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Monday, 11th March, 2002, 05:20 PM #31
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Brutal action there, Broc. Love it.
Nothing like having the assassin's guild after the party to "spice things up". I look forward to your upcoming posts with...trepidation for the party. But I'm sure that regardless of what happens, it will be exciting.
Thursday, 21st March, 2002, 05:33 AM #32
6 Ches (late afternoon), 1373 Year of Rogue Dragons: A Dangerous Meeting
Benito decided that "honesty was the best policy" and relayed the information about the assassination of his companion, Nosr of Starmantle to the authorities. Suprisingly, Sergeant Torvan was sympathetic describing to Benito his feelings of frustration in Westgate and the uphill battle that 'do-ers of good' faced in this dark city. Meanwhile, Grim looted the bodies of the fallen Night Masks and slunk into the shadows before the guard could examine them. Ellysidell watched the bird with interest keeping his eye on it and a large mongrel dog that seemed to scope out the scene with interest.
As the Westgate police left the bird boldy flew towards the party and changed form into a woman. She introduced herself as Meliane of the Emerald Enclave saying that the enclave had been watching the party for some time. She saw now that the time for observation was over. The group needed help. Her offer to reincarntate Nosr right there on the spot was declined. Benito would request that of Grigor at the Abbey of the Blinding Truth.
Grim returned from his foray and asked Benito smugly, "So are we still going to make our appointment?"
Benito looked at the halfling and clenched his fists. "I am tired of hiding."
He grabbed the dead body of Nosr, slung it over his shoulders and began marching towards the Colisseum. Grim and Ellysidell looked at each other and then towards the docks, but then decided to follow Benito. Meliane shrugged her shoulders and followed the trio. The mongrel dog snorted and brought up the rear....
Somehow, honesty won out. Benito showed the Attendant the corpse of Nosr and explained to him what had happened. Even though he also shared their suspicions about the Scourge being Dorthan Lhal, paladin of Tyr and Purple Dragon knight of Cormyr, the tattooed man led them in. He claimed that the Scourge was not this Dorthan fellow, and was merely a slave from Unther. However, as he made these disclaimers he guided them past the armored, three-armed giants and into the arena. Another giant resided inside watching the concourse. The Attendant, along with four armed soldiers, led them to a flight of stairs that wound their way underneath the Colisseum. They passed cages of strange beasts including a dire bear. Meliane had brief thoughts of liberating the animals, but the armed men and the lack of an escape route kept her from acting.
Finally, they made it to a large room at the end of another flight of stairs. Shadows clung to the walls and none of the party could make out the size of the room, but felt that they were being watched from the gloom. What caught their attention, however was The Scourge, chained to a chair with the coppery collar around his neck in the center of the room.
"Approach, but not too close. The Scourge is feral and uncontrollable at times, " said the attendant.
As the party approached and called out his 'true' name the Scourge struggled and screamed nonsense at them. Grim nudged Benito a little closer, trying to stay insconspicuous among the group, so he could use his ability to send messages and get inside the gladiator's (or was it the paladin's?) head.
Benito ran interference with the Attendant while Grim edged a few feet closer and asked to the Scourge's mind Dorthan Lhal, is that you?
Amidst the confusion and too many voices for one man's brain, Grim heard a cry, no a whimper of "Help...."
Then he turned to see Benito leaving and agreeing with the Attendant that this could not be the man they were looking for.
Benito, where are you going? This IS Dorthan! The halfling screamed into the cleric's head. Benito paused, and shook his head. Ellysidell and Meliane began to follow. Grim flipped down his darkvision goggles. Something's fishy....
...or should I say scaly he swallowed as the darkvision revealed two hairy humanoids and a large snake-like creature coiled at the back wall. He acted quickly. Grim did not like treachery and he hated sorcery. He pulled out one of his new hand-held crossbows (courtesy of the dead Night Masks) and fired, hitting the big snaky-thingy.
The party, heading towards the stairs, heard a hiss and then heard Grim's scream, which was then cut off.
"Little buddy!" cried Ellysidell as he turned to see the rogue caught in the coils of a large snake with a vaguely humanoind head, prehensile whiskers gripping a wand of some sort.
"All of you will perissh for your defianccce," the beast hissed.
Ell, Benito and Meliane charged and found themselves in melee with two human guards and two bugbear guards as well as the snake. Grim was helpless in its coils and the creature kept biting the poor halfling with impunity. Fortunately for the halfling Benito and Ellysidell with sword and falchion kept the creature from having the time to rip out his throat or sink his dripping fangs deep into his skull.
Hurry guys! He's squeezing me to death! cried Grim.
Meliane changed into a large bear and began tearing and biting the other adversaries with tooth and claw. Benito concetrated on the snake, which was suprisingly quick. It was quick enough to bite and squeeze Grim and strike the cleric with its stinger. Poison dripped from that fould appendage as well. Benito also noticed that the monster had a copper collar similar to Dorthan's.
The Scourge tore at his chains and popped one manacle loose before the Attendant paralyzed him with sickly green beam from a wand that he had unveiled. He fired the same wand at Ellysidell who cut down two guards, but the barbarian shrugged off the effects. The bear called Meliane took down a bugbear facing the other so that Ell and Benito could concentrate on the snake-thing that held Grim. With a might chop of the falchion and a backhand slice by Mano at the snake-creatures exposed neck, the melee was won. Meliane growled and the last bugbear backed off weapon still ready. Ellysidell began chopping through the thick coils of the monster to free Grim while Benito confronted the Attendant. He saw that two large doors, big enough for giants or dire bears, were opening at the far end of the room, in the direction of the surface. If he did not think and talk fast, the party was done for.
"Let us leave. We are sorry for the inconvenience. "
The Attendant held out his wand, "Why should I let you leave? You come in here under the guise of peace and kill my servants and pets. There is a debt to pay now that goes beyond mere gold."
"We may die," Benito replied full of confiedence, "but if we go, you will go first!"
Ell, with Grim under one arm nodded in agreement. "We need to get out of here quickly, Benito. That thing's poison is making me queasy, " whispered the barbarian.
Benito gripped Mano and took a step towards the attendant.
"Very well, then. Drop your weapons and do not ever return!"
Benito sheathed Mano. Ellysidell put his weapon away also and picked up the body of Nosr. Meliane changed back into her human form, healing some of her minor wounds. The party were marched under armed guard, including two three-armed giants when they reached the concourse that circled the fighting area, to the entrance. The two valiant warriors praised their fortitude for they did not succumb to the snake-creature's body-nuimbing poison.
As they left the grounds, Benito was still in doubt about the Scourge's true identity despite Grim's 'evidence' to the contrary. Grim wanted to go back and get the paladin.
Nearly exhausted and very disheartened, the Heroes stumbled into the Abbey of the Blinding Truth. Acolytes swarmed around the wounded and dejected party. Before they dropped and rested, Benito wrote to Aris and sent a trusted acolyte of Tyr to deliver his note summarizing the day's tragic events to the ship.
Under his leadership, Nosr and died (although Grigor had pledeged to resurrect him the next day) and Babu had run away. He was lost for all practical purposes. He had almost gotten the whole party killed in the Colisseum. "Aris," the cleric of Tyr said to himself, "I should have listened. Nosr I'm sorry. Babu, I hope you're alright....I should have listened...."
And the holy justice secluded himself in the cathedral to ask Tyr for guidance.
Last edited by Broccli_Head; Saturday, 23rd March, 2002 at 01:08 AM.
Thursday, 21st March, 2002, 05:36 AM #33
6 Ches (evening), 1373 Year of Rogue Dragons: The Night of Shadows
….“No good shall come of this.” Thought Aris as he waved the group on. “Benito, Grim you are only to gather information, nothing else, do not extract. Get in there verify if possible then leave. We are only here to drop off our charge and cargo and leave this dark place. We shall ship out as soon as possible.”
With all this said, Aris went back to overseeing the unloading of the trade goods that he brought under the guise of a free trader, from Alaghon. Later on that day, Aris thought of the company’s penchant for trouble and immediately began to regret not going with them. Yes, he thought, they are usually good at taking care of business . But this was Westgate, and in Aris’ conversations with Aif, this place was a dark and evil city.
“There is an evil here and it does not sleep” Aif had said. And this coming from a reformed doppelganger!
As soon as business was done, Aris had the ship ready to set sail, at a moments notice. He and the good Captain Firth put the crew on alert and ready to leave. Captain Firth was happy to know that Aris had paid the dockmaster well for the spot they were given. It was closeset to open sea, and definitely had the best catch of the winds. Much later on, as the sun was setting, a mob formed by the gang plank. It was a small mob of merchants that were now complaining of broken cargo. Aris calmed the mob down and made reassurances of his good business and paid them back the money for his broken merchandise.
As the mob dispersed a runner called from the gang plank, and said he had a delivery. The runner came aboard the ship and presented Aris with a bloody, all too familiar dead hawk , wrapped in a torn cloak. The message was clear to Aris.
“Captain, we set sail, Now!”
Just then a wet thunk! was heard aboard the Wave of Destiny and a head rolled onto the deck of the ship. A note was stuffed in the head’s gaping mouth. Varrik pulled it out and handed it quickly to Aris and scanned the wharf. It was a detailed letter of what had transpired within the last 12 hours, written by Benito, describing the nature of their mission and revealing that Aris was the leader of the Company. Fortunately, the head was not a member of the Company. Poor messenger, thought the genasi.
Aris’ heart sank as he read the letter. He realized three things, 1.) Varrik, Alberia, the ship, and himself have now been compromised to the Night Masks. 2.)His beloved ward Nosr had been killed in the other’s day of trouble. 3.) TO ARMS!!!!!!!
A dark shadow descended quickly on the ship as it listed severely to starboard. Night could not have come that fast, thought Aris.
“To Arms, Captain! Secure the ship! Bloody Hell!!!”
Un-natural fear descended upon all his crew, including Captain Firth. they all fled save for two faithful marines. Varrik, Alberia and even Aris were barely able to throw off the grip of fear that had stolen his mens’ spirits. Much to his horror a dark shadowy shaped landed on to the deck of the Destiny and the boat rocked violently again. There was the sound of flapping wings as it descended to them. Past the Darkness Aris could make out the shapes of armed men, probably assassins, by the silence in which they came aboard. There was also screaming in the water and Aris had the sinking feeling that is was probably his men being slaughtered as they fled.
Night masks! I hate them… thought Aris.
“The Countess of Shadows wants you,” said a sultry feminine voice from the shadowy mass of death that stood just 25 feet before Aris. At that moment, he knew it some sort of dragon, but the lizard was too hard to make out. Aris, Alberia, and Varrik wanted no business with whoever this countess was. From the mass of shadows came a cone of inky, black mist. It caught Alberia and Varrik. Aris, sensing the danger managed to barely flip out of the way. All that training had finally paid off. The three heroes steeled themselves, shaken but still determined to master this fear that was trying to steal their courage. Battle was joined with the Night Masks. Alberia was fighting one of the black clad assassins and it soon became apparent that the inky black cloud had somehow stole or sapped the life energy from her. Alberia would normally have been more skilled at the sword than her would be assassin, but now the cut-throat was toying with her.
“Varrik , help Alberia!” commanded Aris.
The tall warrior whom just joined up only two months prior realized the same conclusion as his leader did. That dragon had just breathed away some of their life force away. He could feel it himself, but he too realized that the paladin of Tyr was being outclassed. That should not have been happening. He ran over to assist her. The two together soon dispatched her assailant. Aris with his mighty longbow in hand began letting loose his arrows at the other two assassins that had converged on him and his two marines. The stalwart marines fought bravely but were soon felled. They were no match for well-trained slayers. Aris continued to pepper them with arrows but these Night Masks were tough. Varrik and Alberia ran across the deck to help Aris against the assassins. Alberia, Varrik and Aris then progressed to gang up on one final assassin and both dealt mortal blows to the Night Mask. After dropping one human adversary, the dragon breathed its life-sapping cone and once again Aris deftly dodged the blow while his companions could not get out of the way soon enough. Varrik closed to melee with the hovering beast and moved near enough to see the dragon’s true form. Terrified as he was, he managed to draw blood. He also realized, that sword-to-claw, he could not win. The dragon then flew up in the air and breathed again. This time, even the genasi could not get out of the way. Aris, Alberia, and Varrick were caught in that energy-draining breath. As the inky, blackness engulfed them their life essence just oozed away with the blackness. Aris knew his ability to keep dodging this attack was done, his fear had passed but Alberia looked like she could barely stand much less fight. Brave Varrik still had fight left in him. Aris had to respect that. One of the newest member to the company and Varrik stood with him.
The young psychic warrior looked to Aris and said with eagerness and faith, “You have a plan, right boss.”
Aris looked at him and thought, Certain death faces us and he still thinks I have a plan. Then the dragon came on top of them and clawed and bit into Aris as he desperately tried to pierce its armored hide.
Then Aris cursed himself as he remembered the main cabin. “Retreat to the cabin, if she wants us she is going to have to fight on our terms!”
Aris made sure Alberia headed toward the rear cabin as he and Varrik covered their retreat. Aris filled the last assassin with two well placed arrows into his chest and thigh, and Varrik retreated into the cabin last as he cut down the final assassin. Aris tossed some tanglefoot bags at the dragon to delay her pursuit of their retreat. Inside the cabin they barricaded the door. Aris was frantically thinking about how to defeat this dragon of shadows.
Varrik observed, “Boss, Alberia does not look so good.”
As Aris looked at Alberia he knew what was happening to them. Their life energy was being sapped by that blasted dragon and the chances of winning this battle were ebbing away in the utter black, that was the dragon’s breath weapon.
A sibilant , feminine voice chimed in as the barricade flew asunder. “You can surrender. My master wants to meet you. However, there is a price.”
“What is the price?” asked Varrik.
The shadow dragon seemed to look at him scornfully, feeling the bleeding wound across its magnificent scales, that was delivered by that warrior. Then it looked toward Aris.
“I am feeling merciful. One of you must die. I do require a sacrifice.”
Alberia’s father had helped Aris long ago. He owed her and her family and she was his friend. Varrik, the young warrior fell under Aris’s command and Aris understood loyalty, and duty as a “son of D’hib.” He would never ask any of the men in his command to do anything that he himself would not do.
“Well, what is your answer?”
Aris attacked. He would be the dragon’s sacrifice. She chuckled, stepped back and breathed into the cabin again. Alberia fell dead. Varrik sunk to one knee. Aris could not avoid the life-sapping fog. Despair began to set in. They were done for. Varrik looked to his leader ready to go down fighting if this were to be their last stand. He gripped his weapon tighter, but the genasi pushed him back.
“I rescind my offer, apes! All of you will die before the Countess of Shadows! My master will then feast on your souls.”
“Grab Alberia!” cried Aris.
Aris dug into the folds of his vest and pulled out several glass vials.
“Death before dishonor!” yelled Aris Cloud-dancer as he tossed one, then two, then two more vials of alchemist’s fire at the dragon.
She screamed and the fire caught quickly. The flames climbed up the rails and into the rigging and then began to creep into the hold. The dragon beat its wings which only served to fan the flames and spread the fire faster across the deck of the Wave of Destiny. The genasi looked at Varrik with the pale body of Alberia hauled over his shoulder and shook his head. He lifted his scimitar and axe to the sky and screamed at the top of his lungs. He had sacrificed the ship. Varrik followed suit raising his greatsword in pyrrhic victory. The dragon stayed back and hovered in the shadows realizing the danger. Aris too remembered. His hold was full of grain.
Wave of Destiny exploded as Varrik and Aris retreated to the cabin.
The Countess of Shadows looked below her squinting as the ship blew itself to bits.
“They’re gone,” she said and smiled with satisfaction as she glided over the burning wreckage one more time and then flew back towards the spires of the city…..
Last edited by Broccli_Head; Friday, 27th September, 2002 at 08:28 PM.
Thursday, 21st March, 2002, 05:09 PM #34
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
VERY cinematic combat there, Broc! I liked it. I hate that so many of the characters I've come to enjoy are getting the axe. But I look forward to the further adventures of Aris and Company, whoever the "Company" turns out to be.
So, are they now going to be called "Company of the Dead Wolf"?
Friday, 22nd March, 2002, 12:32 AM #35
Superhero (Lvl 15)
As gripping as always, Broccli_Head! You da veggie!
Besides, having dead PCs is a good thing, isn't it? Isn't it!?!
Last edited by Rune; Friday, 22nd March, 2002 at 12:36 AM.
Friday, 22nd March, 2002, 07:48 AM #36
Novice (Lvl 1)
Aris and friends
ARRGGGHHHH !!!!! ... let me reiterate for those who didn't catch that the first time ARRGGGHHHH !!!!! Thats it get the troops together Benito and co. are goin back to Westgate I am so gonna Flame Strike that city into ash... ARRGGGHHHH !!!!! What chaps is that Benito has used multiple divining spells to determine the fate of Aris (Even Gregor the High Abbot in Westgate tried) Every response has been "Aris is alive" "Aris in not undead" "Aris is not with the nightmasks" "Aris is not a prisoner" ... But then I read this and see very clearly that hes dead ahhh well, hehe great story Broc, glad I wasn't there So it's like I said 8 shall enter but 3 shall leave, lol. Let me just say for the record that Broc's gunnin for Benito but it aint gonna happen, Nito's one geared up powered up priest whose gonna whoop some Night Mask booty (after he's well into epic levels, lol) So with this post that leaves 2 more Westgate posts and 3 of the new set involving the quest for the elven bard, hehe. If you need any help Broc just let me know okay. Lol as a teaser in the 3rd session upcoming one of the party dies and through Hippie Druid power makes a return as a furry critter... who will become "Nutty Chipmunk of Death" ? Well you gotta keep readin to find out. Assuming my man Broc posts a lil more frequently
Saturday, 23rd March, 2002, 12:06 AM #37
Rune and Rel, thanks for chiming in. Rel, no the new name for the company is still undetermined.
Rune, sometimes a culling of the herd makes the herd stronger.
But, if you believe the commune with Tyr, then Aris Cloud-dancer lives, right? Or are you having doubts?
Saturday, 6th April, 2002, 06:50 AM #38
7 Ches , 1373 Year of Rogue Dragons: Aftermath
True to his word, High Abbot Grigor Khazar resurrected Nosr right after dawn. The sorcerer, Grim, Benito, Ellysidell, Meliane broke their fast in silence left to their own contemplations by the denizens of the abbey.
"I wonder what Aris is going to say about all this mess," mused Nosr.
He winced recalling the bolt to his back and went back to his meal not wanting to share about the darkness and the endless plain of Grey and the hopelessness.
The tense meal was broken when an acolyte threw open the door. Catching his breath he stammered, "There's...been...trouble. At the docks!"
The heroes' hearts collectively sank and they rushed downstairs to the gate where High Abbot Khazar was in discussion with members of the city guard. Benito spied Torvan and waved. The High Abbot approached the party.
"Last night there was a situation in the harbor. The watch has called upon us to investigate. Please come with us."
A detachment of soldiers loyal to the Abbey along with several high-ranking monks and priests accompanied Grigor and the party as they marched to the docks. They feared the worst and their fears came to fruition as they realized that the Wave of Destiny was no longer at its mooring point.
"Where's the ship?" asked Benito
Sergeant Torvan pointed to the debris floating in the water and several piles on a nearby wharf that had already been scavanged by dock and harbor workers. Bodies were already being pulled from the water, mostly in pieces and several blackened by fire.
"I'm sorry," was all that the High Abbot could say as the party stood mouths agape in horror.
Grigor put a hand on Benito's shoulder.
"Any survivors," said the cleric from Alaghon as matter-a-factly as he could trying to hold back his emotions.
"Two sailors," replied the Sergeant, and they were brought forward.
One was babbling incoherently about the "shadows" having eyes and the other was catatonic.
Grigor attended to their needs while Grim and Ellysidell ran to the edge of the docks looking for any signs of Aris, Alberia and even Varrik. Nosr just plopped himself down in disbelief cupping his face in his hands shaking his head. Ellysidell dove into the water searching and searching. Grim looked through the wreckage, hopeful. Benito went to the gristly task of examining the bodies.
After most of the morning the Heroes were frustrated. All they (actually Grim and Ell) had found was a bow, arrows and quiver that had belonged to their leader. Benito grabbed the items and sat down to sacrifice them to Tyr for information on Aris. Ell would only allow the destruction of the quiver--Aris's bow would be a keepsake--and the cleric asked where Aris was located.
The response from the divination....He is lost in shadow
Meanwhile Grim went through the cart of bodies and discovered a non-sailor (someone slashed with a longsword or a greatsword and not stabbed) and some loot. Holding up a pilfered ring, he thought, A Night Mask assassin perhaps?.
Benito came out from the divination more confused and tired of the docks and the dreary weather and Westgate. The halfling informed him of the discovery of the assassin and Benito beamed.
"I will make the spirit of that assassin talk!"
As Benito clutched the dead man's head and forced his spirit to talk the Tyrites posted guards along with the city guard around the site and the piles of debris that had been collected. Then the cart, the clerics, and the heroes headed back to the Abbey where more questions would be asked of the now recovered sailors and upon some of the dead.
In brief, Benito discovered that the Night Masks had indeed been behind the attack; that this assassin had been felled by Varrick and Alberia (from deduction by the descriptions the spirit gave). He also learned that the attack was one of retribution. It was meant to be a lesson to the survivors and a stronger message to get out of town. From the sailors, they learned that a Darkness had descended upon the boat and all the crew, including Captain Firth had fled. Many of their companions had been slain in the water by "sharks". Of the three adventurers--Aris, Alberia, and Varrik--they knew nothing, but speculated that they were blown to bits by the explosion of the ship.
Grigor and Benito decided to commune with Tyr in the cathedral to get more answers to what happened in Westgate...
Is Aris alive? Yes...Is Varrik alive?Yes...Is Alberia alive? No...Are Aris and Varrik together? Yes...Are they being held prisoner by the Night Masks? No...Is Aris still in the city? Unsure [this question seemed to be blocked by a higher power]Are they being held prisoner by the Quivering Thumb? No...Is the QT involved? Not directly...Is Aris undead? No...Is his body alive but his spirit trapped? No...Is Aris a prisoner of anyone? No, not really...Is Babu still alive? Yes...Is he being held by the Night Masks? No...Is he still in Westgate? Yes...Was the attack on the ship in retaliation for the deaths of the Night Masks at the inn? Yes...
[at this point Grim peeking in the stained glass window screamed to Benito through mental message to ask about Dorthan/Scourge, so Benito asked Grigor to ask the God of Justice...] Is the Scourge, Dorthan? Yes!
Last edited by Broccli_Head; Saturday, 6th April, 2002 at 07:00 AM.
Sunday, 7th April, 2002, 06:18 PM #39
Novice (Lvl 1)
Ok, just a quick poll for those who might be reading the story hour Who thinks the group should stay and seek vengeance ? Ok who thinks that the group should get while the gettins good ? And lastly who thinks the group should leave but come back in about 10 levels and Flame Strike Westgate and the Nightmasks into a big pile of ash ? Anyways luckily for the group 3 of the 8 that entered escaped unscathed. As for the wolf being dead... Well as you can see thats not what Tyr has told the shaken holy justice Benito. You can rest assured that he and the group will not rest until their friends, Mourn and Aris alike are freed from whatever bonds may keep them. Well good post Broc and I'm looking forward to how you handle the next traumatic event in the parties career. Can anyone say Reincarnate ? Meliani can, lol. It promises to be interesting. Which hero gets to come back as a furry forest critter ? Well wait and see
Last edited by Malachai_rose; Sunday, 7th April, 2002 at 06:21 PM.
Monday, 8th April, 2002, 04:20 PM #40
Novice (Lvl 1)
Great story as ever
In answer to Malachai's poll, I reckon you should head out of town, gain a few levels and let the Night Masks begin to forget about you, then return and start hunting down and killing the bastards
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