Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 021

SESSION 021 - The Broken Tower

The Temple ground is spotted with rank weeds and some foot falls are evident in the grey muddy sludge of the freshly fallen morning snow. The vegetation is disconcerting dead trees with a skeletal appearance, scrub growth twisted and unnaturally coloured, all unhealthy and sickly looking. The ruins of the Temple's outer works appear as dark and overgrown mounds of grey rubble and blackish weeds. Skulls and bones of humans and humanoids gleam white here and there amidst the weeds. A grove of some oddly stunted and unhealthy looking Usk trees still grow along the northern end of the former Temple compound. A stump of a tower juts up from the northeast corner of the shattered wall. 

The leprous grey Temple, however, stands intact; it’s arched buttresses somehow obscene with their growth of climbing vegetation. Everything surrounding the place is disgusting. The myriad leering faces and twisting, contorted forms writhing and posturing on every face of the Temple seem to jape at the obscenities they depict. The growth in the compound is rank and noisome. Thorns clutch, burrs stick, and crushed stems either emit foul stench or raise angry wheals on exposed flesh. Worst of all, however, is the pervading fear which seems to hang over the whole area, a smothering, clinging, almost tangible cloud of vileness and horror. Sounds seem distorted, either muffled and shrill or unnaturally loud and grating. 

Your eyes play tricks on you as you walk. You see darting movements out of the corner of your eye, just at the edge of vision; but when you shift your gaze towards such, of course, there is nothing there at all. You cannot help but wonder who or what made the maze of narrow paths through the weedy courtyard. What sort of thing would wander here and there around the ghastly edifice of Evil without shrieking and gibbering and going completely mad? Yet the usual mundane sounds of your travel are accompanied only by the chorus of the winds, moaning through hundreds of Temple apertures built to sing like doomed souls given over to the tender mercies of demonkind, echoed by macabre croaks from the scattered flapping, hopping, leering ravens.

The raven pecked at the eye of the dead man that lay a short distance from the crumbling wall of the tower inside the Temple’s ground. “C-c-a-a-a-A-W, C-c-a-a-a-A-W, C-c-a-a-a-A-W,” it croaked as it peck at the dead man’s face.

The large black raven clawed at the dead druid’s face, its large black orb darted back and forth at the approaching figures. “C-c-a-a-a-A-W” it screeched angrily, as it pecked furiously at its prize of a steely grey eye. The sound of steel been drawn caused the bird to drop the eye as it spread its wings in defiance at the approaching men. The large bird let out an unholy screech! It sounded like metal being twisted. The bird continued to peck at the hollow socket that once held steel grey eye, twitching its head back and forth looking for the tasty morsel that it had dropped. Markus spotted the severed eye laying in the snowy sludge next to the fallen druid’s body. The raven spread and fluttered its wings as it hopped to the ground to snatch its fallen prize. With a final, “C-a-a-a-w-W” the raven took flight with the severed eye hanging from its beak. Markus watched as the large raven flap its large wings, gore dripping from bloodied claws, it made its way back to the safety of the vaulted roof of the tower to perch in the rafters.

The battle had been short lived but had claimed the life of Darius, the old druid. He had fallen victim to the vile, infectious claws of the ravens that had roosted in the broken tower’s rafters. The companions had little time to grieve over there fallen companion, as they could hear muffled footfalls approaching from the west.

Siam stood in the doorway of the tower, allowing her eyes to adjust to the gloom of the inner room. The young rogue stood at the ready focused on the chamber before her, her rapier partially drawn. She sensed the danger before she heard it, the sound of steel been drawn. Her rapier was instantly in her hand as she tumbled to the side of the door using the inner door as partial cover from the danger within.

Markus notched an arrow and pullback hard on his bowstring. The ranger used the weapon as a guide to scan the grounds before him. The compound had left him feeling ill at ease, as did the approaching night. The old dwarven Cuthbertine cleric knelt at the corpse of the fallen druid. Duerin passed his hand over the open eye and empty socket of the dead druid; closing the old man’s eyes as he said a prayer to St. Cuthbert, “Father, show us the immense power of Your goodness and strengthen our belief that you shall guide this soul to his eternal resting place, with Beory the Oerth Mother.”

Erehwon picked up a small rock and threw it at the raven that perched in the rafters of the old tower in disgust. A tirade of orcish words spilled from the half-orc’s mouth as he cursed the bird. The bird fuelled his anger by defiantly cawing back at him as it fluttered back and forth on the beam.
In a rage the half-orc hurled his shield at the obstinate bird and let out a triumphant roar, “VASK …. MURKER”, when his shield splattered the bird against the back wall of the tower.

The young woman twirled her blade over her wrist and caught the blade in her left hand as she buried the blade into the bloated corpse of the creature before her. The dead creature buckled to its knees, before crumpling to a pile on the ground. She extracted the curved blade from the creatures gut; it came out with sickening sound. The sound repulsed her so she gave the thing on the ground before a kick for good measure before wiping the curved blade on its tattered breeches. She wasn’t going to have that smell on her blade for the rest of the day! Her eyes darted back and forth from shrub to tree, “Remember your lessons, take a deep breath and clear your mind!” she said to herself calmly, as she search the body for anything of use. A “C-c-a-a-a-A-W” could be heard off in the distance, as she stood, the leprous grey Temple loomed ominously before her. Seta pulled the hood of her woollen cloak over her head as shivered at the sudden drop in temperature.

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 020

SESSION 020 - Journey to the Runied Temple

Beldrick and his men spurred their horses towards Imeryd’s run, as they were in pursuit of the group that had fled the scene of inn earlier. He could hear the sounds of battle somewhere off in the night ahead.

A moment later a monstrous growl tore through the night sky sending shivers down his spine.

Beldrick pulled back hard on the reins of his horse, bringing his mount to a stop. Grabbing the lantern from his saddle, Beldrick stood in his stirrups, with the lantern held aloft. He quickly surveyed the area before him. Sure enough the tracks continued off into the darkness ahead.
He could hear the sounds of battle but his lantern was no strong enough to illuminate the area ahead.

Beldrick ordered his men to dismount, “Ready your crossbows men,” he said. “Use the bolts with the silver heads,” as he instructed his men to continue ahead towards the river’s edge. He secured the horses to a nearby fence.

Beldrick and his men proceed forward cautiously. Weapons at the ready! They were not ready for the grizzly scene that the lantern illuminated before them as the cleared the brush.

The monstrous creature bit down into the soft flesh of the young woman. Siam let out a blood curdling cry! She could smell the feted breath of the creature on her skin. A cloudy memory stirred in the back of creature’s mind as it recalled the familiar scent of the woman before it. How it had lusted after her.

Siam’s rapier tore into the creature’s side, causing the creature to momentary relax its grip on her. It was enough of an opportunity for her to slip out of its grip and to tumble to the side.

Siam watched as a barrage of bolts slammed into creature. Balabar howled as the silver heads of the bolts burned into his chest. The momentum of the bolts slammed him into the frozen waters of the Imeryd.

“N-N-N-O-O-O!” screamed Siam as creature crashed in the water.

Beldrick stood shocked as he watched the young woman covered in blood run and dive into the frozen waters of the Imeryd. The cold water almost crippled Siam, but her hatred for her father carried her deeper into the depths of the river. Siam could see the Balabar’s body up ahead, but the frigid water of the Imeryd was gaining the upper hand.

She could feel the rivers currents tugging at her limbs, her breath was running low and her lungs burned. She was starting to tire. She could feel her eyes started to close …

Suddenly she felt something grab at her; it was the gloved hand of Balabar.

She grabbed at the gloved hand, but the cold had sapped her strength and then she felt her eyes close, as the last of her air left her lungs.  The glove tore away from Balabar’s hand, as the underwater currents pulled the body deeper into the depths of the Imeryd.

Coughing and sputtering Beldrick pulled the young woman onto the river’s bank. She had tried to fight him off when he had grabbed her, but she was injured and fatigued. The cold had gained the upper hand and she had blacked out. “Quick bring my saddle bag,” he called to one of his men.

Darius watched as Beldrick dragged Siam from the river. He too was injured from the battle, as was Erehwon. The half-orc stirred as the potion started to mend his wounds. Darius put the empty vial back into his pouch, that had been his last and he could do with one himself.

Siam lay on the bank of the Emeryd with the glove of Balabar clasped in her hand ….

Markus and Duerin followed the four men back to Nulb. Markus thought it best to heed the men’s warnings. He would wait to see how things played out or if an opportunity presented itself for him and the dwarf to make it to safety. The men had said that Mother wish to see them.

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 019

SESSION 019 - Trouble a Foot

The fire spread across the bar counter of the Waterside Hostel. The flames seemed to have found a life of their own, as they raced towards the bottles of alcohol stacked on the dusty wooden shelves behind the bar. Markus looked back nervously, keeping a watchful eye on the fire behind him.

Markus found that he had many questions still unanswered from the events earlier. His head still throbbed and the taste of cheap wine still lingered in his mouth from his earlier drinking binge with the half-orc. His head felt thick and the weight of his bow weighed heavily on his arms. He watched the fight in the street before him, bidding his time to get in a well-placed arrow ever so often. Tonight would not be a night that he would find rest; trouble seemed to follow wherever they went.

Siam had shaken him awake earlier, from his drunken slumber. He blinked his eyes open to find Siam and his mother’s standing before him. Holding his head he sat up. Markus shook his head to clear the effects of cheap wine and the Keolandish brandy he had consumed earlier. He could feel the smoke like tendrils slowly releasing its grip on his dulled brain. “M-m-m-other … S-s-s-Siam … How did you escape Mother?” stammered Markus.

The rest of the companions gathered in the room to listen to how Siam had rescued Markus’s mother. Plans were hastily made for their escape, for they knew there would be consequences, but the friends also realised that all would be lost if they retreated back to Hommlet. It was decided that only Anmar and Markus’s mother would be going back to Hommlet for now. Anmar could return later once he had recovered from his injuries.

It was at this point that the barmaid, Pearl was noticed skulking at the slightly open door, confronted a fight ensued which resulted in Wat coming to her aid. Pearl was quickly dispatched in the passage way outside the room where Erehwon slept. The half-orc was soon woken from his drunken slumber by sounds of a fight outside his room. Grabbing his axe Erehwon waded into the fight with the assassin Wat. Wat realising that the odds were not in his favour any longer made for a daring escape through the half-orcs room’s open window, resulting in his own death.

It wasn’t long after the fight that Siam and Darius had spotted torches approaching the inn from the direction of the house Siam had found Markus’s mother. Quickly the companions gathered there belongings and made their way to the inn’s common room.

Darius watched as his trusty companion Alfons stepped through the portal with the injured paladin and Markus’s mother on his back. “That’s one less thing to worry about … for now!” muttered the old druid.

Markus’s cleared his head as he once again focused on the fight before him. Erehwon had just slain Black Wolf with a mighty blow from his great axe. The blow had severed the man’s spine and a second blow for good measure had sent the bastard’s head tumbling down the road.  He was surprised by the earlier events when he spotted the second group approaching from the south towards the inn. The odds were starting not looking good. The two groups clashed just outside the inn and a fight ensued.  The sounds of steel and the flashes of magic soon filled the night air.

The spells cast from Darius and Duerin caused devastating effects on the battle. Soon it was just a handful of men, Balabar and Vex left. With arrows, spells and steel thinning the ranks even more, Vex soon fell to barrage of arrows and spells.

Balabar ripped into the remaining man before him, his tusks dripping blood and gore, but he too soon fell to the prowess of the companions before him. A fatal blow found its mark on the wereboar. The companions cheered as they watched the wereboar fall to the ground.

Balabar felt the blade bite deep into his side; it was at that point that his magical ring flared. He could feel the magic of the ring course through his body as he felt his body been ripped into millions of tiny gas molecules.
He laughed as he rose from the ground in his gaseous form, “Not this night my daughter …” he laughed and floated towards the inn’s second floor.

Siam livid with rage continued her assault on her father, as did the rest of her companions. Sian knew that she would have to get to the second floor of the inn before Balabar escaped into the window.
Siam kept an eye on Balabar as she ran towards the front of the Waterside Hostel bent on the task of killing Balabar once and for all.

A thunderous boom shook the common room of the inn as the large barrels of brandy and other spirits ignited. The ignited barrels arced through the air like molten balls of lava. The sound of the exploding barrels ripped through the night sky, followed by the sound of the windows of the inn exploding.
The shock wave slammed into Siam knocking her and her friends to the ground as bits of glass and wood peppered the ground around them.

Anger flared anew in Siam as she gazed up to where Balabar had been moments ago. He had managed to make it through the open window of one of the second story rooms.
The companions gathered there weapons and picked themselves up off of the ground. Balabar would be there’s this night.
The front of the Waterside Hostle bathed them in light; the companions could see a group of men approaching in the distance.
The gaseous form of Balabar smiled down at Siam, as he licked his blood flecked lips.

“There they are! They are the ones responsible! Look at what they have done to my inn,” screamed Dick pointing at the companions before him. He fell to his knees, as the tears rolled down his cheeks. Dick clutched at the bits of wood and glass in the mushy blood covered snow, letting them fall to the ground through his trembling hands.

“YOU ... “screamed the Hostler, as he pointed to the companions before him, “ALL OF YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS! I WILL MAKE YOU ALL PAY!”

The men were not far off that had been following Dick. Darius knew that they had to act quickly.

LEGACY the Path of Heroes - Session 018

SESSION 018 - The Waterside Hostel

“She is here Vex…. my daughter is here in Nulb,” said Balabar as he ran his hand through his greasy hair. “We must find her before the others do,” said Balabar his voice trailing off into a whisper, “Get the men ready we going to the Waterside Hostel.”

Vex wasn’t pleased with the news! She had hoped that his bitch daughter, Siam had been killed. Now it seemed this was not the case. She had finally gotten Balabar to continue with the work they had started and they had worked their way back into the earth faction of the Temple. The day had started with the news of the escape of the paladin Anmar and now this news of his daughter, this day would still be the death of her thought Vex as she turned to do Balabar’s bidding.

Anmar was week he hadn’t eaten for days, let alone rested properly. He couldn’t even lay hands on himself to cure the infectious wound in his side. He stumbled into the side of a building only to find himself laying face first in the greyish sludge that was left from the afternoon snow. He clambered to his feet and let his momentum carry him forward; he could hear the men following nearby. Again he stumbled crashing through a fence and landing in a small frozen puddle of water. The thin ice shattered as he slammed into the ground, the ice cold water momentarily cleared his dulled vision. He hastily cupped the cold water into his hands and let the cold wet water sooth his dry parched throat. 

The water tasted of dirty, but the liquid quenched the paladin’s thirst and helped him gather up some strength as he picked himself up and continued into the night. He would have felt a lot better if he had at least had his trusted sword with him; all he had was the manacles that hung from his left wrist that could be used as a weapon.

Anmar soon found himself outside the Waterside Hostel; he could hear the patrons inside talking and drinking. Just as he was about to enter a gruff voice called out from behind, “So you thought you could escape us …. Paladin,” laughed the man and a chorus of men with him. Anmar turned to face the man who called out to him and recognised the man as one of his captures.

Anmar tightened his grip on the short chain that ended in an iron manacle. The first of his assailants came in from the right and received a blow to the face that sent the man sprawling to the ground as he tried to stab Anmar with his crude sword.

The sound of the fight carried into the inn, where Markus and Siam sat with their friends. Siam was still outraged by the earlier encounter with her father, “How dare him,” the young woman was outraged, “No one understood.” She fumed. He had let her dwell on the memories of her past and the anger had welled up once again. Before Siam knew it, she was on top of Balabar, and then her rapier was in his stomach. It infuriated her even more when he laughed at her as he pulled the blade from his stomach with his bare hand and laughed, “Daughter is that the best you can do? I give you this though you have spirit.” Balabar leaned in closer and whispered in his daughter’s ear, “Soon I will have you, all of you.” He indicated to the rest of his motley crew and turned to leave the inn.

Siam stepped over to the window to see what the commotion outside was all about. Wiping the dirty window with the cuff of her shirt Siam saw a man been attacked by a couple of thugs. She squinted to get a better look and then man turned towards the window. “A-A-anmar, it’s
Anmar! Quickly we must help him,” shouted Siam as she recognised the paladin.

Moments later Siam and her friends were outside in the street assisting the paladin in his plight with his assailants. It wasn’t long before the fight was over but not without its causalities. Anmar lay propped up against the side of the inn, a gaping hole in his side. The blood squirted between his fingers from where the sword had torn into his stomach exiting his side. He could see he was in trouble as his blood was not a crimson red, but was flecked with black. Anmar last memory was that of Siam approaching before he lost consciousness.

“Quick get him inside, the local guards approach,” urged Siam. The companions turned to see the group of town guards approaching from the south.

“Take the paladin inside Siam, Erehwon and I will deal with this … hurry,” said Markus stepping forward and strapping his axe to his back.