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Kingdoms of Kalamar; Rancor of the Unholy - Act 1: Scene 1


Saryf, Anoria

Anoria: "Those men, who were they?"

[Sblock=Saryf] A caravan arrived at the Eagle's Peak Monastery a short while ago. Though not a regular occurrence, it was not unusual for the monks to offer refreshments and shelter to weary travelers. Most of the time visitors are small bands of Dejy crossing the Kakidela Mountains eastward from the Wild Lands. This caravan was different however. It appeared at first sight to be farmers and tradesman from the Principality of Pekal to the south. Pekal has a reputation for racial tolerance and harmony. A wide variety of human and demi-human races dwell within its borders. The principality does not have many resources other than foodstuffs, textiles, and trace minerals. This caravan was hauling sacks of potatoes, grain and other assorted foodstuffs north from their winter warehouses. It included six Kalamaran men, two Kalamaran women, and one Dejy who served as their guide.

However, your instincts as a spy and informant served you well as you soon suspected these farmers and tradesman were not as they appeared. First you noticed hidden weapons and armor tucked beneath their cloaks and traveling garb. Next you noted the arrogant bearing and sneers they carried, behaving far too aggressively or rudely towards the monks than was expected or polite. At first you half-expected they had a mind to attack the monastery, but then you heard four others of their number had gone on towards Elfen lake. Than you knew the truth. These men were not here to attack the monastery, they were here to capture Anoria![/Sblock]

Saryf: "They are slavers, or worse, disguised as Pekalese farmers and tradesman. Somehow they knew to find you here."

Anoria: Frowned. "I warned you not to tell anyone about us!"

Saryf: Shook his head. "I told no one!"

Anoria: "Then Someone must have followed you, or caught sight of us at some point. How many more of them are there?"

Sarfy: "Six other Kalamaran men, two Kalamaran women, and one Dejy guide."

Anoria: "And you've never seen them at the monastery before?"

Saryf: "No, never."

Anoria: "Then someone at your monastery sent word. One of your 'brothers' is also a spy or an informant. Likely the same one that followed you. It's the only explanation."

Saryf: Scowled as he shivered. ~She's right!~

[Saryf: What do you do? (It's Freezing!)]
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I plan on living forever. Or die trying.

OOC: Sorry for the delay again :(
Here are my rolls = 233 fun fact: 5 and 20 are on positions 5 and 20 :)

Over the weekend I will edit the character to finish everything - from spell selection to invocation powers and feat descriptions.

Saryf: "I don't know for sure. But by what I've seen they are slavers of some sort. It is not safe for you to remain here. Someone like you would be a target for any and all slaver and 'get-quickly-rich' schemer for kingdoms around if the word is about to spread. Return to your kingdom and I will call you as I can. I know you don't really choose when to return, but you could remain underwater for the time being. And remain close to it at all times. Please. I know you chafe at limitations...but I...I..."

The young man turns away from his love.
"I couldn't bear to lose you again. I almost did just now and..." his voice breaks, but he turns back to her and continues "...see what it did. It opened my eyes to the wider world. For all the enslaved. For everyone who is taken advantage of. And to my own nature despite my upbringing. I know I wouldn't fit in your world. But in time...I can learn. But for that, I have to see the world. To grow, both physically, mentally, spiritually. And rest assured, my love for you will NEVER diminish. And I will endeavor to call on you as I can. But right now, I have to warn the monastery, if those guys decide to attack unprepared monks, there will be death even if ultimately they cannot prevail. Stay safe, Anoria, I will come back for you once it is safe"

Saryf gives her a kiss and starts walking toward the monastery when he stops and turns back toward her "May I tell the abbot about you? He may protect the lake if he knows there is someone worth protecting."
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Saryf, Anoria

Anoria: Raises her voice in distress. "Don't go back! You'll be walking into a trap!" She gestures to the three corpses felled by your eldritch blasts. "These slavers won't let you live to get away with this!" She states with tearful eyes. "Whoever betrayed you among your brothers will help make sure of it, if only to keep their own part a secret. Can't you see you've already justified whatever lies they make up?! Slaying these men with your hidden powers and betraying your sacred vows absconding with the likes of me is all the proof they need."

Anoria steps over to kneel over one of the corpses. "We should search them, quickly, for evidence of whom they serve and where they come from. We may not get another chance. You said they have another Dejy as their guide did you not? Odds are he is practiced at tracking fleeing slaves, we must be away with as much of a head start as we can manage before they set after us."

Anoria stares at you, begging you to change your mind. "Saryf! You must listen to me! I have learned things from the Seelie Court. Evidence and whispers of evil plots at work in this region, and others. There is no point for you to hide away in that monastery any longer. There is work to be done, and others I must warn against the powerful evils preparing for a great war! I may not be able to return to this lake again. Come with me, now, it is the best chance to ensure we can stay together!"

[Saryf: What do you do?]
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I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Saryf listens to the distraught girl ~"however senior she may be in real years"~
"What do you mean, betraying my sacred vows?! I know you're scared, but if the slavers attack and kill, or worse take someone prisoner, it will be on my soul. And if they, as you say, have skilled tracker and they are on horses, minor advantage of at most hours start won't make any difference."

He gives her a quick hug
"Look, search them, prepare for quick departure. But I have to warn the brothers. There is a risk of course. But only if I hesitate. The longer they have to prepare, harder will it be for me to bypass them and longer there will be to concoct real-sounding story. Trust me! We can do this right!"

[Is there a backdoor into the monastery? Maybe a tunnel to the lake? But I will take whatever to bypass the caravan :) ]


Thale Occius Iceforge


City-State of Zoa, Reanaaria Bay, Late Fall, 1044 Y.K.

A cool drenching rain pummeled the old bricks of Market Street, suitable only for a walking pace even on the best and clearest of days, so fractured it was with cracks and holes that would just as easily break an ankle or shatter spokes on a carriage wheel. Nevertheless, Thale Occius Iceforge strolled purposefully towards the Great Market of Zoa with an intimate familiarity of every pockmark and rift in his path.

Each graceful sidestep or great long stride he took accentuated his extraordinary height and lean warriors physique. This alone set him apart from the great majority of the locals. Reanaarians were medium in build, often stocky and sometimes fat. Thale's garb and weaponry only exaggerated these differences further. He was dressed in fine, yet hardy, traveling garb of elven make tailored especially for him.

From a casual observes point of view, the way his boots and cloak ignored the puddles and spray seemed almost magical. Thale passed through the downpour like a shadow through a flame. The truth was, he was merely meticulous and methodical with upkeep and care of all his possessions. His boots, for example, he brushed and oiled everyday, the better to stay quiet and withstand the rigors of the road. His cloak, likewise, was regularly cleaned and scrubbed in pine oil diluted with hot water before it was brushed free of every errant thread. All the better to mask noise as much as scent, leave no trace, and also resist stains and moisture.

Across his back, Thale carried a masterwork halberd made in the finest forges of Korem, capital city of the Militocracy of Korak. The halberd was a gift from one of the cities famous mercenary captains who swore it was battle-tested against the mighty hordes of Hobgoblins from Norga-Krangrel. Thale had every reason to believe it was, though the mercenary captain not lost an arm and the ability to properly wield it some time ago.

Impressive as the halberd was, Thale's true pride was his fathers sword, a very old masterwork hand-and-a-half barbarian-style battle sword crafted in the finest traditions of the Fhokki smiths in the so-called 'Ice Forge', that was also his namesake. The weapon was a family heirloom, wielded by generations of clan lords. Known simply as 'The father's sword' by his fathers people, the runic inscription along the blade read "Suffer no guilt who wields this in the name of their father".

Thale was uncertain if every wielder of the blade was an honorable man. Indeed he could not say from his own experience if that was true of his own father who died of a magical curse when young Thale was just three years old. He liked to think of the inscription as a reminder to wield the blade with pride for some sort of cause, even if that cause was as plain as vengeance. Someday he hoped to return to the frozen north, to the lands of his fathers people and learn more about the history of the sword, and perhaps find some way to use it there to honor his fathers memory.

Now however, his thoughts were focused on the present and the wishes of his step-father, an elven merchant-lord named Aeron Beijor Sartoris. ­Their relationship was formal, lacking affection, though Aeron took interest in young Thale from an early age as soon as he showed magical aptitude enrolling him into the Duskblade Training College very young.

The disciplined life of a Duskblade was a poor substitute for a normal childhood in some ways, but it spared him the gossip and ridicule given to his Reanaarian noble mother (Isabel Faerooel) for wedding a cursed Fhokki followed by an elf. Thale was closest with his twin half-elven half-siblings, both of whom looked up to him with awe, and also quite mischievously used him as a chaperone whenever they wanted to be away of their fathers stuffy mansion.

Thale often cursed their curiosity and penchant to run off to explore the cities many dark alleyways. They weren't old enough yet to understand how lucky they truly were, despite his mothers repeated attempts to remind them of their noble families humble roots as slaves.

Though slavery itself had always been an accepted norm in the great city-state of Zoa, it was certainly more humane here than most other regions of Tellene. Most slaves come from two sources. The first and larger is debt servitude, often for a period of 7-10 years. A citizen who suffers a substantial fine or debt in Zoa is subject to imprisonment and slavery to work off the debt. In the case of a public fine, the citizen usually works directly for the city until the debt is paid.

In the case of a private debt, the city pays the creditor some or all of the money owed and the city sells the citizen to the Slavers' Guild for a standardized price. The guild sells of the slaves to merchants or other citizens who have asked for a particular trade skill or quality. Once every few weeks, the guild auctions off the unwanted slaves in the market.

Secondly, the Zoan navy brings brings in prisoners or military action as slaves to be sold in the Slavers' Guild. After capturing a pirate vessel or a smuggler, the city enslaves the remaining crew, although it might free some based on extraordinary circumstances (such as a trusted character vouching for the captive). In rare cases, the ship captain may take prisoners as personal slaves as part of his booty. Most captains trade the salves for political favor or gift them to land-bound family members.

Fully 80% of the city's slaves work in the Coins Disctict, the Citadel District, or in the wealthy villas just north of the city's walls. The remaining 20% are individuals who live and work in the Artisan and Market Districts. These slaves are considered valued additions to the family business, treated in some cases more as partners than property.

[Sblock=Districts of Zoa]

Only the very wealthy citizens maintain slaves for entertainment. Bards, Basiran dancers, gladiators, jugglers, magicians and jesters. These slaves are signs of prestige, and some have even earned their freedom. Only in the case of House Faerooel has a family of slaves risen to the level of influential aristocracy. Because of their history, no Faerooel owns a slave.

Thale's mother Isabel likewise never tolerated a man who would tolerate a slave. Both the elves and Fhokki have similar beliefs, so it was only natural she would consider them as suitable suitors. Of course, noble marriages also served other purposes. The alliance she hoped to hold with her first husband, Thale's father, was was intended to shore up long term relationship for trade and shipbuilding, and to guard vs. war if any threat loomed large enough to threaten their properties abroad and around the city.

Aeron was likewise a noble among his people, not hers, but his longstanding influence as a wealthy merchant here in Zoa with a voice in both the Merchant and Mages Guild was also valuable for her family.

As Thale approached the Great Market he slowed his pace somewhat, glancing over his shoulder once or twice to be sure he wasn't being followed. Aeron's message warned him to be careful, as had several others over recent years. Thale wasn't sure what the source of this step-fathers newfound paranoia was, but Aeron was no fool or one to make warnings lightly.

What Aeron asked him to do was also something of a mystery to Thale. Although the duties of a Duskblade usually required discretion, most of their assignments were planned out by high-ranking senior leaders and done together as a group. Targets of the Duskblades were usually roaming bands of evil humanoids, errant monsters, undead, pirates, slavers (for which Thale had a singular hatred), brigands, dishonest merchants, smugglers and mercenaries.

Yet there were also other targets kept secret from public knowledge. Corrupt officials, clergy, even lords sometimes faced the wrath and justice of the Duskblades. These righteous killings (and they weren't always killings) were never acknowledged or spoken of again to ensure the perception the Duskblades operated entirely within the law under the auspices of local lords and regional laws.

For Thale, or any other Duskblade, to be tasked as an individual to undertake a mission or task outside the regular Duskblade chain of command was a rare and unusual thing, but not unheard of. Afterall, the Duskblades as an organization were not as autonomous and self sufficient as they appeared. Powers throughout Tellene supported and used the Duskblades for tasks they could not, or preferred not to be seen to do themselves.

Thale was always told these powers were forces of good in the world (largely the elves for the most part) and thus rarely questioned his orders, yet this time was different. This time the orders came directly from his step-father Aeron. The message read as follows.

[Sblock=Aeron's Message] 'Seek Captain Raeden Corbry at The Crossed Cutlass. Prepare for a long voyage. Be Careful.' [/Sblock]

Thale was well aware (more aware than most, even within the Duskblades) how many of their orders began as suggestions from Aeron (or those of his elven court mouthed by Aeron) yet this was the first time he was tasked specifically alone for a purpose by his step-father. Beyond that, Thale doubted his brother Duskblades would even be told exactly where he was and what he was doing. Unusual indeed.

Thale had no problems operating alone. Self reliance and bravery were hallmarks of his character, but then again, he was normally given more information.


Typically by midday the Great Market had the atmosphere of a carnival. Screeching animals, performers, displays of richly colored silks and rugs, the pungent odors of exotic spices, herbs, fresh fish and other foodstuffs from around the world were an assault on the senses. Rainy days like this subdued that environment somewhat, but by no means was the market empty or any slower in terms of business. Every square inch of available space for tents, booths, carts, or just a spot to squat beside a basket of oysters was still taken.

As Thale walked into the market proper shrugging off or staring side-eyed at all manner of con men, pickpockets, evangelists, and beggars the ground changed from old bricks to packed sandy-clay turned to wet paste in the rain. He made his way through the muddy avenues between the vendors, heading towards one of the raised platforms of the Shields (City Watch).

These were 12' tall and about 8' square with wooden frames formed like a ladder for easy climbing. Above each was an angled roof, extra spears, shields, crossbows, a hot coal brazier and several lanterns. Typically each platform held half a Shield Patrol (a full shield patrol includes 9 shields and 1 sergeant).

Thale spotted his old friend Zilaxi, an elderly Svimohzish expatriate standing below the tower quietly smoking his pipe. Though his back was turned, Zilaxi called out his name a good few paces away.
The old Shield might as well have been a bloodhound.

Zilaxi: "Thale!" He grunted, turning to smirk at the young Duskblade.

Thale: Half-smiled. "Good to see you old friend."

Zilaxi: "What brings you to the Great Market today? Don't tell me you lost track of the twins again?" He scolded.

Thale: "No, no, not this time. I merely wished to have a word with you about someone."

Zilaxi: Peered at Thale beneath white bushy brows. His dark features had the look of old-creased leather, but his eyes glinted with keen intellect and experience. "Oh? And who would that be?"

As a few other shields looked over their sholder, Thale indicaed to Zilaxi that he wanted to share the word in private with a quick jerk of his head. The old shield obliged, tapping out his pipe before he stepped out from beneath the awning of the towers roof into the rain.

Thale: "What have you heard about Raeden Corbry? I'm told he is a merchant captain of sorts."

Zilaxi: Chuckled. "Of a sort yes... once he was simply a pirate."

Thale: "Ah, that's what I was worried about."

Zilaxi: "They say his years of boarding ships are over, and he only uses his crews now to guard whats his along the trade routes. Raeden is not one to trade in slaves, or one to butcher or maroon a ships crew. His standards of common decency are better than most reformed from that trade."

Thale: "Does he still serve The Thirteen?"

[Sblock=The Thirteen]'The Thirteen' refers to an actual pirate alliance within Reanaaria Bay known as the Captains' Table of Thirteen. Only the most powerful thirteen captains have a place in this group. Ostensibly they work together to organize and govern piracy within the bay. In fact the truth is a far less democratic. In actuality the founder of The Thirteen rules the Captains' Table with an iron fist, served by a huge spy network known as The Friends of the Coin.[/Sblock]

Zilaxi: "I believe he does, though who or how specifically is unclear."

Thale: "Which ship is his?"

Zilaxi: "He arrived at port this morning in a fast little sloop called 'The Sea Snake'."

Thale: "Just a sloop huh? Did he offload much cargo?"

Zilaxi: "Some, but not a lot. It didn't look like he intended to do much business on the docks today."

Thale: "Thank you old friend." He said plucking a platinum coin from behind his belt.

Zilaxi: Swiped the coin away deftly. "Be careful!"

Thale: Hmmphed. "You aren't the first to say that."

Zilaxi: Winked "Let's hope I'm not the last!"

[Thale: What do you do?]
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Quarzi Lagomorpha

Quarzi busied herself collecting eggs, making soothing clucking noises to the hens as she did so, when something odd caught her attention. Movement in the trees! Yes she was certain of it. Something, or someone, was stepping through the snow nearby!

Quarzi Lagomorpha said:
Gently, Quella returned her cupped palmfulls of eggs to the ground. She set them down softly if she could, upon the cool fluffy safety of morning snow. They would keep. Keep until she knew who approached.

It was instinctive to show caution like this. A habitual reaction though simple, that was brushed with as many undertones as one might seek. The reaction of a woman who'd sworn never to be caught unawares, ever again? Or was this simply her totem's way? Indeed, her hare had already left her gaze, probably tucked away under the hutch's stumps, or some other sneaky bunny-sized place. But make no mistake, Quarzi was no simple creature. That brain beneath long strands of sunshine-blonde hair, it was always weighing and summing, wondering and learning. She could fathom and philosophize with the best of them. Her observations and perspectives rarely went uncherished by her friends.

Why would someone visit so, without announcing themselves? And this manner of gaining access to the block, it wasn't what one might call polite or conventional! No, none of this had the aroma of "normal". It was time to play safe.

What dares come closer?

She decided to follow the hare's lead, shuffle to the side, and secure a place to hide.

[sblock=Rolls etc]Rolled in the rolz.org Kalamar Character Creation room. Hide = 18.[/sblock]

As you crouch beside the pile of firewood stacked behind the inn, you stare into the shadows beneath the snow-capped trees. (Aided of course by your low-light vision)

(FATE POOL Spot Check: 19 + 5 = 24, Success!)

You spot a figure moving to the edge of the treeline. About four feet tall, slightly hunched over, lean and scrawny. At first you guessed it was another village youth up to more mischief, but the state of their garments and furs quickly dismissed that notion. Though you are not a trapper by profession, you are still skilled at recognizing animal pelts, even from a distance of thirty feet or more.

Though this stranger is garbed in leathers and furs befitting the cold climate, it wears none of the high quality gear you'd recognize of local make. These are crudely made (at best), while also being well worn and disheveled. The hooded winter cloak it carries consists of patchwork pelts of low-quality, likely rats, squirrels, possum and other rodents. Around its neck (and largely concealing its face) is a fur scarf likely made from a wolfs tail.

Though you cannot make out most of its facial features, what you do see is both ugly and inhuman. You note skin tone of a sickly orange/reddish hue around a grossly broad nose set between strikingly menacing yellow eyes that send a shiver of fear down your spine. It wears finger-less gloves, holding a light crossbow in its grip (of medium size) as it crouches and creeps closer to the treeline. You also glimpse what appears to be other weapons, pouches and some variety of humanoid scalps tied around its waist.

[Quarzi: What do you do?]
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Saryf, Anoria

Saryf listens to the distraught girl ~"however senior she may be in real years"~
"What do you mean, betraying my sacred vows?! I know you're scared, but if the slavers attack and kill, or worse take someone prisoner, it will be on my soul. And if they, as you say, have skilled tracker and they are on horses, minor advantage of at most hours start won't make any difference."

He gives her a quick hug
"Look, search them, prepare for quick departure. But I have to warn the brothers. There is a risk of course. But only if I hesitate. The longer they have to prepare, harder will it be for me to bypass them and longer there will be to concoct real-sounding story. Trust me! We can do this right!"

[Is there a backdoor into the monastery? Maybe a tunnel to the lake? But I will take whatever to bypass the caravan :) ]


The Eagles Peak Monastery is a sturdy stone structure built within a mountain pass a few miles from Elfen Lake. Behind the monastery are herb gardens (none of which currently grow anything in the deep winter season), a small stables (the monks keep mules) and extra storerooms for Firewood, Provisions, Oils and alchemical substances (some of which are too dangerous to keep inside the monastery).

There are a few narrow rocky paths leading away from the monastery besides the main gate/front courtyard. Approaching the monastery by any path other than the main road is difficult in the best of times and especially treacherous in the frigid snows. (Dexterity Checks will be Required at any speed greater than 1/2 move. Failure on those checks will result in Saving Throws.)

There is more than one path to Elfen Lake, but the quickest most direct path from the Monastery arrives at the road leading to the monastery first. Even that is not an obvious path. Elfen Lake is so remote and well-hidden it requires some local knowledge (or a good search roll) to discover any route to reach it.

The monks study and copy texts of The Speaker of the Word, The Mule and The Eye Opener, three religions that focus on Ethics, Oath-Keeping, Wisdom, Knowledge and Enlightenment. The monastery is not directly beholden to any one religion, but those three churches send clerics and priests here a few times a year to give sermons. Besides prayer and observance of their religious vows, the monks busy themselves everyday with menial labor, crafts and study.

Some sweep floors and scrub everything clean, others scribe scrolls or copy books, maps and other texts, some make clothing and shoes, some serve in the kitchens, keep the hearths burning, cut hair or tend to sickness and injury. The most trusted and skilled help in the alchemical laboratory making a variety of items, substances and goods that sell well in markets near and far.

In all there are about forty monks. In the past the monastery has been attacked a few times by roaming monsters, treacherous bandits or wandering humanoids. Officially the monks maintain neutrality in all worldly-conflicts, but have and will defend themselves when necessary. That being said, their armory and combat training is somewhat lacking.

It is your belief the monks will probably hold out against the caravan if they must, but having never seen the monks in action there is also a significant lack of certainty in that regard.

[Sblock=Effects of Cold Exposure]As stated in Chapter 8 of the Dungeon Masters Guide 'Immersion in chilled waters calls for an immediate check to resist the effects of cold exposure and increases the DC of all Fortitude saves to avoid taking damaged from cold or resisting cold-based effects by 10 until the character and his clothes become dry'.

Thus you will have to make a Fortitude Save of DC 25 to attempt to reach the monastery without first drying your clothes. Failure on that save will result in 1d6 points of non-lethal damage. Your condition will be changed to fatigued and you will succumb to Mild Hypothermia & Frostbite by the time you reach the monastery.

Once you have mild hypothermia if you suffer any more damage from cold exposure you are susceptible to moderate hypothermia. Moderate hypothermia will change your condition to exhausted. Beyond that, severe hypothermia changes your condition to disabled. A successful DC 15 Heal Check will normally lower the levels of hypothermia by one level, but if you are still outside wearing wet clothing the difficulty changes to DC 18.

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite and suffers a -2 penalty to his Dexterity score. A successful DC 15 Heal Check can normally cure frostbite, but if you are still outside in the cold the DC changes to DC 18.[/Sblock]

If you take time to find or make shelter, undress and dry your clothing before you head back to the monastery (or travel elsewhere), I will allow you to lessen the DC of the Fortitude Save for cold exposure to DC 15. You will have to first make a Survival Check to determine how much time that will take. If Anoria is helping you in this regard, she will provide a healthy bonus to that roll.

[Saryf: What do you do?]
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I plan on living forever. Or die trying.

Saryf: "Prepare to run, hide here and wait." Saryf pulls himself away from the girl and starts walking toward the monastery less accessible paths. He calls upon the power of The Guardian and his steps suddenly blur as the strides get faster and longer. He pauses for few heartbeats more ensuring he doesn't freeze in the wet clothes and goes onward hoping to get to The Abbot before the caravan people do.

Cast domain spell Longstrider
Cast prepared spell Endure Elements (he might actually have it cast already, he was visiting the lake and he lives in the high mountain monastery)

Only comprehend languages and cantrips remain.

Half-move once into the mountain pass - it is 20' not 15' - not big difference, but it accumulates.
He will risk some full moves on straight parts, but it is more important that he gets there than to try to get there faster.

If there is some extra bad place where free movement would help him pass long slog in one quick run - use Travel domain power of free movement for 1 round (that's 80' move through deep snow drifts or some other similar obstacle)

Aust Thale

Thale And A Morning Stroll...To an Inn...

Thale's Memory said:
The slaver smirked at Thale. “You will be broken, boy. And then we’ll sell you to a chubby Dejy who will make you wish you were back among us.” Not receiving the reaction he wanted, the slaver continued, “And I promise you, we’ll all get to know the half-elven bitch in as many ways as we can think of.”

At that moment, Thale could do nothing. He was bound, bloodied, broken ribs, broken jaw, separated shoulder, and his back whipped to the sinews. He seethed inside. He tasted bile, sweat, and blood. He waited patiently, wishing pain approaching death on this slaver and his brethren. He had set out to rescue the young Mira from these kidnappers who saw an easy payday.

She was once a slave, the child of a slave, and grandchild of a slave. Her inheritance was slavery. His parents had acquired her from another owner, a pretentious sloth who was constantly in hock to Thale’s stepfather for various hobbies and ventures for which he was really not meant. It was obvious her most recent owner was behind her abduction. That the slavers he employed to seize and return her double-crossed him was the reason Thale knew where she was.

Thale left the sloth to his parents’ wrath. The slavers were another matter. He had approached them directly and given the group a choice; present her peacefully back to him or he would take her by force. He never saw the long-spear that swept his feet out from under him, but he felt the beating that came after, even into unconsciousness. Indeed, he had felt every blow, every cut, every insult that was directed toward him since them.

Two days of ship travel, tied to one of the masts, being beaten hourly had taken its toll. At first he verbally fenced with the slavers, until they grew weary of his wit and broke his jaw with a wooden rope cleat. By the time he had reached the garrison, he was literally black and blue with bruises and broken bones.

Thale bode his time, taking the beatings, paying attention to his surroundings within the garrison and the clicks of steps of the guards and servants. One particular slaver was a true moron, teasing Thale by leaving Thale’s weapons within sight of his cell and next door to an another prisoner. The sight of his beloved weapons gave Thale inspiration to seize his moment.

Just as he acted then, Thale moved through the market now with a purpose. Zilaxi could always be counted on. Of course, proper coin or not, Duskblades had the tendency to ply information from even the most stoic of City Shields. Certainly no less was true with Zilaxi, but the value of his information deserved something extra. The old Svimoshi could find a gnome's fart in a city of halflings full with gas! It was no surprise then that Zilaxi knew something of this Raeden Corbry, a former pirate of some renown it would seem. That his stepfather knew him also wasn't surprising either; Aeron know everything. What troubled Thale was the fact HE had not heard of Raeden before today.

Thale's Memory said:
With a bloody tongue Thale whispered a spell to himself, loosening his bindings. The slaver guard had not noticed. In fact, he had turned his back to Thale. Just then Thale heard the magical message deep in his ears and head. They were coming, and they were close. Broken jaw or not, Thale smiled.

As the slaver opened the gate inward, Thale muttered another spell watching the slaver’s eyes roll back, magical vertigo taking hold forcing him to stumble forward through the cell opening, barely catching himself at the threshold. Thale leaped, shoulder and ribs cracking, moving past the slaver and shoving him back into the cell. Meanwhile, the prisoner reached for the slaver, grabbing his head scarf and jerking hard on it. Still dazed, the slaver spun into the hard pull and fell against the bars.

Thale leapt toward his sword, yanking it free with a smooth pull as he pivoted back toward the slaver who was punching at the prisoner (who happened to be an elf) and clawing at the scarf struggling to release himself with wide eyes and a horrified gasping expression. Weak and wounded as they were, the prisoner could not hold him for long, but it was enough. Just as the slaver jerked free and leapt forward Thale reached with his good hand and moved to shut the cell gate.

As the slaver charged the door in a panic he attempted to shout an alarm but could not catch his breath in time before Thale shoved his sword between the bars impaling him through his midsection. The slavers eye's bulged, his hands grasping at the blade that almost ran him through attempting to pull himself free. Yet Thale was too quick. He snatched the slavers scarf again, this time jerking him closer, pulling him over the blade all the way to the hilt. The slaver instantly coughed up blood and moaned, weakening at the knees. Thale could feel the mans weight on the blade as he started to collapse.

With tears of pain in his eyes, Thale leaned into the gate as it latched slamming his shoulder into the bars hearing a nauseating <snikt> as his shoulder went back into place. Eye to eye with the slaver now Thale whispered “...this is for Mira!" pulling the slaver’s own dagger from his belt and shoving it up through the soft underside of the mans jaw. Thale held him there a moment longer, watching the last light of consciousness fade from his eyes.

Somewhere close, Thale heard the rest of the slavers shouting in alarm. Their boats were burning. His brothers had come and there was more killing yet to be done. From the other cell the prisoner smiled at him with gratitude. The sight of their relief made it all worth it.

Life sprinkled in its fair share of sweet rewards for Thale as he spied a favorite fruit dealer and paused to purchase a pear to chew on while he strolled. His face and ribs were sore today. The slavers' whips left reminders across his face, back and sides. No sense of humor to be found among that lot. None at all. Especially now. Thale didn't smile. He killed his first man that day, but it was merely the first of many. Hell, by the end of that day he'd lost count.

His brethren had killed many more than he did. Nearly seventy (70) in all. Slavers the lot of them. Their garrison being ransacked and burned to the ground was a fitting backdrop to the body count. Before his Duskblades swallowed the camp whole, it was among the largest and most trafficked slaver den for 100 miles in any direction.

Afterward, the massacre was spoken of in hushed tones throughout Reanaria Bay. Duskblades were certainly suspected for the slaughter, yet few had the courage to mention it more loudly than quiet tavern-talk. However, ever since that day, crowds parted when any recognized Duskblade came into public places. It was no different for Thale as he continued on towards the Crossed Cutlass.

Thale: -Speaking aloud to himself- “Raeden Corbry, we shall see what sort of man you are.”

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Willambervale Somberthaine

Willambervale said:
Will arrived at the stairs leading down, to the sunken door which marked the entrance to Telerai's underground tower. He knocked on it and waited, hopeful that the old Elf wouldn't ask too many questions.

As you knock on the tall door to Telerai's Tower you are started to see it magically open for you the way it used to do when you lived here as an apprentice.

"Eshaal'Aul" (Elvish for 'Come In')... a whispered voice speaks, never failing to bristle the hairs on the back of your neck everytime you hear it. No matter where you look the speech seems source-less, yet close, almost as if it exists only in your head. It is merely one of many strange charms about Telerai's tower.

You are certain now that Telerai was expecting you and quickly step through the door as you used to do so often. The familiar walls of the interior are quartz-granite supporting high tiled-ceilings. Your boot-steps echo on floors of mirror-smooth grey marble streaked with veins of white and silver. Beyond the threshold, a stone antechamber beckons shrouded in a fine smoke of braziers, incense and dozens of candles.

As you enter unseen spirits circle and surround you effecting ripples through the smoke sending a chill down your spine. As a young apprentice Telerai told you long ago to pay these 'mormhaor' (spirits) no heed. He claimed they were harmless, even voiceless, but now you realize he was mistaken.

Your heartbeat quickens as you feel their ghostly fingers scratching at your garments. You shiver as their hollow, raspish whispers utter curses and threats in a forgotten tongue. This was something new. Until now the spirits rarely ever attempted to touch or communicate with you. It seemed they only wished to interact with Telerai, and for the most part that was fine with you. Despite your curiosity for them, they always made you nervous. Now more than ever!

Telerai told you the mormhaor were shadows of memories of a bygone age when there was just one original race of elves; both beautiful and immortal. These first elves constructed this tower, and others like it, as a way of keeping rooted into the earth without spoiling the beauty of natures landscapes. They also built them as a refuge against the vast hosts of evil races let loose upon this world of Tellene.

During the mythical period known as The War of the Gods the original creator's essence was trapped on a distant plane (perhaps for the rest of eternity), allowing the lesser gods to alter, create and destroy parts of this world as they pleased. The first elves believed their superior magics would keep them safe from the inferior races created by the lesser gods.

However, with the loss of their maker, the first elves soon realized their true enemy was mortality itself. Torn from their bond with the creator, the first elves were now vulnerable to age and death. Many refused to accept their fate, though none could sustain themselves forever. Those that clung to life the longest lingered now only as fading spirits in ancient bastions like this, completely isolated from the stranger world outside with barely a spark of life left in them.

However those first elves who accepted the need to change and adapt spread out across the world in large groups warring against the evil races fathering new generations. After millennia, these tribes each evolved differently into the known elven subraces that exist today.

~It's the egg! The spirits are drawn towards it~

Your realization comes to mind just as Telerai Ghostcloak himself appears before you, dressed as always in his billowy grey/white robes. The fatherly gray elven wizard stares with awe and surprise at the spirits swirling around you.


Telerai: (Speaking Elvish) "...Tosi elama!" He gasps. "She was right!"

Willambervale: (Speaking Elvish) "Telerai! What should I do?"

Telerai: "BE QUIET! BE STILL!" He says sternly, closing his eyes in concentration as he starts to murmur and chant powerful spells. Immediately in that moment, the spirits grow restless and uncomfortable. Though you cannot see it, you sense angst and frustration as they swiftly retreat.

Willambervale: "What did you do?" You ask taking a deep breath of relief.

Telerai: "I demonstrated that my magic comes from the power of the present, not the past. These spirits cannot stand to be reminded they do not belong here."

Willambervale: "Why did they reach for me like that?"

Telerai: "Because of what you carry!" He exclaims. "Willambervale, I was visited by another spirit before you arrived. She resembled another Tosi elama, like yourself, albeit with different features. She came to the door and told me you were coming." He pauses and glances around as if searching for the spirits. "I realize now what I should have known when they whispered your name to me years ago. You have a destiny!"

[Willambervale: What do you do?]
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