"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part Two) - {complete}


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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Interlude

Balem, 26th of Nuiet – 564 H.E.

It was after breakfast, that cold morning and Beorth sat in the quiet solitude of his room at the Golden Plough, while the others ran errands about town.

Beorth was sitting on floor and thinking over the recent events and about his troubling dreams, always involving the walking dead.

There was a knock at the door.

Beorth quickly rose and answered the door. He was very surprised to find two baldheaded figures dressed in the heavy woolen black robes of Anubis. Neither monk it seemed were dressed for the cold weather since they are both wearing sandals.

One of the brothers stepped forward, he was swarthy and had deep sparkling green eyes, and he was no taller than five feet seven inches.

“Beorth, it is good that we have finally found you. I am Maynard, and this is Phlan,” The other monk was very tall and gaunt. He was paler, with black circles beneath his brown eyes. “Our Master saw you in a vision and asked us to find you immediately. It is urgent that Master Hamfast speak with you.”

The paladin shaken by the arrival of two members of his sect, but the hard-learned lessons of growing up in the monastery had not been undone by a few months on the road, he knew not to question them on this matter.

“I am sure that this must be a serious matter indeed if I am being summoned by one of the brothers. I was unsure if there were any members of our sect in Derome-Delem. I will prepare quickly for the journey.”

Beorth turned to pack his belongings, but was stopped by Maynard. “There will be no need for you to bring too many belongings, nor will you have any need for your weapons. You will be safe in the hands of Anubis.”

Beorth donned his fur cloak, grabbed his staff and stepped toward the door. He checked his breast pocket to be sure that the amulet he carried was still there. “I am ready.”

--------------------

The two monks led Beorth out the backdoor of the Golden Plough, and southeastward to the bluff, and down, and then followed the enormous shelf of land southwestward. Soon they were wading through snow drifts, and winding their way between hills.

When they stopped at mid-day to rest and eat, the monks folded a single slice of bread in their mouths and drank mouthful of water. Phlan never spoke a work

“I did not know there were monks of Anubis in Derome-Delem. Does Master Hamfast run a monastery here?” Beorth asked Maynard as the three of them began their march once again.

“Master Hamfast is the head of a small monastery on the western edge of an area called ‘The Outland’ here in Derome-Delem. We had a dangerous journey arriving here," Maynard explained. "As for why we are in this area, there are places and things left unattended while our brothers are at their convocation (92) - we are looking after them. I am sorry, but we are not at liberty to tell you more - but Master Hamfast may be able to tell you more clearly."

Beorth was quiet for the rest of the day, remembering that monks of Anubis preferred to keep their minds focused on one thing at a time whenever possible, whether the things be as simple as talking and walking.

At nightfall they made rough camp under a tree. Phlan went out for firewood, and returned bearing more than Beorth thought possible for a man of his build.

They traveled the entirety of the next day, making slow progress through the deep deep snow.


Anulem, 28th of Nuiet – 564 H.E.

Two days after leaving Ogre’s Bluff at around mid morning, Beorth and the two monks made their way up and around a hill covered in many small stones that made for treacherous footing, especially where the snow was deep and the round smooth stones concealed.

Around the side of the hill, which was low and bald, and in the shadow of much steeper shelves of rock, there was small cave entrance.

Upon entering the cave, Beorth noticed small stones with strange runic inscriptions on them arranged in neat rows and though Beorth could not understand the writing, he did understand that this was a graveyard

Phlan stood by the cave entrance as Maynard led Beorth further into the cave. In the rear was a side passage that was curtained off. Maynard held the curtain open and allowed the paladin of Anubis to walk through first.

Behind the curtains was an area transformed into a rough shelter, with straw mats on the hard floor, a a rough stone hearth, a warped wooden table and several small wooden benches..

An old man no taller than 5' 5" was doing a kata back there. He moved like a dancer, his hand and foot movements were anything but gentle. He ran through a series of blocks, punches and kicks, before looking up. He stopped and bowed.

He was totally bald except for a triangle of gray hair in the back of his head. He had no shirt on
and is was very muscular. He had multiple tattoos of goats and rams on his chest, back and arms.

"Brother Beorth. It was essential that you come and speak with me. It is Anubis' will you came here - for you are not officially part of the order - though sworn to defend its principles - and its very principles are in danger." The old man said.

Beorth bowed deeply to Master Hamfast, but cast a curious glance at the strange tattoos.

"As always, Master Hamfast, Anubis' will is my own. Maynard has spoken to me of troubles in the area that have prevented you from attending the convocation. These troubles must be grave indeed if you are here and not involved in this required meeting. What exactly is amiss?"

Hamfast looked at Maynard, who bowed to both Beorth and the old master and then slipped back out through the curtain.


Master Hamfast grabbed a simple woolen cassock from the table and slipped it on. “My brothers and I are here tending to the concerns of Anubis, not discussing matters of politics as are the rest of our order.

The last word hung in the air as if he has spit it out with such force it defied gravity. He continued, “I have called you here so that you will understand what is occurring at the convocation. The Grandmaster himself is calling for changes to the sect and his changes are weakening the Fist of the Jackal Headed God.”

"The fist of the Jackal Headed God?” said under his breath, but then spoke up. “Surely you do not think that the convocation will result in the lessening of the influence of our sect in Aquerra? The power of death negates all power in this life and surely the Grandmaster himself must be aware of that. How does his will differ from that of Anubis?"

“What difference does it make if the sect’s power is weakened? It is Anubis’ will that must be obeyed and the Grandmaster forgets whose laws he must ultimately answer to.” Hamfast paused for a moment and looked hard at Beorth. “Have you ever considered becoming a full brother?”

Beorth looked at one of the benches.

“Please, sit,” said Hamfast. Beorth took a seat and a deep breath and then replied, "Master Hamfast, I do not believe that I could ever become a full Brother. I believe that I will serve Anubis best as a warrior. I swore many years ago to fight the undead and I believe that I must remain a fighter to be able to accomplish that oath. I have however discovered that the power of Anubis is now flowing through me and that I can, with his guidance, achieve feats that were not possible in the past. I have struggled alone to learn how to harness the divine energy that is within and I believe that I am growing closer and closer to him every moment. Anubis' power is the power of death and the power of life. I learn a little more each day, but I know that in many ways my knowledge is lacking. I have encountered undead in the past and have been unable to handle them. They do not tremble before the power of Anubis and I do not know the best way to do battle with them. It seems that this knowledge was lacking in my early training. Perhaps you could share what you know of the undead and how best to fight them? My confidence has been shaken by my inability to fight them."

Beorth lifts his eyes to meet Master Hamfast. "The dead even haunt my dreams."

Beorth removed the necklace from his pocket. It was the green fang of malachite pendant that the party had gotten from the crazed man that lived beside the abandoned mastaba (93). It was about two and half inches long.

"I believe that the Dead can communicate with me through the power of this amulet,” Beorth explained to Hamfast. “They urge me to lead them and to command them. I have sought to destroy the amulet but no one seems to be able to tell me how to accomplish that. I know that I do not have the power, but perhaps you do…?"

Beorth held out the necklace for Master Hamfast.

Hamfast took the amulet into his hands and examined it briefly. “I do not have the power to destroy this necklace. It is a token of great power.”

He handed it back to Beorth. “Have you tried using it?”

"It is the teaching of Anubis that the dead shall find rest, and I do not believe that this amulet allows the dead to find their peace in the Duat. (94) Therefore I believe that this amulet performs an evil function. The power that this amulet offers is not of the sort that I desire."

Beorth tucked the amulet back into his clothes and scanned the cave, looking for evidence of anyone else that might be here, or another way out.

"I will discover the truth of the amulet, however, and as Anubis' will desires, so shall be done. I swear that it will be so," he added.

"But are the dead in question not already in a state of unrest? If you can use that amulet to keep them keep them at bay, keep them from hurting the innocent - have them flee - your faith augmented by its power? Perhaps you are wise to be trepidatious - but consider my words. . ." Hamfast said, calmly.

"I have thought of using the necklace as you speak, but have never done so. I have encountered the undead before and I believe that though this necklace could be used to control the undead to protect the innocent it would also corrupt me and seek to undermine my beliefs. The undead deserve the rest that our Father Anubis can bring to them and to control them is not the same as granting them that rest," Beorth spoke with wisdom and confidence.

He paused and then changed the subject.

"So why is it that you sought me? And what tasks are you performing for the Brotherhood that prevent you from attending the convocation?"

"I did not go to the convocation because I knew what would happen there, that the ways of Anubis would be perverted and that those who spoke out against the Grand Master would be taking their lives in their own hands - and while I do not fear death - someone needs to lead those monks who hold true to the traditions. There is one of our order who is doing so and I have pledged myself to him and to Anubis in order to help him. And thus, I am here, warning you."

Shocked by the information and the sudden increase in importance of the already apparently crucial convocation, Beorth let out a flood of questions, "Who have you pledged yourself to? What exactly does the Grandmaster believe that is not in keeping with the teachings of Anubis? How long have you been following this individual? Are there others who believe as you do?" When did the markings of the goat and the ram get placed on your body and for what purpose? And do you know who is buried in the graves within this cave?"

“You suddenly ask strange questions, young Master Sakhemet, and many of them as well," Master Hamfast asked wryly, but did not smile – Monks of Anubis never smile.

Hamfast stood and paced over near the wall.

"The tattoos on my body remain from my violent and undisciplined youth. As for our temporary leader (until one is chosen by Anubis himself to replace Grandmaster Asaph) is called ‘Adder’."

He cleared his throat and went back to the previous topic without segue.

"If you believe yourself so weak that the amulet will corrupt your spirit - then it is well you do not use it. I can sense that you are suspicious and do not believe what I am saying of the convocation. That is fine. I tell you to remain suspicious. It may be some time before your loyalty is tested and you will have to decide if you stand with the Order or with Anubis himself. When the Order abandons what it stands for and seeks to bring the death of some over others, when the Order turns against other priesthoods of the gods of Ra's Pantheon… You need not believe me now. But it will happen. . ."

Hamfast paused and walked over and sat again. He continued.

"However, if you seek evidence beyond my word - then I say seek out Adder himself and speak to him - Have you ever heard of Hurgun's Maze?"

"I must apologize, Master Hamfast, for my skepticism but I have seen much since I left the monastery. I have encountered many creatures and beings that are not as they seem," Beorth explained. "It is definitely strange to find another member of our order so far into Derome Delem. And, I have heard of Hurgun's Maze, but no one has really been able to describe it or to tell me the history. I suspect that Hurgun was a wildly powerful wizard at some point in the past. Do you know the story of the Maze?”

Hamfast stood again.

"There are some legends of it in Derome-Delem, among dwarves and gnomes, but in Verdun only scholars are likely to have heard of it, let alone know what it is…"

He walked over to a table and began to prepare a meal of cold meats and bread. He gestured for Beorth to come over and take a seat on one of the small barrels that served as chairs.

Hamfast studied Beorth for a moment, and the young paladin could feel the old man’s eyes searching his face for some expression. They seemed to almost draw out his worries, concerns and fears to his normally placid face, but he resisted.

"Hurgun of the stone was the kind of wizard known as an Elemental Savant - He was said to have been very old and a founder of the now defunct Elementalists' League," (95) he continues. "He is known not only for his great power, but for being prolific. For centuries now magical items and scrolls of his spells can be found far and abroad,” Hamfast passed Beorth a plate with three pieces of meat wrapped in bread and held together by thin splinters of wood. He continued,

"During the Mountain Wars, when the Kingdom of Herman Land attempted to conquer Derome-Delem ~ much of the heaviest fighting took place in this general area - other kings might have been satisfied to conquer the shores and slowly move their people in and conquer over time - but not King Herman XII - he sent his troops to where the races and peoples of Derome-Delem lived and had them try to surrender or flee - the warring was some of the most vicious this world had ever seen - that is why so many of the undead can be found here - but that is beside the point - I do not judge his strategy as good or evil - that does not concern me - what does concern me is this - during the war, a combined delegation of gnomes, dwarves and elves sought out Hurgun's Stronghold, called Hurgun's Maze and petitioned him for help against the invading armies. He replied that he would not get involved. Representatives of the Herman Land army also sent word asking for help - and he did not reply.”

“And then legend says, he 'closed' the Maze - We are not sure what that means - but we do know that its exact location, said to be some days travel north of here, was lost - but the Maze itself is said to be a planar focal point. . . It draws energies from many other worlds - including those of the gods - It is there we plan to commune with Anubis and find out what his will truly is. It is that place that Adder searches for and that the Grandmaster's agents will try to keep us from finding."

He stopped.

"Now let us eat."

Beorth quietly pondered what Master Hamfast had said while eating his meal. In many ways it helps to explain the creature that was found with the gnomes. Beorth waited for Master Hamfast to finish his own meal before speaking.

"Is it possible that the Maze could somehow be ‘open’ again? Much of the information you have given me seems to bear directly on a creature that my companions and I discovered while staying with a group of gnomes. It seems that the gnomes found a very curious creature and were detaining it. It was shaped like the temples during The Time Before are said to have been. (96) It had 4 sides, each triangular in shape with an eye and an arm on each face. And although it was made of flesh, it seemed to be almost like a moving statue. When I gave it a spoon, it immediately started to dig with the spoon. Almost like it would use a shovel. Perhaps it is some sort of magical construct that Hurgun created to help build his stronghold… The gnomes mentioned Hurgun and the Maze as a possible source for the creature. I wonder if the creature did not come from inside the Maze.”

Beorth paused for a brief time and collected his thoughts.

"In either case, Hurgun's Maze seems to be a location of great importance, especially if it contains a focal point for the planes. Perhaps Adder could use some help finding the Maze. And if that creature did come from the maze, its location must be somewhere near the gnome village that we were staying in.

"The opportunity to speak directly to Anubis is one that should not be missed. And by discovering Anubis' will, perhaps a schism within the brotherhood could be avoided,” Master Hamfast replied.

"Do you know more about what lies within the Maze?" Beorth asked, hoping to find some of the answers that his companions were seeking.

“What lies within the Maze, and if it truly even is a maze is a complete mystery. All that I know of it aside from what I have already told you is that many have sought it for centuries and either failed or never returned. It would not be jumping to conclusions to say that the place itself or the way to the place is fraught with peril," Hamfast explained. "But let us rest now. Tomorrow I want to take you to a place nearby here and show you a graveyard we uncovered. You might find it interesting."

Still focusing on Hurgun’s Maze, Beorth continued, "Indeed the Maze sounds like a terrible place, but surely those of strong will and faith should be able to overcome any obstacles standing in the way…"

Beorth looked around. "Where is it that I should bed down?"

"You have strong faith, Master Beorth," Hamfast says, as he lead him to some mats on the cold cave floor. "You may sleep here."

As Beorth drifted off to sleep, you could hear Hamfast and the others talking in low voices, and then the regulated breathing and occasional grunts of martial arts.


Ralem, 1st of Dek – 564 H.E.

There is the sound of heavy breathing in the darkness, and sandals on stone. Someone is running. . . Beorth tries to open his eyes, but they feel heavy, difficult to open - and even when he finally manages it, very little light comes to him. He feels flattened against a wall, unable to move anything but his eyes, back and forth, but very slowly. He is in a huge vaulted chamber, with a raised dias and a throne and he can see a figure bearing a torch coming in followed by multiple silhouettes.

Suddenly, the earth shudders and a crack runs up a column that supports the chamber.

"Hurry!" the figure cries to the silhouetted figures that finally come more clearly into view.

A dozen shambling men, their flesh rotting, their eyes glowing with malevolent unlife come bearing a litter. Upon the litter is a huge animal that looks vaguely familiar, but Beorth cannot see it clearly from where he is trapped. The zombies and the man are wearing clothes similar to those depicted in the wall paintings of the tombs beneath the Monastery of Anubis in Verdun. The man with the torch wears a pharaoh’s headdress. He hands the torch to one of the zombies and from the wall behind the dais brings a huge sword of the ancient mode, a falchion.

The figure speaks a word and the sound of stone against stone fills the room, as a huge block of stone is raised from the floor and the zombies place the litter upon it. The earth shudders again, and the figure leaps upon the stone bier and speaks another word and it begins to lower itself into the floor, as pieces of the sandstone ceiling begin to fall. One of the zombies is crushed.

As the stone sinks, Beorth sees the face of the animal finally, it is a huge ram, greater than the size of most horses, tied down to the litter. As it disappears below the floor level, its sad but majestic eyes meet Beorth’s gaze..

The earth begins to shake again, and this time it does not stop. Columns collapse, there is screaming and all is black.

-----------------

Beorth awoke with a start.

"It is morning," said Maynard. "Master Hamfast awaits you outside."

Beorth sat up quickly and looked around the cave, trying to catch his bearings. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and shook his head trying to clear it.

He dressed as quickly as possible and headed out to the mouth of the cave. He tapped his breast pocket to be sure that the amulet was still with him.

Beorth exited the cave and stepped into the light of morning. "Master Hamfast, I am sorry to have kept you. Which direction are we heading? And what is the history behind the burial grounds that you wish to show me? Do you know?"

Hamfast turned in silence and headed directly toward the sun. The light streamed down on Beorth’s face. A few moments later they stood looking down at a gully between two nearly barren hills holding nothing but melting snow.

"Down there is the Pit of Bones," Master Hamfast said. "During the Mountain Wars this was the scene of a great battle between humans and dwarves. During the battle, there was a sudden earthquake (some say caused by one of the powerful dwarven priests present) and the whole area collapsed into a fissure in the earth and hundreds of scores of men and dwarves and their mounts died."

Beorth was silent, simply looked down at the depression filled with snow and stones, and the occasional bones sticking out of the earth.

The wind moans through the stones below. "The place is filled with the bones of the dead never put to rest. It is a major task excavating this place and setting up a proper and respectful tomb of stone for all these that died here. The spirits here and the bones here are not at rest and it is troubling work. This is what we are doing here. Silently toiling at Anubis' work while our kin travel on ships to far off lands to discuss philosophy."

He turned and looked at Beorth.

"Beorth, this place was long hidden and I am only showing it to you as a sign of faith and trust. Tell no one else of this place. There are those that would seek to excavate it for other reasons. It is said that ancient magics are buried here. For yes, this new philosophy of the Brotherhood of Anubis would say that the items interred in a tomb are best used! Can you imagine, those promised to fulfill his will violating it so blatantly?!? The arrogance of such an attempt. I want you to promise me that you will defend the knowledge of this place with your life and that when you are free to do so, you will return and help establish a monastery here and retreat for warriors of Anubis to guard this sacred site."

Beorth did not reply, but continued to look down at the pit.

"Do you promise?"

"It is sad that so many souls have not been able to find the rest that they need. The Mountain Wars are long past and these souls must surely be in need of peace," Beorth said absently. He turned to face Master Hamfast. "There is much work that must be done here and if I were not sworn to other tasks right now, I would stay and help you. But as you say, I can return after I have tended all my other duties."

Beorth paused again.

“I do swear to return here to establish a monastery. This area would be ideal for a monastery where I could train others in the ways of Anubis. I can only pray that Anubis will give me the wisdom and strength to accomplish a goal as great. It is truly in his name that I work. Is there any aid right now that I could give you? I could give you some of my time today if you think it would be valuable.... Or perhaps a bit of silver could help in some way....."

Beorth reached for his money and stops when he heard Master Hamfast speak.

“We could use your help for the rest of the day, pulling bones and items from the topmost layers and bringing them carefully to the shrouds we have set up, and then tomorrow I will have Phlan and Maynard guide you back to Ogre's Bluff. But again, I must warn you others may be looking for this place to despoil and exploit it. You can not ever tell anyone where this place is or guide them here."

"I swear in Anubis' name that I will tell no one of the location of this site. If the powerful magics that you speak of are located here then many would come to disturb the sanctity of this grave site. I would that these spirits find the rest that they have needed for all this time. A caretaker for these souls is exactly what the Pit of Bones needs. In the future this place will be a place of peace and I will make it so. I swear this to you and to our Father Anubis."

Beorth looks to see if the other monks are around.

"What tasks would you have me accomplish today? And where should I begin?”

Master Hamfast led Beorth down into the pit and they worked the rest of the day uncovering bones and bits of armor and weapons and other artifacts and placing them on shrouds for proper burial.

Along with Hamfast, Maynard, Phlan, there are three young acolytes, who cart of dirt and wrap up the shrouds when they are full and took them to the cave for safe-keeping.

That night, Beorth slept better, exhausted from the long day’s work in the cold.

In the morning he bid Master Hamfast adieu, and with the aid of Maynard and Phlan headed back to Ogre’s Bluff.

Tholem, 4th of Dek – 564 H.E.

And after marching for two days and camping out two nights, they parted ways just below the bluff in the shadow of the many caves that led into the Honeycombe. Beorth climbed up the steep icy path that led to town and made his way back to the Golden Plough.

The common room was mostly empty, with a few figures talking loudly around a table in one corner by the hearth, and a few local shepherds at the bar sipping their mulled wine.

Beorth asked the inn-keeper about his friends and received the note Martin had left for him, explaining that they had left for the elven enclave. The paladin of Anubis decided not to wait, and made his way to the door so he could find them that very night.

He was about to open the door, when someone came in from the outside. It was Martin. The watch-mage’s red hair was crusted with dirt, and there were spots of blood on his face, hands and robes.

“Thank Isis!” Martin cried. “Beorth, hurry. We need your help!”

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Notes:

(92) In the winter of 563 H.E. a message appeared on Verdun’s infamous Dwarf Wall, calling all monks of Anubis to a grand convocation in the Archduchy of Wallbrook, where the grandmaster of the entire order resides. The subject of the convocation was not made clear, but all were required o attend or lose their rank and title in the order.

(93) See Session #8

(94) The “Duat” is the name for the state of peaceful waiting a soul is in while in Anubis’ Realm.

(95) The Elementalist’s League was established sometime in the Third Age, and was one of the first wizardly organizations in Aquerra. However, it was disbanded not too long after, as few of these wizards could agree on a common agenda and method of operation.

(96) In The Time Before it is said the gods were much more directly involved in mortal life, and most of the world was a sea of sand. In that time, there were many more pyramids than can be found in Aquerra today.
 
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Dawn

First Post
Nemmerle - Did you role play through this with Beorth or just use give it to the play where he was available for play again?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Oh, sorry. . .

I meant to make a note that this exchange occured via email while Beorth's player was unable to make sessions.

I always want to add that the last installment was co-written by Brian - who plays Beorth.
 
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MavrickWeirdo

First Post
I agree, that was a great way to open a new thread. I had forgotten about Hurgun's Maze

For my own mental reminders:

Quest List

1 Kill the Dragon (remember the dragon?)
2 Find the leader of the Gnomes (Was it the dead gnome? What about Creedadal the gnome Illusionist?)
3 Speak to the Elves (the top elves that is) about an Elf/Gnome treaty
4 Catch Richard The Red
5 Catch the Drow Witch

Personal Quests

Martin:
1 Find out who killed Tom the Silver
2 Retrieve the Book of Black Circles from the Brotherhood of the Lost, cast one spell from it and then destroy it.

Ratchis:
1 End slavery in Malovian
2 Seek out the Circle of the Thorn and do one complete task for them

Kazrack:
1 Reclaim part of the Dwarven Homland: the land of the Bzontra, once called Elgaard
2 Craft a sickle of great quality, hammering and sharpening its blade in the Glade of Hennaire, under the light of the full moon, and then present it to the Circle of the Thorn

Beorth:
1 Clear the undead from the land of the Bzontra, once called Elgaard
2 Found a monestary by the "Pit of Bones"
3 (Maybe find Hurgun's Maze and "Adder")

Jana:
1 Seek out a temple of Isis and learn of magic through her pure sources, and will take no other token and learn no other spell until I do.

So where is the Circle of the thorn? Are Richard the Red and the "Gnome" Interum Leader allied? Did Richard the Red kill Tom the Silver? Should we seek out Hurgun's Maze? Is there a Dragon or not?
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Mav, it is so great to have you around! Look for more appearances of Finn Fisher and his band of irregulars soon!


As for your list, it is very comprehensive - but there are a few notes/corrections I have on the items.

Ratchis:
1 End slavery in a neaby kingdom (I forget the name)

Not sure I'd list this as a specific goal, more like a general goal for the Friar of Nephthys.

Kazrack:
1 Reclaim the Dwarven Homland: the land of the Bzontra, once called Elgaard

Technically, all of Derome-Delem is the dwarven "homeland", it is just that the "Bzontra dwarves" lost that piece of it. . .

Beorth:
3 (Maybe find Hurgun's Maze and "The Adder")

Is is just "Adder", not "The Adder".

In the next two sessions, about three our four more plot elements make themselves known. . . When it rains, it pours. . .
 
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Sinuhe

First Post
*busily cutting and pasting*

Thanks Mav for the list of plot threads. NOW I think I have an idea what the party is up against..... Nem has created quite a twisted plot for us and THAT is what is so much fun about his game.

I started a thread on the Aquerra boards summarizing the info that we know so far.... It's a bit more in depth than the list you have there, Mav....

You can find the info at:

http://pub56.ezboard.com/faquerrafrm10.showMessage?topicID=28.topic

Give it a look if you are interested....
 

Halma

First Post
Update Please

I agree that it is time to give us fans more meat. I do love the adventure your intrepid heroes have gotten themselves into. You spin a very good tale, and my only problem with the story is that I wish that I were there playing in it. Hope to read this story for a very long time.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Sesssion #25

“Martin! What is wrong?” Beorth asked, worried.

“The others are waiting by the caves on the edge of town. We are all wounded, but Ratchis and Jana gravely so,” Martin explained. The young watch-mage looked around the common room ver y quickly for any town guards, but could not see any. “Let’s go.”

They hustled out of the inn and through the town to the cave where the others waited, shivering in the cold.

“Kazrack, what happened?” Beorth asked as he saw the unconscious forms of Jana and Ratchis, and the dwarf’s arm in a sling, and his beard caked with blood and dirt.

“Yeah, what did happen?” Jeremy asked, with a hint of sarcasm.

“Against all expectations, we managed to get out of there alive,” the dwarf said. “I hope Jana will be okay. She sacrificed herself for me, you know.”

Beorth looked over at Tirhas who looked back meekly. The beautiful elven warrior looked tired, cold and miserable.

“We have to get you out of here,” the paladin examined the two fallen companions, and then laid his hand on Jana’s head. “Anubis, send your healing light to this brave young woman.”

Jana stirred.

After a few moments she was able to walk with Martin’s help while Jeremy and Beorth carried Ratchis. The party made their way to the top of the bluff and the edge of town.

“This is where we must part ways once again,” said Tirhas. “I do not think it is a good idea for me to be seen in town. I will return to Aze-Nuquerna and spend my time in the library there learning what I can about the witch sisters.”

As they walked back to the inn Kazrack’s mind was working as he looked down at his broken arm. “Jana, do you think you could set my arm so I’ll be able to use a shield?”

“That doesn’t sound like a good idea,” commented Martin.

“It’s definitely not a good idea,” Jana concurred. “You have a good chance of breaking it again, and it would not heal very fast, and if it doesn’t heal properly you run the risk of not being able to use your arm again. That being said, if that’s what you want to do it’s your life.”

“No, I’ll take your word for it,” Kazrack said, disappointed.

The few people in the Golden Plough stared with open mouths as Jeremy and Beorth carried in Ratchis’ unconscious form. Martin and Jana led the way and Kazrack came in last.

The innkeeper, Wilson, came rushing over. “What happened to your friend?”

“The Honeycombe,” said Martin solemnly. “We need rooms.”

“I still have that one room held for you,” said Wilson. “You can put him in there until I get someone to prepare the other rooms.”

From a corner of the common room near the hearth and below the great mural of the golden ram pulling a plough while a farmer and his family watch from the foreground, a voice rang out, “Hey guys! It looks like you almost lost one of yours. Too Bad!”

It was Gunthar. His face wa flushed with drink, and he was dressed in dirty sailcloth shirt and black leather breeches.

Beorth and Jeremy did not stop, carrying Ratchis straight upstairs to bed.

“You look all broken up about it,” Kazrack replied to the loud-mouthed Neergaardian with sarcasm.

“Hey, we have some trouble, too,” Gunthar said with affected sensitivity. “The other guys are upstairs sleeping it off.”

Kazrack could see that he stocky barbarian in the wolf hood and the tall man in heavy armor were at the table. The tall man, Aldovar, had curly black hair and a well-kept beard.

Jana and Kazrack took a seat at a table and called for Wilson to bring them some stew.

“I think I’ll take that bath now,” Martin sighed.

“I will have someone draw it for you,” Wilson said friendly.

“Wait, we should use the tub to clean out Ratchis’ wounds and such first,” Jana suggested.

“Good idea,” Martin acquiesced and sat down heavily. He ordered some stew and bread as well.

Wilson brought over a tray with bowls of stews, some mulled wine, mead and a large hunk of bread.

He turned to leave, but then turned back and addressed Martin, “Oh, there was something…”

“A message for me?” Martin inquired.

“Yeah, that’s it!” Wilson said with a broad smile. “That young fellow, one of the guards that work on the alderman’s estate who just lost his uncle, he came by here and left word that there is a message waiting for you at the alderman’s house.”

“Lost his uncle?” Martin asked.

“The dragon, according to rumor,” replied the innkeeper.

“I will have to stop by the alderman’s house once I am done eating,” Martin commented.

Upstairs, Beorth and Jeremy placed Ratchis in bed, the half-orc’s legs hanging off one end, and stripped him of his dirty and bloody clothing. Covering him with a blanket, they headed back downstairs.

“Beorth,” Jeremy said.

“Jeremy.”

“Where have you been?” Jeremy asked, as they their way down the narrow rickety steps.

“I was summoned by a member of my order,” replied the ghost-hunter.

“We thought it was something like that,” Jeremy said.

“More importantly, where have you been?” asked Beorth.

“Oh, I’ll let Kazrack and Jana tell it,” Jeremy said.

“Yes, I think we need to sit down as a group and talk all this out,” said Beorth.

The two companions re-joined the others at their table, the common room echoed with Gunthar’s loud re-telling of his conquests.

“Beorth, it is good to see you,” Kazrack said. “Where have you been?”

“I was called away by a member of my order, “ Beorth said again.

“I beat you to it,” Jeremy said with a smile. “I already asked him.”

“So, even though she was playing coy I was able to get her up to my room and I give her the ole Northrop special!” Gunthar said loudy, and followed it with a laugh and a chugged a pint of ale.

“What did he just say?” Jana asked, looking at Jeremy.

“The old Northrop Special,” Martin said, with a look of confusion.

“Jeremy, isn’t your last name…” Kazrack began.

“Sush!” Jeremy said, as he saw Gunthar coming over, he was staring lasciviously at Jana.

“Hey, hey, I heard you mention the Northrop Special,” Gunthar said to Jana with a broad smile. “Wanna firsthand example of what it is?”

“Why don’t you just tell us?” Jeremy said, his voice full of rancor.

“The ‘Northrop Special’ is a special way the men in my family have with the ladies,” Gunthar explained. “We give it to them hard and good, and they love it. Noble women swoon and hooers give it up for free. My father had it, and I have it!”

“You’re a Northrop?” Martin asked, finding it hard to suppress a smile, despite his disgust for Gunthar’s manners.

“Yeah! I’m Gunthar Northrop,” he said, with a slight drunken slur.

“I thought Northrop was a village or something,” commented Kazrack.

“So, is he related to you?” Beorth innocently asked Jeremy, and the young Neergaardian’s eyes opened wide.

“No, not all Neergaardians are related,” Jeremy said, tersely.

“Yeah, we’re not related,” said Gunthar, taking a seat at their table. “When I first saw him clear I thought he might be my missing little brother, but he’s not even from Neergaard.”

“What was your brother’s name?” Beorth asked.

“Jeremy,” replied Gunthar.

“Hmmm, Jeremy Northrop?” Beorth’s eyes darted over to Jeremy.

“Yep,” Gunthar said, signaling to Wilson for another ale. “But that was just wishful thinking on my part. What a sod-sucking sentimental horse-humpin’ pansy-poof I am, but I just always wanted a little brother I could show the ropes to and stuff. My dad, that salty son of a bitch, great man he was, used to tell me all about Jeremy when he’d come visit me and me Ma in Earthsea City (92), I was a root-sucking illegitimate little bastard, but when Jeremy died he took me as he rightful heir.”

“What happened to him?” asked Beorth, his eyes widening as he heard a tale of death.

“They had sent him to be squire to a knight, and uh, his master’s body was found in a place overrun by hobgoblins. It was assumed the hobgoblins took him off and did whatever bloody ogre-sack rubbin’ hobgoblins do to a young boy, you know the old bow-wow and poking holes they make with spears first with their hobbo doo-dads.…”

“Please! There is a lady present!” Jeremy protested. The others had rarely seen him so angry.

“Oh yeah, don’t worry I’m not forgetting,” Gunthar winked at Jana.

“It’s okay Jeremy. I have dealt with his type before,” Jana said, smiling.

“Oh, I bet you have sweet thing,” Gunthar said smiling. “Can’t wait to get a taste of you.”

Kazrack cleared his throat.

“So, my dad took me and recognized me as his heir, and I came to live with him on the estate with his wife and his daughter. He’s a noble ya know,” Gunthar continued.

“Why didn’t the daughter become heir?” asked Kazrack.

“Women can’t own property in Neergaard!” Gunthar said astonished.

“Neither can dead people,” said Beorth.

“That’s a good rule anywhere,” Jeremy added.

Jana rolled her eyes.

“Oh, my sister Eriana she’s so flithin’ great!” Gunthar said, the look on his face losing lasciviousness for a moment.

Jeremy listened very intently, his mouth open just a little bit.

“She’s a fine piece, if ya know what I’m saying, beautiful, but she’s my half-sister so I could never, you know, give her the Northrop Special,” Gunthar grinned. “But that’s okay, I look after her anyway, because that is what brothers should filthin’ do. I killed a man for her.”

Jeremy sat bolt upright.

“What’s the matter with you?” Gunthar said, eying Jeremy suspiciously. “You never kill a man?”

“Nothing, and yes, better men than you,” Jeremy replied.

“What in the sweaty ass-hairs of hell is that supposed to mean?” Gunthar asked, gritting his teeth.

“He’s tired. Ignore him,” Martin said, raising a hand and calming the situation.

“Yeah, yeah, so listen to this. This is a great story, how I killed the poncy dough-assed Baronette bastard that had the nerve to try to force himself on my sister: I heard her cry out and I came running into the room and grabbed him by the ears and slammed him into the wall, and as he struggled to get up I grabbed my sister’s brass chamber pot which was filled with her business and slammed it on the little Baron’s head, again and again and poured the stuff on his bloody face and smashed it again and again until his own filthy rotting whore of mother with festering baby carcasses falling out of her crack wouldn’t recognize him.”

“Good,” said Jeremy under his breath.

“That was the reason why I had to leave so fast,” Gunthar continued. “My father arranged for me to get a job aboard a ship, and that is how I started traveling.”

“What about your mother?” Jeremy asked quietly.

“Well, she stayed back in Earthsea City. I think part of the deal was that she stay out of the picture, bad enough father had to friggin’ admit in front of everyone that he had been poinking me Ma all those years, and sending her money for me so she didn’t have to put it out on the street, if you know what I mean.”

“I meant, the other mom,” Jeremy said, his voice soft. “You father’s wife.”

“Oh her? Crazy as a gnome in a jewelry store,” Gunthar said laughing. “She took to bed soon after Jeremy died and wouldn’t get up for much. She hated me I think She often insisted that Jeremy was still alive, I think that is where I got the idea in my head, because I always wanted a little brother, like I said before – but I should just filthin’ accept it already. He’s dead.”

Gunthar paused and looked almost misty-eyed, and then suddenly stood, “Well, I must be either too filthin’ drunk or not horse-humpin’ drunk enough, because I’m blathering when I should be thinking of ways to get your little friend here to ride me like a horsie on her twelfth birthday,” he pointed at Jana. “Later, all.”

He stumbled back to his table.

Their table was silent for a time, but Gunthar immediately fell to tell his companions about how his captain had gotten a rotting disease from a whore in Paragraine (93).

“I didn’t know you were nobility,” Kazrack said, with a smile. “I would never have guessed.”

Jeremy grunted.

“So, when are we bringing you back?” Kazrack asked.

“Back where?”

“Back home. I’m sure your poor mother is pining away,” Kazrack said.

“Look Kazrack, just stay out of this, okay?” Jeremy said angrily.

“But your family thinks you’re dead,” Kazrack continued. “Don’t you want to let them know the truth?”

“You know, Kazrack, as much as I like see Jeremy squirm, I think we should drop the subject,” Jana said, and emptied her mug of ale, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

“I agree,” said Martin.

“”That being said, it leads to some interesting speculation, and to some possible interesting situation,” Jana said with a smile.

Beorth stood, “I’m going to go check on Ratchis.”

“I’ll join you,” said Jana, standing as well.

“”I’m in the room at the end of the hall,” Gunthar called over to Jana. “Drop by anytime tonight. Rondar’s unconscious in there – but I’ve always wanted to test my father’s assertion that the ‘Northrop Special’ can make a woman wake the dead!”

“Don’t hold your breath,” Jana chided back, and she and Beorth went up.

Kazrack turned to Martin and spoke very softly, leaning forward, “I’ve been thinking about that voice Ratchis heard in the Honeycombe, do you think it was Rahasia?”

“There is no way to know for certain,” Martin replied. “But I am going to change my robes and wash up and go see the alderman and see what I can find about the dragon killing someone. Maybe someone saw it clearly.”

The watch-mage left the table.

“I think an early sleep is a good idea for me,” Kazrack said. “My arm is throbbing.”

The dwarf looked to Jeremy, who was looking intently into his mug of ale, and shrugged his shoulders.

Jeremy sighed and sat alone at the able for some time and then went over to the bar and bought a pitcher of dark ale which he then carried over to Gunthar’s table.

“Mind if I join you?” Jeremy asked.

“Sure kid, sit down,” Gunthar said, licking flecks of beer foam from his blonde mustache.

Jeremy sat down and immediately felt the eyes of the barbarian sit upon him heavily. Debo, was nearly a full head shorter than Jeremy, but his shoulders were significantly broader. He had coarse black hair and random patches of stubble. The other man was Aldovar. He still wore his splint mail armor, and his mouth was always a perfectly horizontal emotionless line set in a well-groomed curly black beard, and with bright eyes that seemed to flicker with a green flame.

“So, what’s up with your group?” Gunthar asked Jeremy.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you’re traveling with a pig-f*cker, a grubber, a doughboy…”

“Who’s the doughboy? Oh, Martin?”

“Yeah, a pig-f*cker? They smell like crap! And the grubber? Do you count your coin every night? And what’s with the bald guy? Pale as death!”

“He follows Anubis,” Jeremy explained.

“Eh, a wanna-be Jackal-Ghoul (94),” Gunthar quipped. “And what about the piece? She your girl?”

“Jana? No way,” Jeremy said,

“Oh, come on, you never gave her a little bit of the old heave-ho?” Gunthar winked.

“Will you please stop talking that way?” Jeremy said, growing angry again.

“Oh, well, just means I won’t have to filthin’ kill you when she gives me a little bit and you get angry. You know what we need? Shots!” Gunthar got Wilson’s attention. “Five shots of foul spirits!” (95)

---------

Martin walked out of Ogre’s Bluff to the west, following the narrow paths cleared of snow towards the Alderman’s house. He still ached from the ordeal in the ogre caves, and he shivered in the late evening cold, but he knew that the message awaiting him, and any information about the dragon he could gather would be invaluable.

At the alderman’s estate the young guard, Bryce, seemed annoyed to see Martin the Green.

“I need to see the alderman,” Martin said.

“Yeah, well he’s likely very busy,” Bryce said.

“I’m afraid I must insist,” Martin replied.

“Of course, you must,” the guard said crankily. ”Maybe you people should insist on hunting the dragon. All these people hunting the thing and yet it is able to show up here and kill my uncle. Typical.”

“Did you see it?” Martin asked, but Bryce had already walked towards the house, making the watch-mage wait in the cold.

Ten minutes later, Martin the Green was in the entrance hall speaking with the butler.

“Unfortunately, the alderman is indisposed right now,” the butler said. “However, I can pen you in his schedule for tomorrow afternoon.”

“That would be fine,” Martin replied. “But perhaps we can arrange for me to interview the staff about the dragon before that.”

“Well, only two people saw it,” the butler explained. “Brochard, and the alderman’s daughter. She has taken to her room since, and has not emerged.”

“Well, I will speak to Brochard then, and if possible Miss Silvestri,” Martin said. “We shall see. I was told there was a message for me?”

“Yes, it came from 12 Trolls via Summit a day or two ago,” the butler said, passing the watch-mage a sealed envelope.

Martin thanked Dormast and headed back to town.

---------

“Oh yeah, choosing which princess to marry when we slay the dragon is going to be very tough,” Gunthar was saying. “But I’m the leader of the group so I get first choice.”

“Who do you think you’d choose, if you slay the dragon?” Jeremy asked, taking a sip of ale hoping it would cool the burning in his throat and stomach from the two shots of foul spirits he had already had.

“What do you filthin’ mean, if?” Gunthar laughed. “We are going to slay that dragon. We have a foolproof plan.”

“You should not underestimate the tenacity of a fool,” Aldovar said in his creepy monotone. “But I must admit it is an excellent plan.”

“What is the plan?” Jeremy asked, leaning forward.

“Like we’d tell you,” Gunthar said. “Anyway, part of me would want to pick Princess Selma, big and strong, I’d like to break her, if you know what I mean – but I think it’d be Tracel, she seems the softest and most obedient, good qualities for a wife. Anyway, sisters talk and once the other princesses find out about the ‘Northrop Special’ they will all be visiting for a first hand look.”

Gunthar smiled and took a long sip of ale.

“Don’t you think that’d be dangerous?” Jeremy asked.

“Naw, nobility pretty much can do whatever the filth they want to do,” Gunthar said. “Look at what my father got away with, and there are others that do much worse and everyone acts like they can’t see the :):):):) strutting amongst the hens, if ya know what I’m saying.”

“Debo take the strong one,” the barbarian said in his bark-like voice. “Debo will bring her to my people and make an alliance between this soft kingdom and Debo’s tribe, which Debo will rule when Debo return and kill the chieftain and take control. Debo be son of king and use Gothanius soldiers to conquer all the other tribes under Debo’s.”

Debo made the frightening grimace that passed for a smile.

Jeremy leaned over to Gunthar and whispered, “You haven’t told him that this won’t work, have you?”

“Shut up,” Gunthar said, glaring.

“Debo strong and smart,” Debo said.

“Your strength shall be tested,” Aldovar said. “Only the strong prevail in this world and the weak serve or die. It is the simple the reality. My lord would not tolerate the weak or the meek to gain through luck what can be taken by strength.”

Debo grunted.

“I am going to mediate on the dark flames of my lord,” Aldovar said, standing.

“Remember not to abuse those powers,” Jeremy said jokingly.

“They are not to be wasted on the weak,” Aldovar said, turning towards the stairs.

Jeremy turned to Gunthar, “Did he just say we are all weak?”

“No, he just means that Frederick and Rondar are weak,” Gunthar said. “Speaking of which, I don’t think Rondar is going to last too much longer, if ya know what I mean, and you seem like an okay guy. I like your fighting style, if you want to drop them filthin’ losers you are traveling with you can join up with us.”

Jeremy was taking a sip of ale and ended up spitting a bunch out in surprise.

“Uh…” he paused. “Thanks, but I kind of have a commitment to those guys.”

“Whatever you like,” Gunthar said. He stood and sucked his flagon dry. “Good filthin’ night to you.” He turned to Debo. “Debo, go to bed soon. Stay out of trouble.”

Debo grunted.

Now only Jeremy and the barbarian were left in the common room.

It was silent for a long time. Jeremy’s stomach gurgled, and his mouth was dry. He tried to last longer than the barbarian, but in the end, his head was too cloudy and the aches of the wounds he had suffered the last few days were too much to ignore, and he went upstairs to bed.

-----------------------------------------------

Notes:

(92) Earthsea City is perhaps the most infamous city in the Kingdom of Neergaard, known for its dangerous streets, black-marketeers and swift and bloody justice

(93) Paragraine is the capitol of the Black Islands Barony.

(94) Monks of Anubis are often colloquially called “Jackal-Ghouls”, as people have the impression that they actually love death, and associate them with the misery and sadness of dead love ones, as they are the ones that traditionally collect and inter corpses. Of course, few people have the guts to call them by that name in their presence.

(95) Foul Spirits is a very strong wood alcohol popular among sailors for its inebriating qualities, and by warriors for its effectiveness as a polish for armor. It is clear and slightly viscous.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Great story as always, and interesting background for Jeremy!

Now, with such an abbundance of goals, how does the party decide what to do first? It would seem to me that perhaps Jana would be extremely anxious to fullfill her quest, since she can`t learn any new spells... but the gnomes need help, and if they don't act now the wich will get away...

Ancalagon
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #25 (part II)

Balem, 5th of Dek – 564 H.E.

The next morning the party gathered for breakfast, except Ratchis who was still unconscious upstairs, recovering from the nearly fatal wounds he suffered in the Honeycombe.

Sipping teas, and eating eggs on toast with sausage, the party said little to each to each other, until finally Martin spoke, “I visited the alderman’s last night. It seems that someone in the town was killed by the dragon while we were gone, in addition to the head guard over at the alderman’s estate.”

No one replied. Kazrack nodded as he shoved three chunks of yoke-dipped saugsage in his mouth getting the orange stuff all over his beard.

From the stairs they heard Gunthar’s blaring voice, undaunted by the cold and dismal morning, “Come on you nasty onion-string of a turd, get yer arse down there!”

The tall lanky man, Rondar, came stumbling down the stairs. He was stooped over, lugging a heavy pack on his back and looking bleary eyed. He had a visible bandage on his neck, and the way he walked betrayed that he had other wounds that had not yet completely healed.

”I don’t understand why we can’t wait another day and rest some more,” Rondar said crankily.

Gunthar came down behind him, poking him roughly in the back. The others in Gunthar’s group followed as well.

“The filthin’ dragon has been spotted,” Gunthar said. “We have work to do.”

Frederick the Amazing, the group’s bard, also looked tired and bruised, but not nearly as bad as Rondar. He ordered a whiskey and downed it.

Gunthar asked Wilson for one as well, as the rest of his group made their way outside. The loud-mouthed Neergaardian, turned to the party’s table.

“Well, good luck to all of you,” Gunthar said, raising his shot glass in the air. “I’m sure we’ll run into each other again. Oh, and Jeremy, the offer still stands.”

He winked and walked out.

“What offer was that?” Kazrack asked.

“What do you think?” Jeremy said, annoyed. “He asked me to join his group.”

“Why would he do that?” Martin the Green asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jeremy said, with sarcasm. “Maybe someone actually acknowledges what I have to offer.”

“What did you say?” Beorth asked.

“What do you think I said?” Jeremy said. “I owe Ratchis, Jana, Martin and Kazrack my life. I have to help them with their quests. I don’t welsh on debts. Anyway, I don’t know if you noticed, but those guys don’t seem exactly trustworthy.”

“Yes, they are going on with one of their number gravely injured,” Beorth said. “He won’t last long.”

“And thus the opening for Jeremy,” reasoned Kazrack.

“Their healer doesn’t seem interested in helping the injured or helpless,” Jeremy explained. “He says he cannot aid the weak in service of his dark lord.”

“So, last night Jana explained to me some about that drow witch you were after in those caves,” Beorth said, cleaning the corners of his mouth with a cloth napkin. “What is the next step?”

“I don’t know,” Kazrack said. “I’m afraid that the trail is probably cold.”

“”Maybe Tirhas will learn something in the library of Aze-Nuquerna tha twill help us find her,” Martin hoped. “I’d give almost anything to look through their library myself.”

“So, were you at least able to secure the elves’ aid for the gnomes?” Beorth asked.

“Uh, no. The gnomes leader never made it to the elves. We found a dead gnome there, but we don’t know if it was the chieftain,” Kazrack said.

“And what about Richard the Red?” Jana asked. “Are we trying to stop him? Do we think he is with the drow?”

“We have no way of knowing,” said Kazrack.

“We were so close to catching her,” Ratchis said, suddenly appearing at the table. He looked very tired, but was able to walk without help. He lowered himself to a chair. “I think the quaggoths are a sign that the drow are going to use the Honeycombe as a staging ground for an invasion of Derome-Delem.”

“That won’t happen,” Kazrack said, an edge of righteous indignation entering his voice. “I swear that if anyone retakes Derome-Delem it will be its proper owners, not the drow.”

“What, the dwarves?” Jeremy asked.

“Yes, of course,” replied Kazrack.

“Well, we should get going,” Martin said. “Jana, will you accompany me to the alderman’s?”

“Yes,” the young witch replied.

“Two sets of ears are better than one,” Martin said, and then he added with a sly smile. “We can say you are my apprentice.”

Jana rolled her eyes. Martin moved to stand.

“Wait,” Beorth said. “I have some information to share with all of you. It comes from the brotherhood of Anubis, and it concerns Hurgun’s Maze. I have reason to believe that the maze is the key to all of our problems.”

Beorth retold the story of Hurgun’s Maze and the Mountain Wars, as it was told to him by Master Hamfast.

“Hurgun was an elemental savant?” Martin asked Beorth.

“Yes,” the paladin replied and Martin let out a low whistle. “I believe that many of the strange and powerful creatures running around this part of the world have something to do with this maze.”

“If this maze is an opening to other planes, this is bad, real bad,” said Jana solemnly.

“Master Hamfast said it was a ‘planar focal point’, so I am assuming one can reach different planes from there and vice-versa,” Beorth said.

“We can talk about this more later,” Kazrack said. “The drow should be our priority, but you might as well find out about the dragon as that might give us a clue as to the location of the gnome chieftain or the gnomes he brought with him.”

-------------------------

It was decided that Martin, Jana, Beorth would go to the alderman’s to interview the staff and talk to Silvestri himself. Ratchis would accompany them in order to look for any tracks the dragon might have made. Jeremy would go to the general store to buy some more gear, while Kazrack remained in the inn in order to rest.

The bell above the door jingled cheerfully as Jeremy walked into the packed general store. The proprietor’s dog, Noah leapt up on him happily, and Jeremy patted it on the head and scratched it under the snout.

He looked up and saw someone waiting in front of the counter. The proprietor did not seem to be around. The figure wore a long gray fur cloak and a hood. Jeremy walked up behind him.

“Excuse me, do you know if the proprietor is a…”

The figure turned around and his hood slipped off. He wore Academy robes of varying shades of red, and had a well-kempt beard and shoulder length red hair in a pony tail, and held a staff. It was Richard the Red.

“You!” Jeremy cried, reaching for his short sword.

“Hold,” Richard said, holding one hand out, and amazingly Jeremy obey, though no spell had been cast.

“What are you doing?” Jeremy asked, his mouth agape.

“Buying some equipment,” Richard replied casually.

“You are coming with me,” Jeremy said sternly.

The dog looked back and forth between them, drooling.

“I don’t think so,” Richard said with a laugh. “You and your friends mucked everything up. I think we’re even. You know my plan would have worked, but now only one of the drow are free and that is much more dangerous than all three, in the long run.”

At that moment the store’s proprietor came out. “Oh, hello!” he said to Jeremy,.and then turned to Richard. “I checked, you were right there were rations missing. Funny how I did not remember the girl being here until you mentioned it.”

“How much did she buy?” Richard asked, grimacing.

“About four or six weeks worth,” he said.

“Thank you very much,” Richard said to the shopkeeper and passed him some coins. “For your troubles.”

Richard turned to leave the general store, but Jeremy stepped in his way.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” Jeremy asked.

“There is nothing more to say,” Richard replied. “She was here, Karellena. She is likely trying to make her way to the Plutonic Realms with the help of those quaggoths that showed up.”

Richard stepped around Jeremy, but the Neergaardian reached out to grab his arm, “You have to talk to Martin!”

Richard looked right into Jeremy’s eyes, “I will. When the time is right.”

“So, you said, that drow witch was here?” Jeremy asked.

“Yes,” replied Richard the Red and he left the shop.

“Can I help you, sir?” the shopkeeper asked, but Jeremy did not reply, running out of the store after the watch-mage.

“Wait! You can’t leave me like this!” Jeremy called after Richard who spun around on his heels.

“Don’t be a fool!” he said. “No, I forget, you can only be a fool.”

Again, he turned and began to walk eastward down the streets of Ogre’s Bluff.

“Where are you going?” Jeremy called.

“To find her,” Richard said, not looking back. “And fix your mistake.”

Jeremy turned and ran to catch up with the rest of the party. It was a twenty-minute walk to the alderman’s house and it had been less than ten since they left, he knew he could catch them before they could get there.

He over took them about five minutes from the estate.

“I just saw Richard the Red in town,” Jeremy said, out of breath.

“What?” Martin was astonished.

“He was in general store, asking the shopkeeper about Rahasia. She has been to town and was buying some spelunking equipment and provisions for a trip to the Plutonic Realms,” Jeremy explained.

“Did you talk to him?” Ratchis asked.

“Yes, I treid to hold him, but he wouldn’t come along,” Jeremy said. “He said he would be coming to talk to Martin ‘when the time is right’, but I think we should go find him now. He was headed for the Honeycombe.”

“Yes, Let’s go, maybe we can catch up with him if we hurry,” Martin the Green said.

“What do you hope to accomplish by this?” Beorth asked.

“Talk to him, kill him, I don’t know,” Martin said, sounding exasperated.

“The man is deeply involved in all of this. He knows more than we do and we need to find out,” Jeremy said, showing a rare bit of insight.

“I am still too exhausted to run,” Ratchis said.

“Then you start walking and catch up to us when you can,” said Martin, and with that, he and Beorth, Jeremy and Jana ran back towards town.

They ran between the many buildings, and past the constable’s office. Jeremy saw the constable give them a long look of suspicion as they hustled past.

The came to the eastern edge of the bluff and looked down at the many caves that pocked its surface, and listened to the sounds of dripping water that made a distant knocking sound as it fell into this opening or that.

There was no sign of Richard anywhere. All they could see were some shepherds grazing their goats on the plain below, in spots where the snow had melted or had been cleared.

“I’m going down to see if the saw him,” Jeremy said.

“I think it is a waste of time,” said Jana. “He is gone.”

Beorth and Martin nodded.

“I didn’t come all this way for nothing,” Jeremy said, and started making his way down.

It took Jeremy over twenty minutes just to make his way down the icy paths and gain the attention of one of the shepherds.

“Excuse me, sir,” Jeremy called to him as he approached. Some goats stubbornly stood in Jeremy’s way and he clapped his hands loudly to frighten them off. They still did not obey, so he had to walk around a clump of them through a deep snowbank.

“Um, sir, you haven’t seen a man in red robes, like a wizard, baring a staff?” Jeremy asked. “He also had a gray fur cloak.”

“Nope, I ain’t seen no wizards,” the shepherd said, shivering. He had some frost in his dark brown beard, and was wrapped in many layers of woolen clothing.

“Aren’t you worried about grazing your herd over here within sight of the ogre caves?” Jeremy asked, looking over his shoulders at the many ominous cave openings above them.

“We had to start bringing our herds down here, what with the dragon being around here and all,” the shepherd said. “Old man Carson got his sheep killed, his house burned down and now he’s dead. I want to avoid that if possible. At least you can run from ogres.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Jeremy said. “Well, thanks for your time.”

Jeremy made the slow progress back up to Martin, Jana and Beorth,

He relayed to them what the shepherd had said.

The group headed back towards the Alderman’s estate, and caught up with Ratchis who was barely making any progress, as he was feeling so run down.

“I guess you didn’t find him,” Ratchis sighed.

“No,” said Beorth.

“We should warn the elves that he is still around,” Ratchis said. “He may be trying to get back to Aze-Nuquerna to free the other three.”

“He said he was trying to catch Rahasia,” said Jeremy.

“Regardless, Beorth is right. It doesn’t hurt to be safe,” said Jana.

“We still need to interview those who saw the dragon at the alderman’s house,” said Martin the Green.

It was decided that Martin and Ratchis would continue to the alderman’s house. Martin would talk to staff, while Ratchis looked around for tracks. Beorth, Jana and Jeremy would return to the inn, alert Kazrack and get the group’s equipment ready for traveling back to the elven enclave. They would then meet near the alderman’s house and leave from there.

Jeremy ran right upstairs ahead of the other after they had trudged back to the Golden Plough. Beorth and Jana, feeling hungry stopped to grab a quick bite and a drink.

Upstairs, Jeremy was stopped by Wilson, the innkeeper.

“Oh, Master Jeremy,” he said. “I had forgotten to tell you. Someone came by to see you while you were gone.”

“Who?” Jeremy asked suspiciously.

“You know who,” the innkeeper said mysteriously. “You know the one whose name we should not say aloud because it’d get her in trouble.”

“Who?” Jeremy asked again, clueless.

The innkeeper leaned in close and whispered, “You know. The alderman’s daughter.”

“Oh!” Jeremy said. “Yes, I should go talk to her if I can. Thank you.”

He passed the in keep a handful of copper for his troubles.

Downstairs, as Beorth and Jana munched on thick slabs of buttered bread at the bar, they heard someone clear their throat behind them.

They turned.

The constable stood there. He looked to be nearly middle-aged, with graying hair, and creases etched by years of toil and worry into his face around his eyes and mouth. He wore chainmail, and had his hand on the pommel of his long sword.

Instinctually, Jana looked to the door and saw that two more guards were standing just outside of the inn.

“Are you called Jana?” the constable asked.

“Yes,” Jana said, hesitantly.

“Jana of Westron?”

“Yes,” she replied again.

“I’m taking you in,” he grabbed her arm roughly and spun her around keeping one hand behind her back. She did not resist. “You see we do not take kindly to murderers around here.”

The constable manacled Jana’s hands behind her back.

“What’s going on?” Beorth asked shocked. He fought down an urge to try and stop the constable.

“Murder is murder,” the constable said. “Doesn’t matter where you committed it. It will catch up to you in time.”

He led her out of the inn, and the two guards at the door fell in line, bringing her to a cell in the constable’s office.
 
Last edited:



MavrickWeirdo

First Post
Evil Nemmerle

The bell above the door jingled cheerfully as Jeremy walked into the packed general store. The proprietor’s dog, Noah leapt up on him happily, and Jeremy patted it on the head and scratched it under the snout.

He looked up and saw someone waiting in front of the counter. The proprietor did not seem to be around. The figure wore a long gray fur cloak and a hood. Jeremy walked up behind him.

"Excuse me, do you know if the proprietor is a…”

The figure turned around and his hood slipped off. He wore Academy robes of varying shades of red, and had a well-kempt beard and shoulder length red hair in a pony tail, and held a staff. It was Richard the Red.

Players don't encounter Major Villians when they are by themselves shopping!!!! Don't you know they are only suposed to meet villians in dungeons, or caverns or spooky places. Villians don't go shopping in general stores! ;) You are upsetting the verry foundations of D&D, so you better be careful or I will have you reported to the Hackmasters Guild! ;)

(A credit to RBDMs everywhere)
 

Re: Evil Nemmerle

MavrickWeirdo said:


Players don't encounter Major Villians when they are by themselves shopping!!!! Don't you know they are only suposed to meet villians in dungeons, or caverns or spooky places. Villians don't go shopping in general stores! ;) You are upsetting the verry foundations of D&D, so you better be careful or I will have you reported to the Hackmasters Guild! ;)

(A credit to RBDMs everywhere)


ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!! :p

Oh, and Nemm, this is awesome. Just insert my usual platitudes for your campaign, your world and your players here. This Story Hour is pure electronic heroin!
 

Horacio

LostInBrittany
Supporter
Re: Re: Evil Nemmerle

Pillars of Hercules said:

ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!! :p
Oh, and Nemm, this is awesome. Just insert my usual platitudes for your campaign, your world and your players here. This Story Hour is pure electronic heroin!

I agree fully. This story is really addictive! Now, when some days pass without an update, I feel I need an Aquerran fix. Nemm, you're the best.

Best. Story Hour. Ever.
 

Dawn

First Post
Jana offered no resistance? Not that I expected her to fight, but at least maybe an argument. Now what “murder” did she commit? I can’t recall.

Excellent story line and wonderful role-playing! You guys are great!
 

Dawn

First Post
Favorite PC - Ratchis. I like the way the player has developed his leadership abilities through the course of the campaign.

Favorite Villain - Richard the Red. I like reoccurring villains – although we’re not sure that he is truly a villain at this point.
 

Cyronax

Explorer
favorite characters....

My favorite Player characters has been Jeremy lately. Ratchis is still a badass, but Jeremy has been really interesting lately. I think my opinion of Jeremy's really changed now that I gone back and reread much of the beginning of this Story Hour...Book I.

Of course I love all of the PCs, but Ratchis and Jeremy sort of represent the types of characters I like to play. The brooding, resourceful man with a past vs. the optimistic warrior hero.

The other archetype I really enjoy playing, the scheming, subtle aristocrat-thief with unbelievable Int and Cha, isn't really in this mix.

Jumping subject.....I hope we see some development of Jana's past with this whole "murder" rap that's just come up. She's the most mysterious character, and except for her blunders of summoning the demons in earshot of watchful NPCs and the Markle debacle, we don't know much about her.
 

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