It has nagged me for years that this storyline was never completed. So It will be completed by my kids and me. believe it or not, I have had a grand scheme planned that ties nearly all of my Storyhours together. Creation Schema, Siberys Seven and John Play over lap regularly and its time to show this.
I will first bridge the gap from the gaming group of old to the new then hopefully begin play this summer roughly picking up where I left off with many of the lose ends requiring attention first. So many people and groups were after the schema.
“TIE UP LOSE ENDS”
MAY 5, 2012
SYPHEROS 05, 999
The tall and gaunt man studies the images he has drawn into his book. The drawings are symbols that resemble draconic letters and symbols but there are additional notes written in a form of short hand unique to him. These are symbols of the Draconic Prophesy that he has found and studied. It is a thick book.
The room he is within is underground. It resembles a gladiatorial arena or area on contest. Glowing runes of cryptic messages are here- the newest prophesy symbols he has found. His notes include the size, location, and energies of the symbols he studies. Without looking up he addresses the unwelcomed intrusion.
“Step forward Breedaernxen of the Crosswinds. What brings you here?” A huge winged reptile strides forward making no sound. It also is looking at the runes around him. His Brass scales reflect the magical light caste by the man.
“I have completed your mission to delay the grandchild of Elderich. What do you wish of me now?” The creature towers over the man, even bowing before him he stands dozens of feet over the student of the runes.
“Cedious and his allies are getting too close. As much as I appreciate the halfling he needs to be slowed down. I have summoned a Storm to intercept them. I wish you to arrange for a welcoming party. Your friend- the Icy Frenzy would do well I believe. Have her and her giant friends stop them.”
“Yes Master. Your will is my wish.” And the ancient Copper dragon that has been aiding and hindering all parties seeking the Creation Schema steps back and disappears without a sound. This leaves the man with his secretive runes and his research by themselves.
“GLYDER FREETIME AND HIS FIRST TIME JUMP”
MAY 31, 2012
RHAAN 12, 999
The gnome with the long dreadlocks looks over the railing of the huge airship- Siberys Heir. It is flying over a very cold area on Xen’drik high in the mountains. The gnome is excited and also very scared. Before this year he had never left Sharn. He lived a simple life as a student at Morgrave University. It all changed a few years ago when he received a mysterious note from someone with handwriting exactly like his own. The results of this letter and his actions aided in the stopping of the zombie infestation of Sharn.
A second letter came later. He discovered why the hand writing was so much like his own. IT – WAS- HIS- OWN. Somehow, he magically traveled back in time. This time, instead of saving Sharn, he was commanded to leave his beloved city. He was to sneak into an airship port (he was told how and when) and when a specific airship arrived, sneak aboard. It would only be there for an hour as the owner sent out a message from a House Sivis Sending Station.
The ship he stole away on was unlike any other ever seen before or after…. The Siberys Heir. It was especially created by the dwarf known as Kim Elderich. It is a huge ship powered by TWO colossal fire elementals. A few days later He was spotted stealing food and brought to the dwarf. The dwarf was expecting him!
The dwarf is on some sort of adventure looking into a powerful artifact he calls the Creation Schema. There are many powerful mages and warriors on the ship on retainer. Elderich is prepared for a war it would appear. A war of magic.
After a run in with people possibly posing as the Emerald Claw (Glyder thinks they are a knightly organization- not a terrorist group) in Stormreach they began to follow a large river into the jungle. From the jungle into the mountains and now at the top of the mountains he is a cold and snowy environment. SNOW! It is a wondrous thing. Frozen water that falls from the sky like rain. He even saw his first dragon! It was a little one and white. It was hard to see within the falling frozen rain.
The gnome is jarred out of his deep thoughts as a gruff but loud voice calls to him. “Looks like a storm. A magical storm since it is not full of snow. You have better go below.” Behind the dwarf are two mages wielding staffs that are glowing. The glow is building in intensity as the magic builds.
The mage holding a staff with an owl depicted on it stares hard at the storm cloud. “Magic. Strong. Full of energy.” His long white with red fringed beard begins to flap in the rising wind. Purple and black lightning begins to flash. “The storm is unnatural. It is moving to block our progress.”
“Then prepare for the worse.” Demands the dwarf as he begins to recall spells of protection against lightning.
An arm of black lightning lashes out at the ship. It strikes a mage whom drops to one knee and appears stunned. Glyder barely hears him over the wind. “chaos.”
Glyder stands slack-jawed at the bow looking at the storm. Suddenly two blasts of lightning, one black and one green strike the bow at the same moment. The intense flash of light and pulse of energy drives back the mages. When they look up the gnome is missing.
Vult 6, 1002
The black skinned giant with flaming red hair and beard charges the fortification. Gnoll archers fire at it from the top of the wall. A blast of fire erupts there explosively. Burning dead gnolls fall back off the wall into the interior of the fortress. From the dark shadows of the space under the stairs there comes a glow and suddenly a confused and bewildered gnome appears. “What happened!?!”
“THE BEGINNING OF THE END”
RHAAN 17, 999
“Damned cold…. And that means something coming from a dwarf.” He grunts through clenched teeth. The dwarf mage / cleric from the Mror Holds looks out over the railing of his airship as it continues to climb over the mountains of central Xen’drik.
“Aye…. It’s cold.” Replies the mage next to him. “As cold as the top of the world even. But we grow closer to your destination.”
The dwarf smirks as he looks up to the mage. “Yes. And no- I will not tell you the name of the place. That will only be revealed when we arrive there.”
“Giant ruins I would wager. Many secret places here- many built by giants.” Says the mage hoping to learn more of the mission he was hired to aid on but distrusted beyond that. “Or perhaps draconic?”
“All in good time Averand…. All in good time.” Says the dwarf as he stares at a white thick moving cloud ahead of them. Still staring at the cloud, recent memories of the last strange cloud he encountered still in his mind, he mutters “Call up the boys. Something is amiss.”
The cold increases even as the cloud nears. Snow first drifts onto the deck then begins to fall regularly. Collecting on a deck heated by two colossal fire elementals that now growl and snare at the unnatural cold it faces. The dwarf and the mage both cast additional warming spells onto themselves even as the snow becomes a storm and then further becomes a blizzard. Then it happens. The roar of the winds becomes a roar of power and attack as a huge white dragon blasts out of the cloud. It dodges a fireball caste by a mage still on the stairs leading to the deck.
“Another damned dragon!” snarls the dwarf. “It’s like they knew we were coming and got ready for us!”
“I’m sure riding on a wood and fire magical craft the size of a whole town couldn’t be a factor!” quips a rogue holding up a wand that glows a bright green light.
“Aw shuddup and blast that thing out of the sky.” Demands Elderich.
Behind them, in a cabin above the deck the lead captain watches with a slack jaw. “oh-my-grandfather’s-grey- eye……ELDERICH! ELDERICH! Damn the wind! He can not hear me.”
“Sir- what is that?!?” says the mage pointing at something to the left. Something…. Bigger than the airship they ride. Something- moving their way.
Kim Elderich stares at the mass before him. Never taking his eyes off of it he pulls back his sleeve and there, a magical bracer is. He grasps it and activates the magic stored within. It calls out to a set individual preselected years ago by the dwarf. This magic item when created he had hoped to never use. It would mean he may be about to die. Die before completing his personal mission…. His personal dream… of discovering the full secret of the Creation Schema.
The breeze is cool but gentle. He can feel it on his cheeks… brushing his hair. His eyes are closed in concentration. He hears the birds… then the slow creak of wood and handle. Then there is a whistle. His eyes snap open and he draws his bow and pulls back the arrow. The bow creaks from the strain and the arrow begins to glow brightly. He releases it and five more after that in rapid succession. Each arrow streaks in a rainbow colored energy trail and strikes moving wooden targets. All six arrows strike true. Even as the shards and dust fall to the ground a once quiet crowd stand up and cheer. The lead archer and trainer of the ways of the Kensai archery.
With no further show or drama the archer walks away to the booth where the headmaster waits for him. She is Catti d’Deneith of the Blademarks Guild. These highly trained warriors for hire are among the brightest and best that House Deneith has to offer. Catti is the headmaster but she is more. She is a Siberys Heir, born with a magical tattoo that covers much of her body. She is also the future wife to the greatest archer ever to train and now train others in the Defenders Guild.
“Well done. The warriors look up to you.”
“In time they will understand the ways of the Kensai and do what I do and better. They will bring great honor to the house.”
“Perhaps….. “ She is stopped as a House Sivis messenger arrives and bows before them. “Jasyne Symtex. I bring word to you from afar.” Says the gnome whom then raises his head. “Word from Lord Kim Elderich.”
“Hello kreen. What brings you to Eldeen?” asks the old man behind the counter.
“Klik. I search for magic. Klik. Know there is some here. Klik. Can almost smell it.”
The old man secretly swallows deep and absent-mindedly places his hand over the medallion he wears under his red robe. “Eldeen holds many secrets and yes- I bet many have magic.”
“Klik. Magic yes. I have heard stories of underground cities klik of aberrational origin. Klik. Much magic.” Says the Thri-kreen as it gracefully walks in the Winetree tavern owned by Sir John ir’ Gunther. “Have heard tales. Klik. Tales of heroes that come from here. Klik. I hunt for them also.” Says the Thri-kreen as ir sits at the counter looking around and its antennae feeling around also. It smells for magic and anyone else within the tavern.
“I know whom you speak of. They are not here. I have not seen them in a long time. They were seeking something that should remain hidden. I hope you do not seek this also.” Sir John is thinking about the catacombs of aberrational origin that he acts as a powerful guardian for.
“Seek what? Klik. Maybe I should look for them. Klik. I am a good hunter of non-magical things also. Klik-Klik.” The antennae begin to focus on Sir John whom finds something to look into away from the troublesome Kreen.
“They went into the mountains that separate the swamps of Shadow Marches from these forests. That was over a year ago. Maybe you could search for them….” Sir John is thinking quickly about how to be nice about getting this Kreen out of his tavern before he detects the medallion of immortality on him or his magical smoking pipe that he enjoys. Then there is the artifacts (mostly evil) that a mere few hundred feet straight down below the tavern. The wards shown hold but there are creatures and things there best left trapped and forgotten there. First it was his granddaughter and now this Kreen. How much longer can he keep this place a secret?
“Klik. Magic. Yes. Klik. There is magic here. I am certain of it. Coming closer to me.”
Sir John stops walking toward him.
The door opens up and a gnome walks in. The gnome smiles as he sees the Kreen. The Kreen’s antennae move about wildly at the gnome. “Magic. Klik!”
“Are you Arcanis The Thri-kreen?”
“Thri-kreen Yes. Obvious. Why seek Arcanis?”
“My business is for Arcanis only. Again- Are you the kreen I seek?”
“Klik. Yes.” Says the thri-kreen as one of its four arms reaches secretly behind it feeling for a weapon. Many magic items are mysteriously been found in the kreen’s bags…. Some not his. “I am he.”
“Good. I tire of traveling in the forest. Good sir- may I have a drink?” The gnome tosses a silver coin onto the counter. The kreen looks briefly at the coin then back to the unknown gnome. (say that three times fast ) Sir John picks it up and looks for anything a House Sivis gnome would prefer.
“I come on the behalf of Kim Elderich.”
“Elderich?” The Thri-kreen asks with suspicion. He tries to remember if he ever took anything of his the last time they met in the Blade Desert of Talenta.
“Yes. He requests your help on a mission that involves going to Xen’drik.”
“XEN’DRIK!!!!!!!” Klik-Klik-Klik-Klik.” The Kreen’s excitement is obvious to even non-kreen. Sir John is still keeping some distance between them just to be safe. He mentally checks on the many wards he has set up within the tavern and below to hide the magic within.
“I was told to mention the rewards, if you agree, would be – I quote him- MAGICAL.”
“Klik-Klik-Klik.” The kreen loves its magic. “Where is he? Where is the short man with money and magic?”
“You are to travel to Sharn and seek out the House Deneith compound. If you have no means to do so quickly…” , he pauses at the thought of it, “…I am to assist you in doing so.” The gnome gulps his wine knowing what the answer will be.
“Klik- Travel quickly is good.”
“Then come with me. I have the means to teleport us the Sharn area.”
There is a gentle and subtle pop in the air as the two leave Sir John alone within his Winetree Tavern. “Elderich is on the move. There is much to do. If he ever locates the Creation Schema….. Aureon help us. All of the Sovereign Host help us.”
The Golden Chalice is located in a wealthy area of Passage, Aundair. Only the wealthiest are members here. Few can be a guest here unless given approval by three or more members. It’s very exclusive. Royalty, Nobles, powerful warlords, mages and Dragonmarked house members are all members here. Tonight they are entertained by the famous elven bard Jaerun.
One of the few guests here watches everything with great amusement. She understands power, the power of command, authority, magics and even the supernatural. But she understands something they do not- the power of the mind. Shy-Anne Shard has traveled far and wide but seems to always arrive back in Passage. She has beaten dungeons created by the great creator- Drogan, she has defeated demons sent from the waste lands of the west, and she has even dared to defy the celestials in the Plane of Shavarath. She even courted a dragon once… and obviously lived.
Today, she seeks knowledge that she believes a merchant only has. The merchant has little care for her abilities and influence beyond the mind but her son is another thing. Like putty, she has manipulated him and now hopes to find the secrets she seeks.
That is until a quiet pop sound is heard nearby. She knows the sound. She heard it once when traveling with Kim Elderich. It is the sound made by Glyder Freetime whenever he leaves and arrives in another time. Looking around she sees the gnome peering out from a curtain on the balcony. He looks both lost and in search of something. When he sees her he smiles and waves then ducks as a security guard looks his way- alerted also by the sound of his arrival.
The guard is suddenly confused as she reaches out to mind with her. Glyder takes this time and opportunity to walk into the building and scurry to the back unseen by anyone.
“Excuse me Lord Ternity, I must…. Visit the water room. I will return shortly.” She stays up allowing her upper thigh to show through her gown and smiles. The young man nearly drops his wine in response.
“Hurry back malady. I do so enjoy your company.” He watches her leaves and smiles with lust and ill intensions.
Checking that no one is within listening distance, Shy-Anne looks about then goes into the water closet. “We need to stop meeting in these kinds of places. People will begin to talk.” Says the Gnome with a sly smirk. He is older than she remembers him being. She almost thinks he has aged decades in the past year when she remembers he passes through time. To her, a few months have gone by; to him it may be decades slipping through time, past, present and the future.
“Let them talk. The truth is more appealing and amazing to me. Why have you seeked me out? And since when did you gain control over your time jumps?”
“Limited control but yes- I can direct the jump slightly. For the past five years I have learned much about the magics of time. But I seek not to lecture you on that but give you fair warning.”
“On the 28th of Rhaan in the year of 999, you will meet in the Deneith Compound outside of Sharn. Avoid the city as there is danger there seeking you and those you meet there. One will fall within the City of Towers. “
“I enjoy mysteries as much as anyone else but let’s get to the point. What is this about?” Shy demands as her patience runs low.
“Kim” as if that explains everything.
“oh.” And it seems it does.
The gnome begins to talk about the artifact created on Xen’drik thousands of years ago. How it is tied to the creation of the Forges and war forged. How it could lead to far worse things. He warns her of the Emerald Claw, the Cannith house, Warforged from Steel nation and another group of Warforged not of our world.
“One more thing- beware of the giants…… opp! Gotta go!” The gnome touches a ring he wears and the familiar pop sound is heard as a gentle knock at the door is heard. She decides that now is good a time as any to get her information and allures the young nobler into the water closet.
The dwarf had promised to meet his friend in Mror Holds but missed him (too much mead and wasn’t done with…. What was her name?). When the Sivis Gnome came to him last week with the message he hurried to Sharn on the first rail he could get on.
The gnome seemed very nervous around the dwarf. He wasn’t sure why but now suspected he knew why. Six Warforged warriors were charging up the ramp to his rented room. He knew they were not there to sell babbles to him to help the war time orphans. Even as he withdrew his over-sized hammer from under the bed a seventh Warforged phased through the floor. The pike it carried tingled as it phased into his chest then he screamed in agony as the Warforged mage let it go allowing it to solidify while in his chest.
Dazed and coughing up blood, the other Warforged broke down his door and began to chop and beat him. After a few moments, the mage waved them to stop and they left through the doorway.
The megaraptor snorts out of its nasel passages in frustration.
“Don’t like the men in green?”
The large dinosaur scratches at the earth from their viewing point above the riders.
“They are Emerald Claw. I do not like them either. They smell of evil, greed and at times of the undead.”
The last of the riders go by. “I wonder what they are doing here in the outskirts of the Howling Peaks? No good I’m sure.”
The dinosaur nods in agreement.
They follow at a safe distance until they reach the village of green Brush near Baran’s Keep ruins. They continue to follow but allow time for the claw to settle in. When they arrive there are a few humans that look at them and a few children that point and run off in excitement. “Curious. We appear to be of note my friend.” The halfling Ranger / Druid says as he pats the neck of his megaraptor ally.
Alton and Screecha continue to follow the Emerald Claw agents. It is becoming more and more difficult to do this with stealth as people point and talk about them as they approach.
“They are no doubt headed for the Emerald Dawn.”
Alton turns quickly and spots a well-dressed gnome standing in the other end of the alley. “Excuse me…. Emerald what?”
“The Emerald dawn, an air ship controlled by the Claw. They are picking up agents throughout Breland.”
“and how do you know this?”
“I hear things. Communication is my speciality. I am Brassum d’ Sivis. I am here to give you a message from Kim Elderich and Glyder Freetime.”
Just north of Sharn, on the edge of the King’s Forest is a walled in compound. This was recently built by House Deneith. Catti d’Deneith of the Blademarks Guild is in charge of it. She is a Kensai warrior of the blade. She shares a high level of discipline for her blade and her house. She leads and trains others with her love and fellow Kensai warrior- Jasyne Symtex. Today they are watching the archers do targets. Jasyne watches them carefully. They are hitting near bullseyes every time but he is neither happy nor impressed. They are over confident and not ready for being a Kensai.
He steps up and excuses the over seer Marcus d’Deneith from his current duties. Normally this would not happen except for the genuine respect the house has for both his skills and being the fiancé to the compound leader. He asks the group to strike the targets again. They lift their bows to take aim but before they begin to fire he pulls a lever that makes the target move. Some frown and glare. A shifter at the end tries. The first two hit the target (not within the ring) but the rest miss.
Noting the looks on the archers, Catti suggests the Kensai Archer to try it. With a slight smirk he agrees and begins to immediately run and swerve around people as he fires at the targets. 6 of the 7 are bull’s eyes and the one shot is within the second ring. The men are impressed and the shifter thinks he will do that soon…. Very soon.
Within the forest, next to a state sign that clearly prohibits any sort of hunting of the wildlife within this forest, is a large reptilian creature eating a deer. A halfling sits nearby cleaning a bloodied arrow he just retrieved from the body. “We should be close now Screecha. I wonder what adventures we will have this time? Do you remember our last adventure with Kim Elderich? The look on that Centaurs face as you leaped up and onto his back! Good times…. Very good times.”
Once finished with the royal snack, the Megaraptor and the druid ranger halfling continue towards their final destination- the Deneith Compound. They find the high wall that surrounds the compound. They search for the entrance.
Nearby but on the opposite side stalks a Mantis-warrior. It too has consumed some of the royal deer within the forest. It watches other deer run by. It flicks it’s antennae in both excitement and irritation. It has something to do. Kim Elderich needs it. Kim Elderich knows and has magic. Will pay services with magic. Like magic. Klik Clik.
The wall is high…. But not high enough.
The thri-kreen takes a few hopping steps before leaping into the sky as it easily clears the wall. It clears the wall and lands within two hundred feet of the archery targets. All of the archers swing their aim at it. Two release but miss as the creature easily dodges it. Jasyne calls for them to stop. They do.
Arcanis hops up to him. He fits the description given of the man that will bring it to Kim. Bring it to magic.
Jasyne is uncertain what to make of the creature. Kim Elderich has strange friends. He has a way of collecting powerful and resourceful people that have unique outlooks and backgrounds. He has heard of the Mantis Warrior race but never seen them before. They have scattered small groups of nomadic tribes within the Blade Desert of the Talenta Plains and some are said to be in Xen’drik. Its language skills are limited. Its mandibles clik and clak regularly as it attempts to speak the common tongue.
“I am Arcanis”
“Welcome. I am Jasyne Symtex. This is Catti d’Deneith.”
“I come for Kim Elderich Klik Klik. He has summoned me. He pay with magic I hope.”
“I suspect he will pay whatever is owed. Magic, Money or a debt of Honor. Kim always pays his bills. You are the first to arrive. I would rather explain Kim’s situation to everyone than repeat myself. If you wish, you may wait in the mess hall.” He points to a building nearby. The thri-kreen is disappointed. It wanted magic now, not later. But magic will come.
“Warriors- back to the lessons.” The archers stop staring at the strange creature and go back to aiming at the targets… some still watching the kreen as it walks around the building.
It is not long before the lessons are interrupted again by a shout of alarm. Something is at the front gate. When Jasyne looks he spots a halfling riding on a large oversized claw foot or raptor. He has seen these creatures before in the grasslands and jungles of the Talenta Plains. They are to be respected for the powerful, cunning and skillful hunters and predators they are. More of Elderich’s agents he figures.
Marcus d’Deneith gives out a yelp and command to hold action as he turns his attention from charging dinosaur to the archers whom are redirecting their aim to the dinosaur intruder…. With him in the middle. He quickly back peddles to avoid a stray shot released from these new recruits.
The large dinosaur slows down and saunters up to Jasyne. The rider waves and introduces himself. “I am Alton Clawvin and this is my friend Screecha,” the creature gives a short screeching honk and nods its head, “We have come for adventure! Where is Kim?”
“That is the question of the day. We wait for two more people. They could be here at any time.” He watches the halfling gracefully slide off the back of the dinosaur. His ritual hunting mask hangs on his chest. Bright colors of skin paint decorate the halfling. The dinosaur swings its head in a bobbing motion as if anticipating something. “Go ahead Screecha…. But be good. We are guests here.”
“Please avoid this building…” the host begins as he points at the armory and hopes the Kreen did not go there. The dinosaur catches a scent and moves ahead… in the direction the kreen went. Sensing probable trouble coming up with the two pets he is about to stop the creature when an audible pop is heard behind him. He whirls around as it to use his bow as a club and disarming tool.
A beautiful tall and slender woman stands there. Her robes are silky and hint at her natural form below. She smiles as her eyes caste a look of intensity and raw emotion. Another one of Elderich’s friends has arrived. A mage. No doubt a mage with strange powers and secrets knowing Kim’s attention and appreciation for the odd and the unusual.
“Hello. Am I interfering?” She says with a haughty voice. Catti instantly dislikes this woman. Yet another predator on the grounds.
“No but it is highly disrespectful to House Denieth to teleport onto the grounds unannounced.” Declares Catti stiffly.
“Your name?” asks Jasyne hoping not to start a battle between the women.
“I am Shy-Anne Shard. I have come out of respect to Kim Elderich.”
“I am waiting for one other. If you….”
“Teltis Hammerthrower will not join us.”
“How do you know-…:
“A few years ago, when I was with Elderich last, he had a dwarven friend with him. He was killed last night in Sharn.”
Jasyne ponders this silently and looks to Catti whom returns a stern look.
“THIS MISSION, IF YOU CHOICE TO ACCEPT IT….”
RHAAN 27, 999
The Thri-kreen decides not to check out the mess hall. It can sense the magic here. It LOVES magic. Really- really Love magic.
It circles the mess hall and goes back to the building between the mess hall and the men with the bows. Magic… it’s within this building.
Nearby is a dinosaur also sneaking around the building. It hisses in anticipation of the hunt. Its tail bobs slightly up and down and side to side. It knows the smell- it’s an insect man. Crunchy on the outside and chewy and gooey on the inside.
So intent on locating the source of magical energies it is certain are here, Arcanis, the Thri-kreen warrior, doesn’t notice the large dinosaur until it is within 20 feet. The Thri-kreen immediately goes onto the defense drawing out its two swords and motioning with its other two arms. The Megaraptor wags its tail and circles the kreen. The entire time it is smirking. This is a game to it. The thri-kreen however, this is no game, it has seen this scene before on the Talenta Plain’s grasslands.
The raptor tilts its head then turns and spins away from the kreen. Its tail barely avoiding hitting the insect. It hops back to its pack mate.
“You too kreen.” Calls out the halfling waving for it to join them.
The group enters the mess hall except for the Raptor. It waits patiently for the wary kreen. As the kreen hesitates before entering the building the raptor turns quickly- once more forcing the mantis warrior to dodge the swinging tail. It attempts to bite at the tail but the raptor is off and away chasing a bird. Damned dinosaurs.
“I am glad you have all made it here today. I believe introductions should be made before we begin. I am Jasyne Symtex. I have worked with Kim Elderich several times in the past. I am a Wayfinder from Aundair. Since then I have taken to training soldiers for House Deneith. My specialty is the bow. I am a Kensai warrior. I can channel my own personal energy into this bow giving it more power than normal.
“I am Alton Clawvin and that is my best friend and traveling companion- Screecha. She is fierce in battle but quite gentle otherwise. He says this looking to the kreen whom folds back its antennae in irritation. I am a good hunter and work with the land. I believe you city people refer to it as a druid. I have known Kim Elderich for a few years now. We met when he was visiting my homeland of the Talenta Plains. I go where ever adventure brings me and Screecha.”
“Klik. Keep your klik companion on short clik-clik-clak- ticking leash. I dislike klik raptors- especially big ones. “In a quieter voice…. “Poison not as effective….” Standing its antennae tall and proud once more- “I am a hunter from the Blade Desert near the Plains Klik. I have magical swords of fire clik and ice. I like magic. Kim give me magic for this I hope.”
“Sorry dear insectiod- but you neglected to give a name.” says the mysterious and alluring woman.
“Arcanis. I like magic.”
Jasyne frowns. This may be a long mission. Maybe he can repay his debt of honor on another day?
The halfling smirks misreading the racial clik as a slur.
“I am Shy-Anne Shard. I am a master of the emotional mind. Some of my people refer to it as being a Wilder. Kim befriended me and we keep in touch occasionally as he finds my skills and talents useful.”
“So we have two hunters, a wielder of psionics, a dinosaur and me for this mission. Very well.”
“You seem to know what is happening but we do not. Why are we here? Why were we summoned?” asks the halfling.
“I fear a rescue.” Answers the archer.
“Yes. And aid with his current interest. The Creation Schema.” Follows the Wilder.
“Creation Schema?” asks the halfling.
“I believe a Schema is a tool to quicken magical spell preparation. I am uncertain what this specific schema does.” Says Jasyne looking to the Wilder.
“Correct. I know little else other than he has spent years researching it and much of his fortune looking for the pieces to assemble it. The last I knew, he had the pieces and was looking to assemble it.”
Jasyne has troubled thoughts at this prospect. Kim has a way of overlooking caution and common sense with things magical- the dangerous kinds especially. “He had asked me if it was okay to set up a back-up plan with me where he could assemble a group to follow him. The fact we are here means he is in trouble. He needs our help and it will be dangerous… even deadly. I understand completely if anyone wishes to leave.” He waits and peers to everyone one at a time. No one says anything or leaves. “Very well then…. The last I knew of him, he had stopped in Sharn. He had built an enormous airship, the Siberys Heir, and was leaving for Xen’drik. I presume that is where we can go to begin looking for him.”
“This ship is unique?” asks Shy-Anne.
“Very. It is large and has TWO colossal fire elementals powering it.”
“We can begin whenever you wish then. I can bring us there instantly.”
“Adventure in the jungles of Xen’drik,” calls out the halfling in sheer joy.
“Xen’drik…. Klik-klik-ah-klik magic! Xen’drik is home of magic!”
“Allow me to say my goodbyes to Catti first then we may begin.”
“WRONG TURN AT STORMREACH or SOMETHIN’ LIKE THAT”
RHAAN 27, 999
Holding hands, each remain quiet as Shy-Anne concentrates on the image of the Siberys Heir. Her mind quickly reaches out through the world looking for such an image and quietly she whispers- “ready?” and takes a deep breath and lets it out very slowly and evenly. She is careful to imagine themselves reappearing onto its deck in fear of falling through the sky or into the sea.
She and others would scream but their lungs are struck fast by the teleportation to the ship.
They touch then fall quickly on the deck of the ship. It lies on its side covered in snow with bitter cold winds blowing sleet and ice like tiny razors. They slide down the angled deck into the deep snow on the ground.
Screecha is first to break the surface. Its screech has a quality of dismay and panic. Jasyne is next. He claws to the surface and readies his bow. It glows brightly against the whiteout conditions. Shy-Anne sits up shakes the snow from her face and brushes it off the front of her thin dress. The cold snow is finding its way into her dress from all directions. Alton leaps up from the snow like a dolphin from water. He lands back into the snow laughing. Snow is a rarity for him. The source of his leap comes up now. The kreen is quite miserable. The cold is aching its exoskeleton in ways it has never experienced.
“This is not what I expected!” Kliks the kreen in great frustration. “Xen’drik is a warm jungle- Not frozen. “
“We may be in a strange magic zone or most likely high in the mountains near the center of the continent.” Answers the Kensai warrior as he checks to be sure his magical ring remains. It will shield him from the worst of this weather…. He hopes.
“Do we go back or find shelter? We will not last long out here in the blizzard!” Calls out the Wilder as she wraps her cape around her shoulders and chest for protection.
Seeing only about 20 feet in any direction, Jasyne looks to the crashed ship. Its mighty arms that once held fire elementals in place have broken off. Some protrude from the deep snow with icicles formed on a 30 degree angle. He looks at the deck again and sees a hatch about twenty up. Following his gaze, Alton nods and motions to the hatch. Screecha tries to claw and climb to it but falls down repeatedly. Once with enough force to bury the kreen once more. The kreen resists taking a bite from its long tail…. This time.
Jasyne doubts a climbing rope will take hold in this wind and ice. Instead he asks everyone to step back as he draws an arrow. The magical blast wipes out several boards from the deck. Screecha claws at the hole and widens it. Shy-Anne is quick to enter it once the reptile steps back to allow the others to pass by. The kreen is watchful of the tail as it enters the hole.
Furniture has crashed to the wall by the force of the new gravitational pull. It looks like this room is a small bedroom. It is still bitter cold but at least the wind is not directly on her here. She calls up her mental power to cushion the cold once inside. Screecha tears at the hole some more to make it large enough for it to also enter. Only through its natural bond with the halfling druid does it survive in this arctic air.
Using her head as a battering ram, Screecha forces the door to break open. Alton casts a spell on his scimitar to enlighten the area and climbs up. It is a long hallway filled with doors and broken bits of door and chairs from rooms now above, rather than across, from them.
“hallway boss. I don’t see any danger.”
“Too kkkkklik cold klik-klik for klik-ik-ik anything to klik survive.”
“If that were only so true. We better move in and wait out the storm and get a plan made.” Commands Jasyne with an aura of authority. They go into the hulk of the ruined ship. Hoping to find something magical inside, the Kreen looks around. Jasyne is uncomfortable with this. This is Kim’s ship still, damaged but still his. They are here to help him- not rob him.
The kreen opens a door and a chair and various books spill out onto it. Looking at the books quickly it then looks up and effortlessly hops up and grabs the desk that has slid next to the door inside the room. Struggling slightly as it looks through the ruined room it looks around. Nothing obviously magic. Don’t even see any money pouches. Maybe this isn’t Kim’s ship.
“Will you stop doing that?” calls up the archer. He notches an arrow and holds it. It allows the arrow to glow and light up a short distance. The halfling’s magical light is better and shows more of the darkened hallway. The thri-kreen hops down and goes to the next door. This one is open already and blocked by the furniture. It crosses its antennae in irritation. Awkwardly moving in the space, Screecha looks from the kreen to the furniture. It steps under the doorway and stands upright. Using its head, it pushes the blockage out of the way. Uncertain what the gesture was for, the kreen watches the dinosaur cautiously before jumping up to explore this room.
Giving up on the Thri-kreen, Jasyne returns his attention to the main reason they are here. “Shy-Anne, what other powers do you have? Can you locate him like the ship?”
“No. I have tried but I cannot locate him.”
“You can’t teleport to him…. But maybe send a message to him? I’ve heard of mages that can do that.”
“I’ll try. Just give me a moment.” She settles down on the slanted floor and concentrates for a moment. The halfling and his companion move ahead to explore further. The kreen is unhappy about finding nothing magical but did find a small amount of money.
“No. I used a power that allows me to reach him anywhere. Even on another plane. I couldn’t reach him.”
“Would he block it?”
“Could but why.”
“Could…. Could this mean he has….”
Nearby, the raptor has heard something. It moves to the end of the hallway. There are stairs leading down. From the stairs shambles a zombie. It is carrying a bundle the way a mother would carry its child.
The Zombie slowly turns. Its clumsy steps are made worse trying to walk on the tilted hallway floor. It doesn’t know what hits it as the Megaraptor drops down from above and splatters it back onto the stairway.
The archer moves up to see what was happening. He notes the destroyed undead and what it was carrying. The blanket has spilled and reveals its contents- a book and some tools. Jasyne looks at the book- “Can you read this?” Shy-Anne looks at it. “Yes”.
He waits patiently.
“It is dwarven.”
“It is Kim Elderich’s journal. A new book. Only a few entries in it.”
“Anything useful or strange?”
“Began writing after leaving Stormreach. They are following the mountain river to locate a ruin believed to have meaning for the artifact. The Creation Schema.”
Suddenly he realizes the Kreen is not there. “Where is Arcanis?”
“We should reel it in before it gets into further trouble.” Suggests Jasyne as he looks about the dark halls.
Meanwhile, Arcanis has located another stairway that leads down. It goes to the stairway and listens carefully. Deciding it is safe it goes down then begins to hear activity from the dark. It waits for a moment as its darkvision adjusts to the lack of light. It sees nothing but hears some shuffling outside of its vision. “Magic” it wonders quietly to itself. It goes down the length of the stairs and to the hallway below, without looking around behind itself. Looking down the hallway it sees several more zombies carrying various goods. It prepares to destroy them then realizes it is surrounded as they come from around the other corner and behind the stairway. “klik…me.”
It begins to strike at the closest one and thus create enough noise to alert the others. “We need to go to it immediately! Alton- get there now!”
“It’s below us.”
Shrugging his shoulders, he lowers his hunting mask and commands Screecha to go down. She does. A few quick kicks and clawing, she loosens a board in the floor. Using her teeth she then rips up boards. Barely able to see the kreen below, she bellows out a happy honk and begins to bite off larger pieces of the floor.
“Zombies! Lots of zombies!” calls the halfling.
“Figured as much.” Comments the Kensai Archer as he draws forth an arrow.
Shy-Anne grows pale then disappears from view, without a sound or notice.
Arcanis strikes down a few more zombies before Screecha can clear enough room to push her head through the floor. She grabs a zombie with her mouth and pulls it up through the floor. A quick savage shake of her head and some rending with her front claws the zombie is destroyed. It goes for more, like a child bobbing for apples.
Alton is slightly disgusted. Not by the actions of Screecha, but the thought of her breath when this is over.
“Shy-Anne- get me down there-….. Shy? DAMMIT!” Jasyne snarls. He looks at the angles of the floor and wall and times it when Screecha brings her head up with more undead. He leaps against the wall and through the hole in the floor. As he lands, new undead zombies arrive- zombie frost giants!!!!!
“We really lack discipline.” He comments as he draws out his sword. Too many zombies are in arms reach of him and the kreen to use the bow.
It doesn’t take long for the numbers to dwindle between the multi-armed kreen, the Kensai’s sword and the bobbing dinosaur to clear some space. Jasyne switches back to his bow and releases hell onto the zombies. Rainbow streaks of magical energy shot by the kreen as he fires into the zombie horde. “klik-klik- ohhhhh…..magic klik.”
The one zombie giant catches on fire and falls. It creates a barrier that slows down the other zombies. This makes it extremely easy for the kreen finish off the undead.
Jasyne looks at the ground and tries to figure out what is going on now. Many of these zombies also carried bundles and possible tools used by artificers and mages. Arcanis is quick to search through the bundles.
They begin to look for her. They are worried that the zombies somehow grabbed her during the fight. Screecha digs up more floor and drops into the hole. She nearly lands on the two adventurers. As she turns about to look around her tail whips over the heads of them Jasyne carefully avoids it but the kreen takes further offense to it. Too many times the dinosaur pest has nearly struck it with her tail. It actively attempts to bite the tail. Ever so briefly, it grabs the tail with its mandibles but before biting hard enough to eject poison, it is wiped away.
Meanwhile, upstairs, in a dark hallway with little light given from a hole in the hull, sits Shy-Anne. She is not hiding from the zombies she keeps telling herself. Not hiding at all. So why can’t she bring herself to confront them. Damn Jasyne, he will call her on this.
“I summon you!” calls out a deep voice in giant.
She whirls around to the hole and sees a shadow at the opening. Knowing this cannot be good, she moves down to where the group was. They are not there now. There is a gaping hole in the floor however. A soft glow rises from below.
“I SUMMON YOU NOW!” She hears again. She turns to the hull wall and her eyes begin to glow as she summons her own energy. She releases it into the wall as a ball of pure explosive psionic energy and blasts a hole into the hull. The icy cold air rushes in before anyone below can react.
“By the Sovereign Host - NOW WHAT?!?” snarls Jasyne as he takes to the exit. He looks at the hole and the dinosaur still below it. He leaps up and steps onto the snout of the dinosaur that out of surprise lifts her head thus springing the archer up and through the hole. The kreen looks to do the same but hesitates slightly as the raptor smiles. “Behave.” Calmly suggests the halfling.
Upstairs, Jasyne sees a new hole in the wall, three times the size of the one he created earlier. Shy-Anne is now standing in it and beginning to glow slightly. “Wha….?” He begins as she releases the energy ball to somewhere outside of the ship.
He peers out through the blowing snow and sees the remains of several frost giants trying to stand up. More zombies that are splattered and reduced to red dust on the snow. She releases a second blast that destroys more of the giants. Jasyne begins to wonder just how powerful she really is. “Leave someone alive so that we can get some answers!”
The surviving giants sprint into the blinding snow and wind. Jasyne takes one down hoping to wound the other but no such luck. At last two get away.
“What was that?” He demands.
“I know- I mean where did you go?!?”
“Not far away.”
“Where and Why?”
“Now is not the time- what are these Frost Giants doing here? They seemed to be controlling the zombies. Shouldn’t you be worried about that instead of me?”
Jasyne frowns. She is correct but it is obvious that she is hiding something. Damn you Kim. He thinks.
“They got away and will bring more. We better plan for it.”
“Where its warmer I hope.” She turns and goes inside where the raptor has finally jumped up through the hole. The kreen and halfling are nearby.
It is debated at what to do and decided that rest is required. The kreen watches over them while thinking about magic and how magic might befuddle the dinosaur.
“PILLARS OF PURE COLD”
RHAAN 28, 999
The group is surprised as Shy-Anne suggests a safe and secure place for shelter. She pulls out a small metallic cube. She gives a command word and it grows into a solid small tower, much to the kreen’s great joy. It is nearly speechless. It merely clatters, either from joy or the cold.
The inside is very well decorated and fancy. Much fancier and more comfortable than Jasyne is used to or prefers. She gives a few ground rules about the place. She is uncertain about the dinosaur as it pushes and squeezes through the doorway and takes up most of the available space. As it turns to inspect its new sleeping quarters the kreen and archer both are careful to avoid the swinging tail.
“Stay on this level. It is the safest. The water room in that little door. Downstairs is off limits. Period. Upstairs is my personal space. I tend to sleep… comfortably…. And as such wish for my privacy. This structure is made of adamantine and magically rooted to the ground. We should be safe here. It even protects us from the cold. Now, if you will excuse me- I wish to relax, meditate and sleep.” She gives the archer a look then climbs up to her private quarters.
“Klik Klik…. Little space…klik….with your pet klik.”
“Screecha is as much a part of this group as you. Make due.” Screecha nods her head and turns once more before settling down.
Jasyne takes a few moments to meditate, his bow before him, eyes closed, he moves his arms rhythmically. This exercise takes several minutes then he stops, looks around and seeks out a bed.
The kreen watches over them for a bit, uncertain of the safety here, the safety from the dinosaur and then it begins to wonder….. magic.
The next day comes. Shy-Anne provides food and drink from the basement. Refreshed, she tries to mentally reach Kim once more but cannot. She “senses” he is alive but cannot contact him. Secretly she fears it is being blocked from a more powerful psion but will not share her fears. When Jasyne begins to ask about the zombie incident she quickly suggests they should leave. The storm has subsided.
Allowing her to dodge the question once more, they step out (or squeeze) to outside. It is still very cold but the visibility is much better than yesterday. As Jasyne checks out the remains of the defeated frost giants and zombies Alton and Screecha notice something they all missed the day before.
“Guys- look at this!” His voice is happy as this promises new adventure.
Within 200 feet of the crashed ship are twin pillars of stone covered in snow and ice. They stand over 200 feet tall and are only 30 feet wide at the base. Only 50ft of space is between them. Swirling snow habits the air between them.
“Klik.” Is all the kreen says as it pulls a small carpet from its pack. Jasyne had mistaken it for a sleeping pad until the command word is given (in kreen….curious). The kreen hops onto it and flies up quickly before anyone can stop it.
“Damned bug. Damn you Kim. This is really beginning to annoy me.” Grumbles the archer as he dredges through the snow towards the pillar.
Arcanis flies up through the blowing cold snow and wind. The wind is fierce and constant. It decides to fly to the top before even thinking (too late) of going through the possible portal. At the top the kreen steps off of the carpet onto the top of the stone pillar. It is MUCH more slippery than it figured and finds itself sliding off of the pillar that is encased in ice in many areas.
The others, trying to run through the thick snow, begin to shout at the kreen. It is too late as it slips off and falls. It looks to the carpet and as it is about to try to reach it when suddenly everything turns extremely cold and pure white. The flying carpet flutters to the ground with a light flump.
Jasyne reaches the base, covers his eyes from the sting of the wind and sleet. “Where is it?”
“Where?” asks the halfling.
“Another plane. Another reality if you wish. It is the center place of cold.” Answers the psion.
“Is it… alive?”
“The kreen or the plane? The answer is yes to both.”
“Is it safe?”
“Except for the extreme cold, blizzards, Frost Giants, White Dragons, White Pddings and other cold living creatures…. Yes.”
“Better get the bug.” The archer sucks in his breath and steps into the white light.
Screecha paws the rug a few times before its rider asks to get it. It’ll make an okay blanket in this cold.
Jasyne steps out of the white and sees nothing but a white-out condition. “Arcanis!”
“Let’s return home (for what it is)”
The two of them stumble back onto the planar doorway. As he goes through he tries to see through the snow and wind. What little he sees reminds him of the lake valet in the mountains of Xen’drik he is in currently.
The Frost giant named Greephoor doesn’t understand why this food must be warm but he does it anyway. It is sickening his to sense of touch.
He walks down the ice tunnel to the special holding cell. Just outside of this holding cell is a very special item. This weapon nullifies ALL magic. Dragon, arcane, belief and even the power of the mind are blocked and it is very powerful.
It was used to bring the warm ones to the crowd. The flying fortress was brought down before their home portal. This same magical- anti-magic now holds the sole survivor of the fortress’ crash. The bearded one.
A painful warmth washes over the giant as he reaches the cell. A fire is kept here so that the little one can live. His powerful magic is nullified so that he cannot leave.
Caked on blood still covers the one side of Kim Elderich’s face and collects within his once immaculate beard.
The food is slid under the ice bars. Some the soup spills out and steams for a moment or two before freezing to the ice.
The Dwarf doesn’t move. He is numb. Not just from pain but also spirit. He thought he was going to do great good bring the completed Creation Schema back to Xen’drik. Instead, the Frost Giants have taken it from him. Frost Giants led by a powerful Dragon. These giants have traded the schema to Fire Giants in the next valley. Whom then will possess it he is uncertain. Either way he has failed.
Mumbling and in a whisper he prays for forgiveness from the world and his Granddaughter- Dura Elderich.
“THE GLOATING OF A MAD GOD ”
ARYTH 10, 999
The darkness gives him comfort. The air remains warm however. He is leaning back in a chair with his fingertips together and his feet on the table. He is looking at the object under a velvet cloth on this table. He smiles deeply and suddenly becomes animated and drops his feet and chair legs to the ground. With a silent giggle he removes the cloth and looks into the glass ball as it begins to shimmer.
“The hags are looking into the future again- excellent.”
The gaunt dark skinned immortal looks into the glass. The three hags of Droaam are but one of his many unwitting pawns. He gave them an artifact that allows them to see the future. What they are unaware of, is anything foreseen in the globe must be seen by him first. Then he may alter the image if he wishes. In this manner, he has led them to power and control of Droaam and now into battle with Breland. Sheer chaos. Sheer beautiful chaos.
The artifact shows him a war. Trolls lumber forward with Gnolls giving them cover fire. Men riding bears rush to them. He watches intently seeing the outcome. He concentrates on the globe and the hags viewing a similar globe. He plants images of his choosing to create the most death , destruction and the best- pure utter chaos.
He is certain they will act on it.
“You are happy my Lord?” asks a woman walking through the darkness. The glow from the globe reflects on the metal of her helmet and the blackness of her eyes.
“Very. It has been a grand day.”
“And why is that my Lord?” she asks as she comes to stand next to him. Her long finger nails play with his neck and shoulders.
“I am slowly driving all of Khorvaire mad and on to a road to destruction.”
She circles him smiling.
“Through my generals and pawns I have finally begun to see centuries worth of planning come to fruition. I oversaw the events that lead to King Jarot’s death and planted the thoughts of rebellion within two of his children thus bringing the world into war. As this great event quelled, I stirred alien thoughts and ideals into peoples of Droaam and Darguun.”
“Tell me more my Lord.” Mistress Muy Monstrous purrs as she now sits on his lap.
“I controlled the earth elementals and their lords to shake the Mror Holds until millions died in the flooding.”
“millions.” She repeats.
“I encouraged the demon lords to strike out against Aundair. More die daily as they trample the great forest in their efforts to consume Aundair.”
“Delicious my Lord” she says putting her face close enough to his to smell his skin and white hair.
“I have lifted the misty veils of the Hidden to expose the Dragon’s greatest fear and weakness so that their foes may once more rise.”
“ummmmm….rise.” she purrs.
“and then there is the Schema. My pride and joy. I have so many trying to find it or stop it and so few understand its power.”
“power my Lord.”
“Vol has sent several of her generals to Xen’drik to capture the Schema and use its believed power over creation and life. But one of her top generals, Garrow, has abandoned her cause. The halfling imp, Cedious, has consumed him with the need for vengeance. But one of my Chaos Storms has transplanted him elsewhere- beyond his reach.”
The mad would-be god of chaos closes his eyes and envisions the halfling rogue as he suffers.
“The dragons, already on the run from the Hidden being exposed are splitting their efforts to contain the virus and also locate and stop the dwarf Elderich. It was I that gave him visions of the power of the artifact and it was I that brought him the riches of the Noldrunhold.”
“yesssss…. Power and riches…..”
“It was I that sent the Thrane Knights to the island of the undead plague. It was I that the artificer lich and his companion, a warforged. Both are consumed with madness.”
“I have manipulated the Lord of Blades to send his agents throughout Khorvaire to capture the artifact before his sister warforged from another dimension could grasp it. Xulo-12 now risks everything by exposing herself and Cannith’s other worldly operations. This has brought Cannith into the chase.”
“And I have used several of my agents to prolong the chase. The dragons Bree and Blizzard for instance. Anything to extend my fun.”
“Yes. Even The Face of The False moon requires amusement.”
“Mummy….. Amusement. Like all of the Elderich family.”
“Meaning?” he asks suddenly frowning.
She diverts her eyes and submits. “Kim and Dura Elderich…. They yet live.”
“I can kill either one when I wish to. NOTHING. Nothing can stop me now.”