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

Rel

Liquid Awesome
adamantineangel said:
So, would now be a good time to start reading this series?

I'd probably wait another hour or two when I post the FINAL update. If you read REALLY fast then you might wind up finishing and having to wait a full ten minutes or so for the next update, which can very tedious if you ask the other posters in this thread.
 

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Rel

Liquid Awesome
The bulk of Bale’s army had still not even gotten within sight of where the true battle raged. They were doing their best to hack and clamor their way through the thicket wall. In some areas the plants seemed to come alive to rip and tear at those within, becoming an impenetrable Web of Briars. Sometimes an individual Neoghi or cluster of Duergar would suddenly plunge into a watery pit to be dragged under by the weight of their armor. All were driven by Bale-inspired bloodlust but even through the haze of hate they could tell that they were not supporting their master well at the present. Some near the rear thought they heard a horn sounding behind them.

Above the marsh, the shimmering cloud that remained where the Shining Lady had been slain was finally starting to fade but as it dissipated three of the motes of light within refused to vanish. These glowing balls descended toward the battle at high speed, heading directly toward where Cathal and Marcus stood fighting Bale. Marcus noticed them coming but did not know what to make of them. Cathal was too busy to notice or care.

He struck again at Bale, delivering a blow that would have laid low any normal foe. But to Bale it was only a slash into his liquid body that was whole again a second after it was delivered. Cathal gritted his iron teeth together and braced for Bale’s counterattack.

Bale cast aside his broken weapon and unleashed his fists upon the insolent human who dared to assault his godliness. Fists like charging bulls crushed down upon Cathal, striking him with force unlike any he had ever known. Had Marcus not been siphoning away a goodly portion of the pain that his Iron Body withstood, he would have died then and there. But with the aid of his friend he managed to hold on for a few moments longer.

(I truly hate to break up the narrative with GM commentary, but I feel compelled to point out that Bale hit all four times with his fists and did 128 points of damage with this series of attacks. Never before had the party even come close to seeing this much damage done by or to anything they had fought.)

In the air, Marius slew another Dragonkin and saw two more fall to the combined assault of the Treants and Dire birds that aided them. They were nearly starting to outnumber their foes if only that pack of Giants and Ogres were not about to swarm in to overwhelm them. As if in answer to his prayer, a thundering herd of animals swept across the marsh and plowed into the Ogres. Great Root himself engaged one of the Giants, smashing at him with his huge, oaken arms. Lazarius stepped forward and unleashed a cloud of Glittering Dust upon the lead Giant and immediately followed with a surging Bolt of Lightning that struck the blinded behemoth.

Speaks charged the Lizard-Thing, crouching and then springing up at the last moment to close his huge jaws on its scaly throat. It struggled briefly before Speaks magic overtook it and it felt the Kiss of Death. It flopped lifelessly from the Druid’s bloody jaws and lay still as its blood began to flow through the water to strengthen and nourish its cruel master.

Back along the thicket wall, a breakthrough was taking place on the far left flank. A mob of Duergar had finally hacked a hole with their axes and charged ahead to rally with their mighty master. Behind them a loose horde of a hundred Orcs also began to run through this gap in the fortifications.

With a great cry, Magdar’s Orcs, led by Scar the Half-Orc charged around the end of the palisade to crash into the Grey Dwarves. The battle hardened crew brought axe and hammer pounding into the unshielded right flank of the Dwarves who began to fall in increasing numbers as they ran about confused as to whether to stay and fight the Orcs or rush ahead to the call of Bale. This disorganized mob threatened to be overrun by the oncoming horde of Orcs for a moment before the front rank of Orcs suddenly exploded in fire.

Rhys soared above on his carpet blasting fire hither and yon with abandon. His wand had killed fifty Orcs in mere moments and he showed no signs of slowing down. From his high vantage he could see that a phalanx of Legionnaires were maneuvering to the end of the palisade, ready to come to their aid if the breakthrough continued. But he could also see that more breakthroughs were coming all up and down the thicket wall. The marsh was about to become a very crowded place.
 

Mark Causey

First Post
I'm glad you'll be done soon. It'll give you little excuse not to start planning games to run that I can participate in :p

Okie dokie, I'll wait for the end to post.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Everything converged on the island in the center of the marsh. Ilrath and Magdar overcame the clouding of their minds and charged into knee deep water to attack Bale’s flank. The Giants and Ogres continued to struggle toward the melee with Dire Wolves, Bears and Elk biting and clawing and goring them all the while. The Shining Lady’s dying gift of the Lanter Archons swooped in to surround Marcus with their light and bolster his body with their magic. Speaks huge bear form crashed forward and he infused all within this Circle with Healing.

And in the center Cathal began to sing.

Not all present understood the words to the Brigante Battle Hymn but its meaning was clear: Death is all around us but we shall not stop.

Another barrage of blows rained down from the godling to land on the warrior. If there was one thing that Bale could not abide then it was Hope. And if there were two things that Bale could not abide then the other one was Singing. His crushing attacks landed upon the iron warrior but they seemed to lack the strength of his earlier assault.

Despite the fact that this series of blows were not as strong, Cathal was barely standing. He knew that the next attack would be the one that destroyed him and he only hoped that Marcus or Ilrath or someone could take up the Bloodstone Blade and succeed where he had failed. He struck again weakly but his blade did not bite deep and Bale shrugged aside its magic again with ease.

The battle continued to rage all around the central confrontation. Lazarius swooped to the side and sent another Lightning Bolt sizzling through both Giants. The one fighting Great Root howled at the terrible burns it withstood. The blinded one died as blood boiled out of his mouth to spray the marsh with gore that immediately turned to crawl to its giant master. Marius skewered the last of the Dragonkin through the chest leaving him gasping. A giant limb smote the creature from the air in the next instant leaving the sky clear of foes for now.

Cathal delivered another weak thrust with the Bloodstone Blade, doing no noticeable harm to Bale. Cathal felt every ounce of the weight of the stone sword as his strength fled from him. The tip of the weapon dipped down to rest upon the ground as the Brigante looked up at the wall of blood before him to see Bale raise his fists high above to deliver the final blow. Cathal’s vision seemed to blur in the face of the oncoming attack and he mustered his last breath to continue belting out his song of hope.

Blood splashed outward from the impact of Bale’s fist. The godling roared in frustration as Marcus’ Wall of Force warded off the smashing blow. He held forth the Shield in grim determination, knowing that he had bought them not minutes but seconds to live before Bale recovered.

Sensing the desperation, Speaks resumed human form that he might crowd in close enough to provide healing to the failing Cathal. Even Marius swooped in on his great wings and managed to activate a Scroll of Healing that he had obtained from the Church in Emor. Lazarius was busy dodging blows from a very angry Giant or he might have tried to assist them as well.

The Giant swung at the flying Wizard in a rage that would have been present even if Bale had not. One, two Lazarii were struck from the air. But not the one that truly mattered. That one let fly with his final Lightning Bolt and the Giant fell with a great splash, dead in the marsh.

Bale had been thwarted on his last attack but he was not the reborn godling of hate, murder and destruction for nothing. With but a thought he Disintegrated the Wall of Force that Marcus had thrown up and resumed his assault. His next blow struck Cathal hard but not hard enough to overcome the healing that had been applied to the Brigante in the last few seconds. Even as Bale drew back to strike again the Lantern Archons swarmed around the human to give him the strength he needed to fight for a few moments longer.

Those in Bale’s army who had tried to rally to him were starting to falter. The herd of Dire Animals were dying well, taking a terrible toll on the Ogres. The Treants were now free of the Dragonkin and surged forward to attack as well, while Great Root himself stepped between the column of Ogres to prevent them from attacking those who fought Bale directly. Blood flowed thick in the shallow water and it flowed in one direction: To Bale.

Fed in strength by this influx of fresh blood he drew himself up to his greatest height yet. His voice boomed over the battlefield and was directed straight down at Cathal.

“I grow tired of toying with you! Your end is near!”

Fists of blood hurled themselves at the Brigante warrior and drove him to the brink of destruction. Even with the combined healing powers of nearly every member of the group, the assault unleashed by Bale was enough to place Cathal back on death’s door. It was becoming too familiar a place.

He gathered himself as best he could and something that was either Conviction or Desperation manifested itself in his song. He struck a final time and felt the Bloodstone Blade bite deep. Very deep. And it seemed to strike something hard.

The “something hard” was stone. And it very quickly became a LOT of stone as the magic of the Bloodstone Blade finally took hold and spread upward and outward.

Bale’s howl of rage took on the distinct sound of panic and he flailed his arms at his own body as if this might stave off the magic that was overtaking him. One arm became stuck as the blood within it caught the magic and conducted it right up into his shoulder and then his huge, amorphous head. His cry lingered for a moment, echoing from the stony confines of his throat before it faded away entirely.

Cathal’s voice faded too as he collapsed in exhaustion next to the massive monument he had created. Bale had been defeated. Somebody else would have to deal with his legion of minions.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
The palisade burst like a dam. Fodor warriors charged forth with whooping battle cries. Legions poured out and attacked in a fashion that appalled their commanders. All sense of formation was lost as the Legionnaires surged across the water to attack the Stone God’s army as it wallowed in utter pandemonium.

They were suddenly free of Bale’s compulsion and chaos reigned. Bale’s army had been tied together by one thing and one thing only – their allegiance to his Blood. They now found themselves having forced marched for nearly a week while eating nothing but a steady diet of hate and rage to keep them going. Furthermore they now stood shoulder to shoulder with creatures who they had been at war with or the prey of for centuries.

While this may have been an opportune time to lay aside old grudges and animosity, few availed themselves of that option. The grip of hate and rage was all they had known since Bale’s return and what were a few more minutes anyway? Bale’s army collapsed in on itself as Duergar fought Orc and Ogre throttled Neoghi.

None of this was helped by the fact that into their rear charged the tired but anxious Dwarves of the Stone Tooth. Their short legs had carried them a long way in a short time and tired though they were, they were equally heartened that they had not missed all of the killing. They fell upon the rear ranks, killing those who were not busy killing each other.

Great Root calmed those animals closest to him. They had already fought so hard and given up so many of their number that he hated to see any more die in the closing minutes of the battle. But many were outside of the call of his voice and many an Orc and Duergar fell dead in the jaws of a Dire Wolf that afternoon.

When the masses of the Legions and Fodor Tribesmen came crashing through the gaps in the thicket wall it was all over. Gladius and pilum fought next to axe and sword to finish what tooth and hammer had begun. By dusk it was only the fastest and cleverest of Bale’s army who yet lived. Marius personally saw to it that any who lay wounded or unconscious on the field of battle would not rise again as he knelt next to each and gave the coup de grace as only he could.

As darkness fell there was a gathering in Urdrax’s Mead Hall the like of which had never been seen. Imperial Legionnaires clashed mugs with Fodor Tribesmen who pounded the broad backs of Dwarves who grudgingly nodded and raised a drink to the knot of Orcs in the corner. The laughed and drank like condemned men given parole and not one of them understood a single damn word the others said. And that was just fine.

Not far away on a muddy and torn little hummock amid a rapidly draining marsh there was a much more quiet celebration going on. Cathal, Marcus, Marius, Lazarius and Speaks all stood on the island beneath the limbs of the Live Oak and gazed at the enormous statue that dominated the field. Out behind it to the north ran a stone highway leading high into the Blackpeaks. They knew all too well Bale was not exactly dead but merely petrified.

“What in the Nine Hells are we going to do with the bastard?!” asked Marius irreverently.

“I have no idea,” answered Marcus but knowing already that just as Brother Lucius had sacrificed himself to give them the chance to defeat Bale, he might have to make some sacrifices to keep him defeated.

“Let’s talk about it in the morning,” said an exhausted Speaks. He slowly rose to his feet and along with the others started back toward Hrongar’s Hill.

“That reminds me, Lazarius, there’s something we need to talk with you about tomorrow,” said Cathal as they departed.

“What is it?” asked Lazarius.

“We’ll talk about it over breakfast…” said Cathal with a laugh. Speaks smiled in the darkness.

“WHAT?!” demanded Lazarius. But laughter fading into the night was his only answer as the heroes departed the field of battle.


the end
 


Old One

First Post
Woot!

Rel,

Well done and truly epic! I have said it before and I will say it again, you have done great things with Faded Glory...

Rest on your laurels, but not too long :)! What is next on the agenda? Eberron? Faded Glory redux? Prodding a prodigal Faded Glory author to get off his arse?

~ OO
 

Jon Potter

First Post
Wow! Great stuff, Rel.

But I shared the same thought as Marius: "What are they going to do with him?" All it'll take is somebody to pull out the sword to unleash a whole world of hurt.

But that and the fate of Marius and his dagger seem to be questions best answered by another campaign, eh?

:cool:
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Thanks for the kudos, guys. I really appreciate all the comments that you have provided over the years that I've been writing this thing. Just to put things in perspective, the Story Hour is approximately 650 pages in Word (12 point type with one extra return between paragraphs just like it appears here). It's been a labor of love and I'm glad I didn't know the scope of the thing when I started it because I doubt I'd have had the courage to write the first word if I knew what lay ahead.

I'll try not to wax all sappy but it is worth mentioning again that the guys I game with are my very best friends in the whole world and I love them as players and friends. I've been gaming with them for well into the second decade for most of them. I am constantly frustrated and delighted with their varying gaming styles and I love every minute of it. And I dearly miss our departed friend, Ted who was my very oldest gaming buddy. But it makes me smile to see his characters finish out this campaign even though he could not. And a great many of my best memories of him are gaming memories.

Another gamer in my life who doesn't get to play nearly enough is my wife. She NEVER reads this thing but maybe someday (when she's really bored), she will. It can be very easy to take for granted a spouse who goes out of her way to facilitate my gaming habit but I try not to. I take every chance that I can to sing her praises and crow about how nice it is to have a wife that encourages your interests. She is a fantastic woman and a lot of what is written here is owed to her.

Big thanks also go to Old One whose campaign setting inspired me to steal it and who has always encouraged me to run with it, even if I'm running in a very different direction than he would have. I am also very pleased to have had the opportunity to meet and game with him and I hope he moves to North Carolina again to make this a more easily regular occurance (*nudge, nudge, ;)*).

Thanks to everyone who has ever posted to or even just read the Story Hour. Your words and sometimes just the "Views" count going up really helped to keep me moving forward to the end. And your questions were insightful and I think helped me become a better writer and storyteller. As to some specific questions:

Old One said:
What is next on the agenda? Eberron? Faded Glory redux? Prodding a prodigal Faded Glory author to get off his arse?

Probably mostly that last thing for a while. I definately will NOT be writing a Story Hour about my Eberron campaign. I like the campaign and all that but I have not kept notes or had any Battle Reports and I hate to start this far behind anyway. The next thing I write may well be from the perspective of a player in a campaign rather than the GM. It is very challenging to try and both prepare for the next game and chronicle the last one all at once.


Jon Potter said:
But I shared the same thought as Marius: "What are they going to do with him?" All it'll take is somebody to pull out the sword to unleash a whole world of hurt.

But that and the fate of Marius and his dagger seem to be questions best answered by another campaign, eh?

Will there be another Faded Glory campaign run by me? Maybe. I love the setting but I also love a lot of other settings too and I'm not the only GM for this group. There stands a good chance of someday being another Faded Glory campaign that I'll run but it won't be with these characters. As for what become of them, much of that is hinted at in the Epilogue that I intend to post in just a bit. The players all seemed to enjoy the future histories of their characters and I hope you will too. They resolve a lot of dangling thread but they leave enough questions unanswered to provide fodder for a follow up campaign if I ever get the hankerin'.

Thanks again for all the posts and I'm more than happy to answer any other outstanding questions that linger. Also, raise your hand if you'd like to see Bale's stats...
 


Riggs

First Post
Ah, here we are at the end

Another barrage of blows rained down from the godling to land on the warrior. If there was one thing that Bale could not abide then it was Hope. And if there were two things that Bale could not abide then the other one was Singing.

...and don't get him started about whistling!!!



One can't help but like reading about something one has participated in, but this write-up was, in the words of Summerall about my favorite team, "just very good".

This was fun to read and it was fun to play. I especially was glad on a personal level that I let Marius run down a path that turned out to be very fun and interesting to me.


One last thing I'll throw in, and that is how we all got reminded of how far our characters had come when Bale started casting meteors on the soldiers in the palisade. We were typically smarting after being in one, but not devastated (on average dice), but those poor saps that were the Pride of Emor got fried in their boots. It was a nice touch by Rel in the thick of it to underline how bigtime this was and to reinforce what he'd laid out from before, that we were as epic a hero band as the world got in that era.

Well done, Rel. Pleasure to play and read.
 



Way to go, Rel!

That was a long row to hoe, but you made it. And it was a lot of fun to read. You need to post a picture of Bale for everyone's edification. I won't hint, but the model is well worth showing.

Also, I had a lot of fun playing in the game as I am having fun in the current Eberron Game.

I thought you showed our plan of pulling Bale away from his army well even without the sidenote. It's funny, I had set up the potential flooding of the ground to the south of the battle to keep off the Imperial Legions and wound up having to flood the land to the north instead. Oh, well. I guess it's good to be prepared.

I also liked Riggs dagger problem and thought it was well played.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Alrighty then. Mind you, this isn't a complete stat block, just what I had written on the card that I ran the encounter with. His range of abilities goes considerably beyond this but I boiled it down to what he would likely find useful during the battle:

Bale - Reborn Godling of Hate, Destruction and Murder (not necessarily in that order)

Initiative: +5
Speed: 40 (Ignores Difficult Terrain)
AC: 24 (+5 Dex, -2 Size, +11 Natural)
Hit Points: 390 with DR 25/+2 and 20 Regeneration on any round when a creature of his Blood is slain within 30 feet.

Attacks:

Mace of Annihilation +30/+25/+20/+15 - Damage (Target ceases ever to have been. Acquaintences make Will Save DC20 to recall ever having known the target. Circumstance modifiers apply.)

Huge Greatclub (broken haft of Mace of Annihilation) +30/+25/+20/+15 - Damage (3d6+19)
Bash +30/+25/+20/+15 - Damage (2d6+13 + [3d6 Acid])

Saves: Fort... +19 Ref...+14 Will...+13

Spell Like Abilities:

At Will:

- Meteor Swarm (6d6 x4) DC23 Ref for half
- Implosion DC22 Fort save or die from fatal inversion
- Disintegration (I didn't jot down the DC for this one but it's comparable)


That's pretty much it. One of the things that makes Bale extra nasty is that when he thinks about it he can deploy a batch of those Blood Ferals. I grabbed the idea for those guys out of the Sword & Sorcery Creature Collection. Basically they're 2HD critters with an AC of 12 who make two claw attacks at +4. But every time one of them dies, all the other members of the pack gain +1 Str, +1 HD (6 HP) and +1 AC immediately. The players had a hell of a time understanding why the first couple went down easy and they could barely kill the last one or two. Kicking out a batch of these guys causes Bale to lose 20 Hit Points while they're outside him and he also gives up any Regeneration for that round, which is why he didn't do it while he was fighting the PC's up close and personal.

Oh and here's the pic that Speaks requested. Bale looks a bit less crimson and a bit more pink than he might have in your imaginations. And yes, that is a golf tee in his pudgy little hand. When he first made an appearance the tee had a black marble glued onto it. I snapped it off dramatically (well, as dramatically as anyone ever snapped a black marble off an orange golf tee) when Capito destroyed the Sphere. Anyway, try not to laugh at my modeling skills, pogre. :eek:
 

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Rel

Liquid Awesome
Here's the Epilogue that I promised. It contains a goodly number of inside jokes, many of which were references to events of the campaign itself. I hope you enjoy hearing what came after.

EPILOGUE

Tadius Silvanus walked down the hillside with a gaggle of his youngest students clustered around his feet. “Come this way, children. There’s somebody special who is going to give your lesson for today.” The group made their way to the base of the hill where a thin copse of oaks stood along the banks of the Fodor. Their eyes adjusted to the shade after a few moments and they saw a large feline form dozing in the summer breeze. Dapples of sunshine made their way through the leaves above and played across the silvered flanks of the cat.

One of the students, a young girl, gasped, “It’s Uthreld!”

“It is indeed,” said Tadius gleefully. “He’s here today to give you a bit of a history lesson about the end of the Blood War and the years after that.”

Uthreld, opened his eyes and a feline smile crept across his face. “Come closer children. I don’t wish to yell. Don’t worry, I don’t bite.” The cluster of children gathered around and took their places near the Dire Mountain Lion.

“You’ve all probably heard the legends from your parents and grandparents, but I’m here to tell you the story my way. I was there and I saw what happened. And I saw what happened after…

In the days immediately following the defeat of Bale, the defenders of Hrongar’s Hill went far and wide to try and hunt down the remains of his army. The Duergar of Do’Kun-Ghul were among the largest groups but they agreed to withdraw peacefully back to the Black Peaks and their city beneath the mountains. This truce was facilitated by the Great Druid, Speaks With Stone and Rhys.”

“You mean Prince Rhys of Sythia?” asked one of the boys.

“The very one. But he wasn’t ‘Prince Rhys’ back in those days. And, in fact, he was considered a criminal in Sythia at the time. But that’s a story for another day.

The Dwarves of the Stone Tooth Clan were loathe to see their enemies get away like this but their numbers were few in those days and they were exhausted from their march from the Stone Tooth all the way to Hrongar’s Hill in only five days. Instead, they hunted Trolls along the banks of the Fodor, driving them into the river and out of our lands.

Along with the Trolls, many of the Ogres fled eastward into the Darkwood. That’s one of the reasons that it remains so dangerous to venture there. There is rumored to be a city in the far north of the Darkwood ruled by the Ogre Lords and their Gnollish minions. But they stay well north of the Oakwash and keep vigil along the southern slopes of the Pillars of Heaven, always watching for signs of the Dark Druids.

Most of the rest of Bale’s Army of Blood was destroyed although the Neoghi and their Umber Hulk slaves managed to escape underground and make their way westward where they still haunt the slopes of the Black Peaks. The others were hunted down and slain by the remaining defenders of Hrongar’s Hill.

Once it became apparent that Bale and his army were no longer a threat, the Imperials quickly turned south toward home where they hoped to aid the other Legions in driving the Orcs from their country. They were accompanied by Lazarius of Aquae Sulis who they say slew three hundred Orcs by himself at the battle of Hadria. He stayed for a short time in the Empire before he returned back to the north to join his companions on their journey back into the Blackpeaks.

It was a few weeks after the Blood Battle of Hrongar’s Hill that the Heroes went north again to the City of Endless Summer. There they fought against the servants of Bane, the Banelar and their undead minions. They killed a dozen of the foul worshipers of the Imprisoned One and destroyed hundreds of their unliving servants. Scar of Fenhold and the remaining Orcs who had helped defend Hrongar’s Hill destroyed the altars and symbols of Bane scattered throughout the City of Endless Summer. When the last of these symbols was destroyed, the volcano that held the City erupted in a tremendous blast. The Heroes barely escaped with their lives, thanks to a timely warning and some Teleportation magic by Lazarius of Aquae Sulis. When the ground started to heave and tremble, he called out to his companions, “Albatross, Albatross, ALBATROSS!!!”

One of the children let out a chuckle, “So THAT’S where that saying comes from.”

“Indeed. Since the day that tale was told, it has become commonplace for those who desperately wish to escape from a situation to use the phrase, ‘Albatross, Albatross, Albatross’.

After that, the Heroes began to drift apart and go their separate ways. Marcus, Holy Warrior of St. Cuthbert, vanished completely for a short while. He was taken to Celestia by The Shining Lady and honored by St. Cuthbert himself. He was saddened to learn that St. Capito never saw the shores of Celestia as his soul was destroyed by the Black Mace of Bale. Capito was canonized however and of course the Inquisitors of St. Cuthbert were renamed The Order of St. Capito. Doubtlessly you’ve seen them on their pilgrimages to The Shrine.

And, as I’m sure you know, Marcus was appointed the Steward of the Shrine of Stone. He still lives there today with his wife, Ilsa of the Corritani…”

“She’s so pretty,” blurted out one of the girls.

“Indeed she is child, although you should have seen her in her youth. She was like a celestial come to earth. They say that when she was born, she was touched by the gods and has glowed from inside ever since. Marcus fell in love with her the moment her light touched his eyes. Some of his friends say that it was only his love for her that could keep him in one place rather than scouring the Blackpeaks for any remnants of the followers of Bane or Bale.

He has not lacked for excitement though. You probably know that there have been two attempts by the followers of Bane to remove the Bloodstone Blade from where it sits, lodged in Bale’s belly. The Shield of the Steward kept them at bay long enough for Marcus and the Brigante Guardians of the Shrine to send them to see their god’s prison though. For a man of nearly 60, the Steward’s mace is still able to send most Cultists to Hell with a single stroke.

I think the day is soon coming when Marcus will pass the Shield on to another. His son, Lucius, has spent years doing what his father could not, ranging throughout the north and battling the Evil of the Blackpeaks where it lives rather than waiting for it to emerge again. There is talk that the Stewardship may pass from father to son.

Lazarius of Aquae Sulis was seen sporadically in the weeks after they returned from the City of Endless Summer. People say that he would appear every few days with bulging sacks of coins from all over the world, some of them dating back centuries. He shared this wealth with the other Heroes though he also spent princely sums on ale and whor…um, entertainment. He disappeared from Emor and was not seen for months after that.

Then one day, he came soaring over the treetops at the edge of Aquae Sulis, seated upon an enormous throne that floated in mid air. A large tower stands there and it was the home of a man by the name of Nacalius. Lazarius is said to have dropped three enormous sacks of gold outside the door and then unleashed a hail of lighting into the forest surrounding the place. Nacalius accepted Lazarius’ offer to purchase the tower almost immediately and that is where Lazarius of Aquae Sulis lives to this day.

Lazarius and your master are good friends and I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the body of work that the Wizard of Aquae Sulis has produced over the years. Lazarius’ Lavishly Large Lightning Lash and Greater Stoneskin That Doesn’t Cost So Much are fairly widespread at this point. I also hear tell that he is working on a powerful transportation spell called Teleportation Without Planar Translocation Complication after he rather flippantly jaunted out of Speaks’ grove and found himself trapped in the Spirit Realm for a few weeks.

With a small fortune in hand, Marius Blackblade made his way to Oar and sailed across the Crescent Sea back to the Empire. The days after the Orc War were dark and chaotic in the Empire. Not since the Slave Wars nearly one hundred and fifty years ago had the lands of Emor seen such turmoil.

The frail Emperor Dartalus II, finally died and the succession by his son, Flavius, was disputed by a group of Senators led by a Senator Gracchus. He made scathing accusations that Flavius’ incompetence and hunger for personal glory had led him on adventures in the north where he sought to attack, without provocation, the peoples of the Fodor, with whom the Empire was just starting to have profitable trade relations. This lust for power and glory had left the Empire defenseless against the invasion by the Orcs and cost the lives of thousands, indeed, very nearly causing the total collapse of the Empire.

It was into this political turmoil that Marius Blackblade returned when he arrived in Emor. He was quickly elevated to the status of “Personal Advisor” to Senator Gracchus. He informed Gracchus that he had it on good authority that those who allied themselves with that attack on the northlands, which was clearly the unholy inspiration of the evil brothers Bane and Bale, would suffer “the wrath of the gods”. This premonition proved true when a number of Senators who still favored Flavius died horribly while giving speeches in his support. Those present at their deaths said it was as though, all of a sudden, these men were covered from head to foot with a hundred slashes.

The final blow to the ascendancy of Flavius was when his closest supporter, Pontius was found dead. Investigators said that he was ritually sacrificed to Bane by his very own wife. A short time later, his wife, Solvaria, was hunted down and killed by Marius Blackblade. Her head was laid before the Imperial Senate the same day that Emperor Gracchus was crowned.

They say that Marius Blackblade hunted down dozens of Demons and Devils that had helped the Empire against the Orcs but refused to return to Hell when their duty was done. They also say that he infiltrated and destroyed at least two sects of the Cult of Bane that were still operating in Emor. It is almost impossible to say how much of this was true. His name was spoken in whispers and he soon became surrounded by legends. It was said that he wielded a Demon for a sword and his consort was a Devil who walked the lands of men at her leisure. Nobody knows whether he still lives or not. But once in a while, a body will turn up, killed by a single dagger thrust. And that person will almost always be found out to have been a supporter of Bane.

As for Cathal Godslayer, he stayed a while in the lands of the Brigantes and hunted the Neoghi in the Blackpeaks alongside Seshmarl, the great chief of the Allmani. But he found himself ill at ease within his tribe. His people were in awe of him and few could speak to him directly. What does one say to a man who has slain a god?

He went south along with Scar and they organized a group of defenders to take over the fortifications abandoned by the Imperials at what is now Fenhold. He used his renown to shield his people from the avarice of the Empire. “I have traded blows with Bale. I live and his stone corpse stands where I slew him. If you wish to take the lands of the Fodor, you first face me.”

As I’m sure you are aware, no attempt to land so much as a single legionnaire has taken place since Cathal’s proclamation. Fenhold rapidly grew into a prosperous trading town as the tribes of the Fodor began to trade their goods up and down the river rather than the long, overland route through Glynden and Oar. It soon became a target for the few corsairs that remained upon the Crescent Sea.

When the pirates attacked, they were met at the docks of Fenhold by a “statue come to life”. The corsairs were defeated and their captains captured. A week later, both of the surviving pirate captains were dragged, kicking and screaming, into the surf by a man made of iron. He held them beneath the waves until they had succumbed to the ocean and strode out of the sea leaving their bodies to the crabs. The folk of Fenhold sleep well at night knowing that Cathal Godslayer, Iron Protector of the Fodor stands ready to defend them.

That leaves my friend, Speaks With Stone, Great Druid of the Fodor. After his return from the north Speaks visited his friend, Great Root of the Darkwood. Great Root had been tutoring many of the animals who Speaks had Awakened in the days before the Blood Battle. They were learning the Druid ways in order to become the defenders of the Darkwood.

Speaks found that he had few ties to Glynden any more and, after saying goodbye to his friends, Kyndalyn and Father Tomas, he left his grove near there in the capable paws of Jitterbug, the wisest of the wolves whom Great Root had trained. The crops near Glynden thrived and grew with supernatural abundance. And if the occasional sheep went missing, nobody complained about it too much.

Speaks returned west across the Fodor and found a number of people waiting for him. The shamans of the Corritani and Nervii wanted him to teach them the ways of the Druids that they might shepherd their people, even without the guidance of the Spirits of the Land. There were also those among the other tribes who wanted to learn what he had to teach. With the blessing of Feather In Flight, head of the Order of Druids in Emor, Speaks formally broke ties with his old master and began his teachings in the north.

He founded a new grove in the deep forests of the Suevi lands. The new chieftain of the Suevi liked having him close by. After all, I would never have been more than an animal had it not been for him.

Not long after he had founded his new grove and begun to accept students, a very special student arrived from the west. Orthula of the Suevi returned to us with her son, Ormgar. Speaks With Stone adopted the boy like he was his very own. I was never more proud than the day when I officiated their wedding.

And here, all these years later, the two of them look almost the same. Their students have aged and certainly I have, but they seem to be steady as an old oak. Thankfully their son grew older and with age became a great warrior and leader in his own right.

As a matter of fact, that’s what brings me here to Tadius’ school along the Fodor. I’ve just abdicated my position as Chieftain of the Suevi and Ormgar has taken over. I’ve got a few good years left in me yet and I always thought I might make a good Wizard.

So, children, I guess I’m your newest classmate…”
 


BSF

Explorer
"I’ve got a few good years left in me yet and I always thought I might make a good Wizard."

That's great!

Nice Epilogue Rel. It is a little sad to reach the end of the story hour because I won't be able to come read up on the happenings of the game now. But I have very much enjoyed reading what did occur.

Again, my thanks to your gaming group.
 



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