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Canto of Black Flame, Proffer 17
Past the fields of hooks and splinters

Tossed on seas of hollowed bones

Ash like snow from countless winters

The wind screams out alone

~

Eyes of molten slag and spite

Covet lands of vernal

He will spill his blood of blight

And usher night eternal


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Cinders
"Th' fuck are we still doin' here, Jonesey?" The unkempt bandit wiped the cooling sweat from his forehead, glancing back and forth between the man he was speaking to and the mouth of the cave. "Sup'posed to be back with th'others by now, not squattin' in some pissfuck cave!"

"Waitin, now shut yer' gob Cutter." Jonesey continued to look past him, not bothering to make eye contact as he stared out into the world outside the cave. "Not keen on leadin' summun back with us."

"Tch, so'sum fuck is followin. Let th' fuck get lost in th' woods, let nature kill'em." Cutter spat, splitting his angry eyes between the cave's mouth and Jonesey. "Or better'et, I'll go out and kill em." He flashed a malicious grin, revealing two rows of yellowed and broken teeth.

"You try that an' I'll put a knife in you before you set foot ou'there, and drag you back in by th'innards." A voice of tired annoyance joined the conversation as Skaf finally opened his eyes. "Jonesey sais wait, we wait."

"We give th' fuck until sundown, affer' that we goes. Until then, siddown' and shut th' fuck up." Jonesey gave Cutter a long and hard look before the man finally relented. Cutter chuffed, but made no move to rise from his squatting position.

Outside the cave the world transitioned from shades of green to vibrant oranges and reds as the sun dipped low. As tinges of purple began to join the other colors, Jonesey pushed off from the damp cave wall and cleared his throat. The other two rose, obeying the unspoken order.

However before the three could leave, a deafening blast flared to life at the mouth of the cave. Rocks and debris came tumbling down, sealing the tunnel like a tomb. As the sound of falling rubble faded away, Cutter glared back into the pitch blackness where Jonesey had been.

"Th' FUCK did you jus' do, Jonesey?!" His words bounced around the unlit walls, no longer trying to hide the anger behind them.

"You think I wanna be buried with you shits?" Jonesey chuckled angrily in the dark, wishing he could see the man to strike him for his idiocy.

"Both of you, shut it." Skaf's voice drifted low and grim in the gloom. "Listen."

Overhead the dull and distant thumps of footsteps climbed slowly until they came to a stop somewhere above. The sound of something being dragged or maybe rolled accompanied the steps, stopping just as they did.

A heavy thump broke the silence, followed by repeating thumps that were starting to develop a steady rhythm. After a moment or two the sounds of splitting rock and falling pebbles accompanied the new slivers of firelight that cut through the cracking stone. Once the newly hewn hole was as wide around as a man's chest, the digging stopped.

"Hello down there!" The voice was amiable, almost as if a twilight stroll through the woods was a normal occurrence. The three trapped men looked at each other in the dim light that the hole allowed, each one wearing an expression of wary confusion.

Seconds passed, and the voice cut the silence once again. "I said hello! Still alive down there?" His voice had lost some of the aloof cadence it had before, almost as if no response would disappoint him.

"Th'fuck are you doing?!" Cutter was the first to shoot back, yelling angrily upwards.

"You are! Good! Good." His voice regained some of its joy as it continued. "I had some questions, if you have a minute or two. Is that okay?"

"Sure.." Jonesey spoke first, cutting off Cutter before he could start. He took a few quiet and careful steps forward, turning back to the other two and putting a single finger to his lips. Letting it drop, Jonesey held up his two hands to them, knitting the fingers together and miming a 'step up' motion. "If'n you got questions, ask em." He spoke without facing the hole, keeping his eyes fixed on the other two men. With their attention, Jonesey pointed one finger to his chest, mimed the boost-up motion again, then pointed two fingers at Cutter and Skaf. "We're not goin' anywhere, mister."

The two looked at each other, then two heads looked back at Jonesey and gave him an understanding nod.

"Great! Alright, first question." The light of a torch shifted above, and the man continued. "Are you three part of the Jagged Bones?"

The malicious smile that had started to spread across Jonesey's face dropped instantly, though more out of surprise than concern. "Yeah, why?" His tone echoed the newfound caution, and he quickly gestured for Skaf and Cutter to start the plan to escape.

"Because I'm familiar with your work, at least I thought I was but I suppose you just confirmed that." The voice remained polite, but now the three could hear the heavy rumbling of something heavy being shifted above.

Jonesey mouthed a single silent word to the other men. "One."

Skaf and Cutter clasped fingers together, preparing to act.

"Couple more questions, then I'll throw down a rope. Okay?" The voice remained unbothered, seemingly oblivious to the actions the men beneath it were taking.

"Yeah, fine." Jonesey shook his head back and forth to the others, then mouthed another word. "Two."

"Great, now next..."

"Three!" Jonesey said it aloud this time, jumping up into open air as Skaf and Cutter cupped hands beneath his feet. The two men strained upward, propelling Jonesey up towards the hole.

Before his fingers could touch the sides, a heavy scraping noise resounded above and a deluge of inky black liquid surged down. Jonesey was pinned flat against the cave floor, and both Skaf and Cutter slipped and lost their footing on the now slippery ground.

A pungent and bitter scent filled the small cave, clinging to the air just as tightly as the sticky fluid that now covered them. Jonesey coughed and spat the liquid that had poured into his mouth as Cutter found his voice once again. "The fuck is this?! Wha'the fuck you doin up there?!"

Silence.

"You there? Answer me!" Even though Jonesey had finished hacking up the sticky black liquid, he made no attempt to stop Cutter berating their captor.

"Shall we continue?" The voice returned, though all traces of courtesy and good nature were absent. "Or do you need more pitch?"

The three men looked warily at each other, the first tinges of concern starting to appear between their eyes. "No... no, we don't need more." To their surprise the words came from Skaf, who was still attempting to wring the black gunk from his hair.

"Good." The word from outside the hole was followed by the sound of an empty wooden barrel being pushed to one side. "I'd hate to drag another one of those up here."

A brief chuckle echoed into the hole, and then the man continued. "You shake down farmers and peasants pretty well, make some coin for yourself and your boss. That sounds about right, right?"

"That's right, yeah." Jonesey did his best to mirror the voice's cold and humorless tone, though it fell short.

"I know." The reply was icy.

"So...was that all?" Jonesey ventured a careful tone. "Can we get that rope now?"

Without warning, a bundle of hemp rope fell through the hole and landed with a wet slap into the pooling sludge.

"I... meant one tied up there..."

"You lost some men recently, didn't you?" The question came without the slightest hint of acknowledgement of Jonesey's complaint.

"We... the boss said so, but didn't say where or how." The bandit's reply was almost subservient, and Jonesey hated himself for it.

"You're lying." If the voice's previous words were cold, these were downright glacial. "I watched you walk out of the last town you robbed, and you looked too familiar when you did it."

"I don't know who you-"

"I do not advise lying to me." The words cut off his own, then fell silent.

"You from some farm or something? If this is about money..." Jonesey tried to rally, to bring the conversation back to somewhere more friendly.

"How many men did you lose that day?"

"I told you, the boss didn't-"

"DON'T. LIE. TO ME." The words boomed down into the cave, reverberating off the walls with barely contained anger.

"I wasn't at Ankhapur!" Jonesey practically shouted back at the unseen man above, only realizing in the silent seconds afterwards the weight of what he had said.

"I never mentioned Ankhapur." Compared to the violent force behind it moments before the response was almost meek, as if all of the bluster behind it had been stolen.

"I-" Jonesey started, then stopped himself just as quickly.

"How many men did you lose that day." The question repeated itself quietly from the world above.

"Eleven."

"And you ran from me."

"Yes."

"Did any others escape?" The sound of crinkling leaves above was the only sign that the man above had moved.

"No. I was th' only one." The fight had left both of their voices, replaced with the monotonous back and forth of the truth.

"Step to where the hole is." A small thump overhead indicated that the speaker had come to rest on his knees.

Jonesey did as he was told, ignoring the shouted whispers of Skaf and Cutter behind him. Beneath the torchlight a tired Half-Elf looked down at him, his two cold grey eyes fixated on the bandit.

"You know why I did this. You know this is your fault. And you know you're going to die here." Dornan had no more righteous fury to put behind the words, each one sounding more hollow than the last.

"I don' hafta." Jonesey found himself again, trying to negotiate now that he had a face to put to the voice of his captor. "Y'eh could be a rich man if you chose'a spare me."

And just as Jonesey had found his sense of self-preservation, Dornan and his burning anger were rejoined.

"Just like your men would have spared my wife?" As cold as a snake's hiss.

"I-"

He would never finish the sentence. Before Jonesey could so much as follow what was happening the torch was in Dornan's hand and hurled down the hole as quickly and violently as he could muster. The dark of the cave was instantly gone, replaced with the blinding light of the pitch as it caught flame, engulfing the men and setting to the task of burning them to cinders.

As night crept over the forest Dornan sat by the burning hole, watching the dancing lights and listening to the screams long after they died out.

They would all die out.

Every last one.

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Tags: backstory
Epic × 3!
Rules Updates
Known Formulas
Craftable Items now require a special recipe in order to make those items. These can be found or potentially researched. If you have the Recipe, you still need to have the skill and equipment to do so.

Item Identification and attunement
Clarification for Identifying items and how attunement works.
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Epic!
Flesh out your Backstory
Saw a good video and decided to list some of it Nerdarchy

Feel free to e-mail or private message this to me if you want to keep it secret.

1. Your Class:
  • a. Who trained / taught you? Individual, guild, college, stumble on it
  • b. How did you discover across this class?
  • 2. Your Race:
  • a. Where are you from?
  • b. Did you grow up with your Race?
  • c. What was the most common race from where you grew-up?
  • d. How do you view other races?
  • 3. Alignment:
  • a. What are your world view?
  • b. What do you think about society?
  • c. What do you think about morality, do you have a code?
  • d. Has your alignment changes?
  • e. What made you this way?
  • 4. Stats:
  • a. Why is your low stat so bad (if you have one) , if not the why are you so skilled good at everything?
  • [*]i. Str – like to read / eat
  • [*]ii. Dex – Bumm Knee?
  • [*]iii. Con – Sickly or dieses
  • [*]iv. Int – Never went to school
  • [*]v. Wis – Sheltered, not much experience
  • [*]vi. Cha – not good with people, physical appearance
  • b. If you have one High stat, why is it so good?
  • 5. Background / profession
  • a. What is your background / profession ?
  • b. How did you get into that background?
  • c. Why are you adventuring? Instead of focusing on your profession?
  • 6. Family
  • a. Who are your parents and what did they do?
  • b. Where are your parents now?
  • c. Do you have any siblings, where are they now?
  • d. What is your relationship with your family
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    Where are you From
    All,

    Please check here and let me know where you were born / raised.

    Map of Faerun
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    Epic!
    See more posts...