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  #121  
Old Mar 28th, 2023, 09:55 AM
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Talia Dawnstar
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Out of all the things that Talia was prepared to uncover with all the sneaking about, the last thing she expected was a distraught elf. Truth be told, her initial thoughts were ones of disappointment and frustration. Her superior stealth, enhanced as they were by the gift of elven boots and cloak, were wasted and she had been looking forward to some sort of challenge for her skills.

Instead the surprised elf erupted into heart wrenching tears and theatrics as she wailed about her torn apart family. As was now the usual case, it did not take Talia long to be ashamed of her initial reactions. Lady Shalin’s words echoed in her mind, as she knew they always would now until the end of her days, words of kindness and intention. It wasn’t that the sentiments were a foreign concept to the kender, it was more that they were buried under hard won survival and grit.

It was not an easy world for the kender to walk in, no matter how easy they sometimes made it appear.

Yet here Talia was, her heart breaking with every wave of Nelessa’s grief that crashed upon her worn emotional cliffs. Talia stood silent, sniffling as she fought the urge to wail along with the distraught mother. Life was so unfair… so cruel… it just was.

Nelessa’s words were directed towards Tegan, a Solamnic knight… an anointed hero of the land, one whose sole purpose was to protect and help those in need. But what was Talia’s purpose? She was not a knight… but when she studied… well studied might not be exactly accurate… when Talia spent time at the entrance of the Great Library of Palanthas, she had learned many things… some fascinating and some not so much… she probably would have learned much more if they ever let her past the front door.

Gilean, while truly neutral in all things, couldn’t expect such passionless decision making from his kender disciple. If he did so, the god would exist in a state of perpetual boredom. He was the great balance between good and evil and so his entire purpose was predicated on the need for both extremes. Well… Talia would keep him busy… that could be her purpose…

The small kender wiped her eyes as Nathan finished speaking. "Forget about Nelessa’s request. It is a fool’s errand. She lost the figurines months ago. Even if you were to defeat Pegrin and his bandits, you would never find them. The scoundrel must have sold them a long time ago. Don’t throw away your lives for nothing,” he had said and Talia shook her head in disagreement.

“My friends and I have attempted to throw our lives away for nothing many times since we have all met… heck we almost got eaten by spiders and killed by death knights… just because we cared about someones’ lost brother. Why would I care less about Nelessa’s children?”

Talia’s words were calm and measured, a vast departure from her norm. She looked at Nathan and smiled as she explained. “I’m the Dawnstar… it’s a whole thing now.”


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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Mar 28th, 2023 at 09:56 AM.
  #122  
Old Mar 31st, 2023, 06:35 AM
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A Dawn in Darkness

The rest of the night passed uneventfully, the silence that prevailed in the great underground chamber undisturbed by elven voices held purposefully low and sobs so soft that were almost a welcome background noise like the chirping of crickets, at least as long as one didn’t dwell on their source. Those that could sleep after listening to Nelessa’s heart-wrenching story and witnessing the encroaching madness in her eyes, did, and those who couldn’t, tried to allow their bodies to rest even as their minds were left in turmoil. How many elves had similar stories to tell? How many of them would never recover from the events that led them in this dark prison beneath the human city of Pashin? It was better not to know. It was better not to ask.


The moons came and went, traveling along their predetermined courses in the firmament, giving their place to Sirrion’s fire in the sky, hot and brilliant and marking the beginning of a new day. No light reached the elven camp, however, and the radiance of the false stars dimly illuminating the refugees never wavered. Like bugs within amber the elves were forever caught in a moonless night that would not end, a night that sapped their energy and left them weaker than they had been a week ago.


Dawn also didn’t bring any change in the levels of noise in this strangely muted camp. Most of the elves simply sat, staring for hours at nothing, and even when they had to labor in some way, they did so as silently as they could, either because they didn’t want to disturb their neighbors or because they had little energy left for anything other than their basic needs. Even the few toddlers in their mothers’ arms were almost never heard crying, preferring to slip in and out of dreams than announcing their presence with vibrant, healthy cries of displeasure.


The only thing that signified a change in the dark elven sanctuary was the smell of brewing tea. Though one wouldn’t have expected it, the elves had brought along with them dried leaves, flower petals and crushed roots from their forest home and as they placed them in boiling water the scent that permeated the chamber was that of spring, bringing to the surface memories of a happier life. For a brief time color returned to elven eyes and cheeks and some lips formed smiles, sad and bitter ones, but even they were better than the empty faces of a broken nation.


Shaylin eventually appeared, bearing the gifts of her people, freshly brewed tea smelling of flowers and berries and an assortment of nuts for the companions to break their fast. She spoke little as they were eating their meal and even though her back was straight and her head held high, her eyes were dark and tired.


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Shaylin Moonborn
"We cannot exist in the twilight for much longer", she admitted, observing her people as they too tried to sate their hunger with the meager provisions they had. "Naelathan’s discovery of this place has undoubtedly saved many lives, but for many reasons our stay here must end." The elven mage inhaled deeply, enjoying the last traces of the tea’s aroma before continuing. "Unfortunately, we cannot venture into the desert and join with the rest of our kind camped outside the walls of Khuri-Khan. Not in our current state. Besides, not even my magic can hide hundreds of refugees in a barren land. The Dark Knights would ride out with lance, sword or mace in hand and I doubt that they would show mercy at our plight. At best we would be reduced to slaves. More likely our bodies would be claimed by the uncaring sands."


Shaylin paused, the horrible image in her mind too real, the possibility of such a thing coming to pass far too high for her to be able to easily banish it from her thoughts.


"But I have a solution to our impossible situation. The corridors of magic could transport all of us safely and unseen to a place less dangerous than Pashin. The Legion of Steel is sympathetic to our cause and has aided us these past few months. The Nerakese have driven them out of Pashin, but they maintain a strong presence in Ak-Khurman. We would be provided with shelter there and be given a chance to recuperate before heading to the Khurish capital."


There was a hint of excitement in the lady’s voice, a tiny spark of hope. This was what kept her going, allowing her to endure the unimaginable burden of leading a people whose existence was threatened by disease, hunger and Dark Knight hatred.


"Forming a connection between the two places through the ether is very complicated, but I am capable of such magic. The Legionnaires, however, are not. Their magic-users are sorcerers and mystics and the casting of the spell requires the precision and finesse of a wizard." Shaylin’s eyes sought those of Isandril and the young elf immediately felt the intensity in his Shalafi’s gaze. "I need your assistance, apprentice."


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A powerful magic scroll


From within her robes the wizardess produced a scroll and offered it to Isandril, her mien more serious than ever before. This was no longer Shaylin Moonborn, leader of the elven refuges. It was Shaylin Moonborn the mage, member of the Conclave of Wizards, one of the most powerful arcane spellcasters in Ansalon.


"This scroll, if the incantation is read flawlessly, will allow the creation of a teleportation circle identical to the one I have been preparing in this place for some time now. Make no mistake, apprentice, the ritual is too complex for you to properly understand and master it at this stage. It is my belief, however, that with the necessary commitment and study, and with the aid of this scroll, you will be able to cast the spell once. We will have to time it perfectly, but if we do, this chamber will be magically linked to Ak-Khurman long enough for all of our people to escape the Dark Knights’ clutches. I place this burden upon you, because I trust that you will be successful."


Leaning a little to the back, Shaylin’s gaze left her apprentice and visited the faces of his friends - Aric, the conflicted Abanasinian youth, Talia, the indomitable kender, Tegan, the honorable Solamnic squire, and Xihue, a man unlike any she had ever met.


"But not without help. You will need the assistance of people you can rely upon, people who will not fail you. Let’s see if I can detect the rest of your group so that the two halves can again become one."


From a large velvet pouch the elven mage revealed the orb the companions had already seen, the one that had glowed with the light of the silver moon. Currently the globe was dim, with just the tiniest bit of light seen at its core. The lady held it in the palm of her left hand, while at the same time her other hand reluctantly approached Tegan.


"A face will be easier to find than a name, Tegan, but I will need to take a glimpse into your head. It will not be painful and I promise not to look any deeper. All I need is a recent memory of the other elf you have described - Blainneth. Try to focus on her looks, the impression you have when you gaze inside her eyes. It is all that I require, all that I will take from you and that only with your permission."


Waiting for some sign of agreement, Shaylin gently touched the Solamnic’s forehead and brought the orb closer to her face, staring inside it intently. Strange words left her lips, long incantations that made all but Isandril shiver as if the temperature had suddenly plummeted. All they could understand was a single word - Blainneth. The elf’s name was spoken again and again until the light within the globe grew brighter and the mage abruptly removed her hand from Tegan’s forehead, now holding the ball with two hands.


"Observe", the elf whispered, "Is that her?"


Blainneth’s voice could be heard as clearly as if she were sitting right there, beside them, her beautiful face contorted with pain.


"But my mother had never come home. She had been out. Within the storm. I worried, and so I went to check. When I found her, I knew. The landslide was as new as any of the devastation around me. But as her daughter, I knew my mother's grave when I saw it before me…"


An elderly human, rather distinguished-looking, watched Blainneth with sad eyes and a young human woman with dark skin and hair styled exquisitely, sat beside her, silently waiting for the elf to finish her story. Shaylin raised the orb, slightly turning it towards the right and the invisible sensor shifted, showing a number of empty tables and a barmaid carrying bread, sausages and eggs.


"This can only be the Five Dragons Inn", the white robe concluded, a satisfied smile on her lips. "Your friends are here in Pashin."


With a fluid move of the mage’s hand the vision within the orb wavered and vanished, just like Blainneth’s voice grew faint and then silent. Shaylin didn’t have the intention to spy on the woman, merely to locate her. Besides, she didn’t want to subject herself to more elven suffering. Blainneth had clearly lost her mother in an accident and the white robe had enough to deal with even without another tragic tale adding to a sorrow she was not allowed to display.


"This makes things much easier", Shaylin announced, placing the magical orb back inside her pouch. "My people will contact your friends, but I will require something written by your hand, so that they will not doubt the veracity of the message. Be sure to describe the way to the place where An’quesse is waiting for you. This is where you should reunite."


Rising to her feet, the elven mage carefully looked at the companions, memorizing their faces in order to have them serve as hope when the darkness around her grew too thick and too heavy.


"I think that the time has come for you to leave us. It is not because I don’t enjoy your company or because we don’t have the resources to entertain guests. I fear that our mysterious malady will afflict you too." Her eyes met those of Isandril and it was only now that the young elf understood that the white robe’s bloodshot eyes were not so only because of a lack of sleep. The leader of the elves suffered from the strange disease just like her people did, a disease with no cure.


"I thank you for what you have done for us and for all that you are still prepared to do. Know that the future of my people lies in your hands. Travel to Ak-Khurman and contact the Legion of Steel, but not before visiting the ruins of Hurim, almost directly to the northeast of Pashin. They are part of your fate, though I cannot exactly see how or why. Take care. The story of this place is bloody and dark and the old temple of PaladineE’li is considered cursed by the locals. You will also have to travel through the desert for many days and the gods only know what you’ll encounter there."


Shaylin paused and after a few moments of silence smiled. It was a genuine smile, a smile of true hope.


"I have faith in you and in the gods of light. They will guide you towards your destiny and us to a safe shelter. Until we are able to reclaim Silvanesti…"


"We are ready to depart, Lady."


The voice belonged to Naelathan, who appeared behind the mage in the company of Larimielle, her eyes as cold and hard as steel, Lady Angelyn, and next to the healer a human boy - Hashem!


"As you see, this young man has recovered fully, though he hasn’t spoken a word since he woke", the priestess of MishakalQuenesti Pah explained, her hand placed protectively on the boy’s frail shoulder. "He doesn’t appear to have suffered any sustained damage through the poison of the giant spider, however. Perhaps he cannot speak the common tongue, though he seems to understand what I am telling him without difficulty. Will you be taking him along so that he can return to Pashin? And he had better stay out of the sewers in the future. Even with the giant spiders gone, there are many more dangers in these dark passages." The priestess frowned. "It is as if they were made with the dark god Morgion in mind. I am sure they are crawling with vermin carrying all manner of diseases."


Hashem said nothing, his large eyes glued to the flagstones in front of his feet. There was no doubt that he had recognized Isandril, but he appeared uncomfortable meeting his gaze and constantly sought to avoid it. Why? What was he doing in that dark, dangerous place? What was he seeking that was worth risking his life for?


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What secrets lie within Hashem’s eyes?


"Godspeed and may the silver moon forever light your path", Shaylin wished the companions, raising her hand in farewell. "”Stay true to the Art, yourself and your people” in Silvanesti elvenEn se lerei atte, en imalie, e en elfianith"


The mage’s last words were obviously meant for Isandril, a blessing and at the same time a warning. For the things to come…



Calendar9th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Morning

Solinari: 3/36 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Nuitari
Lunitari: 12/28 (High Sanction)
Nuitari: 1/8 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Solinari

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White Robes - | Red Robes +1 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes -


 
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Last edited by Elanir; Mar 31st, 2023 at 07:57 AM.
  #123  
Old Apr 4th, 2023, 12:03 AM
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Aric Armitage
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Was it dawn? Midday? Perhaps it was still the deep dark gloom of night. The time was irrelevant, a fact rendered moot by the absence of a sky above. So complete was the darkness belowground that only Aric’s memory served as a testament to the existence of a sun. He closed his eyes tightly and noticed no difference compared to the world around him. How do they live like this? And then his memory of the previous night began to filter in as he continued to awaken, and he recalled how frail the Silvanesti elves had appeared, and in his heart knew the answer to that question was Not well.

His earlier interaction with Laramielle had gone poorly. He had asked Tegan to try speaking to the elven warrior on his behalf. It seemed like everything he tried to do ended up in tatters. I should just let the others do my talking for me, because that’s the only way things will not be fouled up continuously. He missed the quiet of the forest, the way the mist hung low over the ground in the early morning. He missed the scents of pine and oak, the heady spice of Mychael’s Place and the savory smell of sawdust. A crackling fire, a nice chunk of venison or a hearty bowl of rabbit stew… his mother, his father. His home. He was so far from home now, separated by continents. He may as well have been on another planet. Would he ever return? He couldn’t say. It certainly didn’t seem like his life was on track toward Abanasinia anytime soon. There was a hitch in his throat, and he realized for the first time that he could recall that he was homesick. He tried to keep silent in the quiet dark of the tent, but a sudden chirping sound reminded him that there was no time for sniveling. He had responsibilities now.

Yes, yes, I hear you little one, give me a moment. He didn’t want to wake Xihue, who had been up in the middle of the night investigating a sound, one which had turned out to be a distraught elven woman creeping past their tent. Like Laramielle, she had been affected by the bandits, but at least her desires were more material – though in a way, Aric thought, they weren’t different at all. Nelessa wanted her baubles back, and Laramielle wanted copious amounts of bloodshed. He wanted to pretend they were different, but one could not make an omelet without cracking the shell, and he doubted very much they would be able to retrieve the mournful mother’s totems without also laying waste to the bandits who held them. He sighed. I’ve done messed up again. I need to set this right. I can’t have Tegan fighting my battles for me. What kind of man would do that? No, Laramielle’s right, I need to grow up. With a sigh, he popped a chunk of venison into his mouth and mashed the meat into a paste. He plucked a pinch of the gummy meat paste from his jaws and gently held it over the little bird’s mouth. I don’t know if I’m doing this right, Habakkuk, but I’m trying my best.

After feeding his little bird, he gathered his goods and quietly dressed. It had been cold sleeping below the earth, and he had only removed his armor and boots. It was a matter of moments before he was ready. He needed to do one thing before they departed, and that was to find someone who might have a spare bowstring he could trade for. It took some time, but eventually he found a willing elf who traded him two bowstrings. All it cost him was a coil of hemp rope. Fair trade, Aric thought, now that’s one less thing I’ve got to lug through the desert. He took a moment to restring his old white oak bow and tucked the other string into a pouch of his pack. With that done, he went over to where Lady Shaylin’s tent was set up and checked to see if there were any more dates he could nibble on. He had never been a stocky boy, but his travels through the desert and the lean rations he had been subsisting on had left him downright gaunt; with his tall height, thin frame, and flowing red hair, he looked like a walking mop.

After quickly breaking his fast, Aric began to quietly search the camp for Laramielle. I don’t imagine she’d much want to hear another word from my mouth, but… I can’t let this linger any more. I can’t keep relying on others to fix my damage.

He found the elven warrior woman at last, catching her in the middle of packing up her gear and getting set to travel with them to the cave where An’Quesse had been stashed. He quietly cleared his throat.

”Uh, good morning. Uh, listen, I just wanted to say, you were right. I’m fully aware that I’m still just a child, and – and maybe I’m not the great warrior that you are and your brother was. I guess I just never envisioned myself leading that kind of life, you know? There’s so much of this world I haven’t seen, it’s no wonder that I don’t understand. And even if I’d seen every corner of the globe, I still couldn’t claim to know what you and your people have gone through.” He sighed. ”It’s too late for me to keep playing the card of a weak child. I see that now. That woman, the one who was crying last night… all she wanted was to keep her childen’s totems, and they wouldn’t even let her do that. I-“ His words choked off in his throat. ”I used to think I was a good person, but… damn it, I can’t be a good person if there are people out there doing bad things to innocents and I just stand by. So, yeah, when it comes down to it, I’ll be there to… to try to stop the bandits from hurting anyone else. But – can you at least understand my position? I mean, aside from animals, I’ve never killed anyone before, and to me it felt like you were asking me to go out and cause a bloodbath. Can you not see how I might be a little bit unnerved by that prospect? How did you feel when it came time to take your first life? I may not know much at all about elves, but I imagine you weren't feeling anything close to jovial.” He sighed. ”Sorry. This was all meant to be an apology, but I feel like I’m being an assh*le all over again. Uh, look, I just… we’re going to be traveling together soon, and I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to say what I had to say later, so… yeah. That… that’s about it. I’ll leave you to your packing.”

Unsure what else to say, Aric turned around and headed back to his shared tent to wait for their eventual departure. I did my best to right a wrong. Whether I did or not, only the gods know. He put his head in his hands and rubbed his eyes with the palms.

Where am I even going? I feel so lost. Are these people my destiny now? Who could say? There was one thing, however: it would be nice to see his other companions again. That was something to look forward to. I can’t wait to see Pnoah and Veralyne, Blainneth, and of course Kaylen.

 
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  #124  
Old Apr 4th, 2023, 09:29 AM
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Talia Dawnstar
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It was time. The task of finding the elven sister was now complete but as such things have a habit of doing… my opportunities for adventure rapidly introduced themselves. Such was the kender way, ensuring a lifetime of novel adventures, even if with a resulting shorter lifespan.

While Shaylin spoke, mostly to Tegan, Talia kept Nelessa’s words in the forefront of her mind. Regardless of where the group wandered, Talia would ease that woman’s suffering, first and foremost. But before anything else could happen, Shaylin spoke of bringing the other half of the adventuring party back together and Talia twirled around in happiness when she heard that the rest of her companions were here, in the city!

At first she thought to rush out from the sewer and see her friends immediately but then she thought of the Death Knights and realized that discretion was the better part of valor. They would all meet back with the Griffon before venturing off to fulfill Tegan’s destiny… and what a destiny it was.

“The Legion of Steel! The ruins of Hurim! What that is I have no idea but this is going to be so much more fun than the Standing Stones!” Talia exclaimed in excitement before her excitement died away like a fading ember when she saw Nathan step forward.

“Well… I knew there had to be some fine print caveat,” she mumbled before quickly smiling again at Larimielle and Hashem.

“Well… when I was young my father had something called a Daddy Kiss. When I hurt something… like my arm and I was crying, he would ask me if I wanted a Daddy Kiss. If I said yes he would then whack me really hard somewhere else and it would make me forget what hurt in the first place. Maybe Hashem needs a Daddy Kiss. I know it sounds bad… but it really… and I mean… really worked!”

Talia stepped closer to Hashem and gave him a tap with her hoopak. “Don’t worry… anything you say to me will be kept a solemn secret. Kenders are the best secret keepers in the entire world.”


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  #125  
Old Apr 8th, 2023, 02:50 AM
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Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
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"I will fail neither you nor our people, my Shalafi," Isandril said simply as he accepted Shaylin's scroll with a bow of his head. Gone were the finely made yet relatively non-descript clothes he had been wearing during the group's travels so far. The Silvanesti mage was now garbed in proper wizard's robes, their craftsmanship undeniably elven and their color mirroring that of his chosen Order and their patron, the silver moon, Solinari.

Putting the scroll in his backpack and seeing Shaylin turn to address the others, so too did he turn his focus towards someone else. It did seem, however, that someone else had beaten him to the punch, as humans tended to say. Talia was already there, talking with Hashem, who had seemed unwilling to meet the mage's gaze. He considered waiting before he approached the youth, but decided against it. There were no secrets and time was at least somewhat of the essence, seeing as how more than one thing still needed to be accomplished.

"Debatable," he remarked as soon as he was standing next to the boy and the kender, his single word a comment about the secret keeping prowess of Talia's people. Whether it was in jest or he actually meant it was also debatable. Quite possibly a little of both. "That being said, she is right. You can talk to... us. After all, you already did so when we met at the Standing Stones. But I feel like there is more to your story." He paused. "You possess a keen mind and an interest in magic. A thirst even. Or at least that is my impression. Is that why we found you here, an elven spellbook tightly held against your breast?" Isandril smiled. "Were you looking for magic? For elves? For me?"

He took in a deep breath, allowing the young man to gather his own thoughts. "I believe I have something of yours. A piece of metal. Bronze, I think?" He shook his head. "Unfortunately, I do not have it with me. I could not figure out what it was so I left it with..." He seemed to think for a moment on the most appropriate characterization best describing Pnoah. "With a friend," he said finally. "He has a way with metal, you see. But we were separated. Still, we should be reunited soon enough and I should be able to return it to you when next we meet."

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  #126  
Old Apr 8th, 2023, 11:46 AM
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Shalyin Moonborn
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Tegan
As Shaylin and Tegan spoke, he could see the worn reality behind her pride. As she spoke of war and dragons the haunted memories of another time aged her countenance.

"I fear that not even your stout heart will be able to prevail against a Dark Knight army, Tegan uth William. But I accept your sword and am grateful for the honor you do me by allowing me to point it at an enemy of my people. Still, we have talked enough about war. You are wounded and weary and deserve a night of peace. Rest now, squire, and once Lady Starsinger has finished tending to the Khurish youth, I will have her pay you a visit. Come morning, we shall talk further of how you could help us in our hour of need, elf-friend..."

Tegan was about to reply, when the Lady continued. "Where are these companions you spoke of, Tegan? If you want, I could attempt to magically locate them, though much effort would be necessary, since these individuals are unknown to me. A likeness of them would be useful, as would be a personal possession or a small body part like a strand of hair. There is a conjunction of the silver and black moons tomorrow that will counter the fact that in its current phase Solinari’s light is weak. If the spell is to be cast, tomorrow would be the right time for it. Think about it. The elven nation could use all the assistance people are willing to offer it."

A grin broke out across Tegan's face. If there was one concern he couldn't put to rest it was how his friends had fared with the Dark Knights. "I will rest tonight and consider your generous offer. I will communicate with my companions and come to a decision. I doubt that we will refuse your gift. I may no little of magic, but I understand that the boon of a powerful magic-user is of no small import. I thank you for your consideration Lady. With that, I bid you a fair night."

With a half-bow the Solamnic made his way to the companions tents where he rested.
A woman distraughtTegan awoke suddenly. He had dreamed. Momentarily he tried to remember them as he wiped cold sweat from his brow. Visions of a giant spider's mandible closing on his neck with no intervention in sight sent a shudder down his spine. Thumb and forefinger rubbed at his weary eyes as he put on a shirt.

He had awoken to a commotion outside the tent. He could hear the raised voice of a woman. He rose and clearly heard the phrase "I heard that among you is a Solamnic Knight and I thought - I thought…"

Tegan felt the weight of responsibility slow him down. Everywhere he went, his status was recognized and it implied responsibility or danger. Am I cut out for this? I know that everyone is encouraging me to press on, but I nearly died yesterday! I am no hero. Yet, duty calls regardless of our preparation. I should see what is going on.

Tegan emerged from the tent's thin flaps and approached. He missed the beginning of the lady's story in his musings, but he quickly put the pieces together. This woman was haunted by something much worse than Tegan's own dreams or fears. This woman's family had been lost over time, from one atrocious occurence to the next. Tegan realized how much he appreciated a human's relatively short lifespan. He wasn't sure he could live to endure the grief of many lifetimes; where outliving one's children was extremely realistic due to the length of a life. He didn't have the emotional fortitude and resilience to go on with such a lifetime of woe.

Then Tegan saw what he had once experienced with Aric: uncontrollable self-harm with a moaning. He wasn't sure how to help and attempted to talk softly to the woman, crooning that things would be okay. He tried to stop her self harm, but the force required to stop her from scratching herself would likely break her further. The prolonged effects of malnourishment made her limbs weak and spindly, and Tegan feared to harm her further.

Fortunately, one who could help came soon. Priestess Starsinger's prayers calmed her, and the woman fell into Naelathan's arms. Suddenly the woman became aware of her surroundings again and attempted to lunge at Tegan, reaching for his hand and trying to kiss it. His immediate action was to recoil, but seeing she could do no harm he did not resist.

"Sir Knight, please help me! Bring me back something from my children, my husband. The jade figurines my Cerillon carved, I retrieved them with the help of a Khurish scout... we were ambushed! Cruel men surrounded us and Hekim fought them, asking me to leave. I did as told, but dropped the satchel with the figurines - my children, I abandoned them… I ran and ran until I could no longer breathe. I know I don’t deserve your mercy, Sir Knight, but please, please, bring me back these figurines. They are all I have." She retrieved a pouch and thrust it into the Knight's hands. "Please, Sir. I know Knights of Solamnia to be men and women of honor. Will you help me? Will you return my children to me?" Before the dazed Tegan could respond, Priestess Starsinger was leading the woman away, softly crooning her to a more calm state. Tegan remained in a kneeling position, holding a pouch of coins he didn't intend to keep, and pondering what to do. There was so much hurt in this world and he couldn't solve it all. He considered declining - this woman was clearly driven to partial madness from her grief and she may forget about him altogether. Yet Tegan would remember. He would know the dishonor he returned to this woman in need. Tegan knew the call of Kiri-Jolith and of the Knights. To consider the innocent and to put them above your own life was a critical tenet. Here was someone who had been broken and due to the circumstances, her personal woes were swept aside by the large scale needs of her people. He couldn't just let her suffer.

His decision was finalized as the cold Naelathan interrupted his thoughts.

"Forget about Nelessa’s request. It is a fool’s errand. She lost the figurines months ago. Even if you were to defeat Pegrin and his bandits, you would never find them. The scoundrel must have sold them a long time ago. Don’t throw away your lives for nothing."

Tegan always tried to control his temper, but Naelathan found a way to get under his skin. Naelathan reminded Tegan of Khurish sand. Always finding a way under his armor and finding uncomfortable places to rub raw. Naelathan turned to follow the women but Tegan stood, tossing the coin pouch at his feet. "Return the woman's coin. I need no payment to do what is right. You may consider one woman's nightmare insignificant compared to the needs of your people, but I do not. I may not succeed, but I intend to do my best to help ease her pain."

The warrior stood tall and proud, his conviction confirmed in the face of adversity. His eyes burned with a fire to help others that superseded his doubts and wiped away fears. Besides, Kiri-Jolith had shown that courage was not fruitless. He would not be alone.

Following the commotion, Tegan, the adrenaline leaving his system, ran his hand through his hair, his palm resting on his forehead as he considered his next steps. Could he ask his friends to join him on what really could be a fool's errand? A death wish?
AricTegan returned to his tent and found Aric there. Tegan saw a complicated expression on his friend's face and worked to clear his mind so he could be emotionally available for his friend. They sat and Aric began to speak while Tegan listened.

He spoke of how he valued Tegan as a role-model and longed to be like him. Tegan smiled at Aric warmly, but inside, he doubted if he was worthy of this following. Aric was more open about his mistakes, but Tegan felt he was just stumbling through this as well.

Aric went on to talk about discerning right from wrong, especially when the line was grey. Aric spoke of his refusal of Laramielle's request and bore open the truth of what happened with the vulture some nights past. He spoke of the balance of vengeance and justice, and his fear to be consumed with a violent life. Aric had a gentle spirit and he was too young to be asked to grow up this quickly. Tegan reflected that he wasn't much older and had been thrust into a similar role. He put that thought aside for now and continued to listen.

As Aric finished, he spoke of the horrors they had seen and admitted that he did want to help Laramielle and attempt to enforce justice in a tough situation, but he was afraid to address it directly. Last he expressed how alone he felt. It was hard for him to relate with most of their companions, and they likely had the closest bond of any.

As his words finished Tegan's eyes welled with tears of compassion. He blinked them back, knowing that Aric may interpret those as pity and feel worse. Tegan thought for a long moment then began to speak.

"You have matured much since we first met Aric Armitage. I know the weight of responsibility can be overwhelming... yet you have the right perspective. You are right - vengeance, vindictiveness, and a love of violence will only corrupt you. That being said, while you state you see the temptation, you are clearly not your father. You are clearly not one who enjoys hurting others. You've had a rough life Aric, and you need to give yourself some credit for thriving in difficult times." Tegan reached over and gripped Aric's right shoulder and looked him straight in the eyes. "You are not a burden Aric. I am thankful that you came and talked to me. As long as fate allows, I will always be here to support you. That being said, I think you are right. In this situation, unfortunately there must be intervention. It's not a love of violence, but a begrudging need to defend the innocent. Passiveness is rarely just. When there is evil - and there is a lot of it in this world - it is wrong to just watch it grow. You would have made a great Knight Aric."

Tegan knew what he had to say next, but was not sure how to phrase it. Deciding that just blunt honesty was best, he continued. "You are right. Someone must intervene and bring these men to justice. Not only for their previous sins, but because we want to save future victims from their vindictive nature. However, I cannot fix this for you. You are stronger than you know Aric. You must find a way to speak to Laramielle and tell her the truth. It will be hard, there is no way around that, but you can do it. This is part of growing - admitting your mistakes. You are not a coward.

I want you to know that I am proud to call you my friend and to have you by my side on the battlefield. I will always do what I can to give you guidance and protect you, but for this conversation, you will have to take point."
Tegan tried to soften this with a smile.

Aric would be okay. He was strong and smart. His self-reflection meant that he would grow beyond what many could. Tegan could sense the growing conviction in Aric and he liked it. Maybe Tegan's own trials were not just for himself or those he helped, but maybe they created a positive effect on his friends.
Friends Found and Moving OnTegan had a long night trying to sleep unsuccessfully. His mind raced with the recent events. In the excitement of the evening, he had completely forgot to mention to his friends the possibility of finding the others with Shaylin's help. He hoped not to bother Isandril with his constant shifting, but eventually he gave up on the notion of sleep and decided to focus on soothing his spirit. It was a constant battle to remain focused in this hard world and Tegan felt that extra time in prayer may help more than anything else.

Sitting up, the warrior crossed his legs, lowered his head, and began to bear his soul to his god.

It wasn't long before morning came. Of course, there was little indication in the environment of morning, but the scent of freshly brewed tea wafted throughout the cavern, warming the despondent temperament of the day. Tegan rose and dressed. He inspected his mail, looking for small imperfections and mending them as best he could in a tent underground. Luckily his armor held up well. There were some crushed chains, but those would have to do for the time being.

As he stretched and donned his armor, Tegan couldn't help but think of Khurish coffee. It had become quite the vice for him during his stay in this country, and tea just didn't satisfy the itch fully. Yet he would not complain.

Shaylin broke her fast with the group. They sipped tea and ate a meager breakfast together. It was there that Shaylin explained her plan to save her people. Tegan was excited as she detailed powerful magic that would allow her to move all her people at once to a whole new area. She would need Isandril's expert help, but Tegan was confident that the wizard would come through. So far, his magic had never failed them.

They discussed the proposition of finding their friends and the companions readily agreed. Shaylin retrieved an orb with a hint of light inside and approached the Solamnic.

"A face will be easier to find than a name, Tegan, but I will need to take a glimpse into your head. It will not be painful and I promise not to look any deeper. All I need is a recent memory of the other elf you have described - Blainneth. Try to focus on her looks, the impression you have when you gaze inside her eyes. It is all that I require, all that I will take from you and that only with your permission."

The warrior hesitated at first. He looked to Isandril with a query on his face and Isandril gave a nod. Tegan thought it was a reassuring nod. Turning back, he took a deep breath and confirmed to Lady Shalyin. "I am ready."

Tegan tore through his mind trying to think of a memory of Blainneth. One rose to the top and Tegan recalled when Blainneth approached him on their journey to Pashin. She had talked about the burden he bore, both in the weight of his armor, but in the weight of his responsibility. She had thanked him for his sacrifice and had talked about the note for Pashin's mayor.

Tegan focused on what Blainneth had looked like. He remembered her vibrant hair and matching silks. The fantastic and exotic jewelry that adorned her face, then he focused on her eyes. They were not unfriendly, but they had a power and intensity to their calculating gaze. They seemed to see past the surface and into the heart of a situation. Overall, it was the most vivid picture Tegan could paint of the elf.

What seemed like a cold moment passed and within the orb an image of Blainneth appeared. They could even hear her, she was sharing a difficult thing with a human Tegan did not recognize. One of the Knights of Neraka? No, it couldn't be.

"This can only be the Five Dragons Inn, your friends are here in Pashin."

So they were safe! Relief flooded over the warrior like a cool fountain. Shaylin informed the party that the elves could get a notice to Blainneth and that Naelathan could sneak them out of the city so they could return to An'quesse.

They knew what they had to do now. To help the elves they had to reconvene with their friends, make their way to the northeast, and find the Legion of Steel. From there, Isandril should be able to create the magical field that allows for the transport of the refugees. Along the way, they would have to deal with Pashin's bandit problem. Hopefully, with any divine favor, they could meet Nelessa on the other side, jade figurines in hand.

The youth Hashem also was joining them for now. Tegan let Isandril and Talia look to him while Tegan took to writing a note to Blainneth. He wanted to keep it concise, without too much information, but providing enough to guide the others.

Blainneth and friends,

If you have received this, then know that your companions are okay. We have found the el our friends that we were looking for. They helped us find that you are also in Pashin. We are currently leaving the city and returning to a nearby cave, where we wish to rendezvous.

Please tell the others that we are anxious to see them.

We have much to share upon our meeting, but I will not detail them here, lest these details fall into the hands of another.

Please bring provisions for a journey in the desert. Food, water, and whatever else you deem necessary.

You are all in my prayers,

-Your friend in Kiri-Jolith


Tegan also included a simple diagram that depicted the location of the cave in relation to the city, so the other's could find them.

 
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Last edited by Tommyk382; Apr 8th, 2023 at 03:16 PM.
  #127  
Old Apr 9th, 2023, 10:07 PM
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Xihue of the Alan-Atu
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Enigma plagued pasts swirled at the edge of his awareness as Xihue meditated, mindful of the unattainable immediacy of his present, in search of direction toward an unknowable future. There were three stories of Ascended masters, each gifted with different visionary paths. In knowing them, Xihue was taught that he would find his own way toward the goal of personal growth that dominate his short life. Innumerable lifetimes had been squandered before each had reached the ultimate end, Ascension to deific awareness of reality.

The "gods" were proof that such elevation was possible. Their power was beyond mortal understanding. Their might was testament to unimagined limits that promised unfathomable awareness. Their diversity was proof that no two paths were identical. With such expansive possibility in the denizens of the stars, how might an individual hope to reach their lofty heights?

It was likely that his own life was simply another steppingstone along the path of his soul's journey toward it's destiny but there had always been a sense of significance to it. Xihue knew that his life was purposeful. If he were but one of the grains of sand upon the beach of eternity or the mountain that rose from the sea upon which the waves of time broke, the monk was open to reach his proper place in the Universe, the greater reality that stretched imperceptibly beyond Krynn, beyond the planes, and beyond the stars.

Ironically, it was this awareness of purpose which constrained him. Such hubris was an anchor which could only impose boundaries to what must remain unbound. With Lady Moonborn's prophecy, there was immediate direction. Upon that road, among these companions, the itinerant Alan-Atu set his course. With the song of an Elven Queen alive within his mind, Xihue met each of them with a renewed sense of congruity.

Talia was a powerful woman and true to her kind. Although Xihue had never encountered Kinder before, he was stricken by the intenseness of her perspective. She spent no time in consideration of the pasts that she could not change. History held no sway upon her. Every previous experience was simply informative data that could be used to help her choose her current action. There was no consideration of the future either. Consequences were a natural result of any choice but, for this woman, they were were to be dealt with when they presented themselves. not earlier. There was no point in counting unhatched chickens. There was no reason to waste time worrying about something that might happen while you were dealing with things that were happening right now. Xihue admired that. In many ways, she was more enlightened than he was.

Aric Armitage was Talia's diametric opposite. The boy was so overwhelmed by the ghosts of his immutable past that they confounded every one of his choices. His irrational fear of unknowable futures kept him cowering and often paranoid that even his most innocent actions would lead to personal regret, injury, or insurmountable harm. This was a damaged man. Although the persistent recurrence of his neuroses had too often removed the boy from meaningful moments, there were signs that the emotional damage was reparable or, at least, not permanent. Aric had taken readily to the grounding mediational practices that Xihue had taught him. He showed great strength and aptitude with his martial skills, especially with his bow. He had a penchant for arcane practice which was beginning to respond to the nurturing efforts of the newly clad white wizard, Isandril. Aric responded to Tegan as a father figure, accepting the Solamnic squire's friendship and guidance. With the birth of the hatchling, something that required Aric's personal attention and care, these influences seemed potentiated in a way that would likely facilitate the healing required to bring Aric back to wholeness. I must do what I can to help Aric without enabling his darker tendencies.

Tegan was a natural leader. His steadfast consistency provided a stoic, stolid foundation for the trust that was necessary to guide a group. As a shepherd, Xihue found this constant naturally. It was a capability within himself that Kaylen had recognized at the riverside battle that had initiated this adventure. Placid, trusting, sheep were not a fair comparison to intellectual beings, however. One could lead lemmings off of a cliff and all would die but conscious beings, bonded in purpose, would require a more reasonable predicate. Tegan possessed that quality of character. He was obviously well intentioned, a good man, and rational. He accepted guidance and encouraged dialogue, contributory opinion, and mutual consent. If Xihue could help the man to use less starch in his laundry, the natural stiffness of a follower of Kiri-JolithQu'an might be worked into a more supple cloth.

Resplendent in his new white robes, Isandril was obviously most at home within this dark place. Were the encampment situated within the forested boundaries of their homeland, it would be almost a certainty that this wizard would have no need to continue to adventure. Xihue didn't spend any time fantasizing about such dream-bound musings. There were hard facts that Shaylin had made significant and apparent. There was a need, an urgent and prevalent need, that demanded attention. The elves had been displaced by the minotaurs of the League. There was little that would supplant them from their claim, won in conquest. If the elves wished to ever return to their homeland, they would have to physically drive that Empire from beneath the trees. Isandril had accepted an apprenticeship with Lady Moonborn and, having been directed to a designated duty by the powerful magician, would need some of the knowledge that the Alan-Atu had been intimately familiar with.

Xihue ended his meditative contemplation with a long, controlled release of a lung-full breath. The emptiness of his chest approached as the warm, moist wisp of air escaped from above the fully contracted diaphragm. The monk relaxed and drew a fresh breath as he rose smoothly from his cross-legged repose and looked around. He would need to seek out each of the others before they departed and help to reconcile any unresolved obligations.

“Well… when I was young my father had something called a Daddy Kiss. When I hurt something… like my arm and I was crying, he would ask me if I wanted a Daddy Kiss. If I said yes he would then whack me really hard somewhere else and it would make me forget what hurt in the first place. Maybe Hashem needs a Daddy Kiss. I know it sounds bad… but it really… and I mean… really worked!” Talia had been talking to Larimielle and Hashem as he approached. “Don’t worry… anything you say to me will be kept a solemn secret. Kenders are the best secret keepers in the entire world.” "We had a similar practice on the mountains. If a child were possessed by a tantrum or disrespected an elder, their toes were tied together in what was called a "Mother's Embrace". The child was still responsible for their chores if they wished to eat. Few maintained their outburst for long and fewer still remained unapologetic. I can attest to Talia's ability to keep secrets. Being the only Kender that I have ever travelled with, I can only believe her claim. Although she has been often mistaken, I have never seen this woman purposefully lie or intentionally betray a trust." Xihue bowed to each of them, "Peace be with you all. Hashem, I would like a word with you before we leave this place. May I ask for a moment of your time once I have made our preparations for departure?"

Xihue approached Tegan as he was writing a message to the other travelers who had remained with the Nerakan knights. Although he could not read the words, the diagram at the bottom of the note was plain enough, directions to the cave where they had left the hippogriff. "Peace be with you, friend Tegan. Pardon my presumption but are you certain that you wish to send that note? We have already seen letters misdirected, intercepted and misused. It would be reasonable to believe that this missive will be read by others than the ones for which it is intended. You have drawn a very good map to guide our former companions back to us but would that not risk an ambush or attack were it to reach the Knights of Neraka? Might I suggest that you guide them to a place that can be easily observed with clear, open lines of site, that we can be defensively prepared for such circumstances? If you guide them to a different landmark, someplace nearby other than the cave, we can maintain the security of An'Quesse's location, protect ourselves from subterfuge, and still rejoin those who stayed behind? I would also council that any mention of this banished enclave or our association with it be avoided. Simply state that we would like to rejoin them and provide a location where that might take place. Forgive me for being so bold. I have a feeling that such precautions might be wise given the circumstances." Xihue left Tegan to continue to prepare to leave the elves.

Xihue returned to speak with Hashem and found him with Isandril. Argent robes made the elf almost regal. They suited him well. "Ah, there you are. Peace be with you both." The shepherd stood silently nearby as Isandril spoke, "I believe I have something of yours. A piece of metal. Bronze, I think? Unfortunately, I do not have it with me. I could not figure out what it was so I left it with... With a friend. He has a way with metal, you see. But we were separated. Still, we should be reunited soon enough and I should be able to return it to you when next we meet." It certainly would be nice to see Pnoah again!


 
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Last edited by Black Jim; Apr 10th, 2023 at 12:38 PM.
  #128  
Old Apr 10th, 2023, 03:40 PM
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The Way Back
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Larimielle Clearbrook
Aric may as well have been talking to the walls for all the reaction he got from Larimielle. The woman refused to even glance at the youth, who was proving himself so brave by admitting a mistake that had probably not been a mistake to begin with. The kirath simply continued preparing herself for the trek to the cave, filling her waterskin and placing inside her backpack whatever she thought might prove useful. Though her injured arm appeared to restrict her movements, Larimielle would not ask for any assistance, either from the human, who would have been delighted to provide it, or the elves who were camping next to her. The youth couldn’t help but admire the elven warrior to a certain degree, even though he realized that it probably was this same uncompromising sense of pride that had caused Ariellan’s death in the first place. He hoped that his sister’s fate would be different, even though their personalities were very much the same.


Realizing that words could no longer sway Larimielle or change the impression she had of him, Aric turned to leave, knowing that he had tried his best, as Tegan had advised him. He had barely taken three steps away, however, when the elf woman’s voice stopped him. Turning around excitedly, he saw that her eyes were still avoiding his and that she was still occupied with her backpack, currently trying to fit a large coil of rope inside.


"Baby vultures are born blind, or nearly blind, and are completely dependent on their parents. It takes several weeks for vulture chicks to gain enough independence to move around on their own. Once they grow, their eyesight is very keen, as is their sense of smell. Both help them locate decaying animal corpses. That is what they eat from the moment they hatch and they will reject all other forms of nourishment. All chicks rely entirely on their parents to bring them food, though hatchlings may find it very hard to feed on what the adult vultures bring back, so the parents usually regurgitate the food they’ve already eaten into the mouths of their young ones. One should be extremely careful when offering a hatchling water, for it could easily drown. Decomposing meat usually has enough liquids to keep a chick hydrated. Warmth, quiet and no direct exposure to the sun are also very important at this stage."


Each sentence was spoken with detachment, as if the kirath was giving a lecture to a disinterested audience, but the fact that Larimielle had gone to the trouble of offering some advice about how a young vulture should be raised spoke volumes. That didn’t mean that she was prepared to forgive Aric, merely that she respected life in all its forms and wouldn’t have the bird’s death in her conscience.


The youth waited for her to add something more personal, anything really, even an accusation, but when nothing came he nodded his gratitude and returned to his friends. It wasn’t ideal, but his decision had been the right one. It had accomplished something. If the little one survived, it might have actually accomplished a great deal.


*****


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Hashem
Hashem looked skeptically at Talia and shook his head. "Kender keep no secrets. Kender tell secrets. Kender find secrets. Have secret for kender." Out of his pocket the boy took out a small stone and presented it to the handler. It was jagged and full of sharp edges, as if it had been pried out of the earth’s embrace with force. In the poor light the stone appeared to be black and opaque, but when Hashem turned it first to the right, then to the left, it proved to be crystalline in nature.


"It speaks", Hashem explained, "but not with voice. Here." The boy pointed at his head. "It dark, but mind inside. No see, but feel. Makes skin itch. Do kender feel?"


Almost thrusting the stone to Talia’s hands, Hashem turned to face Isandril.


"Stone makes no fire. It speaks. Don’t care for words. Care for fire. Metal don’t make fire too. But metal alive. A gift for Is-an-dril. But no gift back for Hashem. No fire. Elfs control fire, stories say. When dragons come to burn. If no Is-an-dril, other elfs. Elfs live in the deep, under houses and streets. Saw them. Followed them. Found book. Living book. It makes fire?"


The boy didn’t mention the spiders at all, though being caught by the mother spider must have been a horrifying experience. Instead he seemed obsessed with fire and the book he hoped would teach him how to control it.


"Now Is-an-dril here, among elfs. Wears white clothes. Mage, like stories. Hashem of Mayakhur no go back to Pashin. No family. House no more, only black bricks. Learn instead. Learn from Is-an-dril. Hashem smart. See spark, hear voice, know life in metal and stone and book. No speak tree talk or magic talk, but learn. Know to speak merchant talk from hearing. Good student. Do all Is-an-dril wants. But learn to make fire, yes?"


*****


Despite its size, the sanctuary of the elves had not been the most pleasant of places. It was dark, smelly and oppressive, no matter how much Lady Shaylin attempted to improve the stay of her people by using magic to create the star-like magical lights, occasionally form breezes to stir the stale air or cover the bodily scent of hundreds of people forced to live next to each other. And yet it was like a flowery glade in comparison to Pashin’s sewers. No one among the companions had been looking forward to returning to these horrible underground passages and the moment the stench of offal struck them, almost like a physical blow, they were reminded why that was. Larimielle too grimaced in disgust, but said nothing. The kirath had faced and survived Lorac’s Nightmare and the many twisted things that the Speaker’s tormented mind had brought to life - or unlife. Sewage and the squeaking of rats, some of them as large as cats, would not scare her away.


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Naelathan
The only one who actually seemed pleased to return to the sewers was Naelathan. Was it because he got another chance to order the companions around or because he found the presence of so many of his people suffocating? Since he wouldn’t share his thoughts with anyone, much less non-elves, it was anybody’s guess.


"Follow me and do not tarry. Use only as much light as you must and above all stay silent", he warned the companions in his usual, almost insulting manner. "There are goblins and worse things down here than rats and spiders. You are lucky that you didn’t encounter any of them. Be ready to use your weapons as soon as I say the word."


Thankfully, the journey through the sewers didn’t last long this time, since Naelathan now had no interest in confusing the ones he guided. In less than half an hour the group found itself in front of a wall that was discreetly marked by the very sigil they had already encountered on the wall leading to the underground sanctuary. After exchanging a silent look with Larimielle, Naelathan spoke the secret phrase once more -the path is clearael ura ki- and watched with satisfaction as the wall slid aside to reveal yet another tunnel, this one heading straight to the east.


The companions, who had been expecting a clear view of the bright blue sky or at least stairs leading upwards, sighed, but swiftly followed their elven guide as they heard the wall behind them slide back to its original position, sealing the passage. It was strange that a visitor to Pashin, an elf who had never visited the city before, had been able to locate these secret passages within the sewers. Then again, Naelathan didn’t seem to be an ordinary Silvanesti elf. The companions had the impression that even his own people avoided him when they got the chance, most of them appearing uncomfortable in his presence. Larimielle too didn’t exchange many words with him and either nodded or shook her head to note her agreement or disagreement. It was a strange way to show one’s gratitude to the individual who had saved hundreds of his own kind.


Refusing to dwell too long on their ill-mannered guide and his secrets, the companions merely walked as quickly as they could. Soon enough they realized that the tunnel grew narrower, forcing them to move single file, and that it slanted upwards, at first almost imperceptibly, then much more steeply. At Naelathan’s signal they stopped and, unable to see what exactly he was doing, once more heard the sound of stone moving against stone. Warm, dry air surged inside the tunnel and bright light made them blink rapidly.


Once their eyes had grown used to bright daylight, the companions exited the narrow tunnel and found themselves next to a stone outcropping that would have appeared natural, if not for the fact that it concealed the passageway leading back to the sewers. Naelathan and Larimielle were still standing next to the tunnel’s entrance, desperately trying to take cover in the small pool of shadow forming right next to the large rock. Their eyes were red and full of tears and both of them shaded them with their large cowls, though the thick fabric didn’t seem to be able to ease their discomfort.


"We must be extremely careful", Naelathan warned the party, pretending that the merciless sun didn’t make things difficult for him. "We now find ourselves to the east of the city, relatively close to the Dark Knights’ enclave. The Knights of Neraka patrol the outskirts of Pashin day and night. Have your wits about you, more than ever before. If a patrol spots us, no amount of courage and skill at arms will be able to save us. Be quick and silent." The disapproving look he shot at Tegan and his heavy armor didn’t need any words to be understood. It was clear that should the Solamnic be spotted, Naelathan would abandon him in an instant. "Now come! We head to the southwest first. Once we are far away from the city walls, we can then change our course and travel to the north to find the cave."


With a final look towards the place where dozens of large tents housed the Nerakan army, Naelathan started walking as quickly as the sand beneath his boots would allow him. This was the first time that he attempted to leave the city during the day and he didn’t hesitate to offer a soft prayer to BranchalaAstarin. If that would keep him safe, he was not too proud to beg for the gods’ assistance, though they had never seemed willing to help him before.



Calendar9th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Mid-Morning

Solinari: 3/36 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Nuitari
Lunitari: 12/28 (High Sanction)
Nuitari: 1/8 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Solinari

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White Robes - | Red Robes +1 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes -


 
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  #129  
Old Apr 12th, 2023, 07:26 PM
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Cinders and Ash
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Xihue noticed the strange, stilted pattern of Hashem's speech and considered how best to address this young man. There were parallels to Aric's immaturity but this man seemed vastly different in the way he interacted with others. He was quiet, sullen, withdrawn.


The monk listened silently as a few of Isandril's questions generated interesting answers. Had this stone directed him to Pashin? Was it a piece of the Standing Stones, dislodged by Pnoah's experiment? Was Hashem possessed or overly influenced by a spirit? What did he hear? What did he want? Where would he go?


"Tell me your story, Hashem. In as much detail as you can recall, close your eyes, envision your journey since we met on the mountainside. Tell me everything you see, hear, smell."


This was guided meditation. One of the Ascended Master's favorite practictices. More than once, Xihue had revealed a hidden truth to his master without intending to.


*****


At first the boy seemed reluctant to do as the strange man had asked him to, but Xihue’s manner won him over in the end. The Alan-Atu spoke with conviction, with an authority Hashem had rarely encountered before, even though his clothes marked him as a simple wanderer. Besides, it was possible that the man possessed magic of his own. Perhaps he too could hear the sound of burning in his dreams. Perhaps he could show the boy how to hear this sound in his waking hours as well.


With a nod Hashem closed his eyes. For a long time he said nothing. Not because he couldn’t locate the memories. They were always there and blazing brightly, searing his mind each time he brought them to the surface. It was because he tried to remember what was before.


"Home. Feel carpet beneath feet. Thin, uneven, full of knots. Smell smoke from father in KhurishAbbah’s pipe. Wood and sweet leaves. Hear mother in KhurishUmmah’s song. Baby brother in Ummah’s arms, gurgling. Sisters huddle next to fire. Seem asleep, but are awake. One laughs. Abbah coughs and sisters laugh no more. Approach flame too. One kicks, one tells be quiet. Eyes close. Ummah sings still."


The boy drew a deep breath. A sheen of sweat was now covering his whole body, his face ruddy as if he had been sitting close to the fireplace for a long time.


"Screams. Baby brother cries. Ummah’s voice broken, afraid. Brother won’t stop. Abbah shouts. Fire. Black smoke makes eyes cry. Wood screams, walls shake. One falls. Air and fire rush in. One sister is all heat and light. The other takes blanket. The heat spreads, the light spreads. Ummah screams. Brother silent now. Feel Abbah’s hands pushing away, through flame. Feel heat, feel pain, but only a moment. Coughing. Cries. Breaking walls, falling roofs. Words that make no sense. Words that feed the flame. Black armor shining. Flowers, skulls, thorns. Fire, smoke, ash. Fire, smoke, ash! FIRE, SMOKE, ASH!!!"


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The Burning of Pashin


With a scream that didn’t seem to belong to a human being, Hashem opened his eyes, which were full of terror, and jumped to his feet, his arms outstretched as if wanting to keep Xihue away. Suddenly the boy’s hands were engulfed in flames that appeared out of nowhere. Hashem panicked and his screams increased as he tried to put out the fire by wildly waving his hands. Despite his efforts, the fire spread out further, engulfing everything that was in front of the boy, including Xihue. Searing hot flames shot forth towards the Alan-Atu, who had to move quickly to evade the unexpected attack.


"”No, no! Stop” in KhurishLaah, laah! Qief", pleaded Hashem and tears started flowing down his cheeks. Indeed the fire died out within moments, leaving the boy’s hands fully unscathed. Hashem collapsed and covered his face with his hands. "”(I am) Sorry, sorry, sorry…” in KhurishAsiif, asiif, asiif…", the boy repeated again and again.


Between Hashem’s sobs Xihue thought he could make out a few words. "Knights warned Abbah… Leave house, they say. Find other house... But Abbah say no. Abbah say knights leave house. They strangers… Many houses broken, burnt now. Knights make new houses. For knights…"



 
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Last edited by Elanir; Apr 12th, 2023 at 07:26 PM.
  #130  
Old Apr 16th, 2023, 09:20 AM
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Talia Dawnstar
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Talia had it so fully in her mind that she would not ‘find’ anything from Hashem that when the boy spoke to her, she kept her hands clasped tightly behind her back. Imagine her surprise when the mute boy suddenly found his voice… not only spoke to her… insults notwithstanding… but then willingly gave her a gift.

The kender looked down at the dark stone, squeezing its edges into her hands. She brought it up to her eye level, staring at its crystalline structure even as she gave it a good sniff to check if it smelled familiar. Not getting a hint of olfactory satisfaction, Talia then gave it a little bite and a lick, making sure to use all her senses to identify the stone.

"It speaks", Hashem explained, "but not with voice. Here." The boy pointed at his head. "It dark, but mind inside. No see, but feel. Makes skin itch. Do kender feel?"

Talia did not feel anything but still she smiled at the boy. “I’ve spoken to a Griffin with my mind… I’m quite good at it actually.” Talia then fell silent as she waited for her skin to itch as Hashem began to tell his tale and what a tale it was.

Yet more death and destruction, broken families, fire, pain, and anguish. It was at times like this that Talia was thankful she was a kender. She was immune to a hardened heart. No matter how many horrible things she saw in the world, each new example was a fresh cut into her heart and soul, each cut a reminder that she still cared.

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Soon Talia was following Nathan through the foul tunnels as he led the group from the city and back to a reunion with their companions. Talia had light feet and she was almost skipping in anticipation of seeing her friends again. She was sure that Devari would still look beautiful… and Blyne… Talia would give her a word count so she didn’t speak so much… well maybe work out a hand signal that means take a breath. And Pnoah… the kender couldn’t wait to see the gnome and show him her new treasure. Certainly the alchemist would devise some novel test that would tease out the stones intrinsic qualities.

Talia followed Nathan, so absorbed in her thoughts that she naturally seemed to be absorbed by the shadows.

OOCInvestigation: 13
Arcana: 7
Perception: 19
Stealth: 25
 

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Apr 16th, 2023 at 03:23 PM.
  #131  
Old Apr 17th, 2023, 01:45 AM
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Aric Armitage
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Aric stayed to hear Laramielle’s informative statement about the raising of baby vultures, but there was no joy in his heart. Her speech was as cold and impersonal as mountain runoff, and when she finally finished speaking, his ”Thanks” was as quiet as the rasping of autumn leaves. He resumed walking away from the slighted elven woman and focused on walking as stiffly as possible, otherwise he was like to stumble and collapse from sheer nerves.
On the other hand, it could have been worse.



”Do I smell… burning?” he asked quietly to himself from within his shared tent. He was just finishing up packing his few things and was now trying to work out how best to transport his new feathered friend when he thought he caught a whiff of smoke. Then he shook his head. ”Probably someone just cooking something I guess.” He had no idea of the events which had just occurred with Hashem, but even if he had known… well, he’d done enough meddling for one day.

He looked down at the little bird and sighed. He was happy, but. There was always a but to everything in his life lately, so it seemed. I helped find the elves and return a fallen warrior’s bow and griffon to his sister! …But now she hates me because I offended her. I have a new vulture friend as a companion to take care of! …But I had to kill its mother and unborn sibling in order to acquire it. I’m… alive? …But my entire family is dead and I have no real place in this world or idea what my destiny is or even why I’m traveling with these people or what I could possibly do to help anyone-

”Stop it! Shut up!” he yelled inside the empty tent. ”Just… please! Shut the hell up! I’m so sick of it!” He tossed the item he’d been holding – his messkit – angrily to the floor. Yeah, so what you’ve got problems. Everyone’s got problems! Look around you, stupid. These elves, they were forced from their home and have to live in a pit below a sewer. That woman’s children and husband died. You. Aren’t. Special.

He dropped to his knees and retrieved the cheap tin kit. You’re not special. You’re just another damn mouth to feed. You don’t have a destiny. None of us do. You’re just… here. He sighed. And soon, you’ll be somewhere else, and you’ll find more people to disappoint.

”Yeah,” he said, quieter this time. ”Yeah, I suppose so.”



A short time later, after assessing his goods and weapons before their departure, Aric quietly shuffled toward where the elves were camped. He had returned the bow to Laramielle for what he thought was a good enough reason, but now was left with the dilemma that he had no bowstrings. It took some asking around, but he was finally able to locate an elf who traded him two bowstrings. All it cost him was his coil of rope. “Thank you, kindly,” he said to the friendly (for an elf) archer who made the deal. In truth, Aric was glad for the transaction. Outside of Pashin was just sand and heat – and rope was just more weight that would drain his energy with each passing step. The loss of his bedroll for a teakettle, however… that was a tougher blow.

”My… bedroll?” The proposal certainly gave him pause. Sleep on the ground – or on what’s left of my sheet… is that really what it’s going to take? And then he thought of the bird, the small, blind, defenseless animal whose life was quite literally in his hands, and all thoughts of personal comfort washed away. ”Deal. I’ve only had it for a few weeks, so… enjoy.” He accepted the simple iron teapot and watched forlornly as the elf snatched up his bedroll, his back and neck and thighs already regretting the decision. Can always get another one someday. Maybe.

It was unnerving, trying to handle this small bird. It was devoid of feathers, instead covered by a thin, downy fur. Aric knew it could not see him, but it could hear him approach and began to chirp and mewl hungrily. Aric groaned. This was the other part he hated. Baby birds couldn’t really chew their own food, which meant their parents needed to partially digest and then regurgitate what their babies ate. Aric would not eat carrion, and there was nothing to hunt here in the cave. He reluctantly put one of the few remaining strips of jerky into his mouth and chewed and chewed until the meat was a fine paste. He gave it about ten minutes before sticking his fingers down his throat.



Later, after the bird had been fed, Aric introduced it to its temporary new home. ”It’s no nest, but it’s the best I can do,” he said to the chick in apology. The well-worn, well-torn bedsheet had been shredded into strips and used to line the interior of his new iron teapot. The pot would serve as a durable shell to protect the bird during Aric’s upcoming travel back through the desert, and hopefully the soft bedding would be enough to cushion the chick from harm. He knew he would need to hunt soon after returning to the outskirts of the city. Aric’s remaining rations were now just a few small bits of jerky and some fruits and breads which he had been feeding himself on. At least I don’t have a griffon to feed now, he thought. That’ll be Laramielle’s problem to deal with. Still, a part of him would miss his time with An’Quesse, even if their first encounter had very nearly been fatal. Lot of that going around these days.

With the bird fed, sheltered and tucked safely into his pack, and the rest of his dwindling supply of gear tucked away as well, Aric left the tent to rejoin the others. It seemed like they were ready to go, and that was when he remembered the smell of the sewers above and nearly vomited a second time that day. He maintained his composure and quietly followed Naelathan out of the cave. Aric hadn’t managed to make any sort of favorable, lasting impression on the elven people here, so he did not go out of his way to try and bid them farewell. He offered a polite wave to the general throng, then put his head down and began the trek back to the surface.

He was largely quiet, mostly because Naelathan had insisted on their moving in silence. He did walk up to Isandril and offered a polite congratulation for his newfound mentorship and attendant white robes, but beyond that his thoughts were heavy with the new obligations he now faced. Doing the right thing – that was the battle which raged between his ears. Bandits killing people, robbing people, ruining lives – if there was a destiny to be had, then wasn’t trying to stop ruffians like them a worthy goal? His mind flickered back to the largely untouched journal in his pack. Yes, and it wasn’t long ago you wanted to travel the world and fill your book with recipes and interesting facts, yet now you’re a soldier of fortune? Please. You don’t know what you are.

Shut up, he said quietly to himself, and for the time being, at least, the voice went silent.
 
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  #132  
Old Apr 20th, 2023, 10:14 AM
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Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
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Isandril listened intently to Hashem's words, making a mental note to speak with Pnoah about the piece of metal; a gift for him, the Khurish boy called it, a gift that was... alive? And then... And then his attention was thoroughly grabbed by the stone given to the kender of all people.

Without a doubt it was a piece of the Standing Stones. Inexplicably both stone and crystal in nature, it appeared to have been pried loose by force and the use of some crude non-metallic tool. Just those mere facts were intriguing, but they were not the end of it. There resided power, limited though it might be, within even this small piece of the strange monument. From what the mage could tell, it could be used to power one or even more spells, but its reserves were finite. Once spent, it would be just another piece of rock, if not destroyed outright.

So focused was he on this new find, especially the boy's claim that it "spoke", that he paid little attention to Hashem's story and almost did not notice magical fire manifesting from his hands. Almost.

Xihue had managed to avoid it well enough, though Isandril seemed hardly interested in the man's well-being. Instead, he turned to the Khurish youth. His voice and manner were as controlled as ever, yet he could hardly deny how interesting or even exciting these last couple of days had been.

"Ah," he finally said. "At least the reasons behind your fascination with fire are much clearer now." The Silvanesti pressed a slender finger against his lips as he pondered his next few words, words spoken in almost perfect Khurish. "You have a talent for magic. Not only that, you also possess a keen and curious mind. All in all, qualities one needs to have if one is to follow the path of High Sorcery." He looked Hashem in the eyes as he continued. "It is not an easy path. It is not a path that caters well to distractions. And for those who seek to follow it to the end, it is not a path that guarantees the seeker's survival." He paused, allowing the boy the time to absorb the meaning behind his words as best he could. "If you understand that," he went on in the Common tongue, looking at the others, "and if my... friends agree, you can travel with us, at least for a time. As I understand it, you have no family. Leaving you here, without at least teaching you how to not be a danger to yourself and others..." He shook his head briefly. "I find that... ill-advised." He turned to Hashem once again. "But you need to understand that coming with us may not always be safe. And that I too am but a novice still. I will instruct you as best I can, but if or when we come across a more suitable mentor, it may be best to part our ways then."

Isandril spoke matter-of-factly. There was little warmth or comfort in his voice. If Hashem was to choose this path for himself, it did not matter to the mage that he had had a difficult life or that he was as young as he was. It did not change the simple fact that the choice was still his to make.

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  #133  
Old Apr 20th, 2023, 09:15 PM
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The road beckons
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Tegan
As quickly as the elves had entered their lives, it was time for departure. An elven messenger had taken the note and diagram from the aspiring knight. Tegan bowed and thanked him for his service. The elves had little to offer, but were generous none the less. Tegan wondered internally if he would have the strength of will to persevere in the same circumstances? He knew that the Solamnic people had endured great suffering as well, but the elves current affliction seemed so overbearing... so overwhelming.

Back at the tent, Tegan began to stow his equipment. It was orderly and organized. Anything less was unacceptable in his squire training and the pattern had stuck. As he finished packing his meager belongings Tegan could smell a sudden smoke nearby. Sticking his head out of his tent, he had to hold back an surprised yelp. The boy, Hashem, in communication with Isandril and Xi, had generated magical fire from his arms and hands. Tegan was prepared to intervene, unsure of what he could offer, but Isandril approached the situation with peace and obvious understanding. He clearly had it under control and Tegan chose to let the magic user manage this.

Tegan grabbed his pack and hoisted it to his shoulders, tightening the straps. He rolled his neck left and right, trying to isolate the tension in between his shoulder blades. The pain relieved, he noticed Aric approaching, ready to leave, carrying an iron pot in his arms. Tegan raised an eyebrow. He hadn't seen Aric with this pot before. Regardless, the youth looked troubled. His eyes were downcast and there was a strain or tension in his face muscles that marked it clearly that he was fighting some internal demon. Tegan considered intervening, but he withheld himself. Aric would grow. He would learn to control his emotions and become a great man. Tegan was sure of this. For now, he would let Aric fight this battle; if he needed help, he knew Tegan was available for him.

With a final wave to the refugees who had gathered to see them away, Tegan followed the party out, taking up rear guard. He walked with his sword and shield out, ready for danger. He did not intend to be caught unawares by anything else that reared it's head in the sewers. Vigilantly, he focused on his surroundings, determined to prevent the party from being surprised.


 
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  #134  
Old Apr 22nd, 2023, 11:18 AM
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Thunder in the Sand
The Ascended Master had taught Xihue to always expect the unforeseeable. The old man’s tricks and surprises might have seemed petty or cruel to one not familiar with the ways of the Alan-Atu, but Xihue’s training had eventually paid off. In exchange for a few embarrassing stories, which would be told next to the campfire for a few years to come, accompanied by good-natured laughter, the youth had become not only perfectly aware of his surroundings, but also capable of reacting to every situation.


It was these teachings, as much a part of Xihue as were his eyes, ears and legs, that allowed him to evade the flames birthed by Hashem’s painful memories and the smoldering ember of magic that stirred inside his chest. With an acrobatic move that not even the lithest elf among the refugees could have imitated, the human’s body bent like the blades of grass before the wind and allowed Xihue to gracefully roll on the floor, narrowly avoiding death or serious injury. But even such a skillful warrior did not manage to escape completely unscathed. An errant tongue of fire licked one of the shepherd’s baggy trouser legs, setting the fabric aflame and searing the flesh beneath. The Alan-Atu suppressed the cry of pain and put out the small fire even as he jumped to his feet, ready to face whatever magical havoc was still hidden within the child’s frail body.


The only thing he saw was the boy’s small form slumping forward, sooty hands trying to halt back the water that had taken the place of fire in his eyes. His stoic facade had shattered and beneath it could be seen a child whose tender flesh was full of ugly scars and painful burn marks, both literally and figuratively. Xihue would have taken a step forward and offered whatever comfort was his to give, but Hashem needed more than just kind words right now. He needed a strong hand to contain and master the magical flame that raged inside him and the only one who could help him in this regard was Isandril.


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Hashem
The elven mage spoke and soon enough the sobbing stopped and the boy raised his head to look at him, the fire having returned to his eyes that were now glistening with exhilaration and unshed tears. Hashem understood what the white robe was telling him, about the many dangers along the path and the commitment he would have to show for him to one day be able to control magic instead of being controlled by it.


But he also understood that he had no real choice. He had been scarred by fire whether he liked it or not. To ignore it was to be fully consumed by it. It was to let it satisfy its hunger upon others like his Abbah and his Ummah, his two sisters and his baby brother. Had he been able to command it to stop, to turn against the men and women in the black armor decorated with lilies, skulls and thorns, his family would have been alive and he would still have had a home. He could not make the River of Time turn back, but he could make sure that the flames would burn those who deserved it.


"I understand. I accept. Thank you. Shalafi"


The elven word was pronounced crudely, but there was no doubt about its meaning. Hashem refused to speak in his native tongue, wanting to prove that he was capable of learning - the common tongue, the elven speech, the words of magic, everything! Once more Isandril was impressed by the boy’s tenacity. He had never been like that as a child. He had been studious, yes, obedient, hard-working, but he hadn’t been like Hashem. The boy was… intense, for lack of a better word, like Isandril’s sister had been. Always questioning, pushing, fighting, always looking for answers when there were none - and finding them.


Look what I have found, brother. Do you recognize it? Green with blood red flecks, set in silver and hung on a chain. Listen to me, look at me! Don’t despair. I will make it work…


*****


The sky rumbled and the group’s guides, Naelathan and Larimielle, turned their heads upwards, trying to determine if a storm was fast approaching. They had been walking in silence for about an hour and the fierce sun beat down on them unrelentingly, as if angry that they had scorned it up to this point by hiding in the underground chamber that served as the elves’ sanctuary. Their dark, voluminous clothes protected them for the most part from the gaze of the large wrathful eye staring down at them from a sky of clear blue, but not from the heat, and both of them were sweating profusely, just like the rest of the group. The desert was unforgiving and even the outskirts of Pashin, where the land was somewhat less inhospitable than the sandy dunes at the heart of Khur, were obviously not fond of travelers.


The Alan-Atu and Talia imitated their guides’ move, looking for an angry cloud that threatened them with lightning and a deluge of water, but found nothing but blinding blue as far as the eye could see. Isandril beckoned the Khurish boy who was walking next to him to pick up the pace and Aric, always concerned with the safety of the chick, wrapped his arms protectively around the little bird’s makeshift nest.


Only Tegan realized that the thunder did not originate from the heavens but from the earth. It was something he had witnessed many times, cheering and waving next to the excited citizens of Solanthus as they were watching Solamnic Knights in their resplendent armor riding their massive warhorses with lances held proudly in their gauntleted hands. The heraldic symbols upon the knights’ shields and the colorful banners filling the sky always made the squire feel such pride about Solamnia’s stout defenders that he feared that his eyes would dishonor him and shed tears of joy. But it was not pride that filled his heart right now, nor joyful tears that threatened to embarrass him. The Solamnic Knights were a long, long way from Pashin and the only ones who could match them in mounted combat were…


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Riders!


"Riders!", Tegan cried out in warning, stifling his voice for fear of being heard, though he knew that the sound of the galloping horses could have drowned out even the roar of a dragon. "A Dark Knights mounted patrol", he continued, pointing at the direction of the sound that grew stronger with every passing heartbeat.


The people of Khur loved their horses too, their majestic steeds even better suited to the needs of a mounted warrior than the ones bred in the plains of faraway Solamnia, but Tegan’s experienced ears could detect the telltale sound of metal banging against metal. No proud nomad warrior would have burdened their mount with steel barding and chainmail, trusting instead upon the rider’s skill and the horse’s speed, strength and endurance to lead them to victory. These horses did not belong to the people of Khur. They belonged to the Knights of Neraka.


"About half a dozen armored horses bearing knights, A group of seven Knights of Nerakaa talon probably.", Tegan informed his companions. The odds were not good. Even if the companions managed to defeat their opponents, there would be casualties. The last time they had faced the Nerakese they had had both the numbers and the element of surprise. Now their forces would be more or less equal. More importantly, despite the fragmentation of their Order after the War of Souls, the Knights of Neraka were both experienced warriors and highly organized, while Hashem was merely a child and the two Silvanesti guides were hungry, diseased and one of them even seriously injured. Fleeing or hiding was the prudent thing to do and since they could never outrun the horses…


"There!", cried out Xihue, shading his eyes with one hand and pointing with the other at a group of stone outcroppings that could hide them from the Dark Knights.


"Yes", agreed Larimielle, and she started running towards the place that Xihue had discovered. "Hurry! It’s our only chance", she added, despite realizing that there was nothing she could say that would urge the travelers to run more swiftly than the thunderous sound of fast approaching knights on warhorses. Naelathan soon followed, saying something in his native tongue that Isandril had the decency of leaving untranslated.


One by one the companions followed, but it soon became apparent that some of them would never make it in time. Tegan’s armor weighed him down too much for him to be able to run fast enough and Xihue’s scorched leg obviously restricted his movements. The rest would probably make it, if they kept going, but leaving two of their party behind to face the Dark Knights alone seemed like condemning them to certain death. Even worse, it seemed like a betrayal.


Tegan and Xihue looked at each other. If all of them stayed and fought, many would fall, perhaps all. If the two of them surrendered, the knights would take them back to Pashin and imprison them. They might very well be tried and sentenced to death for killing the Skull Knight, but this would earn them time. Anything could happen within a few hours. As long as they remained alive, there would be hope.


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This would be a good place to hide, but can the companions reach it in time?




Calendar9th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Noon

Solinari: 3/36 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Nuitari
Lunitari: 12/28 (High Sanction)
Nuitari: 1/8 (Low Sanction) - conjunction with Solinari

Boons/Penalties:
White Robes - | Red Robes +1 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes -


 
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Running Dragons of a Broken World: A Dragonlance (Age of Mortals) 5e DnD campaign
  #135  
Old Apr 22nd, 2023, 06:52 PM
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Talia Dawnstar
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The sound of galloping horses, the thundering crescendo that shook the ground beneath Talia’s feet, brought fear to all of the companions hearts.The arrival of a gaggle of Death Knights was enough to chill the blood of everyone within their veins, a freezing dart shot straight into hopeful hearts. But hope would not win the day here… the sound of the approaching force was enough to tell the tale. If caught... death and destruction would swiftly follow.

Talia looked at her companions with a discerning eye and she swiftly saw the truth. There was no way that everyone would make it safely in time… no way. There was no reason to pretend otherwise.

Talia looked at Tegan, overgrown in his heavy armor… he was a dead duck in the water. But Talia was not worried. She had killed a Death Knight already… she would kill many more before her days were done. Maybe not right now… now… she would sacrifice herself for her friends to retreat to safety.

See… Talia had a secret… a secret unknown to those without extensive knowledge of the Kender. Anyone who knew anything knew that Kender could not be contained. There had not been a prison designed by mortals on Krynn that could hold a Kender without their acceptance.

Talia would meet these bastards and distract them from their murderous mission, if only for a moment long enough to ensure her friends escape to safety.

“Run!” Talia called out with authority. “I’m the dessert they cannot resist… chocolate with frosting… cherry on top. Let them come for me and before they even realize what they have… I will slip away. I am the Dawnstar.”

Talia took a stone and loaded her hoopak. The sling staff then began to spin above her head, faster and faster, the wind producing a wounded whine that carried through the air.

“Get going… I plan on introducing myself in style!”


OOCTrue story: Kender are hard to keep prisoner.
 

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Apr 22nd, 2023 at 07:05 PM.
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