Years ago, blinds prophets from every region of Osvar foresaw the falling of many stars. Though few believed their prediction, none could deny it one morning after flaming stone had fallen from the heavens and peppered the land.
Such a thing was unheard of; few men cared to read the stars and those who did were baffled as well.
The falling of the stars brought with it pestilence unlike any other plague. Pregnant women died quiet nearly instantly, and crops withered in the wind. It would seem that the wrath of the gods was upon all who lived in the land.
No king could possibly be expected to know what to do! Every apothecary failed at creating a cure and no courtmage could find a way to revive the crops of farms.
While only a few kingdoms were directly affected, others knew it could only be a matter of time before they were brought down from their high horse.
But who could stand by and simply let this happen?
Immediately, the wealthy and the ambitious began to mount expeditions into the mountains, hills, and forests in which the flying stars had landed. Kings and Queens offered great rewards of money an honour just as aristocrats underwrote such voyages with their own funds.
There are some who wish to serve their kingdom; some wish only for rewards and fame; some even wish to harness the stars' dark powers; some wish to destroy them.
For whatever reason, you find yourself on your way to the site of a fallen star on a cold morning's dawn.
Note that there are more than one fallen stars, so not everyone has come to search for the same one; spread out and be fruitful in your efforts!
Drake walked out of the 6th tavern he had been in today. Nobody knows where he can find his target. I'm starting to wonder if he is even in Falenvill he thought to himself.
It was colder than he was used to this close to the mountains, but when you are contracted by someone, AND they paid in advance, you try to fulfill your end of the deal. Why would anyone from this town be a threat, anyway? And to whom? These and a myriad of other thoughts ran through the normally calm assassins mind.
The strange lights in the sky had him on edge. Stars falling? It just wasn't natural. Drake tightened his cloak about himself, and proceeded down the road to the next tavern. Maybe there he would find the one clue that could lead him to his contract.
Griff sat alone in a tavern in the fishing town of Linley. It was fairly busy in the town, although it smelled like fish most of the time from the air blowing over the water and fishing platforms just off the coast. Griff had hoped to find a quest noble enough to relight his sword. So far, he hadn't found anything, but he had more than enough money to pay for a room at a local inn and he'd stay as long as he needed to, or until he was recognized.
Griff's sword and shield were both lying on the table in front of him, so he could rest back comfortably in his chair. He was halfway through a mug of ale when he was approached by a scraggy, haggard looking man.
"Nice stuff you got there," the man said.
"Thank you," said Griff. He actually was thankful for any kind of civil conversation, no matter with who it was.
"You willing to sell it?" the man asked expectantly.
"Ahh, no, I've had this equipment for some time and-"
Griff was cut off by the man suddenly interrupting loudly.
"I'll pay you whatever you want! I have the money. You might just have to wait a few weeks..." he said.
At that moment, the manger of the tavern, who had been in the back, came out front.
"Oddler, you better not be out here trying to swindle my customers again!" he said as he walked over.
"I wasn't," Oddler started to say.
"Wait...I know you..." the manager said to Griff.
"Ah...you do?" Griff said. His dirty appearance and hair covering his face had hid his identity thus far, and now his luck had run out.
"Yeah...you're that Lionguard bloke. The one what let all of Mapleriver get burned,"
"It wasn't like that," Griff protested, but the other patrons had caught notice.
"I had family in Mapleriver!" one said. "How dare you show your face anywhere?" said another.
Griff sighed and stood. He quickly chugged down the rest of his drink, then prepared for his next brawl...
Several minutes later, two of the larger patrons had Griff by the arms. They lifted and tossed him out through the window. He slammed down hard on the ground and his equipment clattered after him as they threw it out too.
"Time to move..." he thought. As Griff was lying on his back he saw an object fly over the sky that appeared to be a falling star. He had heard of them and that they supposedly brought death. Griff figured that maybe finding out what was going on would restore his honour. Gathering up his things, he began to head in the direction where he saw the object land, a hilly forest to the west of the town.
Geron the Joyous looked towards the night sky. It was blacker than it has been in centuries, well atleast it has been for the past month. He sniffed the wind, filling what was left of his whithered lungs with the mystical air that had also seemed to have come just one month ago. It tasted different, thought Geron. It didn't have the solid flavor of Black Stone, nor of the stale, deathless halls of the long destroyed Sarnarth. No, this was different. It held properties that needed to be tested, experimented.
The 'wise' men were right, something big is happening, or going to happen. Soon, he could feel it in the abyss that could be dubbed his soul. The lich's smile broadened at the possibilities and outcomes swirling in his mind; it became such an impossible length that Jasper, Geron's latest undead minion, began to stare with growing fear.
"Come, let us go to the graveland of stars. Perhaps they will speak of how I may find my own dreams.'
Geron motioned at the blue pygmy, and began to walk in a different direction. The north held the darkest sky, and beneath it surely lay the corpses of whatever these stars really were.
The wind whipped at Winneke's coat as he entered the fishing town of Linley, but he was too deep in thought to notice the biting cold. Something had happened on his way here, he had seen something in the sky but was uncertain what. The former ringmaster was finding it especially difficult to think today; there were more pressing matters on his mind.
"They're chasing me..." He moaned at a heavy-set merchant selling freshly caught crabs.
"Who?" The man, asked uncertainly, dubious of his assailant's intentions. He steadied himself in case of thievery.
"They're chasing me..." Winneke moaned again, stepping closer to the merchant. He trembled violently, causing concern to flood across the merchant's face.
"Calm down now, friend. Who's chasing you?" The merchant made to place a hand on the agitated Winneke's shoulder but the crazed illusionist pulled back in terror and pointed down the road.
"SERPENTS!" he yelled, eyes searching the ground. His shout drew the attentions of other townsfolk who, seeing the ruffled man of obvious destitution, figured an amusing spectacle was about to occur.
Uncomfortable that attention was being drawn to him, the merchant placed his large hands on wide hips and addressed Winneke in a booming voice. "There are no serpents chasing you, sir! Such creatures of dubious intent aren't clever enough to pursue just one man. Are you mad?" After a long pause, whereby it was obvious that Winneke wasn't going to reply, the merchant became even more incensed and drew closer to the former ringmaster. "Well? Are you not going to reply?" Winneke shut his mouth tight and shook his head vigorously, an act that was met by laughter from the ever-increasing crowd.
"He's crazy Laryl, leave him be!" Someone from the crowd shouted.
The merchant grew even angrier and grabbed Winneke by the shoulders to stop him moving away. "Answer me, man!" He shook the illusionist roughly, hoping to intimidate Winneke into talking once more. "Why are you here, bothering me?"
Winneke scrunched his face up tight, as if he were about to cry and them suddenly burst into life. "If I open my mouth it will fill full of sand!" Upon crying this statement, Winneke slapped his hands over his mouth and began to whimper, occasionally making heaving sounds in between.
"What's wrong? What are---" The merchant backed away in disgust as Winneke bent double and proceeded to vomit sand onto the ground. The crowd looked on in wonder as beautiful, pure white sand cascaded from the crazed man's mouth and settled in a neat pile in front of him.
"Would you look at all that..." Someone from the crowd voiced. The pile was up to Winneke's knees before he stopped. Breathing heavily, the illusionist crouched down and inspected the impossible pile of sand.
"At the sight of their scales you start to scream." Winneke said, his voice no longer timid or crazed. "At the sight of their scales you start to shake!" He boomed, spinning expertly so as to address the whole crowd surrounding him. "You can't trust a fanged thing!" He smiled, pointing at the sand.
As the crowd watched in confusion, the pile of sand began to shudder and shift. Grains skipped up and down as dozens of snakes slithered free from the pile, causing the townsfolk to back away in terror. The crab merchant stumbled backwards and fell as three vicious-looking serpents advanced on him. He held his arms up to defend himself as best he could.
Suddenly, the chaotic crowd were frozen by the loud crack of a whip. All eyes turned to Winneke, coiled whip in hand, as he struck an impressively dominant pose before bringing his whip onto the pile of sand. As the sand dispersed, the snakes vanished, leaving the townsfolk - especially the crab merchant - flailing wildly at nothing. They stared incredulous at Winneke as he fixed his whip back onto his belt.
"You're welcome." He murmured simply before turning on his heels and striding away from the crowd.
Leaving the frenzied crowd behind him, Winneke stopped at the entrance of a dusty-looking inn. The sign atop the door read: 'The Sea Serpent'. "They're still chasing me..." Winneke sighed before pushing the door aside and heading into the dark interior of the building.
The small boat rocked every now and then as it glided down the river but Rafe only frowned. He had stopped feeling sick hours ago.
I could slip the ropes, jump overboard and swim to shore. he thought, tugging at the ropes that bound his hands absent-mindedly. But then I'd have to leave all my things behind.
He glanced at the burly fellow sitting opposite of him who was currently in possession of his gear and stolen good. The man glared back at him, daring him to try anything. Rafe sighed and tried to make himself more comfortable, sitting on the deck of the ship. Was it just him or did the night seem colder than it should be at this time of year?
Maybe I should head north, where one of the stars fell. If I could get my hands on it I could live like a king for months. But north means home and I'll be damned if I ever set foot near that city.
Rafe groaned in frustration. He wasn't sure how far the star had fallen but he didn't want to waste time on a possibly futile trip, especially if it was a long one.
"What's the matter with you?" his captor asked, annoyed.
"What's wrong? I'm cold, sick and hungry and I got caught by some third-rate bounty hunter, that's what's wrong." the thief complained angrily. He was about to complain some more when something flashed across the sky.
Rafe was on his feet instantly, looking downriver where the star had fallen. "I'll be damned." was all he could say before something smacked him on the head and everything went back.
The sound of the star impacting just a few miles south of Falenvill was loud enough to mask the sound of the Durgerek advance thundering over the town boarder, if only for a moment. They had been hidden by the rocky foothills at the base of the mountains but now they charged on their large northern horses in their heavy plate armor, impaling the keep's guards with lances and spears. As the Vangaurd rode around the town, circling it, the foot soldiers charged inside. Swinging their weapons with the strength of Durgerek warriors, they literally slashed their way through the towns defenses.
As the one-sided battle progressed, Lanencuris and Garthoge rode side by side following the advance of the Legion. No orders needed to be given. Durgerek know how to wage war from the day they know how to walk. An arrow from a multi story building came waywardly towards the Warlord, and he didn't even need to move. The weak shaft made of wood snapped in half on impact with his masterfully crafted armor. A Durgerek archer responded in kind and the man in the tower fell already dead.
And the battle continued.
Viverin waited at the top of a hill, resting himself for a moment. He had just gotten done dealing with a recent client, acting as a guide and taking him to some town, dropping him off. He couldn't remember the name of it but he had been there a few times and so knew the route. It wasn't a bad trip since he had heard of a star landing a ways away from the village. The villagers were terrified by it but...
In his mind, it would be idiotic not to see this star. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and if the rumors were right and this was the end times then there would be know reason not to go see this star, even if it were possibly dangerous.
Thus he willed his limbs into moving again and walked down the hill, towards the area the star was to supposidly be in. Did he know what to expect? No, not really...but he could guess. Maybe it was a great ball of controlled fire? Or maybe it was a bright white sphere, large enough to crush a city? Or it could be in the shape of a woman, something that would get a good chuckle out of him, if not just due to the absurdity of it. Or, unbelievebly yet (he's not sure he used that right), it could be a tiny white marble, small enough to crush in his hands!
He contemplated the absolute absudity of being able to claim that he had crushed a star with his own two hands...before shaking his head. He was diluting himself, to think of things that couldn't possibly happen or contemplate things he couldn't even understand right then and there was foolish. First find the star, then contemplate.
Drake was nearly to the tavern when the first attacks hit. This day just keeps getting better and better he thought to himself, as he darted into an alley way. He could tell by the efficency by which the attack was carried out that these men were no amateurs when it came to combat.
As you trek through the forest, the air begins to cool.
Though you feel rather invigorated by the possible glory at hand, you cannot shake a feeling of dread inside.
You climb to the crest of another hill and com across something promising:
A river runs through the wilderness here, and just on the other side is what might be your star: a black stone the size of a kettle sunken into the ground!
An ancient looking stone bridge spans the river invitingly.
Eventually, shapes begin to materialize out of the mist:
on a hilltop you make out the pointed tops of tents, and as you draw closer, a fire in the middle of them illuminates humanoid forms sitting around it.
Minutes later, one of the forms stands up and, without calling, motions you towards the encampment.
Silence falls upon the room as you enter.
Many patrons of the bar turn to face you, but soon return to their bidding; the barkeep mutters something about all the 'Strange Types As of Late...'
You hear a raspy voice elsewhere in the establishment call you, though not by name.
When you find him, you see a bearded man with blind eyes wrapped in a thin blanket.
He tells you that he knows what you are searching for.
You awake with a great pain in the back of your head.
Reaching back you find bits of twig and leaf in your hair indicative of you hitting your head...on a low hanging tree branch.
Standing up, you look around and see that you have washed up on the sandy shore of a cave that the river feeds into.
As your soldiers cut swathes through the puny town's defenses, an officer rides swiftly to your side.
He informs you that a sort of sorcerer has started an uprising in the southern end of town and it has become a much larger issue than predicted.
He asks, begrudgingly, that you rise to the front to end the squabble.
figment of mind:
Travelling the open plain poses little challenge to you.
You soon come across a great, blue lake in the valley of a hill range.
There is a small island in the middle with a few trees: local maps refer to it as 'Wizard's Island.'
A plume of smoke wafts from the island's center.
The bar's patrons panic as chaos ensues.
However, an old man grabs you lightly by the shoulder and tells you to follow him upstairs.
When the two of you had made it to higher ground, he rushes you to a window at the end of the hall and tells you to make your way to the town's southern end; he will meet you there.
Calm amid the chaos, Drake was still startled enough to half-draw one of his daggers when an old man grabbed his shoulder. "Follow me" the old man said, and, being curious at the odd circumstances, Drake followed.
"Go to the southern end of town" the old man told him, as he headed toward a window. "I will meet you there."
Drake, suspicious, decided to give the old man a warning. "See that you do. If this turns out to be a trap, I don't want to have to hunt you down." With that, Drake climbed out of the window and onto the roof, the easier to avoid the panicked crowds on the street.
He made his way south, easily hopping the gaps between buildings. As he neared his destination, Drake slowed his pace, giving himself time to more carefully search the area for enemy soldiers. An interesting day, indeed.
Njall chuckled, wiping the crimson smear from his blade. 'They always run,' he murmured, looking down at his latest quarry. 'Even when they say they'll fight to the last.' Drawing his short dagger, he cut a finger from the prone corpse, placing it into a small leather pouch. This latest contract was nothing special, just a lowly thug who'd angered the wrong sort of person. Njall didn't ask questions, that wasn't his job.
Dragging the corpse off the road, he shoved it roughly into a nearby bush, hoping the thick tangle of branches would be enough to keep it hidden for a time. As he stood up, shouldering his pack once again, he turned towards the road, looking for a signpost to the nearest city. What he saw instead was a brilliant light shooting across the sky. Njall's eye widened as it plunged towards a nearby hill, briefly illuminating the road nearby. His wonder swiftly faded as he saw the group of figures moving slowly down the road towards him.
'Oh, good' he growled, loosening his sword in its scabbard 'More company'
When Rafe finally came to his head hurt like something fierce. Spitting out sand and river water, he slowly got up. Rubbing sand out of his eye, Rafe tried to remember what had happened. Then he noticed his hands, still tied.
Right. The boat.
He slipped the ropes, then gingerly touched the back of his head, pulling some leaves and bits of twig out of his hair.
First caught by a third-rate goon and then knocked out cold by a tree. I'll never live this down.
Looking around he tried to assess his situation. He could only guess as to where he was. The boat was gone as were his all his things- his food, weapons, and most importantly, his loot. He only had his cloak and his lock picks left.
Brave the wilds or follow the boat into the cave. Into the dark cave without any light source, Rafe thought, frowning, as he wrung the water out of his cloak. He stood there on the shore for a while, hesitating, then, picking up a nearby branch, he headed for the cave. My greed's going to be the death of me one day. If anything else doesn't kill me first. Stick in hand he ventured into the cave.
He hadn't gone more than a dozen metres when he had to stop and let his eyes adjust to the darkness. After a few moments he moved on only to stop again after a few more dozen metres. This time waiting didn't help. It was pitch black and he couldn't see a thing, only hear the sound of water flowing nearby. Rafe took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.
Keep the sound of water to your left and be extremely careful where you step, the thief told himself and then set out deeper into the cave.
As you draw closer to the southern wall, the sound of combat grows.
The metallic clash of swords and armour is supplemented on occasion by an electric shock or the sound of fire searing through the air.
You reach the end of the roofs and observe a battle below you:
Many townspeople have taken up arms against the obviously superior attacking army, and while they can hardly stop the charge, the slow it down long enough for a lone wizard to do great damage to them all with an array of spells.
The old man from the bar greets you from behind, now wearing hooded green robes.
He explains that you are here to help him assist 'Vyslin' in fending off the horsemen.
He proceeds to leap from the roof and down into the throng below.
Three Orcs slowly lumber down the road with spiked clubs at their hilts. They are speaking tiredly to each other, but you do not know what about.
One is carrying a large burlap sack over his shoulder.
As they come ever closer, they do not appear to have noticed you.
As you continue further down the cave's tunnel, you begin to smell the stench of decay.
You cannot hear anything but your own footsteps and the water, but something clearly died here...
Up ahead, there is a hole in the caves ceiling that allows a little light to form a circle on the ground.
Njall drew his sword, the steel sighing softly against the rough leather scabbard. He'd had brushes with Orcs before, and knew what savage destruction they were capable of. He decided the best approach would be to let the creatures get closer, before attacking them suddenly and (hopefully) incapacitating them quickly. Pressing the sword to his forehead, he muttered a quick prayer to the god of battle, before crouching as low as he could behind the bush containing his recent victim.
H.F.S, walked past the city's guards hulking hydrasion standing 8ft tall, never moving until they are needed to defend the city and skin as strong as steel. H.F.S headed down the tunnel out of the city into a pitch black set of caverns, build by great worms digging through the earth. H.F.S navigated through these caverns, with no light H.F.S relied on other senses to find the way through this maze. Listening to the growls and screeches that the few creatures who tared live down hear made H.F.S crawled fro miles and hours through these tunnels trying to find the exit to the surface world. This path was until now only ever used by the hydra riders and H.F.S felled honored to take the same path as these noble warriors.
Eventually H.F.S saw a source of light, crawling as fast as possible he exited the dank and twisting tunnels, H.F.S was first blinded by light after being so used to the dark. after H.F.S eyes adjusted to the light H.F.S saw it was something known as dawn. Quickly taking in the surroundings H.F.S saw a black stone that drew some kind of attention, it was on next to a river that had a stone bridge, on the other side of the river was a hill with a bipedal creature on top of it. H.F.S climbed up the closest tree and got as close as possible to the dark stone, H.F.S waited to see whether the creature noticed him and what it would to next.
Wakey waaaakey! Hissed the voice
Saul groaned and batted absent mindedly at the air. He struggled furiously to crawl back into the comforting blanket of dreams, but reality dragged him inexorably to the surface.
Saul peeked over his cloak and found himself staring into the eyes of a slightly bemused cow. Grumbling to himself, the boy pulled himself upright. The ditch he had chosen to spend the night in might have lacked dignity, but it sheltered him from the wind and was dry enough.
The cow ripped a mouthful of grass from beside Saul and went on its way
"You had better not have woken me up for a cow..." Saul began "That was a particularly nice dream."
I know. it purred But this is much better than young, agreeable maids wearing a dishcloth of fabric between them...
Saul had long ago given up feeling embarrased with the Demon's knowledge of his mind
"Forgive me if I seem sceptical." He muttered, pulling the cloak back over him and rolling back over.
Look. said the voice. It didn't command Saul. The Demon had no physical power over him, but he was very good at making a simple statement sound like an ultimatum.
A single streak of light carved its way through the infinite blackness of the sky. It plummeted and was lost beyond the hills in the distance. It was very far away, but still...close.
A falling Star. Maybe you could ask a King to pay us in Maids...?
"I'll do it for free!" Saul snapped, grabbing his things and wrapping his cloak around him "You know as well as I do how many people this plague has killed! Its my duty to stop it!" Saul recoiled at the word duty. How must he sound??
Stupid. Now lets go.
After stumbling in the darkness for a while Rafe smelled something. It stank as if something or someone had keeled over some time ago. The thief slowed down and listened. All was quiet except for the water flowing to his left.
Up ahead was a circle of light coming down from the ceiling and Rafe, sick of creeping along in the dark cave headed towards it.
He stopped just before stepping into the light. In the centre of the circle was the source of the stench. It was hard to tell what it had been. It looked human but Rafe couldn't be sure. The thief was curious but he reluctant to leave the safety of the shadows. Whatever the dead thing was, it was covered in large bite marks. The stench didn't help either.
Lanencuris Rode his horse down a street and made a left turn, coming to the place where a building was on fire and several Durgerek lay dead. He and Garthoge dismounted, and Lanencuris drew his large two-handed sword from it's holster on the side of his steed's saddle. The blade was as heavy as the stone anvil it was made on, and it was just as black. The edges were sharp and jagged, like a saw.
Lanencuris approached the burning building and called out to the sorcerer "Face me!"
"Die grey beast!" the sorcerer replied, then poked his upper body above the window-sill and shot a fire bolt at the northern Warlord. Lanencuris Raised his sword in front of him and the fire bolt glanced off of it like a hammer off of stone.,
Lanencuris charged the door and rammed straight through it without breaking pace, he rounded the corner and rolled under another fire bolt. He came out of the roll on one knee just infront of the wizard and swung his blade upwards. It caught the man on the side of his torso and severed most of the right side of his upper body.
The Warlord of Black Stone stood looking down on the gurgling, twitching form at his feet and then mercifully brought his heel down on it's head, splattering the wizards brains on the ground. Then the massive warrior removed his helmet, letting his black hair fall and breathed in the smell of smoke and blood.
He emerged from the still burning building to cheers from his men outside, he scanned the 15 or so soldiers but didn't see Garthoge.
"You." said the Warlord as he pointed at one of the soldiers.
"Where is Garthoge?" Lanencuris' voice was deep like the breath of the earth escaping a mountain cave.
"He left in the company of a summit monk, something about a gift from Zagrakoth being sent from the sky."
Summit monks were members of the Order of Zagrakoth. In Black Stone the Elder Mages spend their time on the summit of the highest mountain on the Belt praying to the god of the Durgerek, listening to his responses when he sees fit to give them, and communicating his will to the kingdom below. If one of their Harold has been sent about the star that fell just before the battle, then they must have seen it before anyone else from their vantage point above the clouds.
"Come, let us finish what remains of this puny resistance and then we will see what Garthoge and the monk return with."
The Ocs, stop by your hiding place and pause.
They look around, then at each other.
Finally, one calls out:
'Oi! Is Anyone 'Round?'
You know you are just running into this blindly.
The plague will probably kill you before you can do anything.'
The voices hisses its usual brand of kindness as you travel down the country road.
Ahead of you, the road continues into a thicker region of forest.
To your right, atop a hill, you spot a crumbling tower.
Suddenly you here a soft papping sound of bare feet stepping on cold stone.
It soon stops and you see a lantern flicker as it is lit, however it is so dim, it does not illuminate the user.
A clawed hand covered in yellow skin reaches into the light and drags the corpse away.
Geron and Jasper were traveling through the night mist at an acceptable, until a looming hill caught their attentions. Upon was what appeared to be a camp with what seemed like men surrounding a fire. The lich halted his pace when a figure seemed to motion towards him through the gloom.
Wary, but ever optimistic, Geron decided that what ever these men were, they couldn't harm him. They could flay and butcher Jasper, but it would not have been the first time. He began to laugh at the thought of the pygmy screetching in agony, only to be revived with renewed bloodlust. With that image still causing a slight chuckle, Geron walked towards the camp, but remained just out of the light of the fire.
"Hello, how are you this fine evening?"
The old man jumped off the roof, but Drake decided to take a moment to study the enemies formations. That moment was just long enough for the enemy commander to storm the wizards hideout, however.
Drake watched as the warlord came out of the house, carrying a massive sword. A person who wields a weapon that size either doesn't care about finesse, or is strong enough not to worry about the weight he thought. Looking at the size of him, I'd say it was the latter. Not an open assault, and he is surrounded by enough guards to make getting close a risky proposition.
He made his way to the roof of a building within shouting distance of the warlord. Drake readied his knives, just in case he needed them. The plan he was formulating was risky, but it seemed to be the only option if he wanted to get out of here alive. These soldiers were just too efficient at what they did to hope he could sneak by all of them.
"WARLORD!" Drake called out, standing on the roof. "I request a meeting. Leave your guards, and enter this house" With that, he moved away from the ledge, and slipped into the house through an open window.
Lanencuris watched the little scaly man disappear into the window and gave a short chuckle, which was replicated by his men.
"I like his bravery. I'll do as he asks. The rest of you round up what prisoners are willing to surrender and kill all who try to fight. If they can escape the city gate, let them go, they'll have earned it."
With that, the Durgerek warlord entered the front of the specified building and stood waiting, with his sword at his side.
Njall stopped his onward rush. An orc had never addressed him before, and they clearly knew he was here. Any element of surprise was lost. Rising slowly to his feet, Njall held his blade in a guarded stance, ready for a surprise attack from these creatures.
'What is it you want?' he said, his voice attempting to convey an aura of intimidation.
((OOC: Well, excuse my tardiness to this party))
It felt good to smell fresh air for the first time since Ardoris could remember anything. The middle-aged wolf closed his eyes and let his mind take in the sounds and scents of the open world once more before opening them to the horizon and the setting sun off in the distance.
Perhaps now the world will forget and perhaps now he would find those worthy of his order. He wouldn't know until he searched though. As such he went on down a paved road, not sure where it would lead anymore.
The men turn to face you; you notice that their faces are covered by cloth and their eyes are concealed behind dim eyeglasses.
In a muffled tone, one replies 'Did you see anything falling from the sky, anywhere near here? It is urgent that you let us know immediately.'
One of the orcs notices you and hits the other two on the back: 'Ey, there ee is!'
The others quietly mutter some confirmation.
The orc with the sack over his shoulder steps forward:
'You 'ouldn't be wantin' to buy some help would you?'
He turns the sack upside down and a small, green goblin falls out onto the ground.
'We was mindin' our own business, we were, and the lit'le bugger bit me! Now we don't what to do with 'em.'
The Goblin twitches a bit and looks around at you and his captors.
He snarls frequently but does say any words; soon after assessing his surroundings, he hops onto his short legs and jumps towards the orc with the sack.
'Why ee's at it again!'
The orc catches the 'Lit'le bugger' and stuffs him back into the sack.
Geron, still cloaked in darkness, stared at the man's covered face. There were four of the same oddly clothed men around the fire, and possibly more in the tents. The lich opened and closed his metal clad hand, creating a sort of screeching sound. In the midst of this, he answered the man's question with one of his own.
"Why do you wish to know, how much is that knowledge worth?"
More importantly, however, is how badly will they try to lie to me
Geron fought the urge to laugh.
Griff spotted the black stone across the bridge and headed towards it. He wondered if the bridge would hold his weight, but it was sturdy and well built. He was halfway across when he heard a voice from the river.
"Hello," it said. It was a soft, high-pitched, female voice. Griff looked over the edge of the bridge and spotted a small figure floating on her back in the water. The creature was just over three feet tall and looked like a young human girl, except for the turquoise skin, fish scale covered hands, and feet that looked like flippers. Her eyes were almond shaped and entirely coloured a dark blue, matching the colour of her long hair. She dived and then leapt out of the water, in midair she sprouted small wings that fluttered rapidly and carried her up to the bridge until she was eye level with Griff. Griff's vision was still a little blurry from the early drinking but he able to vaguely recognize the creature as a young water sprite. They were usually harmless unless provoked, so he decided he might as well talk to her.
"Hello there," he replied.
"My name is Aquea. What's yours?" she asked inquisitively, her head was tilted at an angle and she studied Griff curiously.
"My name is Griff," he answered.
Aquea hung there in the air. There was a moment of quiet as she continued to simply observe Griff, as if she had never seen a human before. Griff knew he needed to get going so he tried to recall what he knew about water sprites to get the conversation moving along.
"I didn't know your kind lived this far south," Griff said. He regretted it after, not knowing if 'your kind' sounded insensitive or not, but Aquea didn't seem to notice.
"We don't," she said, her curious expression becoming sad. "I'm lost,"
"I..." Aquea looked unsure, but continued. "Our tribe lives in a lake connected to this river. My parents always said not to swim here, but I wanted to know why and so I did it anyway. The current was very strong and it pulled me under and down the river. I couldn't get back up top to fly home and I couldn't swim against it. I just closed my eyes and let the water pull me wherever it went until it calmed down. I tried to follow it back home but it branched off many times and now...I don't know where I am,"
Griff listened to Aquea's story, only taking a single momentary glance at the object buried in the ground that he had come for in the first place. He knew he had something important to do, but he still had to ask "Can I help you?"
"Do you know where I live?" Aquea asked expectantly, as though he really did.
"No...but I suppose I can help you find your home,"
"Really?" she said excitedly.
"Yes...I just have something I need to do first."
Griff walked over to the black stone in the ground. Aquea followed closely behind and peered over his shoulder. Griff knelt down and reached out to pick up the object. He pulled his hand back sharply after feeling how hot it was, even through his glove.
"Was that the thing you had to do?" Aquea asked.
"Not exactly..." Griff answered. He stared at the object, wondering what to do now.
Njall fought unsuccesfully to keep a grin off his face. He lowered his sword slightly.
'What would I do with a rebellious little worm like that?' he asked. 'Besides, my coin purse is much lighter than I'd like it to be as it is'
Drake rounded the corner at the top of the stairs to find the Durgerek waiting at the bottom of the stairs. "I wish to commend you on the skill with which your troops have taken this town" He started, hoping that the compliment would at least delay his death. "However, that very skill has put me in a position that I am unaccustomed to being in. That position being trapped with nowhere to go."
He took careful note of escape routes, wanting to be prepared in the case of the warlord charging him. Windows at both ends of the hall were good signs. "You wouldn't have any suggestions as to how we can resolve this, now would you?"
H.F.S saw the creature starting to cross the bridge when another creature starting conversing with it, 'so it is a intellectual being' H.F.S thought, the two creatures were too far away for H.F.S to hear them. after a short moment the two creatures started walking towards the black stone, when one of the creatures seemed to be cautious of this stone H.F.S said form the tree, 'what is this black stone?'.
Rafe suddenly heard something coming towards him and quietly retreated deeper into the shadows. He couldn't tell what it was, only that it seemed to be walking barefoot.
Who in their right mind would walk barefoot here? Rafe thought. The cave floor had dozens of sharp rocks and edges that were just waiting to cut you, as he had discovered when he had stumbled once in the pitch black darkness.
The footsteps had stopped. Rafe heard the scraping of a match and a lantern was lit revealing...nothing. The small light was so dim that it barely illuminated the cave floor, much less it's user. Lantern lit, the creature moved to the edge of the circle of light. Rafe could barely make out a hunched shape covered in what he guessed were rags. Gripping his stick tightly, he waited.
Suddenly a clawed yellow hand reached into the light and grabs the corpse. It draged the mutilated thing back into the darkness and Rafe could hear the sound of footsteps moving away from him, this time accompanied by the sound of something being dragged.
Rafe realized that he had been holding his breath and slowly let it out. Repressing a shudder he stepped around the light and quietly followed the creature.
This is such a bad idea, the thief thought. But I've come too far to just turn back now.
He soon caught up with it. Rafe was moving slowly so as not to make a sound but the creature was even slower.
Probably...hopefully 'cause it's dragging a body behind it.
The thief had managed to sneak up right behind the creature and raised his stick, intending to bash the thing over the head with it. But before he could strike the creature turned around suddenly, its lantern glowing much brighter than it had before, effectively blinding Rafe.
Cursing, Rafe stumbled backwards, flailing his stick in front of him blindly.
Winneke raised an eyebrow at the blind man. "Oh?" He said, drawing the sound out. "Then you know I search for the fabled buntaluffigus?" He drew closer to the old man, close enough to smell the mustiness of his blanket.
"It truly is a vile creature," Winneke sniffed disdainfully, "feasting on anything it can get it's fat claws on." The illusionist was speaking clearly, confidently. On all accounts, he seemed quite sane, except for the highly thoughtful expression on his face, one that made him appear to be thinking of something long since past.
"I once owned a buntaluffigus," he confided to the increasingly confused old man. "I am the legendary ringmaster of the greatest menagerie in the whole of Osvar." When the old man failed to respond to this admission, Winneke sighed and stroked his moustache. "It escaped. My buntaluffigus, I mean. It escaped and I am chasing it." Winneke began to stroke his moustache more vigorously, seemeingly unaware he was doing so.
"No, no, no." He mused, almost to himself. "I don't think I'm chasing the buntaluffigus, why would I be?" He placed a hand on the old man's shoulder, drawing his face so close that their noses brushed against each other for a second. "Finding the buntaluffigus is unimportant... It's not something I would be doing. I was glad the grotesque creature escaped, it was merely a trophy, something for people to admire me for. You understand that don't you?" The old man nodded uncertainly.
"At any rate, it doesn't matter..." Winneke whispered. "So if I'm not searching for the buntaluffigus," the illusionist announced, stepping back form the blind man, "then what, pray tell, am I searching for?"
Viverin was relieved that the sar hadn't landed in the water, mostly due to a want to not search in a lake for it and the fact that he wasn't a good swimmer. On the other hand, he'd still need to cross the lake to see it and he only saw one way to do it: Swim. He was primarily worried since he wasn't the best swimmer and his coat and armor would probably weigh him down, making it that much harder. Sure, he could leave one of them behind but he didn't trust this area enough to risk it not being here when he returned.
He walked around the lake, looking for the shallowest and closest part of the lake, and once he found it, jumped in. Getting across was just as hard as he had suspected, the weight of his armor and his coats density were working against him but at least he was staying afloat. He had contemplated trying to grow gills to breath underwater but had realized that he couldn't, not knowing how they worked, besides, risking it anyways would probably make things worse. Eventually he made it to the other side and took a break, being worn out from the work.
After recovering enough of his energy, he set off, looking to the sky and following the smoke towards the source.
Lanencuris sized the serpent up and took a step closer to him.
"I know your kind. There was a band of you that visited Black Stone shortly before I began this campaign. We gave them a job and they did it well; are you willing to work for the Legion?"
There was a slight hesitation on the serpent man's part.
"The Durgerek are not barbaric raiders from the mountains. We are a kingdom of warriors, and we do not betray those who keep their honor. You could be of significant use to me, and you would be paid well. What is your answer?