Rise of the Runelords VA

Sins of the Saviors
The Rabbit Hole goes Deeper

The Corporal led his three fellow watchmen through the tunnel that lay underneath Sandpoint. Baros had jumped at the statue of the furious lady but the rest of them had simply laughed at him. Now, though, their laughter had died away and dread seemed to close in on them from just beyond the edge of the light.

“Sir,” Baros murmured, “Shouldn’t we report ba…”

“Report what, Watchman?” the corporal snapped. We’ve found nothing that the adventurers who came here before hadn’t already told Sheriff Hemlock. Lord Ashton will be expecting a bit more than that." As if in response, they passed through a doorway and were surrounded by…words. Hundreds upon hundreds of words written on the walls and along the ceiling. They spiraled, grew, and shrank to fill in any open space. The spiky runic language was not one any of the watchmen recognized.

“Maybe we should go get Brodert…” Baros almost whispered.

“Maybe you should…” came a disembodied voice. “But first, you should tell me…what year is it?”

The guardsmen formed a tight circle, back to back. “What?” the corporal asked.

“It’s a simple question. But never mind, you’ll tell me soon enough…” Fog began to billow in all around them and they heard strange noises, like animals…no, like men making animal noises. Then they began to scream.

Then they stopped.

Concerning the Situation at Hand: A Loss of Heart
-4708, Absalom Reckoning

    At this point, we've lost all credibility as 'good' people. I suppose each tale has its woes and sacrifices, but to have the deaths of twelve innocent men and women, and even more Dwarves beyond that, should stick to each of our respective consciences. It was our fault, undeniably. The fact that it was "unavoidable" is not exactly an excuse, nor does it make it alright, by any stretch of the imagination. Redgar is assembling funds for their resurrection… I can't quite bring myself to directly contribute. My Dear Lady Gray would frown upon such things. Their time was set, and despite the fact that it was not by her hand, their death should remain sacred and untouched.

    One of the highlights of all of this going on is the library. A fantastic collection of tomes and scrolls that must go down for miles into the Earth, managed by a small mechanical man. Would that I could drop all obligations and just sit and read for the remainder of my days. Not that that would help anything, least of all myself. Amongst the research that I am conducting for the party, I have my own information to seek out. For better or worse, we shall see just what awaits me over this next horizon.

    I have also taken the liberty of ordering a wand for curing these despicable bouts of blindness that people keep forcing on me in the midst of combat.

From the Journal of Redgar Ironhand #23
Redgar Contemplates his Father's Death

My father is dead, and I am his killer. I traded his life for tactical advantage, like a pawn in a game of chess. The gambit paid off, and now Mokmurian is dead by my hand. I have buried my father next to my mother, beyond the gates of Janderhoff. All that remains for me is the pull of Torag’s will.

Chronicles of Coram #18

it finally ended.  The trip through the fortress is over. The giants are gone, though not many by our own hand. If we weren't so badly injured at the time, I'd have to wonder if we just shouldn't have killed them.  Will they be back to plague Sandpoint? i hope not, but I won't be rurprised should they return.

 It was an interesting end to things. After fighting a golem, which was severely damaged thanks to Aramil, and some other firebreathing THING, we found ourselves fighting an insanity trap, accompanied by another ugly surprise. Most of the party became either confused, blind or both (I avoided both conditions, prudently enough). We finally found Mockmorian. He was wily in his preparation against us. Especially effective was his wall of solid fog he could see and shoot through. 

Finally, we were able to defeat him, which seemed, in some ways, almost anticlimactic.  I don't know why. Perhaps I didn't feal nearly as much hate for him as I have for others we've fought. He did not taunt and vex us as much as others in the past. 

Aramil and Redgar have now gone off, in some attempt to ressurect the citizens of Sandpoint who had been captured and were killed. I feel sad they were killed, as I lived in Sandpoint for some time and knew who most of them were. But it's a fool's errand. If they weren't supposed to die, their gods would certainly send them back. Or, at least give them the option to come back, which they would  have taken if they wanted to return. Still, I have pledged money to Redgar to help bring them back, since, as I mentioned, I do feel sadness over their deaths.  

Curse having giants live here. I can't find anything worthwhile to drink.  It's intolerable.

I have been spending time in teh library while we wait for our compatriots to return. I have been studying the language used in Thassalo. It seems a rather primative language, but it seems like it is tied into the runes. I think it would be best if someone besides Aramil could read them. 

Syphacia and Mallisun #11
Syphacia and Mallisun patrol Jorgenfist

Magical healing did not leave scars or disfigurement—even for the most grievous of wounds the injury knitted up and faded away as if nothing had occurred. In their time together, Syphacia had seen Redgar’s magic restore even the most terrible of wounds, bringing back her allies, and indeed herself, from the brink of death—as if no harm had ever been done.

Concerning the Situation at Hand: Embittering Business
- 4708, Absolom Reckoning

      There's something very wrong with this whole mess. Indeed, I belive "wrong" and "mess" are far too appropriate for describing everything that's happened so far. Since meeting my newest companions, I've been caged, crushed, trampled, blinded (more than once of late), and been generally made miserable… and the entire affair continues to move downhill. 

      My companions, being the ragged and mismatched band that they are, have continued to bicker constantly. At this point I'm more inclined to abstain from all measure of communication. My previous points of argument tended towards the opinion that "our current course of action is too stupid to be worth anything," but nobody listens. Or, rather, they listen and then show a blatant and unsurprising disregard for the underlying message. Ah, well. Provided we all die here, at least nobody else will ever have to deal with these people. I'm beginning to think we are our biggest enemy, and this is not something you can throw a fireball or swing a sword at.

       After finally "agreeing," we moved in and walked straight into the first of several reminders that we're in over our heads. Redgar, appropriately magicked for stealth, moved down the hall and attempted to release the dragon-blooded dogs guarding the way down and encountered something we had all managed to overlook; dogs have a good sense of smell, and magic requires verbal components to cast. After some goading from Razan we managed to convince them to move on… in the most religious sense possible.

      Our foray continued down a massive deserted stairway and straight into a series of rooms designed to remove those foolish enough to walk in of their lives. The first was covered in some sickening illusion, topped by a spell that reduced us al to Halfling size. As if that wasn't enough, the Gods above also decided to throw a giant of some sort at us in such a state. I suppose Our Lady Gray has a darker sense of humor than I first thought.

Razan's Account, the Ninth
Warp and Tension

Do you remember, brother, when Nuwairah would tell us stories while she wove? The tension of the warp threads, she said, was what allowed her to create beauty before our eyes. And then she would recount a tale of some great hero – Husam al Din or Sultana Qadr – and how their trials shaped them into the legends they became. I am trying to hold on to that now, hoping that this is all leading to some great purpose and trusting – trying to trust – that the Everlight is weaving. In my mind, I see you arch your brow at my lack of humility. My chuckle at the thought attracted Mallisun’s attention for a moment.

We are deep in the enemy’s lair now. My companions finally realized that we had run out of time for squabbling planning. A monstrosity that had once been a giant nearly killed Redgar and myself. It did kill one of the prisoners. There was nothing we could have done, I think, but it frustrates me all the same. Rage drakes gave us more trouble, hounding Redgar as he flew overhead and grabbing Coram with vicious claws. I was so close to falling that time, I swear I felt the Sun’s heat on my face, but I kept fighting. Eventually, between the lot of us, we sent them to hell where they belong.

One good thing that came out of all that: I have helped some small few to see the Dawnflower’s glory. Presuming I can get them out of here alive, perhaps my Lady will gain a small temple or shrine of her own in Sandpoint.

I killed the lamia Lucrezia, the one they have been hating and harping about since I met them. I felt a little bad for striking the final blow; Syphacia wanted that kill so badly that the mere mention of the thing’s name made the elf’s pretty face a mask of ugly hatred every time. And yet, in the aftermath she seemed to take no satisfaction. I feel responsible for that. I could have held out a moment longer and let her have the kill. Still, difficult to exercise such restraint in the heat of the battle, yes? I also killed the thing’s companion – its lover, maybe? I know not. Nor do I care. The creatures were enacting some unholy rite when we interrupted them.

Redgar’s whale trapped a pair of trolls under the rubble of a wall. I intend, if I survive the next while, to go back and finish them. I will not leave them to an eternity under the rock, not even such vile things.

Have I mentioned how much I loathe magic sometimes? Certainly I appreciate Aramil’s and Piotr’s magecraft when the enemy is scorched by flame or lightning. However, these caverns and rooms that make one ill with the way the walls twist while a giant comes at you and… You will laugh at me here, brother, but I will recount it anyway. For a few minutes I was no bigger than Nuwairah. I have not been halfling-sized since I was five years old. I find the perspective no longer suits me. Redgar, Piotr, and Aramil’s companion Jaben were also so affected. Bah! There is no honor in such tactics!

(To be continued… we hope)

Chronicles of Coram #17

Shockingly, I'm still alive, and not by any direct form of divine intervention. At least, not that I've noticed.

The group somehow agreed to head down into the dungeon, leaving most of the giants, ogres and other assorted beings behind us. First we went to save Aramil's father, who was still alive, but being kept for some kind of human sacrifice.  There was some kind of giant…. Thing there. IT was sort of a giant, but not completely. It had runes carved into it, and i"ve not seem anything like that before. Eventually, we were able to defeat him.

 We faced off against Lucretia and an associate of hers.  She's finally dead.  In fact, she didn't last very long.  I think our combined hatred of her gave us all a single minded task to kill her this time and be done with her. I had forgotten how unifying hate can be when it's not targeted at me. Her companion fell afterwards.  

 During battle, Redgar summoned what he calls a "Whale" to aid us.  It was of little aid, but after the battle, he sent it to scout ahead, and it managed to collapse some walls and trap trolls under there.  It's a cruel fate, but really no more than they deserve.  I won't shed a tear for them.

We also faced some rage drakes.  The battle did not go well, and sapped a lot of the party resources in spells and some items.  Thankfully, I hope, I've been able to hold on to most of my limted spell repitoire.  I have a feeling we'll be needing it soon, as I am sure another battle lies around the corner for us.

 Should we survive another day, I might actaully start becoming optimisitc.  And that will likely be the death of me.

Syphacia and Mallisun #10
Syphacia Deals with Lucrecia's Death

In death, the Lamia’s snake-like body had twisted back on itself, such that its torso lay back against the coils of its reptilian lower half. The Lamia’s glittering scales had been burned, broken, and pierced a dozen times during their battle, with many of the arrows from Syphacia’s bow still standing out from ragged wounds in her torso and shoulders. The fiend’s eyes were now directed upwards, with a blank, confused expression that took in nothing at all. As Syphacia approached, she half expected the monster’s eyes to refocus and the Lamia to rise again. Syphacia kept her bow ready with an arrow on the string.

From the Journal of Redgar Ironhand #22
Redgar on the Run

I write this as I catch my breath between battles, in a room under some strange enchantment. Not twenty feet from me, a runeslave giant lies dead by our hands. Before us, there is yet another door to be turned aside. Our battle must go on, for there is no turning back. I’m not sure how much further I can run, I pray only that it will be far enough.

We know at least that the prisoners from Sandpoint are safe—for the moment—our first stop was to their prison to set them free. There we fought a giant of hideous proportions that emerged from the soil like some great burrowing worm. The battle was fierce but quick, and though we lost one of the prisoners to the monster’s wrath, the others are now free. Unfortunately, by freeing these prisoners, I may have placed my father’s life and the others with him in greater peril. I can only hope that our next battles will be quick enough to allow me to return to free him.

Knowing we would have little time we pressed onward from the prison. It was my idea to try an act of sabotage to aid in our assault, I had Aramil cast invisibility on me and used one of Piotr’s flight spells to proceed into the next chamber. There I found two rage drakes, chained to the floor like guard dogs. I attempted to distract them with a spell, but their senses proved too keen. I managed to release one of the beasts before the other attacked me. I was able to distract the second beast while my friends put down the first. The second didn’t last long after that, but cost us dearly in spells and energy.

We knew the next chamber was the Lamia’s den, and so we proceeded with an all out assault. I summoned Torag’s whale and we did battle with the fiends in a rushed battle of fire and magic. Syphacia fought like a dervish, and finally had the chance to slay the one named Lucrecia with the aid of Razan’s blade. The other Lamia fell quickly after that. It was something liberating to see our old foe finally vanquished—but I knew we had no time to savor our victory.

I sent the whale on to scout ahead while I treated the others’ wounds. We heard a din, and when we approached it became clear that the whale had finished out its magic by crushing a pair of trolls in their cowardly hiding places. It seems the whale was Torag’s servant indeed.

Onward and down, we descended into what we knew to be Mokmurian’s layer. Here we expect stranger foes, creatures unseen by mortal eyes for hundreds of years. At the bottom of the tunnel we entered a strange room whose dimensions defied understanding. Our presence sprang a trap, and I and two others were struck by an enchantment that shrank us in our boots. It was then that a runeslave Giant attacked us. Fortunately, the more magically resistant of us made short work of the brute.

Which brings me back to the door in front of me. In moments we will push it aside and face our next enemy. I’m sure the battle will be fast and brutal. My remaining magic is limited, but Torag has not left me defenseless. We will see how these foes stack up.

Now is the time to stand, now is the time to fight. A warrior’s work is never done.


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