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  #31  
Old Aug 17th, 2015, 11:48 PM
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His little hands reach for the horn, and without much thought Silas gives it over. "It's been a long time," the tiny man says. "I was there when it was made, and I nevver thought I du see it again." He looks up after a pause. "Du can come in."

In a minute you're inside the doors and whisked past a thousand glowing runes. They cover the floor and ceiling, the walls, and a hundred strange objects worked with gears and pullies. A warm scent fills the air, like goat stew, beer and cut wood all together. The place is immense, and is one quarter machine shop, one quarter wizard's lab, one quarter kitchen, and the last quarter sacred ground.

That last bit was more of a feeling -- there was nothing to indicate a religious bent to the man, nor the workshop. But the air of the place was reverence.

It didn't take long before he had handed back the horn to you and shown you to a pair of small closets. There was a bed inside each, with just enough room to stand next to it, and hooks to hang your things on. "Dees chambers be magic. Rest a while and hang du tings. I go and cook a bit of breakfast, den we speak."

You do as bid, and not even Dan can argue with the prospect of a bed. The young wizard is barely able to prop his staff against the wall before slumping down. "What did we <yawn>... get ourselves into, Sy?" Dan asks groggily from the next closet over. "Just glad to be warm again."
DM's NoteFeel free to talk with Dan, rest as suggested, or explore the place. Whatever you choose, also roll an unmodified d20.
  #32  
Old Oct 20th, 2015, 10:43 AM
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Silas grunted in agreement. Gods, Silas thought, When was the last time I got to sleep in an actual bed? With a sigh of relief, Silas began to get out of his wet gear, hanging it around the place to dry. "Breakfast does sound good...." It seemed like ages since they'd had a proper hot meal as well.

"I've no flaming idea what we've gotten into Dan. Our host seems ahhight, but.....I just hope we can get some kind of answers here. You think he means us any harm? I mean, look at how he reacted to the horn....it's important to him and to all of .....this."

Wearily, Silas sat down on the edge of the bed. It felt sooooo inviting. The bed seemed to have its own gravity and it pulled his head down into its soft, dry warmth. Maybe just a quick nap...

Dice Roll:
1d20 15
  #33  
Old Oct 27th, 2015, 10:15 PM
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A quick nap. It was the last thought Silas had for about 20 hours.

Eyes heavy, the ranger pries them open to see the little man shaking his foot. "I try your friend, but he du sleep like de dead. At least you alive?"

Shaking your head, you rise and pull on your tunic. The bed was nice, but the smell of ground rosemary sausage and potatoes was suddenly nicer. There's a low wooden table laid out down a short hall. The tiny man waves his hand, inviting you to sit. "Du drink too yeah?" He pours a glass of wine and then cuts it with a drop of water from a pitcher. "Na too much."

For the next hour you find your senses slowly return to you. Finding words, you begin to retell the story of Olaf and Rick between bites of breakfast. There was the fight with the giant sloth, the change of the shaman into a bear, the flight to the sledge and helping Dan up the treacherous mountain. At that the little man grunted. "Door is still dere. Humm."

Silas finds his memory is fuzzy after the group descended into the Ichaal ruins. Where were Fahd and Karla? The white wolf who helped me? Exhaustion had clearly eaten into your mind -- to the point where you doubt whether, if you had been in a clearer state, you would have ever thought a wolf was talking to you, or dared follow a ghost. The lines between reality and myth had blurred over your travels, and it wasn't comforting. Considering your tiny host and the insane place you now find yourself in, you can't be sure reality has resumed its rightful place. It's as if you're stuck in the god-awful legend of an alien race with no hope of escape.

The little man takes a long drink of wine, smacking his lips contentedly. "You see du spirit, it lead du horn to me. Now you here. Question is, you going to fulfill de prophecy to wake de People Who Sleep, or du going to serve yourself? Yes, you can escape dis story," he whispers, as if reading your thoughts. "Yes, if du choose, you and du friend can be gone to the upper land, and forget about all dis. Or... you can discover du truest thing."
DM NoteSilas has rested and healed equal to two nights sleep.

Last edited by mountainbound; Oct 27th, 2015 at 10:16 PM.
  #34  
Old Nov 8th, 2015, 07:09 AM
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Silas stared into his glass, from time to time gently swirling its contents, listening to his strange host. He watched as the residue on the glass bled back down to the bottom of the glass in tiny rivulets. "Prophesy? The People Who Sleep? Um....Can you explain sir? I've never heard of any flami....I mean, I've not heard anything about a prophesy. Who are the People Who Sleep?"

The idea of escaping this "story", didn't sound so bad either at the moment. Gods, we've been through a lot lately. His heart ached with the thought of home...but what home? I'm still a flaming, gods-cursed fugitive aren't I? The People Who Sleep? Does he mean the Ichvaali? This whole deal kept getting weirder at ever turn. Maybe I'm still dreaming and I'll flaming wake up soon.

Last edited by Krimchee; Nov 8th, 2015 at 07:12 AM.
  #35  
Old Nov 17th, 2015, 01:23 PM
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The little man looks sternly at Silas, "Them Who Sleep are du call Ichvaal. De men here before you people come. Dey went to Sleep after de drove worns off. But they get sick, dey needed help but du no one. So the People went to sleep, sleep until help come."

"Aye, der is a prophesy dat one day they need to wake up! Dat's what the Horn is for. But du can't use it if not have de other artifacts. De Sword, de Philorath, and most important, de Pitcher!"

He considers the silver cornucopia lying on the table and says, "Only when you have all of dem together will du awaken dem. And when du that, de People will come, teach you many tings. Teach du secrets dat you people can no imagine. Teach you to drive off de worms for always. You have not seen real worms -- a mile long dey can be, or more. And dey are waking up. I hear dem shake de earth. So de People must wake up too."

He stirs the soup and takes a sip from a wooden spoon. "Are you de one I saw so long ago?" The tiny man looks you over and sniffs. "How should I know? Can no remember. But you have du horn, and dat is good."

At that, Dan appears behind Silas, yawning. "I smell food. And wine..." With that he grabs a glass and helps himself to a long pour. "Uh..." he eyes the little man carefully and whispers to Silas, "Did you figure out how to get out of here?"

Last edited by mountainbound; Nov 17th, 2015 at 01:23 PM.
  #36  
Old Nov 18th, 2015, 10:35 PM
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"The Ichvall...."Silas whispered, "I knew it!" It was fairly difficult to understand the Little Man, and Silas had to really focus to understand his strange accent. He understood most of it, but there were words he'd never heard before. At least, he didn't recognize them the way the Little Man spoke them. Silas certainly knew what a sword was, though in his current beat up state, he told himself that really didn't want to have anything more to do with flaming swords and blasted Ichvalli. Although the thought of actually meeting one of the Icvaali bastards after all he'd been through DID intrigue him.


"Umm...what are the 'Philorath....and de Pitcher?" Silas asked hesitantly. I probably don't want to flaming know, he thought grumpily. But he'd asked anyway. Flaming-Fecking questions! And what the H does he mean, he saw me long ago? Like when I was a child?
Just then, Dan showed up. "Not yet," he replied. "Maybe we can ask our host for advice?"
  #37  
Old Nov 29th, 2015, 10:26 PM
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"Umm...what are the 'Philorath....and de Pitcher?" Silas asks hesitantly. I probably don't want to flaming know, he thinks grumpily. But he'd asked anyway. Flaming-Fecking questions! And what the H does he mean, he saw me long ago? Like when I was a child?

Just then, Dan shows up, thirsty for wine and ready to be gone from this subterranean bungalow.

The little man considers Silas's words. "Well, dey be good questions. De pitcher is..." he stops, picks up the decanter full of wine and pours Silas another glass. He gives a scant glance at Dan, who is also ready for a refill, but puts the vessel down. "A pitcher."

The little man settles back into his seat holding his glass of wine. "De Philorath... ah now dat is something. What is a Philorath? Nobody know! It is something, and it is many things! It can do wonderful things, and terrible things. Every Philorath be different. Du understand? De Itchvaal, dey make twelve Philorath. I have one of dem here. Du look. Here, du come wit me," he motions to you and begins making his way through the maze of humming metal towers and blinking gizmos.

Dan pours himself an enormous glass and rises. "Du go?" he says, mimicking the little man's voice.

With that the two boys follow the little man through a labyrinth of rooms and corridors. Some aglow with Ichvaal technology, some pulsing with Ichvaal magic, and some filled with contraptions too intricate and beautiful to name -- blendings of machine and magic and organic life that set your mind reeling. Mouths open, you pass in silence. Not even Dan can conjure a sly comment.

Finally past the whirring, buzzing, blinking, pulsing, radiating, emanating, life-charging artifacts, you enter a little room. It's rough-hewn from the bones of the earth. It's dank and dirty with an earthen floor and crumbling brick walls. In fact, it looks more like an old coal-room, like the kind beneath your grandmother's house.

And yet, it's here, that the strangest feeling comes over you. There's a small metal door in the wall. It reminds you of an old stove door. The little man motions for you to stop a few feet away and give him some room. Both Silas and Dan linger at the door to the coal-room as the tiny host works some incantation over the rusty door. In a moment he's pulling a long box from the wall.

"Sea shells?" Dan says. Indeed, the box is made completely out of tiny shells, thousands of them worked together cunningly. It moves slightly, as if of its own accord.

"Aye," the little man responds. "Du hand me de ting."

Without thinking, Silas unslings the Ichaal mindbow from his shoulder and hands it to the strange man, who accepts it without a word.

As he brings the weapon close, the box e-l-o-n-g-a-t-e-s before your eyes, to just over the length of the bow. The little man sets the bow on top of the strange box and instantly the shells being shifting, clinking softly as the weapon sinks in.

You wait, breathless.

In a moment, the bow is pushed to the surface of the box, shimmering with some unknown power. "Take it," the man says. "Take it now, before the power disperses!" Silas, as if under a spell, can do nothing except obey.

When your hand touches it, a flash lights the room, and a coal-room within your own mind is revealed. In it dwells a little man. He tends a garden made of shells. The sun has not seen it in a thousand years. He asks you for something of value. You have nothing. But from your chest something drifts, you go along with it, leaving your body behind. It is merely a husk, a shell itself. But what you give is what you are. All you have. The little man guides you toward the box. The shells chitter and chatter and open around you. They brush your face, trembling. Closing over you, you sink down, down into...

Shaking your head, you snap back to the present. Flaming Ichvaal magic.

"Now you see. De power of de Philorath. Yet dis but one, and de least of twelve. THE Philorath, dat is de one you must find, and use it, along with de sword, de pitcher and de horn. Den de sleepers du awaken!"

DM's NoteYour mindbow is now +2
  #38  
Old Dec 8th, 2015, 06:00 PM
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Silas shook his head to dispell the strange images. The images remained, he wanted to say like a scar, but that was too harsh a word. Remain though, the images did. Flaming Ichvaali magic, he thought irritably. But oddly, his "irritation" was more habit than truth. He felt a kind of gentle awe....and wonder?

Gradually, Silas' faculty for speech returned. "Umm...but where can we find this...Philorithy thing, and how do we use it? Why us? Couldn't you just do it?"
  #39  
Old Jan 1st, 2016, 09:08 PM
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"Where du find it? It is south. Far far south." The little man lowers his voice. "Many Ichvaal artifacts down dere. Du humans stole so many of dey from de sacred places when du come. Now dey must be collected. I cannot do it!" He yells suddenly. "My job is keep machines running. I do dat. You job is get Philorath, save Ichvaal. You do dat?"

As he's speaking, he is busily rooting through a chest. In a moment he produces a thin, rectangular piece of metal. It looks like it should weigh quite a bit, but he hands it to you and you find it's quite light. "Use dis to find. Look," he pushes your arms up, so that the plate of metal is in front of Silas's face. "Look." He repeats. Holding the thin piece of metal, Silas stares at the intricate tracings on the silver. Then it shifts. Suddenly the plate is tranlucent! Silas gasps, it's like he's looking through a foggy window. The blotted shapes on the other side all glow with weird colors.

"You see? The plate show du magic around you. You look through, you see magic. Bigger magic, like Philorath, more light you see when you look through plate. Go south, far far south to de endless swamp. Dere you find the Philorath. Dis plate, de Plate of Cura, help you."
DM's NoteThe Plate of Cura has the following abilities. Activation of each is a full round action.

Last edited by mountainbound; Feb 6th, 2016 at 12:06 PM.
  #40  
Old Feb 4th, 2016, 05:03 PM
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Gingerly, Silas accepted the plate from the wee man, examining it with a kind of awe. Silas looked at Dan to see his reaction to all this craziness. Silas felt like he'd been plunged into one of the strange fantasy novels they'd been forced to read at school. He took a deep breath and sighed. Bloody hell.... "Well, why flaming not? Seems like no matter what we do, we keep being...ushered towards the Ichvalli." It felt good to say it, to give himself at least the illusion of choice.

He looked at Dan again, and seeing no help forthcoming, said to the wee man, "Um, I don't mean to be rude, but South is a big flam...I mean, South is a BIG target to hit. Can you be a little, um, more specific? A map maybe?" [/B]

"How will we wake the Ichvaali, if we can find them?"
  #41  
Old Feb 6th, 2016, 12:34 PM
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Final gifts from Corq

right-aligned image
"Yes, I got map, but du first go long long way. Many days, many weeks you go before it make sense. When you come to endless bog, den you look at map." In his gnarled hand, he hands a waxed scrollcase to Silas. "Other big map, I got dat too. You see dis here." He unfurls another map with many colored areas on it and points just above the "I" in the squarish region marked in yellow. "We be here. You go..." slowly he moves his knobby finger down the map to the section below the "D" at the very bottom of the gray section that seems to be jutting into the water in the south. "You go down dere to see Southern Wizard. Evil man. Dat's where he keep du artifacts du need for awakening. See?"

"What?" exclaims Dan, peering over Silas's shoulder. "That's gotta be leagues and leagues, hundreds of leagues from here. How are we supposed to walk that far?" The young wizard has a point, you must admit.

"Hmmmph. Ichvaal got many travel portals, dey make trip not so long. But not all work no more." Your mind drifts back to the odd experience you had in the fall, flying over the land when you got stuck exploring another Ichvaal site. Was that a dream?

His bushy gray eyebrows knit together as he inspects the map. "Nearest working portal be here," he points to a dot on the map marked "Hartford," to the east.

Dan sighs, "Great, that's not even a little on the way."

"But I help you get dere quicker." The little man continues on, perturbed at the interruption. "This last gift, dese tings good Ichvaal magic. De best. Dey be friends, loyal friends to you, if you be loyal friends back. Dey my old friends, but not seen dem in long long time. Take and use when you go back to sunlight. Dey only come in light, only serve under sun. Got it? Good." From a bag he takes two wooden whistles. One has some chipped blue paint on it and has a dry-rotted string attached, the other seems to be missing its, and seems to have flecks of silver still clinging to the wood. "You know enough now. Help will find you, you must have faith. De Ichvaal know you come. Dey know I sent you. I am Corq, I send you." This he says with a special intonation, like a prayer, or a blessing.

With that, the little man called Corq rises. "Now you rested, you got du things du need, and you go, yes?" He allows you to gather your belongings, pack away the Plate of Cura and the other new items, and sees you to a stone arch at the back of his workshop. It's a tight stair that winds up into cobweb darkness. "Dis way out."
DM's NoteSilas takes the sealed map of the Southern Domain of the Wizard.

Choose which whistle you want.

Ask any final questions of Corq with your next post, and include an unmodified d20 roll to kick off the next leg of the adventure.

Onward!
  #42  
Old Feb 8th, 2016, 09:53 PM
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Gingerly, Silas reached out to take the whistle flecked with silver. Good friends? he thought curiously as he examined the whistle. "What do these do? How can they help us get there any quicker? "

It all seemed so strange. The quiet life he'd led in Lehman's Hollow seemed a lifetime ago. Had life ever been that simple? Were he and Dan really about to go gallivanting off to use a flaming Ichvalli portal to some endless bog, to possibly fight some flaming, fecking, evil wizard? Yep. Yep, that's exactly what they were about to do. Oh, AND wake an extinct people who aren't really extinct but are really sleeping somehow. Silas shook his head, imagining what that'd sound like to the folk back home. It'd sound like he'd had too much moss, that's what. Silas grinned.

Unmodified d20
Dice Roll:
1d20 7
  #43  
Old Feb 9th, 2016, 10:58 PM
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"Just blow, and du see," the tiny man says to Silas with a nostalgic chuckle. "Good friends if du treat 'em well."

As you approach the tight stair Dan wheels on Corq. "Wait a minute, what about Carla and Fahd and Rick? What happened to them?"

In response the little man merely shrugs. "I gave up visions long ago. Dey not with you, so I do not know. But if du go back de other way to seek dem, du get lost. Run into scaly tings in darkness. Fall into hole. Drown. Starve." He shakes his head. "Best ting do is pray and go up stair. You survive better dat way."

There wasn't much arguing with his logic. You could only hope that the rest of your old party might find their own exit from beneath Archeebald mountain. Dan gives Silas a frown, but the young wizard doesn't seem that keen on playing the hero. Taking up his Ichvaal staff, he turns and bats the spiderwebs from the entrance in the rock.

"Forget it. Let's go man," he says to Silas.

It isn't long before the two adventurers find that Corq's stairway is mostly a chimney in the rock with stairs being an optional luxury. The climb is arduous, but Dan manages to stay sober and you help each other through the worst of it.

After several hours of single-minded ascent, you begin to smell fresh air, then almost abruptly you find yourselves clamoring through waist-high fallen leaves at the bottom of a cavern. Reaching the mouth of the cave, you look down upon a small creek -- one might even call it a crick. Large boulders covered in moss border the water, along with an endless expanse of barren trees that line a hill. The moon rises through bare branches as the purple sky blackens in the west. Once again you experience a curious sense of disorientation. It seems to be par for the course any time you encounter an Ichvaali sanctuary. In any case, you expected it to be winter, but it appears to be spring. Late dusk, and the temperature is dropping rapidly. Looking up through branches just budding, you see the moon riding high over gray rags on a sea of starpoints.

"Uh, Sy," Dan says, "I think this is the falls. We're back home." His voice grows excited. "We're not far from Leyman's Hollow! That means we can see my Dad! We can get food! Wine! But... wait a minute. We're also 'wanted men' right? Or, at least, you're wanted. I just kind of ran away. Then again, there was that business with the guards. Think they'd remember all that business with the gate?"
  #44  
Old Feb 14th, 2016, 05:36 PM
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"The Falls.... Silas whispered in awe. He looked around. It was true. There, right in front of him was the Water Slide where, as a child, he'd warn holes in his trousers sliding over and over again down the mossy stone. The water splashed, and leapt and sang as it rushed relentlessly down the smooth, water worn rock. Up there on the hill was Hermitage Rock. And there, right there was the narrow path, bounding merrily away downhill towards....home. He could walk that path in complete darkness and always trust it to take him home. He looked at that path longingly and his heart swelled with a hoard of emotions he'd been just too busy to deal with these last...months? Just a few short minutes down the path....family, friends, food...home. Silas drew in a wavering breath. Not today, he knew. Someday. Maybe. But not today.

"Dan, I don't think we can go home just now." But he wanted to, Gods, how he wanted to. Absently he fingered the whistle he'd been given. "We've got to go south first." With that said, Silas put the whistle to his lips, drew a deep breath, and blew.
  #45  
Old Feb 15th, 2016, 09:24 PM
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"Hehe," Dan mutters darkly as Silas tests the magical whistle. The sun had set perhaps 30 minutes ago, and the purple clouds to the west were obscured behind one of the nearby hills. "Dude, that little guy said his 'friends' were all about light. Right?" Dan was a lot of less than positive things, but Silas had to admit, the sorcerer was clever when he needed to be. "Didn't Corq say they needed the sun?" Dan asks innocently.

The two old friends drag each other from the opening in the earth, glad there wasn't some kind of iron grate bolted over it. Silas points out Hermatige Rock in the dusky light, and they make for it, gathering an armful of firewood in the process. With a word, Dan sends a particle conjured from the depths of the Plane of Fire directly into the center. This was magik, and Silas had to admit his friend had learned a thing or two since he conviced him to come adventuring that night on the Yakawanna river. The fire crackles instantly, burning from a magical source, compliments of Dan. The young wizard sits back, reaching for his mom's worn old Hymnal, rather than a bottle. That was one big change.

"Sy," Dan says, fishing out a piece of beef jerky from his pack. There's a long silence. "I don't know. Well, why the eff do we care about Hartford, or Leyman's Hollow or any of this fecking shite? Don't you remember what the Mayor of Archeebald said? We found the fecking Horn! We just need to get back up the river, deliver it to him, and we're fecking Heroes!" Dan buries his head into the book in front of him, trying to read the curious glyphs that only his type could understand. In reality he was just trying to not look at Sy. Finally he breaks the silence. "Sure we may not get our fecking plaques, but we'd be considered Guardians. GUARDIANS! That's a rank bestowed upon the very rare few. The FATED FEW. And I don't know about you, but I have to say we've taken on some pretty crazy shite. We effing survived. I think we deserve a title and a freaking rest."

It's then that the wizard decides to take out his secret weapon. A bottle of his dad's wine appears in his hand. It was circa 1999, one of the oldest bottles in existence. He reads an inscription on the side of the bottle, a warning to those who imbibed too much to take heed, because they'd start making promises to God and other hogwash. But that was Dan's dad, and this was his wine. Dan takes a long swig and passes it to the ranger. "What do you say? Let's be heroes and forget the Ichvaal."

Last edited by mountainbound; Feb 15th, 2016 at 09:32 PM.
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