Friday, June 29, 2012

Spies Like Us

Two days before the Festival of the Moon, Lormo stepped out onto the street that ran in front of Storm Keep. Closing the gate behind him, he ran over the list of errands in his mind. These were tasks that he didn't trust to anyone else that served the needs of his lord and his tet. Despite the cold, wintery air and early morning hour, the street was buzzing with the clipclop of horses and the murmur of people off to work and their own errand-running.
 A voice called out from behind him, "Why, if it's not my old friend Lormo!". Lormo stiffened, a hand reaching beneath his heavy cloak to the dagger secreted there. The manservant recognized the voice, but was sure that he'd scanned the street before stepping out into it. He did not see the owner of the voice anywhere, then.
 Lormo turned and saw the speaker, whom he hadn't seen in years. The man was little changed; older, his hair greyer and more wispy, his face more lined and his back slightly stooped. This was LeCarre and he was a pocketman.
 LeCarre had served Waterdeep for years in this capacity. Called spies, assassins, fingermen in other lands, LeCarre was the master of them under the Paladinson. After the purge of the Shadow Thieves, the old man felt it was time to retire. Piergeron had not seen it needful to replace him, and this position had been left vacant for years. From what Lormo had found out, LeCarre rarely left his small, 2 room apartment. It had quietly been whispered amongst those in the know that he must have a fortune squirreled away somewhere, yet he certainly didn't live like it.
 "Out enjoying the fresh morning air?" LeCarre asked amicably.
 "No, old friend, I have errands to run. I prefer to get them out of the way as soon as possible," Lormo replied, slowing his walk to match that of the older man.
 "Of course, of course. I, too, prefer work before play. And how are the younglings? The Thunderst- I mean, the Agundar boys?" LeCarre asked, turning to peer at the cohort at his side.
 Lormo's mind raced. LeCarre's mention of his lord's true family name wasn't a slip of the tongue, nor was it a mistake due to age. LeCarre's brazen mention was surely a move on the gameboard. While it was never mentioned or admitted in polite society, there were certainly nobles who suspected the boys' true lineage.
 "Oh, they are well. They and their tet should be in Amphail by now. I believe Sai Tarm has some holdings there," Lormo said in a voice that he hoped came across as nonchalant.
 "Ah, the young. Always running about, hither and yon!" laughed LeCarre. "I was coming by to let you know that the boy has offered me my old job back."
 Lormo nodded slowly. "And will you be getting back into the game?" he inquired.
 LeCarre beamed, "I have actually told him yes. Even at my age, I was getting restive. My mind was rusting away. What with the war, and magic being unreliable, Piergeron felt he needed eyes to retrieve information. I've heard that a mage he was using to divine certain numbers in Luskan was driven mad. She flung herself off a balcony, poor girl."
 "Well, you have my congratulations, LeCarre. From what I remember, no one was better at organizing and running pocketmen than you," Lormo said, sizing up the man out of the corner of his eye. LeCarre's mind, his most formidable weapon, seemed as sharp as ever.
 Placing a withered hand upon Lormo's arm, LeCarre stopped and turned to face him. "I just want you to know that there may come a time when the city of Waterdeep must call upon its sons and daughters. All of them. If I come calling..."
 "As long as it's for Waterdeep, I'm sure the lads will heed the call. As shall I," Lormo solemnly said. With the Blackstaff gone, this man in front of him may be the most dangerous man in the city. A chill that had nothing to do with the cold air trickled down his spine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Down by the River

Meaghan was dreaming again.  She could even tell herself that she was dreaming and it did nothing to halt her mind from replaying the events from that night.  She was forced to relive it, to re-experience her last night of humanity on Toril…
The Giants and trolls had been driven south overland from their attacks on Yartar.  Meaghan’s sorcerous skills were requested when some of those Giant stragglers settled a few miles from Daggerford on the Grayflow River.  While Meaghan herself wasn’t a Harper, several family members and friends were, so when she had received the request for assistance from the Harper agent Clavos, she immediately joined him and headed to the river to investigate.
The ranger Clavos was especially skilled with Trolls, his weapon produced magical flame and his armor could withstand their raking blows.  What Clavos needed was help with the two hill giants who would pepper him with thrown boulders and debris.   If Clavos could get in close enough he was more than confident in his ability to fell the few giant-kind that threatened their lands.  Meaghan’s magical talents were primarily in transmutation and conjuration.  She could use magic to give her allies unique skills or to transport them over long distances quickly.  Their plan was to find where the creatures were camped and distract them with a bright display of magical lights and sounds and use the distraction to allow her magic to move Clavos around the battlefield.  Clavos easily found the creature’s tracks and brought them within a hundred yards of their campfire on the Grayflow River.
As Meaghan began the final preparations of her spell, her eyes rested again on the comet that had been blazing across Toril’s skies these past weeks.  She remarked to Clavos that it appeared as if the Comet would strike the moon and its tail was already breaking up.  Her preparations  complete, Meaghan released her magical lights and sounds, having them burst directly above the two sleeping hill giants.  To her eyes the magical lights and sounds were odd, strange changing colors and the sounds that were released sounded as if they echoed in a tunnel.  Watching the startled giants jump to their feet while the trolls ran towards the sound gave the young sorcerous quite a chuckle.  Clavos drew his weapon and nodded at Meaghan his readiness and she began her spell that would transport him directly behind the giants.  As her spell was released a horrible screech and wailing sound tore at the sky and Meaghan knew something was terribly wrong.  She could hear Clavos screaming only for a moment before she felt herself torn away and lifted by her own magic.  Meaghan felt herself moving but looking back could see her body torn apart, split from within, magical colors swirling out of what were surely mortal wounds.  Her vision was suddenly filled up as she was falling, rapidly moving towards one of the larger trolls.  Streaks of burning rock passing through and around her, Meaghan could feel herself falling yet to her eyes she had no bodily form.  At least until she felt herself fall into the troll.  With no explanation to the madness occurring around her, she fell into unconsciousness, her last conscious thought the frightening realization that she somehow was now somehow inside the troll.
When she regained consciousness it was still night, the campfire was dying down and all was quiet.  The sky was alive with strange glows and streaks.  Looking into the river water, one giant floated face down, slowly being moved downstream while the other appeared to have died where he stood, his body pierced with stones and debris that had fallen from the heavens.  Meaghan saw what remained of Clavos’ body torn apart similarly to the body that had once been hers.  Staring into the water Meaghan stared at her new reflection, the monstrous troll features staring blankly back…
Meaghan woke from the dream.  The smells and sounds of Skullport suddenly echoing as her thoughts were pulled to from the dream to present day.  No one here knew who she was or what she had once been.  No one asks a troll too many questions.  Somehow she would find a way…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Family Tradition

Mairi was a young human woman diplomat and handmaiden to the Elven Lords of Eaerlann; her pedigree had been born and raised specifically to serve the Noble Silver Elves for generations. She was only nineteen when she met Joseph, a rugged lumberjack and fighter from a nearby human settlement on the frontier, and her whole life changed. To her Joseph represented a spirit and freedom she lamented she would never know. To him Mairi was a figure of beauty and charm in his world of dullards and... less beauty. Their romance began quite by happenstance....

“I despise this part of the path Mairi, I hear that Shriekers grow near hear—just passing close to them will set them off. The noise; it’s quite upsetting. And the distance through here always defeats me, sometimes the trail seems longer than at other times.”

Mairi was not paying attention to the endless talk wrought on by nervousness. Mairi was in fact hoping to catch sight of the Unicorn rumored to be adventuring in this part of the High Forest. Such promise always brought her a thrill which is why she always volunteered on these trips for their elven lords.

“Do you think there is any truth to the tales of the dragon Blaze… or was it called Flame?”

“Magma,” came Mairi’s uninvolved response, “its name was Magma.” But when she heard movement on her side of the trail Mairi was alert in an instant—hand over her companion’s mouth. “Shhh.”

The canopy was thick and made the area dim, only occasionally when the wind had a mind to it would thin rays of sunlight reminded weary travelers that it was indeed daytime. Far in the distance the piercing cry of a colony of shriekers came like ghosts form the forest; something was following them as well.

“Hile,” came a bold male voice.

Both woman turned forward and with a start to see two burly men standing in their path. “Evening ladies, or is it day time? I cannot tell. For two days my son and I have been all up and down this road and cannot seem to find a way out. Would you lovely ladies kindly give two lost helpless travelers some directions from this lost trail?” The man had the tired look of hardships and a lifetime of backbreaking work. However, Mairi locked eyes with the other young man, the man’s son. He was handsome and strong but he lacked the angry features of his father— he also had a look of sadness about him that seemed out of place.

“Why thank you kind miss, now if you will also ‘kindly’ hand over the Wand of Secret Door and Trap Location we know you have. I know it is how you find your way out of these woods, now hand it over!” The man said in a voice that sounded very far from helpless; he unsheathed a sword and pointed it toward the Handmaidens. Just as the young women began to scream, an equestrian cry cut shout their alarm at the brandished sword. It was the unicorn, powerful and majestic it somehow neutralized their older counterparts leaving the younger pair in astonishment. Mairi watched as her friend fainted and the burly man like wise fell asleep leaving Mairi and the young man to share a moment of time. As fate would have it they fell in love, Mairi gave Joseph the Wand so he could find her through the lost road again, and again, and again… all that summer.
 
Ten years later…

Despite the ever present racism toward humans in the elven city, his father and Mairi were thrilled to see little Drakkimor accelerating as young wizard prodigy. The couple's clandestine summer affair had produced a child who, after passing severe elven scrutiny, was allowed to be educated as a wizard. Mairi watched anxiously holding hands with Joseph in the grand colonnade surrounded by Drakkimor’s elven teachers, it was Moonfeast and Drakkimor’s name-day; he was bonding with a familiar a fey-born called Watcher.

Five years later…

It was a time of war for the elven lands as the tanar’ri hordes and the demon-blooded orcs advanced on the elven lands. One day, Drakkimor’s mother Mairi and Watcher discovered, quite by accident, a band of mischievous quasits on assignment.  The only one to return and warn Drakkimor and the elves was Watcher.

One year later…

It was Watcher, the sixteen year-old Drakkimor lamented. His own bonded familiar responsible for countless lives by selling secrets to the quasists; the demon hordes had an easy campaign decimating the elven defenses. Drakkimor could not think of a species of creature he hated more than the fey; they have brought the death of his mother and ruin for Eaerlann at the hands of the tanar’ri. How he hated their dark, awkward alien ways.

Drakkimor looked down at his sickly father, all the ruggedness and vitality gone from his features. There was no one left to tend to the sick or the wounded; all the healers were days gone, flowing the Eaerlann refugees west. Watching his father die Drakkimor promised several things to himself; he would travel to the new port city of Waterdeep and begin a life where he vowed no wizard his family would bond with a familiar. Instead he would start a tradition of bonding with an item starting with his father’s wand, because without it his parents would likely never met.  

Six generations later…

The wizard looked out from his tower toward the setting sun; he closed his eyes lifting the wand high. He then gathered his will and cast the final spell into the wand, the incantation that would complete the item for his son born to him this night. Wild magic surged briefly and violently as color slowly returned to the wizard's workroom, library and trophy cases where before there was only colorless grey.
 
My son Sevindrakk,

It is tradition in the Wands family that a father crafts their children’s first wand on the night they are born; it is believed that the bond between wizard and his wand is greater under these conditions. In this wand I place all my love and my wish that you to meet every adventure and encounter with all the spirit and virtue I hope to teach you.  

Take this wand with you always and let it be your weapon, your bond, and your reminder of your family and my love for you.  

Dad.

Alegan of Waterdeep

Casey and Merrik Roaringhorn were as serious as the two cousins could be. The two cavaliers had spent the last two days talking to supporters of the Horseman, and had found quite a lot that agreed with the sensibilities of Alegan, a cleric follower of Taurens. In fact, each had found enough to form a squadron of their own, and could serve as a platoon under a lieutenant in the troops of the Horse Lord. Alegan, a dark swarthy man with a slightly sinister black beard and mustache, was a commoner of the city, who used to attend the tower of luck. He quickly gravitated toward Taurens calls for action, eagerly guarding the faithful of the lady of luck, and swore his allegiance and faith to him the day he established the Tower as Tymora's home church. But this call for pilgrimage bothered him. He was a student of strategy and faith, and he could   not stand to see his Lords holdings and edicts left unguarded.
 He rode along with the Roaringhorns to Capt. Arina on this Friday morning to tell her of his plan to have a platoon of soldiers left behind in Waterdeep. The soldiers would all stay at or around the Tower of Luck, to defend them against the attacks that are surely coming. Since we are leaving the Garden vacant for fear of dragon scourge, it doesn't make sense to split our forces and try to guard that as well. Guards are to keep alert, and in the case of dragon attack try to provide cover and a place to flee for citizens and faithful. More familiar humanoid attackers can be met with sword and shield. Cult members are to be killed when identified.
" The squadrons will each have 7 clerics and 7 fighters working together, for a total of 28 defenders. The Roaringhorns shall serve as their sergeants, and have nominated myself, if I may captain, to lead the platoon as its lieutenant." Alegan of Waterdeep looked confident as he concluded his presentation of his strategy.
Arina was impressed and secretly delighted. "Your thinking is clear, and your solution sensible and on point, particularly with its focus on the safety of the temple and its followers. This kind of initiative describes exactly what Lord Tauren has described for the attributes of his First Platoon, and so you shall be that platoon. You will also be known as the Shield Platoon. As you place your trust in these two nobles, so will I and promote them to sergeants in your service, Lieutenant Alegan. Ride faithfully under the Banner of your Liege, and forever feel the blessing of his battle luck".
With that, Arina couldn't help but smile as she changed her plans, and hurriedly began to pack saddle bags for the road to Amphail. With a gaurd to stay behind, she could join her Lord Horseman and take part in the holy day, and all in the arms of her consort, Lieut. Harpell. As her horse hooves beat a steady gallop on the road to Amphail, she felt rewarded for her sacrifices over the past couple of weeks and spurred her mount faster to catch up with an earlier group of pilgrims.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Somewhere in Waterdeep

Kafcar unlocked the door and entered his home quietly from the rear alley side. Lighting a small candle, Kafcar allowed his eyes to adjust to the gloom and began to move through his familiar surroundings. The three rooms that made up his flat appeared to be undisturbed since he had left the night of the dragon’s attack. When he saw the amount of destruction their attack caused he thought it wise to hide out for a while in case anyone in the neighborhood saw him painting the whitewash symbols. Now he returned for his valuables and his symbol of membership with the cult, the dragon’s scale amulet. Stepping into his rear room, Kafcar’s eyes were blinded by a suddenly opened lantern.


“Welcome home Kafcar, I’ve been patiently waiting.” a deep voice, unknown to Kafcar, spoke from behind the lantern’s light. As Kafcar’s eyes adjusted, he saw a large muscular man, shuttered lantern in one hand, drawn black short sword in the other. The intruder’s skin was taught, drawn and shaking, anger rippling across the man’s acid scarred features, his hair in scattered patches. “I know you are with them,” spoke the stranger, “I have your scale.” Kafcar’s shoulders slumped at those words, his mind wondering if he could escape. As if sensing his thoughts, the man’s sword arm rose up and fell, deftly slicing an unseen cord or rope. Kafcar’s feet were suddenly swept up, the rug he was standing on, now rising up, wrapping around him. “My name is Sanford,” his low voice rumbled, “and you are going to tell me everything you know about them.”

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Feast Of The Moon

The Feast of the Moon (Moonfeast), also called Reaptide Featival and observes the end of Reaping and the arrival of Winter Morn—the first day of winter. When the Eve of the festival is upon the towns and cities the people are often in celebratory and amorous moods who then decorate their clothing with Reap Charms as custom. While parents entertain themselves with adult activities children play at turkey runs, pumpkin-carving, pig scrambles, riding competitions, and barn dancing.

As Harvest Moon waxes into the Demon Moon, the last of the crops are taken to market or stored for the winter and a period of rest begins for farmers and smallholders; although official Year’s End is after winter, for the sharecropper Moonfest is called Closing the Year.

The Feast of the Moon is often a holy day for many tribes as well as Death and War gods from all over the Realms; the North is no exception. It is also the day when the dead are honored with memorials where people gather to share stories and legends of their beloved fallen.

Tempus clerics and high priests perform the Ritual of Remembrance where graves are blessed and stories of the doings of those now gone are shared far into the night. For clergy of the Red Knight, faithful highborn nobles as a matter of course bring unique weapons of titles, renown, and history to be blessed in a ceremony called Red Knight’s Temperance.

To the followers of Shar this holy day is known as the Rising of the Dark which begins a period fierce ministry for her clergy.

Also during this time, all Uthgardt clans converge on their tribe’s ancestral mound for the annual Runemeet. These huge earthworks mounds, often shaped like the totem beasts, are sacred burial grounds, where only the greatest shamans and chiefs are interred. Here the Uthgardt worship their totem-gods, set tribal policy, perform marriages, celebrate births, formalize adoptions, and mourn deaths.

During the Runemeet, boys desiring to become men and warriors participate in the Runehunt, in which those involved seek victory over the tribe’s ritual enemies—usually orcs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Message to Blackstaff

Sai Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun,


I hope this message finds you well. I am providing you with several enemy movements that I believe you will be in a unique position to act upon. {Insert info on Hags, Morlocks, Holiday ceremonies, and their function, further information on the William Device, 100% honest to Damian’s level of understanding}. As for why I and my companions do not move against these foes of Waterdeep, it is simple; During this time we will be under attack from the Cult of the Dragon who are in the service of Frostburn a Storm Dragon, the Destroyer.

I write to you humbly and honestly. Humility is, as you well know, is not my or my families strong suit. So what would drive me to such an act? Our mutual love of Waterdeep. I believe that when the voice from the heavens spoke above Waterdeep the night of Skyfall , it highlighted the importance of our city not only to Toril but the planes themselves. I won’t pretend to understand everything that is occurring as fully as someone of your intelligence and magical ability. That said, since I plan to take the celestial stair and ascend, I feel it important you know that I view all of Waterdeep as holy ground, not only of my faith, but all faiths.

Sai Arunsun, whether you choose to act upon the information I’ve provided, I feel it important that you be informed of key facts and beliefs that drive the Samular Pantheon. This note assumes you to have a good deal of knowledge about our bloodline and understand our importance in a time when a fabled dragon of lore has risen to challenge the heavens and attack our home city. If my assumption is incorrect, I will provide you what information I have that I believe to be true. I hope that where my brash and youthful actions of the past have offended you, you will see value in a nobleman ally that you have no need to mince words or wonder at my true motivations. My motives are easy and clear, I intend to rise to the heavens at the Lord of Retribution, replacing the faulty broken god Talos, and fulfilling a proper function. It is the belief of the Samular Pantheon that regardless of moral beliefs, certain faiths and functions HAVE to be fulfilled; the gods were thrown from heavens for failing to fulfill their “godly niche”. Due to this belief, there is no use attempting to stop the rise of the god of war or peace, they each must exist to fulfill that portfolio. My hope is that all religions that take the stair will look upon Waterdeep in the future as Holy Ground and the place where the heaven’s both fell and were restored. For this vision to occur Waterdeep must survive.

This brings me to another issue which I believe will become very important in the coming months, who then the god of magic. This is a role that will have to be filled. As it stands now Toril is in danger of having magic forever dangerous and unstable or split into domains among several gods, limiting its power. Despite all the advantages the Samular pantheon has, we have no one in our Tet to fill this role, nor anyone in our pantheon that has a true understanding of magic. I don’t know if you would consider filling the role but I would ask that you look for someone worthy.

As a former masked Lord I implore you to act, to move against an element that I cannot currently reach. I ask for the good of Waterdeep, not for me. My only offering to you is honesty and truth, however harsh, between us. I will not insult your intelligence by offering favors from the heavens should I succeed in my heavenly efforts. I do not know how such an event will affect my consciousness or if I will have many memories of my mortal life. Instead I offer you the opportunity to have palaver with a nobleman who shares the same passion and love of Waterdeep as you do, free of politics or subterfuge. Should you need information from home while you work on everyone’s behalf, I would do my best to provide it to you.

Damian Agundar Samular

Tales From the High Palaver

Madeiron Sunderstone looked at Armult Tesper with unsympathetic distaste. Sai Tesper’s boost in rank now made him Maderion’s superior. Sunderstone served as Piergieron’s commander of the guard until the promotion of Armult Tesper as First Knight. Madeiron had bested Piergeiron’s Champion before, but after the return of Courtland Andrus and his vision of a New Age the Tesper family was quick to show the Paladinson their support as well. He was not of noble blood after all and in fact, in many circles he was considered a half-monster and not worthy of honors or titles. And why not, does he not feel the savage monster waiting under all the years of propriety and service? He so wanted to unleash his fury mayhap need. His skills were being wasted here; he was not a gunslinger and it only served to further distance himself from what he formally knew: serving by his guardsmen protecting the city. How was he protecting the city here with him no longer Piergerion’s highest ranking man and his successor standing smug next to him? Was it a formality or an honor? Whichever the case, it made Madeiron feel soft and defeated which only fueled his simmering Wrath.

The Paladinson
Piergerion was preceded by Maderion and his First Knight when entering Vandrillon Hall where Gunslingers assembled for the High Palaver, the highest parliament in Castle Waterdeep. Vandrillon was the first dragon killed by Piergeiron’s father Arthur in defense of the city; to memorialize him Piergerion named the grand chamber after the heroic deed.

“The ‘Paladinson’, the ‘Eld’”… he waited patiently as his clerk commenced with titles and honors of not just himself, but salutes were called out for each Knight in attendance. The formalities of the High Palaver, Piergeiron mused, he hated protocol and just wanted to lead and command. But it was for the betterment of Waterdeep, was it not?

“The chair recognizes: Bly Ruldegost administrator of the city treasury.” The clerk announced to the gathered gunslinger-knights.

“Honored Knights of the Firelance, the city faces a financial crisis of untold disaster and unless a viable method can be created to restore the city’s accounts, Waterdeep could go bankrupt before Greengrass.” Bly said with even certainty, no pleading in his voice—it was all matter of fact.

“How is this so?” Tryssia Lanngolyn asked, new to the High Palaver she was a fast learner but awful with political etiquette and protocol.

“Sai Lanngolyn, by keeping the city guard at current staffing levels, ranks that are normally seen only in the summer months, has put an unexpected burden on Waterdeep's finances furthermore; the continued recruitment efforts for both the gity guard and city watch are making matters worse and may hasten the problem.”

With no one immediately adding insight to this issue, Piergerion spoke, “I do not need to remind anyone that we are at war. A war on land, sea, and air Waterdeep must be protected at all costs.” Piergerion paused and came to a decision. “The Knights Council will begin tariffs on people and goods entering the city effective immediately.” A hard strike with a dark polished gavel gave his words power and finality. No one balked. “Have the Knights Council organize a committee to evaluate what it will require to balance our resources and see that such measures are implemented.”

“The chair recognizes: Zelderan Guthel, Master Provisioner and Guild master of the Council of Farmer-Grocers” Said the clerk, his voice echoing in Vandrillon Hall.

“Waterdeep has experienced a serious influx of people this year.” Zelderan began. “Wide-eyed fools talking of Fate as well as the frontiersmen and mercenaries all looking for easy gold; furthermore no one is leaving.” Zelderan quickly looked to Brenton Durinbold who nodded subtly in approval. “What I mean to say is that none of the usual folk who travel south after High Harvest Tide appear to be taking to their winter holdings.” The guild master shifted from foot to foot. “The Feast of the Moon marks the end of the Reaping and after that there is no more food coming in.” Master Provisioner Guthel paused then added, “what we have is all there is.”

From the right a man stood as is customary, “The chair recognizes: Sai Olsztel Zun.”

“I propose instituting emergency rations effective immediately.”

On the left, “The chair recognizes: Sai Brenton Durinbold.”

“I second the measure.” His smug grin was undeniable.

I do not like that one, Tryssia thought.

Reluctantly Piergerion said, “The city will begin seizing all inventories of meat and grain, furthermore to see to the fair distribution of the foodstuffs I am expanding the duties of the Knights Council. Sai Zun and Durinbold you will serve in this capacity and be transferred to the Knights Council until further notice. Are there any objections?” When none came, the gavel again sounded out.

“The chair recognizes: Briiathor Alougarr Lord of Amphail.”

Preceded by his own retinue of guards and assistants, Briiathor came at the request of Arsten to add gravity to the issue at hand. “The Road between Amphail and Waterdeep has been secured Sai Eld.” Lord Briiathor said to the cheery surprise from many of the attending citizens. “Regular patrols are in place and hold strong along the one-hundred fifty wheel track between the communities and each patrol checks in with the Thunderstaff North Gate, furthermore the patrols have been instructed to offer themselves as additional escort when necessary but the security of the road is paramount Sai.”

“Your work is impressive Sai Alougarr just how you were able to accomplish this feat where Waterdeep has not?” Piergerion said with keen interest adding a look of disappointment to his bondsman Madeiron at his left.

“Arsten Thunderstaff,” Briiathor said proudly. “He was able to implement new commands coordinating our garrison units more efficiently using the resources we already have. Amphail is known for its horses so he requisitioned them along with some other mandatory assessments on our citizens to secure the road. This brings me to why I present myself before this esteemed Palaver… I officially request that Waterdeep elect to designate the High Road between Amphail and Waterdeep during the next phase of its construction.”



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You Better Run

 "I'm telling you, I cannot see!" Tristan said as Lynda passed the candle she was holding before his eyes. The female warrior frowned, then stood, looking down where her companion sat against the dank, damp wall. She looked to Chael, their priest of Lathander. He, too, gazed down at the stricken fighter, a look of remorse and confusion showing on his face.
 "I have no idea, Lynda. I swear it was a scroll of healing. I didn't recognize the diety, but the words, they were right." whispered Chael, as he looked around worriedly. This was an area of the Undermountain that they hadn't explored. In their panic to retreat from the shadows that had ambushed them, the Trio of Steele had taken a wrong turn somewhere. Probably more than one.
 Lynda Steele sighed, and rubbed her eyes wearily. This small room that they had found fortunately came with a door that they were able to spike closed. As far as they could see, the room was unfurnished and undecorated. Tristan shifted himself further up on the wall, his face creased with pain. Lynda and Chael both kneeled back down at his side; Lynda undoing the buckles of Tristan's chain shirt as Chael pulled out bandages from his pack. Wadding up a roll of linen, Chael had Tristan bite down on it as Lynda pulled the mail off the fighter, exposing the deep gashes that had cut through the padded undercoat. Tristan hissed as some of the links that had been embedded in the slashes pulled free.
 Leaning in close with the candle, Chael peered at the gashes. "They don't appear to be poisoned. With my needle and thread, I can close these back up," he said, sitting back on his haunches. "We'll need to head for the surface at once, however. I'm out of healing potions, and after the scroll, I'd rather not cast any more spells than I have to."
"And I'm no good blind," muttered Tristan, bitterly. Again, Chael wore a mask of shame.
 Lynda leaned her axe against the wall, handed the priest his healer's pack and took up the candle. "Well then cleric, get to sewing. I'll hold the candle. We can rest up in here and start off after a few hours of sleep," she said, If the dungeon will give us a chance to rest that is.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tales from the Tet in Amphail

Briar Belabranta, Sister of the Cloak and Guardian of the Well, stood gazing at her reflection in the Moon Well. A symbol of faith to all women under the moon, of animals, and travel; Briar also exemplifies those who follow the green lady.

Yara was imprisoned fifty years ago by Norsinnow, a wizard known for his evil manipulations on animals and nature. Norsinnow also ‘collected’ lovely women from all nationalities and placed them in a sleep so deep none of the women aged or changed in appearance. He regarded them as his art gallery until the godsfall and suddenly with a surge of wild magic Yara was free to adjust to her new world; a realm where she must survive without her magical abilities. She came to Briar lost and confused, but optimistic when hearing Briar’s words of comfort. “I will help you find the others.”

The chill north air ruffled the feathers of her Bladed Cloak of Murder—Briar’s weapon and her Samular Legacy. She stood alone facing her moonwell, her consecrated grounds. Water from the stone pool lapped up on her Moonstrider Boots as she began to meditate as she did each night—reaching out, looking for threats; listening to prayers and looking for any surviving women from Norsinnow’s gallery. Briar called upon the aspect of the moon to show upon its face what there is to see; with a ripple that centered on the moon, it became a lens in which Briar watched…

Briar open her eyes to find herself in a tree-filled park standing next to a tall exotic woman, the woman cannot see Briar in the vision; furthermore she could not tell her story, but Briar believed this is one of Yara’s associates. Everything moved a quarter-speed and too Briar cannot see very far; her vision was limited to where the moonlight touches. Looking at the woman Briar notices the expression of horror upon her face. Looking toward the source of her terror, Briar sees now they are in the Heroes’ Garden—the Observatory prominent in the moonlight. On the other side of the park’s pond were two Kappa, spiked shells and snapping turtle-like heads, being brought out of the water. But it was not the Kappa that caused the fright—it was the man leading the Kappa out, it was Norsinnow.

Then the scene before Briar changes and the moonwell becomes a chaotic mass of frantic, jittering creatures. Creatures she and the Samular ka-tet have toiled with in the past. Indeed it was their first combat against a deadly threat as a ka-tet. In the pool she could see them gathering in numbers: individuals both small and large, minor and powerful; their population giving them a greater capacity for mischief and ruin. Briar thought, if these creatures are left unchecked then how devastating they would be to her plans for ascension. She opened her eyes, raised her head to the grey sky; her shape separating into a murder of crows that took eagerly to the sky.

Kalina Kormallis awoke suddenly when a black crow cawed from the foot board of her bed. Kalina and the Ready-5 were staying at ‘Steelhands’ ranch, maintaining the grounds while conducting a lucrative smuggling trade. Kalina knew the place would be perfect; Steelhands is outside Amphail so, Kalina thought, Arsten could kindly look the other way and not be seen as an accomplice. Her business today was with a Northlander contact named ‘Odin’ whereby she was able to acquire the commodity needed to acquire the weapon crystals she thought the Samular tet would find essential in the months to come. Kalina felt a chill and noticed her window was open where it had been closed before. Retrieving her Fabled Dagger from under her blanket she then covered herself and strolled to the window, all the while checking for hidden danger. Reaching the window she peered out and saw nothing; no tracks in the snow and no one lurking in the air—except for maybe the crow. The crow cawed urgently. Taking a closer look at the bird she recognized it as one of Briar’s. As she put the crow in a cage Kalina searched for a note but found none. This only further worried the Mistress of Illusion, why was this crow separated from the rest? Kalina got dressed and made haste to the stables where she mounted her horse and rode for Amphail…

Arsten Thunderstaff found sleep difficult to obtain, the notion of protecting all these people—this community—invigorated him and kept him up most nights. He thought he was lucky to get fourteen-hours of sleep in a week, so he was to be a vigilant gods-general he thought. Arsten smiled in spite of himself, power had its price.

He reflected on the Brave Companions’ report of giant sign north of Amphail. “Less than a fifty wheels north of us.” Torg mac Cei had told him. The dwarf was a new Brave Companion, a former mercenary commander. He said Arsten inspired him to take up the fight and defend the North. Even though he holds a general aversion to non-dwarves, especially forest-dwelling races like the fey, he has a natural draw to Arsten because of their common skills and beliefs but would never admit it.
 
Arsten liked him, a dwarf follower: What will dad think? At least the Uthgardt have negotiated peace in observance of the common holiday, to honor their ancestors. Although he believes Briar was to be credited for the armistice, but the Uthgardt are a prideful brand of frontiersmen and they too would never admit it.

“Sai Thunderstaff,” it was Arrikes Jhansczil the on duty cleric. “Kalina is here to see you.”

As Kalina walked in she could not help but admire Arsten, he was in his element. This is what your celestial realm will look like she thinks: a war-room with maps with friendly and enemy movements plotted out. Trophies of war and depictions of heroic efforts.

The crow cried out impatiently while Arsten waited for the explanation he knew was coming.

“I think Briar may have gone and done something stupid.” Kalina said. “I think this crow represents her conviction- somehow she was able to leave it behind to find her with.”

Just then a muffled thud stopped the palaver followed by a small tremor that caused a glass to tumble and break.

“Sir!” It was Lord Gunthar Hawkwinter. “Attack from the north, it’s the frost giants!”

“I shall go with you.” Arsten said resolutely to Kalina. “The tet first!”

“No, you have a town to Protect, it would be better if I went alone anyway. I will take the fastest horse and follow the crow.” Kalina said with cool confidence. She came up and kissed him and patted him on the cheek. “Kill them all.” 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Second Thoughts

As the day wore on, amid the busy preparations and thoughts upon the strange creatures in the Horseman Pond, Tauren began to reflect on his plan for the weekend upcoming. To be sure, there were a multitude of worthy reasons to make the trip to Amphail, and he was sure this was the right course. It was just that the wise words of Samular Damien hung heavy. " We know the cult will attack us and our homes on the Feast. We Know it!!"


If it wasn't safe for Tauren to be at the Gardens, then it certainly wasn't safe for his followers. Besides, he had seen something in himself; he was not used to worship status. It had never even occurred to him that his church and followers would be anticipating a grand celebration and feast. He had felt...uneasy when he realized he was disappointing his flock so suddenly. Monday,in the early evening, he quickened Rushers pace as he drew close to where Teldicia was giving Hero (her new found mount and guardian of Heroes Garden) his evening grain.

"My Lord, It is pleasure to attend you again so soon." her subservience had a cool chill.

"Teldicia, I have come to talk, and pass along a word of thanks for guiding me to a decision I had not considered before."  The horses approached one another, and looked to mimic the conversation of their riders.

" I must admit, you awakened my thoughts of what might happen to you all should the Cult attack our temple in my absence." The weight of that sunk in as Teldicia also considered that for the first time.

" I had hoped to leave Waterdeep with out too much advanced notice to my enemies. I would still like to maintain that as much as possible, but I would like you and Galoban to lead a sort of pilgrimage to Amphail in the days after I leave. Lead our followers to leave sporadically, not en mass, Thursday and Friday, and join me in the celebration of what I think you have brilliantly dubbed our first official church holiday - The Horseman's Birthday, the Feast of the Moon"

Teldicia's brimmed with tears. This suggestion and invitation lifted her heart and her faith to knew heights. She now truly believed he valued her work, and devotion, and undying love. She now truly believed she had a hand in setting forth how to properly worship The Horseman, her Gypsy Lord.

"Yes, my lord, I shall spread the word slowly, individually. I shall assign every one a leaving time and route. I will take care of every detail. Thank you so much, my lord, your thoughts are truly always with us," She smiled broadly and wept a little as she kissed his ring and bid him safe journey on the morn.

The Risen

The Mermaid Sword
She was a vessel with a history checkered by high-living affairs both public and scandalous; many times highborn passengers had a tendency to run-afoul when traveling on the Mermaid Sword. 


The legend varies from one family to the next with the common theme being: a mermaid’s revenge against a womanizing noble. Another example of the ship's past was her involvement in the Wave Wizardess incident. During the Year of the Harp- Year’s End celebration, one of the most puzzling and still unexplained attacks along the Sword Coast occurred. In the waters outside Balder’s Gate, aggressive Northlanders sailed in, systematically decimating unarmed vessels at sea; folk who were there to watch the evening celebration. One ship, the Wave Wizardess mysteriously exploded during the raid; raining fire, causing the ocean to combust during the sea-attack, both defeating the Northlander surprise attack as well as causing an equal amount of collateral damage. The Mermaid Sword however, not only survived the attack but is credited with rescuing a Waterdeep noble by the name of Raine Wands.


Cold ocean water sprayed on the prow of the Mermaid Sword, her graceful figure designed to court the ocean waves not butcher the waters with bludgeoning, ponderous hulls. Sails that embraced the wind with longing affection like a two lovers after a lengthy absence. It was an encouraging sign, it meant progress.


Ord Gauntather stood brazen and attentive on the prow striking a contrasting figure next to the elegant bowspirit of the Mermaid Sword; ocean water heavy in his mouth, he ran an admiring hand down the polished wooden rail then spat at the figure head. Ord again scanned the horizon before meandering to the opposite side repeating the his perusal of the waters hoping not to find what he was looking for.


The journey to Waterdeep was becoming even more taxing, than he could have imagined. Numerous run-ins with giant sharks; to unseasonably cold and stormy conditions and now the danger of icebergs—nevertheless, Ord was being called to Waterdeep. It was urgent and undeniable. He and the Risen Cult were down to seven now. “They who cross the Dark One meet his Doom earlier and more harshly,” Ord thought; one of the tenants he believed. He mentally credited them each: 


Yontryl Amatar, a breathtakingly beautiful Fairborn maiden. A child from the streets, she has served Ord as her religious minister for many years now. She had a survivor’s prowess that he liked and admired.


Vlakkados the Hooded Menace, was a contrast in appearance and profession. A gentle soft-spoken man, he is very tall he often leads people to assume he is a beggar or a cleric of another god. More importantly he is a prodigy when it comes to torture and interrogation.


Tyrostarr the Dark Imperceptor and alchemist of the Risen Cult; Ord recruited him after learning how he was able to assassinate his former master by using a sister-in-law caught in  Tyrostarr's web of lies—she died of ‘natural’ causes before she was connected to the crime.


Cauldyth is a fairly short, rotund, cleric who has a flawless recollection for names and individuals. He delights in acting and often portrays himself as a moneylender named Oswald. To his day Ord has yet to see any of his spells surge with wild-magic.


Thabbys the ‘divine’ necromancer—she, like the others share a prejudice against wizards and mages, as opposed to priests and clerics in the service of the Dark One. She is attended by a yellow parrot skeleton, her messenger and many other functions.


Finally there is… Announcing himself from below deck Halamather, the only remaining original member from Ord’s adventuring days, ascended the short staircase to the prow where the High Hand watched for icy hazards.


“We should see the lights of Waterdeep tonight old friend.” Halamather said optimistically, he knew Ord felt urgency to this trip north; it was why they appropriated the Mermaid Sword.


“Good, Thabbys efforts of intercepting ravens heralding our brazen theft to Waterdeep authorities have met with success. The most challenging task will be…” Ord let his sentence trail off as he once again scanned the horizon, looking for the soft glow of urban settlement. 


“Is the cargo secure?” Ord asked in a way that made Halamather think of navy captains and containers of supplies of which they had little.


“Yes, but it is as you say. The most challenging task will be getting it into Waterdeep,” continuing the thought, ‘to say nothing of the intrigue we will find’ Halamather mused.


A chilling irritated bird-cry preceded Thabbys arrival to the impromptu palaver, “I have prepared the message as you requested, it awaits your order.”


“Outstanding sister, soon we will all be in the company of the next Tyrant.” Ord’s voice was growing inside him; he knew this sensation well—it was when the Dark Lord channeled his distain inciting an episode of uncontrolled sermons and recitations in tongues. Soon everyone could hear Ord speak:


“To serve is to do one’s utmost to bring strife, domination, and hatred upon the civilized races of the Realm. Under clear duress, for tyranny is the dominate aspect; discord to stability under the church’s iron rule.” And as Ord Gauntather- Druid-Bane, Most Holy Hand, and Dread Scourge finished his sermon tiny hints of light appeared to the east separating sky from sea. It was soon accompanied by occasional phantom sounds of the city waving its warm glow in the distance.


Ord brought his lips close to the yellow-bones of the patriot, “To Giller’s Apothecary oh messenger of bones; we answer the Dark One’s call.” He said still feeling the power of his god, it was good to be home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Holdings

The Heroes Garden is a large open area very much like a tree-filled park located in the sea ward. It is about four square blocks in size. The area has served different functions throughout its time, but before it was abandoned and fell to neglect, it last served as a small wizard college known as "The Observatory". Nearly all of the smaller out buildings have been destroyed by the elements, but the manor and main hall still stands. This was a sturdily built large residence with an adjoining tower. The whole structure is made of a mixture of hewn stone and masonry architecture, with wooden mill-worked interiors. The residence is a large square two story manor. Its ground floor includes a large auditorium, a kitchen, and a library. The second floor is living arrangements. Of course, when Tauren claimed these grounds, the house was bare, and Teldicia has only started to furnish the house and temple. The tower is round, and three stories high, with an accessible roof for a viewing platform. In the wizard school this is where the master studied and worked. He is said to have been very skilled at glassblowing and glass making. The doors and room features are of very good quality, though most of the locks are stuck open and no longer operational. As mentioned earlier, the out buildings are not in nearly as good shape, and are good for little but stables. A tent city has developed on the grounds, and Teldicia has been ministering to them. Indeed, some of them have joined my ranks as followers. The area shall still be known as Heroes Garden, but people have begun to refer to the manor as  Horseman's Tower.

Thru the looking glass

Gillian’s finger traced the red dragon figurine as it encircled the mirror. He enjoyed the irony of how it so closely resembled the bitch that hunted him. Since the dragons had openly declared war on Waterdeep, he had kept a low profile. She had been circling the sky for several days before the attack, no doubt looking for him and the items he had hidden. He had watched her, the image in the mirror as clear as looking through a window. It had been a couple days since he had used the mirror. While a low profile was keeping him alive it was counterproductive in his race to divinity. He had just acquired his 6th aspect and located his 7th when the dragons came.
Gillian speaks the divine words causing the draconic figure springs to life. As it breaths a layer of flames over the surface of the mirror he utters the name “Ember the red”.  As the flames burn away the mirror displays a scene Gillian can’t believe. “We are the Samular “ the rest of his words drowned out by Ember’s roar of hate & fear. He watches as an amazing aerial combat ensues. The two griffon riders begin charging Ember in unison. There blows are precise dealing horrific wounds, yet the dragon survives. It tries to flee, moving at amazing speed it greatly outdistances her attackers. Then out of nowhere with a speed that can only be described as heaven-sent, a rider vaults from his mount driving his blade deep into the dragon.  
Gillian could tell that multiple active aspects where in play as the dragon slayer rides Embers carcass to the ground.  With the unbearable weight lifted, he stared fixated at the dragon mirror in disbelief. “Well done” he muttered with a grin he couldn’t hope to contain. As the image begins to burn away he catches a glimpse of the slayer, a look of satisfaction flash across the mirrors surface then it’s gone. Placing the mirror in his bag & slipping the fan into his belt Gillian closes his deposit box. He headed out of the Owls roost headed towards the home of Dwarinom & Benethoe Draigo.  He had one more aspect to acquire and he had put it off long enough.    

Monday, June 11, 2012

Faerie Tales

Briar was amazed at how often serendipity landed in her lap. Here in Amphail, just days after her arrival, she had come across a book that was a collection of legends and people at the time of the Samular campaigns. She drew her blankets around them tighter as she read aloud to her cohort.

 The story relayed the downfall of one of Tancred's followers, a brave warrior of the north known as Dorric the Martyr. He hated his nickname, according to legend, because it had been given to him by the close attendants of the Samulars, mocking his over the top devotion to his lords glory. Once when their retinue was in Amphail, the village had found itself sharing lands with and falling prey to a vicious dark fey fox woman, a creature known to elves as a huldra. Very few tales of such fey exist, but they are generally thought to be shy. This twisted dark fey ,however, took joy in taunting the folk of Amphail. She always left her name, Erytheis, scratched into the flesh of her victim when the malicious creature came out on mild evenings to seduce and then murder one of the townsmen. Dorric, when he heard the tale at the inn, boldly declared that he would not allow his lord Tancred to fall to such wiles, and set forth immediately to West Wood, where the fox fairy laired. Dorric carried with him the Hammer of Grace, a mighty weapon in his right arm, a weapon he notably referred to as his "legacy". Some legends say this was a weapon of Tempus, some say Tyr, and a few say it is of Moraddin. The power it was revered for was Mercy. The hammer had the power to heal those who were injured, even upon deaths door, but only if its user chose to subdue rather than kill his foe. A single lethal blow would block its healing powers for what is now an unknown length of time. Well, that was the last anyone saw of the good and zealous man known as Dorric the Martyr, because he never returned from the West Wood. Despite a week long search, no sign was ever found of him or the mysterious huldra. The hammer was lost in those woods, never to be found at the time of this books printing. No more of the seduction murders were found after his disappearance, although folk still believed the West Wood to be haunted by that dark fey for many years afterward.

Briar bit her lip, and snuggled closer to Tetra. She was intensely aware of the fey influence in the current worlds time of troubles, and could feel the influence of the dark fey growing. She certainly didn't like the portend of a Samular warrior succumbing to their dark sorcerys.

A Game Delayed


Sage Ammathair could only be drawn away from work by three things, a new discovery, his loving wife Shay, or his niece Hlantos Melshimber. Hlantos was the daughter that Ammathair and his wife never could conceive. She had spent her childhood under the esteemed tutelage of her famous uncle and became his most apt pupil and able assistant. Despite all of Ammathair’s years of training his niece and her obvious talents, the sage’s sister Hlanta still favored her bull headed son Khallos over his older and more able sister Hlantos. Ammathair’s nephew’s sole focus was on the family’s vineyards and collecting fine wines of which he sampled too many. Once the sage’s sister passed away or ceded over control of day to day family business to the hot headed young man Ammathair feared for his family’s long term health and viability.


Despite Ammathair’s concerns he was growing frustrated at his niece’s tardiness. Hlantos had sent word she would meet him for a game here at the Emporium. They had agreed to meet at dusk and it was dark now well over an hour. Growing concerned Ammathair signaled his bodyguards to him and sent one to search for her but to report back to him at Waterdeep Castle. Leaving word and coin with the proprietor of the Emporium the sage returned to the castle a worried man.

The Lion, The Eagle, and The Dragon

On the morning before the Blue dragon attack on the Fields of Triumph, three of Tempus’ greatest combatants competed in seven challenges that tested their strength, valor, and weapon prowess. To find a warrior who demonstrated courage under scrutiny; skill with every weapon given unto him; and exemplified the virtues to which the Tempus clerics would see in their god’s avatar.


A god of War: but not one of blood-thirsty slaughter, but a virtuous warrior-god who draw followers that will worship Tempus with zeal and generosity; as Shield of the Defenseless and Sword of War.

“Uncle, who is that warrior with the horned-helm?” the inquisitive Santis asked of his uncle Vastarr Roaringhorn. Having failed at getting his attention over the din of the crowd, Santis prodded his uncle and repeated himself to no avail.

Krazen Dragonsbane
“That’s Krazen Dragonsbane the former leader of the Kryptgarden Keepers.” His twin sister answered. Alyssa Roaringhorn was prodigy when it came to history and lore; many in her family have hopes that she put that knowledge to use as a Lore master or bard.

Swords clashed followed by pugnacious taunts that brought on another round of cheers that forbad any chance for palaver. Alyssa stepped up on the benches to peer over the large dark man standing in the row below them; she noted his black wide-brimmed hat. She bid her brother to do the same, and climbed up on the bench.

After joining her she continued, “He has a checkered past, some say it was Marten—some say it was Krazen who brought the end to the tet, but Krazen has never betrayed the church.”

“He looks absolutely mad.” Santis observed.

“Their whole tet came back… changed.” She concluded, nodding in agreement. “I am not sure of the other two.”

Santis for a wonder knew one of the others. Santis Roaringhorn was for the sword and the warrior’s way; and idolized many of the cities noble warriors, but before he could say before more—jeers and vigorous arm pumps to the sky cut him off to the spectacle. A cry of triumph cut through the crowed, and that brought goose-flesh to rise on his arms. Up one more step, they were now shoulder level with the large man who Alyssa thought looked like a mortician.

“The man with the black and gold breastplate…” Santis pointed out.

“The one with the eagle?”

“Yes, that is Ramsey Eagleshield—he was the first to bring an aspect of good to Waterdeep.”

Ramsey was well liked, without a selfish bone in his body—the man knew no limits when it came to generosity. Furthermore he was a hero in the eyes of ambitious young warriors, always taking the time to show aspiring fighters a quick parry or… the “eagle’s-slash”.

Kelemvor Lionsbane
“I hope Sai Eagleshield proves the victor!” Santis said enthusiastically and began to lead his section in a chant for Eagleshield… Eagleshield… Eagleshield!

“Ok then,” Vastarr remarked at last. “Who is the third warrior?”

It was then the man in black turned to regard the Roaringhorns, “That’s Kelemvor Lionsbane, slayer of King Graul—the Ice Mountains orc king; recently he protected hundreds against the West gate dragon. That is who I’d see win.”

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Claudia

The ferocious blast of cold had struck into her home with such velocity and force that the concussive energy hurled the teen girl from her top bunk through the small wood shuttered window. Had she not landed on some of the wood from the window, the piles of snow outside her second floor window would have braced her fall. The wood lodged painfully into one side, bruising her ribs and scraping the skin along her side with painful splinters. Claudia could only watch in terror as the tremendous dark bulk of a dragon passed over head, casually destroying her family and home.
Claudia searched the wreckage of her home for two days before locating all of her families’ corpses. The anger grew during those days. Alone with her grief she first hated herself, angry at her own failure, frozen scared in the snow. The anger coalesced when she found the body of her mother, wrapped around the frozen infant form of her baby brother Ryan. Crying and yelling at the sky, Claudia fell into fitful sleep, haunted by dreams of her brother surviving the blast only to freeze to death in the wreckage. Unsure of the time or day, driven near madness by her nightmares, Claudia stepped out into the storm. Crying to the heavens, Claudia swore her vengeance to the sky and dedicated her life to destroying those who took so much from her. Then as if in answer to her cries, a voice broke through her anger, calling Claudia to a place called Storm Keep. The lord of the manor calls for those who would learn to resist, the tenor and tone of his voice carrying similar pain and hatred for dragon kind. Returning to the remains of her family home Claudia gathers the few things she could recover and prepared to fulfill her oath.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Senmet and the Risen Scepter

The ancient order of the Risen Scepter are acolytes of Osiris, he of the White Crown and Judge of the Dead. The Risen Scepter welcomes all professions including necromancers, paladins and individual seekers of vengeance. But only a few initiates come as skilled Arcanists; nevertheless they are all trained extensively with all the styles of the flail and basic magic—whereby they become a specialized group trained to root out and eradicate the Fangs of Set: the Brother of Dragons and Defiler of the Dead, whom the Risen Scepter believes to be actively infiltrating the Mulhorand aristocracy. Tainting the realm with Set’s poison.


While those who complete the trails and studies go on to represent and administer Osiris’ will, only those touched by him rise after death to continue his god’s work. Investing a measure of their will into a phylactery, a small token resembling a grinning skull; a vow is taken, blood is sacrificed, and a period of fasting begins. They fast for two reasons: as a gesture that more food goes to the hungry; and to become emaciated and gaunt — as to seem nearly dead in appearance.


After an indeterminate amount of time the fasting ends when their grinning skull phylactery turns black, a sign that Osiris accepts the tribute and vow: blessed so that if they were to fall in service to Osiris against the minions of Set—they would rise in undeath to continue their holy work.


Senmet stood on legs that looked ready to give out should he not take care. He was the seventh generation removed from Osiris himself, the god of death who stepped from the barge Ma-tet all those years ago. As he recited his vow, his ancestry proved to be his failure and his denial into the Risen Scepter. Instead of being accepted into order, his bloodline was revealed and he was therefore venerated and to be protected as per the tenants of their vow. It stood like wall against him and his crusade against Set.


Turning his back on his training, his homeland, and his teachings he embraced his divine bloodline and fashioned it into a talent: neco-sorcerery—which allowed him to escape and employ his affinity with the dead against the order’s—no, HIS sworn foe.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tales from Yartar

The ka-tet arrived in Yartar to find it quite different from times past. After inquiring with the right people, the companions learned that on the night the heavens rained down divinity and moon tears were shed upon the realm, Yartar was host to the largest gathering of frontiersmen and range-riders in Shieldmeet history. Come to find out also that night, a Harper by the name of Nyral Sunsdottir exposed an evil network governed by ‘Waterbaron’ Alahar Hkaumfros. To everone’s credit, as the Time of Troubles began no one panicked or went mad as each person venerated one or another deity. Alahar was removed from office allowing religious advisers to move in and become political selectmen.

It was not long after this when the frost giants and ice-trolls from the Evermoors began their siege of Yartar anew. Tales of the accuracy of the troll’s icicle-like javelins they seem to be able to create at will as well as dirges about the sudden blizzards brought on by the giants; fill many taverns to this day.

As the siege commenced, a four-aspect avatar of Torm would rise to give aid and succor to the besieged Yartarians and begin a campaign against the giants that would last until High Harvest Tide. Torm spoke to the masses with their rivers and livelihood painted in the background; he inspired one-hundred fifty swordsmen to mount up in purpose. Torm named them ‘The Shields of Yartar’. Together they broke through the vanguard and slowly, over the course of weeks, drove the giants back north securing once again the Evermore Way.

While this was happening, in Yartar the religious selectmen were at odds with how to govern Yartar while another Waterbaron was elected. Life-long residents of Yartar were nominated as well as selectees from organizations such as the Lords Alliance, the church of Waukeen and Tymora. This too lasted for several weeks as party lines were drawn while faith in the gods waxed and waned during the troubled times.

Hannah Laurana of Waukeen, called ‘the Unstoppable’ in recent days, was gifted with an avarice-like appetite for power, and a desire for aspects that she believed to be within Waukeen’s bailiwick. Unfortunately for Hannah, the church of Tymora was quick to use her congregation to acquire the key aspect to keep the Lady Luck alive in the hearts of the people. The faithful of Tymora took up arms, led by Nyral Sunsdottir and the High Priests from the ‘Halls’ and began a spirited march upon the districts of the city announcing treachery of Hannah the Unstoppable. In the end, it was Hannah’s new vision of Waukeen that prevailed over the old precepts of Tymora. The 'Halls' were unceremoniously sacked and the treasures within lost, Tymora as Yartar knew her was dead.

Kym Tarm held out her brother’s message to Morgrun Maerklos who, after reading it passed it along to the others. Since their arrival the two lovers have gathered three other sympathizers who remain loyal to Tymora and do not wish her to fade into nothingness. Nyral, the Harper-rogue: hero and failure; Tibold Hillmover a dwarven cleric known his healing skills; and Nobilius, an ultra-good Paladin from a wealthy river barge family.

“Should we tell your brother about our plans?” Morgrun asked as he handed the message back to Kym. "He may have some insight."

“No. I do not trust magic these days.” She replied speaking about the dragon messenger while trying not to reveal her true meaning. She discarded the message into the fire. “I find this disturbing.”

“Why? Because we see a trend?” Nobilius asked rhetorically. He did not believe in coincidence, indeed the Paladin saw evil in every coincidence. “We know the divine aspects needed to restore Lady Luck are protected by agents of Set—a serpent god and at the very least sympathizers with the Cult of the Dragon. I believe that warrants a reply to your brother if nothing else.”

Kym conceded and began to code a message to her brother. In the background she could hear her lover review their plans for the Feast of the Moon.