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  #106  
Old 11-30-2018, 02:15 AM
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olgar, you have wisdom and sensibilities that belie your appearance. You’re passionate words might have dissuaded the Krakeneers from firing again!'

And who is this woman, elf! which commands them? Such a forceful presence! In the name of the Queen of Hollis!?! Yes, she wears the uniform of a Queensworth… she outranks the Krakeneers. A Thane. Yes. That’s why they listen to her commands. That and the fact she’d be formidable for having to had… what was it..?'
Dibo wracks his mind as he tries to recall, 'best more than one-hundred competitors in contests of arms! A match for Solgar… or Trust!'

Dibo was glad to see that Trust’s bleeding had stopped but a deep resentment lingered for his prejudiced attackers; a prejudice that could take some convincing for them to abandon. As he hops back down into Finnsinger's light he shows his bare palms in a gesture of peace and begins this most difficult of parley.

"Captain Finnsinger..? I know not your escort but I bring word from Odean. He awaits your return on the docks at Sedges guarded by Krakeneers. We have come to fetch you… in return for passage to the capital. We have endured many hardships to reach you and the return promises the same. Or worse given that the Fanar Jamar and M’Sion forces quickly converge."

He nods at Evelyn and gives a bow, "It is my pleasure to be in the company of one of the stalwarts of the Queensworth. My blessing on your queen and kin. I have many questions but time is short so I’ll keep to the most pertinent… he warily eyes the infants at Evelyn's hip and continues.

Given that we all have common allegiance…" he pauses to allow any gainsayers and waves a hand to indicate Solgar, Bothvar, Calleigh, Trust, Evelyn, Villary and the Krakeneers "We must band together. This is an easy truth." Dibo’s tone descends to a low warning, "My friend here Robert, he is a traveller from distant alien lands but is our ally and will be a great hero should his destiny be realised. Be warned, an assault on him is an assault on us.

Finally, and most importantly, we now know a great deal about the M’Sion invasion and might possess a means… theoretically… to save the Southlands from this most dangerous and diabolical foe. We would bring this information to the authorities and embark on a quest of saving the Southlands. If not other realms father afield,"
he nods an acknowledgement at Trust.

"The path has been dangerous and I’m afraid Odean cannot lay at port for long. Can we please lower our weapons, set aside petty bigotry and plan to save ourselves and our kin?"

 
 
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  #107  
Old 12-01-2018, 12:33 AM
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Calleigh Cassin
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arkness, and the sound of water, confounded Calleigh. She heard Villary's whispered response and felt the rush of the success, saw Dibo and Bothvar enter the ring of radiance ahead, and continued to make her own way toward it. Slowly. The ground beneath her boots was rocky and the terrain uneven; she struggled to keep up with her lankier companions at the best of times, and this simply exacerbated the difficulties. She strained her ears to hear over the roar of water before giving up and focusing on rejoining her companions. In spite of that frustration she couldn't help but feel a surge of satisfaction. We've found the Captain...now we just have to get back to the ship without drawing the M'Sion or the armry's recruiters down on us.

As she began to approach the circle Calleigh called out, hoping to make herself heard. "One more approaches! Please, stay your weapons and listen. We've come to aid you."


 
 
  #108  
Old 12-01-2018, 12:22 PM
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Solgar
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ith the approach of Bothvar and Dibo, Solgar takes a step back to allow his friends into the circle of light. Bothvar would also give the Krakeneers another reason to behave, and Dibo was a master diplomat -- much more articulate than the quiet monk. Solgar is happy to let his small companion guide the newcomers through the intricacies of the situation. What a Queensworth was, and why exactly Trust was now called Robert... these things were still mysteries to the huge warrior. He was content to let them be for now, so long as there was peace.

Villary's relief at the sound of her husband's name is a comfort to Solgar, and confirms that the seeing stone was not wrong. Thank you, Bodhiji, he thinks, grateful that despite all odds they found the woman they were looking for.

He then hears Calleigh's voice from the darkness behind them and blanches. "Calleigh!" he exclaims, having forgotten his charge to keep her safe in all the commotion. Despite Villary's request to step into the light, Solgar suddenly backs away, quickly retracing his steps and meeting the group's wizard just a few feet into the dark. "My apologies for leaving you, Lady," he whispers, escorting her the rest of the way. "Come, you are needed, there's much to discuss."

He comes to stand again to the right of Trust, ensuring he's physically between the armed warriors and the tiefling. Satisfied all is still well, he shifts his gaze to the elf woman. A warrior no doubt, with a presence commanding enough to keep the others locked to her will. That was well. And in her care were two infants. This was the most puzzling detail for the monk. His soft spot for children was at once engaged, but they seemed safe and placid in her care. That was also well.

And there was something more about them. Something very different, deep and meaningful. If he could, he might have rushed forward under the compulsion of some unknown impulse. But as it is, he stands tall and straight, wondering.
 
 
  #109  
Old 12-01-2018, 08:57 PM
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Evelyn Saltspring
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t first Evelyn said nothing but stood silent and tense, scenario after scenario of what tactically might be about to happen running through her mind. Villary Finnsinger physically interceded, breaking the reverie, and Dibo began to introduce himself. His speech was fair, his familiar accent comforting. Slowly, Evelyn let out a long breath. She felt the beginnings of relief blossom within her. Could these beings, these devil-friends, truly be potential allies? Hesitating at first, eyes never leaving Trust, Evelyn made a show of deliberately sheathing her sword. She left her hand resting on the pommel.

Solgar stepped away from the circle of light as Dibo spoke, and Evelyn watched him return with a halfling woman. Evelyn felt her pulse quicken as they drew closer and she recognized the halfling. Evelyn glanced in wonder down at Villary and then back to Solgar and Calleigh.

"Villary," Evelyn said under her breath. "That's her, is it not? From the poster?"

Solgar returned with Calleigh and Evelyn gave him an appraising glance. His physique was impressive and he carried himself with a martial air. They made eye contact and she gave him a short nod: the understanding between one warrior and another.

Evelyn flicked her eyes to Trust, and then returned her gaze to Dibo. She gave him a kindly look.

"Your courtesy is well received," she said, letting her hand drop from the pommel of her sword to her side. "as is the friendly speech of halflings of the League. In the common tongue I am called Evelyn Saltspring. With me are Captain Villary Finnsinger whom I gather is known to you, Bonnon, and Yens." She gestured at each in turn.

Evelyn flicked her eyes at Trust again. "You travel in strange company. "Robert" is not the name I would expect one such as your... friend to bear." She hesitated in an agitated fashion before continuing. "You are right that time is short. I will be as forthcoming as I can. We are fleeing the invasion, and those with me represent possibly all that escaped the destruction of Hollis. The Queensworth, defenders of the kingdom, are broken. Fifty of us there were when the invasion of Hollis began. Forty gave their lives that we might escape with Her Majesty. Where the other nine are, I do not know."

Evelyn exhaled heavily, shifted her weight, and glanced down at the infants on her left. "But alas the Queen is dead. Long live the Queen."

She paused and looked around at those assembled, her face impassive but her eyes revealing the stress she felt within. "I mean to bring Her Majesty and the royal twin to a Krackenship that awaits us in Sedges harbour and then on to Aänor's Reach where she may be safe. Will you aid us?"


 
 



Last edited by astra; 12-01-2018 at 09:06 PM.
  #110  
Old 12-02-2018, 01:29 PM
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Bothvar Kormakson
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s Bothvar's quick legs bring them close to the others, Bothvar witnesses the volatile exchange between Trust and a strange group - two humans wearing the same garb as the krakeneers, a small halfling woman (his pulse quickens at the sight - is it Captain Finnsinger they seek?), and a beautiful elven woman who seems to be in charge (Bothvar hates to admit it, but his pulse quickens slightly at the sight of her as well). Feeling Dibo hop down, Bothvar can sense that things are not going well just based on the body language and attitudes of the others. He still cannot hear everything, only hearing a word every now and again over the roar of the water, but there's enough that gives him pause.

Staying back from the others, Bothvar keeps an angle on the strange folks, deciding if it is indeed Captain Finnsinger they will quickly let him know it is safe to approach. If it is not, however, perhaps a well-placed arrow into one of the men wielding crossbows and things might even up a bit more. At the sight of the children, however, Bothvar knows he cannot... will not... make the shot on the elven woman if it becomes necessary. His ring still burns underneath his finger - how much longer can he hold off?

 
 
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  #111  
Old 12-05-2018, 01:57 PM
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The Siege of Aänor's Reach (Aänor is pronounced AY-uh-nor....) (Game posts are
designed for the
Parchment Redux style.
...)
The Invaders, the Captains, and the Queen
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olgar walks into Villary Finnsinger's light. One of the sleeping infants awakens as Solgar draws near to the elf who carries them. The wild monk catches his breath as the baby smiles at him, like no human being so young has any business smiling. The infant's eyes are jade green, like Bodhiji's eyes. The tiny eyelids flutter closed, but the smile remains. The roar of rushing water and the voices of friends and new acquaintances fade to silence.

Solgar blinks.

Solgar is sitting on green grass amid spring flowers, with the Three Folk Mountains at his back, looking south to the Sea of Otters. Bodhiji, his friend and teacher, is seated across from him in the lotus position, at the crux of the land, sea, and sky. The wind sighs in the leaves.

Bodhiji asks in a gentle voice, "What happened, Solgar?"

I must have been meditating, Solgar thinks, looking at his hands. "I fell asleep, Bodhiji. I dreamed I was in a cave, deep underground, hunted by monsters," he says. "I met two babies. One was a queen. The other was you."

"Past lives are like dreams, Solgar," says Bodhiji. "We forget as we awaken, in the passing from one life to the next."

Solgar shakes his head. What does he mean, passing from one life to the next?

"Before you sleep, imagine how we talk. Ask. Listen. Tell. And so the dream shall be," says Bodhiji.

"Bodhiji," Solgar says, alarmed and rising to his feet. "I don't understand."

"Dreams are for wonder, Solgar, not understanding," says Bodhiji, smiling again. The old teacher has never looked so young. "It's so good to see you again, my friend, but it was never meant to last."

Solgar blinks.

Solgar is standing in the cave from his dream. The baby with the jade eyes is fast asleep. The smile is gone from the tiny mouth.

"Captain Finnsinger," Dibo says. "I know not your escort but I bring word from Odean. He awaits your return on the docks at Sedges guarded by Krakeneers. We have come to fetch you, in return for passage to the capital. We have endured many hardships to reach you and the return promises the same. Or worse, given that the Fanar Jamar and M’Sion forces quickly converge. Given that we all have common allegiance, we must band together. This is an easy truth."

Dibo's tone descends to a low warning. "My friend here, Robert, he is a traveler from distant alien lands, but is our ally and will be a great hero should his destiny be realized. Be warned, an assault on him is an assault on us. Finally, and most importantly, we now know a great deal about the M’Sion invasion and might possess a means, theoretically, to save the Southlands from this most dangerous and diabolical foe. We would bring this information to the authorities and embark on a quest of saving the Southlands, if not other realms father afield."

Dibo nods an acknowledgement at Trust. "The path has been dangerous and I’m afraid Odean cannot lay at port for long. Can we please lower our weapons, set aside petty bigotry and plan to save ourselves and our kin?"

"You have gone mad, halfling!" cries crewman Yens, his jaw slack with incredulity. "Do you believe him, sir?"

The other krackeneer frowns and shakes his head. "We're not going anywhere with you, stranger," Arms Officer Bonnon tells Dibo. "For our queen we give our lives, but for all your ravings, you would not give your name, nor do you bother asking for ours! Who the nine hells are you people? How did you find us, hiding right under the nose of the M'Sion invaders? Why did you--"

"Your courtesy is well received," says Evelyn, eying the krackeneers and speaking in a level tone as she interrupts Bonnon. "As is the friendly speech of halflings of the League. In the common tongue I am called Evelyn Saltspring. With me are Captain Villary Finnsinger whom I gather is known to you, Bonnon, and Yens." She gestures at each in turn.

Captain Finnsinger glares at the agitated humans and puts a more patient gaze on Dibo.

"You have earned your passage, mister halfling, whoever you are, if that was Odean's promise, and if you have proof beyond your word alone,"
she says. "But the Windy Sage is my ship. As of right now, your quest is the safe return of the infant queen and her royal sibling to the krackenship in Sedges harbor. I would hear more of your plan to save the Southland from this army of murderers, but only after we escape them, and are very far away from here."



Bothvar edges to the south of the group, saying nothing, and positioning himself to continue the fight, if the talking goes badly. His hands are shaking. That would be a problem soon, unless he took the required steps to stop it. Bothvar wonders how long his supply of medicine would last, how much Sergato de Black might have stashed away in his warehouse of death traps, and how much medicine he might have given up by not stopping to look for any. Bothvar hopes he would not regret it, but the darkest part of him, which twitched at the very idea of running out, was sorry already. He put the thought of of his mind. They were safe for the moment, Bothvar knew, but still in very bad trouble, and a lack of focus in tight places like these could be fatal.

Calleigh calls out as she steps forward, hoping to make herself heard. "One more approaches!" she says. "Please, stay your weapons and listen. We've come to aid you."

"Villary," Evelyn whispers in Finnsinger's ear. "That's her, is it not? From the poster?"

Finnsinger gasps and stares as the halfling wizard steps into the circle of light and stands revealed. "Calleigh Cassin?" asks Finnsinger. "Of Waterhome at Lakeside Hills? Wife of Neythin Cassin? Foe of the M'Sion?"

Calleigh nods. It was all true. Strangers had been recognizing her all day, but the experience was still unsettling.

"After your trail went cold, and we tacked up two hundred posters from Hobb Hills to Two Isle, I thought for sure that you were..." Finnsinger trails off, clears her throat, and rephrases. "You don't know how glad I am to be wrong." Finnsinger opens a belt pouch, removes a parchment letter and hands it to Calleigh.

Evelyn approves of the personal business between the halflings. It's not quite a happy ending, she thinks, but any bit of good news is welcome in times like these. The tension between the krakeneers and the tiefling does not inspire her confidence, but she is certain that the other newcomers are capable enough. If they weren't, they'd be dead.

"You travel in strange company," says Evelyn, addressing them all. "Robert is not the name I would expect one such as your friend to bear. You are right that time is short. I will be as forthcoming as I can. We are fleeing the invasion, and those with me represent possibly all that escaped the destruction of Hollis. The Queensworth, defenders of the kingdom, are broken. Fifty of us there were when the invasion of Hollis began. Forty gave their lives that we might escape with Her Majesty. Where the other nine are, I do not know."

Evelyn sighs, shifting her weight, and glances down at the infants on her left. "But alas the Queen is dead. Long live the Queen."

Crewman Yens turns, glancing not at the newborns, but at a corpse wrapped in muddy linen and knotted twine, lying several paces behind the thane. A rope connects the grisly package to the krackeneer's belt, providing the means for dragging the body along behind and leaving both hands free to fight. The elf's grim meaning is clear to all: both queens are here, the old and the new.

Evelyn pauses and looks around at those assembled, her face impassive but her eyes revealing the stress within. "I mean to bring Her Majesty and the royal twin to a Krackenship that awaits us in Sedges harbour and then on to Aänor's Reach where she may be safe. Will you aid us?"

Bothvar, ever the human of few words, points one end of his bow at Trust. Everyone turns to look. The tiefling stands very still, his eyes closed, brow furrowed in concentration, with a finger to his temple. Everyone falls quiet as he begins to speak, his voice shaking.

"Five and fifty Reborn have quit the house and now encircle the outside," says Trust, opening his eyes. "Escape is folly, Thane of Hollis, save another egress back the way you came."

DM InstructionsThe surfaces underfoot are loose and rocky, and count as difficult terrain.

The sound of rushing water is so loud that verbal communication is only automatic in adjacent squares. A shout will carry farther, but for every square between shouter and listener, the Perception DC to properly discern the words increases by 2, to a maximum of DC 40 at 20 squares. At 21 or more squares, it takes a DC 25 Perception check to hear that someone from over 100 feet away is shouting, but you cannot understand what was said. (This assumes non-magical shouting.)

D&D 5E Rules Quick Reference Sheet
(click or tap the icons for details)

Setting
Southland Timekeeping: Each day consists of 12 variable time periods
known as heks. Each hek is approximately 2 hours long, with the actual duration
changing as the days and nights grow longer or shorter with the seasons.

Firstlight (Sunrise) Heks: Earlmorn | Midmorn | Latemorn
Midlight (Midday) Heks: Earlafter | Midafter | Lateafter
Lastlight (Sunset) Heks: Earleven | Mideven | Lateven
Middark (Midnight) Heks: Earlmorrow | Midmorrow | Latemorrow

Clocks which measure time in seconds, minutes, and hours are rare magical or
mechanical marvels that are sometimes found among the wealthy or scholarly.
Time
: Lastlight
The Southlandic Calendar has 12 lin (months):
Firstlin, secondlin, thirdlin, fourthlin, fifthlin,
sixthlin, seventhlin, eighthlin, ninthlin, tenthlin,
eleventhlin, and twelvethlin.

Each lin has 30 days.

6017 wheels (years) have passed since
the Southlandic calendar was created.
Date
: 4th of Ninthlin, 6018th Wheel
Invasion Day: 11
Weather: sunny, few clouds, light wind from northeast to southwest
Location: Splinters logging village, a secret cavern deep underground
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DM of The Siege of Aänor's Reach ||||
Creator of 3D Combat Fudge |||| Designer of D&D Heretics

Last edited by GallupsMirror; 12-05-2018 at 02:10 PM.
  #112  
Old 12-07-2018, 01:42 PM
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Solgar
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he barbarian had not seen Bodhiji since he was perhaps ten years old...

Battered and starving, young Solgar was then prisoner to a band of orcs who had murdered his nomadic tribe a few days earlier. But the creatures suffered heavy losses as well. They were trying to avoid being seen by other northern tribes when they ran across a large caravan of monks returning to their mountain monastery after a pilgrimage. In their wounded state the orcs didn't dare attack a caravan of that size, even one of peace loving monks. They were in sore need of supplies, however, so despite their evil impulses, the creatures chose to parlay.

The leader of the holy folk was a bent old monk who slowly walked forward to speak with the orc captain. In the course of their conversation, the old man raised his walking stick and pointed toward the boy shivering in the wicker cage among the greater orc contingent. An hour later an agreement had been reached. Roughly the orcs dumped the barbarian boy out onto the frozen stones and shoved him, stumbling, toward the waiting brothers. In return, the monks provided the warband with needed supplies. The old monk looked deep into Solgar's eyes and smiled. Solgar would never forget that look. The monk's words were lost on Solgar that day. They were the only ones he'd ever hear Bodhiji utter.

But Solgar remembered the wailing of the monks as their old master made a gesture of gratitude toward them all, and then slowly, confidently, walked toward the orcs. The monk had negotiated Solgar's release by offering to trade places that day with him, and there before the assembled pilgrims, was killed on the spot by the orc chieftain for refusing to cower.

And now Solgar was looking into Bodhiji's eyes once again.

"Master," he says, his voice choked with emotion. At once Solgar drops to the grass, putting his forehead at the feet of the seated monk as is the custom of the Brotherhood of monks. "You saved me. You saved me..." he repeats the words over and over like a child, pouring out the mixture of grief and gratitude that's been pent up in him for most of his life. When Bodhiji interjects, asking what has happened, Solgar struggles to explain. It happens too quickly, the dream already beginning to run like colors in the rain.

Sleep, awakening, death and life, these forces were but trifles to an enlightened master such as Bodhiji. Try as Solgar might, he can't fathom what his teacher was telling him. "I don't understand," the tall barbarian gasps. Not understanding was what Solgar did best, but he didn't want to fail to grasp the words of his Master. He can feel the blades of grass grasped in his hands, can smell the crisp sea air mixed with strawflowers, the mountain wind against his exposed back, and the words of Bodhiji in his ears.

And then he's back in the darkness, staring down with tears flowing into his beard at the sleeping baby on the elven woman's hip. There before him was the living reincarnation of the Master he was sent to find, against all odds, among thousands and thousands in a war-ravaged world. He staggers back several steps, stunned, and stumbles into Trust, just as the tiefling is revealing the dire fact of their situation. Having missed the entire exchange, Solgar is deaf to the protests of the devil man and blind to the concern on the faces of his friends. The towering barbarian focuses the entirety of his being solely upon Evelyn, struggling to pull words from the swell of wild elation and confusion rising in his throat. "Where did you find the child you carry?"

 
 
  #113  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:09 AM
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Calleigh Cassin
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olgar's return and escort was welcome, and the escape from the dark cavern into a well lit one was a much larger improvement than she'd thought. While the krackeneers were obviously on edge, Calleigh couldn't resist a small smile. Captain Villary Finnsinger in the flesh, at last. Dibo's attempt at diplomacy was all well and good, but Calleigh felt her eyes drawn unwillingly to Trust. This will continue to be a problem, she thought, filled with regret at the realization. Trust had been nothing but worthy of his name thus far; her eyes widened slightly at the sight of his injuries. He's holding to the promise I extracted. She frowned, suddenly grim once more. We need a better solution for these situations.

The mention of her name required Calleigh to refocus, however; Captain Villary had recognized her, it seems. "That damned poster," she murmured, but she nodded in response to the question. Her mouth dropped as the Captain produced the letter. "Thank you," she whispered, taking the parchment with both shaking hands. When Odean had mentioned a letter, she'd been ecstatic...but the past few hours with death as a constant companion had convinced her it was folly to even hope. Now though, she wanted to devour it instantly, to know and understand the message left for her by Neythin. She glanced at it briefly, just to reassure herself that it was in his writing, then regretfully stashed it away in the pouch at her hip. She would read it when they were safe...or when their deaths could no longer be eluded. Trust was grim when her gaze returned to the group. Encircled. Despite the...ritual...they had seen outside, the M'Sion were cunning. They'd never found the source of the disturbance and had fallen to traps and tricks in the house, so now they planned to wait them out. Is it individual cunning, or are they puppets on someone's strings? Either way, if all else failed at least they had drawn some small portion of the M'Sion's forces away from Sedges. Calleigh could be proud of that, at least.

Solgar then stiffened at her side, staggered back, and then asked a question. She looked at him, suddenly concerned for the monk that had seemed invincible to her. A head injury? But no, instead he seemed as though he'd seen a ghost. Perhaps the revelation his Stone promised? "Solgar..." she said, loudly enough to be heard but still gentle in tone. "Those are the royal twins of Hollis. They must get to safety with us." She reached up a rested a hand on the man's arm, trying to draw him back to the here and now. They needed him, as they all needed each other, for what lay ahead. Then she turned her attention to the rest of the group. "Which is now our problem. Our friend's words are true, as always." She was confident in that, at least, and sounded it, smiling slightly at the tiefling. "Was there another path down here? I had guessed them to be a smuggler's route of some kind, with an alternate exit, but if this is simply a storehouse our danger is not close to over."


 
 
  #114  
Old 12-08-2018, 01:22 PM
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Evelyn Saltspring
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scape is folly, Thane of Hollis, save another egress back the way you came...

Evelyn narrowed her eyes at the tiefling man as he spoke. She opened her mouth to reply, but stopped and blinked in surprise when Solgar stumbled into Trust. In the gloom of the cavern, Evelyn could see what looked like tears on his face. They locked eyes a second time and Evelyn's breath caught in her throat. The intensity of his gaze was almost palpable, and briefly she felt a swirl of self-consciousness and vulnerability. Evelyn broke eye contact first, looking down at the infant boy swaddled at her hip.

"The boy?" Evelyn caressed the back of his head briefly. "He is as Ms Cassin said one of the Royal Twins. Her Majesty Urraca the Thirty-Second died in labour and the twins were delivered via section by a midwife in the village."

A shadow passed briefly over Evelyn's expression and she avoided Solgar's eyes, turning to Calleigh.

"The water you hear is an underground aquifer. There is a well," said Evelyn, and gestured with her head. "It is not far but the way is rough. We climbed down to avoid the invaders and hid in a dry spot below, for a time. Bonnon sent two of the Krackeneers back up the well to ascertain the fate of the village- I confess at first I thought you might be help they had sent, but I gather now that is not the case."

Evelyn's eyes lingered on Trust for a moment, then she turned her gaze upward at the cavern ceiling. "The well itself sits amid rather thick bushes that measure in size perhaps up to my hips." She gestured vaguely with her gloved right hand as she spoke, then looked back at Calleigh and Dibo. "Ms Cassin- May I call you "Calleigh"? I suspect you and your fellow halflings would find them to be quite good concealment, even standing upright. From the mouth of the well it is not far northward to the treeline."

Evelyn took a few steps back the way she'd come over the rocky terrain, before turning to see if others would follow. "Come," she said, beckoning. "If as you say the house beyond is neither escape nor defence, then I will show you the cavern beneath the well. You can arm yourselves with knowledge and then we can decide together on a course of action."

Evelyn paused for a moment, as if struck by sudden recall. "Did I hear you correctly, that the armies of the League are "converging" with the invaders in some way?"



 
 

Last edited by astra; 12-09-2018 at 12:05 PM.
  #115  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:24 PM
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ibo was chagrined by the fact that he didn’t think to introduce the party to the Queen and entourage so he took steps to address that fact, "My apologies, how remiss of me. Now you know all our names bar mine, good Solgar of the mountain-folk and my cunning comrade Bothvar. I am Dibo Willowander of Riverside, scholar and cartographer," his hand waves over the other two as his eyes pass over the suspicious Krakeneers and back to Captain Finnsinger. "Your quest, to return the Queen to the ship at Sedges, is accepted. At least by me." he turns to the others… only to find Solgar crying.

He turns in confusion when Solgar asks regarding the baby and says stuttering, "I believe... the… uhm... Thane has answered you already Solgar. What has upset you..?" But he sees not a malady but a certain saddened rapture in his eyes as they lock with Evelyn’s. It appeared there was some kind of connection between Solgar and the Thane. 'What was all this about then?'

Dibo considered the former Queen’s demise and was kind of glad she had died not at the hands of the M'Sion but by a less diabolical nature; childbirth. Her majesty had been a gracious and noble in life, at least that’s what he had thought, awestruck at a previous brief meeting with her. He did not want to imagine the death of one of the ageless ones but her she was, cadaver wrapped in linen being dragged about through the mud like some peasant's kit. He might shed a tear for her at a later considering the death of an ancient; one that should live on beyond time, one that should live to remember all... But once again the practicalities of the situation were impending.

'Such an unwieldy band, but it appeared they had a means to escape the clutches of the M'Sion for the moment. Did the Krakeneer intend to drag the body of the Queen all the way to Sedges? Leaving tracks and further despoiling her personage? Ach, better to be dragged across the Southlands east-to-west than her mortal shell be desecrated by the black magics of the M'Sion! But it still begged the question. "May I understand the personage of the former Queen... rest her soul..." he points at the wrapped corpse, "...is… uhm… to be brought with us to Sedges? We’d best make another plan for it’s transport if we’re to cover the ground fast. At night. By Feyliris, what a pickle we have ourselves in!" he muttered as he completed the thought.

Addressing Evelyn, "I’m glad you have an escape route." Cocking a thumb back the way he had come he continues, "I doubt the creatures behind us will be fooled by the magics forever so we must continue," he sighed the longest, tiredest sigh heard this age in the Southlands. "Let us all band together and head for the well. Then I suggest that we scout the area and plan a break for the tree-line… as you suggested good Thane." Then to Villary he finished with a worn smile, "Captain Finnsinger, I must stress, we are mightily glad to have found you."

 
 
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Last edited by Niyaga; 12-14-2018 at 08:04 PM.
  #116  
Old 12-10-2018, 01:43 PM
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Bothvar Kormakson
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hat familiar feeling of hopelessness creeps back into Bothvar at Trust's words. Surrounded again, no known escape, and only a matter of time before the M'Sion discovered the secret of the mosaic behind them. Recalling the bizarre scene they witnessed earlier, Bothvar cannot imagine an existence as horrible as that. Bothvar has had a horrible past as it is - a horrible future is not something he looks forward to either.

He is startled to see Solgar, normally so level headed and serene, suddenly drop to his knees and begin bowing to and speaking quickly to the woman with the two small children. Unable to hear over the roar of the water, Bothvar approaches the others, a bit less hesitant now that it seems from the body language of his friends that they have indeed found Captain Finnsinger. As he approaches he sees the Captain give Calleigh some kind of parchment, and the look of surprise on her face and the stiffening of her body gives the man from the Lawless Lands a bit of hope that her missing husband might in fact still be alive.

Giving an embarrassed nod at Dibo's praise as he and the women carrying the two children discuss their escape plan, Bothvar clears his throat and says in his gravel-filled but soft voice "Let us check the well. We must be careful though. The traps we saw before... they... they are definitely masterful in craft and concealment. And deadly beyond measure." Growing a bit more bold, his voice a bit more confident now, he continues "We cannot let anything happen to those children."

 
 
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  #117  
Old 12-13-2018, 11:18 AM
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The Siege of Aänor's Reach (Aänor is pronounced AY-uh-nor....) (Game posts are
designed for the
Parchment Redux style.
...)
The Invaders, the Captains, and the Queen
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ow you know all our names bar mine, good Solgar of the mountain-folk and my cunning comrade Bothvar," says Dibo. "I am Dibo Willowander of Riverside, scholar and cartographer. Your quest, to return the Queen to the ship at Sedges, is accepted. At least by me."

"We are agreed then, Mister Willowander," replies Captain Finnsinger.

"Hear you nothing I say?" says Arms Officer Bonnon, frowning at Finnsinger. "We have their names by our demand, yes. But why do they ignore our questions? How did they find us? Where is the proof that this Odean of yours dispatched them, which you yourself said that you require? Why should we trust our lives to mad strangers with uncertain tales?"

Finnsinger returns the frown. "Because our doom is certain without their aid, Mister Bonnon," she says, putting her hands on her hips and peering up at the krackeneer over her spectacles. "Or do you believe that we have better choices which I am overlooking?"

Bonnon looks to Crewman Yens, then to Evelyn Saltspring, and finally to his own feet, but he finds no advice or sympathy in any of them. "No," says Bonnon with a shrug, shooting a final accusing look at Dibo.

"Then it's all settled," says Captain Finnsinger, removing her glasses, polishing the lenses on a strip of felt, and putting them back on. "And my ways of having the proof of my own ship and crew are none of your business, Mister Bonnon, just like the bribes that your good captain takes from smugglers are none of yours."

Bonnon reddens, looks away, and says no more.

"Where did you find the child you carry?" asks Solgar, his voice hoarse, addressing Evelyn.

"The boy?" Evelyn caresses the back of the infant's head briefly. "He is as Ms Cassin said one of the Royal Twins. Her Majesty Urraca the Thirty-Second died in labour and the twins were delivered via section by a midwife in the village."

Dibo keeps his face impassive, but inside he is fascinated. Queens have dominated the Hollis monarchy for centuries, with Urraca the Thirty-Second being the most recent of the 31 queens of the same name. By the rules and traditions of royal succession, the infant boy, not the infant girl, was now the rightful ruler of his country, and the first King of Hollis in more than 800 years. Dibo wonders if the queensworth would agree that the ancient laws still held sway, or, if she disagrees, who would get to decide which infant was the new sovereign. It was an extraordinary way for a king, or even a queen, to begin a new reign: hiding in a musty hole, on the run, while the old orders of the Southland laws and aristocracy come crashing down. Dibo wonders if he is witnessing the end of the Hollis royal bloodline, or, perhaps, some strange reinvention of it.

"Solgar," Calleigh says, "Those are the royal twins of Hollis. They must get to safety with us. Which is now our problem. Our friend's words are true, as always." The halfling wizard turns to the elvish thane. "Was there another path down here? I had guessed them to be a smuggler's route of some kind, with an alternate exit, but if this is simply a storehouse our danger is not close to over."

"The water you hear is an underground aquifer. There is a well," replies Evelyn, speaking to everyone. "It is not far but the way is rough. We climbed down to avoid the invaders and hid in a dry spot below, for a time. Bonnon sent two of the Krackeneers back up the well to ascertain the fate of the village- I confess at first I thought you might be help they had sent, but I gather now that is not the case."

"Indeed, nay," says Trust. "Your krackeneers died, ere leaving sight of the house."

"How do you know that, tiefling?" says Arms Officer Bonnon, with a sidelong glare at Trust. "From visions whenever you close your eyes?"

"From two broken corpses, clad in armor like thine own," Trust replies. "Found among the dead of Splinters village."

Bonnon's upper lip trembles. "Damn it!" he says, hammering a fist against the cave wall.



Evelyn's eyes linger on Trust for a moment before she turns her gaze upward at the cavern ceiling. "The well itself sits amid rather thick bushes that measure in size perhaps up to my hips." She gestured vaguely with her gloved right hand as she spoke, then looked back at Calleigh and Dibo. "Ms Cassin- May I call you "Calleigh"? I suspect you and your fellow halflings would find them to be quite good concealment, even standing upright. From the mouth of the well it is not far northward to the treeline."

"Let us check the well. We must be careful though," Bothvar replies. "The traps we saw before, they are definitely masterful in craft and concealment. And deadly beyond measure. We cannot let anything happen to those children."

Evelyn nods, turns back the way she'd come, and looks to see if the others will follow. "Come," she says, beckoning. "If as you say the house beyond is neither escape nor defence, then I will show you the cavern beneath the well. You can arm yourselves with knowledge and then we can decide together on a course of action."

With an exchange of glances, the party follows Evelyn back down the tunnel, heading north, descending as they go. The krackeneers position themselves on the left and right flanks of the newborn babies. They never turn their backs on Trust.

The rocky passageway ends at the shore of a swift stream which spans the entire tunnel. The swirling whitewater flows into a wide slot in the solid rock before plunging out of sight. Evelyn steps into the underground stream, which comes up to her knees, and motions for the others to proceed. Captain Finnsinger and then the krackeneers wade in. The water is hip-deep but passable to halflings. The others follow.

Evelyn pauses for a moment, as if struck by sudden recall, and turns to Dibo as he passes. "Did I hear you correctly, that the armies of the League are "converging" with the invaders in some way?"

Dibo is thinking how best to explain the military situation when Trust speaks. The devil-man seems to know more and more about the war all the time. Dibo wonders if Trust's owl is responsible. The animal could perch on a branch outside a field marshal's tent and eavesdrop, relaying every word, report, and order back to its devilish master. No wonder Trust is so well-informed, Dibo thinks. When it comes to discovering secrets, that winged spy of his is almost as good as scrying.

"The Reborn have spoiled Hollis, Riverton, and four armies of Fanar Jama," Trust replies without looking at the elf. "The Lords Nineteen were at Riverton. All are dead or missing. Of the other defending armies, three fortify the borders of Sedges, while the remaining twelve muster in the east, with most to march hither. Like as not, three armies of Fanar Jama will battle the Reborn invaders at dawn, near this spot, sealing off our path to Sedges."

Bothvar overhears Trust's report as he passes but he barely notices. He wades through the knee-deep water, avoiding the brighter area beneath the well opening high overhead, where the dying daylight falls through and lands upon the rushing underground river. The raggedy man from the lawless lands is gazing upon the largest quickweed shrub that he has ever seen. The giant plant more resembles a tree than a bush, putting its age near thirty wheels at least.

Bothvar verifies with a stolen glance that none of the others yet realize what this place really is, besides the best hideout in the Southland. It's a quickweed farm, Bothvar thinks, inspecting the contraband vegetation growing all around. Bothvar marvels at the brilliance of the setup. The shining river not only waters the farm, but reflects enough sunlight for the plants to grow completely out of sight. Sergatto de Black has outdone himself.

Bothvar inspects a furry leaf, one of hundreds, that measures more than twice the length of his body. The mathematics of supply and duration enter his mind with the involuntary reflex of a lifelong user. A single blade of quickweed the length of finger is a week's supply for a lone fighter like me, he thinks, but there is enough quickweed hidden in this cave to supply an army.

DM InstructionsThe water squares are 1 to 2 feet deep and count as difficult terrain.

The bottom of the well, where it opens above the river, is 20 feet above the water. The rocky well itself is 30 feet deep, for a total height of 50 feet from rushing river to the disk of sky at the top. An old bucket hangs from a rotting rope about a foot over the water.

A climb to the surface involves using the many natural handholds in the wall of the cave to reach a rope bridge mounted on the ceiling, which leads from M18 to K10, beside but not underneath the well opening, then climbing up the rocky insides of the well. The last part, climbing up the well, requires a DC 14 Strength (Athletics) check. Doing it silently requires only a DC7 Stealth check because the rushing waters are rather loud and cover the noise.

Verbal communication is only automatic in adjacent squares. A shout will carry farther, but for every square between shouter and listener, the Perception DC to properly discern the words increases by 2, to a maximum of DC 40 at 20 squares. At 21 or more squares, it takes a DC 25 Perception check to hear that someone from over 100 feet away is shouting, but you cannot understand what was said. (This assumes non-magical shouting.)

D&D 5E Rules Quick Reference Sheet
(click or tap the icons for details)

Setting
Southland Timekeeping: Each day consists of 12 variable time periods
known as heks. Each hek is approximately 2 hours long, with the actual duration
changing as the days and nights grow longer or shorter with the seasons.

Firstlight (Sunrise) Heks: Earlmorn | Midmorn | Latemorn
Midlight (Midday) Heks: Earlafter | Midafter | Lateafter
Lastlight (Sunset) Heks: Earleven | Mideven | Lateven
Middark (Midnight) Heks: Earlmorrow | Midmorrow | Latemorrow

Clocks which measure time in seconds, minutes, and hours are rare magical or
mechanical marvels that are sometimes found among the wealthy or scholarly.
Time
: Lastlight
The Southlandic Calendar has 12 lin (months):
Firstlin, secondlin, thirdlin, fourthlin, fifthlin,
sixthlin, seventhlin, eighthlin, ninthlin, tenthlin,
eleventhlin, and twelvethlin.

Each lin has 30 days.

6017 wheels (years) have passed since
the Southlandic calendar was created.
Date
: 4th of Ninthlin, 6018th Wheel
Invasion Day: 11
Weather: sunny, few clouds, light wind from northeast to southwest
Location: Splinters logging village, a secret cavern deep underground
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DM of The Siege of Aänor's Reach ||||
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Last edited by GallupsMirror; 12-13-2018 at 01:37 PM.
  #118  
Old 12-15-2018, 01:46 AM
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ibo was pleased with Captain Finnsinger's graceful response and acceptance of their credentials. Obversely he was ill-at-ease with the Krakeneer's aggression and frustration as well as their suspicion of Trust.

'How terrible it must be to look as Trust does but have the heart and soul of a hero!'

"Assured," he responded to all, "We are who we say we are and have the best intentions for the Southlands. And…" with a note of exasperation, "...we are all doomed if we do not strive together to make the safety of the vessels in Sedges. Thank you Calleigh. My companions are steadfast and trustworthy.." he finished with a knowing look to Trust.

Dibo continued to muse over the future of the Hollis bloodline as he turned to the new task at hand. He craned his neck up at the failing light above and went to stand alongside Bothvar. Waving the others in to better be heard over the rushing water he asked, "Tell me Bothvar, perhaps best to climb up and secure a rope for the rest to follow? If we had rope…" he scanned around taking in the equipment of the newcomers. Turning back again to his friend the rogue, "It might be best if we lead, to assess the danger above ground, and then wave the others up... Bothvar? Are you listening?"

With a shock Dibo then remembered poor captured Wincoy and his relation to this woman standing before him. Horror and grief filled him to the brim as he realised he was bearing the news of her son's capture and that nothing is worse for a mother than losing a child. He paused for a moment to weigh his words before approaching her. When he spoke he spoke in a low voice, his head close to hers so the news could be shared with her alone at the moment. "Captain Finnsinger, may I call you Villary?" The cleric took a deep breath, the paleness of his face an omen of the information he bore. "Our folk say 'Bad news rides a fast horse' and I’m afraid I have bad news for you." He proffers the twist of twine given to him by Wincoy before continuing. "Your son Wincoy, our guide to Splinters, said that if anything happened to him to please make sure you received this." He forged ahead not wanting to put the woman in any more pain through any delay of his. "Wincoy was captured by the Fanar Jama military. I can’t say what would have happened next but I know they have been forcing conscription on local people, to bolster their forces," he exchanged a glance with Trust as his informant. "I really can’t express how sorry I am and I wish that he was with us… under our protection…" he trailed off waiting for the Captain’s reaction to the news.

 
 
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  #119  
Old 12-16-2018, 12:30 PM
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Calleigh Cassin
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velyn's answers were...helpful, at least. Moreso than Arms Officer Bonnon, at least, who seemed to be using the difficult situation as an excuse to be difficult. Calleigh smiled at him disarmingly, half out of reflex, before turning her attention back to Evelyn as the elf laid out her suggestion. "You may call me as you wish," Calleigh said, turning the smile back to Evelyn. It felt forced with the impossibly heavy letter at her hip, but she forced it regardless. Bothvar echoed a need for caution, and Calleigh nodded. "With luck, we'll soon put this den and these...monsters behind us." She shuddered, remembering the ritual that had been conducted not far from here. That staff...if any army loses to the M'Sion while they possess it, will it matter if we place the seal as Trust wants? It was a sobering thought, and the smile slipped from Calleigh's lips while they approached the well. They would have to see the situation above and come to a decision.

Calleigh watched Dibo as he laid the groundwork for an initial plan, and she found herself nodding. The smuggler's den had plenty of tools to make the work easier than it would be, otherwise, and there were still the potions they'd recovered from Drezdin to consider. However, Dibo trailed off then went to speak to Villary, head low and voice quiet, and Calleigh's heart dropped. Wincoy. The guilt surged and threatened to eat her alive; her hand tightened around her staff until she thought she heard a crack. No. Not now. She couldn't confront that thought, not while danger still hounded them. You never should have sent him away. It was a traitorous whisper.

Instead, Calleigh approached the elf and her escorts, sparing another forced smile for the dour krackeneers. "I would like to thank you for staying your weapons," Calleigh said, her gaze moving to catch Trust out of the corner of her eye. "I understand that could not have been easy, and that we are perhaps not the easiest to trust, but we will help you get them to safety. You have my word." Trust, perhaps, would not be so forgiving...but they needed to forge ties if they were going to get out of this alive. And how could they not rescue these children, royalty or not? Something right must come of this.


 
 

Last edited by Syne; 12-16-2018 at 12:31 PM.
  #120  
Old 12-19-2018, 11:52 AM
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Bothvar Kormakson
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othvar cannot believe his eyes. He barely hears Trust's words as he begins to wade out into the knee-deep water, captivated by the shrubbery in the cave. By the gods, he marvels to himself, his mind quickening and his breath coming fast, Quickweed shrubs! The largest I have ever seen! A lifetime of.... no, SEVERAL lifetimes... dear gods! His hand trembles as he reaches up and strokes the familiar furry leaf. A strong comforting feeling quickly cascades through his body. I must take some... no! No, I can't. The others will see me... His back still towards the others, he clutches his right hand to his chest as his left fist tightens around the base of his bow. Everything he is, his entire being, his mind, his soul is SCREAMING at him to take some. He doesn't even hear Dibo's words - all he feels is the powerful sensation of want, of need, of longing. He stands there for a moment longer, caressing the leaves before he can bear it no longer. As subtly as he can, He rolled a 20 for his Sleight of Hand check if anyone is trying to figure out what he's doing.he picks off a handful and shoves it into the front of his shirt.

Breathing out heavily, he turns back to the others and adjusts the right side of his collar, as the cave suddenly feels as if he is in the depths of Hades despite standing in the chilly knee-deep water. This must be Sergato's hidden quickweed farm, the one he told me about... Bothvar can remember that night vividly - the two men had been playing cards and using long into the night when Sergato de Black admitted to Bothvar that he quite literally had an endless supply of quickweed so long as Bothvar was loyal to him. And loyal I was, to a murderer... laments the raggedy man from the Lawless Lands as foggy drug-addled memories float through his mind of those who have fallen to his bow. Man, woman, child... all of them at some point or another met their end to Bothvar. And here he was now, in the presence of brave and honorable folks, while he remains just an imposter. A loser, with hands sullied by blood. Turning back away from the others so they don't see his eyes beginning to glisten, Bothvar clears his throat before he finally says in his low gravelly tone, "So.... these, uh, these bushes? Does anyone know what they are?"

 
 
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