Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tales from Skullport 3

Matron Grazia Drodeen regarded the lines of brutish slaves with tempered excitement. Brought for her and her sister's inspection they were savage, horned and scaled hulks of ferocity and endless appetites. Lizard-like they stood on two legs, were twice as tall as Grazia, and outweighed her by over a thousand pounds- and although they were blind as many deep realm beasts are- they all shivered and cowed at the stunningly beautiful and powerful Matron.

Walking in a staggered gait was Grazia’s half-sister Tysiln San who was stunningly ugly and vile. Her hair was not the silken silver locks of Grazia but white kinky tangles that refused to be tamed. Tysiln San’ features were thin, flat chested, and pulled tight exposing joints and ugly knuckles under dry black skin. Grazia by contrast, was shapely with brown supple skin as well as other alluring qualities. Both wore amulets identifying themselves as clerics and together they marveled at the powerful brutes.

Frosty breath issued from each creature chocking the grounds with an unpleasant odor while in the distance sounds of Skullport wafted over the waters. 

“Implement three shifts of five with the remaining troglodytes serving as portal guards.” Izz’terl Drodeen said
with practiced authority.  High Sorcerer Izz’terl gained his considerable power not through his lineage but his cunning tactics and his ruthless demand for respect. No one, not even the sisters Drodeen dared challenge his authority regarding security of their island and the portal.

Moments later the three siblings were on a high balcony watching the new guards below.

“A fine trade would you not agree sister?” Tysiln San said in her usual witch-like voice, a shrill sound worthy of cracking glass.

“Yes.” Grazia said simply not wanting to be led into whatever game her rueful sister wanted to play.

Tysiln San looked abashed, even insulted. She looked ready to speak when Izz’terl interrupted their tiresome bickering. He longed for the end of the Time of Troubles and the magic to become stable again. 

“More than you know.” He pointed down to where two slaves had already found something to kill and eat. “Look there, see… these are troglodytes have been touched by Auril herself and therefore possess an array of cold and ice abilities and defenses that will add to their usefulness.”  

“How many merfolk were traded for them?” Grazia asked- it was the only thing that mattered.

“One for every two you see down there Matron Mother. Auril was keen to parlay.” Izz’terl replied leaving out the intimate physical details of his and the Frostmaiden’s carnal affair. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Virgin’s Square Wolves

Turgoz Tenhammer rode his black courser, a strong and swift as any horse he had ever ridden, while leading his personally picked guards and of course Duke Elton Johns. It was blustery cold, like a wolf winter he mused; he wished the gods of nature would make up their damn minds. He would not lament about the weather this day however; today Turgoz and his men are answering the call of the citizens of the Trades Ward and their own brand of wolves.

“West of the Plinth,” Turgoz explained to the visiting Duke Johns. “a hollow tower that once stood as a place holder on the Realms for those nearly forgotten faiths, sits Virgin’s Square. An animal market and traditional hiring place for warriors.”

“Is it true that the square is thereby named because virgins were sacrificed by the scores to the dragons of the North on this spot before Waterdeep was founded?” Elton Johns asked with boy-like fascination.

“It is a local legend aye, but it has recently fallen under the control of an extortion ring, a gang that likes to play on the fears of the people.” Tenhammer said morosely but with a tint of anger. “Dubbed the Virgin’s Square Wolves by the locals of the trades ward who live under the aegis of these wolves.”

The group pulled up before entering the Trade’s Ward.

“Okay men, look sharp and be ready for a fight- these are predators and will likely have support animal companions and followers and such. Rumors claim there is a noble spellcaster in their ranks so if this individual is identified he is to be captured. Is that understood?”  Turgoz looked for the expected questions to issue from Duke Johns' ever-running mouth, but when none came Tenhammer continued by producing vials of alchemical silver. 

“Apply this to your weapons men… let move.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In Between the High Holidays

Fallon, Teldicia, Galoban, and Captain Arina were all very pleased with the past tenday, and it seemed as if the four captains, the life blood of the Horse Lord's following, were one in step and thought. The influx of church-goers and loyal followers had the effect of these leaders drawing closer together and depending on each other more to organize their schedules and check up on the progress of the new temple and its upcoming opening. Gaurds were being recruited, as well as promising clergy, by Captain Arina and Teldicia respectively. The two women had a strong bond. Teldicia saw her lords Protection in the steel eyes of the stalwart fighter, and Arina connected with the high priestess' affinity for Luck, and like every one else, she could not deny the allure of her Lust. Galoban  felt as if he were living out his destiny on a grand center stage. Recording in book, poem and song every Glory of his lords ascendancy, he felt as if he were the consumate bard, a true mortal lore master. His devotion even had led him to recently being consecrated as a cleric in service toThe Gypsy Lord. That divine connection led him to hold the domains of Glory and Animal close to his heart, for he was truly most moved by the sonnets in his tales that relay the epic battles Lord Tauren had charged into, mounted atop the fearless warhorse Rusher, a brilliant white symbol of royalty and freedom. Fallon, Tauren's most trusted friend, his cohort, had come into his own. He had truly found his purpose in life, and lived it with gusto. The time he spent with the Charging Knight had served him well. He moved with easy confidence, and was able to quickly motivate and direct people. Over the last couple months, he had matured rapidly, and came across as much more serious than his youth would hint at. In him, Taurens followers saw a mortal that rode with and defended a rising god - they felt a human connection to him and felt that like Fallon, they too could aid and help their lord in small ways, Many a young warrior saw Fallon as proof that they could follow the Charging Knight into battle, and live to brag about it. In many ways, Fallon represented the Travel and War of Tauren's ascendency, and he led a cavalry of young cavaliers ready to fight for Him.

All of the four captains felt the heavy weight of the deaths of some 200 clerics, fighters, and clerics on the past night of the solstice. Most of the platoon lieutenants survived, but very little of the sargeants and soldiers below them lived thru that night. They were gladdened to see citizens emboldened by the resistance the Samular Seven put forth, and swelling the ranks of the Samular churches. True there were many less trained fighters, but the faithful instead were commoners and artisans, nobles and laborers, families and citizens. They were the people of Waterdeep.

the four of them stood huddled together at the estate in Heroes Garden known as the Observatory. It was their home, and their headquarters. They all compared notes on their various projects.
Teldicia was easily the most exhuberant of the four.The temple was on schedule, and well below costs with skilled followers donating a lot of labor and time.
Galoban had been recruiting  musicians and bards for the burgeoning Bardic College, but most recently was making preparations to host a magnificent ball at the new cathedral.
Captain Arina had selected many applicants and had started hiring church and grounds guard forces. She was planning to build the shifts and schedules over the next few weeks to be at full staff b Greengrass.
Fallon was working closely with Candace and Kraven to centralize the stables and armories of the church. He was setting into place the process of establishing horse breeding and raising as a financial vocation of the church.