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Against the Kobolds

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On the southern edge of The Shining Forest there is a series of interconnected caverns that run for miles under the forest, and perhaps even as far as the river known as Paladin's Tears. Despite multiple openings, in various locations, this complex is known simply as the Black Cave. It was named after the predominant tribe of Kobolds that made their home there. Around 150 years ago a strange meteoric metal was found in the caverns, first discovered on the body of a Kobold raider, then traced back to the caves. This metal could be worked like steel, but when tempered was much harder. Some scholars (especially among those in the Keep of the Scroll) theorize that it might be remnants of the great meteor that created the Lake of Stars, scattered on impact, and eventually swallowed up by the earth over vast reaches of time. The presence of this metal attracted a small clan of dwarven craftsmen. These dwarves, with the permission and support of the Council of the Moon, created a small settlement near the caves. This settlement's sole purpose was the mining, processing, and crafting of this wondrous metal. Despite occasional clashes with the Kobold and Goblin tribes who were known to infest the caves, with the support of The Court of the Moon the settlement soon began to prosper and grow. The settlement eventually grew into a small town named Dvarrowferj. The Court of the Moon benefited from this, since this metal is highly prized as a source of tools, implements, weapons, and armor. Recently strange happenings have been occurring. It started off with the taciturn dwarven miners whispering about strange noises and lights in the deepest parts of the mines. Then pets and livestock started vanishing. It all came to a head when several hearths outside of town were attacked late one night. No one is really sure who, or what, the attackers were. By the time news reached the town proper the elements had erased any tracks. Everyone involved in the attack is either dead or missing. The Elders of Dvarrowferj have approached the Council of the Moon requesting help, since they are mostly simple craftsmen. They are afraid this attack might be the first of many, and they would like to locate the missing dwarves if possible. The Council in turn has tasked The Knights of the Silver Aspen with investigating the incident. Unfortunately this incident is not isolated, it has come at a time when there is growing unease in The Shining Forest and outlying areas. The Knights, never a large organization at the best of times, have currently committed all of their resources elsewhere. So it has fallen to Princess Kria'nel Wynthelas as the commander of The Knights to recruit a group of agents willing to investigate the goings on at Dvarrowferj.

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@Arthrand

 

Having just recently arrived on the outskirts of The Elven Court you make your way into the city. The traffic is fairly slow, and after giving you a cursory inspection the gate guards wave you through. You pass through the Eastern gate and find yourself in a small open plaza. To the north and south are what look to be gatehouse/guard shacks/barracks. A tree lined lane extends in front of you heading West. There are some people milling about, but no large crowds.

 

Roll a wisdom check.

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@Tyll

 

The winter has been less than productive for you. Pickings have been slim, and rumors of growing unease in the area around the Shining Forest have not made matters any better. You've decided to head South for a bit, to see what's what, and perhaps weather the last bit of Winter's chill in a more agreeable climate. You can always head north again as the year progresses. Greywall isn't really your type of place, since it's kept by The Knights of the Silver Aspen and The church of The Knight. In addition at any given time there are various other clergy wandering about. Still the Knights and the Clergy there occasionally need the services of a sword of negotiable ideology, and their platinum spends just as sweetly as any. You catch a caravan gig heading to the Keep, it doesn't pay much, but there's strength in numbers, and your momma didn't raise no goblin brained idiot. You collect your coppers (this gig wasn't paying much) and decide to stop off in Greywall Town, rather than go into the Keep. You've got nothing against them, but you aren't interested in politics or religion right now, but in food, a drink, and a hot bath. You find your way to the best (only) Inn in Greywall Town; The Dented Cuirass. You step through the door and notice two things. The first is that there are only three people in the common room, plus a barkeep. The second is that one of the three is an astounding beautiful woman. She is sitting at a table with one of the other patrons, and the third is apparently asleep at the bar, his stool tilted back against the wall, and his legs propped against the rail. The barkeep stops running his rag around the bar and looks up expectantly as you enter.

 

Roll a Wisdom check.

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@Merrillee

 

Up until now you have spent the vast majority of your life in a small village at the very southern edge of The Forest of Talking Trees. Your people first started appearing at roughly the same time the forest did, and after a while most of the locals took it in stride, just like everything else. Gnomes certainly weren't any weirder than the giant desert (Sandsea) that was not there one day, and appeared the next in the midst of a titanic battle involving The Prime Three, an awakened Elder God, and toward the end Coyote and Raven. The gnomes are on relatively good terms with the dalefolk and the wandering Singers (shamans) who inhabit the area. The Elder of your village tried to take your sudden obsession with martial prowess in stride. Unfortunately even venerable Elders have finite patience, and your incessant prattling and ill timed sword strokes finally drove him over the edge. In an attempt to disabuse you of your delusions he assigned you a patrol through the very southeastern edge of the forest, the dalelands and hills between, and the westernmost southern corner of the Shining Forest. His hopes were that a few days or weeks of sleeping in the cold and rain would make you realize that the life of an adventurer was not all epics and treasure. You have just finished the first leg of your patrol, and headed out into the hills west of your village and the forest. Clouds roll in toward dusk, and as you start preparing your camp you notice a definite chill in the air. Rain seems likely as you kindle your fire, and throw together a quick lean to keep it from getting doused. The night seems oppressively dark for some reason, and you can't help but shiver a bit despite your cloak. A slight wind has picked up.

 

Roll Wisdom check.

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@ Eldan

 

When you appeared on the edge of McRae lands as a calf, no one was really sure what to make of it. After much discussion the family had decided it was best for everyone involved to ignore the situation, and hope it resolved itself. It was at this point that Cellanil, the ancient matriarch of the family stepped in. No one is really sure how old she is, she's simply been around...well always. Some of the family stories put her as the wife of Trent McRae, the man who founded this particular branch of the family on this world. No one is really sure why he took an Elven bride (some who remember her more fiery outbursts fancy she took him). She gave you a once over, then turned and issued several vituperative commands, and that was that. You were part of the family. Once the strangeness wore off you became just like one of the other innumerable children always under foot, albeit a much taller, stronger, and bull headed one. As you grew and matured you began to think of yourself simply as one of the family, though slightly different. You were closest to Kircan, so naturally when he announced on his 17th birthday that he intended to take vows as a Paladin of The Knight if possible, you decided that was your path too. The McRae family's close ties to the church were what gave you that chance. Kircan got his wish, but the leaders of the church decided you were not quite suited to that life. Instead they gave you a chance to join the Order of the Shield, the priestly arm of the church. Their purpose was to support their brothers and innocents, shield them from harm, and when necessary defend them with body and life. It was not an easy path for you, the discipline and structure chafed you, and your chaotic nature made it sometimes difficult to fit in a pre-defined role. It took you twice as long, but finally the day had come. You were named a squire of The Order of the Shield. The Order granted you a brief leave to visit your foster family, and then you were to accompany your "brother" Kircan (also on leave) to the Elven Court, there you are to be attached to The Knights of the Silver Aspen to help heal the injured. It was hoped that this seasoning would give you a broader perspective of the world, and prepare you for the trials you will face not only as a champion of Good, Order, and Justice, but as someone different from everyone else.

 

You and Kircan have left the family lands, you estimate you are a few days hard travel north of Greywall, and though the area is not completely foreign, you aren't overly familiar with it. It is late afternoon, and the area is covered in grass, sparse trees, and rocks. Clouds have started to blow in, and there is a hint of moisture in the air.

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@Anthrall

 

After your father died your mother raised you to the best of her ability, though you always got the impression she never totally mastered her grief over your father. She was always a little withdrawn, though you could bring out her smile. As an elf you have some small knowledge of the great war that ravaged the first Elven Court. You know how a great army lead by the blue dragon Anachranystalithyx and her general Vraxil Shadowblade finally broke through the Elven defenses and destroyed the great city, and the Shrine of the Aspen nearby. Also, though history has never been your strongest suit, you are aware that there was a schism in the Royal Family, and that the Princess Heir abdicated, and when her sister took power she dissolved the Matriarchy and instituted the Council of the Moon as the Elven ruling body. It was this council that fostered the Knights of the Silver Aspen, and their goal to ensure that the Elven society never again became Xenophobic and withdrawn from the affairs of the world. Many on the Council believed that if the elves had been more open, allies could have prevented the destruction of their first great city and homeland. You carry your father's longbow, a beautiful weapon that while not magical nonetheless seems immune to the wear most such weapons experience. It has remained true and accurate at least for as long as you've been alive. Your mother never talks about him, but you've always suspected that he was an agent of The Silver Aspen, or at least did work for them from time to time. You recently discovered a wounded bear that was threatening the scattered holdings and creatures in the western edge of the forest, and after tracking the bear and putting it down you discovered a strange set of tracks. They were several days old at least, and strange. Some of the tracks are plainly Kobold, and upon seeing them a fierce and powerful hatred began to burn in your heart. However, some of the tracks are...different. They appear to be Kobold, but not Kobold. They are misshapen, and appear to be dragging. Also, some of the "not-kobolds" seem to be injured, since there are reddish brown stains on some of the grooves that indicate dragging. The tracks appear to continue west, and if you are any judge of the stride they are moving at their best possible speed.

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@Alfreda

 

Winter is a poor time for traveling performers. This winter more so. The exceptional cold, coupled with several chance run ins with entrepreneurial freelancers (bandits) left your company, Mad Michael's Mystical Mythical Masquerade, a bit worse for the wear. After weighing the options your troupe decided to head south. Though a skilled company of performers the lean winter and growing unease have left people reluctant to part with their silver for anything not necessary. Talk began to circulate among that show of disbanding, until a chance meeting with a mysterious patron turned things around for your merry group of showmen (and women). A strange raven haired lady approached Michael, and after naming an unbelievable sum, she has booked your show's services for a full month. There's only one slight drawback. The theater she hired you to perform at is in a bad part of a bad city. Your Patron, who's name has been withheld from all but Michael at her request, just paid you a whole season's wages to perform in The Port of Ravens, a city so bad that Blackguards have been known to go around. The Lord Mayor of the city is a dark elf, and the most anti-elven force currently known to exist. Other than his august personage, elves (even partial ones) have no rights within his city. Any of elven blood unfortunate enough to find themselves inside the city, or surrounding area, are usually either killed or summarily sold into slavery. After much discussion and worry it's finally decided that the make up artist for the troupe will use her skills to hide your heritage, and you will be strictly back stage the entire time you're in the city, except when unavoidable. The month passes uneventfully, though there is no great turn out for the show despite your troupe's skill. Plying your art as an entertainer you manage to prevent your heritage from being detected. The final night of the show sees your largest crowd yet. The theater is packed, your mysterious patron is present in the front row with an equally mysterious companion. After the applause dies down at the end of the show she approaches Michael, and invites you all to dine with her in the adjacent tavern. She also announces a bonus to the group equal to half what she has already paid. You enter the tavern, and notice it is fuller than normal. You also notice that other than your patron and her companion the occupants don't seem like they are much interested in the arts (unless you count exotic dancing as a visual art form). There are also what appear to be 3 off duty guardsmen among the crowd.

 

Roll a Wisdom Check.

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Alfreda takes her ale to a table with some of her fellow travelers, and keeps her head down, her mouth shut, and her eyes open. For now. For the safety of her troupe she has no wish to attract attention tonight.

 

d20=16

Edited by Inarah

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Merrillee wraps her cloak more tightly around herself as she absentmindedly gnaws on some dried rations from her pack, slightly mesmerized by the flickering flames of her campfire.

 

d20 = 17

Edited by Shiqra

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@Alfreda

 

Something about the common room seems a bit off to you, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is, somewhat like a dream that slips away when you awaken. As you approach your table you notice the rest of the troop slipping in and congregating around your mysterious patroness.

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@Merrillee

 

You can almost swear you heard something, some faint vague noise, carried to you on the quickening wind, but then it's gone, and you aren't sure if it was there, or if your overactive imagination is playing even odder tricks on you than normal.

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Wisdom Check = 20. Tyll is thoroughly oblivious, perhaps distracted by the astoundingly beautiful woman. Unable to help myself, I leer at her for a moment before remembering myself and making my way to the bar. With one last look at such fair presence, I at last manage to tear my gaze away.

 

I'll buy an ale, take a stool, and drink in silence while I listen to what's going on in the room.

Edited by buglips*the*goblin

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Hoping to keep from getting wet, Eldan urges Kircan that they should look for some shelter to avoid the rain that seems to be marked in the air.

Edited by Kacir

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Alfreda takes another look around the room, and then takes her drink and shuffles closer to the crowd around their hostess. She looks to see what it is everyone is so fascinated by.

 

d20=10

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@Tyll

 

You've barely managed the first mouthful when you feel a slight presence at your side. You turn and notice the gentleman from the lady's table standing patiently. There is something strange about his eyes, one moment they seem to be blue, then green, then grey. He's wearing a doublet, leather leggings, and appears to be armed with a sabre and dagger. He is also obviously Elven. When you turn, he gives you a brief bow, and says, "Greetings sir, I am Jack, retainer to the great Lady Corvus, she requests that you join us for a drink." Finishing, he bows again, and returns to the lady's side.

 

@Eldan

 

Kircan agrees with you, and after locating no real suitable shelter, he suggests anchoring a tarp and creating a small lean to that you can at least stay out of the worst of the wind. After securing the tarp between a small sapling and a boulder, and propping the ends with two long sticks you set about creating a small camp for the night. Kircan jokes with you while you go about your tasks, needling you in all the familiar manners you're used to from childhood, and for a time it's like you're back on the family land.

 

Roll Wisdom check.

 

@Alfreda

 

As you start across the room you suddenly feel a hand close gently around your arm and halt you. When you turn you are staring into a face so wrinkled and darkly brown that it appears to be almost carved from mahogany. It's a man, dressed in rough homespun, wearing a strange vest made from carved bones linked together with some kind of wire or twine. Even more strangely you don't seem to remember seeing him before, and though every other table in the tavern (The Goblin's Pants) is full he seems to be sitting by himself. As you start to pull away he speaks to you, and his voice suddenly gives you the feeling of a lonely wind sweeping over a thousand miles of empty desert while stars dance overhead. "No little one, best you stay away from that one. She always had a weakness for shiny things, and you're too shiny by far. Sit a bit with old Ma'ii. Perhaps you share a drink and a moment with an old man, and maybe tell us a story? We are curious what one of the people, and so young, is doing in such a bad place. Sit with us, things are moving soon, but share a moment until then."

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