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  1. #41
    mladurs right, if oyu are statting an adventure that is fine, if you are telling a story you don't even need that much

 

  • #42
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    Here you go. I present to you...
    __________________________________________
    Transformations

    Crimban had journeyed long to reach this point. He was standing in an underground cavern, deep in the Blood Crag mountain range. He had gone without food or sleep for three days, magic as his only sustenance, a mix of burning wrath and gnawing worry his motivating force. Four days ago, the Morvandian assassin Cullevere had snuck into the manor of the Maerthan noble family in the city of Veren, kidnapping the nobleman's daughter. At the scene of crime, he had left a note that went: "Let's see your fat magician solve this one", a taunt to the portly Crimban, known in the past for foiling the ambitious empire's dreams of conquest. When the day after dawned, Crimban was on his way to rescue the girl and slay the assassin. He had chosen to go alone, knowing he could cover more ground with his magic than fifty light cavalry scouts.

    And so he had. Three days later, he stood a thousand miles from his starting point, in a region impassable to any horse. In front of the cave were the remnants of a campfire, still hot. His prey could not be more than a few minutes ahead. Now, Crimban was staring at what his foe must've fled through. It was a portal, he reasoned, but like no portal he had ever seen. Its uneven edges reminded him of a burst boil. The gate looked like a pit gaping into the clear, blue water of some tropical ocean, yet it lay on a vertical surface.

    Crimban knew not what lay ahead, but the spell he used to trace the girl led through the portal. His instincts told him it was a trap, had been telling him from the moment he had read the assassin's note, but his prime goal was to find and save the young noble. Crimban swallowed, and reached to touch the portal's surface. He felt the familiar, cool tingle of a magical substance. With a deep breath, he stepped through.

    There was the moment of nausea that accompanied all magical travel. He reached the other side, breathing a sigh of relief when his feet met sturdy ground, and landed in a crouch, his ornate magical staff pointed forward like a spear. The room he had landed in was an opulently decorated chamber, reminiscent of a Verenna noble manor.

    "Well done, Crimban. We've been here for not five hours when you already come calling," said a voice from close by, tinged with amusement. The mage rose up, turning to gaze upon the speaker. He saw the man grinning in a manner that put to Crimban's mind an utter psychopath, looking from over the shoulder of the Verenna girl. He held a blade at her throat, glistening with a green ointment. Poisoned blade, Crimban noted. The girl looked tired and sad, but the wizard could see no real injuries. She looked vacantly at the floor, her face streaked with tears.

    "If you are wondering, by the way, we are in a self-contained pocket plane. No summons can reach the outside world, or even the Upper Planes.

    "Don't worry of her, she is quite unharmed. I just had to put her mind to sleep to facilitate easy travel. It is not her that I have quarrel with, but you, good Crimban," the assassin said, smiling.
    "I thought as much, but I am here to save the girl, not bandy words with a hired blade. Release her, and you may yet walk out of here."

    The assassin scowled.
    "The girl? You wish the girl, you may have her." As he spoke, he thrust the girl at Crimban, his knife cutting deeply into her throat. Blood cascaded over the blade and his hand, as she fell to the wizard's feet, lifeless.
    "And now, we may get to the matter at-" The assassin was cut short by the burst of magic from Crimban's wand that hit him squarely in the chest.
    "I've nothing to talk with you," the wizard spoke grimly, as the assassin's amusement quickly turned to horror. The spell was no ordinary evocation, he realized, as he felt his limbs stiffen. He lost the ability to move, the sense of touch, and finally, his scream of panic froze in his throat as his lungs and finally head turned into cold, dirty grey stone.

    Crimban was not yet finished with the man, however. As soon as the calcification was complete, he mouthed the words to another spell. When the final words left his lips, the stone statue's other leg simply exploded into wet mud. The transformation quickly spread to the other parts of the man's body that first lost their stony hardness, his limbs breaking off under their own weight, and then lost even that form, turning into wet pulp.

    The portly wizard looked approvingly upon what remained of his foe, and then cast the third spell. The mud regained some cohesion it'd had as a man, and the dirty gray gradually turned into fleshy pink. A pair of eyes took form, looking at Crimban, imploring him to end the torment. Once the change was complete, the Morvandian assassin was but a flesh-encased puddle on the ground. Its surface rippled as it tried to use its once strong muscles that were now without the support of a skeleton. Crimban leaned closer and said:
    "Show a little backbone."

    He left the assassin there, like that. Once he was out, he sealed the portal, and then collapsed the cave it had nestled in. With the dead girl slung over his shoulder, Crimban began his trek back to Veren. She could always be resurrected.
    Come visit #enworld, EN World's official chatroom, at irc.otherworlders.org!

    Worlds in a Handful of Dice

  • #43
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    A Frog in the Throat

    The village of Anvil huddles in the cold shadow of the Iron Mountains; it is the last stop on the trade road from the mighty capital city of Deinby, as it winds up into Farrier's Pass. The ore that once made the town famous for the plentifulness and quality of its metalwork has become rarer, but items made by the smiths of Anvil are still prized, and the town makes a small living catering to travellers going through Farrier's Pass.

    Oddly for a human town, the villagers' patron deity is Moradin, god of dwarves. (Some say that this is because the people of Anvil have dwarven blood in them, but that's impossible. Isn't it?) They celebrate the usual festivals, such as the King's Birthday, but also those that honor Moradin. Every winter equinox, the villagers travel to a nearby cave known as the Mouth of Moradin. Within the cave is a sacred pool, surrounded by ancient, huge statues carved by the dwarves centuries ago, before they left this part of the Iron Mountains--no one knows why. Anvil's priest, who is literate, writes the villager's prayers and praise to Moradin on scraps of parchment. Then the people tie the prayers to small stones and throw them into the pool. These prayers are followed by offerings of gold, jewels, valuable stone carvings, and finely-made ornaments and weapons, to honor Moradin.

    Word of this ceremony reached a mediocre Deinby wizard named Misigrem. Never one to make an honest copper when a dishonest gold would do, Misigrem conceived the idea of cleaning out the pool after the midwinter ritual. Obtaining a spell of water breathing, he crept into the caves, removed gold and the lighter items from the pool, and took them back to Deinby to sell.

    After several years of this, rumors of black-market (and low-price) Anvil goods made its way back to the village. The townsfolk appealed to their most capable native son: Whistling Jemmy, the notorious highwayman, scourge of the trade road, whose name comes from the noise his deadly sling stones make as they hail down upon his victims. From the villager's point of view, though, Whistling Jemmy is a folk hero. He never bothers the townsfolk, or lone travellers, preferring to prey on tax collectors and wealthy caravans. He tracked the rumors down and examined the disturbances at the cave. This year, the villagers left the cave after the offering, and lay in wait to catch their thief.

    Misigrem would have been caught except that his toad familiar Wart, scouting ahead, alerted him to trap. Desperate, he used his most precious magic item--a charm that, when crushed, summoned a creature that could be set to do a single task (a modified Summon Monster III). He told the Fiendish Condor that appeared to "guard the cave and don't let anyone but me pass." It flew out and drove off the watchers, and has been lurking around the entrance to the sacred cave ever since.

    Misigrem spent the battle concealing himself inside one of the old dwarven statutes, which arehollow; unfortunately, the lid that was so easy to tip open from the outside is nearly impossible to open from within. He was able to push out one of the teeth mortared into the rest of the statute, so perched in a dead spruce near the cave mouth. It watches the approaching group with unnaturally bright eyes. When they are within 30' it will open its ragged, stinking wings and swoop down to attack. Whistling Jemmy will assist the group, but they should be doing most of the work; he is more accustomed to attacking with surprise and from above.

    Once the guardian is defeated, Whistling Jemmy will lead the group into the cave. He doesn't know where the thief is, but he guesses that the thief is either hiding among the old statutes, or has gone past them somewhere into the tunnels and gotten lost, in which case they will be looking for bones. Privately, this is what he believes happened, but he wants to at least find the body so that he can let the villagers know the cave is safe.

    Getting to the statutes requires punting along a shallow natural river in the caves. There are punts beached along the entrance, with poles. Since Whistling Jemmy can't see in the dark, he'll either light a lantern or rely on magical light produced by a PC. The river feeds into a large underground pool, pure and startlingly blue. The water tastes wonderful, if anyone tastes it. However, it's a good 100' to the bottom, so jumping in is not suggested.

    As soon as they get in line of sight, Misigrem will spot the light, guess that he has rescuers, and figure that he'd better talk fast or he's not going to make it out of the caves in one piece. He will quickly cast Water Breating on himself, cast Ventriloquism on Wart and speak in his deepest, boomingest voice. "I AM THE THE ENVOY OF MORADIN, GOD OF DWARVES!" (Wart will croak menacingly.) "I ORDER YOU TO SEIZE THIS HUMAN WHO HAS DEFILED MY CAVE AND THROW HIM INTO THIS POOL AS A SACRIFICE!" His plan is that they will get him out of the statue, fling him into the pool, and he will stay underwater until they leave. Then he and Wart will sneak out of the village and escape to Deinby.

    Whether the PCs fall for this or not is up in the air. Misigrem naturally thinks everyone else is stupider than he, so he is confident that the unlettered, superstitious yokels will be awed and obedient. Of course, your players may be a little cleverer than that. The statue's lid is carefully balanced and counterweighted so that it can be opened from the outside by anyone with STR 10, but from the inside it must be forced open with STR 16 or better, or a Knock spell, which the wizard lacks. (Misigrem is not the first thief whom the original Dwarf sculptors had encountered.)

    If the PCs show any signs of killing Misigrem or taking him captive, he will fight desperately to escape. He doesn't want to kill anyone, just to get past them and get out of the caves; he is a mediocre punter but can certainly manage to make his way to the cave mouth. Wart will hop into people's faces and attempt to disrupt spells and attacks, but Misigrem will call him off if it seems he is in any danger. If the fight goes badly or he is told to surender or die, he will surrender immediately.

    Dead or alive, Whistling Jemmy will insist that the group take Misigrem back to the village, to be put in the stocks or buried, depending on his condition. In gratitude, the stout villagers will offer the PCs a reward: dwarf-made masterwork weapons or rings of protection +1, depending on the classes and inclinations of your party.

    And, as promised, Whistling Jemmy will lead them through the passageways to the other side of the Iron Mountains. Whether they pass through the rocky underground without incident is another matter...

    Misigrem
    NE, Half-elf, Wizard (6), STR 8 INT 16 WIS 10 DEX 13 CON 15 CHA 9
    Spells: Resistance (0), Light (0), Mage Hand (0), Mage Armor (1), Spider Climb (1), Tenser's Floating Disk (1), Feather Fall (1), Ventriloquism (1),Protection from Arrows (2), Continual Flame (2), Nondetection (3), Suggestion (3), Fly (3), Water Breathing (3)

    Whistling Jemmy
    CG, Human, Ranger (3)/Rogue (1), STR 12 INT 11 WIS 10 DEX 15 CON 12 CHA 15

    Fiendish Condor
    NE, Fiendish, 10' wingspan
    AC 10, Attacks: Peck, d6, HD 2-4, Cold and fire resistance 5/10, damage reduction -/5, Smite Good once per day
    When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)

  • #44
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Sigh. Okay, I give up.

    After twenty minutes of attempting to paste in the URLs correctly, the boards kicked me off every time I attempted to Preview then Post, and told me I could no longer post to that board. I tried posting with Quick Reply and several paragraphs in the middle have plain and simply vanished, making the entry completely incomprehensible.

    If the Ceramic DM judges will allow me to re-post, I will be happy to put up the entire entry in as correct a form as the boards will let me. Even if editing the entry were *not* against the rules, ENworld has decided for me that editing = death.
    When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)

  • #45
    i think we can allow a reposting, be nice and honest about it, post it as it was when you tried to post it

    if you have to, email it to me and i will post it.

    and let's please try to respect the one sig per thread rules guys
    Last edited by alsih2o; Sunday, 12th October, 2003 at 02:54 AM.

  • #46
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    A Frog in the Throat

    The village of Anvil huddles in the cold shadow of the Iron Mountains; it is the last stop on the trade road from the mighty capital city of Deinby, as it winds up into Farrier's Pass. The ore that once made the town famous for the plentifulness and quality of its metalwork has become rarer, but items made by the smiths of Anvil--though rare now--are still prized, and the town makes a small living catering to travellers going through Farrier's Pass.

    Oddly for a human town, the villagers' patron deity is Moradin, god of dwarves. (Some say that this is because the people of Anvil have dwarven blood in them, but that's impossible. Isn't it?) They celebrate the usual festivals, such as the King's Birthday, but also those that honor Moradin. Every winter equinox, the villagers travel to a nearby cave known as the Mouth of Moradin. Within the cave is a sacred pool, surrounded by ancient, huge statues carved by the dwarves centuries ago, before they left this part of the Iron Mountains--no one knows why. Anvil's priest, who is literate, writes the villager's prayers and praise to Moradin on scraps of parchment. Then the people tie the prayers to small stones and throw them into the pool. These prayers are followed by offerings of gold, jewels, valuable stone carvings, and finely-made ornaments and weapons, to honor Moradin.

    Word of this ceremony eventually got back to a Deinby wizard named Misigrem. Never one to make an honest copper when a dishonest gold would do, Misigrem conceived the idea of cleaning out the pool after the midwinter ritual. Obtaining a spell of water breathing, he crept into the caves, removed gold and the lighter items from the pool, and took them back to Deinby to sell.

    After several years of this, rumors of black-market (and low-price) Anvil goods made its way back to the village. The townsfolk appealed to their most capable native son: Whistling Jemmy[1], the notorious highwayman, scourge of the trade road, whose name comes from the noise his deadly sling stones make as they hail down upon his victims. From the villager's point of view, though, Whistling Jemmy is a folk hero. He never bothers the townsfolk, or lone travellers, preferring to prey on tax collectors and wealthy caravans. He tracked the rumors down and examined the disturbances at the cave. This year, the villagers left the cave after the offering, and lay in wait to catch their thief.

    Misigrem would have been caught except that his toad familiar Wart, scouting ahead, alerted him to trap. Desperate, he used his most precious magic item--a charm that, when crushed, summoned a creature that could be set to do a single task (a modified Summon Monster III). He told the Fiendish Condor[2] that appeared to "guard the cave and don't let anyone but me pass." It flew out and drove off the watchers, and has been lurking around the entrance to the sacred cave ever since.

    Misigrem spent the battle concealing himself inside one of the old dwarven statutes, which is hollow; unfortunately, the lid that was so easy to tip open from the outside is nearly impossible to open from within. He was able to push out one of the teeth mortared into the rest of the statute, so his familiar was able to squeeze out. He directed Wart to get food, water and possibly assistance--unfortunately for him, his directions to the guardian had not included Wart, and the toad stopped trying to get out after the second time the condor swooped down on him. The toad has been fetching small blind cave fish from pools, and bringing mouthfuls of water, which keep Misigrem alive if not exactly well. It's starting to dawn on him that the condor is keeping potential rescuers out, but he has no way of dismissing it.

    Introducting the Players: the PCs will have to head through Farrier's Pass about a week after midwinter. Ideally it will be an errand of urgency; if nothing else, weather-wizards in Deinby should be able to tell them that they have only a short time before the pass is completely closed from snows, making them impassable until spring melt.

    They will arrive in Anvil and be warned that the pass is dangerous. Unless your players are unusual this won't stop them, so they'll press on a ways only to encounter dangerous snow, threatening avalanches, and shrieking winds that drown out conversation. Just as they are about to turn back or fail their last roll to endure the cold, Whistling Jemmy and his band will appear to lead the shivering group to their camp. Normally they would see outsiders such as these as easy prey, but Anvil needs help--and besides, underneath that rugged exterior Whistling Jemmy has a heart of gold.

    Once the PCs have warmed up at the fire and drunk a little tea, he will make them a deal: if they will help him with a little problem down in Anvil, he will escort them through a secret network of old Dwarf tunnels that emerge on the other side of the mountain. The tunnels are a twistly little maze of passages, but Whistling Jemmy knows them all, "and 'tis better'n your ghosts joining all the others up in the winter snows! The pass is already paved wi' the bones of fools, y'ought not to add to 'em!"

    If they agree, he will leave Kaith and Hajel to guard the shelter while he shows the party to the Mouth of Moradin. (Lichen grows around the cave, making it look more than a bit like a bearded, open mouth.) The condor is perched in a dead spruce near the cave mouth. It watches the approaching group with unnaturally bright eyes. When they are within 30' it will open its ragged, stinking wings and swoop down to attack. Whistling Jemmy will assist the group, but they should be doing most of the work; he is more accustomed to attacking with surprise and from above.

    Once the guardian is defeated, Whistling Jemmy will lead the group into the cave. He doesn't know where the thief is, but he guesses that the thief is either hiding among the old statutes, or has gone past them somewhere into the tunnels and gotten lost, in which case they will be looking for bones. Privately, this is what he believes happened, but he wants to at least find the body so that he can let the villagers know the cave is safe.

    Getting to the statutes requires punting along a shallow natural river in the caves. [3] There are punts beached along the entrance, with poles. Since Whistling Jemmy can't see in the dark, he'll either light a lantern or rely on magical light produced by a PC. The river feeds into a large underground pool, pure and startlingly blue. The water tastes wonderful, if anyone tastes it. However, it's a good 100' to the bottom, so jumping in is not suggested.

    As soon as they get in line of sight, Misigrem will spot the light, guess that he has rescuers, and figure that he'd better talk fast or he's not going to make it out of the caves in one piece. He will quickly cast Water Breating on himself, cast Ventriloquism on Wart[3] and speak in his deepest, boomingest voice. "I AM THE THE ENVOY OF MORADIN, GOD OF DWARVES!" (Wart will croak menacingly.) "I ORDER YOU TO SEIZE THIS HUMAN WHO HAS DEFILED MY CAVE AND THROW HIM INTO THIS POOL AS A SACRIFICE!" His plan is that they will get him out of the statue, fling him into the pool, and he will stay underwater until they leave. Then he and Wart will sneak out of the village and escape to Deinby.

    Whether the PCs fall for this or not is up in the air. Misigrem naturally thinks everyone else is stupider than he, so he is confident that the unlettered, superstitious yokels will be awed and obedient. Of course, your players may be a little cleverer than that. The statue's lid is carefully balanced and counterweighted so that it can be opened from the outside by anyone with STR 10, but from the inside it must be forced open with STR 16 or better, or a Knock spell, which the wizard lacks. (Misigrem is not the first thief whom the original Dwarf sculptors had encountered.)

    If the PCs show any signs of killing Misigrem or taking him captive, he will fight desperately to escape. He doesn't want to kill anyone, just to get past them and get out of the caves; he is a mediocre punter but can certainly manage to make his way to the cave mouth. Wart will hop into people's faces and attempt to disrupt spells and attacks, but Misigrem will call him off if it seems he is in any danger. If the fight goes badly or he is told to surender or die, he will surrender immediately.

    Dead or alive, Whistling Jemmy will insist that the group take Misigrem back to the village, to be put in the stocks or buried, depending on his condition. In gratitude, the stout villagers will offer the PCs a reward: dwarf-made masterwork weapons or rings of protection +1, depending on the classes and inclinations of your party.

    And, as promised, Whistling Jemmy will lead them through the passageways to the other side of the Iron Mountains. Whether they pass through the rocky underground without incident is another matter...

    Misigrem
    NE, Half-elf, Wizard (6), STR 8 INT 16 WIS 10 DEX 13 CON 15 CHA 9
    Spells: Resistance (0), Light (0), Mage Hand (0), Mage Armor (1), Spider Climb (1), Tenser's Floating Disk (1), Feather Fall (1), Ventriloquism (1),Protection from Arrows (2), Continual Flame (2), Nondetection (3), Suggestion (3), Fly (3), Water Breathing (3)

    Whistling Jemmy
    CG, Human, Ranger (3)/Rogue (1), STR 12 INT 11 WIS 10 DEX 15 CON 12 CHA 15

    Fiendish Condor
    NE, Fiendish, 10' wingspan
    AC 10, Attacks: Peck, d6, HD 2-4, Cold and fire resistance 5/10, damage reduction -/5, Smite Good once per day

    [1] sling.jpg
    [2] bird.jpg
    [3] boat.jpg
    [4] facefrog.jpg
    When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)

  • #47
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    I Defended The Walls!

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    Thank you. The above is actually a pre-edited version, cut and pasted directly from my word processor--to be fair I didn't want to correct any little errors. The only change is that I footnoted the image files, since I could not get ENworld to accept my putting links in.
    When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)

  • #48
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    We’ve been chasing a storm called the Tears of Kahl for days. I can see it there ahead of us all failing bluster and slashing rain. It scourges the Phyrahnni Wastelands each year until it finds the Font of Aylse where it rages bitterly before dying out. Each year my Order follows the storm to its death and there the pilgrimage ends. There we perform the Rite of Sorrow. I gag and bite back a curse as I nearly swallow the bitter rock that I have carried in my mouth all the way from the Temple. What a laugh that would be, a Guardian choking on his own sorrow stone.

    There is a hitch in the rhythmic beat of Sintka’s wings as she adjusts our course. Shifting slightly in the riding harness, I brace for the changing wind. I feel Buhrune lose his balance behind me and lean heavily against his straps. Sintka grunts. Though I have loved flying again, I am glad we will land soon. Sintka needs to rest. She is much too young to have made such a flight.

    Over a shining wing I finally see the Font of Aylse. (pit) It stops my breath. The air grows hot and I feel the power of the place reach out to me – the righteous glory of divine wrath blazes and I am consumed by fire. I am fire. Visions are seared into my mind, things I will never speak of, things I will never forget.

    I burn.

    I am the Guardian.

    Cold, acrid air returns, and breath and sight. My mouth bleeds, I bit the stone. Below the dazzling pool gleams, green and blue, gold and red, gemlike amidst this endless plain of rock and dust and mud. Shaking, I close my eyes and whisper a prayer to Aylse. Behind me Buhrune is very still. Leaning easily against the straps of the harness, I turn around. Panic stabs. Buhrune is slumped in his saddle, clothes bunched where straps strain over his girth. His impressive mouth hangs slack, the sorrow stone for the whole Order suspended by a thin chain between his formidable array of stump-like teeth. His goggles are gone and his protuberant, hairy eyes are open, rolling. (eye) His eyes scare me. I pull off my scarf and leaning as far as the straps allow tie it around his brow. Not as good as goggles, but it will have to do. I briefly wonder what visions he suffers and, shuddering, turn around. Sintka dips a wing and begins the curve of our descent, shreds of the dead storm trailing her wings.

    The landing jars Buhrune out of his fugue for which I am grateful. Mobs of pitiful supplicants have been trailing our approach and pitiful supplicants are his area, not mine. Buhrune smiles weakly struggling with my scarf as I help him down, but his grip is strong.

    Concern creases his already wrinkled brow, “She is not well,” he rumbles as we remove the harnesses and gear from Sintka.

    I pause, “No. She is not.”

    It seems strange to worry over a dragon, but she is young, and now she is exhausted.

    “She will accompany us,” Buhrune intones with a note of decree.

    It violates the strictures of the Rite, but I say nothing, I would not leave her here. I do not know how I will protect them both. She sighs as the saddles and gear slide to the ground. Collapsing, she falls immediately to sleep.

    We have landed in the courtyard of a small, neat, white-washed shrine. The chants and cries of pilgrims reach us over the walls, but it is strangely quiet here. I stand for a moment getting a sense of the place. A gust brings heat and an acrid bitterness. It makes my nose twitch.

    “Help me with this, would you?” Buhrune asks, arm half in the sleeve of a robe and stuck. He hasn’t wasted any time starting preparations. The bronze bowl he will carry tomorrow is already wrapped in its bright bundle even if he himself is having trouble with his own wrappings.

    Dressing a healthy, adult Patamu is, by itself, a difficult task. Dressing a healthy, adult Patamu for the Rite of Sorrow is an order of magnitude beyond that. Layer upon layer later all that is visible of Buhrune is his broad, round snout and his stubby hands. His eyes are covered once again.

    He turns toward me, miraculously, “The sun sets, Guardian. We must begin our mediations.”

    His use of my title makes the spark of divine wrath in my chest and hands flare and burn. Yes, it is time.

    Buhrune points at the bright bundle of cloth, “Bring that.” He walks to the sleeping dragon and gently prods her ways, “Please, come inside, but do not speak.”

    I turn away, taking longer to gather up the bundle than is necessary as she begins to change form. Shape changing magic always makes me uncomfortable. I feel a small hand tug at my belt loop and look down into Sintka’s gold-flecked eyes. Her hair is dark and short, to her jaws. She looks so thin.

    Buhrune’s nose flares, “Your form,” he grunts nodding at me, “She must not think much of my riding.” He calls over his shoulder as he enters the shrine.

    The long night of meditation begins. Sintka curls up in the corner and drowses. The moans and calls of the supplicants drone through the darkness, never stopping, rising in pitch and fervor toward the dawn.

    As the light of dawn reaches us I stand, straightening stiff joints discreetly, and bring the cloth bundle from the altar to where Buhrune kneels. He unwraps the bundle and removes the bowl from the gaudy cloth. Rising gracefully he carries the bowl back to the altar and, standing there, carefully unhooks the chain in his mouth. He pulls the stone from its binding and kisses it before holding it skyward. His deep voice rolls out to the courtyard and over the walls as he begins singing a prayer to Aylse.

    The pilgrims outside cry out and take up the song. Buhrune’s deep voice fades as he repeats the last verse and he lets the stone fall from his hands. It strikes the bowl. A resonant, keening ring rises from the bowl. It is unearthly. Chills crawl my spine. He turns toward me and I startle, realizing that we have really begun. I take the bitter stone from under my tongue and kiss it offering up my own prayers of remorse. I drop the stone in the bowl and the ringing changes, growing, not louder, but more powerful.

    Buhrune picks up the bowl and my duty as Guardian begins. As I turn to gesture Sintka to me, she is already at my side, I had not even noticed her. We walk out into the courtyard and the drone of the bowl pours out, filling the air. The chanting and songs of the supplicants drops to a murmur. With a glance down at Sintka I walk to the gate and, throwing back the bolt, swing it wide.

    The supplicants cry out again, an inarticulate sound from so many throats as they surge forward on either side of the high, narrow path that we will walk to the Font. The Tears of Kahl and thousands of feet have churned the fine Phyranni dust into a soupy mud. They chant and push and howl. Sintka looks wide-eyed at the fray. Behind me Buhrune steps up. My stomach clenches and I am uneasy. I draw my robes more closely around me and around Sintka. I don’t know how I will protect her. I step forward and the first stones hit. Wincing, I grit my teeth and take another step. Buhrune is close behind and at the sight of him and the bowl the throng goes mad. Slipping, flailing and falling over one another, the supplicants struggle to reach the path. To reach us. Covered in mud, they are indistinguishable from one another. They are, in their desperation, made one. (mud) Their stones rain down on us, sharp and hard, stinging, biting. Only a few strike the bowl as intended. I falter, barely able to see, let alone guide us down the path. Sintka peers out from under my robes, terrified, and takes a step forward. I step. More stones. The roar of the voices becomes unimaginable. We step. The ringing of stones striking the bowl grows. I begin to take more steps, glad of the distance, however small, that the crowd cannot cross to reach us. The falling stones, the ringing bowl and the screaming crowd are unbearable, but we are near the end of the path. Near the next gate.

    I feel strange, unsettled. There is a presence above, but I can see nothing. But stones are bouncing off of something above us. A man appears in the middle of the path, he is not muddy. He very much resembles Sintka. Buhrune bumps into me grunting as he does so. The bowl touches me and as it does the ringing magnifies a thousand fold. My bones feel like they will shatter and my nose jets blood onto my white, white robes. I look down. Dazed and slow, I watch the man’s arm dart out to grab Sintka. He backs down the path toward the gate amidst the hail of stones. With a cry of rage I step forward, the wrath of my god coming easily to my hands. Buhrune cries out behind me and I turn to see him slipping. Thrusting an arm back I grab his thick wrist and pull him along, another breach of ceremony. I am not supposed to touch him, only protect him. Swallowing a curse I look back and see the gate flung open and the man and Sintka disappearing through it. I run for the gate, dragging Buhrune behind, he is bellowing.

    As we clear the gate, I see the man. He is backed into a corner holding a slim, black knife to Sintka’s throat. (psycho) She looks defiantly at me, determined not to show her fear. I am glad she understands the situation, the path to the Font is warded by very powerful magic. This man is dangerous.

    Still holding a knife to Sintka’s throat he reaches into his mouth and pulls out a gem. It is the color of honey. He kisses it and holds it out.

    “I have sorrows I wish to be rid of,” He hisses.

    “All may put forth their sorrows to Aylse,” Buhrune’s voice is a growl.

    “My sorrow is not for Aylse, it is for Kahl,” the man cinches his arm more tightly around Sintka’s neck and presses the blade nearer. A spot of blood springs up, she closes her eyes.

    “Kahl!” bellows Buhrune, “It cannot be.”

    The man’s mouth curls and his hand balls into a fist. His eyes begin to shine, “I assure you Patamu, it can. I have sorrows for Kahl!”

    Drawing his hand back, the man readied to throw his stone at the bowl, and, never taking my eyes off of the bloodied blade, I moved between him and his target. He grinned, too many teeth, “Brave, Guardian.”

    He threw. I tensed. Somehow, this would be more painful to take than all of the stones of the supplicants. Before I could fully close my eyes to brace for the impact my stomach lurched and Sintka had changed form. She snapped out with a wickedly fast draconic head and missed the stone just as it hit me square in the chest.

    And my world blew apart.

    (to be continued)

  • #49
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    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Sparky's Avatar

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    ø Ignore Sparky
    Forgot to add to my post:

    NiTessine vs. Sparky

    Good luck again to all, and enjoy.

  • #50
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    ø Ignore Maldur
    I did send clay my first judgements


    How is the rest comming?
    So many games, so little time!

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