Bent over the table, Piergeiron watched the battle unfold. A marvel of Gond, the table was a scale model of the city. The streets were slots in which tiny flags, colored to represent friend or foe, moved whirring along. Sparks would occasionally fly, representing magical battles. Turning back to the Paladinson, Lecarre studied the battle unfolding as well.
"The harbor's clear, still. Thank the gods." murmured Lecarre.
"The fleet has yet to have reached the bay," answered Piergeiron. "We've got the two ironclads assaulting them from the west. Don't know how much damage they'll do but we've got our secret coming up underneath-."
"The Seaside Colossus?" a voice asked from the chamber's door way. Piergeiron and Lecarre whirled; the Open Lord pulling and aiming a pistol, the master spy palming a dagger. Bryan Kormallis sauntered into the room, the two guards outside the door, looked at each other in confusion, before raising their pole arms. Smirking over his shoulder, the former adventurer cocked an eyebrow at Lecarre.\
Looking disgruntled, the pocketman sheathed the blade, saying, "I think this man is not a threat, Sai."
Piergeiron glanced at the older spy, uncocked the pistol's hammer and stuck the gun into his belt. "I'm sorry, citizen, we're very busy. I would need to direct you to your home or a temple of your -."
"Oh please, Sai. I'm no ordinary citizen. I represent a force that has yet been untapped. We can't field mighty warriors, but we can be useful in other, clandestine ways," Kormallis said as he closed the door behind him.
Confused, the Paladinson looked questioningly at Lecarre. The older man's flicked from the intruder to his lord and back again. "This man represents an outside force I thought we'd run out of the city, years ago. Bryan Kormallis is a Shadow Thief."
Piergeiron's head snapped back to Bryan, who grinned and nodded. "The honorable Lecarre is correct. We were driven out... but we had to rethink and reform. In fact, one of my daughters is one of the Samular Seven, and has placed her life on the line several times for this city. I'm here to offer you more assistance," stated Bryan, leaning over the model city.
"First, there's this girl, name of Kiiri..."
The other two looked at each other, looked back at the Shadow Thief and then leaned over the city as well.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Captain Arina rallied the Horselord’s men from the unseen fright generated by the draconic terrors. Their frightful presence was laughable compared to her childhood that hardened her into the soldier today. Nonetheless she had seen the ‘great’ squire Fallon cower and run with his weapon sheathed. How Tauron rewards that level of service from Fallon she could hardly fathom.
Arina’s earliest orders were to the protection of Heilean and the Tower of Luck, although that had changed Arina had made a personal promise to the Luck Rider to come to her aid if required. Arina looked out from the gates to the Tower of Luck and commanded Alegan to organized fresh guards at all posts, and when Alegan suggested counter clockwise advance and cover patrols of Ivory, Diamond, and the Street of the Singing Dolphin Arina agreed- even approving his choices from the Horselord’s ranks.
Even Alegan would be a better choice than Fallon.
Then darkness, as deep as a void, black- the unknown color, seized the afternoon light blinding everyone. A rush of forward moving air and then time seemed to stretch into unreality. The air took on a density and made it difficult to move about; that, coupled with the blindness neither Alegan nor Arina could judge how much time had gone by.
A large column of fire exploded from the Dragon Tower of Maaril reaching almost one-hundred feet into the sky somehow canceling the darkness. The wizard tower, named for the detailed artistry in the structure’s defenses, pulsed with wild magic that stirred Arina and Alegan from the dream like lethargy.
Several Horselord defenders lay dead scattered around; men with their throats cut open, some almost decapitated. Understanding came slowly as incoherent shouts and commands made situation assessment impossible.
Alegan was calling out and checking for survivors when the heartbreaking news hit Arina like a maul. Dear Spirits! Heilean Eather had been taken.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The sounds of battle, a term that does little to describe the chaos and death that permeated the air around Sanford’s small group of hunters, rattled on around them. It was difficult for everyone to stay silent and still, not giving into the dragon fear or rushing forward to help when a voice called out in pain and terror. Yet this was the only way if Sanford was to maximize everything he had learned from the Dragon Cultist Kafcar. While the task was grim Sanford couldn't help but appreciate how Damian and the rest of the Samular Seven inspired others to act. As Damian was fond of saying, “Follow my lead not my footsteps.”
Tyrus Skullstorn quietly explained to Elads Edals his understanding of the situation. “Wizards sometimes use items as a focus and other items as a form of meta magic, enhancing their spells, some priests as well.” Elads was nodding, the conspiratorial gleam in his eye, obvious to even the newly befriended Tyrus. “These cultists don’t provide the magic or prayers that are affecting everything but they certainly widen their scope and increase the dragon’s efficiency. From what Kafcar explained to Sanford, the cultist would use what they learned from their Luskan contacts to enhance the dragon’s breath weapons and to provide a steady flow of information from the city to the enemies armada of ships.”
A small signal of light illuminated the dark ruins the group hid in near the docks. Claudia had spotted their prey and signaled them with an alchemically colored flare. Sanford, his voice gravelly and hoarse, reminded his crew of the plan and their next location, “We may not understand their magic, but we understand the importance of information during war. Whatever communications you recover is to be hidden in either this location or the next. Don’t try to hold onto anything too long, the dragon’s fear will only make you drop it should you fail to resist. If you find yourself overcome by fear, your potions will remove the fear once you gather yourself enough to drink it. If our information proves correct, we’ll follow this group until we’re sure of their destination before ending their miserable existence. Hopefully LeCarre and Durnan’s unit meets with similar success.”
Lormo tumbled from the courtyard into the west corridor as the blizzard-like cone of arctic cold struck Storm-Keep with deadly efficiency. Escaping the brunt of the blast, his legs were however struck numb from the attack hindering his attempts at moving and even standing.
It was dinner hour because the hall was awash with rich smells of spices and fresh bread from the cookery. Good Lormo thought, many stormtroopers would be in the mess hall, the others however…
Lormo drank from an elixir and slowly got to his feet briskly rubbing warmth back into his legs; he made ready a wand and carefully proceeded outside and found... death.
To say it was cold was an understatement of colossal proportions. A thick malaise hung in the air not unlike fog; it and the unearthly silence unnerved the normally nonplussed Lormo Agundar. Vague shapes clarified from the whiteness as guard dogs of the keep, beasts of burden as well as other animals all startled by the dragon fear.
He tentatively called out for any survivors; no reply. Advancing further, Lormo’s boots crunching icy ground, he came across a figure encased in frost. Lormo knew this individual, as it was his job to know everyone…
Trehuger of the Ardeep Forest- his story, as Lormo recalls, was that Trehuger left his family behind to serve the Samular Heirs. Now Lormo will always remember him and the upwards look of terror frozen on his pathetic bearded face.
He found Angia one of Briar’s followers, Toola a neighborhood guard and others…
Belgora emerged from the white gloom and began to delegate the gruesome task of removing the dead and distributing all remaining manpower to posts. The battle still raged in the city; dragons could be herd unleashing their terror, animals everywhere bucked and cried protesting within their stables across the city.
Then a silent impact, like a razor sharp wind swept through the keep. The blood wind opened superficial bleeding wounds on Lormo as well as the others, but for the dead it freed them from their icy condition and reanimated them as hungry undead.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Hannibil spun about, his bastard sword Spirit of the Land held flat as he arced a wide swing at the oncoming zombies. He lacked the further resolve to channel the necessary energy to thwart the undead, but that fact did not diminish Hannibil Raventree’s paladin ability to boost his brethren followers of Kelemvor.
Hannibil Raventree is one of three noble paladins in the Hall of Heroes who seek to aid Kelemvor in his divine bid as Tempus. Before being enlightened to the cause Hannibil, with his fellow brothers of the sword Vilarus Gundwynd and Melykurion Jhansczil, long fought against the corrupt prison warden of Deepwater Isle Castellan Pietor but a higher purpose called their blades and their loyalty this day.
Hannibil, Vilarus, and Melykurion were what remained of Kelemvor's legions that held the undead from entering the city. The men stood in a triangle formation so they could not be flanked, but that did not stop the corpse gatherer’s cast off zombies from simply surrounding them. Wide earthy grins shown under lifeless eyes as the undead advanced heedless of the paladin’s lethal swords.
Melykurion produced an amulet and held it over his head, his sword held defensively before him as he spoke the amulet's words of power. The amulet, one given to each of the three, was in the shape of Kelemvor’s symbol: Tempus’ sword blazing with goodness and honor. The amulet flew from Melykurion's outstretched hands; it grew in proportion and hovered over the City of the Dead- where they fought to protect the city.
But just as the flame from the projected image reached its highest intensity, a palpable grey entropy thrashed out pervading every ally and city street. It came on the heels of a raking gust of sharp wind that reopened wounds and inflicted new ones all of which bled unabated.
To Valarus’ left corpses of fallen city guards were upset as the Blood Wind washed over the fallen bodies; on his right Hannibil, who seems to have dropped his guard and was staring unbelieving at a point beyond the fight. Valarus raised his sword he knocked a creature aside giving Hannibil time to mentally rejoin the combat.
All eyes followed what Hannibil was looking at.
The grey entropy filled the mortal wounds of the fallen city guards; warriors opened lifeless eyes and began to spasm and thrash about trying to stand from where their mortal lives were taken. Bones cracked and tendons stretched, the sound was maddening. The creatures were unlike anything they had ever learned in all their years of training in Daggerford.
They had a hungry malnourished appearance; under coifs and armor of chain pallid flesh seemed to stretch tightly over their starved frame. Hands and fingers burst from leather gloves becoming claws that looked capable of rending flesh, they had teeth that were unnaturally long and each bore a look of ravenous unnatural hunger.
And the worst thing of all Hannibil thought, was that in the dark they still looked like city guards.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wemick the Weird is the youngest retiree at Ravenshield’s Home for Experienced Adventurers and is its current Grand Poobah- a status for which he was proud. Ravenshield’s is along Trader’s Way across the street from the Market where mercenaries have taken over and have managed to organize a central command position.
Wemick thoroughly enjoyed watching the formations of swords men practicing thrusting tactics needed to combat the dragon terror. In the days leading up to Year’s End Wemick would cheer and motivate the mercenaries from the roof of Ravenshield’s or from his bedroom window- he was their mascot; they in turn showed their appreciation with gestures and remarks that completely gratified Wemick.
This was it, tonight was Year's End- the Mercenaries of the Marketplace needed him and he would not let them or the city down….
Wemick did not sleep the night before, so when the crash of the white dragon’s tail crashed through the front corner of Ravenshield’s it woke him from his late-day slumber tossing him from his loft. He is late he thinks, and hastily rises to action- damn his sleep apnea!
Then the world around Wemick darkened as shadows began to wax and wane in the corners and halls of Ravenshield’s. Wemick felt a cold wash over him causing some of the strength betraying his legs causing him to tumble hard down the steps. All around him was suddenly a mix of dark glimpses of a dragon, physical pain from the fall, and a sense of darkness at the end of his unfortunate spill.
When Wemick the Weird opened his eyes he was laying on his side with a large painting of Ravenshield’s founder, Matilda the White Lady shielding him from the debris caused by swipe from the dragon’s tail. Moving the bulky painting Wemick realized several things all at once- the dragon was gone, much of the first floor was now open to the street, and he was lying in a growing pool of blood.
Outside he could hear the battle against the dragons continued on, but they were far away, so Wemick took stock, examined himself and found that he was bleeding from the head. Around him the creepy darkness was still present and sent uncontrollable shivers through his legs, he needed to get out post-haste. Emerging from Ravenshield’s Home for Experienced Adventurers, Wemick hastened to the Mercenaries of the Marketplace for aid but what he found instead robbed him of any sanity his simple mind had managed to retain.
Just as the eclipsed sun disappeared beneath the western skyline, a horizon sketched with the tall masts and long shadows of the Captain’s Confederation Armada, divine-death was unexpectedly released on the city.
The Blood Wind, as folks would come to refer to it as, emanated from an area central to the Sea Ward; it was like being buffeted with cold razor sharp pins- every living creature in the city began to bleed. Some bled from exposed skin, some from their eyes, and others retched blood uncontrollably; for Wemick it only further opened his wound from falling.
Coming upon the Marketplace Wemick watched as deceased mercenaries, marketplace defenders fallen in battle, begin to rise up by the dozens and move with gruesome hungry intent. Grunting and slurping the undead fell in a swarm on the unsuspecting living. The presence of blood appeared to excite the undead further; they feasted like ghouls and when the undead finished gorging itself on a victim Wemick watched in horror as it too rose hungrily joining the macabre undead mob.