Elder Players' - Interlude Twelve
I will be posting the e-mails I receive between the December 2001 game and the January 2002 D&D game, when they are appropriate for the whole group to read:
Ashes drifted down from the sky, settling on the blackened skeletons of buildings, men, and giants. The living, black and grey from soot and ash, walked among the ruins looking for survivers and any beloved dead. Many had flesh-colored streaks beneath their eyes where the tears had washed clean their skin. Wails rose up from the injured, and from those that had lost their friends and loved ones.
The buildings on the top of the rocky cliff were untouched...but the city below was almost completely destroyed. Only the buildings near Plunder's Pool had escaped damage from the fire and the crushing path of the lumbering undead giants. Zeek sat upon the one remaining bridge across the city's stream, breathing heavy from a full morning of work. He glanced across the tattoos on his arms...and gained a moments happiness from remembering that the curse of the man-with-backwards-hands curse had been lifted.
Zeek wondered at MuRa's words. "In Lornki, my teachers spoke of an order of monks that live in the clouds…in the Valley of the Mists. It is the temple of Wudon they speak of…Don't follow the easy path Ezekiel…Don't make the mistakes I have made. You have your soul…Go to Wudon…become that which you are!" Zeek was from the wild jungles of the Valley of the Mists. Zeek's people feared the Monks of the Valley. Zeek wondered if they would even accept him at Wudon.
Oren sat in the soot covered rubble that was once the Castle Bar. "Its gone...all gone." Oren's mind was racing. The Master had been giving him the abilities and the powers of a Vampire...but it wasn't the Master after all. It had been Lo Choi. Oren clenched his fists and closed his eyes tight. He realized that he had almost betrayed his friends and attacked them...and all for someone pretending to be his former Master. What should Oren do? What would the Master think?
Oren thought back over the past few weeks. Had he really tasted that Fire Troll's blood...or had Lo Choi just made him think he did? Had he really killed his former follower, Tungar...or had Lo Choi just made him think he did? What was real...what was imagined? Oren pulled at his beard in anger. Why was this happening to him.
"Oren, be at peace. Your Master is with you. You were a loyal servant. You helped me to reveal Lo Choi's plans, without knowing it. I value what you have done for me, and I wish you no harm. I release you from your debts to me. I release you from your service. I release you from your weight of conscience. You will not suffer my fate, nor the fate of those like me. You are a dwarf...and prince among dwarves. Your memories of your service with me...and your memories of Lo Choi's influence will fade over the next few days...only to be replaced with true memories of your home...of your time with the mercenaries...and of your true purpose. You are a warrior born...and a leader of dwarves-at-arms. Forget me. Remember yourself, Orendagar."
Oren shook his head, and the voice was gone. "I'm free?"
Will Fitzpierce stood at the top of the cliff with Cedric at his side. Smoke still drifted up from below and stung their eyes. "I don't believe I've ever seen such destruction...the whole town is practically gone."
Cedric corrected Will. "In the Azure Kingdom, this would be considered a City, Will. In the Empire...it would barely qualify as the half-way point between two outposts. Here in this wasteland...this is a thriving metropolis...."
Will interrupted. "Was."
Cedric's brow furoughed. "What?"
Will turned and looked in Cedric's face. "It was a thriving metropolis. Was. Now its a field of ash and blackened rocks and bones. Damn that necromancer! Curse his bones...I swear...this will not stand."
Cedric frowned. "He's out there somewhere you know...there's no way we actually destroyed him. It takes more than that to kill what he's become."
Will slapped the hilt of his sword. "It will not stand. The giants among his army were a gift to Gorin for doing their dirty work. That much is clear. Their will be a price to pay for this."
Jeremiah pulled his robes closer to his body and shivered. "Its the 10th of Primex...and yet Winter still holds reign. When will those damned gates be closed. OCKROTE...BRING MORE TARP CLOTH...WE NEED TO BUILD MORE SHELTERS!" Jeremiah was in the woods to the north of the smoking ruins, building shelters for the wounded and homeless. He turned to Eytai. "It is a gift from Heironeous, that so many people lived. And by the gloved hand of Heironeous, I intend to save all those that have lived this long!"
Eytai was only half-listening to the priest, as he had gathered together close to a dozen dirt-streaked children from the city, and had them sitting in a circle around him. Eytai was whispering to them of the watchful trees, and telling them that they were now safe with the animals in the woods. They looked back at him with tired eyes, but their were a few smiles among them. One child among them was smiling especially wide...though only a few hours before he had been dead. His name was Mirus...and Jeremiah had raised him from the land of shadow. A special tent had been errected a few hundred feet away. It contained eight bodies...the five children killed and three young adults chosen randomly from the many dead. These eight would soon join Mirus...and return from that final darkness...thanks to the grace of Heironeous.
Ockrote returned with several large rolls of cloth stacked upon his wide shoulders. "Where do you want these, Jeremiah?"
Jeremiah directed Ockrote to an open spot of ground. "Bless you, Azure Knight. Your strength saves lives...can you find me five times this much cloth?"
Ockrote smiled a tusky smile. "I'll find you ten times this much, if it can be had. But much of the cloth burned. Most of this came in a cavavan from Cornwalsh this morning."
Jeremiah slapped the half-ork's arm. "Raid a few more caravans if you must! We must get these people out of the cold."
Ruadhin stood guard in the ruins. A small dark man limped up a buildingless roadway about 75 feet from the brave knight. The man stopped, looked around nervously, and then stooped and reached into the ashes of a building and fished out a golden necklace. As the man straightened up with a smile on his face, Ruadhin's hand closed on the back of his shirt.
The man screamed as he was lifted from the ground. "Looters are to be hung according to Major Feld. Why should I not turn you in as a looter? Tell me that."
The man whimpered. "I'm sorry...I did not think whoever owned this home would care much if I took this...the home is gone...the owner is probably dead...."
Ruadhin interrupted him. "Put the necklace back. The law says looters will be hung...if you return the necklace and leave immediately, never to return...I will give you your life. Does this sound fair?"
The man dropped the necklace. "Knight...you will never look upon my face again...I swear."
Ruadhin dropped the man, and he scurried away into the woods with absolutely no hint of a limp at all. "Damned thieves...profitting from death. Perhaps I should have turned him in to the good Major, and his fate on the gallows."
It was the 16th day of Primex...seven days after the night Greenmark burned. The city guard, under the direction of its new Major...Major Feld, had kept order and through the efforts of every living man and woman able to work...everyone had some form of shelter in the woods to the north of the town. Jeremiah had gifted seven people the gift of life...and the tent that held the chosen dead only contained two more bodies. The people of the town had gathered outside of Galen Green's home at his request...for he had a message they all should hear.
"People of Greenmark...I founded this town...and I have tended to is...growing it and caring for it all these many years. And now it lies in ruins beneath us. A worshiper of death was set loose upon us by the giants...and we fell prey to their violence. Major Feld, injured though he be, has kept the blackened city free of looters...and he had kept most of you out as well. I directed them to do this for a reason."
"Many of you would have set about rebuilding right away...but I ask you to consider something. Greenmark is dead. Greenmark is no more. But its people are alive and well before me. Oh, yes...we could rebuild it...toil and struggle to raise buildings and clear streets. But I tell you...I have grown weary of leading men...I have grown weary of politics. I have grown weary of Winter...and of hiding from the giants...and the Grasslanders...and all the rest. Oh, we could rebuild a city...but I ask you...WOULDN'T YOU RATHER REBUILD A KINGDOM!"
The crowd stood staring at their leader...wondering at his words. What madness did he speak of?
Galen continued. "I have it on good authority that the Storm Gates will soon close...and we will raise the ire of the giants even more. It will be possible soon to join together and fight...to rebuild the Azure Kingdom itself from the frozen waste it has become. This rebuilding should not happen here on the edges of the Kingdom...in these dark ashes! No! We should put our sweat, blood, and tears into rebuilding the City by the Lake...the ancient city of Sapphire at the base of the Azure Keep. That should be your goal...and nothing less!"
Still the crowd stood and stared. The City by the Lake? Sapphire? The Azure Keep?
Major Feld stepped forward. His right hand heavily bandages and slung across his chest. "Galen Green has given me ancient maps of Sapphire...and I hear and understand his words. Let us not toil and trouble at the edge of the coming Kingdom. Let us not try to recapture that which we have lost here...let us reach for more! I say fifty of us head out tomorrow for the Keep...and fifty a few days later...then fifty more and so on...until we wear a path from here to there ten feet wide! And we will cut the blue stone and build a vast city like no other on Kempin! Hundreds will come to join us in our building...then thousands...then tens-of-thousands! We will build a city to rival Citadel itself! What say you people of Greenmark? WHAT SAY YOU PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF HOPE!?!"
The crowd let loose a scream that could be heard a mile away. Greenmark would lie in ashes...and Hope would rise from the shores beneath the Azure Keep. No one saw or noticed that Galen Green had already left...a full backpack slung on his shoulder and a walking stick in his hand.
During the moving speech by Galen Green where he told the people of Greenmark to found the City of Hope, Eytai
was visibly distracted. He was overcome by grief at the loss of his commander's son and companion. Although Eytai
and Ganraith never had a quite opportunity to discuss their connection in details, Eytai still felt a familiar
bond like an estranged uncle or lost cousin.
Eytai quietly shuffled his feet and moved to the back of the crowd. Once free of the enthousiams of the people, he turned his back and hiked to the grave of Ganraith he had made two days past. Once there, he collapsed to his knees and meditated. He thought back to the first quest for the key - the success of the battles but ultimate failure. His wandering into Dumit and the quick deal he had struck which led him to find the key again. And finally to the abrupt and unecessary loss of Ganraith. He resented the lack of foresight to not stagger the elves' rest and the trust he had placed in human guards -- they are so susceptible to sleep and suggestion! He pulled himself to the present and quickly dug to find some of the possessions of Ganraith to return to the Forest of the Ancients.
He returned to The City of Hope just as the crowd was dispersing. He assimilated himself without anyone knowing he had wandered off.
(from Steve, The DM tried to incorporate this into the story above) Both Craig's character and Jeremiah will use detect magic and scour the demolished and burning buildings in the town for anything that might be of use. We will take Scotts character incase we find things that we need help in carrying I figure we will probably take two days at least to get the town scoured. But we do wish to search the entire town. Plus it might be possible to get some kind of reward from the city council, mayor, leader etc. I will also if needed cast raise dead on a couple of the more prominent city personnel after speaking with the mayor and the church to find out who should be raised using their council hopefully there were not a lot of children killed. ( I Can cast raise dead 1 time per day, and the most I could raise would be nine individuals over a 9 day time frame.) Please let me know what you think.
(from Matt) The remaining group might what to divide up Ganraith important possesions:
Pearl of Power - 3rd level
+1 Keen edge longsword
12 +1 Keen edge arrows
Wizard's spell book (8 1st, 4 2nd, 4 3rd level spells)
Vikos would be interested in buying or bartering for the spell book or Pearl if someone would inquire. MHJ
(from Scott) Gungkrot would be honored to take up and use the Sword and Arrows of one of his liberators and use them in the service of the Azure Kingdom.
(from Steve) Jeremiah, Would be very interested in the Pearl of Power. It would help with the amount of healing or such that he could use. Also, I think it would be best to decide these things next time we played. (This Saturday) Steve
The crowd murmurs: “Let us hope he is with us”, “May he avenge us”, “the vengeful”, “Vikos Stormbringer.”
The Mage/Priest lands on the earth. “People of Hope you are truly blessed. You have the protection of the Finders of the Key. The Finders have my thanks for bringing the key that closed the Stormgates and for the Great Battles that I fought with the guardians of the Stormgates. It was a great adventure and with out Javair’s help I would have surely perished. For the one known as Jack Skull was disintegrated by an Eye of the Depths and I was nearly eaten by a White Dragon. I hope they will take my aid as Wizard as repaymentfor the chance at a great fight.”
Then Vikos nods to the Finders. Vikos speaks “Young travelers let me help you break your fast and quick your thirst.” and gives berries to many of the women and children (Goodberries) and heals a child (CLW) fills cups with water (Create Water). Vikos then addresses the crowd “Let it be known the Tobin blesses this town with rain when the ground is dry and sun when the ground is wet and a great harvest this coming season (Control Weather – Helm of Norell Bos, Plant Growth).
After a few minute he approaches the Finders. “Some of us have battled before, let us put that behind us for we have two common foes: Necromancy and The Giants. You have no Wizard in you mist. I think we could aid each other greatly. What say you to my offer?”
As the Finders answer a few dark gray clouds roll in. An ominous sign or the bringings of Vikos?
Jeremiah took a deep breath and stepped forward launching into the story of the events that happened after she had left Greenmark the night of the attempt by her duplicate to kill Javair. At the conclusion of the tale the towering figure of Vikos approached her and introduced himself launching onto a more personal and only slightly less flamboyant manner than he had to the party in the City of Hope.
At the conclusion Kit stood starring up at the giant of a man. Slowly a smile crossed her face and she replied. " I am Honored to meet the one who aided Javair in bringing the seasons back to this place I now call home. Your showmanship nearly rivals your silver-tounged friend who have made Azure Keep his home. This Kingdom will need all the strength it can muster in the days to come to stand against those who would enslave it or destroy it. I witnessed your power when you struck down my friends and something I wanted to give you the next time I confronted you." She quickly wove her hands through a searies of gestures and some arcane words. Vikos went into an defensive stance as others scattered as a flare shot from Kits hands and shot strait up into the sky and burst into a large ball of flame over their heads. Kit then stated for all to hear " And with that out of the way It would be my pleasure to defend this land standing at your side."
Thanks for listening to what I have had to say, know it is time that I go and pray for guidance and the wisdom to know when to address this group and when not to. Jeremiah
Reply from DM: I am for this idea. It is a good one. BUT, for it to work, you guys must come up with
a code word. Then the spellcaster must yell out the word during the game WITHOUT explaining what it means or reminding
the other players what it means. Then anyone hoping to get the +2 bonus must yell out loud that they are taking
cover. If any of these elements is messed up, or "cheated" on...then no bonus.
Feel Free to Contact me at VoidPulp@aol.com