Kulan: Knightfall's Aerie of the Crow God Game [IC]

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Calling the group together, leaving townspeople to the food
"Aries, I think it is time to hear everything from you. I will cast a spell now. I will not insult you with Zone of Truth. But I ask nicely to tell us everything. The spell is harmless, it will just dispel or suppress some bad effects."

Calling upon Moradin again, Maur produces a purple pulse of light revealing everything as-is. He focuses on Aries, but quickly looks over everyone, just in case.
OOC: casting Revelation
 

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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Before Caerth returns to the inn to bed down, Angus tells him, casually, his Harqualian speech coming off a little more smoothly; apparently, practice makes perfect: "We haven't hade much time to talk since we met; we've bane a'too busy killin'. I just wanted to say, you're even braver than Aeron sade ye were, and I am honored to 'ave fought by yer side. Aeron and I fought together many years ago, and it was his trust in me that led him to the idea to send me to help ye. I know ye don't be needin' no babysitter, and that's not why he sent me. He sent me because he sees the potential in ye, and wants ye to excel. And vice versa; he thinks we'll be good for each other, iron sharpens iron and all that. Good night to ye, and may the gods bless ye."
Caerth remains silent as Angus tells him about Aeron and why the centaur went to the half-orc's side. Accepting the explanation, Caerth is nevertheless too stubborn to apologize about his outburt upon their first meeting.

"Thank you," he says, however, quietly and timid. He finally looks Angus in the eyes and smiles awkwardly.

"I hope you'll tell me about the battles you and him fought together. For now, a good night to you, too."

Moving outside the stables, Caerth breathes in the chill morning air. Nature awakens around him, and it makes his heart a bit lighter. Or was that the words from the strange horse-man? Either way, a little bit of weight was lifted, and the druid could work on the task at hand.

Finding a place near the tavern but close enough to nature, he opens his back and takes out several items he needs. A few twigs of yew, several berries both dried and fresh, a handful of acorns, and the last of the strange mushrooms that grew in the ruins where they found the Lord's body. Next he places small rocks in a circle before starting a small campfire in it, and when the flames are burning brightly, Caerth adds the components he previously laid ready and then produces a bloodstained bundle from his pack.

The heart of the alpha rook.

Placing the organ on the tip of the dagger Kang but holding the blade with the rag rather than his bare hand, the half-orc slowly moves it over the fire, which sputters violently in response. It takes him a while before the flames settle down, and once more calling out in Sylvan, he finally drops the heart in the middle of the bonfire.

How long he stares into the flames, Caerth cannot say. But the fire tells stories; about the lands around him, about the creatures and settlements nearby and even far away. And also stories about the movements of people in recent days.

Once he is satisfied, Caerth makes sure the fire will not spread before picking up his pack and moving a bit further from the inn. Finding a small pond of clear water in the hollow of a tree's big roots, the druid simply calls out to the water. Holding up Eike's possessions, the half-orc traces simple runes with it along the water's edge, then drops a single drop of spit into the water.

He looks intently at the slowly stilling water, hoping to glimpse any clues about their target.

After all that, Caerth quietly slips back into the tavern, trying not to wake anyone, and takes a rest on the floor in the common room. His magical ring rejuvenates him quickly, and in silence the druid prepares his spells for the day while waiting for the others to wake.

OOC: Casting the aforementioned spells (lay of the land, commune with nature, scrying). I believe we had a possession of Eike's to be used for scrying, but I cannot find what it was, therefore the vague description.

I'll update my spell list later.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
OOC: I'm breaking my reply into two part. The first part is for before the PCs rest and the second will be for afterwards.

Before Caerth returns to the inn to bed down, Angus tells him, casually, his Harqualian speech coming off a little more smoothly; apparently, practice makes perfect: "We haven't hade much time to talk since we met; we've bane a'too busy killin'. I just wanted to say, you're even braver than Aeron sade ye were, and I am honored to 'ave fought by yer side. Aeron and I fought together many years ago, and it was his trust in me that led him to the idea to send me to help ye. I know ye don't be needin' no babysitter, and that's not why he sent me. He sent me because he sees the potential in ye, and wants ye to excel. And vice versa; he thinks we'll be good for each other, iron sharpens iron and all that. Good night to ye, and may the gods bless ye."
Caerth remains silent as Angus tells him about Aeron and why the centaur went to the half-orc's side. Accepting the explanation, Caerth is nevertheless too stubborn to apologize about his outburst upon their first meeting.

"Thank you," he says, however, quietly and timid. He finally looks Angus in the eyes and smiles awkwardly.

"I hope you'll tell me about the battles you and him fought together. For now, a good night to you, too."
Phar listens to his companions conversation with mild interest. Then he hands over a single gold piece to Ivoron for a bottle of water, fruit & nuts, and a solitary room with clean linen and bowl for washing. The elven wizard heads up to his room to clean and enter the reverie.

Quinn finds a place to rest in the inn and is soon asleep.

Maur accepts the room as it is, stripping his armor off and refreshing in the through outside. Dwarven settlements aren't really private with many dwarves living communally and most or all of them having small living quarters due to lack of space in the caverns. And he is not yet long enough in the above-ground world to notice there are some differences.

Thus, he comes down only in his undergarments; soap and rags in his hands, treating townspeople to the sight of sweat and blood-encrusted dwarf. Tromping through the common room, he pulls up water out of the well and cleans up. Before sleeping he cleans up his weapons and armor, offering prayers to the All-Father and the rest of Morndinsamman for the lives they managed to save and for those suffering at the hands of the Sword god.

He also talks with Qi for several minutes, talking over the idea to use one of the commune questions to check on her health.
Maur finds that almost all of the villagers are sound asleep when he comes back down to the common room. The younger humans are completely exhausted, it seems, and they don't don't stir as the dwarf champion tromps through the room. Nicholaus is a still a bit on edge and he wakes suddenly. Once he realizes it is just Maur, he sighs in relief and nods to the dwarf once before falling back to sleep.

Ivoron has lit a fire for the villagers thanks to Aureus's generosity with her own coins. The room is pleasantly warm, but there isn't a large supply of firewood. Likely there will only be embers in a few hours. But, by then, the sum will have come up.

Maur finds Qi still will not talk to him. He does feel something as he touches the adamantine baton. It is a strong sense of dislike towards the dwarf. Maur can sense Qi will not be happy if the dwarf champion tries to wield her. If she is willing to accept Maur's help, the intelligent rod says nothing and give no indication that she cares.

While it is frustrating, it is the first indication that the intelligent item is still alive inside the adamantine.

JustinCase said:
Moving outside the stables, Caerth breathes in the chill morning air. Nature awakens around him, and it makes his heart a bit lighter. Or was that the words from the strange horse-man? Either way, a little bit of weight was lifted, and the druid could work on the task at hand.

Finding a place near the tavern but close enough to nature, he opens his back and takes out several items he needs. A few twigs of yew, several berries both dried and fresh, a handful of acorns, and the last of the strange mushrooms that grew in the ruins where they found the Lord's body. Next he places small rocks in a circle before starting a small campfire in it, and when the flames are burning brightly, Caerth adds the components he previously laid ready and then produces a bloodstained bundle from his pack.

The heart of the alpha rook.

Placing the organ on the tip of the dagger Kang but holding the blade with the rag rather than his bare hand, the half-orc slowly moves it over the fire, which sputters violently in response. It takes him a while before the flames settle down, and once more calling out in Sylvan, he finally drops the heart in the middle of the bonfire.

How long he stares into the flames, Caerth cannot say. But the fire tells stories; about the lands around him, about the creatures and settlements nearby and even far away. And also stories about the movements of people in recent days.

Once he is satisfied, Caerth makes sure the fire will not spread before picking up his pack and moving a bit further from the inn. Finding a small pond of clear water in the hollow of a tree's big roots, the druid simply calls out to the water. Holding up Eike's possessions, the half-orc traces simple runes with it along the water's edge, then drops a single drop of spit into the water.

He looks intently at the slowly stilling water, hoping to glimpse any clues about their target.

After all that, Caerth quietly slips back into the tavern, trying not to wake anyone, and takes a rest on the floor in the common room. His magical ring rejuvenates him quickly, and in silence the druid prepares his spells for the day while waiting for the others to wake.
The flames show him many things both near and far away, although what he sees far away is sometimes obscured by tendrils of smoke. The stories of those places near to the inn are more clear. Close to the inn he sees that their a few intelligent people in the region. The half-orc druid can see high into the mountains to the northwest where Fort Symas sits but the fort sits at the edge of Caerth's commune spell. He does see in his mind's eye the passage of the wagon that took Aeron and Lorien to the fort, so he knows they arrived safely. The fort is hardly imposing but it looks like it hold out for weeks if it came under attack. Caerth watches as flights of eagles wing over the keep and fly to the south on wind gust over a low solitary mountain. Beyond it sits an old tower that reminds Caerth of Gurnard's Head out on the Sea Isle. But this tower is more intact.

The eagles turn to fly up over the southern half of the Dry Mountains and down towards the heath. In the distance, Caerth can see what looks like an oasis in sheltered valley. The oasis is surrounded by cacti and lush scrub hills. The eagles wing close to it but not overhead. Caerth can soon see the Pillar of Songs in the distance and he soon sees the lost horses in a low gulch ten miles away that is filled with cacti, tall scrub, and pools of clean water. All of the horses seem to have found each other -- even the two remaining draft horses that had been pulling the villager's wagons.

Another gulch of cacti sits several miles beyond the first, although Caerth's commune spell doesn't allow him to see it as clearly, as it is sixteen miles from the inn. But, he does witness the passage of the other villagers who left the others to heads towards the north. Their passage seems less clear to Caerth than Aeron and Lorien's to Fort Symas. Caerth senses fear among them and the animals that watched their passage beyond the extent of Caerth's commune spell. Danger! He feels the heartbeats of jackrabbits that rush away from them as they move towards the second gulch of cacti. The flames tell Caerth a story that is filled with rats and glowing eyes and feeding -- blood and pain. He sees a vision of a tall rat-like creature with fangs, sharp claws, bat-like wings, and a taste for blood. It is an old story. Caerth hears the flame whisper to him in a crackling voice, "the Ash Queen's tendrils."

Beyond the radius of Caerth's commune, he sees the world expand with many more low mountains to the north and northwest beyond the inn and Fort Symas. South beyond the oasis rises taller mountains of blowing winds and deadly rockslides. These mountains extend almost to the coast but end in low hills that lead to coastal deserts to the northeast and southeast of the mountain range, which extends inland for over twenty miles. The flames tell him stories of old mines and a lost dwarven hold. He can clearly see the Elderspire sitting on a massive hill near the coastline. Aeron told him of that tower, so the half-orc druid knows its name.

Lay of the land shows Caerth all the back to Carnell, as well as out beyond the Sea Isle of Gurnard's Head. The isle is larger than he had been able to tell while crossing the open sea in the launches to the grotto. It is over 20 miles north to south and just under 18 miles east to west. Massive reefs surround the island on almost all sides. It is only the shallow water between Carnell and the island that allows for easy access. The flames show him Lord Pendour's death, as well as the fall of the cultists who once worshipped the North Gods.

Beyond the coastal mountains, Caerth can clearly see the Wasting Shores all the way to the city of Helt. He can also see the port city of Belporte to the north and the sea beyond. He also sees the peninsula known as the Hazepoint, although it is shrouded in haze that gives the peninsula its name. He also sees far to the west. There stand the deep forests, which Aeron told him are filled with halflings and less friendly denizens. Beyond those forests sits the verdant lands surrounding the large village known as Wolf's Crossing.

As Caerth's spell expands to more distant places, his spell becomes less precise. While he can see the Thunder Moutains far to the west, they appear distant to him and shrouded in fog. The port city known as Sandbreak is a pinprick at the edge of the sea. Beyond Helt to the south are the Spraymounts and the port city of Blackwater.

When Caerth turns his attention to scrying Eike, he finds that the man is someplace that is tinged with darkness and evil. And, he seems to be magically protected.

OOC: For commune with nature, which of the three facts do you want Caerth to gain knowledge of within 11 miles? Your description makes me think you want to know mainly details about ground or terrain; people; and the presence of creatures (natural or unnatural?). I will post more details in the OOC thread.

@JustinCase, I'm going to post more details for Caerth's Lay of the Land in a spoiler in the OOC thread. This will include a map I'm working on that will show a lot more detail up to 100 miles.

The PCs do indeed have some of Eike's possessions. The group has his dagger, heavy mace, and a flask of acid he was carrying. His chainmail was left back in Carnell.


Tellerian Hawke said:
With that, Angus beds down into a pile of fresh hay. Angus talks and eats like a human, but when it comes to sleeping, he does best in a place that is of the earth; a pile of hay on a dirt floor inside a barn, or the open ground of the plains, or a shady respite on a bed of leaves in the forest. It will not take him long to fast asleep, once his underbelly hits the hay.
Angus finds that the stable is comfortable, although the hay is sparse. Instead, he finds a place out at the edge of the buildings where the scrub is replaced by soft grasses more akin to the floor of a deep forest along with a bed of heather. There are wild flowers with soft scents. as well as scuttling lizards that rush out of the grasses out into the scrub as Angus beds down.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
JustinCase said:
Caerth's magical ring rejuvenates him quickly, and in silence the druid prepares his spells for the day while waiting for the others to wake.
By the time Caerth's companion's have stirred, the fire in the inn's common room has been reduced to warm coals. Aries and Quinn both slumber by the fireplace. The villagers were given rooms with comfy beds and clean linen thanks to Aureus. Most of them sleep much longer than the half-orc druid's friends.

Aureus comes down from her room looking well rested. Phar comes down a few minutes later followed by the young girl and her brother. They both hug Aureus and treat her like a favored aunt. Nicholaus is the next to find his way into the common room. He'd been the last of the villagers to accept one of the rooms for which Aureus had paid.

The four other villagers come down from a good night's rest, although by the time everyone has recovered from the night's attack, it is already past noon. They gather around a table that has been cleared, cleaned, and set up with more water from the well in mugs and some meager foodstuffs.

The noise of people wakes Aries and Quinn.

Aries looks ragged. His limps to the table and his shoulder still looks disjointed. He drinks a cup of water and chews on some stale bread that looks like it close to becoming moldy. Quinn stretches and is relieved to be off the floor. The little girl brings him a big cup full of water. She smiles at him and then dashes outside to play.

"Penelope, wait," her brother yells at her. "Don't run off!"

"You best go keep an eye on her, William," Nicholaus suggests.

The boy nods and heads outside to watch his sister.

"There is little to worry about during the day," Ivoron says as he comes out of the back. "Except for the heat, although today looks to be a mild one."

The two children are soon out near where Angus is sleeping. The little girl's laughter startles the Harqualian centaur awake. Penelope runs around him while her brother watches. She pulls on the centaur's front leg. "Get up! Sleep time is over! Time to play!"

In the morning, Maur meditates on the spells he would need for the coming day and prays for various spells to help with the healing and prepare for the hunt on renegade cultist. And their own secret keeper.

When he comes down to the common room, fairly late since he had to pray and armor up, anyone still sleeping is woken up by a booming voice. Looking at the dwarf, one can see a faint light coming from inside the armor.

"Good morning everyone!" Maur calls out "I prepared some mass healing and we may be ready to move soon. We have some work to do before we go. Gather around...you too, Aries. And we need to talk afterward."
Maur comes down soon after the two children have left the inn to find some fun. His booming voice carries all the way to the stables and startles the horses. Maur's voice (and the girl's laughter) also shocks someone else awake and an annoyed voice is soon croaking out in anger. There is also the squealing of a pig.

"Who is making all that racket!"

Ivoron chuckles and heads towards the door. "It seems you've woken up Mazz."

"So sorry," Aureus apologizes and then she glares at Maur.

"It's okay. He should have been up by now, but it was such a cool morning that I let him sleep longer."

Angus makes his way to the inn with the two children. Angus is soon confronted with the tight doorway into the inn.

"Ivoron!"

The doorman disappears outside and you can soo hear him and Old Mazz arguing over the time of day, chores to be done. "We have guests, Mazz."

"Nonsense," Mazz barks back. "No one has been here in months. Stop being lazy."

"They arrived late last night after you'd gone to sleep," Ivoron insists. "Some villagers from Carnell and a group of adventurers."

"Nonsense! Nonsense!"

They continue to argue as Maur tries to gather everyone together. The two children quickly head into the inn while Angus tries to negotiate his way through the doorway.

Penelope rushes to stand behind Aureus away from the door. She looks concerned but Aureus pats her on the head to ease her worries. "It's all right."

Neurotic said:
Maur draws a circle on the floor.
"Stay within this circle if you're wounded. If you feel fine, step out, let someone else take your place. The spell lasts only a minute, but should recover most of the wounds from everyone."

After everyone was as healed as he could quickly make them Maur shakes off the feeling of warmth (although you can still see slight light coming from inside his armor)
"Thank the All-Father Moradin for the healing and watching over you. The food will not be some great feast, but it will keep you sated for a day."
Two of the villagers accept Maur's help. Nicholaus insists he's fine. Everyone else packs into Maur's circle, although it is a tight fits with Angus taking up much of the circle.

While Aries doesn't object, his face betrays a hint of guilt in accepting Muar's magical healing. He is soon sighing in relief as his shoulder shifts back into place and his leg knits together. "Thank you."

"Ooh, much better," Aureus says as she stretches. Her tail wags inadvertently.

The villagers looks at Maur with some bemusement and the idea of the old bread and handfuls of nuts on the table sating their hunger.

Neurotic said:
Noting confused looks of the commoners the champion walks to the table and calls upon his miracles again, creating food for the entire group.
"We must go tomorrow, you all have a choice to make, continue toward the fort or return to Carnell that is now needing able-bodied men and women to restore it."
The villagers are startled by the appearance of the food, but they quickly thank Maur and offer short prayers to Moradin for the meal. They also say a general prayer to the North Gods. Penelope is soon stuffing her face, and she smirks at Maur.

"Leave some for the others," William insists to his sister. He takes only what he needs and nods to Maur.

"What is all this, now," a creaky old voice says from the doorway. "Ivoron, why is their a horse in my inn?"

"That is centaur, Mazz," Ivoron says with a huge grin on his face.

The man is pushing a wheeled contraption through the doorway with a very old man sitting in a leathered seat. The man is no taller than the shortest halfling you've ever seen. He skin is rough, almost rocky. He wears a eyepatch over his left eye and his other eye seems a bit vacant. His right arm is amputated just below his elbow and left leg is also gone below the knee. He is very simple clothes and his one good foot has a brown sandal on it. His features are gaunt and his skin is mottled.

A very large potbellied pig comes into the inn and is soon snuffling at everyone's feet and squealing uncontrollably when the smell of food reaches its nostrils. It tries to knock the table over.

"Stuffles, stop that!" Mazz orders the pig. "go to your corner."

Maur instantly recognizes that Old Mazz is a deep gnome, although he hasn't seen one up close since his childhood. Many among his people believe that the deep gnomes of the Underearth are extinct or only exist as slaves to the morlocks of the deepest parts of Kulan's underdark. To see one alive and living on the surface is unfathomable to his mind.

"So, you were telling the truth, eh?" Mazz says to Ivoron. "Still, you should have gotten me up sooner. Get me close, so I can see them."

Ivoron wheels Mazz towards the table with the villagers, first, and then towards the circle of adventurers who have just been healed by Maur. Penelope is soon fascinated by the venerable gnome's chair and peers at the intricate wheels.

"Yes, yes, I see. Definitely adventurers... not bandits," he says with a dry chuckle. "Welcome to the Hillwall Inn. I hope Ivoron has been taking good care of you all."

He tries to look at Maur with his milky eye. He squints and then reaches out with his good arm to run his hand across the champion's face, feeling his features. "A dwarf! It has been ages since a dwarf has come to my inn! How wonderful!"

Neurotic said:
OOC:
pre-cast Soul of light (heal 2 x conjuration(healing) spell level), lasts for 1 hour
Cast positive energy aura - everyone within 10' of Maur heals 3hp per round for 9 rounds (I counted - I can heal all PCs, all named NPCs, and 14 others if we remain really packed)

Cast Healthful rest: targeting 9 creatures = Angus, Quinn, Caerth, Phar, Maur, Aries, Aureus, anyone I missed :p
Double natural healing rate for the rest of the day
Before the next rest, cast Summon Elysian Thrush, doubling the natural healing rate for anyone within 30'

This should bring everyone close to full (27hp from positive energy, +4 x level (44 for PCs) from doubled and doubled healing - different source, should stack, and +12 for Maur from Soul of light) total 27 +44=71 for everyone + 12 = 93 for Maur
Probably much more for Angus with his already doubled healing
OOC: I'm certain that gets everyone up to full hp. :D
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur does a double-take and grumbles something with several harsh gutturals and clicks.
"Well, shave me beard and call me an elf! A svirfneblin! Here!"

He considerably lowers his voice, comes in front of the maimed man and bows deeply.
"Apologies, elder, I didn't expect to see one of the Deep folk up here."
He removes his dark goggles, squinting in the midday sun even inside the tavern showing his pale eyes and reddish tinted skin to the gnome.
"I am Maur Deepdelver, Sonnthord of the Emerald Halls. My apologies for waking you up."
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Maur does a double-take and grumbles something with several harsh gutturals and clicks.
"Well, shave me beard and call me an elf! A svirfneblin! Here!"
OOC: :ROFLMAO:

Neurotic said:
He considerably lowers his voice, comes in front of the maimed man and bows deeply.
"Apologies, elder, I didn't expect to see one of the Deep folk up here."
He removes his dark goggles, squinting in the midday sun even inside the tavern showing his pale eyes and reddish tinted skin to the gnome.
"I am Maur Deepdelver, Sonnthord of the Emerald Halls. My apologies for waking you up."
Mazz pulls out a large monocle and peers at Maur through it. "I can hardly believe it! A son of the Sonnthord." He inspects Maur's features and his armor. "And an Adrum of Moradin, no less." He pats Maur on the cheek. "It is good to meet you, youngling, you will have to sit at my fire in the evening and tell me the recent news from your Emerald Halls over some Rockberry Wine. I've been up out of the Underearth for almost 100 years now, so I don't get a lot of news from the Deep Below."

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Elder Mazz," Aureus says sheepishly. "I did not know there were any gnomes living in these lands."

"I am the only one of my blood who lives in these lands. There are other gnomes living in the Thunder Lands, but they are not svirfneblins. In truth, I have not seen any my people in almost 150 years," Mazz replies as he takes a closer look at the hutaakan. He isn't startled by her appearance as much as by her mannerisms. "Hmm, you are definitely not a gnoll. May I ask?"

Aureus's tail swishes back and forth happily. "I am Aureus Canis. I am a hutaakan. My people were brought to your world ten years ago during The Transformation."

"Ooh, were reborn as a clone?"

"No, no. I'm who I was back on my world. Maran it is called," Aureus replies.

"Ah, the Ahamudian Schism," Mazz nods. "I have heard the stories of how the mists completely reshaped the Ragik Peninsula and the war that erupted between those brought from your world and Empire of Swords."

"Very few of my people chose to fight, I'm afraid to say," Aureus says with some guilt. "And I was only ten years old when I was brought to these lands."

"War is never an easy choice," Mazz consuls. "I'm sure your leaders had their reasons. And you can't fault them for making that choice. But, here you are now, miss, and an adventurer who good companions, it seems. We will talk more later. Now, Ivoron and I must get the inn in shape for your visit. We can't have this mess with guests around." Mazz taps his hand on his chair. "Ivoron, wheel me behind the bar and wind my chair up so I can get to work!"

Ivoron smiles and shakes his head, but he does what the old deep gnome asks. Once he has Mazz's chair settled behind the bar, the young half-elf locks the chair's wheels in place and turns a intricate crank on the back of the chair that rises Mazz up to be at the right height to reach things on the bar with his one good hand.

Penelope is soon giddily pestering the old gnome with questions and the gnome answers every one of them without a complaint.

In Maur's eyes, the venerable svirfneblin seems livelier. He is wise and full of stories and legends, but for now, it is Aries story that Maur and the others must listen to first.



Calling the group together, leaving townspeople to the food
"Aries, I think it is time to hear everything from you. I will cast a spell now. I will not insult you with Zone of Truth. But I ask nicely to tell us everything. The spell is harmless, it will just dispel or suppress some bad effects."

Calling upon Moradin again, Maur produces a purple pulse of light revealing everything as-is. He focuses on Aries, but quickly looks over everyone, just in case.
OOC: casting Revelation
Mazz is a good distraction, as the villagers are entranced by the old deep gnome as much as by the food that Maur has provided them. They share the meal with Old Mazz and gather around to hear his spin yarns while he works. Ivoron works alongside Mazz at a frenzied pace to clean up the common room.

You all gather outside, so that Angus doesn't have to clomp around on the wooden floor of the Hillwall Inn. Mazz lets you take an old wobbly table and some of his less pristine chairs out into the yard in front of the inn. The day is pleasantly cool without being cold and the sun is high in the sky. The day likely won't get too much warmer, but Maur is still forced to put his goggles back on.

Everyone finds seat and Ivoron brings you a jug filled with clean water, some mugs, and platter with dried fruit & nuts, some decent crusty bread, and some pungent cheese. He leaves you to speak among yourselves and heads back inside to attend to his chores and helping the villagers.

Aries sits on one side of the table away from the inn's door with Caerth sitting closest to him. Aureus sits on the opposite side of the table next to Maur with Phar beside her. Quinn sits in between Maur and Aries with Angus opposite of him.

"Let me start by saying that there are things I was going to tell you about, eventually," Aries says as he pours himself a mug of water. "However, my brotherhood can be very secretive towards outsiders, especially when it comes to its goals. I can't tell you everything without risking being kicked out of the order and branded a traitor."

Aureus crosses her arms impatiently. "Just tell us."

Aries sighs.

"I've already told you that I was sent to infiltrate the cultists at Gurnard's Head and determine how much of a threat they are to the world but that was only part of my mission. I was sent to find & steal Azurak from Tarrak and bring the weapon back to the brotherhood," Aries glances at Angus. "My superiors had learned that the ghast had the great mace and that he was planning something terrible. We had no idea how strong he was or that he was trying to ascend to become a god. It is good that you stopped him. And we had no idea that the other Star Arms were on the island, but when I discovered that Cruel Justice was sticking in the ground near the tower, I had to reconsider my mission. I had wanted to take both the mace and scimitar and flee the island but it was too risky. Tarrak was so powerful that I could not have hoped to stand against him."

Aries looks at Quinn. "But, you came to the island with Aureus, Caerth, and the bard and recovered the scimitar before I figure out a way to get ahold of both of them and rush them back into the hands of my brotherhood." He glances at Caerth next. "And then you came back and helped the wererat and his brood escape and claimed Kang as well."

"So far, I'm not hearing anything about you betraying us," Aureus interrupts.

"I have been tasked with retrieving Azurak and I cannot go back to my superiors without it," Aries says bluntly. "I know I can't force you to give it up, but I cannot just let you keep it and the other Star Arms. They are a danger to the world. Every time they are gathered together, the continent suffers a great catastrophe. The brotherhood has evidence that they were gathered together during both the First and Second Ogre Wars, as well as during the fall of the elven city of Amylinyon."

"It is true that we were together when the Second Ogre War erupted but not the first war," Cruel Justice intones. "Your superiors have their facts wrong."

"The ogre scion known as Vodik had both Azurak and Kang during the first war, not just the great mace," Aries insists. "Vodik didn't know the two weapons were connected, spiritually, until he lead the ogre hordes against the Eastern Shores during the second war. The humans had you and the others, although our annals do say that Qi refused to fight. But she was there."

"She is a pacifist," the blade intones calmly. "She rarely chooses to fight... although, now, I can't say how she will react if pressed into battle. Her time with Tarrak and the duergar has made her silent, sullen. It doesn't matter, you are wrong. I would have sensed it if Kang had been present during the first war."

Aries shakes his head in disgust. "You didn't even know that Qi was in the temple or that the wererat had Kang!" The Soldier of Iron looks pleadingly at Quinn. "Do not let that blade change you, Sir Quinn! You cannot trust it!" He sits back in his chair and sighs. "You cannot trust any of them! The Star Arms are bringers of doom! Harbingers of war and death! They must be separated and locked away to keep all of Harqual safe!"

The man pauses. "Maybe even the whole world."

"Nonsense!"

Caerth can feel Kang pressing against his mind. The urge to kill Aries is strong! Angus can feel the rage coming from Azurak! Quinn and Curel Justice are of one mind. Aries is wrong and his assumptions are based on myth not fact! Maur feels nothing from Qi.

"Swordbreaker in on the island," Aries says.

"Impossible," CJ snaps. "I would have-"

"Sensed it," Aries says mockingly. "Did you even consider that Ta’kira’kerymor might have actively been trying to shield itself from you, Kang, and Azurak? That Qi might have been doing the same thing?"

"Tir ti renthisj ihk ve, munthrek!" Qi's feminine voice yells out. "Vur xurwk nomeno bloody tundar pok jehlir ve!"

Everyone looks at Maur with shock.

"Qi, you are alive!" CJ says. "I knew it!"

"Don't listen to them!" Aries yells as he pound his fist on the table. "You are being led towards death and destruction!"

"She asks for you not to speak for her," Phar says to Aries firmly. The elven wizard turns to Maur. "She doesn't want you touching her. She didn't say why."

"Thric tundari! Thric levethixi!"

"No dwarves, no wizards," Phar interprets. "She is speaking in Draconic."

"Pamon hefoc, Xander! Pamon hefoc, Tarrak!"

"She will not accept anyone like Xander or Tarrak," Phar says.

"She was never like this before," Cruel Justice says. The intelligent sounds worried. "Qi, my dear, what did they do to you?"

Qi refuses to answer.

"You cannot really know her mind, her goals, her pain," Aries insists.

"What will you do?" Aureus asks Aries.

"As I said, I cannot force you to give them up, but you must consider it," Aries replies. "Think of what Tarrak was able to do with Azurak in his hands. Imagine if he had had all of them. Would you have been able to defeat him and his followers? What if Vok defeats you all and claims them all?"

"You want us to give them to you."

"Give up Azurak," Aries says. "The great mace is my mission. Yes, I will have to tell my superiors that you have the other ones, and I can't say for certain what they will decide. They may order me to seek you out and take the others by any means or they might send someone else, someone a lot stronger than me. At the very least, the weapons cannot all be gathered in one place." He looks towards the inn. "The people, the land, this land, the Strandlands will not survive."

"Blasphemy!" the intelligent scimitar admonishes loudly. "You must not separate us! I will not allow it!"

OOC: @ScottDeWar_jr, Quinn must make a DC 22 Will Save vs. CJ's Ego Score or Quinn will draw the scimitar and attack Aries. Quinn gets a +2 circumstance bonus to the roll since he has successfully saved vs. CJ before.

@JustinCase and @Tellerian Hawke, the same is true for Caerth and Angus. The DC for Caerth is only 6. while the DC for Angus is 10(?).

@Neurotic, Qi does not try to influence Maur to attack Aries, but she also won't help Maur defend the Soldier of Iron. To make her act requires a DC 22 Will Save.
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"That explains the emotions. If she is a pacifist no wonder she doesn't like me." mumbles Maur to himself
As the voices keep raising he raises his own
"Qi spoke to me earlier I wanted to tell you once we were alone, I couldn't understand her. Cruel Justice, calm down, you're NOT helping your cause. Now sit down, shut up, and listen!"

He stands up from the chair and points toward the former cultist
"You cannot expect us to just give you the weapons. Yes, they may be dangerous. Yes, they are alien in mind and purpose. But you're describing the catastrophe brought by an ogre chief and now by a deranged ghast cultist. You cannot think they wouldn't bring havoc even without The Arms. And given that Qi seems to be one for the peace and is literally the only one NOT a weapon, there is no reason to think they are anything but powerful items with a strange purpose. those things are dangerous, but in all of our travels, we have yet to encounter more powerful forces for good. Vok taking them...sure...and what will he do with them? Bring more disorder to the hells? By all means. Except again, Qi would be tortured there which is not something we need or want for ANYBODY."
At that last pronounced word, he turns toward Quinn slamming the gauntleted fist onto the table.
OOC: Not too hard Str check: 1D20+4 = [8]+4 = 12

"And you"...He addresses Cruel Justice.
..."sword, you are helpful, you're old and may even be wise. But you need someone to wield you. So don't push it. We're not some country bumpkins you can just push around. We could just give you to the first dragon coming our way. The same goes for all of you. Azurak, Kang and Qi. You didn't yet speak, but I'm fairly sure you can listen. Even adamantine things and adamantine personages can be killed or destroyed, just much harder than we mortals. Instead of threatening you all or having to worry about you betraying us for some easier bearer why don't we agree to cooperate as a group? Qi will be safe and unused in combat. She can choose to help. Or not. I wouldn't force a priestess to heal me, I wouldn't force a commoner to provide shelter for me so I will not force anyone to do anything."...his formidable will turns away from Qi and the pressure on her psyche eases..."But if you want to stay together, you need to start thinking more about the group that wields you and less about yourselves. I believe Aries believe what he's saying. Not that he is right, but he believes what has been said to him. So...let's have it out right now. Do we fight one against another and you get separated...AGAIN! or you work with us."

"Quinn! Sheath the blade. You are the famous gladiator. You know how to hold composure under pressure."

OOC: aid another for the save?


Will save vs Qi: 1D20+16 = [18]+16 = 34 add 1 if she's evil, add 1 more if the effect is supernatural or she is an outsider

He pauses to see what happens, his chest heaving, his arm on the hammer on his hip. If no combat erupts Maur sits down with a huff. "Look what you made me do. I don't hold speeches. And I am probably overheard by half the monsters in the badlands." He pours himself more wine, pulls out Qi
"You will be better heard this way. I'm sorry for not being an ideal wielder, but you will have to bear with me for a moment."
 



JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth feels the familiar anger coming from Kang, although this time it is more intense than before. It is unmistakenly coming from the dagger this time, and the half-orc almost smiles at its lack of subtlety. Tensely he waits until it’s clear no fight will ensue.

”Your concerns come from a good heart,” the druid says to Aries softly, almost too quiet after Maurs outburst.

Caerth considers both sides, and realizes there are pieces of the puzzle still missing; pieces needed to see the whole picture.

”What drives you to be together? What do you seek, and what have you found happened last time the Star Arms were together?”

He asks this of Cruel Justice, hoping the sword’s adherence to law means it will not lie.

 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Angus frowns, saying in slightly improved Harqualian "I can feel Azurak's will, pressing against me mind. He's not happy with ye, Aries. He'd force me to attack ye, if he could. But he can't. As for me, I don't like the fact that a TOOL can enter me mind and control me. It doesn't sit right with me. So I tell ye what: I'd be willing to sell Azurak to your superiors, for a fair price. Do ye think they'd be willing to bargain?"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"That explains the emotions. If she is a pacifist no wonder she doesn't like me." mumbles Maur to himself
As the voices keep raising he raises his own
"Qi spoke to me earlier I wanted to tell you once we were alone, I couldn't understand her. Cruel Justice, calm down, you're NOT helping your cause. Now sit down, shut up, and listen!"
The dwarf champion's words seem to slow Quinn's movements towards unsheathing the blade. The fighter gets the blade half way out of the sheath and looks like he's going to stand.

Aries looks like to say something to Maur (while keeping one eye on Quinn), but Aureus glares at him and motions for him to listen to Muar.

"You've told us what you believe and want," she says to the Soldier of Iron. "And now you're going hear what we believe." She then barks in Quinn's direction. "CJ, stop acting like a pup!"

Caerth feels the familiar anger coming from Kang, although this time it is more intense than before. It is unmistakenly coming from the dagger this time, and the half-orc almost smiles at its lack of subtlety. Tensely he waits until it’s clear no fight will ensue.

Kang's attempt to influence Caerth is quickly overpowered by the half-orc druid's substantial willpower. There is a grudging respect and acceptance that that Caerth can feel. Kang will not challenge him again on this matter.

Neurotic said:
He stands up from the chair and points toward the former cultist
"You cannot expect us to just give you the weapons. Yes, they may be dangerous. Yes, they are alien in mind and purpose. But you're describing the catastrophe brought by an ogre chief and now by a deranged ghast cultist. You cannot think they wouldn't bring havoc even without The Arms. And given that Qi seems to be one for the peace and is literally the only one NOT a weapon, there is no reason to think they are anything but powerful items with a strange purpose. those things are dangerous, but in all of our travels, we have yet to encounter more powerful forces for good. Vok taking them...sure...and what will he do with them? Bring more disorder to the hells? By all means. Except again, Qi would be tortured there which is not something we need or want for ANYBODY."
At that last pronounced word, he turns toward Quinn slamming the gauntleted fist onto the table.
OOC: Not too hard Str check: 1D20+4 = [8]+4 = 12
Aries listens to Maur's words attentively, although Maur can sense the man is not in agreement with all his arguments. He puts one hand on his shield sitting against the table next to him as he's not sure what Quinn will do. The man seems to be struggling against Cruel Justice's willpower.

"I have no feud with you, Sir Quinn," Aries says to the burly fighter. "Do not let it control you."

The soldier's eyes shift towards Maur, but he keeps his focus on Quinn. "I know can't force you to give them up. That became clear to me after you defeated Tarrak. Expectations. That's not as clear. Do I think you will allow me to take Azurak back to my brotherhood. No, I know I have little hope in convincing you. But, the order expects me to at least ask that you give them willingly. If your answer is a resounding no, then I'll have to tell them that I failed to retrieve it and who has it." He glances towards Angus. "It is my duty to tell them what I know, who you all are, and that you have four of the Star Arms with the possibility you might find the fifth."

"Or you could just trust us," Aureus retorts.

"That is asking me to betray my brotherhood," Aries replies. "I won't do that."

JustinCase said:
”Your concerns come from a good heart,” the druid says to Aries softly, almost too quiet after Maur's outburst.
"You, I have come to respect greatly for your dedication toward nature, brother," Aries replies to Caerth. "You, I trust to keep control over Kang. You willpower is much strong than that dagger's limited mind."

Aries looks back towards Maur; he seems less concerned about Quinn "I would argue with you about calling Vodik Mournhammer a simple ogre chief, but I have a feeling you've never faced an ogre scion in battle. Your own people's subterranean history might be blinding you to how dangerous such scions are in these lands. I don't think they live in the deepest delves, but I could be wrong."

OOC: Think of an ogre scion like a regular ogre on steroids with powers akin to (or greater than) an ogre mage. They are completely fanatical to Vaprak, and lesser ogres tend to think of scions as being directly linked by blood with the ogre god, and they often fanatically worship ogre scions as quasi-deities. It is believed by many human scholars that Vodik might have been a demigod.


Angus frowns, saying in slightly improved Harqualian "I can feel Azurak's will, pressing against me mind. He's not happy with ye, Aries. He'd force me to attack ye, if he could. But he can't. As for me, I don't like the fact that a TOOL can enter me mind and control me. It doesn't sit right with me. So I tell ye what: I'd be willing to sell Azurak to your superiors, for a fair price. Do ye think they'd be willing to bargain?"
Aries is surprised by Angus's offer. He nods. "I'm sure they would be happy to pay you a fair price." He looks to the others. "They might be willing to pay all of you a fair price for all the Star Arms."

"I am not for sale!" Cruel Justice's voice rings out angrily. "None of us are! Sir Quinn! I command you to strike this fool DOWN!"

Neurotic said:
"And you"...He addresses Cruel Justice.
..."sword, you are helpful, you're old and may even be wise. But you need someone to wield you. So don't push it. We're not some country bumpkins you can just push around. We could just give you to the first dragon coming our way. The same goes for all of you. Azurak, Kang and Qi. You didn't yet speak, but I'm fairly sure you can listen. Even adamantine things and adamantine personages can be killed or destroyed, just much harder than we mortals. Instead of threatening you all or having to worry about you betraying us for some easier bearer why don't we agree to cooperate as a group? Qi will be safe and unused in combat. She can choose to help. Or not. I wouldn't force a priestess to heal me, I wouldn't force a commoner to provide shelter for me so I will not force anyone to do anything."...his formidable will turns away from Qi and the pressure on her psyche eases..."But if you want to stay together, you need to start thinking more about the group that wields you and less about yourselves. I believe Aries believe what he's saying. Not that he is right, but he believes what has been said to him. So...let's have it out right now. Do we fight one against another and you get separated...AGAIN! or you work with us."

"Quinn! Sheath the blade. You are the famous gladiator. You know how to hold composure under pressure."
Cruel Justice pushes his entire will upon Quinn and the man is force to his feet and the blade is drawn, but he doesn't raise the blade to strike out at Aries. Instead he stalks off several feet and slams the intelligent scimitar's blade into the ground.

"You need a time out," Quinn growls at the weapon. He goes back to his seat and gulps down a mug of water. Once he's relaxed his mind, he says, "That took everything I had."

"That blade is as willful as it is powerful," Aries says while pointing to Cruel Justice. "Tarrak couldn't wield it because he was too chaotic. But if it fell into the hands of a devil or powerful human lord with a thirst for conquest, the damage it could do is considerable."

"CJ believes in law and justice," Aureus insists. "He wouldn't allow Quinn or anyone else who wields him to act outside the boundaries of the laws of the Strandlands."

"But what about in other lands where the laws are different?" Aries asks as a open question to the group. "Can you say for certain it wouldn't change its behavior to fit within the laws of a kingdom that has a tyrant for a king?"

JustinCase said:
Caerth considers both sides, and realizes there are pieces of the puzzle still missing; pieces needed to see the whole picture.

”What drives you to be together? What do you seek, and what have you found happened last time the Star Arms were together?”

He asks this of Cruel Justice, hoping the sword’s adherence to law means it will not lie.
Cruel Justice refuses to answer Caerth's question.

"Jaci ui jirank sva wer daron," Qi says. "Wux geou ehtah jacion ssej ihk wer ssifisv di wer kear."

"She says he's upset with Quinn and likely won't talk to us for a while," Phar translates.

"Let him sulk," Aureus says. "He needs to learn to be a better friend."

Qi laughs. "Tir ti charis."

"Unlikely."

Phar asks Qi a question in Draconic and the adamantine baton answers quickly.

"Yth jahen kitril persvek wer iski vur yth re svihelen."

"She says that they were born together in the stars. That they consider themselves to be a family."

"Yth tir ti agantal iaco."

"They don't always agree," Phar translates.

"No kidding," Aureus says while curling her tail around her front.

"Si hefoc jacioniv. Visp wer tundar ekess majak ve ekess wer jinkex," Qi say with a sense of delight.

Phar smiles. "She likes you, Aureus." Phar looks at Maur. "She's asked me to tell you that she'd like you to give her to Aureus."

Aureus is shocked by this and looks hesitant. "Um, I'd rather not. CJ and I clashed emotionally when I had him and I'd rather not go through that again. Say 'thank you' though. She should pick you."

"She doesn't like wizards," Phar replies.

"Si tepoha ehis seanf vaecaesini. Xander jahus lae jatil citrel ve lae jaci jahus ouhaysh."

"Xander was cruel to her, uncaring," Phar says sympathetically.

Neurotic said:
OOC: Will save vs Qi: 1D20+16 = [18]+16 = 34 add 1 if she's evil, add 1 more if the effect is supernatural or she is an outsider

He pauses to see what happens, his chest heaving, his arm on the hammer on his hip. If no combat erupts Maur sits down with a huff. "Look what you made me do. I don't hold speeches. And I am probably overheard by half the monsters in the badlands." He pours himself more wine, pulls out Qi
"You will be better heard this way. I'm sorry for not being an ideal wielder, but you will have to bear with me for a moment."
"Visp jacion ekess majak ve ekess wer jinkex," Qi says to Phar.

"Jaciv ui ti vi jinkex. Jacioniv xiekivi re vucat lae hutaakan," Phar replies.

"What?" Aureus asks.

"I'm explained to her that your not a gnoll," Phar says with a grin.

The hutaakan lets out a little bark and then laughs. "Yes, not a gnoll."

Phar looks at Maur. "She's pretty insistent that she wants you to give her to Aureus."

Aureus eyes go wide, and her face begins to look uncomfortably frustrated. She shakes her head 'no' again.

OOC: BTW, this is the common to draconic translator I'm using -> Draconic Translator
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Qi, she doesn't want the responsibility. When she asks, I'll give you away. Aureus, I understand the trepidation, my feeling of Qi is that she is a gentle soul. The trouble is, she too wants to stay with the rest - if I got her correctly..." he pauses for the moment waiting for the feedback "...and you already mentioned you'd stay in Carnell for the time being, us being to dangerous. On the other hand, she may agree to be separated from the rest if that means there will be some peace and quiet."
Considering the events for a moment
"Not all wizards are as that duergar. You had to see the difference between us, the people of Carnell and Tarrak and his cultists. There is violence on this world, yes, but also, love, community and civilization. Powerful weapons will always be sought by those power-hungry and selfish people to impose their will upon others. And you get to see the worst of us. Some of you may revel in the challenge the battle brings us, but it is important you chose sides wisely. And to remember that not all of you are born to battle. It is not fair of the weapon-brothers to force your sister into conflict simply because you want to be together."
 

Scotley

Hero
"This is an interesting quandary you present us. Do the weapons have the right to choose. Would the mace want to go with this knight? In much the same way Aureus chooses not to take the weapon. You admit your order does not have the legal authority to take the weapons from us. I suspose Lady Pendour might. You make a strong argument, but the weapons themselves dispute some of your points. Items not weapons, I mean no offense Qi." He shakes his head. "I have not been chosen by any of the items, so I don't feel I have a say. I will support the will of the group. "
 


JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Qi laughs. "Tir ti charis."

"Unlikely."

Phar asks Qi a question in Draconic and the adamantine baton answers quickly.

"Yth jahen kitril persvek wer iski vur yth re svihelen."

"She says that they were born together in the stars. That they consider themselves to be a family."

"Yth tir ti agantal iaco."

"They don't always agree," Phar translates.

"No kidding," Aureus says while curling her tail around her front.
"Family," Caerth echoes softly, remembering his own struggles with a father he never knew and is either dead or working as a slave somewhere, and the mother he... well, he never even admitted to Aeron that he once spied on her in the shape of a bird.

Family that left him with a hermit, away from looks of shame. Yes, there is a longing for family inside the half-orc, but mostly he feels no need to be with either of his parents.

"Ducklings leave the nest and find their own way in the world," he says harshly, taking a step closer to Qi and the one who holds her, Maur.

"Family is an excuse. What other reason do you have to be together?" he demands.

Realizing his own anger is fueled by Kang's, Caerth says no more and focuses on breathing deeply. He does not take back his words, however.
"This is an interesting quandary you present us. Do the weapons have the right to choose. Would the mace want to go with this knight? In much the same way Aureus chooses not to take the weapon. You admit your order does not have the legal authority to take the weapons from us. I suspose Lady Pendour might. You make a strong argument, but the weapons themselves dispute some of your points. Items not weapons, I mean no offense Qi." He shakes his head. "I have not been chosen by any of the items, so I don't feel I have a say. I will support the will of the group. "
Caerth nods in agreement, although he waits for Qi's answers before speaking up again.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"Qi, she doesn't want the responsibility. When she asks, I'll give you away. Aureus, I understand the trepidation, my feeling of Qi is that she is a gentle soul. The trouble is, she too wants to stay with the rest - if I got her correctly..." he pauses for the moment waiting for the feedback "...and you already mentioned you'd stay in Carnell for the time being, us being to dangerous. On the other hand, she may agree to be separated from the rest if that means there will be some peace and quiet."
"Gentle soul or not," Aureus says warily. "I'd rather she choose someone else."

"Either give me to the one called Aureus," Qi replies. "Or throw me in a dragon's horde, if you find one that won't eat you. I don't care if I stay close to the others, so you can leave me in Carnell. The one called Aries is right that violence often erupts around us. But I will not go willingly with him either. If you force me to stay with my kin, I ask that someone else but Maur carry me. However, if no one is willing, I ask the dwarf to store me away so I may meditate in solace."

"It should be Phar," Aureus suggests again.

Maur can feel Qi bristling at the thought of another wizard getting a hold of her, but he also can feel that she'd rather travel with the elf than with him... but not by much.

OOC: From now on, I'm going to write Qi's responses as if Phar has already translated them from Draconic.

Neurotic said:
Considering the events for a moment
"Not all wizards are as that duergar. You had to see the difference between us, the people of Carnell and Tarrak and his cultists. There is violence on this world, yes, but also, love, community and civilization. Powerful weapons will always be sought by those power-hungry and selfish people to impose their will upon others. And you get to see the worst of us. Some of you may revel in the challenge the battle brings us, but it is important you chose sides wisely. And to remember that not all of you are born to battle. It is not fair of the weapon-brothers to force your sister into conflict simply because you want to be together."
"I can see the difference," Qi replies. "But I have also had bad experiences with adventurers in the past. So quick to violence when things go wrong. In your fight against Tarrak, the creature and his minions left you little choice. But so many didn't have to die. The villagers should not have been put in harms way. They were not skilled enough. Their deaths were needless."

"They chose to fight," Aureus insists.

"Did they?" Qi replies. "Or did you all whip them up into a frenzy and lead them into a battle many of them had no hope of surviving. You had the choice to retreat from the region & protect the innocent and yet you chose to fight and convinced many of them to fight, including Lady Pendour. Do not forget that I was there. I bore witness."

Aureus looks as if she is going to say something, but she just sits in her chair and looks down at the table.

"War is a poor mistress."

"This is an interesting quandary you present us. Do the weapons have the right to choose. Would the mace want to go with this knight? In much the same way Aureus chooses not to take the weapon. You admit your order does not have the legal authority to take the weapons from us. I suppose Lady Pendour might. You make a strong argument, but the weapons themselves dispute some of your points. Items not weapons, I mean no offense Qi." He shakes his head. "I have not been chosen by any of the items, so I don't feel I have a say. I will support the will of the group. "
Aries shakes his head. "You speak as if these weapons are people with souls. The Star Arms are a creation of magical will by powerful living beings with souls. Yes, some of each creators' spirit was infused in them during their creation, but these items are not alive in the same way as you or me. Many among my brotherhood would consider them just as unnatural as Tarrak."

"That is completely unreasonable!" Aureus snaps at the Soldier of Iron.

"And untrue," Qi adds. "We existed as living energy in the depths of space long before our home fell to Kulan thousands of years ago..."

"No! Your rock was a cast off from Trel after Mussin destroyed that planet," Aries insists. "The evidence in the annals is clear on that fact. I will not have you spin that old godstone myth that your souls are millions of years old. That is a falsehood."

"That myth was written by and for humans," Qi replies calmly. "While we are not gods, we were living energy long before our home fell from the sky and crashed onto this continent you call Harqual."

Aries sits back in his chair and shakes his head over and over. The man is fanatical is what he believes.

"There is still one more at the tower if Aries is right. I'm thinking Cruel Justice will now want to go back and retrieve it too."
"If Ta’kira’kerymor is there, then they must be found and given a chance to find someone to bond with, but Ta'kira tends to go their own way. Ta'kira is an willful child who has a love for nature and all things elvish. Humans call Ta'kira by the name Swordbreaker. While Ta'kira is similar to Kang, my child is different than their brother in that Ta'kira is a defender and can easily sunder any opponent."

"Child? Aureus says surprised.

"Azurak. Kang. Ta’kira’kerymor. They are our children."

Aries throws his hands up in disgust. "I will hear no more of these lies!"

The Soldier of Iron gets up from the table and heads into the inn. He slams the door behind him. Ivoron comes out of the inn with a bewildered look on his face. He brings some more food and a fresh pitcher of well water.

"What is wrong with your friend? He looks so angry."

"He is not our friend," Aureus says.

"Family," Caerth echoes softly, remembering his own struggles with a father he never knew and is either dead or working as a slave somewhere, and the mother he... well, he never even admitted to Aeron that he once spied on her in the shape of a bird.

Family that left him with a hermit, away from looks of shame. Yes, there is a longing for family inside the half-orc, but mostly he feels no need to be with either of his parents.

"Ducklings leave the nest and find their own way in the world," he says harshly, taking a step closer to Qi and the one who holds her, Maur.

"Family is an excuse. What other reason do you have to be together?" he demands.

Realizing his own anger is fueled by Kang's, Caerth says no more and focuses on breathing deeply. He does not take back his words, however.

Caerth nods in agreement, although he waits for Qi's answers before speaking up again.
"Familiarity is Cruel Justice's excuse, not mine," Qi replies to Caerth. "I do not believe we should always be together. In fact, us being together has caused strife in your world in the past, but is that not true of any powerful magicks that exist in this world?"

Qi pauses to reflect on the half-orc druid's words. "I care about my children, yet they can be willful and easily influenced by people. Of the three of them, Ta’kira’kerymor is the strongest." She sighs. "And while I do care about my husband, he is very stubborn and prone to violence. He always says 'the law this', and 'the law that' as an excuse to inflict violence. After centuries of arguing with him, I have no more patience for his outbursts."

"I would never have thought CJ would have a wife," Aureus says. "That is... new information."

"He has flirted with you, hasn't he?" Qi asks.

Aureus nods. "It's one of the reasons he and I clashed so much. Don't get me wrong, the attention was nice and he wasn't crass, it was just all... the... time!"

"It does not surprise me," Qi says. "For all his talk of the law, if he had a humanoid form, he would be a horrible philanderer."

You can sense a hint of sadness in Qi's voice.

Aureus looks towards Cruel Justice and then back to Qi. She looks at Maur. "Okay, if she is still willing to travel with me, I accept, for now. It will give us a chance to talk about CJ. But once we get back to Carnell, I will give her to someone else or leave her in the manor's vault so she can meditate in peace."

"I agree," Qi says.
 
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Scotley

Hero
"Thank you Aureus, a reasonable solution. It appears we need to find your other child Qi," Phar says in draconic and then repeats for the others before continuing. "For my part we will not force you to stay together or to go with this Soldier of Iron. His fanaticism makes me a little uncomfortable..." He trails off rather than say more about the man.
 


Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur motions for Aureus to take Qi from the table.
"Good luck, Qi. If only more of your children took after you and not...meh, we don't choose our parent nor our traits. We just deal with life as it comes."
 

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