Tuesday, July 31, 2012

From the Desk of Maskar Wands

Maskar Wands 

Let it be known to all mages and wizards of the Order that I, Maskar Denethor Wands hereby assumes the position of interim Archmage of the Order of Magists and Protectors…

A polite knock at Maskar’s massive oaken door overcame the sound of rain outside and arrested his quill from its meticulous work; this letter was difficult enough as it was without distractions Maskar mused but such was the existence of high office.

“Sai Maskar?” It was Scirkel, “the wizards you called for have arrived.” He said with a touch of mild trepidation, uncle Maskar was an imposing figure and frightened Scirkel more than any wizard of his house.

“Thank you Scirkel, send them up and call for my wife as well.” Maskar bid the young alchemist.

Finishing his official announcement Maskar stood, stretched his back, and turned to the window overlooking the Street of Bells and thought deeply about his missing brother Marcus and his first directive as Archmage of the Order. Outside a swarm of pigeons took flight in alarm at the imposing robed figure now standing in the window. The blizzard conditions of the past couple of days subsided only to allow room for freezing rain that added to the misery and tolls already suffered by the good folk of Waterdeep. From here in his third floor office, Maskar could see his remaining brother Raine’s Colossus being retrofitted for travel and longed to accompany him to Thay, but matters of the Order could not be ignored and who, if not Maskar, would protect house Wands from the multitudes of adversaries? Breaking Maskar from his thoughts were the footfalls and mutterings from the seven spell-casters he called to palaver.  

Lady-Sai Olanhr Wands 
One by one they entered: Fea Eltorchul, eldest daughter and heir to her house; the Lady-Sai Hlantos Melshimber, the gifted pupil to the Sage Ammathar; Huld Belabranta, the dark enchanter and patron of his House; Sorvani, an accomplished traveler and spell-caster from Zhentil Keep; Fistandantilus, a rather callous but capable mage; Circe Assumbar, Lord Laeros’ sister and heir regent accompanied by her bonded familiar; and finally Maskar’s beautiful wife, Lady-Sai Olanhr Wands who seemed as confused as the others when entering the office. Without preamble Maskar summoned several plush red and gold seating to accommodate the five women and two men; his spacious office had suddenly become much smaller.

After an exchange of pleasantries and the offering of refreshments Maskar began; “It is with a heavy heart that I take on the office my brother Marcus has vacated.” He looked to his wife who offered her usual supportive smile. How he loved her. “However, I have summoned you here because you all escaped the unfortunate Midsummer scroll larceny. You seven, to my knowledge, are the only ones in the city who retained your talents in scribing scrolls. Therefore I am requiring that, until such time as the threat against this city has been routed, each of you is to focus your efforts on scribing scrolls of fire and flame.” 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another call to Service

"But despite the heroics and valor displayed that night, despite the victories in the city and harbor, beasts of the north have wrought lasting and dangerous harm to Waterdeep."
Tauren paused, letting a little tension build in his words. Although he felt different, changed, certainly, from his war on Draco and the attainment of his complete divine portfolio, he couldn't know the extent of his changes in confidence, appearance, and stature. He wasn't aware that he had now with him an air of regalia, of nobility earned and defended, an aura of royalty. His physical presence and charisma buoyed his supporters like an ocean and assaulted those who opposed him like the wind of a coming storm. His words inspired commoners and nobles alike into moods of war, peace, caution, celebration or reverence as he wished.
"The beasts have a tactic that must still be dealt with. We have the means to cure it, but it will take time and effort. I charge my priests to go forth and purify the food supplies and water wells that have been fouled by the magics of the cursed dragon scourge. Go through out the city and identify yourselves and offer these services to all the homes of Waterdeep. Spread word that the Herald's of the Horseman will help undo the spoilage at an any home free of charge. Give praise to Samular Lord Arsten Thunderstaff, and all the Lords and Ladies Samular, for honoring the commitment of Nobility, and protecting Waterdeep. Warriors, do not let the clerics and holy men go unguarded. We have many enemies within our city walls, and we must be on our guard. Be wary of outsiders and their intentions. Be on the lookout for any signs of the heinous Cult of the dragon. Be on the look out for each others safety, as always. In the name of Samular, for Waterdeep!!"
The congregation broke into rousing cheers as trumpets, horns and drums filled the air with loud and joyous music. Fighters and cavaliers were already pairing with clerics in the platoons, and people were exchanging "what they knew about Lord Arsten" . The mood was so uplifting that Tauren, the Horse Lord even momentarily forgot about his fathers funeral, set for the next day.

Journal Entry: Rewards of Service

Two days before my father is laid to rest. Eva has told me she is holding his soul for me, so that I may send him to his rest after Ascension. I had not until then considered that she made this decision every single time any human died. Everytime, Anyone. It serves me as a reminder to BE the god I will rise to. With funeral arrangements set for Friday, I plan some special ceremonies for my morning services tomorrow, during which I shall reward seven of my most faithful followers, regaling the Glories of their triumphs.
      Teldicia, my high priest, has spread my word and gathered my cavalry faster than I could build my church.Her zeal gains my admiration, as well as her selfless healing, which has saved more than one soldier caught in the collateral damage. I shall give her an enchanted headband, one that magnifies her energy and passion. I will present it to her before ceremonies, so she may disguise it in her wardrobe, if she wishes to be discreet about it.[ headband of charisma +2]
     Galoban has been behind the scenes, but dedicated in bringing music, bards, artists, and historians to the ranks and hierarchy of my followers. I am particularly pleased with his efforts to scribe a written account of the historic Samular Ascension as it occurs. He, too, shall be given a similar headband, which I believe will serve him well. I will present it in front of his musicians so that he may bask in the glory of his success, but i will not describe it aloud, again allowing him the option of discretion. [headband of charisma +2]
    In the morning prayer, I shall recognize Lieutenant Vataan Harpell, and recount his bravery in Amphail as he led his Second Platoon to defend the people of the village. To help bolster his own defense and honor his bravery, an enchanted shield is his prize. [light shield +1]
     Also in prayers, Stable Master Candace Tanner shall be asked to stand and be recognized. Her expertise in the herd have shown through as we haven't lost a single horse to to injury or fatigue. She has proven to be well in command of the growing diversity in my herd and pack. Her gift is a magic ring, made of gold with the images of woodland creatures raised along its outer rim. [ring of animal friendship]
     Alegan of Waterdeep shall be called forth as I relate the tale of him volunteering to ride with Samular Lord Damian into combat, vowing to be his Protection, and granting him the Luck of The Horseman. How he withstood the shrieks of the banshee over the Tower Of Luck, and flew into the face of one of the terrible whites.He will be given two rewards. First a magic buckler shield, so that he may still wield his sword when he needs to. But he will also receive my first honor of knighthood - the Samular Badge of Courage. A small finely woven flag my crimson and gold colors with the silver Samular crown in the field, it is pinned on the left shoulder or breast. When he wears it, it is as if he is within sight of my Banner cavalier ability and gains its benefit. [+2 buckler; +2 morale bonus on fear saves and +1 morale bonus on attacks made as part of a charge]
  Captains Fallon and Arina shall be called together, for their rewards are the greatest and were earned together. To Fallon I will give a magic ring, enchanted to protect him in battle, and a similar ring shall be give to Arina, but one whose magic is not as strong. Then, I will Knight them into my service as nobles, giving them each a second ring, a Tarm signet Ring, and ask them to rise as nobles in the Tarm family. [ring of protection +2, and +1 respectively. As a game note, Captain Arina responded by taking the last name "Tarmsman", while Fallon declared he was now known as "Sir Fallon Waggner Tarmsman, Captain and First Knight to the Lord Horseman Samular Tauren Tarm".]

My mind wanders.My hands ache to grip Arcanum and sink it's bite into Frostburns flesh. Any inactivity seems to lead to restlessness. I feel time either slipping away or coming to an end. Its good to have Briar in the Keep again, Perhaps she can help me find sleep tonite.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Executive Orders

Cortland Andrus, Avatar of Gond, believed with all his heart that the way and modernization of the Wonderbringer was a good and noble faith that not only inspired creativity and innovation in people, it symbolized a prosperous civilization and industry. The preservation of Gond’s domains and his teachings of Apprenticeship: the passing along of knowledge or skill so that it may be used to enrich the lives of others—was more important now than ever. Facilitating the process of apprenticeship all but guaranteed that invention would increase exponentially and the its knowledge would live on forever. Cort believed the future and prosperity of mankind relied on the preservation of civilization, invention, and knowledge—sans the sin of pride, instead embracing acts of generosity.

Sitting in Piergeiron’s parlor, Sai Andrus and the Paladinson listened to fixedly to Carmichael Hawkwinter, Avatar of Helm speak at length about his efforts at revealing subversive religious sects in Waterdeep. In the wake of the Time of Troubles several would-be cults and silver-tongued clerics, in possession of a divine aspect or two created a lot of havoc heralding 'Fate and purpose' awaiting them and their followers in Waterdeep.

Organized crime is in fact, Sai Hawkwinter went on to say, spreading as charismatic individuals whose personal empire and influence control such items like foodstuffs, alcohol, and spice trade become powerful black marketers. While Waterdeep attempts to ration food, people turn to alternative methods to feed their families.

"However I feel, my good Lords, that the riots and loss of Deepwater Isle Prison is the greatest immediate threat to the security of the city and its people. I and the Church of the Vigilant will devote every available resource to ridding the city of this alleged Corruptor from the lesser planes… with your leave Sai Paladinson." Carmichael said plaintively.

"Granted, though you know you do not require my approval to evacuate an outsider from our good realms." Piergeiron said trying to keep the meeting between friends cordial.

"He asks because it requires the death of inmates who are wards of the state Sai." Cortland observed openly.

"It is unfortunate but unavoidable." the Avatar of Helm admitted coldly.

Piergeiron sighed and said, "you offer wise council Sai Hawkwinter, but we will nevertheless adhere to more civilized practices. Subdue the people who offer resistance, but respond to deadly attacks in kind are we clear?"

"Yes Sai, you are both wise and kind thank you." said Brother Carmichael resolutely. Offering them both the Protection of Helm the tall powerful man left the two old friends in silence.

“First Knight.” Piergeiron said in an elevated voice summoning Armult Tesper who was at guard outside the office door. Piergeiron and Cortland exchanged uneasy looks, both knew what was next—leadership was difficult; many people of Waterdeep would not like the Paladinson’s next decision.

“Sai,” was his only response to the summons. Cortland only sat in silence as icy rain began to beat on the office’s window.

“I am executing Executive order: Fire-brand,” Piergerion said with absolute authority. “Begin stockpiling weapons of fire: fire-brands, weapon crystals, magic rods. The city will also be purchasing weapons of fire from the public for use in defending the city from the White dragons. Waterdeep is prepared to offer fair market value for the weapons. Legal counsel has drafted the order, the initiative begins immediately.” He handed the Knight a sealed scroll. “See that copies of this are disseminated to Ward Civilars and read publicly at every hour.”

“By your command Sai Piergerion,” The First Knight said with practiced servitude and promptly retreated from the office.

The two men, Piergerion and Cortland sat in silence for many moments both taking occasional sips from their coffee. Winter lighting flashed and thunder rolled refusing to let any silence linger.

“You know,” Cort began. “People are not likely to relinquish the only weapon they have to fight the Whites. For some folk it is all they have.”

“If they do not, I will mandate the stockpiling efforts. We cannot lose the city my friend. These weapons of fire, be they weapons or alchemy, could be the only thing stopping Frostburn from dominating the north.”

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Hammering Halls

Located in the Trades Ward the Hammering Halls is a collection of metal-smiths, armorers, and weapon smiths dedicated to honest business practices, the superiority of metal products, and perfection of individual craftsmanship. Here blacksmiths come to one of the open forges that are available for a fee or trade in services to the owners. To ease the city watch commitments, a group of volunteers, armed and highly-visible, patrol the Hammering Halls even requiring visitors to sign in and out when leaving. Popular opinion says nearly anything made from metal can be found here.

Notable personages include: Galloway Steamwhistle, an gnome smith with crazy ideas and crazy debts. Master Marksman McGee the proud and loud Dwarven Captain of the 'vigilant volunteers', he is said to be a master marksman. Morin and Bors Moggun, human brothers who together own a third of the open forges at the Halls; they are hard partakers of wine, women, and... what was the other one? Finally, the 'resident' cleric to the Halls is the fire and brimstone evangelist Harnum Firebelly. Cursed with insomnia he is nearly always available with heated sermons as well as bitter but helpful healing potions and of course blessing services in the name of Pithran to sacred forges and newly minted weapons. 

In a formal ceremony before all the owner-smiths and supporters, many of them staunch believers, the Hammering Halls became the first joint consecrated grounds of two faiths: celebrating craftsmanship, the virtue of the spirit behind the Hammering Halls, as well as the joining of two faiths in similar and equal purpose; the human church of Gond and the Melairkyn faith Pithran Mithrilshot are thus recognized. Hallelujah! 

The Hung Sailor Inn

Keeping to the rooftops Kalina and Fejyelsae, both skilled cads and familiar with urban heists, led Cherillyn Anteos and Aymee Talmost high above the hazardous streets. Waterdeep public works historically only concerned itself with the sewer system south of the Mountain and only token maintenance on the streets. However when the siege upon the city began every public works resource had been put to use repairing the upper Wards. This has led to uneven terrain exacerbated by the snow and ice. Besides the likely hood of their footprints being followed on rooftops was nil Kalina thought with a grin; sure the going was rough and perilous but if it was not… one was not living.

Coming to a stop on a business called Sperpentil Books &Filos, the quartet stripped off a few unnecessary pieces of equipment and then produced their weapons; Kalina slowly rose over the edge of the book store to visually scan the intersection and target building. Snow blew into her eyes but she was able to see she saw that the streets were sparse with traffic so the snow would not betray them. With her hair pulled back tight she was able to dawn her mask with little effort and bade the others to do the same.

“I will not hide my face to the infidels.” Cherillyn said with certitude as cold as the day. Kalina nodded.

“The red leather gives her away too.” Fejyelsae remarked with her usual ‘there it is’ wit. “The Hung Sailor, oh so many things come to mind!” attempting to refrain from the stream of innuendos that poured into her thoughts.

“Classy.” Aymee said. The Avatar of Sune agreed to this business only as insurance should anything unplanned occur.

“There she is,” Kalina announced looking down at the corner and Kiiri who seemed unfettered by the difficult terrain. Making a subtle signal to Kalina and Cherillyn, that the streets were clear, the Colorful One entered The Hung Sailor leaving a small wedge in the frame that the door did not completely shut…

Emilia Husteem regarded herself in the mirror; skin tight black-glossy armor caressed her sensual form a spiked chain was coiled about her waste and shoulder like a baldric. Her thoughts drifted to Tanis Blackcross (formerly Stormweather) and how his strong firm hands would defeat her passions—he was to date the only man to outlast her in Candle Rights. Her piety returned when she herd breaking glass and whip-cracks that marked the beginning of the Rite of Pain and Purity.

Smoke was produced as small outsiders, called Torments, were summoned to facilitate the ceremony. The Hung Sailor normally catered as an Inn to visiting sail-hands from abroad; however with war and the onset of an early winter the Sailor had little custom and was sold. A ditch has since been dug down the middle of gathering men and women who all began to chant and beat their breasts. There was some pushing and shoving when Emilia descended to the head of the ditch to place the ceremonial black pudding down the trough. A line was beginning to form at base of the ditch, as Torments began to pull apart the floor where the gutter was dug as makeshift bats. They began to swing them menacingly.

Performing the necessary oratory component to her Aspect that signaled the beginning of the Rites; immediate fights broke out as acolytes and faithful fought to be first or one of the first to traverse the ditch in its entirety. Eventually, in sporadic numbers men and women began the Rite of Pain and Purity by first walking bare foot on hot coals for seven paces, all the while being harried by the floorboard wielding Torments. The next seven steps took one through broken glass, then barbs, briars and thorns all while fighting off the outsiders as the black pudding slowly ate away the painful coals, sharp glass, and piercing barbs. Everyone had to make one pass before the pudding consumed everything including the toes and feet if one did not make the trip yet or was not fast enough. At the end of the Rite waited a painful lashing from Sai Husteem with her spiked chain before one could was allowed to emerge from the shallow trench. It was a swift moving ceremony, lasting less than four minutes until all momentum halted as the last participant wearing Elven Chain Boots stopped short of the ditch—black pudding fully exposed.

“How dare you defile the ceremony? Your foot-wear offends me greatly!” The priestess Husteem said angrily.

“But they do match my outfit!” Kiiri the Colorful said dropping her back cassock revealing her true nature and intent— fine weightless elven chain adored the exotic woman while in her hand was a hand crossbow and was pointed at Emelia.

From Emilia’s left Kalina Kormallis produced her Legacy as Fejyelsae grappled the priestess, locking her arm disabling her. Emilia uttered a word of pain that relieved her from danger as everyone within ten feet fell to the hard planked floor wracked in pain. Kiiri released the dart from her crossbow; however, the priestess was too far away and the dart fell harmlessly into the pudding. Frustrated Kiiri sought the refuge of an old concierge desk from warmer days past and reloaded. Cherillyn leapt like a predator leading with her terrible aegis striking Emilia on the base of the neck, she fell—but rolled to a crouch. Highly trained in the art of pain Emilia was not even dazed.

Priestesses clawed and tore at each other viscously, both with divinity on the line. At one point Emilia had won over Cherillyn then in a streak of luck Sai Anteos rebounded and recovered. Kalina and Fejelsae worked as team keeping the groups at bay, these were potential followers and could be converted. Kiiri however had no such reservations and aimed to kill with every dart.

Outside Aymee cursed the weather, it was beginning to rain. She took her gloves off; they were useless if they were just going to get wet anyway. A scream from below from inside the Hung Sailor told Aymee the ambush had begun, she needed to be ready if one of them should need help—Aymee could channel her divine energies from here healing anyone on the street below. One incantation first she thought, casting the Endure Elements spell she cursed again as magic surged in a wild torrent…

Inside the Sailor many barefoot combatants had surrendered or fallen unconscious from the numerous non-lethal attacks from the two Shadow Thieves; Kiiri abandoned her cover to aid Cherillyn against the powerful Emilia Husteem. Confidence turned to doubt when an enraged Tanis Blackcross followed by Finnegan Blackcross and Drizzt Do’Urden crashed the brawl. Tanis, unfazed at the promise of striking a woman, back-handed Fejelsae brutally sending her flying to land where Kiiri was crouched just moments ago. He moved past Kalina avoiding her opportunistic attempts and to Emilia’s aid. The drow was not as lucky to avoid Kalina however. Kiiri’s shot was true and was able to slow the charging drow. Kalina engaged Drizzt matching his whirling scimitars with swift dagger strikes, but even in a reduced state the drow would be quick to turn the battle his way. Finnegan moved to Kiiri and instantly had her on the defensive; however his assaults were not lethal attacks. 

“Retreat!” came a female voice over the din of battle. Unsure who called for the retreat both parties heeded the advice. Tanis, with Emilia in tow retreated from the rear door from whence he came; Drizzt continued to fight Kalina blade-to-blade while the others withdrew from the Hung Sailor. Kiiri felt obligated not to pursue her attacker who was not motivated to kill in this encounter. Looking quickly, assessing the room she moved. Helping a stunned Fejelsae to her feet, Kiiri started for the exit giving Kalina and the drow a wide berth.  Cherillyn moved to pursue Emilia but stopped, she would not leave her friend against this wretched drow.

Seeing his situation slowly deteriorating Drizzt purposefully moved to be flanked and recited the words of an illusion. The glam was supposed to make each flanking combatant believe they were still battling the same foe, but in reality the two combatants fought each other. However Kalina was the Lady of Deception and possessed the Illusion Aspect so when her weapons made contact with the illusion it was immediately destroyed. The ruse was successful enough to give Drizzt enough time to withdraw leaving the two women behind in the derelict inn. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On The Road Again

Cherillyn Anteos stood flexed ready to attack if someone made any sudden movements. Her tight red leather armor made her even more opposing… god like. Assessing the players in this act of coercion and intimidation Cherillyn represented painful implications for any misstep or breach in formalities. The Pampered Traveler is full of Melairkyn these days and tonight was no exception. Drinking and celebrating their recent victories against the yaun-ti and troglodytes the Dwarves largely kept to themselves, but Cherillyn would not go back on a promise to a friend...

“The order of the High Road has been settled in the Palaver my good Lord-Bard,” said the Aspect of Charm. “The road is secure between Waterdeep and Amphail—one hundred experienced riders—and proper funds have been raised and matched by many supporters. You are to begin immediately.”

Sitting across the table, Jayson the Bard sat nursing a warm mug of ale spiked with anyone of a dozen potions he was hopelessly addicted to. He raised his eyes to meet the speaker’s and saw the truth in her eyes. “You left out workers Kalina Kormallis, my magic still requires hands to build with I will need laborers.” The bard said with regret. “Most of my construction team stayed in Yartar.”

“Look around you Sai, why do you think I met you here?” Kalina produced a small box, opened it and removed two gems. “Recruit some help Sai Jayson, this will help.” Keeping the two gems she handed Jayson the box. Confusion turned to comprehension when he realized what the box and its contents was.

“You are to begin immediately.” Kalina repeated the suggestion her voice laced with divine power. Turning from the legendary bard Kalina rejoined Cherillyn Anteos on the way out of the Inn, “come girl… to the Dock Ward and your seventh aspect.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let No Dragon Escape

The glowing trails of rapid-fire shots from firearms filled the sky over Castle Waterdeep as scores of Firelance Knights, following the call of their leader, fired on the attacking dragons. Gun smoke permeated the cold air, ghostly and foreboding in its presence. Cries of fallen souls rise above the din of the dragon’s guttural tongue. Frantic apprentices scrambled to refresh weapons as their Knights raised their Firelances into the turbulent winter sky.

“Gunslingers to me! Hile! For Waterdeep! For the Realm, let no dragon escape!” Sai Piergeiron called out drawing his Golden-Guns in each hand. At that moment he was The Paladin bearing a loving but vicious look in his eyes, wielding the power of craft and light against the tyrannical dragons. At his sides Sai Ireland Bladesemmer and Sai Baerom Thunderstaff each brought their weapons to bear, bullets biting deeply into ancient scales and tearing superficial openings in the beasts wings.

“Keep at it,” Baerom called out to Carn Manthar for him to focus his attacks on the dragon’s wings as Baerom drew on a fast approaching terror. The dragon was all horns, wings and teeth bearing down on him and Tryssia Lanngolyn behind him. Interposing himself between the woman and the dragon, he recalled who first ‘introduced’ the plan of placing the Firelance Knights upon Castle Waterdeep and not dispersed throughout the city…

“Esteemed Gunslingers, it is my honor to inform this body that The Hall of Heroes formally recognizes Kelemvor Lyonsbane as the Avatar of Tempus.” Ramsey Eagleshield said before the High Palaver introducing the man. Ramsey, a fellow knight, had once vied for the office but Kelemor’s charisma, warrior’s prowess and that he was not a gunslinger made him a popular candidate in the church despite winning each contest placed before him. Kelemvor’s smile was infectious and soon many stone-faced gunslingers were grinning profusely. However seriousness soon stole his mirth and the halls fell silent. 

“My Lords, I would like to submit to you plans for the defense of Waterdeep.” His comfort for public speaking commanded the seriousness of what he just proposed. With the overwhelming majority of gunslingers being public members of the House of Heroes, whether secular or spiritual, Kelemvor’s petition to be herd was met with eager agreements.

“I have spoken with Heilean, Avatar of Tymora; Brother Hawkwinter, Avatar of Helm; as well as Courtland Andrus, Avatar of Gond; all have endorsed what I bring before you now.” As he said this Kelemvor produced a well-known map of Waterdeep where several lines and locations have been indicated and circled in red.

Kelemvor spoke easily to each question posed to him meeting each with truth and wit. Kelemvor had been offering training courses to the general public not only to curb the general panic but to give everyone a hand in defending their homes. “The people will fight,” he would often say.

Placing the Firelance gunslingers on Castle Waterdeep placed the guns they had as close to dragons as they could get ‘short of flying’. Killing the dragons was preferred but the goal was to bring them out of the sky by tearing holes in their wings or crippling them. The Avatars on the ground will lead their cohorts and followers against the downed beasts creating a swell of citizen morale as well. The strategy was approved by the Firelance Knights with only three voting against…

The gunslingers fought without equal all that night. The bravery shown by each Firelance Knight will pervade many tales told about the Feast of the Moon all winter long. No dragons attacked the Trades or the Harbor, the Gunslingers successfully held the entirety Southern Waterdeep; in the Sea and Castle wards Avatars kept the dragon’s death toll on the people low by leading attacks; and the Cliffside Colossus, Raine Wand’s fabulous construction, proved itself ‘savior’ of the North Ward as well as Deadcity.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Long overdue

Lakari stood on the rooftop of the Dragons Roost, her keen senses picking up the movement of her 2nd moving in behind her. Trent silently moved up alongside, “sorry to bother you, but I have news from the northern wards Master”. The undead Chimera has finally been put down and.. he trailed off recognizing Lakari was not listening.

“She warned us of this you know”, teary eyes fixated on the gruesome scene below. She thought back to the palaver, Eva standing before Knights of the Firelance, pleading for them to listen to her. “The attack is coming she said, and unless we band together we are all lost”. She said this would happen; some of the order even mocked her for it.

Trent looked around, unsure if he had interrupted a conversation or was expected to comment. “To whom do you refer to Master”?

“She goes by many names my friend The Seer of Fate, Matriarch of Souls, but to us she is The Mistress of Death”. Trent stood silent for a moment unsure of where this conversation was going. The Lord of Murder is gone, and it’s clear he is not coming back. If our tet is to survive we must move forward and place our faith in her hands. She knows us, understands us, and will not pass judgment on our past transgressions. Her wisdom will guide and protect us. “The attack is coming” Lakari repeated as she gestures to the pack of “Black Skulls “ripping apart the citizens on the street below. If the council would have listened to her this never would have happened. This is all their fault, she exclaimed grinding her teeth. Trent could see the anger building in her eyes. “They have put their faith in the wrong people Trent. Piergeiron and his ilk have failed to protect this city, and unless they cast aside these foolish Gond beliefs they may very well doom us all. He noticed her shaking now, more from anger than the bitter cold that had began to cut through his cloak like a knife. “And you know the worst of it Trent”? She said a bit too loud for his liking. “Those “knights” will probably blame her for this! Saying she could have stopped it or more likely she was the orchestrator of the whole attack.

Trent could barely hear the singing when it caught his attention. In the distance part of the city burned while dark winged angels sang overhead. He pulled Lakari away from the edge of the roof, breaking her eye contact from the horrific scene below. “So what’s your call, what do we do now”?

“It’s time we help her, starting tonight, right now!” Lakari said looking hostile and confused. We have rested on our morals for too long. Trent could tell what ever had inspired the sudden fit moments ago was beginning to subside. Shaking her head as if to remove the last of the rage “I meant what I said just now, not sure why I said it though. But I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have never felt so angry, and these so called knights, their arrogance infuriates me.

“It’s ok” Trent reassured her “let’s just focus on the issue at hand, how do we help a god”? He couldn’t believe the words had actually come out of his mouth. But this topic seemed to settle Lakari and she needed that now.

“Well she is not a god, not yet anyway” she smiled. The first sane thing she had said since I got here thought Trent.

“OK, she is not a god, just a mortal, noble, human, women…..Money”! You said Storm Keep had amassed quite a large garrison of troops? They will need supplies, food, and equipment that all cost money. I don’t know what the aspiring goddess of death and murder pays but I bet it’s not much. Until we learn how to help her amass power we can start helping her amass wealth.

Lakari’s eyes opened wide for the first time in hours. Yes! With the city in chaos we shouldn’t have any problems visiting a few guild houses and villas on our way to Storm Keep.

“One problem with that plan Master” Trent interrupted. “To finish my earlier report it seems a group of green and red fey creatures already did just that. A few of our patrols followed them to an outbuilding not far from here.

“Good” she exclaimed “then perhaps the troops at Storm Keep would be willing to lend a hand. Fey aren’t really my specialty, and I know they have dealt with them in the past. Also put some men on special assignment. I want to start collecting all the information we can on the Knights of the Firelance. I want to know everything about entire order, starting with the council. If we need a change of leadership, I would prefer to have that information sooner rather than later”

“Are we really going there”? Trent asked. “To Storm Keep I mean”?

“Yes, I think a meeting is long overdue”.

“OK, but if she turns me into the walking dead, I am going to protest”.

These Mean Streets

The girl child sank to her knees in the deep snow, in the intersection of two streets. Clutching her ragdoll to her chest, her whimpers were lost in the howling wind. The blizzard roared on, a heavy curtain of snow veiling the buildings around her. The sounds of the battles that raged throughout the city were deadened by the thick snowfall.
 Trogun Smith, paladin of Tempus, turned a corner onto the street, his breath pluming out in great clouds of steam. He'd been sent out by his temple to see to the safety of the citizens, while others of his order were battling the dragons. Anyone that was in danger, Trogun was to lead them back to the temple grounds. Spying the child in the crossroads, lit in the dim lamplight, he trotted towards her.
 "Child, what are you doing out here? Where's your family?" he called out, dropping to one knee beside her. He undid the clasp of his cloak, cocooning the girl in the thick folds of the lined fabric. Trogun rose to his feet, taking a couple of swift steps to the north end of the intersection. He came to an abrupt stop, seeing a silouette through the blowing snow, impeding his way. Something spoke to Trogun's warrior instincts that something was not right about this figure. Trogun turned to his left, holding the bundled up child to his steel breastplate and stopped short again. This exit was impeded by another shambling figure, stumbling it's way into the intersection.
 Trogun quickly looked to the other two exits, and saw that they too were blocked. A sinking feeling developed in his gut. The girl was bait, he'd fallen for the trap. The figures stepped into the light thrown off by the streetlamps, they were undead. Simple zombies. They weren't smart or cunning enough to have set up a trap.
 "Child, I need to set you down, just for a moment. I need you to stay where I put you, understand?" he asked.
 The girl nodded, her whimpering becoming louder as the fear of the situation sank in. The paladin set the bundle down, and drew the hammer that hung at his side. Casting a glare to each of his opponents, he called out to them "Come on, you bastards! Feel the kiss of Tempus, god of battle!"
 Safely above the streets, watching from a rooftop of one of the buildings, Delrach the Vile watched his minions close on the human. A chuckle tumbled from his undead lips. He had no doubt that the paladin could easily dispatch the zombies, but the trail back to the church's haven was long. He could wear the warrior down, and if possible, deliver the remains back to his mistress. She could raise him and add to her substantial army. Oh, glorious days were ahead...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Luck of the Blade

Mara was growing increasingly nervous. She could feel the tension in the city, and could practically hear the coming battle's fuse burning shorter. She had prepared her homes defenses as well as she could, and was relying heavily on the strong presence of her neighbors at Storm Keep. Of course, she thought as she chewed her delicate lip, there hasn't been any sign of the Samulars since the middle of the week. As the storm's fury howled ever louder, she wished for the seventh time that day her visitors could have post-poned their appointment. They were insistent, however, that the sword needed to be in hand at the right time, or the House's appointment could suffer. And that time was the fullest of tonight's moon. The sword was expertly crafted, a treasure in any hoard. Its slender appearance belied its tremendous strength and grace, like most drow-forged blades. It was named Silent Fang and was said to be an ancient weapon. It was forged as a Luck Blade, a +2 elven curve blade, with all the usual properties of a luck blade. It's razor thin blade was black, with a black silk wrapped handle that had simple crossgaurds for blade stops along its keen graceful edge, and held three large pale iridescent pearls set into it. Each glowing orb held the power of a wish, but once used was forever dulled as the magic left. The sword now held three lustreless black pearls, but still retained it's power over it's wielders battle-luck.

A loud banging at the front door startled her out of her reverie. She carefully peered out the concealed peephole, and was gladdened to see her trade partners were here from Skullport. She opened the door to a winter squall stronger than any she had known before and hurriedly ushered her guests closer to her fireplace. The woman, Tevra Auvryndar, she regarded warmly. "It has been many years, cousin. You look well".
Tevra smiled thinly and introduced her ..companion    "This is Yamon. He has been chosen to wield the blade in our House's appointment."
"Then the invasion . . ."
" Begins with our opening salvo" Yamon finished, eyes agleam with fulfillment.
"I believe a parcel is due to me." Mara held her hand out expectantly and a leather pouch filled with exquisite gems was quickly put in it.
"I am sorry we can not stay to visit, cousin, but it seems you have succeeded in making a home here.Congratulations on achieving your part in our move to the surface."
"Thank you. I have decided to  like it here in Waterdeep. I cant wait to tell you about my neighbors!"

 The pair had no choice but to leave, even as it seemed as if the storm reached it's fever pitch. Their elven ears picked up the cries of the dragons even before the fear welled in their hearts. They quickened their steps, not able to speak as their ears were pierced with unearthly cries and incantations. They recognized the malevolence that whipped dark fey into a fury in play about them, but even they were shocked to see the dark angels flying mad enraged orbits around the Wands Estates. They paused to witness the chaotic orchestra that lay siege to the stone bulwark. Magic filled the air and consumed huge amounts of energies as it ebbed and flowed not just around but through everything within blocks. Soon, chunks of stone began to fly in the howling windstorm, and the pair of drow could see the purple winter sky filled with huge white wings as rider-bearing dragons tore through the city.Commoners and nobles alike filled the streets, unable to stave off the maddening fear that forced them to flee from the safety of their homes. Cackling redcaps assaulted the panicked citizenry, and press-gangs of leprechauns swarmed spellcasters and looted where ever they went. Gripping their resolve, they ran thru the open streets to the sewer entrance they needed. They had just reached it when a burst of wild magic ripped through the reality that surrounded the besieged towers. Sound, color, and shock waves combined into one ripple and changed everything it touched. Tevra did not quite have time to completely finish her words, trying desperately to dimension door into the sewer. She could not believe their luck, she said to Yamon when they picked themselves up on a dock in Skullport.
"It's the Blade" Yamon said with an awestruck reverence. Both drow could only stare down in amazement at   Silent Fang, a luck blade, softly aglow with one bright, iridescent pearl gleaming in the darkness.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Battle at Tirisfall Ascendancy

“It is very much Castles Marcus, you know this very well!” Jarred Mallred looked unflinchingly at his opponent, Marcus Wands and his family were an insult to Jarred’s views and everyone who came before Jarred.

“Houses vie for position, as do we from as early as Ahghairon and hisTower was elevated as First Lord… so too will Blackspire Gap rise and crush the corrupted Mage’s Guild starting at the top!" Mallred was unstoppable now. The Arcane Brotherhood… Protectors and Magists Order… hell even Sai Arunsun suspects these cabals as advocates of war.”

Looking around Marcus Wands gesticulated drawing attention to the situation Mallred had just interrupted. From the rear of the parlor screams brought on by intense labor rose above the clamor of battle outside in the streets and below within the house. Several of Syllia’s family and servants were otherwise occupied with the delivery of the Marcus' son. “Are we seriously going to do this now?”


Finnegan Blackcross motioned to Tanis Stormweather to advance to the next point after receiving the nod from Emilia who had gone on ahead despite the raging dragons in the sky and shambling undead waling the icy streets. From the shadows the Halfling Geoff emerged, “Tirisfall Ascendancy is under attack by rampaging fey of Erythnul. Do you think it wise to proceed?”

“Nothing changes- we wait for Sai Mallred’s summoned celestial camels to fight and carry us into battle. Keep your distance from the fairies Geoff but use them to your advantage.” Finnegan answered wiping cold water from his brow; the blizzard was likely to complicate matters. Arriving at the prearranged location Finnegan made some final adjustments. “Emelia, I am pairing you with Margret Foul, and Tanis… Mathias Shaw rides with you, everyone in pairs and everyone with a rouge. 

“What of me?” Geoff asked hesitantly truly wanting to help but wanted no part of the fairies.

“You will be with me my stout fellow,” Jarred Mallred answered and handed Geoff a pair of cuffs. “Put these on, they are Bracers of Archery you will be my trump card.” 

At first the wizards of Tirisfall Ascendancy were at a loss, confused and completely disarmed as to the origins of their hostile visitors. Rather than coming down from the sky, as was planned for, the offensive came in the form of enraged fairies hell bent on extracting revenge on the atrocities visited on their species. Everywhere magic surged and ebbed; torches that continually shed artificial light were suddenly extinguished forever. Spells surged uncontrollably as brutish Gim, nimble quicklings, and blood thirsty Red Caps descend on the Wands family estate. Inside the Tirisfall Ascendancy, spell-casters struggled on two fronts—three if one counted the blizzard conditions outside, the situation was dire for the wizards and was not expected to improve.

“Take the alchemist’s fire, it will help you fight the fey.” To prove his point Scirkel Wands lobed a ceramic pot that exploded dropping a rather vile bloody looking Gim. The young alchemist had found he rather liked the new popularity his calling has receiving; it gave him an outlet for his generous personality.

“Thanks boy, you serve the family well.” Krys Wands said meaning every word. And with no fanfare the mage took Scirkel’s offering and leaped toward the battle below. Krys used the the compound to complete his spell; the spell did not go wild instead the component infused the wizards magic missiles with tenacious fire. 

Scirkel was elated and quickly scanned the battlefield below as well as the combat between the Cliffside Colossus and the White dragon above when his eyes fell on a strange sight. Through the blowing snow Scirkel could see a Gargoyle seemingly unfettered by the magic and weapons of the fairies. The path of destruction surprised the fey allowing the Gargoyle to successfully break the front line of Caps and Gim. Thinking quickly Scirkel rummaged through his haversack and presented a long Piercer tail hoping to lure the creature closer. The effect was instantaneous as the creature leaped over city streets—from rooftop to spire eyeing the tasty Piercer. Brother Rhone, as he came to be known, was splattered with blood and fairy dust; it gave it an odd regal quality. 

“The baby is beginning to crown Lady Syllia.” Demia said excitedly, her words however failed to bring any form of physical comfort—Syllia was delirious with pain. The expectant mother screamed again, her throat on fire as was the inferno in her belly as another contraction slammed into her. Kight watched everything carefully, she was there to protect against unwanted intrusions after the fairies and now a rival tower have joined the theater of war; additional measures had been taken. Kight felt a twinge of homesickness in the presence of so many of her eastern race; Syllia’s mother, Demia, Memri, as well as Syllia herself.

Marcus burst into the parlor and to his wife’s side, he noted how barely aware she was to her surroundings. “Sy' we have to move you, that fracking pest Jarred Mallred is almost here.”

“She cannot be disturbed, such movement would jeopardize the baby.” Demia remarked sternly, her hand working to help facilitate the delivery. A long protracted crash and two short explosions rocked the bedchamber knocking many of the women and furnishings to the floor. Marcus turned, meaning to place himself between family and foe he did not notice Acolyte Demia

At Present…

“Are we seriously going to do this now?” Marcus said his disgust clear on his reddening face.

“No longer will Waterdeep suffer the likes of you or your brother’s corrupt politics!” Mallred barked, equally as furious as his counterpart. In the moments that followed, Jarred’s Disintegrate spell as well as Marcus’ counter-spell surged with wild unbridled magic like none before known in Waterdeep

Capitalizing on the opportunity the betrayer reveals herself as Demia, Syndra’s Thanyan sycophant attacked the distracted and otherwise unsuspecting Marcus by performing a perfect death strike burying a small thin blade into his lower back. Under normal circumstances Kight could have intervened, the words of the Fate Spinner repeated themselves in her head—to use her better judgment and let Ka take care of itself. But the luxury of her better judgment never came after the surprise of witnessing Demia’s death strike—it was identical in style to Kight’s own!! Further shock threatened to break her resolve when Kight realized Demia had stolen her own small blade was now using it to kill Marcus Wands

Syllia felt the fire of her son threatening to striker her with the mind-fire, a deadly fever brought on my intense labor, as sweat stung her eyes and dried her mouth. Blurry figures swam into and out of her confused vision—she had long forgotten who was with her. Another contraction grappled Syllia and with it came a wretched tearing of flesh… a thick warm discharge of blood and fetal fluids and then all magic went awry. 

Bracing the mother-to-be in the closing seconds were Memri and Syllia’s mother who was too focused on the baby’s arrival—she failed to see Demia’s treachery. Memri on the other hand did notice the move and in the time it took for Memri to draw breath—Syllia hammered Memri high on the temple with an elbow during a labor spasm spilling Memri onto the floor.


Identifying the incantation immediately Marcus drew the wand he had crafted for Sevindrakk, pointed it at Jarred Mallred just as a green sickly light began to formulate on Mallred’s extended index finger. When Marcus and Mallred spoke the syllables that shape their spells, magic faltered and surged shaking the foundations of Tirisfall Ascendency and sending shock waves throughout the North Ward. 

It felt like the entire estate was coming down around him. Scirkel Wands instinctively covered his head to protect him from the falling debris that was sure to follow. However when none came the alchemist realized the fighting in the upper floors had stopped—as had Lady Syllia’s cries of child birth. Without regard for his own safety Scirkel bounded the marble staircase by two’s and three steps at a time. He paused at the sight of fallen combatants wondering if these would rise as undead; the sight of blood was still new to him. Hastily dodging the corpses Scirkel arrived at Marcus and Syllia’s residential chapter to find the door as well as each window, blown from their frames and casings. Tables, rugs, chairs, and couches also appear to have been thrown to the perimeter of the room. No, he thought, not everything. In the center of the room one small slender item rested on the empty floor. It was the wand Marcus crafted for his son. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An Oasis

Cargo had been scared before but not like this. The fear hit you from all sides. Suddenly everything around you is suspect, your breath comes in short bursts that can’t be captured or corralled and your feet start moving before your mind has a grasp on where you are going. The cold snapped Cargo out of his terrified run through the North Ward. Just as suddenly as his panic and terror subsided Cargo was overcome with just how much danger he was in. Covered in snow and sleet, Cargo wasn’t dressed for his terrified run through the city streets. Wearing sandals, breaches, and a night shirt, he was almost blue from the cold. The skies above were mostly hidden from view by the storm save for the huge draconic shadows that would pass by and the new terror that would cause those around him. Worse than the cold, screams seemed to echo from everywhere around Cargo as black skull undead creatures swarmed the streets, feeding on the panicked masses.

His breath now coming in short bursts, his body uncontrollably shivering, Cargo knew he had to find shelter and warmth if he wanted to survive this nightmare of a day. Looking around at his options, several homes were near but obviously under attack by the undead that had inexplicably appeared upon the city streets. Finally Cargo’s eyes settled on a small bakery shop and the light wafts of smoke still coming from the chimney. Cargo headed for the shop saying a silent prayer to Tymora that he would be able to recover there. Stepping through the entrancerang a small bell that hung from inside above the door. The warmth immediately hit Cargo and he collapsed just inside the door, his body overcome with pain as feeling returned in a rush with the heat.

Cargo struggled to look about from the floor of the bakery, his eyes seeing dry feminine feet and shoulders of someone else in the bakery but his pain and position prevented him from seeing just whom he shared his space with. “The oven is still on, I’m bringing you cider, it will help you recover your strength.” The woman’s voice stated. Stepping from around several barrels a middle aged woman set a large steaming mug of cider next to his head and soon had placed several blankets and coats over the still shaking Cargo.

Cargo’s body felt like someone was sticking millions of needles into his skin as full feeling returned. Reaching tentative hand out to the mug of cider, he pulled it to him, and sipped at its contents before ignoring the burn of the hot liquid and downing the mug. The warmth of the cider spread through his body and the pain slowly began to recede. “Th…Thankkkk yo…ouu” was all Cargo could stutter as he released the mug from his shaky grip. Inside the bakery Cargo realized that he could not hear the storm, nor the violence and chaos outside. The relative calm and peaceful atmosphere of the bakery along with the warmth and good smelling breads clashed with dangers of the city streets just outside the door.

“My name is Leira” she spoke again, “rest for now Cargo, you are safe. When you awaken you can help me return.”

City of Cinders

Smoke blurred the horizon making it impossible to discern the transition from the low grey overcast sky and the spires of city buildings. Stormy -eyed men and women driven frantic by the presence of such a concentration of dragons, fled their commons and apartments outside into the cold windy war zone. The blizzard brought blinding sleet, snow, as well as perfect conditions for the White dragon assault. Like ghosts from the Mists, the dragons struck and faded from sight. In a parody of all previous manners beautiful metallic dragons both Gold and Bronze abetted the Whites in defiling and defacing each and every temple, shrine, and place of worship on the city. 

Fey, both fair and unseelie dance and revel in the chaos wrought by the scaly-kind. Each prankish fey creature possessed a penchant for wild magic and a super natural avarice for gold and gems. As people ran and hid for their lives from the dragons, the fey were robbing them of their wealth and precious items. Not even the securest guild house or villas escape the rioting leprechauns and red-caps. With, some would say blood-thirsty vengeance; the fey also attacked every arcane spell-caster on sight evidenced as magic surged across the city like bubbles atop a boiling alchemist's cauldron.

In the Northern Wards of Waterdeep, centuries-old bodily remains of fallen adventurers, deep dwarves, and countless variations of monsters emerged from the Undermountain tearing open the sewers by the dozens. Parched nightmarish undead with black satanic skulls began stealing the living off the wintry streets and into oblivion as a black skull. 

Blood mixed with ice and snow south of Waterdeep Mountain as the lifeblood from the countless men and women; human or otherwise killed in the higher wards stained the cobbles and planks in the Southern Wards. Here the undead, Mystra’s clergy that was, starved of blood canvas the avenues and wharfs feasting on portly highborn aristocrats seeking refuge. Many people who were not shaken by the frightful presence of the dragons, would be haunted by nightmares of these vampires for the rest of their lives.

Brother against brother and house against house-- it was the Discordia sung by the Dark Angels who flew above the battles urging for more violence and loss between the human population themselves. However; just as there were atrocities and mischief visited on the people of Waterdeep, so to be there heroes and defenders of the Moonfeast Massacre. Gunslingers, Bards, Highborn, Avatars, Dwarves, and Colossuses fought, sang, and sacrificed for the Realm… for City of Splendors.