Thursday, January 29, 2009


Here is the image that was originally attached to my previous post. I figured that I should put it back up if I want it to make sense.

Monday, January 26, 2009


It seemed that he had been floating through his past for several years now. It was like watching his entire life at a distance, through a thick morning fog. His childhood friends, his first time out in the forest, his first lesson with a bow when he had practiced for so long that his hands had blistered and bled. He relived his past triumphs; his first love found, and then lost, the laughter and revelry that took place at parties, the laughter and revelry that took place after parties! He remembered the kind words of encouragement from his mother and the pragmatic, sometimes harsh wisdom of his father. He also remembered his lust for gems and precious metals, how his eye always searched for glittering craftsmanship. Fond memories of his first “adventure” when he traveled to meet his new mentor Deedra Garnet in the far off city of Caercaster made him smile. He relived his excitement as he entered the city gates for the first time, his wonderment as he watched Deedra’s skilled hands create fantastic works of art, his feeling of liberation as he skipped across rooftops on dark nights.

Suddenly the soft white mist about him evaporated. The sky came into sharp focus, it was night and the stars filled the background with uncounted winking specks of light. He saw himself from the back, standing in a narrow alleyway next to someone else. They approached the back door of a building, the other person reached for the door latch. He watched in horror as this particularly painful memory flooded into him. There was an argument which boiled over into a physical confrontation that spilled into the building. From outside in the dark alley he watched helplessly, unable to close his eyes as the two figures ran from the building just seconds before it erupted into hungry flames. Before he could grasp what was happening his whole world became encompassed in biting, hot fire. He writhed in pain, tried to run from it but it was everywhere, there was no escape! Slowly the fire was replaced by thick black smoke. He coughed as it snaked into his lungs, burning his throat and squeezing the air from his body. Things became hazy again and he felt himself losing consciousness. He came to again but he was falling now. Lightning flashed and rain poured down around him. Falling, falling then choking again as he plunged below icy dark water. Blackness took him then and the silence was deafening.

The first thing that came to him was the cheerful chirping of birds which was odd to him. Why were birds singing in a thunderstorm? The next thing that registered with him was warmth; he hadn’t been warm in a long time, and dry too. It reminded him of a warm summer day in Kemmermere. What happened to the rain? Like waking up from a deep sleep, his senses slowly came back to him. Hesitantly he opened his eyes, squinting as daylight shone down on him. Waiting for a moment for his eyes to adjust to the glare he chanced a look around. He was lying on a pile of blankets in the corner of a small, single room building. There was no furniture in the room, just a small hearth on one wall, an abnormally tall door in another, and a small window opposite him that bathed him in warm sunlight. Was this a dream now? Ademar wondered to himself. He had never seen this place before. It seemed alien to have no furnishings, and no conveniences just bare walls.

Well, there was no sense in just sitting around this place, wherever he was. As he attempted to sit up Ademar realized that he was not dreaming. His body was sore all over, and joints creaked in protest as he struggled to sit up. It was only then, when the blanket that was covering him fell away that he realized he was completely naked and covered in dark, purple bruises. What was going on here? He reached up to run his hands through his hair and discovered another surprise. Some sort of cloth on his head? No, wrapped around his face! What was this?! Ademar clawed at the damp, somewhat sticky, wrappings tearing them from his head and throwing them to the ground. He had to get out of here! But where were his clothes, where was his cloak and belt, and… Frantically he jumped up and began searching his makeshift bed then the spartan room. Where was his belt pouch, what happened to his tools and gold?!

Without warning the door opened and a large figure entered the room. Ademar was standing there in the middle of the room, wearing only that which Sanastarus had given him, and staring at the hairy chest of a centaur. The thin elf took a step back, attempting to get a better view of (and put more distance between) the centaur. The creature was old that was certain. His hair was streaked with more grey than its original auburn color. The skin that was visible on his arms and torso was tanned and weathered from years in the sun. Ademar nearly gasped aloud when his gaze crossed the face of the centaur. It was stern and wise and scarred. Only one hazel eye peered back at him, the other was missing, replaced with a garish pink socket that still needed healing. He found himself staring at it but could not stop himself.

A deep baritone voice broke his trance. “Quel andune.” the centaur said. Ademar stood there dumbly for several heartbeats taken aback. He had not heard that term in over two years, had not heard that language in years. A look of concern crossed the centaur’s face and he leaned closer to the elf. “Lle tyava quel?” he asked. Although Ademar had spoken elven all his years it was difficult to understand the intricate language spoken in such a deep voice, it seemed unnatural. Realizing that he was being waited on, he snapped out of his trance.
“Ah, yes, good afternoon to you.” He began, “Yes, I am well, as well as can be expected considering…” he glanced down at his hairless figure to accentuate his point. The centaur smiled and produced a bundle from his side and holding it out before him. “I took the liberty of having your things mended and washed.” He said. “They were looking a little worse for wear.”
“Thank you,” Ademar replied as he hastily unrolled the bundle and began to dress. He noticed that his clothes, boots, and cloak were all there but his sword and belt pouch were missing. Choosing to wait for an appropriate moment he continued to dress. “How long have I been asleep?” He asked, trying hard not to stare at the creatures face.
“I know not for certain.” The centaur replied. “I found you unconscious near the river and unconscious you have been since I brought you here three days past.” Without waiting for a response from the elf Vantil continued. “I decided that if you are the enemy of one of those goblin abominations, it was safe to believe you to be a friend of the forest.
Tell me now, am I correct in this assumption?”
Ademar looked up, craning his head to see the face of the old druid. The druid looked down, his remaining eye holding Ademar in a hard gaze that seemed to pierce his very soul.

*** *** *** *** ***

I would like to give credit where it is due. The elvish language used here is borrowed from The Grey Company ( Quel andune ~ Good afternoon. Lle tyava quel ~ Are you well?

*** *** *** *** ***

I would also like to give some visual aid as to the wider geography of the story, as I have not heard any complaints from TMBTS, I am assuming I have his blessing on this.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cor'Nal's Heart

As the Hours turn into days and days into weeks it was becoming clear that Kutenai didn’t bestow these great gifts upon me for my own needs but rather to assist in the greater good. We had warned the chieftain of the dangers that were to befall his proud tribe but against all warning he was convinced to continue on the path that had already been started convinced that it was the way things should be. Even after the warning that was given I still can’t help but think that I should have struck out at the Orcs before they could have brought their plan full circle. How many lives did I commit to death with my reluctance to use my gift, the same gift that is forsaken by these barbarians just might have been able to save some of their lives if not all of their lives but would they have wanted it that way. If I had stepped in and circumvented the threat would they have shunned me for in a way damning them by not allowing them to act in the way of their beliefs? I feel that the question will haunt me for many years to come.

So I make this promise to myself: I will no longer stand idly by while an innocent or ignorant person sets themself up for an inevitable death. I will use my gifts to protect the goodly folk of this world from those that wish them harm and to start this promise I began by eliminating the Orc’s that slaughtered the barbarians with such power that I myself didn’t even know I had. From the first sight of the orc camp to the death of Tonguescum himself I felt more empowered and inspired by what I was doing than I had in a long time. The last time I felt so driven was while assisting Dorian Haysted in his time of need and it was a feeling that was very long overdue.

As we left the orc encampment behind us in ruins I knew that there was more that I could do for the remaining barbarians. There were women and children remaining that were going to need a settlement rebuilt and even though they forsake my gifts I was not going to allow that to stop me from using them to help them in their time of need. So for days to follow we spent countless hours building a main building that would show strength to their people and unite them and hopefully allow them continue to rebuild and thrive once more.

As we left the barbarians I felt as if a weight had been lifted as if some of the guilt that I felt for not stepping in was redeemed but I still wish that I could do more for them. In time I plan to return to them and if needed assist them once more whether it be something as small as delivering a package for them or as large as protecting their settlement I will not walk away when I return. So our new destination is Henutsen, a city south east of Whitewall camp nestled into the mountains. The city is said to be a ruthless place where criminals are more prevalent and the greater good may not, so I feel that I may not have to look far to find someone that could use a little help. I have also noticed that Ademar seems to be a bit more eager to travel to Henutsen which in a way makes me feel good that my dear friend finally feels passionate about where we are going but also strikes me with a little fear. I have known for some time now that he is searching for something or someone but I can’t help but feel that what ever he is looking for is going to be more than what he can handle on his own and hope that one day he will reveal what he is in search of and perhaps together we can find what it is that has him searching.

Our new traveling companion has me worried however. Luethar stepped in when he was needed but we have no clue as to why he was with the barbarians and what his agenda was could he have been part of the cause set in with them to gather information or was he just an innocent person swept up with the masses. I have watched him closely since he assisted us and have only seen that he seems to hold on to anything that he touches which I am used to after traveling so long with Ademar but he is also very secretive about things even more so than Ademar which has me worried and always on my toes, but before I jump to any conclusions about him as I did with Patch and allow him in he will have to earn my trust and this time its not going to be easy to earn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last Meal at Homebound: Part II

Tender as the moment was it lasted only a second as Magda, without a word, began to search the mess of her establishment for any weapons brought in with the wounded. Immediately finding a small crossbow and a short sword she barked an order to the boy to do the same. Magda made her way back to the familiar area behind the bar and laid the weapons alongside the iron skillet, figuring this place, the place she'd spent near all of the last thirty years as good a place to make her last stand as any. She'd fought and kicked the rear off of many a drunken barbarian from this very spot, tossed them out with her own bare hands with nary a skillet in sight to give her nae help. She was a'feared of no orc. That was for the certain.

The boy joined her behind the bar with a quiver of bolts and a dagger. He shook his head slowly as if to say "There's no more" when she looked at him hopefully. Looking away from the boy she spoke, "Wake those ye can. Tell them they must stand, or die like dogs at the end of an orc-spear." She looked back to him, locked his gaze. "Be brave. Honor yer father and yer clan. I'll cover ye as best I can from here with a crossbow if they make it in 'afore ye return to m'side. Hurry now, there isn't much time." He scurried away as ordered.

The drums were loud, growing impossibly louder as each second passed. She could hear breaking glass through the hastily fortified doors and blocked windows, could smell smoke from the fires they had started all over the village. Imagined in her mind orcs breaking down the door to her storage shed. Hoped against hope that maybe, this time, there would be a snake-man or two in there waiting for them.

She managed a smile at that last thought and suddenly wondered about her new elvish friends, Cor’Nal and Ademar. Where had they been these last days? Had they met their end as many adventurers do? Magda knew that they were wary of the coming bout with Schudlichton, as the druid himself made his disdain for war clear, but they would not abandon the town, would they? Not that their presence here would make much difference in the face of current odds, though they did have a knack for…

The shattering of one of her western windows brought Magda out of her thoughts. She looked into the parlour as the boy ducked instinctively. She saw that he had managed to get three bloody warriors to their feet. They were pale and ghostly, sweaty with unbroken fever and likely delirious. They were, in a word: Worthless.

Magda beckoned the boy back to her and while he made his way around she reached under her bar table and fumbled for a scrap of parchment, a feather pen and an inkwell. With shaking hand she scribbled a barely legible two-word note and stuffed it into the pocket of her apron.

“They don’t have any weapons.” The boy said as he returned to Magda’s side, referring to the still wobbly barbarians that he managed through some miracle of Kutenai, to help stand.

“Don’t need them,” she said, patting the pocket of her bloodstained apron where the note lay folded. “They’re not strong enough to cradle their own berries.”

“Aye.” The boy said absently.

“I’ll need ye t’ stay behind the bar with me.” Magda said. “We’ve only two crossbows, and I’ll be firing both of ‘em.”

The boy looked up at her curiously, he was frightened, but he was alert. “How will ye shoot them both?”

“I won’t stupid. I’ll only shoot one at a time, but I’ll need you to reload them after I fire each. Can ye do that?” The drums were so loud she could barely hear her own voice and she began to wonder if the boy could hear her, his nodding head confirmed that he could.

“Good,” she continued. “Now, they’ll likely come through the front door, but if they have much trouble they’ll come through the windows and look for a back door.” As she spoke she reached again under the table and found a small loaf of wheat bread, made with ingredients stored in her storage shed, ingredients brought here from warmer climates by Fengis. She put the bread on a small plate, set it in front of the boy. “If I fall, I don’t want you t’ be brave, ye hear? I want ye t’ flee.” Magda gave him a stern look, tried to make him understand that she was serious. “Don’t stay back fer me, I can take care o’ m’self.” She looked away for a moment before looking back to his sad face. “Likely I’ll be playin’ possum anyways.”

“If it does happen, try the back door first. If it’s blocked…” she hesitated, then forced herself to continue. “Play possum, as I’ll be playin’. Orcs have no interest in the dead. If they think ye are, they’ll leave ye be. When they do go, make yerself scarce, hide as long as necessary, then head south to Whitewall. Look for the two elves. Remember them?”

“Aye.” The boy nodded. Starving he picked at the half-stale loaf with two trembling fingers. It was delicious, the best bread he’d ever tasted.

“When ye get there…” Another crash of broken glass interrupted Magda. Great heat followed an explosion of fire as one of the orcs incendiary devices came through the unbroken west window. Smoke and flame roared at the front of the bar. At first opaque, blinding Magda and her charge from seeing the door in front of them, then the initial flash subsided, allowing them to see through the haze. The residual flame engulfed one of the standing wounded, burning, he screamed as he ran headlong toward the other two nearer the door. They moved away from him slowly, as if he may have been afflicted with some catchable ailment. The burning man then fortuitously tripped over a body on the ground. He writhed, still engulfed in flame, still screaming.

Magda reached for a crossbow, took quick aim and loosed a bolt into the dying barbarian. He gasped a final time as the bolt gave him the warrior’s death he deserved.

Magda handed the crossbow to the boy. His hands shook nearly uncontrollably as he took it from her, not taking his eyes away from the unmoving, yet still burning barbarian.

“Load!” she yelled. The boy snapped back to her, his face was pale, a wet sheen of sweat caused by heat and terror covered it. “Get hold of yerself and load, dammit!”

The boy looked to the quiver, took a bolt from the leather and with help of adrenaline, pulled the drawstring back with unnatural ease. He nocked the bolt in place. Proud, he looked up at Magda, whose gaze was locked to the door. He looked to see what it was she saw and wished he hadn’t as he could see a column of marching, unhindered orcs approaching through the window that flanked the right side of the front door. Suddenly, as he resisted the urge to water his pants he was acutely aware of the smell of burning flesh. He wanted to vomit.

Then he did.

Druidic Rage

The old centaur had lived through most of a century in this forest. He had great knowledge of many things but what he now experienced was beyond his ability to comprehend. These overgrown goblins had come to his home before, killing and burning and cutting that which he had sworn to protect. Every time he had encountered them he had killed them and yet, they came still. Now Vantil had reached his breaking point. He was sickened and profoundly saddened to see the young stags lying headless in a heap. He was shocked at the boldness of these foul beasts, monsters that would not go away, would not leave him in peace. He felt guilt because he was unable to protect that which needed protection. He was ashamed that he had failed his deity. Mixed with all those emotions, Vantil was enraged that this, creature, showed no fear in the face of his impending doom! It just stood there calmly with an arrogant smile on its ugly face! Through the confusing morass of feelings that swirled around him the centaur stared out at that misshapen face and found strength in his next course of action. He would right what had gone wrong right here, right now.

The moon still struggled to push through the clouds overhead but there was enough light reaching the riverbank to clearly make out the goblin sneering at him not thirty paces away. He had stopped struggling against Vantil’s spell and was now standing still, firmly held in place from the waist down by the still writhing undergrowth. The druid tightened his grip on the heavy staff he carried and began slowly stalking nearer to his adversary, moving more like a hunting cat than a seven foot tall, thousand pound centaur.
“Treemother please forgive my ineptitude, yet grant me vengeance!” He hissed into the cool night air through gritted teeth. “Allow me a victory so that I may return your will to this land!”
The goblin began saying something. It was something in a tongue that was neither goblin nor orcish nor demonic. It was a language that the druid had heard only when humans were about, although he had never bothered to learn it. It did not matter what language it was in though for the intent was clear. The fool goblin had a death wish and was taunting him. With a roar that sent many nesting birds flying away from their night perches Vantil charged toward the goblin.

*** *** *** *** ***

“That’s right, keep coming you fool.” Olrich told the centaur, again flashing him a superior smile and daring him to attack. The ground began to shake underfoot as the massive half-equine thundered nearer. Olrich could not move if he wanted to so he stood calmly, continuing to stare down the charge of the druid. What the keeper of the forest did not see was that before succumbing to the entangling spell Olrich had shifted his position to conceal his right hand and prepared a nasty surprise. Only twenty paces away and Olrich gestured rudely with his left hand and screamed, “Keep coming dog meat, come and die!” The druid charged on eyes narrowed and a spell starting off his lips.

Only ten paces separated the entangled goblin captain and the charging druid when Olrich pulled his right hand out from behind his back and aimed a hand crossbow toward Vantil. Without hesitation Olrich pulled the trigger on his tiny bow. His aim was true and the tiny quarrel plunged feather deep into the druid’s left eye. The centaur’s spell was lost, the growled words instantly jumping into a high pitched squeal of agony. The massive druid began thrashing about, bright crimson blood gushing from his face and staining the budding green of the river bank.

Olrich smiled evilly, not only had the bolt struck a more vital area than he had hoped for, it was also coated with a particularly nasty poison. It might not kill such a large creature but it would certainly leave him incapacitated. Vantil continued thrashing about screaming curses that Olrich could not understand. The goblin captain chuckled to himself. He knew that the old druid did not have long.

As the clouds finally broke up and were chased from the sky the eastern horizon began to glow with the faint traces of sunlight. Olrich pulled up the cowl of his crimson cloak to shield his eyes from the coming rays of light and leaned hard against the crude sled’s weight trying to quicken his pace. Finally out of the forest, his progress would be unhindered to the west. A toothy smile split his face again as he felt the heavy coin purse on his belt shift. Food for my Lord and gold for me! He thought. Not bad for a week in the stinking forest, not bad at all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Last Meal at Homebound: Part I

For several days now Magda Dervish had allowed her tavern, Homebound, the only one of it's kind for miles, to be used as a sort of makeshift triage. She did this willingly, volunteering the service to Piter MacBrady herself, wanting to do her part, however small (in her own eyes) to do whatever she could to help the town in which she'd made her home.

The Chieftain had accepted gladly, having no other place large enough, save perhaps Fengis' warehouse, to accommodate all of Snoam-Schlabach's wounded during her two-day bloodbath with the scheming bastards of Schudlichton. Magda had expected this, regardless of the knowledge that Piter had a reluctance to lean on women in matters of war. Or matters of any kind for that matter, as it was not the barbarian way. Magda was fine with that until now, embracing (as best as she could) her subservient role in the community. She'd long ago forged papers proving ownership of the tavern lay in the hands of an out-of-town male partner, a man who'd never been seen or heard from the entire time Magda had been in town. Magda did this in order to skirt barbarian laws that no women should own property or be in a role of leadership over men. Though Piter always suspected, Magda herself had mostly given up the facade long ago. Nobody ever said anything, but she wasn't fooling anyone anymore, she figured.

She'd been reflecting on these and earlier days, with the dead and dying littered amongst her pub's tables and the floor, the blood of too many to count crusted upon her once white cooking apron when the drums started. She knew the sound immediately for what it was. A sound she'd heard too many times before Fengis and Piter managed to create a standing, if fragile, treaty with their longtime enemies: Tonguescum's orcs.

The sound was close, closer than usual when the orcs invaded in the past. She sighed as she suddenly understood all the events leading up to this. Knew the entire "war" with Schudlichton was a trumped up ruse, a play on the vainglorious leaders of two barbarian communities who held the invisible ghost of "honor" above all other things, even and especially that of human life, in order to allow an easy invasion and subsequent domination of her beloved hometown. Schudlichton too for all she knew.

Seconds after the terrifyingly deep sound of the drums had reverberated through the building, shaking the windows of Magda's tavern as well as her bowels, Magda heard the sound of barbarian horns trumpet their response. It gave her a brief feeling of hope, but a quick glance at her surroundings brought her back to reality, as many of the towns bravest and most able warriors lay here, either dead or too wounded to fight. Though she feared many of them would have to before the day was done regardless.

Magda moved deftly among the dead and wounded scattered about in order to chance a look from the alley behind her establishment. The door at the rear of her kitchen met two paths, one leading to her modest storage shed, the other to a thoroughfare to the north, and the rest of the town. She took the latter path and peeked around a corner, with one hand she muffled her own gasp as she witnessed the burning of the MacBrady home. After that she saw the fighting in the streets, barbarian warriors and common folk fighting with weapons of sword and hammer, spear and pitchfork. Young and old rushed out from their homes to meet the bloodthirsty orcs head-on, but each wave was beaten back. More buildings were burning now as the orc horde moved ever closer. They tossed incendiary devices into windows as they cut down screaming women and fleeing children. None were given quarter, all in their path fell to the orcen plague. All fell.

Magda knew staying behind would prove fatal, but she would not flee. That much she understood of honor. But if she had any chance at all, she would have to get back to Homebound quickly, do what she could to fortify the place in order to save herself, to save the wounded.

Magda ran as quickly as her short legs would carry her, she always cursed her parents for gifting her with her dwarf-like stature but never so much as in this moment. She turned the corner and burst in through the open alley door slamming it behind her as she entered. Quickly in the narrow space of her kitchen she snatched a barrel of filler, sliding it into place in front of the rear door. It wouldn't stop an orc advance, but it would slow one and give her time to react. On the stove she eyed an iron skillet. She took it up into her right hand, flipped it up as she would if it were filled fried potatoes, in order to check it's balancing. Satisfied she stepped out to her bartable and set it down where she could easily reach it when needed.

Suddenly the front door opened. "By the Gods, I'm too late!" she thought out loud before realizing the person entering was in fact, her table-boy whom she'd sent away days ago to keep his young eyes from the horrid sights she knew were soon to come.

He quickly closed the door behind him before his shaken, exasperated voice, barely audible among the din of drums said "They're c-coming. Th-they're n-nearly here." He spoke as he absentmindedly rested with his back against the door he'd just come through.

Magda didn't waste time with greetings. "Move that table in front of the door." She motioned toward the intended table with her left hand as she started toward the boy. He hesitated for a split second. "Move the table you simple bastard!" Magda yelled.

The boy started toward the table, hesitated again at the site of the barbarian upon it. "Magda, there's a dead man on it..."

"Move him too." she said. The boy would become a man and die in the same day she thought.

Without thinking the boy used strength betraying his obvious physical deficiencies and rolled the carcass off of the table, it hit the ground with a sickening, moist thud that the boy tried hard not to think about. With all the force he could muster he reached under the table, lifted it off two legs and pulled it as close to the door as he could. When he had no more space to work with he went to the other side and pushed the table the rest of the way in against the closed door.

Magda began doing the same at the four windows in the parlour area. Stacking tables on their sides in order to give them what little protection they could provide. Even though Homebound's windows were relatively low to the ground (in order for Magda to be able to see out of them with little trouble) the tables only covered half their opening. It would do, would have to.

Mimicking her the boy did the same with the table he'd just moved. He also slid a chair under the doorknob, bracing the legs against the floor. He'd seen Magda do this once or twice before during brawls outside, in order to keep the violence from spilling within. It worked then, he thought perhaps now...

A slap across the back of his head brought him out of his fantasy as he realized Magda had reached him. "Ow!" he said, shaking the pain from his skull.
"I told you to stay at home until I summoned you!" Magda spat angrily. "Why did you come back? I can manage without ye." The tone of her voice was betrayed by the softness of her expression. She was clearly glad to see the boy.

The boy looked hurt worse by Magda's words than by her slap a moment ago, "Me father sent me." he said. "Told me I'm no good to fight. Said he'd defend our home without me." His voice hitched at the last word. "I think he's dead."
"Aye, likely yer right." Magda said, as comfortingly as her words words would allow. "But yer here now, and alive. Least fer the now, anyhow." She tried a wan smile. "Do as I tell ye and ye may live longer still."

"Yes Magda."

She held the boy against her for a moment, a thing she had never before done, felt him tremble against her bosom. She feared not for her own life and would gladly lay it down in defense of her home, but she needed to see the boy through this. Magda Dervish, childless her entire life, had to live long enough to give the boy a chance.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Stag hunting was difficult under the best of circumstances but it was close to impossible when attempted without the aid of a bow. This was the initiation rite of the Bloodfist, an elite force of the Bloody Fist goblin clan. The rite started with a three day march east of the camp through a large open plain and into a forest rumored to be guarded by an aggressive druid. Then the initiate must successfully stalk his prey and slay it by opening its throat with a blade. Many had set out on this journey but few had been successful. Most who failed took their chances with the druid rather than return to their doom. The few who returned empty-handed were either made examples of by Kirath himself, or sacrificed to Maglubiyet by Galrick, the sadistic clan shaman.

Olrich was not an initiate though, he had risen beyond that. He was the captain of the Bloodfist, Kirath’s right hand and most loyal soldier. He was in the druid’s forest hunting to keep sharp his deadly skill and to provide the venison that his lord was so fond of. Although not bound by the initiation rite Olrich hunted with only his falchion, mostly for bragging rights but also because he enjoyed the up-close and bloody spectacle.

Despite the rain (in fact it was probably due to the rain), Olrich had been successful in his hunt. He had found not one but two deer bedded down for the night and had managed to stalk and decapitate them both. As the storm had ebbed he made his way along the swollen river bank that would lead him out of the forest and back home. In his wake a crude sled dragged along the ground laden with venison wrapped in oiled cloth. It was an impossible burden for a typical goblin but there was nothing typical about the Bloodfist goblins. They were selectively bred and augmented by Galrick’s dark magic specifically for war. Olrich was the finest example of this. Standing nearly a head taller than his kin, he was twice as thick and had a boldness about him that was diametrically opposed to his race. Tonight he plodded on barely encumbered by his haul, and sang a battle song much more loudly than was prudent.

As he rounded a curve in the river Olrich noticed something washed up on the bank. A soft, silver light flashed from its surface as the moon attempted to push through the heavy clouds. Olrich stopped and dropped the rope attached to the sled. Drawing his falchion he approached the object more curious than anything. As he closed in on the object he recognized it as a sword hilt which was half covered by a cloak which was also covering a thin humanoid! Olrich tensed, his grip on his sword tightening as he readied for a possible attack. No movement came from the crumpled figure laying face down half on the river bank, with legs still dangling limply in the fast running water. He approached slowly, sword leading the way and prodded the form with his boot; still, no movement. Reaching down with his free hand Olrich grabbed the collar of the cloak and dragged the figure roughly from the water rolling it over and dropping it unceremoniously on the bank. He smiled wickedly after gaining sight of what he had found. It was not just any figure cast into the water but an elf! Elves were a rare sight this far from their ancestral home in Kemmermere, an elf skull would be a great honor to add to his list of victories. Assuming the elf dead he bent low and began searching the unlucky fellow for valuables. His toothy smile took in his whole face when his hand found a purse heavy with coins. Sheathing his falchion, Olrich bent low and untied the purse from the elfs' belt only then noticing that the creature still drew breath!
Jumping back, he grabbed at the hilt of his sword and tore it from its sheath intending to finish off the helpless elf before he could become a threat. As he raised the falchion over his head for the strike he paused. Would it please Kirath more to have an elven slave? He thought. He mulled over the idea for a moment, calculating the possible outcomes of his next action.

*** *** *** *** ***

Old Vantil did not normally wander the wood at night during a storm. He preferred the sunlit hours when he could enjoy the thrum of the natural world around him. Tonight was different though. He had been granted a vision by Lantana, a vision of slaughter in his wood this very night. In his nearly seventy winters as caretaker of the forest, the centaur had rarely been graced with such a clear message from his deity; it was not something he was to ignore. Not long ago he had found the pool of blood and the heads of two young deer he had known well. He had been too late to prevent the poaching but not too late to exact justice. The fool who had committed this atrocity had left a clear path through the forest toward the river to the south. The trail was easy to follow and within an hour Vantil had reached the river bank. There in the emerging moonlight he saw... The largest goblin he had ever encountered dressed in dark leather armor and a bright crimson cloak. He stood over a prone figure with a heavy sword held high overhead ready to strike. A crude sled off to the side carried the bodies of his fallen woodland friends. Rage built within Vantil as he viewed the killer in front of him. With a snarl he gestured and yelled. “Impedio fatum!” The words seemed to be magnified by the power within the spell which rolled away from the druid and filled the area around the two figures on the river bank. Instantly the undergrowth leaped to the command of Vantil’s magic, the extended will of Lantana. Writhing and stretching, the growth around the monstrous goblin reached out to entangle his limbs and those of the helpless elf before him.

Olrich’s surprise was complete; he had been so intent on the broken elf that he was oblivious to the entrance of the druid. He began to turn when he heard the booming voice of the centaur but then he felt something writhing around his legs. Looking down Olrich saw the various plants around him springing to life and reaching out to ensnare him and the elf both. Holding his falchion high he began slashing viscously at the plants around him, slicing through grasses, brambles, and even roots that exploded through the ground to grasp at his legs and torso.

The elf in front of him showed no resistance and was quickly engulfed and held in a green cocoon of vegetation. More concerned with his own wellbeing, Olrich continued to beat back the persistent, clinging plants. For several seconds he battled to stay free but it was a losing battle and he could sense it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Unanswered Questions

Hello all.

I know its been too long since last I wrote on this humble little blog of ours. Although I am not the sole contributor and therefore not necessarily the only person responsible for the content herein, I apologize. I am the creator of the blog and it is a reflection of a story largely of my own creation and therefore I should have tended it better than I have thus far. I will try to do better, although with little new material (so to speak) from our game currently in hiatus it seems like a daunting task to say the least.

That said, I thought it interesting to try to spark the flame of intrigue with our readers and former players by rehashing some events that happened during the course of the game and perhaps shed light on a few ends left untied, deliberately or otherwise. Some plot points were simply passed over in favor of better ones while others were just forgotten by me.

Here are some examples, see if you can answer some of the questions raised. And please, if you have something in mind that I may have forgotten, please bring it to my attention. I may have an answer for you. Or you may have to find out for yourself...

  • What exactly happened to Fengis? He seemed to disappear from Snoam-Schlabach before your return from Whitehall Camp and Lurz Ghazrach. Was he released into the wild by Piter, the man whom he betrayed or perhaps "rescued" by those loyal to Tonguescum? Did he orchestrate his own daring escape or was he hastily executed and buried in a snowbank?

  • What exactly was the obsession with Anna? Was she merely a pawn after all, or was there a greater mystery wrapped within her enigma. Where did her power come from? If from the gods, which?

  • Speaking of Anna, what of the man who assassinated her in the Pinefore. He was seemingly never seen again. Is he the one who orchestrated the entire disaster that befell both towns, or just another lackey of Briggs McDunough?

  • Who was the bearded stranger from the arrival at Homebound? Was he the one who killed Anna, or was he just a minor character that the DM forgot to include in later plot developments?

  • What the Hell was the deal with the white dragon? Random event, or something more? Was there more than the one that swiped (and ate) the boy? Was it a second dragon that nearly chomped Luethar?

  • What was Lurz Ghazrach before it was an orc camp? A military outpost, in the middle of nowhere? A mercenary camp? Does anybody care?
  • The Hag, who was she and why was she living in exile?

  • Who the Hell was The Stranger?
  • Why was Tonguescum, an extraordinary orc even by orc standards, tucked away in an area clearly beneath his obvious skill set? Why wasn't he leading an orcish gang and plundering more heavily populated villages? Was he waiting for something? Someone?
  • What the Hell is wrong with Loomis?
  • Was Behrogar a good guy before his interaction with The Stranger?
  • Will we ever find out what awaits the adventurers in Henutsen?
  • What was with the MacBrady Family Tomb? Why weren't they burned like everybody else on funeral pyres? What did all the cryptic sayings on the wall mean? What would've happened if the PC's left with all the loot that Patch tried to steal?
  • Why is Cor'Nal so awesome? Why is Mike having so much trouble keeping PC's alive? Why is Ademar so... uh, um. Ah, I got nothin'.
  • After nearly four months of inactivity, will anybody ever read this entry?
  • Who shot J.R.?

  • What happened to Zima? That stuff was awesome! And bring back Crystal Pepsi, dammit!

Ok, got a little sidetracked there but you get the point. Anything I missed? Let me know.

And for those of you who used to play this campaign. I'm getting the itch to return to this setting. Maybe it's time for a reunion session. Or two.