Forgotten Lore (Updated M-W-F) - Page 24
Page 24 of 43 FirstFirst ... 141516171819202122232425262728293031323334 ... LastLast
Results 231 to 240 of 423
  1. #231
    Member
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

    carborundum's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,031
    Well done, Quellan, well done indeed.

  2. #232
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Chapter 173

    The tour wasn’t even over yet, but Xeeta felt as though she’d walked to Severon and back. Darik was a competent enough guide, and seemed to know every detail about Underhold, but her legs were burning and her eyes were starting to feel like they had tiny weights attached to them.

    She had to admit that the underground city was interesting. Darik had shown them his promised forges, which had interested Bredan, but then took them to workshops, living quarters, common spaces, the massive water pumps that lifted water from the lake to the upper part of the city, and even a couple of farms. She would have thought that it was impossible to grow crops inside a mountain, but the dwarves had rigged up a series of mirrors in shafts that allowed sunlight and fresh air to enter from outside. They’d even ridden in one of the odd lift cars they’d spotted from the entry. Ascending in one had been interesting, but that was nothing compared to the ride they’d taken down a few levels in one. Xeeta still wasn’t quite sure her stomach had returned to its usual place.

    Ironcrest was a city with many wonders, but Li Syval was also such a place, and Xeeta knew first-hand that such places always concealed darker secrets. All “civilized” cities she had visited had them, a seedy underbelly where the darker elements that existed everywhere intelligent beings gathered came together. She didn’t know the dwarves well enough yet to spot what they were hiding from casual view, but she knew it was there.

    She did know that the dwarves wanted something from them. During that hours-long initial meeting the dwarven elders had dodged any references to the key they had come here to get. But it was obvious that they understood that the outsiders wanted something from them, and that they fully intended to use the leverage that this gave them.

    Bredan had been engaged during the initial stages of the tour, asking Darik questions about dwarven metalworking practices and their engineering, but as the tour stretched on he again became distracted and withdrawn. Xeeta understood his struggle a little better now, but also knew that they would need him to be one hundred percent with them in the coming days. One of the secrets the dwarves held close was why they had wanted Bredan here. Xeeta didn’t think that the dwarves wanted to harm them, but that was a long, long way from trusting them or their motives.

    They were heading down another long corridor when Xeeta asked, “Are we almost done here? We’re tired, and it has been quite a long day.”

    Darik stopped immediately and turned to face them. “There is only one more thing that I need to show you.”

    Xeeta’s thoughts sharpened immediately at that, and she sensed Bredan straighten as well beside her. “This thing… this is what Dergan wanted you to show us?” he said.

    “Yes.”

    “What is it?” Xeeta asked.

    “It is easier just to show you,” Darik said. “Please, it’s not far.”

    Xeeta shot Bredan an evaluative look. “Fine,” he said.

    The “not far” was relative, and involved another ride, this time in an enclosed lift that descended through a square shaft over several levels. An old dwarf clad in armor operated it using a large metal lever built into the frame of the lift. They descended all the way to the bottom, and when they came to a softly-jarring halt the operator announced, “Darkfall Gate.”

    “Darkfall?” Bredan asked.

    “We’re here,” Darik said.

    When the heavy metal door on the outside of the lift swung open, Xeeta could see what he meant.

    They were in yet another cavern, one that extended for several hundred feet ahead of them. The place was brightly lit, so bright that Xeeta had to blink until her eyes adjusted from the relative dimness that was pervasive through the rest of Underhold. The light came from over a dozen beacon lanterns that hung from chains throughout the cavern. They clearly illuminated a massive fortification that stretched across the cavern at its far end.

    The Darkfall Gate made the defenses outside Hightown above seem feeble by contrast. It was as if someone had taken a whole castle and just slapped it down here in its entirety. The Darkfall Gate had battlements, turrets, and yes, a gate, another massive stone barrier that she could see clearly even from the far side of the cavern. The dwarves that clambered over the defenses seemed like ants.

    “Follow me, but please don’t wander off here,” Darik said, starting across the cavern. It looked as if the place had been a natural feature at some point, but the dwarves had worked it until it was as flat and level as the smoothest street. Xeeta could see side-chambers that looked like storerooms or workshops; the clatter of metal being worked issued from some of them as they passed. The Darkfall Gate was almost like another small city within the city, with everything focused on the barrier that they were approaching.

    As they got closer, Xeeta could see that the defensive features of the Gate faced away from them. Multiple sets of stairs and steeply sloping ramps led up to the battlements, which rose to roughly half the height of the cavern ceiling. From this side she could also see the huge mechanisms that operated the main gate, each of the gears several times the size of the dwarves that tended it. She wondered briefly at what provided the power to work those gears; it was doubtful that even the combined strength of every dwarf here could open the giant doors.

    “What does this gate protect against?” Bredan asked.

    “Few on the surface are aware of this, but there is a whole other world that exists under the one that you know,” Darik said. “There are entire civilizations down here that never see the light of the sun. And other things as well, monstrosities that rival anything you may have confronted above.”

    “If they’re so dangerous, why don’t you just collapse all of these caverns?” Xeeta asked.

    “If that alone would keep us safe, then we would do it,” Darik explained. “But masses of earth and stone alone are not a sufficient barrier against some of these dangers. By maintaining this outpost, we retain the ability to strike out against someone who is trying to assail us. And there have been many who have tried.”

    “So, this is what you wanted us to see,” Bredan said.

    “Yes, and one other thing, if you are willing,” Darik said. “It lies just beyond the Gate.”

    “Beyond…” Xeeta said. “But if those dangers you mentioned are as you said…”

    “There is risk,” Darik acknowledged. “But the place I would show you is not far, and we send frequent patrols into the closer tunnels. I cannot compel you, but the Council of Elders wished you to see what is in the Lakeshore Grotto.”

    Again, Xeeta looked to Bredan, who from his face was clearly not trusting but at the same time was driven by the desire to know, to understand what had brought him here, how it was connected to the changes that were happening to him. She was not surprised when after a moment he nodded. “Show us, then.”
    XP carborundum gave XP for this post

  3. #233
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Chapter 174

    Making the decision to accompany Darik beyond the Darkfall Gate turned out to be easy compared to the elaborate production that was actually getting beyond the Gate.

    All of the dwarven sentries that they encountered seemed to know Darik, but that didn’t keep them from scrutinizing his credentials twice and asking him in-depth questions about his two companions. To be fair they didn’t seem to give Xeeta any more scrutiny than they did Bredan, but maybe that was due more to the intense look on her human friend’s face than from any tolerance toward tieflings. At one point they were all forced to walk through a rune-encrusted arch that made Xeeta feel a sensation similar to the one they’d experienced on their initial entry into Underhold. She assumed that it was likely magical, and for a brief moment she could feel the Demon stirring within her in response before they were through and she could quickly tamp it down.

    Darik didn’t have the guards open the massive main gates, but instead took them to a sally port accessed within one of the squat towers that guarded the wall. To get to that they had to pass through two steel doors, the second of which swung open to reveal a narrow passage that could barely accommodate Bredan’s wide shoulders. The walls to either side were generously populated with ominous dark slots that looked just big enough to accommodate a spearhead, and when she looked up she could see that the low ceiling was buttressed by steel struts that likewise suspiciously disappeared into openings in the walls.

    “Rigged to collapse,” Darik said from ahead.

    “You certainly have a lot of security,” Xeeta said.

    “It’s called the Darkfall Gate for a reason,” the dwarf said. “If it falls, then darkness will sweep over Ironcrest and destroy everything that we’ve worked so hard to build.” He’d paused briefly in the guardroom to equip himself with a helmet, shield, and battle axe. He’d offered his companions their choice of weapons, but again they had declined. Bredan did accept a lantern, a heavy device that swung on a thick pole that itself looked as though it could be used as a flail in a pinch. Xeeta was starting to feel a nervous itch from all of the preparations.

    “Are you certain we do not need an escort for this?” she asked. One of the officers who’d challenged Darik had asked the same question, but he hadn’t pressed it when the dwarf had refused.

    “We’re less likely to draw attention if we keep the group small,” Darik said. “We won’t be going far from the Gate, just the portions that are well-patrolled.”

    Xeeta tried to gauge Bredan’s reaction, but her young friend had gotten a lot better at concealing his feelings over the last few months. Trying not to provoke the Demon, the sorceress gently reached out to her magic. She summoned the protective aura of mage armor, feeling better once she felt the invisible barrier settle around her.

    Darik was waiting beside what had to be the outer door, another slab of solid steel. The mechanism in the center drew back six steel bars that would have held against anything short of a battering ram, based on their thickness. Xeeta tensed as the dwarf swung the heavy door open, but nothing materialized from the darkness to attack them.

    Despite the massive scope of the cavern that held Underhold, Xeeta had expected something else from the tunnels beyond the dwarven city. Maybe it was all of the legends and stories she’d been told of the world under the surface, or maybe it was just her own preconceptions, but she thought that they would be creeping through narrow tunnels and claustrophobic spaces where anything might be lurking. There was some of that, to be true, and she regarded the side-passages they passed with suspicion. But for the most part, the terrain they covered was unlike anything she could have predicted.

    The landscape of the underworld was complex and expansive. They walked through caverns that could have swallowed the monumental structures of Severon several times over. There were chasms that looked like they might descend forever, and high vaulted ceilings that the light of Bredan’s lantern couldn’t begin to reach. They passed a cliff face that held what looked like a hundred cave mouths, some of them fifty or more feet above their heads. Xeeta tensed there, feeling invisible eyes marking their passage, but Darik led them quickly by and nothing sinister stirred to threaten them. Their journey would have been a lot shorter if they could have taken a direct path, but the web of caverns had clearly not formed with the convenience of travelers in mind. Darik seemed to know where he was going, and did not stop to check a map or other guide, but Xeeta realized that it would be very easy to get lost down here.

    But just as she was about to say something to Bredan they reached their destination. This was another cavern that bled into the one they’d been walking through. Its floor was well below where they came in, and they had to descend along a steep slope that hugged one of the walls. It wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle, but it occurred to Xeeta that she would not want to have to make the climb while under attack. The air was damp here, and the bare rock was slick in places that forced them to carefully place each step. Darik reached the bottom well before his companions and waited for them at the shore of the underground lake that gave the place its name.

    The Lakeshore Grotto was peaceful and might have even been pleasant, if not for the wary mindset that all of the dwarves’ security precautions had placed in Xeeta’s mind. The lake filled most of the cavern, leaving a crescent-shaped shoreline that extended from the base of the ramp. For a moment Xeeta wondered if this body of water connected with the one that filled the bottom of Underhold, but after a moment she dismissed the thought. From all that she’d seen she doubted that the dwarves would miss such a glaring vulnerability in their defenses.

    Bredan looked a little impatient as they joined their guide. Xeeta noticed him opening and closing his hands, as if he was right on the brink of summoning his sword. A crust of minerals crunched under their feet as they approached the water’s edge. “Well, we’re here,” Bredan said. “What did you want us to see?”

    Darik reached into his pocket and drew out a thick, stubby wand. “Watch your eyes,” he said.

    He did something with the end of the wand and a bright light exploded from its tip. It was a flare, Xeeta realized, blinking as she tried to adapt to its intensity. It took her a few moments, but when she could see again she sucked in a startled breath.

    The flare had driven the darkness well back. Its radiance extended for more than twice the distance of Bredan’s lantern. It illuminated a vast swath of the cavern wall behind them, and it was that which had drawn Xeeta’s attention. Seeing that, Bredan turned and looked for himself, staring up at what the light had revealed.

    Someone had painted a huge mural on the wall. The quality of the artwork was primitive at best, but the artists had made up for it in scale. The painting extended from shortly beyond the ramp to well out over the lake, and while it never quite reached the ceiling, it did not appear to be from lack of trying.

    The figures were crude, the colors garish, with the bright red of freshly-spilled blood featuring prominently. For the mural’s topic was violence, and specifically the violence of war.

    It didn’t take long for Xeeta to make out the targets of the artist’s ire. Darkfall Gate was central to the scene, the huge wall shattered and aflame, and then a space that was clearly meant to be the interior of Underhold. There was a lot of creativity shown in the number of ways that dwarves could be killed. The attackers were somewhat more nebulous. They stood somewhat larger than the dwarves, with monstrous faces full of oversized teeth and long claws that hooked like sickles. They had been painted using dark pigments that made it difficult for Xeeta to make out more details, even in the light of the flare.

    “Who painted this?” Bredan asked. “Who are those… things?”

    “Trolls,” Darik said. “Deep trolls. One of the more organized of our many foes, from the Dark World.”

    “Trolls?” Xeeta asked. She gave the mural a second look. She didn’t notice the water of the lake start to ripple, about twenty paces behind her. “Those don’t seem like any trolls I’ve ever heard of.”

    “The ones down here, they’re almost a different race,” the dwarf said.

    “This must have taken a very long time to make,” Bredan said. He stared at the grim painting as if it hid deeper secrets for him. Maybe it did, Xeeta thought. Whatever had happened to her friend, it seemed to give him a strange insight into things that tended to mystify her.

    “They have been down here for a very long time,” Darik said. “I can give you a closer look of one, there’s a specimen that they keep preserved down at the—”

    He didn’t get a chance to finish, as Xeeta suddenly felt something hard twist around her ankle and pull her down. She let out a surprised cry as she fell to the ground. The sound was eclipsed by a wild splashing from the edge of the lake behind her as a thing emerged from the water. It looked like an oversized, distended crocodile, its jaws swollen until they could barely contain the rows of bent, jutting teeth that spilled out from them. Several long, slimy tentacles extended out from around that gaping maw, one of which was wrapped tight around Xeeta’s leg.

    The tiefling screamed as the creature dragged her toward those snapping teeth.
    XP carborundum, SolitonMan gave XP for this post

  4. #234
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Just a quick note that I will be doing some traveling starting at the end of next week. The story will be on hiatus for a few weeks during that time.

    * * *

    Chapter 175

    The alien monster’s huge jaws swelled to fill Xeeta’s vision as the tentacle dragged her inexorably closer. She tried to pull free, to grab hold of something, but her fingers only scratched painfully on the uneven stone, unable to find solid purchase.

    She felt a scream bubble up as the creature lunged forward, but before it could strike Bredan was there, his sword flashing in his hands. He chopped down and severed the tentacle a scant foot from Xeeta’s ankle, freeing her. The creature let out a feral cry of pain and turned on him. It reared up, its jaws snapping out at Bredan’s torso, but before it could impact he summoned a shield that kept those nasty teeth at bay. The creature tried to engulf the magical barrier, but it held long enough for Bredan to grab hold of Xeeta and pull her free. But even as the sorceress fumbled to her feet she saw that the creature wasn’t finished.

    “Look out!” she warned, but was too late to help Bredan avoid one of the tentacles that came slashing down like a club. It smashed hard into the warrior’s shoulder from behind, staggering him from the impact. It slashed around, seeking his neck, but he was able to avoid the probing tendril. But as the shield dissolved the rest of the creature came lurching forward again.

    Bredan turned to meet it, but before he could engage it again Darik came rushing in from the side. The dwarf slammed his axe down, nearly severing one of the tentacles and damaging one of its stubby legs. The creature lashed out blindly in pain, driving both warriors back with the frenzy of its struggles. Its remaining tentacles slashed out wildly like whips, and Bredan suffered another hit, a stinger to the hip that had him grimacing with pain.

    Xeeta stepped forward, her eyes ablaze. Fire lashed from her hands, blasting into the creature’s face. One of the scorching rays shot into its open maw, searing the interior of its throat. She let out a ragged cry as the magic poured out of her, then stumbled back as the last of the fiery beams faded. But some of the power still clung to her, and she stared down at her hands in surprise as red flames continued to engulf them, blazing like a pair of torches.

    The lake monster had apparently had enough; it retreated back to the safety of the water, hissing as it immersed its seared mouth. Bredan and Darik watched it warily until it was gone, then turned to Xeeta.

    “Are you all right?” Bredan asked her, coming forward.

    “Don’t touch me!” she warned, holding her arms away from her body. “It’s… I’m okay, it’s not hurting me.” She turned away, unwilling to let him see the shame in her eyes as she fought to push the Demon back down into its cage within her soul.

    Stung a bit by her demeanor, Bredan turned back to Darik. “What was that thing?” he asked.

    “I don’t know,” the dwarf said. “Never saw one of those before.”

    “What do you mean you’ve never seen one before?” Bredan asked. “I thought you were the expert!”

    “I told you, all kinds of awful things live in the deep places under the earth.” He gave Xeeta a quick look as she continued to struggle with the flames surrounding her hands. “We should get back.”

    As if to confirm the dwarf’s words, a distant sound reached them, a deep, moaning cry. All three of them lifted their heads, listening until the echoes of the sound faded. “Yeah, I think that’s a very good idea,” Bredan said. “Xeeta, you’re sure you’re…”

    “I’m fine,” she said. “Let’s just go.”

    Bredan made his sword vanish again and recovered his lantern. They made their way quickly back up the slope to the other cavern above. Darik led them swiftly back along their path, Xeeta trailing behind. Her focus was on her burning hands instead of the route, but Bredan lingered back, making sure she didn’t fall behind. Through an intense effort of will she kept the flames from spreading, and after a minute or so they faded back into nothing, leaving her hands as they had been.

    “Thanks for driving it off,” Bredan said.

    “You saved my life, again,” Xeeta said. “I should have blasted it myself when it was dragging me, but I couldn’t think. Another second and I probably would have pissed myself.”

    “I felt pretty much the same,” Bredan said. “Do you think… was it just a coincidence, it being there?”

    Xeeta looked at Darik, who was a good thirty feet ahead of them, pushing the pace. Whatever the cry they’d heard had been, it had clearly spooked the dwarf. “He didn’t hesitate to help us.”

    “Maybe he didn’t know. It wasn’t his idea to take us there, remember.”

    “Still, it seems something of a stretch to think that the Council of Elders wants us dead,” Xeeta said.

    Darik turned and waited for them at the mouth of another tunnel. “Come on,” he said. “Are you all right? Injured?” He gestured at Xeeta’s leg.

    “I’m okay,” she said. “Bredan took far heavier hits than I did.”

    “I’ll take you both to the infirmary when we get back,” Darik said.

    “I’m fine,” Bredan said. “I’ve taken worse in practice bouts.”

    “Better to be safe,” Darik said. “Some of the things down here… they inject poison or carry spores that can cause a disease if left untreated. It might hurt diplomatic relations if your arm were to fall off in a few days.”

    He hurried forward again, and the other two shared a look. “Dwarf humor,” Xeeta suggested.

    “The wonders of diplomacy,” Bredan said dryly.

    They passed several familiar features, and soon they entered another cavern where they could see the reassuring bulk of the Darkfall Gate, surrounded with a bright nimbus of light, waiting ahead.

    This time, approaching from the outside, Xeeta was able to study the Gate in more detail. This side obviously lacked the stairs and ramps and mechanisms on the other side, and looked smooth at first glance save for the uneven notches that formed the battlements at the top. But as they got closer she could see that the first impression belied a more complex truth. The wall was marked with hundreds if not thousands of gouges and other scars, some old, some new. There were a number of places where it looked as though repairs had been made. Some of the marks looked as though they might have been made by claws, which caused Xeeta to shudder.

    They returned to the sally port beside the main gates. The steel door swung open at their approach and several armored dwarves stepped out to greet them. They were only permitted to pass after another interview, this one conducted quickly with frequent glances toward the darkness beyond the lights that wreathed the Gate. Their guards remained close until they had passed through the rune arch again.

    “I need to report in to the watch officer,” Darik said. “I’ll just be a few minutes, then we can go to the infirmary.”

    “Really, we’re fine,” Bredan said. “And we have a cleric with us in case there are any lasting issues.”

    “I’d feel better if you let our medics give you a quick check,” Darik said. “And there is something else in the infirmary you may want to see. The last part of the story that began with that mural.”

    He headed off, and Bredan escorted Xeeta to the one side of the guardroom, where there were a few empty benches. “What do you think?” he asked.

    “I think we need to learn as much as we can about what’s going on here, as quickly as possible,” she said.

    “Agreed. We need to… hey, there’s Quellan!”

    Both of them rose as the cleric came in, escorted by another dwarf warrior. “Are you both all right?” Quellan asked. “They said you’d gone to the lower gates of the city, but it looks like you’ve been in a fight!”

    “Just a minor disagreement with a weird monster,” Xeeta said. “Apparently this place is thick with them. What about you? Did you learn anything at the local temple?”

    “I’m not sure yet,” Quellan said. He looked around in a significant way. There were several dwarves in other parts of the room, but none of them seemed to be paying any attention to them. He leaned in and in a lower voice said, “They know about the Book, and have the key. But I don’t know why they’re interested in Bredan, or whether they intend to let us take the key back to Severon.”

    “Our guide went out of his way to show us that Ironcrest is threatened,” Bredan said. “It could be that they’re setting us up for asking for something significant in exchange for the use of the key. Have you talked with Konstantin yet?”

    “No, he wasn’t in the quarters the Council reserved for us. I figured I should come look for you first. Maybe we should stick together from here on out.”

    “Darik’s coming back,” Xeeta said.

    The dwarven warrior approached them, acknowledging Quellan’s presence with a neutral nod. “Are you ready?” he asked.

    “Lead on,” Bredan said.
    Last edited by Lazybones; Thursday, 21st June, 2018 at 02:46 AM.

  5. #235
    Member
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

    carborundum's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,031
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazybones View Post
    Just a quick note that I will be doing some traveling starting at the end of next week. The story will be on hiatus for a few weeks during that time.
    As long as you don't leave it on a cliffhanger

  6. #236
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Quote Originally Posted by carborundum View Post
    As long as you don't leave it on a cliffhanger
    I make no promises!

    * * *

    Chapter 176

    The infirmary was located not far from the Darkfall Gate, in a side chamber just off the main cavern. A small waiting area with several benches gave way to a larger examination room flanked by partitioned spaces that each held one or two beds for patients needing a longer period of recovery.

    They were greeted by a scene of apparent chaos as they came in. A muscled dwarf possessed of a truly explosive beard was struggling with several robed orderlies atop one of the examination tables in the center of the room. It wasn’t sure what the warrior wanted to accomplish, but it was easy to note the source of his trouble: the shaft of a ballista bolt jutted from his chest. Blood had soaked into his coat and his beard, and was starting to form puddles on the floor under the table.

    “You need to hold still!” one of the orderlies was saying. “You’re going to bleed out!”

    “Bah, it’s just a scratch!” the wounded dwarf insisted. He managed to pull one of his arms free and lifted a leather flask to his lips. He was able to get a few generous swallows out before one of the medics snatched it away.

    Quellan immediately started forward to help, but the dwarf saw him and started in surprise, nearly poking one of the orderlies in the face with the end of the bolt. “Orc!” he said. He fumbled for a weapon that wasn’t there before Darik quickly intervened. “These are guests of the Council,” he announced. “From Arresh.”

    “Ah,” the injured dwarf said. “That’s fine, then. Hello, lass,” he added to Xeeta. “Koron Deepdelver, at your service.” He looked like he wanted to offer a bow, but his struggles were getting weaker and the orderlies were able to hold him still.

    “I am a cleric,” Quellan said. “I can help you…”

    “No need,” Koron said. “If it’d hit anything important, I’d already be dead.”

    “What happened to you?” Bredan asked. “How did you get shot?”

    “It was that bloody bastard Porvik!” Koron announced with a loud shout. “If he hadn’t flinched…”

    Darik rubbed his forehead. “You weren’t playing that bloody game again with the siege engines…”

    “I would have won, mark me,” the wounded dwarf said. “Where’s that bloody doctor, I’ve got a shift to finish…”

    Quellan started forward again, but before he could intervene another dwarf bustled in. This one was all business, dressed in a utilitarian apron over his simple clothes, a leather satchel marked with a single dwarven rune slung over one shoulder. To the surprise of the companions, he wore a sigil of Sorevas around his neck. He gave the outsiders a bare glance before hurrying over to the table.

    “Again, Koron?” he asked. “Didn’t I just fix you up last week?”

    “It’s that bloody idiot Porvik’s fault,” Koron said. He was starting to weaken, but he still managed to hold onto his flask when one of the orderlies tried to take it from him.

    “Hold his shoulders,” the dwarven cleric said. “This will hurt, but try not to move,” he added to his patient.

    “Just do what you gotta do, doc,” Koron said.

    “I am a cleric, I can help,” Quellan said.

    The dwarf noted his holy symbol and gave him a nod. “The head of the bolt is buried too deep, we’ll need to push it out through the back before I can heal him. It looks like it somehow missed the lung, but it still might penetrate it going through. Keep him steady.”

    Quellan nodded and grabbed hold of the patient, who protested weakly. The dwarf cleric didn’t pause, but seized the bolt and jammed it straight through Koron’s body. The wounded dwarf’s eyes flashed open and he tried to break free, but the half-orc’s massive hands held him still. The head of the bolt, glistening with the dwarf’s blood, erupted from his back. The cleric came around and pulled it the rest of the way out. Blood jutted from both sides of the wound, but the cleric quickly covered the openings with his hands and cast a potent healing spell. A bright blue glow surrounded Koron’s body, and he let out a gasp as the power suffused him. When the cleric drew back a moment later the bleeding had stopped, and as the others watched the gaping hole in his flesh sealed itself.

    “Ah, thanks doc,” Koron said. He lifted his flask toward his lips, but only got it halfway before his eyes drooped shut. The orderlies gently lowered him to the surface of the table as he began to snore.

    “Clean him up, but be careful of the beard,” the cleric said to his assistants. “He’ll never forgive me if I let anything happen to it.” He turned to Quellan, and heedless of the blood covering both of them extended a hand. “Thank you for the assistance. I am Goran Thunderhammer.”

    “Quellan Emberlane. I was not aware that there were many followers of Sorevas among the dwarves.”

    “There aren’t that many, no,” Goran said.

    “Underhold’s not a place you’d expect to find adherents of a god whose symbol is the sun,” Xeeta said.

    “We honor the god in the aspect of the Life-Bringer,” Goran explained. “Come on, there’s a sink and some clean towels in the back, you can tell me what brings you here as we wash up.”

    It didn’t take long for introductions to be made and for Darik to explain the reason for their visit. “You get cases like that often?” Bredan asked, gesturing toward the examination room.

    “Not many that are quite that dramatic,” Goran admitted. “But warriors get bored, and when they get bored, they do things that lead them to my door. But better that than the alternative. Things have been quiet at the Gate of late, and I’ll happily keep them that way.”

    “It wasn’t so quiet at the Lakeshore Grotto,” Xeeta said.

    “Monsters are a fact of life down here,” Goran said. “More dangerous are the intelligent races, like the duergar and the trolls.”

    “Speaking of which, I thought our guests could take a look at your prize specimen,” Darik said.

    Goran let out a snort. “I suppose. But first let’s take care of business.” He held up his holy symbol, which began to glow as he passed it first across Bredan, and then Xeeta. “I don’t sense any contagion or infection,” he said. “But keep an eye on your friends for a few days,” he added to Quellan.

    “I will do so,” the half-orc said.

    “All right,” Goran said. “Let’s go visit the menagerie.”

    The dwarf took them through a side door that led to a hall that connected to another series of rooms. This part of the complex apparently went back quite some distance. They passed several open doorways that led to small storerooms before they came to another iron-bound door. Goran took out a key and unlocked it. “Let’s see if we can’t find out what you ran into,” the cleric announced as he pulled the door open.

    The chamber beyond the door was narrow but long. A single lamp that glowed too steadily to be anything other than magical shed provided light. Niches along the walls held glass cases that held an assortment of small dead creatures preserved in liquid. Between them were shelves that held books and additional specimens in glass jars. Goran went to another large book spread out on a reading stand. “We’ll start with ‘aberrations, aquatic’,” he said. He began paging through the book.

    “I’ll help you track down the monster, but first I wanted to show our guests our friend,” Darik said.

    “Hmm. Very well,” Goran said. He led them to the very back of the room. The others followed, Quellan tearing himself away from a case containing a beetle the size of his head, its carapace shimmering in a wild mélange of colors. The light didn’t quite reach all the way back, but with a snap of his fingers Goran summoned a light spell that drove back the darkness.

    The spell revealed a final alcove that was shielded by a heavy black curtain. The cleric grabbed hold of it, and with a flourish toward his audience yanked it aside.

    The companions felt themselves drawn forward. The alcove was filled with a much larger specimen case, this one fashioned out of nearly transparent crystal. In it floated a figure roughly Quellan’s size, though there any resemblance to any of them ended. It was instantly recognizable as one of the creatures from the mural, though the reality was if anything more horrid than the depictions.

    “Ugly bastard,” Xeeta said.

    “Amazing,” Quellan said. “So very different from surface trolls. It looks… almost misshapen. What’s wrong with its skin?”

    “The texture is like rock, and just as hard,” Goran said. “The shapes vary from creature to creature.”

    “It looks like it would have trouble moving,” Xeeta said.

    “That is a false impression,” Darik said. “They can move damned fast when they want to.”

    “What’s that on its chest?” Xeeta asked.

    “Ah, you noticed,” Goran said. He stepped forward and held up the light so they could get a better view. The slight irregularities in the crystal fractured the radiance, but they could just make out the outlines of a shape seemingly etched into the creature’s stony hide. It looked almost like a collection of random scratches at first, but they weren’t scars, but rather embedded into its flesh.

    “They all bear these marks?” Quellan asked.

    “All of the adults that we encounter,” Goran said. “We first noted them about a year ago.”

    “Does it mean something?” Xeeta asked. “Do you recognize it, Quellan?”

    The half-orc shook his head. Goran explained, “We have not been able to make any sense of it either. It doesn’t match any language or rune that is known to us.”

    Xeeta looked over at Bredan, who was staring at the mark. He leaned in until his face was almost touching the crystal. “Bredan? Do you know what it is? Bredan!”

    He jolted a bit as she touched his arm. “No. I don’t know what it means.”

    “Are you okay?” Quellan asked.

    Bredan said, “Sorry. Just tired, I guess. It’s been a long day, and I guess that creature took a bit more out of me than I thought.”

    “I’ll see you to your quarters,” Darik said. “I’ll come down later and help you trace that beastie,” he added to Goran.

    “Of course, of course,” the cleric said. With one more look at the companions, he drew the curtain back over the dead creature.

  7. #237
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Story update: I just finished Book 8 today. I'm about 45 posts ahead at the moment, so plenty of story left to go.

    I envision that Forgotten Lore will go for a total of 10, maybe 11 books altogether. The story is currently at 281k words and probably has another 100k or so left to go.

    Just a short update today. We'll be back to Tal Nadesh on Wednesday, which will be my last post for a while.

    * * *

    Chapter 177

    The cycles of the sun did not penetrate into Underhold, but the dwarven city operated according to its own schedule. The dwarves and their machines never truly rested, but during Third Shift most of the heavier industrial works slowed and ceased, and a relative quiet descended over the cavern. This allowed for necessary maintenance but also gave most of the dwarves a chance to rest. Those dwarves that worked Third Shift adapted to the noise during their off hours, and some claimed that the subtle vibrations in the rock even helped them to sleep better.

    It was the middle of Third Shift, and most of Ironcrest was asleep, both Hightown and Underhold. The visitors from Arresh were ensconced in the guest quarters provided by the dwarves. Eyes watched over them but maintained a discreet distance.

    In a small, private chamber elsewhere in the vast cavern complex, a group of dwarves held a meeting. The room contained a stone table and four chairs, three of which were occupied. The only light came from a small iron stove. The faint glow from the slots in the front revealed the faces of Akhenon Loremaster and Dergon Steelshield. The third individual, seated on the other side of the table, remained just a vague shadow.

    “That was a risk,” Akhenon said. “If the envoys had died, it could have created great difficulties for us.”

    “It was a necessary risk,” Dergon said. “We need to flush our adversary out into the open. Time is running out, we know this.”

    “What of the cleric?” the shadowed figure asked.

    “I am not yet certain,” Akhenon said. “He is powerful.”

    “And the boy?” Dergon asked.

    The other two looked at the dark figure. For a moment he just sat there in silence, then he finally said, “We will have to wait and see if today’s events have produced any result. Though it is ironic. With our own house in disarray… the Arreshians may be the only ones we can trust.”

    Akhenon nodded. “I think….” He trailed off as an abstracted look came over his features. He reached into a pocket of his robe and took out a small blue gemstone that flickered in his hand, a faint light pulsing from within.

    “Is that…” Dergon began.

    The cleric rose suddenly. “It appears, gentlemen, that we have even less time than we thought.”
    XP carborundum gave XP for this post

  8. #238
    Member
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

    carborundum's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,031
    Dun-dun-DUHN!

  9. #239
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    Chapter 178

    The morning sky was overcast and a cool breeze blew as Glori, Kosk, and Embrae made their way along a lightly wooded path on the western outskirts of Tal Nadesh. They were far enough from the core of the elvish city that they could have pretended that they were alone, save for the light tread of the three soldiers who shadowed them from ten paces behind. The leaves in the trees rustled in the soft wind, and occasionally an insect buzzed by, taking a brief interest in them before continuing on its business.

    “I still say that this is a bad idea,” Kosk said. “These elves know more about what’s happening than they’re letting on. No offense,” he added in an aside to Embrae.

    “You won’t get any disagreement from me,” the elven monk said.

    “We’ve already covered this,” Glori said. She adjusted the strap holding her lyre as she walked. She was back in her full traveling kit, including the chain shirt that Bredan had given her as well as her bow, sword, and dagger. It was a bit awkward carrying it all, especially after a few days spent in more normal attire, but she felt better having her usual adventuring gear on her person.

    Kosk had no difficulty; he carried just his staff, the bracers holding his throwing knives, and a small leather satchel. “I know we’ve talked about it, but it’s suspicious. Why would the elvish council suddenly be so interested in letting us go on this expedition? They went from stonewalling us to suddenly being eager to have us go into this sacred forest of theirs, where conveniently there’s no way to contact anyone…”

    “They weren’t lying about that,” Embrae said.

    “It doesn’t matter, either way,” Glori said. “I agree with everything you’ve said, and yes, it could be that they just want us out of Tal Nadesh, and out of their hair. But even if they’re lying about the key, we still need to find the Druid, for Javerin’s sake. And if there is something deeper going on, I’d still rather be doing something than staying in that cozy little cottage in Tal Nadesh, waiting for something to happen. You don’t have to go, in fact it might be better if one of us were to stay, just in case…”

    “You can stop that right there,” Kosk said. “Bredan and Quellan would each kill me if I let something happen to you. And I have my own reasons.”

    Glori glanced over at him, but it was clear from the look on his face that he was not going to elaborate. She looked past him at Embrae, who was carrying even less gear than Kosk, without even a simple knife at her belt. At least she’d traded in her flowing robe for functional traveling clothes and actual boots. The elven woman remained something of an enigma to Glori. After the meeting with the Advisory Council she’d confronted her about her knowledge of the Druid and the Reserve.

    “Why didn’t you say anything about all this before?” Glori had asked her.

    “To be honest, it did not even occur to me,” the monk had told her. “My apprenticeship to become a Tender was brief and took place many years ago. It was even a different Druid back then; the man in the position now was a senior Tender back then that I barely met. You have to understand, I only ever thought of the position as ceremonial. The Druid isn’t really even part of the government, he’s something separate and isolated. I certainly never thought of him as possessing magical power beyond that of the clerics and wizards of the court.”

    “But he controls the Reserve,” Glori had persisted.

    “Not in the sense that you are thinking of it,” Embrae had replied. “It’s not something that can be controlled like that.”

    But someone was controlling power behind the scenes, Glori thought as she returned to the present. There was something off in Tal Nadesh; she’d felt it even before the anonymous strike against Javerin. Whatever it was, she doubted that they were finished. She would have to trust her instincts, going forward.

    The trees around them thinned ahead as they came to a broad clearing. The path ended in front of a pleasant-looking house. It looked quite ordinary, although it possessed the same intricate features and decorative touches that they’d seen elsewhere in Tal Nadesh. A walk of uneven stone steps led past a small pond to a raised deck and the front door. Advisor Lendelaine was waiting for them there on a covered bench beside the pond. He rose to greet them as they approached.

    “Princess,” he said first to Embrae. “Ambassador,” he added with a nod toward Glori. “Master Stonefist.”

    Glori’s surprise must have showed on her face, for Lendelaine said, “Oh, did you not know? You were indicated as the second-ranked emissary on the paperwork that we were sent from Arresh prior to your arrival. With the Ambassador… incapacitated, you assume that authority.”

    Glori resisted the urge to grit her teeth. The Advisory Council had elected to leave that bit of information out of the conversation during their meeting yesterday. Embrae sent her a knowing look, as if to say, I told you so. “Thank you, Advisor,” Glori said. “I appreciate you waiting for us.”

    “Of course. Shall we meet your escort?” He gestured toward the front door of the house. “We have arranged for a group of Rangers to accompany you on your mission,” Lendelaine said. “Their leader is somewhat… assertive, but she has experience with the Reserve.”

    “I thought that only Tenders were allowed inside,” Glori said.

    “For the most part that is the case, but there are occasionally there is a need such as this one… and sometimes something makes its way to the border that the Tenders cannot handle, but which needs to be dealt with before it can escape.”

    “That sounds rather ominous,” Kosk said.

    “Such occasions are infrequent,” Lendelaine said. “The whole point of the Reserve is for us to minimize our interference.”

    The interior of the house contained an odd juxtaposition of styles. The door swung open onto a broad foyer, with natural light pouring in through tall bay windows and a pair of narrow skylights. An open arch carved to resemble flowering vines led into a long chamber where a number of people were moving about.

    As Lendelaine escorted them into the room Glori could see that the house was currently serving as an armory. Racks along the walls held a wide assortment of weapons, including small and large bows, swords of all shapes and sizes, a matching variety of knives, and some more exotic items that Glori had never seen before. There were also suits of armor arranged on wooden mannequins, and shelves that contained enough goods to fill a considerable general store: packs, leather harnesses, pouches, cloaks, tents, rope, waterskins, and packets of what Glori assumed were various kinds of supplies.

    A portion of the gear was spread out across three large tables that dominated the center of the room. Most of the activity was there, where five elves clad in dark green and brown clothes were checking their equipment. As they turned to regard the new arrivals Glori could see that there were three women and two men. One of the women came over to greet them.

    Glori could tell at once that the elven woman was not pleased. She had a look to her that Majerion would have called “hard-edged.” Faint scars were visible along the line of her jaw on the left side of her face. She wore her pale hair cut very short, an unusual style for elves. She gave the three of them a long, evaluative look, then gave Embrae the slightest nod of acknowledgement. Her lips twisted into a frown as she looked at Glori, but that deepened into a scowl when she shifted her attention to Kosk.

    “You can’t be serious,” she said to Lendelaine.

    “I was not aware that there was any ambiguity to your orders, Patrol Leader Shreskra,” he returned. The official’s tone was stern, but the elven woman did not yield anything to it. The other four elves were all quietly watching, Glori noted.

    Shreskra sent a meaningful look at Glori’s lyre. “This is not a stroll through a forest glade,” she said. “The Reserve is dangerous. It will be a difficult journey, and there aren’t any inns along the way.”

    “We’re used to roughing it,” Glori said. She was tempted to show her, conjuring some magic with the lyre the woman was so quick to dismiss, but resisted the urge. Majerion had taught her when empty gestures were necessary and when they only complicated a situation. This was clearly one of the latter instances. A woman like this would not be impressed with magical tricks; the only thing that could win her over was actions that proved their mettle.

    “I hope so,” Shreskra said. Turning her attention back to Lendelaine, she said, “I want it understood that in the Reserve, I am in command. I don’t care who these people are, or how important they are.” At that last statement her eyes flicked briefly to Embrae, telling Glori that the Patrol Leader knew exactly who she was. “I won’t risk the lives of my team if one of them does something stupid.”

    “That’s enough,” Lendelaine said.

    “The Patrol Leader’s statements are reasonable,” Glori said. “I would likely say the same, if I was in her position. I’ll just say that we’re not here for a casual visit. A woman’s life is at stake, and probably more than that. We’re here because of that, so we’ll follow your lead, as long as you get us to the Druid.”

    “Is that acceptable, Patrol Leader?” Lendelaine asked, in a tone that indicated his patience was nearly at an end.

    “We’ll see,” Shreskra said.

    “All right,” Lendelaine said. “Transportation to the border of the Reserve has been arranged and should be here shortly. You will meet up with your guide there, a retired Tender who knows the best route to the Green Tower.” He looked around the room. “Where is the final member of your expedition?”

    Shreskra let out a snort. “He went to avail himself of the washroom some time ago.”

    Lendelaine nodded. “Then I will leave you to introduce your team and see that our guests have everything that they need. I will take my leave of you now, Ambassador,” he said to Glori, before turning to Embrae. “Might I have a brief private word, first?” Glori could see the effort he made to avoid using her title. Embrae shot her a quick look before nodding in agreement. They didn’t leave the building, but retreated back to the foyer where they conversed in low voices.

    “Well, come on then,” Shreskra said. She took them over to the tables, where the Rangers were waiting. Starting from her left, she gestured at each of them in turn and said, “That’s Darethan, Loriellan, Razelle, and Tenaille. Darethan is our archery specialist. Razelle is our best scout. Tenaille is a climber and knife-fighter. Loriellan just looks pretty, for the most part.”

    “And I do it so well,” the Ranger said.

    “I am Glori, and this is Kosk,” Glori said. “I’m a bard. I can heal, conjure illusions, and cast fear into the minds of our enemies. Kosk is a monk of the Open Fist. We’re here to get to the center of the Reserve and find the Druid as quickly as possible.”

    The elves just nodded.

    “All right, let’s get you geared up,” Shreskra said. “Rangers, help our new friends get what they need. On this trip, everyone carries their share.” She shot a meaningful glance at the foyer, but Embrae was still engaged in a heated exchange with Lendelaine in low voices.

    “We don’t have a problem with that,” Glori said.

    Shreskra looked past Glori just as she heard footsteps coming from the hall that led to the back of the house. “Finally,” the Patrol Leader said.

    Glori turned to see Majerion standing there.

    None of the Rangers happened to be looking her way, so none of them saw her flinch. He saw, however. Kosk, standing beside her, must have sensed something, for he said quietly, “Are you okay?”

    “Fine,” she said. “Go on, I’ll be there in a moment.”

    She walked over to him. She could feel her neck and cheeks coloring and imagined that the eyes of everyone in the room were on them. But she forced herself to stand calmly, or at least as calmly as she could manage; she had no illusions that she was fooling her former mentor.

    “Could I have a word?” she asked.

    Majerion made a short formal bow and allowed himself to be led back into the hall. When they were out of sight of the others in the armory she spun to face him. “What is this about?” she asked.

    “I have always wanted to visit the Reserve…”

    “This is not some casual trek into the wilderness,” she said, wishing that she wasn’t just aping Shreskra’s words from earlier.

    “I am aware.”

    “If this is about… if you think this will change what’s between us…”

    “My dear, not everything is about you,” he said.

    “I could ask the Advisor to forbid you from coming,” she said.

    At that some of his practiced ease faded, and a hard look came into his eyes as he fixed them on hers. “I do what I want,” he said. “Since you seem to have forgotten that about me, let me be clear. No one tells what I can or cannot do. Not you, not the King, and certainly not the Advisory Council.”

    He stepped closer for a moment. “I hear our ride is coming soon, better grab something for the road. Remember what I taught you: always be prepared.”

    He headed back into the room, casually strumming the bars of a traveling song on his lyre. It was one of the many such songs that he had taught her.

    Glori lingered a moment to take a steadying breath, and then followed him.

    The others were checking their packs. Embrae had rejoined them; Lendelaine was gone. The elf monk looked up as Glori came over to the tables. “Is everything all right?” Embrae asked.

    Glori refused to look over at Majerion, who was telling a joke to several of the Rangers a few feet away. “Wonderful,” she said. “Just wonderful.”
    XP carborundum gave XP for this post

  10. #240
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)

    Lazybones's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    3,395
    I'm back!

    * * *

    Chapter 179

    Under different circumstances, Glori thought that she might have enjoyed the journey from Tal Nadesh to the border of the Reserve.

    On seeing the conveyance provided by the elves, her first thought had been, Nice carriage… but where are the horses?

    The elves had begun boarding the vehicle before anyone had thought to explain to her that the carriage was magical. The driver sat in a seat in the front, where he had an array of control mechanisms set out in front of him. Glori might have liked to investigate further, but Shreskra was impatiently directing her into the passenger compartment. She and her Rangers clambered up onto the exterior, where they settled into precarious-looking seats.

    Glori would have preferred riding with them, despite the obvious lack of safety features, if it would have gotten her out of riding with Majerion. Her mentor had quickly boarded the carriage with Kosk and Embrae, leaving her little choice but to follow. The compartment held two padded benches, forcing the four of them to squeeze in together to fit. She’d barely settled into the seat before Shreskra barked a command and the driver started the carriage forward.

    The vehicle moved swiftly, and Glori was grateful of the seat’s padding before too long. The road was of better quality than most in Arresh, but at the speed they were traveling every little bump was amplified. At that point she was definitely glad that she wasn’t riding up top. Every time the vehicle encountered a particularly hard jolt she had to resist the urge to look out the windows to see if one of the Rangers had been knocked clear.

    Her ire was only bolstered by the fact that Majerion was a perfect traveling companion. He played his lyre, the rough road giving him no difficulty whatsoever. He recounted elaborate stories and told jokes that even had Kosk smiling a few times. It was typical for her companions to get annoyed with each other whenever they spent a long day traveling. But Majerion’s performance—and Glori recognized it as such—did not become tedious or repetitive even as the day stretched on. He was keeping them distracted from the hazards of their high-speed journey and the dangers of the mission ahead of them. Glori might have even appreciated it if she wasn’t still so pissed at him.

    They stopped only once, at a small rest station where robed elves provided food and drink and access to restrooms. They were back on the road within half an hour, with Shreskra prodding them back into the carriage. Majerion organized a word game that kept them occupied as the landscape continued to pass them by. Glori participated, but with ill grace.

    You won’t turn my friends against me, she thought.

    They did not reach their destination until late afternoon. The road had been growing steadily worse, and the driver slowed the carriage of necessity until they were traveling at roughly the pace that a real horse-drawn vehicle would have taken them. Glori could no longer find a position that was comfortable, as the repeated jolts had left her backside universally sore.

    The carriage finally rolled to a stop. Glori could hear the Rangers jumping down from above, then the door swung open to let a ray of brilliant late-afternoon sunshine into the passenger cabin.

    “Welcome to Easthaven,” came Shreskra’s voice, but before any of them could respond the Ranger leader was already moving away.

    Blinking against the intense light, Glori stepped out into the day. Easthaven was a small community of wooden houses that had clearly been built with fortification in mind. They all stood atop thick posts that suspended them about ten feet off the ground. The architecture was otherwise not that dissimilar from that of Tal Nadesh, although the windows were narrower and the doors sturdier.

    Turning away from the settlement, Glori took her first look at the Reserve.
    The forest didn’t look any different from much of the countryside they’d spent the day passing through. There was no obvious boundary, no wall or other barrier to set it apart, but Glori could feel something, a tension that felt almost tangible. For a moment she experienced an uncomfortable tickling sensation along her spine and thought she could feel unseen eyes watching her…

    “Looks like we’ve got a welcoming committee.”

    Glori jumped slightly at Kosk’s words, and quickly turned to see an elf approaching from one of the raised houses. He was clad in simple working kit, a leather vest over a plain long-sleeved shirt and breeches of rugged corduroy. He lacked the ageless look common to the elves of Tal Nadesh; his face was as rugged as the landscape around them, his features weathered by a lifetime spent outdoors. His hair was thin and white, covering his scalp like a tuft of cloud. As he approached them he ran a hand through it in an absent gesture and she noticed that he was missing one of his fingers.

    “Tender Brightbriar,” Shreskra said in greeting.

    The Tender stopped and gave the group an evaluative stare. “So… these are the ones who want to visit the Reserve,” he said. He did not seem to be enthusiastic about the prospect.

    Before the Ranger leader could respond, Glori stepped forward. “We already got the routine from Ranger Shreskra here, so maybe we could just get to business,” she said.

    The old elf gave her a second look. “Fair enough,” he said. “We’ll enter in the morning.”

    “Is there anything unusual happening in the forest?” Embrae asked.

    The Tender peered at her, then looked over his shoulder at the Reserve. “It’s always like that,” he said. For a moment he looked as though he wanted to say something more, but finally he waved a hand in a gesture of dismissal. “Come on. I’ll show you where you will sleep tonight. There’s food in the common hall, nothing special, but more than you’ll get in there, so enjoy it.”

    As he led them off Kosk turned to Glori. “Are you all right?”

    She looked around for Majerion, but he had disappeared again. “I’m fine,” she said. With a final look back at the Reserve, she followed after the others.
    XP carborundum gave XP for this post

Similar Threads

  1. [DMs Guild] BAHAMUT, The Platinum King (lore pamphlet updated to 5e for Forgotten Realms)
    By Storyteller Hero in forum Publishers, Promotions, Press Releases, DMs Guild, & Kickstarter Announcements
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Sunday, 29th January, 2017, 03:49 PM
  2. EN5ider #31 - Volumes of Forgotten Lore: Divine
    By Morrus in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Tuesday, 11th August, 2015, 06:09 PM
  3. EN5ider #31 - Volumes of Forgotten Lore: Divine
    By Morrus in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Monday, 10th August, 2015, 12:39 PM
  4. Volumes of Forgotten Lore: Arcane
    By Morrus in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Sunday, 21st June, 2015, 02:05 AM
  5. 5th edition Forgotten Realms: Why can't you just ignore the lore?
    By Sailor Moon in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 269
    Last Post: Wednesday, 21st January, 2015, 03:13 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •