Recent Posts

Popular tags: (See More...)
Pointer-left Il_fullxfull.1234221697_msgm_thumb

Mitch
Posted in Flameweaver
Canto of Black Flame, Proffer 81
Under dark and burning skies
Shell of shale and ossein
From yolk of embers, it shall rise
The lord of umbral flame

---

The one reborn, its wrath unleashed
Rejoice! Bear witness, birth of death
This land, in flames and ashes sheathed
Repent! Drink down, extinction's breath
Viewable by: Public
0 comments
A Conflict of Morality: The Aftermath
A Conflict of Morality: The Aftermath
For: Andulhaven

POV: Alexander

Hands shaking, heart racing, feet unsteady and legs wobbling as he backed away, Alexander stared at her from afar and cast Touch Me Not, the only protection he was able to give himself.

He hated how she made him a coward. How he was even afraid to meet her mismatched gaze, or stand near enough to hear her speak. How he’d fled behind his companions and put them in danger over himself.

She’d already killed Demitre and Ehrindel. She intended to kill them all now, and if Alexander wasn’t careful, he would watch her kill the rest of his friends, too.

Cosmo, who he didn’t always get along with, had still been there for him during the last few torturous days. Tully, who he’d gotten to know better over the course of their journey, had been there since the beginning, and had formed a special kind of bond with Alexander. And Magdala

Magdala

He glanced in her direction, and was surprised to find her already staring back at him. For only a moment she held his gaze, before turning around to face the demoness in the sky. The old animal caretaker made a few movements with her hands.

Before Alexander could begin to interpret what she was doing, a pillar of fire descended upon the Queen of Demons from the sky, striking her before she had the chance to move again.

Dresden’s scream sent a chill down Alexander’s spine and at the same time gave him a twisted sense of satisfaction. He’d begun to suspect it already, but this confirmed his suspicions. She wasn’t in full power here. And better yet, she was already weakened. They had a chance.

Good, he thought. Let’s make her suffer.

He took his first step back toward his captor, regaining a bit of his confidence as soon as his foot hit the ground. Picking up his pace, he strode toward her, a determined gleam in his eyes.

Before Dresden had the chance to recover from the fire that was still smoking on the hems of her clothing, Alexander saw her seize up and suddenly grasp at her throat. She sank from her position in the sky, coming to hover just above the ground. Her mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. Instead, Alexander spotted a thin line of red trickling from one corner of her lips. With a cough, her feet touched the ground, and the rocky floor of the rift was spattered with flecks of red.

Alexander passed Tully, who was concentrating so hard his small body was shaking. Seeing what the boy had done to Dresden, Alexander was simultaneously worried for Tully and grateful to have him on his side.

He pushed his feet to go faster. He could see her better now, he could see the panicked look on her face as she clawed at her throat and struggled to get air past the blood in her lungs. Just before he reached her, a blur of movement passed him on his right. Dresden staggered toward him, bleeding now from a slice in her side, too. Nephith reared her rapier for another blow.

Catching Dresden’s upper arm with his right hand, Alexander dragged her toward him and away from Nephith. He stared down at the demon woman’s face, feeling powerful and confident now that he was taller than her. Gripping her arm tightly, he cooled his hand against her hot skin, watching as the ice struggled to crystalize before melting away.

Her crimson-and-purple eyes glittered with pain, and her expression pleaded with Alexander to save her. She reached out to touch his face with her free hand. He did not move, fixing her with an icy stare. As she made contact with his skin, her hand jerked away, stung by the protective spell on Alexander. A moment later, a burst of blood spewed from her mouth, spattering Alexander’s coat.

Dresden’s body convulsed and she staggered, just in time for Nephith to strike her again with the rapier, this time hitting her just below her ribs.

The Queen of Demons sank to her knees. Alexander held on tighter to her arm and knelt down next to her, never breaking eye-contact with her.

Here she was, the one who had tortured and defiled him, the one who had murdered two of his friends and countless others, the one who had destroyed so many homes, families, lives. Here she was, weak, fearful, nearly defeated. He was so close to her, so close to those shining, terrified eyes that were still begging him to end her suffering.

I will. I’ll end it. I’ll kill you.

With his left hand, he reached into a pocket on the inside of his coat, closing his fingers around the object he was looking for. In a smooth motion, he removed it from his pocket and pressed the muzzle of the pistol he’d bought in Kayton under Dresden’s chin. Still shaking and spitting blood, the Demon Queen’s eyes widened, as if she finally realized just how close to death she was. She clearly hadn’t expected to be brought down so quickly, or at all. Vulnerability grayed her expression, and suddenly she looked like a terrified child, shaken by the thought of death.

Alexander hesitated.

He almost felt as though he should say something to her, and yet he hadn’t said a word. Did she deserve to hear his voice one more time before she died? What would be her last thought? Did he want her to die thinking of him?

Dresden’s hand trembled toward him again, reaching out for his arm. Did she deserve to die quickly? Should he prolong her suffering? Should he kill her at all?

If we keep her alive, we could force her to fix things.

A tiny sound came from her mouth, the closest thing to a word she’d managed since Tully started toying with her blood. Alexander tightened his grip on her arm and leaned in closer. For some reason, a stab of pain struck his chest when he noticed there were tears in her eyes.

Was she regretful? Was she hoping to beg for her life? Was she scared? He shook her slightly, wondering if she’d actually say something.

A sputter of blood heaved its way out of her mouth, dribbling down her chin and onto the top of Alexander’s pistol. In a strained, gurgling voice, she finally managed to get a sentence out.

“If… you kill… me… You’ll… kill… your son…

Alexander pulled the trigger.
~*~

The rest of the battle went by in a blur. Alexander stood stunned as a spiralling portal opened up beneath Dresden’s dead body, only awoken from his stupor after Tully manipulated the blood in his body to drag him back toward the group.

He watched with glazed eyes as a larger demon rose from the portal and scooped up Dresden’s body. It wasn’t until later that he registered the demon had referred to himself as Dresden’s husband.

Alexander hardly remembered anything about their escape from the rift as it began to close around them. They had to crawl down a narrow tunnel, and ride in a stone cylinder to the top of the rift. He remembered rolling in the cylinder down the hill toward Andulhaven, and crashing into the lake.

His thoughts were elsewhere as the rest of the group celebrated with the people of Andulhaven, cheering about the closing of the rift. He stayed in the shadows, watching the party from afar with vacant eyes. He couldn’t stop replaying the battle in his mind. He couldn’t stop seeing Dresden’s eyes.

“Do you want to dance with me?”

Startled by the sudden voice, Alexander stuttered backward, biting back a gasp. A tiny human girl was staring up at him with wide eyes, smiling shyly at him.

Swallowing, he looked away. “I don’t feel like dancing,” he said. Why? Dresden is dead. I should be happy.

Unfazed, the girl shrugged and said, “Then I’ll dance around you!” And with that, she began hopping and spinning in circles around him, giggling as she did so.

I could have had a son.

The thought assaulted him as he watched the girl dance around him.

A half-demon son that I didn’t want.

Alexander clenched his teeth. Why didn’t that fact make his stomach hurt any less? Dresden wouldn’t have wanted him to raise it, anyway. She’d tried to kill him! She had a demon husband! The fact that the child would have had Alexander’s DNA would have made no difference. He would have been raised as a demon, probably would have ended up just as horrible as his mother. So why did he feel so guilty?

“Hey,” he said to the girl, reaching out to grab her by the shoulder so he didn’t run her over as he walked away. “I need to go now.”

“So soon?” Disappointment was clear in her expression. “Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Are you feeling any better?”

Worse, actually. “A little bit,” he shrugged.

“Good!” She grinned at him, and then took hold of one of his hands, patting it lightly. “Have a good night!”

Alexander watched as she scampered away to join the party. He glanced down at the blood on his hands.

She’s dead. She’s dead. She’d better stay that way. Still, as Alexander left the party behind and headed back toward the mansion, he watched the shadows carefully, paranoid that she was still watching him.

He wondered if he would get any sleep that night.
Viewable by: Public
0 comments
Pointer-left Thanek_thumb
Paul
Posted by the GM
Giantslayer
Aftermath (Where to now)
After you emerge from the tomb of the hill giant Uskroth beneath Bloodmarch Hill, following the raid on the town by the orcs of the Twisted Nail tribe you have a few days to rest from your endeavors and wrap up any unfinished business in town. You have sold up all the unwanted gear and can buy items you need for the next part of your journey (Email me lists – there is limited magic available and most mundane items)

You receive an invitation from Trunau’s de facto leader, Chief Defender Halgra of the Blackened Blades, asking you to join her in the meeting room at the Ivory Hall, Trunau’s government seat.

With the information gleaned from captured orc prisoners and the half-orc saboteur Skreed Gorewillow, Trunau’s Council of Defenders is worried that the town’s orc troubles are far from over. Thanks to your efforts, the orcs’ hill giant chieftain, Grenseldek, was unable to recover the items she sought from Uskroth’s tomb, and the council fears another attack on Trunau in the near future. To that end, Halgra asks that you to go to Grenseldek’s lair— an abandoned outpost near the River Esk called Redlake Fort—and deal with the giant chieftain and her orc tribe before they can attack Trunau again. Due to your recent heroism during the orc raid and in Uskroth’s tomb, Halgra believes you are best suited to this task, as Trunau’s militia and citizenry are needed to rebuild the town’s defenses after the orc attack.

Halgra introduces you to a venerable elf named Silvermane, who has watched over Trunau’s Hopespring for as long as anyone can remember. The druid has now recovered from his ordeal following your discovery of him during the battle. Silvermane is mute, and communicates through a form of sign language that Halgra can understand and translate. With her help, Silvermane tells you about the Vault of Thorns, a demiplane created by the druidic Council of Thorns, of which he was once a member. The entrance to the Vault is located within Ghostlight Marsh, a swamp to the northeast surrounding the conf luence of the Kestrel and Esk rivers. Silvermane informs you that the Vault contains a cache of items that can help in their fight against the Twisted Heart menace, though he has no specif ic details about the items. To find the Vault of Thorns, you need to look for a marker in the form of a circle of thorns carved into a stone near the banks of the River Esk. This marker will put you on the right path through the swamp to find the Vault, but the entrance to the demiplane is hidden. At this point, the elf produces an ancient, leaf-embossed brass lantern called a ghostlight lantern. According to Silvermane, if the husk of a dead will-o’-wisp is placed inside the lantern, the lamp will produce a beacon that points to the circle of standing stones that marks the Vault’s entrance. Once you reach the druidic circle, you need only wash the supernaturally fueled lantern’s light over the central standing stone to open the portal into the Vault of Thorns.

Halgra informs you that she has already secured passage for them aboard a keelboat that regularly plies the rivers of southern Belkzen. The riverboat’s captain, a half-orc named Raag Bloodtusk, has agreed to transport you to Ghostlight Marsh and then up the River Esk to a location near Redlake Fort in exchange for your efforts in helping sail the boat and defending it from any dangerous river denizens. Halgra explains that overland travel to Redlake Fort would be foolhardy and dangerous, as it would take you right through the orc-infested Hold of Belkzen. Bloodtusk’s riverboat, on the other hand, is well known among the orc tribes along the river, and the gladiator-turned-riverboat-captain enjoys rights of safe passage from these tribes’ chieftains, which makes a river journey far safer than traveling overland. Before you leave, Halgra gives you a letter of introduction to give to Bloodtusk, who is waiting for you on the southern bank of the Kestrel River.
Viewable by: Public
0 comments
Tags: Recap , Summary
Epic!
A Fifth Letter Sent Via the Lady's Temple (third part)
After we returned from the wood and made ready to travel into the segment we had, even before any but Aillie entered it, come to call ‘The Dark’, I must confess that this writing becomes unusually difficult.

In each segment, time seems a different thing than we are familiar with. Not a simple progression form then to now to the next, but something more complex. Like to a line, but a ship’s line, not one drawn on parchment. Held tight at both ends, it seems a simple progression. Let loose, it becomes a twisted and disordered mess. But these are not the only options for our time-rope. It can be kept in order in a careful coil, wound about a spindle tightly,that it does not tangle or twist. But in this coil, the line can touch upon itself as each coil sits tight by its neighbors, side to side, above and below. Thus, perhaps, when the edges are frayed or troubled and one is near to these edges, one might cross from time to time without following the regular order.

This is what I believe we were within, and perhaps always are, though safely away from the edges of the line and so not witness to the fraying. Or perhaps I think to put what is impossible into an image I can imagine I understand, and by doing that simply make a fool of myself. The truth is not yet proven out in any way, but of my belief, I can speak.

What is to come, though it in my personal past now, is from further up the rope of time than we normally dwell. And the future is not set, cannot be set, however much time follows cycles and repetitions. I do hope we have done enough already to make what I have seen never be. But perhaps I will only know when we can pass that dread day in a different condition.

I am writing this ahead of myself, just as we found ourselves in the Dark. To return to the proper order…

Aillie refused to return to the Dark, and Lady MacNombra offered to stay with her, to guard one another, having had her fill of the oddness of Cycles and Fey. I left Seilche and her basket with them, in the hopes that they might get word to us or we to them by way of my link to my familiar, though of that I was far from certain.

The rest of us joined hands so as not to be separated in the transition and stepped into the Dark. And, suddenly, it is cold and dark. We stand in saltwater to our wastes, on the roofing of a capsized ship, the proper decking above us and an imperfect angle. Climbing free, we can see we are in a deep night, in the harbor of a city with few lights beyond scattered open flame, and the ship we shelter on being lowly circled by a vast underwater form, wandering ship to ship in search of some prey.

I can see a breakwater just at the edge of my vision behind us, and beyond it taller ships, Thearean flags hanging limp. It was then that Dama Kaela gasped as she recognized a body floating all too near and realized what we were just a bit slower than she to see. The crippled, floundering ship we were on the sidehull of was the Fenstalker, and the place a devastated Halvor harbor, with no sign of even a single ship still seaworthy within that shelter.

Aillie appeared then, falling from the air near enough that Sir Jarrad and I could toss a line to keep her from slipping to the dark water below. She said she had fled here when the Red Spear circled the bluffs to enter the Notch and began to pelt the land with Aegerian Fire,and had sent patrols inland as well, using some magics to track her by her Ancaran Mantles. Lady MacNombra and Seilche, she had left to hide as best they could once determining that only she was being tracked.

We then decided we could do little here, the form in the water never drifting high enough to be clearly seen or engaged. Whatever we were here for, it was almost surely to be found in Halvor.

Or not just in Halvor. An idea struck me then. The icons we sought were engraved high on bluffs, but the highest point in Halvor is not the stone, but rathe the topmost tower of the keep. The very tower Cabhan had tried to climb as he searched high and low for his scales of the world.

With the help of Jokhula’s wings, we crossed the water without risking the notice of the behemoth below, then through the city to the keep. I will admit, I was too much coward to turn our path too near familiar places, to see more of this dark future’s workign on Seaside, or the Lady’s Temple. I did not wish to know these things that might be, simply to ensure they never are.

The Scales of the World, Aillie told us, her voice heavy with some Mantle’s presence, were an ancient tool, from when the world was formed and what was good left in and what did not measure correct cast out. My own memories, many not of anything I had ever heard or read, echoed this tale, which she assured us all with utter sincerity was completely true.

We reached the keep, through streets empty of guard, just rats, gulls, and ravens. There had been a great battle at the keep, Thearean Temple forces attacking Frasier’s Karls and guards, and both had fallen in the effort. But to unite the Temple and bring it so far would mean they believed some great evil was in Frasier’s walls. Still, it seemed whoever won the day here had done so in name only, with few men standing to claim their victory.

Inside the walls, we found two more bodies by the door to the tower, an Inquisitor and a Warden by their uniforms. I examined the door magically and found it warded by the most powerful circle of necromantic magic. And something in that magic reached to something deep in me, at first I thought it a Mantle that had not yet made itself known, but on reflection, I don’t believe that is what wnted to answer that call. This was something wakened in the fey wood, something of myself, not of the multitude of past cycles. Something powerful that lay hidden in my blood.

We avoided the door and scaled the tower externally, Jokhula’s wings making it simple despite the gathering hints of storm in wind and cloud. There, we found a tall lightning-rod, but what hung from it was not the glyph I had hoped to find. Instead, there was a metal scale, two balance plates hanging from a finely crafted arm. Cabhan took it carefully, and though the storm rumbled above, it did not yet react.

As Cabhan tested the feel of his discovery and Ivor warned that something large had left the harbor and climbed the city along our path, I thought about our problem. We needed the glyph from here, or we could not complete our task. And the glyphs were set to come to those who sought them, that was their purpose, to guide each cycle’s chosen deeper into their power. And even if these were Zolos’s powers, the design seemed the same as we had experience before.

We just needed to wake it.

As Jokhula and Aillie watched the rod, Yvor and Sir Jarrad the approaching creature, and Cabhan his treasure, I took the base of the rod and summoned the greatest charge of lightning I could, pouring the power of the Cycle into it as well. And the sky opened and more lightning struck in sympathy, the shape of a final glyph burned into the air in the brief moment of that strike. I was barely fast enough releasing to not be melted to the metal, but barely proved enough.

While I had been focused, the vast horror from the harbor had scaled the outer walls and, with unnatural mental force, called Cabhan to its side, we think to take the Scale and open the way to other Outer Creatures like itself. Yvor’s arrows slowed him just enough that he had not yet reached the Spawn when the lightning faded and we were thrown back into our own segment of the Notch, our own time, out of that dark possibility.

We avoided thrown fire and patrols, finding Seilche but not Lady MacNombra, and made our way to the ice dragon’s cave, where we found she had been visited by coin-eyed sailors. We warned her of their curse and that the Spear carried alchemical fire, and she honored her bargain. We had possession of all of the runes, and I was certain we could open the statue’s base and unlock what lay within.

And this proved true. We used the runes, and the vast pedestal split open with a rumble, revealing stairs downward.

With only Sir Jarrad’s broach giving light, we started downward, the opening resealing itself behind us, and a voice offering either greeting or warning.

OUT OF DARKNESS YOU COME TO ME
BUT KNOW THAT A DEEPER DARKNESS AWAITS



Viewable by: Public
0 comments
Pointer-left Chance_thumb
DM Jon
Posted by the GM
Champions of the Coast
Episode 005: High Road Trouble
Campaign Date: Midsummer Holiday & Eleasis 1-29, 1489 DR
Adventure Date: Saturday, August 25, 2018

Episode Recap:

The heroes returned to Oakhurst where they learned that Erky had found Sharwyn and Bradford, the young male and female supplicants of the Gulthias Tree, wandering aimlessly outside of the Lost Citadel and escorted them home. The adventurers gave Talgen’s signet ring to his grieving mother, Kerowyn Hucrele, who kindly rewarded the companions for their efforts. Mayor Vurnor Leng thanked the heroes who in return assured him that no threats remained within the citadel. The following day, the adventurers, accompanied by their gnome friend, Erky, returned to Neverwinter.

In Neverwinter, the companions dealt with Delg’s seedy “friend” who had threatened Amara’s Orphanage. Then, at Baltrex’s request, the heroes prepared to travel to a small town southeast of Baldur’s Gate called Greenest. The adventurers secured employment, with Erky’s assistance, as escorts for a wealthy merchant named Quinn Maras. Quinn had some cargo he needed delivered to Baldur’s Gate and didn’t want to wait for a caravan to assemble. The companions, Quinn, and his loyal bodyguards; twin brothers named Keelin and Gier, left Neverwinter and began their long journey southward.

Just north of Carnath’s Roadhouse, on the eastern edge of the Mere of Dead Men, the heroes were confronted by bandits which they easily drove off. Then, a few days south of Waterdeep, the adventurers battled a hungry hill giant and its dire wolf pet. Later that night, the companions’ camp was beset by cultists determined to kidnap Balamin. The abduction was thwarted, the cultists defeated, and the heroes arrived safely in Daggerford the following day.

Episode Highlights:
  • Kerowyn Hucrele, Sharwyn and Talgen’s mother, rewarded the companions with 125 gp.
  • In Neverwinter, Balamin researched the symbology from the dragon shrines within the Lost Citadel and discovered it pertained to the Cult of the Dragon. He also learned that the cult has been very active recently along the Sword Coast.
  • Balamin generously donated 58 gp and a potion of healing to Amara’s Orphanage.
  • Baltrex learned that someone named Cyanwrath was assembling mercenaries and sell-swords in a small town named Greenest. Apparently, Cyanwrath had a large shipment to transport and needed a sizable force to secure its delivery.
  • In Waterdeep, Delg met a dwarven scholar who informed him the cryptex was of dwarven origin. Upon careful inspection and meticulous research, the scholar believed the runes indicated it was from Clan Hammerstriker.
  • In Waterdeep, Balamin discovered a rundown shine to Bahamut maintained by an aging dragonborn named Fayal. Balamin gave Fayal 43 gp to help with the shrine’s upkeep.
  • During the attempted abduction of Balamin, the cultists insisted the gold dragonborn not be hurt and was to be delivered intact.

NPCs Introduced:
  • Quinn Maras (early 60’s human Turmish male): Merchant with cargo to be delivered to Baldur’s Gate.
  • Keelin Banis (mid 40’s human male): Quinn’s bodyguard and Gier’s twin brother.
  • Gier Banis (mid 40’s human male): Quinn’s bodyguard and Keelin’s twin brother.
  • Adwan (late 20’s human male): Captain of the bandits that tried to rob Quinn and the adventurers.
  • Fayal (70’s dragonborn male): Caretaker of a shrine to Bahamut in Waterdeep.

PC Notes:
  • None
Session: Episode 005 - Saturday, Aug 25 2018 from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
0 comments
Tags: Recap