Friday, July 30, 2010

The Serpent Hills

Ponderings of Griffith Cragsmere

Mayhap Eva has it correct; we all patronize death in our own way. Even Wayne and I have more in common than just being men distracted by the females of our ka-tet. Although he worships Tempus and I venerate Mask, glorious battle is more often than not- wrought with death, sometimes violent; but in Wayne’s case it is moral and necessary. Every death by my hands is necessary let me assure you, but glorious? I think not. My weapon is not a bright, noble blade forged with the blessings of goodly clergy but an ugly, bludgeoning weapon encircled with nightmarish masks of death. Mask is the lord of shadows and it is from the shadows that I operate and while Wayne rages on in battle with holy trumpets sounding, we both ultimately serve death. Eden our lady-assassin, the bleak outlook of Briar even the Damian and Bordane, display a demeanor that suggests a silent killer, someone who recognizes the circle and order of life or brothers who believe violent death should be visited upon all transgressors. We... most of us,  dispense death in our own way.

The last moments of Dinadan of the Grall

To his credit Dinadan of the Grall, did not shy away from the severe physical punishment the mighty earth elementals were hammering out to him at this moment in his last moments. He did not know how many of them there were, only faced his situation with resignation and with little grimace.

Instead he thinks of how it had all gone wrong. He thinks; was it Smolder the Red? The creature of hate and malice, Smolder the pretender under the guise of the Dweller in Brass. Or was it the earthen-headed Chandos-Grumbar? It is Dinadan’s summation that Grumbar could render the simplest of palavers into threats of warfare. Or Colair-Akadi? He, or Dinadan things she, was the informant. Many good souls would be alive had Akadi not been so cooperative and enthusiastic in the creation of the elemental well and ultimately the real objective for the sorcerers; the Rings of Elemental Command.

Still the beatings came to him, like being continually buried alive. Dinadan surveyed what he could beyond his attackers and sees Athalantar is in ruin, swallowed by the earth and blasted by fire and storm. The distressing fallout from the many blood feuds and recent betrayals from Dinadan’s own kin or not even the great schism of the four churches bringing them out of alignment; none of that compared to this, none of it was significant now.

If Dinadan had a clear view of the south he would have seen a great noble-magical being, inspecting the product of its labor. Colair-Adadi pondered future possibilities for great strength and the assurance of ascension into god-hood, and how that time has come.

Winds from across the seven realms strengthen and with a thunder gather about; the ground begins to rumble in a great quake (that will continue for seven days) as the Noble Genie first slips on a white-gold ring that elemental essence is tied to the genie’s own and then a second ring, wrought of iron and heavy with earthen might.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Faerie Tales

Once upon a time, a magical giant lived in a castle that floated atop the clouds. This giant was named Theros Ironfeld, and he was a great friend with a trio of Bellabranta heroes (see the post “A Childhood Legend”, march 1st). Theros was the most inquisitive giant that ever lived, and he befriended all manors of creatures, including a large number of magical fey, for this was when the world was young, and fey crossed freely into our realms. Well, his friendliness to others angered and frightened most other giants of Theros’ clan, and his greatest rival, a giant named Kor, constantly plotted to hurt Theros’ friends and make a fool of Theros. He was rarely successful, but the first time he caught Theros, he made him a lifelong enemy. In one of their many battles, Kor hit the sweet spot and knocked Theros out cold. When Theros awoke, he was lying on a stone table, chained and held helpless. Kor began taunting him, telling him he was going to show him finally that his human and fey allies were going to cost him an arm and a leg. Starting with the thumb, he began demanding that Theros renounce his friendships with lesser races. Every time Theros refused, and every time one digit was cut off. When he ran out of fingers, Kor cut at the wrist, then the elbow, and even at the shoulder Theros choked on tears of rage, but renewed his commitment to his friends.
Just as he was beginning to slice at a toe, both giants were startled to hear the loud thumps outside in the cloud courtyard. Before Kor could finish cursing, the doors to his sky castle were broken in, and a herd of magical pegataurs stampeded in. So great was their outrage they drove Kor from his own castle and rescued Theros. The Bellabrantas had implored the fey they knew to help the noble giant, and the Queen herself dispatched the majestic pegataurs to assist. So great was the good giants joy that he cried for three days, great tears of happiness causing a flood in the lands below his castle. Shortly after, the Fey Queen made another gift to the giant, and forged bonds of loyalty that would never be broken. She had crafted for him a mithril arm, and once she attached it moved as if it were living steel. He also swore to craft weapons and armor for any pegataur that ever requested it of him.

Snake Men

The yuan-ti are humanoids with monstrous features descended from humans whose bloodlines have been mingled with those of serpents or dragons. Their evilness, cunning, and ruthlessness are legendary and constantly scheme to advance their own dark agendas. They are calculating and suave enough to form alliances with other evil creatures when necessary, but they always put their own interests first. All yuan-ti possess some snakelike features, and many have snake body parts and speak their own language. .

Yuan-ti are geniuses and fight as such. They plan elaborate traps and utilize their surroundings superbly in combat, preferring ambushes to direct confrontation. They also prefer ranged attacks and spells to melee confrontations. In a mixed group, the least valuable and powerful attack first; this likely means that the purebloods go before the halfbloods, which go before the abominations.

All yuan-ti can assume the form of any viper up to large snake, although it has not been determined that these are the extent of their shape changing abilities and have the ability to detect the presence of poisons of any kind.

Hey Everyone, listen to what Briar told me about

Cabbage Palm, Swamp Cabbage Palm

Quick ID: Tree up to 60 ft. tall, with long spreading leaves to 9 ft. long. Yellow-white flowers in many branched clusters; fragrant. Fruit 1/4" wide. Radical, improper pruning weakens the root system, promoting disease.  Prefers moist ground of marshes and swamps.

Human Uses: Leaves are used to make weave baskets and hats. Also used as for thatched roofs. Flowers are a source of honey. The "heart" has been used as a salad delicacy, however removing the heart causes the tree to die and is not encouraged unless the tree is part of a land clearing.


Swamp Cabbage Salad: -- Strip the core to the ivory-white heart. Julian slice. Soak in ice water for one hour. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.

Swamp Cabbage: Strip the core to the ivory-white heart

Cross Creek Style: Julian slice. Add two tablespoons of butter and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook in very little water until dry and tender.. Add 1/2 cup of heated cream. Heat to simmering and serve.

Recipe from Wild Edibles

Swamp Cabbage: Cut hearts of palm fine or shred into fine pieces

Slaw: Mix with mayonnaise and 1 or 2 teaspoons pickle relish. Season to taste


Hopwood, Horsewood -- Cocoloba Uvifera (Sea Grape)

Quick ID: Tree up to 40 ft., but generally small tree or large shrub. Leaves are thick and heart-shaped from 3 to 10 inches. New foliage is smooth and brown or bronze in color. Flowers grow in clusters. Fruit resembles grapes and are dark red or purple and ripen throughout summer.

Can be grown inland, where they may reach 50 ft.

Human Uses: Food. Wood can be used for carving

The most common way to eat seagrapes is as like all other grapes. Rinse and pop in your mouth.

Recipes from Wild Edibles
Seagrape Jelly: Wash fruit and remove stems and leaves. Pour through cloth jelly bag. Put 4 cups juice back in kettle. Add 4 cups sugar and keep stirring.. Boil rapidly. Pour into sterilized jelly jars and seal.

Vigor and Intention

You know, Sai Prince Torvil had always expressed his want to prove himself worthy of his status even as a young bondsman. He says himself with humility of how he will someday rule his family’s land. Aye, that one is eager to be proven a lord. He even carries Durindana! The Sword of the ancestors, it has been in the family for seven generations ye kin! Oh, but he has an ominous side to him say true. Sometimes during moments of stress or excitement- Torvil can see into the astral. Like ghosts, astral travelers haunt him from time to time; why he even admitted to me to have glimpsed into the eye of an astral dreadnought. But his tales of late have become increasing bold and astonishing.

At one time, only two others knew of his super-natural ability- The dwarf Shagg ‘Foultongue’, honest and true as the day is long I tell you but dense when it comes to higher thinking outside of his paladin-like morals. He’s a good dwarf aye but he, unfortunately for us all, suffers a curse that translates even the most common word of casual palaver into a vulgar expletive- sometimes even offensive, so don’t take it personal say thankya.

The other folken is none other than the Celebrated Cleric of the Wonder-Bringer Stribling the Gnome- who loves adventures in old castles and exploring ancient ruins. He’s as good as they come I wager, but a little creepy to be around. I mean gnomes are fey, are they not? I herd a few things about him too; that he hates caves and realms below, the underdark and keeps his own secret- Stribling has a super natural ability of his own (something rumored to involve water elementals). Aye the young Sai Prince Torvil, along with Foultongue and Stribling the Cleric, happily take on any adventure that is important to his… well, soon to be his… lands with much vigor and intention.

I was here in the tavern at this very table aye, when the trio set upon their latest. It was in elaborate say true, with the aligning of the two (Are they stars?) Karpri, Coliar and the constellation Maerilzoun the Serpent, it was quite a to-do. Prince Torvil would not say for certain what awaited them beyond the road, but it involved a set of cursed Bracers of Defenselessness and a dragon hoard.

Aye you say true, I say thankya.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Nameless Wizard

“Brann Ansikt Skapningen”

The wizard spoke the ancient words he had learned in a library very far from here, the chamber began shaking with magical energies. The book on the pedestal flew open and the mage knew at long last, what he had sought for so many years was his. The Libram Silver Magicka was rumored to hold everything from proper magical curses such as Lycanthropy to the True Names of various planar and elemental creatures, along with ancient magical methodologies. Its greatest value came in the magic that ensorcelled the book; if you knew the correct magic phrase, the entire book’s recordings would be cast into your mind, allowing you to learn in moments what would take a year or even years to learn on your own. As the pages turned quickly the wizard’s mind was flooded with information, instantly understood and incorporated into his already considerable talents. While the sensation was not unpleasant, against the wizard’s better judgment, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to be immersed in this ancient yet new magic.

The mage was unsure how much time had passed but as the final pages turned he realized that he was uncomfortably warm. Opening his eyes, he was very startled to see the flames that enveloped the chamber, he was protected of course but he had not even noticed till just this moment. He quickly reviewed some of the new knowledge he had gained to see if there was anything there to explain the room of fire. A new spell leapt to mind, and anxious to cast if for the first time, he raised his arms to begin the incantation, only to scream in horror; instead of hands or arms, streaks of flame leapt out, looking down at himself, he only saw more flame. His eyes came to rest on a reflective tile surface, fully revealing the true horror the wizard now faced; gone was the body he had known, standing where he expected to see himself was a very large fire elemental. Fear gripped the wizard and he went over in his mind all his steps, wondering where he had erred. The wizard feared that he will wonder for eternity, or until the next seeker enters the chamber. The mage now knew the book’s final curse, where before an earth elemental had stood guard, he would now take its place, forever in flame. He can only hope that the next to enter the chamber is not so foolish as to destroy the book’s guardian. As the wizards mind fell into insanity’s grasp, his form filled the chamber, the flames touching all but the book and pedestal.

The woman behind the mask.

Larissa Neathal was, in most people’s estimations, the most well-known courtesan in the Villas and Wards of Waterdeep nobility. She is often sought out as an escort for the various visiting envoys and foreign diplomats. As recently observed to be in the service to the nation of Thay and Ambassador Homen Odesserion Abarbrent; the Father of the Bride. She is also said, and it is presumed to be true, that she provides council and comfort to more than one Lord of Waterdeep or Noble- as recently observed in the company of Myrna Cassalanter.

As a warrior-priest of Sune her stunning physical charms and talents expand to include proficient martial and defensive combat abilities as well as practical divine favor and aid. Indeed, a sexy, flirtatious, combat ready woman to have at your side in either cloak and dagger sword-play or the arena of social combat. Her capacity for court parties is the story of legend, being able to hold many different conversations as once but in different languages all the while remembering the names of everyone who introduced themselves. She has been observed on many occasions to dance all day and all night if necessary, without any apparent known ill effects. Undoubtedly she is either immune to most poisons, drafts or sleep drugs, or has some sort of magical protection against these; because she shrugs off any worry of such dangers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Knights of Antiquity 3: A Brother's Grief

Genos Hawkwinter strode into the Helmite chamber with purpose. He had provided a small fortune to the church in hopes that Helm’s best diviners could determine what exactly had gone on at that guard post. All that his investigators could come up with was that several packs of wild dogs/wolves heralded the arrival of the fey creatures that had swarmed the stone structure. Genos didn’t need an investigator to figure out that none of the prisoner’s remains being found was highly suspicious. In fact the only things found at the site of the slaughter were the followers of Helm who had arrived to transport a prisoner to the castle prison. Exactly which prisoner was unclear. Due to an unfortunate circumstance, the paperwork involved in the transfer had either been lost or stolen. Nothing had been found on the bodies, which Genos had learned had been left in a horrible state, without any of their belongings, their skin apparently stripped by the fey.

The high priest of his brother’s order, a dwarf named Dackar Roaringstone, entered the chamber followed by a half dozen clergy. The high priest motioned for everyone to sit at the large conference table. Genos unlatched his sword belt and sat down, anxious to hear what had been discovered. Dackar wasted little time beyond introductions. The other six priests present had each worked on several divinations and all agreed they were quite confused by what they discovered. They explained that their initial questions went unanswered, for they had assumed facts that were not so. It was not until Dackar considered that Gerald could have been killed by something else that they started to get any answers. The high priest further explained the nature of divinations, that answers are rarely simple. The priests through ceremony are able to gain more than a simple casting but even so, some of the information gained is very confusing. He then slid across a scroll, explaining that they wrote down ever question and answer, once the priests began to receive information. They all hope the information they gleaned will mean more to Genos than it does to them.

Genos opened the scroll and began to read:

1st Question: Was Gerald’s death a result of the fey’s swarming of the guard keep? Answer: A swarm eats all, alive or dead, the living escaped the fey’s grasp.

2nd Question: Was Gerald killed by dogs or wolves? No

3rd Question: Did Gerald know his killer? Yes

4th Question: Was Gerald the target of the guard post attack? He was a victim of opportunity

5th Question: Did a prisoner kill Gerald? No

6th Question: Was Gerald’s death painful or quick? It was a violent death.

7th Question: Was Helm the only faith represented at the guard’s keep? Several faiths were present

8th Question: Did all the prisoners live? The real prisoners survive.

9th Question: Was the murderer alone? His company present, though not all, brothers in arms.

10th Question: Does the murderer of Gerald have a title? Champion or Mage-killer

As Genos finished looking at the scroll, Dackar removed another scroll from his vest pocket and handed it over to Genos explaining, “At the end of our Divinations, we received additional information. This type of occurrence is very rare and seems to indicate this matter is of much greater importance than originally thought.” Genos’ hands greedily snatched up the second scroll and quickly unfurled it. At the top of the scroll was a strange symbol that Genos did not recognize. Dackar noted Genos’ look of confusion and interjected that they were looking into the symbol but as yet had not discovered its origin or meaning. Beneath the symbol were these words:

Death, not by what he saw, but saw through

More than one plan or motivation, or even family

A successful venture on both ends of the candle

An opportunity for revenge, a perceived wrong, violent death

The highest corruption, polluting process, innocent criminal guilty anew.

A new start, escaping justice, a family saving face

Different rules for different castes, a belief in blood

Their birth a station, many faiths and many homes

Antiquities path crosses , royalty in uprising, enemies previously known

Genos sat back staring at the words. It was not until the last line he was sure it was meant for him. The priests of course would not know of his affiliation to the Knights of Antiquity, but it was clear that their god did. Genos shook off his thoughts and thanked Dackar and his men. While he still did not have the answer he sought, he knew he was much closer to the truth than the official investigation. Genos knew several resources that could help him with what he had uncovered so far. For some reason he couldn’t quite put a finger on, he was as yet , not ready to present his findings to the other Knights. Genos handed Dackar a bag of coin, thanking him for doing so well and left the chamber. Dackar turned to the other priests and thanked them for their silence. “Genos has a lot to worry about right now, we didn’t need to worry him regarding brother Carmichael’s condition.” The remaining priests, devout, did not question Dackar but their worry was obvious. “I assume he is still not eating” Dackar continued, to which they all nodded. A priest named Decarlo responded, “Since the divinations began he has not stopped writing, physically he is beginning to deteriorate.” Dackar responded, “Carmichael’s faith is true, he will not stop, even should it cost him his life.”

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bishou Dominicus

The Bishou Dominicus stood erect after regarding the elemental symbols in the ancient stone with more than a little curiosity. To his left, his two hellish hounds licked their jowls incessantly, obediently waiting for their master’s commands. To his right and a little behind, his only remaining son Anuirin on his first wide-eyed look at the realms for witch the Bishou vied for power. So it was here in Secomber that Dominicus would continue his passion for prestige in searching for the elemental temples.

Ever since he left the bustling and crowed streets of Waterdeep he and his Anuirin too, felt the wind more acutely, the ground more sound; indeed all elements seemed more rich and pure; even the planets named for the elemental gods shown more brightly in the sky. The Bishou took this as a good omen, as it was he that was tasked with assuming the excavation project to the east of Secomber. As for the current caretaker of the project; a Robe of Powerlessness will tame any protest he may offer. Dominicus tittered with excitement.

He turned and look toward the elf Tinuel, hired to guide the Bishou and his group. “Ok fair elf, I would see the other sigils if it please you.”

“By your command High Hand of Bane.” She bowed in response, a gesture that was meant to show her ample cleavage, which it did- very well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Interlopers

Turqual looked upon her children with distain. The four, juveniles and therefore possessed with a penchant for mischief, stirred restlessly in the loft of their home that overlooked her receptionary. Their irritating whines, their incessant requests, their perpetual boredom; it was all too much for her… to Hades with them all.

Her disposition toward them comes from a deep rooted almost racial hatred for the half-breeds that they were and the dusky tone of their color. In Turqual’s earlier travels she happened across a charismatic creature with a serpents tongue and sorcerous talent who wooed her into his embrace and into his loft and what seems like decades later, she was burdened- no cursed with four stupid half-breeds. But stupid was not right, because for the four juveniles had their father’s magical talents- but that was in their blood; nevertheless they were an irritant to her and such estimations of the four were always curt and summary. It was her life long dream to produce a healthy line of beautiful daughters- as many as her shapely body could bear, like her and her sisters, not a male among them. Turqual was the oldest of four daughters, each a splendor to behold- the stories of their beauty were the tales of bards far and wide.

It would seem that Ka had different plans. So when news of the interlopers came to her just now and threatened their life-course, her land she toiled and protected for so long, Turqual had an idea; set the juveniles upon them. Yes. Surely the interlopers from the north would not expect the offensive and be either driven off or eliminated. They will serve as an example to others with similar aspirations. Such an idea made her sensual lips thin and widen in a smile. Or mayhap the interlopers, (or where they barbarians?) bring death to her children? Turqual tittered with the exciting possibilities. Or if they could be weakened, they would not be a challenge for her, should she choose to confront them directly or suffer the inherent dangers the countryside Turqual called her own.

“Children! To Me!” Turqual called out. Each clamoring over each other at their mother’s call, to be the first in her radiant presence. “There are men trespassing north of here,” pointing a long, blue-colored nailed finger the direction of which she speaks; “these interlopers are not welcome. Discourage their explorations and return to me.” She looks at them each in turn, “Earn my favor, my children.”

Without a word of protest the four left in the same fashion, clamoring and fighting their way out of the loft and north toward the interlopers. As Turqual watched them disappear to she wondered with interest who among them would return; two or three? None? Surely not all four. A sigh escaped her pouting lips and she turned once again to her adviser who brought her the news of the interlopers; Anatoly, a vampire wizard-king; a remnant from Netheril surely, and his ghost-familiar, Crarr. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Unto The Breach

Wearied from his last battle, the wizard used a ring on his left hand to open a doorway into an extradimensional space he'd created years before, and entered, closing the doorway behind him. Sinking onto a divan, he closed his eyes and slept for several hours. After waking, he studied the tomes he stored here, breaking his fast on dried fish and water.
Fully awake and refreshed, he opened the doorway back into the chamber, cast a spell and stepped out into midair. With a careless wave of his hand, he closed the doorway and rotated his body, laying full out beneath the glowing sigils. Studying the archaic symbols, he cracked his knuckles and touched each sigil, speaking the name under his breath. He waited a few moments, and then heard the grating sound of the stone doorway opening. Slowly floating up through the opening, his eyes roving around as he again cast his invisible light spell. He rose through to the next floor. He stepped over the lip of the opening, his gaze moving over the broken mosaic tiles on the floor to the pedestal on which held a large book, a book he'd only heard about in the most exclusive libraries. By reading this book, he could gain all the knowledge and insight he'd normally gain in a year's time. This was one of the treasures he'd come here for, his goal within his reach.
As he approached the pedestal cautiously, every sense was strained to detect anything wrong or out of the ordinary. His gaze passed over the floor, he noticed pebbles vibrating across the floor.
He looked up and around, not seeing the source of the disturbance. Thinking fast, he threw up a globe around him, created by force. Thus protected, he then produced a small vial of oil. Dipping his finger into the oil, he touched both closed eyelids. Opening his eyes, he saw anything that was hidden or invisible. What he saw made him narrow his eyes in determination.
Moving up on him, magically silenced and invisible, was an enormous earth elemental. And not just any elemental, but judging by the gemstones embedded in what passed for it's head, this was a prince among his kind. The mage had bested one of these creatures before, on the desolate wastes of Urshurak, but it very nearly killed him. The creature began to hammer at the dome, the wizard slipped a ring from a pouch and onto a finger on his right hand. He then cast another spell, one that would add to his normal speed. Ready, he dropped the globe. The earth elemental's eyes narrowed suspisciously, it cautiously poked a finger in the empty air. Feeling no resistance, the creature reared back with a mighty fist. As the massive boulder-sized appendage swung forward, the mage cast a spell and was instantly behind the prince. Withdrawing a costly scroll, he rattled off the words to the incantation and pointed at the animated mound of rock and earth before him. His aim aided by the newly worn ring, a sickly greenish beam leapt from his finger and touched the creature. Struck by the ray, the elemental reared back in pain, it's maw open in a silent scream. The green glow enveloped the creature and then ate away at the prince's physical form until nothing was left but dust. Wiping the ash that was on his fingers, all that remained of the scroll of disentigration, onto his robes, the mage turned his eyes once more around the room, again resting on the tome.
One prize down, sneered the mage.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The wizard had done his homework, and was certain he knew what lay beyond this first door. What he was uncertain of was the form of the elemental he had to defeat. Air was a tricky opponent, especially hard to confine and even more difficult to damage, but the hardest task of all was often seeing or detecting it. Knowing it was there was sure to help, he thought grimly to himself.

He delicately traced his fingers along the eldritch runes that illuminated the face of the ancient door, and even he marveled at the value of such a heavy weight of platinum. He braced himself for the bite of the curse he knew would be coming. Seconds ticked by, and the wizard’s brow furled. “This should be trapped, “ he whispered to himself as the door slowly opened into a dark space. He conjured a light that dispelled the darkness, but was not visible to any one else, before he stepped through. It seemed to be any empty antechamber with a solid stone floor, hewn stone walls, and a ceiling above the range of his “light”. Although no symbols were visible, the whole room nearly glowed with magical aura. Stepping quietly into the door, he didn’t realize his first mistake of the night until he heard the metallic click as the door latched shut. Without looking, he whirled, causing his cloak to billow after him and catch most of the darts flung from the opposite wall. As he finished his amazingly deft reaction, he blew a long sigh of relief. Only inches from his face, his hand was tightly grasping a dart he had snared out of thin air. It was the only one to elude the cloak defense, and the wizard could smell certain death in the thick poison that coated its tip, and now the fingers of his enchanted missile snaring gloves. Then, a rush of air at his back and he was suddenly in the fight of his life. The wind elemental knocked him with such force, he felt as if giant hammers were pummeling him. He flailed wildly into the whirlwind, hoping the magic in his staff would strike true the eye of this tornado. A minute of combat might as well been an hour. The wizard could not remember ever fighting a single creature for so long, and just as suddenly as it appeared, the winds died and his staff found no more resistance. Weakened and winded, he looked up at the ceiling a mere 90-100 feet up. Now, glowing sigils appeared, looking similar to the ones on the door that led him here. He quickly whispered the words of his spell, and began to slowly float up to the eldritch runes in the ceiling.

And now for the door sneered the wizard.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The High Moor

Knowledge (Geography) The High Moor is the largest moor region on the continent of Faerûn and perhaps the largest such area in the world. The majority of the High Moor sits on a large plateau composed mainly of limestone. To the east, south, and west, the plateau’s edges slope rather gently to the level of the surrounding area though in the southeast, the land slopes down only a short distance before rising again into the Serpent Hills. On the north, the plateau is bordered by cliffs of pink granite. Granite also protrudes through the limestone in various places, especially in the northern part of the moor, so various crags dot the otherwise flat highland here and there.

Most of the plateau is limestone. Over the centuries, water has cut through the limestone, forming a lot of ravines and canyons. Springs bubble forth out of nowhere through the limestone, and streams disappear and reappear in the ravines. Occasional waterfalls flow into short streams that disappear into deep holes. A lot of sinkholes dot the countryside, too, offering many entrances to the Underdark.

On top of the great limestone shelf of the plateau lies a thin layer of soil. This topsoil is too thin for decent farming, but just thick enough to support the growth of various grasses and shrubs in patches. At one time, there was better topsoil on the moor, but the long-ago removal of the forests allowed the earth to erode and exposed the ground to the region’s cool, damp, windy weather, which leaches nutrients from the soil. The moors are therefore mostly barren and rocky. In places where some soil has accumulated and enough water collects to support plant life, a marsh is the usual result. Few of the marshlands of the High Moor still support much life, however. Most marshes have degenerated into cold bogs clogged with peat. These soft, waterlogged strips of land are another hazard for travelers in the region.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sorcerers call upon the Eon

Dinadan sat just outside the delicately formed magic circle, a special magic circle called a Grace. Every muscle tensed and every breath measured. The words of calling came easy and willingly. Blue-white smoke began to fill within the confines of the Grace- then a thunderous lightening crash and as suddenly as that, a grand and powerful Genie Pasha stood smug and with distain before Dinadan. Being a patron-sorcerer, Dinadan was regarded as being of truest of the elemental blood lines, and he returned with a hard look of his own. Coliar-Akadi was its name, one of four noble Genie Pashas who were being employed to create a great magic for the elemental- blooded Sorcerers.

“One of your cohorts, Dinadan of the Grall, is conspiring against your efforts.” The Genie Pasha’s distain turns ever more malicious its physical form half smoke and the other half a large shifting attractive humanoid.

“How do you come to know this, oh emanate and noble one?” Said Dinadan in an even and level tone though equal in authority.

“Elsewhere, other Sorcerers around Athalantar who hold similar palaver with the other noble Genie Pashas.” Now Coliar-Akadi’s form seems larger than ever still within the Grace. “Pasha Chandos-Grumbar, possessed of earthen might, is not fortunately in possession of high intellect and let slide that Dagsumn Gorsomm would ultimately have your Ring of Elemental Command for himself.”

A cold shadow crept across and into the room; shuddering thunder again peels around the cities many towers as it begins to rain. Dinadan pondered briefly for what seems like a long time then asks the noble elemental, “What of the Elemental Well? The well needs to be realized first before the forging of the four rings can commence. Surely he would not interfere it the making of the well.”
Coliar-Akadi slowly shakes head in a most human response as a negative and then offer the human sorcerer a warning: “The Pashas are not patient by any definition in any language, and if the Sorcerers of Athalantar cannot overcome their incessant petty feuds or power seizures, we shall raise these lands and visit them into ruin and bury evidence of your existence for eons.”

“I ken very well noble genie,” Dinadan slowly begins the somatic gestures to gather magical energies necessary to open a gate to the elemental planes. Coliar-Akadi awaits in murderous anticipation, humans are so malleable.