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The Road to Brimhaven
“‘Peace magic’?” Lark’s bright eyes gleam with curiosity.

Gabe shifts his weight in the saddle and nods. “The art of pacifying and protecting. It isn’t a very popular path focus. It’s archaic, abstract… Not very flashy.” The older wizard’s features pinch in a faint grimace that suggests he is accustomed to unpopularity, but with a small shake of his head he regains his measured composure. “But it is more potent than many suspect; it is elegant in its simplicity, and has proved a boon in some of our assignments.”

Gwain, riding a short distance ahead, twists his heavily-armored torso to throw a grin and a friendly salute over his shoulder towards Gabe. “Saved my hide more than once, that’s for sure!” Gabe smiles slightly and dips his head towards the knight in acknowledgement.

Lark responds to Gabe with a cheerful laugh. “I know what you mean; I’ve been studying Knowledge magic for years!”

He looks at her in surprise. “Knowledge? Really?”

“Mm-hmm. I found a tome in the archives when I was… eleven? No, ten. Anyway, Professor Athens helped me analyze it and re-create some of the spells.” She reaches into her bag, pulls out one of her notebooks, and passes it over to Gabe. “Sometimes when I watch the kids practicing the Lower Elements, I feel a little envious because their magic is so tactile. My friend Cherise, for example, is focused in Air magic, and her spells all seem much more fun and practical than mine. Like, she showed me how she does her Flight spell once. It was amazing!” She briefly digresses, smiling enthusiastically at the memory. “But Light and Knowledge magics are both good for revealing interesting things, so they’re useful too. I’d like it if maybe someday I could join an archaeological expedition, maybe even help discover something completely new.”

Gabe’s eyebrows rise as he leafs through Lark’s study notes, each page filled with diagrams and annotations of magical theory in dense script. He glances over at the 15-year-old, with her earnest, unguarded demeanor and the soft blonde curls of a child, looking small atop her storm-grey horse. He had assumed that Lady Averland must have had compelling reasons to send such a young, inexperienced wizard out on official duty. Now he understood. After all, he had been just as eager, filled with purpose and passion, when he finished his own training early and started working as an agent of the college six years before.

His expression is warmer as he returns her notebook. “I think you’ll find many opportunities to make a difference out here.”

“I hope so,” she smiles, casting her gaze over the expansive plains, the green smudges of forest groves, the distant peaks of the Abel Mountains away to their right, as if expecting opportunities to appear on the horizon at any moment. She turns back to Gabe. “I am looking forwards to seeing your Peace magic in action.”

He chuckles. “Peace magic is only called for when natural peace fails. By the Lady’s favor, I hope I shall prove to be entirely useless on this mission.” He pauses, thinking, then calls to the fourth traveler, an aged man in distinguished robes riding near Gwain. “Elder Listair, would a small demonstration for our newest member be appropriate?” The old wizard smiles and nods, and Gabe turns back to Lark. “If you would like?”

At Lark’s eager agreement, Gabe murmurs his spell, gesturing in the air and drawing power from his internal reservoir of Zeon. At the last syllable, a pale aura radiates out from him, enveloping the entire party, and near each person’s body a pattern resembling an ethereal kite shield draws itself in the air in glowing white filigree. The shields circle their targets slowly, accompanied by drifting motes resembling shining goose down, then vanish seconds later as Gabe releases the magic and ends the spell. Gwain had glanced back at the sound of Gabe’s incantation, but gives no acknowledgement of the appearance or disappearance of the shields themselves.

“This spell is called the Shield of Salvation, and it—“ Gabe looks back to Lark, but finds that the young wizard has already begun gathering her own Zeon, concentrating intently as she meticulously mimics Gabe’s words and movements. In the next instant the shields materialize again before the three wizards’ Gifted eyes, but while Gabe’s spell had appeared seraphic in it’s exquisite detail and delicate purity, Lark’s is radiant; the lines are simpler but shine bright and golden and throw off iridescent sparks like a crystal in the sunlight.

The spell ends and she turns to Gabe with a smile again. “How was that?”

Gabe blinks, and after a silent moment shares a glance with Listair up ahead. The elderly wizard’s eyes twinkle. A smile tugs at Gabe’s lips as he returns his attention to Lark, nodding in approval. “I think you will do very well indeed.”
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Tags: backstory , Journal , Lark
Epic!
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Mitch
Posted in Flameweaver
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!
Moving Forward
As I kneel on familiar ground and breathe the fresh air again, I'm overwhelmed by a rush of events demanding my attention:

  • First - my star-metal nugget no longer feels warm. It was once a conduit of power, but it is now cut off. I don't feel anger or betrayal - more of a sense of closure. If I had to guess, it seems that whatever purpose Ulban had set out for me is now complete, and our pact has been withdrawn. Perhaps he will have need of me again some day, or perhaps the Messenger will find a new vessel.
  • Second - I feel a greater connection than ever to Delleb. What was only the barest lifeline while trapped in Strahd's realm is now a floodgate. A torrent of knowledge floods in to replace what I've lost, and to provide me with a new purpose:
  • Rather than focus my energies on avenging the wrongs I witness, I'm being called to be as his favored sabre to strike down Tyranny and preserve the sanctity of life. I'm humbled by the honor. There are stories of those empowered this way in the past - mainly to oppose the works of Hextor during times of great conflict.
  • As a result, I retain most of my Paladin training (but have been released from my Oath of Vengeance). In place of my former arcane powers, I have been imbued with divine magics - some resembling those of a sorcerer (ranging from taking flight to tossing fireballs), and some focused on the domain of life (curing the sick and even raising the dead).
Session: Problem 1 - Wednesday, Sep 27 2017 from 4:00 AM to 7:00 AM
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Tags: backstory , Summary
About Me
Basics

1. What is your name?

2. What is your name’s origin and meaning, and how was it chosen?

3. Any nicknames?

4. How tall are you?

5. Who do you live with or near, if anyone?

6. Where is your residence and what is it like?

7. What is your hometown and local culture like?

8. Who are your parents?

9. Are you married, single, seeking a relationship, avoiding romance?

10. What is your class/income level?

11. What is your income source and/or occupation?

12. What is your education?

13. What is your worldview/religion? What is your level of devotion to that philosophy?

14. What are your current life problems?

15. Who (or what) are your enemies?

16. What are your priorities in life?

17. What is your goal in life? What is your motivation for this goal?

18. What is your goal in this story? What is your motivation for this goal?

19. What changes do you undergo by the end of the story (emotional, physical, philosophical, relational, etc)?

Mind

20. What is your central philosophy in life?

21. What moral code do you follow and why?

22. What is your outlook on life?

23. What do you wish would happen to you?

24. What do you want to hide?

25. What languages do you know?

26. What do you worry most about?


27. What are your phobias?

28. What are your insecurities?

29. How is your self-confidence?

30. What is your political stance?

31. Do you like what you do for a living? If so, why? If not, what do you wish you could do instead?

32. Where do you feel most at home?

33. Who do you look up do?

34. When and where were you the happiest?

35. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

36. How do you feel about showing your emotions?

Body

37. What kind of creature are you (elf, human, alien, etc)?

38. What are your abnormalities (deformity, birthmark, allergies)?

39. What is your figure like (thin, muscular, pudgy)?

40. How fit are you?

41. What is your hair and eye color?

42. What is your hair texture and style?

43. What is your face shape and features (freckles, big eyes, zits, reddish cheeks, birthmark, etc.)

44. How old are you?

45. What kind of colors do you wear?

46. What kind of clothing do you wear?

47. What kind of clothing do you hate on yourself/others?

48. What accessories do you frequently have?

49. How do you feel about your appearance?

50. What is your skin like (smooth, pale, dark, rough, tight, saggy, scarred, etc)?

51. How is your health? Any problems? What was your health like as a child?

52. What are your common movement habits and demeanor (swaying, graceful, snapping, wringing hands, staying perfectly still, glancing around, stumbling, etc)?

53. What is your race/ethnicity/nationality?

54. What food do you usually eat (amount, kind of food, what times of day)? What food do you like to eat?

55. What do you like to drink?

56. What food is in your house right now?

57. What do you smell like (cologne, sweat, musty, cats, etc)?

58. What would you change about yourself physically if you could?

Past

59. When and where were you born?

60. What are your past occupations and career goals?

61. As a child, what did you want to be and do when you grew up? Did you do it? How do you feel about that?

62. What are your greatest accomplishment?

63. What are your greatest failures?

64. What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?

65. What is the best thing that ever happened to you, or your most cherished memory?

66. What do you regret?

67. What do you remember most about your childhood?

68. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

69. What did you dislike most as a child?

Personality

70. What are your vices?

71. What are your virtues?

72. What is your typical attitude?

73. What are your quirks?

74. What are your hobbies?

75. What would make you smile?

76. What would make you laugh?

77. What would make you cry?

78. What makes you calm down?

79. What makes you revved up?

80. What do you do when you are happy?

81. What do you do when you are stressed?

82. What do you do when you are upset?

83. What do you do when you are angry?

84. What are your habits (good or bad)?

85. What is something you can’t resist?

What is something most people do not know about you?

What are your areas of expertise?

What is hard for you to do?

What special skills do you have?

What weather and physical conditions do you like?

What would you do all day if you could do anything you wanted?

Relationships

Who would you ask for help in a tight spot?

Whose company do you enjoy?

How often do you see family and friends?

How do you interact with other people (cold, awkward, friendly)?

Who is your family and what are they like?

How do you feel about your parents and how do they feel about you?

What is your relationship with your family like?

What is the person you are most dependent on (your dad, the welfare office, your personal maid, your seeing-eye-dog, your mailman)?

If you could convince any one person or group of people of one thing, what would that be?

What is the main quality or aspect you look for in a person (good looking, is talkative, seems helpful, has money, etc.)?

How does your race/ethnicity/nationality or that of your parents influence you and the way people see you?

Is your heritage significant to you or are you removed from it?

What is something people often misunderstand about you?

Can people get the gist of who you are when first meeting you, or is your true self so hidden we would need to know you for a long time? Or somewhere in between?

Who and/or what sort of people like you?

How do you feel about other people’s worldview/religions?

How do most people see you?

What kind of friends and associates do you have, if any?

What person or group of people do you dislike the most, and why?

Are you dominant, submissive, or somewhere in between?

What is your reputation?

How do you greet people (if you greet people at all)?

How do you feel about and treat authority?

Speech

How do you speak (speak loudly, quickly, whispering, interrupting, talkative, etc)?

Are you dominant or easily unnoticed in a conversation, or somewhere in between?

What words and phrases do you use frequently (omg, dude, like, um, for pete’s sakes,)?

What expletives do you use in surprise or irritation (swears, gasps, yowza, etc)?

Do you speak properly or often use slang and bad grammar?

Does your speaking style change when you’re around certain people? If so, how?

What is your accent or dialect?

What is your pitch and voice texture?

Situations

What are the five worst things possible to happen to you?

How would you prepare for a hot date?

How would you tackle a big research project?

How would you react in a fight?

What do you do when you’re bored (go crazy, tap your fingers, hum)?

What are you or would you be embarrassed about?

What is the first thing you do every morning?

What would you do with 5 million GP?

If you could teleport anywhere, where would you go?


What is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

What are your holiday traditions?

What do you spend most of your day doing?

How do you want to die (suddenly, alone, with a certain person near you, etc.)?

What is the worst you’ve ever been injured or sick?

Objects

What object(s) do you like to keep near you?

What is in your backpack, purse, or closet?

If there was a fire in your house and you only had time to grab whatever you could carry, what would it be?

What is your most valued possession (for a reason other than monetary value)?

Do you still have any possessions from your childhood?

Random

How well do/did you do in school?

What is your symbol?

What does your signature look like?

What is your theme song?

What is something that really annoys you?

What is the place you hate the worst?

What is your favorite kind of entertainment?

What is you favorite celebrity or historical figure?

Who is your most recent letter from and what did it say?

What were you doing before this story started?

What time period do you wish you lived in? Past, future?

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?

Do you have any special powers? If so, what are they, how do they work, and where do they come from?

Do you or have you ever had any pets?

Do you dislike any holidays? If so, why?

What is your most common method of transportation?

What are your three favorite songs?

And finally... the most important question of all....What is your favorite color (and why)?
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Mitch
Posted in Flameweaver
From the Desk of Dr. Cody, brought to you by Demonic Medical Insects!
A way out! Out of this sleepy little burg and on to some real coin!

Don't get me wrong, I've sniffed out what money there was to be had here, but both the town and the ale are getting dry. The taste was alright at the beginning, but the same swill day in and day out just leaves a bitter tang in my mouth. Schilling these sheep has lost all challenge, and more importantly it has lost its charm.

I put fluids in a vial, and they buy it.
I put grass and nail clippings in a vial, and they buy it.
I put air in a jar, just to see what happened... and they buy it!

I've worked the locals, I've worked the casino, I've even worked the local magic shop and gotten a lovely little ring out of it. They also gave me a cape that says... something, on the back. I honestly haven't bothered to read it.

My following after this little band of would-be adventurers is moving on to bigger cities, bigger game. They've apparently got some unspoken pull, because horses were provided with no changing of coin whatsoever. They might not have taken to me yet, but in time I'll work the lock open that they keep and all of their secrets will come tumbling out. It might take time, but I will win out.

I always do.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, May 06 2017 from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM
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Epic!
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