Tuesday, April 24, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 011

SESSION 011 - Into the Depths of the Moathouse

Overcome with fear Aaron stumbled through the brush towards the secret entrance to the dungeons below the moathouse. He had left his men to their own demise, but that was not his concern now. The sudden flight of a nearby bird caused him to lose his footing and crash into the brush ahead. Scrambling to his feet Aaron, brushed the sweat from his brow, his eyes darted back and forth as he fearfully probed the forest around him.

“Don’t be a fool. They didn’t follow you,” he repeated to himself as he peered back over his shoulder. The darkening shadows of evening were approaching, as Liga began to set. The feel of the cold steel of his dagger brought some comfort to Aaron as he unsheathed the broad bladed dagger from his belt. The bite of the late wintery afternoon was felt upon the nape of his neck and he knew he needed to make haste.

The large boa constrictor coiled itself into a nearby corner, evidence of its latest victim present, as it passed long being digested inside it abdomen. The large snake’s forked tongue darted back and forth; ever vigilant as it settled down to digest its latest meal.
Darius watched as the large boa constrictor, watched as the snake digested its latest meal. A meal he had been partially responsible for. Darius turned and made his way back to his friends, unlike the rest of his companions the druid and the large reptile showed empathy for one another, a mutual respect if you will.

Markus and Erehwon were eager to proceed down the stairs and to be away from the large reptile. They wanted to explore the floor below, which the paladin Anmar referred to as the dungeons of the moathouse. Both had different reasons for wanting to put this place behind them, Markus sought the return of his mother as a priority, whilst the half-orc clearly wanted to tear Black Wolf apart and return home. Duerin found all of this a bit tiresome. There were more pressing matters of the church that needed attending too. Darius understood the situation better than his companions did and he suspected that this was just the beginning of their plight.

Shadows flooded the entrance way to the ominous stairs that dipped into the darkness to the floor below. The four companions peered into the darkness that loomed before them with baited breath. They stood, listening for the signs of movement before taking their first cautionary steps onto the steps that would lead them to the floor below.

The cell that Lady Madeline found herself in; smelt like a sewer. She tried to prop herself up against the back wall of her cell, but found that she could only managed to get herself into half a sitting position before she moaned in pain. Dry blood caked her brow from a cut above her eye. She tried opening her right eye, but it wouldn’t, it was swollen shut. Pain from the effort of everything, caused her to stop and catch her breath. The sharp intake of air into her lungs caused even more pain as her lungs filled with air. She remembered how Black Wolf had beaten her before he had thrown her into the cell. She could feel herself vision starting to blur, she was starting to black out. Footfalls of approaching men could be heard outside her cell.

“Bring the woman from the cells. Black Wolf wants her transported,” Madeline heard the man say from outside her cell door before the blackness took her.

Minge adjusted his cloak as he made his way down the corridor, the smell of rot lingered in air and bones littered the tunnel floor ahead. “Master Black Wolf would be most pleased with what you have learned,” he said as he climbed over some rubble. He looked back over his shoulder at the figure that travelled with him. “Careful, watch your step,” cautioned the little man, as he extended his hand to help his companion navigate the rubble. Black Wolf will be most pleased indeed,” repeated the Halfling. He smiled tentatively; looking up at the elegant long fingers that took his hand for support before him….

Monday, April 16, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 010

SESSION 010 - Return to the Moathouse

Lareth heard the warning crackle of arcane energy, as he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise. He turned to face his adversary.

“You forget your place Lareth!” shouted Black Wolf, anger clearly evident in his voice. He had been caught off-guard by the priest sudden attack upon hearing his news. He kicked Lareth’s mace to one side that lay on the floor and brushed fragments of stone from his cloak. His composure regained from the earlier encounter he continued, “Don’t forget who you serve.”

The bolt of arcane energy sprang from his hand, slamming into the Lareth’s stomach, the priest crumpled in a heap on the floor before him.

“The Dark One will not be happy.” whispered Black Wolf, as he watched the arcane energy fade from his hand.

Lareth in pain looked at the floor before him, where he had doubled over in pain. Black Wolf’s iron shod boots scrapped against the flagstones as he approached the priest. Kneeling down he leaned forward, wrapping Lareth’s robes in his balled fists in any effort to lift him from the ground. Standing he dragged the priest from the floor. Lareth tried to use the opportunity to break free of Black Wolf’s grip, but failed inflicted with the pain from the arcane spell.

 “Make sure you fulfil your end of this venture,” instructed Black Wolf releasing his grip on Lareth’s robes, pushing him into the wall.

“You should have never sent Malek to Kleinmere. I had everything under control,” hissed Black Wolf as he turned to leave the room. “Dispatch your men and retrieve the dagger at the inn. I will take some men to retrieve the one from the church,” said Roderic as he closed the door behind him, not waiting for the priest’s response.

“My spies reported differently,” sneered Lareth. The pain in his stomach still evident in his face, he looked up to now what was an empty room. “it is you that must not forget your place,” he said before cough caused him to wince in pain, reaching into his robes to grasp his holy symbol. The feel of the cold steel in his hands eased the pain somewhat. He murmured a prayer and soon had the pain fading from memory.

Black Wolf was right he would need to send his men to retrieve the dagger before the opportunity was lost. He would put their differences aside for now …. Just for now!

The group of friends returned from their meeting with Canon Terjon to the Welcome Wench. Finding a table, each settled down to a late breakfast. Silence descended the table as each of the companions reflected on what had brought them to Hommlet and the quest that Canon Terjon had bestowed upon them. It would be some time before the items that they had requested would be ready, before they could return to the moathouse.

Duerin knew he had given his word to his church and he would see this errand through. It would be what Brother John would have wanted him to do. Markus’s thoughts lay with that of his mother and his retrenched uncle. He vowed that the man now known to him as Black Wolf, would soon feel the bite of his axe. Darius looked at his companions seated before him, circumstances had forced them together but his time here was almost at an end. He first needed to find Jaroo before he left for home and returned to his beloved Irriana with the druid’s help.

Erehwon alone sat at the table conflicted with why he had agreed to help his friends. “Why was any of this his business?” He thought. “He had an axe to grind with Black Wolf … sure, but that was it, nothing more,” he said to himself. He soon found solace in a tankard of mead, his sombre mood changing after a while. “Maybe I will just go a long for another day or two,” he reasoned to himself. “After all I have made a few coins for my trouble.” He said as he drained the sweet honey mead from his tankard, “but only for a day or two.”

Night Shade pulled her thick winter coat over her shoulders and gathered her staff. The staff cracked with arcane energy as she ran her hand down the wooden shaft before clasping her hand tightly around the wooden haft, near the top of the staff. Murmuring an arcane word, her and that of the staff transformed into that of an old lady with a crudely fashioned walking stick. Where once had stood a fine young lady of exceptional beauty now stood a crone. Looking upon her reflection in the mirror she cackled with glee and walked over to the small writing table.

She pulled the letter that she had receive from her sleeve and held it to the candle’s flame. She watched as the parchment took flame before discarding it into the empty plate on the table. She smiled a toothless smile and cackled, as the flame melted the red wax with the initials B.W. pressed into the parchment. Gathering her things Night Shade took leave of the room that she had spent the night in.

A short while later she spied a dwarf, an elderly man, a half-orc and a ruggedly handsome young man approaching her as she made her way down the road to the north. She let out a low whistle, “Yum! Yum!” she cackled and sported the young man a toothless grin, as he and his companions walked by.

Anmar and Calodan set out for Dyvers at the request of Canon Terjon. Calodan had at first rejected the paladin’s request to accompany him At Anmar insistance he later managed to convince Calodan, with offers of splendour that City of Dyvers had to offer. “Fine wines, woman and taverns a plenty and not specifically in that order,” Anmar had ensured him. “Come boy it will be an adventure,” the paladin had said. “I know I am going to regret this,” he thought as he smiled at Anmar.

The snow gently drifted to fall in the open courtyard of the moathouse, while the winter wind whistled through the crevices of the weathered mortar. Resulting in an eerie sound to the unexpecting visitor. Whilst a scampering of feet could be heard from the darkened corners of the chambers beyond the courtyard. The murky water sloshed against the muddy banks of the aging  bastion, as a large serpentine reptile slithers through the clumps of floating lilies. The ominous and sombre mood of the moathouse and surrounds broken by the presence of patches of St. John’s Wort and Hawthorn plants. The St. John’s Wort flowering bright yellow flowers, in contrast to that of the Hawthorn bright red fruits that litter the banks of the moat. A distant caw of a dying bird breaks the late afternoon silence …

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 009

SESSION 009 - The Welcome Wench

Darius watched the paladin as he ate his food. His old body ached from the journey and lack of sleep. They had left the moathouse for the paladin’s campsite earlier that morning to rest before returning to Hommlet. 

It wasn’t long before the weather had turned bad and they were forced to break camp, but not before the paladin had tendered to the half-orcs wounds.

They had arrived in Hommlet shortly after sunset; both the village and the inn was a welcome site for the weary travellers. The village was hive of activity as the villagers prepared for the night’s festivities in celebration of the Winter Solstice.

The companions had all agreed that they needed food and rest first; discussions would come in the morning.

Markus and Erehwon were caught in the spirit of the festivities, each with a tankard of ale in hand and tales of their prowess in combat over the past few days. The half-orc had the table in laughter after his over embellished recount and re-enactment of Markus’s battle with giant frog. By his account the giant frog had taken a liking to the young ranger.

Duerin was caught up in his own thoughts. Tonight was apex of the festivities, the winter solstice or as some referred to it Dark Time. It was told that practitioners of dark magic would have greater influence of the dead this night. The Cuthbertine priest would not rest well this night.

Anmar leaned heavily back in his chair caught up in his own thoughts. The common room of the Welcome Wench was a buzz of activity. The paladin’s tankard rested awkwardly on his armoured knee, as he looked across the table at the strangers seated before him. Amongst those seated at the table before him was a dwarf in service of St. Cuthbert and an old man of the old faith. Swallowing the bitter mead the paladin’s gaze fell onto the half-orc and the young human engaged in conversation at the end of the table.

“Had St Cuthbert played a part in the rescue of the dwarf and his friends earlier this day?” thought Anmar. He thought back to the events that had led up to him being at the moathouse this day …
Anmar and Shepherd had watched the moathouse for weeks after the last assault had taken place in dungeons below the moathouse, but still the council would not heed the paladin’s warnings. Anmar would not let up his plea, the council needed to act. Finally the council agreed to hire a few men-at-arms from Rannos the trader to investigate the paladin’s claims.

A few days later the party headed out for the ruins, led by Gremag and the captain of the militia, Delmo. There orders were to investigate and report back to the council their findings. The council ordered the paladin and the priest to stay in town and not to interfere with the investigation any further.

Shepherd had objected to the councils ruling and had said he would take matters into his own hands. It was at this point that both he and Anmar were escorted to the Welcome Wench and were ordered not to leave the establishment. They were instructed that they would be jailed for insubordination of the councils ruling if they did so.

Shepherd was not as patient as the young paladin, he was a man of action. He would not wait for the council to recognise the threat that the moathouse posed, nor would he wait for Gremag and Delmo to report back to the council. The young paladin had eventually managed to convince the priest after many words and an equal number of tankards of ale to wait for council’s men to return with their findings.

The following day Anmar and Shepherd were ordered to the manor house to hear Gremag and Kalic deliver their findings to the council. Both the paladin and the priest sat in silence and listened as the men delivered there report. They both found no evidence to support claims of the paladin and the priest of any activity in or around the moathouse. It was at this point that both the paladin and priest had sternly objected. Both insisted that Siam had fallen in the dungeons below the moathouse to a band of gnolls, led by a drow priest. Shepherd stormed out of the room calling the proceedings a farce and stating he would deal with the matter himself.

Anmar excused himself from the proceedings and returned to the Welcome Wench it pursuit of his friend. The paladin had entered the priest’s room just as the priest had packed the last of his belongings.

“Anmar there is something afoul here and it has to do with that moathouse, the council won’t listen.” warned the priest as he strapped his mace to his leg. “Something is not right here. We need to act now, before it is too late. Are you with me?” Those were the last words that Shepherd had spoken to him before the priest had left the inn. Shepherd could see the answer, before the Anmar spoke, “NO … I  c.. can’t, ” said the paladin. The priest nodded at his friend and slung his backpack over his shoulder and walked from the room.

Anmar was duty bound to the church and watched with a heavy heart as his friend left. He would not leave his friend to his own fate, he would petition Canon Terjon in order to aid a fellow parishioner.
That evening Anmar sought council with Canon Terjon, but it was only after evening prayers that Canon Terjon granted him audience to listen to his plea.

Anmar was relieved to hear that Terjon and the church supported his action. “I believe that an evil has gained a foothold in our village, paladin. Go find the priest and I will see what I can discover here. Now go and only report back to me Paladin,” instructed Terjon. “May St. Cuthbert protect and guide you.”

Anmar felt a tug at his shoulder, “What is it  ...” His thoughts interrupted. Looking over his shoulder he saw it was Calodan, the innkeeper’s son.

“Would you like another tankard of ale, Anmar?” asked Cal.

“Yes … and bring me plate of your spiced potatoes too,” said the paladin giving Calodan a stern look. “Sure … sure Anmar,” replied the young man as he turned to make his way to the kitchen. The confrontation with the paladin once again left Calodan conflicted, as he recalled the events from months earlier.

Lareth listened to Black Wolf’s report of the events that had taken place and how the assassin Malek had lost the daggers.  He was not pleased.

Lareth stood from the chair, his robes rippled, the anger clearly visible on his handsome features, his hand tightened on his great mace at his side. In one swift motion the large mace was in his hand and he had Black Wolf pinned up against the wall. He brought the large mace down in an overhead swing; he could see the fear in Black Wolf’s eyes …

BUT before he could land the blow, he felt a tug at his sub consciousness, a familiar feeling. It was at the moment that Black Wolf managed to break free resulting in Lareth’s mace slamming into the wall.

“The dagger … it is here Wolf! I can feel it …” said Lareth, his face now void of anger. His handsome features once again graced with a smile, a smile that unsettled Roderic.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 008

SESSION 008 - A Beacon of Light

Markus looked back at the scene in the room. He wanted no further surprises as he stepped through the portal. He needed to get his mother back and the gods knew where this portal would take them. Fuelled by the hatred for his uncle and the eagerness to save his mother the younger ranger stepped into the glowing portal.

Markus felt like the fibre of his being was being pulled in every direction at once, when he first stepped into the portal. It stopped as abruptly as it started, then he felt the energy of the portal gently pulling him forward at first. A split second later the energy intensified as he was hurled forward into darkness.

A moment later he felt his feet upon stone, but he was still in complete darkness. The portal winked out behind him.

“Erehwon …! Darius …! Duerin …!” shouted the ranger. All he heard it return was silence. Feeling his way around Markus realised that he couldn’t hear anything at all, not even his own footsteps.

Markus walked forward cautiously trying to feel his way further forward in the darkness. The oppressing silence added to his sudden paranoia. 

Startled by something brushing against his leg, Markus let out a startled cry. He realise that there was something else in the room with him … 

Erehwon, Darius and Duerin found themselves in a similar situation to that of Markus. The half-orc and the druid could feel the fear starting to settle into the pits of the stomachs, Duerin however did not share his friends fears.

The last thing the dying guard saw was the ranger stepping through the portal before his eyes closed.

The light faded from the room as the energy dissipated from the spell that had brought forth the portal, bathing the room in darkness.

The guard knew that his next breath would be his last. It was with his dying thoughts that he thought of his mother. He was sitting with her in there little cottage at the table as she brushed his hair.

“One day you will be a great man Richard,” she said, “as long as you make the right choices, my son” he remembered her saying. “I .. I … I …. I am Sor..r..y mo..th..e.r ….” He thought as he died.

Black Wolf dragged his cousin’s wife down the corridor, “Soon he would be rid of her,” he thought.

“STOP your snivelling bitch or I will gut your son and feed his entrails to the animals,” he snarled at Madeline. The back of his hand slammed into her cheek and he could see the fear growing in her eyes. It made him smile ...

Lareth looked at the report lying on his desk, things were progressing as planned. Soon he would be able to initiate phase two of his plan. The priest’s thought were interrupted by the sudden appearance of one of his men. “YES!” he scowled.

“Black Wolf milord … he is here. He wished to speak with you on a matter of urgency.” “FOOL! Bring him to me at once! Check to see if he was followed! YOU will report back to me immediately on your findings,” instructed Lareth. The man nodded his head and hastily retreated from the room.

Anmar watch from the bushes just outside of the moathouse. The paladin waited for an opportunity to find a way into the moathouse without being seen. As his luck would have it the weather was in his favour this day and he would find his friends, even if Caloden had given up hope. Today he would find Siam and Shepherd; he could feel it in his gut. Today he would have his day to right a wrong, by the grace of St. Cuthbert, he would.

Tarrick watched from the shadows of the bushes, as Darius hid the dagger in the grove of trees some distance away from the cottage. The dryad would be asleep for some time still, with the herbed tea he had given her, but he would need to return before Darius did, or the old man would suspect something. The old man hastily made his way back to the cottage. He would return to the grove later, once he was sure that Darius was on his way back to Kleinmere. Then the dagger would be his …