Monday, March 26, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 007

SESSION 007 - The Road to Hommlet 

Duerin watched as Erehwon’s great axe cleaved the head off of the zombie that once was Malek. The severed head sprayed bloody ichor as it tumbled through the air, landing a few feet away from its headless torso.

“He-Who-Watches … AAARGH!!” roared the half-orc in a triumphant. In a final defiant act, the lifeless corpse poised its sword ready to strike.

Erehwon readied his great axe in anticipation to counter the blow, but watched as the headless corpse faltered in its footing, dropping to its knees, before slumping to the ground in a pool of black ichor.

The dwarf watched the severed head flying through the air it landed with a wet, sloshy thud; the black ichor flowed freely from the severed head to mingle with the freshly fallen snow. He swore he could see dark magic fade from the things eyes. The severed heads lifeless eyes stared back at him.

Black Wolf grasped his holy symbol in pain. The touch of the cold metal gave him pause; he knew he had to make his escape. He held his holy symbol aloft and recited the words he had been taught. A blast of unholy energy ripped through the graveyard.

“AAAR-G-H-H-H!!!” cursed the half-orc, moments before the energy slammed into Markus.

Erehwon’s cry of anguish refocused the younger ranger’s thoughts on matter before him. The half-orc staggered forward, his legs faltering, his wounds making his legs feeling like lead, fatigued from exertion of the battle. He could feel his strength draining from his limbs from his many wounds. Erehwon brought his great axe around for one last mighty cleave in an attempt to sever the priest in two. The effort made his head reel in pain. Roderic moved at the last moment, anticipating the manoeuvre. Stepping inside the path of the blow caused the blow to glance off his armoured shoulder.

Erehwon’s found himself falling to the cold wet ground. His strength spent, the half-orc blacked out.
Roderick watched the half-orc crash to the ground before him. He spotted his mace lying in the snow next to the spent half-orc, he took the opportunity to retrieve his weapon before making his escape.

Markus caught site of his insidious uncle’s escape towards the crypt, the uncle he now knew was Black Wolf.

The young ranger hesitated in indecision, his reactions dulled with conflict.  He looked back over his shoulder to see his mother still bound. She lay with her back towards him in a shallow grave, her clothes bloody and torn and whilst his uncle was fleeing before him.

His instincts told him to chase after his uncle, but his heart told him to tend to his mother and get her to safety.

“Duerin, Darius follow him,” shouted Markus as he made his way to his mother.

She just lay there, not moving. Markus carefully slid alongside his mother in the shallow grave. He lifted her head to his chest, holding her in his arms he looked for signs of life.

A shallow heart beat could be felt …..

Suddenly her eyes opened and stared up at him. It was at that moment he knew that the person before him was NOT his mother. Confused, scared and repulsed, Markus pushed the woman away from him. Before his eyes, the woman before him started to waver and change. The young man blinked and wiped the back of his hand across his eyes.

The person before him was no longer a woman, but a man. The man resembled his mother’s features. He recognised the man to be one of his uncle’s guards from the manor house. Then man was called Jonas. Markus was suddenly filled with anger, an animal rage overcame him and it was Jonas who paid the price.

Markus stood in the shallow grave his fury spent, his hands bruised and covered in blood. He looked down at the body of the guard at his feet. The bile rose up in his throat. The once handsome Jonas with raven black hair lay in the wet snow, his face beaten to a pulp; the only sign of life was the frothy blood that flowed from where his mouth and nose once were.

Black Wolf had come close to retrieving the dagger. If it hadn’t been for the meddling old man, everything would have gone to plan. The priest climbed down the mettle rungs that led to the crypt and made his way further into the crypt. He would gather up his men, what he needed and head for Hommlet.

“The slavers could have the bitch; she was of no more use to him anyhow. Maybe he should just slit her throat himself. Now the same could not be said for young Markus and his friends. They would all die and slowly at that,” vowed Roderic.

The priest had watched as the undead had risen from the ground to his aid in the graveyard, not at his command. He had felt the call of the dagger in the graveyard. He had seen what effect the dagger had on the dead, and now he wanted the dagger for himself.

The dusty, rutted road lined with closely-grown hedges of brambles and shrubs. Here and there it cut through a copse of trees or crossed a rivulet. To either hand, forest and meadow have given way to field and orchard. A small herd of kine graze nearby, the woman noticed as show walked the road. In the distance she could see a hill dotted with the wand stone chimneys with thin plumes of blue smoke rising from them.

A road angled west into the hill country, and to either side of the road ahead are barns and buildings, “Hommlet at last!” she thought, pulling her cloak tight around her shoulders as she made haste for the warm common room of the Welcome Wench.

Monday, March 19, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 006

SESSION 006 - Black Wolf

The Wayward Inn was a bustle of activity and merriment. Patrons drinking whilst listening to an old bard strumming his lute with tales of old. Serving wenches worked balancing trays with food and mead and food. They made their way around the common room, serving patrons and slapping an old patron when his hand went a wondering, where it shouldn’t

Markus sat with a heavy heart, even the tankard of ale he had bought had lost its appeal. Duerin had taken his leave earlier in the evening and had returned home. He had said something about needing rest and evening prayers.

Markus peered over at the half-orc who sat at the other end of the table; he had devoured four plates of spicy potatoes, a whole chicken and six tankards of honey mead and looked to be trying to gain one of the serving wench’s attentions again.

Soon Markus’s thoughts were drawn back to the past few days, trying to see if there was something he may over looked. He sat there contemplating what he could have done differently, to no avail. He drained the tankard of ale and thought it best if return to his uncle’s manor; maybe he had overlooked something there.

Erehwon was most disappointed that they needed to leave, as he had just ordered another plate of spicy potatoes and a tankard of ale, but never the less agreed to accompany Markus back to his uncle’s manor. They made their way back to the manor house, but it wasn’t until the two friends had crossed the courtyard that they noticed that both the cottage and manor house were in complete darkness.

Markus made his way to the cottage he and Bren shared.

Opening the door he reached for the lantern that hung to the side of the door. The wick of the lantern soon burnt with a strong flame, turning the nozzle of the lantern the flame grew brighter, bathing the room in a warm light.  Markus looked inside the small room; he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise up as he entered the room. The first thing he noticed was that room had been ransacked. The bed lay overturned in the corner of the room and the contents of the cupboard lay strewn across the floor.

“The dagger,” Markus thought, “They were searching for the dagger, and luckily the Cuthbertine priest had taken the dagger with him.”

There was no sign of Bren, or his uncle’s guards for that matter. Cautiously Markus and the half-orc made their way across to the large manor house.

Duerin return to his small home that he shared with Brother John. It was with that thought that he realised the truth, Brother John was dead. The young dwarf was overcome with remorse for the loss of his mentor and friend. He vowed that he would find all that were responsible for the death of the priest and he would have justice. He walked over to the hearth.

The dwarf knelt to start a fire, to give the cottage some warmth. Taking some bread and dried meats from the shelf he walked over to the table opposite the hearth. Sitting down the dwarf ate his evening meal deep in thought. After he finished eating he retired to his cot and spent the rest of the evening in prayer to St. Cuthbert.

Darius and Tarrick made their way to the old druid’s cottage in the Fens. The night was cold and the road was covered in sludge from the earlier snow fall. The old friends travelled in silence.
It was around midnight when they reached the old cottage.

Darius opened the door to his home, calling out to Irriana’s as he entered the cottage. Tarrick followed the old druid in. There they found Irriana asleep in Darius’s bed, he brow burnt with fever. “Tarrick please tend to her,” urged Darius. “First I must gather my things from the donkey,” instructed Tarrick. “While I am doing that you can fetch some water for that pot on the fire,” said the healer pointing to the large pot.

The old healer placed his things on the floor of the cottage and proceeded to examine the dryad. Some time passed before Tarrick spoke to Darius. “I can save her, but I need the help of an old friend from Hommlet, Jaroo. He knows more of these fey creatures, than I do. Take word to him and tell him I need his help,” said Tarrick. “I will do what I can for her until you or Jaroo returns. I have enough herbs and potions to make her comfortable, I assure you,” said Tarrick. “Return to Kleinmere and travel with the Cuthbertine Priest, he too must travel to Hommlet,” instructed Tarrick, “It is best not to travel alone.”

“What of the du Monte boy ...? Does he have the dagger?” enquired the man known as Black Wolf. The Halfling took a double step back, as his master turned to look at him. “DOES HE HAVE THE DAGGER!” shouted Black Wolf again with his fist clenched tightly in front of the Halfling.

“M-m-m-master Wolf, we couldn’t find the dagger. We search the boy’s cottage and the manor house. I-i-i-it’s not my fault master. He must have given the dagger to one of the others, maybe to that Cuthbertine priest,” stammered Minge.

Black Wolf stroked his chin as he listened to the halfling's report; he could feel the anger growing inside of him.

“FOOL!” shouted Black Wolf, his anger evident as he backhanded the cowering halfling into the table. “All I asked was for you to bring me the dagger. A small task you said. A task I will remind you that both you and that assassin Malek failed at.” With that Black Wolf picked the little Halfling up by his neck, “What of the exchange, little one? Will he come to the graveyard?”

Minge swallowed hard as he felt Black Wolf’s hand tighten around his throat and lift him off the floor. He blinked hard to hold back the tears; desperately he spoke, “m-m-m-Master he will meet you alone at dawn.” It was all he could say before he felt himself being tossed to the side of the room. Minge crashed into the wall and lay there in a crumpled heap, gasping for air.

Regaining his composure Black Wolf walked over to the writing table. Sitting at the table he penned a note that he needed delivered to Hommlet. He lifted the red sealing wax to the candle that burned on the table. The red wax burnt with a thick acrid smoke. Holding the melting wax above the parchment, he dripped the wax onto the parchment forming a small puddle. He took a moment to let the wax dry before placing his signet ring into the wax puddle; he made a fist pushing the ring into the warm wax. Upon removing his ring from the wax, the initials B.W. was imprinted into the wax.
Pushing the chair out that he sat on, Black Wolf walked over to the door, his fur-lined cloak bellowing with the sudden motion. Opening the door he addressed the man in the corridor, “Deliver this letter to one of our agents in Hommlet and make haste.

“And you my Halfling friend … Have you prepared things like I have asked?” asked Black Wolf. “When do our friends arrive from Highport?
“Yes … Master, I have. They arrive the day after tomorrow and they agree to your terms,” responded the Halfling.
“Good … now leave me,” said Black Wolf his mind already on other matters.
The Halfling took his leave, closing the door behind him, “One day Minge will have his day… one day,” he muttered as he walked down the corridor.

Black Wolf let the hood of his cloak fall back onto his shoulders and looked upon his reflection in the window.

“What fools these people are,” he thought. “No one suspected a thing. That fool, du Monte would pay dearly for his wife’s return. Then there was the small matter of his son, Markus du Monte, but he would succumb to an ill-fated accident”. The thought brought a smile to his face, as he ran his fingers through his receding hairline

Bren lay in the dark cubbyhole, his feet and hands bound. The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in the cottage. When he awoke he found himself here in this dark, rancid place. “Could things get any worse …,” he thought. It was at that point he felt something large crawl over his legs …

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 005

SESSION 005 - Kidnap & Ransom

Duerin watched with gritted teeth as the assassin Malek fled the room with one of the daggers. Cursing there luck, he looked down at his warhammer. His hands, his knuckles white, taught with anger, conflicted; the dwarf looked inward to his teachings, that of St. Cuthbert. He found some solace in the teachings that Brother John had taught him, as he recited them to himself. He needed to figure a way out of the chamber, that he and his friends found themselves trapped in. Once freed of this place he had a score to settle with Malek, for killing the Cuthbertine priest. He felt his emotions waver as he thought of Brother John.

From the other side of the protective circle Erehwon watched his friend, “Duerin! What be the matter?” asked the half-orc. "Was that …"

“Nothing! I just got some dirt in my eye …” replied the dwarf, fixing the half-orc with a stern look.

“Haven’t you got something better to do, than to fuss with me?” scowled Duerin. The dwarf’s thoughts went back to the problem at hand.

It all boiled down to, if anyone left the protective circle that they found themselves in, then the fire glyph would activate. “Unless he or someone else was willing to take the risk, they would be down here a while,” thought the dwarf.

Looking around the room the Cuthbertine priest could see mildew, moulds and fungi that covered the room’s walls. Spores filled the air in response to the movement within the circle. The jet black stone altar stood ominous, its base covered with bleached skulls, tendrils of fungi flowing from the exposed cavities. Duerin’s gaze fell upon the symbol of the fiery eye chiselled on the back wall above the altar; it still glowed with magical energy from the last blast of the fiery glyph.

Markus had managed to get off an arrow just as the assassin had fled the room. In his haste the arrow had gone wide, clipping Malek’s cape as he made his escape. The young ranger had quickly notched another arrow, and was about to pursuit the assassin, but before he could even take a step; he felt someone pull him back from the edge of the circle. In his eagerness he had forgotten the fire glyph.

The four companions weighed up there options, they would need to act fast for Malek was getting away once again.

Bren tried to get off the ground, his head reeled in pain. He could feel the nausea rising from the pit of his stomach; he let the contents of his stomach spill onto the floor of the cottage. The pain in his head subside a little and his vision began to clear. Slowly he lifted himself into a sitting position, peering around the room. He slowly lifted his hand to touch the back of his head, his hair was caked and matted with dry blood. His blood …

The room was a mess, the table lay on its side, the chair shattered, his sword lay to one side, a piece of embroidered cloth lay in a pool of wine, the empty container shattered nearby. He struggled to recall the earlier events of the evening. 

"Lady Madeline!" Pain forgotten, Bren gathered his sword and pulled himself to his feet.

The old ranger used the sword as a crutch to steady himself. “Madeline!” He called out again, he cringed in pain from the wound to his head. Striding across the room, he made his way to the door. It was there that he saw the note that was attached to the door. Tearing the note from the door, he slumped down on the floor.

“Markus du Monte …
Come alone to the Wayward Inn at sunset.
Bring the dagger or the woman will die.”

Thursday, March 8, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 004

SESSION 004 - Tendrils of Corruption

Darius was in no mood for the argument that had erupted after the discovery that Malek had escaped. They had paid no heed to his words and now the assassin was once again a problem. He pondered there options as he played with Malek’s ring. The light from the torches catching the silver band, as it rolled back and forth in the palm of his hand. It was then that Darius remembered about the assassin’s magical cloak. Looking around he saw it laying on the ground near to where the fight had taken place. He walked over and picked up the cloak that they had stripped from the Malek; the cloak was a lot lighter than it appeared.

Erehwon cupped his hands over the hilts of the daggers that were stashed in his belt. He thought back to how he had managed to disarm the assassin in the chamber with the pool of dark stagnant liquid. “How Malek had cursed his luck,” he chuckled softly to himself and now he had both of the daggers. The half-orc tightened his grip on the daggers. The buzzing sounds of Markus and Duerin voices soon faded into the silence that filled the half-orc’s mind.

The voices at first were hard to distinguish, but after a while he could make out two distinct voices calling out to him, one male, and the other female. Then voices spoke in unison, “Return us to the sanctum of our father, do this and you will be richly rewarded…” then sudden silence ensued thereafter. Erehwon shook his head and blinked his eyes to try and clear his mind. The corridor came back into focus, his friends still stood arguing before him.

“WHY dammit! Markus muttered to himself more than to anyone else. Bren always said, “Boy listen to your gut, it will save your life.” If only he had listened to his gut, then he wouldn’t be stuck down here in the crypt with Malek halfway to who knows where.

They had only realised the assassin was gone when they had heard the stone slab fall into place. He could still hear the grating sound the stone made as it slid into place followed by a dull thud as it locked into place. They were in no position to explore the crypt any further, as all of them were injured and in need of rest. The ranger’s shoulder ached from battle with Malek, it would be a while longer before he could rest and get Darius to check  it again.

Malek made his way back to the village. He wasn’t looking forward to delivering his report, let alone report that he had lost the daggers. He waited in the darkness in the small cottage.

The cottage he waited in had fallen into disrepair and watched as a large rat passed him by. The rat stopped sniffed the air, its whiskers twitching as it turned to regard the man hidden in the shadows with its beady red eyes. Malek stepped forth to give the wretched rodent a kick, but stopped in mid stride. He watched as a figure appeared from the shadows before him. The man brought his steel shod boot down on the rodents head. The rat’s squeaked as its head was crushed into a gory mass of flesh and bone on the stone floor, the rat’s body continued to spasm for a few seconds after the fur-lined cloaked man removed his metal shod boot from the rodents head.

“Are you a rodent … assassin?” He asked from the shadows of his hooded cloak, while he scraped the gore from his boot on edge of the hearth.

Malek was cut short with his response, “It was a rhetorical question … assassin. Do you have the dagger?” “No Master Blackwolf ...,” Malek let his answer hang in the air for a moment before continuing, “There were complications.”

The man’s cloak bellowed as he struck the assassin …. “Foool!” He hissed. “We need that dagger before the end of the festival. Vanaur will not be pleased. I will not be accountable for your incompetence assassin. GET ME THE DAGGER!” He growled at the assassin.

“What of Markus du Monte? He was amongst those that were in the crypt.” asked Malek.

“Kill him … kill them all, but get that dagger back,” said Master Blackwolf as he turned and walked back into the shadows he had come from.

Malek walked over to the hearth; looking over his shoulder he removed a stone from the side of the stone worked fireplace. Carefully placing the stone on the floor, the assassin reached in and disarmed the trap he had set. He removed the bundle from the cubbyhole that he had hidden when he first arrived in the village. The assassin laid the bundle on the floor of the cottage and slowly opened the waterproof sack peeling the layers back to reveal its contents.

He collected the items from the floor and stashed them his belt pouch, except for the ring which he put on his finger. All that remained left was a potion and a silver dagger. Malek uncorked the potion and down its contents. He could feel the warmth of the liquid course through his body as the magical liquid began to heal his wounds.

Lastly the assassin picked up the dagger, the dagger gleamed with magic. Malek activated the dagger by saying the phrase as he had many times before. “Markus du Monte,” he said aloud, followed by the same phrase he had spoken to activate the dagger earlier. The dagger flared with a red glow as he spoke the final word.

Now the Markus du Monte would meet his death he chuckled …