RTQ News

Message in an Arrow by Lenard on 29 Nov 2014 : 20:14
Greetings reader, my name is Lenard. I am the leader of the Black Roses and a Wizard of the lands. Below is my report on the events that occurred during the Fighting moon in year 441 .

It was one of the last days of the full Fighting moon. Jedd, myself and a few of his friends were preparing to head out from the Bank of Mirith in hopes of finding something fun to occupy ourselves with. Just as we were about to leave, we saw a giant pillar like coulomb of pure darkness appear to the far south. Being the concerned citizens we are, it was decided that we would head over there as fast as possible, so we took off, sending out messenger birds and telepathic communications to those we could reach along the way. Our group rushed through the forest ignoring any path in an attempt to reach the black pillar as quickly as possible. The closer we came to it, the stronger we could feel a radiating power. As we burst out of the forest we were met by the ocean, and several of us almost fell into its waves. We quickly set sail on our rafts and made our way due south to an island off in the distance where the pillar seemed to be coming from. As we came closer we could see a swarm of bats engulfing the island. We had to scratch, claw, and slash our way to the shore just to be greeted by a swarm of Poison Beasts, Blink hounds and several other nasty critters. As we fought our way onto the beach we could hear deep rumbles coming from the pillar. Rumbles that could only be the horrifying growl of a large, powerful and deadly Void Dragon! Despite the ever increasing danger and chance of death, no one faltered, and everyone fought to the best of their ability. We slowly pushed our way to the center of the island, and as we did we could see a rather large claw force its way out of the pillar of darkness! Luck was on our side though, as it seemed the dragon was so large it was struggling to enter our world. As it did its best to force it way though the pillar, several draco sipped in-between its claws and fixed their eyes on our group. Wings flapping and teeth gleaming in the sunlight, they charged straight for us. The Melee members of our group all quickly finished off the foe they were currently fighting and leaped at the draco, battle crys ringing in the air. There were a few close calls, but the clergy members managed to keep everyone going, despite the chaotic battle ensuing all around them. As everyone was attempting to foil the lunch plans of the draco, the dragon began to roar with fierce anger. The sound of this mighty beast was strong enough that it managed to cause the draco to falter in their attacks, giving the warriors an opportunity to strike the finishing blows that they surely took. With everything finally calming down, and the dragon about to emerge from within the shadowy pillar everyone braced themselves for a hellish battle that would surely end with one side lying dead on the beach. Then, suddenly, something unexpected happened. A large, molten stone spear pearced the dragon, causing the dragon to emerge from the pillar, the pillar to dissipate and the dragon to die with a fearful scream. As we all stood there, shocked and dumbfounded, we saw what looked to be runes glowing on the spear, which was keeping the corpse of the dragon suspended in mid air. As we approached the runes I recognized a few that were normally used for communication, so I quickly reached for a crystal I had enchanted to record sound and activated it. As I did this the runes began to glow brighter and a voice was heard. Looking around I could see that several of our group recognized it. The voice began to relay a message:

"To anyone in Oberin that finds this, I am Edgard of ARDENT. We've lost contact again with Oberin, permanently, I fear. I've included as much information about the Void Realm as I can in this, Well, message in an arrow, so to speak. I hope ARDENT back in Oberin, or someone else will be able to figure something out. I don't have much time left ... But the Void Realm. There is so much more to be discovered here. ... I wish everyone the best of luck."

As soon as he spoke those last few words, the runes stopped glowing. As we all stood there, looking up and the empaled corpse of a dragon, we began to relax from the battle, and actually take a chance to speak with one another. It wasn't until then I was able to learn the names of many of the people I was just fighting along side with. Besides Jedd and myself there was also Konbeto, Claius, Thane, Varto, Beyoglu, Desmond and possibly a few others that left, I am unsure though, the battle was rather chaotic. I do hope I was able to remember everyone. Unsure of what to do, we all decided it would be best to head to town and infrom everyone of what just took place. It is because of this that I write this report, in hopes of infroming anyone and everyone that is willing to read it of the happenings of that day. [Submitted by Lenard]
Ghost of the Night by draugr on 13 Aug 2013 : 11:32
Shadran senses an evil presence in an old ruined house.The Ghost in the Night



Year 440, Growning Moon, Day 120





I was searching for places that my former master listed in his notes, when I came across the house near the Marali vanguard hall. It was the one that a enchanter named Aducath frequented long ago. After fighting the usual lot of trolls and such near there I entered the musty old place. It smelled faintly of burnt wood and mould. The man a shuffling man with brown hair walks around and pays me no heed at first. Then I open my spell book on the table and start reading the notes my master had collected from this house and ones he had written.



As soon as I did a very malevolent and evil presence made itself known. I leave the table and look through the old cubbard and leave the man's gear alone in the corner. The squatter finally notices me and says in a grave tone "What are you doing here boy? I'd be careful how you play!" This was once the house of Aducath, an enchanter. The squatter replies "That name I've heard" I showed him my book with Aducath's burnt and damaged notes in them. The man glanced at the notes and said "He played too much too., I be warning ya. "Hmm so my master told me so long ago. But I will heed your warning Sir." He fixes me with a glare and says "Perhaps you're not powerful enough for him yes, Aye." I nod in agreement, He mutters "I'd leave and not come backHe will He looks around as if expecting something to jump out at him. (or so i percieve).



I got the impression he was holding information from me and I slipped my spell book back into my bag. Since it was rather dark and rainy out I asked if i could shelter here for a while. The squatter agreed. I sit in the corner reading Aducath's and Morgoth's notes and minding my own. When I fell another blast of an evil presence wash over me like a wave. I ask him if he has felt this same feeling too but he replies "He only gwatches mages and he did not feel anything.. I wonder how he knows about the presence then but decide to keep that to myself.



I decide to humor him and tell him of how my master fought this presence once before Gunthor laughs and says "You do not know of what you speak! He is far beyond your comprehension. He looks around almost panic sick with wild eyes "Then you know why he is here? why he persists? I say "He seeks vengeance on Seth?" Gunthor grunts "He brings evil where he lands He seeks vengeance." "Like most undead do" I say. "But not on this Seth fellow though." Gunther mutters. "Oh?" I say quizzically. Gunther looks around again, "Not particularly anyway" He looks around again even more dread in his eyes. "Never ye mind" His words trailing off into random mutterings.



I say to him "You seem rather troubled?" "Who me? Nay, trouble free I am!" He then lets out a mad cackle. I muse to myself about this place causing him to be mad and paranoid due to the screams in Aborek and the power of this place. Seeing that I couldn't get anymore information from Gunthar and I decided to leave this place and study Aducath's notes in a more safe place.



(The attached writings are the notes that shadran speaks of written by a GM)



Diary of the Fire Maven



Sleeping Moon, Day 11

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I have gotten the tusks from two of the great beasts today. They were difficult to find, but easy to kill. It would have been much easier to get them from town, but after what happened yesterday, I think I will not try that again. It seems I am not welcome. I don't care, they are jealous and disrespectful peons.



I seem to be having more luck with these concoctions lately. Most of them are frivolous, and useless. The only ones of use so far are those that restore my mind and body. None of them have looked promising for giving me the true power I deserve. I can understand some of the directions in the notebook, but others are unfamiliar. Are they descriptive? Are they the names of the potions? It does not matter much right now, I need reagents.



Sleeping Moon, Day 13

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It has taken quite some time, but I have the scales of a dragon. It is something I do not wish to do again, so I will make them last. These creatures wield tremendous power. They cut down my fire companions with a couple of blows and seem to be resistant to my spells. They will be a nice test for me...soon.



I can not help wondering about the energy of this place. My magic seems to grow in strength the longer I stay. An odd thing today though, was the unexpected presence of the undead. They were quite easy to deal with, but somehow seem stronger than I remember. Another thing, they looked at me. The zombies I had encountered before looked into nothingness, as if they were looking through you. These looked at me. Curious.



Sleeping Moon, Day 26

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It has been a long trip. I have all the supplies I need to last me quite a while. This place stinks, and some of my furnishings and equipment seem to be scattered. Someone has rifled through my things. Let them come back and try it again. This time they will not like the consequences of their actions. Still, I wonder who would bother. There is nothing here of use to these vandals.



I have been sitting here in frustration trying to figure out these instructions. I do not understand this language. The pictures give me clues of what reagents I need, but many of them do not seem to mix properly. Elarum, N'eshra, I have heard these words before, but where? What do they mean? There are others, I can't find a connection. Maybe finding the right mixture will give me some clue. Back to work.



Sleeping Moon, Day 30

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More undead about lately. I thought I saw an apparition as well. It seemed to go into the dungeon below. I did not bother with it. I have work to do.



Sleeping Moon, Day 33

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Strange, I feel an uneasiness as my power grows. I feel someone is watching me. No, something is watching me. Perhaps the apparition I saw again today. It seems to stay near the entrance of the dungeon. I tried to follow it today, but it vanished. I don't know what this place used to be, but it is likely it fell here in long days past. I'll leave it alone, it's not worth my time. It does not seem to bother me and I have work to do.



Sleeping Moon, Day 38

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A revelation. I spoke one of the strange words out loud today in frustration. A spark of flame began to grow in the cauldron. It died very quickly and I have yet to reproduce it. I think these words are incantations. I'm sure they have to be in some order. The notebook is very unclear on this. I wish I could read it better.



There is more than one apparition now. They are still a rare sight, but I find myself watching for them. Most of them seem to be oblivious to my surveillances, except one. It seemed become aware of my presence today.



Sleeping Moon, Day 39

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I feel a power growing. I summoned enough fire to wipe out all the creatures in the area today. The growing number of undead were making me feel desolate. The only company I have is my attentive wraith. He has left me alone, but I feel his presence in the dark of night.



I practice the words as I mix the concoctions. These incantations make me weary when I speak them in some combinations. I feel I am still missing something.



Sleeping Moon, Day 41

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I closed the shades today. I know that I am being watched. I cast flame about to see, but nothing shows in the darkness except the common spiders and undead. I will remain awake tonight, I must see what it is.



Sleeping Moon, Day 55

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I am having trouble controlling this new power. I have been able to figure out the word, Mora, likely begins the incantations. The more I use that word, the closer the wraith comes. I do not like the way it makes me feel, I believe it to be evil.



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Several missing pages

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Sleeping Moon, Day 102

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I packed to leave today. I can not concentrate here. Days go by in the blink of an eye. Did I sleep, is it a trance? I do not know, but I must leave.



I am unable to open the door. The wraith who watches me is inside the room, he inspects me. He gazes into my eyes when I look toward him. My magic has no effect. I am not sure what to do. I feel that I should not look too deeply into it's black eyes. Perhaps the incantations will have some potency. I think I'll try.

The Roses of Marali by Gelito on 29 Dec 2012 : 18:22
I care not for matters of Pixies or Brackens.



The bank in Marali was attacked today by Pixies. Vile creatures. Tekwyr the Marali Fort Guard directed me to WarMage Percival in an effort o determine what the Pixies were up to. As Percival and I pondered the Pixie objective a Pixie dared to attack Percival. I fought it off and it was done in by a guard. Percival advised me to look outside the walls and wear a Robe of Protection. Being a Rogue, I refused. I meant no offense to the mage as I respect the craft and all, but you can't enter a donkey in the Marali Derby and expect it to win. I used my skills. Stealth, stab, and steal. It is not a motto. It is my way of life. Along the rock ridge the runs beside the western wall of Marali I stealth. Before I knew it I was beset by a Pixie. Filthy things. They have small hands, little heads, and smell of cabbage. I injured the brash Pixie, its wings fluttering and sounding like a dirty moth. It lured me to its Pixie nest. Two more Pixies joined it trapping me between the fort walls and the rock ridge. I was zapped, poisoned, paralyzed, disoriented and teleported repeatedly until I ran into a Bracken with four roses. One black, one yellow, one red, and one blue, growing under the Bracken's twisted branches. It seems the Pixies nest in the Bracken's gaping mouth. I dared to uproot the black rose whilst fending off the combined Pixie and Bracken attack. The black rose holds the most value to me so it had to be first in case I was unable to take a second, let a lone a third or forth. The Bracken struck me with lightning, and the Pixies continued their attack. I was able to stealth between attacks and took cover behind the Fort walls. It occurred to me that I could lure the Pixies towards the Looting Jesters Guild hall, but I did not know if the Jesters Hall still stands, and even more to the point if they contained Looting Jesters or Guards to assist. I care not for matters of Pixies or Bracken as they spend their days of thinking of many things none of which include Gelito. So I dared to stealth under the Bracken's gnarled branches through the swarm of disease ridden Pixies. I uprooted the next rose and returned two more times taking them all. If the Pixies want them back, they take them from my bank account. Foolish Pixies. My pack is made from chupacabra leather.
Two Illegible Books by Octar on 07 Dec 2012 : 03:07
One book is found shredded in the belly of a dragon, the other is found waterlogged in a brigand camp. Charonia and Octar take them to Brigobaen, where Brother Evaristos agrees to restore the waterlogged journal, and Amalphus Vei reveals the terrible origins of the Shredded Tome.



A letter to Armsman Nial the Ranger, 74th day of the Sleeping Moon, year 438.Dear Nial,



Brigobaen always brings back so many childhood memories. Dreadful ones, like being beaten for failing to bring mandrake roots to some tedious class on detoxification; and wonderful ones, such as when I found a forbidden book written by a man who claimed to be a (someone seems to have crossed something out heavily here). It was an old book, blackened with flame in one corner, and filled full of the author's purported heroic deeds, as well as his observations on battles, subterfuge, secrecy and the best way to kill a wizard. I knew I wasn't supposed to read it, but no doubt perplexed that the laziest boy in the class could comprehend such archaic writings, the brothers were too shocked to administer the customary beating. It's this memory that comes back to me most powerfully now, the look of horror on my masters' faces then mirroring almost exactly the look on Brother Evaristos' face yesterday.



I've got ahead of myself and must explain. I was making my way back to the hall after killing the usual handful of sea-serpents, my armour dented and my stock of potions low, when I encountered an unruly mob of brigands. Fortunately a scout had spotted their encampment close to Aborek, and our intrepid cleric Terwynn Rees had mercifully come to investigate. Between the two of us we swiftly disposed of the ruffians and destroyed their shelter. I looted a robe and a decent sword, nearly overlooking a waterlogged book as I rummaged through its contents.







Back at the Hall, Mother Rees was able to separate a few of the pages and make out one or two words. We were joined by Major Andon, and then by Captain Charonia. Some of the writing was recognised by the Major as that of erstwhile Commander Kang! My best guess is that these brigands had fled Mirith with some loot left over from the accursed Twins, who had stolen the personal effects of Adelphius Kang when they occupied Marali. Sadly none in our city have the skill to restore books. We therefore hatched a plan to visit Brigobaen to consult the priests there, to see if the journal could be restored Almost as an afterthought, I brought out the Shredded Tome from Captain Valerquez' chest - do you remember the one I told you about? It was found in the belly of a dragon in the Mari Ranger's dungeon, and it seemed too good an opportunity to waste not to have it looked at.







I was not the only one seizing the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone - or rather restore two books with one trip to Brigobaen. Major Andon was desirous that her daughter Kethra spend some time in the company of the priests there, hoping this would be beneficial for her overall education. She entrusted us with escorting this spirited young woman on her first adventure. In view of this ((the word 'dubious' is carefully crossed out)) honour, Captain Charonia and I therefore made very particular preparations. We set off fearing little, knowing that the mighty Cirob would rend asunder any adversaries unfortunate enough to escape a clean death by my blade - or our metamorphosed druid's equally salubrious and equally deadly teeth.







So it proved. We sent what resistance we encountered in our path to an early grave. Orders from a mysterious J.J. were found in two places, though no such mysterious miscreant appeared in person. Along the way we were joined by Teleco, and then by Ullan, who graciously aided our quest.







Arriving at the Temple, we encountered a Brother Evaristos, a theologian who I think has recently joined the experts there. He confirmed the waterlogged book as ending abruptly in the year 426, corroborating the suggestion that it is Kang's journal. Once he had agreed to do his best to restore it, I proffered the Shredded Tome from the Dragon's belly. Just as I was beginning to suspect I had brought along a collection of recipes for cakes, or some other irrelevance, Evaristos blanched. It was a look of shock and horror mixed with that most dangerous sentiment - curiosity. The theologian muttered that he must seek Amalphus Vei, and shortly afterwards emerged with the head of the Temple himself.







The former Mirith Negotiator is a learned man. Secrets of past ages hang about him, but he wears his learning lightly. The tome concerned the God of Death. Dethras, whose fearful memory echoes down the ages in every dying scream. Was it an objective history? I asked, hoping that it might have been written as a warning to posterity. Needless to say, my hopes were dashed. It was the writings of a disciple of this dark god. What horrors lie within? Is it even wise to keep such a thing - should it not be destroyed? Feeling that our mission was compete, and that such matters were at this time beyond us, we left the books and the child in the care of the Temple priests. Evaristos advised that Kang's journal would take some while to restore, and said he would send word in the New Year. Thus we made our way back to Marali.



We reported the success of our mission to Major Andon, and then to Commander Vaup herself. Our orders are to follow up on any leads concerning the J.J. - be it an individual or association. Our thoughts turned to Jassen, alias Captain Jass, and Commander Vaup suggested we should try to ... ((a line here is heavily crossed out))... in a pub if possible! The brigands may have been making for Aborek, so we should also investigate that place once again as soon as we are able.







I enclose a number of sketches for your perusal. Please circulate this letter to all the Vanguard, and to our allies.



Yours,



Captain Octar
Concerning Mirith by Imarathael on 24 Nov 2012 : 15:49
Diary of Imarathael



Day One hundred and Nine of the Fighting Moon in the Year Four Hundred and Thirty-Eight


It has been some time since there has been any event in my life worthy of setting quill to parchment, since the grand dreams of youth have faded into the washed out pastels of late middle-age, and the aspirations of a young wizard dwindled into the daily need to pass the chore of dying to at least tomorrow's concern.


Digressions of this kind notwithstanding, and I fear there will be several, as many moons of my mind's wanderings seek to oust the place of the narrative I describe and usurp the precious ink for their own meandering minutiae, I will attempt to set down what is now that at last I deem worthy of setting down for my future musings.


The recent accession of Duchess Tirana to the throne of Mirith will not, I am sure, be an event likely to be forgotten by either myself or the chroniclers of history, my dim memories of her before her revelation of betrayal are as of a haughty woman, noble of bearing, commanding of voice, a woman not to be trifled with, but with a mellifluous tone, even in her rancour, who seemed apt to gain her desires, if not with force then with the gentle arts of persuasion. A woman to be admired in many ways, feared in others. I recall a rumour of the time that she had Beleth on a tight leash, though the contemporary mind could not know the true extent of that leash, or the strangling intensity with which it was kept taut.


The news of this transfer of power, if such a mild euphemism may be used without drifting too far into the realm of the sardonic, awoke in me a hitherto dormant since my younger days desire, the old fire of curiosity was kindled and the flames spread, the calming waters of my qualms too meagre and evaporating even as my reticence melted. I bestirred from my daily routines of waking, breaking my fast and playing cheap illusions to nave yokels and rustics in exchange for bed, board and beer (wine in fact, but the alliteration is too pleasing to deny) until the travails, paltry enough, demanded satisfaction on the form of sleep. I bestirred myself thus and made my itinerant way to Mirith, passing sleepy villages and imposing halls upon the way, a journey unmarred by much save the occasional scuffle with a harpie, or the raucous, though less noisomely strepid than I seem to recall, or is it just that my ears have lost acuity, filled as they have been with the guffaws of the stultifying crowd.


I found Mirith much as I remembered it, high crenelated walls casting little shadow so soon after noon, blackened marks, the scars of previous sieges pocking them at irregular intervals, the churned up muddy grass underneath them making it quite plain, as if I could not have guessed, that I was far from the first to skirt the city in the recent past. The main difference, from what I could recall, lay in the flags and in the populace, large Black Hands flying in the wind, as well as the blue of Mirith and the arms of Galandir, or now Tirana's house, and the sometimes obnoxious, but for the most bearably affable populace of adventurers and shopkeepers replaced by a swarm of brigands, similarly lacking in general interest to me, but with a less amicable demeanour, to a man, and with rather less variety in equipment. Why the Black Hand should so readily outfit its hordes with such a paucous array of arms and armour I have never quite been able to put a finger on, they seem in many ways well financed and resourced, perhaps it is an aspect of their hierarchy, an encouragement to the lower orders to make some move worthy of a more protective suit. Their mages, I have noted, never seem as lacking, and their champions bore blackened plate even before the secrets of its forging were as well known as they now are.


The other change of note was the gates, whereas before they had stood open, a testament of Mirith's desire to let all who had a coin to spare throw it in a purse of blue, they now, were closed fast, and aided as foes to ingress by large and smoking fires, serving both to keep outsiders at a tolerable distance and to obscure the view of what took place within, I wonder if they had deliberately thrown fresh timber onto the fires to keep that billowing phantom of black and grey spiralling through the air.


Making my way around the city to the western side I came across nothing in the way of resistance. The Hand seemed content with its new walls and fortifications enough not to be concerned about a lone man shuffling in the mud at their figurative feet. It was at that gate I met the first token of displeasure, apart from the barriers to my passage, a lone brigand, junior to judge from his attired, reeking of plundered ale and impetuous arrogance accosted me. While it has been some time since I made use of the more offensive arts of the wizard their workings have not entirely been lost to me, and my reagent pouch is not completely empty. I must confess the satisfaction of unleashing such forces upon a human is one I now realise I have missed in the doldrums of my present life. Seeing the bravado of the young man turn to fear and violent panic as my fireball caught him full in the chest, and hearing the pleas for mercy turn to nothing as the following lightning bolt reduced what had been a being capable of thought and knowledge to nothing more than a blackened empty husk, it brought a certain pleasure it is difficult to describe.


The grin that had appeared unwished for on my face however was short lived. A scant few moments after I had paced to the smoking, charred remains and prodded with my boot at the thing so recently a man I heard a peal of thunder, or a noise close to it, though hardly of celestial origin, and thus aware of some presence behind me I turned to regard an unnerving figure framed in the blaze of the lowering sun. Tall and robed much as I, in sable, ebony and black, it looked back at me from sunken eyeless sockets in a face that was scarcely more than faded grey skin stretched tightly over bone, the nose and mouth as black as the eyes, brittle-looking shards of what might once have been hair could be seen, lit as a red halo with the the fading bloodlight of the sun behind them. A sepulchral tone carried across the air to me as the undead thing made its intentions plain.


I do not recall the precise words the creature used, save that its intonations were flat and lifeless as the shell it was, its habits of speech a monotone of necessity and fact. It sought knowledge of my purpose near the city, and as I explained to it my desire to know more of what lay within it seemed as close to content as such a one without emotion can be, it seemed my purposed tallied with its own. I must admit to feeling some trepidation about this encounter. I have heard tell of such Bone Lords, a form of lich created by a powerful necromancer, rival to Tirana, and I know their power. The whisperings in taverns late at night, the berating calls of mothers to wayward children who have stayed out in the dark too late are but the mythologising of that which is all too real, and from the occasional reports from those who have actually encountered these things I am aware that while they may be destroyed individually, though perhaps not by one whose faded strength is only equal to my own, another may well arrive to take its place and purge whatever fool obstructed its predecessor's work.


After scrutinising me for some minutes, a time during which I felt as an insect, subject to the cold, analytical observations of a mighty taxonomist, one who did not regard me as a being of the same level and awareness, but an object to be pored over, all facets recorded, all qualities calculated, and all the manifold aspects of which pared down to rules, mathematics and equations. The irony of being objectified thus by something far more approaching the traditional definition of object than I myself was lost on me at the time, but in hindsight it lends a tinge of amusement to so serious and potentially deadly encounter. After thus subjecting me to its gaze, for want of a better word, the being seemed to conclude that I might be of use to its own task. The wizard was interesting and must observe, it was to report to an entity such as the Bone Lord and no other. As this request, or perhaps it would be better to describe it as a demand, would lead to my continued hold of that commodity my conversational partner was quite apparently lacking in, i.e. life, I was quite prepared to accede to its wishes, and having informed it of whatever I could recall having happened of late (a tiny winged humanoid creature it appears is called a pixie recently had molested me, I suggested it may be similar enough to humans to reanimate, an idea that the Bone Lord appeared to consider remarkable, in the antiquated meaning of that word) it departed, leaving me alone with the brigand held city and a newly rising moon, its harsh light, the cold grey of steel, a counterpart to the last crimson embers of the dying sun, now little more than reflections on the western clouds, which defied my fears and predicament by steadfastly seeming as jolly, flying pink sheep, quite inappropriate to the mood.


So, left to my own devices, with the hollow words of my late and erstwhile dialogian still ringing in my ears, I continued my surveillance of the walled city. The dusk providing ample opportunity for the great fires at the gateway simultaneously to light my way outside and obfuscate my vision within, though over the crackling of the wood and the guttural exhortations of the gate guards I thought I could hear the veiled susurrus of many voices attempting to whisper and at the same time appear to be silent, as well as the heavy footfalls of giants as they made their patrols along the interior circumference. As I made my weary way around the walls, hoping for, perhaps, a chink or crack in the stonework through which I might glean some insight into the occurrences within, I was startled to great alarm by a loud explosion from the other side of the wall, followed by another and a spray of sparks into the air, high enough that, having taken some few paces backwards I could see it even over the elevated fortifications. My own interest piqued, and with little doubt that some knowledge, even though the causes would likely still elude me, of the whereabouts within the occupied town of these cacophonous blasts, I drew within my mind a line approximating the direction from which the sound had come, and, with my old memories of Mirith's layout held in mind, this line overlaid upon them, I made my way several dozen yards along the wall and readied myself in case there should be a resumption of whatever activity was causing such a belching of noise and light.


I was not long paused under the eerie light of the moon, now dominant in the black and smoky sky, the last lingering tendrils of daylight at last having followed their mistress into the void, when once again I heard the gusty thud of an explosion, once again saw tongues of fire flare into the sky, and drawing another wide line in my mind's map I felt comfortable in hazarding whereabouts the locus of their origin lay, however it took one more repetition of my process for the certainty both I and my necrotic interlocutor would desire. With the third iteration, the third flaming sparks to lash the heavens, the third detonation, this one shaking the very ground beneath my feet, I was sure.


By this point I had once again reached the eastern side of the city, and it seemed some keen-eyed watcher had noticed the black shadow in the darkness, and a grim trio of the city's captors had by some postern or passageway been sent to waylay me and prevent whatever spying I might be up to from continuing, or reporting to those who could make something of it.


It bores me to narrate the details of battle, so let it suffice to say that these bandits, well provided for with potions as they were, chased me away from their proud conquest and far up the well beaten track that leads first to a trivium within a rocky ravine, thence to portal and hall of the former Vanguard of Mirith, now, one supposes, the closest outpost of whatever resistance has sprung up, and beyond that to the piscine delights of Lerilin, town of a thousand odours, several of them close to palatable. As I was pursued between the rock walls of that gorge, had I been thinking more tactically a perfect place for ambush, I was startled by another dark clad apparition in front of me, but before I had a chance to react the first fireball was already heading in my direction, the orange glow it cast over the grey and brown terrain illuminating the face of my presumed new foe, clearly a living breathing human, and wearing at the clasp of his neck the unmistakable symbol of a black hand. I faced a powerful mage of the eponymous organisation.


Fear quickly transitioned into surprised relief when, instead of hitting me square in the chest as I had, with age old instincts, braced myself for, the trajectory of the orb of flame took it instead screaming past my shoulder, singing the hem of my robes and filling my olfactory senses with the astringent pungency of my own scorched hair, and exploding with full force amongst the motley company of those on my heels, one collapsing in a mercifully short scream of agony as his whole body ignited, the other two, physically not unscathed by the blast, but protected by armour and distance well enough that they were not impeded by it, took flight, realising the scales now swung quite against them. My saviour, one hand still aglow with the coruscating potential for a further spell, though whether its purpose was to serve against a recrudescence of Mirith's forces, or against a possible attack from myself I do not know, stepped towards me. With no desire to enter into a magical duel with one who far outclassed me I hastily answered his interrogatory explain yourself with a flippant aside concerning my parentage, a sharing of names, the man made himself known as Arathis, followed by a brief narrative of the events I have outlined so far, excluding the explosions. Heeding the words of the Bone Lord to report my observations to no other entity and ill-wishing to bring about retribution from an emissary of those who have gone beyond life's boundaries (and who for all I knew may have been magically concealed within the darkness that now lay all around, an inky pool expanding in every direction from the dim glow still emanating from the somewhat tainted hand of Arathis) I remained silent on that issue, though the man pressed me upon what I might have found.


Arathis was not unskilled in interrogation, his demeanour at once both friendly and threatening, cajoling with jovial praise, suggesting I might make a worthy artificer (for it turned out this man was a servant of the elusive Rem, commander of the Diabolical faction of the Black Hand, and as with the Bone Lords and their master, Marthonis, an enemy of the Duchess, as it will take me some time to get out of the habit of calling her), at the same time as making plain his knowledge of Black Magic, and that his power greatly outclassed my own. Repeatedly telling him that I was bound to report only to the Bone Lord I asked him, in that strange way the mind has of trying to make light of such dilemmas if he would rather be the rock or the hard place of proverb. Aware that either of my friends could take deadly reprisal for my lack of co-operation, yet that I had the advantage while I still held information they both sought I played Arathis for time, revealing in his summation that brigands serve Tirana, a fact he did not deem to be enough to cease plying and prying at me.


It was some time into this unedifying verbal sparring that our presence on an arterial road of the land, and proximity to that nexus of travel that is Mirith's portal led to the inevitable: we were joined by others, firstly a cleric, then a fighter loyal to the late Galandir, and, as my luck would have it, the reappearance, once again with a peal of false-thunder, of my original conversation partner, the Bone Lord, at least, I believe it was the same one. Seizing my chance, and leaping on a potential defence I hoped at the worst would lead to conflict between the two wielders of Black Magic, lasting long enough for me to escape immediate danger, I immediately unburdened myself of those dangerous fardels I had gathered, addressing myself loudly to the Bone Lord, but with no apparent heed to who else may be listening, thus satisfying the condition of reporting to no other (from my observations of the being's literalness and lack of apparent creativity or imagination this strict adherence to the letter if not the spirit of the command was my best hope of freedom), while at the same time allowing Arathis complete liberty to hear what I had learnt: namely that Tirana or her forces had been causing explosions in the vicinity of the statue of Elara, just in front of Mirith's bank.


Around this point the portal disgorged more adventurers and another Bone Lord appeared in what I might paradoxically call a flash of darkness, and leaving a faint odour of the crypt in the air. I do not know if there is a hierarchy of these creatures, but this one appeared someone older than the first. Under the pallid light of the moon its gleaming skull lacked even the parchment thin extant remains of skin upon its fellow, and the hands gesturing in the air as it made the final motions of its teleportation spell were but bone, a faint shadowy penumbra where the ligaments and muscle should reside. Its arrival added little save a further show of force and intimidation, the voice of one was a near echo of the other, their goals identical, the subtle differences in their phrasing only serving to heighten the similarity of their meanings.


By this point, the iron moon now high in an ebony sky, the truth of what I had heard and noted known to all present, and no faction desirous of causing either of the others to join battle, the talk turned to negotiation. The refugee Mirithian attempting to determine if either Marthonis or Rem might, in the old style of my enemy's enemy, be prevailed upon to aid them in the recapture of his lost city, the Diabolical Artificer and the Bone Lords agreeing in principle that Tirana's current position as queen went against what collective interests they held. With the three Black Magicians seeming to be satisfied with the information gleaned and none present claiming any authority to continue negotiation to any purpose they departed, a tinny smell filled the air and with the last syllable of Preldian hanging in the air we mere normal humans were alone, but not for more than a few moments.


The two brigands who had earlier escaped Arathis' elemental fury must have reported back to their mistresses and masters, for a rather larger party had issued forth from Mirith's secret egress. A mage, whose demeanour and air of righteous anger clearly marked him as having been sent on anything but a peaceful mission, robed it red and flanked by a cadre of brutal thugs, the black pocked burn marks, illuminated by the first stabbing fork of lightning, on the face of one indicating he had been one of the survivors from the first expedition, made his way towards us. Battle was joined at once, fire and lightning arced through the night sky, the brigands' numbers were superior to our own, but their lack of healing magic giving us our own advantage. As I have stated to you before, diary, I have no wish to detail the intricacies of battle, nor, once the haze has fallen, do I recall that well, instinct taking over from the higher functions of the mind, the pain of a sword's tip piercing my robe of protection, the thrill of the magic coursing through my hands as bolts of electric rage flash through the air to earth themselves through the bodies of my foes... the dim awareness of others all around engaged in the same life or death struggle... It is enough to say that in the end the forces of Tirana were beaten back to their city, the arrogance and hubris of the sanguine robed wizard leading them met their nemesis in the combined steel and magic of the Mirithian refugees, myself, and perhaps others who had simply joined in for love of war. There are always some. The wizard's bloodied and burnt corpse marked the end of any activity of note on my part for this day, and I made what haste my exhausted frame was still capable of towards the nearest safe port of call, a purse of gold culled from one of the enemy's bodies my guarantee of a warm bed for the remainder of the night, and if I have my way several more besides. So here I rest and make this entry, it has indeed been a fascinating time, though perhaps in future I shall weigh interest against danger and make a different choice when intrigue and curiosity again stir within me.



Addendum: One of those present in the battle, a wizardess of some influence and power, has since sought me out and requested my tale for posterity. As I feel there is now nothing to lose, what I found now being in the public domain, I oblige and offer her this entry to do with as she desires.

The Mirith Vanguard on Recent Events by Amere on 09 Nov 2012 : 10:46
The aged fighter sat at the table in his guild hall. In the past he would normally come to his hall simply to stock up on supplies or to meet his fellow Vanguardians for a hunt. He always had his own room in the inn, courtesy of Opal. Now the hall was the only reminder he had left, it was all that remained unchanged following the attack.



Prying into his memory.. Quill, ink, and parchment at his side. He wasn't the most gifted writer - he was a warrior for a reason. Until this point he refused to so much as to think of the events that had transpired earlier that very moon. Age hadn't made him weak per se, merely more appreciative of the people around him. Until this point he hadn't realized what it was like to truly lose a friend, a fellow soldier, a king - a king that he dedicated his entire life to. Now he must find something else to fight for. Vengeance, revenge. Whatever you wish to call it, it pulsed through his veins with an undying passion. He had always been a serious warrior, but that was simply a calculated image until now. After the attack, any sense of joy was stuck in the past. He swore to himself, if he could do anything about it, it would be him to take revenge for his Vanguard's failure to carry out its prime task: the protection of its King.




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Weeks before, it was a time of peace and prosperity. The Blue Moon Festival was upon Oberin - there was maralian roulette, the sheep-wolf game, high-low, the dog races, the tower game, even a drama show this year. The most anyone worried about was having enough gold to get them through the full moon, primarily the annual auction which marked the end of the festival every year. Even the foreseer couldn't have predicted the events that were about to unfold. The auction was one of the better that he could remember, some of the weapons that were being sold he would have given anything for in his youth. At this point he wasn't positive what was even sold. His best guess: A pair of daggers, a couple maces, glaives... and a trident? Time had taught him his katana was the only weapon he needed. Finally, the main item was about to be announced. "A Ring of Life!"



"A Ring of Life." In hindsight, the irony caused the fighter to clench his jaw in disgust. He couldn't believe an item made to symbolize nothing but life and prosperity would be forever tainted with the royal blood of four. It would forever be the item overshadowed by the death of a Centaur, the Captain of the Scouts, the Vicereine, and most of all the King himself.



"11 million... Sold! To Marama!" The poor man barely had time to admire surely his rarest item before one of our scouts ran into the Great Hall of Andris. Hands on his knees, the scout was panting and struggling to form his sentences. The scout was finally able to blurt out, "I bring terrible news!" Immediately the fighter's mind raced, trying to think what this news could be. "Mernias.. Mernias has been murdered."



Amere thought of the first time he had seen a centaur. It was in their caves, at that point centaurs were still in hiding. The memory was unclear and foggy... he was exhausted and he hadn't been able to sleep well lately. He remembered the Twins... and Tirana. Or was he imagining that? Time began to blend together and he lost focus.



The Vanguard hastily ran to the portal, but they made sure to stick together. If Mernias had been murdered, there likely could be more attacks on Mirithians. They eventually found Vicereine Ciddia Tigg and Captain Sir Casden Pernell standing over the dead centaur. As the group guessed at who could have committed such a crime, Serancha, holding on to Casden's arm said she recognized the wound on his face. The ranger normally has this sort of eye for detail that helps them able to track an enemy, so everyone listened as she proposed the thought that the 'Veiled Lady' had committed the crime.



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As he approached the centaur, he noticed Ciddia had tears streaming down her face. His heart dropped, he had never seen the Vicereine so.. vulnerable. When he first met her she was only the guard captain, but she was tough as nails. The fighter never had a role model, but if there was ever a fellow warrior he looked up to, it was Ciddia. Seeing her hopeless for the first time wasn't a vision he could get out of his mind. It stuck with him even to this day.



They were headed to the square of trees just north-east of where the three rivers meet when the Vicereine asked to speak to the Vanguard in private. She told them she was fairly certain who had killed Mernias. The prisoner, she said. He at Cassandra confusion, he was never told about a prisoner. Cassandra, however, nodded in agreement and ensured Ciddia that she would inform Nedved and the fighter about the prisoner on the way up the river.



Tirana. The very person the fighter was sure the prisoner could not be. He had, indeed, seen her head thrown down before the king. Many questions ran through his head at the time. How was she still alive? If she was Mirith's prisoner why hadn't he been informed? How did she escape? Personally, he was offended he wasn't trusted with such information. He would have pushed for her execution, possibly preventing this whole mess. Now these thoughts were useless, what happened happened, there was no getting around that.



The Vanguard caught up to the others not by the square of trees, but near the Troll Cave right outside of the Tree Maze. It was here that Casden revealed that he should do all the talking, he knew the veiled woman. He knew Tirana on a personal level. How he knew the trecherous woman the group was not so sure, there were whispers being shared between all except Serancha. Serancha, who had just turned to Casden in times of mourning, looked at him without the slightest expression. Regardless, time was of the essence so the group pressed forward only to be greeted by Bracken, Giants, Trolls and Brigands. Surely this was the Black Hand at work. After the battle, they continued on towards the cave, preparing for the worst, hoping for the best.



He was hardly surprised Casden knew Tirana. She was a prisoner in their city after all. However, even he had no idea how 'well' they knew each other until later that very day. The fighter made sure to stick close to Cassandra and Nedved, with them by his side he could hardly be worried. With them by his side, he killed the brigands and giants with ease, in return he was able to protect the mages as well. As rushed in, he closed his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting. He opened his eyes, ready to swing his katana and... Nothing.



Nothing was seen or heard in the cave in the room, so they went from room to room looking for this Veiled Lady. They eventually found her in the back corner of the cave. She had a strange obsession with chess, "One square at a time... The Knight and his escort of pawns." Meanwhile Casden demanded she reveal herself, to everyone's surprise she was Tirana, the Duchess. She immediately showed the Captain affection, calling him dearest. It wasn't long before she addressed herself as Queen to which Sir Pernell said "The King still lives and I shall give my life to protect him!" Even between the fires, a slight grin was apparent on Tirana's face, "Your life, my dear Knight?"



* Mora Olsa Preshn'al * Immediately Captain Sir Casden Pernell fell. No trace of life left in his limbs.




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He heard her say, "Queen takes Knight." under her breath.



He wasn't very surprised to find that what Cassandra told him was true, she was always very careful with what she said. Tirana lived, and that meant danger for all of Oberin, not just Mirith. He was surprised at how calm he was at the death of Casden. He always treated Casden well, more out of respect for the rest of the royal court than for Casden himself. In the fighter's opinion, he always attempted to bypass the Vanguard, he seemed very two faced.




She summoned three magma golems and two liches and then vanished, no where to be seen. The question now was fight or flight. Cassandra kept voicing her want to check up on the city. The group decided to fight, to avenge Casden's death. After a long, hard-fought battle, Serancha picked up Casden's body and they headed back to Mirith, running as fast as they could to alert the King and Ciddia. They got to the east gate of Mirith to find it in flames, barely visible on the other side: Brigands.



Amere saw two of his guards impaled by stakes on either side of the gate. For the second time in one day - his heart dropped. He recognized one of them, whom he had trained months before. He was just a boy, but he had insisted he could hold his own. Guilt scraped at the fighter's heart, but he had no time for that. He had to make sure the King was safe. He led the group through the sewers into the forge room of the castle, only to find it in flame. He thought he heard people talking on the other side, and attempted to gain access to the city through the other entrance to the sewers with Nedved and Suscane. The three of them disposed of a handful of brigands and were able to enter the castle. Tirana and the Twins approached them, no sign of the King anywhere. Tirana announced "His Majesty has passed." The fighter wasn't sure his heart could go lower. He had failed. In disbelief, he dropped his katana. It had failed him. "You did this!" he shouted at her. The only answer she gave in turn was a smile. He picked up his katana and decapitated a brigand approaching Nedved in rage.



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The three of them were overwhelmed. Unable to continue fighting, they were thrown in jail for not kneeling before Tirana - accused of being 'unloyal subjects' - they were quite the opposite. Suscane attempted to pick the lock on the jail, but it did no good. Despair fell over Nedved and Amere, their king was dead. They sat in silence. The last thing the Queen had said to them was "Checkmate." How would they manage to get out of this? Soon the answer came to them, Rengal rushed to the gate holding a key. Quickly he unlocked the gate and they were free.



Relief. Finally some good news: Rengal had suspected the attack, but only in time to get himself out alive. Questions raced through the fighter's head, this had been the hardest he'd thought in ages, likely since the Royal Sceptre was stolen. He heard one of the twins say something about still having to kill Nafets. Could that mean he was still alive? Did that mean Ciddia was dead? She was the one directly protecting the king... The fighter looked away from the group, one bit of bad news away from breaking down.



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There was no time for mourning, the group had to get back on it's feet, Rengal sent a scout to Duldrus. That's where they would rebuild and prepare to retake their city. Serancha questioned Rengal how Tirana was still alive. Rengal gave the answer that in Galandir's desire to have an heir with royal blood, he kept Tirana as a prisoner and saw to it that Casden Pernell would give him that heir. N'eroth, the son of Tirana and Casden, and heir to the throne. Eventually Nafets approached, it had been Libe to save the Royal Cleric. It had been a long day, the group left for Duldrus, led by Serancha. They were to be posted at the docks, for easier access to imports, and for an easier escape, should it be needed.



The fighter and Cassandra offered their guild hall to Nafets and Rengal. Rengal was unfit to travel, he took a beating getting out of the city. The four of them headed there, Amere's katana gripped tightly. Once they got to the hall Amere approached the chessboard and threw the black queen into the forge, it glowed fire red. He spit on it and hear the sizzle.



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The four of them discussed what they would have to do to take back the city, surely they must find N'eroth and Beleth. Cassandra seemed to be sure that Beleth had the Royal Sceptre, and without that, the Duchess couldn't truly rule Mirith. Amere insisted that he needed to find any refugees that managed to escape the Duchess' reign. It had been a long day and they all needed sleep, Rengal and Nafets took the beds. The fighter, dozing off leaning against the wall, told the guards to let him know if anything suspicious happened.



The next morning the fighter, Cassandra and Nedved all patrolled around the city, looking for any survivors. Their quest was almost immediately successful, when a guard that had jumped in the river emerged, his robe drenched. Shivering, he informed them that he was in the river throughout the night, only letting his nose above the water to breathe. Cassandra offered up her dry robe, and Amere his armor. They headed back to the hall gave him some food, informed him of the situation at hand, and gave him a pure blue crystal to head to Duldrus and protect it. As he left he yelled "Long live the King!" and the fighter looked at the ground, Cassandra noticing the look on his face told him it had to be a hard habit to break.



In the days following, Jedd, Cassandra, and Nedved headed to Marali, Lerilin, and Andris to tell the leaders of each respective city of the situation at hand, and to ask for supplies. The City of Marali offered to provide weapons for the cause. Lerilin, food. The fighter was present for the meeting with Senator Morgans of Andris, they gave him reagents to give to Nafets. It seemed none of the cities had men they could spare, but the Vanguard appreciated whatever help they could get.




Days following that, the fighter had been making weapons for duldrus. The smouldering chess piece of the queen in the forge driving each blow of his hammer against the steal of sword, armor or mace he was making. Years ago he had invested in thousands of ingots and boards, until now he had no reason to use them. Outside of the hall he heard a footsteps, loud footsteps. Giant footsteps. The fighter quickly threw his ingots into his chest, and grabbed his katana. Outside he was relieved to see friends, Crom, Angelica, and Jozlyn had all come to his aid. North-east of the hall there were dozens of giants, brigands, trolls, and a pair of bracken. The fighter would give his life to protect his hall if he had to, but unlike Casden, he was unrelentless and unwilling to lose. As the fighter laid the final blow to a giant, it fell only to reveal a man draped in a red robe behind it. A brigand mage. Crom and him looked at each other, crouched behind a tree and put on their robes. The mage put up a good fight, but as the numbers that supported him dwindled, he had no choice but to run, Crom and the fighter exchanging hits to the mage, Jozlyn with her bow, and Angelica on the ginseng. For now, the fighter thought to himself, "My home is safe."
The Sacking of Mirith & Death of the King by Serancha on 05 Nov 2012 : 07:04

"Sold!" Cried the Auctioneer at the Royal Auction in Andris. A Ring of Life, the large item of the year had just gone for 11 million gold. An astronomical sum. People hadn't even begun to applaud when a Mirith Royal Scout ran into the hall, panting for breath, with tears running down his cheeks.

 


The scout's tidings that took any joy out of the day. The Centaur Mernias had been killed while out on a "clop" in the gooey fields. Captain Sir Casden Pernell requested the aid of all immediately. The scout offered green pures to the crowd and everyone made all haste to the portal. When they reached the scene of the murder, they found Ciddia Tigg and Casden Pernell standing over the body, which was now surrounded with flowers. Ciddia was sobbing and Casden looked stunned.



 




A discussion took place on what may have happened, but when Serancha caught a glimpse of the centaur's face, the damage and pain on it reminded her of her recent ordeal. Touching Casden's arm gently, she got the Captain's attention and voiced her suspicions. Reliving the agony that the death spell of the Veiled Lady had caused left no doubt that this must be what the noble Centaur had suffered. There was nothing else that could cause such agony and trauma.



It took little time to establish where the Veiled Lady had last been seen, as nobody would forget the day the Hermit had been rescued just North of Three Rivers Island. Ciddia needed to deal with Mernias' remains, and asked to speak with her Vanguard privately, so Casden led the party Northeast to search for the woman who had killed the Centaurian Liason to Mirith.



They found nothing at the tree square, and proceeded on to Dragon's Mouth cave, which they found guarded by a wall of Brackens and some Alliance forces. The Vanguard rejoined them at that time, apparently now informed of some secret. Casden said he knew this woman, and the look on his face made it clear exactly how he knew her. He avoided Sera's eyes, as he said that he must be the one to speak to her. Cassandra, with her usual condescension questioned him on whether he was qualified to do this, and Sera, not for the first time, wondered if the Vanguard had ever had any respect for the chain of command. Casden was understandably uncomfortable with Cassandra's obvious disdain for him, but remained firm in his decision.



After extremely careful preparations were made, the Knight of Mirith led the small army into Dragon's mouth cave and landed in....... an empty dungeon. A collective sigh left the lungs of the group as they didn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved. They advanced into the dungeon and found..... nothing. However, as they entered the very back hallway, the smell of woodsmoke hung in the air. They moved forward and found the Veiled Lady standing behind a line of protective fires and in a circle of Runes.



"One square at a time. Well hello there. The Knight and his escort of pawns." She said mockingly. Casden was angry, and rightfully so, at the woman who had once been his mate, and was now a traitor and a murderer. It was clear that he wasn't there to negotiate, but to goad her. Perhaps the plan was to stall her until Ciddia managed to strengthen the city's defenses, but we would never know. He got her to lift her Veil and Tirana, sister of Galandir was revealed. She now called herself Queen Tirana.




 




(Cassandra): How do you address a former Duchess?

(Casden Pernell): As MURDERER!

(Tirana): Well, I was never quite a pawn...

(Tirana): But once one moves to the end of the board...

(Tirana): One may be addressed as Queen.



(Casden Pernell): Queen? How dare you!

(Tirana): It is my title by right.

(Casden Pernell): No! King Galandir still lives!

(Casden Pernell): And I shall give my life to protect him.

(Tirana): Perhaps he does.

(Tirana): Your life, my dear Knight?



(Cassandra): Queens move fast, but they rarely live to see the end of the game.

(Casden Pernell): It will be the worse for you! N'eroth will not follow you!

(Tirana): They do say there are but two most intimate things in life...

(Tirana): My dear Casden, do you wish for the second?

(Casden Pernell): The fires burn low.

(Casden Pernell): Death will be yours!

(Tirana): Death is mine.

(Tirana): My toy.



(Tirana): * Mora *

(Tirana): * Mora Olsa Preshn'al *

(Casden Pernell): Attack!

(Serancha): *shudders*

(Tirana): Queen takes Knight.

(Serancha): Nooooo!



As the powerful death spell shot through the air, Serancha felt her heart break. Shortly after that numbness took over, as the wench who killed her man began casting again.



(Tirana): * Mora Olsen N'eshra *



Several Magma Golems and a pair of Liches appeared and the fires were dangerously low. There was no time for mourning. Casden was gone beyond resurrection and she couldn't even get to his body, but there was no sense in being stupid. "Out" she cried as the fires simmered down.



"Back!" Ordered Amere. As they retreated to the first hallway of the cave, Cassandra asked, "Mirith or fight?"



REDMAN responded, "Fight" as Hayate led a Magma Golem into the hall. They would be no going anywhere just yet. A dangerous battle then took place, which could have been massively fatal when at one point both Liches got loose and the second Magma Golem arrived. Thanks to some quick thinking and fancy footwork just about everyone managed to stay on their feet, and the battle was won. When the monsters were eventually cleared out, Sera ran to Casden's body hoping for some sign of life, but there was none.



She knelt down and took his personal effects, and looking around decided she didn't want anyone else touching him. She lifted his body and turned around ready to go. She may be devastated, but she wouldn't hold the group back, she would do her duty. She would see his body delivered to Ciddia, and mourn when she had time. However, she couldn't keep the tears from sliding down her cheeks as they returned to Mirith, only to find it sealed by fires and filled with Brigands.



 




Immediately going to the Sewer entrance, they entered the Castle Kitchen and found the doorway to the Dining Room blocked by a large fire. With the fire there, the door was propped open, so those on the North side of the doorway could see a little bit of what was happening over the flames. The people behind the door couldn't hear much so there was some confusion amongst those present as to what was happening. Serancha and those standing near her could see and hear enough, however.



Ciddia must have seen the movement on the other side of the doorway, and known that they had arrived, for she called "This way, my king! Quickly", running for the doorway. Rasha took his sword to the brave Vicereine, but she lasted no more than four blows before she fell to the ground. Galandir followed her into death mere seconds later.



 




(Rasha): Well sister, that was easier than we thought.

(Varsha): *kicks body with toe*

(Tirana): My dear brother....

(Rasha): Your Majesty *sniggers*

(Varsha): *curtseys exaggeratedly*

(Tirana): It is time this city was ruled properly.

(Rasha): Your Loyal subjects wish to pay their respects.

(Varsha): All hail her Majesty!

(Varsha): All hail her Majesty!

(Tirana): I taste their pain and anger.

(Tirana): And it is delicious

(Tirana): They are gathered outside.

(Rasha): There may be some unrest.



(Varsha): And so you are returned to your rightful place.

(Varsha): Queen of Mirith!

(Rasha): It might take us to re-educate them sister.

(Rasha): Shall we slaughter them all, or send them to the mines?

(Varsha): Well, they could be loyal subjects.

(Tirana): I will require subjects.

(Varsha): Shouldn't we give them a chance?

(Varsha): Our Queen will require servants.

(Rasha): Let us get them to present themselves one by one,

(Varsha): I'm not doing menial labor.

(Rasha): in case they get any ideas.

(Varsha): Ah...

(Rasha): Also, we still have that Cleric to kill.



(Tirana): I shall appoint the two of you as Commanders of the Vanguard.

(Varsha): Yes...

(Rasha): Vanguard, sister?

(Tirana): You may have to discipline it.

(Rasha): We shall be in charge of the Black Hand, as is our rightful place.

(Varsha): A Vanguard.. so long as you remember, we helped to put you here.

(Varsha): Yes, the Hand is our duty.

(Rasha): And our pleasure, sister.

(Tirana): Of course my friends.



 




Rasha called through the doorway that the adventurers could present themselves for duty at the West Gate to either be sent to the mines or subjected to some important experiments. Once Serancha got back outside, she found Cassandra looking around for her guildmates, who were eventually found in the jail. Apparently they had been taken and jailed for lack of loyalty to the queen or some such.



Rengal appeared at the same time as a Mirith Scout, and news was exchanged. Rengal used his key to get the people out of the jail, and ordered the Scout to Duldrus to prepare for the Refugees. He declared the town a natural fortress, and with the docks for supplies, it was the ideal outpost to plan the retaking of the city. Serancha roused herself from her fog of grief long enough to ask how it was that Tirana was still alive, and it came out that the King was incapable and wanted a child of the royal bloodline by any means, so faked Tirana's beheading and used her to bear the royal heir, N'eroth. An understanding dawned on Serancha, and she didn't bother stopping the revelation from passing her lips. "So Casden was his father then."



Rengal looked shocked and asked how she knew, so she explained that she knew Casden well enough to see on his face that he had once loved the woman, even as he declared her a murderer. That combined with her comments about intimacy, made it pretty clear what kind of relationship they had had at one time. At this time, the ranger Sam came running into the gathering and attacked Rengal, causing him to fall, and then ran off, somehow unscathed. Perhaps everyone was just in too much shock to do anything about it.



Soon Nafets arrived, however and established that Rengal was in what he called "a low state of death" and could still be saved. He gathered the energy from those present and performed an intense resurrection spell, bringing Lord Rengal back to the land of the living. The two surviving court members asked for the Vanguard to escort them to their hall to rest before journeying, and ordered everyone else to Duldrus to form the Resistance.



Serancha led the party to Duldrus without incident. Deciding a clean break was the best, Serancha moved to the end of the docks and stepped off onto her raft. As the others gathered around she performed a funeral service and burial at sea for the Royal Knight, Captain Sir Casden Pernell, who died in service to his King. Nobody would ever doubt his loyalty. She dropped the blue rose she had found in his pack on the water's surface to mark his passing.



 




Some time later the refugees began to arrive from Mirith, beginning with the Guards, and a bank was established at the Inn. The Resistance had begun.





Lady Serancha of Dragon's Gate

The Tale of the Lizard Shaman by Shayde on 22 May 2012 : 05:05

Day 96 of the Sleeping Moon, Year 437



Messenger bats arrived in every city with notes from the clerics of Brigobaen, calling for aid. When adventurers arrived, they found the entrance to the large temple blocked off with a magic barrier. They could not pass, but they could see and hear what was happening beyond. A cleric named Annabelle was being held hostage by one Jubal, whom had recently been seen around the cities of Oberin, seeking instruction in various magics.

There was no question that this man had fooled the adventurers of Oberin, and taken advantage of their kindness. He was ostensably at Brigobaen to steal The Book of Blood, which Eldena reported had something to do with the legendary Blood Dagger. What was odd, however, was that some of the things he said implied that the man was hoping to become a lich, or perhaps was studying some sort of necromancy. Whatever his hopes or plans were, the mage had no hesitation in sending his draco to viciously bring Annabelle to the gray, although the cleric out up a good fight for as long as she could.





Jubal teleported himself away, and once Annabelle was brought back to her feet, she began to plan. She had some ability in scrying for people in the temple pools, and using the resonance of the note that Jubal had dropped, she discerned that he was in an underground cave, filled with watery pools. None of the adventurers had heard of such a place, but this cleric felt confident that she would be able to teleport the group to the cave where Jubal had fled.



Once some additional people were called in, the band of adventurers prepared themselves, and Anabelle teleported them, one by one, to the strange cave. The party that enterd the cave consisted of Larzz, Razan, Kenneth, delimew, Fuoco, Redman, Rolyat, Kitena Ensky, Sobiya, Anabelle and Euchra. The adventurers found Jubal hiding behind another magical barrier, in a pool holding a couple of sharks and a handfull of privateers. The evil mage fled, and Annabelle managed ot cancel the magical barrier.





The adventurers proceeded into the cave after the fleeing mage. Looking around with wide eyes, all wondered where this fantastic place had come from, and if they would be able to find it again for hunting. The hunting was only mediocre, though, as there were bunches of lizard men scattered throughout the sandy areas, interspersed with Privateers - but not all that many of either. Unfortunately Razan had a problem with his light blue boots, and had to stop to fix them, but he waved at the rest of the party to go ahead, confident that he could catch up.





The party continued through the great cavern, and peering through the rocks at one point, saw what looked like the stolen Book of Blood, floating in the waters below. Hopeful that the path they were on would lead them there, the group continued. They plowed through the small groups of lizard men and at one point tangled with some Sea and Phase Serpents, but it wasn't much more than a normal day out hunting for the adventurers. Indeed, every fighter in Oberin had paid their dues at Lizard Fort, and those older fighters spent sometimes weeks at sea fighting as many serpents as they could find, so two or three of them, even the Phase Serpents, was nothing to make them break a sweat.






Eventually the party arrived at a landing, that looked a bit like a temple. On this stood Jubal with his tame Draco and Dragon both behind him. He named himself King Jubal and called the adventurers peasents, offering to feed them to his pets. Some insults were exchanged and the supposed mage then showed his true form. He was a Lizard Man in disguise. However, he was not a normal Lizard Man, he was a Lizard Shaman, and had used the magic taught to him by humans, to train up a whole battalion of lizard mages.






After summoning up a bunch of his cronies, Jubal the Lizard took off running again. The adventurers had a bit of a battle to get rid of the magical lizards and the pet dragon and draco, but it wasn't too long before the platform was cleared off.





The adventurers had just finished clearing off the platform, when Annabelle muttered an incantation, and Razan appeared before them. Apparently Annabella had sensed that he was injured while trying to catch up with the party, but Razan was most indignant at being summoned, as he had been enjoying a sparring match with a Privateer, and was hoping for a chance to explore before having to depart the cave.



The adventurers came to one last platform, where there were more magical barriers set up. Jubal the Lying Lizard Shaman was there, and a final battle took place. With Razan again in the party, the slimy mage had no chance against them. Three fighters surrounded him, and the clerics cast a final flurry of spells as the Wizards bolted and fireballed the fiend. Soon, the Lizard Jubal was no more, in any form.





Once he was dead, Annabella canceled the remaining barriers, and found the alcove where the Book of Blood floated in the still waters. She held the book, and used her magic once again to teleport everyone back to Lerilin. Here, some discussion took place, as a Jade Amulet had been found on Jubal's corpse, but Annabella decided she had best keep it.



Many many other treasures had been found though. 2 Lesser Mana Rings, an Ice Crystal, a Greater Protection Ring, many speed and power weapons, a shattered crystal skull, some other enchanting items and robes. These were split amongst the adventurers, and they all departed to spread the news across the lands of the new and magical kind of Lizard Man known as the Lizard Shaman.

Chef Troll House & The Golden Ladle by Shayde on 18 May 2012 : 05:22

It was the end of the bleeding moon, when many of the creatures of Oberin began to announce something called "The Cookie Wars". After a large group of pixies invaded Mirith Bank while shouting belligerently about cookies, Bronte, Bertrand and Serancha set out to investigate. The trio traveled to the home of the Forest Trolls, hoping to get some answers from Rung. Rung was not to be found, however, so after some creatures mentioned chocolate chip cookies, the adventurers decided to head up to Gohoran.

Part 1: Chef Troll's Phoney Quest



On their way through Mirith the trio was joined by the cleric, Llino, and Larzz also joined when the party reached Gohoran. At Gohoran, the group found Chef Troll House, the maker of Troll House Cookies. The discussion with the troll was a bit confused, as a couple of those in the party tried threatening him to get the recipe, and one learned that the troll could indeed kill with a single thought.





The troll said that his ladles had been stolen, and he needed to get them back. The party agreed to search for the ladles, and the troll seemed content with that. The troll then opened the door to his house, beckoning for the party to enter. He pointed to a chest, stating that the ingredients were inside, and that he was going to get some eggs. He wished them luck on their quest.





Unfortunately this led to a misunderstanding, where Larzz took the ingredients, thinking that the troll had meant for us to do so. There was some confusion, but the party set off to find Ralston, as they were sure he would have some idea where the stolen items might be. Ralston told the party that the Golden Ladle was at the top of the Tower, and the Copper one was in Hell. With no reason to doubt this information, the group headed to Mirith to summon more adventurers to aid.



When the group reached the tower, however, word came from Mustafaa that the troll had lied, and the whole thing was a hoax. He noted that the troll found the whole thing quite amusing, and had been laughing as he told another party the tale, before rewarding them with items and tokens.



A few days later, Larzz and Mustafaa took the ingredients back to the Troll, and the Troll explained that Prim was his friend, and was searching for the actual location of the Ladle. He also said that Sleeping Moon was also known as Cooking Moon, and would be the best time to find the missing ladle.




Part 2: The Actual Quest



Early in the Sleeping Moon



Some druids were hunting in the Gooey room of the Ice Dungeon when the Sleeping Moon came about. Leane, Budic and Marley were very surprised when they heard the sound of fireballs, and even more surprised to see Chef Troll appear, fireballing Gooeys left and right. He told the druids that he was there to harvest some Jello.



The druids had heard about the Troll and his tricks, and were quite wary of what he might have to say this time. The Troll stated that Prim had discovered that the Golden Ladle was in a chest in Hell Dungeon, and it needed to be recovered. He told them that he would send her in to scout before the party entered, in order to make sure it wasn't too dangerous for "normal humans". He told the druids that he would generously reward the participants when the ladle was returned to him.





The next several days were spent trying to assemble a party to recover the Ladle from Hell. The party was dubious about the item even being there, but willing to try. When they gathered, there was no sign of Prim or the Troll, but the group decided to give it a go anyways. Entering the dungeon, the party was swarmed with creatures, including several Bone Mages, Rust Beasts, Hell Hounds, Dracos, and a large red dragon. The party fought bravely, but many ended up having to portal back out to regroup. Eventually, everyone made it out of the dungeon alive, and during the recovery efforts, the rogue Eronius snuck in and grabbed the ladle from it's chest.



Participants for Hell were: Bronte, Varto, Eitan, Larzz, Shayde, Octar, Razan, Galena



Part 3: The Return



Many days passed after the recovery of the ladle, and there was still no sign of Prim or the Troll. Euchra had just finished hunting at the Mari Rangers Dungeon with some friends, and was refilling her potions at Dragon's Gate Hall. A rogue named Iago approached the hall, and when greeted, he said that something strange had just happened.





It seemed that a Forest Troll had accosted the rogue, yelling about looking for a Laddie or a Ladle, the rogue was not sure. Euchra told him that, being the Madam of the Hall, she had some Laddies for hire, but she also knew the whereabouts of a Golden Ladle. The rogue didn't seem to care about either, and said he hoped not to see the troll again, as the smell of him had been nauseating. Euchra cast a cleansing spell on the rogue, and wished him well.



The next day, Shayde, Larzz and Dharma headed to Gohoran to seek out Chef Troll. When they arrived, he yelled at them to get off his lawn, and then ceased when he recognized the adventurers. Chef Troll took them to his house, and Larzz gave him the Golden Ladle that Eronius had entrusted to him for safe-keeping. The troll danced with joy, and invited them to help themselves to some treasures in his chest.





The trio hadn't forgotten the first time this had happened, so made extra sure to clarify that the items were indeed for them. Chef Troll also mentioned that he would be releasing his new Troll House Cookie recipe very soon, and the chefs of Oberin would then be able to make his delicious chocolate chip cookies.





Shayde Shadowalker,

Lady of Dragon's Gate


The Fleet and the Fortress by Jedd on 17 Jan 2012 : 19:01
Day 13-14 of the Red Moon, Year 437

The Red Moon had already arrived in Oberin and the Brigand problem still hadn't been solved. Ever since the Growing Moon, Brigands had been constructing intricate, and sometimes not-so-intricate, fortresses across the land. They were encroaching closer and closer towards the towns and settlements and the frequency of their appearances were rapidly increasing. How long would it be until the Brigands began to attack the towns themselves? Hopefully that day would never come.

Part One Fight in the Fort

Jedd sat at the bank steps of Mirith in solitude. The sun was sinking beneath the wall and he was enjoying the sunset. Suddenly, he felt the ground shaking as if there were a bunch of footsteps. Not a moment later a bird dropped a message at his feet. He picked it up and read it. It was a note from Foxeron speaking of yet another Brigand fortification northeast of the city. The fighter leapt up, snatched his Katana, and ran out the gate.



After passing some tracks that helped lead him to the fort, Jedd arrived to see the battle begin. Hideaki, Alexia, Kim, Borti II, Foxeron, Bardinius, Siegal, Budic, Gilante, Mustafaa, Alore, Arkore, Sam, Serancha, Kate, Tallon, and Beyoglu were at the scene. They were at the entrance to the fort, and a large amount of Mercenaries were attacking them from within the fort.



There was some initial difficulty for Jedd in getting to the front line, as the entrance to the fort was narrow and blocked by the robes. He squeezed through and joined Mustafaa at the front. More brave warriors arrived behind Jedd, such as hisashi, Vinn, Aurece, Onna, Kevin and Galena. A couple of people died in the fray, but they were soon resurrected by the many clerics.





All of a sudden the Mercenaries stopped coming and the force of humans moved into the fort. Jedd noted that they were in a medium-sized room that was connected to another room through a narrow bottleneck. Many more Mercenaries began to pour out through the bottleneck so the other plates quickly positioned themselves inside it.



Jedd moved in to join them when a sizable force of Mercenaries ambushed the robes from behind. Trapped in the bottleneck, he couldnt move back to help them, but at least the passage was blocked. A few of the robes fell to the clerics, but the group retaliated and the fallen were revived.





The group continued to fight at the narrow passageway. The wizards sent waves upon waves of paralyzing forces towards the Mercenaries, making it an easy job to finish them off. The passageway was secured, but in no time at all more of the Mercenaries started to charge in from yet another room to the northeast.



Smelling the horrific scent of decaying bodies, Jedd noticed that there were two human corpses impaled on a spear at the entrance to the room. It was covered in burns from boiling water. One of the bodies had their mouth stitched closed, as if they had been tortured.



As the Mercenaries were pushed back into the room, a cauldron, two large bonfires and five shelters were discovered. Finally the last of the Mercenaries were destroyed, and then everyone moved in and tore down the shelters. A chest was discovered in the back. Victory had been achieved, or so it seemed.





Part Two Wooden Ships

There was barely any time for rest when a note was discovered just outside the fort. It seemed that scouts had spotted ships off the coast of Duldrus. Jedd had originally desired to return to Mirith to repair his armor and restock his potions, but a large group of people was heading directly for Duldrus. Unfortunately, a number of the group wouldnt be able to make it to Duldrus either. Seeing no better course of action, he ran off towards the group heading to Duldrus.



Jedd followed them as they ran along the coast, finally catching up with them near the large rock formations by Duldrus. They had run into a large force of Brigands instead of Mercenaries. It seemed that the ships had been located. They had probably arrived while everyone else was busy in the fort near Mirith. The fighting was more risky, as it was open water and there were no narrow passages to block the Brigands with.



Finally the number of Brigands dwindled enough so that the group could actually approach the nearby ship. The Brigands on deck swarmed out to charge the group, but the Brigands were soon defeated. Jedd landed on the ship, noticing that it was smaller than he had expected. There were a few shelters on board, so he joined in with the other plates and destroyed them.



The rangers discovered another ship further out to sea than the first one. Along with the other plates, Jedd charged towards the ship. This one was slightly larger than the first ship. He jumped onto it and started to hack away at one of the shelters. There were a bit more Brigands on deck this time, but they still stood no chance.





Someone spotted yet another ship, further west of the second one. Jedd rushed over to see it. It was considerably larger and more defended than the other two. Shelters surrounded the vessel, enclosing a huge force of Brigands inside. Razan smashed one of the shelters to bits, and the Brigands subsequently poured out. It was then that it got hectic.





The amount of Brigands was so large that it was impossible to deal with in an organized manner. It became a large brawl as everyone struggled to deal with all the Brigands attacking them. Razan fell in the battle, and Mustafaa became separated and he joined the world of gray as well. Many of the Brigands took a liking to Siegal, who led them on a merry chase around the ocean as the others regrouped near the ship.





As the battle began to get under control, everyone was revived. Jedd threw himself at the ship, smashing the shelters as fast as he could. It wasnt long before the ship was finally sent to the bottom. It had been odd for Jedd seeing ships full of Brigands and not Privateers, but it didnt matter since they were all sent to Davy Joness Locker. Gradually they all returned to Mirith, where they divided the many spoils. Jedd set back down at the bank steps, exhausted. The day had been won.