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

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth is not really satisfied with Qi's answer, but he knows he'll not get a better one. Then he smiles at Quinn.

"Nature can take a few stabs, my friend. It does more than its share of destruction, itself, so don't worry."

He claps his human ally on the shoulder in a sign of respect, glad for the release of some tension. Then he turns his attention back to the Star Arms.

"With all of you combined, would you have the power to stop a demon lord? A god, even?" he asks quietly but sincerely.
 

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"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.
"He seemed so reasonable before now," Aureus notes about Aries. "He's a better actor than I."

"That man has been indoctrinated into a powerful militant order," Qi says in Draconic. Phar translates. "It is strange. I've heard of these soldiers but I never thought they were so fanatical. They are long-time protectors of the Kingdom of Stonn. Yes, they have been secretive in the past, but I thought them more accepting. Of course, humans can be fleeting. What was true in one century often changes in the next."

She pauses. "And, yes, I would very much appreciate you finding Ta’kira’kerymor, so that they don't languish alone somewhere lost and unusued. But, your mission to find the items stolen from the slain half-ogre boy must come first. You did give your word to Lady Pendour, so you must get back his signet ring."

"Hopefully Xander didn't have it," Aureus adds.

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."
Aureus takes Qi from the table, carefully. The adamantine rod doesn't try to overwhelm her, which makes the hutaakan relax. Then, she tilts her head as if she's listening to someone talking to her. "Well, Qi's definitely telepathic." Aureus looks to Maur. "She says thank you."

Quinn looks down to the ground where he put Cruel Justice in behavioral modification training and steels his own will as he reaches down, draws the blade out of the earth, cleans it off and sheaths it. He carefully presses the soil closed where it has been parted then walks over to Caerth and apologizes for stabbing nature.
Quinn can sense that Cruel Justice is still upset, but he's not holding a grudge against his partner. The adamantine scimitar doesn't speak to Quinn telepathically, but Quinn does get a feeling that CJ doesn't trust Aries any more. Quinn also gets a wave of relief from the blade that Qi has found a new person to hopefully bond with. He approves of her choice to travel with Aureus.

Caerth is not really satisfied with Qi's answer, but he knows he'll not get a better one. Then he smiles at Quinn.

"Nature can take a few stabs, my friend. It does more than its share of destruction, itself, so don't worry."

He claps his human ally on the shoulder in a sign of respect, glad for the release of some tension.
The good comradery puts everyone at ease. The tension of Aries revelation is temporary set aside.

Then he turns his attention back to the Star Arms.

"With all of you combined, would you have the power to stop a demon lord? A god, even?" he asks quietly but sincerely.
Cruel Justice remains silent and Quinn senses the blade isn't interested in talking; however, Qi responds but this time it is Aureus who translates through the new telepathic bond.

"While she's not willing to help fight in a war, she is willing to help try to prevent war from claiming these lands. She doesn't want us to take her and her family into a battle against Vok. The others would likely be willing to help us fight. Azurak would probably love such a war." Aureus pauses as Qi speaks to her in her mind. "She doesn't think that the Star Arms alone would be enough to stand against a Vok. And definitely not a god as powerful as Druaga."

Angus can feel Azurak's glee at the thought of a bloody war.

"Tir ti onureth bepres wer Caex Ithquenti," Qi says aloud in Draconic.

"She says not to underestimate the Sword Gods," Aureus notes while looking a Maur. "That seems mainly to be for you," the hutaakan says to the dwarf champion. Aureus pauses again while Qi talks to her telepathically. "I'm not sure I understand everything she just said, but she did want to emphasize that while Druaga is not a greater god, his liege, the Sword God known as Mussin, is that powerful and might come to other god's aid if a divine feud brews between Moradin and Druaga."

Aureus puts Qi down for a moment. "Sorry, too much, too fast." She rubs her head. "Aries mentioned that god too. This dark god destroyed a world... is that really true?"

"Mussin did destroy the sister world of Kulan," Qi says in Draconic. This time Phar translates. "That much of the soldier's rant was true. The Star Arms are not connected to that world nor did we witness its destruction in the heavens. Our home had fallen to Kulan long before the God of Decay initiated his Dark Purge, which ripped Trel apart. He and another dark Trelian god fell to Kulan and were found and saved by the traitor whose name I will not utter. That dark trio formed the initial triumvirate that would spawn the Sword Gods."

"Then came something else, the Earthfiend," Aureus searches her mind trying to make sense of what Qi showed her.

"Yes, the Dark One... the Banished Darkness who is now trapped in Carceri," Qi continues. "While that old god can do little to intervene on the mortal plane any more, his cult still exists and if they get involved in a war against the Strandlands, it could spark a Second Mortals' War or a Third Ogre War. That must not happen."

Aureus looks at Caerth. "The Star Arms aren't powerful enough to tip the scales in our favor against gods, and probably not Vok either."

OOC:
Notes about the Sword Gods: Besides Druaga and Mussin, there are seven other active Sword Gods known. This includes Angrboda, the Mother of Monsters; Battus, The Bloody Sword; Belinik, Lord of Strife; Math fab Mathonwy, Lord of Curses; Nether, God of Hate and Tyranny; Xuar, The Jealous Arcane; and a demigod king named Mitica Popecu II who rules over the Dark Kingdom from the City of Kirwa on the distant western island known as Teverroot.

The Dark One, Hiisi, once ruled over the Sword Gods during the Divinity War that was fought between the Sword Gods and the North Gods. (Note that while Moradin is considered an honorary member of the North Gods, his bond with those gods isn't as strong as that of Corellon's or Yondalla's.) The Divinity War is estimated to have ended over a thousand years ago when the young North God of Honor (named Jaeger) sacrificed himself to imprison Hiisi in Carceri. Since then, the deities of the two pantheons have not fought a physical war in the heavens, but their mortal followers on Harqual often clash both politically and on the battlefield. While it is considered bad form for one of these gods to manifest on the Material Plane, it isn't completely forbidden.

Cronn, the Grandfather of the North Gods, for example, sent an avatar to help defend the Great Northern Army that was formed during the war that broke out between the Empire of Swords and the lands (Ahamudia) transported to Harqual from the Dark World, Maran (Aureus's home world). Cronn did this in response to Last Sword Emperor opening a gate to the Abyss, which allowed a demon army to spill out of the Sword Citadel onto the streets of the Imperial city and beyond. (Tens of thousands on both sides died that day.) Without Cronn's aid, the entire Ragik Peninsula might have been overrun by demons. Many scholars and oracles believe that Druaga helped the emperor open the gate, which was destroyed by Cronn.
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"You're welcome, Qi. Try to understand that not everyone who fights is violent by nature. I'm not one of those, I enjoy a good fight. But there are those who fight out of necessity. And you may come into the situation to fight for your right to be at peace. Especially if the war comes to these lands."
Maur waves to the rod
"Good luck with Aureus."
He heaves up from the chair that creaks alarmingly as the armored bulk shifts yet again
"I better go check on Aries."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth nods, taking it all in. So the Star Arms may be willing, mostly, to join the struggle against Vok, but they alone are not enough to defeat the Demon Lord, let alone Druaga. That seems an honest answer, finally, although not what the druid had hoped for.

Perhaps if all of the Arms were to be forged into one powerful item? he muses. But no, any weapon or tool alone is fragile and the risk of losing it to the forces of the Abyss would be too great. Besides, is the strength of nature and people confined to artificial trinkets? No!

"Before you go," Caerth halts Maur. "Apart from through you, how can we make sure Moradin stands besides us against Vok? And the other good gods of the world?"

He thinks for a moment. How would he himself summon the full might of nature against this most unnatural foe? Perhaps he should consult an archdruid.

Or Aeron.

"We need more allies," he sighs, repeating his earlier statements and feeling the dire need even more.

Feeling a guilty twinge about Brutus, the half-orc nevertheless adds, "And we need to get Ta’kira’kerymor first."
 

Scotley

Hero
"Wait, I think Qi is advising against getting Moradin involved as that might bring the Sword God into the fight. I do not wish to be responsible for spawning a Divinity war. No good can come of that for mortals." He shakes his head. "Some of these arms might help even if they cannot tip the balance, but I think we must seek allies that will not bring the Sword Gods down on us. There must be other ways to counter Vok's power."
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"I'm not such an important champion for Moradin to take direct hand. Especially if that would endanger more people. On the other hand, followers and servants of Dark gods...I can deal with them with his blessings without him directly involving himself."
Maur is not trying to sound humble, he is aware that he is one of the most powerful champions on the world. But not THE most powerful. And this little uprising from a small cult of an obscure goddess is hardly realms shaking. Demon being included is bad...but that's still just a demon plot.
"Direct manifestation bodes ill for these realms, but it wouldn't be Creator's doing, but the foul ones."
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Caerth nods, taking it all in. So the Star Arms may be willing, mostly, to join the struggle against Vok, but they alone are not enough to defeat the Demon Lord, let alone Druaga. That seems an honest answer, finally, although not what the druid had hoped for.

Perhaps if all of the Arms were to be forged into one powerful item? he muses. But no, any weapon or tool alone is fragile and the risk of losing it to the forces of the Abyss would be too great. Besides, is the strength of nature and people confined to artificial trinkets? No!
Caerth can sense that Kang doesn't like the idea of being merged into one of his 'parents'.

"You're welcome, Qi. Try to understand that not everyone who fights is violent by nature. I'm not one of those, I enjoy a good fight. But there are those who fight out of necessity. And you may come into the situation to fight for your right to be at peace. Especially if the war comes to these lands."
Maur waves to the rod
"Good luck with Aureus."
For the time, Qi truly acknowledges Maur through telepathic contact. It is only a moment but there is gratitude.

Neurotic said:
He heaves up from the chair that creaks alarmingly as the armored bulk shifts yet again
"I better go check on Aries."
Aureus looks towards the inn. "Maybe we should just leave him behind," she says. "I don't think we can trust him."

JustinCase said:
"Before you go," Caerth halts Maur. "Apart from through you, how can we make sure Moradin stands besides us against Vok? And the other good gods of the world?"
"While I haven't been on your world for very long, I did hear the story about how Cronn appeared to counter the demon order at the Siege of the Sword Citadel. That god's influence is growing among the people of Ahamudia. Even some of my people worship him now. But, Cronn is a god of the northern people, so I don't know how strong his influence is these lands."

"Wait, I think Qi is advising against getting Moradin involved as that might bring the Sword God into the fight. I do not wish to be responsible for spawning a Divinity war. No good can come of that for mortals." He shakes his head. "Some of these arms might help even if they cannot tip the balance, but I think we must seek allies that will not bring the Sword Gods down on us. There must be other ways to counter Vok's power."
"There are gods and other beings that stand apart from both pantheons. Interloper Gods who have no stake in the fight either way, but they aren't always reliable... or goodhearted. There are also the Celestial Paragons. They have little stake in the feud between the the two pantheons, although they do respect some of the good North Gods such as Jalivier. Their followers are righteous but, they will probably wish to control or destroy us."

"We should avoid getting any other gods involved, if possible," Aureus suggests. "We need to find mortal help."

"That will be hard to come by," Qi notes. "You would have to beseech a knightly order that has no ties to any gods but only to goodly ideals. I'm not a student of violence, so I do not know where you should start. Cruel Justice might."

Quinn can feel through his connection to Cruel Justice that Qi is trying to get Cruel Justice to speak his mind or least tell Quinn where to look for more help. But, the two intelligent items are equally matched and it is a mental stalemate.

"He still won't talk to me," Qi says. "So stubborn."

"I'm not such an important champion for Moradin to take direct hand. Especially if that would endanger more people. On the other hand, followers and servants of Dark gods...I can deal with them with his blessings without him directly involving himself."
Maur is not trying to sound humble, he is aware that he is one of the most powerful champions on the world. But not THE most powerful. And this little uprising from a small cult of an obscure goddess is hardly realms shaking. Demon being included is bad...but that's still just a demon plot.
"Direct manifestation bodes ill for these realms, but it wouldn't be Creator's doing, but the foul ones."
"Vok is a demon, yes, but he is a demon who was born here on the Material Plane. His plot is likely conquest of the continent or at least the lands his armies can reach. Malotoch could be a pawn to him or it could be the other way around. I know from my time in her cultist's temple that she sees Vok as her pawn."

"While Vok does not have a direct link to the abyss," Aureus concludes through the telepathic link with Qi. "Malotoch does."

JustinCase said:
He thinks for a moment. How would he himself summon the full might of nature against this most unnatural foe? Perhaps he should consult an archdruid.

Or Aeron.

"We need more allies," he sighs, repeating his earlier statements and feeling the dire need even more.

Feeling a guilty twinge about Brutus, the half-orc nevertheless adds, "And we need to get Ta’kira’kerymor first."
"You could beseech one of the Majestics, druid. Those ancient dragons often have abilities or insights well beyond their kin. Chosen by Mirella to be paragons of the Balance on the mortal world. They rarely act, however. Vok might not be enough of a threat even though he infests the natural word with his blood elves and demon kin."

"Dragons are dangerous," Aureus insists. "They love only their hordes."

"The Majestic dragons of Kulan love nature before all else, Lady Aureus," Qi counters. "Their hordes reflect that love. To them, an ancient tree in a primordial grove is more beloved that a horde of gold or gems."

"That sounds, backwards," Aureus replies.

"Majestics stand above their normal kin," Qi says. "Normal dragons often horde wealth, especially those that have gone rogue and disregard the Balance." Qi pauses. "This makes the Majestics rare, unusual, and a bit aloof from the world. Even when the Ogre Wars were raging, they did not get directly involved. They stood apart and protected the sacred places of Harqual from being ravaged from both sides."

She speaks to Caerth again. "Regardless of what you choose to do, Caerth Heart-of-Oak, you will definitely need more allies if you wish to counter Malotoch, Vok, and their followers. While Lady Pendour is a stout woman with a good heart, she cannot offer the support you will need. Her resources are limited and she must answer to those above her."

"The Gerousia," Aureus adds. "CJ told me about that the Strandlands' senate values age and military service for its members. Maybe we should go see they can help. At least, we should tell them that Vok's followers might try to attack the Strandlands. But, we really should go get Qi's other child first, and then we must find that ring for Lady Pendour."

"You must also destroy the temple under Gurnard's Head," Qi suggests. "It must not be allowed to fester."

OOC: @Neurotic, I'm going to add a second post a bit later that will be for Maur going to check on Aries. EDIT: It's not going to be until sometime on Saturday.
Anyone else going with him?

FYI, Knowledge checks can be rolled to try to think of people that the PCs might have heard of that could help them against Malotoch and Vok.

Knowledge (arcana) for any powerful magical guilds in the region. Knowledge (nature) for the Majestic Dragons and Harqual's archdruids. Knowledge (religion) and Knowledge (the planes) for the Interloper Gods or Celestial Paragons, respectively. Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (nobility and royalty) for either the Gerousia or any known knightly orders common to the Strandlands.
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur thinks about different facets of the crisis in the Strandlands, but he only knows anything about gods. Local nobility is far too distant from his experiences from The Deep Earth. He was never trying to get to know the surface before he was sent up, so nature is as much mystery to him as local nobles.

Yet, he could have known more about the planar creatures...but knowing enough to hurt the bad ones was always enough for him. Now...it would be useful to know something about celestials...but he cannot remember anything relevant.


Religion: 1D20+9 = [14]+9 = 23
Planes: 1D20+2 = [10]+2 = 12
Nobility: 1D20+2 = [1]+2 = 3
 


JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"There may be some who are willing to help," Caerth muses quietly as he considers what he knows about Majestic Dragons and archdruids. He is particularly interested in getting powerful dragons on their side, and in his head he is calculating how fast he can get to one using magic.

"If I travel through the roots of the world's trees, I may reach potential allies quickly, but I will be gone for at least a few days. This Vok creature did not seem in any hurry, so perhaps we can take that time?"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Maur thinks about different facets of the crisis in the Strandlands, but he only knows anything about gods. Local nobility is far too distant from his experiences from The Deep Earth. He was never trying to get to know the surface before he was sent up, so nature is as much mystery to him as local nobles.

Yet, he could have known more about the planar creatures...but knowing enough to hurt the bad ones was always enough for him. Now...it would be useful to know something about celestials...but he cannot remember anything relevant.
Maur ponders about the deities known as the Interloper Gods. There are a few that have followers in the Strandlands. Valkar, God of Courage, has many followers in these lands and the deity isn't one of the North Gods. Valkar's followers aren't as organized as Moradin's faithful, but they usually have good hearts are are willing to fight evil wherever it rises to endanger the people. Muar isn't sure where there might be a Temple of Valkar in the Strandlands, however.

He did remember seeing the Temple of Dike in Belporte as he past through that human city. Lady Astraea, as she is sometimes called, is a boon of law and fair justice but her justice isn't always moral. Her clerics are just as likely to work to free a murderer who was convicted on tainted evidence even though the killer's guilt was obvious. The faithful of Dike often hold so true to laws that they cannot see the greater good.

Things to consider after he's finished talking to Aries.

Phar taps a slender finger to his lips in contemplation. "Yes, I must think on who might be able and willing to lend aid to this cause. " His eyes seem to lose focus as his thoughts turn inward.
"I don't know how much help I can be," Aureus says. "Since arriving here, I haven't had much time to study the local traditions or learn about anyone outsider of Carnell."

She pauses and looks at Phar. "You did tell me something about a powerful guild of wizards... what were they called again, the Arcane League?"

"As for your world's gods,"
she adds. "I don't know much beyond what I've learned from all of you, although I do remember that there were several large temples in both Belporte and Sandbreak." She glances at Maur and motions to the north. "Phar and I saw several temples in those cities as we journeyed through these lands to reach Carnell."

"There may be some who are willing to help," Caerth muses quietly as he considers what he knows about Majestic Dragons and archdruids. He is particularly interested in getting powerful dragons on their side, and in his head he is calculating how fast he can get to one using magic.

"If I travel through the roots of the world's trees, I may reach potential allies quickly, but I will be gone for at least a few days. This Vok creature did not seem in any hurry, so perhaps we can take that time?"
"If you need help finding help, you really should talk to Mazz," Ivoron suggests. "He's lived a long time and is a bit of a polymath. It is one of the reasons the local bandits tend to leave us alone. They value his wisdom and often come here and pay for advice about local legends, lost antiques, and the history of the Thunder Lands."

"He's a bard?" Aureus asks.

"No, no, he can't sing a tune," Ivoron replies. He can't help but chuckle. "He's just a bit of a sage about certain things... culture, history, military, certain religions, and more things than I could ever learn from him in my lifetime. If he wanted to, he could earn a fortune living in some place like Cirrus or Mor's End. But, he prefers a quiet life."

"How much does he charge?"

"He's not in it for the coin. He usually makes the bandits pay back those they've stolen from on the trails or makes them deliver messages to Mazz's old friends. It's his way of making them try to go straight... or at least give up being bandits to become adventurers like yourselves. It doesn't always work but the worst of them still know better than to threaten us. Well, usually."
 

Scotley

Hero
"After some consideration I believe there may be some organizations that could aid our cause. We may already be aiding the cause of Arcane Order who probably struggle with Vok ahead of us. And I have been remiss in reaching out to the local Magician's Guild. It is possible I could find allies there, but at the very least I should make myself known to them. There are other orders that I could perhaps learn more of from them." He goes on to detail what he knows about matters Arcane sounding like a lecturer instructing pupils. He goes on to share what knows of dragons, though he does not hold out much hope they will help given their historical neutrality. He takes a drink from his waterskin and continues with information on the militant orders and their relation to the ruling powers here though he feels others might be better suited to approaching these organizations. "It is both a lot and not much I realize. At least there are powers for good and order that might oppose Vok and those who might do it for their own ends even if they might not otherwise be allies. "
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"From the religious point of view - most interloper gods will be at best neutral. But some will side on the Sword gods or North gods side. Of the neutrals, nature gods are I think out best bet to try and convince." Maur adds
"But I am no diplomat, let the politicians deal with alliances."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Similarly sharing what he knows but keeping the most secret druidic knowledge out, Caerth is not so sure the dragons will stay out of the conflict if they know a demon lord is on the prowl.

"Could be a waste of time," he agrees, "But I should at least try. Does anyone have experience with draconic diplomacy?"

Taking Ivoron's advice, the half-orc seeks out Mazz next, hoping the old deep gnome can help out.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"After some consideration I believe there may be some organizations that could aid our cause. We may already be aiding the cause of Arcane Order who probably struggle with Vok ahead of us. And I have been remiss in reaching out to the local Magician's Guild. It is possible I could find allies there, but at the very least I should make myself known to them. There are other orders that I could perhaps learn more of from them." He goes on to detail what he knows about matters Arcane sounding like a lecturer instructing pupils. He goes on to share what knows of dragons, though he does not hold out much hope they will help given their historical neutrality.
"I remember you telling me about them when we were in Minar City," Aureus adds. "You spent several nights in that guild's library... what was it called again?" She muses. "Hex-something..." Aureus shakes her head. "Not important. We can't rely on wizards who might be more likely to flee again rather than stand and fight against Vok. And... dragons make me nervous. On my world, they cannot be trusted."

Aureus looks at Phar again. "Better to stick to the local guild."

"If you want to make contact with the Magician's Guild," Ivoron says. "A war wizard named Elaffaeh is stationed at Fort Symas. While she is a soldier first, she could be helpful."

The guild Aureus is remembering is called Hexhall. It is a small guild of (primarily) human wizards whose members all come from the Duchy of Minar. It is not as powerful as the Arcane Order but does have scholarly ties to it. Hexhall's library is where Phar learned most of what he knows about the Arcane Order and its activities. The leader of Hexhall is a dwarf wizard named Grammar Kanmarlle.

Hexhall is even smaller than Sandbreak's Magician's Guild. It has only a dozen members and most young Minaran wizards try to join the Arcane Order instead of Hexhall. Its small library of around 50 books is good but has more to do with recent magical history than magical theory. Phar didn't learn any new spells while visiting Hexhall.

Scotley said:
He takes a drink from his waterskin and continues with information on the militant orders and their relation to the ruling powers here though he feels others might be better suited to approaching these organizations. "It is both a lot and not much I realize. At least there are powers for good and order that might oppose Vok and those who might do it for their own ends even if they might not otherwise be allies. "
"The Crimson Blades might be the best allies to fight against demons," Aureus suggests. "If we can convince them and the senate there is real danger." She nods to Phar. "You could cast sending to make contact with Sir Balorix. I'm sure he's reached Knightswall by now. I doubt Sir Avanth has reached the senate yet, even on horseback."

She looks at Ivoron. "Is this Elaffaeh powerful?"

The doorman shrugs. "She's talented with fire magic. That I've witnessed."

"Talented doesn't always mean powerful." Aureus notes. "It sounds like we need to get these Wolfheads mobilized too. If they are land's army then they'll be needed if blood elves and demons manage to get past the Arcane Order." Aureus pauses as Qi says something to her telepathically. "Qi is certain that the Wolfheads would rally around Cruel Justice's wielder." The hutaakan looks at Quinn. "They would see you as a war leader, if it comes to that."

"Fort Symas has a garrison of soldiers. Over one-hundred fifty Wolfheads. The fort was built around 500 years ago. It has long stood to defend these lands from bandits and monsters. Now, it mainly protects the iron mine in the northern half of the dry mountains. There is a camp of miners at the fort."

"How far?"

"It's another fourteen miles up rugged hills and low mountains. The trail is clearly marked from here to there. I could take a message to the captain for you, if you will stay here and watch over Mazz until I return? My horse might not be as strong as your mounts be he knows the way."

"We could go ourselves," Aureus suggests. "Lorien is there, as is Aeron." She looks at Caerth. "He could get in touch with Sir Balorix or Sir Avanth for us... or maybe other druids."

"From the religious point of view - most interloper gods will be at best neutral. But some will side on the Sword gods or North gods side. Of the neutrals, nature gods are I think out best bet to try and convince." Maur adds
"But I am no diplomat, let the politicians deal with alliances."
"So, we might have to let the senate decide how best to defend the Strandlands while we protect who we can, where we can." Aureus pauses and shakes her head. "We're adventurers, not soldiers. Well, I'm not a soldier. I don't want the people to suffer, but I'm not eager to fight another battle against an evil army. Fighting the undead was hard enough. But fighting armies of demons and corrupted demonic elves... are we even capable of that?"

"Probably not," Quinn says. "But we have to do what we can for Carnell." The knighted Guardian puts his hand to his sash. "I accepted this honor and won't throw it aside just because we might have to fight demons."

Similarly sharing what he knows but keeping the most secret druidic knowledge out, Caerth is not so sure the dragons will stay out of the conflict if they know a demon lord is on the prowl.

"Could be a waste of time," he agrees, "But I should at least try. Does anyone have experience with draconic diplomacy?"

Taking Ivoron's advice, the half-orc seeks out Mazz next, hoping the old deep gnome can help out.
Aureus shakes her head. "I've never had the misfortune of dealing with a dragon. As I said, on Maran they are untrustworthy and brutal. But if dragons truly are different here, you're probably the best choice to deal with one."

Caerth finds the old gnome 'holding court' among the villagers. He seems delighted to have visitors and is paying close attention to the young brother and sister -- William and Penelope. Caerth knows their last names are Sulley and that their parents were all they had. Now, they are alone in the world. The half-orc druid knows how that feels.

Mazz immediately seems to sense that Caerth wants to ask him something. "You wish to speak to me. Ivoron been telling tales, hasn't he?" He chuckles. "Well, go ahead. If I can help you help these people, I will try, but I'll want something in return. While gold would be nice, more food would be better. Or perhaps you and friends can run an errand for me." Mazz smiles. "Perhaps you could make it rain. It's been very dry and the hottest months will soon be here."

The old gnome hands Penelope a sweet treat that he pulls out of a hidden pocket. He pats her on the head and suggests she go play with Stuffles. "Just be gentle."

The young girl nods and stuffs the treat into her mouth before running to find the potbellied pig. The animal has wandered out of the common room out the back of the inn. William goes with her to make sure his sister remains safe.

Mazz nods to Nicholaus. The farmhand thanks the elderly gnome and ushers the rest of the villagers upstairs.

"I've agreed to let them stay here for now. There is more than enough room and Ivoron and I can use the company. Nicholaus might stay on permanently. I've agreed to let him try out to be our new cook." Mazz pauses and glances with his one good eye up at the ceiling. "We must try to find a place for those children. They could stay here, but it might be too much for me and Ivoron to handle. Fort Symas is not a good place for them either. William would likely have to work in the mines and the girl would be put to work in the kitchen. No, best they stay here or go back to Carnell."

Mazz motions for Caerth to sit. "Ask your questions, druid."


Maur:
While Caerth goes to speak to Mazz, you take the time to go to talk to Aries. you eventually find the Soldier of Iron kneeling in the room with no ceiling at the top of the inn. You can see the room was indeed meant to be a rooftop garden at one point but now it completely overgrown and wild. It seems to be a strange place for an armored knight to pray for his spells.

Aries' devotion to his faith is obvious but what isn't obvious is to which god he is praying. The man has scattered what looks like a sacred bundle of leaves and several old animal bones around himself. He does not move when you step into the room's open doorway. You wait until the man is done.

"I'm not going to change my mind," Aries finally says. "You cannot ask me to betray my brotherhood." He stands and looks at you. "I know I won't change your mind either. Or the others. So, where does that leave us?"
 
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Scotley

Hero
Phar places a long thin finger to chin as he considers Aureus' words. "Perhaps we should go to the Fort. Lorien and Aeron would be able to help us reach more possible allies. I do need to make contact with local wizards as well as the Arcane Order. That is unlikely to happen if we stay here. And as you say these Wolfheads should be alerted. I still have my doubts that the dragons will act, but I can see no disadvantage to informing them. Perhaps through the Druids?"
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur:
While Caerth goes to speak to Mazz, you take the time to go to talk to Aries. you eventually find the Soldier of Iron kneeling in the room with no ceiling at the top of the inn. You can see the room was indeed meant to be a rooftop garden at one point but now it completely overgrown and wild. It seems to be a strange place for an armored knight to pray for his spells.

Aries' devotion to his faith is obvious but what isn't obvious is to which god he is praying. The man has scattered what looks like a sacred bundle of leaves and several old animal bones around himself. He does not move when you step into the room's open doorway. You wait until the man is done.

"I'm not going to change my mind," Aries finally says. "You cannot ask me to betray my brotherhood." He stands and looks at you. "I know I won't change your mind either. Or the others. So, where does that leave us?"
"You are obviously devout. Why would we ask you to betray your brotherhood?" Maur sits close to the man, not close enough to breach his personal space, but close enough they can talk comfortably.

"Look. If we were different bunch of people, we could just kill you. We could have left you or executed you as a cultist. Or affected you with charm magic. Or...Or...you get the idea. I'm not one for mincing words, this is as it is. You cannot do anything and your superiors would be stupid to hold it against you. But seeing you saw us work together and hearing what you heard, why not give us a benefit of a doubt. And you didn't hear Qi, she is a pacifist and philosopher among them. All except Cruel Justice are mere shadows, focused on their one purpose. Report what you have to report. Angus already said he is willing to trade his weapon away. Instead of hunting us and possibly helping demon lord get firmer hold on these lands, why not be open about it and talk or trade? If you send weaker members of your order and we have to defend ourselves there will be deaths. If you send elite soldiers you may defeat us or kill us and get your hands on Star arms...which will be once again together within single organization. Can you honestly say that no one will be tempted to wield them against your enemies? Can you say with any certainty that you can defend against orchestrated attack by a demon servants or soldiers?

I will not force you to do anything...but I will appeal to your own sense of independence. Come with us, see what the weapons can and cannot do with us. Serve as our common sense...or at least Star arms sense since you lack common one. Har Har!"

Maur stands up
"Let me know when you clear up the space, I need to commune with Moradin."
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Phar places a long thin finger to chin as he considers Aureus' words. "Perhaps we should go to the Fort. Lorien and Aeron would be able to help us reach more possible allies. I do need to make contact with local wizards as well as the Arcane Order. That is unlikely to happen if we stay here. And as you say these Wolfheads should be alerted. I still have my doubts that the dragons will act, but I can see no disadvantage to informing them. Perhaps through the Druids?"
"I think so too," Aureus agrees with her friend. "I'd hoped to have heard something from them by now. A rider. A magical message. We need to make sure Lorien is still alive. He was in a bad state the last time we saw him." She glances through the open doorway at Caerth who is sitting down to talk to the old gnome innkeeper. "What if he died and Aeron has been afraid to tell us. Or something else could have happened to them."

Aureus sighs and shakes her head. "I'm probably worrying too much." She drinks down the mug of water in her hand. "Lorien is a better bard than me. I'm just learning and I don't know very many of the stories about this world yet. He might have some knowledge about Vok that we don't know."

"This Lorien is important to you," Qi says. "How long since you've seen him and Caerth's father?"

"It's been several weeks, hasn't it?" She asks herself and Phar. Qi is in her other hand. "It feels so long ago that we saw him last."

"He was dying the last time you saw him."

"Aeron wasn't sure what was wrong with him. He could have been poisoned or cursed in some way. There was also a guard who'd been poisoned by the blade of a wererat assassin. The wererat killed Sir Ghal father's but we dealt with him."

Phar watches as Aureus's eyes seem to peer inward. She and Qi seem to be speaking to each other mentally for nearly a minute. Then, Aureus blinks and looks at Phar. "Sorry about that. Qi wanted to look back through my memories to see what happened to Lorien."

"It is a mystery," Qi also says as Aureus attaches the adamantine rod to an open loop in her belt. "Even seeing it from your perspective, Lady Aureus, I saw no reason why your friend would have been so badly affected by the attacks of one giant centipede. I will have to think upon what you showed me. There might be something from the past... long ago... I must meditate."

Qi goes silent to mediate.

Quinn heads into the inn and sits down with Caerth and Mazz. He let's the half-orc druid do the talking while he fills a plate and listens quietly. The burly gladiator-knight and Cruel Justice don't seem to be communicating.

"CJ is being very stubborn," Aureus notes as she glances towards Quinn. She looks back to Phar. "We need to go to the fort first, although we might need to convince the others. Caerth seems determined to head back to the island and hunt for Ta’kira’kerymor."



"You are obviously devout. Why would we ask you to betray your brotherhood?" Maur sits close to the man, not close enough to breach his personal space, but close enough they can talk comfortably.

"Look. If we were different bunch of people, we could just kill you. We could have left you or executed you as a cultist. Or affected you with charm magic. Or...Or...you get the idea. I'm not one for mincing words, this is as it is. You cannot do anything and your superiors would be stupid to hold it against you. But seeing you saw us work together and hearing what you heard, why not give us a benefit of a doubt. And you didn't hear Qi, she is a pacifist and philosopher among them. All except Cruel Justice are mere shadows, focused on their one purpose. Report what you have to report. Angus already said he is willing to trade his weapon away. Instead of hunting us and possibly helping demon lord get firmer hold on these lands, why not be open about it and talk or trade? If you send weaker members of your order and we have to defend ourselves there will be deaths. If you send elite soldiers you may defeat us or kill us and get your hands on Star arms...which will be once again together within single organization. Can you honestly say that no one will be tempted to wield them against your enemies? Can you say with any certainty that you can defend against orchestrated attack by a demon servants or soldiers?"
"There are different levels of betrayal. I depends on point of view. There are some in the brotherhood who would have stolen Azurak in the dead of the night back in Carnell and made a run for it. My elders might question why I didn't do so, but I'm not so stupid as to make that mistake. It would have been foolish, and they did not send a fool."

Aries glances towards Maur. "You are right, they are shadows. More so than I think you and your friends realize or are willing to admit. I don't doubt Qi's love for peace but if the one who wields her has a stronger mind, he or she could force Qi to act. Yes, you wouldn't do that and I don't think the others would force it to fight either. But, if someone less principled takes it from you, then Qi's imprinted morals won't stop that person from using it to cause chaos."

He sighs. "I have no problem with a trade, if Angus is wiling. But, don't underestimate Cruel Justice's influence over the other Star Arms... and Sir Quinn. The blade is highly militant and will try to force Quinn to fight for the law over all other concerns. Quinn managed to win the battle of wills, this time. But next time, you might have to subdue him."

Aries shakes his head. "As for my report, I am not powerful enough to magically send the elders a message, and I cannot risk sending a mundane letter back to Stonn. I must go myself. It would be different if you or Phar were familiar with my contact and could cast a sending for me, but even then, she would not accept it from anyone else but me. No, I have to go back. I've already been gone too long. If I don't return soon, they will send someone else to find out what what happened to me and to seek Azurak."

He glances back towards Maur. "I would hope that no Soldier of Iron would be so stupid as to try to wield the Star Arms in such a manner, but we are all mortal and temptation could sway anyone at any time. And while the elders might not be able to hold off a demon army, there are ways to keep such forces at bay. The easiest way would be to scatter the Arms to the four corners of the continent. It wouldn't be perfect but it might keep chaos from rising." He shakes his head again. "But I can see that's an option now. They are back in the world and we will all have to deal with what comes next."

Neurotic said:
"I will not force you to do anything...but I will appeal to your own sense of independence. Come with us, see what the weapons can and cannot do with us. Serve as our common sense...or at least Star arms sense since you lack common one. Har Har!"
Aries shakes his head again. "I cannot be your conscious, Maur Deepdelver. You and your friends will have to make your own choices and then live with your decisions. When I speak to the elders, I will try to make them see your point of view, but I cannot promise clemency if they decide to bring about a hunt for all the Star Arms. I will tell them Angus is willing to trade Azurak. That might hold them off, but I have to get to them and tell them before they send others to hunt for me and it."

Neurotic said:
Maur stands up
"Let me know when you clear up the space, I need to commune with Moradin."
Aries nods. "I will soon be finished. Give me another hour. Then, I must do as I have promised Ivoron and Mazz and purify any of the gnome's stored food and water and fill as many containers as I can with water... and their well as well. But those chores can wait until after you have communed with your god. I'd like to be present... if it is allowed by your faith, of course?"

Aries waits for Maur's response and then goes back to his prayers -- his head bowed.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Mazz motions for Caerth to sit. "Ask your questions, druid."
Caerth smiles at how Mazz treats the children. Certainly he feels jealous that someone can connect with human children that easily, and someone who looks so different as well! But there is little pain with that thought as the half-orc realizes that he himself is making progress in that respect, offering a magical berry to the girl and seeing her smile at him.

Yes, he is learning how to interact socially with people after all, and in return they are respecting, even liking him. Not too long ago it seemed impossible, yet here he is.

"Elder," the druid addresses Mazz, instinctively using a term outsiders often address a wise druid with, "The Thunder Lands face a powerful demonic threat, and we need allies. Ivoron said you may be able to help in that regard, and he holds your wisdom in high regard."

Next Caerth explains his own intentions.

"The help of the Majestic Dragons would be invaluable, and although they cannot be easily convinced to come to our aid, I have to try. I know little about dragons, but I think a personal audience is the only chance I have to plead our case. Of the Majestics I know of, I think The Son of the Hunt in the Verdalf Forest is both the most likely candidate and at the same time the one I fear consulting most. After all, despite his ethical views and the proximity to the demon lord Vok, his nature as a green dragon is to manipulate and use people.

"Other options are the great blue Thunderback near Hilt, or Summerwind the bronze in the Halfling Woods. Safer, perhaps, but also less likely to see the danger of a demonic army on our doorstep.

"What do you think?"
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
OOC: I'm not sure if Angus was present or not; I seem to have gotten mixed up as to who was where. If Angus hears the dragon conversation, he would interject with the following:

IC:

Angus scoffs, his Harqualian getting better with each passing day: "I wouldn't trust a green wyrm not to JOIN the bleedin' demon army. That's a fool's errand, it is. My adopted father once told me that non-metallic wyrms are a scourge upon mankind, and will always choose whichever outcome allows them to inflict the greatest harm against us."
 
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