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

Scotley

Hero
Phar nods at Angus' words. "I of like mind about the Dragons, but I do not think we can ignore the possibility. Could we visit the fort first? Perhaps Mazz will give us sound advice?" He looks to everyone. "I do not think we should split up at this point. I know we all have different goals to pursue. " He turns to Ares. "I appreciate your candor. I would not make an enemy of you or your organization. I hope you will tell them of Vok and the threat as well as report on the Star Arms. I have fought along side these good folk several times now and I trust they will do what is right and just."
 

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
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."
Mazz chuckles. "Ivoron thinks I know everything about the world. While I can't say that, I have experienced a lot in life. How long has it been again, hmm," the old deep gnome muses. "Two-hundred years, three." He shakes his head. "It doesn't matter. I will try to remember what I can to help you." He looks around as if searching for someone. "It is worth it to meet another Sonnthord before my life finally comes to an end." He nods his head and chuckles again, "Yes, definitely closer to three hundred."

JustinCase said:
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?"
"I would not hope for one of the Majestics to intervene unless all of the Thunder Lands are endangered, but dragons can be unpredictable, even when they follow the Tenets, as you druids call those strictures. The last time one of the Majectics intervened was in the Year of the Return. How long ago was that again?"

"That was ten years ago, Mazz," Ivoron says as he goes about his work behind the bar.

"Yes, yes, I remember. The tabaxi and their dread god, Tu, had just returned from 1,001 years of banishment placed upon them by Mirella for Tu's actions during the Divinity War. The tabaxi went on a rampage across the Storm Peninsula. They attacked Avion, Nasundria, and all of the city-states of the Storm Peninsula. But, when the tabaxi attacked Anthmoor, one of the Majestics, the bronze dragon named Nethmalinor came to the city's aid. That was the last time one of them intervened in the conflicts of humanoids."

Aureus easily hears Mazz talking to Caerth. Her ears perk up when Ivoron speaks about ten years prior. "That was when my people, and the people of Ahamudia, were brought her from my world."

"A lot happened that year," Ivoron notes.

"Yes, there are those who think it is all connected. The Transformation, the tabaxi's return, and the fall of the Knotwood. Vok came into existence in that year, as well, when his former self, Wrykir Narcaryn, summoned a demon and merged his soul with it. That is how he became the demon lord he is now, Wyrknari Vok."

Mazz muses. "Some even think the death of Travathian Dragonguard of Thallin is linked to The Transformation, but I think his son Varath was just an evil opportunist who chose to murder his father and take the throne in the chaos of that year."

The old gnome blinks and then looks back to Caerth. "I don't think you should hope for the Majestics to get directly involved, but you could travel to the Halfling Woods and ask Summerwind for her advice. She is a bronze and is quite fond of the peoples of this land. At most she might direct some of her Majestic Knights to help you against Vok and his brood."

He smiles. "I did write a letter to her once, a long time ago, and she sent her reply though one of her knights. He came mainly to learn how I'd come to know of her. She only reveals her existence to those she trusts. The knight and I had a good conversation... I wish I could remember what we talked about, but it was over a century ago when I was still living in Helt."

He nods to Caerth. "If you go see her, I'd like you to take her another letter I wrote and never got around to sending her. Plus, I owe her a book that I found about trees."

"As for Thunderback, I don't think you should expect too much from him. He is stubborn and doesn't like people. Well, he likes the dragonborn and other dragon-blooded folk. I wouldn't go into his badlands home without some sort of introduction or invitation."

"I wish I could tell you more about this Son of the Hunt, but I was never able to visit the Verdalf Forest. The hunter elves rarely allow outsiders to enter their forest, although I've heard they have good relations with the citizens of one of the human lands of the west... Pretensa, if I'm remembering correctly."

He rubs his chin thoughtfully. "The High Prince of Pretensa might be able to get you an introduction. Tiberiu Cojocaru is a fair man."

Tellerian Hawke said:
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."
"I doubt you have to worry about the Majestic Green of Verdalf joining a demon army," Mazz scoffs. "While I don't know that dragon, if he is a Majestic Dragon, then he is a Majestic for a reason. I doubt the Hunter Elf King would let a green dragon live in Verdalf if the creature wasn't completely dedicated to the Balance."

"I think Angus is thinking of the dragons of my world," Aureus notes. "His adopted father is one of the Na Dhaoine of Ahamudia." The hutaakan notes the surprised look on Angus's face. "Qi has very strong connection to her children, Angus. Azurak might be a bit wild, but he respects his mother. She can sense things through her children about those wielding them. It's one of her powers. Don't worry, she hasn't been reading your mind."

OOC: One of Qi's lesser powers is a telepathic bond with the other Star Arms, as long as they are within 100 feet of her. She cannot use this bond with the PCs or any other NPCs, but she can learn certain aspects about any character wielding one of the other Star Arms. Only Cruel Justice can respond to her telepathically, but she can read the emotions and deep thoughts of her children.

Phar nods at Angus' words. "I of like mind about the Dragons, but I do not think we can ignore the possibility. Could we visit the fort first? Perhaps Mazz will give us sound advice?" He looks to everyone. "I do not think we should split up at this point. I know we all have different goals to pursue. "
"If you go to Symas, then you should definitely speak to Balzer. He's a decent man and a tough warrior. And, he's not political. He willing took the position of captain of the fort to get away from the politics of the Strandlands. His war mage, Elaffaeh, is a bit more political but that has to do with her connection to the Magicians Guild. She can be a bit flighty, but she has a good heart. A rarity for one her people." Mazz nods to Phar standing in the doorway. "She is a tabaxi. An outcast from her people who came to the fort near seven years ago."

"And there is Aeron and Lorien to check in on," Aureus adds. She enters the inn and sits next to Mazz. "Did they stop here?"

It is Ivoron who answers. "You are the only visitors we've had in months. your friends did not stop here."

"If your friend, Lorien, was as deathly as you say, Aeron probably wanted to get him to the fort as quickly as possible," Qi says.

"Aeron!" Mazz says, shocked. He looks at Caerth more carefully with his one good eye. "Is it you? The same wild boy that he brought here all those years ago!" Mazz runs his hand over Caerth's face to feel his features. "Ha! Yes, yes, it is you!" Mazz smiles. "I don't think Aeron ever said your name. You were only four or five years old, and the two of you were only here a few days. You've grown into a find young man. Very strong. Thoughtful eyes."

Mazz blinks and peers at Aureus. "Hmm, if Aeron didn't stop by and say 'hello', then your friend must have been near death. He would have wanted to get him to Avicia as quickly as possible."

"She's the fort's healer," Ivoron adds. "She quite powerful."

"She often comes to tend to my bumps and bruises," Mazz says. "A nice woman. Lovely too. At least, that's what Ivoron thinks. Right my boy?"

The half-elf man looks embarrassed.

Moments later, Maur comes back down stairs after his talk with Aries. The Soldier of Iron isn't with him.

"How'd it go?" Aureus asks.

OOC: This is the first time anyone has mentioned Aeron's name, loudly enough, for Mazz to hear it. :D


Scotley said:
He turns to Aries. "I appreciate your candor. I would not make an enemy of you or your organization. I hope you will tell them of Vok and the threat as well as report on the Star Arms. I have fought along side these good folk several times now and I trust they will do what is right and just."
Since Phar isn't present for Maur and Aries conversation, we can either ignore this part of your post or have Aries respond to it later once he comes back downstairs.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
The stairs creak and shake as the dwarf comes down into the common room.
"Aries will be there for about an hour. I'll do a divination after that. If you have a question you would have me ask, speak now. Elder Mazz, you too. Star arms, you too. I cannot promise I'll ask everything, it is limited form of communication, but I'll try."



OOC: Is there more sense to go to the cellar or at least in the open in contact with the earth rather than second story garden?
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Aeron called me Caerth," the half-orc replies, somewhat flustered from the sudden attention. "I earned the name Heart-of-Oak myself from the druids."

There is pride in his words, but also a bit of anger and confusion. He does not remember Mazz... or does he?

OOC: Not sure if I can roll something to recall childhood memories... Perhaps a straight Wisdom roll? Feel free to adjust numbers.
Wisdom roll: 1D20+3 = [11]+3 = 14


"Sounds like Summerwind is the best option," Caerth continues, his relief at not confronting a green dragon visible in his somewhat more relaxed face.

"I will certainly deliver that letter and book; it will make an audience far more likely."

He drops his voice again as he asks timidly, "Perhaps later we can talk about Aeron? In private?"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
The stairs creak and shake as the dwarf comes down into the common room.
"Aries will be there for about an hour. I'll do a divination after that. If you have a question you would have me ask, speak now. Elder Mazz, you too. Star arms, you too. I cannot promise I'll ask everything, it is limited form of communication, but I'll try."
"Do we ask about Sir Gareth and Quintin," Aureus wonders. "Ask if they are still alive?"

"Please ask your god about my missing child," Qi says. "Is my child at Gurnard's Head? Did the cultists steal Ta'kira?"

"We should try to find out if Eike is still nearby and if he has Brutus's ring," Aureus suggests. "I know getting it back isn't as important as Ta'kira or cleaning the cultist's temple but we did promise Lady Pendour we'd get it back. If he doesn't have it, then finding him isn't as important. We can hunt for him later."

Mazz smiles at Maur. "I don't have anything for you to ask the Dwarffather. But you could ask him about Summerwind and if she would be willing to help you. Yes, she I think she is the best choice to seek for aid, but finding her lair will be a challenge and she might say no." The deep gnome pauses. "Finding Thunderback wouldn't be as hard. He'd find you if you enter his lands uninvited."

@ScottDeWar_jr:
Quinn finally hears Cruel Justice say something, as the blade whispers to him telepathically. 'We must find the ring. The boy cannot be properly buried without it. Finding my wayward daughter must wait until the promise to Lady Pendour has been fulfilled.'
Neurotic said:
OOC: Is there more sense to go to the cellar or at least in the open in contact with the earth rather than second story garden?
OOC: That's really up to you. There isn't anything in the spell's description that says Maur would have to be in contact with the earth for commune to work. While the open-air garden at the top of the inn is considered a shrine (it's not been blessed, however), the inn does sit in hills that surround the nearby mountains, so you could have Maur find a high hill and face the closest mountain for his commune.

If you want him to cast it in the cellar, that's fine too, but there won't be very much room for anyone else to witness it. Aries did ask to be present, if Maur is okay with witnesses. Angus wouldn't fit in the cellar, and he can't be upstairs either. The way up the stairs is way too narrow for him, even if he tried squeezing through. More than likely he'd get stuck.


"Aeron called me Caerth," the half-orc replies, somewhat flustered from the sudden attention. "I earned the name Heart-of-Oak myself from the druids."

There is pride in his words, but also a bit of anger and confusion. He does not remember Mazz... or does he?

OOC: Not sure if I can roll something to recall childhood memories... Perhaps a straight Wisdom roll? Feel free to adjust numbers.
Wisdom roll: 1D20+3 = [11]+3 = 14
Caerth looks at Mazz and then around the common room of the inn. He tries to remember when he was that young. It is no use. He can't remember this place or the old gnome. It's strange... he was sure that Aeron only mentioned the inn to him, once, when he was older. But the half-orc druid can sense Mazz isn't lying to him or mistaken him for somebody else.

JustinCase said:
"Sounds like Summerwind is the best option," Caerth continues, his relief at not confronting a green dragon visible in his somewhat more relaxed face.

"I will certainly deliver that letter and book; it will make an audience far more likely."

He drops his voice again as he asks timidly, "Perhaps later we can talk about Aeron? In private?"
"Excellent. I will go look for it in my library. It shouldn't take long to find them..." Mazz nods his head and then bellows for his doorman. "Ivoron! Wheel me to my house!"

"There is no need to shout. I'm standing right here."

"Oh... yes, yes, there you are," Mazz waves his good hand to beckon the half-elf man to help him outside and to his house. He pats Caerth on the arm before Ivoron takes him back to his house. "Yes, we will talk, you and I, about your father... and your other family, later. No, no, not right now. I need to find something for you first. Then we will talk."

Mazz looks towards Maur. "Champion, if you will come with us, I have something to show you that you might find useful. It has a good story. We should have time before you speak to the Dwarffather. Come, come!"

Ivoron wheels Mazz out of the inn past Phar and Angus. The two of them enter his house and Mazz is soon talking loudly to the half-elf doorman once again. "Find my braces, Ivoron, I need to look on those shelves."

(OOC: Assuming Maur follows along.)

Maur stands in the doroway to the gnome earthen home. The house reminds him more of some hairfoot dwellings he saw in his youth in the northern lands near the city of Coldstone. The house is built to be half underground and it would be cozy if not for all the clutter. There are scrolls, books, and strange doodads scattered across every surface he can see. He watches as Ivoron searches through a closet looking for 'the braces' that Mazz asked for. The old gnome has left his wheeling chair and has climbed into a harness that is attached to the ceiling by a series of ropes strung through wheels, pulleys, and levers that are scattered across the room.

"Found the leg," Ivoron says. He comes out of the closet with a strange mechanical... leg that looks like it fell off a clockwork golem. He moves to Mazz and attaches it to the stump of his leg and straps it place with several belts and the harness. "I'm not sure where the arm has disappeared."

"Look in the kitchen," Mazz orders, as he stands upright in his harness on his one good leg and the mechanical leg. He notes the look on Maur's face and laughs. "Come inside, champion. Try not to knock anything over."

He pauses. "Look there, on the wall, see that axe? It was a gift to me from the Lord of the Iron Depths himself. Of course, that was over 250 years ago when I was just a whippersnapper like yourself. The Iron Depths fell 100 years later. So sad. Have you heard of that delve? Dwarves and gnomes living side by side. Go ahead, take it down. It's not bolted to the wall, and you can't hurt it. It's not a relic or even magical, just an old axe that has gone dull."

Mazz points to another trinket hanging on the wall -- a weird looking bone hoop etched with tarnished metal writing. "Ooh, that one I got while working for the Green Riders of Twilight Valley. Those people know how to have a good time. Their games are fun but can end up being too much fun. Ha!"

The old deep gnome gives Maur a knowing wink and grin.

"Found it," Ivoron comes back into the room with a mechanical hand that he has soon attached to Mazz's amputated arm.

The old gnome makes sure it is secure and then mumbles a magical word that seems to bind the arm to his body. He is soon flexing it like it was his own hand. "A gift from an artificer from Deepwater. He owed me a debt for some research I did for him. Quite useful, but it wouldn't stop a weapon." The old gnome pulls a lever on the floor and he is soon 5 feet off the floor and swinging from shelf to shelf. "Now where did I put that book?"
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Later...
An hour after Mazz begins hunting for the letter and book for Caerth to take to Summerwind, Aries comes downstairs. His prayers done and his spells renewed. He finds Aureus sitting in the common room looking through her gear while the two young siblings sit together on the floor. William is stringing a bow while Penelope is braiding grass and tiny flowers into her hair. The old gnome is nowhere in sight but his potbellied pig pet is sleeping in the corner.

Caerth is sitting by the fireplace, which is now nothing but cold embers. He seems to be waiting for something. The heat of the day easily blows in with the wind through the inn's front doorway and windows, which are now propped open. Several of the surviving villagers are sitting at a table drinking water and trying not to let the heat get to them.

"What did I miss?

Then there is a loud shout of joy from outside the inn. "I found it! Now, where's that damn letter hiding?"
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur follows and looks at the artificial limbs with some wonder. He considered earlier removing his armor, but right now he feels too exposed without it.

He enters the dwelling slowly and considers the axe hanging on the wall. Cautionary thought flashes through his mind, but both Mazz and Ivoron didn't do anything to make him suspcious of their motives. And even if this is some elaborate trap by Eike or one of the gods, he is confident in his ability to resist magic and to get out of any traps this could trigger.

He takes the axe and does few slow swings to get the feel for the balance wothout knocking anything over. And the bone ring too, turning it over.

"Indeed, Elder, I'm not unfamiliar with some of the wild parties made by those who live with danger. One needs a release." He thinks about the history of the Underground thinking about fallen hammerfast and Deepwater.
OOC: @Knightfall please roll for Maur whatever is needed - what he knows etc...
When I return I'll post the ritual
 
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Scotley

Hero
Phar considers what he has been told. A member of the magicians guild and a not political military leader would seem to be just the thing, he thinks to himself. He contents himself with relaxing and recovering from the recent battles. He takes out a recovered spell book and spends some time reading and studying while the others make plans.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth waits patiently for Mazz to retrieve the book and letter, contemplating his situation.

Perhaps, he laments, now that he is a more powerful druid he can try to find out more about his father? It has been many years since the half-orc has even thought about the nameless orc slave that fathered him, and no leads ever amounted to something, but maybe now...

Caerth tries not to put too much hope into the thought. There is not a lot to go on, and the life of an orc slave is usually short. And what, exactly, does he hope to gain by contacting his father?

Honesty, an inner voice responds. Honesty in a world filled with liars.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Maur follows and looks at the artificial limbs with some wonder. He considered earlier removing his armor, but right now he feels too exposed without it.

He enters the dwelling slowly and considers the axe hanging on the wall. Cautionary thought flashes through his mind, but both Mazz and Ivoron didn't do anything to make him suspicious of their motives. And even if this is some elaborate trap by Eike or one of the gods, he is confident in his ability to resist magic and to get out of any traps this could trigger.

He takes the axe and does few slow swings to get the feel for the balance without knocking anything over. And the bone ring too, turning it over.
Maur finds that the axe is very well balanced even though its double-bladed axe head is dull. The weapon might not be magical but it is masterwork. All it would need is a good cleaning and sharpening and it would be a solid weapon in any fight. He can see that its design is a mixture of dwarven and gnomish and that it is marked with runic writing that reads, "For my brother."

The weapon is definitely from the Iron Depths of Hammerfast. He's heard of that delve's tragic history. The dwarves called it Ord Kegeth while the gnomes called it Adrumbron. It was destroyed 111 years ago by the assault of a morlock-led army made up of the worst of denizens of the Undereath — cave trolls, deep minotaurs, earth ogres, grimlocks, underkrugs, and, it is rumored, an undead aboleth sorcerer. Hammerfast's destruction was absolute. Maur tries in vain to recall the name of the Lord of the Iron Depths.

OOC:
Deep minotaurs, earth ogres, and underkrugs are unique Underearth subspecies for the World of Kulan. The hair of a deep minotaur is pitch black and they are slightly shorter than standard minotaurs and a lot smarter. Earth ogres are a stronger offshoot of ogres that are blessed with Infernal energies by the evil Elemental Prince known as Hergund. Underkrugs are goblinoids that are a degenerate offshoot of Harqual's standard goblins, which are known as krugs.


Phar considers what he has been told. A member of the magicians guild and a not political military leader would seem to be just the thing, he thinks to himself. He contents himself with relaxing and recovering from the recent battles. He takes out a recovered spell book and spends some time reading and studying while the others make plans.
He finds Xander's spellbook to be an interesting read. It has a good selection of spells and a few stories of magical lore interspersed between the various sections of the book. The front of the book is more hopeful and, it seems, Xander wasn't always a thrall to dark forces. It is near the middle of the book when he joins the regiment at Gurnard's Head on the Sea Isle.

He writes about how the defenders fell from grace and turned to cannibalism and the worship of Malotoch. He never truly converted to worship the Demon Crow Goddess but that benefits of staying outweighed the risk to his soul. There was much gold to be had and the book says he stashed more treasure elsewhere on the island away from the prying eyes of the cultists.

It is at the end of the book that the duergar's writing becomes darker and bitter. He had come to Lighted Lands in his youth to try to escape his dark heritage, but he could not break the cycle of his bloodline. He gladly accepted the Infernal Forge gifted to him and Tarrak by Vok. His spellbook describes how the forge works and that with the magical forge tongs that the deadly device can both summon and gate hell hounds from Baator. The Infernal Forge can even summon a Hellcat if a mortal sacrifice is provided to fuel the summoning.

It is a dark book full of disturbing imagery and Xander's tragic history. If it wasn't for the plethora of useful spells in it, Xander's spellbook would be something best locked away and forgotten about. Some would probably want to destroy it.

OOC:
Xander's spellbook gives a +2 circumstance bonus to Knowledge (The Planes) when it comes to the Nine Hells and a +2 circumstance bonus to Profession (Weaponsmithing).


Neurotic said:
"Indeed, Elder, I'm not unfamiliar with some of the wild parties made by those who live with danger. One needs a release." He thinks about the history of the Underground thinking about fallen Hammerfast and Deepwater.

OOC: @Knightfall please roll for Maur whatever is needed - what he knows etc...
When I return I'll post the ritual
Maur knows he's heard the name Deepwater but he is certain that that city is a daylight city ruled over by humans. He ponders how Mazz came to know an artificer from that city. Then, the dwarf champion glances around the cluttered home and realizes that the Elder has likely been to places of which Maur's never heard. He wonders, 'Maybe he knows something of the relic?'

He places the axe and the bone ring back on the walls. He takes a second glance at the axe. While it isn't worth a king's ransom, dwarven scholars would like consider it priceless. A nonmagical relic in its own right. Very little survived of Hammerfast.

"You like it?" Mazz notes the look on Maur's face. "I have no use for it, so if you wish, you can take it with you. You can trade me a story for it. A good one. Or you can bring me a book I do not have or haven't read. That would be a challenge." The old svirfneblin senses that Maur doesn't want to insult Mazz or take advantage of him. "Do not trouble yourself. I offered it to Ivoron years ago when he first came to work for me, but he didn't want it."

"That is true," the half-elf says. "I'm not much for axes."

"Go ahead, take it. But, if you feel you must leave it be, I won't be insulted." Mazz says with a smile before he lowers himself using another lever embedded in the wall of the home. He moves to the lowest shelves and begins searching through an old box filled with letters. "I really should have these archived in Blackwater's library. Hmm, I'm sure it was in here. No, not here." He looks at Ivoron. "Lad, go to the closet in my bedchamber. It might be in there."

Ivoron nods and moves past Maur into a small side room that is as filled with books and trinkets as the rest of the home.



Caerth waits patiently for Mazz to retrieve the book and letter, contemplating his situation.

Perhaps, he laments, now that he is a more powerful druid he can try to find out more about his father? It has been many years since the half-orc has even thought about the nameless orc slave that fathered him, and no leads ever amounted to something, but maybe now...

Caerth tries not to put too much hope into the thought. There is not a lot to go on, and the life of an orc slave is usually short. And what, exactly, does he hope to gain by contacting his father?

Honesty, an inner voice responds. Honesty in a world filled with liars.
Caerth tries to think about people Aeron has mentioned in the past. Other druids who live in the Strandlands. There are the circles knows about but the half-orc druid seems to remember that Aeron mentioned to him that there is a tough old druid who now is retired in the city of Helt. Caerth tries to remember the man's name, but it escapes him. He knows Aeron considered the man to be a mentor, which means the old druid is likely near the end of his life, if he's not a hierophant. Aeron never mentioned that the man was supreme just grizzled like an old stone with many chips and cracks.

'He is a tough old bird,' Aeron had told him. 'Loves them too. He takes care of an aviary that stands just outside that city on the dry grassland cliffs that overlook the sea. A good man.'

That is the one person that Caerth can remember Aeron talking about with affection. The old hedge man rarely talked glowingly about other druids living in the Strandlands. Of course, if it is true that Aeron is not a true druid, then it would explain why he wasn't completely accepted into the local circle. That is druidism. There are secrets that must be kept and not just anyone is called to the circle. Could Aeron be a cleric instead? While he always seemed devoted to nature before anything else, could Aeron be a worshiper of one of the North Gods?

Caerth remembers something else that Aeron told him when he was just a boy. 'There are many ways to worship nature, young one. While druids stand firm against those that would despoil forests and plains and mountains, there are also rangers who fight for farmers & ranchers who live off the land. They, and others, work to teach people to respect the Balance. There must be a place for civilization in this world too, as long as it doesn't subjugate the land... or people.'

The half-orc druid can see Aeron in his mind's eye just as if the man was standing next to him. Caerth had gotten angry at his mentor when the man talked about the need for balance between nature and civilization. He hadn't noticed the faraway look on Aeron's face at the time. But now, he remembers. The man had been troubled, even despondent, about something he wasn't telling Caerth. The half-orc druid knew his adopted father had a past but he hadn't really thought about it too much. Aeron never talked about it.

"Found it!"

The elder gnome's voice rings out from his house and shocks everyone out of their musings. Caerth looks to see Aries standing near the doorway as the heat begins to bake the ground outside. The day will be a hot one. Metal armor will feel like a burden. Aureus looks towards the doorway while Quinn sits at the inn's long bar drinking some water from a bottle. The man has taken off his breastplate and laid it on one of the tables.

In Mazz's home, Maur begins to feel the heat inside his armor. It's not the first hot day he's had to deal with since coming to the Lighted Lands of the surface. It s nothing compared to a magma vent, but if it gets much hotter, his armor will start to feel like an oven.

The old gnome claps his hands and waves the letter to Maur. "I knew it was here somewhere."

He an Ivoron work to disconnect him from the mechanical system and he is soon back in his chair. They take off the artificial leg but opts to keep the hand on. Ivoron wheels him out of the house and the two of them don't wait for Maur to decide if he's going to take Mazz's gift. The duo reenter the inn and Mazz rolls himself towards Caerth.

"Here they are," the old gnome hands the book and a letter to the half-orc druid. "Those are for Summerwind. This," he holds up another letter. "Is for you to read. your father wrote it to me years ago about how he found you and also asking me to look into your bloodline. It took many years, but I did discover your orc father's name. He called himself Eógan. He was swordborn not an agrestic or goblin orc. He was born a slave in the Rozar Kingdom in the western half of the Thunder Mountains." Mazz notes the surprised look on Caerth's face. "I forgot to send the letter to Aeron. I forgot about it, and I forgot about you. My mind isn't what it used to be. I am sorry."

Mazz seems gloomy for a moment and then sighs. A moment later he yawns and his neck creaks under the strain. He looks tired but he is soon smiling again. "I hope you will gain some insights about Aeron from his letter and my reply. I wish I could have found out more about Eógan but there is only so much I can learn from here. I couldn't find out anything about you mother, but I think Aeron might know her name or her origins."

He shrugs and a bone pops in his shoulder. It seems to ease his discomfort. "I don't know for sure. He was reluctant to talk more about it. It probably has something to do with his own heritage in the Wind Cities north of Thallin. He is Vindi. Did you know that. He has all the traits of those rugged people, although I sensed he didn't grow up wild on the Wind Plains but in one of the land's cities."

Caerth reads the letter. he immediately can tell the bulk of the three-page letter is in Aeron's handwriting, although there are notations on it in another language that he doesn't know. Mazz's reply is tacked on at the end and runs over onto the back page. He writes of Caerth's blood father and his growing up a warrior slave in Rozar. He was a gladiator like Quinn and he lived and died in the arena. He became famous in Rozar and even fought it the great pits of the Chara Cities, Quinn's homeland.

"Hmm, looking at you..." Mazz looks at Caerth through his monocle. "Your human bloodline. Anorian, I think not... not Vindi either like your adopted father. A western bloodline, yes, more likely. Not Charan... nor Taal, no, not definitely not from Deepwater. But, hmm, maybe Ervenik... or even Shaulite. Yes, one of those two or a blending of the two."

He sighs. "I'm sure you mother's people are out there somewhere. If she was of noble birth, and Aeron told me he believed she was, then it is more than likely she came from one of those two city-states, Eversink or Shaule. That is a long way to come to drop off a baby but maybe she knew Aeron and didn't trust anyone else." Mazz grins at Caerth. "Aeron was very well traveled in his youth."

"Lorien told us Aeron visited Silverleaf more than once, as well as another elven city called Harrowleaf," Aureus adds. "The two of them were good friends back then, but Lorien wouldn't tell us more." He nods to Phar. "He said it wasn't his secret to tell."

"Hmm, perhaps I've said too much," Mazz wonders out loud. He shakes his head. "No, your father wanted you to know about your orc father and even your third family... eventually. His Vindi clan, I think. But, Aeron never told me the name he went by in his homeland. 'Aeron' is not a Vindi name. It was hard for him to think about them."

"This is all fascinating, but I did promise Ivoron that I would purify your food stores and fill your well with more water," Aries says. "I would like to keep my promise."

"Oh, thank you, thank you, Ivoron can show you to the food cellar. And I never turn down free water," Mazz replies.

Ivoron leads the Soldier of Iron from the inn. The man is not wearing his armor. Outside, the sun bakes the ground parch as the temperature rises.

OOC: The temperature outside the inn will reach 38°C/102°F by midday.
 

Scotley

Hero
Phar nods at Mazz, "I have no doubt we'll need water on a day like this. Is it usually so hot here? Makes me miss the cool shade of my homeland."

He shakes his head. Talking of the weather like some old farmer, he thinks to himself.

He continues. "I have enjoyed your hospitality and counsel good Mazz, but I think we must take leave of this place on the morrow and try to make some contacts who can help us." With a glance outside at the sun he adds, "Early in the morning I think." He glances to the others for agreement his elven eyes penetrating as if trying to read the thoughts behind their eyes.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
(OOC: Assuming Maur follows along.)

Maur stands in the doroway to the gnome earthen home. The house reminds him more of some hairfoot dwellings he saw in his youth in the northern lands near the city of Coldstone. The house is built to be half underground and it would be cozy if not for all the clutter. There are scrolls, books, and strange doodads scattered across every surface he can see.
He notes the look on Maur's face and laughs. "Come inside, champion. Try not to knock anything over."

He pauses. "Look there, on the wall, see that axe? It was a gift to me from the Lord of the Iron Depths himself. Of course, that was over 250 years ago when I was just a whippersnapper like yourself. The Iron Depths fell 100 years later. So sad. Have you heard of that delve? Dwarves and gnomes living side by side. Go ahead, take it down. It's not bolted to the wall, and you can't hurt it. It's not a relic or even magical, just an old axe that has gone dull."

Maur considers the axe. On the one hand, it is a treasure wasting away here on the wall. On the other, his own continued survival is questionable and the axe might be lost if he takes it. Then again, he may meet some surface dwarves at the fort they are apparently going to. And the axe definitely needs some sharpening and proper care.
"Thank you, elder, I will take good care of it and I promise I will find it home at a good dwarven place. I am interested in hearing its tale, though. When you have the time...it seems we will wait out this heat. If that's how it is at the surface, I need to prepare a spell to keep it out of my armor. I've heard about the delve, but I am not of the surface world, I don't know much."
He considers the axe for the moment, weighting it in his hand
"I came up to look for an artefact of the past. Two actually, but one is a personal quest, the other a mission from the church. In my research there was a mention that at a small town in Strandlands a dwarf may know the location of one of the items. Now I realize you're not a dwarf, but maybe the man who wrote the report didn't. Or maybe you just heard things over the years.

I'm looking for the Shield of the Resolute, lost relic of Moradin, lost well before our time. I'm also looking to complete vestments of divinity, I already have ephod of authority, lenses of revelation and cord of favor. I still need to locate Badge of glory and Phylactery of virtue. If you ever heard of such items."


OOC: Mechanically, if you didn't prepare anything special he can roll arcana or religion or bardic lore with DC 30 to know exact location of one of the vestments. 15/20/25 give progressively more info, Maur already hit 27 once. The relic is a story item, that's on you :)
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Phar nods at Mazz, "I have no doubt we'll need water on a day like this. Is it usually so hot here? Makes me miss the cool shade of my homeland."

He shakes his head. Talking of the weather like some old farmer, he thinks to himself.
Mazz looks at Phar and nods his head. "While it It can get warm in the eastern heath, today looks to be a hotter day than usual for late spring. Be glad we are not in the Month of Hela, young elf, or it would be scorching hot every day in the low shrublands. Not so much up here in the hills or higher up in the Dry Mountains but it can get unbearable. There is little rain here as most spring and summer storms sweep north of the Hazepoint into the northern lands before heading inland. When a storm does hit south of the peninsula, however, it can be powerful as it slams into the Eldermounts or across the Wasting Shores to the south."

OOC: Harqual's New Calendar (sometimes called the Ariagian Calendar) has 12 months that correspond (somewhat) to the months of the Gregorian Calendar. The names of the months are taken from the Divine Children of the North Gods who were killed (or trapped) during the Divinity War: Anon (January), Zealot (February), Sialic (March), Thorn (April), Truce (May), Hansa (June), Hela (July), Seraph (August), Nesus (September), Euphoria (October), Tulle (November), and Jaeger (December).

Anon was the god of righteous battle. Zealot was the god of rage & the frenzy. Sialic was the god of revelry & song. Thorn was a forest god of rain & sunlight. Truce was the god of oaths & scholars. Seraph was the god of barbarians, elves, fire, & serpents. Nesus was the god of archery & the dying wish. Euphoria was the goddess of happiness & joy. Tulle was the god/goddess of fish, lakes, & rivers. Jaeger was the god of honor & sainthood.

While Hansa and Hela are still alive, they are considered to be trapped deities. Hansa is trapped deep in the Underearth while Hela is trapped in the waters of Sword Gulf (off of the western coast of Northern Harqual). Hansa is considered a CN demigod of combat, earthquakes, soldiers, & the earth. Hela is considered a CG demigoddess of healing, peace, & the Sword Gulf.

(I'll post more about the New Calendar on the Lands of Harqual thread sometime later.)


Maur considers the axe. On the one hand, it is a treasure wasting away here on the wall. On the other, his own continued survival is questionable and the axe might be lost if he takes it. Then again, he may meet some surface dwarves at the fort they are apparently going to. And the axe definitely needs some sharpening and proper care.
"Thank you, elder, I will take good care of it and I promise I will find it home at a good dwarven place. I am interested in hearing its tale, though. When you have the time...it seems we will wait out this heat. If that's how it is at the surface, I need to prepare a spell to keep it out of my armor. I've heard about the delve, but I am not of the surface world, I don't know much."
He considers the axe for the moment, weighting it in his hand
"Yes, we will wait until the sun goes down and then share that wine," Mazz replies to Maur.

Maur stows the axe away carefully and follows after Mazz and Ivoron into the inn. The heat of the sun is brutal and he is glad to be quickly back inside. The dwarven champion is tempted to close the door, but it would block the breeze wafting through the inn. When Ivoron leads Aries back towards the house, the Soldier of Iron nods to Maur. "I am finished with my prayers."

Scotley said:
(Phar) continues. "I have enjoyed your hospitality and counsel good Mazz, but I think we must take leave of this place on the morrow and try to make some contacts who can help us." With a glance outside at the sun he adds, "Early in the morning I think." He glances to the others for agreement his elven eyes penetrating as if trying to read the thoughts behind their eyes.
"It has been good to have guests," Mazz notes. "When you are done at Fort Symas, I hope you will come back this way and tell us how your friend is doing." The old gnome muses for a few moments. "Hmm, I guess if you're going to see Summerwind, you will be heading west instead. There are no trails from the fort through the Roaringride into the Halfling Woods. Well, there are no trails I know of."

He rubs his chin thoughtfully. "You could come back this way and then travel the northern trail to the Forgeride Hearth and then to The Ghostgrass. Both of those inns were built much like the Hillwall, although they get less travelers than we do. Ranvan's inn is more of a tavern that caters to the halfling clan known as the Copperfellows and woodcutters of Rindwood Camp. A place to wet ones whistle. I'm not even sure The Ghostgrass is still operating."

"We might just fly over this Roaringride, as you call it," Aureus says to Mazz. Then, she looks towards Phar. "Can you cast a spell that will allow us to fly over a long distance?"

"Be careful not to fly over the deepest parts of the forest," Mazz warns. "There are more things in the Halfling Woods than halflings and a semi-friendly dragon. There is a massive manticore that lives in the southern part of the forest near the Green Mounts. Well... that's an old tale, but I've not heard that it has been killed or fled those woods. Be careful, regardless."

"Anything else?"

"Probably, monstrous vermin in those same mountains, as well as some insular hill & stone giants. There is a clan of vonakyndra living in the southwestern part of the forest, but they tend to be friendly. I wouldn't worry about them unless you mistakenly stumble through their sacred burial grounds. The forest is full of animals & birds, of course, so there could be monstrous versions of such creatures. Think owlbears and other such magical crossbreeds. But, I don't know for certain. It's been a long time since I visited that forest."

Mazz looks at Phar. "I'm sure you'll find it a pleasant place. It's less wild than the deepest parts of the Great Forest."

OOC: The Halfling Woods are considered to be temperate, for the most part. However, the southern part of the forest is warmer, especially around the Green mounts. It is, at most, subtropical, in the summer months. It rarely gets bitterly cold. More often, it gets a lot of rain from storms that sweep down from the north.

Neurotic said:
"I came up to look for an artefact of the past. Two actually, but one is a personal quest, the other a mission from the church. In my research there was a mention that at a small town in Strandlands a dwarf may know the location of one of the items. Now I realize you're not a dwarf, but maybe the man who wrote the report didn't. Or maybe you just heard things over the years.

I'm looking for the Shield of the Resolute, lost relic of Moradin, lost well before our time. I'm also looking to complete vestments of divinity, I already have ephod of authority, lenses of revelation and cord of favor. I still need to locate Badge of glory and Phylactery of virtue. If you ever heard of such items."
Mazz shakes his head. "Hmm, I've never heard of that shield... your lost relic. I don't think I'm this dwarf you're looking for either. But, I think I know who you're looking for and the city she lives in. Dwarven cities tend to be massive places, so your author is probably referring to one of the Strandlands smaller cities. There aren't large numbers of dwarves living in the land's smaller towns. Well, there are some in the mountain towns & villages surrounding Ironwatch Keep, but those are mainly miners. There are pockets of hill and sundered dwarves living in a few of of the larger towns but those communities are full of farmers and fishers."

Mazz rubs his chin again. "The author of this report your referring to could have been thinking Ironsoul. It is the seat of the senate and is considered to be the capital of the Strandlands. While it's not a city, it's quite large for a town. Around 500 dwarves live there, if I'm remembering correctly. It's one of the few places where they do a census every decade." He looks at Maur. "But I don't think your dwarf would be living there unless it is Yustaren Earthguard, the senator for the City of Blackwater. She lives half of the year in Blackwater and the other half in Ironsoul. But.. she's a sundered dwarf, not a hill or high dwarf, so I doubt she has this shield or knows where it hidden.

"Helt is the smallest true city in the Strandlands, but there are only around fifty sundered dwarves living there. It is doubtful that the dwarf you're looking for is from there... or Belporte." He shakes his head again. "No, I'm fairly certain you need to travel to either Blackwater or Oxshore. Probably the former even though it a much larger city than Oxshore."

"Oxshore?" Aureus scratches her head. "I know I haven't been in these lands long, but I've never heard any of the locals refer to such a city."

"That doesn't surprise me. It is only nominally considered to be part of the Strandlands by those living on the mainland. It is located on a island far to the south beyond both Blackwater and the coastline known as the Graven Wastes. The island is called Belgrel. The city came into existence only 300 years ago after the senate had Strand Keep built on that island as a southern bastion to keep an eye on the denizens of Nesin Island. Some thought the city would break away from the Strandlands after The Transformation and ally with either Chaja or Selquin, but Thomas Stangassinger quickly reaffirmed the city's loyalty soon after that magical conjunction. He's Oxshore's senator. Yet, he rarely visits Ironsoul himself. He assigns a proxy elder to go vote for him in most cases."

Aureus pulls out her makeshift map and shows it to Mazz. "Where exactly?"

Mazz uses his spectacles to look at the map and shakes his head. "No. This is very poorly drawn." He has her lay the map on the table next to him and he takes a piece of bread and places it where the island is located far beyond the edge of Aureus's map. "The island is here." Then he places a bigger piece of bread next to it. "This would be Nesin Island, and, here, this where Chaja is after it was brought to Harqual during The Transformation. It is a city-state of birdfolk. They were skittish at first, but soon made allies of Yuln. Lord Harian Mal has signed a mutual protection alliance with them."

"Selquin. Where is that?" Aureus asks. "I've heard of it."

"Farther south along the coast," Mazz picks up a grape and holds it well off the table in his good hand. "About here, I think. It has been a long time since I've been there. More than 150 years, give or take. It is a vital trading port between the north and the Far South." Mazz moves the grape back onto the table and places it west of another grape, 'Chaja'. "This is where Yuln is located. It's not part of the Strandlands, but there is trade between the Yulnish and these lands. Yuln is a massive city of over 45,000 souls and its population is not just human. All manner of people live in that city and the lands it has sway over."

"That's a big city," Aureus notes.

"Indeed, but you do not need to go there," Mazz laughs. "I think the place Maur needs to go to find his mysterious dwarf is Blackwater. while it could be Oxshore, I'm sure the author who wrote that tale about this shield is referring to that city and its population of seacliff dwarves. Yes, there are sundered dwarves living there too, but the seablooded have stronger dwarven traditions." Mazz points to the spot where the city is located on the map. "It more north than you have here. Did a human create this map?"

"I don't know," Aureus sighs. "I bought it in Belporte while Phar and I were traveling to Carnell." She looks at Phar. "You were right, I shouldn't have bought it."

"The people of Belporte tend to think of themselves as being more important than anyone else in the Strandlands. They can be a bit arrogant, especially the city's human nobility," Mazz rolls his eyes. "Look how big the cartographer has made Belporte on this map. Only the citizens of Sandbreak are more full of their own hot air."

Mazz looks at Maur. "I'm certain the dwarf you are looking for is Belleva Stormeye. She is a cleric of Lyesthel and is one of the elders of her people. If Senator Yustaren ever steps down or dies suddenly, the dwarves of Blackwater will push for her to take Yustaren's place. She is respected by many in Blackwater, especially the city's fishers and sailors. If any dwarf in the Strandlands knows where this shield is located, it is her."

"So, its a city of sea dwarves?" Aureus asks.

"No, roughly half of the city's population is human, but dwarves make up a significant part of the rest of its citizens." Mazz looks towards the ceiling and tries to remember. "There are just over a thousand dwarves living in Blackwater, I think. It's been a while since I've been there. Most of the city's dwarves are considered 'sundered', but the rest are the seablooded. There are a large number of elves in that city too, urbanites and islanders -- well over a thousand of them for certain. There are halflings, kitts & rakastas, and half-elves & half-orcs. It's not as cosmopolitan as Yuln, of course. I don't think there are any dragonborn living in Blackwater." Mazz chuckles. "But I wouldn't be surprised if there are some hadozee working on its docks."

OOC: Lyesthel is homebrewed dwarf god who is the patron of the Seacliff Dwarves of Kulan. He is a god of fishing, sailing ships, and ocean voyages. There is another homebrewed dwarf deity that Maur would have heard of too: Naldielle is a goddess of female dwarves, radical thinking, and chasing dreams. 😁


Neurotic said:
OOC: Mechanically, if you didn't prepare anything special he can roll arcana or religion or bardic lore with DC 30 to know exact location of one of the vestments. 15/20/25 give progressively more info, Maur already hit 27 once. The relic is a story item, that's on you :)
OOC: Knowledge (arcana) isn't one of his specialties and the religion check was very low (less than 10). His Knowledge (local) check was very good, however, which is how he knew of Belleva Stormeye. ;)
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
The old gnome claps his hands and waves the letter to Maur. "I knew it was here somewhere."

He an Ivoron work to disconnect him from the mechanical system and he is soon back in his chair. They take off the artificial leg but opts to keep the hand on. Ivoron wheels him out of the house and the two of them don't wait for Maur to decide if he's going to take Mazz's gift. The duo reenter the inn and Mazz rolls himself towards Caerth.

"Here they are," the old gnome hands the book and a letter to the half-orc druid. "Those are for Summerwind. This," he holds up another letter. "Is for you to read. your father wrote it to me years ago about how he found you and also asking me to look into your bloodline. It took many years, but I did discover your orc father's name. He called himself Eógan. He was swordborn not an agrestic or goblin orc. He was born a slave in the Rozar Kingdom in the western half of the Thunder Mountains." Mazz notes the surprised look on Caerth's face. "I forgot to send the letter to Aeron. I forgot about it, and I forgot about you. My mind isn't what it used to be. I am sorry."

Mazz seems gloomy for a moment and then sighs. A moment later he yawns and his neck creaks under the strain. He looks tired but he is soon smiling again. "I hope you will gain some insights about Aeron from his letter and my reply. I wish I could have found out more about Eógan but there is only so much I can learn from here. I couldn't find out anything about you mother, but I think Aeron might know her name or her origins."

He shrugs and a bone pops in his shoulder. It seems to ease his discomfort. "I don't know for sure. He was reluctant to talk more about it. It probably has something to do with his own heritage in the Wind Cities north of Thallin. He is Vindi. Did you know that. He has all the traits of those rugged people, although I sensed he didn't grow up wild on the Wind Plains but in one of the land's cities."

Caerth reads the letter. he immediately can tell the bulk of the three-page letter is in Aeron's handwriting, although there are notations on it in another language that he doesn't know. Mazz's reply is tacked on at the end and runs over onto the back page. He writes of Caerth's blood father and his growing up a warrior slave in Rozar. He was a gladiator like Quinn and he lived and died in the arena. He became famous in Rozar and even fought it the great pits of the Chara Cities, Quinn's homeland.

"Hmm, looking at you..." Mazz looks at Caerth through his monocle. "Your human bloodline. Anorian, I think not... not Vindi either like your adopted father. A western bloodline, yes, more likely. Not Charan... nor Taal, no, not definitely not from Deepwater. But, hmm, maybe Ervenik... or even Shaulite. Yes, one of those two or a blending of the two."

He sighs. "I'm sure you mother's people are out there somewhere. If she was of noble birth, and Aeron told me he believed she was, then it is more than likely she came from one of those two city-states, Eversink or Shaule. That is a long way to come to drop off a baby but maybe she knew Aeron and didn't trust anyone else." Mazz grins at Caerth. "Aeron was very well traveled in his youth."

"Lorien told us Aeron visited Silverleaf more than once, as well as another elven city called Harrowleaf," Aureus adds. "The two of them were good friends back then, but Lorien wouldn't tell us more." He nods to Phar. "He said it wasn't his secret to tell."

"Hmm, perhaps I've said too much," Mazz wonders out loud. He shakes his head. "No, your father wanted you to know about your orc father and even your third family... eventually. His Vindi clan, I think. But, Aeron never told me the name he went by in his homeland. 'Aeron' is not a Vindi name. It was hard for him to think about them."

"This is all fascinating, but I did promise Ivoron that I would purify your food stores and fill your well with more water," Aries says. "I would like to keep my promise."

"Oh, thank you, thank you, Ivoron can show you to the food cellar. And I never turn down free water," Mazz replies.

Ivoron leads the Soldier of Iron from the inn. The man is not wearing his armor. Outside, the sun bakes the ground parch as the temperature rises.
So many emotions wash through Caerth. Anger at Aeron and, unreasonably, Mazz for not telling him about his orcish father and the letter. Shame for never looking further, himself. Joy at discovering his father's name. A burning anger for even more secrets and mysteries from his former mentor. Hatred, fueled by the dagger Kang and his orcish nature. And confusion, not just about all the information he just received, but at all those feelings mashed into one.

An old coping strategy rears his head, and with a roar Caerth pushes over the nearest table, his face contorted with rage. For a second he stands, intimidatingly large and with darkness in his whole being, before pulling himself away, with effort, before he hurts someone.

Then, still angry, the half-orc rushes out the door.

He doesn't even notice the heat. Doesn't even acknowledge his owl companion Screech, who flies towards him before noticing the druid's foul mood and instead flies off towards the roof of the tavern.

Only after walking for a while does Caerth calm down somewhat. He discovers the letter still in his hand, although he does not read it again. Not yet.

Away from his companions, he kicks a pebble hard, and it skits across the ground. The lack of effect frustrates him even more, and he roars loudly, voicing his pain. Only then does he feel the wetness of tears running down his cheeks, and Caerth finally allows it to overtake him.

Crying and sobbing, he drops to his knees. All those people and their power over him; the lies about his parents, the mysteries surrounding everything in his life, but also the bond he now feels to his allies. How do people live this way?

"Eógan," he whispers his orcish father's name, then more loudly repeats it, once, twice, thrice.

Speaking it out loud helps focus his thoughts. He knows his father's name now, perhaps even his approximate location.

Caerth looks around for a natural pool of water, impulsively deciding to find Eógan through his druidic magic. It may not work; all he has is a name and some details, but perhaps with a bit of blood from his son...

Preparing the pool hastily, the druid repeats the process he did yesterday, but this time carefully using the magical dagger to draw a drop of blood from the back of his hand. Accidentally --or perhaps Kang drove the blade more than Caerth would like to admit-- the cut is bigger than intended, and several drops of blood fall into the pool.

And Caerth Heart-of-Oak, son of Eógan, watches...
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Caerth looks around for a natural pool of water, impulsively deciding to find Eógan through his druidic magic. It may not work; all he has is a name and some details, but perhaps with a bit of blood from his son...

Preparing the pool hastily, the druid repeats the process he did yesterday, but this time carefully using the magical dagger to draw a drop of blood from the back of his hand. Accidentally --or perhaps Kang drove the blade more than Caerth would like to admit-- the cut is bigger than intended, and several drops of blood fall into the pool.

And Caerth Heart-of-Oak, son of Eógan, watches...
The pool of water swirls and Caerth thinks for a moment he sees something, but then all there is in the pool is what looks like blowing sand. A moment later, the spell fails and the pool of water grows dark. The water trickles out of the hastily created pool.

Kang senses Caerth's frustration and the half-orc druid can feel the sentient dagger urging him to kill... anything... anyone.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Meanwhile...
Ivoron leads Aries into Mazz's house and to a back room that is nearly as cluttered as the rest of the strange dwelling. Aries notes a trapdoor in the floor and Ivoron nods to him. The doorman opens the trapdoor, which leads down into a small, tight cellar. Aries can smell that the cellar is dry but stale. The stored foodstuffs haven't rotted away but there is no doubt that the food is no longer fresh. The cellar is cool, which has helped.

Aries settles himself and casts his prepared spell that will purify the stored food and any drinkable liquid as well. He should be able to purify the bulk of the goods stored here. He concentrates on one corner of the cellar where the bulk of the crates and barrels are stacked together. His prayer is a simple one and soon the smell in the cellar is refreshed.

"That will have to do," Aries says to Ivoron. "All of this has been purified, but I could not get those crates over there within the range of my magic. I could try to purify more tomorrow."

"Those crates are full of old clothes and childhood keepsakes." Ivoron chuckles. "Items that Mazz has set aside that he doesn't want mixed in with everything else upstairs. I thank you for what you have done."

"I still need to fill your-"

Then they hear Caerth's roar.

Without thinking, Aries rushes up the ladder from the cellar and weaves through Mazz's cluttered home. He comes out into the blazing heat and shields the sun from his eyes. He doesn't see anyone attacking but he clearly sees Caerth storming off from the inn. Aureus is standing at the door to the inn. She watches her friend leave to find some solace with a shake of her head. Her face is somber, but she doesn't look worried.

Aureus sees Aries and her somber look becomes a glare. She gives the man a dirty look and then goes back into the inn. I can't really blame her, he thinks.

"What has happened?" Ivoron is soon standing right next to Aries.

The ex-cultist didn't even hear the man approach. Aries glances towards the doorman with a newfound respect. "I will go talk to Caerth and see if he's willing to talk about it. He seems, troubled."

"It probably has something to do with one of the letters Mazz gave him. It was a personal matter between Mazz and Caerth's mentor." Ivoron heads back into the inn.

Aries knows he should probably leave Caerth alone, but he stalks after the half-orc druid, regardless. He finds Caerth bent over a pool of water, and he can tell that the druid is trying to cast scry on... someone. He stays back so as not to distract Caerth. He watches and waits.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Maur reacts to the roar by grabbing his hammer, but seeing the orc storming off begins to settle back down before seeing Aries following.
"Angus, it might be smart to watch that man, Caerth has Kang and we don't want one-on-one situation where one can go missing. I'm too slow, too loud, and frankly too hot to just follow blindly."
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
After things settled and the sun went down, Maur went into his room and returned in full priestly regalia and ritual paraphernalia. He went out looking for that perfect spot, looking at the mountain, having solid stone under his feet, and being in the darkness finding a suitable underhang in the deeper shadow.

He set up a small anvil, made a fire in preparation for making small simulacra of a forge, and prayed as he waited out the fire until only shimmering embers remained. When finally everything was ready, in the deepest darkness of the night he took out a small silver hammer and struck the anvil seven times nameing one of the greater gods of the dwarves with each strike in a deep, resonant chant.

"Oh, members of Mordinsamman, hear me, your faithful champion, ordained in the Underearth, hammered in battle, tempered in the wisdom of the High Clans, and now being emblazoned with the fires of your glory, hear me.
Forgefather Moradin who created us, hear me,
Mya who kept the clans together as one, advise me,
Berronar, The Great Mother, bless this endeavor,
Dumathoin, Keeper of Secrets under the mountain, uncover the secrets for me
Clangeddin, Battle Lord, help in defeat of the worlds enemies,
Loremaster Brightmantle, help me discover the answers to the questions,
Haela Brighaxe, Luckmaiden, lend me your luck to end this battle.

I humbly seek advise on the questions I will ask in order. Hear me, wise ones, hear me."


After waiting for a sign of a successful commune, he asks in order:
1. Is Ta’kira’kerymor on Gurnard's Head?
2. Is tracking Eike as soon as possible better for Strandlands than going elsewhere?
3. Is Eike now a demonic entity?
4. Is talking with Summerwind easier than getting to other dragons?
5. Do Star arms cause calamities when they are together alone without evil or power-hungry wielders?
6. Are there forces other than us that are aware of demon Vok's predation on the mortal world?
7. Is there a way for us to save those souls taken by Druagaa?
8. Is lady Pandour still in danger from the blackmailer or the wererats?
9. Is the next step of my quest found at Blackwater?
 

Scotley

Hero
OOC: I missed the missed the question about overland flight earlier. Sorry. Been very distracted by work of late. If we can can assume this was inserted above I'd appreciate it.

Phar nods in recognition of the spell of long distance fight Aureus mentioned. "I am familiar with the spell known as 'Overland Flight' and I believe I could cast it if I had access to it. Unfortunately, for now my knowledge is limited to a spell that only allows about 10 minutes of flight. Perhaps when I make contact with the local Magician's guild there will be someone there willing to trade for it."

To Mazz he says, "I look forward to seeing this wood. I sounds a place I will indeed enjoy. I have been long away from the forests."
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
OOC: I missed the missed the question about overland flight earlier. Sorry. Been very distracted by work of late. If we can can assume this was inserted above I'd appreciate it.
OOC: No worries. ;)

Scotley said:
Phar nods in recognition of the spell of long distance fight Aureus mentioned. "I am familiar with the spell known as 'Overland Flight' and I believe I could cast it if I had access to it. Unfortunately, for now my knowledge is limited to a spell that only allows about 10 minutes of flight. Perhaps when I make contact with the local Magician's guild there will be someone there willing to trade for it."
"Well, I guess that means we're riding," Aureus replies. "If we can gather the horses."

"I will help you," Ivoron offers. "But not in this heat. The horses will do better out there than we will. At sunset, we will find them."

Scotley said:
To Mazz he says, "I look forward to seeing this wood. I sounds a place I will indeed enjoy. I have been long away from the forests."
"It is a beautiful forest," Mazz replies.

Then, he rubs his chin thoughtfully. "As for that spell, I doubt it is one that Elaffaeh uses," Mazz notes regarding the arcanist of Fort Symas. "She's a warmage after all."

He shrugs. "There is a decent library in Helt, although it's more for the people than for wizards. Still, maybe. Blackwater has a library dedicated to wizardly magicks but it's not as good as the guild library in Sandbreak." Mazz peers at Phar through his monocle. "If you visit the fort, ask Elaffaeh. She will know."

Maur reacts to the roar by grabbing his hammer, but seeing the orc storming off begins to settle back down before seeing Aries following.
"Angus, it might be smart to watch that man, Caerth has Kang and we don't want one-on-one situation where one can go missing. I'm too slow, too loud, and frankly too hot to just follow blindly."
Angus nods from the doorway. "Aye, I'll watch out for him."

The centaur ranger first follows behind Aries, and then he watches both the soldier and Caerth from under a large, lone azure oak that provides him with some needed shade. Caerth's spell seems to fail and the half-orc druid is soon cursing at the pool of water in front of him. Aries notes Angus out of the corner of his eye and nods to the centaur. He looks at Caerth and then shades the sun from his eyes as he looks into the sky. There is not a single cloud and the air is still and hot. The horizon shimmers and the Soldier of Iron makes his way to the shade of the oak tree.

He takes out his waterskin and drinks down a huge gulp. "Better to stick to the shade today. It's way too hot to travel in metal armor."



Much Later:
The day is long and hot. The temperatures grow to sweltering and soon even insects are taking shelter in the inn from the heat. Far beyond the sweltering hills and the heath, you can hear the sound of thunder over the sea. A storm rolls northward away from you towards Carnell and the Hazepoint. The storm doesn't even provide a cool breeze.

Mazz retires to his house, which is kept cool by its design. His potbellied pig goes with him. Both sleep most of the afternoon away.

Aries fills the inn's well to full, and he and Ivoron fill as many bottles and other containers with water. The doorman goes into the refreshed stores of food and prepares a good meal during the evening. The fare is mainly bread, good cheese, and some salted meat. There are a handful of good 'desert greens' to go along with the meal.

After things settled and the sun went down, Maur went into his room and returned in full priestly regalia and ritual paraphernalia. He went out looking for that perfect spot, looking at the mountain, having solid stone under his feet, and being in the darkness finding a suitable underhang in the deeper shadow.
When sunset comes, it is a huge blessing. The temperature drops slowly, however, and Maur waits until the sun has gone down completely before heading out of the inn.

Aries isn't sure if Maur will let him watch the dwarf champion perform his ritual, so he doesn't follow after Maur unless the dwarf motions for him to come along.

Aureus is curious to find out more about the dwarf's faith, so she follows along with Maur if he lets her come, sit quietly, and watch. "I don't think these Mordinsamman exist on my world. The Bitran of Maran -- that's what the dwarves and gnomes call themselves -- worship a god called Maldar... or sometimes Wotan."

OOC: Maldar is a homebrewed Lesser Deity based on the Mystaran Immortal known as Kagyar. Wotan is what Odin is called in Kulan's post-Ragnarök cosmology.

Neurotic said:
He set up a small anvil, made a fire in preparation for making small simulacra of a forge, and prayed as he waited out the fire until only shimmering embers remained. When finally everything was ready, in the deepest darkness of the night he took out a small silver hammer and struck the anvil seven times naming one of the greater gods of the dwarves with each strike in a deep, resonant chant.

"Oh, members of Mordinsamman, hear me, your faithful champion, ordained in the Underearth, hammered in battle, tempered in the wisdom of the High Clans, and now being emblazoned with the fires of your glory, hear me.
Forgefather Moradin who created us, hear me,
Mya who kept the clans together as one, advise me,
Berronar, The Great Mother, bless this endeavor,
Dumathoin, Keeper of Secrets under the mountain, uncover the secrets for me
Clangeddin, Battle Lord, help in defeat of the worlds enemies,
Loremaster Brightmantle, help me discover the answers to the questions,
Haela Brightaxe, Luckmaiden, lend me your luck to end this battle.

I humbly seek advise on the questions I will ask in order. Hear me, wise ones, hear me."
"Ask, Son of the Sonnthord, and we shall answer," The Voice that resounds in the air seems to come from high above on the mountain. Maur knows that it is Dugmaren who is speaking for the Mordinsamman.

Neurotic said:
After waiting for a sign of a successful commune, he asks in order:
1. Is Ta’kira’kerymor on Gurnard's Head?
Yes.

Neurotic said:
2. Is tracking Eike as soon as possible better for Strandlands than going elsewhere?
The Luckmaiden blows you a kiss.

Neurotic said:
3. Is Eike now a demonic entity?
Yes.

Neurotic said:
4. Is talking with Summerwind easier than getting to other dragons?
Yes.

Neurotic said:
5. Do Star arms cause calamities when they are together alone without evil or power-hungry wielders?
Hard to see, but improbable.

Neurotic said:
6. Are there forces other than us that are aware of demon Vok's predation on the mortal world?
Yes.

Neurotic said:
7. Is there a way for us to save those souls taken by Druagaa?
Bring the Dawnstar to Inanna.

Neurotic said:
8. Is lady Pandour still in danger from the blackmailer or the wererats?
Yes.

Neurotic said:
9. Is the next step of my quest found at Blackwater?
Yes.
 

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