Once more into the fray

Brindinford

Map of brindinford

View
The only good orc is a dead orc

Into the Mine

While Throp, Gideon, and Edmos set about questioning and trying the captured orcs, Jolly, Gurny, Talathel, Morgrym, and Hödekin became restless. Throp found them guilty beyond question, as did the others, but Throp’s sentence of immediate death by hanging rubbed some of the more liberal and compassionate the wrong way. More debate ensued and with a lifted brow and an ever so slight tilting of the head, Jolly and the others made their way to the mine entrance, ‘Just to have a look.’ Hödekin silently picked the lock with ease, so much so that it caught them by surprise. Well, they couldn’t just leave an unlocked beckoning door closed, so they pushed forward into the dark. Surprisingly the door opened without more than a low muffled groan, so a little scouting was determined to be needed—to plan for an assault later with the rest of the group. However, not far in rattling skeletons made their presence known and before he could stop his instincts, Gurny had dispatched a couple with two thunderous booms in the echoing mine. So much for stealth! “In for a penny, in for a pound,” seemed to be the battle cry for the day, so they pressed on.

Making their way through the twists and turns of this obviously active mine they came across more undead sentries and dispatched them with little difficulty. As if guided from above, at a crossroads they turned left and easily found the den of an evil orc necromancer named Kurjan. Surrounded by a motley group of undead, trolls, dire rats, and zombies, Kurjan held his own for about 24 seconds or so before some of the Eight laid them down for good. Morgrym was hurt pretty bad by the troll, but Jolly’s channeled positive energy laid waste to the undead rather handedly, healed his mates, and allowed Morgrym to dazzle one of the trolls with a mesmerizing rainbow light display that flashed from his dandy axe. When the troll came back to his senses he was being hammered into the ground like a nail. Deader than, actually.

Jolly was quite familiar with this particular mine as his family had worked it for many generations for the Lord of the Keep, but the area that the necromancer had been using was new to him—but seemed altogether old at the same time. It seems that Kurjan had opened up a section of the mine long forgotten. The altar to Wee Jas was still emanating a hum of evil energy as Jolly and Gurny went to work purging the area and rendering the altar broken and remade holy to his deity. The place began to smell more and more like a brewery then a cemetery by the time he got finished and there was no more hum of evil. In thoroughly searching the area and corpses, Hödekin found a note on the dead evil cleric. See the note following this entry.

In searching the scattered notes and items on the dead cleric’s desk, Talathel found 1500gp worth of uncut gems—obvious signs of the activity of this particular mine. Also, Kurjan’s obsession with the dead was abundantly clear from his scattered scrolls and notes as well. As Jolly made his way sanctifying the area and cleansing this newly reopened area of the mine, he discovered, under the cleric’s bed, etched in the stone eons ago, his family crest. Is this mine and its gems rightfully his family’s claim? It would seem so, but he would have to give it some thought. Jolly’s stone sense made it clear that there was much more to discover deeper in the underdark…but, that’s probably a consideration for another day—although the ache and pull of deep dark caverns called to him strongly. “Another day, another day,” he whispered to himself.

When Hödekin and Talathel made their way back outside to the courtyard of the Keep, they find the winter wolves slain with their pelts neatly drying on wooden racks, and their steaks sizzling and grilling on the fire for the slaves. So much for deciding what to do with them. The human slaves were fed and tended to by Jolly’s curative ale and soon sent on their way. The jabbering kobold pleaded with Hödekin to make him his apprentice, but alas the group was known as the Eight not the Nine so he was dismissed back into the wilds with no small glare from Gurny. “Steady, Gurny. Steady,” Hödekin hissed to his friend quietly. Sometimes old habits are hard to break.

Treasure collected by those in the mine include: various practically worthless scimitars, clubs, and rotting bows from the skeletons. Kuran the now dead orc cleric of Wee Jas was carrying a +1 Greataxe, +1 Half Plate, and a wand of magic missle (3rd level) with 15 charges—you could tell just by looking at the charge bar on the side, by the way. Not to mention the 1500gp worth of uncut gems presumably from the mine itself.

In a moment of slight weakness, Gurny feels a bit dirty for butchering the winter wolves and may have taken a tick towards the dark side (+1 dark side point).

Throp had won his case and the sentence was carried out with the remaining orcs swinging from the gallows to the cheers of the freed slaves. The orcs had reported that there was an evil orc cleric in the mine, who rarely left the mine and was consumed with thoughts and deeds of necromancy. They urge that caution should be taken when assaulting his lair. Crows lazily pecked out the eyes of the lolling orcs as a beautiful sky filled the bracing mountain air. It was good day for killing baddies, and Throp was pleased that justice had been done—except for the six charred human bodies found in the burned out building. Opps, sometimes you gotta break some eggs to make an omelet, as the old saying goes.

Upon seeing the note recovered from the mine, Edmos recognized that South Spur most likely was referring to an area in his hometown of Brindinford as there is a week long festival kicking off not many days from now. Talathel could tell from the notes scattered on Kuran’s desk that it appeared an apprentice had indeed left several days prior to the Eight’s arrival with the allotted undead in tow for delivery. The sole surviving kobold slave confirmed that he had not seen Kuran’s underling for several days. He was described as a hunched orc with one eye and a nasty and gassy demeanor. Edmos was very adamant about returning home to protect his family and home town.

Let me know what you guys do.

Note!

Mine1

View
Pushing Towards the Keep

Pushing Towards the Keep

Setting out early on the morning of the 16th, the Eight made their way on the northern trail towards the Keep. Climbing slowly in the growing grade up the main slope it was uneventful to the split in the main trail. Evidence still abounded that orc patrols had recently been about and even increased since Jolly’s push into the region. It was therefore decided by drawing lots that Jolly, Throp, Gurny, Hodekin, and Talathel would remain on the main trail, while Gideon, Edmos, and Morgrym would make their way along the parallel animal trails in case of ambush. Being a particularly cloudless warm bright day, the nocturnal orcs were not to be seen along the main road and the parties made relatively quick progress. Coming back together it was decided that the parties would again split in a similar manner, with the larger group approaching the main approach to the Keep after dark, with the remaining party members trying to scale the cliff walls and approach the Keep from the flank.

When they arrived at the base of the cliffs to the west, Morgrym and Edmos became embroiled in a heated if not muted discussion of the best approach to the climb. Morgrym slipped into a dwarven curse-filled rant of Edmos’ heritage, while Edmos let his nobleman mask slip just a wee bit in return. The tempest caused Gideon to sit down in a lotus position and begin to meditate hoping that the two would resolve their issues before he had to knock them both out.

Unaware of their friends’ delay, Jolly and company made their way to within site of the Keep’s primary towers and portcullis. Throp, Jolly, and Talathel hunkered down in a good blind, while Gurney made his way to the east as Hodekin snuck along the western approach. Their reconnaissance revealed no roving patrols around the outside of the keep but some movement along the Keep walls and in each tower. Gathering back together it was decided that Hodekin would release a fiery trap via his modified crossbow onto the wooden roof of the building inside the eastern side of the Keep. With the guards’ attention hopefully drawn to the eastern corner of the Keep and Gurney providing overwatch with his thunder stick, the rest would try to make their way to the portcullis and attempt to enter in as the portcullis seemed to be of the unimpressive variety.

Hodekin let loose a well placed shot onto the roof and in no time it was ablaze. The guards on the walls and in the towers did indeed seem to be adequately distracted, and with one muffled grunt Throp slung the portcullis noiselessly up to everyone’s surprise [natural 20 on the die for strength check]. The lever was set inside, and no one appeared the wiser. The signal was given and Gurney made his way into the Keep and joined the rest of the group without being spotted.

Making their way up the nearest tower via the tight damp circular stairs, Throp peaks around the corner and spies a group of four orcs with javelins. A surprise attack dispatches the orcs handedly without an alarm being raised. Jolly enters a room across the hall to find two more orcs sleeping and dispatches them into forever slumber almost dropping his knife on the second hapless orc [2 on die roll]. Making their way to the top of the tower, they silently dispatch the remaining guards on this tower. By this time, screams can be heard coming from inside the wooden building that is now completely ablaze. A large troll is seen barking orders to a small group of orcs who are hurrying in and out of the burning building and dragging out ragged looking humans—some of which are on fire and expire in the courtyard of the Keep.

Looking out over the courtyard, the adventurers see two winter wolves chained to the well at the center and they seem to be watching the spectacle as well with curiosity—pacing at the end of their chains. Also, on the raised platform below and to the left are 5-6 orc archers watching the chaos around the burning building. The group quickly makes a plan and begins executing as soon as Gurney attempts a headshot on the large troll barking orders.

Setting up on the wall to the just east of the tower they were in, Gruney attaches a suppressor to the Verdict and takes his time drawing a bead on the ugly troll. In very short order, he gets his breathing into a rhythm and gently squeezes the trigger allowing the shot to come as a surprise. A loud cough, hardly noticeable above the din of the fire and screams, results in the troll’s head vaporizing in an instant as his body tumbles stone dead into the burning detritus outside the building. Two of the orcs who happened to be looking at the troll at that exact moment as they listened to him barking orders to them, were dumbfounded as they had never seen anyone’s head explode in such a manner with the rest of the body intact—what God had he angered?

As soon as the troll was falling, Jolly, Throp, and Hodekin made their way along the wall towards the next tower, but before they even really left the first tower they are spotted and the orc guard begins shouting an alarm. The last of his miserable and short existence.

As soon as the alarm is sounded, Talathel lets loose a magic barrage on a guard on the eastern wall taking him down. Gurney opens up with his thunderstick with a repetitious barrage of booms. One orc in the courtyard after another drops into death. Jolly, Throp, and Hodekin and his snake clear the second tower with little difficulty and only minor wounds. They press on to the last tower as Talathel takes another guard out in the courtyard with a magic barrage. Gurney drops a few more as two try to go out the portcullis in the back and the others’ scatter into the other wooden building that so far has remained unscathed. Talathel’s monkey then scampers up his staff and with two fists full of flaming poo rains death onto the archer guards on the platform below the tower as the dry wooden platform erupts in flames. His monkey screeches in delight! “Quiet, monkey, that’s enough.” Talathel whispers.

The third tower offered little resistance with a couple of the orcs surrendering and then rendered unconscious by Throp to be held for trial later. Steering clear of the winter wolves in the courtyard, Talathel and Gurney make their way into the courtyard to try and calm the humans down and figure out what is going on. By the time they are joined by the rest of the group, Talathel has determined that the humans are captured slaved who are forced to work in the mines behind the Keep by a particularly dastardly fellow named Kurjan who they say deals in the dark ways of the dead. They refuse more questions until you free their comrades they say are still in the last building. The same building the orcs had run into when shots started ringing out. Thalathel lays his ample elf ear against the door, but all he could hear was the crashing of Throp’s boot kicking the door down as he rushed in—into an ambush of five waiting orcs and one javelin throwing kobold. Arrows are loosed and some damage is taken, but Talathel casts his magics crumpling most of them to the ground asleep. Talathel tries to reason with the last one, but his answer comes too late, as he is flayed at the end of Throp’s axe. The remaining kobold throws down his javelin and pleads with Hodekin to spare him as he states he is a slave in the mine too and was forced take up arms and fight or be put to death like his friend who lays dying at his feet. For the moment, he is believed. The group makes its way upstairs and finds several more emaciated human slaves who tell the same story, and corroborate that the kobolds were indeed fellow forced labor in the mines.

They make their way to the courtyard and begin to make a plan for what to do with the prisoners and what to do about the mine when, suddenly, the back portcullis is thrown open with a mighty shout as Edmos charges in with blade drawn and Gideon tumbles in and takes up a particularly menacing martial stance.
“Better late than never, boyos!” Jolly quips with a chuckle.

“Could…one…of…you…secure the gate…” Morgrym grumbles as his arms begin to shake under the weight. Gideon deftly moves to the lever and engages it.

“Well, ladies, what you figure is our next move?”

View
All Arses Finally in Marikest

All Arses Finally in Marikest

Late in the evening on the 8th as the midnight moon rose, Jolly returned to the outskirts of Marikest with a mix of anger and relief. Anger for the stench of orc still in his nose, and relief to be home. Jolly strode through Marikest with the usual skip in his step and a glimmer in his eye that the guards knew and understood. Had one of the Eight seen him as he strode through the gate, they would have immediately realized that something was amiss.

Before doing anything else, Jolly strode to the Darkfeather compound, and after waking Hubrid from his slumber, they retreated to his study. Once they were alone, Jolly relayed what he had discovered on his excursion towards the keep. Specifically, he called out the details of Sven Olwood, the slain runner he had found near the cross roads. Hubrid’s countenance darkened as he had known Sven since he was a boy. “I will tell his wife and parents, Jolly. Leave that to me. What else have you uncovered?”

“The rest is as the first, I’m afraid. More fetid orcs, and the smell of death. It looks like we have a major infestation. But, have no fear, the Eight will soon be here and we will drive them out.”

“Very well, Jolly, your friends have been trickling in and have taken up residence at the Inn. Let us know what support we can give and whatever we can do, will be done.”

“Any trouble from my friends?”

A smirk spread across Hubrid’s face, “None, to speak of, but the guards were most relieved to know they were on our side. Although, the dragon kin with the snake has made quite the impression and turned more than a few heads.”

“I imagine so. I’m off. I’ll see myself out, and let you know if there is anything else we need.”

“Thank you, Jolly, this town is in your debt.”

After the discussion concludes, Jolly makes his way to the Randy Shanker. Slipping in the back he makes his way to room, which in the still cool night was just as he left it. Falling asleep even as his head hit the pillow—it was good to be home.

In the morning, it was time for a proper dwarven breakfast. Striding out to the common area, he shouts, “Who needs a proper breakfast, lads?” Edmos, Gideon, Gurny, Hodekin, and Talathel were discussing strategy when their stalwart friend interrupted. Greetings and laughter were exchanged and the months of separation evaporated with the morning mist.

“After we eat, gentlemen, we will get down to business.”

More good food and catching up was had, then Jolly shared with the group what had happened on his attempt to make his way to the Keep.

MG: The following is from the storyline given to Jolly previously:

Jolly arose very early on the 5th and feeling no need for further rest or preparation made his way out of Marikest via the north road towards the Keep. Secure in the knowledge that his band of brothers were on the way, and things would be well in hand with Gideon.

Taking the road out of Marikest to the North, it took some time to get used to wearing his battle gear again. Being swift of foot for a dwarf and with the hand of Cayden Cailean upon him it wasn’t long before he was well away from the town and half way to the Keep.

He smelled the body before he saw it.

Slowing and drawing his axe out of habit, Jolly was pulled from his mostly meditative state. The forest noises chirped on and nothing seemed out of order except for the stench. Scanning the surrounding forest, he could still not detect anything out of the ordinary. Rounding the path to the left, he saw a body; still and decaying. It had been awhile since he had seen that. He reasoned to himself that he much preferred seeing the bearded dwarven women and their cleavage then some rotting dolt on the road. Cautious of ambush and evil, he made his way forward. Squatting down next to the body, he used a branch to roll it over on to its back. It’s Sven Olwood from Marikest. Wearing the colored vest of the town council, he was one of the runners they were yet to hear back from. He looked to be dead only shortly after his departure and the cause of death was obvious. He was riddled with orcish arrows. Stripped of any satchel or anything else but his clothes, there was nothing further to examine. The forest animals had taken most of what was left anyway. Jolly did not revel in telling his family what had become of him.

A grim look that had been gone for months set itself back upon Aleblood’s face. Sighing, Jolly rose and scanned the forest for any indication of pending harm. None was evident. With the sun still high, he knew he still had plenty of time before having to find some safe place for the night. The branch that split to the west and on to the Keep was some time ahead, so Jolly decided to press on for now—albeit with much more caution and his waraxe as a walking stick from here on out.

Jolly decided to abandon the road and made his way to the old game trails that paralleled the route most of the way down next to Crestfalls Creek. They had been recently used and not by those with four legs. A subtle anger began to burn in Jolly’s belly, he could almost smell the stench of orcs and more death. Every so often he would find small spent campfires and the half eaten carcasses of small game that orcs were want to waste. The coals were long cold. Fairly soon he reached the road branch where Sven had been headed. He would have taken the left hand road towards Olinn, a full three to four days journey by horse to the northwest, but Jolly was determined to press on towards the keep. His travel had slowed to a crawl due to caution, but he knew he still had plenty of time to get to a small cave where he would spend the night, even at this pace.

The cave brought back good memories of his childhood spent adventuring in the woods when he wasn’t working under it with his family. He could smell more death in the air, but pressed on towards the cave taking things slowly. About two hours before nightfall, he caught a glimpse of movement to his right. Dropping to one knee, he waited. Although it had been months since he had tasted battle, his heart quickened and he was ready. There was the movement again—an orc scout, making his way absently down a shadow stippled path. Obviously on patrol, his senses had become dulled by a repetitive route made without incident. Jolly shifted silently to the left in a slow crouch, making his way behind a small hillock covered in brambles. Shifting his gear quietly to the ground he got into position in the shadows just off the trail.

The young orc, trying his best to stay in the shadows himself, squinted against the sun whenever he had to venture through it. Armed with a bow and full quiver he moved relatively quietly through the darker parts of the forest. He never saw it coming.

Scanning the forest to make sure he was indeed alone, Jolly returned his focus to the young orc. Waiting patiently for him to pass, Jolly, took one swift step up behind him and cleaved his head clean off with a solid fluid motion. The only real noise was Jolly’s grunt of exertion and the head crashing off into the underbrush, and the orcs body crumpling to the ground. Jolly dropped into a crouch and intently scanned the forest for any sign of company or detection. None appeared and the forest noise returned to normal. Aleblood dragged the body some distance off the trail and obscured the evidence of their encounter with a branch as quickly as he could. Tossing the arrows and bow into the woods he searched the body turning up nothing. “Well, one down,” Jolly whispered to himself as he set back off slowly and cautiously to the trail towards the cave.

The rest of the hike to the cave was uneventful. Arriving while the sun was fading, Jolly took his time scouting out the cave. All was in order, no recent visitors, and it was just as he remembered it from years before. He even could make out his old carvings on the wall. He smiled remembering some of the nights he and Ironfist had while drinking shitte ale and laughing far into the night. Setting a covering over the cave mouth and trips to warn him of intruders, he made a comfortable bed and drifted off to sleep.

In the early morning, before the sun had risen, he was awakened by distant muffled shouts echoing through the woods. Bloody orcs. Barking orders, it seems.

Pulling a magical draft from his holy symbol, he knew this day was going to be a long one. With the aches of the previous day and night behind him, he made his way cautiously from the cave mouth. The game trails were now off limits, so making his way quietly through the forest with agitated orcs about was become slower, more tedious, and much dicier. Trying to make his way further north, as the ground began to climb into the mountains, it became harder and harder as more patrols of shrouded orcs were obviously looking for the one who beheaded their colleague—none too happy to be forced into this duty in the growing sunlight. Although the forest was relatively thick here the sunlight still penetrated, agitating the orcs even more.

Once when Jolly was hunkered down in a ditch, an orc stepped off a path to relieve himself, when he noticed Jolly’s boot. A very nice boot, well made, but a sad thing to be the last thing one sees. Before, he could raise an alarm, Jolly dispatched him to whatever false god orcs follow. That was much too close though, and Aleblood took it as a sign he had pressed his luck enough.

Following a different route back, it was slow going due to the roving patrols, especially at night. His route forced him more east then he would have liked as he made his way south. But after two more days and nights in the wild, he made his way back to Marikest without having any more quite so close encounters.

“Well, friends, there you have it. The town is hiring us to clear this blight, and will give us whatever reasonable support we might need. Once Morgrym and Throp arrive, we should be on your way. What say you?”

Edmos reported the improvement in defenses that he had made in the Eastern Quarter, and over the next few days Throp and Morgrym arrived mostly without incident. Morgrym reported that he had to draw steel on the western approach to Marikest about one hour out.

“I was on myst way to meets with you dolts, when I came upon a body in the middle of the road. I went to loot…er, investigate, and the damned thing stood up dead, but not so much, if you catch my meaning. I took my axe to it and another that came from the woods. I think I left them fully dead this time. I am pretty sore and injured from the experience boyo’s, but I made it out of the skirmish with mah beard mostly unmussed. Another fellow, I suspect a dark sorcerer or some such, was in the forest tossing arrows at me, but he was too cowardly to face my blade…and he got away.”

“Let us drink,” Jolly responded as a familiar dark ale filled his holy symbol. “Take a pull off of this, old friend, and the soreness will pass like an elven fart in the wind.”

MG: Okay guys, you got undead and orcs about, what do you want to do? I am aiming to do some online gaming with roll20.net on Monday the 19th at 8pm. I would like to use google hangouts for audio as the audio on roll20.net has too much lag. So, I need to try a multicall on google hangouts before that night so let me know when I can try that. Also, if you download the latest google chrome, they say we can use google hangouts in roll20, but I doubt it so will probably be doing it on my phone. Let me know if this will work for everyone. My email on google hangouts is: now6wards@gmail.com

Let me know if there is anything you want to do in the meantime. Also, email the group as you work out what you want to do. As far as story stuff goes try to send it to me so I can tweak it and mesh it before it goes out to the group.

View
A dark man drifts into town from the West

A man drifts into town from the West.

The guards stationed on the western approach to Marikest see a dark man in a long leather coat approaching their checkpoint around 3pm on the 8th. Sharing a nervous glance, they nervously draw their weapons—one a short sword, the other his bow.

Shouting to try and cover up their fear, “Well met, stranger! State your business!”

Smirking to himself, Gurny can smell their fear from 40 paces. Spreading his hands in a universal display of surrender, he answers, “Stand down, gentlemen, I come on behalf of Jolly Aleblood.” The man with the bow, gestures with his head for the other guard to approach. Gurny slowly presents his note from Jolly to the guard. Upon seeing the wax seal, the guard visibly relaxes. “Well met, well met….we’ve been instructed to bring you straight away to the Shanker. Please follow us.”

‘No problem, friend. Lead on.”

Arriving quickly at the Randy Shanker, Gurny goes to his room. Taking time to check the room thoroughly he finds nothing amiss. He is doubly pleased that there is no window in his room and from his doorway he has a commanding view of the whole tavern and a side view of the front door. “Excellent,” he whispers to himself as he places a gilded pistol under his pillow.

Taking a seat at the far end of the bar, with his back to his room and eyes on the front door, he orders a meal and an ale. “A bit of Jolly’s best, if you please.”

“This is on the house, friend. We’re glad you’re here. Jolly also left this for you. I also need to tell you that Gideon, Edmos, and an elf have already arrived. Edmos and the elf have busied themselves around town and I haven’t seen Gideon since this morning. Will you be needing anything else, sir?”
“No, this will do fine. Many thanks—oh, one thing, could you tell me where a purveyor of fine armaments may be found? “Sure, judging by the staff you came in with, I would say you would want to see Braxton Rookard, he is in the center of town to the north at the end of this road. Just go out and to the left, his name is on the placard, you can’t miss it.”

After thanking the barkeep, he turned his attention back to the meal and ale.

Once he finished, he made his way to Rookard’s. Gathering the shooting supplies he needed, he wandered through the bazaar, but alas nothing new and interesting caught his eye, save only some weird little goblin fertility icon that greatly exaggerated the genitalia. Although promised a great buy by the dealer, Gurny waved him off and headed out to make a recon of the perimeter just outside the town proper.

He decided to cross the main bridge to the southern aspect of Marikest. Although, the more wealthy area of town, Gurny knew that this outlying area on the southern banks of the Mari wouldn’t stand a chance if the town were ever besieged. Figuring Hödekin would most likely be coming from the south, he figured this was as good a place as any to set up watch and get the measure of the region.

Finding a nice covered vantage point on the slight rise to town speaker Gerard Ishkar’s, Gurny blended into his surroundings and settled in. The scattered ebb and flow of people seemed on par with what would be expected in this town and nothing drew his discerning eye as out of place. The weather was pleasant, the birds flittered about, and the sun slowly faded as the stars began to peak out to the symphony of crickets. “Maybe I’ll retire here,” he mused to himself.

During the early morning hours of the 9th, before the sky began to glow with new life, Gurny spied a dark figure making its way slowly along the edge of the road to the south. Moving with purpose and stealth, this was no commoner. Sighting down the Verdict, Gurny could tell the figure moved with a familiar gate, and the weapon he carried was unmistakable. Gurny smiled to himself, as he waited for the figure to pass.

Stealthily creeping up behind his diminutive friend, he pressed the barrel of his gun against the back of Hödekin’s head. “Give me one reason not to end you.” Stopping in his tracks, Hödekin answers back calmly, “Give me one reason not to end you, Gurny.”

Momentarily confused, Gurny feels a growing pressure on his groin. Looking down he sees a large cobra clamping slowly down on his crotch. Chuckling to himself, Gurny raises his weapon, “Call off your dog, Hödekin. You win this one.”

“Gurny, my friend, when will you learn how much you humans smell? I smelled you, far before I saw you—and the joke is well played out, by the way.” With the games over, they slap each other on the back and make their way together to the Randy Shanker with Kib in tow.

View
Talathel and Edmos

Talathel and Edmos

Arriving in the early evening of the 6th, Edmos Delgall of Silverhill, on his black steed, Drake, he gallops across the River Mari towards Marikest. There is a gate on the north side of the bridge manned by two town guards. Intimidated by the horse and the capable man mounted upon it, the guards cry out, “Halt! State your business, sire!” Edmos hands them the note from Jolly. The guards quickly raise the gate and send a young page to run Edmos to the Randy Shanker only a stone’s throw away to the east. The young page, Simon, lets Edmos know that his horse will be stabled nearby and well cared for by him personally. “See to it, then,” and tosses the boy a silver piece. “Drake, I will see you in the morrow.”

He is lead to his room, handed the sealed information packet left by Jolly. He is fed well and retires to sleep off the road wear.

The next day, as Edmos was finishing a proper late breakfast at the Shanker, Talathel was delivered to the Inn by town guards. With a gracious bow, Talathel dismiss his chaperons upon spying Edmos. Edmos rises from the table and embraces his elven brother. Talathel settles into a chair next to him, as he waves off a plate of food he was offered. In hushed tones, they get down to business right away. Edmos fills in Talathel on his plans to report to the council his desire to address the apparent lack of proper defense in the eastern quarter of the town. After reading the missive from Jolly, he nods his agreement and they join forces to address this issue.
“Do you wish to eat my old friend?”
“No, I am well rested and have no need for sustenance just yet. Shall we depart?”
“Let’s go.”

Edmos and Talathel seek out Hubrid Darkfeather and begin to review the protections of the eastern quarter. Hubrid sends his middle son, Dalond, to see to their needs.

View
Map of Marikest

Since OP only allows one map for the free version, I’m going to try sticking one here.

Marikest

View
Aleblood Advances

Aleblood Advances

Having made excellent and ample arrangements for the rest of the eight, Jolly could not abide standing idly by while a sense of unease continued to grow in his belly. As of recent weeks, the slow nagging sense that evil encroaches had grown. At first, Jolly dismissed these fears and worry from others as the weaker constitution of the mostly human inhabitants of the town. Certainly, the recent withdraw of the frontier army that had so long provided protection from ne’er-do-wells and monsters alike had shaken the confidence of the people. And now, with the complete withdraw of the army from Brightstone Keep that sits atop the far end of the valley some months old the troubling sense had only grown. The army had been called on to distant wars and all feared what that vacuum would bring.

Since he sent the note to the 8, Jolly has reviewed records in the town archives and combined with the oral history of his people he has left a report in writing to those following after him with instructions to pass this information along to the others at their lodging, which Jolly has arranged at no cost, at the Randy Shanker.

With these arrangements made, Jolly has headed into the surrounding area to scout out the area and gather more intel. No one has heard from him in a few days.

The reports he left behind states that the Keep originally housed up to 100 soldiers, and when combined with the reserves stationed in the wooden stockade on the southern bank of the Mari River, provided ample security. However, both are now abandoned. The specifics of the keep can be found in the copies of the map that have been provided. The map is some years old but as far as anyone knows, no major changes or building have occurred. The keep sits on a plateau on one of the larger mountains to the north in the nearby range. Jolly also noted from experience that from the towers of the keep, one has a commanding view of the entire valley around Marikest.

Furthermore, when the army pulled out of the area, many of the most talented persons went with it—and a lot of the scum stayed behind. Marikest’s remaining guards are concerned about the rise in crime and banditry on the roads in and out of the town. With several guards leaving with the advancing army, those left behind are now undermanned and rapidly approaching being overwhelmed.

Maester Aleblood goes on to note the town council is more than willing to pay 100gp/person to able bodied and competent men to scout and report on the keep. If some agreement is able to be reached they would be willing to negotiate some financial arrangement for manning the keep and providing supplemental security for the region. They have also dispatched runners to try and recruit other replacement forces for the long term protection of the area. However, no news has been fast in coming from these runners.

In a rudimentary code (like cockney slang) that the eights were keen to use in their adventures, Jolly goes on to note that he overheard at the Randy Shanker a dwarf, Makkal of Psen, and two men talking about a ‘raid’ and how they should ‘stay away from the east quarter.’ Not sure of their intent or disposition, he declined to leave this written in plain common so as to keep the honest persons honest. On each note, sealed with red wax, Jolly has left his all too familiar mark. None of the notes appear to be tampered with, and all arrive in town relatively unscathed, save Morgrym.

Metagame (MG): For weather and moon patterns we will use this chart as a reference: http://lunaf.com/english/moon-phases/lunar-calendar-2013/
For sunrise and sunset times we will use this: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=848&month=4&year=2013&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1

The order of arrival in town is:
Gideon/Stacey C: 1st to arrive in Marikest in the early evening on the 4th of the Fourth month.
Edmos/Kevin: 2nd to arrive on the 6th, around 5pm.
Talathel/Sam W: 3rd arrive same day as Gurny, around 10am on the 8th.
Gurny/Matt W: 4th arrives same day as Talathel, around 3pm on the 8th.
Hodekin/Aaron W: 5th to arrive on on the 9th at 4am.
Throp/John S: 6th to arrive at 12 noon on the 10th.
Morgrym/Jason H: Last to arrive (7th) on the 12th.

As far as what you do once you enter town keep in mind that Jolly has made these arrangements:

To: Doral Dohrmann – Proprietor of the Randy Shanker
Subject: Temporary Leave/Temporary Liege

My Friend Doral,

As you know, I was once an adventurer of sound repute. Also, as we go back a long way, you know that I am a proud dwarvish citizen of Marikest. When I showed up at your doorstep several months ago, you saw me correctly for what I was. I was a dwarf who was broken and was in need of some solace. You forced me to cast off my armor and weapons and to take up the apron of the brewer. The sweet sound of that filthy and defiled gear hitting the floor was more of a blessing that you will ever know.

What you don’t know is that my Deity Cayden is making it clear that the insecurity that we are all feeling about Marikest is real and that there is something amiss nearby. As you might have heard by now, I have several fellow adventurers coming into Marikest in the coming days/weeks and I would like to use the Randy Shanker as our base of operations. We will be happy to pay you what you think is fair for me to secure 7 rooms and to have some privacy from prying eyes.

I may also require that you vouch for my partners and I over the next couple of weeks and although I don’t want you to lie on their behalf, I just ask that you give them the benefit of the doubt to those folks who might wonder about these new folks in town. Most of the crew are very easy going and you and your staff will find them to be a pleasant, if boisterous, lot. There are a couple of characters who are a bit rough around the edges though and if they get out of like with you or your staff, please bring it to my attention and it will be dealt with. Swiftly.

I do not anticipate that this is going to be something that it’s going to take a terribly long time for us to accomplish once everyone arrives. I figure a couple of days worth of planning, gathering supplies, and getting caught up will be in order. Once we head out, we will leave you with a suitable retainer to hold our rooms and to watch our gear. In the event that it takes longer for us to get back than we planned, I’d also like to work out an arrangement where you would store our gear for us and reimburse us later for what we don’t use. Finally, some of my friends will be bringing their own mounts for this journey. If you could please see to their care, I would be in your debt.

You may have noticed that there are a couple of extra kegs of beer lying around that I’ve been secretive about. I have been saving these for my friends when they arrive. Once we leave on our little adventure, the casks are yours to pull for your patrons. These are my gifts to you my friend. Charge extra! They aren’t perfect but there isn’t a beer drinker in 100 miles who wouldn’t ask for a second pint ‘if you please’. Kegs marked Travelers Walk are filled with a light brew that will put a spring in your step and a song on your lips on even the most dreary of days. Kegs marked Jolly Good are filled with a strong, sharp, and bitter ale that will bring a warmth to their cheeks and a rememberance of good days and old friends. As such, I am also leaving you these recipes as a gift to an old friend. These brews are my masterworks (Profession: Brewing 31) and they have months of myself and my Deity in them. Feel free to use them as-is or have your brewmaster adjust them to see fit.

Thank you my friend for everything. I will be gone for the next couple of days so please let Gideon know if you hear of anything or if you need anything special from us. He will be the point-person for any special requirements that my adventuring group has so please have your staff route them through him. Also, if any of my boys get out of line with the barmaids, please make the patrons aware that Jolly will be ‘displeased’. I’ve saved enough of their lives for them to know what that means.

We’ll be talking soon.

Jolly Aleblood

To: Hubrid Darkfeather
Subject: Assistance and Business

Maester Darkfeather,

I wanted to thank you again for helping my friend Gideon make his way to the Shanker before he fell afoul of the city guards. As you know, I have several more friends coming in the next weeks and I would be in your debt if you could help me out. My friend Gideon needs to have a guide to Marikest for the next day or two. I need for someone to show him around who can tell him where to buy gear but I really need for him to get shown where adventurers need to go to learn the lay of the land as it were. As you would expect with a large party like this, we have some characters in professions that require special introductions or accompaniments that a monk might not pick up on. If you could please provide Gideon with someone who might know how some of the darker streets run, I would appreciate it. For your benefit, what I commit to providing to you are two things. The first is that all business that my team has to deal with regards to weapons, armor, or smithing will come to you. I haven’t seen these fellows in a while and it’s possible that they have come into some money. I will have them send it your way. Secondly, I will personally provide you with a written report of what we learn across Marikest with regard to the threat we face. I doubt that I will provide much new information but I believe that what we have will be more comprehensive than what you might have. I will be leaving straight-away to do some fact-finding on my own to add credence to the rumors we have heard. I should be back in a day or two so please contact me then if you have any questions or concerns with our arrangement. Gideon and the team will be based at the Randy Shanker so if you need to check in with them, Doral should be able to be of assistance.

Humbly,

Jolly Aleblood – Priest of Cayden Callean

View
Gideon enters Marikest

Gideon’s Arrival in Marikest

After a long and difficult trek, Gideon makes his way into Marikest, the first of the Eight to arrive in response to Jolly’s missive. Although Marikest is a larger town, people who grew up here know one another and his calm bearing and garb easily mark Gideon as an outsider. As he wanders about the city, trying to navigate and take in the customs and layout of this new place, three dwarves give him a hard eye as they warily come out of a walled compound. They approach him straightaway with a body posture and gait that is serious but not overtly threatening—yet.

The leader of this trio, not discerned by his size and strength, but by his bearing, has a bit of a shuffle in his gait and is missing two fingers on his left hand. Although he is smaller than the other two, one can easily tell by the corded muscles in his right arm and shoulders that he is a Maester of the Forge and a dwarf to be respected, regardless of race.

He quickly sizes Gideon up in the short manner that is common to dwarves. He asks gruffly, “Who are you, and why are you here?” As a seasoned adventurer, Gideon knows tough customers when he sees them and he proceeds carefully and deliberately, slowly producing the document he received from Jolly.

The dwarf leader quickly reads the missive and reviews Jolly’s seal as a smile spreads across his face.

“So you’re one of the Eight?” he asks, not expecting an answer, “Jolly told us in the council that you would be coming. That salty son of an orc also told me that he’d throw in a cask of ale for me and the boys if we delivered you fellows to the Randy Shanker mostly unmolested. Well, the sun is over the mountains, I’m all out of steel to forge, and I could use a beer—or ten—and you’re my ticket to the finest ale. Come!”

The sturdy dwarf was clearly relieved at knowing that he would not have to draw steel just yet, and with the two flanking dwarves visibly relieved as well, the tension in the air discharged and slid towards a more celebratory air.

As Gideon and the dwarves walk along the creek, the leader abruptly turns, barks, and extends a hand. “Ah Shitte, where are my manners? The name is Hubrid Darkfather. You might see folks call me councilman or some such nonsense, but I’m really just an old anvil smasher who’s at home at his forge.”

“You may call me Gideon. Well met.”

By the time the pleasantries are over, they find themselves at the front of an inn. Despite Gideon’s training and his best efforts, he can’t help but laugh out loud when he sees the sign for the Randy Shanker. After looking at the sign, Gideon knew immediately that had he been dropped anywhere in the multiverse, and had he been looking for Jolly, then this would undoubtedly be where he would be.

Entering the tavern, Hubrid and his crew wasted no time saddling up to the bar for their expected pints. Hubrid is greeted with a strange mixture of joy, arse-kissing, and genuine respect that confirms he is of some import in this town.

As Gideon’s eyes adjust to the darkness of the inn, he spies his friend Jolly. It was a jarring juxtaposition indeed; from the gore-spattered dwarf, covered in the blood of friend and foe that Gideon left many months ago, to the unarmored brewer laughing with friends in a pub. The slayer of beasts had subsided under the surface and now the easy road spirit that loves to experience the world for all its beauty and danger was obviously, for the moment, paramount.

Gideon watches, as Jolly pulls a beer from a small cask into the tankard of a holy symbol he wears around his neck. The look on his face tells the whole story. He’s found his point of joy. Glancing up from his ale, he recognizes Gideon. As the smile spreads across his face he bellows, “I knew you would come, my friend!”

Jolly hustles Gideon into a seat by some very lovely dwarvish ladies who slam their iron tankards at him and vigorously slapped him on the arse as he saunters by. Their beards were as terrific as Gideon remembered. Other folks in the inn come up to Jolly and treat him as a long-lost brother or a battle-friend.

Gideon and Jolly drank, laughed, and talked long into the evening. However, even in the midst of this frivolity, Gideon realized that something wasn’t quite right. Patience being core to Gideon’s being, with wisdom being its partner, he pushed back the negative thoughts, and choose instead to embrace this time of good food, great company, and wonderful beer (it really was awesome), so long as it may last. For he knew it is never something to take for granted in times such as these.

In the morning, the rooster crowed and Gideon slowly opened his eyes fully expecting a hammer-blow from the previous nights excesses to come crashing in at the temples. “Freaking Jolly…”, he mumbled to himself, but as he sat upright, he instead found himself refreshed and as light on his feet as he ever did. With a smile, he rises and states more clearly while shaking his head, “Freaking Jolly.”

View
Set the Hook

Once more into the fray…

Much time has passed since the ‘Dreaded Eight’, as they became known, first banded together and delivered devastating blows to the forces of evil in far flung lands. Since that time, as the seasons ebb and flow, they drifted apart to pursue their own callings and needs. Their strong bonds of brotherhood secure as only shared battles and trials can produce. With these bonds came the understanding that if any member ever required aid then all that is needed is the call.

As it so happens, Jolly, residing happily in Marikest, is the first to sense a foreboding evil that requires a call to his band of brothers. Having sent the call, he awaits their arrival and begins to make arrangements. He knows soon his mighty hammer will once again flow with ale and blood.

Throp Steinhammer son of Broond

In a small village one weeks journey southeast of Marikest, Throp Steinhammer, a stalwart second generation dwarven paladin has continued his never ending quest to keep evil in check. As he is fond of saying, “Evil never takes a vaction,” so neither will he. He laughs to himself when he thinks of the things his other brothers might be doing, “Finding themselves, indeed. I suppose to each their own….” he mutters.

Soon after the group disbanded, word reached Throp that in the small fiefdom of Meadowbrook on the eastern shores of Orwall a bent local lord was exploiting innocents and dabbling in the slave trade. With the stench of unchecked evil in his nostrils Throp left straight away. A coward without his minions the local lord, a Lord Lyons by name, quickly fell to the righteous hand of Throp. As is his custom and duty for evil of this magnitude, he strung them up as a warning to others. At the moment the last trespasser was being hoisted into position a dispatched messenger arrives with the urgent plea from Jolly. Seeing this as a confirmation of his work being done here and a new call to more righteous duty, he let loose a dwarven shout, “Onward! To bring the fight to them!” Leaving Orwell behind, he made his way towards Marikest.

Gideon

In the west, in a merchant caravan bound for the dwarven stronghold of Fardukr, Gideon the monk, one of the ‘Dreaded Eight’, traveled incognito to visit his dwarven family after much time away. His thoughts drifted to his upbringing in his adopted dwarven home. He reflected in fondness on the dwarven tendency towards an unwavering resolute single-mindedness. Although, he had to chuckle when he remembered those of the underworld kin, like Morgrym, that were also prone to living with wild and reckless abandon.
Reclining in the back of an open cart, Gideon rests on soft sacks of feed and tarpin. As the shade and trees pass lazily overhead, the caravan rattles slowly but surely west, his mind drifts to the seemingly contradictory peace he feels in the midst of the maelstrom of combat. He knows much of this is due to his training and gifting, but there must be something more to that—even as he is pondering this his thoughts are interrupted by a small hawk that dives down and comes to rest on the edge of the wagon. Sitting up, he unties the message tied to the hawk’s leg. With a knowing look the hawk takes to flight and is gone. Unraveling the note, Gideon sees a note with the telltale seal of Jolly Aleblood. With nary a hesitation, he swings silently to the ground. Leaving word with the merchant caravan to tell his family not to expect him he sets off immediately to Marikest.

Gurny of the Middlelands

In a dark corner of The Boiling Viper sits a man talking to a barmaid.

“You want to know about me?” The man in the long leather coat asked as he ran a hand across his scared scalp. “There’s really not much to tell to be honest.”

“I was born in the middle kingdoms. My father was the local blacksmith, my mother died giving birth to me. When I was young my father taught me his craft and we lived a simply happy life—until the raid.”

“The horde descended upon our village like darkness fills the night sky in winter,” he said as he stared at the fire, the clatter and din of battle suddenly all too real and close again. “My father was killed in the first wave. I picked up his hammer and swung it as hard as I could at the orc’s head.”

A rueful smile comes to the man’s face, “I know in the stories this is the part where I kill the foul beast with a single blow and go on to drive the orcs out of the village but that only happens in the stories.” Gurny notes a young boy enter the tavern in a hurry and scurry up to the bar across the room. The boy begins talking to the barkeep in hushed tones. The barkeep looks over at Gurny and gesture with his head, the young boy follows his eye line and spies Gurny.

Gurny continues his tale without taking his eyes off of the small boy, “My blow glanced off the orc’s skull, he back handed me, and gave me my first scar,” he points to the thick scar that goes all the way across his forehead, “knocked me out straight away. When I awoke, I was aboard a slave ship heading east. I had been sold to be a servant to a nobleman.”

“My time in the slave pits were amongst the darkest of my life. Fourteen years working in metal and learning the secrets of the eastern blacksmiths,” he motioned to his ‘staff’. “I stayed there until I was rescued by my fief-lord.”

“It was the dead of night when the slave cage door was wrenched off its hinges and there he stood, flaming sword in hand. I knew then that I would follow him until he decided that he no longer needed my service. That was a long time ago, but it is what brings me here today.”

“You be the Verdict bringer?” the young boy asked cautiously.
“Who wants to know?”
“I come in the service of Jolly Aleblood of Marikest.”
“Go ahead, boy. I am who you seek. State your business.’

“He asked me only to give you this.” He hands a small sealed letter, bows slightly, and makes a hasty retreat.

“Sorry, me-lady, I need some space for now, but may we pick up later where we left off.”

Once she retreats, he gives one more wary glance at the door. Opening the letter he breaks Jolly’s official seal. Leaving ample coins on the table, he grabs his travel bag and gear, nods to the barkeep, and heads for the back door.

Hödekin

In the far reaches of the ancient deep forests of Belden there is an infestation of green kobolds. Born into this chaotic clan of kobolds was an anomalous dragon-kin; Hödekin. Anomalous as he was born with intelligence and wisdom, not common traits among these evil creatures. These blessings, seen as a curse among his clan, caused constant friction and struggles for the young green one. Taken on training raids on the civilized lands surrounding the forest, Hödekin failed miserably to rise up to their standards of evil and destruction. He could not justify the senseless killing and bloodlust. No rhyme or reason to the attacks and devastation. More and more an outcast, he spent longer and longer time in the deep dark forest. The animals and trees his only true friends.

Eventually, a disease spread among the clan and the shaman ‘divined’ that Hödekin was to blame. Beaten and tortured he was left to die strung up between two trees at the edge of the forest. Although beaten and rejected by his clan, his darkest day was to became his brightest.

Gurny had been tracking a band of kobolds that had been attacking a local village. The trail led to the path that Hödekin was now strung up across. Silently Gurny steadied his aim. Getting his breathing into a steady predictable rhythm he waited for the slight breeze to subside. His finger slowly began to squeeze the trigger when his concentration was disrupted by a familiar tongue.

“Don’t shoot.”

Gurny had never heard a kobold speak in an intelligent tongue. Not many have. Slowly letting pressure off the trigger, Gurny carefully makes his way to the side of the trail and into the forest. After silently and meticulously scouting the area, he determines that he is indeed alone with this one kobold, save only a lone serpent. Making his way up behind the tortured kobold, checking for traps, he presses the cold barrel of his gun against the back of Hödekin’s head.

“Give me one reason not to end you.”

The kobold, struggling against the risen blinding sun, breathes out a raspy reply, “It is a senseless waste to kill an innocent.”

“What makes you an innocent?”

“None of us are truly innocent, but I have done no wrong to you or your kin—thus my current state.”

Truly perplexed by an intelligent kobold and having a kinship with those wronged and caged, Gurny holsters his gun and draws out his dagger. Scanning the forest one more time for tricks and ambushes, Gurny slides around to face this enigma of a kobold. With the knife against the kobold’s neck he whispers, “Explain yourself.”

Hödekin shares his story and something inside of Gurny knows he’s telling the truth. He cuts him down and Hödekin eventually comes to be part of the Dreaded Eight.

Hödekin awoke with a start as the dream of his rescue all those years ago still echoed in his head. With the foolish hope that someday he can somehow lead his clan to a new day and a new way, he finds himself once again on the fringes of the deep forest of Belden.

An owl makes its way through the dark canopy to Hödekin’s hidden resting place high in an old oak tree. Lighting next to him, Hödekin grabs the note tethered to its leg as it flies away as quickly as it had arrived. The quiet and still peace of the ancient forest returns as he opens the note from Jolly. Reconciliation with his wayward clan will have to wait. His true and righteous family calls.

Morgrym of Rag or Grunfik or Durburmalk or one of a dozen other aliases.

Morgrym has always kept his true past to himself. In his line of work anonymity and doublespeak are a necessary trade skill. The only real constant in his past was that he always did what Morgrym does—get into trouble.

Uncharacteristic and unlike the majority of his kin; he cares little for nobility, law, or tradition. Morgrym does what he wants to do at any given moment, so long as it doesn’t hurt others (too much at least, like helping lighten a heavy coin purse or two for folks that would otherwise suffer possible lower back problems—now that he thinks back on it—they should be paying him for this helpful service.)

Banished for good from his dwarven homeland (no one but him is really sure which), Morgrym was selling his services as a mercenary to make some extra coin. After an unsuccessful dungeon crawl—a long bloody frustrating story—he vowed never to work with amateurs again!

Waking from a wonderful ale-induced stupor at The Arrogant Priest in Latterton by the rude jostling of some interloper. He grunts a slurred, “Argh, you fool!” and before he can stop himself his training kicks in and he leg sweeps the jostler. But quickly loses his balances and collapses partially on top of him while fumbling with his knife.

“Stay your blade, Morgrym I come to you on behalf of Jolly of Marikest!” the helpless jostler cries out.

“Well, why didn’t you say so, friend.” Awkwardly and slightly unsteady they both pick themselves up and right their chairs. The clatter and chatter of the tavern returns to normal as the other patrons return to their mead and food.

The messenger shakily hands the sealed note from Jolly to Morgrym and spins on his heels and heads towards the door muttering something derogatory about dwarves and their mothers under his breath.

“Ah, don’t go away mad, longshanks!” Morgrym chuckles to himself as he turns his attention to the letter.

“Well, I guess I’ll be going as well. And since my new friend has so kindly decided to pay for my ale, I’ll leave right away.” With that, Morgrym drops the small coin purse he lifted off the messenger while they were on the ground from his sleeve, counts out the exact amount—not a farthing more—and places it on the table and pockets the rest.

“Oh, to taste that ale that Jolly makes…oh, it makes all the travel but pleasant anticipation!” To no one in particular he shouts boisterously in dwarven, “Brace yourself, boys, Morgrym is coming your way!”

Edmos Delgall of Silver Hill

The bright sun swells over the silhouette of Brindinford filling the sky with the wondrous palette of the dawn. Its warmth brushes across Edmos’ face as he awakes. Next to him sleeps Lady Lenna, his beloved wife. He plants his bare feet onto the cool smoothed stone just outside the edge of the plush rug letting his muscles stretch from his deep slumber. He rises and steps to the small balcony overlooking the streets of Silverhill, the noble quarter of Brindinford. The sweet perfume of the morning dew swells in his nostrils as he gazes upon his home. Bustling commerce below clang and tap his ears. He smiles as he looks upon the gardens that surround his city residence, manicured with careful precision. He sees the walls of the Baron’s keep and the chiseled stone of the Manor House. It is a good day.

He turns and sees his small wooden desk in the corner and hanging from a peg is his most recent prized possession, the Stone of the Night Dwarf. Well, recent, as in months ago now, Edmos remembers. He closes his eyes and let’s swim his thoughts to those glorious days trudging through harsh terrains, deep caverns, and vast realms alongside a small band of brothers. He opens his eyes with a twinge of want to be back there again.

Then, he looks to his beautiful and peaceful wife, her noble skin soft and smooth, and remembers what drives his labors. He dresses as his Lenna stirs awake. She rises with her shear nightgown clinging to her curves and hugs her husband from behind.
“Good morrow, beloved,” she whispers softly hugging Edmos tight.
“Sweet dreams, my love?” Edmos asks with the same soft voice.
“Always, when you are at my side,” she smiles with those pouty lips.
They kiss.

A tap rattles the chamber door, a mousy voice speaks the thick oak door, “Good morrow, my lord, forgive my intrusion but I heard you stir. I hold an urgent message from afar.”

Edmos opens the door once Lenna covers with a robe. His butler, Jermane, bows his head as he holds out a sealed letter. The seal is one all too familiar. Lenna stretches her neck to see and knows immediately as well, “Jolly?”
Edmos looks to her knowing that her eyes swell with concern and opens it. Quickly, he reads and knows immediately what he is to do.

“My sweet, you have only been home a few months,” compels Lenna as she sees her husband’s eyes look on.

Edmos turns to her, smiling comfortingly, “He is a brother of arms, I must.”

She places her hand upon his cheek brushing his black locks aside, “I know your loyalty to your brothers, my love. I simply ask you to not forget your duty to your family.”

“My duty to my family is paramount in my thoughts when I venture out beyond the city walls, whether it is for the Baron or my brothers. It is the life I have chosen and the one that has chosen me, my love,” answers Edmos.

“I know,” she smiles melting Edmos’ heart, “I just needed to speak the words.”

It is not long in the morning before Edmos is ready to sit upon the spine of his steed, Drake, the horse’s black coat shimmering in the morning light. He tightens the last strap smiling back at his beloved Lady Lenna with his two sweet children hugging her hips.

His eldest, his daughter, Cypen, a 12 year old younger version of his wife with her curly ash brown hair and amethyst violet eyes, pierces his heart with fatherly pride. His youngest and only son, Eni, a red-haired, gray eyed 8 year old firecracker, salutes his cherished father. Edmos salutes back and lifts to Drake’s waiting saddle. Edmos turns the steed toward his new days of adventurer waving to his family as he kicks the trot to a gallop.

As he travels the roads toward his old friend, Jolly, he thinks of his family and why he chose this new path from his life of a soldier. He knows this is his destiny, for it is this path that will grant him grand glory some day. It is this path that will give his family more than even their noble hearts can desire. He does this not for himself, but for them. There is no doubt.

Talathel the Elven Wizard

Talathel the wizard hails from the West and travels the land yearning for the day that disparate races may live in peace. The folly and destruction of evil, man, and varied creatures seems like lunacy to the patient and optimistic young elf. For a hundred years he has sought to bring peace wherever he goes. Sometimes this takes diplomacy, sometimes it takes violence. Always preferring the former, but not one to shrink back from the latter, he takes each in stride so long as the ultimate goal is pursued. It was this lofty goal that first brought him to be part of what later became known to those who fear the cause of justice as the ‘Dreaded Eight”.
After their season of conquest came to an end, Talathel returned to the Middlelands in an attempt to bring peace to two warring factions. Diplomacy was the rule of the day, but things were quickly descending towards chaos and war, and Talathel could feel his time drawing to a close in this land. It was in this context that Jolly’s message came to him. Seeing it as a sign of confirmation, he gathered his things into his wagon, and with his ever faithful monkey companion he made his way east towards Marikest.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.