Friday, September 30, 2011

When Old Friends Come To Visit

The old priest had his head bowed, kneeling before the grand marble altar. His lips moved in silent prayer, not disturbing the stillness of the temple in the midnight hour. Julianus Nacross prayed, begging to hear his god's voice again. It'd been about a month and a half since Torm had gone silent. From what he'd heard from the other churches in the Baldur's Gate, this may not be affecting his faith alone.

The priest's devotions were interrupted however, by something that seemed familiar but Julianus could not quite put his finger on it. He lifted his head, his bushy brows meeting in confusion. There hadn't been a noise that disturbed him... no, it was... it was a scent, an odor. He sniffed, and then sniffed again. He turned back slowly, peering into the gloom of the darkened church, back towards the huge oaken double doors that served as entrance into the temple. Back there, there was a figure, hard to see in the shadows and faint candle light. Noticing that he'd been seen, the figure started forward and as it drew nearer, Julianus could finally make out details.

It was a man, middle aged and middle height, balding, walking on spindly legs and with a pot belly. Many would've found the man's appearance comical, but Julianus did not. He could only watch as the man walked up the aisle, between the pews, towards him and the altar. More and more details made themselves clearer. The man was dressed in a knee length tunic and leggings, both in a shabby state. He was barefoot and wherever he laid his foot down, it left a smoking, smoldering footprint on the rich carpet of the aisle. Coming closer still, the priest could see that the man's teeth were nothing more than brown and black stumps, and his eyes, they were red. Not the red that comes from weeping, but the red of bright, oxigenated blood. And finally, Julianus' nose wrinkled in disgust as the odor, no, stench assaulted him. A mix of decay and shit.

"Ahhh, hello, old friend," the man spoke. Julianus' brow remained furrowed in concentration and confusion, trying to find where he knew this man from.

Suddenly, his face cleared, recognition dawing upon him in a mask of horror.

"Agglemax?" the priest whispered to himself.

"You do remember! Ah, what's it been, how long ago? Thirty, thirty five years by your reckoning?" the man chuckled, "All those years ago; me, you and the boy. How is he, by the way?"

Using the altar to pull himself stiffly up to his feet, Julianus said in a voice that sounded far more confident than he felt "He is safe and well, daemon and none of your concern. Now what do you want and how have set foot in this holy place?"

The creature turned it's head, it body convulsing in painful retching. Bent over at the waist, the man's jaws were agape as choking sounds eminated from him. Julianus watched in horror as thin, stick like legs came probing out of the man's mouth and an orange and green spider forced its way free. The arachnid fell to the floor and scuttled away. The man straightened, pounding himself on the chest. "Knew that'd come back on me. Now, as to how I got to this place, events are in motion in the heavens, the hells and everywhere in between. Old bindings and barriers have weakened. Long have I watched you, since our first meeting. That was what, your third or fourth excorcism?" the man chuckled ruefully, shaking his head. "All the torments and tortures I received, because you through me out. A good fight it was, two weeks. From the looks of you, you couldn't do it now.

"I cast you out once, I can do so again," Julianus cried, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed nervously. He was empty, an emptiness he'd never felt. But he would fight, and fight to the last. Maybe that would bring Torm's light back to the faithful. With a speed he hadn't seen in years, Julianus whirled and charged across the temple to one of the tall candlesticks. Five feet in height, made of carved solid oak and topped with a footlong spike that a candle could be stuck on, he swept up this improvised weapon and ripped the taper off, exposing the deadly spike. He brandished this like a spear, to impale his opponent. The candles were twenty five feet away from the altar, he should have time to turn and charge back at the daemon.

As Julianus turned back upon his enemy, he was astonished to find Agglemax had somehow moved up to him, quieter than a mouse. The priest thrust the improvised spear at the man. With an almost contemptous grimace, Agglemax grabbed the spike in a vice-like grip and stopped it's forward motion. Starting where the hand gripped the spike, the seasoned and polished wood rotten, cracked, greyed and sprouted worms as it decayed there in the priest's hands. Agglemax then pulled the candlestick from the priest's hands and cast it aside.

"WHERE IS YOUR TORM NOW?!?" thundered Agglemax, the tall stained glass windows that lined the church hall shattered inward, a mighty wind blew out the candles. Julianus cringed, and began to weep.

"Oh, no tears. It is a waste of good suffering," Agglemax almost whispered. He reached down and took the priest's head roughly in his now clawed hands. "I only came to have a talk, like old friends, about old times."

"I want to talk about the salvation of a boy's soul," Agglemax the Corrupted murmured, his thumbs pressing into Julianus' eyes, "And the eternal damnation of your's."

The priest's screams reached out into the long, dark night as the daemon laughed.

Tales of the Sword

Hilmar waited silently on the tree limb, watching his prey. Sudhl, the huge lizard man that proclaimed himself king of the Mere of Dead Men, stalked underneath the foliage of the trees. The lizard man scanned the swamp warily, occasionally stopping and tasting the air with his forked tongue. Hilmar had been hired 3 weeks ago by a wealthy father, whose only daughter, Saphina, had been kidnapped on her way back from Waterdeep to the family's countryside estate. Having tracked the kidnappers here, to the Mere, and finding out that they'd been slaughtered by Sudhl and his kin, Hilmar quickly got the lay of the land. He'd chosen to leave his magical shield behind as that would've gotten in his way in many of the tight quarters the trees created. Twice before he'd been repulsed by the lizards, sent retreating before superior numbers. However, greed held the man's heart and he would not share the bounty by hiring any other companions for assistance.
As the lizardman slowly made his way beneath Hilmar's perch, the human brought to his lips a small set of pan pipes and blew. The resulting wail filled the air, and brought Sudhl to a halt. The king straightened and lifted his head, again slowing scanning his surroundings, his tongue darting out in an effort to sniff out any danger. The large lizardman slowly completed a 360 degree turn, his clawed hands gripping the terrible trident tighter. Never having studied lizard-folk, Hilmar hoped the pipes had truly caused the creature to become afraid. Even though he was the player, Hilmar could see how the ghostly tune could unnerve someone.
Once the creature's back was to him, Hilamr pushed away from the trunk of the tree, into midair, at the same time activating his boots that allowed him to float. After coming over the lizardman, Hilmar turned the boots off and he dropped his 260 pound frame down onto Sudhl. Unfortunately, the surprise wasn't complete as the fighter's shadow fell over the lizardman, giving it enough warning that he looked up and then lunged out of the way.
Hilmar's unnaturally sharp sword only made a slashing gouge from right shoulder to left hip as the human landed. His feet slipped in the mud and water and he submerged only to rise back up and get struck in the face by the blunt end of the king's trident. Hilmar stumbled back in the waistdeep water, spitting out blood and bits of teeth from the blow. Sudhl pressed the attack, jabbing the trident at Hilmar's face and chest. Only quick work and luck saved the fighter as he desperately parried each blow to one side or the other. In one attack, the tines of the trident caught his sword, and in an act that Sudhl obviously had use many times, the trident was twisted and the sword was pulled from Hilmar's grasp, banging off a tree trunk and sinking into the swamp.
The lizard king's eyes glittered with deadly anticipation, his prey was disarmed and would soon be tore to pieces, consumed as all enemies of Sudhl were. The man bared his teeth, and crouched down, readying himself for the inevitable charge and lunge. Sudhl obliged him, his maw open in a hiss and threw himself forward, jabbing ahead with the deadly trident. Knowing he could not manouver out of the way in time, not in this much water and muck, Hilmar stood his ground, only twisting at the last moment and turning a near instant death by impaling into a painful, and hopefully, survivable gouge in the belly. The trident's tines ripped through his sweat stained padded armor as Hilmar's left hand grabbed the haft, pulling the lizard man close to him. With his right hand he'd unsheathed a dagger he had on his belt, hidden behind his back. Driving upward with as much strength as he had, and using the creature's forward momentum, Hilmar stabbed the king beneath the ribcage and up into it's heart. One didn't become king of lizardmen by being easy to kill, however. Sudhl bit down onto Hilmar's shoulder, the king's fangs not doing as much damage thanks to the fighter's magic ring that made him harder to hit. The bite did puncture through the armor and into Hilmar's shoulder. As the life ran out of the king, his body sagged, painfully pulling the fighter down with it.
Supporting the dead weight and using the dagger as a lever, Hilmar opened the creature's jaws and let it sink beneath the waters, there to feed whatever carrion would find it. Then the human sagged against the closest tree, one hand clutching the bitten shoulder, the other pressed against the belly wound. Already, flies and mosquitos were being drawn to the open blood and sweat. Using his boots for the last time that day, Hilmar rose to the relative safety of the tree limbs. Finding his pack, he retrieved 3 of the vials of healing potions he'd purchased and downed the contents. He leaned back against the tree and waited for the potions to work. The first part was over, now the hard part. Saving daddy's little girl and getting her back to civilization.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tales from the Trackless Sea: Tarninia

The sea was calm this night and their convoy of masts and sails agreed to make the most of the still night. It felt like time had stopped. Shoonaryn Bräunen, for that was her real name, after finishing her evening Checklist, emerged from her quarters. Her lithe form was graceful and fluid as she walked the deck of the Bronze Protector. She wore a simple green aba for the ease of its removal and no weapon, she was a weapon. Her Weird snaked its way obediently behind, anxious in its gait. Shoonaryn rarely ventured away from the ships at night, but tonight would not be ignored; the Peddler’s Moon had infected her with an appetite for wanderlust.

Above, keeping watch in the crow’s nest was a guard equipped with the Eyes of the Eagle, so Shoonaryn waited for him to turn. With uncanny quickness Shoonaryn slipped from her trappings and fell into the waters while transforming into her true draconic form.

The ocean was exhilarating. She took in the water and could not smell the foul scents of any sahuagin, merrow or scrags. That was a relief. She despised the evil denizens of the ocean- above or below its waves and would deal with any swiftly. Down she went, deeper into the Trackless Sea where the cold and darkness was at home. For hours Shoonaryn investigated the depths near the Whalebones, when a feral sensation gripped her and she let out a roar. Even in the water the force for which she wailed sent ripples to the surface. It was as she feared- there was another dragon in these waters. 

Shoonaryn raced to the surface and the Bronze Protector to find the convoy under serious duress. Positioned a mile away from her ship was a tall vessel whose red and white sails included a rampant black dragon sigul. It was a creature Shoonaryn was familiar, a deadly rival, the vain and greedy Tarninia and her half-dragon brood. This will not stand Shoonaryn thought as her bronze dragon wings lifted her into battle.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Realms Cosmology

Cold Gin Time Again

The wizard had spent the better part of the last decade drinking away his memory and skills in Daggerford, making money providing spells, scrolls, maps, and information to the mercenaries and adventurers that frequented the area. Gin wasn’t his real name but that’s what the locals took to calling him because it was all he ever drank and Gin was never seen without his favorite alcohol. He sometimes wondered why they didn’t call him cigar since he wasn’t ever seen without his favorite tobacco either. Besides smoke and booze, Gin’s height made him the tallest human in Daggerford, standing six foot eight. The wizard ate little and therefore was very thin, his hair a silvered blond, unkempt with perpetual stubble lining his face. Before drink and the comforts of Daggerford retired him, Gin had been a very successful wizard travelling throughout the North Coast regions of Waterdeep and the lands to the west that bordered Cormyr. The majority of his money and skill came from his adventures in the Troll hills south of Daggerford and the Serpent hills to the west. Due to this experience he was viewed as somewhat of an expert when it came to the ecology of region. Whenever a strange creature, track, or anomaly was found, it was common for the Duke of Daggerford to request that Gin go and see it for himself, then report back on what was found. In the last ten years these types of requests were the only things to inspire him to leave the comforts of the Lady Luck Inn.

It was two nights prior to cometfall, well past the time of any functioning sobriety, that several of the Dukes men came to the Lady Luck Inn and hoisted Gin up between them, walking him about the walled town, trying to get him sober enough to inspect a body that had floated down the Grayflow River. Gin protested to no avail that the body would still be dead by morning. One of the men holding up Gin laughed aloud at the mention of morning and reminded the wizard that he hadn’t seen a sunrise in at least five years and that it was important for him to gather himself together NOW. It took them a couple hours but Gin had sobered enough to gather his wizardly possessions along with his wits and head down to the river dock where the body was currently held.

The Duke of Daggerford had ordered the body pulled out of the river. Despite that occurring several hours before, several of the town’s militia still stood near and around the tent that had been erected around the creature’s remains. The smell was the first thing to hit Gin and he luckily didn’t have far to run to release the gin soaked contents of his stomach. Retching into the riverbed he could hear several militia men laughing at him, his tall gangly frame shaking with the violent spasms that only years of alcoholism provides. After the waves of nausea passed, Gin stared at his dark reflection in the star lit waters, momentarily overcome with rare self-loathing. Lighting another cigar, he returned to the tent.

The body was very large, at least 9 feet tall and thick, obviously a giant. Gin cast a few light spells so he could get a better look at the corpse. It was obvious that the river creatures had enjoyed many a meal as the corpse had floated down river towards the sea. While its face and watery condition had removed any identifying marks, Gin was quite certain that this was a Hill Giant, although what clan or variety he could not yet say. Further he could find no markings or wounds to indicate what had felled the large creature.

Several spells came to mind that could assist Gin but he was still shaking from his nausea and doubted that he would be able to maintain the concentration necessary to cast the spell. He would save that for tomorrow. For now he busied himself by thoroughly searching the corpse. When he was ready he called over to some of the militia men who had laughed at him and had them turn the body over. These men also were overcome by the smell and appearance of the giant and soon after turning the large body over found themselves releasing their meals into the river.

Gin smiled at the militia men’s illness and returned to his study. Passing his hands over the back of the giant, he found a strange large lump at the base of his neck. He almost paid it no mind, figuring it for a knotted muscle but his hands brushed a sharp edge causing him to inspect it further. Thankful for his magical lighting, Gin pried free a strangely shaped gemstone, a variety he was unfamiliar with. It wasn’t very large, no bigger than a child’s marble and was driven deep into the creatures flesh. Gin couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t imbedded as part of ritual scarring that some hill giant tribes practice. If it was ritual, the giant had it done shortly before his death. Gin placed the small gem in his pocket and continued his search. The wizard found two more gems, similar in size and material to the first. Each stone was driven deep into the giant’s flesh but to Gin’s surprise, he could find no marking on the gem from any tool. If hammered into the giant, the gem should have blunt markings on the side struck by the hammer.

Gin left the tent and lit a fresh cigar. Sighing to himself, he knew he must gather himself for a trip to Waterdeep. His dwarven friend Dart was an expert on two things, giants and gems. Of all his former adventuring companions, Dart was the only one who still sent him letters and didn’t judge him for his love of drink and paid for women. Dart had spent his last several years putting his knowledge to paper along with selling his knowledge to those in an immediate need of it. Even after all these years there was a great risk of his being seen with Dart by the wrong people…or creatures. He would have to use magic to hide his height. Gin returned to the Lady Luck Inn to sleep and prepare for his journey to Waterdeep. He wondered if Dart had been tempted to go the cemetery there and finally find out if Gin’s theory was correct.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Maerklos Reunion

After Aldara finished lighting the candles she began to anoint the room against the evil eye and any who would magically eavesdrop on their palaver. Aldara stood firm in spite of her years, being back on the frontier and away from the big city politics had done her well.

Morgurn returned to the villa loaded down with familiar tuns of graff, he smiled at his sister, “Do you remember when the last time it was when we shared a drink?”
Eva laughed as the pleasant memory surfaced. It was after her fifth Daughters of Sune pageant and to celebrate she and her brothers shared a growler after all the adults had taken siesta. She lapsed into a vision that night, her very first and to this day neither brother has divulged what that portended.

Morgurn set the tun on the elegant table where sat a cooked succulent pig waiting patiently to be eaten. Drinks where poured, servants dismissed and there they were- no one knowing how to begin.

It was Eva who began with a fluid and detailed accounting of the past three months. The warp marble, the people and the gods fall. By the time Eva had finished it was well after midnight and the pig was replaced with sweets and more graff.
A cold began to take residence in the room so Morgurn got up to spark a fire in the hearth. Soon the room wavered and flickered in the fire light, Aldara took another drink of graff and looked at her only daughter.

“You were away for too long, I will not let both of you go out without a way to contact their mother.” Smiling, she retrieved a small silver figurine.

She hands Eva the silver raven. “I don’t expect to hear from you daily, but mayhap at every full moon I would like to expect the raven at my window.” Then her smile diminished a little. “or if something terrible should happen.”

As if on cue a vision suddenly wracked Eva; images of the Company of the Nine, her ka-tet- one from many. One by one they fell. Griffith Cragsmere was the first- Eden Kormallis the second; then Chadwick Cassalanter and Wayne Gundwynd last. It was all for a greater cause wasn’t it? Many moments of camaraderie and kinship, victories and defeats; the strength came from the joining of the Samular bloodline and no other individuals can share that level of khef.

Eva sees the Tarm woman and her own brother; they each share the skeletal shadow of the dead. The bloodline passes from mother to daughter and father to son; her generation is significant, the seventh generation of King Samular…

When Eva awoke it was morning, a rich aroma of coffee greeted her. Sitting beside her was her mother. “Goodmorning sunshine! How do you feel?”

Eva took the cup that was poured for her and drank. “Ok, what day is it?”

“It’s Wednesday, your friends are preparing for the road I see.” She stood looking out a window. “Leaving so soon?” Aldara looked downcast at her coffee as Eva began to dress. She continued, “Your brother is does not know what you saw or said, I sent him away when you… spoke. He will be disappointed, but I know your heart and know you don’t want any harm to come to Morgurn. He longs for adventure and will take convincing.”

Not long after, Aldara walked her youngest child out of the villa and out onto the thoroughfare, where Morgurn waited with his and his little sister’s horse reins in hand.

Silver Raven
This silver figurine turns into a raven on command. Another command sends it off into the air bearing a message just like a creature affected by an animal messenger spell. If not commanded to carry a message, the raven obeys its master’s commands, although it has no special powers or telepathic abilities.
While weak in combat, a silver raven can carry multiple messages every week. This makes it useful for coordinating actions and attacks across great distances. A silver raven can travel four miles in one hour and can therefore travel a maximum distance of 96 miles before returning to statuette form. Thus if its owner wishes to retrieve the silver raven it can travel only 48 miles before having to turn back.
Because of the silvery sheen of its feathers, a silver raven is clearly not a normal animal.  
Active The silver raven can maintain its active form for 24 hours per week, but the duration need not be continuous.
Aura Moderate enchantment and transmutation (DC 21 Knowledge [arcana]; DC 21 Spellcraft identifies); Price 3,800 gp. Requirements CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, animal messenger, animate objects; Cost 1,900 gp.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tales of falling Stars (final)

Days later as speculation surfaced about the godsfall, misinformation was also knowingly being spread to prevent anarchy and the overall panic that could ensue at hearing such truths. Allied churches banded together, working together for common goals, the Triad of Law, Gods of Nature, and the Gods of Knowledge and Craft; so goes the word on the cobble stones.

The Priestess of Set found herself in the company of two other individuals who had similar gemstone encounters the night the sky fell to discover the three teardrop gems are linked and therefore so were the three of them. They came to believe the gemstones are some king of manifestation of Talona; attracted like magnet filings to the individuals that most embody her aspects.

Raga, a ninja who is quick to anger; and who the Priestess believes is insane, and Talanoa and his famed Axe of Hurling- a gladiator from the Fields of Triumph; both poison users. With these two individuals the Priestess of Set began to work her sinister plots without fear of breaking cover and being discovered.

Now active again the Priestess; the ninja; and the gladiator eventually attracted the attention of the clerics and devotees of Lathander who discovered them and their plots. And in accordance with the aspect of their god stopped their mischief and drove the three out of the city.

It was after this when the Priestess vowed not to restore Set, but to reimagine the darkness and dread that is Set such that it will dim all other goodly sects. She swore; she would continue to work with the ninja and gladiator but what she really needed was to find was a dragon who wanted to become the next Set.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tales of falling Stars (part 3)

The ninja stalked closely behind the woman, taking great care- never leaving the shadows and always watching for vermin. Raga, for that was the ninja’s name, watched for rats, stray cats and even wild dogs that could potentially give away his position, that and he was deathly afraid of rabies. He heard none.

The woman approached the Spires of the Morning, paused for a brief word her god Lathander and continued to the Sea Ward heedless of the bustle of nightlife. Raga produced his black blow gun and carefully removed a poisonous dart from its air-tight and light proof case. She was getting closer to her destination he knew.

Turning a corner to close into range, the ninja was greeted with an explosion of rainbow colored lights seemingly from the moon. Thunder boomed, an impact struck the air and Raga saw his quarry hasten her progress in fear for… whatever was happening. Raga would not enter the lit street corridor now that the heavens seem to have exploded. Bringing the blow gun to bear the ninja captured the woman in is sight; took a breath… and held it. From the top of his vision, Raga noticed an amber teardrop shaped gemstone falling then slowing to rest in his field of vision. The woman was nowhere to be seen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tales of falling Stars (part 2)

Talanoa loved evening exercises in the arena. He often imagined large crowds cheering for blood; it always got his blood going and his warrior lust at a gallop. He would flex his tremendous muscles and spin his axe in wide arcs just hear the reactions. Talanoa was a dirty fighter and loved to cause unnecessary suffering to opponents unlucky enough to draw him in the arena. Whenever he can Talanoa hurls small ampules of a concentrated contact poison into the faces of his victims before he begins his dance of death. It burned their eyes and always panicked his opponents.

Halfway through his solitary dance, the sky lit up in a cascade of trailing lights causing him to stop and bear witness. He did not know how long he stared at the falling stars but when he collected himself he found himself lying flat on the ground not knowing how he ended up prone. He stood, gathered his weighted practice weapons and looked up in time to see an amber teardrop shaped gemstone fall into his grasp.

Tales of falling Stars (part 1)

Pallandra walked along the balcony of the tall spire; a cool evening ocean breeze tugged at her evening robes revealing a beautiful and athletic female shape. She looked down at the only ring she was allowed to wear and thought of her Church in Thay. How she longed to return to her sinister ways as Priestess of Set. Set was for her the power of darkness and keeper of evil arcana law

She parted her sensual lips and let out a sigh, how she hated all these affairs of the state. Then a flash in the night sky caused her to spin in defense, deadly blade at the ready. Above in the evening canopy Selune appeared to stop and the moon’s trailing ‘tears’ collided with each other. Brilliant bursts of color lit the realms, bathing it in light. Then the sky began to fall.

Pallandra kissed the ring of Set and put on her Necklace of Adaptation fearing poisonous air as tiny lights began to rain down trailing tails of smoke. The city became silent. She watched in wonder as an amber teardrop shaped gemstone fell from the sky into her outstretched hand.

The Village of Amphail

Tauron shares what he knows about Amphail, having spent many summers here in his youth.

The village of Amphail, famous for its horse breeders, lies on the Long Road, a good three-day ride north of Waterdeep through rolling farmlands. By night or in a snowstorm, a traveler can locate this quiet, beautiful village by the thick stands of duskwood and spruce that cluster along the road nearby. In summer, the stench of horse manure reveals the town’s presence.

At the heart of the settlement is an open space known as the Malanderways, where several side streets meet the Long Road. In the center of this square is a black stone statue of the great Shalarn, a war stallion bred in Amphail decades ago.

Other notable landmarks include the Horse Pond, the Old Dead Rowan (a tree as large as some cottages), and the ruins of the Laughing Bandit Inn. Amphail was named for Amphail the Just, one of Waterdeep’s early warlords who had estates here.

Amphail’s horse farms have traditionally equipped the noble families and armies of Waterdeep and Neverwinter, as well as merchants and satraps from the Empires of the Sands. Amphail grays are famous across Faerûn as intelligent, loyal, and hardy personal mounts. Most soldiers, however, prefer the larger, more powerful, glossy black chargers that Amphail’s breeders produce.

Various Waterdhavian noble families keep stables here; the Amcathra, Ilzimmer, Jhansczil, Roaringhorn, and Tarm families. Each is traditionally major breeders and stock liners. The independent stable masters Ohm “Steelhand” Oglyntyr, Rorth Baldasker, and Elraghona Selember are individually the most popular breeders.

The extensive holdings of the Eagleshield clan include a farm where sick animals are nursed and a shop where tack of the finest sort is made and sold.

The Ammakyl family—the richest in the region by far—is Amphail’s dominant producer of grain and vegetables. Ammakyl caravans are a regular sight on the road from Amphail to the City of Splendors.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sister of the Cloak

I see now the god Mielikki that I knew, adored and worshiped is now gone. Mayhap her mortal avatar exists somewhere fighting to regain what was lost, but the lovely Lady of the Forest will never be the same again. Unless she is restored, so does Taruon for Tymora.

I’m sure there are others in my company that have more selfish ends in mind; though I see myself somewhere in between. Mayhap I will recreate Mielikki in my own image, increasing her power when the Time of Troubles ends and all is restored. Surely this will win me favor with the new Forest Queen and I would be her Chosen. It will be a matriarchy; I will make the Bladed-Cloak the favored weapon of the Forest Queen and bring the fey under her portfolio as well. The Sisters of the Cloak will range the wilds being the mediator between the barbarians and civilization; the wild and the tame.
Animal: someone needs to watch over the forest animals; magical creatures will be her children.
Arborea: the Spire of Thorns is where the Forest Queen will take her seat on the Olympian Glades.
Chaos: Embrace the call of the wild and fear it not.
Family: Akin to Nobilty, in the Sisterhood this represents procreation; maintaining a strong family linage; and firm family traditions of the faith to be passed down generations.
Moon: lovely moon, I should like to have it; it shall govern the forest’s cycle and all cycles. She will favor and be favored by all women.
Travel: for the rangers, barbarians, and nomads that live harmoniously with her mystical forests.
Zeal: her faith will be ever diligent against the misuse of a forest’s gifts or the abuse of a woman.

I will forever miss Eden, Wayne, Griffith and Chadwick as they have reached the clearing at the end of the path; although I grieve them no longer, their souls have thankfully passed on. I will shoot the sky with my arrows on the day of their death to celebrate their friendship, companionship and life.

As to our future, I must soon speak to Tauron about bringing in new members into our ka-tet. They must be from one of our seven families to be sure- Kym Tarm comes to mind as does Morgurn Maerklos unless the Cult of the Dragon has killed them as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The True Legacy

Eva carried the remains of her undead child to a small grave her skeletons had dug. As she knelt down to entomb the child into the earth a wave of guilt passed over her. Wayne & Chadwick were already lost she whispered to herself. She knew neither of her Samular brothers was getting out of the stone circle alive, still it didn’t make it an easy decision. Eden & Griffon had been easy, there bodies had already been slain. Smashed by the earth elemental taking their soles was an act of compassion. If left unclaimed they would have wander aimlessly until something else collected them. Wayne & Chadwick were still alive if only for a short time but they were alive. If she had not taken them, then this demon spirit would have. They would have been tormented or worse used as currency for this demon to barter for its freedom. She took a deep breath confident she had made the right choice. “You must lose this mortal coil” she whispered, “You have a responsibility and grief does not serve the dead”.

Thankfully the Agundars had not seen what had happened. Tauron & Briars attentions were focused outside the circle. None of them would have understood, well perhaps Bordane but the group must stay together if we are to fulfill our legacy. The last thing she wanted was someone questioning her loyalty and driving us apart, she thought. She loved her extended family as her own, and rejoiced in the fact that the souls of the fallen were not lost. The four of them were now a part of her along with the aspect of death and she would use all her power to keep them safe.

She had contemplated the decision to sacrifice her child for several weeks. The fact that she had conceived the child at the very instant the Lord of Bones had been slain was no coincidence. Still there were other possibilities, and so she thought it best to keep things unavowed until she had a chance to discuss the situation. Waterdeep had been her terminus. Her mother had always been the wisest person she knew; she would have given anything to have her council now. She had not foreseen the accelerated pregnancy, nor was she certain of the outcome once the child was birthed. However this place had been in her dreams & visions on several occasions, whatever was going to happen it was happening here. Upon seeing her undead child her suspicions were confirmed. Myrkul had given her the choice, to carry the mantle of death or to become it, she chose the latter.
"I feel as if I owe you all an explanation” she said as she stood. Fresh dirt from the earthen grave clung to her tear stained cheeks. Her resolve stiffened as she turned to faced the four remaining members of the company.” It would seem Myrkul gave me the aspect of death before his demise. I served as the host until it was strong enough to exist without me. I don’t know for sure, but I assume it would have left once it had the means had I not acted. By sacrificing this child, I claimed that aspect for myself. We have often spoken of our Samular legacy and what it means to us. I think there is a lesson to be learned in the history of Samular we have overlooked. He was appointed king by divine right, just like we have been appointed by divine right. The aspects we carry have either been guided or given to us by divine right. I was given the opportunity to claim the aspect of death for myself, and I choose to make it mine. I will become the new goddess of the dead. I will look to add aspects to my portfolio that represent me, what makes me unique and what I believe a lady of the dead should represent. If the Reaper had wanted a clone he could have usurped another mortals form, but he didn’t. Death, Fear, Magic (summoning), & Darkness these are but a few of the aspects that I as goddess of the dead will embody.

Damian, you are not your father. You must take the path of Destruction and make it your own. May your path be as unpredictable as the storms Talos once held sway over.

Bordane, the allure of Bane is powerful. However you would never submit to the Baneite regime. Now is the time to use your Hate. The church will surely demand you give up the aspect and return Bane to glory. We will stand beside you and show them the ancestors of Samular are more powerful than their tyrannical lord.

Tauron, I know your intent is to restore Tymora and I respect that. But that does not mean you are bound to only gain her aspects. I could see you holding Courage, Glory, or even the aspect of Lust. The way you rode in the great stakes and with your fondness for beasts you would be well suited for the Competition and Animal aspects. Pride & Nobility would seem fitting aspects for any of us to pursue. Do not pass up the opportunity to ride with us into legend.

Briar, you must be strong. The forces of Nature must be unforgiving and will not show mercy or compassion to those who disrespect her.

Let the five of us hunt down these aspects and make them our own. It is our legacy to create a new pantheon, a Samular pantheon! That is our divine right.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Talisman of Ultimate Evil

Like an intricate and artistic stained glass window in the heavens portraying the story of creation and the edicts of faith; at its center, stands a stylized representation of a tower, the weave, standing impossibly over all of reality.

Then a pulse from the top of the tower rippled outward, bending and shattering the heavens. Invested with divine power of good and virtue, evil and sin, knowledge, magic, and all the domains; these shards rained in sevens down upon the mortal realms.

When it became aware, the Talisman knew there was an opportunity to recreate its existence. It also knew it was unique in that nothing else, and no one else held seven aspects when gods fell. While each of the Talisman's seven aspects came from different gods, some not even from this realm and some now dead, but all exquisitely manipulative and evil.

The Talisman sees its path before it very well and after a time it calls out for it must have a host. Any host will do for now.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Giant's Tale

The Firbolg adjusted his tunic as he walked down Loudwater’s main thoroughfare. The damage was considerable. Scorch marks scarred the many buildings, some no longer standing; and the falls for which the town is named, its bridges lay broken. Half the city of fare-born had been destroyed; if there had been any survivors they mayhap fled and would not return. The city had a tainted feel.

The Firbolg had seen people, scouts he assumed because they did not stay long; mayhap from Secomber. The giant cared not, he avoided their company whenever possible.

The Firbolg began to search for magic in the ruins; magic was something that fascinated him so he looked for it whenever he could. High and low he searched.

Just as he was about to give up, insight struck the giant. Whatever attacked the city was after something. Most of the larger main city buildings had taken the majority of the damage and when the giant finally came a central building, one that overlooked the falls - a temple he believed, a temple of magic - and saw the devastation; the giant knew the dragon found what it came for.

The firbolg called to mind another spell when a buzzing filled the giant’s ear. A red static lined the air as a wide crack appeared in the ground before him that billowed out flame and smoke. Standing there confused as to why his spell failed, an undead fire giant climbed out of the crack; looked at the firbolg; and laughed like the dead.

Tale of Two Sins

Wrath: also known as ‘rage’, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.

Pride: considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins... identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, the failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of one’s self.

The Waterdhavian noble family of Tesper uses its walled city villa to host parties; even common folk and outlanders are welcome to attend. The Tespers have an almost insatiable hunger for live music and the willing company of strangers who enjoy wrestling and other body contact sports. They host one all-night gathering every tenday. Rousing ball games and impromptu wrestling tournaments abound, with not a few bumps and bruises to the participants.

It was just such an night when, what began as yet another rain storm in this summer of rainstorms, evolved into sudden violent thunderstorm. Gusts of wind drove the rain like darts into anyone caught unprepared. From the darkness ocean waves beat viciously at the lower shores. As midnight passed, a chant began rise from the night- discordant and disturbing in tone and disposition.

Thunder rocked Tespergates like a slam from a tidal wave. The attendees began to stir, some fled into the evening streets of Waterdeep while others crowded into inner rooms and lower chambers. Julius Tesper, Lord of Tespergates watched the storm with trepidation when Ian Jytman entered with dire news.

“There is a force attacking the western gate!” Ian exclaimed, his Staff of Thunder and Lightning at the ready. Ian was an aging mage who still had a lot of energy and drive.

“Do we know what they want? Do we know the extent of their forces?” Julius Tesper was a skilled warrior and self-appointed protector of Tespergates; he gathered his mail, combat gear and battle axe and readied himself for battle.

Outside the rain beat down on the deadly Talamius, the rain making little ‘ping’ sounds off his full plate armor. His steed stomped impatiently, as they watched the clerics with their tridents assault the villa. Talamius is an evil warrior who was known to join in most any battle for the sake of the fight. He enjoyed the slaughter and causing pain. He preferred to intimidate his opponents first; the fear in his opponents’ eyes gave him an otherworldly thrill. From behind his dark helm red glowing eyes surveyed the clerics as they droned on, chanting to their god Umberlee.

Inside, Julius and Ian watched as an aspect of Umberlee emerged great and terrible from the ocean below and onto the city streets, its form impossible to look at. From the avenues, clerics likewise gathered; united with their aspect to take the Tespergates.

“May the fortune of Tymora be with us.” Julius decreed.

As the battle was joined, Ian raised his staff and tried in vain to counter the aspect’s power. Julius began to focus his rage and his axe on the avatar; it seemed to not react.

Talamius let the battle simmer before entering, gaging the tempo of the combat; then gigged his mount and rushed after Julius who did not stand a chance against the evil that was Talamius. 

 Umberlee advanced on the villa to find Ian Jytman, who stood paralyzed under the gaze of the aspect. With its goal in reach, the aspect took Ian’s staff from his grasp and held it aloft. Ian could only watch as great peals of thunder, rain and hail renewed in strength; pounding wind and lightning swirled outward from Umberlee’s avatar as it took on a second aspect.