Allabrahni was in front of Felghanis’ eyes when he awoke. Her visage at once gave him hope and sorrow.
“You have earned a reward, Felghanis. What would you have that is suitable in the eyes of Araytor?”
“I would know what the Church want with the books,” Fel answered as the sleep seemed to wash from his mind and body as if born away by Allabrahni’s aura.
“That is unclear. It is certainly possible that the collection of the books are for their use, as you well suspect. What else would you know?”
“Where is Jonas headed?”
“To Dwarf Town. They plan to use the altar there.” The angel seemed to be expecting more questions.
“Where is the Titan’s Tear?”
“In the final tomb of the Hrimpursar elders.”
“And where is that?”
“At the feet of the Iron Teeth Mountains, in the silver forest. The trail is marked with stacks of carved stones.”
“How does Hydraxus fit into this?”
“Unclear, although Hydraxus claimed to be beyond the reach of cold when he claimed the throne of water on this plane.”
Felghanis was troubled. Hydraxus was a god, and on this plane? Does that mean the elemental lord of water walks Kiltayre? He shuddered.
“Will Araytor accept my worship?”
“Araytor accepts all worship,” Allabrahni smiled and gently caressed Felghanis’ brow as a mother might. “Be at peace and have Aid for this day.”
Felghanis was suddenly looking at the ceiling for Allabrahni was gone.
In Kalista’s room the young animist-wizard awoke.
“Ah, my girl. Araytor is proud of you,” Allabrahni beamed and took Kalista into an embrace.
“Now, what reward do you think is suitable from Araytor?”
|I have given this much thought, and to answer the question: something to help me Defend the People and Reveal the Truth?
||The answer is myself.
||So all I ask is this:
||To have the Strength to Defend those that do not.
||To be quick of body and mind so as to act when action is needed.
||To have the endurance to persevere through the thickest of storms.
||To recognise truth from lies, good from evil, and for the wisdom to judge accordingly
||and lastly, the patience and pressence to lead the people to the truth and encourage others to do the same.”
“Of course my child,” Allabrahni touched Kalista on the forehead. A silver glow swelled and Kalista felt an energy surge through her. It was like her mind removed blocks and needles complexes – her soul grew.
When Kalista opened her eyes it was to a murky room without the safe warming glow of Allabrahni.
Don’ was already downstairs in the common room eating with the Dwarves. They all seemed distant and quiet, yet happy and content. Allabrahni had left a mark on their hearts and the enjoyed its lasting warmth.
“I had some questions answered,” Felghanis said as he joined them. He shared his impromptu interview with the angel to nods and smiles of approval.
“What should we do next?” It was Aenir who asked it once they were all fed.
“I’m not sure but my components are thin so I at least have to visit the markets,” Kalista said.
“The library likely holds answers for me. I want to know where the Iron Teeth Mountains is exactly and find out more about the Hrimpursar elders. Goran’s body needs to be buried. I can’t leave it there.”
“Goran’s body can wait, or someone else can take care of it, Felghanis.” Donhallan’s distaste for this was clear.
“What about the Scours?” Kellor aksed. “We might be able to catch them.”
“They’re too far gone,” Don’ said. “They have nearly a day’s head start on us and in the high plains it’ll be almost impossible to catch their trail.”
“You’re a bundle of joy,” Aenir mumbled into his beard.
Don’ scowled, “What we ought to be doing is finding out if Lady Sipran intends to go back to Vrim and then inform Lord Tovran.”
“Yes. Then let’s go see her,” Felghanis said.
“All of this is in one direction and we can stick together,” Kalista put forward, pleased that there was no need to separate.
The did so and at the Beaming Censer found the pompador they met last time.
“Ah, hello again. How may I help you?”
“We would like to speak to Lady Murelle, or Varnia, Sipran.”
The pompadour sat them in the lounge and returned shortly.
“Did you see an angel by the library last night, by chance"?”
“We saw a woman in a cloak,” Don said quickly, as Kalista covered her mouth in surprise.
“Oh. There are people looking for her and they’ll pay well to find her. If you see her do let me know.”
They were all distracted by the heavy footsteps of the shield guardian that shadowed Murelle Sipran to the lounge. Pompador left with a hurried bow.
“My young friends,” Lady Murelle said warmly but there was no smile.
The conversation was brief. Lady Sipran would be returning tomorrow.
The door of the Beaming Censer closed behind the last of them.
“She really had no idea what a treasure was passed down to her in the books,” Felghanis mused.
“It’s her dreams that bother me. She has so many that she can’t interpret them all. It’s sad,” Kalista added.
“Whatever the case she has been gracious and helpful. We will tell Lord Tovran.”
In the library they approached the keeper of books: the Blakh who was in four places at once. It smiled briefly.
“Is there a book on the Hrimpurar’s last tomb?”
“Hmm, this one may aid you.”
History of the Hrimpursar, Meyendir Aravalon – archmage & scholar.
The book was well-written and led them through many facts about the Hrimpursar, their society, and how they were exterminated by Kentos and his army. What stood out most to them was the Wunder Trial and how it was a requirement to enter the moot where debate for leadership of the clan could take place.
To Felghanis it was something else that stood out. Some of the elders who went to sleep, from which some would rise as Frost Titans, died or never came out of the last tomb. What if Hrimpursar had a ritual like a Baelnorn; undead guardian of a people? It caused tumultuous excitement but he contained it.
Brannighan was there for farewells and they left through the ‘private rooms’ of the Sipran family. Felghanis collected Goran’s corpse, two day old entrails fell all over him, and only Aenir would help.
Lord Tovran was pleased with their report and sent two servants with Felghanis to make the burial. He was surprised when Felghanis said he would bury Goran in the chapel’s graveyard.
The ground was hard and icy. With the rest of his party away Felghanis took a few spells on the shovel. It had been almost a lifetime since he’d unearthed a grave, or even dug one, and all that strength was lost. The servants were well used to labour and they kept at it far longer.
When Goran was interred Felghanis said a few words and instead of the normal closing line he replaced it with, “May Davinus watch over your soul.”
Something flew out of the grave. But it was so fast Felghanis thought he was seeing things.
One of the servants laughed, “That’ll teach him.”
The other answered, “Worshipping the wrong figure head. Everyone knows Davinus is the true head of the church.”
Felghanis was shocked. Not only did these peasants assume everyone knew that he felt something inside him. It was calling.
“Avenge me and I will aid you with the power of death.”
“What are you?”
“I am Goran.”
June 14, 2012 1:53 pm
A large pavilion tent had been raised in the courtyard of the keep. The stables were cleared out and long sheets of silk were being hung as if to dry. Don’ looked it over in awe. A small fortune was in front of him.
“Ah, Ghanis,” Tovran addressed Felghanis. “I’m glad you have brought your friends. We have found something… odd. Perhaps you can tell what it is?”
The bottle that he showed them was polished iron with a brass stopper. Inlaid in silver were arcane runes and glyphs. It had a faint trace of magic when Kalista cast her spell. Together Fel and Kalista figured out what the Iron Flask did and reported to Lord Mikhail Tovran.
“It’s an Iron Flask. It’s used to summon creatures from other planes into the container. With the right command words one can release them into a service after which they return. This one has a fine crack in it, like it was only ever meant to be used once.”
“Where was it found?”
The guards showed them the base of the path to the Sipran Keep. Don’ checked carefully for depressions in the mud under the snow and he found some. Five sets of boot print at least three of which were people in armour. Again the guards of Vrim were awed with his skills.
It was now that Kalista confessed her encounter with Jonas and Mellevictus.
“I gave them the book,” she said.
“You what?” Felghanis yelled. Then he stamped about cursing in Draconic until Lord Tovran’s face wrinkled in disgust.
“Cease this man’s rantings. They offend my ear,” he ordered the guards.
“Jonas was… friendly. He willingly offered information. There’s a conjunction coming, of the stars and planets, and that’s worsening the winter. It is only in this time that the Fimbulwinter can be brought back and the Church aim to stop that by securing all the books in the Vatican. Under the Saint’s own protection they will be safe.”
“But they’d only need one book to prevent anyone performing the ritual.” It was Donhallan’s stoic logic.
“The only reason to have them all is to perform the ritual,” Felghanis agreed, then frowned. It didn’t bode well when the agreed about the diversion in this very keep.
“Nevertheless, they have the book and when we left I tried to scry its location but it was nowhere in this town. However the third book is here and we must find it. Jonas said there is a portal in the keep that leads to a library and that is where the third book of Fimbulwinter resides.”
Tovran swore them to secrecy and allowed them into the keep.
“Lady Murelle showed me this many years ago. It will not allow you back through for some time so you must be sure you want to pass.”
Everyone went through the shimmering field and on the other side were met with the grisly corpse of Goran. His body cleaved from shoulder to navel.
Felghanis quickly cast Speak with Dead and pulled back Goran’s memories. They moaned and wailed.
“Let me go.”
There was no such mercy. Of the three questions only one bore good fruit. It was Jonas who had the Iron Flask. When the spell ended the sigh of Goran’s mind leaving sent chills down their spines. The dwarves were nervous and kept looking at the portal which would not let them out.
A large shaft let in a soft pink light and in that diffuse glow was a table and three large chairs. All around bookshelves were well-stocked and there must have been a thousand books in that place.
“I didn’t know there were so many books in the world,” Donhallan mused aloud in wonderment.
Bloody tracks led about the shelves but they were so crossed the Don’ couldn’t tell if it was one shelf they stopped at or all of them.
The cornices were in a strange script and whilst the others helped with the tracks Felghanis deciphered them.
Davinus, Lord of Kiltayre across all planes
Page, spine and tome. Wisdom across the ages.
Branner, Marquis of the High Western Fief.
“The book is not here”, Kalista sighed after what seemed like hours of searching.
In the next chamber they found a large statue of a bearded man seated on a large throne. The whole thing was on a dais and the inscription, although in an old form, was legible to all of them.
Davinus, Great-thane of Kiltayre.
Ahead was the last doorway. As Felghanis and Kalista walked through they felt the pull of teleportation magic. Sound still passed through and they were able to reassure Aenir and Kellor enough to follow.
Polished flagstones lined the colonnade on which they now stood. In the centre was a kind of square full of tables and what was like a forest of bookshelves beyond that. Felghanis squealed with delight.
Everyone else looked at him wide-eyed. They’d never heard him make such a noise or look that excited about anything.
“I didn’t think he had it in him,” Aenir mumbled.
A vigorous discussion of higher arcane-physics was being held at one edge of the square. One elf seemed to be holding a kind of impromptu lecture. It was going well until a half-orc began to counter the elf’s points and the others left as they argued.
“Excuse me,” Kalista said to a handsome man.
The man smiled pleasantly and looked up at her. His eyes were purple and his skin had a silver glow about it.
“I’m sorry… but what are you?”
“Quite alright. I am Brannighan and well it’s a bit complicated really. You see my father was an angel and my mother an archon. I suppose that rally makes me free of the heavenly host since I am neither. For that I am ever thankful.”
They talked briefly and Brannighan warily cast a spell, announcing it to everyone, to determine Kalista’s place in ‘the way of things’.
His eyes began to glow blue and he said gravely, but with kindness, “My dear. I am afraid you shouldn’t be here.”
It wasn’t long before Kalista had asked about the Scours. Brannighan had heard that such people were in the library.
“I will look for them if you promise to wait here. Out there, people are much less… civil.”
Kalista nodded like a child. Brannighan had effortlessly cast an Arcane Sight, a tier four spell, that she only just recognised. If he was nervous then she was doubly so.
He had been gone and Kalista had shaken off most of the reverie that had come over her from being in this place and talking with Brannighan. Like Felghanis she thought to read a book that was here. It took her little time to find one and she noted that all her companions had begun to read a volume or three – like Felghanis.
Felghanis was just beginning to concentrate on the text in the Draconic tongue when a gentle voice said, “Excuse me. I couldn’t help but overhear that you are looking for someone. That happens to be my expertise, people and things; finding them that is. Who are you looking for?”
Felghanis answered, “Four men and a woman in armour bearing a quadrant of grey green blue and black. Some have heraldry on it. A red bear rampant on a black field with a gold poleaxe.” He described the complex healdry of the Inquisition Exarcanum that Mellevictus and Frellan wore.
“Why ever would they have those symbols?” The thin man seemed taken aback. “It matters not,” he dismissed it with hand-wave. “They left the library a few hours ago. It was quite odd because not long after it seemed they were followed by two women and two girls. All of them having come from the same private room that you and your friends did.”
That surprised Felghanis, “After; are you sure?”
“Yes, quite. Perhaps we can come to an arrangement for me to find them for you?”
“What would that be?”
“You take this little quartz crystal statue to a tomb in the Iron Teeth Mountains and place it on the bier, there.”
“Why? What will that do?”
The strange man, who had eyes the colour of rust and ruddy-grey-skin drawn taught over a thin frame suddenly stood up. “Never mind. Thank you for your time.”
Felghanis blinked as the man strode quickly through the forest of shelves and was lost from his sight. He picked up the book and went off to find the others to report.
Brannighan approached them all. “I have found where they went. To the Beaming Censer hotel, but they have left through the North Gate. This is bothersome because they may not find their way back to the same place as the one they arrived from.”
Smoke the colour of lampblack billowed and disappeared leaving the huge form of an Ogre’s corpse, but it stood, and began brandishing a great club of knotted wood. This it swung at the sword demon but the fiend was too fast for Felghanis’ summoned help.
Suddenly the demon seemed to swell with prowess and it swung that terrible smokey-steel blade into the side of Kalista’s head. She fell and before her body hit the ground the fiend had back-stroked Felghanis. Kellor was raising his axe against what was a feint and with a snapping hiss Aenir’s arm was severed to fall across Kalista’s legs with Aenir collapsing in a heap. Kellor bellowed and the blade of the demon slid under Kellor’s guard, puncturing the gorget, sending the doughty dwarf back against the wall.
Don’ fought desperately to try and drag them away. The ogre zombie swung at the demon and connected well enough that it caused some cracking of ribs. It wasn’t enough. With a well-timed slash Donhallan fell face-down clutching the back of his head.
While the leaping-fire, the energy of life from the Fey, repaired Don’s tissues, the sword demon duelled the ogre zombie. It was brute power versus infernal competence and the zombie lost in short order. Somewhere deeper within the fiend heard a door slam and it lumbered forwards cursing in its horrid language; unused to the sensation of fatigue.
Don’ flickered his eyes open and struggled to his feet. He was so tired. Fionnghal was lost. The poor hound’s ribs were split open and the shepherd boy turned away. Aenir’s arm was still pumping blood and he quickly used the Hyloka to stop the flow. Everyone else looked likee they could be saved and Don’ did so with the remaining oils in Kalista’s possession.
“This keep was almost our death,” Kalista said after she regained her senses. “We are leaving.”
They gathered their wits and what mettle they had left.
“What has the Saint-damned church done?” Felghanis exclaimed.
Entering the great hall and the carnage laid about they were all numb with shock. Somehow they struggled down the stairs and then heard a voice.
“Jonas said it might be waiting for us.”
“It is I, Kalista. Who goes there?”
A helmeted head peeked in the doorway. They heard a voice, male, say, “It’s those villagers from the Crypt.”
“Come back. Leave the keep.” Another gruff voice ordered.
The rattle of armor quickly vanished and the group from Felk Bay struggled into the courtyard.
“I want to check these stables,” Felghanis said limping to the closed doors.
Inside was the wagon in what Goran was transported to the Sipran Keep and a few twitchy horses that flared their nostrils at necromancer.
The snowstorm had not let up. Thunder still shook them and it was dark as night. Descending the path from the Keep they saw five figures arrayed in church colors. Each held a weapon at the ready.
“What has happened to you?” A broad gruff man called out. It could only be Jonas since he wore the crest of Ursa Bellor.
“A demon attacked the keep. We tried to fight it off but failed.” It was Kalista who answered.
Jonas said resolutely, “Then we must pursue it. Move aside.”
They complied and the Scours hustled past. Thiridea glowered at them all. In her hands she held her poleaxe. Somehow recovered, or purchased, from Cyne.
“Glad to see the back of them.”
At the Whalers’ they were almost leapt upon with concerned people. Their story made faces blanch but Daldra Urdron was inciting a group to get up to the keep and burn it to the ground.
Felghanis countered well, “Lord Tovran would not be happy about that.”
“Let’s ask him,” Daldra said and led three others to find out.
Exhausted, shocked, and fighting tears from coming so close to death they each retreated. Don’ slept, Kalista rested and meditated, Felghanis kept his counsel to one side. They took meals and slept early then rising late assembled in the common room.
Over breakfast they said little.
“I have something to tell you…”
The door flung open and everyone looked. A young guard in the Tovran colours approached their table, eyes focusing on Felghanis.
“Ghanis? Lord Tovran seeks your presence and that of your companions at the Sipran keep. He wants your counsel on a matter.”
Interrupted they left for the keep with Kalista setting aside her words for a more appropriate time.
June 9, 2012 3:03 pm
The players have encountered the “diversion”: a sword demon. A feararkh blade from the Pale of War. It has been giving them a serious smack down. All the foreshadowing of its power was ignored by one player and the rest stuck with them anyway to try and keep Felghanis alive.
Fate Points were burned! No-one has more than two left after starting with four each.
I think they can salvage it without spending more and technically they can’t spend more since the Fate Point wasn’t intended to ignore a blow and stay in the fight. It was intended to keep the PC alive after the blow and use the narrative to explain why they didn’t die. Good example is Kellor after being struck by Thiridea’s poleaxe. It certainly looked like the dwarf had his head smashed in but when they checked him Kellor was alive, unconscious and missing his ear along with a swath of skin off the side of his head – making the mess they thought was his skull’s contents.
Unfortunately I was caught up in the excitement and fear of the confrontation with the Feararkh and allowed, if not encouraged, the use of the Fate Points in that way. And to top off the bad GM’ing brought in Fenris as a TPK preventer (god mode Sue?). I reneged on that and ret-con’d it after the session ended. It was fairly pointed out to my face that was what I had done and although it cut a bit it felt good to “undo” it.
Given the party are in a bad tactical situation I have to think of some narratives to save the day.
1) The fate points already spent will still do what they were meant to. OOC explanation will be made up front to clarify how FP are intended to work and what the IC ramifications are going to be. That is PC’s will be “saved” by the FP already spent but still go down and look dead. In future that is all that FP will be able to do.
2) Intervention: there is a caster within the keep, Lady Murelle, who could intervene and possibly save the party.
3) Aftermath: FP based survival has the characters “wake up” to the aftermath.
I don’t know what’ll happen, and I have a few more ideas that I won’t list, but I’m hoping to get it back in the good zone after my GM stuff-ups.
June 2, 2012 12:47 pm
The trial should be fun. There’s a bit of a twist in that for the players that will put them off balance and realise that the NPCs are actually thinking & strategising. Also one of the PCs will gain a visit in an uncomfortable way. I’m hoping to arrange a one-on-one time before the main game so this can take place. It’s possible that they party will try to intercept a creature they can’t handle so it will be likely that Fate Points are required.
But this is conjecture. The main thing is that a reveal is coming up which should really make it a bit more confusing about the main plot element, yet brings the realisation that much more is at stake than they realise.
Probably too much information but I have to put it up anyway.