, “I know you are tired, that you must have experienced much, but let me tell you that you were there but moments.”

He kneeled onto a pillow at his feet, and said, “Thank you. I’ve long yearned to use that spell, but hadn’t had cause. Now, please, tell me what you saw.”

Together, the party exclaimed, “I KNOW WHERE THE PIECES ARE!”

 Post subject: 6 Aug and 13 Aug 'battle' session story summary ;)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:39 am 

Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:41 pm
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How did you find out about SI Radio?: Friend, TSW
(we now continue the narrative, from Olga's perspective, starting off right where our last party member left off...)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
When the members of the party who had watched intently as the elvish scribe 'Ernie' had cast his divination spell exclaimed,in unison, “I KNOW WHERE THE PIECES ARE!”, Olga jumped. She'd been distracted from her task of contemplating where she was going to ram the sleep-poisoned dart back into the elderly elf's neck, so when her companions all yelled in unison, she was taken a bit by surprise. Cursing at herself in Orcish, she made eye contact with the clever halfling druid Hingi, who other than the large construct known as Quesrik, was the only other party member who had voiced enough distrust of Er'list'tect'oren'aleta -something-or-other-cuz-elves-add-syllables-to-seem-cooler-than-they-are, to NOT stare into the spell he was casting, and grunted in acknowledgement of the halflings previous statement of 'we should STOP getting involved in all these idiots problems'...and the orcish warrior-ess once again wondered at the strange paths that her life had taken, that had brought her to this place...with this group...

...forcing herself to NOT take long walks down memory lane, Olga instead did her best to concentrate on what Anabus, Marcus and Otiian were discussing. Although she was gifted in the magical arts, due to her completely informal education and her lack of any significant training in any kind of diplomacy or social graces, she generally couldn't keep up when the more cultured members of the party started to go 'full courteous mode' and using big words to explain simple things. She did her best to supress her desire to slap 'Ernir' on the back of his head, but it was a constant struggle for her, because it seemed every other second the over-educated elf would get distracted, and one of her friends would have to remind him to stay on topic. Not for the first time, Olga wished she was more like her half-brothers, Mittenz, or Kittenz ... or even the large tattoo'd barbarian Kyurghen, who was right now attempting to 'taste' one of the paintings hanging from 'Ernie's tree homes wall. Apparently the snozberries did not taste like snozberries, Kyurghen was busily trying to explain to Diggles. Diggles, naturally, seemed to not care...

Shaking her head again, Olga scolded herself for getting distracted from the task at hand. Luckily for her, her friends had managed to get the scholarly 'Ernie' and the wild elf representative, who's name she had never heard, to finally TALK to each other, and 'Ernie' was finally coming to understand that the human mercenaries he had hired to 'assist' him in his efforts to civilize the wild elves, were in fact brigands, who were murdering travelers and anyone who offered them actual resistance. Like most very educated but decidedly un-worldly academics, 'Ernie' was amazed that bad people would take advantage in such a horrible way, and had gratefully accepted the groups offer to help by removing the human brigands from the area. Olga nodded approvingly at Anabus, who definitely had the gift of speaking with a silver tongue. She was certain that Marcus and Otiian had in no small part been incredibly helpful in the explanation of what was really happening to 'Ernie', but there was something about the human mage Anabus that Olga really found...attractive. Was it the way he actually spoke to her as if she was an equal? Or perhaps, it was the way he blushed anytime she offered to help him relax after a day of adventuring? Whatever it was, she found herself wanting to impress the cultured human, just as she wanted Marcus to appreciate her for more than just her ability to hunt, cook, and keep him comfortable in the cold nights...with her good understanding of proper orcish massage and the benefits of sharing body heat. Olga snerked as she wondered how many of her companions mistook the sounds of moaning and grunts of efforts that they heard during the nights as something far more sexual than what was really happening. Granted, Olga wouldn't say no, if any of her newfound friends were to ask her into their bedrolls, but so far...other than Diggles, none had offered. And Diggles had only wanted for her to brush the tangles out of his fur. And to pick out some bothersome ticks.

When Marcus tapped her on the shoulder, Olga grunted and turned her attention back to the present. She smiled in her best motherly manner, as the scrawny man explained to her in depth, the ''plan'', which was to escort 'Ernie' to the village, and to explain to the guardsmen/brigands there that they were no longer welcome in the elven lands. Olga patted Marcus on the back, and grunted out a thank you for explaining the 'complicated' idea to her. She watched as Marcus walked away to discuss some finer details with the rest of the party, and Olga sighed, and thought, for not the first time, how sad it was to see such a smart man as Marcus, clinging so tightly to an obvious love-lost. Sure, the once wealthy man had never told Olga directly who it was that had broken his heart, but Olga recognized the feelings of loss that Marcus did his best to hide. Someday, she thought, he'll actually open up his heart and tell me what it is that drives him onward. But until then, she would just continue to be a true companion to him. I mean, it wasn't often that a native of the country he came from would not only readily accept a half-orc as a companion, but a friend.

Seeing that the rest of the party had finished their discussion, and were ready to travel, Olga grunted happily and checked her equipment to ensure everything was in its proper place. As she was checking her bow to ensure that the string was still taut, she almost didn't hear the quiet man Otiian approach her. When he quietly asked if she was ready, she grunted in affirmation. When he asked her if she understood the 'plan', she grunted again. But when he asked her if she'd like to borrow some proper arrows for the potential battle, she had to snort and laugh. She shared a smile with Otiian, and muttered something about someday making him a proper bow to replace the 'wussy elf stick' he liked to use. Otiian smiled and returned to his own preparations. Olga spared a moment to look at the other archers back, and grunted approvingly. Like all warriors, she enjoyed a good rivalry with someone who understood the arts she endeavored to master. Otiian was a master with the bow, and Olga liked anyone who had the dedication to master a craft.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The trip to the elven village passed quickly, and uneventfully. The party was at full readiness, each member keeping a wary eye out for potential danger, even as 'Ernie' continued to talk...and talk...and talk...about how he hoped that this would all end peacefully, with the guardsmen politely accepting that their services were no longer required. Olga didn't even try to hide the contempt in her loud snerk as the scribe spoke.

As the party entered the outskirts of the village, they spread out, most of them already readying their weapons. 'Ernie' led them through the buildings, guiding them towards where the guardsmen could be found. Olga noted that several elves watched them from the buildings, chattering to themselves, pointing at the heavily armed strangers in their midst. Some of them looked on with open contempt, seeing the party as just another group of outsiders, here to force themselves upon them. Olga kept a wary eye on the elves, having no love of the 'faire folk'. She knew that Marcus was aware of her hatred of elves in general, and she spared a glance over to the skinny human. Marcus met her gaze, and shook his head, and made a quick 'remain calm' gesture with his hands. Olga grunted, and kept looking from face to face, wondering when they would shift from contempt to hostility...

...Olga turned her attentions towards the front of the party, as initial contact was made with the guardsmen/brigands. She heard 'Ernie' speak to the human mercenaries, then she heard the strange 'metallic' voice of the large construct, Quesrik, join in the conversation. She could not quite make out the mercenaries response, but she could hear the raised voices, the angry tones...and when she saw the first arrows go arcing thru the air, she actually felt relieved. Because after all the conversations, confusion, and chaos caused by miscommunication...she knew she wasn't the only person ready to vent some frustrations through violence...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Like most beings who had orcish blood, Olga had a very difficult time maintaining composure when battle was joined. Certainly, she could remain calm most times, but when open battle was upon her, she found her mind reverting back to a much simpler, savage state. When these moments happened, Olga often found her memories came in fragments; in stops and starts; like a book, with several pages missing...

...she saw the battle joined...heard...the shouts of fear from some, the joyous laughter of others...she could hear the sounds of arcane words being shouted above the din of weapons smashing into flesh...
...she felt the familiar caress of Marcus' healing magic wash over her, to treat the damage caused by several arrows that she didn't remember striking her...she heard the loud 'fwoosh' of several fireball spells being cast...heard the screams of those set aflame...she heard the angry echoing chitter of Diggles as the badger went berserk and started attacking everything that he could get his claws on...she heard Kyurghen's loud voice, bellowing incoherently as he flung himself bodily at his foes...and she joined her voice in his, laughing joyously as the chaos of battle spread...

Olga mentally tuned back in, midway through the battle. She glanced down, saw her body covered in blood, much of it her own, and saw the telltale signs of recent magical healing. She hurriedly looked around, taking in the flames, the bodies, the shouted cries of the hurt, the dying. She noted Hingi nearby, desperately trying to get Diggles back into some semblance of control. She saw Kyurghen, still raging, still attempting to charge headfirst into the remaining foes. She saw Quesrik, making his way slowly forward, like some unstoppable force of rightiousness. She didn't see them directly, but she could see the flames and power of the magical spells being flung by Anabus and Marcus. And she saw the arrows, fired from Otiian's bow, arcing over her head to rain down on the remaining mercenaries. She laughed then, happy to be surrounded by those she considered her friends, and moved forward, alternating between casting what spells she knew that could aid her friends, and firing arrows at the rapidly dwindling forces that opposed them...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
After the battle ends, thats when the really 'trying' part of the encounter began. Because 'Ernie' instantly starting whining about how violent the solution was, about how much damage had been done, about how he could have solved everything with 'kind words.' Olga started to consider stabbing the elf again with something sharp, but luckily, her teammates were there to remind 'Ernie' that he was waffling and was being a fool. Olga smirked happily, and proceeded along with the rest of the party to finish checking the main guard buildings for any remaining foes. Unfortunately, they initially had to rely on 'Ernies' halfhearted accounting of how many actual guards there were, but luckily for the party, there were a few elves in the village who weren't as useless as 'Ernie.' One elf in particular, Oi'laia, turned out to have literally been carefully learning as much as she could about the guardsmen, so without much difficulty, she was able to help ensure that the party had managed to deal with all of the human brigands.

Then, of course, once all the bloodshed had been dealt with, 'Ernie' once again began to talk...boy, could that elf talk. And talk. And talk. But amazingly, this time, some of what he spouted wasn't completely idiocy. After much debate, during which the party involved Oi'laia much more heavily in the decisions, as she was rapidly proving to be the 'grounded in common sense' elf that the village definitely needed, it was decided that the elves general safety would be more easily aided, by the party taking the majority of the equipment that the brigands had been hording away, to sell at the next large city.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
After all the post battle necessities had been handled, the bodies stored for future burial, the damages done to the village assessed, the party was finally able to do something they hadn't managed in quite a while. To REST. In relative safety. Actually in real beds. Like all those that had orcish blood, Olga relished the 'post battle' times. She smiled, she sang....badly...she helped her friends with cleaning their weapons and gear. She helped Hingi brush out Diggles filthy tangled fur. She even tried to help Anabus and Marcus with their spellcraft...and just ended up settling for making sure the two mages had plenty of food and drink to restore their energy. She even managed to drag Hingi around for a traditional warriors dance of victory. Because sisters of battle should share in the joys of survival., if only she could remember how exactly she'd ended up the next morning wearing Kyurghen's pants and Anabus's shirt...probably they'd gotten mixed in the wash. Yes, that's certainly the answer.

((Little long winded, and probably not exactly what you'd expect for a 'session summary'. I blame my current concussion. Mental note, don't try to catch baseball bat flung by drunken neighbor with the side of your head.)) --NarcanGoat ;)

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