Service to the Stone

Intiation to New Mysteries

From the Private Journals of Larrodd Brokenbeard, 2nd circle initiate

Once again, the quiet of the night brings me to write down a few thoughts about my journey. I have just been relieved from a quiet watch by Cameron. As one might expect, she seems much more at home outside of the walls of Travar, which is apparently where she trained, or at least some of her training. I can’t say I was much impressed by her new trainer, but I was not overly impressed with my trainer either. I did not meet the elf who trained the other two, but he was already known to them apparently. My trainer was an orkish woman, who was called Vruhag. She definitely was much more acquainted with the true elements than I, but she seemed reluctant to control her orkish fire. She seemed to be unimpressed with all of my tasks. I told her of the two element spirit…she also had never encountered one, but knew many arguments that they would likely exist, except by opposed elements.

Her initiation test required me to use my new talent of Fire Heal. However, to do so, I first had to “know its power.” I was burned, singeing what little beard I can grow, and leaving deep burns on my chest, back and shoulders. I found it difficult to steel myself to enter the healing flame after that, but with her guidance, I found myself able to and drew the essence of heat without the fire, and was able to heal those burns! The heat of life, similar to the beneficial Heat Food spell was focused into me allowing my connection with the earth to mend those wounds.

I now understand more of Fire, and all of the other elements, I know that The mysteries could be a lifetime simply to master one.

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Travar Again
Opportunity to advance

18th of Solus

1517 Th

 

Upon arriving at Derring Dell, they needed to bribe the guards because they road was closed for the night.  Cameron left her lioness outside the town, trusting her bond was strong enough (it was).  While staying at the Inn of the Seventh Watch, Juhani does some entertaining, but seems to attract unwanted attention from a troll, who demands to see his sword.  Things get tense as Rakishi dives at him, but he seems to dodge her leap fairly deftly. After a brief fracas, Kokralyn puts an end to it with an iron shod club, sending everyone to their respective corners. The next morning, they depart with Burk’Uhl, the bounty hunter from the night before, traveling with them to Travar.

When the get to the White City, ’Uhl goes his own way, and they head back to the Blackbash Consortium. There, Horball seems happy with their assessment, giving them each 5 pounds of the living crystal as well as 5 Theran silver coins. Also, he gives tham a letter of introduction to a living crystal former he knows and a 2% coverage at the former.

It is then decided that they will stay in the city for training and induction to the second circle. They each find a trainer and are inducted to the second circle. They request Hezzouk Silverarm, the crystal former, to make them living crystal bracers. During training, a letter is written to Lopto, to check in, as is their duty. Once training is complete, they arrange to undertake an exploration of a kaer in the periphery of the badlands.

They are met by a troll woman wearing a grey robe and cowl. She introduces herself as Keneya. She carries a large, heavily bound book. She seems a bit nervous, either afraid to be overheard, or concerned that she may have been followed, however she mentions nothing of it. She asks them to go to a kaer called Shurntan. She requires a relic called the Ivory Candle. She knows little of Shurntan, except for an ink drawing of it in her book, and a location a couple of days into the badlands. Our heros set out to find this place.

During the trip south along the Byrose river, small villages and T’Skrang towers dot both banks, with the occasional river boat going up or down river. The population gets more and more sparse and by the end of the second day the fairly well traveled path along the river basically ends at a walled compound. Not far beyond that, they are set upon by blood bees, who prove very little challenge to them. A day or so later they come upon a shallow and swift tributary, with a dwarven road marker with the words Turgid Pathe, a landmark they had expected. They travel upriver coming upon the abrupt marking of dead grass and almost no vegetation marking the badlands. A day later, they come upon another marker they had been advised to avoid, Shattered Castle. Rakishi attempted to investigate a white mass on either side of the river, and began to cough blood, so she returned, stinking of rotten meat. They crossed the small river and as they traved south west, occasionally they would see a roiling white mass rise out of the ground between them and the ruins beyond. After several hours, however they seemed to no longer come upon them and the ruins could just be made out north of them. Late in the next day, they came upon the broken black pillar and the pile of stones that they were told marked the kaer…

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Elemental Natures
Some Thoughts

From the Private Journals of Larrodd Brokenbeard, 1st circle initiate

 

As I sit watching one of my traveling companions, Cameron, interact with a lioness who seems less than healthy, I realize namegivers, though linked to elements, are much more unpredictable than even an undine.  Perhaps this is because namegivers are comprised of all elements.  But Tian', you taught me to seek out each namegivers core as way to understand their Patterns.  Upon first blush, I would have identified each of them as the same as their race core.  The Ork, Rakishi; she burns with fire.  Cameron, an elf is strong, quiet and flexible light the wood of all elfs. And Juhani, like all humans tend to embrace experience like wind.  Of course, now having traveled with them for almost two full months, they are as nuanced as their Patterns.  Perhaps I do not yet posses the detailed understanding that you did.

Do the other elements become more noticeable when they are confronted with a challenge?  Rakishi embraced the Earth and it's wisdom when she dealt with the slaver prisoner.  I wonder what she did, but I fear questioning her on it, on the chance that her fiery nature will feel challenged by the query.  Is it when they are given a chance to improve, such as the determined burning of Cameron directed to her potential new companion?  I have witnessed Juhani cling to the lyrical waters and compose songs and ballads in the simple peace of a camp.  I know my earth and fire tendencies, and thus the water like excitement when examining the bi-elemental spirit. Knowing my elements is as important, or perhaps even more so, than being able to identify the elements around me.

Indeed, during one of our recent respites, while others were healing,  I have discovered hidden truths in my training.  In reading the wind, and whistling the air, I have determined that one can watch and ride the currents of wind.  I can use it to alter a fall or jump!  Not as well as Sia'na, but for a sky raider it is likely a much more core tenant to her view, wind is nearly all thing to one such as her!  We all gradually improve, and perhaps, upon returning to Travar, I can convince the others to stay a bit, so that I may explore the mysteries of the next circle!

We should be leaving this place in a day or so, but we should arrive at Derring Dell in the next few days.  It seems that Cameron actually posses a talent for survival, while I and Juhani are trained, we cannot truly compare to her ability, and her relation with the hawk has brought more than one coney to our cook fire!  But, if we are forced to forage for food, we will lose travel time.  But if her newest, what, pet? companion? friend? requires fresh food, that may be our lot, unless we can get a recent kill while in the trade town.

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Not Quite Expected
An Eventful Encounter

22nd of Raquas

1517 Th

 

Our heroes attempt to cross the bridge, and are attacked by the two remaining spiders.  However, Rakashi charges the spiders, killing one, however the bridge begins to fall apart due to the heavy foot of the charging mount.  The others make it across, but the bridge is in bad shape, as largish chunks of it went crashing through the webs beneath, sending the remaining spider well out on the wall of the ravine.  As this may be the Echoing Wall they were told to follow, they continue along it at a healthy distance, at one point watching what they believe to be an Esparga dive in, but not come back out…

They then head back east, figuring that they have gone too far if this the 'Wall, and by evening, come upon a small oasis; A copse of perhaps a score a trees, and a small stone well nestled within.  They note the lack of clutter around the floor, perhaps it is well foraged by travelers.  Late into second watch, Juhani is alerted to a small splash in the well, and upon investigation notes a pale green glowing "Ball" beneath the surface.  He alerts the others and they watch this playful sprite shoot small fountains as it dances beneath the now undulating surface.  Juhani plays a bit of music, and the waters dance and laugh to his tune.  Larr speaks about water elementals and how they can be capricious, but this one, if that is what it is, is likely small and relatively harmless, but advises caution nonetheless, as he is not certain that it IS a water spirit, and if it is, then it may change it's attitude without warning.  When they depart in the morning, a small glass bead is left on the side of the well, and they are meticulous about clearing their camp.

The next day, in the afternoon, they come upon a single 3 story stone tower before a defilade in a small cliff face in the mountains.  It has a small garden with a stone fence around it, and a flag walkway to the door.  At the apex of the walkway, a red stone with a black one on either side sets beneath the single step to the door.  They hail the tower, and after a few moments, the door opens and a female troll with a large axe steps out  onto the step, and stares at them.  They find her name is Si'ana, Daughter of Uhlkarsht.  She tells them there is a small mining town several hours away just before the Echoing Wall.  They note that she walks alongside the flagstone walk rather than on it when she tends the garden and speaks with them.

They approach a small village not long after dark, but as they approach, three Dwarves, armed with crossbows approach them and demand that they turn over their weapons.  While negotiating one of the dwarves dashes back into the village. Aparently, the dwarves are worried they may be "Agents of the Horror," but will discuss it no further. It is decided that they may keep their weapons, but must not approach until full daylight.  They set camp and are observed throughout the night by at least two crossbow armed dwarves.  The next morning, they are told that Suli, the hetman will speak with them, but they must leave their weapons or peace-tie them.

They are escorted to a large round building, that has crystal embeded around the doorway.  It is the largest building in the village of perhaps just over a dozen buildings, including a small open stable.  Once inside, they see the first floor is roughly divided in half, with the front half being a meeting or common hall.  There are benches and stools of sizes from Dwarf to Troll and a long table with A female troll, and a male human.  When they come in there are two crossbow men, a dwarf and an ork in front of one of the two curtained doorways.  The human is quietly speaking to the troll female, who stands as they enter.  She introduces herself as Suli, child of Carshkind, and current hetmen of Depames.  After a few minutes of discusion, they determine that the village fears agents of Ketfet, the Undying.  It seems that her advisor, Joloko has had a vision, and they are very concerned.  Our heros each offer to craft for her, which she almost declines.  But once they have finished, they request her to craft.  She has her loom brought, and she craft a bit of weave in silence.  When they demand that Joloko craft, she demands that they have seen enough and that she is satisfied that he can do so, but will not demand it of him.  They present their reason for coming, and are told that the previous visitors were agents of the horror and were dealt with.  Suli sends Joloko, who has often whispered to her during this exchange, to perform some task.  Once he leaves 4 dwarven guards with swords come into the common room.  She tells them that their request will be discussed, but if they are to stay within the village, they will need to be unarmed.  They decline, saying they will camp outside.  Just before they leave, she says softly to not trust Joloko.

That night, while camping they again are under watch by two guards.  And late into the night, Rakishi sees someone skulking around the village buildings.  She wakes Cameron, who agrees to stealthily approach the sneak, while she goes to tell the guards about the person she has seen.  At her approach, they both raise their crossbows.  she warns them, and returns to camp, but just as she get back, she sees the skulker dash out and cut the throat of one, and stab the other and turn back into the village.  Cameron gives chase, and the others mount up to pursue as well.  Cameron catches up, just as the man, Joloko begins to shout that the Agents have killed the guards.  She tries to speak to him, and he swings the sword he is carrying at her.  At that moment, a 2+ foot spike extends from his elbow, and he stabs at her with that, missing.  As this fight goes on, the spike disappears back into his arm, lights come up in other houses, and they exchange blows.  Just as a few crossbowmen come out, shooting mostly wildly.  A juhani arraves he sees Cameron attacked and he tries to charge Joloko, but the darkness confounds his strike.  However after a second attempt his horse deals what appears to be a devastating blow to the fallen mans chest.  He is still shouting that the newcomers have killed the two guards, and amid several poorly aimed bolts, they ride away, unwilling to perform what appears to be murder, or attacking probably innocent bystanders.

They ride north, and, seeing the familiar copse, set camp therein over night.  They note that the glass bead is now setting at the bottom of the shallow well.  After long discussion, they decide to wait, while Cameron and Lar heal.  They each perform their rituals in the morning, and during the day, both Juhani and Rakishi meditate on their training, their path and the ways of the world, improving their pattern with new talents!  Once the others are healed they, too, meditate upon themselves and their experiences.

After a few days camp and self improvement, they decide to seek out the Troll woman in the tower for her advice.  So they ride back to Si'ana, and tell her their fears, and ask advice.  Amidst the conversation it becomes clear she is a sky raider Adept, who has stopped adventuring.  But, she offers to assist them in speaking with her cousin, Suli, and they all head back to Depames.

With the support of Si'ana, our heros converse with Suli, without Joloko.  She finally informs them that their patron may continue his contract, but his agents will not be allowed to stay in town until they have already done buisness twice.  In light of this, they move away from the village and camp.  The next morning, they pick up a cart with a small locked chest with it's key and head back.  After leaving the village, they find the Echo Wall, a cliff face that has been shattered, making strange and constant echos of all sounds. 

A few days ago, they came upon a lioness laying on the ground in front of them.  Cameron went forward to see if it was ok.  However, upon approach, see went slack for a moment, and when the others rode up, she went into a mad frenzy as the lioness slinked away.  With her claws, she terribly raked Rakishis horse.  Juhani noticed a rat-like creature under her hair, and they subdued her, but not before the rose was ripped into again.  As Rakishi held her down, Rakishi then went limp, and as the 6-legged rat climber onto her shoulder, Juhani skewered it.  Moments later, Rakishi recovered her senses, and had a bit more empathy for Cameron.  Cameron then performed a karma ritual, summoning the lioness to her, then went about bonding with her.  After a couple of days, the group rides on to Derring Dell, with Camerons newly bonded lioness and her hawk. 

This evening, they arrive at Derring Dell.

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Ballad of the Water Elemental

Flute play starts with a few short sharp notes.  These notes build on each other until the flute chorus is built.  

'Chorus'

Little Bubbly Well,  Little Bubbly Well, 

Little Bubbly Well, What are you? Do tell.

You splash a little, You splash a lot

You splash a little, A dry well you are not.

 

*Flute plays in the same chirpy then transitions to longer notes to convey a dramatic feeling.

 

Little Bubbly Well in the middle of a field

Little Bubbly Well, a small copes of trees you yield.

With lush green leaves, reaching out to the sky

Stout trunk and strong branch, not a single stick dry.

 

*Flute Chorus

 

Little Bubbly Well,  Little Bubbly Well, 

Little Bubbly Well, What are you? Do tell.

You splash a little, You splash a lot

You splash a little, A dry well you are not.

 

 

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To the Merchant City, and away again
A return for some...

9th of Raquas

1517 Th

Crossing the  Great Bridge (somewhat of a misnomer,.as ferry crossing is more common the bridge has, shall we say, maintenance issues) they head to a gate and enter the city.  (Only one of them knows it is called Slavers Gate.)  The gate is festooned with flowers, but beyond, the city is relatively empty.  However, the roar of a crowd can be heard from the arena ahead.  Many shops are closed and the most common sight on the street is City Watch.  However, they are approached by an older dwarf, dressed in blue an white, matching the flowers and garlands, who tells them if they are hero's or adepts heading to the games, they are quite late, but that he has an offer that requires someone of their skills.  If they will hear him out, he will assure they have a place to sleep tonight.  They decide to go, and he explains that he has contracted with a village called Depames for exclusive rights to their living crystal.  However, his envoy, and a group of mercenaries he has sent have failed to return.  They may have succumb to greed, but he needs to know.  If they will accept his offer, he will offer each of them 250 silver, or 5 pounds from the first shipment.  Then he retires to his establishment so they can discuss their decision.  They decide to accept, but before they leave the bar, they have noticed they are being closely observed by two dwarves in dark, splotchy cloaks.  Once they are observed, the dwarves leave, but not before tossing a two armed, black metal ankh on their table. The barmen knows them as the Mundran brothers, and they are fairly regular and good tippers, but little beyond that. 

They return toHorbal Blackbrush, the merchant and accept his offer for the living crystal.  He gives them what directions he knows, as he has never been there, and they gather supplies and leave the vaguely disquieting city.

They travel back to Derring Dell and head south. 

Yesterday, they encountered to Crackbills feasting on a kill, and were attacked by them.  Both Cameron and Larroddare stained by their paralytic poison. Lar is nearly killed except for intervention by Rahkishi. The other one is sorely wounded by Juhani and it escapes. Fortunately, both Cameron and Lar recover, even though they are now bright orange. The killed crackbill is harvested for the neck coil, that looks vaguely like a copper spring.

Today, they spy some sort of earthen mound that resembles a castle. It is well over 15 feet at its highest, but it is swarming with some kind of insect the size of an orks hand. Assuming this is the “giants castle” they wer told to use as a land mark, they alter course. By early afternoon, they come upon a ravine that cuts across their path. it is almost 20 feet across on average and around 50 feet down, so they follow it, hoping it will end or have a crossing. Unless it is the Echoing Wall, then they may come upon Depames.

Late in the afternoon, they come to an ancient bridge. It is over 5 feet wide, but the sides have long collapsed. As Larr begins across, he is rushed by spiders from underneath the bridge, and he is knocked off, but caught in a web about 10 feet below the bridge. The others are harassed by two other spiders that dart quickly over the edge and back down, as Larr tries to work his way free of the webs. After a few moments, they drive the spiders back under the bridge and toss a rope to him. Rakishi, finding him stuck fast, yanks the rope, pulling him free, but smashing him into the wall of the canyon!

What to do?

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Ork and Folly

 

Driven by rain and found a cave

Nowhere to go, we enter brave

Sparse room found with 3 chains in ground

The patter of rain, the only sound

 

Pull on a chain, sealed in a room

full of ork and folly, have we met our doom

With nowhere to go, we search deeper

A stone face we found, Meet the door keeper

 

With much thought and forever in time

Our dwarf elementalist with plan sublime

Cracks deep in stone with his stout mace

To reach beyond that stone face

 

And there we see the jail of metal

It lies beyond, smaller than kettle

Trapped in our midst, earth and fire

Unable to flee, this caves lone crier

 

Deal had been struck, splashed with water

Mixed with air, the iron did shatter

A blast was made, blood was drawn

Earth and fire beast could walk on

 

It clawed the door made of thick stone

Rended deep as if there were bone

Our passage out granted by promise

Now hear it you, this tale by damis

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A two element Spirit?!

From the Private Journals of Larrodd Brokenbeard, 1st circle initiate

 

I have heard of such things, but never had I thought to encounter one! 

We had taken shelter from a storm, and within the small cave, we found indications that s very hot fire had been built in here.  Also, There were three chains that ran down into holes near the wall, as well as a small drain carved in the floor, that seemed to be draining the run through water into a cistern or well of some sort.

In typical orkish fashion, Rakishi grabbed one of the chains and jerked.  The need for action in her race is definite proof that their fire runs high…it also explains their short life span.  However, when she jerked the chain, a slab of some granite blocked the narrow entrance to our shelter!  Then she pulled all of them, and the antechamber was opened…

Beyond was a face.  The face of an ork with a dozen eyes…And it spoke to us, asking about the Yellow one…it was unclear in its explanation. so I began to study the pattern…It is well beyond my capability, and most of it is beyond my understanding, even.  But what I can tell amazes me.  It is a powerful spirit…and it has the essence of fire and earth.  Again, fire and earth are related elements, but I have no idea how one would summon a creature that melded them…  It was bound to this chamber by some sort of token.  I could identify it as a molten lump of iron, that had been bound inside the wall.  The elemental was not bound by me, and is well beyond my ability to bind, so I encouraged it  to aid me, so that I could free it from its bindings.  To free the binding, it needed to be exposed to water and air.  Unfortunately we did not have a wooden bucket to represent all the elements, but we made do with what we had, and drew water from the cistern.

I shattered the stone with my mace, exposing the molten heart, and the cold water was thrown on it, shattering it!  Stepping free of the face was a squat humanoid figure, who left ovals melted in the stone floor as it crossed, pausing a moment to stand where the hot fire had been.  It then fulfilled its agreement, removing the granite block, and then it stepped in the otherwhere that such spirits come from…leaving us to leave.  After gathering the chains, which seem to be fused with elemental earth!  And we lost the trail ofthe slavers.

But of all I have written and studied so far, nothing had truely perpared me or compred with the encounter of a dual natured elemental spirit!

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Not how I wanted to start

That did not go as I planned. I was not suppose to reveal anything Theran. Now I will have to

answer questions that I don't want to talk about. I left that world behind me. I joined this group to seperate 

myself from Thera, now I am right back in it. I might need to go see Urgalee to get back in the right state

of mind. But first we need to take care of these enslavers. Hopefully we will get there before they do something to them. But I am not in any hurry to get back. I'm sure that  the comodant will have a few choice words for me as well. This really is not how I wanted to start. But at least I kicked some ass for Throal before letting any of my Theran out. How to explain myself without saying to much. At least I have some time to think about it. Cause I do not want to think about what we just saw. If I never see it again that will be a good thing.

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My First Trial

I knew becoming a Hero of Barsaive wouldn't be easy but I must say that after our first mission, I can't imagine things getting worse.  I'll assuredly spin the tale for evenings at the pub but truly, the horrors in this world are ghastly.  I would never have guessed our first assignment would have us encounter slavers and horrors that take over dead bodies. The sight of those poor souls being animated and operated like puppets.  The others tied with no idea what fate lays before them.  I only hope we all survive to tell the tales.  Where I to be questioned about it a week ago, in confidence, I would have explained that a small stretching of the truth would be needed to keep the crowds begging for more.  The truth of the matter is that I don't think I'll be able to share this adventure in whole.  I remember the vivid details and it will take all the will that I possess to maintain my sanity.  Advancing the family name won't be difficult providing I don't become enslaved or turned into a puppet.  Only time will tell.

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