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


Quarzi Lagomorpha, Mr. Noggins, Tinglemist


The icy coolness of a morning's air may have been inhaled deeply by the little halfling's lips, but it was the chill in Quarzi's spine that really screamed for attention. For a moment she lay there, perfectly still, almost paralyzed with surprise and fear. Hare's didn't appreciate being snuck up on or stalked. Territorial and ever-alert, the general idea was to make oneself "unavailable" should invisible borders be crossed by predatory kinds.

It was the thing's scalps that really turned the golden's stomach. Proudly displayed like grizzly mementos of a hunters aptitude. Humanoid skins from once sentient heads. For Quarzi, first impressions mattered, and bashfully presenting yourself as a killer wasn't going to go a long way to win her confidence.

Sure, the use of animal remains for furs and warmth was a necessity at times. Quarzi preferred hers to be sourced from beasts that died of natural causes of course. Even her leather, enchanted and hidden deep within the layers of winter garb, hadn't been acquired by some insensitive and wasteful kill. But that was another story... Right now, the attention was on Mister Noggins, as she fittingly decided to name him.

Was she safe here? Undetected and out of sight? It seemed that way. She had confidence in her ability to hide, and blowing her cover too soon seemed like an all too risky move. This was a time to wait, and watch, a feeling obviously shared by Noggins too. But maybe there was someone who could help.

During her time living within the surrounding wilderness, foraging and subsisting at her rabbit's side, she'd made quite a variety of friends. She could calm, charm, heal and even speak with nature's beasts when she put half a mind to it. Such things required preparation of course, a shaman's ways to access the gifts of spirits and an invisible supernatural world. But there were other creatures too. Magical beings who collectively protected the most important places and things, out there in the most unlikely of places. Fae. Some were friendly and sweet. Some were mischievous. Some were very hard to get along with. In fact, they weren't that much different from hares.

One individual, a pixie by the name of Tinglemist, had found himself quite taken by Quarzi and her furry friend. In fact, they had something of an ongoing deal. She had helped him find something of importance, a personal little artifact quite some time ago. In exchange, he had promised her to always be available... ready to pop in at the blink of an eye. Now, Tinglemist was a rather annoying character at times with all his pixie-style dances and sharp-witted methods of mockery, but he was also a rather excellent negotiator and judge of character.

"Quarzibee, don't think two shakes of a cottontail about it. You got a problem, need a little errand done, seen a nasty or just want to chat... speak the tiny poem. I'll be there, a tiny man for a tiny miss ahha!"

Quarzi's past was flooding back at the sight of Noggins. Something was off, and far more rotten than some slowly air-drying headskin. She needed a distraction. A helping hand. Someone to pry some truth out of this trespasser.

She whispered under her breath.

"Mists that wriggles fog that tickles. Friend... a hunter follows, see what words he may just swallow."

She made a few motions with her hands, tracing the outline of a rabbit in the air.

Twenty-five feet away, hopefully off to Noggins's side or behind him, the sprite would appear.

"Hey, Crabface, what you doing sniffing around ere? Not getting enough head?" Tinglemist said to Noggins as he popped into the scene.

The ugly humanoid whirls about as the voice of the sprite startles it. Mr. Noggins stares up hatefully at the Pixie allowing you to make out its facial features better. In profile you note its slightly pointed ears and a sloped forehead as it hisses hateful words revealing rotten, jagged-brown teeth. You've seen features like this before, in Goblins most commonly, though never one such as this.

Mr. Noggins: "Dekaal Haan! Rhaarluuc rhaakluugaan A daar or dec or ac araan daal duun dekhaan ghec an!"

The language is incomprehensible to you (and apparently Tinglemist as well) but it is somewhat similar to what you would normally recognize as gobilin-speak.

Tinglemist: (Speaking Merchant Tongue) "I don't comprehend your ugly words from your ugly face Crabface. You aren't welcome here! SHOO! SHOO!" he yells back gesturing plainly with his hands.

Mr. Noggins: Aims his crossbow threateningly at the Sprite.

Mr. Noggins: (Initiative: = 17)

Tinglemist: (Initiative: = 20)

Tinglemist is too quick for Mr. Noggins, vanishing from sight instantly (Improved Invisibility). You hear the Sprite's cackle of laughter as he flutters about clearly frustrating the intruder who keeps cursing and aiming its crossbow helplessly.

Tinglemist: "NASTY BAD CRABFACE!" (Casts Entangle)

Mr. Noggins: (Reflex Save vs. Entangle, DC 14: = 10, Fail)

Suddenly the brush seems to come alive, twisting and entwining Mr. Noggins legs holding him fast!

[Quarzi: What do you do? For the moment Mr. Noggins can still aim and fire his crossbow (held action), though for the rest of this round he cannot move. You may still act this round if you choose, but you will have to roll initiative before you can declare another action for the next round.]
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Thale Occius Iceforge

Thale stops 30 or 40 feet from the Crossed Cutlass' main entrance, quietly surveying the outside of the building. Too bad he couldn't identify Raeden Corbry on sight. He could, however, identify Captain Havoc aka Holovar Crote. Thale had spoken to him once in passing two years before about a young footpad who had stolen a pony. That wouldn't have risen to the level of the Duskblades' attention except that the pony belonged to a courier for the 'blades. Nothing had come of it. One of Thale's order had literally caught the young thief by the scruff of the neck about the same distance Thale was standing from the Cutlass at that moment. Thale laughed out loud thinking about it, as the thief found himself clotheslined, flipped with hands behind his back, and manacled in what amounted to a single move. The guild had given much less than their full-throated support for the lad; thus, the Duskblades punished him privately pursuant to Holovar's wishes. They gave the lad a job, one that the young fellow still had. It was then that Thale understood the 'blades' reach, and the reliance upon them that even questionable folks appreciated. As he finished his pear, slowing chewing it before he entered the Cutlass, he found what he was looking for, or rather it found him.

Teller Peakblind, former burglar and scout for the Duskblade order of Zoa, approaching Thale as if he were selling apples: "Blade Thale? What brings you here?"

Thale: "Greetings Peakblind. I am to meet someone in the Cutlass. Three questions for your keen eyes and ears: how is the clientele today? Have you seen Mr. Crote? And do you know a Raeden Corbry such that you could point him out to me?"

Regardless of Peakblind's answers, Thale finishes his pear, takes one of Peakblind's apples and puts it in his pocket, and pays several copper pieces to Peakblind. "Thank you Master Peakblind. Back to your mission. Please report back to the Order that you saw me enter the Cutlass at this time, this day, so it is logged properly in your report." Thale winks at Peakblind. "Good work, Lad." Thale wanted this to be last record before he went directly to mission. He knew Peakblind didn't miss anything.

Thale's left shoulder blade tattoo identifying himself as a Duskblade is typically hidden, quite true today as well, under his tunic or shirt. Thale further stows his wood, amethyst, and brass Duskblade medallion in his pocket.

~ No sense in making the natives nervous.~ Thale smiles. ~Not today anyway.~

Thale enters the Cutlass looking for Raeden, and if not Raeden, for Holovar Crote.

Teller Peakblind: "Yes Blade Thale, they are both seated at one of the private tables in the back." He says before moving away.

Within The Crossed Cutlass the large common room is just as rowdy as you remember it. Beneath its high beamed ceiling nearly two hundred souls laugh and drink at two dozen tables and booths. Everyday there are drinking competitions, matches for arm-wrestling, dagger-throwing (even dagger-juggling), and other martial pastimes.

Fitting for the atmosphere, rows of spears and shields are set along the walls with full suites of armor on display in the corners. Above the long bar are also two dozen swords and other exotic weapons from every corner of Tellene.

As you step inside and pull back your hood you feel dozens of eyes upon you (including those of a number of half-hobgoblins seated together in clumps). You note their numbers and positions in the back of your mind while seemingly ignoring them. You also spot the Inn's most veteran bouncer leaning against the end of the bar closest to you holding an ale. He pauses mid-sip, eyeing you with a certain look you have learned to be wary of. His eyes are pale blue, the color of ice, and just as frosty.

You recall his name as Diago. An ex-soldier, reputedly brave enough to earn the Hero's Ribbon of Zoa when he was still young enough to serve. Now clearly well past the age of retirement his hair and mustache are silver-grey. Only the confidence in his stare and the fitness in his stance retain much the same vigor as younger men.

At his hip is a sword somewhat strange in its proportions. From the size of the scabbard you can tell the blade should be the same length and breadth as a longsword, but the hilt is as long as one fitted for a bastard sword. Unusual, but likely not without advantages. You see no other obvious weapons on his person, which would seem to make a statement that he doesn't need any.

His garb is clean and well kept, not a uniform or even armor as such, but fitting for a swordsman. There is more than pride in its closely tailored fitment. The way it hugs his lean muscled torso and thighs leaves no extra folds to catch a blade or offer easy purchase for an enemy to grab. In fact, his shoulder pads, belt, bracers and gauntlets all feature spikes and tough metal studs which are both discouraging and advantageous for grappling.


Diago sets down the ale and steps towards you. You haven't been in here since you suffered the lash of the slavers scourge, but somehow he recognizes you despite your fresh scars. This is what it was about his look that made you wary. He was expecting you.

[Thale: What do you do?]
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Aust Thale

Thale Occius Iceforge

~ Not looking for trouble, but in this place...perhaps it would be fun ~

Thale cracks the beginnings of a wry smile as Diago the Zoa Hero Swordsman is walking toward him. Setting his halberd in the rack adjacent to the door, Thale deftly set the latch to hold it upright while keeping one eye on Diago, sizing up why the swordsman might want Thale. He hoped it was to simply point Thale to Crote and Raeden’s table. The foyer to the tavern, if one called it that, was just big enough to hold the halberd upright. The Cutlass had a door attendant as well, usually reserved for tonier establishments, but most effective here at protecting belongings and reducing clutter in the tavern, a place that could become crowded. Crote valued his establishment. Thale took a wooden token with a symbol on it, and he handed his backpack to the attendant to put with his halberd, again, again assessing what Diago might want. He kept his coin pouch in his belt, his chain shirt under his tunic, and especially his sword. Sensing Diago coming closer, Thale turned back toward him, he nodded politely, showing respect to the venerable swordsman in a similar fashion he might to an elder Duskblade, a commander of the guard, or perhaps his parents (on a more serious day when his attention span wasn't something this side of a hamster).

Good day, Diago. You are looking quite handsome today. I’m not here for regular business, so you can relax. I’m here for a bite to eat, and perhaps a few words with the Captain. ‘Experience goes better with gold; wisdom with ale”, and that sort of thing.” Thale enjoyed making up adages that sounded as if they were well-used and full of deep meaning. They were not; usually, he would simply state the obvious that would have the recipient have to think for a moment to realize it. He would routinely use them to make his mother laugh. He even caught his stepfather amused at several he rolled off his tongue in elvish. Too bad so few people (other than elves) knew elvish. In elvish, he sounded like a most proper smart-ass.

OOC: Sense Motive Roll = 9; Spot Check = 11; See Rolz.org KOK11
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I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
With the aid of your spells (and your familiarity with the trails hereabouts) you manage to reach the monastery with unnatural haste despite the snows and other obstacles in the rough terrain. You cover the distance in about an hour (as close as you can estimate). It is now mid-afternoon, cold and grey. A chill wind blows as low laying clouds are moving in. Likely another storm will be breaking tonight, carrying with it more snow.

As you approach the monastery from the rear stepping alongside a stony slope you catch a glimpse of the courtyard from above. The slavers caravan is still there. Several of the men are standing near or leaning against their carts. Though it's too far to really make out individuals, you can at least gauge their general bearing. Those men look impatient, clearly still waiting for the other four men they dispatched to capture Anoria to return. You're in luck, the last survivor of those four slavers obviously hasn't made it back yet either.

Sarif:"~There must be a way to go around...wait, what am I thinking!? They are not alarmed, I can just walk by.~" he thinks as he approaches. Still, no sense in risking discovery at the last moment. He hurries inside, but slows to normal (if brisk) pace as he comes into the view of those of the caravan.

He goes inside and asks about abbots whereabouts, not trusting anyone else at the moment.

Saryf: "~I have beaten them! There is still a chance to make this right!~"
Saryf goes into the monastery and asks about abbots whereabouts, not trusting almost anyone else at the moment.

"Elder! I have urgent matter to report! Slavers!"
he stops, flushed from the rush and danger he survived and composes himself visible, trying to slow his breathing.
"Apologies, master. I was attacked along with my companion. Attacked to be captured. I managed to disable the attackers, but one ran off. And I fear for when he returns. The caravan could go and try to recapture us. Or they might decide to attack the monastery. At any moment, the one that ran off will arrive. We need to be ready for disturbance from them. And if they go, I have to go and protect...I have to return to the lake."

OOC: He would go to the librarian if the abbot is not available and then to some senior priest he trust the most in that order of preference going down the hierarchy for as far as he dares and as fast as he dares. He avoids any priests/monks he knows commonly talk to outsiders.


Willambervale Somberthaine, Telerai Ghostcloak

Will says, "Discipline? DISCIPLINE?!? Do NOT equate my openess and honesty with a lack of discipline! And do not assume that because of my quick temper, I lack self-control. You know NOTHING of what it's like to be me! I see, hear, and understand things around me that others do not, nay, cannot! And they call ME the crazy one! I am far more astute than anyone gives me credit for, including you! For instance, I know you well enough to realize that this egg, whatever it is, has some sort of hold over you! The Telerai I know is measured, calculating, and controlled. He is NOT needy, emotional, or grasping! I'll not give you this egg, in a million years, in your current state! Not while I still draw breath! Whatever's the matter with you, it's affected your mind, your judgment, your willpower. Stay away from me!"

OOC: Willambervale intends to open the door and flee. Initiative roll (1d20+3) = 8

As you turn and rush to the door you find it shut fast. Even throwing your full weight against it is no use. You know it is magically held. Telerai can control this door (and many others within this strange and ancient tower) 'at will' with just a thought. He probably sealed it behind you as soon as you entered.

Telerai: "Petulant fool!" You hear Telerai mutter in an unfamiliar, eerie, chillingly hollow voice. "There is no use resisting. You will not escape my power any easier than your former master."

As you turn back around to stare at Telerai with confusion you see a flash of arrogant delight pass over his features, along with something else... something stranger. For an instant it seemed like you could see through his body as it shifts into an incorporeal form of an entirely different sort of elf, the like of which you have never seen before. It is vaguely intangible as a mere ghostly visage of its former form. The most striking difference you see are the ears, which have longer, sharper points while also appearing far more frail and thin, though equally elegant.

Mormhaor: "Didn't you ever wonder why Telerai called himself 'Ghostcloak?'. The title speaks of his predilection to seek out the spirits of the dead. A pastime that earned him nothing but scorn and suspicion among the living. Why else would you think he chose to dwell here? Here where the ancient spirits of the first elves still linger... He wanted to glean something from us that everyone would respect to justify his interest. Secret knowledge and ancient power."

"I set the idea in his head long ago that it was his destiny to become master of this tower. Slowly over decades I coaxed him to feed more and more of his own spells into the tower with fleeting glimpses of its potential rewards. A necessary lie you see. Myself and the other 'mormhaor' require fresh magic from the living to sustain ourselves. Of course, his desire to possess control over the tower also made it all too easy for me to possess him when I decided the time was right."

"You on the other hand always resisted us, as sometimes happens. You are Tosi Elama. The history of your ancestors and my descendants is inborn into your instincts. My urging to Telerai to train you and keep you by his side were not enough. No matter. You are here now, and so is the egg."

The spirit who has possessed Telerai notes your anguished and fearful expression.

"Do not despair! Telerai lives on as part of me. So far as anyone will know, Telerai will finally achieve all the goals he ever wanted, and more... much more. And so shall you. But first, you must accept me as your new master..."

"My true name is difficult to pronounce in what you now call 'elvish', but it shall suffice to refer to me as Archaeroseth-the-deathless, indomitable and all-powerful Hîr Istari."

[Willambervale: Make an intelligence check.]

[Note: In truth you beat him in initiative. We shall consider you moving to the door to be a 5 ft. step. You can still make a standard or move action before his turn.]
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
INT Check = 21; Knowledge Arcana Check = 26; The Arcana is to remember facts about the Mormhaor and how to combat them.

Based on what these checks tell me, I will then state my intentions as to what I plan to do on my turn.


Willambervale Somberthaine, Archaeroseth-the-deathless

INT Check = 21; Knowledge Arcana Check = 26; The Arcana is to remember facts about the Mormhaor and how to combat them.

Based on what these checks tell me, I will then state my intentions as to what I plan to do on my turn.

[sblock=Results of your rolls]
Intelligence Check:

You recall at this moment, as you are standing by the entrance, that there is a trap door beneath your feet. Telerai only used it once, and when you saw it you almost laughed at loud. Why would a powerful wizard need a trap door?! He answered simply 'because nobody expects it'. He had a point.

The trapdoor can be triggered in one of two ways. Telerai could activate it with a spoken command word, or just by tapping his staff on the floor. You don't have his staff handy, but you do remember the command word to be 'Raeda'. Beneath the trapdoor is a steep chute that will see you tumbling into a cell on the towers second sub-level. There is a pile of straw beneath the chute so the fall shouldn't harm you.

Once you're in the cell of course, there normally isn't a way out. However, one of Telerai's 'pets', an Earth Mephit called Jasper dwells on that level. Jasper isn't particularly intelligent, but he is very appreciative of his home in the tower and undertakes a variety of chores dutifully. Jasper normally only takes orders from Telerai, but he also considers you a friend. He might be persuaded to let you free. In any case, the odds of getting out of that cell seem a lot better than walking out of the front entrance at this point.

You are aware of an underground secret passage out of the tower down on the 3rd sub-level. Neither Telerai or yourself have ever used it. He warned it was unexplored and dangerous and walled it off many years ago. However, Jasper has the magical power to soften stone into clay. Thus he could also facilitate your escape from the tower into the secret tunnel.

It would seem possible that the Mormhaor should know all of Telerai's thoughts and memories. However, the way he acted towards you as a poor impostor might also indicate a limited comprehension of Telerai's feelings and desires. It is therefore possible that he might fail to understand or anticipate Telerai's wishes and motives. This gives you something of a chance to evade and confuse the Mormhaor, who for now is seemingly trapped in Telerai's physical body so long as he possesses him.

Thus there is a chance you can reach the secret escape tunnel before Archaeroseth can follow you.

Knowledge (Arcana):

Telerai explained what the Mormhaor were to you to some degree, but the actual facts about their nature and the means to destroy them are unknown even to him. Telerai wasn't the first wizard to claim this ancient tower, but he was the only one comfortable enough to commit to living with the Mormhaor for as long as he did. Others before him sought the same secret knowledge and ancient power, but they never made the same progress communicating with the Mormhaor (or perhaps more likely, the Mormhaor considered them unworthy and drove them out).

As undead (for lack of a better term), the scope of Knowledge (Arcana) is limited explaining their nature and psychology. (For this Knowledge: Religion is best) However, the title 'Hîr Istari' that Archaeroseth-the-deathless used for himself is something of a clue for you. You remember those words translated by Telerai from ancient runes scattered throughout this tower. 'Hîr' means 'Lord Master' and 'Istari' means 'Magus' in modern elvish.

Telerai explained to you in your lessons of the nature of the arcane that a Magus differs from other arcanists in that they are actually beings born with magical aptitude in their blood. They learn to cast by instinct, requiring no training. Magi manipulate magic in a much more intuitive way than wizards or even sorcerers. They have more refined control over their spell usage, and even become able to use some minor spells at will.

Magi are extremely rare among all races, to an even greater degree that Tosi Elama are rare among elves, but this may not have always been so. Telerai theorized once or twice that the Mormhaor might be ancient Magi in spirit form. Given Archaeroseth's own claim to you that the Mormhaor require fresh magic to sustain themselves, it would seem Telerai was unto something.

However, beyond that, you didn't care to learn anything else about Mormhaor. They frightened you. Telerai himself once said the study of the Mormhaor was like peering into the unknowable. He planned to visit other bastions where the Mormhaor still lived, hoping to expand the breadth of his observations and record them in his journals so he could finally finish writing his tome. Perhaps his journals could give you better insights, but Telerai kept them carefully guarded and hidden. You aren't sure you could safely retrieve them from his chambers in the first sub-level.

[Willambervale: What do you do?]

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Willambervale's Gamble (vs. Archaeroseth)

Willambervale smiles, and says, "Let me have some time to think about it... RAEDA!"

OOC: I don't want to step on the DM's toes, and say that the trapdoor opens, I whoosh down, etc. So here's the deal: IF the trapdoor opens, and IF Willambervale whooshes downward like I am picturing him doing, then the following happens next:

[sblock=If everything goes according to plan...]

The trapdoor opens beneath Willambervale, and he feels a tingling sensation as his body recognizes and reacts to the fact that he is now falling. His body hits the chute at the perfect angle, picking up speed instantly, the force of gravity whooshing him downward faster than he ever thought possible. At the end of the drop, he flops into a pile of straw, landing, as expected, in the prison cell that Telerai had prepared long ago.

Willambervale leaps to his feat, and calls out, "Jasper!" beginning to whistle, as one would for a pet.

"Here, Jasper. Come to Willy! Willy's here! Come on, Jasper!"

OOC: If Jasper comes as expected, Willambervale will act as if he is playing a game, and tell him to hurry and unlock the door, so that they can have some more fun.





The ugliness of the goblinoid discovered here, in Quarzi's literal backyard, sent cold trepidation through her that even a blast of winter chill couldn't compare with. The little halfling woman's eyes were wide, her body still, all except for a thumping nervous heart. In her mind, thinking as quickly as it could, came a battle of instincts, fear versus curiosity.

She wanted to know who this was, why he'd chosen this very place to snoop and lurk, both armed and apparently ready. Was this coincidence? A mere meandering hunter-thief? Or had the past begun to play its game of catch-up, threatening a peace and way of life that Quarzi had come to very much treasure.

In times like this however, the hare does not stand and wait to see the end. No. Knowledge is nothing, without survival first and foremost. She'd seen enough to make an assessment. This was definitely a "get down the hole" situation.

Despite all that worried her, Quarzi couldn't help then but smile for a brief moment. It was always good to see her friend Tinglemist, the friendly, obnoxious but kind hearted little fellow. Just as she'd expected, the pixie was using a fae's unique gifts to get the upper hand. He'd bought her time, and much much more. The reactions of Noggins spoke louder than words. It seemed likely that she'd not speak his tongue... so a negotiation or explanation was unlikely. And Noggins, though obviously trespassing and up to no good, more importantly seemed quite willing to aim a weapon at a stranger's face.

She'd seen enough. She'd take her chance to retreat, make herself unavailable, and hopefully soon let Tinglemist return home.

[Attempting to sneak away while Noggins is distracted, perhaps down the side of the main building (if there is a alleyway), or to the back door if there is a path there that provides some cover. She would want to take a route with the least visibility. Roll Move Silently = 18. Initiative (if required) = 13.]

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