Knightfall's World of Kulan: Tales of the Companions Story Hour (Final Update: Sep 20, 2014)

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Black Death:
It appeared out of nowhere — a black-hulled ship with red sails and a pirate flag. Its sudden, unnatural arrival was accompanied by churning waters and dark, foreboding clouds. Worse, it's speed was more than a match for the Ishtar. From the moment the call came out from the crow's nest to the crews reaction was less time than the pirate ship took to close the distance. The storm appeared to be powering its sails but not the Ishtar's.

As the vessel neared, its name became clear not from the depictions of death and woe on the ship's hull or its skeletal masthead but from the chant rising from its decks.

Black Death! Black Death! Black Death!

“Gods help us,” a crewman spoke next to Bactra.

“I wouldn't count on it!” Dabuk grabbed a hold of one man after another and tried to shake them from their fearful stupor. “Get you minds out of your bellies! I need archers! Here! And there!”

“You heard the man!” Salisan's bellow roared over the chanting coming from the other ship. “Prepare to repel boarders!”

The chanting paused. There was silence and then came the rain. Lightning flashed and thunder cracked. Arrows came through the air falling to the deck alongside half-frozen raindrops. Many of the piercers carried fire with them.

Men cried out; those that did not fall took cover wherever they could. A roar came from the other ship. Voices. A ball of fire streaked out from a forward catapult. Its aim wasn't true. It hit the water.

Dabuk ordered the sailors to return fire. Dozens of bows twanged. While most only hit wood and wave, a few found flesh a bone. One pirate fell overboard as the Black Death came alongside. Hooks carrying ropes flew through the air catching wooden railings and tearing into sails. A few ripped into men.

Salisan ordered his men forward to cut ropes and stand at the ready. The bulk of the pirates came across jury-rigged planks, swords drawn. Others tried to swing across the gaps. Steel met steel and the decks of the Ishtar ran red with blood.

The heroes stand side by side with the sailors and for every man lost, two pirates fall. Yet, the odds are still on the side of the pirates. Salisan's strength helps even the odds but just barely.

Then a fireball goes off on deck. It incinerates sailor and pirate alike. At its center stood Salisan's first mate. He is turned to burning ash.

“Calbrunnor!” Salisan yells.

The heroes seek the source of the magic. They do not have to look long. On the sterncastle of the pirate ship is a foe they have faced once before. An evil enigma who nearly destroyed hope in Onaway.

“The Foulsoul! How'd that damn witch find us?” Dabuk hated her almost as much as he hated ogres. She'd led the ogre war bands against the Tangled City. And she had been the driving force that had almost corrupted his sister into a unliving monster.

“She must not escape again.” Crystal spoke the words that he'd been thinking. They had been standing back to back with Mesik hovering nearby covering Dabuk's sister.

“Agreed.”

They kept one eye on her as they fought for their lives. She was laughing maniacally. She held up a totem skull that nether of them recognized from their numerous encounters with her. But Crystal quickly guessed its purpose.

“Hells! She'd going to animated those that have fallen. We have to get that out of her hands.”

“Archers! Kill that witch!” Dabuk's command was barely audible over the clash of swords and cries of pain. Half a dozen bowstrings took aim and fired. None hit the necromancer. Another volley came closer but only killed a few nearby pirates.

“I doubt that will work!” Crystal yelled. “She'll have protections. We need to get to her.”

“Teleport?” Mesik asked.

“Not in this chaos!”

The witch finished her incantation and the dead began to rise.

“Kill them all, my lovelies!” Elyiniia screamed.

The undead began killing sailor and pirate alike. The pirates hadn't expected such a betrayal and many of them fell; but they would quickly arise again.

“This is completely insane!” Mesik yelled.

And then it got much worse.

“Merrow!” A scream pierced the roar of battle.

* * *
 

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The Merrow and the Madwoman:
The marine ogres rose out of the sea like a thunderous wave. They swarmed up the decks and pulled several sailors overboard to a watery death. The heroes were soon standing back to back against an onslaught that there was little hope of winning, if the had had Salisan on their side.

The reef giant activated his magical gauntlets and grew back to his normal size. The timbers of the Ishtar groaned under his weight. He used his strength to take five merrow into the water. He dived in and took the battle to them. He pierced three with his trident before they knew what was happening. He swam around the two ships keeping the bulk of the aquatic ogres back.

Elyiniia screamed in frustration. She launched powerful magics against the ship, its crew, and her own soldiers. Explosions rocked the deck and several men on both sides melted into nothing.

In the madness, Dabuk and Crystal used ropes to swing over to the enemy ship. They fought side by side against sailors, cutthroats, and undead alike. They fought to reach the witch that had become the bane of their existence. Finally, they stood less than ten feet away from her.

“You've had it, witch!” Dabuk yelled over the battle.

“Stop them! Stop them!” The witch had expended her most powerful magics in a mad attempt to sink the Ishtar. Crystal counterspelled the witches attempts to cast lightning bolt and fireball. Then Crystal got the upper-hand. She conjured a mist that obscured Elyiniia's ability to target them. Dabuk moved in for the kill just as the witch tried to conjure a powerful evocation that would rain down fire. The spell went wild. The power of the spell morphed into a dispelling field that not only negated the mist, but also negated the witches own active spells.

Undead sailors drop to the deck and the sailors that had been fighting for the Foulsoul quickly surrendered. A few switched sides to battle the merrow and undead after the mad betrayal of their elven witch. Dabuk cut down the witch with two quick strokes and then beheaded her. The head he threw into the sea, and once the merrow were either dispatched or had retreated, he had her body burned on the deck of the Black Death. The enemy sailors who had refused to surrender peacefully were forced to walk the plank but not before Salisan and Dabuk forced them to watch as the Black Death sunk. A few of those who had turned on the merrows were allowed to stay on board and work in chains.

End: The Journey to the Fallenlands - Part I (Black Death)
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Below is a brief description of two new NPCs that the characters encountered during this adventure.

Heward Tallinson, The Sorcerer (NPC, ultimate magus and archmage) - Heward is one of the heroes from the Second Ogre War. In fact, some would say he is the greatest hero of that group of adventurers, at least amongst humanity. For, while it was Carl Tigerstorm who was the de facto general on the field of battle, it was Tallinson that held the group of heroes together. It was him that convinced the diverse group of warriors, priests, and rogues to stick together and provide a united front against the ogre hordes. Now, Tallinson lives in the city of Fruen in the Kingdom of Thallin and is a key member of the Arcane Order, a group of powerful spellcasters devoted to improving the status of the arcane arts throughout the Eastern Shores. The Sorcerer, as he is sometimes referred to as, has traveled the world extensively including the lands of the Far East (i.e. Kanpur). He's also explored the planes and the stars but never found any place that enticed him enough to leave his home. Heward prefers the urban way of life and would never be happy living in any sort of rural environment.

Nanesa Shikenu Wavehelm (NPC, triton princess of Athbethicia) - Nanesa is unremarkable for one of her kind. She is neither a captivating beauty or a powerful warrior. If not for the privilege provided to her as a child she would be most likely a laborer or a midwife. Nanesa grew up spoiled in every sense of the word and was provided everything a triton princess could desire – except one thing, excitement. Nanesa spent most of her childhood being bored out of her gills. She craved excitement and contact with the world above the waves. Ships and humans fascinated her at an early age. She was amazed how well humanity could adapt to their environment and that they sought to conquer not just the land but the sea as well. She tried desperately to convince her father that the triton people should be more like humanity and try to explore the land as well as the sea. King Wavehelm let his daughter have her flights of fancy, but refused to make contact with the land-dwellers. Nanesa became more outspoken as the years went by and soon started defying her father's orders to stay away from humans. This stubbornness is what almost got her killed. She swam off one day and soon found out that the sea is a large, dangerous place. A pack of sahuagin surprised her out of nowhere and beat her senseless, taking all her possessions and leaving her for dead. Why they didn't eat her or take her prisoner is a mystery to Nanesa. Regardless, the Ishtar came to her rescue and she finally got the chance to meet humans. She hasn't any desire to go home and is trying to make a life for herself on the Ishtar.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
I'll be posting the first section of Part II of the journey sometime today. My goal for part two is to breeze through it really fast. There will be less dialogue for it (I hope) since Part II isn't as important as Part I was, although my last post for Part I was more of a summary of the battle. I'm going to try to do that more often since I get bogged down when trying to describe battle scenes with dialogue.

But first, I'll be doing a short prologue, which has been moved to a new thread: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...ll-s-Tales-of-the-Companions-Story-Hour-Kulan
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
A quick post to mention some of those who have been reading this story hour in the past: [MENTION=5912]Taboo[/MENTION], [MENTION=4869]Malessa[/MENTION], [MENTION=6331]Esiminar[/MENTION], [MENTION=10024]Mahtave[/MENTION], and [MENTION=1210]the Jester[/MENTION].

I'm sure there are others who haven't posted, but I just wanted to let those people know about the last few updates. (I doubt Taboo is still around.)

Cheers!

KF
 

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