Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tales From the Host Tower of the Arcane 3

She was so cold.

Heilean Eather looked out from her ice-crusted eyelids and beyond, past her magical prison into the eyes of evil. Karlot was all white from his hair and brow, down to his long pallid ghostly robes. White-hot eyes peered out from under a mithril crown- its primary gemstone an ellipsoid the color of old blood. His gaze was terrible for her to behold, she tried to look away but lacked the strength to do so.

He paced slowly, casually watching Heilean shiver painfully from the cold.

“Cold,” the white mage said at length. “Freezing to death is the worst way to die my lady. Did you know this? It slowly drains your life force while your body fights to maintain itself before your organs slowly begin to freeze and cease functioning. It is agonizing I assure you.”

As if on cue a violent shuttering wracked Heilean as her body began to fight off the effects of the cold.

“Already it has begun.” The mage tittered.

“You will not leave here alive Lady Luck I promise.” He spoke with an ageless voice that was even and sure. 

From Heilean’s right a pale skinned woman dressed in a white bridal gown entered her field of vision. The woman regarded Heilean with hungry malevolence as she pawed and snarled like a rabid beast, Karlot held her at bay and therefore kept her distance.

“This is Catriona,” Karlot said. “She will be your new master.”

At these words Catriona bared her long deadly incisors and bit deeply into Heilean’s exposed wrists and drank deeply of her lifeblood.

Heilean cried out in pain and despair; shuddering convulsions gripped her as she quickly found herself drifting in and out of consciousness. All she knew in this broken time was unknown periods of darkness interrupted by contrasting blurry visions of painful white. Her mouth went suddenly dry cutting off her screams and her eyes began to sting as if they were burned out. Heilean could hear taunting laughter and lustful smacking sounds as bleak coldness, never before known by the living, began to coarse through her body.

Chants and excited syllables of arcane magic took the place of laughter but was cut off as sudden strength like molten silver poured into Heilean; healing energies invigorated her ending her convulsions and allowed her vision to clear.

To Heilean’s left a pair of Hosttower sorceresses appeared excited and alarmed then a deep unseen explosion rocked the Hostower. From the distance Heilean could hear Kelemvor’s trumpets breaking through the chaos and knew rescue was on its way. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Burial at Sea

The vessels cut across the turbulent waves like six ashen vorpal blades through exposed flesh, discharging their colorless steamy exhaust into the unbroken blue sky. Each black ironclad was unique in its design and size however united in the colors they flew; the crescent moon reflected over deep water harbor- the symbol of Waterdeep.
                                                                                 Men could be seen working the decks with feverish purpose cleaning off ocean scree and ensuring the on board catapults and specialized ballista were in prime working order. Manual exercises were performed routinely so that when the climactic battle came each man knew their job and acted without thinking forcing their tasks to become immediate and automatic.

The churning ocean waters sounded like ripping velvet torn from a King’s throne as the Peacemaker leading the regiment began to slow. On the horizon mountains sketched their angular peaks to the east as the sea swallowed the sun to the west. Slowly, methodically five of the ironclads took defensive positions around one of their own which not only different from the rest but looked damaged and repaired compared to its pristine company.

Gunslingers took to the interior of their respective ships; a sensation of wrongness and betrayal was palpable, like the calm before a storm. Then without prelude the five ships turned their weapons upon their weaker companion and opened fired. The attack was swift and brutal on the unsuspecting ironclad taking out its weapons and navigation before its crew knew what was happening. The attack continued unabated until suddenly the sixth ironclad exploded with a roar of fire, metal, and magic. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Trade Routes of the North

The major trade routes are listed with the time it takes outbound to reach the final destination and major stops along the way. Water route travel times are given coming and going to accommodate ocean and river currents. Travel rates may vary depending on load capacity, weather conditions, and the overall peace-hostility climate.

  • High Road: Waterdeep to Baldur’s Gate in 32 days.
  • High Road: Waterdeep to Luskan. Leilon in 11 days, Neverwinter in 17, Port Llast in 19, and Luskan in 23 days.
  • Coastal Route: Waterdeep to Luskan. Outbound to Luskan in 6 days. Inbound to Waterdeep in 8 days.
  • Long Road: Waterdeep to Mirabar. Red Larch in 7 days, Triboar in 13, Longsaddle in 18, and Mirabar in 26 days.
  • River Route: Zundbridge to Silverymoon (by small barge). Outbound to Ironford in 6 days, The Stone Bridge in 14, Yartar in 20, Nesmé in 30, and Silverymoon in 43 days. 
  • Silvermoon Pass: Silverymoon to Sundabar in 6 days.
  • East Trail: Waterdeep to Llorkh Secomber in 11 days, Loudwater in 20, and Llorkh in 27 days.
  • Evermoor Way: Triboar to Silverymoon. Yartar in 2 days, Everlund in 15, and Silverymoon in 20 days.

Monday, July 8, 2013

These Times, they are a Changin'

Fallon's mood was dour as he rode back in to Waterdeep. Almost a week since the last holiday and its devastation, rained upon it from the skies above from the breath of dragons and the claws of terrible wyverns. Whole buildings, in some cases entire blocks were destroyed by not only the vicious attacks, but by their falling bodies as they dropped lifeless from the sky. He could not help but drifting off, remembering the fright filled night of dragons . . .

The initial shock had worn off, and it was clear the plans laid in place were working. The Samular Lords had correctly guessed the points of attack. His Lord Tarm had Heroes Garden surrounded by all of his forces, nearly 200 fighters and cavaliers ready to stand in the path of the tyranny of the beasts of the north and pay any price necessary to defend Waterdeep and her peoples.

And pay they would. Over the course of the night, Fallon led airborne charges against the masters of the sky, losing their entire unit of cavalry trained on flying mount horses on a salvo that brought down his first and only true dragon of the night. The soldiers all perished, but each rode true and they all skewered the white dragon in midair, before the dragon could freeze the horsemen below it. Fallon called on his cloak of the eagle and lured the massive wyverns into range of the nets deployed in the north walls. The tactic was brilliantly effective in that the wyverns tended to be close to the walls in slightly more open grounds when they fell, where Captain Arina's fighters and cavaliers fought the entangled beasts.

Even in the nets however, each of the monstrous dragons killed several men and women in its struggles. All night long long Fallon watched more and more of the flower of Waterdhavian youth destroyed in their valiant efforts to defend everything they loved. They were the same things he loved, and he fought the same war they did. Lust for battle and the rage of War filled his heart as the wind filled his ears that night. Glory was seen that night, and the Luck of the battle was evident in the Protection of the survivors of that night, but nothing was as strongly present as Death, except for perhaps Hate and Destruction.

…As he shook himself from his reverie, he could see the Observatory in Heroes Garden, and the fast paced construction of the Horseman’s Cathedral. The grounds were abuzz with the activities of the stables and the bustle of hundreds of new faces he didn't know; a new group of followers to herald the ascension of their Gypsy Lord and propel Him to the Heavens. He smiled as he could hear the voice of Galoban pealing out over the sounds of practicing musicians. He smiled even broader at the thought of high Priestess Teldicia. She often made a fuss of "personally attending the First Knight's religious needs".

Red Ledger

“Do you hereby swear to live in the light of the law?” The large words fell uneasily and failed to echo even the slightest in the grand hall of the Firelance Knights.

“Do you swear to uphold the seven virtues and be a righteous example for all goodly men?” From many vantage points, gunslingers watched the ceremony with hushed respect as a new warrior-priest was about to receive his guns.  

It was not long ago when the warrior-priest was a tired and beaten man, locked up on the prison island until an opportunity to escape came sailing up one stormy night just as neat as you please.

Before that the warrior-priest was the 1347 People’s Mercy candidate and received a new trial; however after testimony by his twin sister and other witnesses, he was remanded back to Waterdeep prison for murder.
“Do you swear to thwart and destroy evil in all its vile and sinister forms?” The warrior-priest had the look of unshakable determination as the words of the seven oaths took root.

Born into nobility the warrior-priest’s lineage was privileged even among the Waterdeep nobility bringing in mercantile connections from other Realms and exotic artisans into the City of Splendors.

Born a merchant prince the warrior-priest attended a private military academy in Daggerford where he studied a number of skills and gained training. So comfortable was the climate of military life, the academy became his adopted family.

While attending the Academy it was discovered that he was born with the sun mark symbol of Amaunator revealing his destiny for Paladin status whereby Jeromy Kormallis, a well-connected Cavalier, assumed the warrior-priest’s training.

“Do you swear to protect Waterdeep and all her people?” Words fell easily on the warrior-priest who could not have looked more serious or more focused.

Then the murder. 

The warrior-priest longed for a world to return to a past age when he was younger, without red in his ledger, and the weight of mortal sin on his heart.

“And do you swear to fight against all dragons in the North to the death and beyond if fate decrees?” Silence settled back in briefly.

“Yes Sai.”

“Then in the name of the Paladinson and those warriors and priests who came before; I hereby anoint you Knight Geoffman Gundwynd, Paladin of Amaunator.”