Grynn's Story

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Grynn's Story

Post by WryRai on Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:04 am

Grynn was always an athletic child, quick and strong with keen senses. She naturally tended towards tomboyish behavior, which was abhorred by her mother. Her father, on the other hand, adored her. He was a brilliant marksman and master fletcher. She spent many hours in the rafters of her father’s workshop, watching him carefully select the cuts of wood to make the strongest bows in the kingdom. She often giggled silently when he started talking to himself while he worked. She knew he knew she was spying on him when he would start talking louder, with more jargon, both for her benefit to learn, and for the joke between them.

Three years passed, and while the boys liked her as an athlete, the girls hated her because the boys liked her. When the game was over, everyone seemed to ignore her. She didn't care for the attentions she was getting from either, and would often skip school to spend days in the woods, fishing and practicing her archery and bushcraft skills.

On one of these escapes, there was a rustle behind her, and an old wolf stumbled out of the briars. She was sick and her pack had abandoned her and her pups. Knowing her own death was imminent, she sought the cleverness of the human to raise her pups. She sat next to Grynn by the fire, and called to her pups. Two adorable fluff balls scrambled up next to her, and quickly lost focus and started playing. The old worg looked up to Grynn, then to her pups. When she was satisfied that Grynn could be trusted with her pups, she curled up and let out her last breath.

Grynn couldn't remember crying about something since she broke her arm falling out of a tree when she was four, but she cried then. She called the pups over, mimicking the short bark the mother had used as best she could. To her surprise, they came. They started to sniff and nudge the corpse, still warm by the fire. The black one sneezed when he finally smelled death, and the brown (who was play biting her ear) clenched his teeth and jumped back in surprise, taking a chunk of her ear with him. Grim as it was, Grynn knew she would have to take care of them now or they would starve. She tried the bark again and got their attention, and then presented them each with a fresh fish.

They had learned to be patient while food was distributed from their short time with their pack. She pointed at the black one named him "Snort" and allowed him to take a fish. The brown pup she named "Rip" and gave him the other. She pulled them close to her, and stroked them until they fell asleep. Then she prepared for the cleaning process of the mother, as no part of an animal should be wasted. She finished preparing the meat, skin, and bones for travel, and sending the organs out to sea.

In the morning she started for home, Rip and Snort followed close behind yapping and nipping at each other the whole way. She didn't mind until she got to town and saw they were starting to sniff off in all directions. She picked them both up by the nape of their necks until they reached the market where she sold the meat, warning them to cook it well as the animal was sick. She took the skin to the tanner to whom her dad always sold his skins, and asked the man to clean it up for her. The bones she brought home because her father could use them for glue, arrow heads, bow handles and compound inserts. Grynn told her father the story of the lone wolf who left her pups in the care of a human.

The next day, Grynn's father told her to gather up Rip and Snort because they were all going on a trip. They started on the road leading south. A couple of days, some game meat and rations later, they came to the sheep herding village of Shaarmid. In this village Grynn’s father introduced her, rip and Snort to a dog-training genius named Acaer. "It’s been a while since someone found worgs young enough to train, they are pretty smart for animals and can be taught to understand human. This intelligence, tough hide, and strong jaws make them excellent hunters." Acaer droned on and on about hunting and training. Grynn's father paid him to take his daughter and her pups under his wing for training. Grynn did one of the few girly things she couldn't help and started bouncing with excitement, thanking her father repeatedly for the hefty sum he'd spent. "Don't be too excited, it's coming out of your inheritance, and I expect all three of you to make it worth the investment." he half-jested, "come home in a year when you and those mutts are under control."

Acaer was right, the worgs were smart, and they had already learned their names and in just two days they had learned to sit, stay, come and heel. Their focus was growing daily, and in a month they no longer needed to be constantly reminded to not wander off after every new smell. The rest of the year they spent on hunting tactics including the tracking, sneaking, encircling, and takedown of prey.

When Grynn returned, her father was pleased to see that Rip and Snort were not only fantastically trained, but that the three had become inseparable friends. Grynn was overjoyed and brought to tears all at once when her father showed her a beautiful white worg pelt that the tanner's wife trimmed minimally to fashion a hunting cloak for Grynn. After Rip and Snort gave it the sniff of approval, she proudly donned the gift.

Two years passed, Grynn grew tired of the jeers of her hometown. Most folk didn't understand the bond she had made with Rip and Snort. They weren’t mere pets to her, they were her pack. Together they had kept the village stocked with meat and fur, but the villagers wouldn't respect her for her skills anymore. Her lean diet and active lifestyle had left her feminine curves, lacking. Boys, who were once her friends, moved on to shallow girls who thought only of their own looks and desires. It was time for Grynn’s pack to leave.

Her mother begged her to stay, to learn to be a lady. Grynn wouldn't hear it, and stormed out. She ran to her favorite fishing spot, the one where she'd been given Rip and Snort. She sat against her tree and snuggled with her pack. Her dad showed up that evening with a backpack and a simple looking longbow with a quiver of hunting arrows. He set them beside her, and he turned to leave saying "if you show up for the feast, you'd better bring the bacon!"

She picked up the bow and examined it closely. It was made out of Uratha Hoppler (a wood prized by fletchers for not losing its power simply by being strung) with Pentwist Seiliu string, and bone caps to keep the string from eating into the wood. While it looked like a simple bow, the materials and craftsmanship were the best money could buy, bar none. She ran to catch her father and nearly knocked him over with a flying tackle hug. Then Rip did knock them over to show his slobbery gratitude.

Grynn once again headed south. She stayed a night with Acaer and told him she was going walk-about. He suggested she might pick-up some extra cash escorting other travellers, and that she might get taken more seriously disguised as a man. Grynn trusted Acaer, and knew he had good advice. So she went to the market to buy some rugged men's clothes that would fit her without be revealing, and a long strip of soft cloth to pack down what little cleavage she did have. When she came back, Acaer didn't recognize her until Snort sniffed her out. "Well young man, all you need now is a good cap to keep some of that hair under!" Acaer said as he handed Grynn a loose cap with a small brim that was a style many of the local shepherds favored. Grynn stayed another night and was gone before dawn, leaving three gold coins in his Acaer's boot as thanks and farewell.

Grynn liked the idea of being an escort, a protector, and the best way to do that was to learn from the rangers at Arrowglance. Which was many days ride to the east, and she had no mount so it would take weeks. She hired a wagon to Innablith which was the closest major city to the ranger's forest fortress deep in The Chondalwood.

Three days of good stories into our travel, the wagon was ambushed by highwaymen on the way. A quick glance around showed there were only two, but armed with crossbows, they still posed a threat at their chosen range. I signaled Rip and Snort to hunt the robbers, these were the first humans we'd ever hunted but the principle was the same as a boar. Keep it calm and distracted until everyone is ready to strike. Our wagoner was doing a brilliant job with the distracting part, stumbling over his words as he pleaded for his life. 'What a coward, not even a half-hearted attempt to guard your passenger.' Is what Grynn was thinking as he subtly knocked his arrow and readied a second. The coward had wasted just enough time for my pack to surround our prey. Rip and Snort jumped out simultaneously, grabbed both attackers by the legs, and took them to the ground.

As the pigs fell Grynn stood, drew and released his first arrow. Before it struck its mark, he had the next arrow ready and flying to its target. Just like his father showed him to hunt pheasants. Both arrows ruptured many vital organs as they entered the soft spot of the shoulder and passed down towards the men's hips. At age thirteen, those were the first men (be it a dwarf and a half-elf) Grynn had slain. As he collected their coin-purses He felt it strange to not be troubled by what most would call murder. He was defending his pack. They dragged the corpses into the woods so the buzzards could do their work in peace.

When Grynn arrived in Innablith he was overwhelmed by the sheer number of houses he could see on the horizon. Once they were within the city gates, the wagoner recommended an inn that allowed dogs, provided they were reasonably clean. Grynn thanked him, and continued to the weapon’s district. There they could sell the crossbows and daggers they had removed from the thieves. The merchant they sold the crossbows even had a few her father had made. They weren’t ornamented with fancy filigrees or knot-work, but they still fetched the highest price because their quality shown through to any experienced fletcher or archer.

They continued to a blade smith to sell the daggers. Grynn had never seen so many kinds of weapons in all his life. He hastily split the sales with the wagoner and continued to browse, until he spied a pair of swords. Each blade was about the length of his arm, with a gentle curve and a razor sharp edge. The handles were just long enough to allow both hands to apply power, while not so long as to require it.

“I can’t sell you those, at least not those specifically. I learned to make those bastard swords during my travels to the Moonshae Isles. To them, a sword is more than a weapon or tool; it’s a part of you, an extension of your soul. Therefore, you must make your own. That is why I cannot sell you that pair, but I can teach you how to make them.” A dwarf, who stood a head taller than most of his kin, said to Grynn as he turned away from his work. “Me name is Skaxis, and I’m the best blade smith in the city. I happen to be in the market fer a new apprentice, and I’d rather take on one tha cares more about the weapons than the fact their father can afford me. Naturally me price fer training is just as high as me skill, but I wouldn’t cheat and abuse a fine young lad like you, unlike Njoktus ‘cross the road.” Skaxis pointed out the window to a dark featured man who was kicking a young boy for spilling the water he was carrying.

“I’m honored by your offer, and would gladly accept, but why single me out? I’m not even a blacksmith.” Grynn questioned. Skaxis nearly shook the ground with his bellowing chuckle. “That’s exactly why, nobody has trained ya the wrong way to strike hot metal, yet ya certainly have an eye for quality work when ya see it. I’ll make ya a deal. Ya keep yerself well fed and rested, and buy the metal. I’ll sell anything ya make of worth in me shop, keep 75% as tuition, and that should leave ya plenty enough to buy more metal and meals. When yer skill exceeds his,” Skaxis gestured toward Njoktus again, “I’ll show ya how to make the Moonsharian twin swords.” Grynn didn’t need to think twice, he agreed on the condition that they find someone who could train him to use the swords.

Grynn set Rip and Snort loose to the woods each day, with instructions for them to return with any game they might find by noon. They faithfully returned each day with enough food for themselves, Grynn and Skaxis. While Skaxis insisted such tribute wasn’t necessary, he always accepted it.

Two years passed, and Grynn became an expert of the forge. Finally one of his blades was priced higher than anything Njoktus could craft, and Skaxis declared training complete. Now for the final exam, Grynn would have to select and heat and shape the metal himself. Skaxis whispered the secrets of folding the blade, and how to quench the back of the blade slower to create the curve. After sharpening and polishing the blade, it was ready to be fit with a grip. Grynn chose a dark red lacquer to paint the sheaths with, and tied each with a pair of the fangs Rip and Snort frequently lost.

True to his word, Skaxis had found Grynn a swordsman who had mastered the twin swords. Unknown to Grynn, Skaxis had already paid, as the quality of Grynn’s work had amassed him a small fortune. With a tear in his eye, old Skaxis gave Grynn a bear hug until he finally had to tap out. “I’ll miss you lad, you’ve got the stuff of greatness in you, and even though you’re not a dwarf, you’ve been like a son to me. I hope to find another pupil with half the potential you have someday. And I’ll miss the fresh meat! Take good care of my boy, Rip, Snort.” On hearing their names, they tackled Skaxis and shared their slobbery goodbyes.

On exiting the eastern gates, a half-elf with sharp features and dark hair approached them. “Skaxis said I’d find you coming through here, and that if I showed you how to use those fine blades you’ve crafted, you’d keep me well fed. To be honest I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pick out a “string-bean of a lad with red hair”, but your worgs and swords gave you away.” Grynn turned and grinned, “You seem to know everything about me besides my name.” “Apologies boy, allow us to start the introductions. I’m Shizzo, also known as The Artist of the Sanguine Streak. I’ve been banned from my home for cutting down my tyrant of a father.”

“And I am Grynn, I’ve learned to be an experienced fletcher, archer, and hunter from my father, and Skaxis was in tears to see his favorite pupil leave. I’m accompanied by Rip and Snort, two young bastards entrusted to me by their dying mother. I intend to become a ranger, and escort travellers round the world.”

“Tell me Grynn, have you ever killed a man?” Shizzo questioned. Grynn looked uncomfortably at the floor, “Only because they threatened to hurt my pack.” “I see, very well, let’s get started. It’s a long road to Arrowglance, and you’ve got a lot to learn.”

Grynn’s training with Shizzo was very much dependent upon his full stomach, which seemed bottomless. But Shizzo kept his word and trained Grynn in the way of the sword. By the time they arrived at Arrowglance, Grynn was proficient enough to put the other rookies to shame.

His time in training in Arrowglance was comparatively short, as Grynn had already learned and mastered many of the skills that most rookies spent years on. One thing was hard for him though, and that was learning to coordinating with a team other than the worgs. But Grynn proved himself worthy of the ranger’s oath, vowing to use his skills only to protect himself, his team, and his employer. Earning his ranger’s emblem at only seventeen made Grynn something of a legend. Grynn left the fortress, making sure to take a map listing the magically linked signboards that kept the rangers contracts updated, and headed out.

His journeys and employers eventually brought Grynn to the forest region of Cormanthor. Here he finds an incredible coliseum has sprung up, seemingly overnight, and has the entire town cheering inside. Grynn pushes his way through the crowd, wondering what the uproar is about. In the center ring he sees a bard praising a gnome’s eating abilities. Stranger yet, the gnome seem eager to live up to the bard’s boasts. A large cow is brought in, slaughtered and put on a spit. Not able to wait any longer, the gnome dives in and starts himself on half-cooked beef. His courage and fortitude were impressive.


Maybe more foolhardy than brave, the poor gnome puked and passed out after consuming an impressive two thirds of a cow. Grynn thought these folk might be worth a good story or two, and decided to make an effort to talk to them if he ever bumped into them in less of a spectacle.
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Grynn's Travel Journal (Tablet's of Fate)

Post by WryRai on Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:07 am

It seems my get away from humanity has been cut short. Was greeted by a flying gnome, or rather one who had been thrown a great distance and launched himself off the tree I'd been sitting against. Curiosity led me to helping an unfortunate group of adventurers escape the monstrous river serpent, although most people know better than to cross this river by boat. I believe they've need of my stable mind and bow.
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I've been traveling with this band of misfits for a day or two, we've just stumbled across the most amazingly detailed statue of a dragon I've ever seen. It took a bit of bravado to not bolt at first sight of the thing. Then the gnome climbed its back and disappeared inside. A moment later, the statue began to fly. Clearly powered by magic, its wings flapped far too slowly to lift the behemoth. I hesitated until the rest of the party climbed aboard, sensibilities be damned, I wanna fly!

We flew to the elven port of Elmwood, my new friends seemed eager to be away from the roads for some reason. The landing of a dragon caused quite a spectacle. The gloomy one seemed to have business high in the trees. I volunteered to stay with the dragon, mostly because my wargs would be uncomfortable climbing something so precarious. When they returned, the gloomy she-elf had an "I'm on a mission" expression written across her face. It wasn't long before we took to the skies again.
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The Star Mountains in the far west was our next destination, across wastelands home to only bandits and beasts. For days we flew, until reached the forest. This was not our pilots best landing. One of the legs broke and the wing was cracking. This apparently was not the prime concern at the moment, as we abandoned it and headed off into the woods. The gloomy girl must've lived around here because she quickly found a path that led to a beautiful waterfall.

The gnome and bard walked over to the waterfall, and the gnome threw him to the top. The bard started singing, it must've been good because the animals of the forest seemed entranced by it. I got a clean kill on a distracted deer, and we had venison enough to last the party a week. Though I had forgotten about the gnome's incredible appetite.

The bard has stumbled across a large hidden tunnel behind the waterfall. The gnome dug his own, less hidden tunnel. I sent Snort in with a torch when I noticed they had forgotten to bring their own. While everyone was trying to figure out some riddle to open a door, I finished cooking and preserving our meal. When I caught up with them later, it turned out Snort was the one who solved the riddle (guess who gets a prime cut of venison tonight!). The tunnel led into a hidden grotto, clearly home to some deity. I dare not make a fool of myself here.

As we journey through the grotto, we felt at peace. This place is Good and Safe. We seem to be led to a clearing, where lies an unconscious elf. I would say she was young, but who can truly gauge an elf’s age? She is dressed in clerical garb, and the gloomy elf cries out when she see's who it is. Apparently a good friend of hers had died before I'd arrived, but it appears whatever deity owns this forest took pity and retrieved the cleric from beyond. The gnome calls to her, I dump water on her face, but the cleric remains asleep. The gloomy one lifts the girls head, and to make up for what must have been an abrupt and violent end, kisses her with a lover's passion.

The fairy tales were apparently true for once, an enchanted sleep can be broken with a kiss. The cleric seems nice enough, but is a bit hot tempered about losing a fight. The (previously) gloomy one fills in the cleric on what she's missed as we continue our walk. Then the deity presented herself to us, and offered us gifts. The cleric had already received her life, and the gloomy one seemed contented with that as well. The guy who's constantly trying to tame MY wargs was little more creative and scored a portable hang glider. I got myself a magic fishing rod, I love fishing.

Apparently finishing their goal of retrieving a friend, we hiked our way back to the dragon. The gnome is a brilliant mason and had it operable in just a couple hours. We were soon returning to Elventree. This flight wouldn't be without incident.
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As we flew back over the Scimitar Spine in the wastelands of Anauroch, we were pursued by a young green dragon. This dragon was male, and seemed not so much in the mood for eating us as mating with our ride. I managed to keep the party from starting an unnecessary engagement. With some unfortunately unforgettable details regarding scent production, I convinced the dragon that we were neither a good mate nor threat to his territory. It lost interest before we cleared Anauroch.

I have noticed a weakness with the gnome's piloting, his landings tend to break things. His repairs had been in haste, more so than we'd realized, and pieces began to fall from the stone beast. The gnome did what he could to shave weight from the statue's underbelly. Great chunks of stone plummeted to the ground. My gaze fixed one such boulder which was on a collision course with a band of armed riders. They never saw what hit them.

Even after shedding all that stone, we braced ourselves for a "forced landing", which I'm pretty sure means the pilot doesn't know why we're still flying. We crashed just outside of Elmwood. The dragon statue was irreparable. The gnome declared he would take three days to build a shrine to his magnificent creation.
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While the gnome constructed his monument, I intended to try out my new fishing rod. It works BRILLIANTLY! I've never caught so many large fish from shore! I quickly prepared a fire, and smoked the meat of three of the salmon. Not wanting to waste good food, I sold the rest at the docks. This will be a nice break from the thrills.
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Is it so much to ask for some peace and quiet with nature? Melgar's (the bard) gone and managed to inherit himself a pirate ship. Don't ask how. Anyway, adventure awaits on the high seas, yarr!

We found a large supply of tar in the ship's hold, along with 500 pigeons. The gnome had not seen tar before and ate a handful before we could stop him. His inhuman bowels are removing the toxin at high velocity. Flyboy (ranger who is obsessed with his new hang glider) has devised a way to use this to power the ship. I feel little sorrow for the simpleton, but this violent reaction is incredible.

The large amount waste we've dumped in the water seems to have angered a giant squid. Its tentacles reached higher than the crow's nest as it hoisted itself aboard. Melgar attempted to produce tentacles of his own, but magic has a funny way of backfiring these days. While he struggled to free himself from his own spell, I charged up one was the beast's tentacles, and Suri (the gloomy elf) rushes the crew below deck. I draw my swords and slash out it's eye with a quick flourish. Melgar manages to free himself, he grabs a barrel of tar with each tentacle and a torch in each hand. He's seems bent on a suicide run.

I leapt over the manic bard, and tumbled onto the deck. BOOM! Fire, smoke, the distinct smell of grilled calamari! It seems no one was immediately injured but Melgar, who just gave his life to save his friends.
Vain fool, you needn’t have thrown your life away.
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Only one long boat survived the firestorm, Suri and I quickly hurried the others into it, and I cut the lines. Flyboy took off on his glider, and got some wicked lift from the blast. The gnome may seem a little dim, but he can row a boat! He was paddling the nine of us, faster than any of us could run. Deep waters, a fast pace, a lucky fishing rod, no fisherman could pass up the opportunity to troll for marlin.

The line trails behind us, I patiently wait. We watch the ship burn, and tend to our wounded. Something bites, I pull to set the hook, it pulls back, I fall in. The huge fish freaks, and sprints back towards the ship. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I managed to get my feet under me, and I skated on top of the water. The marlin starts to dive as it nears the ship, I take in a lung full of air and dive with it.

There's a serenely peaceful moment of chaos. The ship is mostly underwater, and the squids legs drift slowly with the tide. Bodies of most unfortunate crewmen sink to join Cthulhu's ranks. As I surface on the other side, I notice Hawk has lowered a rope to me, I refuse to relinquish my grip, but the rope finds its way round my waist. The gnome had launched the boat through the flames of the sinking ship. He leapt from the row boat, tied the rope round me, and leapt back to the boat before it could splash back into the water.

I reel myself in as close as i can get to the fleeing fish, and dive forward to tackle it. With a mighty heave, and a lucky wind, Hawk pulls us both out of the sea and towards shore. When we land, I bury my hatchet into the fishes head to end its torment, and thank Ebisu for the good fortune.

As the sun set, we raised a bonfire. Partly to cook the fish, but more to honor our fallen comrade. It was late in the night before the festivities ended. All were stuffed with good food, and shouting their last goodbyes to Melgar; the bard who could talk his way onto the throne as easily as he could soothe the blood-lust of a dozen orcs.
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We agreed to meet in town the next day. I told them I would guide them through the woods, but they refused to just leave the boat behind. We left early the next morning, and I arrived several hours before they would by sea. I wandered around town looking for a good hat shop (a little upset that I lost the hat that kind shepherd gave me). I notice a lightly guarded storage area, obviously a depot where cargo is held when transferred between ships.

I finally found a shop that has some decent hats, when I noticed a parade of cloaked monks carrying a row boat overhead through town. After a quick count, I deduced there was likely a gnome, a few elves, and a man with a "hang glider" beneath those robes.So much for buying a new hat- I thought to myself and hurried after them.

The gnome was leading the procession, carrying the boat and chanting "We're selling this fine row boat, 50 gold or best offer!" The voice was low and drawn out in a crude imitation of the priests of Pelor. The whole show was quite entertaining. When the bidding started, I snuck through the crowd, startling people to fake their bids. This drove the actual bidders mad. The price shot to nearly 200 gold pieces (for a used row boat) before sanity caught up with their competitive nature. We now had plenty of money to fund our journey to Tantras.

Instead of taking carts and wagons like sensible folks, the gnome conjured a vessel from a seamless boulder of granite that he claimed capable of traveling underwater. With only hammer and chisel the stonemason savant had built something no one else had ever imagined. I took this as a challenge, and made my way back to the storage yard.
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I hid in an alley near the storage yard, and waited patiently while I studied the guards rounds. I found an opening when only one guard was on this end of the fence. I directed Rip to snatch the guard's cudgel, and play keep away till I whistled. His performance was stellar, somehow this fearsome warg acting just like a playful dog. I wasn't going to waste the opportunity we'd created. I soared over the fence, and started search for a keg of gunpowder. Which was conveniently well marked with caution signs. I nabbed a keg, and left a handful of gold coins to ease my guilt. I quickly vaulted back over the fence, ducked into the alley, and whistled to Rip. He dropped the stick, and took off for the docks. I wove my way through a couple alleys to get there.

I began construction on a projectile weapon suitable for the gnome's genius craft. Made of wood to reduce weight and cost, it would be a larger version of the bottle rockets I'd seen at the harvest festivals. In the explosive head, I included gravel for shrapnel. I sealed off the "slow-burn" tail with clay. A piece of flint and steel were placed at both ends, one at the tail to light the rocket, one at the nose to trigger the explosion on impact. I named the project “Tons Of Rather Potent Explosive Demolition Ordinance” or TORPEDO for short.

I showed the devices to the gnome and explained we would need some sealing tubes added to the submarine. He effortlessly added my request, without detraction from the beautiful crocodile sculpture that had become the craft's outward appearance. After devising how to power it, we set off to Tantras.

When the mechanism was operating, stone sealed us in with no way for navigation. I took the helm and relied on my uncanny sense of direction to guide us through the depths. After a few hours, we needed to surface to replenish our air supply.
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We were surrounded by fog, the tops of evergreens desperately reached out of the waters of the Flooded Forest. A ghostly form approached over the water. He gave some advice, and banished the mist. His essence dispersed just before they arose.

The undead rose from the waters, and began their shamble. The gnome leapt towards the nearest with his accusatory war cry of "EVILLL!!!" Hawk and I loaded torpedoes into the launch tubes. The casters used water walking upon themselves, and charged into battle. The torpedoes launched and decimated two of the three main groups of Rotters. I prepared a third for launch, and Hawk balanced atop the croc's back to throw his boomerang. The third torpedo wiped out the remaining group of shamblers, and I joined hawk top side to pick off any stragglers.

This battle could have gone a lot worse. Had we been caught without previously unfathomed transportation and weaponry, we may have been overwhelmed. The gnome surprised us all by being able to fight so well while treading water. And the cleric’s spell must have failed her because Suri had to dive in after her. When we were all safely aboard, several of them were soaked to the bone. We would have to land, to dry them out by a fire.
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I got a roaring fire going on a large sandbar, and they were able to dry their clothes. I threw my line in the water while I waited, caught three good sized catfish. The cleric started telling those around the fire about a strange statue she saw while swimming submerged beneath the swamp. The group immediately decided it was necessary to raise this statue to a more observable position. Through strength and leverage, they manage to hoist it ashore.

The statue stood about 7 feet tall. She was beautifully carved with arms outstretched. However in place of her face, was a magic circle. The gnome jumped up and gave her a high five. His wounds instantly closed, and he claimed he felt smarter. Others who were wounded quickly touched the statue for the healing. I thought a little mischief might further establish my cover as male, and cop a feel of the statue’s ample bosom.

This instantly backfired. My previously very modest assets grew a size. This became very uncomfortable in my tight armor, and I was forced to loosen the bindings. Suri's furious at my brash behavior, but she must have felt some sympathy toward my pain because she helped me refit my armor. While not ridiculously overgrown as some of the harlots I've seen in the cities, I was unmistakably female.
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I mourned the loss of the disguise that had become my identity, but I decided not to let it affect my morale. I would have plenty of time to learn female finesse after our quest. I needed the attention off of me for a bit, so I explained the art of "noodling" to the gnome. This involves finding a good size hole under the water, sticking your arm in, and hoping a catfish mistakes you for a snack. The gnome took off with his usual simpleton excitement and dove in the water.

He must have forgotten the final part of the instruction, as he attacked the hole with the lance I'd fashioned for him from the marlin's skull. His incredible strength struck through the few remaining roots of a dead tree. The tree groaned and fell across our fire. Luckily we all managed to get out of the way. The dead tree went up in flames, creating a beacon for all who would pursue us.

We devised a plan to douse the blaze by running the propeller and roping off the sub. This works, mostly, the smoldering wood creates thick smoke that is almost worse. I should have known better. We load up, cut the line, and put as much distance between ourselves and the smoke as possible.
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We have been making good time, but the water is getting shallow. And before we knew it, we had beached ourselves on a muddy sand bar. We could wade for hours, or spend that time creating a vessel more suited for shallow waters. Under Hawk's guidance, the gnome used the roof of the sub to craft a flat-bottomed "skimmer". He asked if any could make a much larger version of the propeller, and I volunteered.

There were plenty of trees around and I began to carve the wood into a sword like shape. Its over-sized, broad shape would be useless in combat, but it would definitely accomplish its goal of moving lots of air. I made two copies of the blade and attached them to a wheel. BAM! propeller. That's when I heard the scream.

While I had been working, a ghost had visited Midnight and led her into the woods, and a trap. I rushed toward the scream and saw her grappling with a half transformed Doppelganger. I knew I needed to wound it before it became impossible to tell the monster from the maiden. In a flash I drew and fired an arrow into it's shoulder. It howled in pain as the others arrived, weapons drawn. They advanced on the beast and broke its grip on Midnight. Then, the gnome delivered death from above. Soaring in like a mortar round, he used his own meager body weight and that of his hammer to crush the Doppelganger like an insect.
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We finished the riverboat and Suri used some clever spellcrafting to set the propeller in motion. We took off at tremendous speed, twice what a horse and rider could ever hope to manage.

As we soared down the river, an old man hailed us. Without slowing down, the gnome plucked him from the shore. After getting his bearings, he began telling us some prophecy horse shit. He told of a safe haven in the town we were going, an inn with a name that had something to do with fish, I like fish. When he was done the gnome chucked him to shore. I applauded the old man's dexterity as he stuck the landing.
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We continued downstream toward our Tantras. Ahead was a bridge, teaming with archers. Hawk and I grabbed torpedos, to ready them for launch. Suri barked at Bright Eyes to turn the boat around. The young girl was a bit frightened and turned too sharply. The edge of the deck caught the water and flipped the boat. Most of us reflexively leapt from the potential wreckage. Bright Eyes had a death grip on the steering lever, and the cleric got flung, skipping across the water directly into the pillar of the bridge.

I threw the torpedo at the peak of my jump, the fool gnome grabbed onto the explosive and rode it. His weight would have caused the torpedo to fall short, so I drew my bow and shot the activator for the rocket. He jumped off the torpedo as high as he could. This sent the torpedo directly into the bridge at it's peak. BOOM! fire and stone injuring several archers, sending several overboard. SLAM! the gnome pounded on bridge to redirect his fall. BOOM! Hawk dropped the other torpedo from his glider. Suri had gotten to the cleric just in time to shield her from the debris.

Still treading water I aimed for the soldiers who were staggered from the blast. First shot, through and through two throats, bloody mess. Second shot, severed triceps and brachial artery, he wouldn't be drawing a bow in the seven minutes he had to live. Hawk threw his boomerang from above, it crackled with lightning, stunning two archers as it ricocheted back to him. Suri tried to get the cleric to shore, but the cleric had other ideas. She swam downstream to the two who fell off the bridge, and beat them unconscious before dragging them to shore.

The leader of the archers turned on his men, and turned into a panther. He quickly cleaned up the few remaining. Exhausted from slaughter, he transformed back and passed out. We regrouped after recovering scattered equipment. Pantherman came around and began explaining how the crown of Shadowdale was using us as a scapegoat. We still had allies, but they were few.
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We were gathering our thoughts around the fire that evening, everyone hoping for a little morale boost. The fire may have been a mistake. Three armed riders swooped in on pegasuses(pegasi, I dunno, plural forms of mythical beasts are not my strong suit). They threw a glass vial which burst into a cloud of noxious gas. Most of my allies fell immediately, Suri and the gnome forced them to land, but also fell unconscious. Hawk managed to call in a Sasquatch before he passed out, that thing had a wicked right hook, but he got spooked when more riders circled above. The cleric and I were the only two standing. I drew my swords, and my eyes glazed. If I was going to fulfill my duty as a ranger and protect my travelers, things would have to get messy.

The Cleric did what she could with a sword she picked off the ground, and even got a good strike through some damaged armor. It was evident that she had had some specialized training; however, it had clearly been years since she had practiced with a blade. Rip and Snort kept the third assassin busy while I battled the scythe wielder.

His scythe had been reduced to a staff as I guarded a particularly heavy blow, foreshadowing the owners soon-to come decapitation. He cast down the now ‘useless’ weapon, drew a dagger, and stabbed my leg. I could feel the burning of the poison on the blade, and readied my mind to delay its effects. I noticed the third assassin kick Snort as he attempted to regain his footing. I snapped, and began the “Hāto no joō no odori” (Dance of the Queen of Hearts). A twist of my stance, and a flick of both wrists separated two ugly heads from two ugly bodies. A quick leaping strike left our cleric dancing with a headless horseman.

Four more riders landed, too eager to avenge their fallen comrades. Eredil eventually fell to the sleeping poison that doused their blades. I continued my dance, battling to block out the blows the I could not dodge, and resisting the sweet slumber their poison offered. Four skulls fell into the pile as I relieved the world of their cowardice.

Thirteen more assailants circled overhead, and rained various poisons and nets upon me till I fell. I half-heard the captain, through a fevered dream, mumbling as he wrote his report, "seven highly trained, heavily armed assassins 'lost theirs heads' when combating a single woman."
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I awoke with a splitting headache, 70 meters up in the air, disarmed and bound. I wriggled to get in a more comfortable position, and was swiftly warned to "not try anything funny". I continued to survey the area and loosen the ropes that bound my cuffs to my shackles. Before I could escape seriously, we began our descent into the heavily guarded fortress of Scardale. We landed before a council of magi, obviously followers of Bane and other foul gods.

They escorted us to the commander who first singled out Air-o-dill (magic users and elves have a fancy for unspellable names), and ordered her unbound. He mocked her shouting "her god has no power here". I felt obliged to mock back "I managed to slay seven of your men, perhaps you are in need of a swordsmanship tutor?" "Throw them in the dungeons, make sure the smart-ass is in the deepest cell and left to rot. We can't have them acting up when Bane arrives." A grin spread across my face, trembling with anticipation and glee "Will he visit me? I await his arrival, teeth bared." "Away with them!" he barked, and into darkness we descended.
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They took the fighters a floor deeper than the magic users, truly the deepest part of the dungeon. We were placed in individual cells, spaced to where we couldn't see one another. In my cell was a cot for sleeping, a pot for pissing, and shackles around my wrists. The chain between was dangerously long; weaponizable, should the lone guard decide to enter my cell. I devised a plot to expedite that exact situation. I dragged my chamber pot near the end of my bed, at the back wall of my cell (don't want him to have time to change his mind if he does enter), and used my chain to gently CLANG the side of the pot.

After ten minutes of steady clanging, the guard walks over and rattles the gate. "Stop with all that banging!" I thought I might try my hand at a gentle approach. "I could bang this, or you could come in and give me something else to bang." With a grunt and a blush, he stomped off. I guess my feminine wiles are out of practice. Brute force mental warfare it is, and the clanging continued.

Ten minutes later, "give it a rrrest, me ears er splittin". I stopped; and one, and two, and three, and four, CLANG! started up again after a whole rest. The sound that was heard next was beyond speech, merely raw emotion. A guttural roar, filled with rage and frustration and murderous intent rose from the guard. Perfect. He rose from his seat, bludgeon in one hand, keys in the other. He unlocked my cell, and stepped forward into my web.

He swung furiously, I rolled beneath it. I sprung up from behind the brute, wrapped the chain round his throat, and pulled it tight. His roar died with a gurgle as his crushed trachea denied his last breath. The keys now in my possession, I moved to release Hawk and the gnome. Hawk had trained a couple rats, and insisted I leave my chains with them to continue the clanging. The gnome had apparently had his own escape plan, and had tunneled into the walls. He surfaced behind the gong that had a large enough hammer for him to use as a weapon. I grabbed the guard's dagger, Hawk took his bludgeon, and we three went off to save the women.

Rounding the stairs, we heard two clangs, as the cleric slammed her chamber pot over their guards head, and used his bludgeon to fix it in place. Now armed with several weapons, misfitting armor, and two sets of keys, we set off in search of our effects

We were unable to find Panther-Man, but we did find our gear. It was guarded by a fat man. He seemed far more interested tallying the price for our goods, than guarding it. We burst through the door and sprang upon him. I had chains around his neck before he could set down his pen. We found his keys and a map in his desk, grabbed our gear, and planned our escape.
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Most of the group had cloaks that matched those of the Zhentarim. We also had a diamond of invisibility. The mage (who had been attacked by a doppelganger earlier) and I used a charge from the diamond, and made a beeline for the front gate. The others donned the cloaks and brazenly walked through the building.

I made it out without hassle. I followed my instincts that were telling me my wargs were nearby. I found them in makeshift cages at a slave market, surprisingly well behaved. I hid in an alley, whistled, and they easily broke loose from their bonds and chased after me. A couple turns later, we were at the Spouting Fish Inn (or was it Splashing Fish?). The barmaid was daft enough to tell me they had no fish or sake. With much disappointment, but more hunger, I ordered three steaks (two of them very rare). Rip and Snort deserved a treat for staying alive and near enough to find me.

An old dwarf sat down at our table, and asked if we were soldiers of Bane. "If only, then I could work my way up the ranks and slay him as his right hand!" I mused aloud. The dwarf found this amusing, and seemed to think we were trustworthy. He offered a 'safer' location where we could hide out. Down in the cellar of the inn, he opened a hatch in the floor. An underground tunnel connected us to a sort of Resistance HQ.

Being a small rundown room, the gnome went to work 'improving the building'. A day later he had finished his construction. A grand mansion stood behind the old inn, that now served as a mere entry way. Furnished with dorms, kitchen and mess hall, infirmary, and forge, Chateau de la Revolution was open for business. Suri and I repaired and modified any damaged weapons and armor we could find. The resistance was in the hands of prodigies as far as quarters and armaments were concerned.
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The next day we spent plotting and scouting. Three assignments were made available to us. Spies of Bane were running the docks, keeping tabs on all cargo. They either needed to be paid off, or slain. I quickly volunteered, eager to wean Bane's forces. Obez and Hawk were given orders to kill mercenaries and soldiers of Zhentarim, and leave the corpses as though they'd fought amongst themselves. Suri and Error-Del (still not sure how to pronounce that cleric elf's name), set off to end a lecherous governor and reclaim his unfair taxes.
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Silent as a rogue, I watched my first target. He was loading boxes among other crewman, but the burning hand on his neck left no mistake. He had gotten out of sync with the others, and he paused to inspect a crate. I drew my blade, and struck from the shadows. The steel easily slid between ribs and stilled his heart.

I quickly searched him for anything valuable, then slid his body quietly beneath the waves. A score and four other spies were similarly slain, their corpses stripped of valuables and hidden where none would find them for days.

On my way back to Chateau De Resistance, I heard a gnomish war cry coming from a half collapsed tavern. Peeking through the window, I saw Hawk and Obez finishing off the last few of what must have been a dozen men. I loosed two arrows hurriedly through the gaps in the rubble, and continued on my way. Everyone returned before the sun rose, more or less safe. We boasted of our kills and plunder, and drank till dawn.
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Eredil and Suri must have terrible hangovers because they have been moaning in their room all day. The rest of the group, and Sandwich were below ground watching Bright Eyes practice her fireball. I set up kebabs stick out of the wall so she could get a sense of her range. Also, they were quite tasty. Oh, the magical chaos that has recently plagued the arcane was very entertaining, and usually harmless. On the seventh cast, something ludicrous pulled us all through space and time. We had finally made it to Tantras, but the giant bug that was left beaten and dead in the street, spoke of a time before the gods fell.

A monk of the Vaasa Region (impeccably toned) smoothly stepped down from the giant insect's carapace, he helped Bright Eyes and myself to our feet. We four strangers were greeted and invited to the festival. Sandwich was greeted by an old friend, I sped off to a loudly announced archery contest, Hawk met a druid who could turn into a bird (they had to race at flying) and Bright Eyes was left in Obez's care.

I patiently waited, trying not to watch as several commoners butchered my art. When it was my turn, I drew and loosed the arrow as I asked what the grand prize was. When it landed in the bull's eye, the man who had been charging entry's jaw dropped. He began counting out half the day's collection. I readied another arrow, and asked "will you halve your share again if I can split my arrow?" and let fly. A very unique splintering thud was heard before he had time time answer. "If I can do it again, will you throw in your fancy hat?", and drew a third arrow across my chest. The crowd hushed. The splintering thud rang out again. The crowd cheered, the man surrendered his hat, and his pot of gold. I bowed, stowed my winnings, and donned my new hat with a flourish.

Yoffa, the monk who had first greeted us in this time, carried the claws of the slain beast on his back. He was looking for a taxidermist to turn them into a trophy. I offered my service, "Are you sure you want a mere decoration? I could turn them into a wicked sword!" He agreed and we gathered some other supplies I'd need, handles and bindings and such. A masterpiece of oversized weaponry was created before the day was out. Modeled after a zanbato (a ludicrously large greatsword meant to cut through horse and rider in a single swing) it's natural sharpness and serrations ensured none would quickly recover from it's wounds. I couldn't help but add a tube that would launch my torpedos (in the event that I find it in the future). As the sun set, we accidental travelers of time faded out of existence to return to our proper time and place. I can't wait to hear Bright Eyes explain to Suri how she got a goldfish!
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Now back in our own time, I strode over and pulled several of the well-cooked target kebabs from the wall. “Care to try another fireball?” I ask innocently. “Alright!” Bright Eyes replies, all too eagerly attempting to hurl more flames down the hallway. She succeeded only in putting herself in a two foot deep pit. Obez misunderstood her sudden change in height, and was excited to have another gnome in the group. An attempted pat on the back, became a slap to the face that launched her out of the hole. “I’m sure he meant well” she said, rubbing her jaw.

The gnome was rather hungry after travelling through time, and reckoned he could eat another cow. We let the acting leader know of our plan to watch the gnome eat a cow, and she happily provided us varying disguises. I was a shadow, dark and featureless. The gnome, an old man, as unassuming a guise as any. Hawk took the form of a gorilla, well as close as she could manage. Bright Eyes became the axe-wielding orc of legend, Urgzog the Terrible, in all his crushtastic glory.

Our assorted crew set out in search of a cow, their scent was easy enough to follow. From a rooftop, I rigged a barbed harpoon with a rope and shot it from my bow. It silently struck the heart of an unsuspecting steer, swiftly sending it to Shang Moo Lah. The gnome and I heaved it through the air and I grinned at the guards rubbing their eyes watching one of their cows fly off into the twilight sky.

Had the Gnome not gotten impatient and destroyed a building to make a fire pit, we may have gotten away. But now boots were stomping down the street to inspect the damage. Hawk and I took hidden vantage points. The gnome tried to explain things peacefully, but they weren’t buying into his barbeque. Bright Eyes tried her best to play the menacing Urgzog, and was doing OK until she opened her mouth.
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We had a final mission, rescue El Gato. Rumor has it he is held prisoner in the basement of a large mansion on the coast. He is being tortured by Bane’s high ranking wizards, and guarded by mercenaries. Hearing Bane’s followers were in a specific place was enough for me. I headed out the door, thinking up a plan while I took count of who followed me.

Fortunately for Pantherman, Hawk and Obez both felt the need to relieve the Shadowdalian from his captors. The gnome’s tunneling prowess could prove useful for getting below the building without detection. We arrive at the coastline and see one mansion obviously guarded. Two smaller houses stood outside the walls of its yard.

After some breaking and entering, these seemed absolutely abandoned; all riches had been left behind. Lamps were present in every room, and I knew I’d find some lamp oil somewhere. The Plan now included arson as a distraction, though I wouldn’t be upset if Bane’s witches were caught up in the blaze.

I explained the plan to Hawk so he could keep the gnome on track. They were to dig a tunnel for this cellar to that of the guarded mansion while I sneaked past the guards and delivered some Mirabar cocktails through the windows. These were improvised firebombs (classically made with high proof alcohol) popularized by the rioters of Mirabar used in protest of an attempt to make alcohol illegal to sell or consume.

The guards were half asleep, shuffling lazily about their posts. I swiftly leapt over the wall between two patrols. Landing quiet as a cat on the other side, I skulked into position. Concealed by trees and bushes, I drew my camp knife and stabbed it into the soft soil, instantly regretting the cleaning and honing that would need to recover the razor edge it had.
I listened to the blade as it resonated with Obez’s pick. I waited until I was certain he was beneath me, then lit and threw my grenades, praying they would find a hard surface to shatter against. The orange glow that erupted from the windows told me my prayers had been answered. The alarm was raised and the guards raced for the house to offer assistance, leaving my escape wide open.

I followed the gnome’s tunnel until I caught up to them. Obez was putting the finishing touches on a pitfall trap when a wizard fell through the weakened floor. Dazed and wearing the burning hand of Bane, he wasn’t given trial before I executed him. Hawk (still disguised as a gorilla) leapt from the hole roaring at the other wizards.

I heard them panic, and I too leapt from the tunnel to see them running for the door. I threw their companions head at them, hoping to knock one off balance, but he showed surprising dexterity and caught it. Recognition flashed across his face and panic took over, he charged through his allies, knocking them aside. I through an unlit bottle of oil at them. It shattered over the group of panicked sorcerers soaking all of their robes as they continued their dash upstairs. Wretched screams were heard soon after. Eredil and Obez pummeled the one mage who didn’t freak out.

All opposition dealt with, we found panther dude covered in an imprisoning slime. The gnome produced some toast from Pelor knows not where and calmly transferred the slime slice by slice to his iron stomach. Pantherman was unimpressed by being woken by a  gorilla. We exited through the tunnel, and made our way back to HQ.
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Its finally time to leave this rotten city, speaking of rotten, I started preparing food stuffs so they wouldn’t spoil during the long sea journey ahead of us. Once everyone was packed, we disguised ourselves as a shambling group of invalids. We met no resistance during our trip to the warehouse where we were to meet our ship’s crew. I set about securing the perimeter and our path to the ship while Suri ensured the surly seamen would surely be perfect gentlemen in the presence of a certain clergy-woman.

The few guards that had been lazily patrolling this rather deserted part of the harbor were relieved of duty by yours truly. I carefully propped them up against the wall, gravity, a piece of cord, and their stools would hold them and their torches steady until their muscles stiffened.

A twig snapped behind me, I quietly signalled my dogs to cut off the noise-maker’s escape. Once I got nearer I recognized Sandwiches friend from our trip through time. She was carrying the thief we met when we first arrived in this godforsaken place. He was cut, covered in arrows, and dead. Norin had also taken an arrow in her shoulder. I helped her haul the body to the warehouse, where the cleric healed her shoulder. She told us of awful things happening to the North. Suri, Eredil and I decided to investigate.

The stench of rot became ever more present the farther North we rode. Torches, marching boots, and rattling chains filled the streets leading to the north harbor. We finally found all the missing townspeople, though by their smell and dead expressions, they haven’t been alive for a long time. Powerful magic would have sounded an alarm if we’d gotten any closer. We returned to the warehouse to alert them of the imminent threat of an invasion force now boarding for Tantras.

We all agreed that the best thing we could do was to try to get to Tantras first, we might be able to warn and prepare them. We headed for the ship. I rode ahead, to clear any guards that may be farther down the docks. Two of them stood in front of our boat (the state of decay the “ship” was in could hardly be called seaworthy) joking about the sorry sight they were sent to guard. “I’d sooner be troll-stone cold than aboard that pile of wormwood!” one said. “As you wish…” I thought as my arrows flew through the air, expertly finding their marks.

Those guards were bait, unfortunate for them. From a dark alley, an old wizard, wearing the mark of Bane, and an armoured sergeant walked into the torchlight.
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<Much missing between here, the battle for Tantras, The Library, and eventually the fall of Waterdeep>
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WryRai
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10 years between Tablet of Fate and Azure Bonds

Post by WryRai on Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:09 am

After betraying the world by accidentally helping to create Cyric the Mad, Grynn was unable to face her comrades. She returned home to do what she could to defend her family in the harsh times to come.

Bandits, pirates, mercenaries and all manner of ill repute lay siege to her home at one time or another, but none could pass her blade. She was crossing blades with the dread Captian Cutlass Coalbeard when his crew fired a cannonball at them both. Rip sacrificed himself to tackle them out of harm. The big, brown warg did not survive the sudden amputation of his mid section. The pirates would not be shown mercy.

She sailed ‘cross the Lake of Steam, alone, determined to chase them to the ends of the earth. Every hour, she closed the distance untll she grappled aboard. Their night vigil was shabby, and Grynn had no trouble sneaking past and rigging the entire ship with explosives. Davy Jones Locker overflowed with bones that night.

She returned home with a new fire in her eyes. A need to grow stronger, to study, to right her wrong. She set off for some much needed training in Arrowglance. With one companion dead and the other past his prime, Grynn would need to re-evaluate her tactics. She trained hours each day evading and sparring dozens of recruits.

Regaining her self confidence, she made her way to Suzail to recruit a party. Grynn knew of only one place that might contain knowledge to defeat Cyric, the Hall of Mysts. It was there she found the plans for the Divine Arcane Hybrid Mass Accelerator Cannon, the weapon the weakened the dark god Bane enough to be assimilated. Cyric was certain to know of the hall’s importance as well. Grynn would need a well-balanced party, who could break through an army, twice, right. Ninjas, Grynn needed ninjas.

In Suzail, a certain Cabbage Corp. was the center of an entire information network backed by, and a front for, her old comrade Hattori’s ninja clan. Names dropped, missions proposed, information promised as payment, and Grynn had a troupe of genuine ninjas to raid the library. Troupe 183 were specialized in long escorts, stealth and information gathering, as well as skilled dancers.

Off to the Starmounts. Though fairly certain Elysium would have been destroyed by now, the possibility of a shortcut was a much bigger reward than risk. Grynn led the troupe to the portal hidden deep in the woods behind Suzail. To her surprise, the portal still functioned, but Elysium no longer had the warm, fuzzy aura that made you wanna stay. The Blood War, the war that Celestials and Demons have fought for millennia, had spilled into this plane.

We couldn’t help but be caught in the tide. For weeks we fought our way through, just to get to the exit. During one sleepless night, demons befell our camp. We were outnumbered and cornered. Until a warcry that swore in a dozen different tongues rang out.

A familiar white cloak worn by a muscle bound teen leapt into the fray. He carried no weapons of his own, but rather nimbly drew any within reach. He seemed to prefer leaving weapons buried deep to encumber his enemies. This dervish was joined by another wielding a staff. They turned the tide, healed our injured and ran off. We tried to thank them, but they had vanished like ghosts. The next morning we found our exit.

On approach, Hall of Mysts. Cyrics forces seemed about 300, but closer examination revealed only a few actual soldiers with low quality undead to inflate their numbers. Sneaking past was a non-issue. Inside, however, soldiers patrolled the streets and guarded the forges and mines.

BA-BOOM!

Something exploded to the east.

Guard 1: “Rebel forces are attacking the noble district!”
Guard 2:”Let’s get ‘em!”
All Guards in earshot: “HUA!”

A well timed distraction we immediately took advantage of to get to the library. The mere four guards stationed outside insulted the ninjas pride and were easily dealt with. Inside we met the Librarian again, with his 40ft tall mahogany desk. He remembered me from last time, and apparently liked my “adventurous spirit” or something. I asked him if anything existed that might help defeat Cyric. He took his time pondering the concept of one mage wielding four gods and directs me to some historical legends of high mages.

Days are spent going through tomes, One book briefly covers The Red Mages of Thay, and how little is known about them other than their symbol (Crescent with Division Symbol). But nothing like this has ever happened before. Unless someone can trick him into taking on the Lady of Pain, but Cyric seems too clever for that. Information regarding a couple of Elysium’s portals was found marked in an old druid’s autobiography (good cartographer, horrible chicken-scratch handwriting).

Days have becomes weeks and still no clear solution. I’ve had to take breaks from my research to train with the ninjas, and deal with the “pests” and “guardians” of the library. No tome of value was unguarded. Young Dragons, hordes of imps, great foxes, name a minor magical creature and I probably challenged some variant of it to find any clues.

Troupe 183 brought me word of renegade forces daily harassing Cyric’s officers. I’m glad to know the Bladesingers are merely overrun and not broken. The ninjas found the bladesinger hideout long ago, but we don’t approach them to preserve their cover.


We use the renegade attacks the next day as cover to dodge patrols on our escape. I take the tome that spoke of the foreign “red” mages, perhaps a different approach to manipulating the Weave can overcome Cyric’s mastery. I also several maps that mark many old portals and pocket dimensions. Perhaps some of the gods in hiding have a clue on how to stop the mad mage.

My funds are running low so I need to return the troupe to Suzail. We use a portal that cuts through the shadow plane, hoping to avoid the war in Elysium. While there was no war, there were dangers. Nightmarish, twisted beings that shouldn’t exist. Tentacles and eyes and teeth in no discernable order. We ran, as did everything else in its wake. Anything that stopped too long was devoured. We were very, very tired by the time we found our exit.

After parting with Troupe 183, I needed some place secluded to study. Somewhere I could safely leave my hard won knowledge. “Of course!” *facepalm* the twenty sided cavern we cleared in the Giant’s Run. I pay passage last minute as a south bound ship was casting off, and they were happy to drop me at Pros.

The desert can’t fool me twice, I think to myself remembering Bright Eyes’ reaction to the cactus juice. I make sure I’ve plenty of water, and rent a camel. I made good time, somehow avoiding any bandits, only to find our HQ less abandoned than we left it. A wretched stench hung in the air, and we were still a half mile off. Troglodytes.

After stuffing warm candle wax up my nose, I enter the cave. A couple of the cringe-worthy creatures had started a filthy family. I temporarily take up roll the roll of a butler, and tidy up. Leprous limbs litter the locality, Sickly skulls are scattered about, and beastly babes are bifurcated. I cleanse it all with fire, multiple times, wish I had a salamander to help out.

Scrubbing soot off the walls is much easier than feces and blood, but it still takes some time. Finally clean. I set up shop, maps hang on the North walls, tomes scatter the ground below. I should hire some craftsmen to make tables and lockers. With my info-cache secured, I head home, as Melgar’s Memorial is in a couple months.

I’m stopped at my village gate. An air of sadness overflows from the town. The guards try to warn me, but don’t have the heart to be straightforward. I gather from their mumbling that many have fallen ill. I run home, my mother is in bed unconscious, with a strange set of symbols on her arm. This is no illness, it’s a curse. About a dozen for every hundred people have fallen victim, and no one seems to know what’s going on. I recognize one of the symbols as that of the Red Wizards of Thay. Two of the others remind me of Bane and Tempest, but slightly different. I don’t that final two.



The village was expecting one of my outbursts, but I calmly continue preparing to honor my lost friends. I change into one of the girly summer dresses mom always hoped I’d wear, and pack my gear into the old bag of holding. I leave town calmly, with only a small bag and a fishing rod visible, which seems to worry everyone more.

I journey back to HQ to stow my gear, I didn’t want to draw attention on my travels. With only my blessed rod, I make my way North.

You wouldn’t believe how far a “pretty face” and a fresh meal will get you with sailors and merchants, as long as you’ve time for a meandering course. New acquaintances from many lands provided pleasant travel, though all grieved for someone who had fallen to the “Azure Bonds”.

Elventree was as lofty as ever, Bridges connecting massive tree houses and hundred feet in the air. I think the trees may have grown since I was last here. But I’m almost late, the memorial is tomorrow and I need a ship willing to fish near the Bell of the Deep.

I finally found a fisherman who was either as brave or crazy as me. We set off midday, not the best time for fishing, but I guess it is the thought that counts. Lucky my rod is blessed by a water/nature goddess. I had him set course to sail as fast as possible, my prize liked fast food.

The captain got the idea and soon we were trolling for marlin. After ten minutes or so, I got a bite. The hook set, and i hung on for dear life. For three hours I battled the beast. A contest of strength, no, of pride. Slowly but surely I reeled in a fish nearly twice my size. We set course for port.

After docking we unload and sell the fish to some fancy pants restaurant. I tried to pay the man, but he wouldn’t have it, saying he had the story of a lifetime from helping me. I join him at his favorite tavern to hear this story, and to make sure his tab is covered. This man was no slouch when it came to telling tales. With wild gestures and little regard for truth or people’s personal space, he kept the whole tavern up in spirits. He must have been surprised the next morning to find his tab, that had been held over his head the last decade, was covered.

I bought two horses so i could switch which was ridden, and made it back to Suzail in what must have been record time. I was in the great market, selling the horses, when I got the feeling someone was following me. Fortunately, the Grand Bazaar is a pretty easy place to lose someone. I ducked into an alley, and watched my pursuer pass my position. A dangerous looking woman, about my mom’s age, but with a soldier’s stride.

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