Rel's Faded Glory III: Glory Reborn (FINAL UPDATE 6/22 - SHE'S DONE, BABY!!)

Rel

Liquid Awesome
As always, I first want to thank Old One who gave me permission and encouragement to take his campaign material and run with it. All of the folks in our game group, myself especially, owe him a huge thanks for a lot of the fun we’ve had over the last few years. Plus, he’s just a plain nice guy. If you get a chance to meet him and buy him a beer sometime, you should. He likes Guinness.

You can find Rel's Faded Glory II (with links to the original story) here:Rel's Faded Glory II
And now our story resumes…

Home

Children played their games atop Kyndalyn’s Watch. The rules of their games remained the same: Whoever made up the story that captured the attention of most of his peers got to tell it his way. The characters in that story were different.

Many of the adults were surprised at how little time it took for the kids to change their games from being “Legionnaires defending against the savage Fodor Barbarians” to “The Glynden Watch fighting the Orcish Horde” or “The Defenders of Glynden smashing the Army of the Dead”. But it shouldn’t have surprised them. Children always adapt quickly.

One thing that changed about the games was that nobody wanted to be the bad guys anymore. It was one thing to pretend to be a savage Corritani warrior, fruitlessly assaulting the walls of Glynden. It was quite another to place oneself in the role of the inhuman Orcs or the unfathomable walking dead. For now, a nearby thicket of briars and bushes was portraying the armies of the evil foes of Glynden. And the children were winning. If those bushes survived another heroic charge accompanied by a barrage of thrown stones and the beating of stout sticks acting in place of swords, it would be just the most recent in the series of miracles that had benefited Glynden.

A couple of miles off to the north, in the woods that lay north of town, lived a man who may have disapproved somewhat of the rough treatment of those bushes. But Speaks With Stone wasn’t home right now. He had flown west to check on matters among the tribes across the Fodor and visit his sister, Tarsheeva and her employer, the merchant-wizard, Tadius Silvanus.

Which was not to say that the woods he called home were left untended. The “Stone Wood” as the folk of Glynden were now calling it had a group of new guardians that assured that it would be given a great deal of respect from now on. Dotted throughout the woods were short, thick, stone pillars that bore strange markings on them. But far stranger still were the oaks that one might find had moved overnight or the wolves who might now ask one what business one had in the Stone Wood in unaccented Imperial. Even if he were not somewhat of a local hero, the simple people of the Lost Northern Provinces would have had ample reason to respect the forest that he called home.

So much respect in fact that most had flatly refused to escort a group of strangers there who had recently arrived in town seeking the Druid. The group that had gathered in town was an esoteric bunch but all had a bearing that showed they were men of experience in their respective fields. They also had an air of impatience about them and they spent their time anxiously pacing the floor of Nan’s Tavern, often standing at the window and hoping that the reclusive Speaks With Stone would soon make an appearance. Finally he did.

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Speaks landed in his grove and greeted his four legged friends. Jitterbug and Snuff bounded out of their cave as Whisper quietly slinked back into the grove from where she had been on watch a bit closer to town. The wolves all began to talk at once, not having any of the manners about not interrupting one another that humans did. Speaks was hard pressed to follow all of what they had to tell him about what had transpired during his absence but it was clear that some people were looking for him and they awaited him in Glynden.

He interrupted them long enough to ask a question: “Did any of these people look like the Inquisitors of St. Cuthbert?”

They answered in unison: “No.” Upon which point they went back to their unending stream of questions, comments and exclamations. Speaks began to wonder if he would someday regret the solitude he had given up the day he began to Awaken these friends of his.

Their chatter came to a sudden stop when they all began to sniff the air with great interest. Snuff laid his ears back momentarily as a large form crept up to the edge of the grove.

“Scipio!” called Speaks as he ran over to greet the animal companion that he had left behind while on his trip to the west. He embraced the enormous head of the Dire Mountain Lion who let out a rumbling purr as he lifted Speaks off the ground. Nearly losing his balance, Speaks steadied himself by reaching below to grab the pair of huge fangs that made his companion look so fearsome. Scipio set the Druid down and got a few more scratches behind the ears.

“Come on, Scipio, we’re going to town.”

NEXT: A Fellowship Formed
 
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Rel

Liquid Awesome
Broccli_Head said:
I'm back!
AND BADDER THAN EVER!

Sorry, that just popped into my head.

I'm pleased to report that I followed some of my own advice from the past and I've done two things that should keep the Story Hour flowing for some time to come.

First, we started playing about a month ago and we now have 4 sessions under our belts. That means that I've got plenty of material to write from but it's still fairly fresh. It also means that I've got a better sense of the new characters' personalities than if I'd started writing after the first session.

Secondly, one of our players (Krase/Raven/Lazarius) has been writing up "battle reports" for me as we go along. That makes it much easier for me to write the story hour sessions that involve combat.

The post above takes us up through about the first ten minutes of the first session so there is a lot more coming down the pike. I'll probably post 2-3 times a week for the next 2-3 weeks and then we'll likely have caught up to "real time" and I'll drop back to posting weekly.

So far this campaign has been a blast and I've got big plans for its future. Also note that this will be our first forray into the "upper levels" as the party started out at 8th. So expect some flashy special effects too.
 

Lola

Villager
"sorry, but I've been busy setting up my home office", hmmm? Very nice beginning, has a good hook to it. Now I have to go read the beforehand stuff... oh well, doesn't look like I'll be using my storyhour time to read jonrog's story anytime soon, anyway. :rolleyes:

Who knows, maybe I can get my storyhour stamina up to the point where I can begin to think about approaching P-kitty's story. Maybe.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Lola said:
"sorry, but I've been busy setting up my home office"
Among OTHER things. Sheesh, it's tough knowing folks on multiple forums. ;)

And I got some more SH written last night so if I get a chance to finish that installment sometime today, I'll post it.
 

Darklone

Registered User
Eagerly waiting. Guys on similar forums? No problem, as long as the bastards would use the same nicks everywhere :D
 

Jon Potter

Villager
Lola said:
Now I have to go read the beforehand stuff...
It's worth the effort, IMO.

Who knows, maybe I can get my storyhour stamina up to the point where I can begin to think about approaching P-kitty's story. Maybe.
Urk! Don't forget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs! :D

It's also worth the effort, though.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Jon Potter said:
It's worth the effort, IMO.
Why thank you sir. Your check is in the mail. BTW, I don't think I've seen you post in the NC Game Day III thread. You should correct that. :D

A Fellowship Formed

Speaks donned the wooden mask that he often wore in town and confidently approached the gates of Glynden with Scipio close at heel. There were a handful of guards atop the wall but none challenged the Druid as he passed through the gates. He did notice a couple of them with their jaws slack at the sight of his companion.

Making his way up the main road into town, he could tell that there were more people about than usual. With the lands across the Fodor now considered “friendly” territory and with Aquae Sulis having recently been reoccupied by a force of miners and guardsmen, Glynden was regaining its status as a crossroads instead of a dead end. Several people screamed at the sight of the huge cat that walked beside Speaks and even more stared in astonishment. Speaks ignored them all from safe behind his mask.

As he strode up to the front door of Nan’s Tavern, Speaks spoke firmly to Scipio, “Stay outside and don’t eat anybody.” He entered to see Nan perched near a window with a scowl on his face.

“That cat is NOT going to be good for business!”

Speaks chuckled and quipped back, “Don’t worry, Nan. He’ll keep a few people out but he’ll keep some in too.” He glanced around the common room to find that he spoke the truth. Several patrons were looking outside at the enormous mountain lion who lay outside the door. None seemed inclined to depart via that route. Another knot of people caught his attention by the fact that they were looking at him and not out the windows. The group was eclectic in composition but it held at least one familiar face.

“Lazarius! Good to see you again. I thought you might have headed back south by now.”

The Imperial War Wizard rose to greet Speaks. “I found that I had further business that kept me in Glynden for the balance of the summer. And now I have business that will take me away, but not back to the south. This matter is one that these other gentlemen and I wish to discuss with you.” Lazarius gestured at the others gathered around a table and Speaks also noticed another man dressed in the garb of one of the tribes of the Fodor approaching them. Introductions began.

The first to step forward was a gregarious seeming chap of slender build with the slender blade of a rapier hanging at his side. His clothing was well made but built for the outdoors. “I’m Marius Flavius of the Imperial Explorers Society. I’ll get right to the point: I am looking for a place that you may have heard of in legends – The City of Endless Summer. My understanding is that you have traveled extensively among the lands of the b…” he caught himself as he glanced at the nearby tribesman, “lands across the Fodor. Lazarius here also mentioned that the Orcs who attacked those lands may have originated from the very place I seek. I’d like to see if you are interested in accompanying me to that area to see if what the legends say are true.”

Speaks regarded him for a moment. He had been intending to investigate the City of Endless Summer himself now that he had secured his hold on his forest home. But this young man spoke of walking into very dangerous lands with a light-hearted tone that sounded more appropriate when talking of a stroll in one of the well tended parks of the Empire. His thoughts on the matter were broken as the other gentleman at the table broke into the conversation.

“My name is Marcus and I am in the service of St. Cuthbert. I hail from Oar and my brethren have reported that there is corruption that lurks in the mountains to the west. I mean to root out this evil and expose it to the Justice of St. Cuthbert.”

Everything about the young man spoke of action and there was little doubt in the mind of anyone present that “the Justice of St. Cuthbert”, as Marcus understood it, was to be found somewhere around the business end of the heavy mace that hung at his side. Those who had spent time with him for the last several days knew that he spoke seldom but that his focus on the foes of his church was always on his mind.

“If some remnant of the Cult of Bane is behind the Orcs who assailed the Western Wilds then I shall see to it that they are eradicated. To that end, I would ask that you assist me as you assisted the Inquisitors that preceded me.”

Speaks was glad that he still wore his mask for he knew that his expression would betray his true thoughts about the “assistance” he had rendered to the Inquisitors of St. Cuthbert. At least this Marcus fellow seemed to know where the true evil was to be found and was not making any implications that Speaks himself was the origin of it. Marcus took a small but discernable step back away from the table as if to signal that his speech was done and he would resume his vigilant guard against any evil or corruption that dared rear its head in Nan’s Tavern.

A new voice took Speaks somewhat by surprise as it came from the periphery of the conversation where his vision was blocked by his mask. It was also notable in that it spoke Fodoran rather than Imperial. “I am Cathal (*pronounced “Ca-hall”, like alcohol without the “al”*) of the Brigantes. It is an honor to stand beneath the same roof again, Speaks With Stone.”

Speaks turned and looked at the man for a moment before recognition set in. This was one of the men who made up the other harrying force that had helped to slow the Orcish advance on Hrongar’s Hill, buying enough time for the men of Glynden and the tribes of the Fodor to complete their fortifications. He had briefly met Cathal in the aftermath of the Winter War when he, Krase and Rhys were honored in the mead hall of Urdrax, chieftain of the Brigantes. “Well met, Cathal. You are far from home.”

Cathal stood unmistakably apart from the three Imperials who occupied the table, acutely aware of just how far from home he was. “I have come seeking you to ask that you join me on a quest to aid a friend we share. Ilrath and his party are still missing.”

Word had reached Speaks earlier in the summer that there had been no indication of the whereabouts of Ilrath and the small band of men whom he had led into the Black Peaks seeking the source of the orcish army that had invaded his homeland. Based on the odd dress of the Orcs, that place of origin was presumed to be the same “City of Endless Summer” that Marius and Marcus both sought. Speaks had hoped that, by summer’s end, Ilrath would have returned bringing word of that mysterious place. It seemed that this was not to be.

“I suppose that leaves me,” said Lazarius. “I too would be interesting in joining you all if you intend to travel to The City of Endless Summer. If there are those who still cling to the worship of The Dead God, I suspect that my colleagues at the Imperial War College would like to know of it. And clearly a place steeped in such mystery and legend as a city that remains warm year round despite being located in the mountains of the Northlands deserves my attention.” The intensity of Lazarius’ gaze spoke of a burning desire to seek out the place.

Speaks glanced about at this odd group who all seemed to share a common goal, if for different reasons, and felt an almost palpable sense of fate.

“Perhaps we should sit.” The three Imperials quickly complied but Cathal remained standing, leaning against one of the wooden pillars that dotted the common room. Speaks began to further acquaint himself with Marcus and Marius but it was obvious that he had already committed himself to undertaking the journey west. Cathal heard a noise from outside and moved slowly toward the window.

He saw outside the slender form of Kyndalyn the Younger. The half-elf was one of the local men who made up the Glynden Council and also “captain” of the Glynden Guards. He seemed to be having a stern conversation with the large cat that lay in the dusty road outside. Cathal regarded Speaks’ choice of animal companion as somewhat interesting considering some quiet rumors he’d heard back home.

As Cathal watched further, Kyndalyn stared closely into the eyes of the cat and then abruptly ended the conversation, moving quickly to enter the door to the tavern.

“Speaks!”

The Druid turned to see Kyndalyn standing near the bar looking decidedly unhappy. He spoke again, his words terse. “A word please.”

Speaks excused himself from the table and approached the half-elf who immediately addressed him firmly but in a low voice. “I've been talking to that damn cat for the last few minutes, thinking it was you!" Speaks tried to keep from bursting out in laughter. "You know that you have the gratitude of the town for all you’ve done for us. And you are welcome here any time. I’ve made no comment when one of your wolves was with you, even if one did startle the hell out of Briley Brathwaite when it told him to stop staring. But that…cat is another matter entirely. People are afraid to leave their houses!”

Speaks grinned behind his mask. He had not always been so favorably looked upon by the people of Glynden as he was right now. The notion that they might be scared of his friend Scipio gave him a certain mischievous joy that originated in the less mature part of his soul. But Speaks had great respect for Kyndalyn and wanted to do nothing that would make his job harder or damage their relationship. “You have my apologies. I won’t bring Scipio to town with me next time. But he really is very nice and well behaved, don’t you think?”

Glancing outside, Kyndalyn saw that Scipio was standing up now, rubbing his haunch against one of the hitching posts outside the tavern, purring loudly as he scratched what itched. “Be that as it may, I’m not sure the townsfolk are ready for him roaming the streets. But I’ll guarantee that his appearance here today will keep your woods free from any poachers that may not be scared off by talking trees or wolves.”

Kyndalyn glanced over the Druid’s shoulder. “I’ve had my eye on that group for the past few days. What’s their business?”

Speaks looked over at the table filled with Lazarius and his new acquaintences who were being served drinks by Nan. “Ilrath still hasn’t returned from the Black Peaks. I’m going to go west looking for him and to try and find the place the Orcs came from to make sure they don’t have another army coming this winter.”

Kyndalyn frowned. He had seen plenty of battle during the Winter War and knew that the tribes of the Fodor were ill positioned to withstand another such attack. “Ilrath is a good man. I hope you find him. But I pray you don’t find another army of Orcs.” His brow furrowed in thought. “I’ve got half the Guard in Aquae Sulis guarding the miners against Gnolls or worse.” They both knew that by “worse”, Kyndalyn meant any stray remnants of the Army of the Dead, led by the Dark Druids, which had marched on Glynden in the spring. “But if there’s another army of Orcs, I’ll try and spare some men to help Urdrax. Gods know that he’s short on men after the Winter War.”

It was Speaks turn to frown. “I pray that they have no need of our men again so soon.” He nodded to Kyndalyn and returned to the table where Cathal had now reluctantly drawn up a chair and sat down. “Alright. I can be ready to depart in a couple of days. We’ll need to secure some supplies…”

NEXT: Westward Into Danger (Or “Can I Have Fries Instead of a Salad?”)
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Darklone said:
I never had awakened animals in my campaigns yet... but I think I will now :D
Just so there's no confusion, Scipio isn't awakened (in case that's what you were thinking). He's a regular Animal Companion (well, as regular as a Dire Lion ever is). Kyndalyn was just talking to him because he had seen Speaks transform into other animals before so he assumed that Scipio was him.
 

Darklone

Registered User
Yeah, I meant the wolves... "Don't stare at me, buddy!"

Or the part where Speaks thinks about whether it was a good idea to have so many talking trees and wolves around...
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Why thank you, Elder-Basilisk. With fine gentlefolk such as yourself comprising my readership, I assure you that I cannot help but put my utmost efforts into the task set before me. And I pray that I can do equal justice to the players who help weave our tale as those to whom I am honored to present it...

Er, sorry about that. I've been reading "Guns of the South" and I find myself slipping into "General Lee" mode too often these days. But the sentiment remains. Thanks for reading.
 
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Broccli_Head

Explorer
Rel said:
Er, sorry about that. I've been reading "Guns of the South" and I find myself slipping into "General Lee" mode too often these days. But the sentiment remains. Thanks for reading.
I read that a while back. One of Turtledove's better works. I heard that there was a sequel. Never got my hands on it.

Wonder if the book will influence the direction of your campaign.... ;)
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Broccli_Head said:
I read that a while back. One of Turtledove's better works. I heard that there was a sequel. Never got my hands on it.

Wonder if the book will influence the direction of your campaign.... ;)
Hmm. You mean like if some Banites from the distant future used a time machine to travel back and provide the orcish horde with a trainload of AK-47's to use against the Barbarian tribes of the Fodor? Hmmmm...

Nah. I like how I leave the game session each weak alive instead of buried in a shallow grave in Speaks With Stone's back yard.

BTW, I got a bit more writing done last night so expect an update sometime over the weekend.
 

Ruined

Villager
Glad to see you back in the SH fold, Rel. I'll be keeping up from here on.

(also saw your message about lunch. Send me a mail when your topsy-turvy schedule straightens out and we'll hang out.)
 

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