Kingdom of Isles

Din'dae's Journal 15 - Revenge and Revelations
Revenge and Revelations

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Din'dae's Journal 14 - Red Herrings
Red Herrings

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Over the next couple of days we doubled our efforts to find Jemmrand. We discovered that the witch had another safe house outside the city so we head there. It was not close and the trek was arduous through the wild forested area surrounding the city where it was still clear winter was upon us.


MystMoore_Keep.jpg We spotted site of it just before sunset as we topped a nearby rise. The “safe house” was a large manor that looked to be part of a once grand estate. The estate proper seem to begin on the other side of a 40’ ravine. We could see a large wooden bridge with a set of some standing stones proceeding. The circle of stones appeared to be travels rest stop. A final rest for some as the remains of its last inhabitants could be seen frozen in ice and snow. On our guard we approached and were beset by metal cobras. Adamantine as Grune noted, and magical golems of some sort. Their metal hides turn most attacks save Khaine’s whose powerful swings were barely hindered.

In the end collected the now scrap metal that was the cobra’s and cautiously made our way to the bridge. Grune and Khaine gave it a once over while I looked down into the ravine. The trees obstructed most of the view so it was impossible to clearly see how far down it went. There was also some silvery-red filament along the cliff sides and on the trees. I had never seen its like before but it reminded me spiderwebs. My two companions deemed the stone moorings and wooden timbers seemed solid enough so I started to cross alone.

Demon_Spider_Riders.jpg I was 2/3’s of the way cross when we heard the noise. The sound of something moving from under the bridge in front and behind me. Their veil of invisibility dropping as they attacked, hands arcing with electricity as they let loose their spells of destruction. I flipped and spun in the air evading the two lightening strikes as the other 6 Demon Spider Riders crested the ridge from the ravine below. Their trap was sprung we caught in it. With spell, webbing and bow’s they assaulted us and the damned creatures were cunning as well. Keeping us at a distance, setting up lightening bolt cross fire’s and catching us in their webbing to good effect. Grune was very busy in healing our hurts, Khaine muscled his way out of the webs twice and I used my chameleon step to quickly close distances. Like always, it was a team effort to win the day, but won the day we did!

We searched the bodies and other than determining these creatures we’re demonic in nature there was no tie back to the witch so we pressed on. Passing the ominous looking graveyard and wildly overgrown garden we headed to the manor house proper. The structure had several breaches in it and clear signs of passage new and old. We entered the open door that was swollen in place form weather and created lights to see by. The place smelled of animals and earth. There was also an acrid aroma that stung the nose a bit.
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In the moist darkness of the entry way large mushrooms, 3’ tall had sprouted in the corners of this hall. Thinking back to Silent Isle I tried to get a better look at these fungi to determine if they were dangerous. They answered the question as they attacked firing globs of acid at use. Phycomids. Dangerous but no mobility so we try to finish them quickly with Khaine leading the charge forward, but they are not alone.
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Sliding from behind and underneath these fungi are dozens of tiny Choleric Oozes. They form into several swarms and attack as well. Their acidic touch burns and we do what we can to keep a way and put them down. All the while trying to avoid the acid flinging Phycomid’s. Again with the healing aid of Grune we stayed standing and destroyed these creatures but the sounds of our combat surely echoed in these halls. Any chance at stealth however, was lost so we simply push read for a fight. What we were not ready for was the greeting we got by the keeps more sentient denizens. 3 cyclops’s.

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Two clamoring up from massive holes in the floor and the third down a set of ruined stone stairs they greeted us with friendly calls and peaceful words. In our exchange they said they witch had stayed with them and beguiled them with her magics. They were happy she was gone to leave them be. They entreated us to break bread with them and exchange a tale or too. Clearly these were warriors and what little is know of them, eaters for sentient beings. We were suspect of their attempts at diplomacy. Still, we were seeking Jemmrand and if they could help us, and hated the witch perhaps they could be allies of a sort. As unlikely as that seems.

We shared the last bit of the Gargantuan Gator meat we had and told abbreviated versions of our travels. None of us were relaxed in spite of the friendliness of our host. They were… too friendly, and too close in these quarters. It took a lot to remain calm waiting for the other boot to drop. Drop it did as once the meal and the tales were done, the three giant siblings shared an odd look and a smirk with one another. Then their oldest brother claimed the formality and pleasantness had been met, and now it was time for THEM to eat. With that they drew weapons as did we and the battle began.

Grune, remembering his peoples lore taunted the leader while expertly evading his swings. The tankish dwarf even ran up the broken table like a ramp, launching himself at the leaders eye. It was all the big brute to block the attacked and view Grune with more respect. Unfortunately being the first giants Khaine and I had encountered we struggled a bit to get in close. Their reach and strength was major threat. I took and moderate hit and then dove under a massive swing of my foe to get close. I was then finally able to get some momentum with Windsplitter, delivering dozens of cuts both major and minor. Khaine however was unable to deliver his normally devastating blows on such a large and armored opponent and things started to look bad for us as our enemies were landing blows of their own.

With a Heroic effort I was able to drop mine before he felled me. Soon after Khaine finished his off and Heroically leaped in to swing on the leader. A massive hit but the brute still stood. Now with his siblings defeated, rage played on leaders face followed by a mystic gleam in his eye. “I see thine death, and my vengeance!!” he says as he starts a wide arcing swing. For a moment time seems to slow for us saw Grune, Heroically launches himself at the cyclops again, this time his hammer landing true in the creatures one eye. Stunned, it staggers back falls on its knees then face pants with a thud. Dead.

We take the time to care for our wounds and search this place but to know avail. It was our last lead and a dead end. Weary and dejected we head back to Chimera Keep where Almerean is studying that Eye. Hopefully he has had better luck that we this day as the witches words are beginning to ring true.

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Din'dae's Journal 13 - Sins of the Past
Sins of the Past

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It was with a hunters focus we approached the location Cassandra had give to the Elves of the Radiant Muse. The fact that she came seeking us in the day meant that time was not on our side. It was unspoken, but we felt this could be our one chance to save Jemmrand.

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The large guild house on the edge of the merchant district nearest the Elves was more fort than home with a main gate 15’ across and parapets overlooking the grounds outside and inside the walls. Most of the stone structure was greatly overgrown but still stood strong.

Cautiously approaching we saw signs a small band of man sized booted humanoids had based this way a few times. The freshest set were a day or two old. This was confirmed once we made our way into the courtyard, as we found several bodies, a group of the Shard Knights by their tattered tabards. The dead warriors lay decomposing slowly in a few inches of ice and snow. From the layer of frost on their bodies they had been here for a couple of days. Perhaps making some last stand here.

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I am halfway to the door when it opens, and the Harpy that snatched up Jemmrand comes out. Smirk on her evil face. We demand she return our companion to which she merely laughs. We asked what it wanted and again we were met with a knowing look and enjoyment at our apparent ignorance. We are just about to move in and ask more forcefully when another larger figure moved through the open door.

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The sheer size gives us pause as even hunched this old crone stood nearly 9’ tall. She says the rodent man is not Varassa to give. That it was on her command that the harpy took our companion. The perfect bait to lure us here so the Sins of our Past could be paid in blood. She admits that it was she that track us for so long, bringing many ancient babbles from mud of her island. That one such trinket is what ensnared the Palomar, while another allowed her to watch the parties every move. So easy it was for she to take out, not one but two of the Alliance without they knowing who attacked them. The delight of that has faded and it was now time for she to see them dead so she can devourer their entrails and add their heads to her staff.

Khaine having heard enough begins to charge but is fired upon by the Ketch as they step out of the overgrowth along the parapets and then he, Grune and Almeran are attacked by Ketch stepping out of the green behind them. Before the rest of us can act a sense of foul magic is felt and the dead begin to raise around us. I whisper under my breathe in anger, Its a Trap!

The Harpy takes to the air as arrows fly and din of battle begins. I tell Moonshadow to evade combat, as the stench of the undead is not something she is trained to combat yet. I try to head my own advice as arrows wiz by. A couple drawing blood upon me. Grune is work his divine gifts to keep the party standing and combat the undead. Khaine focuses his blade on any enemy combatant that gets to close to Grune or Almeran. The latter sending explosive balls of fire at the archers on the walls. Seeing the undead begin handled I climb the walls to further harrie the Ketch archers as they have all taken to shooting our levitating mystic. All the while the giant hag watches the violence with sadistic enjoyment.

The Alliance is not so easily ensnared and within moments we have defeated our enemies and causing the harpy to retreat inside the house. The large crone had vanished moments before as one of Almeran’s spell interacted with the her causing her image to dissipate. Laughter to erupting from inside guild house. We paused a moment until we heard a scream from Cassandra. Then voice of the crone beckoned us in with a cackle of glee. Clearly another trap we still felt it rude not oblige the invitation.

Inside the common room of the guild hall we saw the witch up on the landing above. She was human size and sitting at a table with Cassandra. Hag blood on her lips and was chewing something. She gestured as she talked with a piece of bloody meat in her hand. The pale look on Cassandra’s face as wells as how her arm was tied to the table told us what the cannibal was chewing on. Then strips of flesh where being flayed from her and consumed right there.

Finally it dawns on us. The scarification, the speech pattern, the shaved teeth. We didnt know her because we never saw her. She was the spiritual leader of the Red Fang cannibals. Depraved tribesmen that we slaughtered to a man and send what women and children might have been there fleeing from their camp. Which we then took as our own.

Death_Dealers.jpg With a bloody grin the witch calls out and two four armed Red Orcs step out ho their hiding and engage the party. These scimitar wielding “Death Dealers” were elite fighters of the Red Orcs. With the aid of magic potions there were incredibly quick, and their training made them very tactical but their pride made them foolish. The sought to take out our biggest weapon, Khaine, and demoralize us. Moving right past me to swarm him in blows. In truth it was by Grunes sharing Khaines pain that my old friend remained standing. Although it was nearly too much even shared for Grune who was also combating the two Shadows that had detached from the wall to attack.

Still Khaine knocked one of the Death Dealer down to the ground and nearly end him within moments of this battle beginning. It was only by Malikandia magics that the downed orc was able to regain his feet. Blows that should have rung true from Khaine were somehow bewitched by the old hag. Her annoying cackles continuing to sing out as our blade masters precision falters. It was clear to see how the Death Dealers could earn their names. Once engaged in combat they would rain blade swings upon their foe from multiple angles. The pair of them easily equaled the swings of 6 men.

Although the hour seemed to darken, the resolve of the Alliance never did. I showed these Death Dealers I too can rain swings in a fight ended one of them. Grune, with a heroic effort was able to dispatch one of the Shadows that attacked him and Almeran giving our mystic a chance to summon a divine being of light. This turned the tied and witch’s magic began to weaken as her rage and frustration grew. A terminal problem for her. For all her plotting and planning, she underestimated the strength of arm and will of The Alliance. We broke her trap and defeated her force of Ketch archers, raised corpses of Shard Knights, foul Shadows and Red Orc Death Dealers. With only that Harpy Varassa escaping with minor injuries.

Still, while we were able to save Casandra the last laugh belonged to the old crone. The witch’s dying curse was that Jemmrand would live long enough to know the The Alliance would never find him and that The Palomar would forever be lost to the world.

I pray to the slicing wind that her words prove false, but only time will tell.

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Din'dae's Journal 12 - Days Gone By
Days Gone By

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The days in this place have wonder, mystery and danger have flown by and much has happened. Its been 15days since our companion was cursed and this lost city has been full of activity. Where to begin…

The strange women Ceredwyn vanished in the night after only two days with us. Whether she will be a threat later, driven to continue her own quest, or merely a casualty of this deadly place is unknown. We had littel time to dwell as alll the factions from Fort Pliskin began to arrive here in the lost city of Bantu Asparr. We managed to parley with the Farstryders, inviting them into our camp, as well as connecting with the Vertitas and forming a secret alliance with them. An alliance, in fact, that Khaine and I already had as we learn the truth of them and their leader.

veteran.jpg The Boss, was really the crown prince, wrongfully accused of treason. At least that is the tale we believe and as such continue to support him as members of his Red Wolves. An agency that only Khaine and I are members of, and we have still kept from our companions.

Still, with our public and secret alliances in place we felt more confidant to explore the ever growing population of this ancient city. Even securing passage with Veritas to secretly take Palomar back to his temple in hopes of they could cure him. We handled the exchange prior to the Farstrider’s join us at our base in Chimera Keep. Worried about agents of our enemies we felt his condition should remain secret for now.

Once the Farstrider’s moved in we spent time share what we learned and getting to know them. Ever vigilant of infiltration I have taken it upon myself act as head of security. Studying each member of our enhanced camp, learning names and mannerisms. Also making sure to set strict security guidelines and insert us in the command structure. A fact Lord Primrose does not seem to be incredibly found of but as long as Jemmrand Sorrowtongue and Nicholas “Nik” Ablestein continue to appeal to the Lords vanity and we continue to uncover the secrets of the city all should be well.

We had gotten into a rhythm in camp and the Merchant District by Day 14. Hiring on a stout dwarven cleric named Grunevard “Grune” Brighteye. Making contact with Casandra Nevar, providing us some intel on Midnight Brotherhood and a warning that they have aligned with the Red Orcs.

We also took out a major threat in the Government District, A Rakshaha Rakshasa.jpg and a large number of barbaric Aspari warriors. It was unclear of the just how many Aspari lived in this part of city, but I admit I cut them down with no small amount of enjoyment. They were however larger and stronger than the two we have seen and did not employ magic or guile. They were… barbaric and tribal. It is unclear what this means but they bleed all the same. The additional defeat of what we think was their spiritual leader was an added bonus as Rakshaha are creatures of legend and very powerful. Certainly not one to be left alive as an enemy.

Memory_Idol.gif The day after that assault The Alliance was preparing to head out to the Artist district before returning to the city city when word of a fallen party of strangers had gotten to us. We went to investigate and saw what looked to be the aftermath of a battle. Human and Ketch. In the center of the downed bodies was an odd statue. Looking at the bodies we noted that one was our old fellow castaway Ness Ramora. She seemed to still breath so Khaine and I rapidly approached. It was then that we realized too late the true danger. There was magic coming off the statue that effected our minds and we dropped into a deep sleep before we even reach our old friend.

No… not sleep… a memory…

The artifact sent our consciousness into the past were we lived lives as denizens of that time. It felt real and true and who we were was initially suppressed by the souls of the bodies we inhabited. We say the past, felt the ancient hatred and even battled as our host had battled. A spark of recognition between Khaine and I allowed our personalities to come forward and we were able to battle a common foe in this history. A demon touched orc shaman who sought something under the great city. We were pulled out of the mind trap before we could learn more, but the memory did tell us much. That there were catacombs beneath the city, and that for a moment, the ancient elves and orcs were united against some greater evil. But there were no Aspari in this memory. Is this the same evil they seek or is this yet another threat we must contend with. For every answer we receive two new questions.

Almarean.jpg The saving of Ness paid dividends right away as she was able to send a new comer our way. An odd mystic named Almaran Kithalil. She sent him to us as she was concerned about his safety with the Pirates of the Captains Court plus felt he could render us some aid in our greater quest to stop the Aspari. It was a nice reminder that we did have friends in these other factions. I wondered again about Shiro Gok as he was now the only fellow castaway we have yet to re-connect with.

Almaran, passing our initial scrutiny traveled with us to the Artist district were we cleared a swarm of vipers from a noble site dedicated to an elven hero. Elven_Woman_Warrior.jpg THE elven hero, Vacara, if we are to understand the histories and our new mystics words. This was the spot of a great defeat of an evil and her statue marked that. It also marked that Bantu Aspar had to be built here. Which with the new knowledge that their is, or was, levels below ground caused the group to speculate WHY the city had to be built here. And causing them to consider that what the Aspari seek may not be in the city, but below it.

Continuing on we encountered the local denizens of this district. I was pleasantly surprised to find elves still lived here, but while civilized, they were still fairly tribal. I admit I was a bit disappointed at this. A drive for me has been to learn more of where I come from. My uncle had always done right by me but my lineage is still one of mystery. Windspitter has revealed to me my name and a hint of my line. But I need more and hoped I could find answers here. Not today it seems.

Still the leader of these people, Ozond, was guarded but open. And after helping defend them against a planar attack from the Twilight Takes and a vampiric diseases spreading creature we won an audience with their protector. A power, and barely stable, being known as the Radiant Muse. With that meeting we also formed a treaty granting safe harbor and passage through their district. I made a mental not that time permitting I would try and help these elves regain their greatness and also learn as much as I can of their lore.

Day 18 we had pushed further into the city. Passing along the outskirts of the farming and temple districts. Both had denizens that we were not yet prepared to engage. Instead we sought to enter the residential district. Several days earlier we saw smoke and heard the faintest sounds of battle echo from the boarder of the military and residential districts. Assuming the Red Orcs warred with someone we were seeking them out to see if the enemy of my enemy could indeed be our ally. What we found instead was quite disturbing.

The entire district was overgrown with fungi of all types, benign and deadly. Vegipygmies roamed the zigurat and the quiet reminded us of the Silent Isle off of Sailors Hook. Exploring more we encountered a creature you would never think to see in your waking moments. Nightmare Spinner.
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This dream spider of eminence size, whose web and toxins can alter the mind in terrible ways, made a home in the only passage we’ve found so far leading below ground. We enticed it out, fooled it with magics and set fire to its web. We then set to destroying they massive creature. The battle was tough and the toxins from the burning web threatened to dizzy our minds. But as The Alliance ever endeavors to do, we pressed on and defeated the creature.

However at our time of victory, we were dealt a power blow. An augmented harpy, empowered by unknown magics swooped in with speed we have never seen. It snatched Jemmrand up in its claws and continued on its way. We gave chase as best we could with Almaran and Grune using their magics to fly after the creature. But to no avail as it was too fast. They did see it fly back towards our part of the city before they lost sight of it. This gave us a little hope that our companion was abducted for a reason beyond food for some beast.

With the fires of the web still going for all of the cities inhabitants to see, and the loss of our companion we thought it best to had back. I desperately wanted to get a message to Cassandra about Jemmrand, curious if he was perhaps captured by the Orcs or the Brotherhood. Has we did one more pass of the area we managed to rescue two souls from the webs. An elven woman from the Tribe of the Sacred Serpent and surprisingly a Nord. They were both deep under the effects of the toxins so there would be no answers to their tale. We aided them back to the Artistic district and left them in the care of the elves there.

The following day we received more gratitude from the elves for retuning one of their lost, and learned that a group of Nords had settled into the city. According to this survivor, Baa’reek, they had settled in the Temple district and he was part of a scouting party attacked by the nightmare spinner. Nords being strong and powerful, we thought they could be the allies we seek to handle the combined might of the Brotherhood and the Red Orcs. A partnership that, according to a missive from Cassandra was having issues maintaining.

Heading to the temple district we sought to return Baa’reek and seek audience with their leader. It was a fools errand as the district was clearly in the control of Troglodytes who forced us out by sheer numbers. We thought to challenge them anyway but logic ruled over bravado and we returned to Artist district. Baa’reek said if his people are not still in the Temple district then they most likely had moved to the borders of the Military district. He is unsure how long he was in the web, but this could sync up to what we saw and heard. Perhaps it was the Nords battling the red orcs after all.

With that knowledge we discussed as we walked a way to safely get to that part of the city. As we entered the Artist district we were met be runners. Based on their words, Cassandra had come her looking for us and had word of Jemmrand. She left directions and mentioned time was of the essence.

Leaving Baa’reek with the elves we quickly headed out to hopefully rescue our friend…

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Din'dae's Journal 11 - Shades and the Unseen

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After spending the better part of a day setting up what we have named Chimera Keep, we spent some time getting to know our new guest Ceredwyn. While I noticed Palomar focus his gaze upon her, he did not state the girl had a dark aura.. Also neither he nor Jemmrand Sorrowtongue felt she was being intentional duplicitous. In fact the haflling eulogizer seemed to know quite a bit of Ceredwwn’s nature. She was a sorcerer, one who had magic born in their blood.

The following day we decided to see about these smoke people but are stopped by the Ketch en-route. A lone member of their kind approached us with a wrapped parcel for Palomar . A gift for his good works. Or so we thought. It was in fact some type of cursed stone that surrounded him in magic damaging any who touch him, and also attacking his very soul. We were powerless to aid him in his internal battle of wills and he himself called out for us to stand clear.

It was painful to watch our companion struggle alone, I made sure he did not suffer alone. I noticed the Ketch messenger seeming pleased with the results and trying to sling off unnoticed. I pounced on him with anger and cutting him down with the aid of Llyntaewyth. Soon others of their kind came at us granting us targets for or wrath. The gods are indeed generous.

After finished off these duplicitous creatures we made our way back to our camp. Palomar was still stuck in his struggle and unable to communicate with us but he had certain… resolve around him. We felt more than knew that he would neither be lost to nor be freed from his curse state in the near future. Still we waited a day in these unknown lands to see what happened. Nothing changed by the following save my need for retribution. It had grown 10 fold. We hide the priest and secured him in the keep and then set to track down the Ketch and get answers or spill some blood.

What we found were the signs of either a civil break in the Ketch or an attack from another Ketch faction, for the build they had been using as a lair had been attacked and burned slightly. Dead Ketch lay about the ground clearly as a result of battle. With no answers and only more questions we continued down the coast in hopes of finding some sign of them. Annoyingly they seemed to have disappeared.

At this point we found ourselves near the area of the smoke people and decided to investigate. Swimming a large span of water we make it to a partially sunken structure. Cautiously we approach but find the door is water logged and swollen. Khaine forces it ajar and Jemmrand creates light and sends it in. A good thing too as just inside was a host of “Smoke People”, undead shades of those lost a long time ago. They attack without mercy and our weapons seemed to have trouble with finding their targets. Say Ebon Fang, whose edge powered by the skill of Khaine cut shadow as easily as flesh. However it was Ceredwyn who saved the day. Unleashing create gout’s of magical fire to send these shadows to their final resting place. The danger past we search the building and took the few discovers back to the camp.

We were settling in for the evening when a noise caught our ear. A band was on the other side of our “mote” looking at our keep. We called out an were surprised to see Dask with the Veritas men. We caught up a bit and he invited us to meet their leader on the morrow. A man known only as the Boss. We agreed as we now new, in order to solve the mysteries of the ancient city… we would need more aid and resources and we currently have at our disposal.

Plus… we needed to find aid for our cursed companion. We needed to cure Palomar!

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Epic of the Alliance - Chapter 5

Jemmrand sorrowtongue

The hearts of totems in them beat
And nearer to their foe’s defeat
Found ruins not yet obsolete,
But old beyond the counting

The crumbled walls of Mazion
Encircled halls of splintered stone
Forgotten, but not left alone
The taste of evil mounting

Slicer of breeze, attuned to sounds
Sensed that danger still abounds
Made safe the door to ‘neath the grounds
Into the sewers crumbling

To South a temple full of snakes
They tiptoed past despite their shakes
This ruined realm despite its breaks
Still held some dangers humbling

A flooded pit they should have fled
Bat-men flung spears from overhead
Below flew tentacles of dread
The orc fell in dark water

But out the hole, rimmed in relics
Radiance so psychedelic
Born by wings of light angelic
The priest reversed the slaughter

There’s stories told of heroes bold,
of powers old as giants
before stones quake, before the break,
their fists would shake: defiance!
now all is cracked, the skies turned black
there’s no well-backed reliance
but far from home, when you atone
remember the Alliance.

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Epic of the alliance - Chapter 4

Jemmrand sorrowtongue

Quick on their feet, to slush and sleet
Their rivals left behind, asleep
The snowy path left tracks discrete
They tracked an evildoer

Mage of death, a troll conscripted
Defiled an elf, his crypt decrypted
Our heroes charged and soon evicted
The woods: two villains fewer

Next found a stream in that great green
At which four maidens scrubbed clothes clean
But don’t trust all that can be seen,
Or you will be ensorcelled

But canny priests aren’t carnal beasts,
He warned “we won’t enjoy their feasts!”
When battle seemed it should have ceased
Emerged a threat more forceful

A bugbear troop ignited trees
Who knows from what the bugbear flees
But rattled, panicked bugbear pleas
Choked silent by soot and blade

The spell dispelled, the dangers quelled
Freed maidens made their spirits swell
Their beast forms flew ethereal
And bested Celia’s shade

There’s stories told of heroes bold,
of powers old as giants
before stones quake, before the break,
their fists would shake: defiance!
now all is cracked, the skies turned black
there’s no well-backed reliance
but far from home, o’er rock and loam
press on! be strong, Alliance!

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Din'dae's Journal 10 - Unwanted Guest

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To say the lost city of Bantu Asparr was not what I expected is a bit of an understatement. For naive reasons I thought the Lost City would be largely uninhabited. Or perhaps its denizens purely tribal in nature like the Ba-Bar-Ghee. While the later has certainly been true with at least one set of creatures we found in the Merchant District, it does not seem so with each district.

Our first foray into the city we found the remains or an old camp that was haunted fallen soldier and member of the Farstryder Society. It seemed a fight was imminent until Palomar and Jemmrand Sorrowtongue stepped in an got the damned spirit to talking. Through its tale we learn his name was Naseem. He was a kingdom soldier (and based on his journal a murderous deserter). As promise to sharing his tale with the Farstyders he shared with us some details of his experience in the city. It was enlightening giving us all the feeling the city was inhabited by several local factions already.

Later that same day we met the first of these “locals” as we made our way to the Military district. There we were attacked by a squad of four armed demon touched orcs. These were not wild monsters as they were uniformly armed and armored with master work gear. They attacked from surprise, using sound tactics and making a strategic withdrawal when we got the advantage. Although we won that skirmish it was clear to us all that continuing into that district would be entering into into enemy territory. A task for another, we decided, better left for another day.

Instead we spent the next few days exploring the Merchant District. Where we faced more surprises, this time of gargantuan nature. A crocodile and bat of eminence size and viciousness, with jaws that could swallow you whole. It was Khaine’s quick thinking and Palomar’s fearlessness that one the day, proving brain over brawn can indeed win. For the servant of the Sovereign Host used his flight ability to engage the gargantuan reptile and led it back to the gargantuan bat’s lair. There were tense moments when both creatures seemed focus on our flying friend and we feared the worst. But then they turned on each other a battle of behemoths ensured. We allowed the creatures to deal mortal wounds to one another before we set in seal the bloody deal.

Also we met the Ketch, creatures of inedible stealth while in natural surroundings. They make me quite uneasy. They were impressed with our defeat of the giant monsters, allowing Palomar and Jemmrand Sorrowtongue to once again parley bit of a truce with these creatures. Learning about other threats in the district like the “Many Monster” and the “Smoke People”.

The “Many Monster” we learned, almost to our destruction, was a small pride of chimera. Intelligent magical beast with three heads and breath attacks. As we sought to take the one male by surprise, its two females joined the fight. We were spread then at first but slowly closed ranks and fighting smart. Unfortunately Palomar seemed caught up in a zeal to smite these evil beast and did not notice how severely injured Khaine was. Another bite landed by the beast that took big guy down. I struggled to keep its attention until Palomar could rendered some healing aid.

Again with effort of all, but mundane and magical we won the day. Claiming the Keep of the Chimera’s as our new base of operations.

Feeling good about our accomplishments, Palomar and Jemmrand Sorrowtongue wanted to check back in with the Ketch. Creatures I still do not trust, partially because they skill at stealth seems to far exceed my perceptions and their by hamper my ability to keep my friends safe. The other reason… I couldnt quite put my finger on until later once we returned to them. For they had attacked and taken a half-elven beauty as well as an juvenile Elvenwar cat. We freed them which strained our relations with the Ketch. Apparently they were planning on serving us the noble animal and the beautiful madien for diner. While I guess the sentiment could be appreciate… thinking would would eat sentient creatures shows the distance between us, and proves if chance allowed they would see us in their cook pots.

Leaving the Ketch we head back to our keep and spent the rest of the day making it more worthy of that title. We learned of the strangers plight and a bit of who she got here. There is still much more to her tale I’m sure, but as I understand it she has been drawn her by a curse, probably by the Aspari (may they all be turned to boots and belts). She seems a bit naive in the world, however there is a sense of power with her.

Is this a new ally the gods have sent to aid us? Or an unwanted guest we will need to destroy…

Time, as always, will tell.

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Din'dae's Journal 9 - Ruins and Lost Cities

Image   din dae with chainmail

The journey was not an easy one, though quest of this importance never are. The weather was unforgiving as we force marched through it. The cold biting all of us to our core, causes many uncomfortable nights. All of us save Palomar who used his connection with the divine to endure the brunt of temperature discomfort.

Along our trek we uncovered signs of prior explores. Some just their passage, others their place of final rest. It was one of these that we saw signs for an ambush by a troll and a booted man sized companion. Tracks were not too old, so we investigated hoping to learn more about this region and its dangers. What we found was a grave robber. An elven Necromancer and his undead white troll.

An anger boiled from deep within my core, and I set to ending this defiler with righteous anger. I was incredibly single minded in that effort not heeding the troll as I should have. Again I was thankful to my companions combat support. With their aid both beast and master were destroyed and we set to resealing the tomb of an elven hero. One who was a barer of Windsplitter in ages past, and whose War Mask I now wear as result of that conflict.

It is in this moment that I reflect on Palomar’s words that the gods have plans for us. I have always given honor to Gremmen and respect to the other gods, but have always felt ones destiny is in ones own hands. I was not pleased with the plan to move forward into the unknown so quickly, but finding this tomb… is it truly a sign the gods are watching and aiding our cause? Again time will tell and in most things I am patient. Most things…

Moving on through several more days of freezing cold we finally come to a clearing with a cabin by a large stream and four elven women about chores. Not to scare them we will slowly emerge from the tree line so they can see us approach. To my surprise, they turned to us with smiles and waved us forward. Elves this deep in the Great Green would NOT be so welcoming and my gut churned with a sense of danger. I expressed my concern, in low tones, to my companions as we approach the clearly beautiful women. My friends acknowledged my concerns except Palomar who merely focused his gaze upon the women.

We were barely 60 feet away when the servant of the Sovereign Host called warning that one of the women was a being of evil and the other three possible thralls. With that, we wasted no time in setting to, giving care to not harm the innocents. It was a tricky thing as they all threw magics at us in some fashion. Matters soon became more complicated as a group of bugbears came out of the tree line on the opposite side of the clearing. They were tossing oil and fueling a forest fire.

Still, although the evil outsider that had the women in thrall got away, we were able free the women, kill or run off the bugbears and stop the fire from spreading. In reward for our efforts these women, Zenji Spirit Dancers, provided us shelter, supplies and connected us to our animal spirit guides. The later process took us into the spirit world where we saw a glimpse of a ruined city and faced Celia in a serpent spirit form. Again an ancient anger welded up inside me and I, along with my comrades faced this snake in our animal spirit forms. With beak, claw, hoof and bite we assaulted this evil and sent it from the spirit realm. She tossed a curious threat at us as she vanished.

The experience also gave us a sense of direction and a better familiarity with the land. With a new sense of urgency we thanked our host and set off at first light. Still bitterly cold the weather was clear and it was easier going. We seemed to happen upon the right game trails and natural paths speeding our way over time. Finally after several more days of travel we found the Lost City. Or so we thought.

Upon further investigation we discovered it was not, and that is was inhabited by demonic serpent worshiping goblinoids. As we moved through the now known Ruins of Mazion we defeated these creatures as we went, we uncovered that there was something here that could lead us to the Lost City. A ritual that needed to be performed that would reveal the cities location. It required four gems of which we had only found one. The other three, we learn the hard way, were in the possession of an Aspari priest residing at the top of an overgrown stone ziggurat. He did not part with them easily, but once Jemmrand blinded him, and the rest of us beat in our opinions, it was determined he had no further need of them. Or anything else.

As he bled out I could not help imaging Celia lying there. The thought made me smile.

With all four gems we climbed to the ritual chamber and performed the rite. Expecting some sort of map or indicator as to the lost cities direction we were further surprised by a portal opening up. We looked at each other for a moment, then Palomar said, unexpectedly yet inspiringly “what… do you want to live forever” and steps into the portal. Khaine and I exchange looks and without need of word, my oldest friend entered next followed by Jemmrand. I took one more look around and out into the ruins before I too took another step in to the unknown.

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Epic of the Alliance - Chapter 3

Jemmrand sorrowtongue

Beyond the mines was endless green
Within the trees: orcs foul and mean
The mage sent forth his fiery mien
The rest moped up by arrows

The woodland tribes had worried vibes
Black branches hung with un-alive
A brilliant flash scorched undead eyes
And won the tree of gallows

A river crossed a creature’s lair
They fought what seemed a dire bear
Behind its eyes: a demon’s glare
The fighter faced its glower

The beast roared up, teeth en-gnashed
The river full of bodies slashed
Before it’s full demonic splash
Black Fang cut short its power

On to the Fort, well-attended
Camps and walls both well-defended
Lo! The well was not well-tended
A note of poisoned warning

While most sought unseen murderers
The Halfling sought drunk murmurers
The best of raconteuriers
Lead all to drink till morning

There’s stories told of heroes bold,
of powers old as giants
before stones quake, before the break,
their fists would shake: defiance!
now all is cracked, the skies turned black
there’s no well-backed reliance
but far from home, when birds have flown
trust in the true Alliance.

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