Amidst the Ruins (Updated 6/22/06)


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    Amidst the Ruins (Updated 6/22/06)

    This is my first attempt at any serious writing outside of essays for school. I’ve read a number of storyhours on these boards, and after the first session of a new campaign, it seemed like the time was ripe to write my own.

    I don’t DM this campaign, I play Nwm (half elf, Paladin 1), and I apologize profusely to Sepulchrave for steeling the name. I didn’t plan on the storyhour when I wrote up the character. If anyone has a problem with the character being named Nwm, just say so and I’ll change the name.

    A bit of back story for Nwm and Ygred (human, Paladin 1) is required before the actual story started. Both characters come from a human encampment near the ruins of the city Naschres (located in the center of a forest, the Rotwood), which their people scavenge for salvageable goods for a living. Due to recent undead activity, the head Paladin of the camp, Lord Gilgamesh, sent Nwm and Ygred out to find other human encampments and secure reinforcements for Naschres.
    While Ygred is a human and has lived all his life in Naschres, Nwm came to the camp only a year ago, for reasons he has not disclosed to any of the humans outside the Paladin’s order. His story will be addressed over the course of the first few posts.
    So, I hope you all enjoy- Here it is.

    ***

    Dusk was fast approaching as Nwm and Ygred reached the edge of Rotwood. Six days spent in the unwholesome shadows of the corrupted trees had not done the knights any good- they rested now, chests heaving with the effort of their forced march, still grimly clutching their swords- hardly believing the trials of the forest to be over.

    Ygred stood for a long while gazing out over the endless expanses of the grasslands. having never left the confines of Citadel Naschres in his 19 years, Ygred found the sheer openness of the verdant tundra staggering. Nwm glanced at his companion, and, deciding to let him enjoy this unexpected respite while it lasted, set about preparing camp. Nwm was no stranger to the grasslands- he’d grown up among the nomadic elves who called them home- and considered them only slightly less dangerous then the depths of the Rotwood. After a moments hesitation, Nwm began collecting grasses and deer droppings with which to kindle a fire. The smoke might, ofcource, attract hostile attention, but the chill of the night might just as easily kill the two exhausted soldiers- unsheltered as they were.

    As the grasses began to crinkle under the heat of the sparks Nwm’s flint cast upon them, Ygred turned to his companion. The younger knight’s face was a mask of stoicism- but his voice belayed more then a little concern.

    “Nmw, might not a fire draw unwanted attention from the denizens of the Rotwood? Both you and I know what foul things the shadows of those trees conceal from the light of day. With nightfall, I suspect they’ll be drawn to our blaze like a beacon.” Nwm snorted indifferently.

    “We’ll be lucky if the only threats we face tonight come from the Rotwood. The plains have their own predators...and ofcource the elves don’t take kindly to visitors in their lands.” At the mention of the nomadic fair folk, Nwm’s smooth forehead collapsed into a mass of furrows- asthough an unseen weight had descended upon his broad shoulders.

    With the fire now burning steadily, the paladins settled to the ground, wrapping their frayed cloaks about them against the impending night’s chill. The tundra around them darkened. Soon, the only light visible save that of the stars was the flickering of the their camp fire...and it did not go unnoticed. From atop a bluff several hundred yards off, a lone figure gazed down upon the light. Eyes sharper then those of any human, the watcher easily picked the bulky armor clad shapes of the two knights out of the tangle of grasses. With steps as soft and graceful as those of a hunting cat, the watcher moved towards the camp, slim hands resting easily on the hilt of a thin bluesteel blade at his waist.

    The watcher got within ten paces of the camp before the knights noticed his presence. With a shout, Ygred leapt to his feat, unsheathing his great sword as he did so. Nwm also moved- grabbing a javelin from a sling across his back- poising to throw at a moments notice. The cloak shrouded figure did not move- showing neither signs of fear or hostility. He raised one hand in a gesture of greeting. With sudden trepidation, Nwm spoke out- not in the human tongue, but in the dialect of the elves.

    “Who are you that comes under cover of darkness to the camp of a Paladin of Hypatia?” The watcher balked in surprise at hearing his own tongue spoken by a human. He responded, also in the harsh tongue of the nomadic elves.

    “I am Eromil of Clan Birchwing, son of Aneuvian and Luarasti. I mean you no harm, and would share your fire.” With this, he unslung a quiver of arrows from his back and dropped them to the ground at his feat, a gesture of peace common amongst the elves. He did not come closer, though, for Ygred had turned to his companion, naked blade in hand, and was shouting in the unintelligible tongue of men. Although Eromil could not make out the meaning of the man’s words, the hostile content was plain as day.

    “What fiendish speech is this, Nwm, that you and yonder stranger converse in? It sounds to much like a tongue of demons for my taste. I trust this visitor not! We should drive him off.” Nwm raised a hand to silence his companion, muttering under his breath as he did so.

    “The man on the bluff is an elf. Furthermore, I know the tribe he claims to be of. It would not do to arouse the anger of the Birchwings by denying him shelter, and should we move against him, rest assured his kin will see us dead.” In the rasping language of the elves, Nwm called to out to Eromil. “Come warm yourself by our fire then, Eromil of Clan Birchwing. I am Nwm of Naschres, and a son by my mother’s side of that same clan. It would be poor manners to deny my kin what comfort we can offer against the evening’s chill.” As the elf approached, Nmw let his gaze slip into the spectrum of the spirit sight- a power he had developed only in the last year under the tutelage of Gilgamesh, Lord Paladin of Naschres. The world around him blurred for a moment, and then, as he focused his gaze upon Eromil, he beheld the man’s spirit. It clung to the now shifting outline of the elf like a cloak of light. Nwm breathed a sigh of relief- it was not the spirit of an evil soul. Beside him, he noticed Ygred also scrutinizing the elf’s aura, the other Paladin clearly did not wish to take any chances.

    As Nwm began to ease himself back into the normal spectrum, he glanced again at the fading spirit enshrouding Eromil, and was beset by a faint tingling of recognition, or perhaps deja-vu. The elf’s aura seemed strangely familiar, although were he had seen it before, he could not say. Subconsciously, he clasped his left hand over the black leather glove which covered his right.

    Even as Nwm studied the strangely familiar elf, Eromil likewise watched the Paladin. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that elven blood ran in his veins. Furthermore, as an elf, Eromil’s natural connection to the spirit world was strong enough that he could recognize close kin with but a glance. From the moment he had hear Nwm’s voice, he was aware that the knight was somehow related to him- very closely related infact. Perhaps, he thought, this had something to do with the quest the great Druid had sent him on. The keen eyed elf also caught the strangely reflexive manner inwhich Nwm clutched his gauntlet. Curious indeed, Eromil mussed, stowing away the strange behavior for future assessment.

    Eromil quoted down before the fire, opening a flask at his side and sipping from it once, before offering it to his hosts. Ygred glanced suspiciously at the wineskin, refusing to drink of it until Nwm had downed a mouthful. As Ygred dubiously accepted the flask, Nwm turned to Eromil.

    “Forgive my asking, but its uncommon to find an elf traveling alone on the plains, and the Birchwing lands are leagues away. Why are you here?” The elf gazed into the fire and began his tale. At a look from Ygred, Nwm began to translate.

    “23 years ago, I forged my blade Lightning- becoming a warrior of the Birchwings. I was chosen as a member of one of the many war bands of the tribe, and rode far abroad, never once returning to my clan’s ancestral mound. Over the past five years, my war band clashed repeatedly with warriors of another tribe, the Chipwings, our greatest foes. All but one other warrior was slain in the last confrontation between the Chipwings and my band, some two years past. As I lay dying on the field, I dreamt of the sun setting, and as I awoke, I found my wounds healed, and an ancient druid standing over me. The Druid told me that he had seen me in a vision, and that, for the honor of the Birchwings, I must chase the setting sun. That was all I learned from him- he transformed into a Prarie Hawk as soon as I began to question him, and flew to the east. Thus, I travel west, dreaming every night of the setting sun.”

    A growing suspicion welled in Nwm as Eromil tolled his tale. 23 years ago, the elf had left the ancestral mound of the Birchwings. 23 years ago, a child neither elf no man had been borne to that same tribe, loosing his mother in childbirth. It was the custom of the elves never to reveal the name of a mother lost to childbirth to her offspring, instead letting the fates enlighten the child when the time was right. Nwm cleared his throat.

    “What did you say your mother was named, again?” He rasped. As he said so, his sight melted back into the spirit spectrum. Eromil’s spirit shone like liquid fire, and once again, Nwm beheld that strangely familiar glow.

    “Laurasti, lady Druid of the Birchwings. I am told she di-” He was cut off by Ygred. The young paladin pointed wordlessly into the Rotwood, clutching his great sword, eyes narrowed. In the shadows beneath the trees, something flashed a dull white.

    “Sweet Hypatia...” Nwm whispered, slowly unsheathing Exile, his longsword.

    “I don’t know.” Muttered Ygred. “For a moment, it looked like someone was waving a white flag...but that's crazy.” Eromil drew up beside them.

    “I saw it too. A man perhaps, in a white tunic- but it was gone so swiftly I can not be sure.” Nwm translated briefly to Ygred. The three gazed into the gloom beyond the edge of the Rotwood, eyes searching the blackness to no avail. Minutes passed. Nwm lowered his blade.

    “There!” Ygred pointed to a cluster of tangled bushes several hundred yards away. His face was pale. Moving with unearthly grace from behind the bushes was a man- or atleast a man’s clothing. A white tunic, a pair of worn trousers, a woodsman’s cap. For a moment, Nwm and Eromil were unable to believe what they saw, but as two more of the otherworldly things glided into view- it became impossible to deny.

    Three sets of farmer’s cloths, two men’s and one a woman’s, completely empty, were drifting towards them. Around the ends of the tunic’s sleeves, strange witchlights glimmered a sickly green. The woman’s dress flapped asthough tossed by a biting wind, but the air around Nwm was still. As the things drew closer, Eromil realized with sudden horror that the woman’s blouse was ripped and stained with what could only be blood. The tunics of the men were in similar conditions. Eyes narrowed, Nwm stepped forward, Exile glimmering dimly in the light of the campfire.

    “Come no closer, whatever you be! Speak and let your purpose be known!” A slight breeze stirred up, and for a moment, Nwm thought- imagined- that he heard the faintest trace of a mocking laugh- but the wind faded. Utter silence descended over the trio- and the cloths drifted closer. Nwm slipped into the spirit sight for the third time that day...

    Around each set of cloths, a skin of black flames danced. The telltale stench of evil drifted on the wind- assaulting Nwm’s spirit sense like the smell of rotting flesh. The Paladin’s gaze returned to the earthly spectrum in time to see Eromil knocking an arrow to his bow. Nwm hefted Exile, focusing all his strength of will into the blade. The runes the elven elder’s had etched with their magic onto the bluesteel sword glowed faintly in response as the holy energy coursed through them. Beside him, Ygred lifted a glowing brand from the flames.

    “Last I checked, cloths don’t take well to fire...” The younger Knight said with a hard grimace. An arrow hissed between the two Knights- connecting solidly with one of the possessed tunics. The shaft passed through the weak fabric easily, but the monstrosity hardly slowed. With a shout to the goddess Hypatia, Ygred hurled himself into melee- taking a sweeping blow at the nearest horror with his blazing torch. The flames passed within an inch of the thing’s trousers, which seemed to recoil as if in fear. Then, with horrible swiftness and unbelievable strength, the tunic lunged forward, wrapping its arms about Ygred. Although the human Knight struggled with all of his considerable strength, the supernatural force inhabiting the tattered raiment overcame him in seconds. Witchlights flared about the tunics arms as they tightened around Ygred’s neck. As the possessed blouse and skirt glided to flank Ygred, Nwm charged in from its side. With a savage snarl, he lashed out with Exile, the blade, latent with holy energy, bit into the front of the bloodstained bodice, tearing a great gash in the threadbare fabric, and dimming the witchlights within the cloth. It was with mounting horror that Nwm realized that for all his effort, whatever force inhabited the farm girl’s clothing was far from defeated. The half elf was caught up in a terrible parody of an embrace by his unholy foe- its arms wrapping almost lovingly around his neck as they sought to squeeze the life out of him. Eromil watched in horror as the two knights were grappled to the ground by the possessed cloths. More frightening still was the small blaze kindling a few feet from the struggling form of Ygred, were his torch had been dropped. Still, the elf has more pressing worries- as the cloths his arrow had torn into were fast approaching. The nimble elf was able to dodge the grasping arms of the tunic- remaining free, but sent reeling by a vicious punch to his face, the force of which nearly snapped his neck.

    In the following moments, both Nwm and Ygred managed to free themselves- throwing off the weight of the fiendish cloths only to be faced by the crackling of a swiftly spreading prairie fire... Retrieving his sword, Ygred redoubled his efforts against the two sets of cloths which beset himself and Eromil. With a triumphant shout, he managed to push one into the roaring flames, where it disappeared in a mass of ash and smoke. As he turned to confront the second assailant, Ygred barely had the time to throw up his hands before his face as he was caught by a vicious backhand of incredible strength which knocked him dazedly back a few paces. Behind him, Eromil had retreated to a safer distance and sent another arrow whistling home into the remaining tunic. Across the rapidly growing blaze, Nwm spun Exile through a swift feint and impaled the bodice. Now looking more then a little worse for wear, the woman’s cloths twisted and squirmed to avoid toppling into the crackling fire behind them. Pushing his advantage, Nwm yanked Exile free and took a sweeping slash at the trailing dress. Exile contacted, and the monster toppled over, disintegrating in the heat of the prairie fire in seconds. Hefting his blade, Nwm turned in time to watch Ygred and Eromil deftly dispatch of the final creature. Both were bleeding heavily, in no shape to tackle the raging prairie fire.

    “Give me your water skin, Ygred, we’ll need to put this out, although it’s probably already drawn the attention of every sentient creature within a hundred miles by now.” The weary knight said. Emptying his own water skin into the heart of the fire, Nwm began beating the remaining flames with his shield.

    “I’ve only got ale in here, Nwm. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s going to help put out the fire....” Resignedly, Nwm set about extinguishing the sizable blaze, suffering several severe burns in the process. Returning to the makeshift camp exhausted, burnt, and bruised, Nwm didn’t even have the energy left to demand to know why Ygred was carrying ale instead of water....

    Discomforted by the thought that the prairie fire had attracted hostile attention, Nwm managed to convince Ygred to help move their meager possessions into the outskirts of the Rotwood. They hastily set camp for the second time that night, although neither knight had the energy to collect more wood for a fire. Eromil, needing little sleep, offered to stand watch for the remainder of the night, and, wounded as he was, seemed more then a little keen to stay in the company of the Paladins. As the two knights slept, Eromil’s mind wandered back to their meeting earlier that day. His eyes fell on the black gauntlet covering Nwm’s right hand.

    “It might be nothing...” The elf whispered. “Then again, it might not...” Stealing silently over and kneeling beside the sleeping paladin, Eromil eased the glove from the half- elf’s hand. Even in the dying light of the camp fire, there could be no mistaking the mark Nwm bore.

    An intricately twisting brand ran from Nwm’s knuckles to his wrist like some grotesque parasite. Eromil recognized its meaning immediately.

    “Elf-slayer” he breathed. Suddenly, the blade named Exile held a world of meaning. The elf shivered with fear, hands trembling ever so slightly as he slid Nwm’s glove back on to the sleeping Knight’s hand.

    Stepping back a few paces, Eromil fingered the hilt of his sword. His natural inclination at finding the brand of the elf slayer was to slit the man’s throat and be off into the night without a second thought, but his conditions presented a challenge. Eromil was weary and badly wounded. By himself, he’d probably not survive another day on the plains, especially if the Clipwings found him or some horror from the Rotwood crossed his path. The human Knights were both able combatants, and both less injured then he. Now that he thought about it, Eromil wasn’t even sure that he’d be able to kill Nwm with a single thrust, weak as he was- and he shuddered at the idea of the Elf- Slayer awakening and throttling him to death. And there was that sense- Nwm was close kin, after all.

    Eromil gritted his teeth in frustration. He could either leave the Knights and die, stab the elf-salyer and die, or remain in the company of an abomination until fully healed. It wasn’t a hard choice, not for the likes of Eromil.

    ***


    Nwm and Ygred stirred shortly after the first light of dawn appeared to the east. The meager camp was dissembled in a mater of moments, and the trio left the Rotwood soon after. Ygred turned to Nwm after some moment. After several minutes of silence, Ygred turned to Nwm.

    “Look” he muttered in an undertone, “I can’t help but notice that the elf seems to have decided to travel with us. Did you two make some sort of agreement while you were chatting away in that strange tongue of yours?” Nwm turned to regard Eromil, following a pace or so behind them. The elf’s hard expression surprised him, but he passed it off and answered Ygred.

    “No, no arrangement was made between us, I’d have told you if their was, but we can hardly refuse to let him travel with us- we are going west too, and all three of us are injured.”

    “Safety in numbers” Ygred reasoned. As they mounted a steep hill, the Knights fell behind Eromil. Soon, the elf was nearly out of sight, but his astounded voice carried clearly back to them as he reached the summit.

    “A camp! A camp of elves and humans! Never in my life have I seen such a thing!” Excitement mounted in Nwm, he doubled his pace, forgetting that Ygred could not understand the elf. Befuddled, Ygred broke into a jog beside Nwm.

    “What did he say?” Nwm’s face was alight with- hope? Anticipation? The Knights came to a wide plateau, at the far end of which stood Eromil, gazing down upon a sight which caught Ygred’s breath.

    The ruins of a might keep lay spread out beneath them. Stone walls rose three times a man’s height above the prairie, wooden palisades filling a large number of gaps were the stone had succumbed to the elements. Atop the walls, armored soldiers marched, scanning the surrounding lands. As Ygred took in the view, Nwm cursed.

    “What?”

    “We can’t go in there.” Nwm was clutching his gauntlet again, Ygred noted.

    “Why? These people may be able to come to the aid of Naschres! We can’t simply walk away from them, we were charged to bring reinforcements!”

    “Look.” Nwm pointed to a mass of tents on the far side of the fort. Horses stood tethered a few paces behind them. Among the tents, a number of lightly armored warriors conversed with merchants and the soldiers of the keep. “Elves. You know I was cast out of the Birchwing clan. I can’t go among them. Allies of the elves may not look kindly upon me.”

    “Eromil seems grateful enough for our company. Why do you think these elves will be different?” But Nwm was no longer listening to him. With a shocked expression, the half-elf was scanning the plateau.

    “Eromil has gone!” Ygred was more then a little surprised to see his companion’s face contorted with fear as he spoke. “Go back the way we came! If you find Eromil, stop him, I must speak with him.” Nwm dashed down the hill in the direction of the fort, calling loudly in elven. Ygred stood for a moment, looking after Nwm, then set back the way they had come.

    Eromil had not gotten far when he heard Nwm’s shouts. Resting an arrow on the string of his bow, the elf slid behind a boulder. Presently, Nmw came into sight.

    “Eromil! Wherever you are, I must peak with you!” The paladin passed Eromil’s hiding place, still calling. Eromil drew back his bow, and stepped into view.

    “Come not a step closer, Elf-slayer.” Nwm whirled around. Eromil’s hand tightened around the wood of his bow.

    “Explain.” Nwm didn’t need to ask what. Slowly removing his glove, Nwm gazed at the brand on his hand for a moment.

    “EXPLAIN!” Eromil sounded almost frantic. The wood of his bow creaked under the strain of the taught string. With evident pain etched across his features, Nwm began to speak.

    “I lived for twenty two years with the Birchwings. I was raised as a child of the clan, but there were some who hated me, thought my mixed blood an abomination- a taint. There were not many among the tribe who thought thusly, but those few were ever vigilant for a chance to see me exiled, or better yet, slain.”

    “A newly armed warrior, Kolanth, got his chance shortly after I began the forging of my Warrior’s Blade. You see, I had for some time been courting a maiden of the clan in secret, and Kolanth discovered this. He took it as a personal insult- claiming that one of sullied blood such as I had not business courting a daughter of the Birchwing tribe. I argued the point, foolishly, and Kolanth challenged me to a duel.” As he spoke, Nwm lifted the left plate from his shoulder, revealing a pallid scar just beneath his collar bone.

    “I lost. Kolanth broke my blade, knocked me to the ground, and stabbed for my heart. I was just fast enough to move before the blow landed. As my blood spilt from the wound in my shoulder, Kolanth raised his sword again, but stayed the blow long enough to taunt me. As he spoke, I found the hilt of my broken sword, and when he lunged towards me for the killing strike, I drove the my shattered blade into his neck.”

    “The tribe discovered me unconscious and Kolanth dead. I was branded without the chance to explain myself, not that it would have done me any good. The reason I was not killed outright, was, ironically, the fact that I had elven blood too- and perhaps that I was in the process of forging Exile. The druids claimed that to interrupt the forging of a Warrior’s Blade would bring disaster to the tribe, so I was allowed to finish that task before I was branded. Once the sword was finished, the Druids formally banished me- and carved the name Exile into my sword. I’ve tried to fill the runes in over the last year- or to file them down, but nothing works. Its what I am.” Nwm finished, and stood pleadingly before Eromil. The elf slowly lowered his bow.

    Without a word, he stowed towards the fort below them, but the softening of his expression tolled Nwm that Eromil would not reveal. As he turned up the trail to find Ygred, Nwm called after Eromil.

    “Please believe me when I tell you I took no pleasure in the act that earned me this brand- I was filled only with mindless furry, a furry I’ve spent the last year seeking to temper.”

    ***

    Ygred and Nwm caught up with Eromil at the gates of the keep. Almost sheepishly, the elf whispered to Nwm-

    “The guards on the wall can’t understand me, and neither seem to have thought to get a translator.” Relief washed over Nwm at the sound of the elf’s voice. Apparently, he’d atleast been partially forgiven in light of his usefulness. Ygred called out to the guards atop the wall.


    “Hail! I see fortune smile on your people! I, a Paladin of Hypatia and my companions would enter and speak with your Lord!” The guards peered down to them.

    “I take it your band enclosed the elf? If he is a friend of a Knight of Hypatia, I would apologize for the inconvenience we’ve caused him.” The guard called down to unseen soldiers beneath, and in moments the great wooden doors ground open.

    Until he entered the city behind those doors, Nwm had believed humanity to be little more then a race of scavengers, clinging to the remnants of their shattered empire like flies to a aging carcass. The keep on the plains was something different. A reflection of a past era- a merging of the humanity of old and the new. Soldiers bedecked in the finery of the prior centuries patrolled freshly repaired walls. Seas of tents filled the square which had once been a market place, merchants of the modern age hawking the wares of the past. Ygred was likewise awed. The people of Naschres only barely scarped out their existence among the ruins- these proud people not only lived but thrived.

    “We’ll need to find someone with enough power here to order an expedition sent to Naschres.” Ygred commented to Nwm as they watched a pair of resplendently bedecked soldiers march past to take their shifts atop the walls. In response, Nwm called to one of the soldiers.

    “Sir, my companion and I have news of a human encampment in need of your people’s aid. Who would we-” The guard pointed to to central body of the keep.

    “You’ll find the Lord Commander in there.”

    The keep had once been an imposing building, but much of the upper stories had been destroyed and further battered by the elements. From a pile of ruble which had once been a tower, a white flag waved gently in the wind. At the entrance to the keep, another pair of soldiers met them and escorted them to the chambers of the Lord Commander.

    Ygred rapped on the door with a mail clad fist as soon as the guards had returned to their post.

    “Enter” a resonant voice called from the other side of the door. The Paladins stepped in, finding themselves in a windowless room lit by flickering touchers. The chamber was bare save for a rough table in the center, over which the Lord commander was bent, surveying a map. The commander was an aging man, but of proud bearing and powerful build. A chest plate of burnished steel was visible beneath a royal blue cloak. Strapped across his back was a massive great sword. Ygred bowed.

    “Lord Commander, I bear word form Lord Gilgamesh of Naschres.” the Knight said, remaining on his knees.

    “Rise and speak it, Knight” intoned the Commander, “though I have never heard of Gilgamesh or Naschres.” Ygred rose to his feet.

    “The people of Naschre are beset by a great force of undead and fiends. At the behest of Lord Gilgamesh, myself and my companion journeyed far seeking warriors to bring to the aid of Gilgamesh. We have traveled for a month already, and encountered no one but your people. I plead of you, therefore, to send a company of soldiers to return to Naschres with me.” The Lord Commander's brow furrowed. He straightened, gazing appraisingly at Ygred, scarcely passing his eyes over Nwm.

    “What proof can you give me that you speak truly?” The commander asked. Ygred balked at the question.

    “My word as a Knight and servant of Hypatia.” Ygred intoned proudly.

    “I’m afraid” sighed the Lord Commander, “that that is not enough.” As Ygred opened his mouth to speak, the Lord Commander raised his hand, and continued. “You must understand, Knight of Hypatia, that in these difficult times, I can not afford to send even a small contingent of men away on an errand which very well might be a ploy to draw them to their deaths in the Rotwood.” He paused at the look of outrage stamped across Ygred’s face, and smiled almost sadly. “There was a time not so long ago when I would have dispatched a hundred men to return to Nashres with you, and gladly. But times have changed. Men who enter that forest do not return, and the dead pound constantly on our walls. I’m sorry, but swords count for more then words now. If you have no proof beyond your word, then I can not justifiable lend your cause even a single warrior.” As Ygred fought to control his rising anger, Nwm cleared his throat.

    “My Lord Commander, the warriors of Naschres are many and strong. Perhaps you could spare a few men to return to Naschres with us, and to guide its people through the forest that they might swell your own numbers. Naschres is beleaguered, and I have no doubt that Lord Gilgamesh would see the wisdom in relocating to a more defensible position.” The Lord commander shook his head.

    “I’m truly sorry, but I have already given you my answer. Now, leave me, I have much to attend to.” The paladins bowed, and left the Commander, seething with anger. They left the keep in silence, making for the market in the hopes of finding Eromil among the elven traders there.

    During their audience, dusk had fallen over the plains. Clouds rolling in from the south obscured the moon and many of the stars. A chill wind toyed with the flames of the torches atop the wall and in the market. As Nwm and Ygred neared the market place, a deep bell tolled over the fort.

    The response was immediate. At once, men began running to the walls, while the elderly and young bolted and latched the doors of their houses.

    “What the....” Ygred mouthed.

    “The dead advance! To the walls!” A passing soldier shouted. Ygred looked to Nwm. The half-elf had already drawn his sword, and with a nod to Ygred he charged after the soldiers.

    As they came in sight of the walls, the severity of the attack became apparent. The shapes of fighting soldiers and shambling corpses were silhouetted in the torch light. It seemed that the dead had already managed to scale the walls. The paladins found themselves in a press of armored soldiers as they rushed to climb to the wall tops. As he mounted the stairs, Nwm glanced around him, surveying the state of the battle.

    The guards faired badly. Masses of rotting corpses poured over the walls, and more shambled out for the forest every moment. Tospite their skill and euiptment, the human guards were slowly being pushed from the ramparts. The reinforcements toped the stairs, forming a semicircle, slowly expanding into the ranks of the undead. Nwm and Ygred found themselves fighting at the foremost edge of the circle, beset by an endless swarm of undead. Zombies fell to the blades of both men, but as he hacked into the torso of an advancing corpse, Nwm felt a sharp flash of pain in his head, and tumbled backwards, into blackness.

    ***


    W
    Last edited by Aneul; Thursday, 22nd June, 2006 at 10:35 PM.

 

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    ø Ignore Steverooo
    AUGH! My eyes!!!

    Please use the Enter/Return key, TWICE, between paragraphs, to break up the text-blocks! (It is MUCH easier to read, and also easier on the eyes)! Thanks!

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    Gallant (Lvl 3)



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    ø Ignore Steverooo

    Not bad!

    Well, it's hard to read, and has a lot of typos (and a few misused words), but it's enjoyable! Y'might want to Edit it, insert those Returns, and correct a few typos, but otherwise, keep up the good work! Your writing's pretty good, and your GM shows some excellent World-building skills!

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    I'll fix the formating. Its good to hear that someone enjoyed it. Prehaps I can coerce my DM into posting a bit about the world.
    Last edited by Aneul; Sunday, 23rd October, 2005 at 11:21 PM.

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    ø Ignore Steverooo
    Quote Originally Posted by Aneul
    I'll fix the formating. Its good to hear that someone enjoyed it. Prehaps I can coerce my DM into posting a bit about the world.
    Looks better! Thanks!

    I know whatcha mean... I've had several story hours, and never gotten a comment on any of them, but one! (Kinda makes you wonder if anyone ever even saw them!)

  • #6
    Good job Anuel, cant wait to see what happens to Eromil. He must be the coolest rogue or character ever.

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    To Sirfiori
    Yes, Eromil (elven Rogue 1) is very cool. Its a great deal of fun to roleplay Nwm when dealing with him, becouse of their shared lineage and distrust of one another. As will become apparent later, they also differ on lots of moral issues.

    To everyone else it may concern
    I'll be making an effort to update weekley, since I'd like to keep the storyhour only one session behind the actual game. In the future, I'll also try to get someone look it over for typos which spellcheck doesnt catch. Much to my chagrin, my DM pointed out to me that I'd described the Lord Commander as and aging "ham", but of proud and noble bearing, as aposed to an aging man.

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    I'm sure that that will earn you a demotion! (Harrumph!)

  • #9
    Hey Anuel, good stuff so far.

    Looks like I'm lucky enough to start reading after the formatting-wars have died down. It reads great now (there are a few points where maybe you could give the dialogue a bit of breathing space rather than wedged into paragraphs... but hey, I'm being overly picky there ).

    Promising start. You've got yourself a new reader with me. Bring on the next post!

    Spider J
    The CR-never-applies Story Hour A Chronicle of Ice, Luck and Honour continues with Chapter 13: Stairway to Heaven Updated 19th December.

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    End of Term tests are making my schedual a bit tight this weekend- so I'm posting the next update on Halloween, the atmosphere of which it fits quite nicely.
    Its always a delight to hear that someone likes my work, Spider-J. More is comming.

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