Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dwarven Aftermath

As the last dwarf fell you breathe a huge sigh of relief.  It is over.  The liche, the dwarves, the lazuri.  It is all over.   Perhaps now there would be a chance to rest.  It seems like you have been fighting forever.

You cast the vile net off of the dragon and fling it into the chasm.  Sickened and horrified at the thought that such a thing could be made.  If someone wants it now, they would have to seek it out in the thicket.  Within days it will disappear under a thick tangle of vines and brambles and be hidden beneath a blanket of verdant green. Let them search as they may, no one will ever find it.  The Yatahay walk among the fallen to make sure that any who know of this place do not live to tell their tale.

Ormayaru stirs slowly as he shakes off the effects of the partially complete Enthrall ritual.  He eyes stare dimly at you but you see no recognition there.  Only feral, animal hunger.  His great lips curl back in a snarl that reveals his fangs.

"Ormayaru !  It is Prospero and Arghmon, children of earth and fire!  Don't you remember?" cries Prospero

A flicker of recognition flashes in his eyes and he raises his head above the party. "Children of the elements.  Why is that familiar to me?"  Suddenly he moans a long sad note and lays his head on the ground.  "Nooooooo!  It is gone.  Thousands of years of memories, all gone.  I cannot remember what I was before I came to the Thicket.  Those foul creatures have stripped it from me!"  With a angry bellow he breathes out a gust of acidic gas and lays waste to a huge swath of the thicket and the corpses of the dwarves.  Before you can stop him, he runs off in the direction of the journeyman catacombs.

At that moment, Brenna-orm steps  from the thicket into the clearing with two of his braves towing the Gardener in a litter.  "Let the dragon be my brothers.  I heard his words and he will need time to deal with the grave sin these dwarves have committed against him. Wait until he seeks you out.  In the mean time we have work to do!"

The Yatahay help you get the second truck rolling and you slowly lever it over the lip of the chasm to join it's infernal companion.  You also dump the large pieces of the air copter into the chasm.  The whole time your minds keep turning back to the dragon.  You worry about his recovery and feel helpless about his plight.

The yatahay break out simple food and eat without interest as Brenna nurses the Gardener to his feet.  The Gardener approaches and Lasheur jumps to his feet and bows deeply.  Simon rises behind him and also bows.

"It is good to see you up and about my lord.  How may I serve you?"

"It is I who must serve you Lasheur.  You and Simon fought bravely for me, the dragon and the Thicket itself. Such bravery will not go unrewarded.  I noticed you stacking the dwarven gear.  A fine bounty no doubt, but such pillaging is beneath you and Simon.  We will gift that gear to the Yatahay.  It will sustain them through many a hard winter. I had the Yatahay descend back into the catacombs and rescue what gear they could from my bodyguards.  You and Simon are welcome to whatever you can use.  The rest I will return to their families.  Additionally, Lasheur I require the use of you bow, there a few improvements I would sing into it."

The Yatahay lay the gear bundles at your feet and you suddenly feel a touch of shame.  "Do not feel ashamed.  I assure you those elves would want their gear to be used by warriors such as yourselves."  You rummage through the gear and find:

  1. 40 "Troll Killer" Arrows ( +1 Damage, AP 2 )
  2. Superb Leather Armor ( 2 sets )
  3. Superb  Chain Coif/Hood ( 2 )
  4. A Pair of copper bracers that will increase the Armor in your arms by 1.  They are covered with odd runes related to the cult of Bandar ( Arax T'ha matrices for "Roll with Punch" and "Prescient Defense" )
You gather up your kingly gifts and thank the Gardener profusely.  You notice that the Yatahay have also received some better arrows and a few elf bows blessed by the Gardener to allow them to work for the Yatahay.  The Gardener smiles as he watches them dance around like children with new toys.  He pulls Lasheur aside. 

"It's not much, but I sang what traits into the bow as I could in my weakened state.   Take it with my thanks.  He hands you the bow and it looks as though it has been remade by master craftsmen.
  1. The Gardener sings Strength, Range and Precision into your Elf Bow making it Superb quality:  Range 20/40/80, +1 Shooting, +1 Damage 

You and Simon glance at each other and smile.  Simon calls to Lasheur,  "The next time Lord Igmar  rears his ugly, scaly head, he is in for one nasty surprise!"

"Aye friend Simon, a few troll killers to the brain-pan should should convince him that his fixation on me is truly unhealthy!"

You laugh a moment and then notice that the wizards are missing.  Brenna notices your worried looks, "He called for them my brothers.  You have nothing to fear.  They are with the dragon now - or what's left of him."

Prospero and Arghmon heard the summons in their mind and made their way to the dragon's hideaway.  You found him resting with his head on his massive taloned claws.

"I remember you Prospero.  I remember you Arghmon.  I also remember that I was a teacher long, long ago. I have a few things to teach you quickly before they fade from my memory.  That accursed net continues to rob me of my memories though its effects are tapering off.  It will not rob me of everything that I once was.  Stand before me and stare into my eyes."

You approach him and peer into the vastness of those wise and fearless eyes and feel his mind invade your own.  At first it is too much, even in his weakened state he could crush your will with a  stray thought.  No wonder the Journeymen achieved the heights of wonder if they had teachers like this.  Ormayaru's heavy thoughts retreat to the boundaries and you feel yourself able to breath again.

"Yes, good.  I know these minds, not like those from so long ago that I barely remember, mere shadows, but the paths are familiar.  I will make a few adjustments..."

You think to protest but your concerns are brushed aside as you would swat a gnat.  You are not in control here.  You are casual observer with no part to play but to watch.

"Ha, this is not sorcery as I once taught it, this is all wrong.  No bother, I can fix this..."  You feel as if your mind is being read like a scroll and large parts of what you know are being scratched out and re-written by the hand of a master poet...

"Your connection to the mana flow is too weak, you must always be running out of power.  Let's open up that conduit.  Yes this will be much better..." You feel you mind being pried open like someone levering their thumbs into the core of an orange to open up its flower...

You awake to find yourselves sprawled on the floor of the cavern.  Sometime during the process you must have fainted.

"I could have done more but you probably would have gone insane."

  1. You both gain the Improved Wizard  Edge and the Power Surge Edge. 

You have both done me a great service and while I am but a mere shadow of myself, you need only call and I will come as long as you are within the Thicket.  Go now, return to your friends, I have much to contemplate."

You leave the dragon and rejoin the party as it is packing up to leave. Brenna and the Yatahay will take the Gardener to Woodfort so that he may rejoin the elves.  Brenna points down the path of destruction that the dwarves cared through the thicket.

"You way lies down this path to the city of Summerford.  Tell their leaders what you learned here.  We encountered many camps of evil things gathering in the thicket as I am told you did also.  Though we destroyed or scattered the bulk of these, I fear that there may be more about.  With both the dragon and the Gardener weakened, the thicket will have to tend to itself.  Without its vibrant brambles to impede them, I'm afraid our enemies will be free to move against us.  They are greatly weakened, but so are we.  Stay vigilant my brothers."

You clasp forearms in the Yatahay way and they dissolve into the thicket.  You trudge along the dwarven trail for a few miles and come to what must have been their base camp.  The Yatahay slaughtered, scalped and stripped any that were here and you pass through leaving the corpses for the carrion birds and the camp for the thicket.  At the edge of the camp you spy a cleverly hidden stack of crates.  There is a note pinned to the top of the boxes with a Yatahay arrow.  It says simply, "For my brothers - 2 Feather."

The three crates contain 6 dwarven grenades each.  One box is marked with a cloud, one with a lightning bolt, and one with a skull.  Simon hefts one of the grenades and smiles, "You gotta love those Yatahay..."

Monday, March 1, 2010


The Wizard's hear a familiar voice in their heads as they step from the Gardener's Path, "Children of Flame and Stone.  You have returned to me in my time of need.  Welcome, Welcome and well met."

Greetings are exchanged, all wounds are healed and all Power Points restored.   The great dragon Ormayaru then fills you in on the current situation.

“Our situation is grave indeed I am afraid.  The Yatahay have done an admirable job delaying the dwarves, and their losses have been great.  However, their dogged determination and infernal machines keep moving them forward.  The Yatahay have withdrawn to regroup for an ambush at the temple which the dwarves will reach in a few hours at most.  They are at the doorstep of my lair and my best hope is to hide in the catacombs beneath the city. “

Two Feather and the "calvary" depart at the dragon's urging to help with the ambush of the dwarves.  Ormayaru leads the party through the streets of the lost city and past the ruined temple where you first fought the lich. 

“So much lost. So much wasted. So much left behind.” 

You follow on as he trudges deep into the thicket and you notice that the vines and brambles seem to part for him and close behind you as you follow in his wake.  Lasheur marvels that no trace of your passing is left behind.

Soon you enter into a walled courtyard of what must have been a great fortress or keep.  Prospero's eyes are wide with wonder as he surveys the sweeping arches and pillars of the various crumbling outbuildings.  Even Arghmon cannot help but be filled with awe for none have beheld this place since the Gods Age – what wonders await them within?

Ormayaru ducks under one of the great gates but his massive frame is too large for the archway and it buckles and collapses around him.  “Hrmph.  Seems I’ve gorged on a few too many boars and deer of late.  No matter.  The cavern is large and will accommodate me – fear not!”

The inner courtyard is covered with vines and brambles as thick as any you’ve seen.  You notice that they seem to pulse with life as they grow and twist their way up the walls and out of the courtyard before your very eyes.  The vines seem to be pouring out of an archway in a cliff side that looks to have been cleaved from a large hill.  The vines part and a second, much larger cavern is revealed which Ormayaru enters.

You follow him in and he tells you that your way lies deeper in.  “Follow the long hall behind me and veer right.  There you will find a magic circle.   Speak my name and it will transport you deep within the tunnels below the city.  Do not tarry long Prospero.  There is serious business about.  The secrets of the Journeymen have been waiting since before time.  They will wait a bit longer for you.”  The vines close about the cavern entrance and Ormayaru rests his scaled head on his massive claws.

“Fear not for me.  The dwarves will have a hard time finding me and I am not feeble and toothless yet.  You must hurry, for the catacombs have many entrances and this is but one.  Gardener Anadan sent me a message that the lich, his minions and a host of Lazuri have already entered the catacombs and that he is in pursuit.  I fear that they are in front of you.  Gardener Anadan said that the map will guide you and to use it to your advantage.  Go now, make haste!  I will hold them off as long as I can.”

You make your farewells and head down the corridor behind the dragon.  You can’t shake the feeling that you may never see him again….

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Treasure Write Ups

Potions from Garathis priest Kelmore ( 2 doses each )

  1. Thimble Berry (Invisibility)
    Invisibility as per spell for 10 rounds

  2. Blood Berry (Invulnerability)
    Imbibing character's skin hardens and povides +8 Armor Points for 10 rounds

  3. Bunch Berry (Haste)
    Quickness as per spell with a Raise for 10 rounds

  4. Attriberry (Attributes)
    Boost Trait as per spell but affects all 5 attributes for 10 rounds

  5. Miracle Berry (Insight)
    Imbibing character gains permanent +1 Sorcery Focus and +1 to Knowledge skills of 1d4 or greater

Journeyman Torch: 
1 MP to turn on, 2 to turn off, will never go out on its own ( e.g string wind, underwater, etc )

Journeyman Backpack: 
Each Power Point decreases weight by 10% for 1 hour/point.  Power Point x 1% chance pack pulls an extra d4e Power Points each use.

Journeyman Cloak:

When the hood is donned the wearer may spend Power Points to go Intangible as per spell.  The time spent in the insubstantial state seems somewhat random, but is proportional to the number of Power points spent. Power Point x 1% chance the cloak pulls an extra d6e Power Points each use.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Gardener's Tale

"What?" choruses the entire party and Brenna-Orm together.

"It’s true. I, Anadan Mosswalker, planted the thicket. Now, before you stand in too much awe of this feat, I should tell you is was an accident. Over 1000 years ago, during the golden reign of the Gods Age, I stumbled across the ruins of the lost temple. However, it is more than a temple. More like a Journeyman outpost, monastery, or small city. I was but a Priest at the time and a large force of zombie's and goblins, under the spell of the Lich Ahn-Denair, had taken up residence in the ruins. I fear this is the same lich you encountered.

My party did battle with the lich’s forces as we explored the ruins. As he did for you, the Dragon Ormayaru  intervened and drove off the lich. Before the lich could marshal his forces, the dragon, led my party to a secret chamber deep in the ruins where there lay an unknown and long dormant Journeyman Arch. There the dragon bade me to cast a tangle thicket seed before the great arch. Then he breathed upon the gate and the seed and both sprang to life! Lightning crackled along the inside of the arch, struck the seed, and It rose into the air to hover within the arch. A vine sprang from the seed and grew at enormous speed. It flooded the chamber with its growth and spread throughout the caverns and spilled aggressively into the surrounding forest. I hastily scribbled a map and a few notes on the arch’s location and fled as the lich’s forces were overwhelmed by the rampant and unexpected growth. As you did, I thought Ahn-Denair vanquished, but he has proven himself very hard to kill. As a lich surviving from the Gods Age there is no telling the extent of his power.

Over the centuries the thicket has choked out all but the heartiest trees and the wild magic of the Journeymen has caused it to change in many strange and magical ways as you no doubt witnessed during the berry quest you undertook upon you arrival.

So you see, I may have planted the Thicket, but it is the great dragon Ormayaru that makes it grow. When I heard that the dwarves had a source of information on the lost city’s whereabouts I came first to the Yatahay to see if they had been destroyed. I found them thriving and well and so my thoughts turned to you.

Prospero hangs his head in shame, "It was I, lord Gardener. I was deceived by the cunning of the dwarves in to telling too much of our tale."

Anadan’s eyes flare at the admission, the nearby trees groan as they stretch towards awakening, the earth trembles, and his elven bodyguards' knuckles go white upon their naginatas.

"MORE LIKELY THEY STROKED YOUR PRIDE EMAN! It is ever so with your ilk! So young did you come to great power and so reckless do you wield it! A wizard should know better! The ancient wonders of the world are not trifles for the Eman to play with ..."

“Enough!” shouts Brenna Orm. “This party of adventures has proven it’s skill and courage to the Yatahay and I will not have them disparaged in Lakehome.” You notice that a number of Yatahay braves behind the elven party have nocked arrows and gathered spears. “This is exactly what our enemies want – to sow chaos among us. We must not succumb!”

Anadan nods slowly and the rage drains from him. “You are wise, spirit master and your people are gifted indeed by your leadership. I beg pardon Prospero, I know you meant no ill will to the Thicket. The last few tendays are weighing heavily on me and now the dwarves and the lazuri have the map to the secrets of the Dragon and the Thicket itself.”

“Map? What map?” asks Prospero.

“I was told the manor house at the Air temple was destroyed by gnomes. I had hidden the map in a Lore Ward deep within the earth years ago when I was in residence there.”

“But Master”, exclaims Lasheur, “We have the Lore Ward with us.” Lasheur produces the wooden box from his pack and Anadan stares in amazement. “Praise Peral! But how?”

“It was Prospero and Arghmon that banished the gnomes and recovered the ward.”

“Then I am twice shamed by my actions. The Eman are mighty indeed. I wish that I had been there to see it.”

You hand Anadan the wooden box and he mumbles arcane phrases over it. As you watch the lid and walls of the box writhe and twist as they fall away and contract themselves down into a large smooth seed the size of a child’s fist. Beside the seed in Anadan’s cupped hands is an ornate copper scroll case with a wax seal. Anadan breathes a sigh of relief.

“There is still hope. They may know the whereabouts of the lost city, but they are just as blind as the Lazuri. The risk is that the Dwarves, Lazuri, and the Lich will form some sort of twisted alliance. I have no doubt that the Lazuri are working with the lich Ahn-Denair for only he could have ensorcelled those gnomes to find the ward. Also, your run in with the Tyrannosaur is testament that the Lazuri are in league with the evil necromancer."

"If dwarven avarice trumps their good sense then they will bring their dragon hunting skills to bear on Ormayaru and he may fall. I fear that the Lazuri in possession of a gate, powerful chaotic allies, and a Gods Age necromancer in the heart of the realm of earth will spell the end the kingdom of Velu and the elven kingdoms. We must make haste. Master Brenna, we could use the aide of Lakehome’s heroes on this deadly quest.”

“And you shall have them Anadan, but the way is long and troublesome. It is a good tendays journey to the lost temple of the ancients.”

“Leave that to me. For we will run the Gardner’s Path through the Thicket to make haste and pass unseen. I must go now and prepare the way – Lasheur attend to me. The rest of you make ready – we leave within the hour.”

Lasheur and Anadan retreat to the edge of the thicket, open the ancient scroll case and extract a number of birch bark maps and notes. Lasheur is in awe that he is witnessing the unfurling of documents last seen in the Gods age!

Gear is readied and the party, the Gardner’s 6 elven bodyguards and Brenna Orm with 20 Yatahay warriors including Two Feather and Gray Arrow step to the edge of the Thicket. Anadan has been chanting for a while and in his trance-like state he sways slowly like a willow tree in a firm wind. The Thicket before him seems to part as the vines and brambles pull back to form a tunnel large enough for a tall man to pass through single file. Anadan speaks from within his trance.

“There are three destinations in the old city that we must seek out. Brenna, you and your warriors will go first to seek the dwarves. Use your thicket craft to disrupt and confuse their search. Do not engage them directly, their thunder sticks are powerful and their armor is thick. Slow them down to buy us time."

"Lasheur, you will take the wizards to the Dragon, make him safe. He will likely seek to hide himself in the caverns below the city. Once he is secure, use the map and the Dragon’s wisdom to move into the caverns and seek the Arch at the heart of the thicket. No doubt the Lazuri will make a play for it."

"I will take my entourage and seek out the Lich Ahn-Denair and destroy his ancient threat once and for all. All of your take a few of this flare arrows. I have attuned them to allow only those here today to see them. Fire them into a nearby vine and we will know you are in trouble and where to find you. If you are underground, shoot them into the dirt at your feet."

You gain 3 flare arrows.

“The path winds through many clearings in the thicket, if these are inhabited, you may be knocked off your path and have to find a way to regain it. Simply look around. The path will be obvious to you and can help insure your escape. Brenna, go now upon the path.”

One by one Brenna’s warriors enter into the path and disappear in a blur as if accelerated to incredible speed. Brenna huddles with Two Feather and Gray Arrow and they trot over to join you as Brenna waves farewell and then disappears into the Gardner’s path. “The Yatahay will not allow our brothers to walk the Thicket alone.”

Anadan chants for a few minutes more as you wait your turn. “I have adjusted the path to take you to the dragon. Go now and make haste.”

You step onto the Gardner’s path and you walk a leisurely pace with the thicket flying by you in a rushing blur…

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Dragon Slavers


Word of your success still fills the common room at the Adventurers Guild. Mainly this is due to the fact that adventurers continue buying you drinks to hear your tales. Traveling bards and minstrels are shouted off the stage until Prospero or Arghmon tell the tale of the conundrum or Simon and Lasheur tell their version of the Temple Siege and the slaying of the T-Rex. Some nights the crowd demands the tale of the Berry Quest or shooting the rapids and the battle with lord griffon as a Harvest Guard. The story of Berrik’s Shade is also a popular one and it is this tale that you find yourself telling this night.

The ale improves your oratory and the tales rolls off your tongue. The shaman Brenna-Orm's prowess at tracking the shade to the lich’s lair in the lost temple, the unexpected help from the trolls, and the dragon’s aid that entombed both the lich and his journeyman library far beneath the earth forever.

"So you've seen the dragon have you?" a gravelly voice calls from deep in the shadows at the back of the hall

"Aye friend, we've seen it."

"Then what color was it?" calls another voice from the crowd.

"Brown and green like the forest floor"

"Ah, a poison gas breather then? Not quite as useful as a fire breather but it will do."

"Do for what, friend?"

"Why, as a slave of course. A slave for all eternity", says the speaker as he lights a large octagonal stone pipe and steps from the shadows.

You see a dwarf dressed head to toe in plate and mail. All manner of strange artifacts hang from his belt or from the leather bandoleers that crisscross his broad barrel-like chest. You realize with a start that this is Morrun Macebreaker, the leader of the dwarven band of dragon hunters you saw 3 Seasons ago at the Shaft tavern in Harn’s Anvil shortly after rescuing Haven on your way across the mountains.

"All right men, that's enough research. We should have no trouble finding the lost temple from their stories and descriptions. Saddle up! We are moving out immediately"

Half of your audience rises from their chairs and makes for the door. Your popularity appears to have been a clever ruse to loosen your tongues regarding the location of the dragon.

You mind rolls back to the first time you encountered the dragon of the thicket who whispered your names in your minds. His voice was ancient, friendly, and full of wisdom. To have him enslaved for eternity, in the clanking mines or dark bowels of a dwarven city would be a great injustice. Your blood begins to boil as you think on the clever trap that had been so carefully laid for you.

You recall the encounter that you had with one of Macebreaker's men a few ten days ago. You had taken the “help wanted” poster to the interview in hopes of talking them out of the quest. A crowd of other adventurers had gathered around the dwarf hawker as he told his tale in the common room.

The common room was abuzz with the talk of dragons and the dwarf’s avarice hung thick in the air. The dwarf was drinking deeply and telling tales of past hunts, close calls, deep scars, rich treasure, and ancient magic! The dwarf was from the same band you saw at Karn’s Anvil, though you wondered at how long it’s taken them to arrive at Summerford. You grabbed a nearby table, ordered a few pints and listened to the Dwarf's tale.

"… and so we wintered at Karn’s Anvil and used the time and the enchanted forge there to repair our gear and forge chains such as you have never seen. It is said that the beast that lives in yonder thicket is one of the true dragons. One of the love givers themselves. If that be so, he will make a fine hunt and a finer prize. He will be a quarry worthy of my master’s skill and when I chain him to the forge in the Stonehammer Deeps, my clan will be greatest all Terali and with his magical breath we will forge great treasures for all eternity! Who'll drink to that?”

The crowd roared and cheered and drinks flowed freely as your stomach turned. As the shouting died down you called out. "Why are you hunting the dragon?"

The hawker’s eyebrows raised in recognition. "Dragons are useful in many ways. We dwarves have found that the magical nature of a dragon can be quite useful to incite many complex reactions, including explosives! Sign on today and we will pay you well. You won’t be fighting unaided either; master Macebreaker will outfit you with explosives and grenades. He has also brought along some of the finest dragon enslavers in our realm. It will be a difficult mission, but not impossible. Also, with your knowledge of the thicket, we could be on the beast's trail in no time. Come on, sign the contract and we'll double the pay that we're offering the others. It's truly easy money"

You stood and walked away as a team, sickened by the dwarf's avarice.

"Hey" he called after you, “I thought you were the local heroes. Seems the local legends aren’t so legendary after all. Some might say cowardly would be closer to the mark. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Simon turned but Lasheur caught his arm, “Come my friend, he is but a small fish. Let us plot how to find the Lazuri and end their threat. These vermin will not find the dragon without our help..."

Now it seems that they have turned to trickery to get your knowledge of the dragon's lair. The Lazuri hunt will have to wait. The dragon must not be allowed to fall to slavery and torment due to your loose tongues.

You move quickly to your rooms to plan your next move. The dwarves have no thicket craft among them, but their machines and devices are legendary. You need to find and warn the dragon. You may also need to prepare a means to convince the dwarves that the dragon has fled the thicket and that their quest is vain.

You grab your gear and send a runner for your horses. You tell no one where you are headed but there is only one destination, only one place where they grow the men that can speed you through the thicket to beat the dwarves. You ride this night for Lakehome and the Yatahay.


The dark race to Lakehome is a blur. The bears that forage these parts are asleep in their lairs and you ride on unmolested. The first 3 hours are easy upon the well worn dirt road but after that the road narrows to a foot path and you must slow your mounts and travel single file lest the horses misstep in their haste. You estimate that you are an hour away from the village when Lasheur says, "We are no longer alone. There are two on each side of the trail that move as we do and blend into the shadows when we pause."

You travel on another hour, alert but not threatened. You are confident that it is the Yatahay that shadow you and that they have already determined your identity. None the less, you are still surprised when two Yatahay step onto the trail in front of you seeming to materialize from the very thicket itself

"Well met Friends of the Yatahay, Shade seekers, dinosaur slayers, keepers of secrets, tribesmen of the thicket, well met!"

Two more of the Yatahay scouts appear on either side of you to lead your horses the rest of the way.

"Master Lasheur, just so there is no confusion in the telling of the tale, there were six of use, not four" says the youth of less than 12 summers wearing a wicked smile and guiding Lasheur’s horse.


You arrive at the camp at dawn and see that it is already busy with activity. Women tend the cook fines and warriors see to the fine horses and livestock. Fishermen are paddling their canoes out onto the long deep lake neighboring the village. The children notice you first and you are soon surrounded by a mob of children that all but pull you off your horses. The scouts lead your mounts off to a nearby pasture as the children lead you into the center of the village. Brenna-Orm soon emerges from a wigwam and comes up to clasp forearms and greet you.

"Well met old friends. The scouts told me you were coming as did my spirits. We will make a feast ready and prepare a celebration in your honor Grey Arrow and Two Feather have told us of your glorious battle with the vile demons of the thicket. How long can you stay?"

You explain the reason for your visit and old shaman’s face goes ashen. Brenna gives orders to make provisions ready. He also calls for the braves to prepare the great lodge ready for council.

"This is grave news, but it explains many things. It also explains the strange visitor that arrived last night. Ah, he emerges now."

A tall, grey haired elf carrying an ivy covered staff steps from the wigwam. He wears a robe of green spun moss and bears a circlet of laurel leaves about his brow. He is accompanied by 6 elven warriors in copper chainmail, terrifying masked combat helms and bearing the strange spear-swords, the naginata, of their elite warriors.

"A gardener!” Lasheur drops to one knee and lowers his gaze in a hasty bow.

"My lord I did not know you were present or I would have sought you out and made my obeisance. Forgive this sprout his arrogance and lack of grace!"

"Rise Lasheur. You are no sprout. It is not by accident you find me here, for I came seeking you and your worthy companions. There are far fouler things afoot in the thicket than dwarves. It would seem the vile Lazuri devils, are also seeking the lost temple and the Dragon as well."

“My lord, how do you know this?” Lasheur asks without rising.

"The thicket speaks to me about what it sees and senses. The Lazuri can only survive in the thicket by slashing and trampling their way. Woodfort scouting parties have encountered their sentries a number of times. My scouts retreat when the sentries raise the alarm. It seems the Lazuri have moved a considerable force into the thicket. We count their numbers over 100 not including their reptiles. Also, Goblin and Kur activity have been extremely high in the forest and nearby foothills, for every band we intercept and destroy, another slips past to take refuge in the Thicket. The Lazuri may be able to field a force as large as 500 all told. This is cause for great concern and decisive action.”

"The thicket tells you much my Lord." says Lasheur, finally rising to look the gardener in the face.

"It should. I planted it.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Air Temple Epilogue

The dawn breaks over the grisly scene at the air temple. Wildfire finishes his work to insure that the ogres never rise again as Prospero sends his new "pet" back to the thicket. You search the bodies and find some coin and a strange bronze key around the neck of one of the ogres.

    300T and a bronze key that gives the bearer a +1 to their Lockpicking skill.

Simon walks over to Arghmon with a smile on his face and says, "Bar-B-Que!"

Runners are sent, and soon the air temple is filled with townspeople skinning and butchering the dinosaur. Wildfire is quite popular helping with the cooking and soon a number of cook fires are lit and the air fills with smell of roasting meat.

Simon and Lasheur are presented with the heart by Two Feather and Grey Arrow.

"Eat up my friends. The heart of such a great beast will surely bring you courage and luck!"

Simon digs in as Lasheur turns away in disgust mumbling something about barbarians. Simon waves the Yatahay to join him and calls over Arghmon and Prospero. Grimclaw gets his share and gorges himself on the raw meat. He staggers off, his belly nearly dragging the ground, to find a sunny spot to nap. From somewhere a few kegs of ale appear and soon the temple grounds take on the feel of a country fair.

    The heart will give you a +1 to recover from being Shaken in the next session.

The skinners finish their work and the local tanner says he will make you each a hand crafted suit of leather armor if you'll let him have the rest of the skin. You agree readily and he and his laborers haul off the massive hide to the local tannery.

    All 4 of you gain a vest and pants of Fine Leather. (Covers all but your arms and head) It will also give you a +1 Stealth in the forest.

Windtorn and Galen seem to be on better terms. It seems that Sedrik's influence was keeping them at each others throats. It also seems that they are not wasting any time regaling the townsfolk with how much fun they could be having if they joined the Air temple. Looks like the temple will have many new recruits before long.

On a hunch Jarvis descends into the well and finds the real Sedrik's remains and an empty clay jug whose bottom still contains a small amount of a black greasy substance. Jarvus is convinced that this is the source of the disease attacking the temple initiates. Sedrik's brain and the top of his skull are missing, a grim testament to the malamorph's evil presence. He is able to purify the well using some dusts and potions he retrieves from the Earth temple.

The day draws to a close as the temple prepares to tend to their dead. Windtorn pulls Simon and Lasheur aside and tells them to touch the last pillar.

    Simon and Lasheur each gain 1 use of the Lightning divine spell.

Windtorn, Galen and the temple initiates say a tearful goodbye to Master Rayne and Simon and the Yatahay say a few words over William the Razor. Though you only knew him for a short time, his courage and easy demeanor left their mark on you.

After the ceremony the Yatahay extract a promise from you to visit Lakehome soon and lope off towards the Thicket. Windtorn walks you to the edge of the Temple grounds.

"Thank you for your service to the temple of Air, and thank you for waking an old fool from a deeply troubled dream. There is still a mystery around that box that you will need to unravel. Let me know if we can help in any way."

"Though I could never repay you for your service and your sacrifice here, the Vrawks stumbled upon a patch of ripe wind berries in the thicket a few tenday back and I've had them drying in my hut. I've said the proper rituals over them and they are ready for use. They will carry you on the breath of Agustus for a short distance when you eat a handful. Take them with our undying thanks."

    There are 4 handfuls (doses) of wind berries in the sack. Each dose will grant the user a double strength Fly spell for 5 rounds.

He hands you to leather sack and you make your way down the avenue of the gods heading for the adventurers guild.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Fourth Wave

You carry the strange wooden box that Lasheur called a Lore Ward to the altar to check on Master Galen's status. Grey Arrow and Two Feathers have borne Master Rayne and Chance to the altar where Jarvus awaits. Neither is moving.

Galen cries out, "No Master Rayne, you cannot leave me alone. Sedrik has betrayed us and sown the seeds of discontent among us. Windtorn is gone and I am undone!"

Rayne eyes flutter and he looks up at Galen through heavy lids. "You must make peace with Windtorn. I have cried out for Agustus and he has not answered. you don't have the power to raise us both. Breathe life back into Chance and begin the mending with Windtorn. If Sedrik was a murdered by a morph, he must have devoured his brain to to steal his memories and knowledge. I wonder what became of poor Sedrik's body. The morph must have used his magic to avoid detection, sow discontent and surface old grievances. Much is explained by this."

Rayne coughs violently and blood gathers at the corners of his mouth before he is able ot continue. "The temple needs strong leadership and the two of you must draw that strength from each other. Let me go, the winds of change are blowing across the thicket and they have chosen to carry me along with them."

Rayne's eyes close for the final time and Jarvus shakes his head silently in response to Galen's pleading gaze.

"Lay Chance across the altar and I will call upon the will of the winds."

Galen's chanting and cries to the gods of wind and storm appear to be heard a thunder rolls across the sky and a lone bolt of lightning streaks down and strikes Chance on the chest. Within moments his chest begins to rise and fall and soon Jarvus is helping him down from the altar.

Galen stands erect and his eyes seem to burn with a new purpose. "We will honor your last wish old master and we will finish this temple. Cook! Roust the initiates. Sick or not they will stand with me as we finish sanctifying this temple or die in the trying."

"Yes M'lord. I'll put some hot soup in their bellies and get them on their feet."

"Jarvus, get Chance ready to fly. I want him airborne as soon as he's able. They didn't get what they came for so chances are they will try again before this night is done."

"Aye Master Galen. He's coming along well."

"Now, let's take a look at this box you've found."

Lasheur places the box on the altar. "It's a Lore Ward. My people use them to pass information in secret when using couriers. The box is alive and will attack any non-elf that touches it. It is also sealed against any but a specific target or pass phrase."

"Amazing. It radiates magic like the sun, but I see no seam anywhere. Guard it well Lasheur, it seems you have something that our enemies desire greatly. How did it come to be under that manor house and what do they want it for I wonder? If we are fortunate, we will live to seek the answer another day."

"You and Simon should come and touch the third and forth columns."

    [ You gain 1 use of Path Watch and Strike ]

Arghmon and Prospero finish sorting through Sedrik's remains and huddle with Lasheur and Simon. Prospero lays a grey cloak and an iron ring engraved with a small shield motif upon the altar.

"Most of Sedrik's gear was fairly common, but he did bear a few unique tools of his evil trade. This cloak will impart a glibness to ones tongue and make their words seem fairer than they are. This ring will shield and protect the wearer from attacks for a time when commanded. He also wore this necklace which, while not magical, should fetch a fair price."

    [ Cloak adds +2 to Persuasion skill. Ring is a Ring of Shielding pg 86 in Fantasy Companion. The necklace is worth 550T. ]

The initiates begin to file out of the barracks as Chance leaps into the air.

"Make ready men, it won't take long for them to re-group. They will be upon us soon."

    [You only have 6 hours before the next wave hits. No time to regain divine spells, but you do recover 6 Power ( 12 if you have Rapid Recovery ) ]