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Michael-TLH

The Darakan Chronicles, Part 2

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The books used for this game are The Player's Handbook™, the Dungeon Master's Guide™, The Monster Manual™, Complete Warrior™, Complete Divine™, Monster Manual II™, Monster Manual III™, Libris Mortis™ and the Fiend Folio™. All aforementioned books are wholy owned by Wizards of the Coast, they theselves are owned by Hasbro, Inc.

 

Reaper Miniatures takes no responsibility for this thread, and asks the players to self-moderate.

 

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Morning finds the Companions arriving at the castle of the Elven king. Ushered into the library by Aifrik, six of the companions: Jesset, Cuchullain, Warrick, Robert, Stern and Mykayla are offered trays of sweet rolls and sparkling water as they wait for the last of their company to join them. Aifrik, while polite and accomadating as always, only says that "Lord Flame will join you when he is ready... it is not for me to say when and where one of the Aspects should be."

 

Through the tall windows, the sun climbs ever higher in the sky. . .

Edited by Michael-TLH

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His morning prayers to St. Marcus complete, the Aegis finds himself, after a light break fast, standing in the King's library once more.

 

The giant paladin is fully armored. His ancient golden splint mail swirls and glimmers in the searing morning sunlight of the elven kingdom. His polished, but battle worn sheild is attached securly in place. The raised lion ensignia looks ready to jump from the armor sheild plating, but it does not. Karamor, an extension of Stern's mind and body, rests on his back snug in it's worn and beaten leathery sheath. The massive blade, nearly eight feet long from dragon head pommel to sharp tip and ten inches wide at its sturdy base, gently vibrates beckoning the Aegis to call it into battle once more... Karamor's thurst for the destruction of evil is never ending. The ancient and mysterious Darakan short sword also hangs on the back of Stern's belt. It's thick sturdy blade remains sheathed and ready yet untested by its current wielder. What secrets this ancient blade's forging holds only the gods know... Resting neatly next to his pack and bedroll, lies Stern's Mighty Composite bow. Its craftsmenship unmatched, it power soon to be legendry, the huge ironwood bow is ready for its field test in combat. A thick quarrel of arrows also rest close by, some blunted, some razor tipped. Upon the Corpus Knight's head rest a great helm of brushed mithril. It's enormous curved ram horns curl into tight bleached spirals on either side and easily add another six inches to armored crusader's already seven foot frame. And the helm's thick nose guard and pinched eyes slits offer some disguise to the Aegis' true indentity. Lastly, there is Hammer Stern's faithful war dog. She too has been recently fitted with small sections of leather armor on her neck, legs and torso... Her tails wags gently, her milky grey eyes flashing excitment for she senses the anticipation of her master and his trusted friends.

 

The mighty Aegis of Rockfist is ready to depart. He is ready to die if need be, for the undead have no place amongst the living and Stern vows to see that this mission is completed even if it means laying down his own life in the process of saving the innocent...

 

We're all 'ere... Guide us on a righteous path St. Marcus, now n' fer ever...

 

"Lord Flame will join you when he is ready... it is not for me to say when and where one of the Aspects should be."

 

"Aye n' might ye tell our Lord Flame tha' we've got a long day ahead o' us n' tha' days no' gettin' any earlier...

 

Stern stands impatiently and begins to pace. Hammer whines softly, but remains sitting. He then turns to Jesset and with jaw squared tightly, gives the blue-horned elf a reassuring nod.

 

SK

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Once morning arrives, Mykayla eats a light breakfast and then gets ready to leave for the Kings Library. Once there she settle herself into a cahir and waits.

Lord Flame will join you when he is ready... it is not for me to say when and where one of the Aspects should be."

Rolling her eyes at that Mykayla thinks If Shan stay here too much longer he will become as bad as my Kin! Especially how they give deference to him like he was some sort of dead hero returned. But, then how they have been acting I guess he is. Sighing mentally to herself Myk does her best to settle in and wait.

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Jesset smiles at Stern's nod, then reaches over to touch the hand of Warrick. She points, and they both smile at Garr in his studded leather barding wandering over to try and get Hammer to play. Garr is successful - but perhaps too much so...as Garr has become more human in his thoughts and intelligence, play with Hammer has become less satisfying. For instance, Garr is perfectly happy to romp and roll...but he avoids knocking the tables for fear of breaking something that might cause diplomatic problems for his devilish companion. Hammer - fortunately or unfortunately - does not worry about such things. At least the two work out some nervous energy and in the end, nothing is broken.

 

When Robert asks what the plan is, Jesset thinks to herself quietly for a short time.

 

Her thoughts prepared, she begins speaking: "I suppose it depends quite a bit on Shan. If he can find the power they say he once held, we might not even be needed. If we have to do this the way we've conducted the rest of our adventures, we'll head north walking or riding. We'll pass through my home, more or less. While there, we'll attempt to recruit any allies we can find among the Order of Servants. If things haven't changed there, I won't have too many friends. I was known for running with the shears as a child," the skoli adds by way of facetious explanation. "On the other hand, things are much more serious now. And the Servants are always free to act as they will in the defense of the Bole during their Moon-long patrols. So unless action is taken to keep those that are sympathetic at home doing administration or training, it is possible that we will receive some help - a guide and some information about the location and shape of the danger we face, if nothing else...

 

"Then... I suppose we head for where the dead gather. Part of the job then will be to eliminate the threat...and part will be to gather evidence of who is raising this force and why. Then...as with the slavers...we follow the evidence where it leads. I worry about the dangers, but the King's men have lent me this quiver which can carry 3 score arrows without complaint or much weight. And then with the wands and potions - and what they've done for Garr... I think we'll see daylight at the end of this.

 

"I felt some nervousness before. Being too passionate about fighting that army was a sore spot with the Order. They thought I should have other priorities back then. And, depending on how you look at it, perhaps they and I were both right. But even if there was a time when it seemed wise to refrain from opening a war against these dead - that time is passed. There will be some who don't like admitting a skoli was right. But I enjoy you, and if the order does not care for my return, well... The King bids me return, and I won't say no. And when this small war is over, if they wish me to leave again - now I have family outside my Bole." The blue-skinned woman smiles at her Companions.

 

"There are things to fear. Magik, for one - whoever can animate the dead will have other potencies besides. And the Un-dead have a horror uniquely their own. Some lose their minds fighting them. It is in the implaccable way they rend at you without concern for consequences.

 

"It is not only their bodies...but their very thoughts that are undead, or un-alive, in this case. They don't think or act or care the way living things do - even evil things have a sense of life that is hard to explain. Not necessary valuable to some, but still special. Valuable for themselves. But these are not just like evil living foes. Life is something they are accutely aware that they do not have. To look into the eyes of a creature that loathes the life-force itself is a terrible thing.

 

"But if we can protect ourselves from the Magik and remain whole and strong and defiant against the armies of Undead...I believe that we will prevail. Even without any power that Shan might discover here, he is already a powerful Wizard. He has taught me much of Fire recently. Mykayla and Shan, with Stern to guard them - those three alone might be able to win the day...

 

"But I think the rest of us should come along, just in case."

 

The skoli's mood - so guarded and unpredictable days ago - seems much improved.

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Warrick watches the face of his love to trace any emotions she might reveal as she discusses the situation. Wounded feelings may lie just beneath the surface but her demeanor seems pragmatic and matter-of-fact.

 

The Scout smiles at Robert's typical bluntness and at the fact that he seems always focused on the matter at hand. For Warrick, he has already spent most of yesterday and even into the evening paying close attention, to the full exasperation of one of the local Elven watering holes. For this morning he is feeling more whimsical and less business-like despite the context of their impending "business."

 

The Scout slouches as they wait for "Lord Flame" as they insist on calling him and lets his eyes flit about the room and absently looking on the books.

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Eventually the silence is too much for Jesset, and she takes to the stacks of books, reading anything she can find that interests her. Some books she examines are about magik, or language, or battle tactics...but she comes back again and again to the texts which discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the foes she expects to face.

 

Already one who has studied undead most thoroughly - on the battlefield and amongst the bookshelves - she cannot help but read more, always seeking that extra edge...that may mean victory in some circumstances, or mere survival in others...

 

Garr, wisely, ignores her. He knows he will receive all this information in time, and with no hands, he is little use in a library. So he decides his time is best spent in gathering attention.

 

Stern, a lover of dogs, Robert, a lover of all animals, and Warrick, lover of all things connected to Jesset, all come in for a little extra attention-seeking. Of course, when he does receive a scratch or a pet, he returns the love quite lavishly.

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"Shan's never been late before. This is a waste of time - I'm going to the Butts to practice. If we decide to do anything today then come get me, otherwise I'll see you at dinner." Robert strolls out, not content to waste his time with books he can't read waiting for others to make decisions he feels he has no say in.

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Just as Robert is about to leave, Aifrik, standing near the double doors which lead to the room, straightens and clears his throats as he opens the door.

 

"Chosen of Beleah, Champions of Searoad, harken unto me. I present the Alathe Syallus, Lady Air, Her Royal Highness, the Crown Princess Ai'mariannae Atolin of the Woodland Realms. I present the Alathu Dineus, Lord Flame, K'aidenn Thuenarr also called Shanhaeval the Shadowchild. Blessed be the Builders. Glory to the Aspects and the Elementals."

 

Bowing as Shan and a beautiful elven woman pass and enter the room, Aifrik closes the door. The woman pauses and stares down into the room before continuing. Her feet don't seem to touch the floor. Instead, she seems to glide just a few inches above it, her long silver gown trailing behind her. Her green eyes sparkle and wisps of her hair float about on an unseen and unfelt wind. She takes Shan's hand as they descend a short staircase and enter the library proper.

 

"Greetings all... I am Ai'mariannae. Please, friends, call me Mari. I thank you deeply for bringing my beloved back to me. K'aidenn... introduce me, if you will?" She smiles and gazes deep into Shan's eyes.

 

"Um... err... yes." Shan smiles self-consciously and motions to all gathered. "Stern Kestrelman of Rockfist. Mykayla. Warrick Brightblade. Cuchullainn. Jesset Feryl, the Lynx. Robert of the Wood. It's my honor to introduce you to Lady Air." A puff of smoke emerges from the lady's train... resolving itself into the shape of a cat. Nutkin, perched in his usual pouch, leaps out and scrambles down his master's leg. Sniffing the little smoke-cat, Nutkin leaps and cavorts his way over to Hammer and Gar.

 

Ai'mariannae walks over to the two dogs and claps delightedly. "How wonderful. A familiar?" She asks, letting Garr sniff her hand before petting him upon the head. She smiles at each of the companions as she slowly makes her way back to Shan's side. "They seem a lovely group of people, dear one... a shame you must stay behind."

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Stern nods politely at the elven princess as she glides into the room.

 

She's a true beauty tha' one is...

 

Stern quickly removes his massive horned helm and places it under his arm. The huge paladin bows slightly to Ai'mariannae, then offers a broad smile to Shan, happy to see the fire wizard has arrived at last. Before Stern can speak the elven princess makes her introduction.

 

"Greetings all... I am Ai'mariannae. Please, friends, call me Mari. I thank you deeply for bringing my beloved back to me. K'aidenn... introduce me, if you will?" She smiles and gazes deep into Shan's eyes.

 

K'aidenn? Is tha' wha' she calls ye Master Shan?

 

Again Stern starts to speak, but gives pause as he and the other Companions are formally introduced by Shan.

 

"Um... err... yes." Shan smiles self-consciously and motions to all gathered. "Stern Kestrelmann of Rockfist. Mykayla. Warrick Brightblade. Cuchullainn. Jesset Feryl, the Lynx. Robert of the Wood. It's my honor to introduce you to Lady Air."

 

Stern smiles and watches the elven princess greet the war hounds. Then he turns his attention to speak with Shan.

 

"Tis good ta see ya Fire Wizard, now we best be...

 

"They seem a lovely group of people, dear one... a shame you must stay behind."

 

The smile on Stern's face dissolves into a look of confusion. Anger.

 

Cuchulainn the sun priest speaks before the large knight of Rockfist can find his words...

 

"How do you mean?! Stay behind? Shan.... K'aidden..... you're not coming with us?"

 

Taking three steps toward Shan, Stern bellows out, "MASTER SHAN! DOES SHE SPEAK THA TRUTH? YER TA STAY BEHIND?"

 

Control... Must calm down... Stern get a hold o' yerself man!

 

Turning his back to the group in frustration, Stern peers back out the great window to the North where death whipsers his name.

 

 

SK

 

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Warrick blushes slightly at his misintroduction but hopes for an opportunity to connect with the lovely and powerful elf in front of him. *Ahem* "Actually, my last name is Greywynd, though we rarely speak it among ourselves, thus, the understandable error." Warrick smiles apologetically at Shan.

 

"The Greywynds have always felt a kindred with the air spirits. I am quite convinced they speed my along in my career. We are honored to make your acquaintance."

 

Warrick offers a practiced bow and steps back. As he sizes the situation he fails to be surprised by the revelation that Shan is not coming with them. Disappointed, yes, but it is clear that Shan has other tasks at hand, at least to Warrick.

 

One less Wizard, eh? More's the pity when facing a Necromancer. Greater stealth will be needed, but stealth against the living dead...?

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Knowing how poorly she has played the Elf in her last encounters with her kin, Jesset will not allow her words to burst forth the way Stern's have. Instead, she is impassive, yet very appreciative.

 

Bless you, Stern! We need someone to say what we all feel. Obviously Shan has duties here - that was plain. But he has duties as one of the Chosen as well. Does he expect my wizardry to replace HIS? He knows I am no replacement for him - and my better archery does not make me his equal in power even as he is.

 

Let him fulfill his obligations here after he fulfills his obligations as a Chosen of Beleah.

 

With a face of glassy water - serene, but not unnaturally motionless - Jesset nods graciously at Mari's appreciation of Garr.

 

"Of course we are Magik-bonded. I know you would not be wrong about such a thing. But it is true we came to each other in an usual way. As an Orkan war dog, he served a green-skinned master. That master died in an assault of the army of dead on his master's village. I was tracking the Dead Raiders and aided the villagers to flee. I was not ready then to stand against so many.

 

"But when his bond with his former master broke, his spirit did not flee as so many familiars might. Perhaps the servants of the Gods decided then that we would bond, or perhaps Garr himself chose, seeing power in me that was then untapped. I thought it was merely my Ranger's way with animals. When I tapped my power, instead of calling a spirit from afar, Garr merely asked why I had waited so long to fulfill my destiny.

 

"That was in Searoad, where all of us came together as Chosen. He has never left my side since then, save to throw himself between danger and my Companions.

 

"We formed a powerful bond...there in Searoad."

 

Garr cannot help but be aware of Jesset's feelings - her desire for answers and her silent insistence that Shan, K'aidenn, cannot stay behind now.

 

But Garr's own feelings are simpler - the Lady is Very beautiful...and knows the difference between where to scratch and where to thump. As the shorter-tongued speak to each other at their tall height, Garr merely lets his hind foot rise and stomp convulsively. His tail, meanwhile, swings like a bat... Garr Likes this Lady Air.

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She smiles at each of the companions as she slowly makes her way back to Shan's side. "They seem a lovely group of people, dear one... a shame you must stay behind."

 

What a snooty .... what?

 

"MASTER SHAN! DOES SHE SPEAK THA TRUTH? YER TA STAY BEHIND?"

 

"Oh, this gets better and better!" chuckles Robert. "Now he's discovered his elven name he's too valuable to risk?" I can't believe this!

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