Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tales from the Trackless Sea: the Purple Rocks

The Blackstaff crossed the expanse of Trackless Sea west from Gundarlun on his companion mount Foocault or ‘Foo’, a Ki-rin of exceptional intelligence and nobility. Since the godsfall and subsequent star-shower that followed Foo had become the embodiment of Pure Good, helping Khelben reach out to cities in the North to sow alliance with the threat of war looming on the spring horizon. Thanks to Foo’s shape-changing abilities; during these forays, the Ki-rin disguised Khelben and itself allowing them to visit cultures with impunity, given the common distrust of magic and its users among the Uthgardt and the Northmen islanders.

The folken of the Purple Rocks were once a Gundarlun colony. There are no elderly here and no one under the age of thirteen. Their meager pallor was one of long years in poor conditions despite their natural resources. For Northmen, Rocklanders are unusually warm and friendly, though their smiles may seem strained and painful. They appear to worship the usual Northman deities, but their graven images of those gods all show reptile-like scaled arms and legs; furthermore, their long ships favor snarling green dragon figure heads.
 
Appearing as Uthgardt barbarians, The Blackstaff and the Ki-rin, Foo stood before Utheraal’s King, Bromm Sithas; the Sun Speaker. The handsome Island King appeared to have a strain of eldritch blood in his lineage, Khelben doubted if the folken of the eastern most Island of the Rocks were aware of their King’s exotic origin or his relation to Sai Piergeiron. 

“All signs point to an attack after the thaw. King Selger will take advantage of the big city conflicts; his battle lust will overcome him.” Khelben laid it out as simply as he could, opting not to confuse the debate with the knowledge of intrigue that was already in motion; an aspect of warfare that has already drawn first blood.

“We contribute to the welfare of the western island Trisk and King Selger. Why would he upset our accord?” King Bromm retorted.

“It is protection you pay and thee knows it.” It was Foo that pointed out the obvious.

Khelben waited for the truth to set in. King Bromm excused most of his court save for his longship commanders and warrior chiefs. “This summer has bought our tribe great fortune. We have vanquished the dragon Dagaronzie; the scourge of the Evermoors.” Khelben lied, “we have acquired the beast’s hoard and thus have the gold you will need to finance your defenses; longships, weapons and most important, the food to survive.”

“And what would you ask in return for your aid?” The king of Utheraal asked, hopeful.

Underneath his black hood, a hint of a smile emerged on Khelben's face.

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