The Rise of Felskein [Completed]

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 2


“I found these two trying to get away,” Kormak said, leading the two unarmed Silver Knights back to the group.

“Did you see what the cargo you were escorting did?” Suniel said, gesturing at the scorched battlefield and the big empty pit where they were burying the bodies. “We tried to make you stop but you left us no alternative.”

One of the Silver Knights set down the other that he was carrying, stood, put his hands behind his back and stood at attention, defiant. “We had a contract. In two hundred years, the Silver Knights have never breached their word.”

“Who hired you?” Harold said.

“I don't know. It was a figure in a thick purple robe.”

“And where were you taking those crystals?” Suniel said.

“Just up the road,” the Knight said. “We weren't told any more than that.”

“And if we let you go, what will you do now?” Suniel said, his voice quiet.

The Silver Knight turned and looked Suniel in the eyes. There was sadness there, probably for the loss of his companions. “I would take my injured friend back to the nearest Silver Knights Enclave where he could recover.”

“What of your contract?” Harold said, narrowing his eyes at the knight. “You said that Silver Knights never breached their word.”

“I would not be breaching the contract. It was to take the crates to the destination at the end of the road.” He gestured at the blackened, debris-littered path. “As you can see, the crates no longer exist.”

“How is that not keeping your word?” Suniel said.

“It means we failed in protecting it, not that we broke our contract. I think my dead comrades are testament enough to our honor.”

Suniel stared at the man for a moment, then nodded. “Let him go.”

***

Lord Bragas glanced at the pavilion smugly as he lit his lantern and walked into the cave. He doubted any Greywarden could pass up the offer he'd made. He looked up at the sun. The Silver Knights were running a bit late, but he wasn't worried. With their cargo, he could crush any Hold that opposed him.

“Sir!” Bradic said, his plate armor clanking as he jogged over.

“What is it, cousin?” Bragas said.

“There are... visitors.”

Something in Bradic's tone intrigued Bragas. He turned and shone the lantern at Bradic's face. “And?”

“Well, there's an elf, a human with a bow, a hideous dwarf, and a rusty red construct with lightning in its eyes.”

“Indeed? Curious. And what might they be doing here?”

“I'm not sure, but it can't be a good thing. I told you we should never have gotten involved with-”

“Peace, cousin Bradic,” the Advisor said, walking forward from the shadows of the cave, the purple of his deep-cowled robe seeming to blend with the darkness. “My pets will take care of them if they are trouble.”

“Pah, save your abominations,” Bragas said. “My men and I are more than enough to take care of them. Are the archers at their places on the cliff-side?”

“Yes, I never told them to stand down after the Greywarden arrived.”

“Perfect. Let's go see what they want, shall we?”
 
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Xyque

First Post
Uh Oh...

Uh oh, I think there's a continuity error, the way I read this Kezzek is in two places at the same time, meeting with Bragas while finding a couple surviving Silver Knights. Perhaps someone else found those knights?








P.S. More Harold! He's my favorite!
 


Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 3

<Note: Yup, there was an error there. I had in my notes that Kormak found the Silver Knights. So, it being late, I originally wrote "Kormak led them back a sword point". I then realized that Kormak didn't use swords and, not thinking clearly, figured I'd just change it to Kezzek. Anyway, it's now restored to it's "original state"

As for the "more Harold" request, your wish is my command. And technically, you "are" Harold :)>


Bragas was as arrogantly confidant as ever, but Bradic had his doubts. There was a hard edge about these foreigners and it wasn't every lost traveler that had a lightning-eyed construct following them around. He checked the straps on his shield and resisted the urge to draw his sword as he stood behind Bragas and the Adviser, staring across at the foreigners.

“Hail, travelers,” Bragas shouted at them, raising a hand. “I think you may be lost, friends.”

“Perhaps, it would depend on whether you were expecting someone,” the human in the group said. He wore a uniform that Bradic recognized as Crystal Towers make. The dwarf and elf seemed to be unarmed, which set Bradic on edge even more.

Why would a lone Crystal Towers soldier be here with this dwarf and elf? Bradic thought, answered a moment later when the man tossed a partially blackened silver helmet to the ground.

Bradic took a deep breath and began slowly scanning the hills beyond and below the foreigners for more Crystal Towers soldiers. He saw none. Could it be these three killed all our hired Silver Knights? Three of them? Does the Crystal Towers know of Bragas's deal with the Ashen Tower? His gut clenched with anxiety and he placed a warning hand on Bragas's arm.

Bragas shrugged it off, squinting his eyes at the travelers, his expression gone hard. “I might ask what three foreigners are doing wandering the Freeholds in the midst of a Hold War. You're deep into Webdyn territory and I don't see any tattoos on your necks.”

“Webdyn territory?” the dwarf said, looking around as if surprised. “I must have missed the sign.”

“Are the Webdyn's in the habit of making transactions with Thessalock?” the Crystal Tower's man said, pointing an accusing finger at Bragas.

Bradic's gut clenched, the knowledge of a dozen of their men hidden about the cliff behind him with bows at the ready doing little to calm him. Either there's a hundred more Crystal Towers soldiers out there waiting for the word to attack or these three are no one to be trifled with, Bradic thought, running his damp palm across his hair nervously.

“I think it's time for you to leave. Now.” Bragas said. “No one trespasses on Webdyn property, on pain of death. No foreigner travels the Freeholds during a Hold War, on pain of death. Leave now or I will be forced to uphold the laws.”

“Who put you in charge?” the dwarf said, crossing his arms. The elf glanced at the dwarf and shook his head, but didn't say anything.

Bragas rose up to his full immense height. “I am Bragas Webdyn, Hold Lord of the Webdyn Holdings. You have thirty seconds to leave. Or else.”

“Thirty seconds?” the elf said. “No need to be hasty, we're leaving. Just let me get this pebble from my boot first.”

He sat on a nearby rock and began digging around in his boot.

“And I need a bite to eat before we take to the road again,” the dwarf said. He set down his small pack and began rummaging through it. “I swear there's an apple in here somewhere.”

The Crystal Towers soldier didn't join the others. He stood unmoving, no slightest trace of humor on his face as he stared across the dusty ground at Bragas. Bradic could hear Bragas's teeth grinding as he stared back, his cousin's bulging muscles growing ever more tense.

“Can't... quite... reach it,” the elf said, staring down at his boot in mock disgust. “I might have to unlace it.”

“Nope, that's not an apple,” the dwaf said, staring up into the sky as he dug his arm deeper into his pack. “Hey, that's where Dog's collar is. And hey! I think I found my lucky belt buckle.”

“Enough of this!” Bragas roared, greatsword flying from the sheath on his back. He pointed it at the suddenly serious and sharp-eyed foreigners with one mighty arm. “Archers, kill them all!”

Bradic drew his sword and took a deep breath. Gods, Don't let me die for this madman.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 4


Kezzek was started from his sleep by someone yelling outside. He sighed and rubbed his eyes, sleepily grabbing his quor'rel from next to him on the piled furs. Metal clanged on metal, men shouted and cursed and cried out in pain.

He rose, splashed his face in a silver wash basin on an ornate stand nearby, then made his way through the spacious pavilion and pushed open the entry flap.

The daylight blinded him for a moment and he squinted and raised his hand to shield the sun.

Kormak was leaping and dodging around Bragas while Keeper had created a shield of lightning and a sword of light and was facing off with the knight Bragas had called his cousin. Bragas was bellowing and spitting froth as he swung his huge two-handed sword, but the dwarf was too quick for him, darting in here and there to land a blow and skipping away again before Bragas could reach him.

The one Bragas had called his Adviser stood a few steps away, arm raised and pointed towards where Suniel stood chanting and gesturing back towards the Adviser. Harold was running zig-zags across the open ground, firing at the cliffs as arrows whistled into the dirt all around him. Kezzek traced a flight of Harold's arrows and saw an armored figure tumble from the cliffs, striking the rocks with several hard crunches before lying still at the base of the cliff.

With another sigh and a deep breath, Kezzek charged into the fray.

***

Bradic back-pedaled, murmured a word and healed the searing wound the construct had just inflicted. He had landed several solid blows on the thing, but what little damage he had done repaired itself as he watched. The construct approached unblinking, relentless, eyes flowing like water.

There was a flash of flame to his right and the Adviser staggered back, robes smoldering, while Bragas foamed from the mouth, eyes bulging in an unnatural way, the veins in his forehead swelling and turning purple. Behind him, he heard another of their archers crash to the ground.
He lunged at the construct again, his blade passing through its shield. Lightning shot up his arm and he staggered back, his arm nearly numb.

A few steps away, the Adviser suddenly vanished in flicker of darkness and a swirl of dark mist. The Greywarden had joined the battle and he and the dwarf had Bragas on his knees. As he watched, the dwarf jumped and spun in the air, his foot connecting with Bragas' temple. Bragas's head jerked, his eyes rolled into his head, and he toppled over.

The human archer had ceased firing and was walking slowly towards Bragas, a long shafted arrow aimed straight at his face. After kneeling quickly over Bragas, Kezzek and the dwarf turned and began to circle around him as well. He raised his shield and prepared to die.

“Take him alive,” the wizard said, appearing seemingly out of thin air, shimmering with power.

“Ho!” the archer shouted and Bradic spun towards him, realizing his mistake a second later when the dwarf became a blur in the corner of his eye. An iron grip seized his sword wrist, twisted, and jerked. Pain shot through it and his sword fell uselessly to the dirt.

“Night night!” the dwarf said, flicking Bradic's helmed off with one hand a split second before the dwarf's broad, scarred forehead slammed into Bradic's face like a hammer.

***

“Was this all necessary?” Kezzek said, gesturing at the two fallen Webdyns and the armored arrow-riddled bodies that lay scattered across the cliff and about its base.

Suniel's face was grim. “You know I wouldn't have approved of it if it wasn't. The Ashen Tower crystals were being shipped here.”

“Give you five guesses what he was going to use them on,” Kormak said, staring at the wall of coffins lining the sides of the cave. He whistled.

“We have a lot of work to take care of here,” Suniel said, following the dwarf's gaze. “We don't have time to bury them all, but drag them out here and we can at least burn them.”

“Why don't we just burn them in there?” Kormak said. “That looks like a lot of work.”

“So we can break the bones to be sure they can't be used for necromancy,” Harold said, his voice soft and his gaze far away. “The Ashen Tower-”

“Yeah, yeah, the Ashen Tower is terrible and awful and all that, we know,” Kormak said. He sighed. “Well, let's get started.”

Kezzek was already at the cave mouth and walking in. Suddenly he stopped and raised a hand. “Wait, I think I saw something move back in-”

Kezzek's eye's widened, his face contorting with fear. Then his body jerked and fell lifelessly to the dirt like a discarded puppet.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 5


Suniel didn't wait to see what it was in the cave that had killed Kezzek, he simply threw the most powerful fire spell he knew into the cave. In the flash of flame that erupted, he caught a glimpse of two figures.

One, deep in the cave and barely in the light of the blast, was a tall skeleton with what looked like pink, pulsing intestines wrapped about its ribs and ending in a set of needle-like pincers that stuck from the skeleton's mouth like some obscene tongue. Mohrg, Suniel thought, the name rising up out of decades-old half-suppressed memories.

The other was black, slick, almost featureless except for eyes that burned with a pale blue light. Suniel had no name for it, but it brought back images of the dark things that had begun to walk in the shadows around Thessalock when they were still working together on their grand dream in the Ashen Tower.

As the flames enveloped the creature, its eyes met his and Suniel felt like an icy hand grabbed his soul and tugged.

He closed his eyes and jerked back, gasping as the icy ephemeral grip loosed. “Don't look in its eyes,” Suniel shouted to the others. Judging by Kormak's shocked look, he already had, but the fact that he was still charging towards it was testament to his resilience. Harold's expression was grim as he looked the thing in the eye and began firing.

As Suniel summoned up another more controlled blast of flame, Kormak leapt through the air towards the creature. It didn't even look in his direction as the mohrg's “tongue” shot out, yanked Kormak out of the air, and dragged him into the depths of the cave.

The black, soulless creature staggered back as Harold walked towards it, loosing an arrow with every step. Suniel hurled a burning cinder that hit it square in the chest and burned a gaping hole clear through it. The thing cast one last hollow look at Suniel and dissolved away into the darkness.

Suniel summoned a light to his hand and ran with Harold into the cave towards the sounds of struggle. As they neared it, there was a resounding crack and a moment later Kormak walked into the light with a rib-cage in one hand, three feet of ropy intestine in the other, and small bleeding pincer-marks all over his body.

“That was gross,” he said. “Let's not fight any more of those things.”

They stopped and exchanged brief glances and nods as the adrenaline rush of battle subsided. Then, as one, their gazes turned to where Kezzek's body lay.

***

“Wake up, sleepy,” a muffled voice said from what seemed to be a long ways away. “Come on, wake up.”

Bradic awoke to find himself tied back-to-back to his cousin, his armor stripped away. The ugly dwarf knelt next to him, while the wizard – that he now saw was an elf – and the human archer stood a few paces away, jaws set and eyes hard. His mind was foggy and his arm and head pulsed with pain.

“What were you planning to do in this place?” the archer said, gesturing towards the cave where the stacks of coffins burned.

“Don't go in there, there's two terrible-” he began.

“Too late,” the elf said, cutting him off. “Our companion is already dead.”

Bradic's head slumped down. He took a deep breath and looked back up. “Are you going to kill me?”

“That would depend on what you say in the next few minutes,” the archer said, his expression saying he meant it. “Choose your words carefully for what they might tell us is all that is buying you the breath to speak them.”

His mind suddenly sharpened. He saw the Greywarden lying in repose on the furs of his cousin's bed through the pavilion door. He saw the bodies of the men, their armor glinting in the sunlight as clouds of flies swarmed around their corpses. He saw the orange light of the burning coffins in the cave. He felt the hard sunlight burning down on his face. He felt the lack of breath in the body tied to his back.

He took another deep breath and nodded. “I will tell you everything I know, as well as I can tell it.”
 
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Sanzuo

First Post
40oziv0.png
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 21, Part 6


"The Adviser appeared when Bragas and I were out looking for his sister. You might have heard of her? The Huntress?" Bradic looked between them.

They glanced at each other and shrugged.

“Well, you're lucky. Anyway, we were here looking for her and we found this cave. The Adviser walks out like he's been waiting for us.” He paused. “Hey, I don't suppose you could untie me? It's not like I could do anything against you guys even if I wanted to.”

Suniel nodded and Kormak untied him.

“Thanks,” Bradic said, standing up and rubbing his wrists. “Anyway, I didn't want to have anything to do with him, or it, or whatever it was. Especially after I saw it's hands... inhuman.”

Bradic shuddered. “Bragas listened to it then and I think... I think it did something to his mind. He wasn't quite the same afterward, suddenly obsessed with the idea of uniting the Freeholds. He was talking almost like his sister.”

“What's this about this sister?” Kormak said. He winked. “Is she single?”

Bradic shook his head. “Very. She made a deal with the Hollowed One. She'd always been fond of hunting and he gave her a bow that, well, long story short, she can't get enough of it. We have to kick her out of the house or we find her putting arrows into the local livestock, she was even talking about hunting people. Just... don't deal with the Hollowed One. Everyone knows that after the Ravasi.”

He looked at them like they were supposed to know who what the Ravasi was.

They stared back at him blankly.

“Oh, well, the leaders of the Ravasi Freehold went to the Hollowed One. They were losing a Hold War and asked for the might to take on any enemy. They rode back and crushed the Freeholds that were facing them, but they couldn't get enough. They kept on taking on their neighbors until they had half the Freeholds arrayed against them. It took their combined might to take them down, but the Ravasi were purged, their lands now forbidden ground, their name is a curse-”

“What about Bragas?” Harold said, making a cutting gesture with his hand. “Why was he dealing with the Ashen Tower.”

Bradic frowned. “That was all his idea. Nothing I could say would talk him out of it. He even sent a couple of my cousins there as apprentices. I tried to tell him that if the other Freeholds found out, they'd Purge us, but he was set on it.”

“So who's in charge of the Webdyns now? You?” Suniel said.

Bradic shook his head. “No, he has two other brothers that are in line before me. He – or the Adviser of his – had them swayed to his side. One of them will take over.”

“So what will you do now?” Kormak said. “Go join rejoin your Hold?”

“No, I think not,” Bradic said. “I had hoped I might be able to sway Bragas back to the way he was before.”

He glanced down at Bragas' corpse. “No hope of that now. No, I have a new plan.”

Bradic was silent for a moment. Kormak poked him a couple of times. “And that is?”

“I'm going to return back to our Holdings and find any who disagree with Bragas' unlawful and honorless acts. I'll form a new Hold.”

“And, so, that means?” Harold said.

“We'll need allies. I hope you might be them.”

“If you'll join us against the Ashen Tower, you have Crystal Towers as an ally,” Harold said.

“And, on the more relevant local level, you'll likely have the Thornspills as allies if you'll join them at Port,” Suniel said. “Once you get your forces together, could you head there?”

Bradic thought for a moment, then nodded. “Yes, it could be done. It will be a march, but hopefully one we can make before the rest of the Webdyns organize and come after us.”

Suniel extended his hand and Bradic took it. They shook and Bradic turned, seemingly missing Kormak's outstretched hand entirely. As he walked to the scattered tents, Harold leaned over to Suniel. “You'll trust him, just like that?”

Suniel shrugged. “Not entirely, but I think the possibility of the Thornspills having him and half his Hold as allies outweighs the risks of letting one Webdyn live.”

“Maybe,” Harold said, squinting after Bradic. “But I still don't like it.”

"Why do we care about the Thornspills and Webdyns again?" Kormak said.

“We want the Thornspills to win because the Webdyns are pawns of the Ashen Tower," Suniel said. "Anyway, it's done. Let's burn the bodies, grab Kezzek, and head back to Port.”

“What about the cave?” Kormak said, gesturing towards the massive opening where the coffins still burned. “We have no idea what's in there.”

“Let's keep it that way,” Suniel said, heading for the pavilion. “Who knows, there might be more of those things in there.”

Harold followed Suniel and, a after a moment of consideration, Kormak followed as well.
 
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Xyque

First Post
Whoops

sorry to keep finding these, the following sentence doesn't make sense to me:

“We want the Thornspills to win because they are pawns of the Ashen Tower,"

isn't that the opposite of what we want?
 

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