"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)


First Post
Just noticed the new story and got caught up. I am really interested in how this story will be "more like normal Aquerra" than the OotFP campaign. So far the characters are also pretty interesting, but I hope that there is less bickering as they get to know each other.


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First Post
The group dynamics in the game are pretty interesting. There are two pretty stable voting blocs in the group; at three members each, this should keep the party deadlocked, but each character has enough drive and depths to swap sides on one issue or another.


Moderator Emeritus
Session #3 – “Into the Bog” (Part 2 of 3)

They waited for a while and Bleys called out again, but there was still no answer.

“Okay, but where to now?” Markos asked. The boy looked around confusedly, so everyone looked to Tavius, who shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, we never really go very far past this point,” The guide said. “This length of the track is old, but if I was going to search anywhere around here for a place to hole up with a captive, I’d guess the old Sunra fort at the foot of the north face of the hill over yonder…” Tavius raised his lantern and pointed to the shadow of the bluff ahead of them.

“What can you tell us about this fort?” Timotheus asked.

“Not much,” Tavius replied. “Locals avoid it. It is mostly fallen apart and not very safe and all sorts of different creatures are said to have laired there at one time or another…”

“While I do not know of this one specifically,” Bleys added. “There are countless ruins like it in this part of Thricia. The Sunrads were prodigious builders and saw ‘civilizing the world’ as a mandate of Ra.”

There seemed no other choice but to make for the fort, even though they were all exhausted from the day’s long ride on the Beach Road, and their poor horses were beginning to show their weariness as well.

“The way gets tougher from here, and rather round-about,” Tavius explained. “There is no track this far out, so stay alert and lead your horse where I go… No where else…”

Bleys the Aubergine lit a second gnomish torch as they left, however, their progress was delayed by a sudden stubbornness in Telémahkos’ horse. The blond son of Briareus dismounted and with the squire’s help began looking for a stone stuck in the animal’s shoe.

“If this keeps up someone is going to have to put that old nag out its misery,” Victoria Ostrander commented, clearly disgusted with Telie’s inability to manage with his horse.

“One thing’s for sure, some nag needs to be put out of her misery…” Telémahkos muttered, and Valerius was aghast when he overheard. Telie shot him a wink.

Their horses whinnied dolefully as they followed Tavius through shallow water and muck filled gullies and around and over rocky islands. They noticed the path they followed led away from the north face of the great hill, and while occasionally it would turn towards it, Tavius would lead them away again. Finally, when they were a few hundred yards from the hill, he had them walk their mounts across a shallow pool of green water, and then take a more direct path around the hill towards the keep.

The moon had sunk beneath the horizon and nearly three hours had gone by before they reached the muddy plain that led to the ruined walls of the keep. The old fortress itself was naught but a few dark shapes against the night sky, before them was a pool of black water that surrounded the keep’s foundations. Streams and eddies churned about the mass.

“Lizardfolk of the bog!” Bleys called out to the keep. “We have come seeking Sir Quintus Gosprey! We wish to parley!” An echo was the only response he got.

Timotheus borrowed Victoria’s spear and tapped the water ahead. The ground was uneven and the deepness varied.

“Can you lead us across this?” Timotheus asked Tavius.

The guide was crouched and looking out across the water. “Perhaps with some daylight,” he replied sarcastically.

Laarus Raymer of Ra called his god and caused daylight to shine from the guide’s lantern. (1)

“There. Now you have your daylight,” Laarus said, flatly.

”Yeah, and everyone for miles around knows we’re here,” Tavius shielded his eyes from his over-bright lantern, frowning. “Okay. Let’s go…”

They followed in a close straight line as they made their way across the mud, alert for any movement among the ruin or atop it. The daylight of Tavius’ lantern made certain that anyone for miles around would have a chance of spotting them, so they did not worry to try to hide their approach. The keep’s gatehouse towers were still standing, though the one on the left had nearly half of it torn away, and no roof. There was no gate either. Not that it mattered, there were huge sections of wall missing on the left and right and the taller square towers at the corners were mostly collapsed, with bulging brick walls reinforced with mud. Vines were growing on everything, and the sheen of swamp water and muck reflected off of everything in the light.

Tavius and Telémahkos remained behind with the horses, while Valerius accompanied the others.

“We may need your sword,” Bleys said to him.

They stood about twenty-five feet from the gate, and the light of the lantern endowed with divine energy showed the remains of some wooden barrier long ago erected to take the place of a gate. Now its warped planks were half buried in muck.

“Should we go in?” Victoria asked no one in particular.

“Lizardfolk of the bog!” Bleys called out for a third time. “We have come seeking Sir Quintus Gosprey! We wish to parley!”

“We should not go into a dark and ruined keep against possible enemies unless we feel we absolutely have to,” Markos said.

“Halt humanssss!” There came a sibilant voice from twenty feet atop the right-hand gatehouse tower. They looked up to see a green and brown mottled lizardman. They thought of him as a man, but truth be told there was no way to tell gender with his kind. He had brown comb atop his head, and similar hard ridges on his shoulders. He wore a leather smock tied with a snakeskin belt. On his back was a quiver of javelins. They could not make out the weapons at his belt; swords of some kind. “You are forbizzen here!” He hissed. “Go awaysss and zoo not zome bazk!”

Bleys the Aubergine looked at each of his companions as if to give opportunity to stop him from speaking for them, but no one said a word. “I am Bleys the Aubergine, watch-mage, and Alumnus of the Academy of Wizardry. My companions and I come seeking Sir Quintus Gosprey. We heard word that some of your kind may have taken him captive. Do you hold him?”

“No…” the lizardman hissed. “Uh… No… No…”

“Well, that wasn’t very convincing,” Tim smirked.

“That is certainly one of the creatures that took my master!” Valerius cried out and pointed his sword up at the tower. Bleys cuffed the boy without a second thought, and Valerius reached for his mouth and turn away.

“Shut up, boy.” Markos said to add insult to injury.

“That boy claims it was your people who took him,” Bleys called up.

“Who are you?” the lizardman asked.

“I already said, I am Bleys the Aubergine, and we are representatives of the Margrave,” replied Bleys. “And what might we call you.”

“Am called Chok’tem,” the lizardfolk said. “Now humans go. Danger there isss for you heres…”

There issued from within the darkness of the ruined keep a murmur like the voice of a man. The companions looked to each other, and Laarus put his hand on the pommel of his flail.

“Are you sure there are no humans in there?” Bleys asked. “We thought we heard a voice…”

“Many soundssss ssswampsss many soundsss,” Chok’tem replied. The lizardman looked back over his shoulder, and then down at the group.

“Perhaps you should call on the Covenant,” Victoria said, moving her horse over to be near the watch-mage.

“We have no desire to violate the Thrician Racial Covenant, and seek only the abducted knight,” Bleys said. “We do not want to violate your laws… Perhaps you might allow us to look around the keep under your watchful eye, and see for ourselves that no man is held within it.”

“We hassss sssssigned no Covenant,” Chok’tem replied. He seemed voice seemed dismissive.

“Well that settles that then,” Laarus commented.

“We can hear him inside, Chok’tem,” Markos called up. “Can we not reach an agreement for his return? What is it you seek? Perhaps we can help you get it…?”

“No more promisessss,” Chok’tem replied. “The humansss lie and did not keep words given. He must be kept until the time passes…”

“So you do have him…” Markos said.

”Is someone there?” came the voice of a man from within the keep. “Hello?” The voice was abruptly cut-off.

“No… Uh, yessss…” Chok’tem said, confused as to what to say. “Here he must stay until the time is over, Go now. There is danger here for humanss…”

“Danger here? Are you the danger?” Bleys asked. “Do you plan to harm Sir Quintus?”

“What is this ‘time’ you speak of? Markos asked.

“Issss our businessssss,” Chok’tem hissed. “Issss bezween ussss and the humanssss knight… We will not harm him. He mussssst sssstay here until the time issss passssst.”

“And then you will let him go?” Bleys asked.


“Why?” Victoria called up. “Why must this time go by?”

“Issss our businessssss,” Chok’tem said again.

“And how long is this ‘time’?” Markos asked.

“Variesssss,” Chok’tem replied. “Three rissssingsssss, four, five, maybe six rissssingss and settingsss of the sun…”

The party discussed the situation quietly among themselves, coming to the general agreement that the lizardfolk must feel betrayed by the humans for some reason, and this was their attempt to remedy it. Nearly everyone also seemed to feel that the knight was in no immediate danger of being killed, however, Laarus was unsure as he felt Chok’tem’s attitude was one of evasion and lies.

“He said they did not hold him, and even after we heard his voice the first time the greenback denied it,” the priest said. “Suddenly he admits it so we forget the lie? They hold the knight and are not under the jurisdiction of the Thrician Racial Covenant… We would be in our rights to go in and free the knight by force if we have to…”

“He has said repeatedly that they plan him no harm,” Markos replied.

“They lied once, why not again?” Laarus said.

“And you plan him no harm, correct?” Markos called up to the lizardman again.

“No harm. No harm. We know the men will come from the fortress… Many men… if he is killed… We have no zesire to see him harmed…”

“Hmmmm, that’s a good point,” Timotheus murmured scratching his chin. “Valerius, how many men does Sir Quintus’ father have at Gullmoor?”

“Um… maybe two dozen that can be readied quickly…” The squire replied.

“Chok’tem!” Timotheus called up. “If we cannot see Sir Quintus for ourselves, we will be forced to go to the keep and return with soldiers…”

“No!” Chok’tem nearly growled. “Thissss isss our busssinesss… He wasssss to speak for usssss to Lord Swann… He gave empzy words… The wordssss of men are empzy…”

“But how can he speak to Lord Swann for you if you hold him?” Markos said. “What if one of us were to take his place here, and we could escort him back to his keep and make sure he talks with Lord Swann on your behalf…”

“Lord Swann would not be at Gullmoor…” Timotheus whispered.

“Shush!” Markos admonished.

“We should leave the squire in his place,” Laarus suggested quietly, leaning over to Bleys.

The watch-mage frowned.

“Is it not the duty of a squire to help his master in all ways?” Laarus asked the watch-mage. “Sir Quintus’ presence unharmed will help in our negotiation with House Swann in figuring out how to deal with this whole situation, and we can hear his side of the story…”

“We shall leave his squire in his place!” Bleys called up to Chok’tem. “He is as valuable a captive…”

“Bleys! We will do no such thing!” Timotheus protested.

“Imzzoszzsible…” Chok’tem replied. “No more worzs may be spoken until the time has passed… You must not go and tell them. You must let the time pass…”

“If you cannot tell us what this ‘time’ is and what purpose it serves we cannot help you…” Markos changed his tact.

“Issss not my place to sssay…” the lizardman said. “Isssss our business… And ourssss alone… Bezween ussss and the knight…”

“So, Sir Gosprey promised them something and then did not follow through and now they are holding him for some amount of time…” Markos pondered the question aloud, turning to the group. “Perhaps they need for him to witness something? The consequences of his betrayal…?”

“You are grasping at straws,” Victoria said.

“When straws are all you have to grasp on to…” Markos turned away again.

Telémahkos began to approach the fort as well, impatient for news of the discussion, as he could hear nothing from where he stood with Tavius.

“May we at least camp here and rest our horses?” Telemahkos called up. “We have ridden them all night and they are near exhaustion.”

“Yes, in the day time we may talk again and come to some compromise…” Markos added. “We will leave when the sun rises again.”

”Wait!” Chok’tem disappeared from the top of the derelict tower, but another lizardfolk in a leather smock and similarly armed took his place, but stood further back from the edge, not acknowledging the party.

“You think he’s not the leader?” Timotheus asked. “Is he going to get permission?”

Markos shrugged.

“So we came this far only to wait?” Victoria asked.

“Let whatever will happen happen under the light of Ra’s Glory in the morning, when we and our mounts are rested and ready for the challenge,” Laarus said.

Chok’tem returned more than twenty minutes later. “You may campsss on the muzz plain,” he told them, pointing back the way they came. “We will sssspeak again in the next rissssing… And you plan to leave zen, or the rissssing afzer the one to zome?”

“After the next,” Markos replied. “The next rising is too soon to make a difference…”


Markos, Victoria, Timotheus, Bleys, Laarus, Telémahkos and Valerius rode back to where Tavius waited and then back out to the muddy plain where they made a camp the best they could and gave the last of the feed to the horses.

“Well… I’ll be heading back then…” said Tavius as the others settled down. “I’ll be taking those two silvers ya owe me on being led to the greenbacks…”

“How much?” Markos asked.

“Uh… Two silvers…We agreed that you’d pay me one up front and another two when I led you,” Tavius said. “Well, you’ve been led.”

“The agreement was for one piece of silver upfront and another when you had led us to the lizardfolk,” Markos said, and Bleys nodded. “Who said it was two?”

“Uh… Are you sure it wasn’t two?” Tavius looked nervously from Markos to Bleys and then to Telémahkos. “Maybe it was Master Telémahkos that said it…”

“Oh! It is only two silvers! He did a good job! Give it to him,” Telémahkos said, covering his subterfuge.

Markos nodded and handed over the coins, but then said again. “How much? How much more to have you stay and lead us back when we are done here?”

“Well, it is really not an issue of coin…” Tavius began, rubbing the back of his neck, picking at a cake of dirt that was building there. “It is coming on dawn and my son will be waiting for me to take the boats into the deep bog… And then in then afternoon I have to help the old lady gather the peat…”

“How much? How much to compensate you for another day’s work?” Markos continued to ask.

“Well, not less than uh… another two silvers…” Markos gave him one coin now, and would give him the other when they returned to Bog End.

“This is turning into an expensive guide,” Timotheus commented.

They set a watch, Laarus taking part in the first shift so he could prepare spells at dawn. It was mid-afternoon before they were all awake once again.

to be continued. . .

(1) Glory of Ra: A Priest of Ra may expend a turning attempt to cast daylight with a range of 60 feet. This may be cast on a willing target, or else centered on any inanimate object or point in space. For purposes of duration, make a turning check to determine the caster's effective level. Note that a daylightspell centered on the caster is also always the additional result of a successful turning attempt; this lasts ten rounds.
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Moderator Emeritus
Session #3 – “Into the Bog” (Part 3 of 3)

Anulem, the 14th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

“I think the next time we parley with the lizardfolk I shall reveal that I speak their language,” Markos announced.

“Wait! You can speak their language?” Timotheus was astounded. “Why did you not say anything before?”

“Well, I figured it might be best to hold this back in case we might be able to learn something if they assumed we could not understand their tongue and spoke freely before us,” Markos explained. “But now I think I think it will be better to reveal it and hope that wins us some sympathy in their eyes, and it will help us communicate better in our negotiations and assure some understanding…”

“I speak some hobbo, but I don’t expect that to endear me with any of them,” Telémahkos said with a grin.

“I am nearly out of provisions,” Victoria said. In fact, all of their supplies were running low, having expected to get to New Harbinger a day ago. In addition, the horses would need to be brought somewhere to graze.”

“We should trade with the lizardfolk,” Markos suggested. “If they live here they must have some provisions, plus it will give us a chance to talk to them some more.”

“I was thinking about the situation,” Bleys said, in his normal quiet tones. “And I was wondering, if Sir Quintus had dealings with the lizardfolk as we suspect, why did he leave the hunt for the bandits to come find them?”

“Perhaps the lizardfolk know something of the bandits,” Markos suggested.

“If I may interrupt, sirs,” Valerius said, his eager energy much dampened by Bleys’ blow in the pre-dawn hours. “But my master never had any dealings or contact with lizardfolk that I ever knew…”

“And who would know better what a knight does than his squire who is always with him?” Timotheus said.

“How long have you been his squire, boy? Bleys asked Valerius.

“A little more than four months…”

The watch-mage turned back to Timotheus. “So what he knows or does not know of his master from so short a time has no bearing. The connection could have easily have been made before then…”

They rode back down to the keep, their mounts all cranky from the days’ long rides. Once again Tavius stayed with the packhorse and his pony further away from the keep.

It took a long time for Chok’tem to appear at the tower again. They called for over twenty-minutes and even considered that the lizardfolk might have fled in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours, but in the end the reptilian humanoid in his cured leather smock hailed them with a hiss.

Markos called up a greeting in the lizardman tongue.

“Why did you not say you could speak our tongue when we spoke last?” Chok’tem asked, suspicious.

“We were communicating fine in Common, I saw no need, especially since it hurts my throat to speak it,” Markos replied.

“Yes, your accent is strange,” Chok’tem said, and then snorted. It might have been a laugh.

Markos negotiated the trade of two daggers for some provisions. They left the daggers by the gate and left for less than an hour. When they returned there was a sack on a post, and inside were four fat leeches three long, and a giant snail with its shell cracked open and about a forth of the meat inside torn out.

“Oh delicious!” Telémahkos sneered.

“Well, the snail is good,” Markos said with a forced smile. He looked up to the lizardfolk. “Thank you Chok’tem…Have you considered our offer from yesterday?”

“Sir cannot leave until the time has past, Chok’tem said, reiterating his vague reasons from the day before. “There is danger here for you humans… You should go and leave us to our business… Tell no one…” He spoke in his own tongue, Markos translating.

Suddenly, there was cry of agony from within the ruined keep. It was definitely a human voice.

“Is that Sir Quintus?” Markos called up. “Is he being killed?”

“No,” replied Chok’tem. “We do not wish to see him killed…”

“So, perhaps they only torture him,” Laarus commented to his companions, his face growing flush with anger at the contemplation of it.

“They said they wish him no harm,” Bleys said. “I do not think he is being tortured…”

There was a sound and movement from the top of the tower. Another of the lizardfolk arrived and spoke with Chok’tem in whispered tones.

“I shall return,” he told the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland, and disappeared into the keep, leaving the other of his kind behind to stand guard.

“And what is your name?” Markos called up to the new lizardfolk. He was lighter in color, and the mottled brown of his reptilian hide was in larger scattered splotches. He too had a crest on his head, though smaller than Chok’tem’s.

The lizardfolk replied with a collection of syllables and hisses that made Markos scratch is head. He gave the name a try, but the lizardman shook his head and said it again.

“Klock’chtok?” Markos tried again.


“Where has Chok’tem gone?”

“He is called away…”

“Is Chok’tem the leader?” Markos asked, continuing his inquiry

“How long are we going to wait? You heard his cry…” Laarus said to the others.

“We cannot just charge in there…” Timotheus said.

“Charging in there is exactly what we should do,” Laarus replied overly loud. Klock’chtok broke off his conversation with Markos to call a warning into the keep that the adventurers might be charging in.

“We plan to do no such thing,” Markos called up to the guard. He then looked to his companions. “Right?”

“Would someone care to go for a ride?” Bleys asked.

“I do not believe this is the time for that…” Victoria began

“We may be forbidden to enter the keep, but I thought we might get a better look at its dimensions by riding around it,” Bleys replied quietly.

The chatter was broken by another agonizing cry from within the keep. Laarus Raymer of Ra did not hesitate, and drawing his flail he spurred his horse. But Bleys reached out and grabbed the reins of the priest’s horse.

“Be not a fool! They are prepared for a charge! At the very least let us go around,” the watch-mage said.

“Then go around!” Laarus replied sternly. Bleys let go and the priest charged in, calling on Ra to bless their coming battle. Victoria and her mount charged right in after him.

Past the gatehouse, the inner keep was a mess of broken walls, and pools of stagnant water collecting on the uneven ground, and seeping out where stone had sunken into the loam. There was a stone building lacking a roof in the center of what was once a great courtyard, but the wall that stood behind it was now piles of rocks in a great pool of green water being fed by countless little streams from all directions.

Victoria reared up at a thickly woven straw mat over fifteen feet to a side laying in the middle of the courtyard, not far from the broken wall that led into the roofless building. Two lizardfolk, also in leather smocks, stood at each side of the ten-foot gap, hissing and brandishing machetes. They were dark green and mottled with brown, and had lower thicker crests on their heads that resembled Klock’chtok than Chok’tem.

But Laarus charged on and as the mats gave way beneath his horse’s front hooves it reared up and whinnied in dismay. The animal kicked it forelegs and spun itself frantically, while Laarus held on desperately, trying to retain control. At least he had not ridden into the pit the mat, now askew, had hidden beneath it.

“Going around will give them a chance to kill Sir Quintus! Charge!” Markos said as he spurred his horse to charge in as well. Timotheus was right behind him, yelling, “Sir Quintus! Shout as loud as you can so we know where you are!” Valerius went with them.

Bleys looked to Telémahkos. The son of Briareus had not made a move to follow the others. He met the watch-mage’s glance and nervously pulled at some loose blond strands sticking out from his old-fashioned helmet.

“Shall we go around?” Bleys the Aubergine asked his companion, gesturing over to the north side of the keep. Telémahkos nodded, so the watch-mage turned his horse and led the way carefully through one of the broader streams and around the crumbling outer tower.

Klock’chtok let out a violent set of barks and hisses towards the stone building. He had moved over on the gatehouse tower to look into the courtyard, and saw Timotheus come bursting into the courtyard, while Markos hung back near the gatehouse. He knew that the lizardman guard was calling to Chok’tem for permission to attack.

“Chok’tem! It is not too late to reveal Sir Quintus! We can still parley and no blood need be shed!” Markos called.

“They have me in here!” came a strained voice from the stone building. “They have me in here! Just don’t kill them!”

Approach,” Victoria said to Klock’chtok, divine authority in her voice. The lizardman climbed over the crumbling wall and hanging there for a moment jumped, landing painfully on one leg that collapsed beneath his weight.

Timotheus rode right up to the entrance to the building and could see the corner of some kind of wooden cage, but an uneven brick wall obscured most of it. There was a narrow stream running into a pool collecting in one corner and a rotting wooden door acted as a kind of footbridge.

The lizardman on the right grabbed at Tim, but as the tall man shifted in his saddle to avoid being grappled, the horse was spooked and reared. Timotheus landed on his hands and knees, spinning at the last minute to land softly. The horse snorted and turned taking off for the center of the courtyard again. Markos moved his horse over and grabbed the creature’s reins to calm it and keep it from riding off into a bog. “Chok’tem, it is not too late! Bring him forth!”

“You have broken your word!” came the lizardman’s voice in his breathy broken Common. He was inside the stone building, beside the wooden cage. “Why sssshould we bezieve? Rezreat now! Leave! And zhen no bloodsssshed!”

“I have him covered, Sir!” Valerius the Squire rode over to aid Timotheus, and he stabbed at the lizardman on the left with his short sword, but the blow was parried by the creature’s machete.

“Let me out! Valerius, is that you?! Let me out! They are liars!” Sir Quintus’ cries were interrupted by a bellow of agony and the sound of vomit splattering.

Laarus of Ra finally got his horse turned around and under control, and rode up to cover the lizardman that had grabbed at Timotheus, allowing the broad young veteran to crawl to his feet unattacked.

“Halt! Or this one dies!” Victoria yelled unheard across the courtyard where the fight was too chaotic to notice much beyond it. She had her long spear trained on the neck of Klock’chtok, who was slowing getting to his feet.

Machetes rang against Timotheus’ saber as he rushed into the building past the lizardfolk guards. He was startled to see Bleys the Aubergine carefully guiding his horse into the building from another huge gap in the wall, this one in the rear right corner, where a tendril of the green pool at the rear of the ruin entered.

In the rear left corner was a cage made of tall thick wooden stakes driven deep into the earth. There was no door. Inside was a tall man with long curly brown hair and wearing a dull gray breastplate that hung awkwardly on his swollen frame. He was clearly young, but his face was sallow and dirty, and he had the grizzle of beard coming in. It was Sir Quintus Gosprey. He had no weapons.

Chok’tem was standing by the cage, and a fifth lizardman stepped towards Timotheus.

“Victoria! They are not listening to you! They attacked!” Telémahkos informed the militant of Anhur. He did not follow Bleys. Instead, he drove his light warhorse back towards the gatehouse from the other side, and attempted to trample Klock’chtok with his horse. The lizardman rolled out of the way, and Victoria’s cover of the creature was blocked. She tried to smack him with the side of her spear, but Klok rolled and crawled further down the cracked curtain wall, into a an area where water pooled about a foot deep.

“Chok’tem, I am sorry that we will have to risk harming you to subdue you,” Markos said to the lizardfolk leader. He had ridden his horse around the straw mat and was looking past the fray into the building. “If only you had told us what was actually happening… Sagitta Magicus!” An arrow of shining liquid slammed into Chok’tem’s side.

Chok’tem hissed angrily and leapt over the stream to help his companion flank Timotheus. Tim was holding his own against the machete blows of the first foe, but Chok’tem clearly had a puissant of arms the others did not. He held a machete in one clawed hand and a short sword in the other. Tim spun, but felt the machete sliced his wrist open, even as the shortsword blade was slammed against his side, making his armor ring.

“Out of the way! I don’t want to fight, but I will kill you in I have to,” Timotheus warned, as he blocked and spun again, side-stepping to put his back to the wall.

“Call them off and we can still help you,” Bleys was saying to Sir Quintus. The watch-mage rode right up to the cage. The knight opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly doubled-over. Bleys noted a trailing stain of green and yellow vomit on the man’s chin, neck and breastplate.

“Good watch-mage,” Quintus croaked. “There has been a misunderstanding… Just let me free and we will flee…”

“Tell them to surrender, or we will show no mercy,” Victoria said to Klok t’chok, still back near the entrance to the ruin. She hesitated to move against the lizardman, as Telémahkos turned his horse around by the gatehouse.

“Are you going to fight him or talk him to death?” Telémahkos asked the militant. Klok tried to edge out of the reach of Telie’s lance, and the blond ne’er-do-well reflexively stabbed. There was a jet of green blood as the lizardman fled around the corner of the broken outer wall.

“Victoria! Telémahkos! I know you are nobles and all, but perhaps you can stop chasing a straggler and come help Tim and Laarus,” Markos called to them. He had stopped his horse outside of the building, as Valerius and Laarus still struggled with the lizardmen guards at the entrance. The squire was seriously wounded, and Laarus was covered in both green and red blood, swinging his flail from horseback.

“You are not taking me down,” Timotheus grunted, as he went on the defensive and backed into a corner. Chok’tem and the other lizardman moved in and pinned him into his position. “Help!” he added.

Bleys awkwardly loaded his heavy crossbow on horseback, still looking at Sir Quintus, “Let us see if at the end of crossbow bolt you are more willing to speak clearly about what is happening here…” But half a moment later, the watch-mage was startled by Chok’tem. “This is our businesssss! I said, thisssss wasss our businessss!” The lizardman hissed. Bleys cried out in pain as he was clipped by the machete, and his horse reared, dropping him into the stream. Whinnying with terror, the horse road off.

Bleys quickly got to his feet and left his crossbow on the ground, drawing his saber with a ring.

A huge chunk of wall fell away as Telémahkos’ lance bit deep into it. Klock’chtok had stepped out of the way. Victoria turned away from this battle and charged into the melee at the entrance to the building. The lizardman facing Laarus of Ra, though wounded, was managing to avoid or block most of the priest’s blows. He side-stepped to avoid one more, but did not notice the militant until it was too late. He stepped right into range of Victoria’s long spear. He bellowed and fell over bleeding out. Laarus did not hesitate. He leapt off his horse and hurried into the building to flank the foe Timotheus still faced.

Victoria came to Valerius’ aid, as the boy was still struggling against the first foe.

“Let’s just get out of here!” Telémahkos cried out, riding away from Klock past the straw-covered hole.

Markos rode his horse over to take Victoria’s place in aiding Telémahkos, as Klok emerged from the shadow of the wall, to stand next to the edge of a cracked well with a rotted wooden cover. The lizardman now had a javelin in his off hand.

“Nice to act the way your father expects and not the way he hopes…” Markos mocked Telémahkos, so the latter spun his horse around again, and again charged with his lance at Klock’chtok. A sudden puff of fine yellow particles like pollen roiled out of the pit as Telémahkos rode by, but he rode out of it quickly and did not notice any affect. He could not tell what exactly it had come from.

Klock’chtok growled as he felt the bite of the lance in the thick meat of his hip. The lizardman leapt back and let a javelin fly, but he misjudged his step and slipped, leaving him open to another attack. (1) Markos threw a dagger that missed. “Get on your belly and I will have them spare you,” he hissed at the severely wounded Klok in the creature’s tongue. But there was no time to react, Telémahkos charged in again and there was an explosion of blood, as the off-balance lizardman could not avoid the lance. Klock’chtok fell over, apparently dead before he splashed into the muck.

“I think I’m getting the hang of this,” Telie smiled.

Bleys cried out as Chok’tem’s short sword bit into his foot. The watch-mage sidestepped and took up a defensive posture, blocking machete blows that would have cleaved his head from his shoulders. He struggled so hard to keep himself alive, having no opportunity to look for his own openings to attack.

“Chok’tem! Just stop!” Sir Quintus hung on to the wooden bars as if he might fall over. “I will get them to stop and spare you!”

“Thanks, Laarus!” Timotheus said, as he and the priest dogged the other lizardman in the stone building. A hack from Timotheus’ saber cut the nub of an ear from the creature, and it was stunned, dropping its machete and clutching at the side of its head. (2)

“Chok’tem! One of your kin is dying!” Victoria called into the house. “Finish this now, or I will finish him!” She stood over the crumpled form of one of the lizardfolk at the entrance, while Valerius was hurrying his horse around the building to enter from the other gap in the wall.

“Zell them the businesssss! Tell them!” Chok’tem slammed the side of his sword against the wooden bars as he hissed at Quintus. Suddenly, Valerius was riding his horse right into the building and stabbing at Chok’tem. The lizardman leader retaliated, but his blow was blocked.

“Valerius! Noooo!” Quintus cried out.

“Yes! Explain the business,” Bleys said, stepping up to the cage as well.

“Valerius, stand down!” Victoria ordered the boy, and the squire dismounted, to stand next to Bleys.

“Yes… Yes… This can all be explained,” Sir Quintus said. He looked up at the gathering warriors with bloodshot eyes, but suddenly a change came over his face as he gripped the bars and tried shaking them loose. “But just get me out! Get me out!”

Laarus’ flail struck the lizardman he and Tim were fighting in the head and the creature went down. Still wary, Timotheus stepped over near the cage. “All right, we are not attacking… Now explain!”

Bleys stepped in to support the tall veteran.

“He… It’ssss…” Chok’tem hesitated. “It is the Sssshannis’ effect. He can’t be without it. We are breaking him…”

“Victoria! Victoria!” came Telémahkos voice from out in the courtyard. “Some kind of yellow powder came out of that pit and Markos breathed it in!” The former sailor had ridden by the pit, in trying to get to the stone pit and the a great cloud of the stuff had erupted from below.

The Militant of Anhur spun around in her saddle to see Markos, face covered in the yellow powder that emerged from the pit, crouching down to slide the thatched straw cover off the pit. Markos’ horse was walking calmly away.

“Do something! Knock him down! Grab him!” Telémahkos cried.

“Gladly…” Victoria turned her horse around and rode with great speed, reaching down the grab Markos’ thin form, however, Markos shied away and leapt right into the pit. Victoria reared her horse and as she was turning again, there was another blast of the yellow powder. It had deliciously sweet smell she could not resist. She dismounted and began to walk towards the pit.

Inside the building, Telémahkos could hear Sir Quintus weeping.

End of Session #3


(1) Klol ch’tok fumbled, getting this effect: Off Balance. Make Balance check vs. DC 20 or be flat-footed for one round. (See also: Critical Fumble Results – All Weapons)

(2) Timotheus scored a critical hit. The result was: Apply Crit Multiplier to Damage Roll – Reflex Save (DC 10 + ½ damage) or Ear Removed, Stunned for one round. - Note: that “Multiplier to Damage Roll” means that only the die is rolled the extra times, any bonuses to damage are not multiplied. (See also: Critical Hit Results – Slashing, and Applying Critical Results)


Moderator Emeritus
Session #4 – “Delirium Tremens” (part 1 of 4) (1)

“Timotheus! Are you all right?” Telémahkos called into the building while giving the pit a wide berth. He was still on horseback, and leaned forward to get a look into what was going on in the building. “There is some sort of strange yellow powder out here, and Markos has leapt into the pit!”

Timotheus and Bleys had Chok’tem penned in a corner made by Sir Quintus’ cage and the stone wall behind it. Laarus of Ra left the bleeding lizardfolk he had just defeated and calling to Ra, stepped behind Timotheus and healed some of the tall veteran’s wounds.

“No! Victoria! Stay out!” Telémahkos was heard to say as he rode his horse through the gap in the wall. The militant of Anhur had leapt off her horse and into the uncovered pit as well. A sweet smell rose out from within it. Victoria’s horse snorted and turned, and began to walk slowly towards the pit as well.

“Bines my companionssss woundssss and I will sssee to yoursss,” Chok’tem hissed to Bleys, looking right at the watch-mage. The lizardman put away his weapons and raised his hands, looking as if he wanted to step by them. “And keep everyonessss away from pit…”

Seeing that the lizardfolk no longer wanted to fight (there was another that withdrew from melee, waiting tensely in the corner), Timotheus gave Chok’tem room to pass, heading to the gap in the wall to talk to Telémahkos who was keeping a safe distance from the pit. “What the hell is going on?”

“Can you bind, boy?” Bleys looked to Valerius the squire, and pointed to the lizardman bleeding out nearby. Valerius nodded and in a moment the two of them were doing their best to stabilize the reptilian foe. Luckily, Bleys the Aubergine always carried a healing kit, even if lizardfolk physiology was alien to him.

With a muted scream, Argos, Victoria’s warhorse followed her blindly into the pit, the equine’s face covered in the yellow pollen. There was a loud crunch from below. The scream stopped.

“Oh no!” Timotheus said. The tall warrior stepped towards the pit, but Telémahkos leaned over and stopped him. “Victoria is in there, too, but you have to stay away from it, or you’ll be affected, too.” From his perch atop the horse he could see green creeping vines clinging to the side of the pit. There were some sort of large leaves as well, but he did not get a good glimpse, and it was too deep to see Markos or Victoria; only Argos’ flailing legs.

Chok’tem leapt into the pit, as the other conscious lizardfolk stood at its edge. There was another blast of the yellow pollen from below, but the lizardmen did not seem concerned. (2)

Laarus of Ra was crouched over another of the lizardmen, binding its wounds frantically. He looked up at the pit through the gap in the wall and called to anyone who would listen, “What did he mean help them? What is happening down there?”

“Jusssss sssstay back!” Chok’tem called out as he hefted something from the pit towards his companion. “Help my people…”

“You know, if we’re not supposed to kill them anymore, and uh… actually help them, then…” Telémahkos looked down at Timotheus from his horse as the latter led the former’s mount away from the building. Telie’s eyes shifted back and forth guiltily, and his shoulders were hunched. He pointed across the rubble-strewn courtyard of the ruined keep. “Then, uh… that one over there wasn’t looking too good after I ran him down…” He was referring to Klock’chtok. “Maybe we should go hide the body…?” He added in a whisper.

Timotheus shook his head in utter disbelief of the sudden turn in the situation. “Go!” He sent Telémahkos riding across the courtyard to see to the lizardman, as he grabbed his own horse, which was wandering nervously nearby. “Laarus!” He called to the priest of Ra. “There is another over here that is gravely injured!” And he rode in that direction as well.

Timotheus arrived in time to see Telémahkos leap back startled as he let go of Klock’chtok’s leg. When he had pulled at the motionless lizardman to drag the body off, it had turned and moaned and a new gout of fresh green blood exploded from its wounds. “Oops!” Tim leapt off his horse and the two of them began to tear their cloaks and togas to bind the dying thing’s wounds.

“Laarus!” Timotheus called again. “This one is going to die without a touch of Ra’s blessing!”

“I assume you’ll help me if it seeks revenge on me, right?” Telémahkos asked nervously, his shaking hands covered in viscous green.

Laarus was still binding the lizardman on his own when he saw Markos being pulled away from the pit by one of Chok’tem’s companions.

“I can do nothing for this one,” Bleys announced, standing away from the dying lizardman he and Valerius were working on. “Timotheus cut him too deep.” (3)

Unbidden, Valerius Tarchon crawled over to give what aid he could to Laarus, while Bleys hurried over to check on Markos. The tanned head and neck of the former sailor was covered in fine mucus filled with yellow spores. He shivered and jerked and his eyes fluttered open and closed. “Perceptio veneris” Bleys cast his cantrip to reassure himself that yes, Markos indeed poisoned.

Moments later, Victoria was pulled out by Chok’tem and the other lizardman. She too had the spore-filled mucus about her head and was suffering some kind of palsy and stupor. Markos sat up and wiped the stuff from his face, coughing and shaking his head. He looked at his hands and saw the mucus all over them, and wondered at it for a moment.

“It was like a dream,” he said to Bleys. “The leaf with yellow frills enveloped my head and then blackness… peace…”

Laarus and Valerius succeeded in staunching the wounds of the lizardman they were working on and discovered the one Bleys abandoned was still alive and went to work on that one. Out in the courtyard, Telémahkos and Timotheus bickered and stopped and started again, but it was no use. Klock’chtok shuddered and died.

In the ruined building, Laarus and Valerius succeeded in saving the other dying lizardman.

“I am glad everyone finally came to their senses,” Markos announced with an air of self-satisfaction that turned to sorrow when he saw that Klock’chtok was dead.

Telémahkos moved away as Chok’tem approached.

“I… I am sorry your friend died,” Timotheus said awkwardly.

“Klock’chtok…” Chok’tem kneeled beside his dead companion and lifted its head onto his lap with affection. He looked right into the dead lizardfolk’s eyes. “You were my clutch-brother, born of my brood…” Markos translated the words quietly for the others. And then suddenly, Chok’tem took a huge bloody bite from the side of Klock’chtok’s neck, and choked down the huge hunk of flesh.
“Isis!” Timotheus swore and leapt back, while Telémahkos who had crept forward again, curious as to what was going on, turned his head and heaved up his trail rations.

Chok’tem grabbed Klock’chtok’s corpse by the leg and dragged the corpse across the courtyard with disregard for any respect for the dead. Klock’chtok had ceased to be a friend or companion to Chok’tem. He was now simply meat.

Victoria Ostrander had lost her senses. She had been under the effect of the ‘yellow musk plant’ much longer than Markos, and babbled incoherently to herself, and was fascinated by shiny things. Bleys and Timotheus helped to get her out of her armor, and took turns keeping her out of trouble. She was like as an adult-sized child, and a slow child at that. (4)

”Ha! Frog talk!” she laughed and pointed at Chok’tem when the lizardman spoke.

“How long will she be like this?” Bleys asked.

“Dependsss,” the lizardman replied. “Two or four days.” He held up two and then four of his gray-clawed fingers.

“I am sorry that this foolishness led to the death of your companion,” Bleys said to the lizardman leader.

“He is gone and his sssspirit will go back into the tribe even assss hissss former flessssh will feed the broodlingssss,” the lizardmasn explained. “It wasss our own fault to trussst the humansss…”

“And what is this ‘Shannis effect’?” the watch-mage asked.

“Heh, drugs…” Timotheus said derisively when he heard Chok’tem explain that Shannis was a drug made from the pollen of the yellow musk plant and a local mushroom spore. He pulled out his steel flask of foul spirits and took a long swig, offering some to his companions. Sir Quintus was still weeping, huddled in a ball in a corner of the makeshift cage.

“Sir Quintus… Are you ready to talk?” Markos asked. “How shall you have us handle this to avoid scandal?”

“You must wait the time…” Chok’tem said. “His mind will come and go…”

“No… I can talk… I…” Sir Quintus Gosprey coughed and turned around to sit with his back to the wall. His face was sallow, and his eyes narrow slits of bleary red. “Is Valerius here?”

“No, we sent him to see to the horses,” Bleys said.

“Good… I do not want him to see me like this… I don’t not want him to know…”

“I think it may be too late for that, but nevertheless he is not here now,” Timotheus said.

The knight let out a weak sob and was silent for a long moment.

“The time must be waited,” Chok’tem said. “Hissss reassson will come and go…”

Markos shook his head, looking over the cowering knight, the unconscious lizardfolk, and then his injured companions. “This is so typical of what happens when…” He stopped himself.

“Typical of what?” Timotheus asked. “When what?”
Markos looked hesitant to continue, but now everyone was looking at him.

“Typical of… uh, when those in power… um… decide they want to play,” he finally replied nervously, but his words gained more surety as he spoke. “Usually others pay for their fun…”

“Well…” Timotheus began, but he was interrupted by the croak of Sir Quinuts’ voice. “He is right… This is all my fault…”

The knight sat up again and looked at the young nobles outside his cage and shuddered.

“You broke your promisssss!” Chok’tok pointed a clawed finger accusingly at Sir Quintus, hissing.

“When I first…” Sir Quintus looked up suddenly and looked around wide-eyed. “Is Valerius here?”

“No, he is out tending the horses,” Timotheus replied.

“His reason is addled by the Shannis, or lack thereof,” Bleys said. “He has asked that and I have told him already…”

“I just want to be sure…” Sir Quintus’ voice was raw whisper. “I don’t want him to know…”

“Perhaps you should let him come listen,” Markos said, his tone still disapproving. “Right now he is operating under the false notion of what it is to be a knight.”

“No, he has the right notion… It is my actions that are wrong,” the knight said.

“Absolutely!” Timotheus said, frowning. “Most knights aren’t… A lot of knights… uh… not every knight fails to…”

“Just let him explain…” Laarus said.

“If you keep talking like that you are going to make me sick!” The knight’s demeanor changed as a sudden anger came over him. He stared at Markos with real hatred, gritting his teeth.

“So?” Markos replied with a smirk.

“Maybe we should wait to talk about this when he is better…” Timotheus said, but as quickly as it came, the anger was gone and Sir Quintus finally continued.

“When I first sought out the Shannis it was because of its numbing properties… I suffered terrible wounds to my legs and back in the Battle of the Burning Rift that ailed me long after that battle was done… And in seeking it out I discovered the smuggling operation, and justified my more and more frequent returns for the stuff by telling myself I was gaining their trust in order to discover their real leaders and bring down the organization…”

Quintus swallowed hard and looked around again before continuing.

“I… I collected the pollen of the plant from Chok’tem and his people and provided it to the brigands who paid me in the refined product,” Quintus continued. “I wanted to gain their trust and discover where else it was sold… What else it might be used for…”

“Did it work?” Timotheus asked.

“The addiction came on too strongly and quickly,” Quintus replied. “All I know is that the men you call ‘the brigands’ are led by a man named MacHaven, and once I heard him mention a connection in… I think it was Tribunisport… named Connduel.”

Telémahkos looked at Timotheus when Tribunisport was mentioned.

Sir Quintus Gosprey began to cough, and then rolling over on to his hands and knees vomited again as his whole body shuddered. The signers of the charter of Schiereiland moved out of the building to get away from the smell and give the man some privacy to fight off the addiction.

“Do you mind if we camp here in the keep while we wait for him to recover?” Bleys asked Chok’tem

“Has the bloodlust left you humans?” Chok’tem asked.

“I never had any…” Bleys the Aubergine replied, but he looked to the others. “We’re done fighting… Am I correct?”

Everyone nodded or grunted their assent and the group proceeded to make camp in the clearest portion of the courtyard they could find, away from any crumbling walls. Laarus of Ra and Bleys the Aubergine pitched a tent, as Timotheus got some coin from Telémahkos to go pay off Tavius and send him back to town. No one wanted him catching wind of the knight’s state.

“Why don’t you pay him yourself?” Telémahkos asked his cousin.

“I don’t have any money!” Tim complained. He pulled his empty coin pouch from his belt and shook it upside-down in front of his cousin’s face. “I’ve got nothing!”

Telémahkos sighed and handed over two silver coins.

They had Valerius watch over Victoria while the others made camp. They also asked that Chok’tem retrieve the Militant of Anhur’s gear from her dead horse and he complied, covering the pit back up when he was done.

Timotheus returned telling Telémahkos that Tavius wanted a tip as well.

“I’ll handle this…” Telémahkos said, annoyed. He walked out to the muddy field where the guide still waited.

“Off with you!” Telie said to Tavius. “You have made enough profit off of this endeavor… More money than you make in nearly a month’s time…”

“Heh. Awright… Okay,” Tavius smirked and began to get his pony ready for the trip back. “Tell everyone I said good-bye and if you ever need another swamp guide you know where I live and, uh… you know, I hope none of your friends ever find out about your little… uh… delay tactics… It’d be unfortunate…” He winked.

“Yes, and it would be unfortunate for you to end up in the swamp, lifeless,” Telémahkos replied with casual menace.

“Well, you know…” Tavius mounted his pony and turned it. “Sometimes that kind of risk is just part of the job…” He did not appear intimidated by the very thinly veiled threat.

Back at the camp, Telémahkos said to the others, “It seems that Tavius might choose to repay our generosity by spreading ugly rumors…”

“Did you give him a tip?” Timotheus asked.

“I gave him nothing,” Telémahkos replied. “He had had enough.”

“Yeah, but those rumors are the reason why you always tip the help,” Timotheus smiled.


An hour or so later, Bleys the Aubergine sought out Chok’tem once again, asking what Sir Quintus had promised him in exchange for gathering the pollen.

“That he would sssspeak to Lord Sssswann about my tribe,” Chok’tem said. “To give him our messsssage…”

“And what is your tribe called?”

“C’tobe’flau’ka,” Chok’tem replied. “But the humansss have tazen to cauzzing us the Goldenstraw Lizsssardfolk.”

“And what was this message?”

“We had to flee our lands to the far sssouth,” Chok’tem explained, as Markos and Timotheus walked over to join the conversation. “But we knew these were human landsss and did not want to cause conflict. We ozzered to pledge our ssspearsss to Lord Ssswann and to pay tribute in return for protection… ssso that we may not need leaze our landsss again.”

“And what was the response? Did he relay the message?” Bleys asked.

The lizardman shook his head in an exaggerated way that was clearly an imitation of human gestures. “He ssssaid that Lord would need much convinssing… He kept sssaying, ‘more zime’, but he broke promise… He never asked…”

“Where is the rest of your tribe now?” Bleys asked.

Chok’tem would not reply.

“I assume your tribe is more than these four,” Bleys said, and Chok’tem nodded again in his exaggerated way.

“That is none of our business,” Timotheus said.

“Of course, it is our business,” Bleys replied, curtly. The watch-mage turned back to the lizardman. “Why do you not recognize the Thrician Racial Convenant?”

“Our former landsss are not in what the humansss call Thrissssia,” Chok’tem replied. “Far south. Past the rift…”

“The Disputed Territories,” Timotheus said.

“We travel there… Perhaps one of your tribe would be willing to serve as a guide…” Markos suggested.

“And break more promisessss? No!” Chok’tem barked.

“I have broken no promise,” Markos replied.

“I think Lord Swann would be agreeable to such an arrangement,” Bleys said.

“Are you sure?” Timotheus asked.

“To have a tribe of lizardmen to pay your tribute and fight for you… Would this not be a great boon to his House?” Bleys reasoned.

“I agree with you, but I do not think everyone is so open-minded and rational,” Timotheus explained.

Markos continued his futile negotiations with the incredulous Chok’tem, as the others listened on, equally so. Laarus of Ra and Telémahkos had come over as well, but growing bored of the talk stepped away from the building.

“What do you think? If we bring this knight back to Lord Swann we might garner valuable support,” Telémahkos said to the priest.

“Yes, as Swann and Wetherwax are allied, it may even help in discovering more of the pirate plot you spoke of,” Laarus said. “Though I do wish you could say more about it…”

“Well…” Telémahkos looked around to make sure none of his companions were close enough to hear as he lowered his voice. “Would you be willing to overlook the involvement of one of these so-called ‘pirates’ if he were an aid to us in foiling the plot?”

“I would be willing to not seek prosecution if he seemed sincerely willing to redeem himself and give productive aid to our cause,” Laarus said.

“You see this information came to me from someone who is concerned that her brother may do something wrong, but he has not actually done anything wrong yet… And if we can get him to help us and turn away from that life, no one needs to know…” Telémahkos explained.

Laarus of Ra nodded. “As a priest I value truth, but as a noble I understand about discretion…”

Telémahkos told the young priest of Ra about Vanthus Vanderboren and his misguided involvement with smugglers as they made their way back to the camp to await the others.

to be continued. . .


(1) Session #4 was played on Sunday, March 4th (aka GM’s Day!)

(2) Lizardfolk are immune to effect of yellow musk creeper pollen.

(3) Bleys and Valerius worked on the lizardfolk for 5 rounds, but failed the healing check to stabilize it. (Click here for info on Aquerra’s rules for death & dying), and here to see how the heal skill works in Aquerra games.

(4) Victoria lost 7 points of intelligence total, dropping her to a 3.
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el-remmen said:
Whaddya expect from nobility? ;)

Can you rank them in order of least to most prickish? :D
I finally caught up after a few installments got ahead of me. Now that I'm current, I thought I'd pick up this line of op/ed and post some of my impressions on the prick level of the PCs in ascending order:

6. Timotheus: I like the characterization here. I think he is definitely struggling with his newfound ascension to recognized bastard nobility. He's totally rough around the edges and very protective of his ne'er do well cousin. That is very endearing to me. Bravo!

5. Victoria: I like how she's got an impulsive streak there. She clearly wants action and is ready to go for it but also seems to have some conflict with the role of a noble. I really can't wait to see her deal with a purely social situation. I hope she finds the softer side of Sears (not that that's where she should buy her wardrobe! .

4. Laarus: He seems to be holding back a lot. I think there are lots of pressures he's dealing with and I'm interested to see how he balances all the expectations that others are going to burden him with. I think he needs to come out of his shell somewhat but the reason for that shell is perfectly understandable.

3. Telemakhos: I had some trouble between his placement and Laarus', honestly. I think that they are just about even there, as far as pure dickery is concerned. But ultimately, it's Telie's job to be the dick that does some of the things the more honorable party members will not do so he got the higher rating. I really like him, though. Great job! If he ever wants to worship a certain goddess with whiskers and claws, he (the player) knows where to go.

2. Markos: Honestly, he's something of a mystery to me. That might be the point and if so, good work! I am interested in learning a lot more about his past and motivations. I'm hoping that it plays out in a very meaningful and interesting way. But he's a dick. That has some room for interpretation though. I just don't get his point of view yet.

1. Bleys the Aubergine: Wow. He's so beautifully disdainful of others I love it! This is clearly someone who's done well at a difficult training process who's totally oblivious or completely uncaring of the fact that he's probably made a lot of enemies along the way. I have to say I can't wait for him to grow and maybe get a heart. Of course I realize that he may be using his attitude to defend a sensitive psyche but if so, excellent work!

All in all, I really can't wait for more...especially for more Swanns!

Aw, crap! I just realized I have to read the Journal and the Prayers. Sheesh!


First Post
An insightful assessment, BlackCat. Though as to some of the "less dickish" characters, I think we'll find that they're just keeping their dark sides under wraps for the moment. ;)


Ciaran said:
An insightful assessment, BlackCat. Though as to some of the "less dickish" characters, I think we'll find that they're just keeping their dark sides under wraps for the moment. ;)
Why thank you, sir. I did try to keep things away from simply "Wow! What a dick!"

I look forward to seeing the dark side of any character manifest itself in ways that are meaningful and move things along!


Moderator Emeritus
Session #4 - "Delirium Tremens" (part 2 of 4)

Ralem, the 15th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next day felt agonizingly long. The sun wove its way around gray spitting clouds coming out hot enough to make the swamp sizzle until it made its way behind a strip of cloud again. Timotheus Smith did not let the day go by without forcing Telémahkos to practice his skill at arms. He drove his cousin hard and even sparred with Bleys, commending him on his swordsmanship, for a wizard. Valerius alternated between caring for Victoria and for his master. The latter had spent nearly an hour near dawn ranting at the top of his lungs and then mewling like a tortured kitten about his pain for another before slipping into something closer to a coma than to sleep. Victoria was slightly more clear headed the next day, but not by much. They kept her in the tent as much as possible, and changed the subject whenever she asked for Argos.

Markos spent most of the day with his nose buried in a book, occasionally scribbling a note with a piece of charcoal in the margins.

The night before it had been agreed that they would wait for Sir Quintus Gosprey’s recovery, and decide then what to do with him, and whether to keep his secret. Bleys promised Chok’tem that they would make sure the knight kept his promise and would talk on his behalf to Lord Swann, and that if Sir Quintus would not, he would carry the word himself. Chok’tem did not seem too impressed with the watch-mage’s promises.

As evening fell, Telémahkos and Timotheus went for a walk about the ruin, talking something over; sometimes heatedly. By this time Victoria was much closer to her normal self, but still a bit slow with her words, and had joined the other around the fire that Valerius made for them.

When the cousins returned, Tim sat down, but Telémahkos remained standing. “I just wanted to say something while I had everyone gathered together,” he cleared his throat, and increased his volume to be heard over the cacophony of toads and insects rising with the darkness. “I just wanted to…”

But Timotheus stood, interrupting. “Can I just say something? As a general rule can we just try to stick together in a fight?”

“No!” Telémahkos said. “As a general rule I think tactics are better served by my skills if I stay out of the fight a little while and move in where there is weakness, or to make sure we are not being flanked…”

Markos snorted loudly and then covered his mouth to muffle his laughter.

Telémahkos continued, but glared at the lithe sailor. “…I am not a frontline fighter…”

“But that’s not the same as being a ways away…” Timotheus argued.

“But you have to look at the context, you can’t blame me…” Telémahkos’ voice raised in pitch as did his frustration.

Tim threw his hands up. “I am not talking about blaming or accusing anyone…”

“I am,” Markos said, slipping his words into a pause in Tim’s.

“Oh! C’mon, Markos!” Timotheus snapped. “All I am saying is next time… Let’s do it better next time… Okay? Let’s drop the subject…”

“You’re just delaying the inevitable,” Markos said. “We need to hash this out. Because some people were too busy playing with one lizardman in the rear while everyone else was trying to deal with the real threat, and trying to help Sir Quintus…”

Telémahkos protested, and soon the two of them were yelling at each other regarding tactics and the each person’s role in the party.

“Are you going to fight or what?” Timotheus asked, with a slight mocking tone.

”They are already fighting,” Bleys said in his monotone. “The wounds scored from battles with words often cut deeper than blades.”

“Every word you say just reinforces that are naught but a bleeding cunny,” Markos spat. “Everyone knows why you were running around dealing with one while everyone else did the real fighting, even if they won’t say it…”

“Victoria was with me…” Telémahkos said.

“Are… Did you just call us cowards?” the militant finally spoke, confusion evident in her voice.

“Yes,” Markos said spitefully.

“Let’s let it go…” Timotheus tried.

“I think it better to air it out now,” Laarus spoke up

“No, I concur with Tim,” Markos suddenly changed his tact. “I am getting angry in thinking about the subject, and quite frankly I shouldn’t get angry at all, because this is just about what I expected from a group of nobles… So I apologize to you all… with a few exceptions.”

There were groans around the fire. “Oh, thanks a lot!” Timotheus rolled his eyes.

“The brilliant tactician…” Bleys muttered sarcastically.

“Whu… What exceptions?” Victoria asked, scrunching up her face in confusion, trying to reconstruct the argument in her addled mind. “What don’t you apologize for?”

Markos was taken aback by the question. “I don’t apologize for… anything.”

“My mind may be foggy, but I am not stupid enough to not realize you just contradicted yourself,” Victoria replied. “You just said you apologized… Am I merely confused?”

“You are right,” Markos said, his tone growing more and more petulant. “I do apologize. I apologize for making an issue of something when I should not have a right to be surprised by what I see from you all… which is exactly what I expected…”

“That is no kind of apology!” Victoria said angrily. “That is not an apology where I come from…”

“Basically, he expected us to be idiots, and by not doing what he thinks we should have done we have displayed our idiocy,” Telémahkos said.

“Markos…” Timotheus said calmly. “If Victoria kicks your ass I am not helping you… You are digging your own grave.”

“I am not afraid,” Markos replied. “I have gotten my ass kicked quite often. I am still gonna speak my mind. I am not a coward like some others…” He let his eyes trail towards Telémahkos.

“Fine, then I will give you one night to prepare, and to think over your words,” Victoria stammered. “And if you are still this angry in the morning, then meet me… uh… outside of the keep…”

“The muddy plain beyond the gate would be a good open place for a duel,” Bleys offered.

”Uh… Yes, that will do…” Victoria agreed.

“I’m not gonna wait until tomorrow,” Markos said, as he stood. He raised his hands and gestured with a fist for the militant of Anhur to stand, as he stepped towards her. “Come on. Let’s go. You’ve got an issue? Let’s do it…”

Everyone scooched back a bit and began to get to their feet.

“Markos…” Laarus began.

“Very well…” Victoria said as she slowly stood, but before get all the way to her feet, Markos stepped in and socked her with a hard jab to the chin.

“Treacherous dog!” Victoria roared.

“Okay everyone, give them room! No weapons!” Timotheus said, stretching his arms out to corral the fight away from the fire.

Sighing, Bleys the Aubergine walked away to check on the horses.

“Treacherous? Dog? You all and all of your station are the ones that are treacherous, and pampered and used to getting whatever you want!” He took another swing, but Victoria was no stranger to fighting. She grabbed his arm and twisted it hard behind his body, locking it there.

“Take back your insults,” she said as jerked the arm harder.

“Take back you air of entitlement!” Markos mocked as he shimmied out of her hold and spun around, but was startled by a forearm to the face that was followed by having his head and arm locked against her side. Victoria was not wearing armor, just a simple gray shift over leather trousers. Markos dropped his legs, sending Victoria off balance and she had to let go to keep from falling. She stumbled forward avoiding the wizard’s wild punches, and they struggled for a time, neither one of them getting an advantage, until a well-placed kick between the legs sent Markos stumbling back, gasping.

“Ooh! That’s gotta hurt!” Timotheus called out, his wide smile shining in the firelight.

“Take back your insult to Anhur and my family,” Victoria said.

“If the truth is an insult, then be insulted!” Markos said between gasps. He rushed the militant, but she was ready for him again, grabbing him about the neck and squeezing and twisting, until Markos shuddered and passed out.

“Okay! Let him go. You won!” Timotheus said. She dropped him into the mud, and Laarus and Timotheus carried him over to the tent, making sure he was not hurt too bad.

Isilem, the 16th of Sek – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next day Markos crawled out of the tent achingly. He found Telémahkos by the fire pit, practicing his juggling. The blond noble let the stones he was practicing with drop into the mud.

“It is a good thing your own morality is superior to that of nobles, or else you might not have been able to punch a woman in the face,” Telie said with mocking tone.

”She challenged me…” Markos protested.

“Oh yes, I know… And I am sure she was ready for that first blow,” Telémahkos replied. “You know, the only good shot you got in?” He turned to pick up the stones he had let dropped. “Now that I know about your ways, I expect a blow from behind any moment now…” He said without looking at Markos.

“Your kind have gone through life getting everything you ever expected,” Markos continued. “I am not play a part in keeping that up…”

“Yes, right… Because somehow you know something of my life from the few days we have know each other,” Telémahkos replied, finally turning.

“Well, you have done nothing to make me doubt my assumptions,” Markos said.

Bleys was cleaning the horses, and packing gear in hopes of getting out of the bog that day, when Victoria walked over to where the animals were kept.

“Has anyone seen Argos?” she asked, echoing her question from the day before.

“The horse is chum for the plant in the pit,” Bleys replied, in his typical cold demeanor.

“What?” Victoria turned and took a step towards the covered pit, but Timotheus who was walking over stepped in her way.

“It was the plant that caused your befuddlement,” Bleys said. “Stay away.”

“No one tried to get him out there?”

“It fell and broke its legs. You know what happens to horses that break legs,” Bleys said.

“Why don’t you tell her he suffered horribly while you are at it,” Telémahkos said shaking his head as he came over to join the conversation.

“Chok’tem killed it before it could suffer for too long,” Bleys explained.

“You are not going to be insulted by that now, are you?” Markos asked sarcastically, but the sarcasm was lost on the militant of Anhur.

“No, it needed to be done… And I am sure that if the lizardman could not have done it, one of you would have…” Victoria said, with sadness in her voice.

“Of course. I have too much respect for the noble animal to let one suffer like that,” Bleys said.

They went into the ruined stone building to check on Sir Quintus. He was awake and alert and insisted he was ready to be freed and to deal with his obligations. However, when Chok’tem arrived a few minutes later, carrying a mesh bag full of small flopping fish, he said the knight was not yet ready to be let go.

“Perhapsss tomorrow…”

“Perhaps we should leave him here to recover and go speak to Lord Swann ourselves,” Markos suggested.

“Why won’t you let me do it myself?” Sir Quintus asked. “I will do it.”

“Because you are unreliable and without honor,” Bleys replied.

“Let him prove himself,” Laarus said.

“It is just that I want my name kept out of the business with the smugglers and the shannis,” Sir Quintus said. “If I go, I can talk to Lord Swann and keep my promise and give a version of the story that is best for everyone without asking you to lie or omit…” The knight’s voice was a hoarse whisper, and he panted heavily between words, wiping spittle from the corner of his mouth.

“I have already promised to bring word to Lord Swann myself,” Bleys said. “I will not lie to Chok’tem…”

“You said if Sir Quintus did not…” Markos said.

“No, I simply said I would.”

“What if he delivers the message in your presence?” Markos asked.

“That could be satisfactory…” Bleys replied.

“But I cannot go right away,” Quintus interjected. “I need to find my men…”

“Perhaps you do not understand your choices here,” Markos said roughly. “You can come with us from here to talk to Lord Swann in our presence, or you can go your own way and we will tell him the tale and leave no part out. We will not lie for you…”

“But they will be looking for me… I have a responsibility to them…”

“They are most likely back at your keep by now,” Laarus said. “We passed them on the Beach Road several days ago…”

“Then accompany me to Gullmoor so that they might know where I am going, and…” Quintus began.

“For what? So you can have your men arrest or detain us?” Bleys interjected. “I think not.”

“And a true nobleman and knight should take responsibility for his actions,” Victoria said.

“I am more than willing to take responsibility…”

“But you want to leave your name out of it…?” Victoria was puzzled. “Accept your shame and get past it.”

“Maybe in your House things are different…” Sir Quintus said.

“If you are fearful of losing your status in your family for your mistake, I am sorry, but you need to understand that you made a mistake,” Victoria said.

“It is not my own status, but that of my family…”

“Well, your choice is simple and under your own control,” Markos said. “Shall I reiterate it?”

“I shall accompany you…”

Now that that was settled, the Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland made to go back to their camp.

“Wait!” Chok’tem called to them. “I need to asssk ssssomething of you… Pleassssse do not yell and fight in the night… There are other things in the swamp that could be drawn by the noisssse…”

Timotheus and Telémahkos laughed, but Bleys looked at Victoria and Markos sternly, before turning back to the lizardman and nodding.

. . .to be continued. . .

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