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  #121  
Old Nov 30th, 2020, 02:22 PM
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Hans Olo
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"Well, the pieces are tied to the C-V's who went. Hans, Orin, Slade, Filverel, Kaden, and Yihk."

"Ha!" Interrupted Hans. "I knew we were more important to her than she was to us!"

Bluejack gestured to the illusion yet again: "Nirvana! Ysgard! The Grey Wastes! The Beastlands! Pandemonium! The Abyss!"

"Wait, how do you know my name?" Hans stared suspiciously at Bluejack "I only told Kaden. Are you dead?"

OOC

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  #122  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 08:33 AM
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Filverel
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So much had happened in such a relatively short time that Filverel was quite overwhelmed by it all. He, of course, accepted Bluejack's explanations at face value. There was little reason to doubt the intents of a hero of the half-orc's stature and reputation. If it had to be done as it had been done, then so be it. The implications of consorting with devils would normally have sat poorer in the elf's mind had he not had similar weakness during his time in Maladomini. While it may not have been a devil, it was no less a dark and frigid voice that had answered his pleas during his times of lost sanity and haunted soullessness.

There was a beauty to nature and an innate certainty to the changing of seasons, the falling of rain, the rising of rivers or the crush of a landslide of mud cascading down a mountainside. In his depraved and isolated state, Filverel had begun to focus on the more feral aspects of nature. Blizzards burying entire valleys in a blanket of suffocating snow, microbursts leveling entire glades of hundred year old trees, a flash flood tearing down a canyon drowning anything in its path and tossing boulders about like a child would throw a pebble or the crash of lightning that would ignite a forest fire to cleanse the rot that would fester upon the forest floor. The sanitizing cold of winter that could stop a plague of locusts in its tracks or destroy a fungus eating away at a grove of maple trees began to sink into the druid's psyche until it had begun to manifest as the windswept touches of electricity that had zapped between the elf's fingers in his cage in Baator. Those primal forces continued to call to him and though he could gaze at a serenely blue sky or a fragile yellow flower petal upon a tree branch, the calming and growing of nature had grown dull. He had sprouted a plant within dirt so putrid as to make his stomach recoil and allowed it to persist in that poisoned ground. His soul had been irrevocably tainted by his exposure to the Abyss and it cried out to be let loose from druidic dogma and untamed from the restraints of elvish culture.

Watching the aarakocra soar through the clouds had evoked wild sensations that had to be sated. It was a musk, a pheromone that tugged at the elf's brain and refused to release it. Like a moth to a flame, Filverel was unable to resist the pull he felt.

"Nirvana! Ysgard! The Grey Wastes! The Beastlands! Pandemonium! The Abyss!" Pandemonium, something about it spoke to him. A chill face with frosty hair, a six-sided snowflake falling through a tempest of wind and ice surrounded by a storm so great even the mighty yeti of the mountaintops would succumb to its chill. He was not prepared for what was to come. They had time before Bluejack was sending them off through the planes. Filverel would need that time to ready himself.


 



 

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  #123  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 12:20 PM
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Yihk
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Yihk slowly dropped to the ground at the announcement of what was to come. There was much to do before leaving. She had people to see and places to go, she was not in the right state for this task. There was too much hate, too much in her, her body and mind were unbalanced, and until that was resolved, she would be unable to do what needed to be done.

She could trust the tree brother. She knew of his ways and he was the only one she could trust. She slowly walked over towards him, to stand in front of him, her wings folding up onto her back, making her small, frail, frame, obviously so as she looked up at him. One of her claws darted out and grasped the forearm of Filverel, she grasped tightly, but was not particularly strong. He claws however, had been sharpened to such a fine edge, that the mere pressure on his skin caused gashes to form and blood to drip down around her hand and onto her feathers as she looked him in the eyes; "Tree brother. Filverel. My heart is burdened with hatred, rage, and a thick blackness is in my soul. I must find my balance once more or be lost forever. I'd not do so alone though, no, no, no. Fly with me tree brother." She could not cry, but her voice was laced with sadness at her introspection.

She pulled his hand to place it on her chest over her heart, which could be felt beating strongly, pumping a cursed lifeblood through her veins, her feathers coarse and rough from her time in Hell, a stark contrast to the fine, soft feathers they were before. "Fly with me brother, that we may cleanse our souls. We must go. The woods, the faywilds, and the sky call to me." As she said each of the places she needed to go, she placed her free hand firstly upon his shoulder, then cupped his face in her claw gently, before placing her claw flat upon his chest, over his heart with the final location; "I know the way, if you feel as I do. Tasks left undone, friends left unknowing. The druids and the fey can aid us, yes, yes, yes, and the sky can heal us. I know the way."

She continues to hold his arm tightly, blood dripping down as she waits for his answer. She didn't want to make the journey alone, she feared losing herself on it. But if she had to, she would try.

 


 


 


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  #124  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 03:42 PM
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Kaden Chelrid
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Kaden stared in rapture at the light glowing steadily in his cupped palms, then abruptly dismissed it and sprang to his feet in alarm. Magic equals pain, they'll know, they always know, why did I, should have known better! After a few seconds of staring around wildly, panic blossoming in his eyes, Kaden noticed his surroundings and remembered where he was. No. Safe. Free. Pain not required - trick, waiting, pain coming - no, free, too elaborate, must be free. He gazed down at his hands, and called the glow back to them again. There was no pain, and this time the fear was manageable. "Free..."

Kaden half-collapsed against a wall, still staring in wonder at his hands. Nothing else mattered but his hands and his magic. He felt more like himself than he had since before the long months of captivity. Had he ever felt like this? Had he ever truly appreciated his magic for the incredible gift that it was? He'd appreciated it, but had he appreciated it enough? As Kaden mused his eyes drifted down his filthy arms to his stained clothes. No. That wasn't right. That wasn't right at all, because he was dirty and there was no need for that, because he was a wizard! Kaden slapped his hand against his half-rotten shirt and hoarsely called out a nearly-forgotten word of power. The dirt exploded from him, months of accumulated grime and muck blasting from every pore of his skin and every thread of his clothes. Mud and grease ripped free from the tangles of his hair, joining the dirt in a filthy halo around him that soon settled to the ground, a ring of hell's rot tainting the grass around the panting wizard.

---

Eventually Bluejack shepherded the battered survivors to a table. Food! Real food! Kaden piled his plate high and started shovelling food into his mouth as if worried he might not get another chance. The once-fastidious wizard hardly noticed the mess he made. Haste warred with caution as he remembered that victims of starvation should not gorge themselves too quickly, but it had been so long since he'd had real food he could hardly control himself.

Kaden let Bluejack talk while he ate. He already knew most of what the half-orc was saying, or at least had at some point. So hard to remember. All faded and disconnected. Bad, mind is my strength, must meditate and repair. At the mention of the Scissors of Fate he froze, not even chewing the food congealing in his mouth. Had to. To stave off destruction of Abeir-Toril, what price would not be worth paying? Had to. No choice. Right choice. Right? Then Bluejack came at him from behind, reached out to touch him, and Kaden flinched away with his entire body. Touch had no positive associations for him any more.

The discussion wore on. Stomach pangs forced Kaden to stop eating, and he wiped the mess from his mouth with a napkin. Once it would have been second-nature for him to clean himself with magic. Now the thought didn't occur. Eventually he spoke up, shaky and wary. "I need time to prepare. We all do. Restore our bodies, gather our strength." He looked around the Manor in wonder, though his gaze never dwelled long before flicking back to the uncomfortably-large gathering around the table. He would love nothing more than to spend his preparations all in this wondrous place, but he had a duty. "I need to go to Neverwinter. We are near Waterdeep, yes? Five days by boat, with favourable wind. Two, three days there. Another five back. I will be back within a fortnight." The mage hesitated. Alone? Of course. Always alone. Not scared. Don't need a guard. But without magic... No. Fine alone.... He wasn't convinced by his logic. "I...I suppose if anyone else has business in Neverwinter we could travel together."
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  #125  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 11:23 PM
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Orin Ironfist - Free at last. Free at last...
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He remembered picking a maggot out of his teeth, the true taste of what he was told was ale starting to come to the forefront of his senses. HIs throat and chest burnt horribly, and he felt a bit dizzy. 'All this from two ales?', he thought to himself as he stared at the maggot as it began to stretch and melt.

'Wait....maggots don't usually do that...'

The maggot began to drip off of his fingers, the drops flowing into the table that quickly became a river of wood. He watched as the world around him changed. The demons turned to liquid, then swirled into the background as if they were sucked into multiple whirlpools. He heard a voice that sounded like the annoying dwarf that stepped on his toe, but it was distorted, like it was speaking from the other end of a long stone tunnel. He turned around at the sound of what he thought were the voices of children, but instead saw childlike sized bodies with oversized heads of people and demons that surrounded him earlier. They were running around strangely, saying distorted words in twisted tones, like wizards performing an incantation.

After what felt like a few seconds, they briefly blinked out of existence, then exploded into columns of flame. A massive hag and a large skeleton formed out of a puddle of ooze, braying like donkeys as they seem to form rooted to the floor. He looked at them in confusion, their words seeming to sounds like the braying of asses, but the power of thunder. As he sat watching the spectacle, a word came through his ears and out the other side, one that actually made sense. BlueJack. It was a name, he seemed sure of that, but he didn't know why. It wasn't anyone here in this strange place. Could it be...from the before times? Before he ended up in this accursed place? Was there anything before?

As he tired to force himself to remember something that may not have ever happened, he suddenly found himself running. He didn't remember getting up, or were the waring donkeys had disappeared too. He just knew that he was running. Running from large, grotesque forms that looked like walking trees. Where was he running too? He wanted to ask, but the shapes around him were near unrecognizable. They were strange, grey like shapes, their forms almost foglike formed into humanlike shapes. He kept running into the blackness, until it seem to fully consume him.

HIs field of vision suddenly was filled with light, as if he had been struck by the sight of the divine. He stopped, or felt like he'd stopped, and felt strange alien sensations, ones that he knew but had not experienced for many, many years. Something cool was on his feet his feet. Something cool and hard, but not stone. He felt a warm breeze against his arms, legs and face, the air blowing through what little clothes that he wore like wash being hung out to dry. He inhaled deeply, and the sweetness of the air nearly made him cry tears of joy, the smell of grass, flowers, and the slight hint of the salt brine of the sea. He fell to his knees and open his eyes, the sound of his still impressive bulk landing hard on what was a wooden floor. He saw the gentle hills spread out before him like a painting made by the greatest artists through large, open windows. Forests and grasslands almost stretched to the horizon, and in the centre an unknown city lay on what looked like a sea..

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He looked around, not wanting to believe that their torment had finally ended. He saw the motley crue that he had been surrounded by for what felt like forever. Welby the sneaky halfling. The bird creature Yikh. The strange eyed man, the noble and the clumsy dwarf. "Is this.....is this real?", he called out hoarsely, the swill that he sent him into some strange place having done a number on this throat. "This isn't a cruel joke? This isn't an illusion that our captors have cooked up again.". He continued looking around, seeing a strange orc with feylike armour upon him. He felt the sight was familiar as he prattled on about something. He looked at him with intent, trying to call back a memory that wanted to stay hidden. All he could remember was that he distrusted this orc with almost every fiber of his being, and yet, he didn't know why.

The dwarf suddenly yelled at the orc, seemingly mad at him for something. He stopped listening at the sound of WaterDeep, and a waterfall of memories crashed into his mind, as if a dam had burst. Arriving in the city as a youth in his early teens. Joining the Order of the Radiant Heart. The streets. The taverns. Grotgraes Trollborn. Fidning the blessing of Lilira....

"Carandoleth", he whispered.

The dwarf had been yelling at the strange orc the whole time as he'd been awash in memory, continuing unabated. ”You are in a tavern – an honest to goodness tavern – fully stocked”, the dwarf's fist knocked on the bar. ”Now before we all get excited and chase some demi-god for his favourite reading material, why don’t we all just stop. Have a drink."

"T....t.....tavern?!", he called out in amazement, he looked to where the dwarf was standing. Surrounding him was various sized kegs and bottles, some with marks of familiar makers. Gallows sweat. Golden amber. Mithril's wash. And many more that he'd had more then he could count. It was then that he did something that he hadn't done in many, many years.

He laughed. A loud, hearty laugh that seem to shake the walls around. A laugh of a man that had been freed from prison and had been told he could take a bag of gold home with him. He ran to the bar like a man seeing water in a desert, almost giddy with happiness at the sight. He pushed the dwarf out of the way, grabbing two bottles at once. With a practiced motion, he tore off the corks off and spit them out, pouring the entire contents down his throat in one go. He could feel the cool liquid going down his throat, the nectar's warmth slowly radiating out from him as if he had drank life itself. As he finished the first bottle, he continued giggling uncontrollably, still not entirely convinced it was real as he started on the second bottle without pause. As he finished the second bottle, he let out a long, rumbling belch, feeling the flush of his cheeks. " By the Gods I needed that!", he roared, feeling a bit more like himself again. He grabbed two more bottles and started consuming their contents with gusto.

right-aligned image


He slowly emerged from his manic state slowly realizing that the rest had moved over to a large table with various assortment of food and drink upon it. He looked at the small forest of empty bottles that he had gone through, surprising even himself at the quantity before him. He briefly felt a bit embarrassed at his reaction, but dismissed it. He was sure the dwarf...what was his name again...he was sure that he'd understand. 'And if not, that's for stepping on his toe.', he thought, smirking at the rebuttal as he thought himself so witty.

He grabbed two large bottles and slowly meandered over to the table. He found the floor quite uneven in this place, and upon reaching where the rest of them were, he found the chair was much higher then he expected. He put the bottles down hard on the table, and tore off a leg of whatever beast it was that was brought to them as the orc spoke almost without ending. The various alcoholic beverages had given him that pleasant numbness that he'd missed for so long, and he welcomed it back as a long friend. He wasn't really listening to what the orc was saying. It sounded complex and long winded, and he found himself tuning it out on occasion as his old friend coaxed him back into the delightful fog. Something about a fire though, caught his ear. It tugged at a memory. A memory that didn't want to come forth. He wondered why that was, but tucked it away. 'If it's important, it'll come out eventually', he thought to himself, taking a long swallow of one of the bottles that he had brought with him.

As the orc finished, and the various swirling glyphs and went away, the others chatted away at having to do things, and other plans that had to be made. "I guess we're going through with this Orcus thing?", he said to no-one in particular, a mouth half full of meat muffling his words. As he looked at the orc once more, the memory suddenly burst forth. Kossuth. Cold mountain path, colder then he'd ever been in his life. "I'm sorry, this was the only way. We learned this was the only way.". Flames. Melting his skin, his armour, dying....

"Bluejack....", he growled, the anger in his voice lying bare, the copious amount of alcohol washing away almost all veneer of civility. "That's why I remembered that name.". He stood up forcefully, briefly staggering at the sudden change of elevation. He walked over to the seated orc, staring at him as if he wanted to say something. Something loudly. After standing over him for a few seconds, and his mind blank as to what would convey his fury, he suddenly yelled and slammed his large fist into the orc jaw. "Now we're even.", he slurred, finding that his fist hurt a lot more then he thought it would with so much nectar in him as he staggered away. He looked at the wizard, a sense of annoyance that he couldn't place tugged at his mind. "You...", he said slowly, pointing to the wizard of the group. "If your'e going to Neverwinter, I will accompny you as far as WaterDeep.", he slurred, stumbling slightly. "I have business in that city, and I need to be re-equipped if I'm going on this fool's errand, and I'm sure not going sober! Not sober! Never again!", he yelled out, looking down at the rags that barely covered him.

"Maybe I should get a bath and some clothes first..."

OOCOrin's back, baby!



 


Last edited by creed; Dec 2nd, 2020 at 09:01 AM.
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  #126  
Old Dec 4th, 2020, 04:48 PM
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Slade Sutherlind
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Slade simmered down quickly after reflexively exploding on Bluejack. The libations and food helped to placate him tremendously, but the half orc hero told it straight. There is no sacrifice too great once one volunteers for something as momentous (and suicidal) as destroying the Book of Orcus. And besides, Bluejack somehow just managed to save them all in a bewildering turn of events. Slade had to ask,

"Bluejack, what did Ingerou want? I mean you made a deal with him to save us. What was Ingerou's price? "

As the conversation wore on, Slade didn't bat an eyelash at the mention of the various planes they would apparently be visiting. It was insane. But it was the freaking Book of Orcus! If he'd learned anything from their first tango with this mission, it was that this journey was a one way trip. Hopefully some of them would actually live long enough to see the deed done.

He sat back with a horn of mead and made himself comfortable at the table, just listening without commenting. Talk turned to making preparations for the trip. Some of their troupe had people they wanted to see again before setting out. Slade felt a pang of jealousy at that. He could not think of a single person still living who would be happy to see him.

When Kaden mentioned heading to Neverwinter, Slade interjected, addressing everyone at the table.

"Kaden, before you go, just take a moment to consider that we are in Mordenkainan's Manor! If there is any place where we might find arcane resources like libraries of spell books or high quality inks and paper, I bet this is it. What do think Ulgrum, could Kaden recreate his spellbook here? In fact, can we all get resupplied here? I could use some armor and I'd love a replacement for my magical staff. "


 

 
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  #127  
Old Dec 6th, 2020, 04:23 PM
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Ulgrum Thrulgar – Spell books and Plane books
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”What do you think Ulgrum?, could Kaden recreate his spellbook here?” Slade had said

”What? huh?” Ulgrum’s head fell off his fist where he had been gently nodding off. It had been a very long day and the poor jeweller was quite tuckered out.


”Spell book? Reequip? Why yes … “ Ulgrum said, then ”Well, no – I mean not directly from the manor – I mean we’ve only just got it you see … a bit of a fixer upper … But we’re hard at work at it. You know, one day this will be the finest museum in all Waterdeep.” he paused a moment, looking around the table looking at the gathered groups – somehow he felt like a stranger in his own home. His eyes settled on Bluejack.

“Nirvana, Ysgard, the Grey Wastes, the Beastlandsm Pandeimonium, the Abyss … my my” he muttered

”Did he really list all those places Slade? I mean this manor – it can take us there. You’ve got to come and see the big book. It really is special – its kind of like a guide to all the planes ever. Have you seen our library?”



Ulgrum saw Slade’s puzzled face ”Too fast?” he picked up a grape and chewed it ”Let’s start from the beginning. Your spell book and stuff. I’d step into Waterdeep for that – they’ve got everything somewhere there. That’s where I’d go.”

The dwarf nodded, willing comprehension, then continued ”But this manor has a magnificent library … its got this huge book – Mordenkeinen’s Manual of the Planes … yes, really. And I’ve got this special eyepiece to read it with … we can use it to find out about all those places that Bluejack said. If we want to …”

ooc
The post about the book …
https://www.rpgcrossing.com/showthre...89#post8838689



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  #128  
Old Dec 7th, 2020, 03:44 PM
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Rain
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It seemed like an Eternity since Rain and Mist had been taken in by Wind for her criminal enterprise under the guise of an orphanage. The two adopted sisters had moved through Waterdeep's seedier areas picking what they could from those unfortunate enough to either trust them or let down their guard in such a place. They really made success however when they turned a musical gimmick into a thriving con allowing they to pull some of the more elite targets. As their success grew so did Wind's demands. Rain had managed to convince Mist to escape into another life before things took a turn for the worst.

Back then she would have thought things couldn't get much worse. She had lost her sister and had to face her adopted mother on a rooftop duel to protect the other children from her misgiven ways. Betrayed and uprooted she came searching for the one thing that always stabilized her, Mist. That went about as smoothly as the rest of their lives when they were dragged down to hell with a litter of kittens. The two of them barely made it out of there alive, Mist staying behind to watch the kittens while Rain found herself trying to con her way through a Devil's gambit. It was a hell of a story and before she knew it she was completely swept up in this war for the book.

Soul trees, devils managing retirement homes, witches of three trying to get their hands on evil books written on the wings of angels. It was a lot to take in, too much really, and it had changed the light-hearted tabaxi. the simple dream of raising the kittens in a peaceful orphanage seemed like the naivety of a child. Rain now knew what truly challenged the world and what was ever threatening to rip them apart. For now it seemed like the book was in good hands. Bluejack and the Irregulars had explained how it was tied to some of the others, those who were much more experienced in such matters than she or Mist could claim. She did know however this wouldn't be the end of this story and the time would come when she was called upon again.

"I'm not sure what I can do about the book, but perhaps there is something Mist and I can do in Waterdeep. It is time we plant the seeds of resistance and when the time comes, when you need us, we will be ready." she explained.

Taking Mist and the Kittens with her, she knew exactly what was needed. Misty Rain' Orphanage for Exceptional Youngsters, they would call it. A place that would be the antithesis of what her mother created. She would arm the tabaxi kittens and any other capable orphans they found with the knowledge they needed to fight off the hellspawn from the Nine Hells and the Abyss. When fortune called they would be ready, a war was brewing and Rain knew her part in it.

As she said her goodbyes she explained to the others where they might find them and offered them all an open invitation to visit, and to train. The litter would benefit from anything they could observe first hand. It was a new age and Rain and Mist had a new path to follow.


 


 
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  #129  
Old Dec 8th, 2020, 10:35 AM
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Filverel
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His soul was so bruised and battered that a negative presence had attached itself to him, threatening to subsume who he had worked a lifetime to foster, a druid of the natural world, a calm tender of that which can grow, protector of that which could perish. The darkness within him had come to him in his weakness and he needed to gain control of it. He knew he would never get rid of it but perhaps he could rein it in, make its destructive forces work for him.

The Feywild. There was nowhere where a druid could feel more at home, nowhere in all the planes that could wash an elf's soul clean. "Good Yihk, it is grand to see you back in the skies and with some luster to your feathers but alas, I cannot join you in the sky. While I can transform into the creatures of the sea and those that dart across the land, I cannot fly."

Filverel took a form as close as he could to flight and transformed into a brilliant charcoal black stallion with a white stripe down his nose. Flying across the ground was as good as he could get as he bolted across the plains outside of Waterdeep.

 



 

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  #130  
Old Dec 9th, 2020, 11:32 PM
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Slade Sutherlind
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Slade's good eye grew wide as Ulgrum described the library and the wondrous book of the planes. His other eye continued to stare in random directions in a most distracting way.

"You are telling me that this manor can be our vehicle to the planes Bluejack mentioned?! That's... good. Very good! I would love to have a look at this library however, the first thing I could use is a hot bath and fresh set of clothes. Don't worry about my spellbook, I've got it right here..."

Slade picks his book up from the chair next to him and shows Ulgrum.

"Its Kaden who needs to recreate his spellbook, though he may be taking a quick hiatus like some of the others."

Slade suddenly looks pensive and asks Bluejack another question,

"You still haven't answered what Ingerou wanted to make this deal. But more importantly, how much time do we have before we have to leave for this mission?"

At that point he realized that the tabaxi Rain was leaving and apparently not returning to help them with their quest. Though he barely knew her, Slade felt sad to see her go.

"Safe travels, Rain. May our paths cross again some day."


 

 
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Here's a little tip that I would like to relate,
Any fish bites if you got good bait...

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  #131  
Old Dec 27th, 2020, 11:20 AM
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Ulgrum Thrulgar – Adventures in the underworlds - Thuldanin
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”Is this supposed to look like this?” Ulgrum said looked at the strange piece of metal that was hanging at an awkward angle from his bedroom’s wall.

“Oh dear, oh dear … now this just won’t do.” The jeweller saw the cogs that had slid off their spindles and rolled across the floor. He gathered them, stacking them neatly by size beside the contraption that was swaying slightly “Must have been jiggered when that tree was bashing us” he mumbled trying to push it back in place.

”Hello?” he called out – but realised that his companions were all out and about, questing or carousing. “Well I suppose I should try to fix … I wonder what it is.” Then then thing came off in his hands “oops.” He muttered.

__________________________________________________ _____




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The learned Naga at Ogmha’s great library examined the artefact while Ulgrum was perched on its tail. ”So kind of you to see me again …” Ulgrum was chattering away ”That poor fellow is still stuck in our unicorn I’m afraid … but this is entirely different. Its from our plane-travelling house. Yes the one Mordenkainen made, yes. At first I thought it was part of the plumbing, but those pipes don’t carry water, or anything much that I can see …” and so on …

”What you have here is part of Mordenkainen’s etheric-limbic system” the naga finally declared. ”Its how the manor is able to steer from plane to plane. You see that little hole there?” Ulgrum looked through the jagged star-shaped crack at the Naga’s swaying head ”That’s not supposed to be there. You’ll be leaking ethlimbic vapours and it will put your direction off.”

”Oh, that does not sound good.” Ulgrum said

”No. It means that unless you get a new one, each time you fly you will need to plug the gap again – until one day it will break forever and the machine will have to stay where it is.”

”Oh dear …”

”Oh dear indeed. We’ve lost the art of the etheric-limbic system on Toril I’m afraid, but lucky for you they are common in the diabolic engines of war. I should imagine that if you head for the Thuldanin you should find something that will fit. It will take a while, but the wizards of Blackstaff should be able to make you are charm of seeking … the traces of ethlimbus are quite distinct.”

”But how am I going to get there if this is broken?” Ulgrum asked the wise-reptile.

”Oh, just plug the hole with some oatmeal and let it dry – that should get you there at least ….”

__________________________________________________ _____________

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“Oh goodness, where to start?” Ulgrum stood at the manor’s threshold, looking out at Thaldanin's mounds of metal, wood and glass spread out seemingly forever in front of him.


He consulted the parchment he had sketched from the great manual of the planes. He was some five miles from where the pits of planar travel were marked.

“Ok, ok, so its … this way …” he muttered, stepping onto the shifting surface of metal they had landed on.

Tick … tick …… tick ………… ti…. the sound came from beneath his feet. Ulgrum bent down to examine this hill of golden lozenges the manor seemed to have settled on. They were slippery in his hands, each one giving a few ticks as he unsettled them.

He picked one up – palm-sized like a small, smooth, rock with a grooved knob at the top. “Ha!” Ulgrum chuckled with delight as the rock popped open to reveal itself as a large, golden watch – sporting a delightful array of seventeen hours marked uniformly around its circumference. “Well I never, the hill of time …” he said sliding down the hill.



“Not that way – Citadel of Thought – not sure what my Duergaran cousins would make of me snooping around here - and I'd rather not find out.” he said to himself as he took the long way round, through the forest of clothes hoists, lines and horses.

Sometimes he fancied he saw a ghost approaching from the distance – but it just an old shirt, still attached to the mechanisms that had fallen through the gates to this plane.


The going was tough. While the distance was short, the ground had a habit of slipping and grabbing at you with its moving parts and jagged arms. For the averagely nimble it was a task – but with Ulgrum’s clumsiness we soon found himself tiring.

“Forty winks” he muttered, as he found a massively metal carriage turned upside down, showing rows of metal wheels to the sky “Funny looking thing – can’t have been too comfortable” Ulgrum wrinked his nose. The thing looked like and oversized version of the carts his father used in the mines.

“No inhabitants indeed” Ulgrum mumbled as he puffed his pipe to the perpetual tickering and clattering of what he imagined were wee beasties that lived in these metal mounds.



”Well I guess they said pit” Ulgrum said out loud, standing on the edge of what was a great crater in the middle of the planes of junk. He climbed a great metal tower to get a better look down into the depths – and was rewarded with a view down to the Shattered Gate.

He could feel that the magic down here was twisted bent and torn. To look at the Shattered Gate put his teeth on edge and made his heart rush. It was a continuing exchange. Junk would fall down the crater to be expelled randomly across the planes and time. But more spectacularly, every ten minutes or so the Shattered Gate would belch out a new object, flying high in the air and landing near the ridge of the crater, sending a new ripple of rubbish scuttling down the slopes and into the gate.

It was spellbinding – spellbinding and awful.


”Come on, come on …” Ulgrum said, finally snapping into action ”You’ve a job to do”. And he drew out Blackstaff’s scroll of finding.

Holding out the broken element of the Ethlimbic system, he chanted the words, the dripped the acidic drops into his eyes …

“Oh of course you’d be down there …” he muttered, looking down the crater. Some two thirds the way down the slope his eyes caught the glow of the item he needed.


So, forty minutes later, we find our jeweller, tied with five lengths of rope to the tall tower by the craters edge, and digging with bleeding knuckles for the item that can save the Manor. Below him the detritus is tumbling down into the Shattered Gate. From here, he can hear the fizzing as they blink out of this place.

“I got you, I got you …” he muttered, as his latest yank pulled the metal neck way from the clinging rubbish that it was under. Ulgrum, took a shorter length of rope and tied it to the one tethering him to the tower.

“Now to get back up there …” he mumbled, looking with horror at the height he had to climb.

But as he spoke, he felt the vibration of the Shattered Gate pulsing back and forth, sending showers and little pieces tumbling into its maw. “Oh this is going to be a big one” Ulgrum said, clinging hard to his new Ethlimbic systems and waiting for the belch to be over.


So when he found himself flying upward fully clear of the crater, he was both relieved and horrified. The Shattered Gate had expelled some kind of disc-shaped boat, thrusting it high in the air and throwing tonnes of the material that had fallen to the edge of the gate back up and out of the crater. Ulgrum was a mere passenger in this expulsion.

”Well that was handy” the dwarf said, picking himself up from the sea of springs that had softened the blow of his landing and tossed him from hither and thither when he finally hit the ground. ”Best get myself back. Orin will be expecting me”


The young dwarf could not resist scavenging bits and bobs on the way home. Such a collection, gathered from across all the planes all laid out in his path as he walked home. ”Oh I could fill my museum from this place alone” he said dumping his bag on the kitchen table ”I really must come back when we’ve found that old book”


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  #132  
Old Dec 31st, 2020, 06:07 AM
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Going to see mother …
An unexpected reuninion
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”Surely that’s enough Orin!” Ulgrum cried from the tavern door as the red-head waved him away again ”It’s been five days … maybe come back to the manor for a bit of a rest … you’ve got to think of your liver” but his friend was already ordering another tankard as he hurled a tirade of abuse at the poor jeweller ”Ok, OK!” Ulgrum said, backing out into the rain ”Well you know where I am …” he called, being jostled by a crowd of half-orcs fresh off the boat.

“How he takes it I’ll never know …” Ulgrum was muttering when ”Oh, err, hello …” the dwarf turned round as he bumped into the tall, slender humanoid, dressed in a cloak that hung heavily from its head to its toes.

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You will come with me an alien voice spoke in his head as the thing raised its hand, pointing to the open sewer lid in the shadows of the alleyway opposite the tavern.

”Oh, umm, errr well to be honest, I’d rather not – you see last time I went down there I had the most unfortunate of experiences …” he said

You will come with me the voice said again, with a hint of insistence.

”I really must insist, no, I …. Oh” Ulgrum’s voice dropped as he saw the unmistakable flick of a tentacle whipping out of tall thing’s hood. ”Oh goodness not you.” he said as his feet directed themselves down into the sewer.


As Ulgrum stood in the flowing effluent, the robed creature seemed to float down from above, stopping just short of the lapping water. It threw back its hood and folded its arms, tucking each hand in the opposite sleeve and just waited, with an air of threat.

”Is this him?” a voice appeared from behind him.

Ulgrum spun round, to see a massive beholder, floating, nearly filling the sewer ahead of him.

“Now that’s what I call a beholder …” Ulgrum surprised himself by saying. He remembered the little guys he’d fought in the sewers when he first came down here.

The thing’s largest eye and about half of the littler ones were all trained on the small dwarf, who looked back up at them ”How … how may I help you?”

”Him?” was all the beholder said … then ”Well, Mr Thrulgar, I hear you have something I need and you will let me use it.” clearly not a voice versed in the arts of the polite request.

”Well, if I can help …” the dwarf looked back and forth between these two most deadly of foes – down in the sewers of Waterdeep.

__________________________________________________ _______

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So that’s how we found ourselves, two weeks later, in the bar room of Trollskull Manor – a mindflayer and Xanathar himself, and a box wrapped in reflective material tied up with bow.

”So just so we’ve clear – its your mother’s birthday and you want to surprise her …”

Ulgrum transferred the coordinates onto the gross-dials of the planar transfer systems ”… she’s in the Dismal Caves …” then moving on to the finer dials ”the Realm of a million eyes to be precise.”

There was a click and the manor began to hum.

”Sounds lovely.” said Ulgrum throwing the switch.


the walls have eyes
”Um …” said Ulgrum opening the door to the manor ”… I think the walls are watching us.”



Indeed, the Manor had materialised on the ledge of an ledge some three acres in area that jutted from a cliff wall that seemed to rise miles above them and fall some miles below.

”Really, look … “ he said stepping onto the luminescing lichen that was growing in the bumps and crags of this ledge ”… eyes everywhere.” He was right – not for nothing was this known as the Realm of a Million Eyes.

Yes the Mother has eyes everywhere octopus-head’s disconcerting voice played up in his head again. She’ll be expecting us the robed mindflayer held the parcel as he walked to the edge of the ledge, looking up, then down.

”Come on, come on, lets give her this thing, then get going” Xanathar said as he floated out of the front door, his sides scraping the door frame.


It looks like the dwarf has landed a little too high – its about a mile down there … the Illithid said in their heads, peering over the edge of the ledge.

”Well excuse me …” Ulgrum said, affronted ”If we’d stopped a mile lower, we’d have fallen the following nine miles and the Manor would be smashed into a million pieces – not much use for getting back again.”

”Children, children …” Xanathar said floating over the ledge and turning his big eye on the pair ”… less squabbling and more moving. So we are a bit high, we just fly down don’t we?”

And with that Xanathar’s globe fell beneath the ledge and octopus head stepped into the void, falling at a pace that raised his cloak up above his waist, revealing spindly legs beneath.



”Ummm!” called Ulgrum ”What about me?!” As the dominant beholder was vanishing from view it became clear he was not alone. Half a dozen gazers rose from the crags where they had been hiding and a pair of their full-cousins emerged from the gloom, heading for the lone jeweller standing on the ledge.

”I said hello!” Ulgrum shouted loudly ”How are you getting back without me?!”

This seemed to do the trick as Xanathar bobbed back up again. A couple of jolts from his lesser eyes popped a pair of gazers and the others zipped away just as suddenly as they appeared.

”Why didn’t you say you couldn’t fly? Bub, give him the stockings …” Xanathar called

With that a pair of fine embroidered socks were thrown on the ledge. They were a royal purple, with clouds and wind blown by cherubs embroidered in sliver thread throughout them.

”Come on, we haven’t got all day” the Beholder said and began to drop again.



“Oh my, this is exhilarating…” Ulgrum chattered away as he followed his companions floating down besides the cliff edge “… hello … hello … a good afternoon to you …” he cheerily waved at each of the cliff-eyes that followed their descent.

Until after some minutes they reached a great cavern that disappeared into darkness deep within the cliff wall. The air here was thick with beholder-kind, squabbling, chasing and incinerating each other.

”They get excitable when you get near Mother” Xanathar said. But his power marked him apart and the lesser-kin made way for him as they ventured into the darkness.



The tunnels were endless – sometimes splitting in multiple directions, sometime coming back together again. Upwards, downwards, sideways – wide, narrow – sometimes spiralling like a corkscrew. But always lit with that lichen and dotted with those ubiquitous eyes.

As they floated through the labyrinth, they would gather a cautery of eyeballs, following, waiting for weakness. But several times Xanathar would turn a corner and the tunnel behind would slam shut – cutting off his would-be devourers.

”It seems a long way … are you sure you know where you are going?” ventured Ulgrum after a while.

”Of course I don’t!” snapped Xanathar – not the answer Ulgrum was expecting ”You’ll only find her if she wants to be found.”

”But if its her birthday, surely she wants to be found – will there be parties and games?” Ulgrum jogged along, just alongside the powerful beholder.

Ha ha ha ha … the Illithid’s voice chuckled in his head Of course there won’t. The Great Mother does not care for her birthday, nor her children – she just wants more and more and more children – spread them across all the worlds.

”Then I don’t get it. Why are you here?” Ulgrum said, confused.

”Because that’s what Xanathars do!” snapped Xanathar ”Going back to the first Xanathar – its kind of a quest – how we prove ourselves worthy of the name.” The beast’s big eye narrowed and sparks danced between the stalks of the forest of eyes above him.

“OK, sorry sorry …” Ulgrum was by now jogging to keep up with the grumpy beholder.

__________________________________________________ _________


It must have been the best part of a day that they had been tracking the endless caverns when Xanathar’s patience finally snapped.

”OK Mother – do you want it or not?” He yelled, his bulbous eye practically pressed against one of these eyes in the rock wall. ”Because if not, we shall take it back home and I’ll keep it in my chambers there …” He shook his head and said ”I don’t know you gather the treasures of Toril for a hundred years, pick the cream of them for Mum, and does she care? Does she?”

And as he spoke, the tunnel rumbled. Stones began to fall from the ceiling, sending Ulgrum scuttling underneath the large beholder for shelter. As he knelt on the ground, he saw the wall behind them collapse.



Hovering beyond that cracked wall was the most enormous globe of … well rubbish? Or treasure? It was a globe of bones and gems and teeth and shields and staves and gold and teeth and oh so many other things – near twenty foot across and floating in a great dark cavern.


The encrusted body cracked at its front to reveal a massive eye that looked at them with what could only be described as hunger.

”Oh hello Mummy!” Xanathar said with an air of panic.

Ulgrum carefully took cover behind the Waterdhavian boss of the underworld. Standing there he could still see the shape of the massive Mother behind Xanathar. Scant cover indeed.

”Look Mum – Happy Birthday!” he said as the Illithid placed the package in front of the Great Mother.

The eye looked downwards and with a flick of its tongue whipped up the package and swallowed it, ribbon and all.

”Well hope you enjoyed it Mum …” Xanathar said as the great eye’s attention returned to the three of them.

That enormous tongue once again snaked from the Great Mother’s mouth.

”Hit it Bub” Xanathar shouted.



With a flash of light the three of them were once again in the entrance of the Manor.

”I’d set course for home quickly Ulgrum my boy. Once Mother gets a taste for something, she can be quite persistent.” said Xanathar

__________________________________________________ _________________

”Not too bad …” Ulgrum said, surveying the damage to the Manor as they stood outside it back in their own world. The creatures that had chased them had hurled bolts of ice and fire at the building as the rattled and shook in preparation for the leap. ”Any longer and that big one would have broken the door”

Ulgrum looked at the reinforced front door, now a weak, charred shell. ”Going to cost a bit to replace.” he said hopefully.

”Hmphr” Xanathar grunted ”Give him the gold Bub” he commanded and octopus-head tossed a bag towards Ulgrum.

The jeweller, of course, fumbled the catch and coins were scattered across the lobby of the Manor.


”Thank you … thank you …” Ulgrum said, scrabbling to pick up the gold.

”Well that about makes us even for your killing my poor wizard.” Xanathar said that ”I liked him you know – orcy-wiz … such a shame to lose him. Still, a favour’s a favour – we’re even.” Xanathar said bobbing away, back towards the city. ”Just take care that you do not come poking around my sewers again and we can stay friends.”

With that, a very baffled looking sorcerer was left standing on the doorstep of Trollskull Manor.


The End



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Old Jan 3rd, 2021, 02:29 PM
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Not just a silly little dwarf
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”Do not take me for some silly dwarf to be picked apart by your rusty blades …” Ulgrum shouted into the pestilent wind, standing atop the mound of thigh bones.

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The horde of skeletal rodents were rattling upwards – rats, giant and small, clicky-mice and the cats that chased them – all stripped of flesh washed up the bone-hill like a coming tide.

Behind them first gnome, then dwarf, then man and elf, then goliath – a clanking army, remnants of skins hanging in rags from their ribs. These humanoids had gathered dented shields and rusted swords to become Myrkul’s skeletal army intent of tearing the flesh from this dwarfy interloper.






__________________________________________________ ___



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The modest jeweller and wannabe museum empresario once more had his Manor a magnet for the powerful seeking favours.

This time it had been the Great Ashdanon himself – geni, entrepreneur, whose retinue were a travelling circus who brought festival to every city his business took him to. But it was a dark and stormy night when Ulgrum opened the door to the djinn standing alone, the centre of that storm.

The poor spirit was downcast – sadness filled that face of joy.

”I let my Ashah down” he said ”Neglected him, then sent her on mission that meant death” the genii said, riven with self-hate ”I let my Ashah down!” he cried, the wind whipping round them as he raged.

”The beast has Ashah’s arm” Ashdanon sobbed ”Ripped it from her vanquished soul as it was devoured by those foul illithids – it was the only thing left of him and Myrkul has it.”

Before he knew what he was doing, Ulgrum had promised to take Ashdanon’s lieutenants onto the astral plane to track down the relic of Ashdanon’s son/daughter and to return it to him.

__________________________________________________ ________





It was a doomed mission.

Myrkul’s domain on the plane was a shadow of his old Bone Castle, but was intimidating nonetheless.

Si, Phi and Xi the three genasi lieutenants had good intelligence. The githyanki spy had mapped it well in exchange for the promise of a mindflayer hive if he proved true. The postern gate lay untended as he’d predicted.



But it was in exfiltration when it began to unravel. Ulgrum had been charged with carrying the arm. They had found it stored in an anonymous drawer in the treasury – the most minor of treasures, kept more from spite than desire.

The jeweller gripped the relic, holding on to the ulna and radius bones, wagging the hand as he ran.


However that postern gate was no longer unguarded as they sought to leave the bone fortress.

First one, then a second bone devil unfolded themselves from the fortress wall and barred their way. Ulgrum thought of the teasing Ingerou who wanted nothing more than sport at the old-aged-demons home. These devils were nothing of that sort, their claws clutched towards them and their sting lashed and whipped the air.

Ulgrum had studied Mordernkainen’s tome enough to know a bone devil was not to be trifled with – in fact they were more something to be run away from, very fast. But there was nowhere to run – so trifle he must. He thought of the diabolic fellows he’d faced at the entrance of the Black Tower “Myrkul’s bane” he said to himself with a reassuring chuckle. The sorcerer was learning his craft. He was no longer the neophyte that had wildly flung chaos at those demon …


… and he did love to fling chaos. The questing-jeweller's arms reached outwards and begun to tug at the air. With each pull his freckles flared orange and his eyes began to glow with a more and more intense fire.

Si, Phi and Xi sprung forward, each hurling their javelins and drawing their swords of thunder. Two of the javelins missed their mark, cracking into fortress wall with a bone splitting thunder – the third, hurled by Xi, however met its make, shuddering the devil as he absorbed the thunderous blow - it felt Ashdanon’s power.

As the genasi engaged, Ulgrum unleashed the chaos … it snapped and tore at the first devil, tearing at its very psyche, making it scream with fury. Then the bold jumped to the second, this time a blast of flame, which the devil simply shrugged away.



An auspicious start to a deadly encounter. It was Si who fell first. The Devils preferring to pick and shred an opponent together rather than split their attention. The poor chap was gashed in front and behind, then speared with a pair of stingers. In a moment life left him and his form crumpled to the ground.

Not only that, but the sound of battle had awoken the fortress. Doors flew open and animate bone-beasts sprung out. From the corral, a posse of once-dead Smilodons leapt the femur-railings and cantered towards the fray.

”Hey, guys …” Ulgrum began to back peddle towards the battling genasi.

As he did so, he saw Xi lifted bodily by claws that were digging through his ribs.

As the blood spat from his mouth, Xi plunged his sword deep into the bony skull of the beast that held him.

”Yay! Go Xi!” Ulgrum shouted watching the devil collapse to the ground … ”Xi?” he added as the reality of the death of his second comrade sank in.



”Ulgrum – here!” it was Phi – she beckoned for the jeweller to join her, fending off the sting of the remaining devil, even while its claws tore her breastplate from her.

The dwarf ran, devils in front him, skeletal army behind and flung himself in Phi’s welcoming arms. The pair of them flew upward, rising above the fortress walls.


Ulgrum hugged Phi close, but he could see behind the genasi. He could see the bone devil rising to meet them. He could see that sting whip and land between Phi’s shoulder blades, it was pulsing venom into her.

”Phi!” he cried out, seeing her eyes widen.

But Phi was steely. She threw her charge outwards beyond the fortress wall. And having put him beyond the imprisoning walls she turned and fell to the devil in mortal struggle.

__________________________________________________ _________

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So Ulgrum had chugged the elixir that mended the limbs twisted by the fall and ran.

Ran and ran over shifting bony land. Now the great fortress was a barrier to his foes, who could just exit the postern gate in ones and twos.


And the Manor was in sight when the army was raised from the bone-field.

Ulgrum stopped, seeing his way occupied by those intent on his death. He clambered the hill of thigh bones, wishing he new the arts of teleportation or plane walking or kill-every-damn-undead around me.

Maybe he did. He knew how to throw a ball of fire. The same trick Xanathar’s wizarding orc had nearly killed him with. Maybe that could cut a swathe. The sorcerer gathered the weave and wrapped it in a pea-inferno – if it dropped them all, he’d get half-way back. He’d work out what to do next then.



Something went wrong … his concentration, this strange plane. Something. He lost control of the weave and it lashed and spun in on itself and then flew …

BANG – BANG – BA-BA-BA-BANG – BANGBANG the pea bounced and boomed, boomed and bounced around the landscape each time setting a new flurry of flame, knocking back the skeletons. One knocked Ulgrum off his feet too, singeing his hair and beard.


But he was alive! He stumbled to his feet and ran – Ran as across his periphery he saw fresh bones clawing their way thought their charred cousins – Ran as he saw the Manor coming closer and closer, door slightly ajar. Ran as he heard blades drawn from ancient scabbard.

Ran until he could jump clear into the Manor’s door.


He spun like Urser on his turtle-shell and kicked the door slamming closed into the leaping cat’s face.

”Oh thank goodness” he said and threw the switch to get out of there.


Ulgrum slumped against the wall, panting and clutched Ashah’s arm dearly to his chest.
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Old Jan 5th, 2021, 02:51 PM
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Yihk
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Yihk clicks her beak at the druid before cocking her head to one side; "Do not worry tree friend, small size will suit us better methinks, oh yes yes. Small size to fly with me, a mouse or rat, we will soar the skies to the heavens you and I! But first, we go to the mountains, I have a friend I must check up upon. A friend and her Clutch."

As soon as the Druid was ready, she helped him onto her back, and repurposed her wing harness to work as a sort of saddle for the now tiny druid. Then, with a sweeping flap of her wings, and powerful leap off the ground, the two of them were in the air and heading for the mountains of her home.

She used her mastery over nature and the elements to create warm drafts to take her high into the sky, floating higher and higher until the air thinned and the ground was covered in tiny 20-30k feetspecs of trees and houses that looked as toys. She gave another click as she looked back over her shoulder at the small creature now on her back, and with a wave of her claw, she flooded the druid with oxygen so he could breath easy at such heights. "We are at soaring height now, yes yes. We will be there soon, I will keep your lungs filled with fresh air so you don't die, and we will fly together you and I, hold tight, as our speed will be great!"

While she was high in the sky, the air currents were strong, and she took off like a 60 mph or 100kph (rough top speed)rocket in the sky! She used wind bursts to bring herself to speed, the ground seeming to slowly go by down below, but the air rushed by the two of them like a river with periodic puffs of fresh air as they moved for the druid to breath easier with.

When Yihk said it would not take long, she did not exaggerate. It was less than an hour's time and they began to descend into the mountains below, which looked small from the great height they were at. The descent was much quicker than the ascent though, as they circled down towards the aeries that she had called home before her capture.

As they reached viewing range for the Druid of the aerie itself, a concerned look had come into Yihk's eyes, and the druid saw for himself what was concerning her... the aerie was empty. Nests that looked to have been long abandoned sat empty or with broken eggs inside, but not a Roc or giant eagle could be seen in the once full aerie.

Yihk slowly went over from one nest to the other, letting Filverel assume his normal form as she glanced to him; "They are all gone Filverel? Why would they have all gone?" She went from place to place, and the scene began to become more clear. There was blood on the rocks, and feathers strewn about as though a battle had been fought in some areas. Some of the nests also appeared frozen still, having not melted due to the cold at the great height.

Yihk gave a deep sigh and began to walk towards a cave behind one of the larger nests; "I believe my friend turned on my family and drove them out Filverel. I fear we will have no help here. I will gather what things I left and we might move on. I must check on my friend as well, and with luck, she can tell us what happened..."

She did not tarry long at her former abode, gathering some skins and spears she had made, as well as an unstrung bow and arrows that she gathered about herself before nodding to the druid; "We must gather an offering for her first, lest she devour us."

With that, she and the druid began a wild hunt. A search for a gift to a great white dragon. And so hunt they did, across the alpines of the mountain, they moved above and through the trees like ghosts, until their eyes found a suitable tribute, a great stag of pure white with the most grand antlers that either of them had ever seen. Yihk wasted no time though, hurling three spears at the magnificent creature with almost a sneering sound as she did so. The spears hit their mark, but none were killing blows, all three crippled the beast as malice could be seen in Yihks eyes, a relish at the torment of the beast as she had been tormented for so long. Yihk did not realize what she was doing, though Filverel might have.

When she closed with the whimpering creature, trying in vain to pull itself away using it's only leg not lame from the spears, she closed upon it and viciously ripped out its throat with her claw, muttering not a prayer of thanks in return for the bounty she received, quite contrary to how she once hunted. She seemed to enjoy watching the creature die, before the moment snapped out of her and she looked at it in almost confusion. What had she done? She wasn't sure, but it didn't really matter did it? Either way, now it was time to move it, and she removed her spears before hefting the thing with Filverel's aid, preparing the beast to be brought to the cave of her friend on the other side of the mountain.

When they arrived at the cave entrance, she dutifully brought forth the stag and placed it at the mouth of the cave, calling in to the Dragon that her bounty had been laid before it, and it was with her great happiness that she might hunt once more for the wyrmling of the dragon. But once more, she was greeted with complete silence, and a deep fear began to infect her heart. What had happened to her friends and allies in her absence? First her family left, and now her friend was not answering. She called a few more times before reluctantly nodding to Filverel and moving into the cave slowly, not waiting to see if the druid followed her.

Once in the cave, she saw human skeletal remains, broken shields and shattered swords laying all around the cave. frozen blood was everywhere, and the sockets from the dead looked accusingly at Yihk from the darkness. All of this was her fault. She began to hurry through the cave, calling to the wyrmling as she did so, worry infecting her and panic nearly overtaking. She loved the little one, and had done her best to take care of it, but it was gone now, as was its mother.

She found the wyrmling and a destroyed egg clutch at the back of the cave. The wyrmling had been slain and its head removed, it's lifeless frozen body laid unmoving on the ground in the farthest corner of the cave. She was greatly saddened as she moved over to it and petted the small thing on the back, the sorrow clear in her eyes. "Filverel... how could they do this to an innocent wyrmling? Her mother might have been dangerous, and this little one would be in time, but she hadn't hurt anyone. Why would they kill her in such a way?" She didn't expect, nor plan for an answer, as her question was mostly rhetorical. But she still couldn't understand the cruelty of humans, it was something they shared with the devils below, evil and cruelty...

After a time, she left the wyrmling and began searching the cave from top to bottom, the horde had gone, and it was not until she had fluttered up high to a hidden cave she had known about that she found anything at all of worthwhile. She called down to Filverel; "I found an egg Filverel! I found the last of her clutch, she must have hidden it away before they came for her! There's also some other things here, come and see if you need any, I'm sure she wouldn't mind as I will care for this egg as though it were my own."

When she came out, she carried a large egg close to her breast, almost hugging it happily as she tossed down a sack with the remainders of the Dragon's once large horde; "Hopefully you might find something of use here, otherwise, we have nothing left here either, we should depart to the Feylands, and mayhap they can help us... we can only hope."

 


 


 


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