Færuin

En route to the Tournament

Noble Houses (Game of Crowns)

It was on a soft summers evening, midst the tranquil peace of the countryside, as the tweeting avians sung in jubilation at the setting of the sun, that we resume our tale of noble knights and their entourage. Outside the Dag Inn brother Brendon, Baron of Richmœnd, conversed with Colin the stableboy, crossing his palm with silver after gleaning more information gathered, pertaining to their cause; namely, the suspected whereabouts of the assassin ‘Daniel Dannet’, and the location of the mysterious Fox Knight.

The holy man John Godwynn wandered into the forest, finding a place to camp in contemplative solitude, meditating in prayer to the old gods, the first to walk the earth. The Knight Martyn went a wandering, as did Mæster Frotha Fleckbow, who were only at the gathering in spirit on this fine evening (NPC’s).

Baron Brendon, his brother Hal, Earl of Richmœnd and Tabatha the huntress, entered the Dag Inn, and so were met with an atmosphere soured with apparent malice. The locals all therein threw the Royal trio a sea of sharp looks, frosty shoulders and smiles through clenched teeth. Something was dreadfully wrong…

Tabatha the huntress discreetly mingled thereabouts, trying to discover the cause of the peoples distress and quite obvious animosity towards the heroes. Despite flashing her almond eyes and in askance imbued with amity, t’was to no avail. No information was forthcoming.

It was here when Lord Henry, Earl of Richmœnd, spoke out, perhaps rather rashly. Henry stood up, aggrieved, and addressed the whole bar “I say! Do you know who I am?” (Hal’s outburst was met with silence). The Earl carried on regardless, “Now look here you good people of the land. I demand to know why on earth it is you people have such blatant hostility towards my brother, and our companion! Well?! What do you have to say for yourselves?” (this was met by more silence, and a couple of raised eyebrows by Tabatha and Brendon, the shaking of heads). Henry, unfettered, picked up his harp, and his wine, stamped his foot, and stormed out of the Inn. Hal sulked just outside the tavern door, singing a love song, about how an enamoured Prince, try as he might, could n’er win the heart of his belovēd Dag, as she shunned his affections.

Back inside the Inn, the other two continued to proceed with just caution and discretion – the better part of valour. Diplomatist Baron Brendon and Tabatha managed to calm the situation down somewhat, rent a couple of rooms for the night, and also discover the reason for the people’s bitterness towards the trio. T’was rumoured that a group of soldiers, baring the Royal crest of Richmœnd – the Dragon Sea-Turtle – slaughtered in cold blood, a knot of innocent farmers from and in Dannet lands.

It is as plain as is the summer sun which set outside the windows of the tavern, that no such action had taken place. House Richmœnd prided herself on extolling the virtues of Chivalry, Honour and would never commit an act so mean and base. These… rumours, were clearly falsified, and no man nor maiden would be so ignoble as to murder good agrarian folk.

Hal finished his evening song, drained his goblet, and returned inside the tavern. “Sorry, sorry everybody.”, spoke the Earl, thence ordered another wine, and bought everybody in the place a round of ale: which was met with good cheer.

Baron Brendon and Tabatha thus took the opportunity to gather more gossip and rumours. Again, the tragic tale of the murdered farmers resurfaced to haunt and shame their family. More information came to light: Another action, a contingent of soldiers (again bearing the shield of our noble House Richmœnd) attempted an attack on House Dannet. The attack was repelled. Furthermore, t’was widely believed that the young Lord Adam Dannet, last of his line, was going to be struck down, fatally wounded by a lance during the jousting at the upcoming tournament, not three days hence.

Tabatha and Brendon seemed to be getting on rather well. The two brothers Brendon and Hal shared a knowing smirk betwixt one another as Henry bade his brother Baron good night, and then himself retired.

The next morning, Hal awoke in good cheer, descended the wooden spiral stairwell at the Inn, to take up his place at the rustic breakfast table. Henry gave his blessing to the newly enamoured couple, complimenting Tabatha on such a fine and well-heeled choice of consort. His compliment was met with disdain, and she raised a hand to the young Prince Henry. As her hand went to strike the Earl, Baron Richmœnd adroitly grabbed her slender arm, cast her a serious and stern glance, gazing gravely into her almond eyes saying, “You do that again, and it’s over for you! Finished! To slap the Prince, or any member of our Royal House is a treasonous offence, as ’tis synonymous with attacking my very father himself, Lord of our lands. You do not strike the Regent of the Realm, nor any branch or stem of our mighty stock.”

Henry spoke, “My brother is correct. Not only that, but I wished to merely express my joy, at having gained a sister, who I could not think of finding a better or more able suit, than Baron Bredon of House Richmœnd. You are indeed a worthy paramour, and, now a member of our Royal Household; here, we do not strike each other in haste. That, is reserved for the practise field or at the tournament. We aspire to be lords (and ladies) of even temperament and sporting countenance. Not brawlers. Most unbecoming for a lady.”

At that, Tabatha accepted the dressing down, arose from the table, excusing herself for want of some fresh air, and quietly slid off into the forest; whereupon she made not a sound, and spied the hermit John Godwynn. Blissfully unaware of her having passed near there, the huntress chose to reveal her location, and bade Friar John to return with her to the Inn, and join the trio for breakfast, which they promptly did.

Meanwhile, following some banter between the brothers, Baron Brendon Richmœnd and Hal discussed matters of regency, namely: the treasury. “So you see brother, since seeing the state of the Realm’s finances in decline – though still in possession of an ample income – I took the liberty of depositing half your recent donation to safe-keeping with father; and the other five golden dragons, I decided to use to fund this very expedition, that we may not be in need of anything requisite on our voyage south, and during our return.”, said Brendon hushēdly across the morning table. “Brendon, this is the very reason I offered such a mighty sum, for want of mine own acumen: I do not trust my very own fiscality. See how I splashed money on frosty folk, foreigners to boot, only yesterday evening. As things are, it is for the best, the way things have worked out.”, replied Hal. “I’m glad that’s cleared up. Now all that remains is to clear our Houses name, and, to win the tournament of course. Or at least do our best. Ah! My beauteous paramour returns!”

With her, entered John Godwynn, bidding all a good morning. Brendon, the huntress, and the Friar then perused the place, pitting their wits, by gathering some more information, gleaning a little more gossip, coaxed from unwilling tongues, who continued to offer a lukewarm welcome, and frosty reception to the four heroes.

After working the room, pumping the country folk for information, John Godwynn took up a seat at the table alongside Hal, “Sire, I have heard that it would be wise to check all meat and victuals prepared for you, on this voyage, for they may yet be laced with poison.” “I knew it! Thank you good Friar Godwynnson, I am glad your prophecy, augery and commune with the spritree would bear fruits of divination. Your dream foretellings must be hard to perceive the meaning of. You truly are a holy man.” “Forgive me sirrah, but I fear you place too much trust in my abilities as a prophet.” (John discreetly indicates towards a stranger seated at the bar), “That bloke over there told me m’lord. My powers of perception did come into play, for I met his eyes and knew full well he spoke only truth. Their was nothing mystical about it whatsoever, I regret to inform your Highness.” “Ah. Alas, your wisdom and discerning verily powers of perception saved my thread of vital life. For that, I give you thanks good Friar, you truly are a visionary.” “Very well my lord, if you say so.”

At that, they all four became seated at the oaken breakfast table, and the rustic fare was served. In light of this new information, Hal offered, nay commanded a retainer to be a patsy. The newly appointed Royal food taster was ordered to ingest half the breakfast, ‘till it had gone cold. Brendon simply asked the man to taste a little of his. The loyal retainer did not seem to be suffering from any ill effects. Baron Brendon, his Lady Tabatha, and Friar John all enjoyed a nice hot meal. Still suspicious Prince Henry erred on the side of caution, and contemplated skipping breakfast. But at the behest of his brother, who bade him eat something, finished off his now near cold cooked breakfast, as half-hearted and lukewarm as the locals that frequented the place. As the Earl ate, their food-taster retainer feigned ill-effects, thinking it be jovial to jest about the suspected poisoning. As he began to laugh at seeing Hal’s complexion pale somewhat, the smile was soon wiped off his face as Baron Brendon Richmœnd gave him a characteristically grave dressing down, ensuring discipline in the ranks, and no clowning around of that ilk. Such was the seriousness of the situation, and safety to the Royal persons and their entourage.

(Taking no chances, Hal decided it be best to employ his survival skills of foraging and hunting to find food from now on; so as to not be at the mercy of any would-be assassin). Two of their men were swiftly dispatched homewards, to inform their liege lord paternal protector, of all the events that had transpired – particularly the killing of the Dannet farmers and its repercussions – so as to keep father aware of the gravity of the situation.

Without further ado, the score of travellers set off, still heading southwards. As they rode, Friar John addressed the Earl, “Perhaps our lord, your father, did not deem to inform us as to the atrocities that were committed in our name.” Hal shot him an intense look from sat on his palfrey Chevalier, “Hogwash! I know father, and he would never order such a thing. It would make no sense, for he hath not provocation. Discard such doubts good Friar, have faith in father, for like his sons, he is an honest man. This whole situation is odious, that our honourable reputation be besmirched. I fear we are being set-up, framed, and as brother says, we must find out who is the perpetrator and have them brought before the King’s justice. In doing so, wipe clean the stain upon our noble name, and clear our House of any wrong doing.”

Maybe a week passed without let or hindrance, until they approached the proximity of the Great Stag Inn. Forsooth, no sooner than they neared its locality, than Tabatha, scouting ahead, was met by armed knights bearing the insignia of House Clavager.

Hal saw the the Knights in the distance, saying to his brother, “Parley.” “Agreed.” They rode forth to meet them. Palaver ensued as the Royal dignitaries advanced, and discussed with the knights of Clavager. “We are under orders, by Royal authority vested in King Robert himself, to bring you villains to justice, by force if necessary. Yield, for we have rubric and remit to arrest your persons, to be brought before the King, immediately.” One of Clavager’s men handed Baron Brendon a letter, bearing the Royal seal of Lancaster. “Good Knight, we and our own are well aware of these falsified allegations brought against us, and are also acutely aware that House Clavager would do most anything to gain the King’s favour, by clamouring in desperate acts unworthy of such gentry as your House beseems. Raise not your blades against us, who wish only to parley, and not enter conflict with you, or the King, whose succour we all entreat.”

The Clavager knights eased up a little, their hands being ordered away from the hilts of their swords by their Knight-Commander, who spake thus, “I was told to expect a hostile reaction, and it comes as something of a surprise to my men and I, to meet with such frank words. Even so, we are ordered by King Robert in person, as he doth crave your admittance to His Majesty, for trial and retribution. Therefore I say, give up your arms immediately, and let us escort you before the Royal Court of justice, presently.”

Hal piped up, “Do you know who I am?” “Yes. You are Henry, Earl of Richmœnd.” “Then you will know full well that neither I, my father, or my brother has ever before engaged in such villainous activity that we heretofore stand accused of. Which charges are baseless, for we are not guilty Sir Knight, of anything like this.” Brendon put his oar in, “The allegations are false, and we intend to clear our Houses’ honourable name. Alas we acknowledge your merry message, and bid you not escort us under arms. Our people are en route to the tournament at King’s Landing straight away. Know that our first intention is to seek audience with the King and his counsellors, to clear up this abominable mess that we be embroiled in.”

Clavager’s Knight-Commander weighed the Baron’s words carefully, and decided, after a fashion, to leave the Royal personages of Richmœnd be. Much to our relief, we could be permitted passing through without obstacle. The two parties then shared news and investigated further the whereabouts of the elusive Fox Knight.

John spoke again to Hal, once the Clavager knights had left them in peace, “Perhaps it would have been more prudent, Sire, to have had these men on-side, to add to our own protection. Their number would have meant our numbers be doubled, thereby more safety and security for ourselves.” Hal replied, “Nay good Friar, being deprivēd of our liberty would serve no purpose. Being left at the mercy of House Clavager would leave us defenceless, for they have their own agenda, and are possessed of scant sympathy to our cause.”

Further down the road, they arrived at the Stag. Situated in a sleepy town, where very few people were seen out on the streets, for they all seemed to be in the pub. A great whitewood head of a hart dominated the decor above the tavern door. Rounding to the stable, the group changed from armour to civilian attire, hiding any trace of Royal insignia, ashamēdly, until their House’s good name be restorēd. Night had fallen, the temperature dropped as the wind picked up ominously.

Naturally, the welcome was as warm as the weather. A sea of sharp suspecting looks, and an offish response was met with the people herein. Cold shoulders and frosty reactions as seemed to be the norm in these here parts, cast a spectre of melancholy about Prince Hal. Our group tried as they might to clear their name. The talks reached fever pitch and Henry showed his Royal seal: the Dragon Sea-Turtle with pride, only to be met with a refusal of service at the Inn. Downcast, he left the tavern, sitting on the steps once again with his harp, no wine this time, and composed a tragic ballad in the iambic pentameter of the ancient playwrights. The Prince sang in sombre sobriety:

“The heroes are framed: reputation shot,
Our ‘generous’ hosts do besmirch us, sure,
To clear our good name and heal the cut,
Wounds that cut deep, too grievous to cure.”

Brother Brendon intrigued awhile, then smoothed things over by way of soliloquy, his stirring oration won the audience over, and all was well. “We want no trouble, all my companions desire is to stay at your splendid Inn, for which we are willing to pay you for your hospitality.”, he said to the barmaid once the scene had calmed down a little. After being granted admittance to stay overnight at the Inn, three rooms were rented, that the Friar might not have to spend the night alone in the wild again. Tabatha then set to work the room, mingling with the now near affable punters, following a line of enquiry that she might learn something of their current cause. Again, the efforts of our group met with some success.

Gently coaxing much needed information, she worked her charm on a man, who, having been involved in the action of said farmers, was racked with guilt at having been embroiled in such an incongruous affair. Hamish Florēs, a commoner, recounted how he and his companions, all mercenaries to a man, were paid handsomely to slay those innocent country folk of Dannen, in the name of House Richmœnd. In cold blood. Sporting a broad West-Country accent he sang like Tweety-Pie, “I told ‘em straight. I don’t mind bein’ a sell-sword gainst soldiers, loike in thaat aaction we done versus them ‘ouse Richmund men. An damn good foitin’ men they werr too. They give us a good run fur our money, ooh aar! Gave us a bloody thrashin’ they did too, rebuffed our assault.” Hamish paused to take a sup of ale, from shaking hands, before continuing, “So anywayz, we done gone down thurr to they Dannen lands un thaat, an’ ee’ told me, ordered me, to attack they farmers out workin’ iz field. I done said to ‘im, ‘Look ’ere see, oi don’t mind attackin these ‘ere other soldiers, who knowz them there risks ’ee duz take afore enterin’ baattle; but they’z just yeomen. I haz no truck with them there yeomanry, who, likes me, just tild the soil an’ fish the sea, in honesty. Them there men iz cut of the same cloth as me, livin’ simply see?’ So anyhow, ‘ee done gone had his men to cut ’em down like they’z stray dogs after our flock. I coulda stopped ‘em. I should’a stopped ‘em, but I didn’t. Woe is me, left ‘em to die, an’ now? Now I am in misery. Guilty, see? For the plight ‘o them there farmers, who ain’t never done no ’arm to no-one.”

Tabatha ordered him another pint of ale, and informed the Baron of the new information of late, being brought to light. Alas, the couple rejoined Hamish at his table, and Brendon spoke softly to the man, “Would you be willing to act as a witness, in honest impartiality, at a trial tomorrow to help clear our name?” “I would zire, but only on one condition.” “Anything.”, interjected Hal, rather foolishly, who had re-entered the bar and been ear-wigging at a distance the entire time. [Maxen: Here this common man could have asked for all the gold in India, all the tea in China, or the sum of all orient-pearl in the ocean. Thankfully, he didn’t.]

“All I aask, is thaat you don’t see me sent to the scaffold for my part in the debacle.”, asked the Yeoman, humbly. Brendon assured him, “We shall do our utmost to clear your name, as well as our own, with equal measure. Fear not old man, I shall put in a good word for the King to spare your life. On my honour.” “Thank you zire. I dun ’alf appreciate that.”

Baron Brendon thence ordered his room be protected by two random NPC retainers, arbitrarily milling about the tavern at the time. Tabatha secured the window of Hamish’s room, shut fast with a rope. Tabatha then snuck up on the old farmer, who was by this time dozing drunkenly, deep in sleep, snoring on his pillow. “Nooooo!”, whispered Hal in fierce conviction, explaining quietly, that nothing can risk this mans animosity against us. Brendon concurred quietly, that for the safety of our very lives, this man be treated with respect and dignity, and that we shall make good on our word, that we do everything within our power to implore the King’s counsel, to spare his life, if at all possible; in keeping with our former vow. “Oh, all right then.”, whispered Tabatha, placing the mans coin-purse back on his belt as deftly as she had stolen it. At that, the heroes retired for the night.

With the arrival of dawns first rays of light, Tabatha went to Hamish’s room laden with a pale of water she had fetched for him. The four, now well awake, entered his room, noticing the faces of the changing guards outside in sentry. Hal and Brendon were slightly bemused as to precisely what the huntress intended to do with said bucket of cold spring-water. As it happens, she spoke gently to newly found witness, and gave him something fresh to drink.

“I thought perhaps another interrogation was about to begin brother.”, said Baron Brendon. “Indeed, my thoughts exactly.” All transpired amicably, thankfully.

Following the rising daybreak, they dined at the Inn. (Again, wily Hal foraged from the forest, and hunted game for his own breakfast, while the men assembled the entourage). As they rendezvoused back at the Inn, whilst preparing to set off in the stable, another old man appeared. This stranger was curiously laden with riches, of even countenance, and asked to be escorted for he had heard they were travelling southward way. He then produced a tired old mule, too laden with more riches and precious cargo, that it could hardly stand. Uncertain, it soon became apparent that this old-gentleman, however genuine a person, affable or affluent a character he may be, would slow us all down, majorly. After some deliberation, it was agreed that we would in-fact accompany the old boy in safety, but that his riches be distributed evenly throughout just the honest most trusted men in our entourage. i.e. not Tabatha. Places were taken, and eight men surrounded the witness Hamish, with the Prince next to him, in security.

Offering our word as our bond, to vouchsafe this new man’s possessions, which weight we bore with even encumbrance, the group proceeded with God’s speed, to the tourney and trail that awaited them. As they trotted beneath a canopy of trees, the huntress scout, met two golden cloaked guardsmen. “State your name and business lone traveller!”, asked one. “We would know why you’re here.”, demanded another, briskly. “I am here to enjoy the King’s tournament, that is all.”, she plea-bargained the two guards. “What do you do? Why have you that bow on you?” “I am a hunter, within the auspices of the King’s Royal authority.” Seeing no reason to doubt the lady’s word, as she seemed to fit her description, and no trace of a lie was found, they said, “Very well. You may pass. Go on through about your business now.” Tabatha trod on slowly, thanking the guardsmen, before bringing her horse to a halt, some way down the track. The canny huntress had already sensed something amiss, danger lurked hidden within the trees near here, and she dismounted, as though managing her equipment, ever-so slowly drew her own bow, ready for any eventuality.

The group approached the guards, who immediately handed a letter from the King to them, recognising who they were instantly. After tethering her horse to a tree, Tabatha gently snuck off into the undergrowth, taking up a concealed position facing the guards, not a stones throw from where they stood.

Just then, the guards drew their swords. Roll initiative! Boom! It was so on!

In a flash, the huntress let fly an arrow, she struck true, through the guards visor. A cry of agony cried out as the guard’s arms flew up instinctively to clutch the arrow which now pierced his brain. Falling to the floor from his horse, as quickly as his sword had, t’was clear to see the man flailed about in agony. Twitched from rigormortis, and died on a blanket of leaves. His fellow man turned about and fled, Brendon was hot on his heels, subduing the guard, halting him in his tracks.

Just then another arrow flew forth from the folds of the forest trees. The bolt out of the blue struck poor Hamish Florēs directly in his heart, killing him instantly. Some men jumped on to horses nearby and fled the scene. Angered at the loss of their then only witness, Prince Henry gave chase, hotly followed were the assassins. Chevalier (although a race horse of top-notch quality), somehow was unable to catch the villains. Almost as soon as it had begun, the encounter was over. Prince Henry and his men, turned about, after losing sight of the assassins.

Thus began the interrogation. It transpired upon Frair John’s close inspection and keen eye for detail, that the letter the gold-clad guards had given them was a forgery. The bill was as false as the men who wore the golden cloaks, as they two were impostors; not true guards at all! Under duress, the sole surviving guard, now in captivity was forcibly made to give evidence at the upcoming trial. He said it would be so. After gathering up the dead mans cloak and uniform, Tabatha pillaging the body of any valuables, they made haste to their target.

Upon approaching King’s Landing, the group tried to blend in. Captain Simian gave us an amicable passing there.

Here endeth the session.

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The Prince
Game of thrones

Neworlds

Noble Houses (Game of Crowns)

Hal, Earl of Richmœnd, first born heir of a usurper, base of stock, is in another world: a magical land, crammed with intrigue, politics, paths paved with poison and envenomed halters. Surrounded by other gentry, Earl Hal Richmœnd belongs in his westland home, beside the coast. He and his second-born brother Brendon, reside in the Dukedom of Tiwynn Lancaster, found in a sleepy little sea-side town, on the outskirts of Lannisport, to the west of Castle-Rock, located on the mouth of the River Brute. Their ancestral home is to the east of Feastfire and Kayce. Alongside the two brothers is their sister (NPC), and a huntswoman, with a knight, a godwood holy-man and an alchemist-mæster . A new game is afoot, let slip the dogs of politics.

Dapper Hal, sat beside the Royal seat of his father, attired in silk wrought from the most delicate tailors, the splendour and opulence of his clothes surpassed all compare. His younger brother Brendon, also sported fine garments, and sat astride another carved rosewood seat, the other side of Duke Richmœnd, atop the stone-floor stepped dias. Behind them flew the draped tapestry, heraldic symbology spliced in half. On the left of the shield: the crownēd white hart of the westlands; to the right: the dragon-turtle of Richmœnd. All the other chivalric emblems displayed thereabouts bore the crest of the sea-turtle wyrm, symbolising only one generation of noblesse.

In the mid-morning sun, the brisk bracing onshore breeze bit at the guards gate-side. A stranger approached: t’was a page from another Kingdom, flags flying, flapping in the wind. News reached them, by this courier; flanked by Martyn: knight of the realm, and Frotha, an alchemist, the trio entered the privy star-chamber. The herald passed the scroll to the mæster alchemist Frotha Fleckbow, who read aloud its message for the Royal court to hear.

“You and your entourage are cordially invited to attend and participate in this year’s tournament, to be held in the southlands of the western isle, three weeks henceforth, should you wish to attend. The usual pageantry, pomp and solemnity of formality shall forsooth be the order of the day; after which, the banquet before the beginning of the spectacle.”

Hal: Father, we should send for the hermit John Godswynn, who is at present, praying in the forest, to the pure spiritree. To the sculpted visages of our ancestor first-men, the old philosophers.

The Duke: Why my son?

Hal: Because I have heard strange reports of this anchorite, before becoming a hermit, John was a tournament champion, and won valour in the chivalric arts of martial sport.

The Duke: Very well. Send for him. [points to a Royal messenger].

More palava was murmured, Brendon petitioned his old-man the Duke for counsel, Hal made a donation of over two-grand in silver, for a suit of armour, custom made for his form. Three days passed. Tabatha the hunter went into the forest looking for quarry during thrice sunsets, to no avial. Good Friar John the anchorite joined the valiant heroes on their quest to win honour and glory at the impending tourney. He instructed the family and close-friends of the court in the ways of tournament combat, on foot, on horseback, and with cordial discretion. Meanwhile, the knight Martyn took some of Hal’s Royal guards on-patrol, to clear the roads of any unsavoury types that may let, hinder or delay the tournament team. No brigands were to be found, thankfully. During which time brother Brendon and Frotha Fleckbow pored over the House keeping. With keen eyes on the records, a verdict was reached that the realms finances were in decline. (T’was here that Prince Hal decided to recompense the Royal treasury for his armour, offering up nearly all his coin, three times that which the armour was worth). The differences in donation and deficit was soon suspect, perhaps creamed off by corruption. [Texts were flying around, already the stirrings of bribery and regicide cast a fearful spectre over so civil a scene]. With a score or more retainers, and without further ado, the Royal entourage set off.

The sun shone bright in an azured cloudless sky, the cool salt-sea breeze turned to dappled orchards and trees; in-between, lay the path to victory, on the fields of valour, the tournament. Thrice times did the fiery globe set, sinking beneath the hills, kissing the land good-night, until on the fourth day, matters took an ever inevitably interesting turn…

As his horse Chevalier the palfrey trotted beneath him, Hal marvelled at the splendour from the shafts of sunlight that pierced the fecundity of a branched tangled canopy. Mossy riverbank rocks sat beneath a forested pathway, and something, somewhere stirred. Tabatha the hunter noticed what is was: an abnormally large amount of crows circled in the sky. Tabatha slid away, the others, bemused sat about blathering about what to do, while the hunter set her sights on a gruesome scene in a clearing, not a few yards hence; yet silently disguised from view, by briars and brambles the tracker trod, leaving near-no trace, of her having passed there.

Meanwhile, the others asked of the alchemist what might the meaning of this be? Both Frotha and Hal concurred that John Godwynn be the man to ask, when dealing with this manner of mystery.

John: It’s a bad omen.

Brendon: Pray tell, what kind of omen?

John: A bad one.

A quartet of ravenous wolves fed upon some carrion, the scavenging lupines were blissfully unaware they were being watched, whilst gorging on their feast of flesh, dead, devoured by brutish beasts. She took careful aim, but before lining up her target, two retainers under orders from Baron Brendon, bumbled through the undergrowth clumsily. This distraction proved timely, and as one wolf then two, then four strode for the pair of men-at-arms: Tabatha let loose. Wounding a wolf in the calf straight away she nocked another arrow sending a spinning shaft into finish the first one off. Boom! It was on! Roll initiative!

The wolves were swiftly dispatched and fled. Their feast was of some dead soldiers, from the evidence it was discerned that they had been betrayed by one among them, assassinated in cold-blood. The insignia on their weapons was an uncrownēd stag: they were men who fought on the side of the House of Lancaster during the uprising, when Robert dethroned the mad King.

After some deliberation, our Royal tournament team continued along the road southwards, until in the dark of night they saw a dim light emanating from a lone building.

They tipped the stable-boy Colin, of the Dag Inn, and entered the tavern. Following a lead after a little investigation, our team managed to discern some useful information.

Seemingly a man had passed by this Inn of late, looking to buy horses and recruit men. He did not find any steeds for sale here and trudged south. The suspect had been wounded in the leg, and headed south, limping.

Player: Maxen the Anglo-Saxon
Character: Hal Richmœnd (Henry, Earl of Richmœnd)
Culture: Westlander
Age: 21 (Adult)
Rôle: First-born heir to the Dukedom of Richmœnd
Goal: To accrue wealth; Motivation: Financial Gain
Virtue: Humble, humility.
Vice: Licentious
Quirk: Sometimes supremely arrogant

SKILLS
Animal Handling • • • (Ride +1)
Athletics • •
Cunning • • •
Endurance • • •
Fighting • • • (Axes +1)
Healing • • (Diagnosis +1)
Knowledge • • (General)
Language • • (Common tongue – Westlander)
Marksmanship • • • (Bows +1)
Persuasion • • •
Survival • • (Foraging +1, Hunting +1 and Orientation +1)
Warfare • • • (Command +1)
Will • • •

STATS
Intrigue Defence: 9
Composure: 9
Combat Defence: 6
Health: 6/6
Armour Rating: 6
Armour penalty: -3
Weapon Damage: +3
Hunting Bow Damage: +2
Movement: 4 yards

DESTINY
Adept Negotiator, Family Heirloom (Long Axe) and Blood of Valyria

EQUIPMENT
Valyrian Steel Long Axe
Hand Axe
Monogamy Wood Armour (ornately carved with Dragonsea-Turtle crests)
Scale Plate Armour (ornately carved with Dragonsea-Turtle crests)
Hunting bow (120 arrows)
Noble’s clothes (worth more than two golden dragons)
Belt pouch
Table harp

Chevalier (thoroughbred palfrey)
Saddlebags
Feed (10 days worth)
Pavilion tent
Silver flask (holds a pint of oil)
Waterskin (contains five pints of water)
Torches (10)
Whetstone
Flint and steel

Approximately a score of retainers

Exp: (at least some, we’ve done like a whole session ’n stuff)

Life events: Fought in a battle wherein his brother was captured;
Caused a villainous scandal that brought shame upon the House of Richmœnd.

COIN
Gold: 1
Silver: 119
Groats: 30

View
Shattered Land

Arouet the half-elfæn forest ranger staggered about a vasty desert, parched, with nowt but a dryness, a dust about his mouth, having a thirst like that of a thirsty sword; he milled about for a week or so, in the desert. On the outskirts of a sizeable settlement, a caravan stop-off chattel route, a transport hub, a busy milling metropolis snugly situated in the sand-dune dotted desert, of somewhere about Færuin.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the posse, namely Lombar, Doolie, Ashari, and the displacer-mage, made there way about the sand-covered city, that sprawled about the deserted dune-space. Bleak, yet bustling with activity, the team shored up in a tavern that lay to the north of the great pyramid. Upon arrival, the crew made themselves out to be chattel-traders, but were soon sniffed out, promptly captured, branded with the three-scimitar symbol particular to these here parts. An ‘N’ burned on to there faces. Tasked with having to solve a riddle, taking some time in solving it. The unlikely heroes discerned that some steely governess ruled this city of the chattel-trade.

Arouet was collared, brought in, burned with the ‘N’ mark of a Nigeri slave. Promptly placed alongside his companions, the half-elf lamented his now near-permanently scarred up visage was hideously maimed for evermore. A voice in the sky sounded, “You are merely property now.”, laughing manically. The sun never moved but burned brightly in the azured cloudless ciel. The sun-soaked streets were a hive of activity, people of all castes milled and went about their daily business, some tattooed, some adorned in brightly coloured jewellry, almost all scarred. This, was the arena, or so it seemed…

To be continued

Max.

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Dragonstone Heart

Lombar Pomeranian the high-elven paladin, Doolie the gnomish crusader, Ashari the dæmonic druid and Arouet the half-elven hunter, wandered about a fountain midst the catacombs. Arouet’s animal companion (a semi-humanoid wolf-woman: Kay Dee) seemed to be getting on with Lombar, in the reflection of a timeless amber pond. The two of them noticed an inscription chiselled about the fountains ring: “Shatter the bonds until the Shardillus returns…”

Doolie explained some more of thier quest, how they must destroy the heart to defeat the dragon, in pieces. The enemy dæmon-lord of the underworld wants to ressurrect the stone-dragon gargoyles, through its heart: the source of the dæmon-lords power.

Arouet cast Detect Snares and Pits, nothing. Lombar Detects Evil, lighting up Ashari, showing his true evil nature.

The posse prized open more sarcophagi: Arouet refused some Bracers of Armour+8, saying that a mage or armour restricted character would be better off wearing them. Our team also found a magical amulet. It bore no inscription, but soon enough the dæmon druid Ashari identified it as having the following effects: Spell Res’ 20, absorb energy drain, negate death effects and negative energy resistance. (This Amulet of the Planes had only a dozen uses before it crumbles to dust). Arouet found a tome on leadership and influence, offering it to Lombar or Doolie, what with rangers being solitary people, without need of priests, armies or retainers: beyond that of his animal companion Kay Dee, who, by this time was getting on famously with the paladin Pomeranian. Lombar took the tome from Arouet.

Another door bust open, another dusty-room and sarcophagus, inside Arouet found 3,600 gold pieces, Lombar too found gold. They gave it to the characters carrying the Bags of Holding.

The final room, wherein the dæmon-lord was said to dwell had to be investigated. Our posse was rightfully cautious. Ashari transformed himself into a spider and spun his way through the key-hole. Once on the far side of the door, he tried to use Stone Shape on the granite door, with no noticable effect. Instead he summoned a pair of earth elementals, commanding one to smash the door to pieces. In doing so, one of the earth elementals did himself some serious damage busting the door open.

Our crew moved in… Standing before them was a sculpture of an eight-foot long dragon, near a key nestled on a pedestal, beyond some ascending stairs. Ashrai ordered the undamaged elemental forward. A loud bang happened and the summoned earth entity was turned to rubble somehow, perhaps by a trap.

Arouet tried to knock the key from its niche using an arrow from his bow. Though his fletch flew true, it did little to dislodge the key from the pedestal. Doolie buffed up with spell-defence, while the remaining posse members moved forward, taking the stairs towards the grey, lifeless gargoyle of a dragon.

A gargoyle’s green eye opened lazily as Lombar and Ashari ascended the stairs, the once petrified black dragon awoke from its slumber. As the grey stone sculpture began animating to life, Arouet felt a tinge of hatred, not just at the jealousy of Lombars new found friendship of his animal companion, but at dark lacertians (one of my species enemies is black dragons).

The dark dragon gargoyle bit ferociously at Lombar, taking a chunk out of the knight. Its black tail swung about violently, knocking Ashari for six. Dropping his bow and calling Kay Dee, Arouet charged up the stairs and struck the stone-dragon, biting it with his axe, as Kay Dee bit with her lycanthropic jaws, damaging the once petrified dragon-kin.

A wild and ferocious battle whirled all about them, Arouet ducked a tail swipe adroitly. Doolie tried to use a Stone Shape scroll, but it was to no avail (?), Arouet could only assume that the magic that bound this fantastic monster was too strong for our gnomish clerics attempts at lateral thinking. (I personally thought that Stone Shape was a good call, good role-play. It was worth a try at least).

Arouet swung six times with his magical hand axes, boom! He wounded the gargoyle some more, carving him up like Sunday rotisary, wounding what he thought was a black dragon. Ashrai cast Barkskin on himself [Classic spell]. In a few more rounds the dangerous dragon retreated to the last chamber, wounded. Our team gave chase.

After claiming the key and avoiding the traps, the posse ventured forwards. Arouet scouted ahead, arriving at a curved doorway. He faded out for a second, wandering off depressed at having his childhood animal companion wandering off friendly like with Lombar – the cuckold, sans honour, without scruples. Elves make not good paladins, so fickle is their nature. Lombar may pretend to be good, but he is without honour, chatting up the lupine lycanthrope woman, despite her apparent allegiance to Arouet…

After Arouet recovered his senses, though still seething with jealousy, he happened upon a tall cavern; at the upper eschalons of which was a gigantic beating heart, suspended from the cavernous ceiling on tubes and gory tendons. Spider Climbs and spider shape-shifts from Doolie and Ashari respectively meant the two were at the caverns roof already. After a couple of tries, they managed to wedge a dagger into the rock, and suspend a rope to dangle down to where the others were, who began climbing up.

They entered the giant heart, and had to jump through ventricles at opportune times to proceed, sliding down large artery tunnels, and finally confronted the dark dragon…

The big-boss bad-ass end-encounter Dominated Lombar, who struck for Doolie. Arouet was just waiting for an excuse to clobber the ‘good’ sir knight, and boom! Five out of six attacks struck him for a phat total of fifty-five points of damage. (The benevolent D.M. decided to forego the lethal damage rule of over 50 – shame). Doolie cast Hold Person on Lombar, to try and stop him from attacking his fellow posse crew members. Kay Dee and Ashrai attacked the dragon, biting and casting an ice spell. Arouet again, oh, he’s prone, boom! Another slap on the naughty knight, who, was then strapped up by Arouet in a set of studded leathers with a strap-on orange in his mouth. He was lucky the half-elf didn’t get a pair of pliers and a burning hands spell to get “mediæval” on his ass!

As the dragon was in the process of being defeated by our posses future flurry of attacks, a swarm of flying creatures appeared. All about them the heart began to disintegrate. The dragon hit Lombar with a Greater Curse reducing his INT to 1! (We cannot cure him, currently the knight is unable to even speak, just drool). The only other player to fail their save against the curse was myself, Arouet (as a result of the effects of the hex) now thinks that Kay Dee is secretly plotting against him, so is now wary, distant to his animal companion.

Some of the characters flew down, some climbed, Lombar cut his way through, still drooling, Arouet jumped for the rope, and took some slight rope burn, in sliding down the hemp flax cord.

After leaving the complex, the crew found themselves squinting at the daylight. Losing each other in a sea of sand dunes, they began to wander about alone, each of them, in the featureless sand-stone desert, dotted only with dust and rocks. However, in amidst this heat-wave struck sunny desert, was a small city. Bustling with activity, the posse manage to find one another, meet up, and discuss getting Lombar to somewhere we can heal him of his stupidity.

Here endeth the session.

Maxen.

View
The Weaving Wheel

Being torn from Snuggle Nook once more, the elven soul of Arouet wanders in the dreamland of Tel’aranrhiod midst the Færie Forest of his homeland. The wheel spins, temporal transition takes its toll. The naissance of new adventures, a fresh beginning, a new Grift-Meister. Becoming bored of a temporary lull in the world of Gæhawk – Færuin – the weekly session, the golden future transformed into the agèd past, meaningless memories fade to fantastic færie tales, folk-lore, myth, consigned to the grey dusty annuls of imagined history.

Now, now arrives the time of Valraven Yami and his WoT III point five campaign. Present at the last battle, inspired by the fourteenth tome in the memory of the late great James Oliver Rigneys’ original WoTism (yet) another fellowship is formed. The souls of Arouet and McFinningan man be joined by but precious few other adventurers. These are the outcasts, players who subsist on the fringes, they are the bad-ass anti-heroes, barred from groups for attacking fellow crew members. The baddest of whom is the DM, who, doesn’t mind and even actively encourages such… petty squabbles.

Anyone who has read any one of the WoT might recognise the following first sentence in this extract, which can scarcely admit of a doubt, from where and whence Jordan (a.k.a. L.E. Moidesett, a.k.a. J.O. Rigney) drew literary inspiration from:

“The antiquities of the first age… were buried in obvilion and silence: silence was succeeded by poetical fables; and fables again were followed… by records…

…the veil of fiction…

…I am inclined to imagine, that some of the ancient fictions lay couched certain mysteries and allegories, even from their first invention. … I am… ravished with the reverence of antiquity…

…the understanding of man by an easy and gentle passage through all novel and abstruce inventions…

…in the first ages… all things were full of fables, enigmas, parables, and similies of all sorts… …as hieroglyphics preceeded letters, so parables were more ancient than arguments… …that would illuminate men’s minds…"

Sir Francis Bacon, Wisdom of the Ancients, 1886.

Maxen-out.

View
Thrice Times Surprise
3rd_Session

Whilst lamenting the loss of living under the twin-moons of Tadisaga, Snuggle Nook, our intrepid half-elf ranger wanders, wonders in the gloomy dark crypt with his band of fellow adventurers.

The posse:

Arouet: Half-Elf, Ranger, Level 11.
Lombar: Paladin, Level 11.
Doolie: Gnome, Crusader-Cleric, [spell-caster level: 11th].
<name>: [Dæmon?], Necromancer, [spell-caster level: 12th].
<name>: Human, [displacer-mage, some advanced career], [spell-caster level: 9th].
Asari: [Dæmon?], [some advanced career], [spell-level: 10th].

The Calwæy Crawl (Dungeons of the Dead)

Session III

The half-elfæn forest ranger Arouet chanted litany in memory of their fallen comrade, Drenath. Kygerma’s spirit being invoked in prayer to lament the loss of their recently departed friend. Far beneath the surface of the world: Færuin [Gæ-hawk] trudged a motley-crew, a fellowship of four: principally Lombar Pomeranian the paladin, accompanied by Doolie our gnomish warrior-priest, also, the mysteriously corpulent shroud-covered dread-necromancer. From the folds of the shadows appeared the equally as mystique displacer-mage, who greeted the posse, having become lost in the labyrinth awhile after locating the quartet. The suspecting companions travelled down the tunnels, all about the last few chambers in the locale long since having being explored, the company of five stumbled across a coal-pit. The posse had circled themselves, arriving back where they’d begun, all the while searching for treasure. They just happened upon a whole shed-load of booty, a veritable bounty-haul, midst the loot were: a magic wand of bear control, girdle of giant strength, and a magic-scroll (with two spells on it) which the displacment-mage swiftly identifies, the spells were greater Dispel Magic, and Feeble-mind; who a chanced to stumble across much gold-coin, as did Arouet, including four sparkling gems to boot. Our dread-necros’ also found some gold, and an unidentified magic sword, along with a couple of spell-scrolls: Call Lightning and Meld Into Stone.

The now fellowship of five lurked on into the gloomy cavern, tucked away beneath the massy entrails of the earth. They arrived at the base of a spired tower, secreted below the catacombs. Our surroundings became familiar to us, having trailed back on ourselves after being whisked away by way of teleportation of late. Our necromancer then kindly offered the displacer-mage his Cloak of Resistance+5, saying “You owe me.” (Naturally he preferred the spell-power of his own Cloak of Charisma though it only be +2). Displacer thanked him, and the posse moved onwards, into the crypt filled catacombs. After investigating the chambers and whereabouts of the doorways, the posse decided to rest, for thirty-two hours (so as the dread dæmon-necromancer could summon his familiar). A half a day later, the posse were sprang upon by nearly a half a dozen spectres. Random encounter on! Roll initiative! (Arouet had no time to lament Snuggle Nook, nor the Dungeon Meister making a single surprise roll ever, in thrice sessions thus far. Let’s face it, I’m in no position to complain. Also long as he’s the one dishing out the booty and xp, Arouet thought it best to hold his tongue.) Alas, what happened next? I shall tell thee…

Lombar waded in there, smiting the spectral enemy, taking one down; as did Arouet his twin hand-axes slicing one up like Sunday chicken. The spectres strike back, missing the two warriors. Doolie the gnomish warrior-priest wades in there, take-down; so does the paladin, who knocks one out in a retaliatory strike. Boom! It is on already! Someone gets energy drained for a few levels, ouch! Harsh man! Lombar took a wounded fleeing spectre down, as does another hero to the rescue: the displacement mage lept into the fray, taking the last spectre down. (He had been doing so with strikes and spells, as had the whole posse throughout the spectral random-encounter).

The posse decide to forego the solemnity, deciding against dreads’ rite for the familiar. The crew came across a unicorn in the crypt. She spoke syvan-elfæn and common Anglyn tongues, introducing herself, Asari. Suddenly someone sensed trouble. Displace-wizard saw through Arcane Sight with the whole posse being lit up like Tennanbaums, every one of them being weavers of magic. The others concentrate, more detection spells are cast, sense evil special ability activated. They learn that this creature is capable of casting magic. The unicorn morphs form, into that of a human. Dread-necros’ discerns one of his own kind. She turned out to be a stray adventurer, who then joined the posse.

Two flesh-golems appeared out of the gloom, everyone wades into them. Arouet slashed at them fiercly with his elemental fire and ice hand axes; Lombar to, smited the enemy, albeit to little effect. Displace-mage jumps in, hitting the thing. Someone tried casting Turn to Stone with no effect. By this time our new friend unicorn, human shape-shifter transformed into a cockatrice, moving in, damaging a golem. Arouet also, hacked at the flesh golem, tearing chunks out of its side. Displacer leaps about once more, his strike finding its mark once more. Lombar tried his sword, it hit, but didn’t so much as scratch the thing. The next thing you know the knight is struck by a golem. Boom! The posse dance with the magically animated golems, the fighting was fierce, Arouet finishes the last one with his axes.

They happened upon a tree growing in the stalactite and stalagmite studded chalky catacombs, dripping with water from limestone spikes jutting from beneath and above. It was a symobl of some Færuin family of note, their sigil.

Next the crew rounded the cavernous corner only to stumble upon a dead gorillon, beside whom were a bunch of scorch marks all about the corpse. Undead were detected, two of them…

Arouet snuck away, into the subterranian midnight gloom momentarily, before circling back, glimsping the posse. The new shape-shifter transformed into a squirrel. There before us stood two flesh golems, gorillons, and a solitary morg. Our displace-mage moved in, boom! He lept in, spinning all about in a whirling dervish-like dance of deadly moribund. (Though damaged diminished due to the golems being immune to crit effects, and called-shots). Lombar wades in, hit, nut no effect. Arouet exclaimed “Cast your enchanted blade spell good sir knight!” Afterwhich Aroeut attacked with axes, carving one golem up like Sunday-roast chicken. The others cut the fleeing hostiles down, except for the gorillons, who were knocked unconscious.

Arouet levelled-up to level thirteen ranger. I have yet to take my special ability from level twelve, yet remembered to factor the rest in. Maxen-out.

View
Second Session
2nd_Session

Arouet spied silently through the shadows, the four figures silhouetted ’midst the dark gloom of the dungeon. For some strange reason, one of the fellowship was absent this very evening, the displacement-mage, gone on elsewhere, perhaps back to town, who knows? The rest of the posse had gone through a mysterious teleporter, found themselves in a cavern of some sort. There was Arouet the half-elven ranger. Companions, the company of adventurers were Lombar Pomeranian the Paladin, of the Olde Worlde, the Empire, a noble knight of Halgarth. Another was Doolie the gnomish priest. Drenath the kobold sorcerer; and last but not least, a most mysterious figure cloaked in dark shrouds, the dread necromancer of unknown name, and ambiguous origin. Alas, the five intrepid wanderers stepped forth, into the gloom…

The posse try the door to the north, the door opens, no problems. Glimpsing some gorillons from beyond the gloom, they seem to take no notice of the adventurers, and everything was as it should have been: peaceful. To which end, the resourceful heroes decided to clean them out, of all booty and everything they had, and more. Amidst the spoils were some magic-gloves the gnome found. Offering them to Arouet after identifying what they do, our pragmatic ranger graciously accepted the gift, seeing as they were Gauntlets of Arrow Grabbing and all. Everybody in the posse discovered all manner of glittering gifts in the way of treasure. One hapless adventurer happened upon a silver moon-stone ‘midst the plentiful bounty of victory, the spoils of past encounters, cleaning out the level. We stumbled upon some sort of semi-circular ravine-chamber, wherein lay a dias ’neath a cavern, upon which stood an ancient stone-carved dragon, hewn by some skillful sculptures’ hand, or petrified many moons ago. Nestled snugly in the stone-dragons’ toothed-jaw lay a metallic object, silver, glinting off the lamp-lit dias, beneath the cliff-edge of darkness. Beyond which lay a peninsula, a far out scene, an underground cavern complex, stretching as far as the eye could see. Our posse could hear what sounded like “a plethora of pieces of paper, rustling, all at once”. The dark-mage summoned a zombified wyvern, then flew on the dragon-kin, down to see what was happening in the dark tunnel. Somehow Doolie the gnome-cleric gets stuck down the hole, which is many feet deep. All the little gnome can see is the faintest glimmer of light from a sheer long tunnel, dressed stone, smooth sides and razor lined pit-trap walls. Not only that but the rustling sound? It only turns out to be thousands of undead, creeping towards him, alone, trapped down the tunnel. Doolie was suddenly struck, harmed by one of the undead. From the darkness came forth the dread necromancer, who began chanting, casting a spell. The gnomish-priest feels a cold ghostly palm touch him on the shoulder, and, once having the clerics attention, ushered him gesturely, to leave this part of the dungeon. Arouet tries the climb down, he found the razor-spikes stop him so attempted to jump across, failing, but just managing to cling on to life, clambering back up, to the surface of the pit-trap tunnel. So, our gnome-priest consecrated the ground, spider-climbed back up there, spent twenty or so minutes hammering out some hand-holds ‘midst the razor-spikes, and ascended. Smoke break and rest, home-brew style. Searching for treasure, the posse found some. Dread necros orders his zombified nhag to pick up the loot. She was lit up like a tennanbaum, sparks of electrical flashes sounding, appearing, crackling with energy. The smouldering wreck that was the nhag Brunhilda stumbled lazily towards her master, who heals her. Treasure was found, Arouet cannot exactly remember what. He had been celebrating the entire time. “Ye Olde Apple Juice and Hobbit rough-shag from the shire. Arr. Anyway… Where were we? Oh yes. The posse headed south a ways, fell upon a cavern with doors headed both sides, east and west. Our dread-necros’ used his Detect Undead special ability to try and discern whether there be any possible undead threat… {Maxen wakes semi-sober in the real-world, takes up his pen by the morning light, and writes; again scrivvening the chronicle} …

Sure enough, in his spell-sight, the dread-mage detected a glow of undead, began searching the sarcophagi found four gems and a pouch brimming with coin. Drenath uncovered another sarcophagus, and in it lay another red gemstone Necklace of Fireballs. Arouet, in his stumbling about merrily tried prizing off the large carved-stone top to the tomb with the blade with one of his mundane axes to no effect. Sighing, he used his strength to slide off the tomb-stone top, in doing so suddenly fell to the ground. A storm-cloud of malaria exploded all about the place. The demi-elf ranger was down after a failed save {the rest of the posse all made theirs} losing a point of CON’ permanently. Owch!

Surely a bad omen. Aye. As the darkness closed about me, I staggered out of the chamber, whispering, “Hath no man a remedy for such maladie contagion I’ve caught?”. Doolie responded, in a flash of dweomer light and a crackle of energy: the benevolent gnomish mystic used a magic scroll and the infestation in me was neutralised. They ransacked the joint. Dreanth chanced upon more magic-gauntlets. Our good sir knight Lombar: scrolls of Sound Burst and Rope Trick. Just then, as quick as a flash, suddenly another blast went off of the disease damage trap. I lost a further seven points of CON, harsh man! {My [maximum] hit-point total now down to around half mine original}. Our posse continued searching. Doolie found a potion. The dread-necros’: a magic wand of draconian origin. The contents of the mal-air cloud-trapped crypt, who Drenath had recently identified the objects: a magical-axe of færie-fire, some gems and coin, all of which he handed to Arouet, who accepted graciously, in his diminished wounded bedraggled state. The others continued turning the place over. Amidst the loot was a magic shield, discovered alongside with the færie-fire axe. Doolie the gnome kindly cast Restoration on the half-elf Arouet, meaning I was back to full-strength again. (Phew! Cheers cleric! Woohoo!) Spot-checks for each man, our posse were on the look-out. While nothing was revealed upon first glance, Drenath stealthed on ahead. He happened upon a stone-shaped scroll tablet, which immediately turned unto dust once he tried to read it. Onwards, another crypt in the catacombs, he tries to pry the receptacle open with a knife, which shatters into a thousand shards. Turning a corner, and from the secreted seclusion of the shadows, our scout intruded upon a chap. A gentleman. Sat on a luxurious looking high-backed chair, surveying intently a misty scene of the remaining heroes, milling about and muttering to themselves. Drenath snuck slowly back out of the chamber, then used his Telepathy to warn the posse that he had inadvertently stumbled upon Galthiasis {the big bad guy}. He then re-grouped, rendezvous’d with our posse, and just as soon as he had, more spotting, roll them bones, then Boom! Roll initiative! From out of the gloom, a number of wights and vampires appeared.

A scarlet clad vampire tore into the dread-mage, moved in for eighteen damage, another attack misses. The gnome casts divine power on his self, then changed to guard glow stance. The dread-mage casts empower death to death on both the enemy undead attacking him, it seemed mostly ineffective initially but the strength of his spell did manage take-down a vampire! Garn! {Gone! One down}. Drenath casts rat tentacles, no effect. Suspension ray is cast. Arouet moves in with his axe of frost and newly-found magic shield and cloak, boom! He brings down the remaining vampire with a lone fall of an axe, no doubt damaged from dreads’ spell. Alas, darkness descended. All attempts to light, magical or otherwise failed them. The gnome cleric casts True Sight. {Classic spell.} The kobold fought tooth and nail, hitting two of the undead creatures, but then disaster: boom! He gets hit and energy drained, his CON down, making his max.HP17! Dread casts undeath to death, and in doing so killed and wounded his own zombie thralls as well as the enemy. The darkness pervaded all, obscuring all about. {No-one can see f-sh1t outta this thang.} Lombars holy smite fizzled to no effect. The fellowship wandered into the murky gloom. Dread-necros’ casts, taking another vampire down. He looks back at his kobold companion, as did they all in the team. “Are you looking a might pale there? You do not look well friend.” Drenath replied faintly, “Aye. I dunnie feel to well either.” Where he keeled over to die, then and there. The deadly contagion poison took effect, and as his soul departed his core, flew and reached up to heaven to dance with the Angels, a shadowy figure rose up through the firmament to claim his soul as his own. Meanwhile, back on the prime-material plane of existence. Færuin. The posse mourned the loss of their posthumous friend, then went about cleaning out the joint swiftly. The loot: A black vial, two magic rings, another vial wherein lay some murky liquid, some Leather Armour+3 which was very kindly gifted to Arouet. [Thank-you guys].

In amidst all the discussion about the recently deceased, Arouet asks of a temple. Crew members eventually concur that they might know of a place where we could resurrect our colleague. We tried, but it failed. We tried a second time elsewhere, nothing. Resigning to put it to a vote whether we carry on the adventure, or, dungeon crawl four days back, get to the surface, then try the last charge on the teleportation device. The vote cast, a draw. Dread-mage makes an executive decision and turns Drenaths late quartered body, into a zombie. That ended that little dispute. Arouet immediately goes about looting the kobolds body. It appeared that he had in-fact metered out the equipment and team treasury evenly. The late sorcerer had not a few many items of interest about his person, which were, in accordance with Drenaths memory, were then distributed evenly. The shadow dæmon who sought Drenaths soul was no more, he truly was Neutral Good, so thence the kobold took that shiny elevator towards the sun.

Back on terra firma as it happened, the very second they began looting Drenath the zombie his dragon familiar moved into attack. Dread-mage hits it with a Slay Living spell {Another classic}. The young dragon flies off into the gloomy corridors, but Doolie the gnome casts a spell which dispelled and turned the magic creatures thereby slaying the dragon, and causing Drenaths-zombie to perish instantly. {Among the items found from what used to be his body, are Staff of spell-sniping, Cloak of the Che 2, a ring of sustenance, a magic-wand of identify (eight charges left), a wand of magic missile, four healing potions (cure lights), one cure medium potion, a mage-armour device (27 charges remaining), Braces of Armour (2), a ghost dagger, a wand of delay poison (+3), a ring of elemental resistance, et cetera}. Dread looked a little worse for wear now too. Not only had he been running low on spells for some time now, but he started looking a little shaky. {Pringles passed. Smoke break, drink in my case}. Our adventuring company headed south. The cleric saw a symbol of a dead-tree. Suddenly the ground gaped, gave-way, crumbled just up ahead, from the fellowship of only four now.

The posse moved in, through the opening that had appeared in-front of them. Dread up ahead spied more sarcophagi, tombstones, graves. After a Detect Undead revealed a glow up ahead, the crypt was opened, and sprung forth more undead, morgs. Dread-mage commands the undead, to which the cleric again turned the morgs. Thrice times until the morgs were no more. Among the loot were two-grand in silver coin, a pair of pearls, a magic scroll Flare, a silver-birch bark-stick {perhaps under which grows smurf-shroom , houses?}, a chain of opening. A recently re-raised zombie-morg of the dreaded necromancer opened the door ahead. Roll initiative! Dread-mage moved in, misses; a spell goes off in the chaos, whatever it was, its history. Toast. Anyhow. The next door opened eerily, our crew exploring southwards, along a grand tunnel chamber now, while tall and high, the corridor was merely three feet wide at best. Along we went. Something else happened in the time down, far beneath the entrails of the earth. Hazy was the historians memory. Recalling so much as the corridor, then we headed north-west, shuffling around the catacombs. A sound beyond a door we’d arrived at, the knight Lombar investigated. Opening revealed more indifferent gorillons, some sleeping, who, as per usual, let the adventuring crew clean them out of any valuables. The gnome found four hundred gold pieces, eight gems, three magic items. About the campfire, Lombar sits next to the ranger, and speaks of a friend he once knew, in another life: bard {his recent P.C.} these fellows knew him, for the adventured with him. Built up from level one, died at level seven. A tale of woe. The good sir knight offers him some gauntlets of peaceful hastening, custom made. Another team member offers him the quiver of the loner, also a regular short-bow. Arouet made it to level eleven!

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Beyond the Nook and Back Again

The posse
Arouet: half-elven ranger. Neutral-Good, Level 10.
Lombar: paladin. Lawful-Good, Level <unknown>.
Doolie: gnome warrior-priest. Alignment <unknown>, Level <unknown>.
Name <unknown>: dread-necromancer. Alignment <unknown>, Level <unknown>.
Name <unknown>: fighter-mage. Alignment <unknown> (suspect evil), Level <unknown>.
Drenath: kobold sorcerer. Alignment: Neutral-Good (apparently), Level <unknown>.

Unless otherwise stated, all characters are human, and probably around level fifteen or so.

“As the gibbous moon slanted down, the amber orb refracted luminescence into the patchy pattern on the patchwork blanket of still, foreboding clouds. Night was still, quiet, calm.

Arouet the half-elven hunter, move slowly, silently through the trees as a Na’vi… The last of his kind – in this Universe at least, midst the Multi-verse, beyond Zerelia, Tadisaga, and the Nook. After seeing the one and only brother Kygerma-Monastery razed to the ground, a flight in the dark, the Lone Wolf on a new trail. Survival. For he had fallen into a portal, a dimensional rift, in his stumbling around in the dark night of the Færie Forest, in panic, that same fateful evening, many moons ago now. It seemed to him, like a dream. The Monaths turning, the seasonal change, a climate turned from the blustery winds of Autumn time, to the harsh coldness of the winter, flowers that tell of the green shoots of spring, growing in the blustery, windy plains of Færuin (Gæ-Hawk, III.5). Another world, beyond Tadisaga, or Woof-Rup’s Olde Worlde, nor even planet Cow-punk: this is in the realms of Space-Jam’, yet beyond the solar system safety net of Zerlia, Arouets much missed homeland, of Snuggle Nook.

Hiding about the undergrowth, Arouet the ranger had regained his footing, trying to brave the elements, live off the land, and use all of his wits, just to subsist. He was a fully-fledged Kygerman forest-ranger† . Arouet was a tracker, a loner, and a valiant hero††.

† half wood-elf to be precise; Neutral-Good, the usual.

†† weapon ‘specialisation’ effectively: 1 to hit/2 damage with the hand-axe, double handing style, the only other special I took was Extended-Spell Casting [Duration]. Along with the usual Ranger skills with five additional N.W.P. slots in each pumped in most all of them Arouet learned a fair knowledge of history, amongst a few other skills. Speak languages (under-common, elven, common). This character was rolled-up in half an hour, no equipment apart from a set-of leathers (studded), and twin hand-axes. Oh, and 110 gold pieces. This is a pretty run-of-the-mill, out of the box ranger, with very little to make him unique. (III.5 system, not quite the Pixie-Færie campaign, but still, a character is what you make of it I suppose.) I liked the vibe here. They were all seasoned players to a man. A smattering of players were even officially ‘old-school’ role-players, friends I knew from back in the day. The Vampire crew and such.


Alas, what had happened in the time gone by was of no consequence. Now was the present, we see a scene, out of the undergrowth; beneath the massy entrails of the earth, strode out ranger protagonist, stepping surely, slowly and silently through the slime and trash tunnels, that made up this odious place. Having no particular place to go, Arouet wandered aimlessly for what seemed like eternity. Suddenly he heard a cuffufle. Investigating the chamber beyond, secreted well in the shadows, our half-elf silently surveyed the scene…

Happening upon a motley crew of five adventurers, also recently fell through a rift, tearing the very fabric of surreality, Arouet spied an ensuing debacle ‘twixt the fellowship of five, some gorillons, and three Hesperides†. One of the gorillons lay slain. A spell-sword type person, human let loose with a glowing green bolt†† of burning liquid, that splashed and seared one of the monkey-men. Arouet shouted ’charge’ in Elfæn, moved in, and bit into a gorillon with his axe, striking true for the first. In the deadly dance that followed, the ranger spoke aloud, this time in common [Anglyn] “Thought you might want a hand!”

† night-hags; a.k.a. nhags, nags, nag

†† Melfs Acid Arrow. Classic!

Alas, one of the trio of Hesperides swirled, twisted and turned into wind, a ghostly mist, fading slowly out of the firmament. The remaining nhag slashed fiercely, rending flesh from the adventuring company. Gorillons too tore and struck at the travellers, a gnomish priest, who tried to fend off the raging gorillon. Another strikes the spell-sword man, wounding him. Both adventurers seemed unfettered by the grievous wounds they had received. Arouet takes a hit from a gorillon strike. A baptism of fire for the green-horn of Gæ-Hawk world, Færuin. Suddenly, a shadowy pale looking like figure began uttering some incantation in an unfamiliar tongue. His arms moved about a torn dark cloak, when a wave of grey misty negative energy consumed some of the enemy to great effect. [He was a Dread Necromancer as it turns out, and that was the first time he had used that particular spell, whatever it was, Arouet did not know] .

Man spell-sword retaliated, but his blade flew wide of the mark. The sole corporeal Nag swirled about him with lethal intention, also failing to find her intended target. The ruckus continued. A strange gnome warrior-priest tried his Shadow Garotte on the hag, the posse were wearing the evil creatures of the night and their minions down gradually. Thus, the fighting continued. Arouet swipes twice with his axes, hitting squarely both times on his gorrilon opponent, weakening him. Our spell-sword finished him off. Much of a melee was finalised. Another mini-magicker [a kobol sorcerer by the name of Drenath] manages to find and ultimately, the heroes triumphed. The necromancer raised his hands and voice in solemn somatic spell-casting, and in a flash had also raised some nhags and gorillon Before even introducing themselves, the kobold magicker went professionally plundered all the loot, including a periat [an anti-paralysis device in the form of a locket]. The others began to search and investigate the remaining spoils, amongst which was two heartstone [which remedied maladies, seemingly, as well as granting the wearer +2 to all saves].

Arouet followed the cloaked dread-mage down an eastern corridor cul-se-sac [we had to make will-power saves for some reason unknown to us], backtracked towards the parallel passageway and glimpsed a treasure chest. Approaching it cautiously the dark-magicker did the regular drill, “Right, random zombie gorillon-guy.” He ordered the undead minion to pick it up carefully, the zombies’ hands burned up badly, the stench of cremated flesh mingled with the odious lingering whiff of the catacombs and cloisters, beneath the cemetery. These guys were we on it, standard drill straight away it’s “Hand me your knife.” Prizing the receptacle open, they investigated its contents of glittering gold coins and gems sparkling, stowed, squirrelled away blatantly by the kobold, who had caught them up by now.

The man spell-sword took the time to explain a little to the new ranger stranger: how he was captured and tortured by drow when he was younger, became liberated by this very band of heroes from the clutches of the dark-elves, and now harbours a hatred of the black-elves that inhabit the underworld. Arouet had the impression this man had a dark-side to him, an evil in his soul.

Another warrior to emerge from the fray was the fair knight Lombar Pomeranian. A beacon of light, the good guy amongst the fellowship. Upstanding, chivalrous, pure of heart. Next to break the ice was the gnome warrior-priest, introducing himself as Doolian, who very kindly offered Arouet a spare suit of mithril armour from his backpack. The half-elf accepted graciously, reciprocating with one-hundred gold coins. “Keep your money. It is a gift.”, replied Doolian the gnome, refusing payment. “Thank you friend, I am much beholden unto you.”. Arouet donned the new shiny garment, the necromancer said, “It won’t fit him!” Suddenly the once gnome-sized armour magically moulded itself, stretched to fit the new wearer perfectly.

The kobold magicker scooped up more coins as the necromancer disappeared off somewhere. The last that had been seen of him, he was searching for more treasure, but the shrouded mystic had simply vanished out of thin air. People began shouting for him. Listening. No response.

The warrior-wizard searched for more loot. Nowt to be had. The kobold found some more gems from somewhere, and in the process stumbled across the lost necromancer, who’d been magickally teleported, transported elsewhere momentarily. The posse was now back together again, and wandered into the gloom.

Rounding a corridor, the heroes entered a sarcophagus style large chamber. Shattering one of the sarcophagi, we saw gold and treasure, the zombies went in, but their efforts in digging just meant the pieces and stones were merely scattered some more about. Looking at the pitiful amount of coin in his pouch compared to the other adventurers, Arouet fell for the ruse, hook, line, and sinker: straight in to the trap. “Hand me that shovel!”, the elven ranger moved in. Digging up dirt, several morgs rose up from the earth and began devouring the grillon-zombies and he. The necromancer began once again an incantation, his dweomer failed to command the morgs at all, but his grorillon-minions fought back, tooth and nail ‘gainst the encroaching [other] undead. A couple of there blows landed squarely on target, wounding the morgs. The diminutive Drenath darted toward the debacle . Arouet followed him in, and boom! He’s down. Fumble! [since ‘bleating’ in-effect, boasting that HkMster had a d-thou’ table for fumbles, the D.M. decided to implement a D6, no – couldn’t think of enough results – a D4 un-written house-rule On the Flex home-brew fumble result table, the result of which, was not favourable to Arouet] He hit himself! Owch! Doodie rushed in to protect his new found companion, fending off attacks from the deadly morg, striking back in a whirlwind of steel. Lombar too, his longsword falling twice true into the decaying bone of the enemy.

More greenish lit goo bolted forth from the hands of the warrior-wizard, another Melf’s Acid Arrow [Classic spell. Classic.] slammed into another morg. A reddish spherical gem from the creature fell slowly to the floor. The necromancer knew at once what was about to happen and cried, “Leg it boys, leg it!” Like a slow-motion movie dream sequence, the posse scattered and boom! Searing flames fanned all about themselves and the bad-guys, cinging everybody. Heroes dived for cover and only narrowly escaped perishing from searing hot flames that licked their skin with a burning intensity. Recovering from the jolt, the necromancer exlaimed, “We gotta put that one with the red-stone necklace down fast! I don’t think I could suffer another flame-strike like that.” He orders his nhag-zombie to move in, she claws at the red-stone morg, who struck back with equal precision lethality, another morg leaped for the necromancer, wounding him further. A morg on Maxen’s character: Boom! Paralyze tongue attack. I failed my save, down, immobile, at the mercy of Kygerma, for a whole ten rounds! Argh! As he lay down against the cold ground, Arouet yelled “Has no man any remedy for this?” Drenath had the stowed periat-locket, an ideal solution. Thrice times he ignored Arouets dying pleas for assistance. Thrice did Arouet fade into the blackness, his vision engulfed in darkness, as he was left for dead.

From somewhere beyond his perception, the battle still raged about him. He felt cold. Slipping away, but really cold, ice cold. A frost-bolt spell lept forth from someone, closing morgs down. More fighting, the sound of steel crunching bone, echoed by the screams of adventurers in pain. In the fray Arouet could dimly make out the necromancer magickally controlling another morg, Lombar slaying the last one. They had bare survived the encounter, and were, for most part, pretty badly beat up after that.

Amongst the treasure (all of which the Drenath stashed, with the posses consent no less!) was a necklace of fireballs (IV), and a minor ring of elemental resistance as well as a dark-wood chest containing all manner of mithril pieces and a crystal chalice. Here endeth the session.

Maxen.

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