Jump to content

Michael-TLH

The Darakan Chronicles, Part 2

Recommended Posts

From the back of the room where they had been standing Mykayla merely stats "We are going." Then turning to Robert "We best get our own gear and make ready." She smiles slightly at the woodman and heads out the door to thier quarters.

LT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warrick cuts his eyes dramatically at the Lynx offering light play in return, but he defers speaking for a time. Once it is confirmed that Robert and Mykayla are indeed joining the expedition, he shoulders on his backpack and offers to Shan, "We'll miss you, that much is certain. Btu get things straightened out and you can rejoin us soon enough. We've got this covered. Just a few dead that need reminding they're dead..."

 

He shoots a wink at the jibe, bows slightly to the Elven Lady of Air, and gives Jesset his best, "So what are we waiting for?" look with a slight smile playing on his lips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"If any of us don't make it, you'll always have to live with the thought that you could have saved them if you'd been there. I know what that's like and it's a feeling I would spare you from, comrade. You can catch us up if you get your head sorted." Studiously avoiding the woman, Robert leaves to follow Mykala.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesset frowns at the words of Robert, tho' she understands these are meant as pity for his situation and no sort of rebuke.

 

Fortunately, he is not turned towards her at that moment. Before he can turn to her, she composes her face and begins speaking.

 

"Kai'denn - all our prayers are with you. May your healing be as fast as a Lynx' spring." To the rest she adds, "No, there is nothing now to wait on. We should leave soonest. I have been packed, as I know most of you are as well. Ai'mariannae - are we to be sent through the powers of the Phoenix Guard? or the Aspects? If not, perhaps you can provide some mounts. I will need none, but the rest will. And we would need pack beasts - as fast as the riding beasts, if you would. I would rather bring more fast beasts than fewer, slower ones. With two ranger-trained among us, the extra animal care will not slow us as much as a mule among running horses.

 

"If there is nothing else the King requires of us, we should leave as soon as the grooms can ready the mounts."

 

Here we come, my brother. May you have found your conscience before we arrive. The five with me are a powerful army to themselves - and I know the forests of the Bole even better than You!

 

Her hand touches Saeowyn's sheath, stroking it absent-mindedly...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sun streams down through the canopy of trees and the smell of wildflowers fill the air as the Companions once again gather outside the Elven King's castle. The polished marble gleams and shortly, groomsmen appear leading magnificent white horses, a dozen in total.

 

Aifrik appears from around the corner and nods his head to Jesset.

 

"His majesty the King makes a gift of these horses to you and yours, Lady Skoli. They are some of the finest steeds from the Royal Stables."

 

He tilts his head and moves up the stairs to open the door as Princess 'Mari steps out. Lady Air has taken the time to change into a pure white dress of the finest silks. a diamond encrusted tiara holds back her hair as an ever-present breeze ruffles through. Lord Flame comes behind her, his face composed, but eyes shining.

 

"If you are all ready, I will begin." She waits as people and horses are paired and packs are stowed.

 

She raises her hands and begins chanting, wind rising and plucking at loose clothes and hair. The air around the Companions begins to swirl and churn faster and faster. Sand, bits of grass and loose dirt dance around in a circle encompassing all of them. Shortly the wind is blowing faster and faster, developing into something like a tornado and yet not. Horses whinny and companions stumble as they slowly rise. A great wall of wind now circles the travelers and Lady Air's voice speaks in all their minds.

 

This is as close as I dare to take you. Thank you, all of you... may you be successful on your quest.

 

A clap of thunder booms out and the air begins to clear, the wind gradually dying away and forming tiny dust devils. As the companions calm their mounts it is obvious they are no longer in the elven city or anywhere near it. Hundreds and hundreds of miles have been travelled in the blink of an eye.

 

You are all on a dusty road, one which goes north and south. Far to the north, you can see the beginnings of a forest...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From his mounted position Stern turns his large steed in a slow circle taking in the lay of the land...

 

Looking to Jesset, then to the others... "Tha undead are close ma friends, I can feel it in me bones..."

 

Dark clouds, flashes of lightning, and distant thundering echos pull Stern's gaze toward the northern mountain range.

 

"We best get a movin' ma friends... Where would ye have me ride in tha order Jess?"

 

As Stern waits for the group to fall in live and make travel plans, his mind burns with the whispering voices of countless undead.

 

Taking comfort in the unity of the Companions and the weigth of Karamor on his shoulder, Stern shakes his head to clear his mind so that he may begin a silent prayer.

 

St. Marcus guide us from this hour on...

Let me be your weapon to drive these undead back...

Back from whence they came and help lay their souls to rest...

Let fear be a stranger to this group as we face the horrors of battle...

 

I am the Aegis, the Protector, the Defender, I am the Guiding Light...

 

 

SK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the approach of the horses, both the Lynx and her Mastiff seem to flair their nostrils. Certainly both become delighted before the steeds appear to the eye and are already looking with expectation towards where the grooms appear. To Aifrik, Jesset nods with a wide, grateful smile on her face.

 

Yes, these will help in so many ways! Our arrival on the backs of the Me'er Ailewynn will prevent much mistrust from the beginning. It is a good sign of the King's support. None of the Servants could shoot first without speaking to the riders of the Me'er Ailewynn, could they??

 

Then comes the Wind of Nine League Leaps. A poetic, if mathematically incorrect, name for that powerful magic. I never thought I would see it done...much less appreciate the spellcasting involved. Her phrasing - and the fluid precision of her gestures! No wonder the magic is for the greatest of Wizards alone...

 

Garr barks his exitedness even before the storm clears, tho' if there is any meaning in it beyond what any dumb beast might yap, neither the dog nor Skoli attempts to make his bark's meaning any more plain to the rest of the party.

 

With a determined happiness, Jesset - who arrived northmost of all the Companions and their steeds - turns her back on the road they must travel to quickly reassure the elven steeds with the whispers and gentle brushings of the elven Ranger she still is. She can easily see Robert similarly calm the animals near him. Altho' for him it is almost a mere act of will - a function of an aura of power over beasts he carries with him everywhere, not the basic training the Servants drilled into the Skoli so many years ago....

 

In any case, the steeds were never very distressed at Lady Air's magic, and in a few moments they are all ready to be mounted. Some carry pack, for now. Others are obviously saddled with one or another companion in mind - the grooms have already distributed these animals appropriately. Jesset's own is nearby hers. It is packed with some things she did not remember being hers. Some, of course, is the expected set of necessities. But there is another case also that seems not to be mere foodstuffs or mallets.

 

Opening the carefully closed container, she realizes it is built and closed to protect against even a dousing - certainly the worst of rains would not penetrate. Inside are several scroll cases sorted neatly into fitted slots. One is obviously a message scroll to be delivered to the Order of Servants at the Bole. The others can be looked at later. For now, she carefully seals the container once again.

 

One of the steeds is clearly equipped with more a perch than a saddle, and Jesset recognizes its intended purpose. Bending at the waist with her hands resting on the horse's back, she makes herself a one-step ladder to aid Garr in reaching his perch. In a moment he is atop his mount where his legs cannot slow the party, nor be worn out by the time the party reaches battle. But however practical the thought (and the horse may have originally been equipped for securing wounded too, or prisoners) Garr sticks his chin out & up regally, as if his Sedan Throne had finally arrived.

 

Laughing at her friend's behavior, the blue wizard - deceptively covered in weapons and false-armor - mounts her own horse and looks back to appraise the readiness of the others...

 

 

When Stern asks for his place in the order of march, Jesset walks her horse backward a few steps to come within easy speaking distance.

 

"Your place should be the front, Stern, as our shield, save only that I may need you behind me or Robert sometimes if scouting or examining signs is necessary. But you should always be first or second. When battle is joined - stay to the front, but keep an eye on Mykayla, would you? She is more potent than ever in some respects. Indeed she may be too much for an army...but she is vulnerable to a single sword if it gets too close to her. I want her always able to focus on the army while you focus on individual swords."

 

It shall be a good day, the first time I am able to lead this army 'gainst the undead hordes! How very different it will be this time. Let those corpses TRY to surround us en masse.

 

Karrock.... It shall be as you hoped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a distant village, a trembling hand reaches for a bell and rings it, the crystalline tones carrying through the small house. A soft feminine hand sets the bell down and waits.

 

A few moments later a shuffling step opens a door.

 

"Oh dear, Mother. Ye shouldn't be up and about at this hour, ringing yer bell, 'tisn't e'en close tae dawn yet. Ol' Jenks don't hear no roosters a'crowin' or nae chichens scratchin' so it can't be time fer ye breaking of the fast yet, kennit? An' just look at ye with yuir pillows all in a disarray and such, how can ye rest yuirself? Is that why ye called for ol' Jenks, now Mother? Jest lookat the mess, yuir in, me dear. Oh my oh me."

 

An elderly hin with snow white hair peeking up from his cap carries a lamp and sets it on a hand-carved table next to an enormous bed, piled high with satin pillows. Reclining in state, a beautiful halfling lady, many times the size of the elderly halfling, smiles and shakes her head as her manservant continues his one-sided conversation.

 

"And ye've dropped yer stylus, Mother. O now that can't be the reason, kennit? I'd daresay not, for ye've not a spiteful heart Mother, and ye wouldnae call ol' Jenks unless ye needed me, not this early with nary a peep from the ducks in the pond outside yer window there, so ye musta woken up this poor old boy for some reason, I would imagine, although what it is, well I just couldn' say, for I was thinking to meself 'Now Jenks, what's got Mother all riled up and ringing her bell and such this early in the morning before the cows e'en begin to low and wantin' to be milked?' but I didn' have nae answer to me own questions, so I just hopped up and grabbed me this lantern and now hear I am, all ready and seein' yourself in such a state. What can it be, Mother? Oh, now, I know yuir not fer answerin' the likes o' ol' Jenks, so don't be consternatin' yersel' I'll just have me a read here on yuir pad..."

 

Moving around the bed, Old Jenks picks up a slate tablet and peers intently at it for several seconds.

 

"Well this here's just a-squiggle an' such, naut yer normal letters at all... but... that sorta looks like yer tryin' ta make a 'B' but I'll be blasted if ah ken read the thing fer 'tis all blurry-like and... hold on a tic! That's the thing! I've gone an' forgotten me eyeglasses and here ye lie a-bed so verra early that the horses what pull the chariot han't even had their oats and me peerin' at yuir slate seein' a letter what may not be there, ol' Jenks, yer daft I imagine yer thinkin', an' yer not far off, fergettin' me glasses oh me, oh my..."

 

Shaking her head, the halfling lady reaches out and lightly touches Jenks' hands as he straightens her pillows. Leaning in, she whispers into his ear for several seconds. Outside, a coyote about to enter the chicken coop turns and runs, howling. Thunder shakes the eaves overhead and a flock of bats passing by on their nightime prowl for insects suddenly wheel and turn every direction before scattering to all points.

 

"Yes, Mother, I will." Pale and shaking, the elderly halfling named Jenks races away as fast as his tired old bones will carry him, heart hammering in his chest.

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

In the lowest level of the Elven castle, Aifrik finds his old friend Marrin on guard outside the vaults. A chill draft swirls around him as he closes the door behind him.

 

"Hile Marrin. What ails thine old bones?" With a smile he sets down a jug of wine and a deck of cards.

 

"Hile Aifrik, thy bones were old when mine were being born, so don't be calling me old, ye codger." With a grin he waves to the chair opposite his desk and pours two fingers worth into a battered pewter cup. "Just the cold and damp as ever these days... nothing a snort or two of honeywine can't fix."

 

Aifrink pours his own into a mug and laughs as Marrin waits for him to settle. "Don't wait on my account, friend. It's almost quitting time as it is, no time to waste, I say."

 

Marrin grins and toasts Aifrik before knocking back his drink.

 

"Oh! That's a kicker, and warms my blood to boot!" He smiles and pauses as Aifrik lowers his mug without drinking. "What? Not thirsty? That's a first." He grins and blinks his eyes. Pushing away from the table quickly he begins to stand before grabbing the table for support. "Blast... you..." He manages to speak a few words before collapsing, knocking mugs, wine and cards aside.

 

Aifrik stands and shakes his head before moving forward. His hand reaches behind his tunic and he pulls a short, sinuously curving blade. Checking to see if his victim is indeed, truly unconscious or just feinting, he snaps a kick into the old elf's ribs. Satisfied as he hears bone snapping, he reaches down and efficiently slices the guard's throat before hurrying to the vault.

 

Reaching into a pouch he pulls out a small bundle of waxed paper. Breaking it open he flings a handful of sparkling dust onto the massive iron and mithril door. For a moment or two the door wavers before disappearing, leaving behind an ordinary wall.

 

"Vlos!" Aifrik swears in a foreign-sounding tongue before moving back. Down the steps two shapes glide, wrapped in dark cloaks, red eyes peering from behind masks.

 

One of the figures stoops and checks the floor under the desk. Her hands and fingers blur as they twist into strange shapes. Aifrik and the other nod once and move the desk, uncovering a hidden door. The female grins behind her mask.

 

"They are not so clever, these elves, are they 'Aifrik'?" She smiles as Aifrik changes. What was once the castellan of the Elven king is replaced by a near featureless humanoid, skin a uniform gray, large white eyes staring balefully.

 

"Nau, jabbress... they are naut."

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

 

In distant Searoad, a black-haired woman with amethyst eyes stares north out of the tower window, tears streaming down her face.

Edited by Michael-TLH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Warrick eyes the disappearing winds with more than a hint of distrust, but merely shakes his head. "Always with the surprises, these Wizards, and rarely do they request leave before casting." His mood is joking as he cuts a sideways glance at Jesset, but his friends know that where his jest lies, so also lies truth.

 

Shifting his backpack to the saddlebags on his mount, he does his best to lighten the load and steady the animal at the same time. He nods his appreciation to Robert when the Ranger stills Warrick's steed with a single light touch and a pair of murmured words.

 

Tightening his cloak of invisibility about him, he eyes his rapier with suspicion, unsure of how effective it will be against the Undead. It will have to do. Hopefully there are but a few skeletons among them but, rather, something with meat enough to skewer. Shaking off his concerns, for now, he saddles up like a man that has done so before, but lacking the grace of one that does so every day. Adjusting his hold on the reins slightly, he takes his assigned position in the group's order and begins scanning the area with his controlled paranoia and skepticism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once the wind has died down Mykayla checks over her stuff to make sure everything is still there and in one peice. Finding everything in order, she takes th reins of her mount. Fine beast these are, but if I had known they were going to give us mounts I would have had them send for my own. I was never partial to the white ones.... Witha quiet sigh, she mounts up and waits for the others to arrange themselves so they can be off. She finds no joy in being back in the lands of her people. The sooner we are done the sooner we can leave these lands that belong to my kindred.

LT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Your place should be the front, Stern, as our shield, save only that I may need you behind me or Robert sometimes if scouting or examining signs is necessary. But you should always be first or second. When battle is joined - stay to the front, but keep an eye on Mykayla, would you? She is more potent than ever in some respects. Indeed she may be too much for an army...but she is vulnerable to a single sword if it gets too close to her. I want her always able to focus on the army while you focus on individual swords."

 

Stern gives a determined nod, glancing first back at Mykayla then forward again to Jesset's position.

 

"By St. Marcus none shall get close to the elven sorceress, ye have me word Jess!"

 

Stern spurs his large elven warhorse to the front of the riding order and returns his gaze to the road before him.

 

Hammer faithfully runs along side her master's mount as they slowly move north.

 

SK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The chariot climbs higher in the sky as the day passes... the steps of the Me'er Ailewynn do not falter or tire as the Companions grow ever closer to the forest and whatever awaits them within.

 

A safe, dry place is found by Robert to camp and a meal is prepared before the group beds down for the night. Warrick and Stern pass the night uneventfully. Robert is awaked and together with little Adia, they keep a quiet watch, Robert gliding easily through the scrub and Adia peering intently around.

 

All is quiet and still in the night. Just as Robert is deciding it is too quiet, Adia tilts her head as Stern moans in his sleep. Hammer opens one eye and looks at her master as Garr lifts his head, scenting... something.

 

Jesset's eyes snap open as Robert hears the twang of a bowstring being released. Feeling the rush of wind next to his face, he turns and sees that little more than an inch to his left, a crossbow bolt quivers in the bole of the tree next to him, it's purple and black fletching vibrating slightly.

 

Hammer and Garr both being barking wildly.

 

Figures rush into the camp, padding near silently. Dressed in silvery black armor with a strangely elven look, their heads and faces are covered in black cloth. One rushes to where Stern is just rousing. Another towards Mykayla and one to Cuchullain. Jesset... draws two, who seem to be moving in to flank her.

 

As if that wasn't enough words of power rumble through the air, Jess and Mykayla know them all to well as their lost companion Shan had occassion to say them, although not as heavily accented as this caster. They tense, expecting a ball of fire to come shooting in.

 

Luckily, someone else is here as well, for the night sky is split asunder as a bolt of lightning falls from the sky, illuminating the wizard who falls, smoking, to the ground.

 

A halfling wearing an overlarge hat waves cheerfully from up above. Quickly dodging another crossbow bolt, he grins.

 

"Whoops! Forgot about that one!" Pointing in the trees to Robert's right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The tiny floating man speaks words of Elven Wizardry, and hurls another bolt of lightning, like a spear of the Gods. This one aimed at the enemy spellcaster. Such a powerful force is sure to distract and break the spellcaster's concentration.

 

"Quickly! To arms!" he shouts, his voice telling of time spent with the Shining Host, but mingled with something earthy and friendly. The mysterious man's body is already faintly aglow with warding magics and energy coursing through him. "Bring flame to this fight!" he shouts to the others even as he begins casting a new spell...

 

--LSH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stern is drawn from his troubled sleep, pulled from a dream wherein thousands upon thousands of undead are closing in upon him, grabbing and biting at his explosed flesh... His Companions lost, the giant paladin cries out in pain and anger. Then he is awake. Barking. Movement. Yelling.

 

Getting to his feet, the young Aegis draws his massive two-handed sword, Karamor, in one fluid motion and stands with teeth gritted ready to face his foes... His divine senses reveal evil radiating all around the camp.

 

Then lightning crackles through the night air from an unseen source and flashes the campsite in full view, but only for a split second.

 

Hammer barks and growls violently as she moves to attack the nearest threat.

 

“Quickly! To arms!”

 

Stern watches as another bolt of lightning crackles forth from above. A small cloaked figure then floats into view... Smaller then a dwarf, Stern is unable to identify the form. However, the Aegis of Rockfist can sense no evil in the small floating creature and turns his attention back toward the attackers trying desparately to assess their numbers.

 

"FORM A CIRCLE, 'ROUND MYKA, DO NOT LET 'EM FLANK US!"

 

Stern will move to Myka's defense as quickly as he can and, if necessary, engage any masked figure that stands in his way. Then, once in position, Stern will aggressively intercept any of the black armored attackers that come near the elven sorceress.

 

SK

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×