Tueor Pectoris

Angst and Shrubbery

Gilwen leaves the castle and looks up at the sky. The sun was beginning to set in the west and she breathed deeply a sigh of relief. Now that she was once again in the open air of the outdoors she could relax a bit. With Veryn hooked to her quiver Gilwen heads out towards the southern edge of town in search of Hagan’s dwelling. She felt the need to check in on her friend to make sure he was still alive at least if not alright. After having discovered their dhamphyric bloodlines she had been concerned for the others… all of whom were of a younger age and had grown extremely accustomed to their beliefs and the image of who they were.

Gilwen sneaks past store vendors and street dwellers as the sun continues to sink in the sky. She easily spots the building that Hagan used as shop and quarters and headed towards the door. Peaking in the window she clearly could tell that Hagan was not at the front desk and it was his pesky little helper instead. Not caring for an encounter with the wharf rat Gilwen wrapped her fingers on the door before shrinking off to the side of the doorway and squatting to hide as a bush (31 stealth check).

Lotho came bumbling out the door looking franticly about for customers. Gilwen snuck quietly (26 stealth check)through the open door and into the main room of the building before Lotho even could adjust to the blinding light in his face from the clear day. Gilwen carefully snuck over to the door to the back and lightly rapped on it five times. Settling against the wall away from the hinges of the door so she wouldn’t get a broken nose.

Hagan rolled over on his bed, reaching for his mug. A strange thought passed through his mind as he lay half awake

I feel the same. Why did I think I’d feel different?

Suddenly the events of the night before erupted in Hagan’s thoughts. The maelstrom of random images blurred in his mind. He was in the castle. That cleric from the forest was there; then he was bleeding. Hagan smiled to himself. He hoped to all the gods that he was responsible for the red stains on Artorius’s otherwise pristine white cloak.

Then something else. A dragon. A little red one. And then another. A big one. Dragons. D-D-D… Dhampyr.

Hagan sat bolt upright in bed, panting from the shock. He quickly checked himself for bites. His ribs were still sore and the tenderness brought more memories of the Dragon

We almost had him.

The knocking at the door persisted, much to Hagan’s displeasure. He scowled as he dressed and put his boots on

“By the Gods, Lotho, what did i tell you? This had better be damned important or I’ll be digging a very small grave tomorrow.”

And not a jury in the city will convict me.

Hagan walked to the door, his eyes still blurry with sleep. He opened it briskly, ready to kick Lotho right in the…

There’s a tree in my house.

“Lotho! Is there some sort of plant monster in the shop?”

Gilwen’s scowl was quite apparent as she swished her twig decorated hair out of her face. Though she wasn’t very charismatic she had hoped that 282 years of being in the wilderness hadn’t some how made her ugly.

“A plant monster wouldn’t come to check on you to make sure you hadn’t drowned in your mead.” Gilwen says angrily barring her teeth in an odd sort of way. Cat-like in a sense. Gilwen side steps across the room and plops down in a chair watching Hagan intently.

Hagan winces slightly. Not from the scolding, but from the seemingly excessive volume of it. He walked over to the cask and turned the tap to fill his glass. A single drop fell from the tap followed by a small bubble and a gurgling noise. Hagan shrugged and poured the single drop into his mouth. He rubbed his jet black eyes and shook his head to wake himself up.

“My apologies, Gilwen. I’ve had a rough few days. Beside, I’m sure that if you put your mind to it, you could be a very convincing plant monster. I’d offer you a drink, but it would appear that…wait, why are you here again? And how did you get past Lotho?”

Hagan stretched and cracked his neck loudly before running his fingers through his hair in a futile attempt to make himself look more presentable.

Gilwen shrugs slightly and flicks her hand towards the open door at the scrambling figure looking into the distance down the roadway, perhaps trying to see a fleeing carriage.

“I’m checking in to see how you are fairing… I mean… Do you even know what day it is? You look like you have been sleeping for the past 3 days.” Gilwen says as she picks some dirt from under her fingernails, glancing up at Hagan nervously. ‘Sleeping isn’t really it… more like drinking…’ Gilwen thought to herself as she choked on the stench of mead. “You should get out of here… come with me on a walk… you look so caged up… lets go outside” Gilwen says and takes a few steps towards the door.

Hagan mulled the idea over. He didn’t want to leave, but then again, he was out of drink and awake for the night.

Might as well step out for a bit.

“Very well, Gilwen. I do have one thing to address first.”

Hagan walked out behind Gilwen, and stopped behind Lotho who was still scanning the landscape.

“Lotho! Where is the front desk?”

Lotho jumped so high, he was almost looking Hagan in the eye.

“M-M-Mister Hagan! You’re awake! I thought i heard a noise and…”

Hagan interrupted the halfling with a hint of frustration in his voice.

“Lotho, where is the front desk?”

Lotho looked puzzled and tilted his head slightly.

“It’s in the office, Mister Hagan, where else would it be?”

Hagan closed his eyes for a moment, trying to think.

“Then that’s where you should be, Halfling…Lotho, what time of day is it?”

Lotho looked even more puzzled at Hagan’s question.

“It’s sunset Mister Hagan. Have you been asleep this whole time?”

Hagan tried to remain focused, but he supposed the halfling would learn his lesson one way or another.

“Then go back inside and mind the shop until dark. Then take the night off.”

Hagan reached into his pocket and tossed the halfling handful of coins.

“Here’s the bonus for keeping your mouth shut about our customer. Lock up after dark and have a few drinks on me. And if you see John the Hammer, tell him I wish to speak with him at his convenience. That will be all, Halfling. Now, back to the shop with you.”

Lotho picked up the coins quickly and scurried back to the shop, closing the newly repaired door behind him. Hagan then turned to Gilwen with a slightly stressed look on his face.

“And where did you plan on leading me, my friend?”

Gilwen looks up at the darkened sky. The stars had begun to twinkle like beautiful gems in a black velvet bag.

“You are probably hungry are you not? We could head off to the Drake if you like.” Gilwen says softly, her eyes still cast at the stars.

As if on cue, Hagan’s stomach growled audibly. He rubbed his stomach a bit before looking up at the stars as well. As the sun sank farther into the horizon, more stars began to seemingly blink into existence. Hagan took a deep breath as the dusk around them began to remind him of the Shadowfell and all he had left behind.

Someday, when all this business is over, I’ll go back.

Hagan tapped Gilwen lightly on the shoulder to get her attention.

“Come. Let’s get something to eat. I feel I’ve had enough to drink for a few days at least.”

Gilwen jumps slightly from Hagan’s tap and nods, her mind someplace in the past as they walk towards the bar. They walk in silence for a little while before Gilwen glances over at Hagan.

“Has your drinking lead to any revelations?” Gilwen asks quietly, her eyes shifting into the hedges of the road.

Hagan pondered the question, not entirely sure what she meant.

“I’m not entirely sure what you mean. One does not drink to find revelation, one drinks to…avoid them. Or sometimes just to forget…”

Hagan became lost in his thoughts. Not an uncommon thing for him. He glanced over at Gilwen and almost allowed himself a small chuckle.

And our merry band of miscreants are supposed to save the world. Maybe the Raven Queen has a sense of humor after all.

“Anyway, what have i missed in the last one…three…several days? Have you spoken with the others? How are they taking our…new information?”

“I have not been in contact with them… I myself spent the last three days… wandering… around… It gives the mind time to piece things together… you have to remember… I have more life to have to rethink than you do.” Gilwen sighed softly as they entered the Drake, the sent of pork and potatoes wafted into their face as they opened the door.

Hagan took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of food as his stomach growled even louder. He walked to the table in the corner near the fire. He waved to Lilly who made her way to their table.

“I’ll have the Haggis, Lilly, and a pitcher of ale.”

Lilly nodded looked over at Gilwen, recognized her and walked to the back to fetch the orders.

Hagan turned and faced the fire for a moment, warming up after their brisk walk through the night air. He rubbed his hands together before turning to Gilwen as his haggis was set in front of him.

“Thanks, Lilly. This is just what I need.”

Hagan picked up his knife and sliced the casing open. The Drake’s cook made haggis with a pie crust around it, like a meat pie. Some people stuck their nose up at the dish, but Hagan couldn’t get enough of it. He scooped up a bit into his mouth and savored the taste.

“You know, I have no idea what’s in this. But I absolutely love it.”

Gilwen, on the other hand, knew exactly what was in it.

“But how can you eat if it you don’t know what it is?”

Hagan took another bite as Lilly returned with a pitcher of ale and two mugs. Hagan poured one for himself and moved the pitcher over the other mug for Gilwen. Not being a drinker, she shook her head slightly. Hagan shrugged and set the pitcher down and took a drink.

“Gilwen, it’s not the not knowing, it the not caring. Unless the Drake is mashing up zombies and stuffing them in meat pies, I’ll probably still eat it. It’s that good. But I digress, how are you handling the story the Blackbournes gave us?”

Gilwen absent mindedly picked through her stew. She looked up at Hagan then glanced around the tavern. The fire light was dancing over the tables. The people there seemingly quite intent on their food and mead. However she couldn’t be sure… she felt like she was being watched. Gilwen shook her head slightly.

“It pieces alot of my life together” Gilwen sighed simply before blowing on a spoonful of hot stew and sticking it in her mouth. She continued to eat while Hagan stared at her slightly.

“What?” Gilwen asked with a mouthful of stew and a fist full of bread. Hagan zoned out for a bit and Gilwen went back to her food. They finished their meal in silence except for a slight bought of laughter as a young drunk attempted to flirt with Lily… who inevitably pushed him off his bar stool and dragged him outside by his shirt, dumping him on the doorstep. Hagan and Gilwen paid for their meals and left, heading back the way they had come.

Gilwen glanced at the stars, nodding to herself. Tonight was an exceptionally clear night, the moon only a sliver in the zenith, not bright enough to bleach out the stars but luminescent enough to create a slight shadow on the ground. Gilwen could easily see in the low light and gracefully traveled down the darkened path.

“My story is probably unfamiliar to you but my mother and I were shunned from Tyrneamiltore… I always knew that other elves weren’t very fond of me… I had some contacts with them but for the most part I grew up on my own. My mother past on from this realm after my first 15 years… leaving me to wander on my own… She never gave me any answers… but now I have them… and now I can be at peace with who I am… I don’t need to wonder why anymore. Why my own race would shun me.” Gilwen says as she hops from stone to stone across the path, acting more like a child then a almost 300 year old elf. “I’m sure you’ve had a more difficult time with this recent situation with the Blackbournes… I’m curious as to what your plans are… however that is your prerogative.” Gilwen stated as she came to rest gracefully on a large boulder on the side of the trees, her feet swinging back and forth like a little kid. The brisk night air was invigorating.

Hagan watched the nimble elf jump about like a rambunctious child, allowing himself a brief smile before carefully choosing how to answer.

“I suppose that I may have been premature in my judgment of the Blackbournes. While I resent their interference in my bloodline, I see now that they are the lesser of two evils and that their intentions may truly have been for the greater good. With this in mind, I have come to believe that it is better to defend the continent with their aid, and the aid of the other dhampir clans, rather than encounter entire undead armies on our own.”

Hagan walked next to Gilwen and leaned against the tree while she sat on the boulder. He still felt no different, and yet he kept believing that he would. Perhaps this was his fate after all. Maybe he had realized his greater destiny. Or maybe the Raven Queen just hadn’t gotten around to smiting him just yet.

Gilwen nodded slightly and looked up at the moon again.

“No matter how much you try to ignore the truth it doesn’t make it go away… We are what we are…”

Hagan nodded and cracked his knuckles as he thought.

“Still, I can’t help but wonder if we are what we were meant to be.”

Hagan stretched and stood up, turning to Gilwen.

“I thank you for dinner, but I should get back to the shop. I need to see that Lotho has been doing his job during my…absence. I know you prefer the wilderness to civilization, but you may rest at my house if you like. Either way, I must take my leave.”

Gilwen sighs quietly and shakes her head.

“Thank you for the offer but I’ll best be heading back to my woods”

Gilwen slips off of her boulder and vanishes into the shadows of the night, leaving Hagan alone.

Hagan walked slowly back to his shop and unlocked the door to let himself in. He bolted the door and went to the desk to check the logbook. Lotho had done a fair job of keeping things in order. According to the book, there were three burials to be done in the next several days. The bills for the ceremonies had been paid and the coins were in the small chest in the bottom drawer. Hagan nodded in silent approval and walked back to his room to continue work on his new tattoo design.

View
Roger
the Impostor

Wraith stepped into Seamstress Morray’s Fine Clothing. He peered down the aisles of draped and dyed cloth hanging from ropes tied to the ceiling. The smell of berry dye infused the warm interior.

From the back, Seamstress Morray appeared from a cloud of steam carrying a tub of hot water loaded with deep blue dye. She smiled at the man waiting patiently by the front desk.

“Roger!” she called to Wraith. “Back so soon? I knew you would be back in here within the month, but I never expected you to be so…eager.”

Morray threw her long braid over her shoulder and sauntered towards ‘Roger’. Wraith checked the window to make sure no one was watching, then turned back to Morray. He let a smile show – she would be expecting at least that.

Some time later, Morray retied her braid and set herself behind her desk.

Roger retied his cloak before speaking. “I need a commission – a special commission.”

She smiled up at him. “I said I would help if you needed something.”

“Do you work with leather as well as cloth?”

“Sometimes. Do you have something particular in mind?”

“Yes. I knew a woman in the north who wore an amazing leather armor. Upon her will, it could change from leather into clothing of any description. It could be rags or the most intricate gown, or a heavy cloak. It was very…utilitarian. Would you know of this?

“Yes, I have heard of this. My sister in Hadleigh is in a regiment. She travels frequently and sends news home when she can. In one letter, she mentioned her leader had such armor. She sent me a drawing with description and information. I believe I can piece together what it is you are looking for, probably with Hazeem’s help.”

“Good. I will probably be leaving Stony Cross toward the end of the week. Can you have it ready by then?”

“That is a lot you ask. What has you running from Stony Cross?”

He deliberately took his time before answering, hoping she would get the hint that her questions were unwelcome. “Not running,” he said, “moving on.”

“Then you can wait a few weeks if there is nothing pressing.”

“No, I can’t. Look, if you can’t do this I will find someone who can.”

“Oh, now someone is trying to pressure me. I see, not willing to talk, but willing to threaten. I don’t appreciate your tone, but I understand.”

Wraith was silent.

“Listen,” she said, “this armor you want is costly. It will be difficult to weave the leather with both magic and style. It will cost 1800gp.”

“That is more than I have. Sorry for taking your time.” Wraith turned to leave wishing he had never come in the first place.

“Wait! Surely we can work something out?”

Wraith paused, his hand on the door, and waited for her to continue.

Seamstress Morray tapped her pencil on an old letter.

“What do you think of this?”

She showed him her sister’s sketch of the leather armor. Black and sleek and unassuming. She also had two sketches of the transformation process whereas the leather seemed to stretch and grow and reform around the wearer.

“Look, here are her sketches. This will be the first time I do this, so it may not turn out perfectly. I will consider this an investment in the development of my talent. Hazeem will charge me for enchanting the leather armor, but I have a good relationship with him. I can work something out. That will still leave the cost of the material and the work. How much do you have?”

“630gp.”

“Hmm, that isn’t much. I have an idea. I will take your 630gp. But I request a favor.”

Wraith kept his outward appearance calm. A favor always seemed to come with complications.

“What?” he asked shortly.

“My sister hasn’t responded to my last three letters. I am worried about her. I simply request that in your travels you stop by and check in on her. She probably isn’t even there anymore, but if you could send any information home, I would appreciate that greatly. I am sure she is fine, but you understand, I worry.”

Wraith stared at her face as he weighed the costs. It wouldn’t hurt to visit her sister’s town, see her, and send a message back to Seamstress Morray. Definitely worth 1200gp in armor. And he wanted that armor, very much so.

“Agreed. If I am in Hadleigh, I will check on your sister and send word.”

Seamstress Morray stood from behind the desk with her sketches.

“Good then. Give me the 630gp for the leather and dye, and I will begin today.”

‘Roger’ passed over the money and turned to leave. Hopefully he wouldn’t regret this deal.

View
Cavern Star's Finest gets Finer

Hazeem looks over the brooch carefully. He nods in agreement.

“Yes, this is of sufficient quality for the enchantment. But why this? I have similar items already made and ready for sale, why commission this?”

“Because…is special. You make more special now! How much?”

Special? Although the design is a beautiful one, the Drow brooch is certainly unappealing to Hazeem’s less cosmopolitan eyes. The money’s good and the work is easy, though. “The fee is 3 Platinum, and it’ll take 2 weeks to deliver.”

“Too slow…more gold for more fast? I need in under 1 week”

Hazeem eyes Krifo suspiciously. He is rather busy at the moment, but if the kobold is willing to pay extra?

“20% charge for rush delivery. 360 gold pieces, and you shall have in in 5 days.”

“DEAL!!!!”

Krifo throws a bag onto the counter that lands with a large jingling sound. Music to Hazeem’s ears.

“Oh…also…you no tell Illyana. She no know my pin missing. She’d feed me to Fluffy if she think I losed it.”

“Of course, of course. Is there anything else you need, then?”

“Nope, dat it. See you when is ready!”

Krifo bids good day to Hazeem, and leaves the shop. He walks down the path, with his cloak fluttering uncontrollably about his shoulders without the gifted brooch to secure it. Although he knows deep down that Illyana wouldn’t mind the enchantment being placed on the brooch, he is still paranoid that she might think he lost it.

It is with that paranoia still fresh in his mind that he comes across Illyana. Exiting Hot Buns Bakery with Sauveli, Illyana is puzzled when Krifo screams as though his life were in danger and flees in terror, full speed away from his friends. He hisses loudly at anyone in his way as he rounds a corner and moves out of sight.

“Vat do you suppose is wrong vit him dis time?” Illyana remarks.

“I certainly do not pretend to understand his actions. Not now, nor will I ever.” Sauveli says, looking on in bewilderment.

View
Kobolds and rats

Krifo plops himself into the chair opposite from that of Traynor, who sighs to himself, thinking it fortunate that the diminutive kobold can’t hurt his furniture despite his less than graceful way of treating it.

“Good news or bad, Traynor?”

“Why don’t we start with the good?”

Krifo just about spazzes out of his seat in joy for bringing valuable information to the Guildmaster.

“Krifo knows who’s been taking Ilsadore Duncan’s stuffs!”

This is vauable information. I had all but given up on anyone bothering to figure it out.

“Who?”

“That the bad news…Midnight kobold clan.”

“Kobolds? Friends of yours?”

“No NO! No friend, enemy. They break into big castle house too while Krifo there. Try to steal things there too! Midnight clan.”

Traynor bristled at the thought of another group of thieves moving into HIS territory. Although notoriously disorganized, kobolds could be quite capable thieves thanks to their shifty nature.

“Where are they hiding”

“Midnight cave!” Krifo says as he looks down at his toes.

“I know of no Midnight cave, is it near?”

“Maybe, I dunno.”

“Well, we’ll just have to pay a visit to this cave and set things right. You’ve done well in getting this information. I’ll have my men act on it and soon we’ll be in undisputed control of Stony Cross once again.”

“Might not be dat easy, boss. Did Krifo mention Midnight is dragon?”

Traynor dropped the pouch he had been holding, silently counting while the conversation went on. Dozens of coins spilled onto the floor in a cacaphonous rush of scattering metal. A kobold clan was one thing. But one led by a dragon was quite another indeed. Still, Traynor was not a man of little means. He knew how to take care of details such as this. One way or another, Stony Cross’ underground would remain firmly his.

“Thank you Krifo, now go. I have plans to make.”

View
Hagan's Vow
An Oath of Vengeance

Hagan walked slowly through the street with a heavy wooden cask under his arm. He approached his door, using his spear as a staff. He reached for the latch, but the door wouldn’t budge. Sighing heavily, he lifted his right leg and kicked the door right next to the latch. The frame splintered as the door gave way. Hagan muttered to himself as he strode to the back of the shop. He idly kicked the ladder that lead to Lotho’s room and shouted up to him.

“Lotho, the door’s broken. Get on that tomorrow, will you? And you’ll be running the front desk tomorrow, Halfling. I am not to be disturbed”

There were several scratching noises behind Lotho’s round door before it opened and the ratty halfling poked his head out.

“Me? Run the front desk? I’m not sure I can, Mr. Hagan. What do I do if someone needs to be buried? What do I do if…if…”

Hagan sighed again and set his cask of mead down on a coffin and opened a nearby chest. He pulled out two plain pewter mugs and filled them both. He set one of the mugs down next to the cask and drank deeply from the other.

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out for yourself, Lotho. Now come down here. There’s something I want to discuss.”

Lotho scampered down the ladder in his usual manner. Hagan handed one of the mugs to Lotho and refilled his own.

“You were born into a pirate family, yes?”

Lotho shook his head as he drank a bit.

“Actually, Mr. Hagan, they prefer to be called maritime merchants of questionable character.”

Hagan chuckled a bit at Lotho’s interjection.

“Of course they do. Anyway, when you were young, did you know what your family was doing? Did they tell you that they were…maritime merchants of questionable character?”

Lotho swirled his drink and took another gulp as he thought about the question.

“Come to think of it, Mr. Hagan, they never did tell me. I suppose I figured it out for myself.”

Hagan nodded and thought for a moment.

“So you were raised in that environment, and yet you chose to leave. Have you ever come to regret that decision?”

Lotho, thought for a moment and twitched his nose slightly.

“Well, I suppose that wasn’t the life for me. Then again, I guess I’m not that different now from when I was a…well, you know.”

Hagan furrowed his brow, visibly shocked by the halfling’s wisdom. He ran his fingers through his hair idly and continued to ponder. He snatched Lotho’s mug from his hand and topped it off before lifting the cask onto his shoulder and walking to his quarters.

“That will be all, Lotho. Don’t forget the door tomorrow.”

Lotho finished his drink and set his mug on the chest before scurrying back up his ladder to his quarters.

Hagan refilled his mug and collapsed into his chair. He winced and rubbed his ribs, still feeling sore from the fights in the castle. He kicked his boots off and rested his feet on the foot of his bed.

“Dragon. Of all the fiendish filth…I didn’t see that coming.”

Hagan mulled over what Lotho had said. The halfling’s circumstances may have changed, but he seemed to be the same. Was that so different from his own situation? Would the acceptance of his dhampyric “condition” make him less than what he was?

Does this change me? If I’ve been this way all my life. Does the knowledge of this make me something less than what I was? Does what I am change who I am?

Hagan’s thoughts were interrupted by a surge of genius. His situation was beyond his control, but vengeance on those responsible was not beyond his grasp. The Blackbournes may be responsible, but they’re condition and circumstances were not of their choosing any more than his.

Hagan blinked incredulously. He finally saw the true villain. These Volturi, true vampires were the creators of all dhampyres, dhampyres who were now rising to defend the continent against them. What a fitting revenge for one of their own creations to be the tool of their undoing.

Finally thinking clearly, Hagan stood and grabbed his spear from the corner. He knelt by his window, as the moonlight poured onto the floor around him, and swore a solemn oath.

I vow, by my spear and by my faith; that every piece of undead filth I meet shall come to know the fury of The Raven Queen. That those who seek to escape the clutches of death shall be punished for the hubris. I hereby vow to fight until my last breath to uphold the principles of my faith. This is my vow until my strength fail me and death take me.

Hagan rose, returned his spear to the corner and began sketching his new tattoo to symbolize his vow. Only one thing was on Hagan’s mind as he drew feverishly; whether by victory or defeat, Hagan Grimmbrow would not be easily forgotten.

View
Midnight
...not a cave...

Completely exhausted and ready to drop, the heroes step outside the hall into the main courtyard. Two kobolds point their swords at them.

“There they are! They have it, Midnight!”

A young blue dragon hovering in the courtyard beats its wings once and sends dust flying into their faces. The doors behind them slam shut as the guards hastily leave the heroes outside the main hall to deal with the problem.

“Give me the book now.”

“Vat book?” bluffs Illyana.

“The black book. I must have it.”

Hagan shifts uncomfortably, the book is in his possession. Since he found the book in Rainbow Falls, it has been trouble. The paladins were hunting for the book of undead. The ghost of Uncle Morteus was carrying the ghostly version of the book, and Hagan couldn’t translate anything until Illyana got the glasses from Morteus. Hagan begins to think the book is not worth the trouble people are making over it. Who wants this book and why?

“Why do you want the book?” someone asks. “Master wants the book, master gets the book.” replies Midnight.

Chaos insues. As the kobold slyblades attack Hagan and Wraith, the blue dragon breathes lighting on the party. Sauveli, Illyana, and Krifo manage to push, pull, and yank the dragon repeatedly to the ground, refusing to let it get airborne and have the advantage. After what seemed like hours of bloodied fighting, the dragon finally gets free and flees over the castle wall.

“I will get the book!”

The heroes limp out of the courtyard as warry onlookers gasp at the blood and bruises from a long day of fighting. They make their ways home to heal, sleep, and make some hard decisions.

View
Decisions

As the heroes contemplated their fate in silence, a mist enters the room and Zarathustra appears in her office. “Ah, you know. I was not expecting you to find out this soon, but then you were chosen for your abilities, so it is to be expected. Lord Blackbourne requests your presence.”

Wraith moves threateningly and she becomes mist again and disappears.

Lord Blackbourne emerges from his quarters and addresses the exhausted party members. “Thank you for coming. You have discovered things before we had planned to tell you. We wanted to give you time to develop your skills and determine where your loyalties lie. But time is short, and perhaps it is for the better.”

“About three years ago, our sources abroad told us that the Volturi were planning an invasion of the Abyssinian continent.”

Gilwen remembers from her travels that the Volturi are a powerful clan of very old vampires located on the Isla deghli Dei, or Island of the Gods. They are truly evil and believe that mortals are there for sustenance alone.

“We have always sponsored the study abroad programs, but three years ago we found you in the applications. We chose you for your dhampyric heritage, as well as other natural abilities. We sponsored you for study in hope you would embrace your heritage and develop into elite dhampyric warriors capable of fighting the legions of undead the Volturi will set against us.”

Wraith simmers quietly thinking that he never applied for study program, nor did he have any dealings with the Blackbournes. He had been in the warring regions up north. Although, there were plenty of strange coincidences, random luck, and connections that helped him through the last 3 years. Perhaps they were aiding him in ways he did not realize. “But that is impossible. No one knew who I was or where I came from. I am unknown. I refuse to believe they have been able to track me. I need no help, damn it,” he thinks to himself.

Lord Blackbourne continues…”We need your help. The other dhampyre clans are doing everything they can to prepare Abyssinia for invasion, but for the most part the citizens are unaware. We need your help defending the continent. If the Volturi take over, they will destroy civilization as we know it.”

Lord Blackbourne looks intently into the faces of the exhausted party members. “I understand you have just received news that may be hard for you to accept, and that you may not want to help us defend. There will be no retribution if you choose not to help. Perhaps we did not give you enough time, you are not ready to take on that responsibility. I will give you time to consider. One week from now, we have a meeting of the guards. If you will join us, please be there. We will provide you with whatever we can to help you, and you will be traveling out into the regions of Abyssinia to prepare for war and fight what we already know has come to the continent ahead of the main invasion. If you choose not to fight with us, go in peace. We will meet again soon enough, on the battlefield or in death.”

View
Denial

The heroes, accused by the paladins of being involved with vampires in Stony Cross, went looking for information regarding the missing casks of wine from Suffolk. The discover a secret passage into a dungeon with cells, torture chambers, and undead inhabitants. Krifo bampfs to the other side of a locked door, and finds most of the missing casks, but they are not wine, they are blood.

Further investigation by the group discovers that Suffolk is known for its pig farming and the blood is in fact pigs blood, not human blood. The group makes their way into an ancient hallway with green and black standards hanging from the pillars. The green and black are the colors of the old empire that was in control of the continent before the cultures developed and broke into separate city-states. Vampires offer the confused heroes goblets of blood from the remaining missing casket. A slip up in conversation lead to an immediate attack by the vampires, who are slaughtered quickly. Two Steel Keepers guarding a secret door defended but were overpowered.

The group enters the laboratory of the ghost of Uncle Morteus Blackbourne, who died in a lab accident 1000 years ago. He is reading the book of undead that is currently in Hagan’s possession, wearing glasses. As the group holds back, Illyana takes lead and questions the ghost. Wraith morphs into various vampires that were killed and passes by the door, giving the illusion that the vampires are still mulling about in the hall, and saving the heroes from a very angry ghost encounter.

Illyana discovers a book on Dhampyre which she can read the 1000 year old dialect using the physical glasses she finds on the table. She discovers from Uncles Morteus that he had a vampire bit his pregnant sister Lucia to try to create a half-breed. His goal was to lengthen his life and the lives of future generations of Blackbournes, and make them all stronger. He doesn’t realize he succeeded, and seems to be set in a mental time trap. Morteus blasts Krifo with a Wail as Krifo attempts to get into his treasure chest, and the heroes back out and leave the ghost alone.

Blackbourne is the dhampyre descendant of Gules and Lucia Blackbourne.

After resting for a few minutes, the tired adventurers search the rest of the dungeon coming upon another hall used for protecting inhabitants during a siege. It too is covered with green and black standards and tapestries of the ancient castle when it was new, and of battles and scenes from that time. Illyana and Gilwen check behind the tapestries and find two covered doors. After much discussion, one door leads to the central cesspit of the castle, but a secret door opens behind the cells and leads to a room containing shovels, hay, and basic tools for cleaning the cesspit and cells. Sauveli returns and Wraith Mage Hands him clean.

They check the other door, which leads to a used office space with a bookshelf cabinet, a treasure chest, and a desk covered with papers. Krifo opens the chest and distributes ovver 1300 gold pieces and two small sapphires. Wraith checks out the cabinet and finds many books on the noble families of the Abyssinian regions.

Illyana looks through the papers and discovers lists of applications for the great study program sponsored by the Blackbournes. Clearly the lists are research regarding each of the applicants. She finds the family trees of 5 of the members of the party, 3 of people in town including one of the guardsmen, John the Hammer, a nephew of a local man who works for a pig farm in Suffolk, and 2 unrecognized names.

She realizes that the family trees include notations that show that they have dhampyre heritage. Illyana explains what she found, and as she hands out the family trees. Before she is finished, Wraith grabs a few out of her hands, crumpling them and stuffing them into his mouth. The party stares in amazement but is not surprised by his need for secrecy.

  • Krifo checks his incisors for fangs.
  • Bos Sauveli studies the chart mumbling to himself and pounds his fist on the table. This is a mistake. This is a mistake. I am of a noble bloodline of clan Bos. No vampire has ever tainted our blood. This is wrong. There is a mistake. perhaps here, in this division….or maybe, yes, that has to be it. Wait, no, this just can’t be.
  • Illyana lifts an elegant eyebrow and keeps to herself, pulling out the book on dhampyre and quietly looking over the supposed benefits of accepting the dhampyric heritage. Will it make her more powerful, enhance her dark warlock abilities? What are the drawbacks? Are there any? What will her companions think? Perhaps….
  • Hagan stares in disbelief. But…my family came from a different plane of existence! They couldn’t possibly have known anything about my past! This doesn’t make sense. How could they know this? Where did they get this information?? Are there even vampires where I came from? It has been so long, and I don’t remember much about home…I have lived here for so long. How can someone hate the undead so much and be tainted by it all the same? Will the Raven Queen ever forgive me? I will never tell a soul of this, but…if I do have the bloodline…could it help me in my fight against the undead? I have heard about these Daywalkers. Raised to be powerful against the undead. Could I use this to my advantage, or would I be betraying the Raven Queen? Surely she would never approve of something so unnatural as prolonging death.
  • Gilwen takes a deep breath and smirks. No wonder her family ousted her. No wonder there was always an uncomfortable unease among her extended family. Yes, this makes sense. Interesting. This changes nothing of who I am, and yet…
View
One Kobold, Two Kobold, Red Kobold...wyrmling?
Krifo confuses a Kobold

The Palladins, determined to prove that vampires are in Stony Sross, search the castle for evidence. Wraith, dressed and appearing as the captain of the Guard finds them in Zarathustra’s room. They have found a suspcious invoice from Suffok for 10 kegs of wine. They believe Zarathustra is in on a scheme possibly sending somthing via casks, and the heroes must be in on it because they are friendly with the Blackbournes. They convince ‘the captain of the guards’ that solving this would either prove or disprove the involvement of the heroes of dealings with vampires. If unsolved, the Paladins would assume guilt and go after them.

Wraith and the heroes then search for clues regarding the invoice. 10 casks were delivered, 2 were used during the ball, and Sauveli found 3 in the pantry off the kitchen. Illyana and Wraith asked questions. Gilwen, Hagan, and Krifo made their way down to the guardsroom again, looking for other places to hide casks of wine. They discovered that they had missed a room during the fight with the kobold thieves. Opening the door, they found a kobold asleep in a guardsmen’s bed. Calling to the other party members, they assembled at the door and decided what to do.

Krifo walked right in and poked the kobold. “Come, let’s go, we go now.”

The half-asleep kobold did not recognize the konold dressed strangely as a red dragon wrymling for the masquerade ball. “Who you?”

“Come, go now, still fighting, we need to get out now!”

Sauveli and Illyana jsut outside the door listening immediately created battle and drinking sounds much like the drunken guradsmen from the fight earlier.

“Who are you? I dont know you.” Krifo, thinking on his..claws.. “I am part of the second wave sent to the castle.” “Oh, second wave? Didn’t know. We got the book?” “What book? Book?” “Yeah the book. Why you not know? How you come to find but not know what you find?”

The kobold holds out a piece of paper scribbled in badly wrintten print—- “Black book, not rede.” “We got book?” Krifo asks. “Uh, yeah, what now?” “Meet back at Midnight cave after getting book.” “OK, you first.”

Krifo let the kobold go first to the door, then bopped him on the back of the head with the blunt end of his dagger.

“OK guys, I got him.”

Krifo and the others dropped the kobold off with the remaining sober guards. No one in the party had heard of a cave called Midnight Cave in the area.

Gilwen found a secret passageway at the end of the hall next to the guards’ chamber. Opening the door, a fould smelling gust of air blew forth and on it the sound of a wailing ghost rumored to haunt the castle.

View
Festival of the Gods
One very long day.

Black Horse Courier News

Late in festivities last night, a disturbance broke out which required the aid of noble hearted citizens. Shouts of “Tueor Pectoris” rang out among the guests as a few individuals ran into the fray to aid the guards. The captain of the guard refused comment, but was later heard in animated conversation with his guards discussing beverage consumption during fesitvals. Lord and Lady Blackbourne expressed gratitude to the individuals for their aid in removing the unwanted guests. Among the honored were Hagan Grimmbrow, the much respected Raven Queen Cleric of Stony Cross, Gilwen the Wanderer, a local ranger known by some on the outskirts of town, the jeweler artisan Illyana Zo’Arden, whose work graced the neck of none other than Lady Blackbourne during the festival, Bos Sauveli, whose strength and determination are paralled only by his skill in glass works, and Krifo, of which this author knows very little. The heroes were seen receiving rewards for their heroism from Lord Blackbourne himself.

Early this morning as the sun was rising on Stony Cross, witnesses saw a bloodied blue dragon fleeing the castle, scales missing and rips in his wings. He was seen flying North along the coast.

The festival of the Gods was a success for local residents and travelers alike. The same aforementioned heroes took home prizes for competitions in ranged weaponry, the hammer throw, the deadly gauntlet, and some ventured into the hall of mirrors constructed by the Library of Ioun.

It is rumored that vessels of unknown origin were seen south along the coast arriving during the night, according to sources from Wyreth.

John the Hammer is back in town and open for business. Visit his Smithy for great deals on weapons, armor, and wrought iron craftworks.

Shops open for business in Stony Cross:

  • Smithy
    • Proprietor: John the Hammer
    • Sells: Weapons, Armor, forges particular items by commission.
View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.