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Valus in Twenty

TheYeti1775

First Post
Valus in Twenty

Much to Destan's chagrin I'm sure.
This is the mixed up future of Valus through my mind.
This builds on Funeris's thread:
The Heroes of Marchford
http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=97346

Story History
The timeline for this story is set twenty years after the sourcebook,
Valus (http://www.diffworlds.com/valus.htm) written by Destan.
Throughout my Story Hour here, you will see references to Funeris's thread of
the Heroes of Marchford. Where that CAMPAIGN story is at present (5-23-05) is cutoff point in that nothing that happens in that campaign will affect what I write. So if you see someone alive here that died in the other one, it is only because of the cutoff not that they were brought back.
While this one isn't based on any ongoing campaign right now,
Starting one under it would not disappoint me. I might start it under Fantasy Grounds.

Present day is in the Rhelm Year 158.
Now until I get it going full stream there will be some jumping around in the years, as some of the background is revealed. Taking a cue from Funeris's Blade of Phoee story on that one.

My little disclaimer:
__it Happens
I promise nothing in my tone of writing other than I will not hold back the bad stuff.
So enough on that.

Now my thanks.
Destan - for creating the Valus
Mike, Rick, & Ron - for being the fun-filled party they are.
And then all the little people I stepped on to get this far in my life.

Now on with the story.

RY - refers to Rhelm Years from here out.
The Valus Calendar is 12 months 5 heks (weeks) of 6 days each.

RY 153, Amol 8 Evening

Storm swept seas crashed into Gurang's Head, with the lightning filled sky the outpost made for deadly appearance. The sea surround crag had withstood the punishments for over a century, and coldly turned aside all the sea's rage that Evios might could throw at it. Many had occupied it's towers over the years, but only the current occupant generated so many rumors.

As Rafa pulled the last of the lobster traps up, trying to beat out the worst of the storm. He glanced towards the Head, the lighting was already striking near the base, every time he looked at it his memory of his first visit there came rushing back.

RY148, Jemm 23 Mid-day
On a dare from the other boys after a day of sword practice, he had ventured out to the Head during low tide walking along the hidden reef. Many had talked of the secretive visitors the mage received but most did not try to hide their identities. Lord Allister certainly never did when he went out there, and he always returned. With his wooden practice sword he hurried out to crag, knowing he only had a few hours before he would be swimming back if he didn’t hurry. The dare was to make it to the crag, ascend it to the top near the entrance so everyone could see from shore, and then find something to bring back.
He had nearly fell to his death several times as he had ascended the ramp up the side of the crag, each time wondering if he should turn back. “No” a voice would scream in his mind, they would do nothing but continue to make fun of you like always. Doing this when none of them would go through with even an attempt would win respect to overcome his heritage. Sure he heard their whispers, but they were always to afraid to tease him to his face.
Waving to them from the very top edge overlooking the town of Carnelloe, he turned towards the large door setting to prove his worth.

As he entered, he felt a shudder up his spine as the door clicked shut. Quickly he looked for something close enough to grab and get out of there, he couldn’t not shake the feeling of being watched.

That’s when the haunting voice started, “Who are you Tiefling, to think you could come into my home!” An unseen hand grabbing him by his shirt collar, he could not escape it’s grip as it carried him down a series of stairs and over a gorge. Deep within the confines of Gurang’s Head, he saw the out line of some creature almost like a transparent man open a door and closing it behind him.

As his eyes became adjusted to the darkened room with his vision slipping into a black and white he saw the figure sitting with his back to him, jotting notes in a book. Pausing, “Ah good you’re here, light those candles so I can better study you,” pointing to some candles on a shelf.

As Rafa lit the candles he could feel the man in the robes staring at him, studying him. “Now answer my question and be quick about it..”

“What question….”, stammering.

“The one I asked you earlier you dolt, tell the truth or your family shall never see you again. Who are you? I know your from the town, I’ve seen you as I’ve passed through. I take note of all your kind when I see them.” Then under his barely under his breath, “even those I don’t see,” as he pats the hilt of an adamantine dagger.

“I’m Rafa, son of Velnna….”

“Do you know your father?”

“I knew of him but what’s that have to do with ….”

“I’m the one asking questions here boy. How old are you?”

“Almost 13,” quickly adding, “Sir.”

“I see your mother has taught you some manners at least,” as the light shined on the older man flecks of gray shined in his hair. Jotting more notes down, “well Rafa, why have you come to my home?”

“On a dare, Sir. I was trying to gain some respect.” Almost defiantly looking back at the man.

“I’m afraid those intimidation techniques are better left to your peers, than on me young Rafa. I don’t suppose you know the rumors of the children that disappear from here do you. I think my favorite is that the Mad Mage eats their souls, is that still the popular one.”

“I’ve heard of that one,” beads of sweat forming on his brow. Rafa silently wondered now if most of the rumors were true. How crazy was this mage.

Then the sound of plated footsteps sounded outside the door, before the knock even sounded, “Come in Tobias, I have the intruder here.”

The door opened soundlessly, as an imposing figure in gleaming full plate armor stepped into the room. An aura of goodness engulfed young Rafa. “Is this your great intruder, that your alarms would call for me.”

“No, Tobias, no, this young one’s blood is what triggered that alarm. He is plane-touched, and not of one of the good planes. But since you are here, please look into his soul and tell me what you see. And Rafa, I do hope for your sake that you don’t hold the same streak as those of your father’s line have.”

Rafa cringed under the intense gaze of Tobias, “He seems to be of a better ilk than most I would say. If he has done no harm, I say let him go home and change his trousers.”

“Have a seat Tobias, the others should be around shortly. You were always the first to show up when the alarms went off.”

“May I leave, Sir,” Rafa hopefully asked.

“It depends, and quit calling me Sir. I may hold the title of Lord Protectorate, but I lord over no one. Call me Magnus, “ with a half-chuckle to himself, “now what was your goal to prove yourself.”

“I had to bring back something to prove I was here.” Rafa’s confidence grew as he realized that these men would not kill him.

“Well I will give you two choices, as your time grows short to your swim home. You can declare yourself a loyal Rhelmsman and serve as I direct you, or you can grab one item and run like your life depended on it. Actually it might, depending on what you grab.” Magnus rose from his chair looking down at the youth from his imposing height.

“What does it mean to serve as you direct,” Rafa questioned.

“There’s hope for our youth yet Tobias, you are wise to ask that young Rafa, very wise. It means my orders will supersede all others you may receive from the King’s men, even those of the King. I need men willing to go to any length to protect Rhelm, even from itself. Would you be willing to do this? I will only hold you to this oath for five years, then I will ask you again. But know this in five years it will be for your life. Lord Tobias will bear witness to this.”

“I will try to serve you as you want, but what can I do. I’m only 12…”stammered Rafa.
Interrupting, “During the five years you will train in secret to hone your abilities, even those latent ones that no one has taught you to control yet. Also during that time you are invaluable to me as a listener. People say things in front of children all the time without realizing they are there. Now for your items to show your friends.”

RY 153, Amol 8 Evening
…Silently fingering the ever present ring on his finger, later tonight I reaffirm that oath for a lifetime now. Lord Magnus was weird even as mages go, but every time a method emerged from his madness.

Rafa would never forget the debts he owed the mage, his mother’s illness cured by Tobias’s angel, teaching how to control his Tiefling powers, even given him the ability to blend in with that amazing hat. Rafa knew he would follow the mage’s orders, even those he questioned for the rest of his life. For as mad as the mage was he was the closest thing to a father Rafa had know.

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edited to clean up the paragraph spacing - Thanks Funeris
 
Last edited:

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Funeris

First Post
Woot. A SH to complement my original (and still ongoing technically) Story Hour. I, my dear Yeti mage, am your first responder.
 


Arrgh! Mark! said:
Looks good, interesting. Careful to watch your grammar. :D
Great beginning - you have fantastically introduced three characters (I just love this style of story hour).
However, as Arrgh! Mark! says, it's a shame that a few spelling and grammatical errors are there. Despite these, I wanted to read more (which is unusual for me). Just a quick edit will turn this into a fantastic piece of writing. :)

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Funeris

First Post
I assure you all...You've made Yeti's day (tomorrow when he sees the praise). I can say with certainty he was worried about posting for a few reasons. And your praise will only assure him that what he is doing in this thread is worthwhile.

With that said, where's the damn update you Yeti Mage :) ???
It's been a day now. I know you have several handwritten pages of notes...get to typing them!!! Payback feels sooooooo good.

~Fune
 

hobbit_killer

First Post
Good stuff. Even more enjoyable because I get some of the hidden references.

Funeris needs to tell more of the present so the future makes sense to everyone else.

So yeah, update---but not too fast. Funeris, don't think you are getting of easy. I want these storeis to play out at the same time.
 

TheYeti1775

First Post
I promise an update by Friday night

I'll promise an update by Friday night. We'll see if Funeris wants to keep up.

H.K. what do you mean hidden meanings would I do that. :heh:

And yes Funeris is right, I have several handwritten pages of story already. That's what happens when you have an hour and a half of sitting on a bus or metro per day. Plenty of time to think up stuff. Of course all the notes/story so far is jumping around bring the characters into play. That's why I'm going with the dating when dates change, this way I don't overlap myself too much.

Glad everyone likes it, yes I have horrible horrible grammer and spelling. But put some numbers in front of me, as Funeris, Hobbit Killer, & Destan can attest, you will be calling Rainman and what not.

Thanks again.
The ever not so humble Yeti
 

skullsmurfer

First Post
Nice start

I love the way you started the story. I look forward to some more.
Woot Woot Woot <don't know what that means, but the kids in the school outside have been screaming it for days>
 

TheYeti1775

First Post
Greffan and the Battle of Dun Beric

RY 139 Gal the 4th Early Morning

“DIG,” as the whip cracks across the back of a Kobold slave, who had dropped to a knee from exhaustion. The beat of the drums were picking up their pace. Overseers were cracking their whips punishing any and all who they thought could put forth more effort.

“Massster, Massster,” a runner goblin screeched running at full speed to the largest of the Dwem overseeing the digging.

Curling his whip back, “What is it?” with an impatient attitude of a superior race.

Cowering in terror of the large Dwem, “Master, Master Durdik sayss come quick.”

“Take me to him worm,” Tonod wondered what Durdik would need to talk to him about, they had discussed all the plans the night before. Everything was ahead of schedule last night. Impatiently pushing the goblin along with the butt of the whip, the thirty-minute walk seemed like an eternity winding through the tunnels.

As he entered one of the newer map rooms, he saw Durdik huddled over his maps and charts. “What is it now, Durdik? We discussed everything last night…”

Interrupting Tonod, “They are digging a tunnel.”

“What a counter tunnel, let them we will att…”

“NO, not a counter-tunnel. Look at the map and see.” Durdik then cleared all the overlays showing the main map of the Dwem tunnels. Pulling one of the rice paper overlays out, “This is where they have dug through and their most likely path.”

It only took a second for Tonod’s trained eye to spot what had spooked Durdik, “RUNNER, GET ME A RUNNER NOW,” he screamed at the goblin. The goblin stumbled over itself to get out of the room.

“I’ve already issued the order for the Dwem to retreat back into safety regions. Do I order the others back.”

“How long do we have till collapse?” The disbelief showing in Tonod’s questioning, why did they go along that path, right through a majority of the core supports for the city above. Only a fool for an engineer would do that or a mad man.

“Only an hour or two, plenty of time for our people to get to safety. That’s why I had the goblin boy bring you here.”


RY 139 Gal the 3rd Late Evening
Greffan bounded up the steps as best as he could in the plate armor, moving around in the plate was burdensome at times, but well worth it. His armor enchanted by the Heroes of the Marshes. Lord Tobias presented it to him, saying Master Burne enchanted it himself.

Lord Tobias had called the armor ‘Quietvision’, under the night sky or in the depths the wearer could move silent as a mouse and see as the Dwarves did.

Greffan had used the armor to great effect over the past few months, leading many patrols into the Underdark. His exploits earning him rank faster than he could imagine, now he was at a point without title he could go no further. The nobles would ensure that.

The Earl of Dun Beric had ordered a tunnel be dug into the deep, for his own army to march into the depths and fight the Dwem down below. Master Burne had called him a fool to his face, in front of the whole court. When that happened, the Earl attempted to have Magnus arrested. The first guard to step forward still to this day, cannot use his withered right arm. Greffan wanted to side with Magnus and speak up as well, but his promise to the mage earlier in the year prevented him from such.


RY 139 Amm the 23rd At Dinner (A Vow)

Wiping his face with the napkin, “Another fine meal my lady.” Magnus rubbing his belly, “I think the only thing I could fit now, would be some of that delicious cobbler I smelled earlier.” His boyish charm showing through to Greffan’s mother.

“Well, Master Burne, it is still cooling. Why don’t you and Greffan go on outside and talk while Myra and I clean up,” as she gestured to a bottle she had left on the table.

“If you weren’t taken already lady, I would sweep you up for myself,” with a gracious bow and smile.

“O’ your too much, Magnus. Now you two go talk, I know that’s why you’re here anyways.”

Politely nodding his head and swiftly grabbing the brandy bottle, Magnus moved to join Greffan out on the porch. Patting Greffen’s shoulder as he moved to take the chair across from him. “Greffan, this is going to sound weird but I must ask.” Pausing to make sure he had Greffan’s full attention.

“Are you a loyal Rhelmsmen?”

“Yes, do you doubt….,” obliviously disturbed by the question.

“No, no, I mean do you believe that Rhelm is more important than any one of us.”

“I guess so,” shrugging in the way all youths do.

“I need you to be my man in Dun Beric, no one is to know about this. You are even to appear against me from time to time. I only ask that you answer my questions, and side with me when I ask of it. From time to time, I will appear to have gone mad.” Pausing with a sigh, “while it may be true, you have to believe I know what I’m doing.”

“I can do that, Magnus, you have my word.”

“Good, now on to happier subjects. Have you asked her yet?” Magnus inquired.

“No, I’m planning on tonight during our walk to the stream.,” with a slow stammer.

“Let me know the date, I will be there.”

RY 139 Gal the 4th Early Morning – Late Evening

As Greffan finished off the last of his rounds, he stepped into one of the towers along the battlements. Grabbing himself and another man some of the coffee being brewed, he nodded to his men. All good ones he told himself, just as he had told Magnus. The mage always was checking his unit out for some reason, but never telling what he was looking for.

The sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon, the men started to relax upon seeing the sun. The Dwem very rarely ever attacked while the sun was up. Then just as Captain Greffan went to hand the warm mug to his long time friend, screams reached them from within the city.

As the men turned towards the source, they then heard the sound of hard stone breaking, the ground breaking. That’s when the first tower to fall onto itself, radiating out from that point more building began collapsing towards it. Within seconds nothing could be seen from the rising dust cloud, only the screams and collapsing buildings could be heard.

Greffan did not know how long he stood there in shock of the destruction, he only barely registered his friend beside him asking for orders for the men. Then like he had been slapped coming to his senses, “Quarter guard on the walls, watch for attacks on surface. In three’s search parties, one on guard. I need three runners, each wall same orders, unless we find a senior commander. Go do it now.”

One of the war mages on duty, summoned an Air Elemental to help clear the dust in the air, Greffan could not believe the destruction before him, it had taken a good hour for the dust to settle even with the help of the elemental. Nothing remained from the interior of the inner walls, nothing but a hole full of rubble. As his group of ten men made their way towards the castle proper rubble that’s when the attack occurred.

Dwem burst from a corridor in the side of the hole, many firing crossbows blindly as they entered the sunlight. Those guards that could let loose with their crossbows as they charged to meet the Dwem. Greffan’s group was closest to the opening, forming his men into a wedge and leading a charge against them. With a force of about hundred forming at his group’s stand, Greffan’s men held their ground slowly taking it back inch by inch. Their years of training together in formation, paid it’s weight in Andoricc’s that day, the men held their formations keeping them tight even as some of their number fell. The few remaining Priests and Wizards fell directly into combat support roles, in all with only a thousand men total including the surviving civilians survived that day.

Bodies were strewn everywhere, as the guards attempted to put together a hasty outpost, in the center of what was once their city, overlooking the Dwem’s retreat route. Greffan then gave the order to half on half off, with all being drawn into service. He then asked the remaining Morduk Priests to bless the site , to help control any possibly rising as undead creatures, then passing the order to burn all bodies as we didn’t have the manpower to proper perform the ceremonies.
 

Funeris

First Post
RY 158: Reddel's Retreat (Formerly named the the Abbey of Sin)

[1]

Lord Tobias strummed his worn fingers on the oak table. The meeting with Illyx had gone as well as expected. Aside from the forced-revulsion toward the druids, everything had gone decently well. Damn Qwynna Pru’s faithful, he silently cursed. They had returned him from the dead once, only to restrict his open-mindedness.

As a paragon of tolerance, it pained the paladin deeply the wrongs he had been forced to commit upon the Saficea worshippers. He could never forget that first visit to Rhelm all those years ago with Magnus. They had entered the massive capital’s gates and came upon a druid-burning.

Compelled against his will, Tobias had been drawn to within inches of the pyre. He had felt the flames licking and heating his maille. There, by the fire, by the druids writhing in agony, and above their own pained wails, he had condemned them openly. Heathens and beasts, he had called them. Deserving of the fires of the most torturous hell, he had claimed. On and on and on his sermon rambled through minutes shifting to hours shifting to what seemed days.

The paladin could not stop himself. Not until the bodies of the druids were but ash, could he be silenced. Once they scattered upon the winds, Tobias regained mastery of his vocal chords. Not that that had mattered much, his voice was so hoarse he had to remain virtually silent for days. Days of silence spent in meditation not only upon his forced actions, there was nothing he could do to fix that, but upon the response of the crowd.

While he had proselytized, the masses had cheered. They had shouted and chanted gleefully, fire burning maliciously in their eyes. In all of his experience, Tobias could not recall such a horrific scene. Even the eyes of the demons and devils could not reflect that much hatred. Perhaps that is because they were born hateful. It is a natural condition, not something created through experience, he philosophized. Demons and devils were to be pitied and then sent screaming back to the hells from whence they came. Those truly deserving of justice, that crowd, would only be sent to feed the appetites of the Gods and Goddesses, the true monsters of the Valus. What justice could be served with their deaths? Only torture could exact a proper payment but such methods were beyond the holy warrior. He pushed the thought aside.

Tobias hated that city with unending passion. Just the thought of it brought anger, rage, and shame to the forefront of his mind. He reached greedily for the decanter, filling a large glass with his favorite whiskey. Fire to fight fire, he thought ironically as he drained the mug. Quickly, he downed two more glasses and refilled it once more. The liquid fire smoldered in his stomach, battling his fiery emotional torrents.

That had been Tobias’ first trip and the mage’s second to the capital of Rhelm, although the mage would never speak of the first journey. Too much history, he conceded. So much had occurred while Tobias was in Minetown. So much the paladin could have prevented if only he had been there.

Another glass emptied.

Tobias rubbed the tingling scar where his left eye had once been. Too fast, old man, he decided setting his fourth or fifth glass down. The paladin had lost count again.

Tobias really hated that city. He hated the empire. He hated their religious bigotry. Yet, they had made him a war hero. They had given him a retreat, granted it had needed cleansed once again. But they had finally acceded to Lord Allister’s requests. All of the old Heroes, those not lost to time, madness or death, had been knighted. And Tobias was given the Abbey of Sin. And despite his paladinhood, Tobias was a hero. He had permission to train others in the Path of Righteousness. He had a safe haven for those not tolerated by others.

With the exception of the druids. There is always a catch. Illyx of the Tree of ‘yx, brother to Callyx, had been denied his knighthood. Not that the druid would have accepted the title at any rate. Too much history; too much bad blood. His twin had been burned alive in Rhelm.

And that first visit to Rhelm was not just to see King Gavanor Tyne for an impromptu strategy session. That was Tobias’ first meeting with Illyx. The druid had created the expected revulsion, but the warrior had fought the urges, the pains spreading through his gut.

Illyx was strange, even for a druid. He had Callyx’s face, framed with the same long wavy red hair. Unlike his twin, the man had one green eye and one blue. But strangest of all, carved into the flesh of his back was a tattoo of a tree. The tree rose straight up his spine, branches twisting outward and around his body. Druidic symbols were carved throughout the “bark” of the tree.

Illyx had been at the burning. He had watched the paladin sermonize the crowd. When they met, the druid forgave the paladin. Tobias wanted to thank him, wanted to say anything but his mouth was welded shut. He could only grunt rudely. More embarrassment for the holy warrior.

But Illyx had even forgiven him that. Damn Qwynna Pru’s faithful, he cursed for the billionth time in his life. Illyx had helped Magnus and Lord Allister during their previous visit. Illyx was true and always held to his word. Illyx had been a fearsome sight in the battles that had claimed Tobias’ eye. Illyx should have been a paladin, the warrior thought, smiling.

The sudden slamming of his door stirred the warrior from his reverie. An unrecognized guard burst in, carrying two sealed missives.

“I…er…” the guard stammered.

“I don’t have all bloody night, spit it out,” the paladin commanded.

“I…uh…was looking for Tobias,” the youth whispered.

“New here?” The words were as much a statement as a question.

“Um…yes….sir?”

“What training are you here for?”

“Training for the King’s retinue.”

Good. Let’s get a few things through that thick helmet and equally thick skull of yours.

“I was just looking for Tobias to give him…”

Tobias cut the young man off with an angry wave of his hand. Completing the motion, the paladin filled another glass to the brim with whiskey. He pounded the drink and stood just as quickly.

I said, soldier, that we’re going to get a few things straight. I am Tobias, however you will address me as Lord Abel or Sir, whichever case is most appropriate for the occasion that you actually manage to arrange words into a sentence.” An expression, a third fear, a third confusion and a third humiliation, stretched across the soldier’s face. Tobias’ face flushed, “What’s wrong soldier? What were you expecting?!

The holy warrior circled the young guard like a vulture stalking its prey. “Am I not pretty enough for you?” His hands shifted through the half-head of short, unkempt white hair. Then, his palm slid to the scarred and hairless half of his scalp; the half destroyed because of a badly targeted fireball. Finally, the warrior's hand rubbed the empty, scarred socket where a dwem's axe had ripped his eyeball from its socket. “Were you expecting some damn shining beacon of light?!” Here, the warrior's hands motioned at the simple, unobtrusive leather bracers that adorned his arms.

Trust me soldier, in battle, my armor would protect me better than yours would you. I am a beacon of light in this country. I am the last bastion and I am the first they summon when there are…unmanageable problems. You will show me the respect I am due. Not just because I am a war hero or veteran or a Lord. But because I earned your freedom with my blood. And now, child, I am your mentor.” The paladin returned to his seat, pouring yet another glass.

“Give me the missives.” The soldier snapped alive and darted toward the desk, dropping the sealed letters near the paladin. Just as quickly he snapped back to his prior position, erect and silent. Tobias reached for the royally sealed missive first, tearing it open and skimming through the words. Once complete, he tossed it onto the desk and tore the other open, hands trembling. The paladin had not seen that particular seal in quite a few years.

Tobias, my once love,

I hope that time has served you well. This letter is a warning for you. It precedes the arrival of your son, Mordrick. I have hastily scratched this letter to give you at least some time to prepare for his arrival.

He has chosen to become a warrior and is journeying to your retreat as you read this. He wants to be like his father. He does not know that you are his father. Mordrick believes his father perished in those dark days of war. I am sorry if this inconveniences you or your mission.

You will recognize him with but a glance. He looks just like his father, you, did once long ago when we stood upon that hillock before all hell descended upon the Valus. Please take care of our son.

Love Always and Ever,

Lady Lorilai d’Endar
Tobias shifted heavily in the old wooden chair. He set the paper down, his hands still trembled. He grasped for his glass and noticed the young guard still standing at attention.

“Your papers are in order. Consider yourself dismissed. Report to Bartholomew at the gates for your first orders.” A minute later, the guard still stood silently, unmoving. Tobias groaned, looking up at his charge. “Is there something else?”

“Yes, sir. I was instructed to tell you that a thief has been found scrounging about.”

“Has he been apprehended?”

“He has. Bartholomew has the child in custody now.”

“Good, have him send the thief in.”

“As you wish, sir.” The guard pivoted sharply to exit the inner sanctum.

“What’s the child’s name?” Tobias questioned before the recruit fled.

“He claims his name is Brious, sir.” Without another word, the guard slid out the door and toward the outer walls.

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[1] Well, Yeti hasn’t been very forthcoming with his updates now, has he? I agreed to a collaboration to get this written…and as such, am now posting in the hopes of spurring him back to writing. This entire thread is really just a bunch of speculation by yours truly and the Yeti. And its really really fun to write. I love Tobias. My first DnD character. Hehe.

So now, damn Yeti…get an update posted already!!

:D
 

TheYeti1775

First Post
Its a quick short one today.
Funeris is hounding me to keep it up.
-----------------------------------------

“No, I can’t not allow you to risk all you have gained,” Tobias’s scarred face flashing red with the anger and drink.
“You will and you must, Tobias. There is no other way, the evil grows again. This time, it grows from within Rhelm. I can not allow that, no matter the evil of those that lead it, I will not give up on my countrymen.”
“Now drink that damn whiskey I got you,” pouring their glasses full of the Druven Fire Whiskey.
“Your loyalty to this blasted country will get you killed one day, Magnus. Just like the children of Sacifea, that welp on the throne now would sooner see you burned as well.”
Chuckling as he sipped his drink, “If that is the King’s wish then so be it, but it won’t come to him giving the order. The common people would rise up against the thought of the new King moving against the ‘Heroes of Valus’.”
“So you say friend, you know as well as I do what kind of heroes we were….”
“Do not think about the past friend, you don’t have the power to change it,” and neither do I as of yet left unspoken.

“But I do come with good news tonight, Lord Greffan and Myra expect their first child soon.


Myra sat in silence as the Green Mother Lady Erigal’s anger unleashed itself upon the items of her desk. Crumpled in her hand an elegantly scribed note…
Lady Erigal,
I send this package to you, as I believe this man belonged to you. It was rather unfortunate that he tripped that blade spell of mine. Enclosed in the accompanying package you will find his bones, I took the liberty of keeping the head though. It makes for pleasant conversations at times. You should hear the things it tells me about you and your church. I did go head and strip the body down to bone and individually wrapped each with care. When I’m done with the head, I shall return that as well, so don’t bury him too deep.
O’ and milady, please remind those that serve you that I do value my privacy, and not to drop in unexpectedly. Unless of course you would like me to drop in on you from time to time.

Sincerely,
Magnus Burne
Magelord Protectrate of Rhelm
Flinging the note into the fire, “Damn that mage, I will see him dead.”
 

Funeris

First Post
Upon the Weedsea

The elderly man pulled the cloak tight across his shoulders. Shivering, he sapped as much warmth from the fur-lined cloth as possible. The heavy and just-as-ancient plate mail strapped around torso, arms and legs seemed to leech the heat from his bones. He shivered uncontrollably.

Above, a crystal clear sky framed a larger than average moon. A pallid halo surrounded the body which had been tinged red for days. The fresh scent of snow assaulted his nostrils, but no precipitation had fallen yet. Probably tomorrow, the priest thought momentarily distracted by his surroundings.

He struggled to a stop, resting against one of the many sparse trees upon the Weedsea. The heavy metal, so long absent from his daily wear, had rubbed the withering flesh below it. He now felt warmth dripping against his torso and down his legs: his own fresh blood. A few quick words of prayer to Ceria and all of the wounds closed. The vitae which now sloshed back and forth would only cause fresh wounds faster.

For a moment he considered removing the armor, then thought better of it. He questioned whether or not the thought was even his own.

“I’m not that foolish, beast,” he hissed into the empty fields, the empty night.

Fitz sunk to the earth, reaching for a few rations. The cleric tracked about as well as any other priest which is to say not well at all. Yet, he had noted with certainty obvious signs of passage among the high stalks of wheat. The beast had bent handfuls here and there, an unnatural and mortal wrenching for the plants. It was these obvious signs Fitz, High Priest of Ceria, followed cautiously.

“I wonder how Magnus is doing these days.” Filling the quiet with idle words, the priest then filled his mouth with the dried trail rations he had brought. Years had passed since Fitz had given up the adventuring life. Years dedicated to the service of Ceria and spreading her words across the Valus. He had retired to the Weedsea to lead his home congregation, to marry and to raise the two darling sons he had been blessed with.

Never forget where you have come from, where you have been, a sage had enigmatically told the cleric once. By returning home, the High Priest had tried to follow the advice. He had given up on his self-appointed task of hunting the beast which had consumed several of his years following the adventures alongside Tobias, Magnus, and Motega. Fitz shuddered again. The chill was deepening.

Of course the words given by the sage were misinterpreted. The pem, never forthcoming, had meant to not forget adventuring. More importantly, he had meant not to forget the beast.

Fitz placed it where all things now past go; into the devouring maw of fading memories. And that was when the beast chose to strike. It wiped out his congregation. It roasted his children alive on spits, no better than a wild boar. Then, the beast raped and sodomized his wife, a priestess of Ceria, before beheading her. He had left his mark engraved upon her brow; a calling card, a foul memory, a tempting challenge.

The High Priest of Ceria, possibly the most powerful cleric of the Goddess upon the Valus, had nearly lost his faith. In a rage, he burned the fields around his home. The bodies of the dead burned as well. If life was to imitate hell, the cleric had thought, then the temperature better be right. While the fires burned he stormed into the house shared with the woman he had devoted his heart to. There, he destroyed everything within reach. Plates and mugs, furniture, all shattered and burned. In his rage, the priest stumbled across an old chest. He threw it open, vengeance preparing to rain down upon the contents. In the chest a dusty scythe and armor rested haphazardly, contemptuously glaring at the priest.

The meaning of the sage’s words smacked him in that moment upon his face. He hefted the scythe and donned the armor. Ceria, herself, was reaching out through this tragedy and instructing the High Priest to finish what he had begun so long ago. Finish the job, end the suffering, and reap what has been sown. Fitz left at that moment.

The beast had waited, not far from the flames. And the chase began. Five nights later, the cleric felt no closer to his goal. Exhaustion sipped bitterly upon his body and soul. Whatever exhaustion left, obsession filled. Life was a never waking hell of torment.

The priest smiled. He stood, keeping his back toward the tree and drew the scythe.
“You should know better than to stand upwind, beast. The stench of brimstone surrounds you.”

I do know better,” the multi-toned, familiar and unfamiliar voice answered. Its voice was nails dragged slowly across the hardest steel imposed upon a luring yet sultry and familiar tone. “I merely wished to speak with you, before I killed you.”

The priest turned. Unnatural shadow covered most of its form. Blazing eyes glared from within the dark cocoon. He lifted the scythe, its old weight feeling almost intimate again. “Would you like to repent for your sins then, friend?”

The beast laughed mockingly. “Of course not. I simply wondered, do you still carry your faith? You have suffered so much these past few days…I had hoped that maybe some of Lord Tobias’ words may have struck home.

Fitz grimaced. “My faith is as strong as ever, if not more so. I am sorry that you will not repent. Mayhaps Ceria will forgive you for your crimes anyway.”

I won’t be meeting her tonight. No, tonight is the night when you meet your own Goddess. Tonight is the night when you realize your life has been wasted on false idolatry.” The creature stalked forward, leaving the shroud of shadow behind. Its form, one part human, one part wolf and one part fiend was twisted into an aberration beyond repair. Razor claws spread from its paw-like hands. Ragged fangs lined the blunted snout that smiled viciously.

“One of us will perish tonight,” Fitz conceded. “If Ceria is with me, I will not fall.” The priest lashed out, the silvery sickle of a blade touching nothing but air.
 

Funeris

First Post
Well, I know the Yeti is going to busy probably for the rest of the month...lets hope this update spurs him into writing after he's finished with work.

And hey, if anyone likes my writing but hasn't checked out my other Story Hours, feel free to drop in (they're all in my .sig) :D [/end pimping]

~Fune
 

TheYeti1775

First Post
As I'm in a very good mood today. End of year done and all that, and a pay raise to boot. Figured maybe this would unblock Funeris as well.

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RY138 Mord 22nd - The Dagger

Throwing more arcane powder into the fire, it’s intensity growing into a white hot flame, the young mage pulled the black dagger from it’s sheath. Feeling its bone handle shaping itself to his hand, he knew the magic was working its way to it even now ‘almost as if it wants more power’, thinking to himself. Silently praying to whoever listened that he had translated the Dwem text correctly, and the enchantments would take as intended.

As he started the incantations, he could see sparks from the powdered fire drifting with increasing speed to the blade just as the text described. His confidence boosted the tempo of his chanting increasing, the arcane energy pulling from his body into the blade. As the words of permanency started from his lips, an unexpected flash occurred. Trying he couldn’t control his chanting sealing the power within the dagger, it compelled the young mage to finish, more of his life energy drained away. Just as the words finished, he swore he saw something else enter the dagger. Exhausted collapsing in a heap at the side of the forge, the mage knew only darkness.
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Feeling thick hand on his shoulder, “Master Burne are you ok?”

Feeling as though he had spent the night carousing with his friends going to every tavern in Realm. “What happened? I feel like I drank Druven Fire Whiskey last night.”

“I don’t rightly know, I came in this morning and the forge was near out. You were collapsed on the floor, here that dagger of your laying on…”

“The dagger,” exclaimed the mage, standing quickly and regretting it instantly as he steady himself on the workbench.

Examining it he could see the runes etched to the blade as they should be, but the handle had runes not of his design. What happened last night? Where did these other runes come from? The questions running through his mind urging caution, but heedless he could feel the blade begging to be picked up by him..
As his hand closed around the hilt, a myriad of images flashed through his mind. He could feel his senses sharpening looking for something, but not knowing what it was. Then a feminine voice in his head, asking who he was and where was she,. Not know what to say, Magnus quickly sheathed the dagger ignoring it’s protests.

“Sieb, thank you for the use of your forge and as promised your payment lies in that chest there.” Watching the older man reaching into the chest with almost childish glee, pulling forth a blacksmith’s hammer that gleamed in the torchlight, reflecting the light off its silver and mithril streaks.
“It’s beautiful, Magnus. I don’t know where you found it, but you can use my forge anytime you wish.”
“Take care of it Sieb, my friends and I may have need of your services with it soon enough. And my friend knowing you can be trusted is enough a reward for me.” Clasping the smith’s meaty hand, “Good fortune to you my friend. I don’t know when I will be able to return as today my friends and I leave for Lyndofare, for it is under siege again.”
Lyndofare I know that name.
What are you doing in my mind?
Your mind? You’re the one that put me in this thing.
I did no such thing…
You spoke the words of binding.
No…
Yes you did, though you almost faltered destroying us both. You did manage it before your collapse.
Who are you?
I could ask the same of you, but I already know your name is ‘Master Magnus Burne’, the smith answered that one for me. You may call me Pydia.
What were you before the binding, Pydia?
Well I was a ghost, I had died in battle several heks ago while traveling the weedsea. Apparently my soul could not be accepted by the planes anymore.
Not accepted?
Yes, some members of my order can not travel the planes. It happens over time, most don’t notice until after our death. And as you have seen we are drawn to the creation of magical items.
Did you alter my dagger’s purpose?
No, I’m very sympathetic to your purpose for it. And I plan on helping you as well…..
 


TheYeti1775

First Post
Footnote to Italics

I had made a PrC for Destan's game, and one of the tenats was that after the 5th level of the PrC they could no longer travel the planes (even Etheral/Astral). Thus were barred from reaching the heavens. Some wandered the plane and were drawn to magical items during their creation process. I won't go into further details as they will come out in the story.
 

TheYeti1775

First Post
The Apian Bargain

"It is agreed then, five years of peace right?" the scarred warrior scanned the thin man standing in the corner.
"Yes five years of your non-agression, I won't call it a peace as we both know that would be a lie." Turning back to the Apian warrior seated across from his desk, "You will be given a reprieve from Rhelm's forces for five years. In that time, if you do not succeed in taking over the Queendom, my might will come down on you and your 'fleet'." Noting the suprise in the warrior's face, "You seem suprised, do you think I don't look for threats outside Rhelm's own borders? Even now your Emperor awaits your return, what I believe he is but a day's sail from the Queendom. He really should get a new court mage, more skilled in arcane matters than in the tongue."
The mage's words brought a rare smile to the old warrior's face, "Many of my fellow generals would heartedly agree with you on that."
"Now that we have completed our agreement, perhaps I could ask a favor from you and your fellow generals," sitting back at his desk.
"And what would that be?" The old warrior's curiousity peaked in, "How could my men assist you 'O able defender of Rhelm'?" Noting his words didn't even so much as arch an eyebrow on the mage, how calm this mage was about all things. Even during the negiotiations of the past few days, ever polite, ever cool. Though, glancing at the two iron statues in the room, 'I guess one could be calm under their protection', remember his initial reaction to seeing the statues follow the mage room to room as they walked around Gurang's Head.
"The Bascilians have in their possesion three tomes in their great library. I want them," in a completly unemotional statement.
"And what are my 'friends' to recieve for their efforts?"
"Give the mage on your ship this," handing a scroll case across the desk. "He is compentent enough to know it's value, and to get the tomes I wish. For you and your men if they are required, perhaps the chest beside the statue would make for a good retirement for you," with a slight pause, "and your men."
"O and do tell him, to quit scrying on the Head after you set sail. I would hate to have something nasty happen to him for being too curious. Now a good day to you Field Marshall Maket. Rafa will carry the chest down for you."
Lifting the lid of the chest, quickly closing it. "Yes I do believe my mage will be able to get those tomes for you," extending his hand out.
"Good, tell your mage to teleport to town and seek out Rafa, he will bring me the tomes," clasping the general's hand.
 

Funeris

First Post
The Apian Bargain - Part Deux

Field Marshall Maket whistled a jolly tune as he descended the steep steps to the private cabins aboard the warship “Lady’s Vengeance”. Behind, he heard the grunt of his men half-dragging, half-carrying the gold-filled chest. The sounds of hard labor only increased the volume of the jovial seafaring tune. Time to retire, he thought. Greedily, his thoughts twisted around the pleasures he could purchase with his portion of the fee. The remainder of his life could be spent losing large wagers over pointless bets, while being fanned by a dozen concubines and eating his favorite delicacy, grapes. Oh yes, he thought, life would be sweet. No more war. No more long nights of sailing, of seasickness. No more slaughter, unless that was his pleasure. He smiled again.

Without any respectful pause, Maket kicked the mage’s door inward, nearly shaking it from its hinges. Crovin leapt up, his concentration shattered. The images within his scrying mirror quickly vanished into nothing but pale, white wisps of air.

“Dammit Maket, have some courtesy!” the old mage barked. “Knock next time. I could have been in the middle of a dangerous experiment. You could have blown the ship sky hi— ” the wizard’s words faltered. Behind the Field Marshall, four men dragged a massive wooden crate. The crate itself appeared crafted from ironwood with solid gold trim. Multifaceted gems caught and fingered rays of light before releasing the beams into an explosion of color.

“Shut up you grumpy, old sod.” Maket demanded with an unwavering grin upon his lips. “I have a job for you. And do yourself, not to mention the rest of us, a favor: stop spying on the Mad Mage.”

“He knows?” Crovin squeaked, his normally baritone voice skipping several octaves with nervousness.

“Of course he knows, you fool. And he has politely asked that you stopped, as opposed—” the Marshall let the words hang precariously, taking a sincere delight in tormenting the mage he had known for decades.

“As opposed?” Crovin interjected while moving toward the glamorous crate.

Maket snapped his arm out, easily catching and holding the feeble man. “As opposed to him just blowing you and this damned ship sky high,” he hissed. Still, the Marshall smiled and once terror spread across the mage’s face, he released the stone grasp.

“What is the meaning of this?” Crovin rubbed his withered palms across the chest, feeling the perfect craftsmanship of every rune, gem, and gilded edge. He lifted the latch easily, taking pause at the immense wealth that glimmered within its depths. “By the Gods!”

“This is our payment,” the Marshall began assured he had the mage’s attention before continuing, “for a task you must complete for Lord Magnus.”

The geezer slammed the lid shut. “Treacherous dog! Already you bow before the inferior Rhelmsman!”

Hold your tongue, wretch!,” Maket bellowed. He reached into his satchel, grasping at the adamantine scroll tube. “In addition, he said this would be worth any trouble on your part.” The Marshall cautiously extended the tube, letting the faint cabin light gleam from the diamond encrusted metal.

Crovin grasped the tube, opening it and then delicately removing the parchment within. He laid it out near a candle, glancing quickly across and then more observantly. His eyes boggled outward, inhumanly. He nearly toppled back, laughing maniacally. When he finally calmed, he turned his beet-red face toward the Marshall. “And what is the task he requires? Are we to execute the Emperor himself?”

“No, nothing so diabolical. Lord Magnus claims there are three tomes within the Bascilian library which he would have. Once retrieved, you are to deliver them to his man, Rafa. Is this going to be a problem?”

Laughing again, Crovin re-rolled the parchment, carefully placing it within the tube which he then stored in a pocket. “By Saficea herself, he truly is mad,” the mage murmured. “It will not be a problem. The tomes are not guarded.”

“But it will be theft? Against the Emperor?”

“Bah. They will never notice. And it is quite the bargain.” Especially since I have already copied the tomes, he added silently. “And the money should more than buy any secrecy, if it comes to that.

“Just for clarification, Maket, I receive the gold and the scroll for this work?” Crovin’s lip curled into a greedy smirk.

“Don’t push it, mage. You receive a portion of the money.”

“And the chest?”

“Yes,” the Marshall sighed with exasperation. “And the damned chest.”

“Good. I will leave immediately then.” With a few choice words, the wizard vanished from the cabin. Maket slid into a chair, pouring himself a strong drink. Soon, he was lost within his daydreams of wealth.
 

Funeris

First Post
Update!

I'd probably place this one about 15 years prior to the current events of this SH.

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Magnus grimaced at the sheer depth of the chasm. A painful wound upon the earth, a horrific scar of seething blackness that as far as myth was concerned stretched infinitely to oblivion. A rational mind knew better. While the crevice was large and deep, it did not stretch to some horrific realm of oblivion. No, it was just an oversized gorge that provided the best path for the hordes of Culites to well up from beneath and pillage the earth.

But damn it’s deep, the mage thought.

Along the southern edge awaited the rag-tag army the mage had managed to gather. Lord Alleister had proven his worth just with the sheer number of men he had found willing to fight, willing to die for a cause that was not completely their own in a land definitely not their own. Never would the mage think it cliché to make friends with strangers in a bar again. No, Alleister’s aide and ability had been proven reliable.

Of course, this day could mark an end to the relationship. Death hung upon the very moisture in the air, imminently draining the hope from all. If Magnus were to perish or more likely Alleister, it would likely prove an ill omen for all of Rhelm. Beyond just those two, many others below possibly had great roles in the fate of this battle and many yet to come. Below, Tobias and Illyx awaited the hordes from the deep. Tobias still wielded that giant of a sword. Illyx was probably preparing a number of surprises for the beasts ill-equipped for life above ground.

That druid was crafty. And he was another friend picked up in a tavern, ironically during the same tragic meeting with Alleister. Magnus shuddered, not willing to relive those preceding events.

It seemed taverns were the best place to meet friends though. Tobias, Motega, and even Fitz had all been found at a tavern.

“I need to get out more,” the mage decided, preparing his first spell of the assault.

The black tide rose from the crevice, thousands of dwem and drel, pouring from the gap. To the north, a swarm of Culites moved toward the crevice, seeking their brothers to lead in the rampage. The sound of metal-against-metal rang through the air, echoing ever upward—even to the location where Magnus hovered.

The Mad Mage sighed, relinquishing his invisibility spell. Fire rained from the sky.

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There's your 402 word update Yeti!
 


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