The Rise of Felskein [Completed]

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 26, Part 1


Keeper and Kormak carefully lowered Bail's body down from the carriage into the waiting hands of the guardsmen.

“What happened to the Free Agent?” one of them said as a group of them carried the half-dragon's body down a ramp to the small town at the base of the wall.

Suniel shook his head. “As we fled, I saw several powerful spectral abominations closing in on him. His skill with a bow is great, but I doubt even he can survive a battle against six of them at once while stuck up in a tree.”

The guardsmen all around them exchanged worried looks and Suniel could almost see the ripple of fear that made its way through their ranks.

“What about that monster that was killing everyone?” one of them called out. “Is it coming this way now?”

“It was a nightwalker,” Keeper said.

“Your Free Agent killed it just before the wraiths arrived,” Suniel said with a curious glance at Keeper.

A halfhearted cheer went up after that, but died away quickly. “What about the wraiths?” another guardsman called out. “If we don't get back there and retake the breach, they'll overrun us!”

Suniel glanced at the guardsmen carrying Bail away, then down to Kormak. “We should go back and get Harold's body at least, see if we can claim it before the walking dead devour him.”

“By 'we' you mean you and Keeper, right?” Kormak said.

Suniel stared at him.

“Fine, fine, wouldn't want the zombies getting indigestion.”

Minutes later they were back at the breach, the carriage plowing through the dead that had already packed the wall again. Suniel pulled the carriage to a stop and glanced around as Kormak and Keeper set to taking down anything that got too close to the carriage.

The area looked almost identical to how they'd left it, except next to the wall below was a fifty-foot tall tree that hadn't been there before. Suniel glanced down at it, detecting the definite after-effects of conjuration. “Harold, you alive down there?”

He tilted his head and listened, hearing nothing but the continuous moan of the close-packed dead below and the occasional sounds of fighting from the front or back of the carriage. “Harold?”

“I said, I'm alive, no thanks to you,” he heard, the archer's words just barely audible. “There were way too many of those things. Throw down a rope or something.”

“Is he dead and eaten yet?” Kormak called from the front of the carriage. “And if so, can we go now?”

“He's alive,” Suniel said, opening up his carriage and pulling out a length of rope he always kept just inside for emergencies.

He tied the rope off on a side-railing and tossed the end down to the tree. A few minutes later, he helped haul Harold up, the human's face looking drawn and his usually immaculate uniform torn to shreds by the pawing hands of the dead.

“Good to see you alive,” Suniel said.

“We lose anyone?” Harold said, climbing atop the carriage as Suniel pulled up the rope.

“We lost Bail.”

Harold grunted.

“Keeper, Kormak, pull back, we're heading back,” Suniel called as he climbed atop the carriage bench. The construct and dwarf complied.

“Oh, you're alive,” Kormak said, glancing in mock surprise at Harold as he settled down atop the rapidly accelerating carriage. “Made quite a sight, you falling out of the sky like that.”

“The undead I landed on mostly broke my fall,” Harold said. “Then I saved your lives, climbed that tree, and, single-handed, killed half-a-dozen shadows and wraiths.”

“Yup, sure is good to have you back,” Kormak said, patting Harold on the back. “Now we can get back to saving the world.”

“Or at least the few parts that are worth saving,” Harold said.

“On that, at least, we agree,” Kormak said, clapping his hand on Harold's shoulder. “So lets get the heck out of the Crystal Towers and go save them.”

Harold shrugged the dwarf's hand off and settled into one of his brooding silences.
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 26, Part 2


“He fought Thessalock?” Harold said, incredulously.

“And died. Thessalock has one of what we now know as the True Stones. I raised Archeras this morning,” High Cleric Granath said. “As I'm about to go do for your friend. If you'll excuse me.”

“Magistar Archeras died?” Harold repeated, staring at the doorway the dwarven High Cleric had just passed through.

“I overheard the troops talking about the Magisters' endless battle against Thessalocks liches. They teleport somewhere into the Crystal Towers mainland every morning and wreak havoc until the Magisters can track them down and destroy them, then they just return the next day.” Suniel shook his head. “I could see why your people are... grim.”

Harold turned on him, pointing his finger in Suniel's face. “You are part of this, elf. This is your doing too, don't deny it.”

“I am more sorry for that than you will ever know,” Suniel said. “But there's nothing else I can do about that now, so I've moved on. I know it's hard to hear right now, but there are more important things that we can have a hand in than the Crystal Towers...”

Suniel trailed off as Harold walked out of the room.

“Touchy, touchy. Guess he-”

“Not now Kormak,” Suniel said, raising his hand to silence the dwarf.

A few minutes later, Granath returned from the next room. “Your friend is alive, though a bit confused. He began talking Kobaldish the moment he awakened and asking for someone named Meepo.”

Kormak walked past, followed by Keeper, but Granath stopped Suniel. “I overheard what you were saying and Archeras told me what the Seer from the Island said. All I have to say is this; if the Stones you seek will activate the Crystal Towers Defenses, then by all means do so. It's hard to fathom an even larger threat looming with the future of the Crystal Towers already teetering on edge, but I have the feeling that who or whatever created the Crystal Towers themselves made them for some larger purpose. I'm proud of the Crystal Towers and what we stand for, but we are, in a sense, merely squatting in the abandoned ruins of some civilization far greater than we can likely even imagine.”

Suniel bowed to Granath. “I will do what I can. And to be fair to the Crystal Towers, those ruins you spoke of were abandoned for a reason. From what little I've learned of our Elarim fore-bearers, they may indeed have been powerful, but whether they were 'great' is open to argument.”

Granath nodded. “Well, go see your friend, I'll go find our fiery Free Agent and share with him what I shared with you.”

“Thank you, I'd appreciate that,” Suniel said, bowing again as Granath left.

“...luckily for you, Suniel stopped me, otherwise you'd have come back as the only half-dragon ever to sport a mustache,” Kormak was saying as Suniel walked in.

“Ah, Suniel. I had the strangest vision and Kormak told me I died,” Bail said. The half-dragon sat on a cot, his back and head leaning against the wall. “The Great One spoke to me while I was on the other side and told me things were going to be all right.”

Suniel shook Bails hand. “Glad to have you back with us.”

“Gilderalin made a personal visit to you while were dead? And what makes her so great anyway, she mostly just seemed bossy when we met her before,” Kormak said.

Suniel squinted at Bail. “You've admitted that Gilderalin is your mother, but why do I get the feeling it is another dragon you truly follow?”

At that moment, Harold walked in and glanced at Bail. “Ah, you're alive again.” He looked at the others. “My Skyland returned.”

Your Skyland?” Kormak said.

“Returned from where?” Suniel said at almost at the same time.

“I sent the Seer on a diplomatic mission to the elves of the One Tree requesting their aid against the Ashen Towers,” Harold said.

“You did what?” Bail said, sitting bolt upright then wincing. “You risked a True Stone and a Skyland on what?”

“Easy buddy,” Kormak said. “Slow down, you were dead fifteen minutes ago, remember?”

Harold ignored Bail and Kormak, focusing on Suniel. “She said that there was a monstrous Ashen Towers creature that landed on the island and roosted there during the night. She hid from it and it left the next morning, so she turned around and came back.”

“So, let me guess where this is going,” Kormak said. “If we want to leave the Crystal Towers, first we need to track down and kill another Ashen Towers beasty like the one that just killed our friend Bail here?”

“Technically, it was one of the wights that actually killed him, the Nightwalker merely mortally wounded him,” Keeper said.

Everyone glanced at the construct for a moment, then returned to their discussion. “If we fly anywhere, we can expect that thing to come back,” Harold said. “So I suggest we set an ambush for it.”

“Why are we taking the Skyland?” Kormak said. “Don't we have a perfectly comfy turtle on the other side of the Span?”

“Harold is right,” Suniel said. “The Skyland travels far faster than the turtle and can also avoid any terrain that might impede us. An ambush is probably our best option.”

“Want to draw straws on who gets killed this time?” Kormak said.

“Agreed, Suniel,” Bail said. “Much as it pains me to do what this human says, it is probably the fastest way to find the rest of the True Stones."

“Ok, I guess I'm in,” Kormak said. He pointed a finger at Harold. “But if this thing kills me, I blame you.”
 
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Asha'man

First Post
This story is fantastic. I want you to know that, despite the paucity of replies besides your story post, you have a following!

If I might be so rude, do you have a Rogues' Gallery? I'd love to see the stats for some of these monsters, or for the PCs.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Thanks for the feedback man, glad you are enjoying it.

I think I have the old characters kicking around somewhere, but I'm not sure about the monsters stats. This game ended... a year ago now? More? I'll see what I can find though.
 



Xyque

First Post
Trisdon is my fav0rite karactar evar!1!! <3

I have Herald Trisdon's final sheet, whom I believe is the inspiration for this Harold Trisdon guy. There are a few enigmatic lone-wolf figures of legendary status running around my Pathfinder campaign world, he's one of them.

There's not much I wouldn't give to play him again in 3.5 or Pathfinder in his higher levels, I seriously jones to play him again in proper venue. Anyways I'll share his info if you want to do a rogues gallery thing.

Grats and props on the finals in the Iron DM challenge, I enjoyed your entry, good luck!
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Thanks Xyque. Yeah, Harold was pretty gnarly - surviving that fight in the tree after taking out the Nightwalker was especially lucky.

I just found the folder with all the other characters(including Keeper). I think I'll scan the character sheets or something at the end of the Story Hour (5 sessions to go) so people can see the final forms of the surviving characters.

I even have Ming and Ilsa's sheets(at point-of-death) and I think I have the Greywarden, Black Carriage, and Crystal Towers affiliations(3.5 PHB2 compatible).

ALOT happens in the next five sessions though, so it'll probably be half-a-year of posts before we get to that point.
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 26, Part 3

<Note: Iron DM is over, back to our regularly scheduled programming.>

"So, what's our plan again? We just waiting until some giant undead bat attacks us in the middle of the night?" Kormak said, gesturing out at the rapidly setting sun.

Harold walked over to the door of the Skyland's peak temple. "When it attacks, I'll take care of it. I'll be hidden outside so I can get a clear shot on it."

"How are you going to see once it's dark?" Kormak said as the archer walked around the side of the temple. He turned to Bail. "How's he going to see once it's dark?"

The half-dragon grunted and turned to Suniel. "What if it summons more of those spectral dead like the last one did? Those were almost worse than it was."

"I have some wards I can use now that I know what we're expecting. I should be able to keep them at bay as long as we stay inside the monastery."

"Should we let Harold know?" Kormak said.

"Would he come if we did?" Bail said.

"I already told him," Suniel said. "He said he wasn't worried about it since he dispatched those six single-handed at point-blank range in his tree."

"We have any idea what this thing is that we are expecting?" Kormak said.

"I got some descriptions from others who have spotted it flying about the outskirts of the Crystal Towers," Suniel said. "From those descriptions, Keeper seemed to piece together what it was."

They turned to the construct that stood staring at the minutely-detailed carving of Felskein that was the only major adornment of the temple's main chamber. He looked up at them, eyes flickering and sparking.

“It is most likely a Nightwing. In short, it is a flying version of what killed Bail yesterday,” Keeper said.

“Thanks for the reminder,” Bail said.

“Wait, wasn't that other one flying too? I distinctly remember there being flying involved,” Kormak said.

“And falling, on Harold's part,” Bail said with a chuckle. “I think he means this one has wings.”

“Wait, who actually killed that last one again?” Kormak said. “Wasn't that... oh, that's right, it was-”

“I think it's best if we set watches... or listens, I guess, since we're probably not going to be able to see a thing tonight,” Suniel said, gesturing to the fading white-gray of the overcast sky. “That last one caught us off guard, we don't want a repeat performance.”

“Never happen, we got this easy,” Kormak said, waving a dismissive hand in Suniel's direction. “It won't ever see it coming.”

***

The Sandwatch Tavern was quiet, as it had been since the Ashen Towers assault began. Only a few men too old to fight sat at the bar, squinting at a rat scurrying about in the street and arguing about whether it the rat was living or one of the dead ones.

Suddenly, an elf in tattered brown robes, a giant half-dragon with a massive sword and a shattered suit of armor, a battered and rusty construct with a lightning shield and sword of light, and an ugly dwarf appeared in the middle of the tavern, smashing into a couple tables and sending chairs flying in all directions.

The old men stared agape as the strange newcomers pulled themselves to their feet, cursing.

“Everyone make it?” the elf said, glancing around at the others.

“Everyone that matters,” the half-dragon said.

“I am intact,” said the construct.

They all looked at the dwarf as he pulled himself to his feet stiffly, brushed himself off, then looked up at them.

“Well... that sure worked,” the dwarf said, walking over to the old men and swiping the tankard from the still-stunned farmer. “Hope that Nightwing enjoys its flying island.”
 
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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Session 26, Part 4

<Short post since I didn't realize how little there was left in this session. Technically, there's only 4 sessions left, but my notes for these last few sessions take up 1/4 of the google-doc I have them in...>

Harold was caught by surprise, a wraith rising out of the ground beside him and grabbing onto his leg with an icy grip. He fired an arrow at it point-blank and drove it off, but others were soon swarming around him. He dropped his bow, drew his sword, and slashed his way through the shadows and wraiths that seemed to be rising out of everywhere.

He made his way towards the front of the monastery, but saw an even larger throng of the spectral dead pressing against gold-glowing wards that blocked the monastery doorway. There was no way to get in there. Suddenly a deathly chill stuck him and his muscles locked up. He fought it until his muscles ached, the dead closing in on him from the darkness.

Just as one of the living shadows reached him, its umbral hands reaching for his throat, he shook off the paralyzing chill and staggered away. Something huge and dark swooped down from the shadows, black foot-long claws slashing into his back and sending him rolling down the path of the mountainous Skyland. He pulled himself to his feet, disoriented and wracked with pain.

He saw the others fighting at the entrance to the temple and suddenly the protective wards failed. As he watched, the winged terror swooped down and tore Bail's rune-forged armor right off the half-dragon. As dark things closed in on all sides, Harold swung wildly until his hand was caught in an icy, insubstantial grip that held it like iron.There's too many of them, he thought as his sword fell from his hands.

Cold deeper than winter worked its way up his arm and his knees buckled. The spectral dead danced around him, hands extended towards him like frostbitten beggars around a bonfire. A soft, malevolent voice rasped across his brain.

-Give up the stone-

“Never!” Suniel shouted.

-Give up the stone or die-

Harold tried to shout his defiance but only a whisper escaped his lips.

Suniel gestured and, with a flicker, Harold's companions disappeared.

The giant shadowy beast – a massive, bat-winged nightmare – turned on him, its eyes glowing like coals.

“They got away from you, Thessalock-spawn,” Harold whispered as his life-energy slowly drained away into the creatures of darkness. “The Crystal Towers will never fall.”

-But you die here-

It's massive claws pierced Harold through in half-a-dozen places, but he died laughing his defiance.
 
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