Cross Into Shadows
Cross Into Shadows was a year-long story line taking place during 2014. Most of the event took place in Wehnimer's Landing and its environs, but other parts that tied in took place throughout Elanthia. The first chapter of the story ended with the Baronial Coronation Festival in Talador.
The following are saved posts by GM Kenstrom summarizing the event:
- 6 August 2013
December marks the beginning of Cross into Shadows, the final part of the story arc that's been going on since Sept 2010. In a continued effort to keep everyone informed and encourage involvement, I'm making one post with a link to the summaries of all of the other parts of this story. Warning, it's a lot of information to read. But hey, we've still got a few months left. So read on if you want to know what previously happened...in Wehnimer's Landing.
- Beyond the Arkati: Sept 2010-Jan 2012
- The Star of Khar'ta: May 2012-July 2012
- All the Lich King's Men: Dec 2012-Feb 2013
- 14 March 2013
As I stated earlier, my next storyline "Cross into Shadows" will kick off in December 2013 and last all through next year. There's a lot of work involved and a lot of things happening in it, so in order to help bridge the time gap, I'm going to be posting monthly teasers for the storyline. So here's your first teaser! This one is basically a flashback, finally showing the origin of Walkar's armor and how he came across it back when he was on the run from Grishom Stone in 2011, so we're all on the same page. Enjoy!
"Heroes get beaten and buried boy."
His father's final words. Before he had killed him.
He wondered now, what would be his?
The ashen sky was stretched out overhead, tangled with amorphous grey clouds and the frozen crests of the Dragonspine Mountains disappearing among the stars. Snow fell from all around, drifting along the arctic wind that chilled his bones.
But it did not numb his agony.
The demon's black fire had burned his leg badly, all but reducing it to soupy mush. He stared up at the creature, his vision blurred from blood and tears. Clusters of spikes ran along the demon's black skin, like ridges of jagged stones. It towered above him, a toothy monstrosity of muscles, claws and horns. Its huge dark membranous wings stretched out behind it, like a thick mantle of shadows. Its eyes were living fire, their red hot glare burning brightly as it watched him try to slowly drag himself away.
He looked past the fiend, to the snowy sky above, wishing more than anything for a sudden torrent of ice and frost to snuff out the fiery creature before him. His fingers, while broken and bent, still desperately clutched the blood-slicked handle of his waraxe. He knew he had perhaps only one final strike left, but was determined to make it count if nothing else.
The huge vathor roared, an intense heat rolling from its mouth and eyes causing the air to shimmer and the snow to melt beneath its feet. The demon stretched out its clawed hand and blood began to pour from its palm, before the crimson liquid ignited into flames, quickly shifting into the shape of a fiery sword.
It took another step closer.
"No, that's far enough," a voice said from the darkness. On command, the demon lowered his arm, but its sword of fire still blazed.
The snow in the sky fell down around a black silhouette as it approached, slowly walking into the light of the demon's fiery glow. The man's robes were red, or perhaps white but bathed in fire and he moved with an aura of arrogance and a wide smirk was painted across his face.
He looked up at the red-robed figure and immediately snarled. He recognized his hair, black as night and his eyes the deep blue of the sea. They gleamed when he spoke, which means they gleamed when he lied.
"Hello Walkar." The robed figure smirked again, "You've looked better."
He spat, his aim good, but his force weak. He got more on his chin than even close to his enemy's feet.
The red-robed figure chuckled, "Ah, I see you are tasteful until the bitter end. Can you believe it Walkar, after all of this time, your father was a soothsayer? You should have listened to him. Perhaps it would have been someone else lying there in snow and blood."
He swung up with his arm and brought his axe slicing through the air. The blade cut just an inch from the robed man's face. The crimson figure laughed, but took a step back, "You never could cut it Walkar, and now you couldn't even cut me."
The red summoner turned and walked away, "Now you my end him."
The demon's inferno sword arced downward, a trail of fire burning behind it. The flaming blade slashed across his neck, scorching the flesh as it buried deep into his shoulder. With a growl, the vathor struck out with its claw, tearing open his throat as he collapsed to the ground. With a whoosh of air, the demon flapped its massive wings and soared into the sky, disappearing into the night.
His head hit the ground first and he felt his life quickly fading. Every pulse echoed in his ears and the pool of blood beneath him expanded every second. Soon the pain in his neck and shoulders were gone and the anguish in his scorched leg melted away. He felt only a deafening numbness as he stared up at the dappled sky, snow falling against the backdrop of night. In each glimmering snowflake, he saw his life. He saw the tears his father shed when his sister was brought into the world, and he saw the tears his father shed when it had cost the life of his mother.
Every single flake of snow held one. Young friends he could vaguely name, old lovers he could barely remember. The air became colder, the night even darker. Silence settled all around him and he no longer heard the beat of his pulse or felt the fire in his wounds. It was only the snow and it began to fall steadier. Soon he could barely make out the blackness of night as the snowfall grew so thick around him. The faces within each flake disappeared, replaced now by only one.
He thought of the end, and that when his life finally slipped away, his corpse would be buried by the snow. Buried by the faces. Buried by his guilt.
He thought of his town, of his people and his bloodhound. He thought of all of the things he should have done, and all of his failures. His father's final words to him had come true. He was beaten, and soon he would be buried.
What had been his final words, he wondered? When death came to him, basked in the glow from a demon and garbed in a robe of crimson, he had said nothing. He had tried to spit at death. He had failed, but he had tried.
"Killing your father was righteous." A cold and dark voice shattered the silence around him.
"He had died to the bottle long before. His curse would have ended your sister's life that day. It would have been her blood on his hands, instead of his on yours." The voice sounded all around him, even snaking through his mind.
"You are not beaten Walkar, nor will you be buried today." Assured the voice, colder than the ice around him.
He tried to move, but all of the strength in his body had fled. He heard soft footsteps and crunching ice as a cloaked figure approached, his sharp eyes as silver as pewter. The figure carried something in his arms, something so polished it gleamed with the colors of the stormy grey sky above. A shield? No, a breastplate.
The voice brushed across his ears, "Will you be buried today Walkar? Or will you accept the chance I offer? Accept the opportunity to bring justice to your enemy?"
His eyes turned to the axe that had fallen to his side. He would not be beaten, he would not be buried. He would defy death and he would spit in its face.
"Excellent choice." The voice drifted through his mind, dark and proud.
The cloaked form knelt down, holding out his metal offering. He suddenly felt hands grasping at his chest before a wave of heat coursed through his shoulders and gut. More sounds rushed back to greet him as the very air around him thrummed with life. He clenched his fists as strength flooded back through his body. He craned his neck, his flesh now whole and the pain in his throat gone.
A thick layer of sleet covered the ground, as icy flakes descended from the desolate sky. The cloaked figure faded from sight, disappearing in a rush of wind and silvery motes of light. Walkar then stood to his feet, unbridled power saturating his veins. His eyes went to his chest, where he saw the radiance of his metal breastplate, its glow now bright and crimson, a burning red star amidst a land blanketed with gloomy mist and wrapped in iron skies.
His axe rose from the ground and he reached for it.
- 10 April 2013
Here is the second monthly storyline teaser leading up to "Cross into Shadows" which kicks off in December.
The corpse was carted through a postern gate.
The sky was aglow from the sun, its shimmering heat bathing the landscape in warmth. Pale clouds clutched desperately on the horizon, so thin they scarcely existed. The ground, much like the air, held little life.
He was attending a horse in the stable when the ancient creak of the gate had sounded, admitting two knights pulling a battered wooden cart. From the gnarled and blackened feet barely hanging over the back, he knew they had found their scout.
The men's golvern-studded armor glinted beneath the sun, forcing his eyes away not once, but twice from the glare. Helms removed, their hair was matted to the side of their faces with sweat and dried blood. Despite the gleam of their armor, it was dented in more places than not.
Voices rose up from all around at the return of the knights, and soon more men at arms rushed in to greet them and some servants hurried off with the cart and corpse in tow. He stood in the archway of the stables, squinting against sunlight as the wagon was dragged by. The body inside was indeed one of their own as evident by the loose pieces of armor, which had now been partially melted into the flesh.
The sun baked corpse had been savagely maimed and its jagged wounds inflamed and discolored. The man had met a vicious, yet quick end, he had no doubt. Plump black flies still flittered about the remnants of the scout as it was finally hauled out of sight.
"Found him three days out into the waste." He heard one of the homecoming knights say.
"And the creature about to devour his remains." The second knight added.
That was the third inward scout he told himself. Those that were closest to their post. Which only meant...
"They're emboldened and getting closer than they have in some time." One of the knights stole his words.
"Squire!" A third knight shouted, slowly striding towards him. The man was human but nearly the size of a giantman, his bald head as polished as his white field plate. A thick dark grey moustache concealed half of his nose and most of his mouth. "Fetch my sword; we'll be manning the walls soon. The sun is out, but it won't be long before nightfall ambushes us."
He stowed his grooming comb and darted to the barracks, his own ringmail chaffing beneath his white and silver tabard. The knight was right; it would not be long before the heat of day turned into the dread of night.
The golvern-edged falchion was waiting where he had left it, hanging high upon a rack on the far wall of the barracks. He slipped the sword into an ivory scabbard and hurried outside, handing off the weapon to the mustached-knight before returning to his other duties.
Only a few short hours passed and the first smattering of distant stars broke through the blanket of night above. He stood with his head craned to the heavens, silently counting each speck of light as it burned into existence. It was always his favorite time, when he became raptured into the few moments of peace as the day's labor transformed into the night's battle.
Suddenly a warcry erupted from the wall above him. Men clamored about, and while all heavily armored, they ascended ladders and foot holds quicker than he could have imagined.
As the last fragment of the sun's rays dropped beneath the skyline, nightfall was swiftly ushered in around them. The stars above shone as bright as the golvern ones upon each knight manning the old stone wall. It was then a flare shot up from their location, bursting into a shower of brilliant golden sparks, tiny swirling citrine embers dancing across the black banner of night.
The first flare.
The first sighting.
He slowly climbed the ladder with one hand, and with his other firmly clenching a burning torch. Others quickly called to him, demanding the service of his torch to prepare for their attack. He finally stood still, just mere feet away from the edge of the wall and the expanse of broken lands below him, broadening out far into the empty pitch black of uncertainty.
The wall that stretched out beneath him seemed so opposing from the ground, but from atop it felt so vulnerable. Blackened stones here, crumbled parapets there. Both man and rock felt the destruction of war. The area was still silent, save for the tight-lipped breaths of the knights along the ramparts, each man gripping their weapons tight.
Another flare lit up the sky, followed by a bellowing warcry from one of their own.
They're coming, he realized. The flares, the cry. The terrors of the waste were coming.
A man shouted a command and soon a long range of flaming arrows arced up into the air, showering down on the bleak lands before them. The fiery missiles hit more ground than enemy, but served their purpose to illuminate the battle field nonetheless.
Through the volley of fiery arrows, he saw them flood in. Huge, gloomy creatures with smoke trailing from their bodies and fire burning in place of their eyes. Some came on all fours, shambling across the shattered ground like demonic ghouls. He watched the light from their arrows as gnarled three-headed beasts sauntered forward, some accompanied by blood red fiends with crimson tentacles lashing wildly about.
Another warcry, another volley of arrows.
This time more enemies were struck, but the assault did not stop them, or even slow them. He heard the chorus of a hundred blades being pulled from their scabbards, just as a cold rush of wind rolled over the field, snuffing out the flames of their arrows.
Darkness had descended upon the Demonwall.
- 9 May 2013
Here is the third monthly storyline teaser leading up to "Cross into Shadows" which kicks off in December.
The ship creaked beneath his feet.
Each new wave brought dark water and tangy salt over the railing's edge. He was quite far from home, but quite close to destiny.
Bitter, arctic winds rushed over the deck, swirling up under his black robes and causing him to shiver. His hands gripped the wooden banister, quietly reflecting on the woman he had left asleep below, and how the warmth of her flesh stirred him almost as much as his work.
Not just his work. But his legacy.
His name would be carved into the legends of his people. As hallowed as Korthyr, or as cursed as Daephron, it did not matter. A true master of his arts, a pioneer for those after him. His chest swelled with pride, visualizing the children of the future uttering his name and striving for his power.
They'll aim, but miss, he thought to himself.
But still, his achievement felt empty. The murky waters rose and fell around him like rolling hills of black glass. The sky was no brighter, its shades as deep as the void, broken up only by a smattering of stars amidst thick clouds, like freckles on the face of a god.
But not his god.
Nor the god of the seas, nor the god of his enemies, and certainly not the god of Rhoska Tor.
"Impressed with yourself?" Her voice was like music, slicing through the chaos of the ocean.
He turned from the railing to watch her ascend the ramp up to the deck. My protector, my lover, my silencer. He smiled from ear to ear.
He threw his hand back, gesturing at the clouds spreading out across the sky, like pockets of tattered black rags. "How could I not be. We stand on the precipice of glory. For us, for our people. For the betrayal that stains our history."
Her eyes gleamed like polished feystones as she approached. He could see his reflection and the raging storm behind him in their depths. Her hair was like silk strands of moonlight, draping down from her scalp to cascade around her shoulders like a silvery waterfall. As the boat uneasily shifted beneath him, it seemed the motion did not affect her in the slightest. Her movements were graceful, making her even more beautiful in his eyes.
She stepped closer, her dark skin glistening from the spray of the ocean and her gossamer cloak thrashing wildly around her from the wind, about to be torn from her shoulders if not for the bright scarlet triskelion that held it in place. Her lips beckoned him, and for a moment he answered them. Locked in passion, he held her to his chest as the ship tilted beneath the churning storm.
The first bolt of lightning arced down from the heavens with a thunderous crash, slamming into the deck of the boat and filling the air with humming energy and wooden debris. Neither of them flinched, but merely turned to watch as a ragtag group of sailors came rushing up from their quarters, shouting commands.
"The crew grows restless." The woman commented.
"It is not their first storm, nor their last. They have their weight in treasure, they knew the risks."
Another bolt of lightning tore into the side of the ship, knocking one deckhand on his side as a shower of wooden shrapnel flew through the air. More shouts, more fear.
Humans. He thought, Quick to take gold, quicker to hide.
The sky suddenly groaned louder than the ship, arcs of lightning dancing beneath the clouds like a web of white light. The black of the heavens bled away like ink, peeling apart as a ruddy, copper hue infused the clouds above. Lightning became constant, like the glowing legs of spiders skittering across the ocean. The ship's crew exploded into a frenzy, scurrying about as if they were frightened ants, working feverishly to steer to a new course.
"Don't they realize, it's all around them? We are safe, the crew is safe." He smiled from ear to ear.
"Are they?" she asked.
"All of Elanthia is safe."
"Are they?" she asked.
His response did not come. But her attack did.
Her blade shot out from her hand in a blur, slicing through the skin of his throat, neatly cutting him from ear to ear.
His matching smile turned to surprise. His eyes grew hot and his anger gurgled from his mouth, as blood from his neck seeped down over his robes, staining them from black to red. His legs gave way and he crumbled to his knees. She towered over him then, his protector, his lover...
- 10 June 2013
Here is the fourth monthly storyline teaser leading up to "Cross into Shadows" which kicks off in December.
Sand and sky melded together as the sun's edge crept into view.
A deep golden hue bathed the rolling desert hills in its glow, accompanied by a warm breeze bringing more heat than comfort. With each passing moment, the sand beneath their caravan shifted, reshaped and redirected with the slightest of wind. The first driver brought his wagon to a halt, raising his hand to signal those behind him. Heat was not the only thing sunrise brought.
Minutes, feeling like hours, passed as the golden orb rose in the sky, its rays angling down on the sand which captured and reflected its light in an iridescent, fiery effect. Between the wind and the sun, the light and grit danced across the dunes like tiny flames swirling across the hills of sand.
The wagon's driver squinted his eyes against the scorching sun, doing well to cover and protect his face from the scratching hot wind. The air shimmered as the heat rippled across the wasteland before him. There, just on the blurry edge of a dune, silhouettes appeared. The man shouted, alerting the rest of his group. A dozen lightly armored Imperial guards exited their prospective wagons, sunlight glinting off their longswords as they drew them.
From the dune, the band of Tehir came more clearly into view, quickly galloping down the sandy hill on the backs of snarling yierkas. Black veils covered their faces, their dark eyes burning with wild intensity to match the heat of the sun. Another raider emerged ahead of his companions, his veil blood red and strikingly similar to the dark crimson blade of his takouba. His skin was as dark as the onyx hilt of his weapon.
His deep voice cried out, "Ebiemj o eizh!"
A shrill song of steel erupted as the raiders clashed with the caravan. Blood splattered upon the sand, as the cries of man, horse and yierka filled the blistering air. In the mere passing of seconds, the battle was over. The last remaining Imperial guard threw down his weapon and tightly gripped his bleeding and nearly severed left arm. The red-veiled raider strode purposely up to him, slicing deep across his chest and pushing the man over, leaving him to redden the sand and die.
The Tehir searched the wagons, shepherding out the passengers into a line. Among them were a handful of children, men, and three women, one of them full with child. Aware of their fate, the survivors lowered their heads and did not resist as the Tehir bound their hands and collared their necks. The red-veiled raider spit at the feet of the prisoners, "Teuriz gojor, iebri lovib."
With that, the slaves were stripped bare, then garbed in simple cloths and lifted back into the wagons. Two horses died in the conflict, so one wagon was emptied of possessions and left behind to warp beneath the sun, surrounded by a ring of imperial corpses.
As the band of Tehir and their acquired caravan moved through the wasteland, the bright rose-gold sky became infused with deep carmine hues, trails of orange and purple streaking across the horizon. The horses whinnied and struggled, uncomfortable with their new owners. In the back of the wagons, many of the captured women and children could be heard whimpering, a stark contrast to the silence coming from the raiders as their march continued.
Twilight had bled across the sky before the darkness of night was ushered in. The scorching heat of the day began to peel off of the sands, as the air grew cold and uncomfortable. The slaves huddled together beneath the coverings of their wagons, too chilled to cry. For an hour they suffered beneath the blanket of the desert's cold, black sky. It was then the red-veiled raider drew their caravan to a stop, finally reaching their campsite. Large sand-hued pavilions rose in a half-circle around a fire pit, where a Tehir woman stood roasting a goat, while pouring a mug of rum over the sticky innards of a massive sand flea.
Without command or question, the Tehir broke into their routine, quickly unloading and sorting the inventory of the wagons, and just as hurriedly leading the slaves into their holding cage near the fire. There, the cold and tired prisoners were left to watch their captors feast, while riffling through their belongings and mocking them in their ancient tongue. The tribe wasted no time in devouring the goat meat and many grew frustrated when it went so quickly. More than a few of the warriors turned their eyes to the slave pen at the sight of the frightened children.
The red-veiled raider rose to his feet, the light of the fire flickering across the black pools of his eyes. He withdrew a crude bone dagger from his belt and dragged its sharpened tip along the bars of the cage. The Tehir woman approached him, her warm eyes twinkling beneath her dark linen shawl, the edges of the fabric decorated with archaic symbols. She touched the raider's arm gently, and he glared at her before lowering his weapon and returning to the fire.
The radiance of stars broke through the black sky overhead, twinkling like thousands of glowing diamonds in a sea of shadows. The fire in the pit had almost burned out, its dying flames bringing only a small sphere of light to the campsite. The faint crackling of the logs was the only sound as both Tehir and slaves succumbed to sleep.
The silent night was shattered with the piercing cry of the pregnant woman in the pen. The Tehir warriors burst out of their tents, weapons drawn, their old steel like curved silvery glass beneath the moonlight. From her cage, the woman cried out, having fallen upon her knees and clutching her stomach in anguish. Water and blood stained the sand around her.
The red-veiled raider stormed forward, his weapon arm out to his side as he hastily approached the pen. Before he could reach the cage, the woman's screaming turned to a low, throaty rattle as her eyes rolled up into her head and she collapsed onto her back. The absence of her cry was then replaced by the pitched wailing of a newborn.
The babe's skin was insipid, almost translucent to reveal flecks of blood and tendons below its thin surface. Fine, silken hair, more silver than the moon crowned his head. Between fits of sobbing, he opened his eyes to reveal irises, orange and pale.
The red-veiled Tehir leaped back, eyes wide with alarm and shouted, "Keke vyitz! Keke vyitz! Eizh koka!"
The black-shawled Tehir woman spun into action, snatching a small blade from her boot and plunging it into the small of the red-veiled man's back. He cried out, falling over to his knees. The other warriors stood motionless, unwilling to move against the woman. She stepped over to the crying baby, his tiny and frail body covered in the blood of his birth. His mother was an inch away, her body already growing as cold as the desert night.
The Tehir woman unwrapped her shawl and picked up the babe, swaddling it among the black linen folds. The ring of warriors lowered their heads, ignoring the defiant screams of their red-veiled leader as the Tehir woman wandered off into the cover of darkness, with two watery pale orange eyes staring up at her face.
- 10 July 2013
Here is the fifth monthly storyline teaser leading up to "Cross into Shadows" which kicks off in December.
The blue canvas flag flapped wildly, snapping and twisting against the rising winds.
The strong scent of salt and sea drifted in from the docks, where the dark silhouettes of ships floated purposefully in the bay, many departing from the piers despite the late hour. The moon shone bright and full in the night sky, casting ripples of silver across the water beyond and illuminating the west market beneath his balcony.
Along the square below, the moonlight bathed the potted wildflowers in its pale glow. But it was the light of the torches that caught his attention. First came three, and then soon they were joined by four more. Within moments over two dozen fiery lights appeared at the edge of the market, their fires burning like the angry eyes of demons.
They might as well be demons, he thought to himself. They are just as heartless as one.
"They would not even give us this night, would they?" A woman's voice spoke softly from behind him.
He turned to see his half-elven bride, her shapely body still snugly fit into her wedding gown. His grey eyes came alive and he smiled at her. She moved near to him, tracing one finger across his cheek and his trimmed beard that was more grey than brown. Her coral blue eyes sparkled, his own reflection so small and misshapen in their pale azure depths. Tears formed at their corners.
It was his turn now, as he brushed her skin, smearing the tear across her ivory cheek. He held her arms with his hands, squeezing her tightly while placing a kiss on her forehead. For a moment they stood in sweet silence, before the shouting protests rang up from the courtyard.
He let go of his wife and walked over to his nightstand, "We knew this would happen Alendrial. Go to the cellar, Cantorly will be waiting for you. She'll escort you to the ship."
"I will not leave without you." Sadness, more than anger in her voice.
"I will be with all of you shortly, I have no desire to die today." He watched his wife leave the chamber, the train of her gown trailing behind her gracefully as she almost glided out.
He took a cigar from the stand and lit it, breathing deeply as the faint wisps of smoke curled up before his face. Again he stood on the balcony, the night air alive with the smell of sea salt and burning wood. The faces of the mob could be seen now, the light from their torches causing their skin to glow red and orange.
He watched as his loyal guards stood their ground, defending themselves only when a protester got too close. Their uproar echoed throughout the grounds, like a chorus of growling monsters. Death to the half-elf, they would shout. Burn the human traitor!
His eyes twitched with anger and he dropped his cigar when the first stone flew. The mob had taken notice of him and a rock came inches from his face, hitting the wall beside him and landing with a thud. The uprising grew louder as men and women, even some young children, pointed up to him and cried out their insults and threats.
A protester then stormed the gate of the manor, sprinting for only a few seconds before being impaled on the tip of a guard's spear. The death did not deter the crowd, but instead fueled them. The mob rushed the gate like a sea of flesh and fire, some of the angry cries turning to howls of pain as steel met guts and bone. He stepped back from his balcony at the sight of a crossbow in the crowd being reloaded.
As he rushed down the stairwell, he heard the glass of his front doors shatter and the creak of wood splintering as the throng of people tried to press their way inside. He snatched a polished longsword from an ornamental rack on the wall, for all the good it would do. It hadn't seen a day of combat and neither had he.
He almost slipped on the marble tiles as he picked up speed, once even bumping his shoulder when he overcompensated his turn through a hall archway. He arrived in the kitchen, the giant room appearing all the more spacious with the absent staff and activity.
Good, they've made off for the ship then safely.
Shouts echoed from down the hallway.
But will I?
He reached the back of the kitchen, beyond hanging strips of seaweed and wedged the sword up under a trapdoor, pushing to free it. As the trapdoor opened, the sword snapped in half, and he cursed overpaying for shoddy steel and tossed the hilt aside. His tailored cloak tore on the rough-hewn walls as he descended the ladder into the tunnel below.
The passage was smothered in darkness, broken up by the small flickering fires of mounted torches. The underground smelled of old fish and he could hear the faint lapping of the ocean in the distance. He ran down the tunnel, sweat stinging his eyes as he went. The air became wet, adding to the moisture clinging to his skin. The opening had come into view and his strides picked up, pushing himself forward to his escape and to his love.
Out on the water, his ship shifted on the waves. The silhouettes of his crew and passengers had flocked to the side, watching and waiting, some likely more concerned than others. Along a sandy stretch of broken shells and jagged rocks, his wife Alendrial and their maid Cantorly stood beside a rowboat. His wife smiled, her gown now stained and tattered, and her eyes gleaming with tears.
Wracked with desperation and consumed with their purpose, the three climbed into the rowboat and hurriedly reached the awaiting ship and crew. He stood at the edge of his ship, his knuckles whitening as he gripped the wooden railing tight. He heard the captain shout orders and the crew explode into a frenzy, using the cold night breeze to their advantage.
The ship slowly set off, rippling the dark waters as it began to glide away. He heard some of his hired staff whisper among themselves in fear, and his bride begin to sob. His fingernails dug into his palms, breaking the skin as he clenched his fists. He saw his home, high above the Antler rock, begin to glow with a warm orange light. He could swear he still heard their uproar.
Flames consumed the home, rising like a living bonfire against the star-filled night. But the fire was not nearly as hot or bright as the hate spreading through his heart like poison. He watched the home of his family, the home of his name, turn into a giant blazing forge and uttered a curse to the winds.
As he closed his eyes, he could still see the light of their torches burning before him.
- 8 August 2013
Here is the sixth monthly storyline teaser leading up to "Cross into Shadows" which kicks off in December.
While monsters had taught the world cruelty, none had mastered betrayal like the humans.
That thought remained constant in his mind as he pulled himself up over the edge of the gulch, the skin along his hands being scraped by the jagged rocks. He stayed crouched to the ground, his flat nose inhaling the scent of dirt and urnon.
She was close, and he knew he wasn't far behind now. He would not forget that scent, he could not forget that scent. Oily, alien, and metallic. It lingered in his nostrils and his blood came alive with the thrill of the hunt. The stalking of prey wasn't his original desire, but as a man it was his trade. Now as an orc, he made it his duty.
He stood slowly, his old grey cloak loose and tired around his brutish frame. The sun was setting behind the Crown of Koar, the jagged mountainous peaks blackening to shadowy spires before a reddish-purple sky. His narrow yellow eyes thinned even more, adjusting to the approaching twilight. His prey's track began to wane, soon overcome by the crisp scent of rain in the air.
A crack of thunder rippled through the crags, soon followed by a gust of wind that tugged at his cloak and carried the first drop from the heavens above. The blackness of night bled across the sky, the highest reaches of the mountains being submerged in billowing clouds.
Another storm, he thought. Always following him. Or were they following her?
He began his descent, warily moving along, skillfully lowering from one foothold to the next. The tempest churned heavily above him, deep bellows of thunder swelling outward like the fuming wrath of a god. A torrent of rain poured down from the clouds as slender bolts of white lightning danced around, slicing through the storm and illuminating his position.
The rock side became slick, its entire surface glistening from the downpour. He increased his caution, but it slowed his movement. Nothing hindered the storm. The rain stung his eyes, the wind scraped his face. Soon it felt like shards of glass were falling around him, so sharp was the assault.
He began to climb quicker, scrambling downward as he took the risk of speed over the storm. A few more moments and he would reach the ground and find shelter. Another thunderclap sounded above, leaving his ears humming in its wake. He reached for an outcropping and his hand slipped. He saw a flash of lightning as he fell, his body tumbling in the air before he hit rock and slid. He desperately grabbed for any hold, his hands slicing open from the rough stones as he began to slow his fall.
He landed on his shoulder and snarled with pain, his discolored fangs biting into the side of his mouth. He was alive, but anguish surged through his veins. He put his hands to the ground, his blood mixing with the earth and rain. He staggered to his feet, and strained to see the surroundings, looking for any safety to outlast the storm. He began to limp towards a crevice when he heard a faint cry.
His nose twitched and through the dirt and storm he smelled human blood. Another scream sounded and he painfully strode forward, pushing through the agony of his wounds and the relentless pounding of the storm.
He came upon the dying remnants of a campfire, the last of its burning embers drowning beneath the rain. The bodies of women were sprawled about the site, each wearing white robes embroidered with a golden crown, their garments now stained from rain and blood. Many of the corpses were dismembered, limbs and flesh flayed and scattered aside.
He clenched his jaw, staring at the massacre and instantly knowing the source, even before the metallic scent reached him. He looked up, his eyes malevolent and wide. There, behind the corner of a wagon he saw her. Incandescent green eyes returned his gaze, colorful specks flashing across them, first blue, then gold, then red. Her skin was smooth, almost fluid as it shifted from ivory, to grey to black. Small, crystalline shards protruded from her flesh, reshaping in size as he looked on. Her perfect, flawless lips curved into a sinister grin when they both heard the approaching shouts of men.
His prey stepped back, disappearing from his sight. He began to step forward just as the men came into view, their torchlight fighting against the steady wind and rain. Their imperial tabards were soaked and their chainmail glistened. Horror swirled in their eyes at the sight of the bodies, before their faces molded into growling rage. He knew what they saw and he knew what they thought.
The soldiers shouted amongst each other, their words partially drowned out by the chorus of thunder in the sky. As they encircled him and advanced, he gritted his teeth and unsheathed two longswords. Blood from his palms trickled down the hilts of his blades.
He was a man among orcs, and a monster among men.
- 3 January 2014
Here is a recap of what has happened in the last month involving the storyline, Cross into Shadows. I've also included some events happening in other towns, since there will be some tie-ins in various places, each essentially their own adventure, but connected in some ways. I will keep doing monthly updates as the chapters and overall story develop.
Eorgaen 5113 (December, 2013)
- For weeks, the heroes witnessed sporadic attacks on Arkati shrines in or around Wehnimer's Landing. At the beginning of Eorgaen, the sorcerer Nysorm showed up in town, claiming he had located an outpost housing some of these crazy anti-Arkati zealots and quickly needed help to strike at them. Nysorm was once a follower of Grishom Stone's, in the Arcane Eyes, before he eventually betrayed him because Grishom's actions led to the corruption and death of Nysorm's lover. The heroes followed Nysorm through a magical portal to attack a stone fortress among a thick woodland area. They were quickly met by orc, goblin, and kobold defenders, archers and warriors. The monsters were even more quickly slaughtered, as the heroes pushed into the fortress where they encountered more orcish defenders, before coming upon a kitchen cellar full of sobbing orc and goblin women and their whimpering children. Many soon realized the duplicity that had occurred, but it was too late. Others among the group did not hesitate and cut down the women and children. It was then that Stiletto, the goblin trader and rogue appeared. Everyone learned that the inhabitants of the fortress were not the zealots as they had been told, but were in fact members of Thrayzar's clan, who were allied with Wehnimer's Landing. Stiletto, wracked with agony, demanded the heroes leave and was left behind to bury a large majority of their tribe. During the conflict, Nysorm disappeared, many speculating he must be working for Elithain Cross.
- A large storm churns in the Darkstone Bay near the Coastal Cliffs of Wehnimer's Landing, and heroes go to investigate the activity. Ship debris, and waterlogged human corpses are found littering the Black Sands. Loresongs on the corpses reveal that they had been imperial seafarers who had been captured and enslaved by the krolvin, but then the krolvin ship they were on had been hit by the storm. Shortly after, a wave of krolvin scouts, pyromancers and slavers invaded the Black Sands before eventually be killed by the heroes. After the danger had passed, a lone surviving seafarer came out of hiding, wounded and malnourished. He informed the heroes that in recent months the krolvin had been increasing their attacks along the western seas, but apparently only targeting imperial vessels, while going out of their way to ignore others. Furthermore, the krolvin appeared to be far more organized and better equipped than history has shown. The wounded human was escorted to Wehnimer's Landing, fed and provided room and board until he could heal and return home to the Turamzzyrian Empire. On some of the krolvin scouts, maps of the Greymist Woods on Teras Isle are found.
- Earl Jovery, the Sentinel of the North, had been tasked months earlier to travel to Talador to oversee the transition of power from Jantalar back to Talador's own people. Earl Jovery then sought to right past sins and declared Talador's Merchant Council to become a Noble Council, granted with more lands, influence and the ability to appoint their trusted mercenaries and warriors into Knights. The Northern Sentinel and the new Noble Council worked together to select Lord Kuligar Gardane to become the new Baron of Talador, set to occur during a month long festival in Talador.
- More zealots, members of a cult worshipping Althedeus, make continued strikes at the Temple of Lorminstra in Wehnimer's Landing. Their attack is defeated, but some of the temple is left charred.
- Amid rumors of the krolvin fleets being supplied weapons and commands from a source within Wehnimer's Landing, the Earl of Estoria dispatches his second cousin, Lord Rinhale Hurrst, a highly reputable imperial inquisitor. Lord Rinhale's nickname is "The Bluecoat" among many locals in the Turamzzyrian Empire, and he has a known reputation for cruel treatment, torture, and even falsifying evidence to further progress his own success. Councilman Stephos and his wife Alendrial inform the heroes of Rinhale's coming arrival, and his checkered past, as they all hail from Idolone.
- Krolvin scouts and warriors invade the Greymist Beach on Teras Isle. They are pushed back, but have left behind a cage filled with building equipment.
- Lord Rinhale begins to question a number of citizens and visitors in town, most questions focusing on the town's current leadership of Mayor Walkar, and Councilman Deylan and Stephos, along with the Brotherhood of Rooks and dark magic being practiced in the town.
- Shimmering crimson portals appeared near Ta'Vaalor and Ta'Illistim, with droves of undead elves pouring out of them and attacking the two towns.
- Prince Voregrek of Kharam Dzu tells his citizens that he will take a trip to visit the mayor of Wehnimer's Landing so that they might discuss their shared krolvin enemy and what the two towns can do to help each other.
- More undead legions pour out of the crimson portals in the Elven Nations, simultaneously launching attacks on Ta'Vaalor and Ta'Illistim almost nightly. Tiope, the elven traitor who assassinated King Tyrnian Vaalor, is seen coming out of the portals and commanding the undead armies. Tiope demands the Elven Nations surrender, and that under her, the Elven Empire will be reborn. She mentions an attack on Ta'Ardenai by her forces.
- Mayor Nihala of Icemule Trace informs her citizens that Mayor Walkar of Wehnimer's Landing has agreed to send supplies and weapons to help in their conflict against the growing ice troll menace. She is unsure when exactly to expect it.
- Prince Voregrek of Kharam Dzu arrives in Wehnimer's Landing and meets with Mayor Walkar, and a room full of citizens in audience. The dwarven prince explains that not only have the krolvin been launching skirmishes on his island, but his own hired mercenaries have abandoned him, apparently hired away by someone with deeper pockets than his own. Mayor Walkar says he has no warriors to spare, but has an abundance of lumber earmarked for local construction that he is willing to send to Teras to help build archery towers along the Greymist Beach to defend against the krolvin. Prince Voregrek agrees and promises to aid Mayor Walkar when the day comes for a favor to be asked in return. The Prince returns to Teras.
- A caravan is ambushed from Wehnimer's Landing to Icemule Trace, never making it further than the Glatoph. When the heroes see the smoke in the distance they rush to investigate. The wagon's manifest reads grain, fruit and winter clothing, but crates and chests of fruit and grain are all that is left behind. A small red rook was found drawn in chalk on the charred wagon, indicating the Brotherhood of Rooks' involvement. Mayor Walkar surveyed the scene with the heroes and grew angry, finally explaining that there was no winter clothing, and that the wagon also carried a large cache of exploding fire orbs, once owned by Grishom Stone. Some of the orbs were being supplied to the defenders in Icemule Trace, while the other orbs were going to be secreted away from the prying eyes of Lord Rinhale the inquisitor.
- A herald from Talador visits Wehnimer's Landing, Solhaven, River's Rest and Kharam Dzu, inviting everyone to attend the Baronial Coronation Festival for the entire month of Fashanos in Talador. The messenger explains that when the festival begins, the Hall of Mages will provide a portal from Wehnimer's Landing to Talador, for all those wishing to celebrate.
- More anti-Arkati cultists and zealots, worshipping the Shadows/Althedeus, make a powerful attack against Imaera's Shrine near Wehnimer's Landing. The lake's waters, surrounding the island shrine, turn blood red. The heroes and defenders rally before the shrine and fight off the attackers, finally pushing them back and protecting the shrine from damage. The lake of blood remained.
- In the Elven Nations, the undead forces of Tiope focus their strikes on Ta'Vaalor, heavily assaulting the fortress city. Tiope offered the Vaalorians a chance to surrender and bow to her, but they refused. Tiope offered Kakoon of the Legionnaires a chance to join her ranks and lead her undead army. He refused.
- Zevaphim, a crazy priest is found outside of the Temple of Koar in Solhaven, spouting about how the Arkati are weak, have used the lesser races, and how true power lies beyond the so-called gods.
- During his weeks of initial investigations, Lord Rinhale questioned the following people: Avalera, Raincail, Maags, Glyhne, Seomanthe, Balantine, Sareyna, Rowmi, Reawing, Azimar, Cruxophim, Myharl, Bisco, Loralaii, Anru, Alasatia, Masrath, Kiske, Bellaja, Talman, Wariquan, Greganth, Raelee, Neathon, Ichiko, Greycrown, Shanng, Cryheart, Eleonore, Leozande, Giogionni, Rhayveign, Rtune, Chamorr, Savaard, Constal, Bekke, Wintersylph, Alesse, Nairdin, Kaedra, Guerand, Oritori, Bristenn, Roelaren, Riend, Gnazzy, Zeminar, Alafaya, Caence, Praytus, Malrocky, Kerl, Sovine, Puptilian, Xoryl, Mohrgan, Rozy, Geijon, Ewin, Evialla, and Jynai. He also questioned the merchant Edwina, and was refused by the merchant Tykel. A few townspeople refused to answer any of his questions, and they were Tykeara, Chamorr, Sarvia and Ravashaak.
- The body of a Wehnimer's town guard was found hanging from a tree in the Lower Dragonsclaw forest. Speculation swirled around his death.
- Reporting to have seen strange shadows following them, Seomanthe, Kiske, Maags and Cruxophim are assaulted by darkness, their bodies wracked with agony and then left disconnected from the mana essences around them. They are cursed by the Shadows and unable to use magic.
- Lord Rinhale announced he intends to begin questioning local shopkeepers in Wehnimer's Landing, while still continuing to question townspeople. He went on to stress that because of the alliance between the Turamzzyrian Empire and Wehnimer's Landing, he expects everyone to comply with his investigation.
- 5 February 2014
Here is a recap of what has happened in the last two months involving the storyline (Editor's note: previous months not included), Cross into Shadows. I've also included some events happening in other towns, since there will be some tie-ins in various places, each essentially their own adventure, but connected in some ways. I will keep doing monthly updates as the chapters and overall story develop.
Lormesta 5114 (January, 2014)
- Shadowy voidlings and imps attack Wehnimer's Landing, engaging and distracting the defenders while the anti-Arkati cultists assaulted the Temple of Ivas in the Vipershroud. Parts of the temple were burned, and the statue of Ivas was defiled. When adventurers arrived and finally fought off the zealots, they found two delimbed Ivasian priestesses. One of the bodies became animated, eerily spoke to those gathered, before both corpses exploded into blood red globules, before finally be dispatched.
- It was announced that Lord Rinhale Hurrst was now conducting some audits of the local merchant's guild in Wehnimer's Landing, claiming some financial discrepancies were noted.
- Maags was abducted in Wehnimer's Landing and taken to the brass tower near the east side of town. Adventurers searched all over for her, until finally discovering her in the tower, where she claimed to have been tortured and flayed by Rinhale and some of his Estorian knights.
- Upon receiving a letter from Sir Cryheart, the Northern Sentinel, Earl Jovery issues a response politely reminding Lord Rinhale to hurry along with his investigation in Wehnimer's Landing, while also strongly encouraging the Landing's local authorities to cooperate.
- Mayor Walkar declared that all of Rinhale's questioning of townspeople must have town militia members in attendance, to ensure protection of the citizens. Days later, repairs to the Raging Thrak Inn are announced, and Rinhale's room and his knights are relocated to Wayside Inn.
- In the Elven Nations, waves of undead continued to assault both Ta'Vaalor and Ta'Illistim. Tiope once again gave the Legionnaires a chance to join her cause, warning the Elven Houses would fall, and that Ta'Ardenai already had. Her offer was refused.
- Krolvin ships arrive on Teras, dropping off a wave of skilled warriors. Battle ensues on the isle, as Prince Voregrek joins his citizens in the conflict. After the krolvin are beat back, the dwarven Prince assess the new archery towers that had been setup along the beach, and informs those gathered that additional archers had been hired to help man the towers.
- Lord Rinhale engaged in a heated exchange on the steps of Hearthstone Porch in Wehnimer's Landing. He received a number of open threats, and even volleyed with a few insults of his own. Many demanded he leave town, to which he informed them that the town leaders were delaying their meetings with him, therefor prolonging his investigation. Lord Rinhale retired for the evening, escorted away by Sir Cryheart, who he had asked to meet with in private.
- In Ta'Illistim, Tiope's undead forces pushed into the city, surrounding the dais as forces clashed on the streets of the elven city.
- After a drill in Ta'Vaalor, the Legionnaires recruited all who would aid them and made a push to take back the Ravelin. They were met with a tremendous undead force and after a lot of bloodshed, turned back unsuccessful.
- Rumors began to circulate that Rinhale had gone missing, having never returned to his quarters after the confrontation with many adventurers on the Hearthstone Porch nights before. Mayor Walkar announced an investigation into his disappearance would be conducted.
- Invasions continued to hit Ta'Vaalor and Ta'Illistim, while siege engines were deployed by the undead and made both the Dais and King's Court perilous places to be.
- Mayor Walkar announced the plan to build new mobile ballista towers for the defense of Wehnimer's Landing, and will be giving the local Cooperative Houses of Elanthia a chance to donate funds to their creation.
- A successful counter strike was launched against the undead out of Ta'Vaalor, and the Ravelin was finally reclaimed.
- Khylon, the town marshal of Wehnimer's Landing, began to question a few suspects in the disappearance of Rinhale Hurrst. His lists of suspects at the time were the following: Walkar, Deylan, Stephos, Drangell, Tykel, Sarvia, Ravashaak, Uskeye, Cruxophim, Greganth, Xoryl, Sareyna, Giogionni, Tykeara, Riend, Azimar, Zeminar, Kerl, Masrath, Hapenlok, Neovik, Psystahldar, Myharl, Ewin, Bekke, Cryheart and Maags.
- Illistim mages performed a spell outside of the crimson portals in the Elven Nations, in a hope to destroy them. Their magic had ill-desired effects, destroying all of them, and opening the portals to the other side. King Qalinor Vaalor and Lord Legionnaire Commander Jaranzair led the assault through the portals, discovering that the ancient ruins of ShadowGuard awaited them. A bloody conflict ensued.
- Khylon continued more questioning of suspects in Wehnimer's Landing, then helped to organize a massive search party. Five groups were formed to cover the town and its environs, and they were led by Dakris the furrier, Puptilian, Vrairdrick, Uskeye and Cryheart. The areas they were assigned included the Burrow Way, Coastal Cliffs, Lowe Dragonsclaw, Upper Trollfang, Wehntoph, Spider Temple, and the Mine Road. Among the search party, was the unscrupulous assassin known as Vleg, who claimed he wish to aid in preventing the Turamzzyrian Empire from turning its sights on the Landing. Later into the night, Ondreian located a poor concealed pile of dirt and dozens of adventurers descended onto the location, digging away to find the corpse of Rinhale Hurrst. Loresinging by Ariandae and Archales revealed that Rinhale had a secret lover's tryst with Lady Alendrial in the woods. The lore discovered that a shadowy figure had attacked Rinhale and killed him, leaving Alendrial behind as the sole witness to the murder. When the information was presented to town officials, Marshal Khylon arrested Alendrial, detaining her for protection, and questioning. Despite the discovery of the corpse, the magical black coral amulet Rinhale had was not found with the body.
- Councilman Stephos angrily told adventurers on the Hearthstone Porch that his wife Alendrial could rot in jail for her infidelity. A messenger then arrived and informed him that Mayor Walkar intended to free his wife from jail. The councilman stormed off.
- Mayor Walkar and a crowd of adventurers gathered at the North Docks in Wehnimer's to watch the Estorian knights slowly move their way through town, carrying a crate with Rinhale's body inside. The procession ended at the docks, where the knights placed Rinhale's body and crate on a ship. The knights turned to face the gathered crowd, many reaching for their swords, and the threat of a bloody conflict drawing near. The heroes present withdrew their weapons and prepared, just as members of the Brotherhood of Rooks also appeared along warehouse rooftops, lending their bows for support. Outnumbered, the knights boarded their ship and sailed home to Idolone.
- After the presence of Estorian knights were out of Wehnimer's Landing, Mayor Walkar released Lady Alendrial from jail and she was escorted home by local adventurers. Alendrial had explained that she was afraid to tell anyone of what happened, because she feared her husband Stephos' wrath at finding out about the affair with Rinhale, one of his old enemies. A little later, Kilron came around and told the heroes that someone came in and sold a cracked black coral amulet to his pawnshop, apparently not knowing what it was. Kilron had the heroes help him find the museum curator Glethad, who agreed to research the amulet with the help of Magister Raelee and Aurla.
- That same night, after the research of the amulet had begun, Thrayzar the orc was spotted running along the rooftops of Wehnimer's Landing. Guards were told not to attack, but soon Rooks appeared on the rooftops, hunting down the orc. Cries filled the streets as some guards ran into view, their faces melted with acid. Madelyne, the urnon golem was spotted slipping through the shadows of the town, killing guards as she passed. After attacking some of the adventurers, the golem escaped through a red portal near the town gates. Soon after, Thrayzar the orc reappeared and explained to those present that he had been hunting the golem, and tracked her here. He had very strong words for many present, in regards to the misguided slaughter of his clan. The orc did not linger, and left minutes later, to continue his hunt.
- Days later, Glethad, Raelee and Aurla gathered a large crowd inside of the Landing Museum to report on the information they gleaned from Rinhale's amulet. They had learned the amulet was an ancient artifact from before the Wizardwaste was created, and that blood magic and demonic materials was required in its original creation, making it a curious item for an imperial inquisitor to be using. Glethad then activated the amulet, and all those present were able to hear a partial report of Rinhale's skewed findings, which many feared were going to be reported back to someone of great importance in the Empire, or perhaps already had. At the end, the heroes are able to see through Rinhale's eyes, and discover his murderer was actually Madelyne, the urnon golem. The amulet then crumbles into ash, taking any evidence with it.
- The adventurers learned of krolvin forces on the Coastal Cliffs and rushed in to fight them. Pushing back the krolvin, they heroes venture out into the waters of Darkstone Bay and board two krolvin ships. Large crates of weapons are found on board, along with maps of Teras and other cities along the coastline of the Turamzzyrian Empire. The first ship is set on fire. The second ship is not as easily destroyed, and exploration of it reveals a summoning chamber below deck, where the heroes encounter a massively powerful oculoth. Once the demon is killed, a rift instantly teleports the heroes into scattered locations in the wilds, and the ship is torn apart. A weapons crate, matching the ones found on the krolvin warships, is found tucked into the Burrow Way caverns near the Coastal Cliffs.
- Teuriz, the wandering Tehir shaman who had been in Wehnimer's Landing for a few months, pushing around his cart, offered a possible means to cure the four adventurers who had been cursed and severed from their magic. Seomanthe and Cruxophim refuse to partake in a blood ritual, while Kiske and Maags agree, with the promise that no one protecting them gets hurt. The shaman performs his ritual, requiring many in the crowd for assistance, including Sarvia, Ravashaak, Sareyna, Avalera, Rozy, Giogonni, Kaldonis, Astru, Raincail and Cryheart. After a gruesome, challenging ritual, Kiske and Maags are cured of their affliction.
- Mayor Walkar announced that Grand Magister Pylasar of the Hall of Mages is set to appear soon in Wehnimer's Landing, and will be responsible for opening and maintaining the portal to Talador so everyone may participate in the upcoming festivities and baronial coronation.
- The Estorian knights arrived back at Idolone with Rinhale's body, and the Earl of Estoria announced a few days of mourning, before meeting with his advisors to weigh options for seeking justice against Wehnimer's Landing, whom he considers personally responsible for Rinhale's demise.
Chapter 1 Thanks
- 3 March 2014
The first chapter of Cross into Shadows, aptly named "The Imperial Spark" is officially over. Which means, we'll gradually ease into the events of the second chapter, titled "Gathering Darkness." So far, Cross into Shadows has been a lot of fun for me, and I really hope for you all as well! In addition, the festival of Talador, as part of the storyline, was a ton of fun! All of this said, I want to thank some people who really helped out!
First, without a doubt, thank you to all of the players. You guys keep the stories going, you invest the most time, even when GM's aren't around, your plots, your plans, your roleplaying never turns off. Many of you have gone out of your way to include others, to educate others, to really get people involved. Thank you!
A lot of GM's helped out in the first chapter of the storyline, whether it was NPC's, QC of huge blocks of rooms, item and monster approvals, creative contributions, sounding boards, script checking, script creating, Talador shops, Talador merchants, bug fixes, oh sweet lord those pesky bug fixes, and more! So many did so much, so a big THANKS (in no particular order) to the GameMasters Haliste, Mikos, Marstreforn, Qortaz, Lydil, Mariath, Wyrom, Tamuz, Keios, Vanah, Aulis, Galene, Izzea, Mestys, Mazreth, Cyraex, Kaikala, Paersi, Scribes, Luneth, Reidyn, Bessie, Kynlee and Zoelle!
For the volunteers of the Talador NPC's, you have my utmost gratitude and eternal thanks. I don't think anyone would argue that your roles, your activity and your time helped create a very immersive and enjoyable environment in Talador that really made the entire festival. I cannot thank you enough.
I'm working on updating the outline of the storyline events so far, as well as working up a post to go over the details of Talador, with the monsters report and also a tally of the sales in the Talador shops I owned. I'll get those up as soon as I can!
Next up…Cross into Shadows: Chapter 2 - Gathering Darkness.
After the Spark
- 3 March 2014
At the climax of the baronial coronation in Talador, Lordship Kuligar was struck down by a shadowy assailant. The assassin proved to be an urnon golem, who had emerged from a shadow that peeled off of the back of a known Sheruvian named Grhim. The honor guests, priests, and nobility upon the stage were horrified when the new Baron's body collapsed, but even more surprised when it morphed into the corpse of a pale orange-eyed humanoid. After visiting guests were escorted out of Talador, Mayor Walkar had the portal in Wehnimer's Landing quickly destroyed.
It was later confirmed by officials in Talador that the orange-eyed corpse belonged to the man named Deylan, a councilman of Wehnimer's Landing and known spy with the ability to shift his form. For days, search parties sought out the whereabouts of the real Kuligar in an attempt to learn if he was indeed still alive. No discovery has yet been made. In light of the recent chaos, Lord Thermon the head of the Noble Council has been placed in an interim governing position.
Word has spread that Earl Jovery, Baron Malwind, and Lady Athalia have departed from Talador early this morning, en route to the Vornavis Keep, to discuss the troubling implications coming out of Wehnimer's Landing. The Baroness of Jantalar is said to have left for home shortly after.
In a bold statement, Lord Thermon, the interim Potentate of Talador, said, "We have learned of a profound act of espionage which has threatened both Talador and the Turamzzyrian Empire at large. We will not suffer any act of betrayal, and with the voice and might of Talador behind me, I declare Wehnimer's Landing to be our enemy. Retribution will be swift and unmerciful."
Hours after the declaration from Talador, the Earl of Estoria issued a warm condolence to the people of Talador and proclaimed, "Our brothers in the north, we are saddened by the great loss that has befallen your people. Know that Estoria will stand united with you, and within a fortnight I shall dispatch my fleets to aid in this crusade for justice."
13 March 2014
Chapter 1: The Imperial Spark
Fashanos 5114 (February, 2014)
- Grand Magister Pylasar, from the Hall of Mages in the Swale, arrived in Wehnimer's Landing and opened up a portal to Talador. The portal would remain accessible the entire month, allowing adventurers to visit Talador during the Baronial Coronation Festival.
- In Talador, adventurers got to explore parts of the town, shop at a number of local and traveling merchants, and even brave the dangers of the haunted silver mines, ogre and orc infested woodlands, an old battlefield, and even the gnarled minions of a witch in a dark forest named the Murkwoods.
- Adventurers met many flavorful townspeople in Talador, including Glissando a wandering minstrel, Dowager Paiva a local healer, the chocolatier Tootzy, Jalup the owner of the Bitter Bite, Khazhim the ex-captain of the Taladorian Guard, Zaestreos a local drunk and shady individual, Achner the silversmith, Saesi a dwarven widow, Old Winniefred a retired lady of the night from the Honey Mine, Asvith a dwarven scout and member of the Sunfist, Madam Ardenale of the Honey Mine brothel, Brumahrn a local blacksmith, the spinster Mareika, the confectioner Darelle, wife to Burchard, a local baker, Middala, who had moved from Wehnimer's Landing to Talador, the cartographer Debes, a swindler and speculator named Codsworth, the street waif Tzigen, and Lady Cosima the daughter of Lord Thermon, the leader of the Noble Council of Talador.
- During the time in Talador, Lordship Kuligar, who was selected to be become the new Baron, frequently visited adventurers in town, often stopping by the Bitter Bite tavern, despite such behavior typically unexpected from nobility.
- During the time in Talador, Lord Thermon was seen consistently trying to arrange the marriage of his daughter Lady Cosima, to Lordship Kuligar. After a while, it also became apparent that Sir Davard, the Captain of the Taladorian Guard, was madly in love with Cosima and resentment for Kuligar had grown.
- Meanwhile, in the Elven Nations, elven forces continued to push into the recently opened Shadowguard, going back and forth against the seemingly endless tide of undead.
- Rumors spread like wildfire in Talador, some suggesting an evil witch lived in a cabin nearby, some suggesting a vein of a new gem discovered named blood marble in the haunted mines, and even some talking of monster hordes growing in power in the DragonSpine mountains.
- Lordship Kuligar, with little fanfare, was escorted through the portal to Wehnimer's Landing and met with Mayor Walkar, and Stephos, Jenkins and Khylon of the town council. They discussed plans to establish stronger trade and alliances between Talador and Wehnimer's Landing.
- Lord Eldurn Winter from Brisker's Cove spent some time in Talador, spending some time handling some merchant business. One night in the Bitter Bite, the traveling wine merchant Juramis confronted Lord Winter about the rumors of him seeking Juramis' death. The matter was discussed openly among the two men, ending with Lord Winter dismissing such rumors and offering a chance for Juramis to return to Brisker's Cove and come work with him.
- Huge black owls were seen one night, soaring down and snatching up children and eventually even Taladorian guards, lifting off and carrying them into the night. Adventurers tracked them down and discovered the entrance to the Murkwoods, where they eventually found the witch's cabin and were confronted by Raznel, an old enemy presumably thought killed years ago in Wehnimer's Landing.
- Days later, in another confrontation, adventures were able to storm Raznel's cabin and discovered four ossuaries, two of them already destroyed. Upon inspecting, the remaining two ossuaries contained etchings of Seomanthe and Cruxophim, and the adventurers eventually destroyed the urns, causing pain to Seomanthe and Cruxophim, but eventually breaking the curse that had previously blocked their magic. The other two urns presumably belonged to Maags and Kiske, whose curses had been lifted by the Tehir shaman Teuriz weeks before. After the raid on the cabin, Raznel avoided future conflict and the path to her cabin had magically disappeared.
- During one of the battles with Raznel and her minions, the witch had mentioned for her attackers to ask Lordship Kuligar if Saralyn would be making it to the coronation. Later, when Lordship Kuligar was asked about Saralyn, he denied recognizing the name and dismissed the witch's words. Days later, Lordship Kuligar announced his engagement to Lady Cosima.
- Using the name of Lord Ulest, Vleg had been spending time in Talador. After a few days, his identity was figured out and locals reported the sighting of the known assassin Vleg. Taladorian guards found the wanted criminal in the Bitter Bite tavern and apprehended him, planning to execute him publically after the coronation.
- For a few nights, the ghosts of dead Jantalarian soldiers invaded outside of Talador. Eventually adventurers discovered the spirits were tied to a candle an old widow was burning in her home in Talador. The candle was revealed to be made out of the melted skin of old Jantalarian soldiers, who had been killed by the woman's sorcerer husband, after the soldiers tortured and killed their daughter. The candle was eventually destroyed, and the spirits released.
- During the time in Talador, Sir Davard led a few patrols, joined by some visiting adventurers, to hunt down and bring justice to the roaming bandits in the area. Many of the bandits were said to be ex-Jantalarian soldiers, who had found no home or purpose to return to after Jantalar's failed conquests a decade before, so had been forced into a life of thievery.
- Meanwhile, on Teras Isle, a few more incursions happened with the krolvin along the beaches of the volcanic island.
- The Church of Koar announced it was sending high priest Chaston Griffin to become the new Prelate of Talador, to oversee the rebuilding and expansion of the Church of Koar in Talador. Days later, Prelate Chaston arrived to Talador, accompanied by a following of loyal priests and priestesses of Koar.
- Visitors in Talador reported seeing half-eaten aelotoi wings around town and in the wilds. After days of a few more sightings, heroes adventured out into the wilds and located a horde of monsters, led by a huge ogre that had been capturing and eating aelotoi. The adventures eventually dispatched the ogre and its minions.
- After finishing his business in Talador, Lord Winter returned through the portal to Wehnimer's Landing, where his ship waited for him to carry him back to Brisker's Cove.
- Over a hundred adventurers, and thousands of townspeople, gathered at Doggoroth Keep to witness the coronation ceremony of Baron Kuligar Gardane. Visiting nobility were slowly escorted up to a stone dais, including Baron Malwind, his daughter Lady Athalia, his guard captain Gurbah, Earl Jovery, Baroness Delphinuria and a grouping of Taladorian, Hendoran, Vornavian and Jantalarian knights. Among the knights in attendance on the dais, were Sir Cryheart, Sir Metadi, Sir Bristenn, Dame Yviara and Dame Deavon, who had escorted Baron Malwind and his daughter. Shortly after the visiting nobility took their places, the priests of Koar and Prelate Chaston joined the stage, followed by Lord Thermon and the future bride of the Baron, Lady Cosima. Jeers erupted in the crowd when Sir Davard escorted the criminal Vleg up to the dais, bound in chains, where it was expected he would be publically executed after the coronation for crimes in the Empire. Greeted by a thousand cheers and thundering applause, Lordship Kuligar took the stage and was anointed by chrism from Prelate Chaston, and then appointed and proclaimed Baron by Earl Jovery. Lord Thermon then announced the wedding date for Cosima and Kuligar to be on the 15th of Charlatos, and that everyone is invited to return to celebrate the event. Following that announcement, Glissando the minstrel performed a new song created specifically for the coronation. Baron Kuligar then gave a riveting speech about Talador's bold and prosperous new future, which was cut short when a patch of shadows peeled off of Grhim's back, who had been standing on the observation deck above. The shadow shifted to reveal the urnon golem Madelyne Cross, who leapt down onto the stone dais, rushed past Sir Davard who did not budge to stop her, and stabbed Baron Kuligar.
- Knights rushed in to aid Baron Kuligar and stop the golem, but Madelyne escaped in a flash of crimson light. The crowd half erupted into cries of shock, the other half silenced in awe. As Baron Kuligar's body hit the ground, it transformed into the corpse of Deylan, the orange-eyed humanoid spy who worked for Mayor Walkar.
- Immediately following the chaos of the assassination and shapeshifter revelation, Earl Jovery sought to gain control of the situation and warned all visitors to return to where they came from, that the danger in Talador might still be on the loose. Sir Davard rushed Cosima off the stage to get her to safety, and Vleg was escorted back to his prison cell.
- Back in Wehnimer's Landing, Mayor Walkar called on Grand Magister Pylasar to destroy the portal to Talador, after all of the visitors had returned. Mayor Walkar then revealed to the baffled and angry crowd that Kuligar had went to meet a secret lover, Saralyn, in the Talador forest months ago and had fallen off his horse, resulting in his death. Deylan had been tasked to spy on the Taladorian leadership, to learn who might be best to work with in brokering alliances and trade. Deylan had followed Kuligar to the secret meeting in the forest, and had seen him fall. It was then that Saralyn stepped out of the forest, and having seen Deylan, the shapechanging spy had no choice in his mind, but to silence her. Using Kuligar's unfortunate death as an opportunity, Deylan took on Kuligar's form and continued on with the plan for Kuligar to become Baron, who would then become the staunchest ally of Wehnimer's Landing, with the ability to provide imperial soldiers and resources that Wehnimer's lacked. Mayor Walkar promised that he did not instruct Deylan to do any of this, but once he was made aware, he allowed the deception to continue. Mayor Walkar promised to do what he could to ease the troubles with imperial allies he had created.
- On the heels of the Tragedy in Talador, Estoria announced it would sent an imperial fleet to launch an attack on Wehnimer's Landing, joined by the declaration of Lord Thermon, who had also declared that Taladorian forces would march, embarking on a crusade for justice against Wehnimer's Landing.
- The adventurers and townspeople of Wehnimer's Landing are left divided, as some work to squelch imperial anger, and others prepare for war.
To be continued...in Chapter 2: Gathering Darkness
- 3 April 2014
Charlatos 5114 (March, 2014)
- Lord Eldurn Winter sent a letter to Coucilman Stephos that he and many nobles in Brisker's Cove continue to support Wehnimer's Landing and hope and encourage trade agreements to remain in place.
- Grand Magister Pylasar left Wehnimer's Landing to go back to Chastonia to try to secure some political allies for Mayor Walkar.
- Some adventurers around Wehnimer's Landing noticed strange sea blue motes of light floating around town. Over the course of the next few days, some adventurers notice sea blue specks forming in their pupils. Those effected are Galdreth, Stormyrain, Ayaki, Glyhne, Concise, Ohr, Mikeke, Dendum, Hapenlok, Geijon, Saveela, Palcron, Balantine, Fyrentennimar, Rtune, Tknar, Imena, Ravashaak, Svantai, Sylverose, Sairai, Radeek, Bjarn, Ephya and Raelee.
- Ravashaak, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, had a vision where he overhears conversations of others effected by the blue specks, before his vision changed to thousands of krolvin ships amassing at the Shores of Glaoveln.
- Mayor Walkar announced that a logging camp had been built in the Lower Dragonsclaw forest and all are encouraged to help gather logs and prepare traps in the trees of the forest, to help defend against invasions.
- Adventurers began to patrol the rooftops of many buildings in Wehnimer's Landing, stocking up on arrows and bows in order to use the roofs as another measure of defense against enemies in their streets.
- News out of Talador announced the execution of Vleg, the assassin wanted for many crimes in the Turamzzyrian Empire.
- Reports of the northern provinces of the Turamzzyrian Empire revealed that great hordes of monsters were organizing and Mestanir saw increased attacks along their borders.
- Rumors reached Wehnimer's Landing that there was an increased level of demonic activity along the Demonwall and that recently the Order of the Golvern Star had suffered an alarming rate of causalities.
- Baron Malwind sent a letter requesting Mayor Walkar's presence at court in the Vornavis Keep to explain his role in the duplicity and tragedy at the baronial coronation in Talador.
- Meanwhile, in the Elven Nations, Tiope's undead minions continued to assault Ta'Vaalor and Ta'Illistim, carrying out some of the bloodiest conflicts since the portals to ShadowGuard had been opened.
- Mayor Walkar, along with dozens of adventurers, traveled to Solhaven where they were escorted to the Great Hall in Vornavis for an audience with Baron Malwind. Walkar and Malwind exchanged a few heated words and in the end Baron Malwind said he would do all he could to help the people of Wehnimer's Landing in diplomacy, but his hands were tied when it came to military aid or support. Walkar and the adventurers returned back to Wehnimer's Landing with no blood shed, despite the cloud of tension the entire night.
- Emperor Aurmont Anodheles of the Turamzzyrian Empire, Ruler of the Sun Throne, commanded Estoria to refocus their naval efforts on the growing krolvin threat in the western sea, but as a matter of appeasement approved of a small detachment of ships to remain on course for Wehnimer's Landing. In addition, the Sun Throne commanded Earl Jovery, the Northern Sentinel, to quickly take control of the troubling situations in the North.
- Alendrial DeArchon found a ledger her husband Stephos had, showing large orders for weapons placed by the merchant's guild to Tykel. Many encouraged her to turn it over to the authorities in case something didn't look right. Stephos claimed he was innocent of any conspiracy people were grasping at. In the end, Alendrial returned the tome to Stephos, who moved back into their home together and seemed to be trying to mend their relationship.
- Sir Toliman Taggart, a knight of the Order of the Golvern Star, arrived in Wehnimer's Landing via the Glaesen Star. The knight had briefly visited Kharam Dzu where he had traveled to lay his father to rest. Sir Toliman briefly spoke to those gathered in the town of the gathering darkness at the Demonwall then explained that he would be setting off to return to his post the following day.
- Grand Magister Pylasar returned to Wehnimer's Landing from his trip to Chastonia, having failed to receive any political support for Mayor Walkar. The archmage declared he would remain in Wehnimer's Landing to observe and study Mayor Walkar's cursed armor and the new magical affliction causing some people's eyes to gain blue specks. Many present explained that some of them felt the blue specks in the eyes were related to Grishom Stone, who was presumably dead, but perhaps something or someone was using their eyes as a means of divination. When Magister Raelee revealed to Grand Magister Pylasar that her eyes also had the blue specks, he advised her not to return to the Empire or the Hall of Mages until the mystery of the specks could be discovered, as she was likely compromised.
- Earl Jovery made a declaration strongly suggesting Talador turn away from their conflict against Wehnimer's Landing and to seek another approach for justice. The Earl went on to say he would not support Talador's actions, but would not act to stop them. He also commanded Vornavis to turn its focus to defenses against the krolvin threat and that resources from Hendor and Jantalar would be used in helping to aid Mestanir against the recent incursions from monsters. In addition, Earl Jovery commanded the knights in the Order of the Silver Gryphons to stand down from any conflict with Talador, claiming their involvement would just complicate matters.
- Mayor Walkar and Marshal Khylon hired more militia members in Wehnimer's Landing. Marshal Khylon called upon his old dwarven mercenary company and brought in some additional defenders for hire to help against any war with Talador.
- Glissando, the traveling minstrel showed up in Wehnimer's Landing, having left Talador a week before. He warned the adventurers that Talador would march to war soon and that Sir Davard leads them and the entire conflict has been anointed by Prelate Chaston Griffin, the high priest of Koar in Talador. Glissando then bid farewell and said his travels would take him south, far from the conflict in the north.
- One evening, krolvin war galleys attacked Wehnimer's Landing, Teras and River's Rest in an organized strike. Krolvin swarmed from their boats, racking up many causalities before the defenders of all three towns finally stopped them and destroyed their ships.
- Ta'Vaalor launched a counter attack, led by King Qalinor Falustro Vaalor, against Tiope's undead forces in ShadowGuard. During the battle, Tiope had a moment of lucidity and realized the damage she was causing and so impaled herself on her own sword, taking her life. Her body was consumed by shadows a demonic creature appeared, slaughtering many before it was finally dispatched. The portals to ShadowGuard then closed, the threat from Tiope having ended.
- Construction finished on new mobile siege towers outside of Wehnimer's Landing, each one funded by four organizations (Rone Academy, House of Paupers, House Sovyn and Silvergate Inn) of the Cooperative Houses of Elanthia. The towers were deployed into the Lower Dragonsclaw forest and were named Rone's Wrath, Paupers' Defense, Sovyn Safeguard and the Silvergate Shield.
- Word was sent to Baron Malwind requesting use of the refugee camps outside of Vornavis to be used as temporary shelter for citizens looking to flee Wehnimer's Landing before the coming war. Baron Malwind regretfully declined the request and instead tore down the old camps and repurposed the resources to help the Vornavis Navy as they prepared to defend against krolvin.
- With war almost certain, many shops closed up in town as some citizens decided to leave their business and seek safety in another town. The local shops that closed were the boutique, clothier, wine shop, candle wagon, candy shop, bakery, grocer and music shop.
- Organized by the Landing Defense Irregulars and undertaken by dozens and dozens of adventurers, a protected evacuation was successful in transporting almost two hundred citizens from Wehnimer's Landing to Icemule, in hopes of escaping the coming war. The escort was met with some dangers from ice trolls as it got closer to Icemule, but barely suffered any causalities. Early on in the escort, a Taladorian scout was seen near the Glatoph and was killed quickly.
- After celebrating a successful escort in Icemule, Stormyrain, who was effected by the blue specks in her eyes, had a vision in a tavern in Icemule. Her vision showed the march of Taladorian forces had already begun and she saw a dark cloth-covered wagon far behind their columns of soldiers. As the vision drew her closer to the wagon, she was wracked with pain and the vision ended abruptly.
- A damage Estorian ship arrived on the Black Sands near Wehnimer's Landing, the only survivors being three knights, two sailors and an archer. Local adventurers quickly arrived to meet them and were told that a massive fleet of krolvin wreaked havoc on their imperial fleet. The Estorians also explained that the krolvin were augmented by demons in the sky. Mayor Walkar then arrived with some of his town guards and many in the crowd cried out for him to show mercy and not kill the Estorians. Walkar asked if the Estorians had intended to show them any mercy, had their travel been successful, to which they replied no. Surprising many present, Walkar offered quarter to the Estorians and declared they would be healed and fed and then returned home to Estoria, via land.
- Ephya, effected by the blue specks in her eyes, had a vision of the detachment of the Estorian fleet on its way to Wehnimer's Landing, where it had then been almost completely destroyed by krolvin and demons, thus confirming the Estorian survivor's story. Her vision ended with a large krolvin standing on the deck of a massive ship, his onyx-hued eyes gleaming with anger and his arm wearing a red steel gauntlet that he raised high in triumph.
- House of the Rising Phoenix offered to open their building up to people in Wehnimer's Landing who did not wish to flee, but wanted additional protection and safety in numbers. Many townspeople answered the call, including many in Shanty Town, and took up temporary residence within the walls of House Phoenix.
- Geijon, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, had a vision of blood rain in the sky and a gnarled black tree growing in the Lower Dragonsclaw forest, a tree matching the same found in the orchard behind Moot Hall. Later, scouts confirmed that a black tree bearing blood apples had indeed appeared in the forest, the first known time one had been spotted outside of its original grove.
- Thrayzar returned to Wehnimer's Landing from his scouting mission. He informed the heroes that there was about a week left before the Taladorian army would arrive. Thrayzar was then asked to speak to the local kobolds about garnering their aid against the imperial army, who would likely be unkind to their race and forest.
- A krolvin ship was spotted near Solhaven and is destroyed by catapults, but not before it sends a wave of krolvin onto the Vornavis beach. Local heroes and adventurers kill off all of the krolvin in a bloody battle.
- A kobold warchief showed up on the steps of Hearthstone and offered an alliance to the people of Wehnimer's Landing. The agreement was that the kobolds would fight alongside them against Talador, but that the people of Wehnimer's needed to avoid the kobold village. The terms were agreed upon and an alliance was formed.
- 6 May 2014
Olaesta 5114 (April, 2014)
- Rtune, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, had a vision of Lord Thermon Chisholm offering Sir Davard the hand of his daughter, Cosima, if he wins the war against Wehnimer's Landing.
- Estorian ships arrived on the beaches of River's Rest and instead of housing imperials, it was a bunch of krolvin that swarmed out and attacked before they were defeated and the ships destroyed.
- The Taladorian army launched a major offensive against Wehnimer's Landing, hurling boulders and arrow volleys into the town, slaughtering adventurers and townspeople alike. A few siege engines were located near Danjirland and destroyed by the defenders. The Taladorian war camp was discovered near the tree spirits in Upper Trollfang.
- The black trees behind Moot Hall started to gather all dead adventurers who died within the walls of Wehnimer's Landing, magically teleporting their bodies back to the orchard and creating a new, questionable spot for triage.
- After days of ongoing battles, Sir Davard and the remainder of his army arrived at the front lines and continued with almost daily and nighty attacks on Wehnimer's Landing. Davard was injured and killed a number of times, but was always dragged off by his soldiers and healed.
- Fyrentennimar, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, had a vision of Prelate Chaston of the Church of Koar in Talador giving Sir Davard a suit of magical adamantine full plate and a blessed golden sword, dubbed Koar's Fury and Might.
- As the Taladorian assault against Wehnimer's Landing raged on, on many occasions Sir Davard joined the fray, cutting down defenders before eventually being stopped each time, only to be pulled off the field and healed.
- The krolvin launched a major assault against the City of Freeport in the County of Torre. Citizens of River's Rest are warned to be on high alert as forces from the ongoing battle could spill over to their small island nearby.
- Sir Davard issued his demands for a surrender from Wehnimer's Landing, promising to end the war if they were met in full. The demands require that 1. Mayor Walkar and those who conspire with him will be taken into Taladorian custody. 2. Talador will officially occupy Wehnimer's Landing with Sir Davard in command and the barony's flag on their gates. 3. The demonic orchard behind Moot Hall would be destroyed. 4. Wehnimer's Landing would pay for the construction of a Temple of Koar and 5. All followers of Lornon in the town would be hunted down and put to the sword.
- Sir Norallen of Honneland, who had come to Wehnimer's Landing to seek out a legendary weapon in a quest to join the Order of the Golvern Star, brokered a meeting with some adventurers and Sir Davard to discuss his blade. Sir Davard lectured everyone on the power of Koar and the might of men over blades, and then his audience was allowed to leave without harm.
- One evening Taladorian forces rushed the gates with ballistae and rams, and Sir Davard set upon the orchard behind Moot Hall, where he cut down dozens of clerics and priests and the recently resurrected. He was eventually thwarted and injured by Rtune before he crawled away and escaped.
- Krolvin launched another attack on Solhaven Bay and swarmed the beaches before Vornavis defenses destroyed their ships. Many adventurers and defenders fought the krolvin on the beach and killed them all, keeping them from reaching the towns.
- Night after night, Taladorian forces continued to set up barricades in the environs around Wehnimer's Landing, cutting them off from other towns and establishing catapults behind the blockades. Night after night, the heroes continued to cut down the Taladorians and destroy their siege engines and barricades.
- During many of the Taladorian attacks, Mayor Walkar or Marshal Khylon fought alongside the adventurers. Each time Mayor Walkar battled amongst the adventurers, his armor would end up draining him by the end of the night, forcing him to rest or eat of the blood trees in the orchard.
- In a strategic counter attack, Thrayzar the orc led a group of adventurers to an area in the Red Forest where part of Davard's supply wagons were. The adventurers destroyed dozens of wagons, and killed a number of soldiers, warriors and even seamstresses, cooks and women from the Honey Mine in Talador. It was said that the Grand Magister Pylasar from the Hall of Mages broke his neutrality and aided the heroes in creating a portal to be able to access the Red Forest.
- In response against the supply wagon attack, Sir Davard launched a massive attack and set up barricades and siege engines at the Coastal Cliffs, Upper Trollfang and the Foothills. As defenders rushed to destroy the enemy at each blockade, Sir Davard led an invasion on the Gryphon Holding in Lyserian Hills and overtook it, capturing the fortress and imprisoning its servants inside. From the top of the structure, construction began on two catapults. In a glowing boost of his takeover, Sir Davard renamed the building Koar's Holding.
- Sir Davard sent a letter circulating among his army, and to the supporters back in Talador, detailing his war against Wehnimer's Landing in a good and righteous light and spreading propaganda against his enemy and its citizens, while trying to strengthen the will of the people of Talador.
- In Icemule, members of the Arcane Eyes who seek to summon Thaw, led an attack on the refugees of Wehnimer's Landing in the town, injuring some and capturing one as a potential sacrifice to their elemental.
- On Teras, the krolvin made further advances on the island and the construction on their slave camp finished. Local adventurers made ongoing missions into the camp to fight the krolvin, but their forces have not been able to be pushed back yet.
- Mayor Walkar joined in a battle with the defenders of Wehnimer's as Taladorian forces rolled siege towers into place, assaulting the walls and gates of the town. Mayor Walkar acted as a human shield, being riddled with arrows as he helped to lead the destruction of some of the towers in Upper Trollfang. He then used his waraxe to cut open Grhim's throat, calling upon the magic of his breastplate to channel the blood magic at two of the siege towers, instantly obliterating them. He was left weakened, and escorted back to town to rest.
- Krolvin launched another raid on Wehnimer's Landing, as dozens of ships arrived at the north and middle docks. Krolvin swarmed the town, bursting into buildings and capturing slaves to be boarded on their ships, and cutting down anyone who got in their way. Adventurers rushed in to defend and rescue, killing off many of the krolvin and destroying some ships. Sir Davard led an attack on Wehnimer's Landing, and while some of his knights stood by and did nothing as some innocent people were kidnapped by krolvin, Sir Davard ordered his men to attack the krolvin and even their catapults targeted some of the ships in Darkstone Bay. Only one krolvin ship escaped the conflict and was badly damaged and still on fire as it sailed off. When the dust settled, Sir Davard came in peace to the North Gate and returned dozens of Landing citizens who had been captured by the krolvin, but his Taladorian forces had rescued.
- After a long battle with Taladorian forces, many in Wehnimer's Landing were left dead in the black orchard and few clerics were available to aid the fallen. Mayor Walkar arrived at the orchard, dug his hands into the soil and rose, his eyes glowing as he pointed to one corpse after another, resurrecting all of the fallen adventurers and calling them to return to the fight. The powerful feat left Walkar fatigued and he retired for the evening.
- In spillover from the Battle at Fairport, krolvin began to show up regularly on the beaches of River's Rest, making the area outside of the town's drawbridge more dangerous than normal. A large krolvin ship remained docked near River's Rest, often engaging in battle with imperial ships that got too close, or adventurers who tried to climb aboard.
- A local schooner captain out of Wehnimer's Landing offered to take ten volunteer adventurers out to rescue some prisoners from krolvin slavers.
- In Icemule, members of the Arcane Eyes made a push to summon the great elemental Thaw and were confronted by a number of heroes in the underground ice caverns, their plans temporarily thwarted.
- Meanwhile, while many heroes fought to help Icemule, Sir Davard launched a massive attack on Wehnimer's Landing and setup a blockade on the Glatoph, preventing those in Icemule from easily returning to defend. Wehnimer's suffered great causalities and was on the brink of being overwhelmed, and Marshal Khylon and Mayor Walkar soon joined the fight as well. Walkar was surrounded by Taladorian forces and cut down, then magically teleported back to the black orchard. The trees healed his wounds and returned life to him, and he charged out into the forest and released a wave of crimson energy, burning up the Taladorian's bodies and leaving him weakened and nearly unconscious. Ondreian helped him back to the black orchard, where he walked into the grove of trees and disappeared. Minutes later, cold winds rushed across the entire town and the air grew chilled. The trees behind Moot Hall stretched and released dozens of tiny red spores that floated off over the Lower Dragonsclaw and Upper Trollfang and beyond. Wherever the spores landed, a new gnarled oily black tree arose.
- With the situation between Wehnimer's Landing and Talador quickly deteriorating, Baron Malwind sent his son, Salnim as an envoy to parlay with Sir Davard in an attempt to reason with the commander and focus the might of Talador on real enemies such as the krolvin on the seas and the monster hordes in the north.
- Factions within Wehnimer's Landing began to secretly plot to strike at Davard where it might hurt him the most.
- 16 June 2014
Ivastaen 5114 (May, 2014)
- Drangell arranges for a portal to be created to Talador and members of the Drakes Vanguard and their allies and friends storm the streets of Talador's western district, as members of the Dae'Randir approach the Chisholm Manor in an attempt to kidnap Cosima. Other adventurers learn of the operation and rush through the portal, trying to stop the kidnappers and warn Cosima. In the end, Cosima is captured and falls into the possession of the Brotherhood of Rooks.
- Prelate Chaston Griffin issues a powerful threat to Wehnimer's Landing should any harm come to Cosima, the proclaimed Jewel of Talador.
- Meanwhile, in Icemule Trace, worshippers of Thaw continued to set into motion events to summon the great elemental creature.
- Turinrond and Ondreian of the Dae'Randur are publically hung by Mayor Walkar for their admitted involvement in Cosima's abduction. No one names are given to the mayor for those involved. Mayor Walkar revokes the pardon he once placed for Drangell.
- Sir Davard issues a letter (propaganda) about the capture of Cosima and the villainy of Wehnimer's Landing.
- Some adventurers who opposed the kidnapping of Cosima, many among them being members of the Landing Defense Irregulars, were contacted by Marshal Khylon in an attempt to rescue Cosima from the Rooks. Expecting such bravery, Drangell set a trap and the Rooks were waiting for the adventurers. Eventually the adventurers drove out the Rooks from their hidden tunnel, but found the cell they were guarding to be empty, except for a bloodstained toy songbird. (Drangell would always call Cosima a songbird)
- For a week, the catapult fire and arrow showers are significantly reduced as Sir Davard does not wish to risk harm to Cosima due to her unknown whereabouts.
- Drangell makes his demands known to Davard for the return of Cosima, which involve Davard taking his army and returning back to Talador. If he does not, then he will murder Cosima.
- News came from the County of Torre that the City of Fairport had suffered many causalities against the krolvin, but had begun to slowly retake parts of their town. The fate of Count Claybourne remained unknown, some speculating his wounds had finally claimed his life. River's Rest continued to see an ongoing krolvin assault, spillover from the battle raging in Maelstrom Bay.
- Days pass and the barrage of invasions slows down with Cosima's location unknown. One night the Brotherhood of Rooks boards up Wayside Inn, dragging everyone out who was lingering inside. On the roof of Wayside Inn, Drangell and some Rooks appear with Cosima, garbed in a stained wedding dress and her hands and arms bound to her side. Sir Davard and some Taladorian archers appear at the edge of the Lower Dragonsclaw forest, as a large group of adventurers stand in the middle, near the Inn. Drangell demands Davard's answer, but the knight refuses to negotiate with Drangell and his band of criminals. For all to see, Drangell guts Cosima and then has oil and fire poured on her, and her body is engulfed in flames, her agonized screams echoing through the night. Wehnimer's archers and Taladorian archers fire on Drangell and his Rooks, kill some of the criminals, and injure Drangell who escapes out of sight. Upon witnessing Cosima's death, Sir Davard collapses to his knees, screaming for her. Taladorian soldiers grab up their leader and drag him off into the protection of the forest.
- For days, Davard is not seen on the field of battle, but Taladorian forces are enraged and renew their daily attacks and catapult fire on Wehnimer's Landing.
- Radeek, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, has a vision of Davard storming through his pavilion and out behind it, tossing his golden-bladed sword, supposedly blessed by Koar, to the ground. He approached the back a black wagon hidden behind his tent. Lying in wait, was the witch Raznel who beckoned for Davard to join her, and use her against Wehnimer's Landing.
- Days later, minions of the witch Raznel begin to attack Wehnimer's Landing. Deathworms and maggots burrow up from the ground, while the Landing's dead militiamen rise up and attack adventurers. Ghost wolves and other undead assault the town as well, and on numerous occasions magic is temporarily nullified in the streets of the town, making fighting off the invaders incredibly challenging.
- Taladorian forces continued to attack Wehnimer's Landing, and Drangell handed out some small red crystal orbs to many defenders who wished to use them against the invaders. The orbs once belonged to Grishom Stone, and could be activated to explode with fiery results. The orbs eventually became property of the officials of Wehnimer's Landing, but months prior the Brotherhood of Rooks had stolen a wagon full of them from the town.
- Meanwhile, in Teras, krolvin continued to launch attacks on Kharam Dzu and strengthen their hold on the beaches of the island, adding more slaves to their camps. Krolvin ships could be seen arriving and leaving the Island, presumably stopping to restock or get repaired.
- Adventures planned to retake the Gryphon Holding and split into three groups. One group remains in town to defend the gates, while a second group launches an assault on the Gryphon Holding to act as a distraction. The third group digs a tunnel from a mine near Lyserian Hills into the tunnels beneath the Holding, where an old dwarven forge was once operated. Back in town, the first group had to defend against a host of Sheruvians attacking, while the assault groups on the Gryphond Holding faced various threats. After a long battle, the Holding was recaptured and the siege engines on top of it were destroyed. Prisoners were rescued, but no sign of Davard was found inside of the keep. However, in the tunnels beneath the Holding, the adventurers discovered evidence of dark magic and blood rituals, and other symbols indicating Raznel had been there performing sacrifices. The following day, Grand Magister Pylasar examine the tunnel and the witch's handiwork with a handful of adventurers who led him down there.
- Hearing the news of the presence of the witch, rumored to be associated now with Davard, a faction of the Taladorian forces broke camp and left the battle, returning home to Talador. Those who had left had been the priests and zealots who were devout Koar worshippers, and deemed any involvement with a dark witch to be reprehensible.
- Taladorian forces discovered a way into the Burrow Way and began to use part of the Rooks' tunnels to spring up in the middle of town, attacking the adventurers and townspeople. After a few nights of ongoing battles in the streets and tunnels, Drangell strapped on a backpack full of crimson orbs, activate them all at once, and used them to collapse a length of the tunnels that led to the coastal cliffs. He was presumably buried in the rubble or blown to bits. With the tunnel collapsed, the Taladorians had no other entrance into the passageway and up into town.
- Hapenlok, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, has a vision of Davard being drunk and downtrodden and consulting Raznel for aid. In the vision Raznel communicates that due to her location being found under the Gryphon Holding, she is leaving the area because the Hall of Mages will come for her. Raznel then instructs Davard to strike at the "heart of Wehnimer's Landing."
- Meanwhile, in Icemule Trace, defenders fought a long battle beneath the town and thwarted the sect of Arcane Eyes in their attempt to summon the fire elemental Thaw. In the end, the last of the Thaw followers were destroyed and their threat to Icemule Trace and Elanthia extinguished.
- In a raid on the Taladorian camp, the orc Thrayzar led a group of adventurers to strike the siege engineers and builders who were asleep in their tents. The Taladorian crafters were slaughtered and a number of siege engines destroyed. Without their builders to craft or repair, the constant catapult fire over Wehnimer's Landing ceased.
- Glyhne, effected by the blue specks in her eyes, has a vision of Lord Thermon and the original Lord Kuligar discussing politics, when Thermon reveals he knows that Kuligar is have a secret affair with Saralyn, the wife of a Jantalarian captain. Thermon agrees to be quiet about it, and back Kuligar for Baron, if Kuligar will open up the abandoned mines once he is Baron to explore the rumors of "blood marble" existing within their depths, as told to him by the witch Raznel.
- Dendum, effected by the blue specks in his eyes, has a vision of the original Kuligar riding out into a forest near Talador to meet his secret lover Saralyn, but is being stalked by Deylan. Kuligar hears a sound in the forest, sees Deylan's orange eyes and races his horse into the forest. The steed's leg twists on a branch, Kuligar is thrown from his head and his neck snaps on a tree. Deylan approaches the body and shapeshifts into Kuligar's appearance, just as Saralyn spots the entire event from nearby. Saralyn tries to run, but Deylan silences her to keep his secret. Deylan then secretly moves both bodies back to the area around Wehnimer's Landing, dropping the corpses into a seemingly bottomless ravine on the Glatoph.
- Sir Davard launches a massive attack on Wehnimer's Landing, with Taladorian forces hitting hard and driving deep into the town. The Taladorians forces are split, dividing their attacks against the House of Phoenix, where innocent town refugees hid, and at the Wellington Home, the town's orphanage. Groups of adventurers rally at each location, sweating, bleeding and dying as they fight to defend the town and its innocent people. During the hours of battle, the Taladorians get the upper hand a few times, once even invading House Phoenix and setting it on fire, killing a number of the townspeople who were hidden inside. Near the end of the battle, Mayor Walkar and Sir Davard clashed in the streets and rooftops of Wehnimer's Landing, the power of their armors causing devastation around them, as each fought to overcome the other. Many times Davard got the upper hand on Walkar, dealing him critical blows, which the mayor only healed from quickly. During the battle between Walkar and Davard, Walkar was able to shatter his sword and break his armor, finally leaving Davard vulnerable. Taladorian archers constantly fired on Walkar, allowing Davard to escape and regroup with his men. In a final attack, Davard led his forces on the orphanage but then threw down a weapon he had found. He called upon Koar, shouting for him to smite the wicked and to forgive him for his association with the witch. Feeling scorned by his Arkati, Davard surrendered and told those present that he was not a butcher of children. Davard was then captured and taken to the town's prison and the Taladorian forces were pushed back.
- The following night Taladorian forces launched another massive attack on Wehnimer's Landing, trying to free Sir Davard from the prison, unaware he had willingly surrendered. A large battle ravaged across the town for hours, as townspeople and heroes fought alongside each other. In the midst was also Mayor Walkar, his cursed armor acting out wildly and incinerating Taladorians in his way. Walkar began to lose control over his actions, lost into a berserker rage and not very responsive to those trying to talk to him as he ran headlong into the fray. The battle went back and forth for a long time until a Taladorian archer shot an arrow into the side of Walkar's bloodhound, Winston. Walkar's voice could be heard, twisted and demonic, echoing across the town and declaring he would kill every last one of the Taladorians. Gathering a group with him, Walkar led them to the Taladorian camp and summoning power from his armor, destroyed the wooden blockade outside the camp. Calling on new demonic powers, Walkar began igniting tents and Taladorian soldiers on fire, slaughtering them all as they tried to flee. Many adventurers rushed to face off against Walkar, demanding he stop and let their enemy retreat. Walkar did not budge and continued to slaughter Taladorians as they begged for mercy. He was eventually killed by some local heroes and defenders, but each time he would rise again, stronger and more determined. Before everyone's eyes, he transformed into a creature of death, covered in sinewy bones, jagged plates, and bloody tendons. Meteors had even been conjured over the camp, but Walkar summoned a blast of crimson energy that destroyed them before landing on him. With the Taladorian camp in flames and hundreds of soldiers and squires dead, Walkar marched back to Wehnimer's Landing where he rose an army of undead militiamen and began setting Wehnimer's on fire. Many reported hearing a whisper, sounding like Walkar saying, "I'm sorry," before the Mayor, turned Abomination led his new undead army to the south, marching beyond the Upper Trollfang. With Walkar and the Taladorians gone, Wehnimer's Landing was left nearly in ruins.
- 1 July 2014
Lumnea 5114 (June, 2014)
- Earl Jovery approved of Judge Renpaw's request to put Davard on trial in Wehnimer's Landing, with the stipulation that the Earl would appoint the other two judges, as the tribunal would fall under imperial justice. Earl Jovery nominated Grand Magister Pylasar to serve as a second judge, and upon the recommendation of Baroness Delphinuria of Jantalar, the third judge would become Lord Lheren Hochstib, the bastard son of Lerep Hochstib and a Second Watcher in the Church of Koar. The trial was being held due to allegations of Davard's involvement with the witch Raznel and her dark and blood magic, which is forbidden in the Empire.
- Adventurers in Wehnimer's Landing spent weeks helping the survivors of the war clear rubble and other debris from the streets of the town, many lost items and bodies being found in the rubble.
- Thrayzar took up a more permanent role in Wehnimer's Landing, after Marshal Khylon was injured and left in a weakened state after the war. The orc dedicated most of his time to helping recruit new militia members and train them.
- A donation bin for the victims of the war in Wehnimer's Landing was setup outside of Moot Hall, accepting coins and gems.
- Councilman Stephos DeArchon held a memorial service at Halcyon Hills, for those who had died during the war. At the end of the ceremony, many reported having seen the manifestation of Gosaena appear on the lake, embracing many souls of the fallen.
- North Hendor is attacked as hordes of ice creatures and some undead descend from the Dragonspine Mountains, destroying some farms and settlements and launching raids on the city walls of Lolle.
- Marshal Khylon honors some adventurers during the battle against Talador, naming them all Defenders of Wehnimer's Landing. They are Evia, Rhayveign, Duonegra, Archales, Rowmi, Glyhne, Ephya, Stormyrain, Rtune, Radeek, Droit, Phever, Alasatia and Bekke. Many in town begin to call Dendum the Wind in the Willow, as they turned to his words and parchments for leadership. In Talador there were some adventurers named Brigands of Talador, and they were Grhim, Ondreian, Turinrond and Wolfloner.
- Heavy fighting continued in Fairport and still spilled into River's Rest. The health of County Claybourne of Torre remained unknown, and the defenders in the County began to see some victories, pushing a lot of the krolvin back out to the water, where their battle still raged.
- Adventurers help lead Wehnimer's refugees back from Icemule Trace, guiding them back home to the Landing.
- Lheren Hochstib arrived to Wehnimer's Landing, fending off some paranoia, scorn and many questions. Lheren was almost drowned by Lerep Hochstib as a boy, but his aunt Delphinuria insisted he instead be sent off to the Church of Koar, after giving up any claim to family power and the throne of Jantalar. Moving up within the church, Lheren became an instructor at an academy in Nydds, teaching on religious and imperial law, and eventually became a Second Watcher of the Church of Koar, where he meted out justice in the name of the Church. Lheren expressed his lifelong desire to break out from the dark shadow of his father's tainted legacy.
- A large detachment of the krolvin fleet on the western sea was spotted moving south, expected to possibly strike the County of Allace or the Earldom of Estoria.
- Dwarven workers setup wooden foundations in Wehnimer's Landing as adventurers helped to chop down trees and build temporary homes for the townspeople displaced during the war.
- Davard's trial began. The first night saw witnesses come forward with statements. They were Metadi, Rowmi, Puptilian, Rhayveign, Aurla, Fealoke, Flapjack, Hapenlok, Demyse, Lylia, Svantai, Sareyna, Elbromo, Dendum, Masrath ,Bristenn, Rozy, Tyrrah, Grhim, and Ratclaws.
- The second night of Davard's trial saw more witnesses, including Malik, Ephya, Raelee, Nimyala, Dergoatean, Juramis, Turinrond, Radeek, Geijon, Jeril and Neelin.
- The third night of Davard's trial saw additional witnesses, who were Rtune, Wintersylph, Falvicar, Vultieri, Naraz, Shallimar, Ichiko, Heathyr and Doryan.
- On the fourth night of the trial, Davard gave his statement. Before his statements, most evidence had been presented against him came in the form of visions, but in the end he admitted his own guilt and in turn accused the Church of Koar of being complacent and allowing the darkness of their enemies to grow and that they too should be on trial and burn right along with him. He also claimed Lord Thermon was corrupt and had an alliance with the witch Raznel and has made him bring her along to the war. He was then escorted back to his cell to await the verdict days later.
- On the final night of Davard's trial, the three judges revealed their verdict and found Davard guilty of his crimes and his punishment was being stripped of his title and land and then be burned at the stake, where they would pray to Koar to prevent his soul from entering into Koargard and wander the frozen waste beyond it for eternity. That same night, Davard's execution was carried out, where a crowd of people gathered outside of Moot Hall. Many watched on as Davard was burned at the stake.
- Two days after Davard's execution, Lheren Hochstib tells the adventurers he will be riding to Talador with some inquisitors to pursue the accusations made by Davard about Lord Thermon and his corruption and alliance with Raznel the witch.
- Balantine had a vision of a massive krolvin fleet attacking Idolone, the capital of Estoria, but being resisted by a huge imperial naval force. Despite the back and forth conflict, Balantine's vision showed Madelyne, the urnon golem, slipping into Idolone's keep and assassinating Earl Hurrst of Estoria, the very man who had once tried to wage war on Wehnimer's Landing.
- Grand Magister Pylasar recruited some sorcerers to animate troll kings and gather outside of the black woods near Trollfang, where they believed Walkar and his undead to be. Acting on a theory, Pylasar asked the sorcerers Lylia, Dergoatean, Starcrye, Linsha and Rozy to send their animated trolls into the woods. After some concentration, their trolls were able to pass through the barrier protecting the forest, but their connection was quickly severed. Minutes later, the undead troll kings charged through from the other side, deformed and now on a killing spree. They were eventually killed, but their attack had penetrated the forest's barrier from the inside out, allowing adventurers to enter what is now dubbed the Deadfall forest. Inside were all manners of grotesque creatures, from undead Taladorians and Wehnimer's militiamen, to necrotic snakes, deformed dark gnomes, and fiendish imps. The forest also released a host of spores that same night, which eventually descended on Wehnimer's Landing and exploded when destroyed, killing many people.
- Grand Magister Pylasar returned to the Hall of Mages in the Swale to reveal everything he had learned of the Deadfall.
- While at the Festival of Lumnea in Ta'Illistim, Ridic had a vision of Lord Thermon hanging himself in his own chambers in Talador, after he learned that the Second Watcher Lheren Hochstib and some inquisitors were coming to Talador to investigate him. Mere moments after Lord Thermon took his last breath, two miners arrive to his home bringing a chunk of "blood marble" found in the abandoned mines, the first real proof the stone existed.
- It is learned Balantine and Ridic's visions were true, as reports traveled up from the Empire that krolvin were engaged in fighting at Idolone and Earl Hurrst had been assassinated. In addition, Lord Thermon's suicide was confirmed and with the absence of definite leadership beyond a council of nobles in Talador, the Baroness Delphinuria of Jantalar dispatched royal and military advisors to help Talador's leaders during the vacuum of power and the sudden revelation of blood marble, and the attention and demand it would bring.
- Grand Magister Pylasar returned to Wehnimer's Landing and informed the adventurers that the Provost of the Swale's Hall of Mages had agreed to allow temporary, and partially restricted access, to their structure. Pylasar established a portal (or a fog really) that allowed the adventurers to teleport to the Swale, where they could find portals inside of the Hall of Mages. Within the Hall, the portals led to Mestanir, Idolone, the Dragonspine Mountains, and the Demonwall. The adventurers were asked to help lend their spells and swords in fighting against all of the threats coming at the Turamzzyrian Empire all at once.
- 22 August 2014
Koaratos 5114 (July, 2014)
- Battles continue to rage across the Empire, as adventurers through the portals in the Hall of Mages help defend critical areas in the DragonSpine Mountains, Mestanir, Idolone and the Demonwall.
- Athamael, a construct formed by the Order of Luukos in Vornavis, is spotted fighting against demons along the Demonwall, and later spied within the Hall of Mages archives seeking a book on ancient burial sites.
- Glethad, the museum curator from Wehnimer's Landing, revealed to also be afflicted with the blue specks in his eyes, is admitted to the Hall of Mages archives to begin additional research in to his theory that Grishom Stone, before his defeat, was trying to construct a plan or method to stop Althedeus, the Shadows, once and for all. It is speculated that because of his defiance, Althedeus abandoned Grishom and positioned Elithain Cross to be his new primary advocate for his dark plans.
- Councilman Stephos received a letter in a package on a shipment of supplies from Brisker's Cove. The letter explained that Elithain Cross would soon be visiting Wehnimer's Landing to extend them a historical invitation.
- Elithain Cross arrived in Wehnimer's Landing and admitted that he was the force behind uniting the enemies of the Turamzzyrian Empire, such as the krolvin, monster hordes, demons and undead and launching a massive war against the human lands in an attempt to overthrow the rulers and reform the nation. He claimed he would do away with the restrictions in place by the Hall of Mages and abolish Chaston's Edict, which places humans higher than non-humans. He said in the coming says he would return and accept any and all to his case, to his war for a better future.
- The Second Watcher of the Church of Koar, Lord Lheren Hochstib, returned briefly to Wehnimer's Landing after his short time in Talador following Lord Thermon's suicide. He revealed a black coral amulet to the masses, identical to the one Rinhale had used, and therefore must have been the second of the pair. Lheren expressed how the views within the amulet were very damaging and seemed skewed, and so he threw it at the wall outside of Moot Hall and shattered it, not wishing anymore religious fervor and witch hunts because of it. Lheren remained a few more days to rest, then left town.
- Imena, effected by the blue specks in her eyes, had a vision of black airships moving among the clouds and peaks along DragonSpine Mountains.
- The once abandoned silver mines in Talador reopened due to the new discovery of veins of blood marble. While it seemingly holds no magical properties, the blood marble, what small amount has been mined so far, has become in very high demand throughout the empire, as nobility seeks to claim and own the latest imperial craze.
- Elithain Cross releases missives to the rulers of the Elven Nations, calling upon them to join his war against the cruelty and racism of the Turamzzyrian Empire.
- Sir Toliman, a knight of the Order of the Golvern Star fights alongside some defenders on the Demonwall and tells them of the great fiery demon called the Wastewalker, who sometimes comes close enough to the wall to slay dozens of warriors.
- King Qalinor Vaalor, the ruler of Ta'Vaalor publically rejects Elithain Cross' invitation for war with the human empire.
- Small groups of townspeople began to meet with Thrayzar, the orc, as they discussed the invitation from Elithain Cross and sought to learn more and have their concerns addressed outside of mercenaries and adventurers equipped for such warfare.
- The Council of Thrones, with the backing of all Elven Houses, rejected Elithain Cross' invitation to war with the Turamzzurian Empire.
- Elithain Cross returned to Wehnimer's Landing to hear the town's answer to his invitation. A majority of the adventurers and townspeople openly opposed Cross. Upon his rejection, Cross lashed out at Wehnimer's Landing. Townspeople became possessed and turned on each other, as commoners were cut down in the streets, and even krolvin appeared on Darkstone Bay and attacked the town.
- Those with blue specks in their eyes began to describe feeling strange sensations, as if sharing in the physical pain Grishom Stone was suffering from, in addition to overhearing voices.
- After the Great Elven Houses rejected Elithain Cross, a large group of Nalfein elves rebelled in their city and were cast out of their homes, declared exiles in the Elven Nations. That particular group of Nalfein elves, led by Zyndur, once aided Wehnimer's Landing against the krolvin Krentuk when he possessed the Star of Khar'ta, and later against the Rooks and the Lich King Barnom Slim. It was learned that Zyndur had become obsessed with discovering if the Star of Khar'ta still existed and where to find it, that he was overthrown as the leader among his Nalfein group and replaced by Nysina as the commander. The Nalfein elves then named themselves Shades of the Rose and declared their alliance with Elithain Cross.
- Some of the Lichborn gathered, and it is speculated they renewed their oaths to the Shadows, the force behind Barnom Slim and rumored to be behind Elithain Cross. In a ritual in the Lower Dragonsclaw, they slaughtered dozens of entranced kobolds and offered up some of their own blood to the soil of the forest. Soon bats descended from the black skies, each creature having a face of one of the lichborn Bellaja, Raincail or Cruxophim. The bats attacked Wehnimer's Landing, eventually defeated.
- Elithain Cross returns and a number of adventurers take a blood oath to join his alliance in the war to crush and reform the Turamzzyrian Empire. Over the coming weeks, over 35 adventurers take the same oath. Radeek refuses the oath, and is tossed aside. He immediately warned other heroes of what happened with the oath, and was then warned his punishment would be coming.
- Walkar invades from the Deadfall forest, attacking the town with his undead minions and declaring the adventurers his enemy.
- Aralyte of the Palestra arrives in Wehnimer's Landing, apparently at the beckon of a note left for her from Pylasar over two hundred years ago to come to that town on that day. Aralyte then explains that she has been studying ways to unravel Althedeus for ages. She was once assigned to a powerful Faendryl sorcerer whom she also fell in love with. The sorcerer once made contact with Althedeus and helped to raise the Blood Island in the arctic waters near Glaoveln, where Grishom Stone eventually inherited his powers. Aralyte spoke of many myths and legends surrounding Althedeus, from tehiri and sylvan concepts, and that it was a creature born of chaos from the Drakes and Ur'Daemons but could not survive in the natural plane and likely sought a host body that could contain its powers.
- Grand Magister Pylasar led a group into the Deadfall forest to capture one of the spores seen in the dark woods, in preparation for a plan to try to help cure or stop Walkar in his abomination form. Many heroes and those loyal to Cross clashed in the forest, but eventually a spore was captured in a magical jar by Pylasar and given to Raelee to hold onto and study for the time being.
- Elithain Cross returns again to recruit more followers, and it is said those who joined Cross set about burning the ballista logs stocked in all of Wehnimer's Landing defense towers.
- Nysina, the Nalfein commander, arrives with her Airship and Nalfein elves. The guards on the airship permit only those sworn to Elithain Cross aboard her ship. When asked why she arrived, Nysina comments she is there to keep an eye on things progressing in Wehnimer's Landing.
- Undead children poured out of the Deadfall forest, attacking Wehnimer's Landing at the command of Walkar.
- In the flames of the fire place in the Stone Baths, Grishom Stone was seen by a handful of adventurers encased with a network of bloody tendrils, and a red robed figure was seen to be torturing him and eventually revealed to be the summoner Nysorm. Nysorm and his lover Arleasta once worked for Grishom, who eventually seduced Arleasta and made her pretend to be Odilia back in 5111 before she met a cruel end. Nysorm never forgave Grishom and had seemingly allied himself with Elithain Cross.
- Merchant ships from Vornavis arrived at the docks of Wehnimer's Landing and silver-eyed townspeople, under Elithain's possession, attacked the ships and merchants and were joined by members of the Brotherhood of Rooks. The ships were set on fire, and adventurers were able to finally put them out, allowing the ships to escape the docks and sail back home to Vornavis, mostly intact.
- Rosalyn, an undead zombie girl was encountered by many adventurers in Wehnimer's Landing and believed she was still alive, and was offered aid by many of the heroes.
- Walkar launched another wave of undead children at the gates and walls of Wehnimer's Landing. After wave and wave of zombie children, Kiske and Eshielle ran to the edge of the Deadfall forest and Kiske pleaded for Walkar to stop, knowing he once had feelings for her. Soon a large crowd gathered outside of the Deadfall forest, and Walkar half appeared within the shadows. In the end, he turned back to the forest and released the undead children so that their spirits could be released, showing that perhaps not all of him was lost to the shadows.
- Elithain Cross gathered his followers and led them through a portal to the depths of Zul Logoth near a waterfall in the Zaerthu Tunnels. Those loyal to him offered their blood to the soil in a dark ritual, and soon Phever appeared from the shadows, summoned by Elithain's magic. Phever was bound and Elithain used his dagger to scar her face during the ritual, drawing power from her pain and the blood of those present to summon forth a huge cache of shadowy black mein golems that Grishom Stone had once buried there. The golems marched, seemingly endlessly, into magical portals taking them to the edges of the Turamzzyrian Empire and another unknown locations. Elithain discarded Phever back in Wehnimer's Landing after their ritual was completed.
- Waves of undead and other creatures marched on the walls and environs of Wehnimer's Landing, as loyalists to Elithain Cross met in a dark sea cave with the recently returned witch, Raznel. Giving of their blood to the witch's magic, the crone presented a cloth doll in the likeness of Raelee and through a ritual was able to curse the Magister through the item, sealing off her magic.
- Svantai, afflicted with the curse of the blue speckled eyes, suffered from a vision showing a host of shadowy black golems upon the peaks of DragonSpine mountains, building a vast amount of elven airships, schematics presumed to be provided by Nysina and her Nalfein crew.
- Baron Malwind of Vornavis released a scathing announcement towards Wehnimer's Landing, cutting of all shipments to the town via ship or over land because of the increased hostility of townspeople towards imperial citizens. The Baron declared he would still do business with the town, but they would need to send their own ships or wagons to take the supplies back to town, putting all of the risk on themselves.
- Councilman Stephos DeArchon setup two petitions in Wehnimer's Landing for the townspeople and adventurers to vote if they supported closing off the portals to the Swale and avoiding the war between Cross and the Empire, or if they wished to keep the portals open and aid the Empire in the defense against Cross.
Phoenatos 5114 (August, 2014)
- As undead and dark forces marched on the gates of Wehnimer's Landing, Nysina's airship lifted off from the Glatoph, seeming to move east towards the Dragonspine Mountains. The next morning it was learned that an elven airship attacked Kestrel Keep on the coastline of Tamzzyr, and a group of assassins' infiltrated the fortress, killing dozens of imperial soldiers and Earl Kestrel himself. House Kestrel heads the Hall of Mages, and Earl Berniah Kestrel lived a life of luxury and influence in a region near his borders of Chastonia. After his death, the Earl's brother, the Royal Magister and advisor to the Emperor was named the acting Earl in the interim. The shock of an imperial ruler killed so close to the heart of the empire rippled throughout the lands.
- After the assassination of Earl Kestrel, the Nalfein airship did not return to Wehnimer's Landing, and it was rumored Nysina was captured during the operation and held by imperial forces and the Hall of Mages.
- Rosalyn, the undead child, was seen in town, while many adventurers tried to help her end her existence of undeath. In the end, she lashed out and took some of Radeek's blood, proving to be just another dark minion of Elithain Cross. The zombie child gave the blood to Turinrond, who in turn eventually returned the vial of blood to Radeek, although many doubted if it was indeed his blood.
- Stephos DeArchon, as interim mayor, reinstalled Juramis as a councilman to fill his old position of overseeing the Merchant's Guild. Days later outside of Moot Hall, Stephos announced he would be keeping the portals to the Swale open as the townspeople had voted in support of continued aid to the Turamzzyrian Empire. In addition, he would be investigating the rumors of Earl Kestrel's assassins hiding in or near Wehnimer's Landing. But shortly after his declaration, Madmountan, Turinrond, Malik and Darcthundar all admitted to being responsible for the death of the Earl. Stephos had them all tarred and feathered and banished from the town.
- With the portal to the Swale remaining open, Chastonian forces were commanded by the Royal Magister to make their soldiers presence known in Wehnimer's Landing, helping to aid the town militia in protecting the streets and defending against their shared enemies. In addition to the extra security, it was said that Chastonian forces would be working to investigate additional parties involved in Earl Kestrel's murder.
- Seeking Bristenn's blood, Raznel offered to break Raelee's curse in exchange for it. The mage Malvernus, along with a group of adventurers, sprang a trap on Raznel, as those loyal to Cross sprang to her defense. In the end, Raznel lost the voodoo doll and was nearly engulfed by fire from Malvernus as she tried to escape, some claiming she died, while others saying they knew better. The voodoo doll was eventually burned, breaking the curse of anti-magic.
- Days later, Grand Magister Pylasar showed up in Wehnimer's Landing with a sack full of additional voodoo dolls, later to be revealed to have been crafted by Raznel in the likeness of Hapenlok, Rtune, Sareyna, Rowmi, Ephya, Bekke, Imena and even a loyalist to Cross, Masrath. The dolls were handed over to their rightful owners. Pylasar went on to explain that Raelee's doll was more easily destroyed because it was indeed a weaker version of the curse placed months before on Seomanthe, Kiske, Maags and Cruxophim. The general consensus was that while the magic was weaker and far quicker in duration, it was more easily done on a wider level of people, which demonstrated Elithain Cross had plans to target the Hall of Mages, making them temporarily vulnerable to whatever he had in mind.
- Unbeknownst to the public, Stephos pardoned the banishments of Madmountan, Turinrond, Malik and Darcthundar. This action was not revealed until days later.
- Grand Magister Pylasar revealed to some gathered in the Stone Baths that he thought it might be possible to perform some kind of ritual to trace the connection to those with the blue speckled eyes back to Grishom Stone to determine his location. Having no desire to dabble with such a ritual that might involve blood magic, Pylasar encouraged adventurers to work with Glethad in organizing such a feat.
- Magister Remulaid from the Swale was found lost in the Lower Dragonsclaw forest after wandering through the purple fog and out into the woods outside of Wehnimer's Landing. He was eventually returned back to the fog, where Vleg, the known assassin working for Raznel, struck him down. He was resurrected by adventurers and safely escorted home.
- Black sails were seen on Darkstone Bay, and krolvin warships were spotted coming near Wehnimer's Landing. Shortly thereafter, Alendrial DeArchon was heard on the amulet screaming for help. Adventurers burst into the DeArchon home and found krolvin swarming the house. They found Alendrial in her bedroom upstairs and killed all of the krolvin and rescued her. Alendrial then revealed that she could not protect Stephos any longer. Alendrial informed those present that she had learned of Stephos involvement with helping to create the Brotherhood of Rooks and pass along funds to Drangell and their members, and she herself had helped tend to some of the wounded Rooks during the Talador war. But Alendrial could not stand by any longer knowing that her husband was involved with krolvin. Alendrial was then escorted to Icemule Trace for her safety. Beneath the DeArchon home, adventurers discovered a large cache of weapons that matched the ones krolvin had been using and the Rooks had been smuggling to them for months. Stephos was found asleep in the town council chambers in Moot Hall and confronted about his duplicity, to which he finally confessed his crimes of arming the krolvin and funding the Rooks. He was apprehended and moved to a cell within the Gryphon's Holding to await punishment for his crimes.
- Late one evening, at the Eternal Flame in Halcyon Hills, a ritual was performed by Ravashaak and Sarvia, with willing participants of Radeek, Stormyrain, Rtune, Svantai, Hapenlok, Geijon, Imena and Glethad giving their blood to help strengthen the ritual. Many allies and friends stood on to help protect those who gave their blood in the ritual, to guard against any threats. During the ritual, Ravashaak's mind was propelled into the flames, calling upon the strength of others to move through the link formed to Grishom Stone. Visions of Svantai, Hapenlok and Geijon's past, even his own, provided obstacles for Ravashaak to overcome. In the end, it was revealed Grishom was enclosed within a network of bloody tendrils stretched out from a wall of living, shifting flesh, where his blood and powers fueled hundreds of silver eyes as a giant, macabre scrying device. Furthermore, his location was determined to be somewhere within a white marble manor in the city of Brisker's Cove, which many presumed was home of Lord Eldurn Winter. In the end, the blue speckled eyes faded from those who had given their blood.
- Following the blood ritual to locate Grishom Stone, the night became alive with shadows as nightmarish creatures were pulled from the minds of some of those who participated in the ritual and descended on Wehnimer's Landing. Shadowy creatures, wights, gargoyles and other manners of foul beasts attacked Wehnimer's Landing and launched simultaneous attacks on shrines all over, striking at those of Lorminstra, Kai, Voln and Ronan. The black trees of the forest reached their branches out, drinking the blood rain from the sky, and massive fires broke out in the forest and in the town of Wehnimer's, as krolvin forces made a powerful strike at Idolone, eventually pushed back by local adventurers.
- Councilman Juramis began to reach out to Mayor Nihala of Icemule Trace to begin additional trade agreements to help make up for the lack of goods being gained more easily from Vornavis. To help with this, Juramis led a group of adventurers on several incursions to drive out bandits between Wehnimer's and Icemule, helping to keep the trade route safer.
- Grand Magister Tayeros arrived in Wehnimer's Landing aboard his ship the Celestine. Guards on the ship prevented all of those loyal to Elithain Cross from boarding it. Tayeros was assigned to Wehimer's Landing to help investigate the murder of Earl Kestrel, and it was later learned he was the one who had captured Nysina and later admitted to torturing her for information. Over the course of the next few weeks, Tayeros apprehended and interrogated a number of suspects in the attack on Kestrel Keep.
- Earl Jovery, the Northern Sentinel, sent a letter to Khylon and Thrayzar that he had dispatched a squad of Hendoran soldiers led by Sir Thadston to come to Wehnimer's Landing and escort Stephos to the courts of Tamzzyr to go on trial for his crimes against the Turamzzyrian Empire. Days later, the Hendoran soldiers and Sir Thadston arrived and Stephos was released from the Gyphon Holding and handed over to his escort, but not before he warned the Landing against future imperial occupation and influence and pleading for his wife to be kept safe. He also revealed Lord Winter had been the source of the funds he had channeled to the Rooks and that he used to acquire weapons for the krolvin.
- The gypsy fortuneteller foretold visions of many local adventurer's futures, or possibilities therefor. Few ended well.
- Days later, Sir Thadston and Hendoran soldiers arrived in Wehnimer's Landing, claiming to have been waylayed by bandits on the road and had been delayed in picking up Stephos to escort back to the Empire. Stephos' trickery was then revealed, as it was learned the adventurers handed over Stephos to a band of Rooks disguised as Hendoran knights, and the ex-councilman and imperial criminal had escaped, destination unknown. After some disbelief and sharp words towards the citizens of Wehnimer's, Sir Thadston and his soldiers rode off into the night in hopes of tracking down Stephos and his accomplices.
- Grand Magister Pylasar, Glethad and Malvernus showed and led a large group of adventurers onto the deck of the Celestine, which he claimed he "borrowed" from Tayeros. The ship set sail into Darkstone Bay with the intention of going to Brisker's Cove and raiding Winter Manor. Once far away from town, Pylasar conjured purple fog that permitted the Celestine to quickly travel the distance between Darkstone Bay and Brisker's Cove. Once the Celestine docked at Brisker's Cove, groups of adventurers flooded into the city and came upon Winter Manor on the top of a hill overlooking the bay. After hours of traps, dark spirits, puzzles, hidden passages, blood tunnels and sea caves, the adventurers finally discovered a secret lair beneath the Manor where Grishom Stone was held captive inside of a network of bloody tendrils. The adventurers were confronted by Nysorm, who warned them not to release Grishom as he was a monster, but his warnings were ignored and Nysorm was killed, his body eventually consumed by shadows. The adventurers gathered destroyed dozens of the silver eyes in the wall of flesh, and hacked and slashed before they cut free all of the tendrils around Grishom, finally freeing him. The manor itself began to tear apart as Malvernus, who had been distracting enemy forces above, began to unleash powerful magic to rip the building and its dungeons apart. Gathered in the chamber, were enemies, victims, and allies of Grishom, all of whom had little choice in the matter and knew there was no going back. The adventurers led Grishom out of the crumbling manor and back onto the deck of the Celestine, where everyone sailed back to Wehnimer's Landing.
- With Grishom Stone freed, Elithain Cross no longer had access to his powerful scrying device, and it was warned that his wrath would be unmerciful because of this victory for the heroes. Grishom Stone taken into Pylasar's custody and housed within the Coven's brass tower near the east side of Wehnimer's Landing. Town guards were placed outside, and the gate was locked up. Pylasar later revealed to others that he had placed magical bracers on Grishom, which would not harm him, but he could easily be tracked by the purple mage himself. Many requested an audience with Grishom, to which Pylasar said that would be allowed, once he had more time to heal. When Grishom was rescued, hundreds of scars disfigured his body, and his eyes had been missing. It was later learned that Grishom had once infused himself with Drangell's everblood, so now that he was freed from the endless torture and mutilation of Nysorm, his wounds had slowly began to heal, but his mind was still reeling from his prolonged enslavement and abuse. Many speculated and worried about what new dangers Grishom Stone would present, and if he could truly be trusted to end the threat of the Shadows.
- 11 January 2015
The sea was eerily silent.
He could see the shoreline from the window of his cabin, hundreds of piles of debris littering it like gnarled rocks. As the distance shortened, he soon realized his presumption was wrong. It was not wreckage at all.
It was bodies.
He cringed for a moment.
Until he noticed they were predominantly the bloated corpses of imperial soldiers.
He smiled for a moment.
The boat swayed steadily along the waves, and he could hear the footsteps of the crew on deck, skittering about to prepare as they reached the shore. He looked to a corner of his chamber and mentally calculated the coins in each coffer neatly stacked side by side. He'd need it all at this point.
Every last coin.
A knock came from the door. A gruff voice from the other side, "We're almost to shore. Have it all ready."
He turned back to the chests in the corner, his narrow grey eyes regarding the remnants of his lives work. Glancing to the side, a smeared mirror revealed exactly how much the last few months had done to him. His fleshy face had slimmed, and every last speck of brown had faded to grey in his beard.
Being a wanted criminal would do that to you.
His new hired hands trudged through the door and were quick to hoist up the chests in the corner, carrying them out, one by one. He fought the urge to stop them, but knew this was his only choice.
He felt the ship slow, shifting slightly as it reached the sands. Buzzards dispatched from their perches on the bloody, pecked bodies of soldiers as he watched the gangplank lowered. Crew members made their way down the ramp, carrying with them his treasure, his coins, his leverage.
He watched from the window as they moved up the shoreline, their footprints marking the sand as they snaked in between the rotting corpses. That was how it should always be, he thought. Rows and rows of imperial corpses.
The last man disappeared along the shoreline, moving into the coverage of the woods beyond. His eyes remained glued to the distance, waiting for their hopefully, inevitable return. Indeed, he would need every last coin. He had only one thing left beyond that.
His home was gone, twice now.
His wife was gone, his position was gone, his financier was gone.
That only left one thing indeed.
The shadows were filled with voices.
Some, her own. Mostly they belonged to others.
Faint whispers, fragments of conversations, some sounding more like wind than words. How long had she been wandering? How long ago did they defeat the great demon of chaos? Had it been mere days, or years now?
The horizon bled like an ocean of blood and ink, stretching as far as she could see, and even further than she had been today. Or yesterday. Or last year?
The ground was broken and shifted between grey and dark grey, always a shade of death, of sorrow, of suffering. Mountains rose and fell in the distance, and whether it was her eyes or not, they seemed to move and shift like the rugged spines of ancient beasts. Oh, she heard them too. Their demonic howls ever so frequently breaking the eerie wind of the world. Eyes blinked in and out of existence, growls reverberated along the fractured ground.
The demon was no more. The ancient child of the power of drakes and daemons, was no more. The corrupter of her lover, was no more. Yet she knew, even here in this twisted valence, it was merely a nest of the evils and power her order was born to face and to control.
But not like this.
Not by walking among them.
The denizens of the dark had not moved on her since she was left behind. They had not bothered her in days. Or had it been years? Was she left behind? No, it was her choosing, she tried to remind herself. A sacrifice to ensure the doorway of demons was closed.
Yes, it had been some time that she had been wandering, seemingly unscathed. But it would not be much longer now, she knew in her mind. Her potency was failing. She could feel her life slowly fleeting, like a draft beneath a door. The demons at the edge of the world and the edge of her mind could feel it too.
But it was not in her blood to stop, to surrender, to accept it. No, she would wander, and she would do so for as long as it took. Perhaps only another day, another year, or another moment.
Her steps became slower, the ground fluid among her feet. An opening appeared in the ground, then another, cracks stretching across the ground. No, not cracks, she realized. It was not even rock and dirt she treaded upon.
As she began to lose her balance, she soon realized she had been walking across the jagged, dark grey backs of gnarled, faceless creatures. Soon the footing beneath her gave way as the demonic beings separated, one by one, sinewy wings sprouting from their backs as they took to the blood laced sky. The wind caught her scream just as she opened her mouth.
There was only silence as she fell into the depths of darkness, further and further until…
The task at hand was daunting.
The air in the office was heavy with the burdens and sins of the past. It was suffocated by the missteps of every other leader who had filled the position before. Unfortunately, or fortunately, more dust than paper had piled up on the desk. This was not where he wanted to be. This was not where he belonged.
In his old life, he had been a killer. A greedy man who took to the role of an assassin, the perfect tool for the Turamzzyrian Empire to wield about whenever they needed to eradicate loose ends or cover up mistakes. The witch, he realized, was one loose end that never seemed to run out of thread.
He looked out the window and across the town center, watching as men and women, even some children, worked tirelessly into the night to help clear debris from the streets and repair homes and buildings. In his days as a mercenary and murderer, he had often heard of the skeleton crews left to man imperial ships after bloody wars with the krolvin. Now he saw one at work in the streets of the town.
Fires had burned homes. Golems had destroyed shops. Krolvin had created dozens of orphans, and airships had battered their walls, and their spirits. The last four years had been one nightmare after the next, all connected, all interwoven and leading up to the chaos they supposedly prevented.
But at what cost?
Was darkness really stopped? Was chaos truly thwarted? He looked around at the horrors in the town, the ruin, the suffering, the children with no parents, the parents with lost children. It would be months, if not years before the town returned to any resemblance of what it was once before the first urnon golem stepped through their gates. It would be a lifetime before the hearts and minds of the people were healed, and only then would they find an end in the silence of death.
For a moment, he didn't fault the last mayor. He understood in that moment how much weight was placed on the shoulders of the town's leaders, time and again. He reflected on his old life, when his missions were always clear. The end result nearly always the same. Those missions paled in comparison to the one before him now.
He was no longer human. In many ways. When the town saw him, they saw the face and form of a monster. A savage. An orc. He had earned the respect and loyalty of the militia, and he held favor among the many adventurers in town. But how long until they forget? How long before the Empire refuses to deal with an orc? Would his presence only bring more trouble?
He wasn't certain anymore. His mission was no longer clear. The survival of a town would be logistics. The survival of its people might be impossible. He had lost as much as they had, family, old friends, allies. Perhaps he fit in more than he thought. But his visage would remind people otherwise.
He looked around the office. He was alone, except the tan bloodhound in the corner, asleep and snoring. Whether he deserved it or not, the torch had been passed to him. Who else would lead? No one else, right now. He questioned his ability to be the leader they needed, but he never questioned his resolve to try.
The door to the office opened, and the bloodhound leapt to its feet, its eyes going wide as if expecting an old master, an old friend. The dog's face physically shifted when it realized it was wrong, and it slowly hung its head and padded back over to the side of the desk, where it laid down with a heavy sigh.
A messenger walked in, carrying a sealed note, which he handed to the orc and then left without further fanfare.
He held the note in his hand for a moment, wondering if it was another report on imperial scouts scouring the environs and the rumors of their extended visit. Surely he had hoped not, as any lingering imperial presence would only make matters worse.
He broke the seal on the parchment and it read: "Thrayzar, my dear old friend. With a new world ripe for the picking, I think it is high time we finally settle the score, for good. I'll be burying you real soon. Love, Drangell."
The orc clenched his fist and snarled. It was in that moment his mission became very, very clear.
The great bell of the temple rang out.
He watched from a balcony, his golden eyes as bright as the marbled floors of the chamber behind him. Ivory pillars, brocade curtains, elaborate tapestries, ornate doors, and a foundation the size of a fortress. It was only fitting, he told himself. The enemies of Koar were out there, and the great people of Talador needed a place to worship safely, to find protection for their bodies, and to find comfort for their souls.
He looked to the north, to the old mine road that was once abandoned and nearly overgrown. How things had changed now, with the mines reopened and the road cleared of foliage and more busy than some of their city streets. He smiled as the steady flow of workers came and went, knowing that each one that returned, the city's wealth, and his wealth, increased.
No, the Church's wealth, he reminded himself. Their mission would need funding to sustain such an enormous goal. Some considered it lofty, but he knew it was righteous. In time, so would they. The light of Koar would spread to all reaches of the world, even into the depths of the darkness. There was never a more obvious time in history to illustrate the dangers of evil left unchecked.
The world had almost been thrown into shadows, and now with that threat gone, it would only be a matter of time until another rose in its place, or two, or three. A great awakening was needed, he knew. Koar's light, in every stretch of land, behind every door and window, inside every heart and soul.
For those refusing to see the light, and for those embracing the darkness of evil, there was only one option for them.
Just then a knock came from the chamber doors, and he stepped in off of the balcony and moved over to his high-backed chair. Reaching to the side, he lifted up his ornate gold staff which was capped with a chiseled shard of blood marble.
His voice commanded the visitor to come in.
The messenger stepped into the chamber, his body garbed in a stark white tabard, a golden white crown emblazoned on the chest. The fabric was slightly uneven, hinting to heavy armor beneath. He unveiled a scroll and unfolded it. "M'Lord, we've word of a group in the next city, a small cult of Marlu worshippers, we think we've located their meeting place."
He sat upon his chair, his eyes fixated on the smooth stone of the blood marble, "Where was it found?"
"In cellars, in one of their nobleman's homes. But there is no indication of their worship to the creature Althedeus. Our information was wrong." The messenger replied.
He nodded, his smile causing his golden eyes to shine, "No, it was not. Darkness is darkness, regardless of what the name branded to it is. Dispatch the Blameless, have them eradicate the cell you've found and their bloodlines. We will ensure no taint of the shadows remain."
The messenger furrowed his brow, "But M'Lord, there was no evidence of any involvement with the shadows, or anti-Arkati movement."
He smiled, a wicked, self-righteous grin, "A detail easily arranged."
The messenger nodded in submission, "Yes M'Lord." Then he turned and left.
He rose then from his chair and slowly paced over to an ornate cabinet, carefully unlocking it with a set of keys. He opened the lacquered white oak doors and peered inside. Shelves lined the cabinet, each one covered in swaths of smooth black velvet. Looking on each shelf, he calculated the items. Two, four, sixteen, thirty. Each one designed the same, each one a pair to the other. He nodded, closing the cabinet doors and locking the amulets inside.
The black coral amulets.
The cavern was dark and heavy with the stink of death.
The walls crawled with bugs, maggots and worms. They slowly crept along the earthen rocks, each wall glistening with blood, some fresh, some old. Bones littered the ground like cobblestones, weaving in and out of the cave, some broken and cracked while others still held rotting bits of flesh or fur. Crude tools were strewn about near the small entrance, and a small pock-faced goblin absentmindedly chewed on the uncooked leg of a rabbit.
Black scarabs skittered along the ground, pooling around the goblin's feet then rippling like a puddle of shadows, inching towards the furthest wall inside the cave. The goblin squealed with half-fear, half-delight and dropped his food, rushing inside. There, at the end of the cavern was an old stone altar upon which rested a tattered and stained black robe. Dried blood caked the sides of the altar and in some areas around its base.
The swarm of bugs glided across the uneven ground and then spiraling up the edge of the altar like a plume of dark smoke. Their tiny shells glistened, and their hundreds of feet clicked eerily as they traveled across the stone and disappeared into the folds of the black garment. Soon the robe began to inflate, widening as a form began to grow within.
The goblin dropped to its knees and began groveling, shouting its praise in a brutish language. The sound soon brought other goblins from out of the shadows, and one by one they lower to the ground in reverence. Finally the form upon the altar was complete, and the old woman stepped down, her bare feet touching the coating of dried blood beneath her.
The woman's hair was dark and ratty, her eyes full of venom and power and stained a viridian hue. Maggots still squirmed along her pale, wrinkled flesh before finally burrowing beneath her skin, disappearing altogether. She looked around at her surroundings, her bony fingers tracing through the air. The goblins broke from their trance when the witch's cackle reverberated through the cave.
"I am hungry…" the old crone's voice spoke.
The servants nodded and two of them scrambled out of sight, returning shortly after and dragging a small cage between them. Inside of the cage was another goblin, one whose eyes and face she recognized at once. The witch inched closer, putting her face to the cage to inspect further and then grinned, satisfied when she saw the small stiletto tattoo on the creature's neck.
The imprisoned goblin did not cower, or even flinch, when the old woman got near. He stared out of the cell, his tiny eyes cold and yet still filled with defiance. Whatever her plans, it seemed, the goblin dared her to do it. No, he welcomed her to do it.
The witch turned away and went back to her altar, shifting through the bones on the ground before finding one with a small residual of meat left. The goblin servants looked at her, befuddled, until one dared to ask, "You…you will not eat him?"
The witch cackled, "No my little pets. I have bigger and better plans for that one. Yes…and he will serve that goal quite nicely."
With death no longer a sentence hanging over his head, the stiletto-marked goblin blinked when he heard the woman's decision. The end did not frighten him anymore. But her nefarious purpose did.
The goblin in the cage let out a small whimper, and the witch on the altar cackled.
Each step drew him closer.
The warm sun blazed across the desert, forcing him to squint as the radiant light shimmered along the sands like a sea of orange. Hot winds stirred dust and grime, stinging his face as he pressed on. Those who had gone beside him had fallen behind.
They had refused to go further.
They had refused to risk their souls for his promises.
Dunes rose and fell in the distance, like a rolling tide of sand. Storms churned across their surfaces, shaping some while destroying others. The very ground he walked seemed to shift every passing moment, threatening to give way any second.
Threatening to consume him.
He gripped the edges of his black robe around him, pulling it tight and staring as far down as he safely could, allowing the cover of his hood to ward off the wind and sand. Warm and blue, the sky would soon deepen with the shadow of night, and he knew his destination would be reached long before dusk.
He felt the call. His mind echoed with the sound of the powerful beckoning.
His hands trembled, for the first time since his youth.
They shook with anxiety, with fear, with thirst.
Soon the gleaming sand beneath his feet gave way to black, his hood falling back and his gaze rising to meet the great, ancient monoliths climbing before him. Their huge surfaces were as black as the void, and periodically whorls of ethereal light danced along their edges, almost pulling him into a trance.
The shadows of the monoliths stretched far beyond him, vastly in every direction. He felt the draw of the structures, he heard the whispers of their spirits.
But he had not come for them.
Standing in the sea of fiery sand and shadow all around him, he paused, his deep sea blue eyes calmly scanning the ground, his mind calling out.
A mere two feet in front of him, a shimmer of viridian light appeared.
Grishom Stone stretched out his hand, palm turned to the sky.
Ascending from the sand, a crystal green orb floated up into his grasp.
The End of Shadows
- 12 January 2015
The creature known as Althedeus, an ancient being born from the chaos of the war between Drakes and Ur'Daemons, has been vanquished. The demon had sought to leave the world of shadows behind, entering into Elanthia through the perfect host of an urnon golem, a construct perfectly suited to sustain his power without being destroyed. After ages of pursuing this goal, through various minions in the past such as Grishom, and later Elithain, the heroes of Elanthia rose to the occassion and thwarted the demon's plans, preserving the world and keeping it from crossing into shadows.
Elithain Cross and the urnon golem, housed with the spirit of his daughter, Madelyne, had begun their ritual far beneath Melgorehn's Reach, using the nexus of power to help fuel their spell. Many heroes joined with Grand Magister Pylasar in the confrontation far below the Reach. Meanwhile, Aralyte, the Palestra Blade led a group of heroes into the unknown of the shadow world, where they would meet Althedeus in battle, using shadowbane weapons to weaken the demon long enough for Aralyte's ritual to unravel him. Back in Wehnimer's Landing, town defedenders and wandering adventures sought to protect the town from airships, golems, undead and the krolvin.
Half way into the ritual, Madelyne had turned on her father Elithain, stabbing him and interrupted his spell, making him vulnerable enough to be killed by the heroes present. Unfortunately, her act of betrayal was the final piece of the ritual needed, which allowed Althedeus to begin to cross over into Elanthia. Back in the shadow realm, the heroes continue to confront Althedeus, battling demons and voidwalkers, doing all they could to weaken him. The Palestra's ritual was finally completed, and calling upon the will and power of all those present, Althedeus was unraveled within the world of shadows. His power had been severed, and far beneath the Reach, the remnants of his being desperately tried to infuse themselves into the urnon golem, making the metal of the creature extremely vulnerable for a short window of time. During this moment, the heroes beneath the Reach struck, working together to shatter the unstable urnon golem, stealing any chance of a host right out from under the Shadows. Having no host, and no thread to the shadow world, Althedeus dissipated, unable to exist anymore.
Back in Wehnimer's Landing, the heroes manned pylons to finally destroy the oncoming airships and regrouped to make a final push to rid their docks of the krolvin. Fires had raged, innocents had died, and buildings had been ruined, but the city was saved because of the defenders organized efforts and bravery.
While a welcomed peace had fallen on Wehnimer's Landing in the wake of the battle with the shadows, the following night Walkar Wellington had been found chopping down logs in the forest outside of town. The curse of his armor, which kept him alive, ended with Elithain's death. Heroes gathered as Walkar finally grew too weak to stand, and they remained by his side until he finally succumbed to death. His body was claimed by town guards and carry off, were preperations would be made for his burial.
While the threat to Elanthia from Althedeus was no more, many were left with a feeling of uncertainty, wondering exactly what was the cost of their victory?
- 19 August 2014
So I decided to write up a kind of, war report, of the conflict and where it stands right now in the Turamzzyrian Empire. This will evolve as well, as things....progress, with the final chapter, so I will likely have another war report or two still to do. I'd imagine this kind of document would easily go across the desk of officials all around the Empire, and of course, rumors abound, tavern talk, scouts, whispers on the road, etc can allow for this kind of information to travel, so there's absolutely no problem with your characters knowing this stuff either.
- County of Torre
- 8/19: The krolvin continue to launch attacks from the western sea outside of Fairport, but what remains of the Torren Guard were assisted by the Red Hat militia and imperial soldiers dispatched from Tamzzyr. Much of the city of Fairport has been reclaimed, but the krolvin seem to have an endless supply of warships and have essentially blockaded sea travel to and from the city.
- 11/19: After months of back and forth, the krolvin threat was driven out of the bay outside of Fairport thanks to the mixed defense of militia, Torren Guard, and imperial soldiers. Refugees have begun being transported back to Fairport, as a majority of the krolvin fighting has moved south towards Ubl and Idolone. Count Clarence Claybourne has been reported to be alive, but suffering bouts of depression after the loss of his only son. Making matters worse, the Count has been unable to heal properly from his wounds during the fall of Fairport, and may never walk again.
- Coastline of Tamzzyr
- 8/19: Chaos still churns from the assassination of the Earl Berniah Kestrel of Chastonia, murdered in his Keep near the coast along Tamzzyr. His brother, the Royal Magister of the Hall of Mages has now taken over as the Earl in the interim. It is reported that assassins, led by a Nalfein airship commander, were responsible for the death of the Earl and may be hiding north of the Empire, in or near Wehnimer's Landing. Kestrel Keep was nearly destroyed by giant black golems that dropped from the airship.
- 11/19: Kestrel Keep remains in ruin, the last of its surviving garrison being transported to other military strongholds and places of conflict to aid in the war. Rumors spread of the Royal Magister of the Hall of Mages considering options to pursue and punish those responsible for the assassination of the Earl of Chastonia.
- Earldom of Estoria
- 8/19: Idolone faces daily incursions from krolvin forces, but Estoria's mighty naval fleet strongly engages them in the western sea, littering the waters with the bloated corpses of both krol and human. The Earl of Estoria was murdered in his keep by the urnon golem Madelyne Cross, during the first strike of the krolvin in Idolone. The Earl's son and heir resides in Nydds under constant guard. Adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing through portals in the Swale help to maintain pressure on the krolvin in Idolone, neither side gaining much ground for long.
- 11/19: Idolone has become the major battleground in imperial forces against the krolvin fleet. Imperial troops from surrounding baronies have arrived to provide supplies and defense. Fleets from Tamzzyr have departed to provide additional naval defenses, but have met krolvin warships all along the western coastline, slowing them down and leaving Idolone locked in a constant struggle.
- Earldom of Chastonia
- 8/19: The Swale has seen an increase in activity of adventurers in its town as they use the satellite college of the Hall of Mages to aid on many battle fronts of the Turamzzyrian Empire's war against Elithain Cross and his minions. The region is left without an Earl after the assassination of Earl Kestrel in his home near Tamzzyr, the position currently filled by the Emperor's closest advisor, the Royal Magister of the Hall of Mages. Following the death of Earl Kestrel, Chastonian soldiers have moved into Wehnimer's Landing, providing additional defenses to the town's militia and also investigating the whereabouts of the Earl's assassins.
- 11/19: One of the blood trees has grown inside of the Swale, near the satellite college of the Hall of Mages. The Hall has begun heavy research in trying to find a way to stop the growth of anymore trees, and possible ways to uproot the one growing near the hub of the Swale. The Hall has also been producing additional pylons, having many of them transported to strategic defense points within the Turamzzyrian Empire, including the Empire's capitol, Tamzzyr, due to reports of airships moving in closer.
- Duchy of Aldora
- 8/19: The Order of Voln has been under recent attack as zealots, claiming to be disciples of the Shadows, have risen up in pockets around the region of Aldora and sought to destroy many Voln monasteries. Voln warriors and imperial soldiers have defended each monastery valiantly, with only one being utterly destroyed, while the others protected.
- 11/19: While the Order of Voln has experienced a series of victorious against the anti-Arkati zealots targeting their monestaries, they have found themselves facing new dangers along the southern edge of Aldora, where sections of the Demonwall have been destroyed and hosts of demonic beings and undead have destroying homes and farms in a direct path north. Duke Bannon Chandrennin has dispatched platoons of imperial soldiers from Elstreth, accompanied by warriors of Voln and bands of demon hunters to help defend the southern region. In addition, a handful of Imperial Drakes have been sent to the fallen section of the Demonwall in Aldora to offer their abilities to the battle.
- County of Allace
- 8/19: Ubl was fortunate enough to avoid much of the krolvin fleets as they moved south towards Idolone, and any conflicts they did face, they suffered only a small amount of causalities. However, threats have recently sprung up from zealots claiming to be disciples of the Shadows, attacking shrines dedicated to both Charl and Niima.
- 11/19: The ancient Crest of Charl temple has been destroyed by anti-Arkati zealots, who rounded up the townspeople of the surrounding villages and sacrificed them in a massive, gruesome ritual. Meanwhile, many fishing towns along the western coast have seen an increase in krolvin raids, as the krolvin fleets, led by warlord Krentuk, have moved south from Fairport, rumored to be in route to Idolone.
- County of Trauntor
- 8/19: The Count of Merlonus Greythane has dispatched additional soldiers to help augment the Order of the Golvern Star along the Demonwall segment outside of Barrett's Gorge. The activity along the Demonwall has escalated over the months and surged to dangerous level, leaving almost little time for the defenders to rest. Rumors among the locals suggest a great fiery demon seen in the sky on a few occasions near the Demonwall, and he has been dubbed the Wastewalker. Adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing, through the portals in the Swale, help to strengthen defenses along the Demonwall.
- 11/19: The efforts of Count Greythane, along with adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing, have proven successful against holding back the tide of demons and undead along the Demonwall segment outside of Barrett's Gorge. Within recent days however, the Wastewalker, has made more frequent reoccurrences and the defenses of the Demonwall have suffered heavy causalities because of it.
- Barony of Dragach
- 8/19: Scouts along the far outskirts of Krinklehorn have reported seeing the stars hidden at night, as black vessels soar across the sky, seeming to originate from the DragonSpine mountains. It is speculated that airships move into positions within the borders of the Turamzzyrian Empire, their exact location and destination unknown.
- 11/19: Black airships continue to pour forth from unknown locations along the DragonSpine mountains, like a steady stream of black smoke. Scouts along Krinklehorn have reported that the ships break up into fleets, some moving west, while others press south. Dragach has received no assistance from the Hall of Mages, but Baron Firmin McGarry has created a temporary alliance with the hulking arctic titans of a large icy stronghold near Connedale. The arctic titans have been able to provide significant defense by hurling boulders at the airships as they pass. In addition, rangers from the Guardians of Sunfist have ascended into the DragonSpines, searching for the source of where these airships may be being constructed.
- Earldom of North Hendor
- 8/19: Great creatures of ice and undead beings constantly descend from the DragonSpine mountains, launching wave after wave against the city walls of Lolle. Earl Eddric Jovery has returned to Lolle in the last few weeks and commands the Hendoran Guard, his forces assisted by soldiers from South Hendor and imperial troops from Tamzzyr. Earl Jovery recently sent Sir Thadston and a group of the Hendoran Guard to Wehnimer's Landing to escort Stephos DeArchon to the courts of Tamzzyr where he would stand trial for supplying arms to the krolvin. It has recently been reported that Stephos was handed over by the people of Wehnimer's to a group of imposters and the criminal remains at large.
- 11/19: Earl Jovery and his commanders have orchestrated successful strategies against fighting the icy creatures and undead descending from the nearby DragonSpine mountains. The city of Lolle has been spared, but did suffer causalities during a two week siege. The Hendoran Guard has pushed back the fighting to the base of the Spines, but remain locked in constant fighting near three of their imperial mountain strongholds. Recently, a handful of pylons had arrived from the Hall of Mages and were successful in their first defense against a small fleet of golems and airships.
- County of Seareach
- 8/19: By and large, Seareach has remained unscathed by the krolvin, despite their access and importance at sea. Recently, it was learned Lord Winter, a nobleman in Brisker's Cove may have been involved in a conspiracy to supply the krolvin who are attacking along the Empire's coasts. Before the matter could be investigated, it is said that adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing stormed the infamous Winter's Manor and rumors indicate they found and rescued the rogue summoner Lord Grishom Stone. Malvernus, a member of the Hall of Mages, was last seen destroying portions of Lord Winter's Manor.
- 11/19: The Hall of Mages has confiscated a number of salvageable items within Lord Winter's Manor, moving many of them to a secret location to be examined and cataloged. An investigation by Count Yedon Tramini is underway into the duplicity of Lord Winter to determine when he had become an imposter, or if it had always been the case. In the last week, the Count of Brisker's Cove has stirred part of his naval forces and sent them to assist struggling cities and villages all along the Western Coast, using funds seized from Lord Winter's estates to provide supplies and food for victims of the krolvin assaults.
- Barony of Jantalar
- 8/19: Jantalar has seen only a few incursions of monster hordes along their borders and without the threat of large invasions, parts of their remaining military force has moved back to Talador to help restore peace to the region after the death of Baron Kuligar Gardane and subsequent death of Potentate Thermon Chisholm. Smaller Jantalarian squads have been recently sent to help supplement imperial forces along Mestanir's northern borders.
- 11/19: Jantalar has been busy in the last two months re-opening many of their forges that were closed down after the failed conquest attempts by the now deceased Baron Lerep Hochstib. Many provinces in the north and some in the south have been keeping the blacksmiths of Jantalar busier than they have in a decade, working to re-supply imperial armies with weapons and armor in the war raging across the Empire. The demand for weapons have been met with the increasing demand for soldiers, and many ex-Jantalarian troops are returning to service once again.
- Barony of Talador
- 8/19: With little of a military force left, the Barony of Talador has returned to being ruled by a Council of Nobles and their defenses augmented by Jantalarian forces. The recent discovery of a new, in demand stone called blood marble has turned a lot of eyes towards the Barony and the wealth has begun to funnel in, along with hundreds of new opportunists. While lacking in military force currently, Talador has begun sending supplies to soldiers fighting near Mestanir and Jantalar borders.
- 11/19: The rise of blood marble has been a lucrative business for Talador over the last two months, and while discovery of only a few deposits of blood marble exist currently, more are being searched for every day within the old mines. Despite the war, the imperial nobility all over the Empire are clamoring for more blood marble, some paying outlandish prices to acquire the new stone for decorative purposes. At the heart of the wealth, Prelate Chaston Griffin has gotten the Church of Koar involved in the blood marble business, helping to oversee the operations as the Noble Council of Talador is still rife with corruption and inexperience. In addition, Prelate Chaston has increased the amount of supplies being sent to other baronies in the north and west, undoubtedly increasing the debts owed to both Talador and the Church.
- Barony of Mestanir
- 8/19: Baron Seurdyn Chydenar has requested additional imperial forces from outposts throughout the Empire to help counter an increase in pressure along many spots of Mestanir's border by monstrous hordes, as the ogres and minotaurs seem to be growing in numbers and strength. Jantalar has sent smaller squads to help in troublesome areas, while adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing, through portals in the Swale, have helped tip the balance time and again in the capitol of Mestanir. The Church of Koar has launched a major offensive, sending their holy paladins and warriors to try to drive the monster hordes away from the Crown of Koar mountains. In addition, a number of shrines and temples to Koar have been targeted recently by zealots who claim to be disciples of the Shadows.
- 11/19: At the date of this report, the capitol city of Mestanir has fallen. After months of being weakened by swarms of ogres and minotaurs and other monstrous hordes, the capitol was finally overrun by a great host of demonic chimera, undead, and other dark creatures. The Order of Voln and Vornavis had sent reinforcements to help defend the city as long as they could, and adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing helped to provided additional support against the attackers, while helping refugees escape to the Swale in Chastonia through portals created by the Hall of Mages. In the end, despite their efforts, two thirds of Mestanir were left in ruin, both the Temple of Koar and the Baron's Castle utterly destroyed. Baron Seurdyn Chydenar and his wife survive the attack, having been escorted to safety days before the fall. The surviving might of the Mestaniri army works to help defend the outer regions of the Barony, while scouts have reported that the demonic chimera have destroyed entire towns and strongholds, but most recently disappeared into the sky, traveling northwest. Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees of Mestanir are now dwelling in areas of Vornavis, Jantalar, and Chastonia.
- Sea of Fire
- 11/19: In the last two weeks, Tehir raiders have led organized missions into the southern regions of Mestanir, helping to fight against the lingering hordes of undead, ogres and minotaurs. Some of the raiders have assisted in efforts to not only fight against the enemy, but also help defend Mestanir citizens and escort them to safety near Vornavis and Jantalar. However, some Tehir raiders have taken advantage of the chaos and war, and have led their own attacks into southern Mestanir, slaughtering imperial soldiers, raiding strongholds, and capturing slaves to return with them to the Sea of Fire.
- Barony of Vornavis
- 8/19: Baron Malwind continues to strengthen the naval defenses of Vornavis as krolvin launch incursions multiple times a week, but have had little success in damaging the capitol and have been contained to villages and towns along the coastline. It is said that the abomination, once known as Walkar, who builds and grows an undead army in the Deadfall forest near Wehnimer's Landing, has turned his sights to the south and to Vornavis. Additional defenses in Vornavis have begun preparing for the possibility of such invasions.
- 11/19: The abomination known as Walkar attacked Solhaven and Vornavis with an army of undead Taladorians, rotting Wehnimer's militiamen, and other dark creatures such as undead gnomes, deathworms, and even blood golems and spores. With advance warning, Vornavis was prepared for such an assault and Walkar's army was met with resistance from the Order of Voln, the Vornavian Guard, and defenders from both Solhaven and Wehnimer's Landing. Walkar was able to push into the center of Solhaven, where he was eventually stopped by the power mage Malvernus, who temporarily entrapped Walkar before almost entirely melting him into his armor. For a few brief moments, Walkar was believed dead, and his army had been entirely pushed back or destroyed. In the end, Walkar began to slowly heal, rising up and painfully retreating back to the Deadfall forest near Wehnimer's Landing. Defenses remain on high alert in Vornavis in the event the undead army returns.
- 25 August 2014
He stood on a deck of ebonwood.
A barrier of smooth veniom rose beneath him, the light of the moon shimmering across its metal surface. The sky was a blanket of darkness, the tiny shimmer of silver stars barely visible among the tattered black clouds, like faint grey specks drowning in a sea of shadows. To his back, the edge of the DragonSpine Mountains faded away, slowly becoming more and more of an obscure wall disappearing into the night.
A faint thrumming vibrated beneath his feet as the airship shifted to the left, the massive vessel gliding smoothly through the sky. Far below, mountain gave way to woodland, and soon the forest opened up like a giant mouth to reveal a wide clearing surrounding Lanark Falls. He stared off into the distance, his cold eyes matching the bitter wrath of the peaks behind him.
The stone walls of a stronghold rose up in the distance, its walls aglow with the light of torches and busy with the footfall of soldiers. The wooden deck now quivered, shaking almost violently as a heavy foot landed behind him.
He turned to greet his ensemble, the thick red robes around his body shifting like crimson mist. Before him stood four enormous golems, their polished mein bodies as black as shadows, their eyes as silver as the stars. They craned their heads, looking on in obedience. Soon more heavy stomps echoed across the deck.
Four became six, became ten, became thirty.
The imperial fortress now stretched out far beneath the base of the airship, and the shouts of men, the shouts of mortals echoed across the ramparts like a great chorus. Their alarm was useless, their fight would soon be over. Fear, replaced by death. He nodded to the golems, and one by one they rushed to the edge of the ship, leaping off and descending like giant obsidian boulders.
The sound of the impact was near deafening. Ancient walls of stone crumbled like sand beneath the weight of the falling golems. The warcries of men transformed into the agonizing screams of mutilation, of suffering, of defeat. His cold silver eyes captured the light of the torches below, each little flame slowly snuffed out, one after the other.
His lips twisted into a wicked grin.
His head turned at the approach of another behind him, a golden-eyed wight with skin as slack as the ragged cloak upon his skeletal shoulders. In his rotting hand, he presented a letter, then lowered his head and backed away.
The cold-eyed man glanced over the parchment and his hand tightly clenched the fireleaf scepter in his hand, his fingernails digging into the wood. He opened one hand, letting the letter fall to his side, its contents containing a detailed report from Brisker's Cove, ending with the name Grishom Stone.
His grin instantly vanished and while he said nothing, his eyes burned with a hatred so strong and powerful that the wight dropped to its knee, bowing in reverence.
"M'lord?" The wight's voice rasped from a half-rotted neck and broken teeth.
Elithain Cross looked down at his servant, and his silver eyes flashed with an icy blue fire.
"Change our course, immediately."
A faint thrumming vibrated beneath his feet as the airship shifted to the right, the massive vessel gliding smoothly through the sky, turning to the north. Behind him, a sea of black airships filled the night, many turning to follow.
- 26 August 2014
He stood on a hill of grass.
A massive vineyard stretched far and wide below him, the warm Chastonian winds rustling through the trees, each one still bright and green with no sign of the coming fall. Far to the west, the walls and rooftops of the Swale were visible, but only if he squinted. A long train of wagons twisted through the open valley, one lane pushing towards the city, another moving away, navigating into the distance.
He kicked off his sandals, the scorched leather shoes falling to the ground beside him. He wiggled his toes, even giggling as the blades of grass tickled his skin.
Something caught his eye.
Something grabbed his attention.
In a dramatic flair, he pounced to the ground, his dusty black mantle rising and falling like a cape. He pressed his face to the ground, squinted his eyes and stared. There it was.
A tiny red ant.
"Hello little crimson crawler, servant to the plump queen."
The ant did not reply, but merely pressed on with its mission.
He held out one finger, allowing the little insect to crawl onto his fingernail, then slowly up to his wrist. He rose slowly, his black-speckled golden eyes never moving from the insect. He brought his hands together, allowing the ant to crawl onto another finger.
"Life is so much easier, when you can fly." He chuckled, wiggling his toes again.
With a small incantation and the snap of the fingers on his free hand, a tiny pair of shimmering purple wings flashed into existence on the back of the ant.
"Go forth, my winged warrior, break free of your enslavement to your plump queen, be bold into the new wo…"
He broke into a coughing fit just as the winged ant soared straight up from his finger, and right into his nostril. Hacking, pacing, kicking, snorting, he teetered back and forth, trying to dig the insect free. He could feel it then.
The tingling in his nose. The end was coming.
For the ant.
He let out a giant sneeze, sending him back two steps as the winged ant came flying out of his nose, propelled to the ground, both covered in snot and motionless. The mad mage let out a cry of horror and kneeled down, curling a finger under the ant and bringing it up in front of his eyes, staring and holding his breath.
"My winged warrior?" He asked, his voice as meek as a child's.
He nodded. "It was your time. There is no shame in that."
Using another finger, the mage dug a small hole in the ground, place the winged ant into the shallow grave, then covered it up with dirt. With his toe, he began to draw words into the dirt. He then stopped and looked around, puzzled, "5104? No, 4986. That can't be right, 5110?"
He shrugged, wrote all of the dates just to be sure, and then moved over to another spot on the hill to avoid the sacred resting place of the ant. He then reached into his pouch and pulled out a small hourglass. He flipped it up, then flipped it down. Not a single ounce of sand remained within the glass at all.
"They're late. I think. I hope. Is it me?"
He pulled out a large rolled parchment and placed it on the ground, slowly unfurling it with the same care a mother would towards a small child. With a shout, he jumped up and landed in the middle of the map, giggling as the old papyrus tickled his toes. He looked around, muttering to himself, pointing to a cluster of trees here, some vineyards over there.
Mmm, Chastonian purple wine.
It had been a hundred years since he enjoyed that particular drink.
Or had it been six years? Maybe fifty two?
Or had it been six years? Maybe fifty two?
Or had it been six years? Maybe fifty two?
He plucked a strand of white hair from the side of his head, then snapped and it went taut. Using the white hair toothpick, he idly moved it in between his teeth, watching and waiting. His map was correct. He was where he needed to be, when he needed to be.
That's when he saw the dust. The dirt cloud climbed into the sky, billowing up as the wagon came into view, pulled by an oxen and followed by a dozen soldiers and two robed figures on horseback.
He jumped to his feet. When had he sat down? He clapped enthusiastically, "You're early!" He shouted.
The soldiers exchanged glances, then shrugged. The wagon came to a stop at the base of the hill and the blue-robed mages dismounted, circling to the front of the caravan. With a gesture by one of the mages, the walls of the wagon lowered to reveal a column of chiseled stone, as grey as a stormy cloud, and covered with gaps twisting up the rock like a strand of vines.
He nodded, and the soldiers grumbled, taking the reins from the oxen and scowling and grunting as they slowly and painfully dragged the wagon and stone pillar to the top of the hill. As soon as it reached the top, a few of the soldiers collapsed, coughing and working to catch their breath.
"Oh, I suppose up here will do." The mad mage said.
Two of the soldiers' eyes narrowed to a fine line, their lips tightening in anger. One of them threw up his hands, cursed loudly then marched off down the hill. The mad mage shrugged, then dug his hand inside of his alchemy bag, his tongue hanging to the side of his mouth as he rummaged about.
He pulled out a small purple cloth doll. He shook his head, stuffing the doll back into his bag.
He pulled out a tiny yellowed krolvin tooth. He shook his head, tossing it over his shoulder.
He pulled out a silver coin stamped with a golden crown and encircled with the words, "The United Elven Houses". He bit into it. Mm, chocolate. He put it away for later.
He pulled out a long white crystal shard traced with narrow lines of dark blue. He skipped over to the wagon, climbed up and thrust his shard into one of the openings along the stone pillar. Almost frantically, he danced around the pillar, snatching a shard, one after another, from his bag and placing them all around the grey pylon.
With the grace of an elf, he leaped over the side of the wagon and landed in the grass. It tickled his feet, but he bit his lip, keeping the laughter inside.
By that time, the blue robed mages ascended the hillside, stopping to look on with arms folded across their chests. "This had better work, Grand Magister."
"Oh, it does." He smirked, then pulled out some purple-lensed goggles from his bag.
"Stand back practitioners of minor importance, behold, I present to you…well, this!"
He then threw his arms out wide and chanted. As the last word left his lips, the blue-white shards protruding from the stone pillar began to glow with an intense light, energy swirling all around. Soon the grey of the rock column bled away, replaced by a blue-white radiance, and the pillar itself hummed with life, and with power.
He nodded to one of the robed mages, who cautiously walked over to the blue-white pylon and held out his hands, closed his eyes and chanted as he released his mana, infusing it into the object.
He nodded again, and one of the soldiers stepped forward, gripping the blue-white crystal levers of the pylon, strained his muscles and eventually tilted the pylon, aiming it more directly at the sky. The soldier looked back at the mad mage, then pressed with his hands on the pillar, quickly closing his eyes.
From the blue-white pylon, a blast of energy erupted overhead, soaring into the sky like a glowing white comet, motes of cerulean light trailing behind it. The soldier opened his eyes, watching as the bright light disappeared against the glare of the sun.
The blue robed figures looked at each other, their hands lowering to their sides. They turned back to look at the mad mage.
Pylasar's eyes were locked on the sky, his face betraying more surprise than the others. He sprang over to his sandals, snatched them up and rushed down the hillside, his voice cackling as he ran.
- 3 September 2014
He stood on a hill of bones.
Behind him, a curtain of black trees rose up, resembling a great writhing wall of shadows, their gnarled branches squirming like oily tendrils, grasping, clawing, and tearing at the sky. The air was heavy, infused with the stench of rotting flesh and old blood. Bones littered the ground around his feet, some small, some large, all remnants of his enemies.
His bony fingers tightened around the grip of his waraxe, its curved steel still glistening with the fresh blood of...someone. He didn't remember who. It hadn't mattered. They were his enemies. No longer his friends, no longer his citizens.
Cold, dark winds rustled through the malformed trees, causing every wraithlike branch to twist back and forth, like shadowy fingers caressing the heavens. The sound of heavy footfall, the steady thrum of marching feet, echoed somewhere in the depths of the woods below him. Ruby eyes blinked into existence among the shadows of the forest, watching and waiting, yearning for his command.
"You can prevent this." A familiar voice echoed to him.
Who was it? He couldn't remember. Maybe one of his friends? Maybe one of his citizens? Not anymore.
They were his enemies.
A purple streak of lightning arced overhead, drawing his eyes back to the town he had once nearly died for. Although, he supposed, in a way he had died for them. What little good it did, in the end. He had surrendered to evil, sold his all, so that the ends would justify the means. He had fallen into a trap long in the making that his sense of justice had blinded him to.
He should have died as a martyr.
Now he only lived as a monster.
Bones cracked under the weight of his boot, under the weight of his burden. There were times he could feel the air around him, smell the fires, and smell the blood. There were other times, when it was all lost to him, replaced only by the pressure of a curse, the crimson haze of his rage. He stared into the distance, perched upon Blood Hill like a grotesque gargoyle of bone and sinew.
They always had a name for everything, hadn't they? What was it they called him now?
He supposed, in a way, they were right.
Always, he had ignored the means, his eyes only on the ends. Grishom. Deylan. Elithain. Talador. For as free as he thought he had once been, he had been wrong. The strings had always been there, slowly, and sometimes quickly, dancing him towards his descent. He then thought briefly of another, her warm smile...
The shadows of the trees grew thicker. The air dropped to a deep chill. The scent of decomposing flesh, perhaps his own, filled his nostrils. The corners of his world turned black, then to red.
"It doesn't have to be in vain," A voice spoke, dark and cold from the shadows.
He looked around, as if he doubted the origin of the voice. It was pointless. He knew exactly from whom it came.
Again from the shadows, the cold and dark voice whispered, "Your enemy rests to the north, bound in brass, wreathed by your friends...your citizens..."
"My enemies." He spoke, his rage building.
"Yes, your enemies." The shadows agreed.
Again, his skeletal hand tightened around the handle of his waraxe, and his eyes turned to the north, glaring over the tops of the gnarled trees spreading out like a decrepit blanket below.
"Stone." He muttered, his crimson breastplate flashing with a bright glow, its light casting shades of red across his crumbling, macabre face.
Walkar, the abomination, raised his waraxe and shouted, "STONE!"
Just then, the hill shuddered and cracked, dirt and rock splitting apart as body after body clawed itself out of the ground, rising to the call of their master. Moments later, the black woods came alive with the dead.
Alive with his friends.
Alive with his citizens.
Alive with...his command.
- 4 September 2014
He stood in a prison of brass.
Darkness surrounded him. Awake, asleep, always the same. Darkness.
He smelled the wax of the candle, slowly melting, softening, dripping as the tiny flame burned uselessly. The meager amount of light mattered little. Awake, asleep, it was always the same.
He could hear the voices beyond the tower. Some spoken, some unsaid. Words and thoughts, they did not always match. Unsurprisingly, deception was not a craft limited only to him. He smiled at that notion. The idea that those with bold words, sharp swords and cold stares were more like him than they would ever like to admit.
Perhaps that is why they feared him the most. He was their secret, their hidden face, their buried truth. He was their shadow. He was their darkness. In a great twist of irony, he might very well be their savior.
He could feel the tendrils still. The barbed mouth, the jagged teeth, always cutting into his skin, taking more and more blood, sometimes when he barely had any to give. He could still feel those sticky, bloody coils gliding across his skin like slimy worms, burrowing into his flesh.
Always, he could feel them. Always, he could see them. Even in his darkness.
He could still hear the voice of his tormenter. His old follower, his old victim. His voice had always been loud at first, so full of rage each time he sliced into his skin, each time he struck bone. But the torturer's voice faded over the months and over the years. First, he had justified his actions. Love, vengeance, justice. He claimed them all.
Towards the end, there was no sign of any of those. Only depravity, glee, and cruelty. Ah, Nysorm, he thought. How he had hoped to break him, but only unraveled himself. Captor, and captive, both became husks of their former selves.
He rose gradually from his small bed, nausea building slowly in his gut. He clenched his jaw, fighting back the natural instinct. For a moment, time stood still, then the sickness quieted once more. His bare feet felt the cold of the brass floor beneath him as he paced in the darkness.
He felt his skin shift, as a jagged mass of scars on his right arm stretched, flattened, and then faded. He moved to the window, not seeing it, but sensing it. Feeling it, knowing it.
The night air rushed to his face, the lingering scent of rain still hanging in the sky. The jetty below was empty, save for his guards, whose uniforms had seen more combat then they had. None spoke, but he heard them anyway.
One was frightened. Legitimately frightened. He had heard tales of the prisoner, many exaggerated, but many more actually true. His wife was with child, their very first, and she claimed Imaera had revealed to them it would be a beautiful girl. He worried for his wife, his unborn child, and the danger his job created.
A second guard was stoic on the outside, but quite uncertain deep below. He had hid during an invasion from Talador, placing his own life over those of his brothers in arms. They had perished, he had survived. He was seen as a hero, but he knew the truth, while no others did. He did not deserve his life, his uniform, or this post.
A third spent hours dreaming of women. Some, he never even knew their names. Another guard thought of his wife, and her sister. A fifth guard thought of them too. Few reflected on their prisoner, their minds focused more on themselves. Wasn't that typically the case?
He stood in the darkness of the tower, the air alive with thoughts both familiar and new to him. Laughter at the docks, pleasure in the bars. Worry in the homes, sadness at the graveyard.
He moved to scratch his face, and the weight of the bracers upon his arms seemed heavier for once. He chuckled, and felt the guards' eyes from below rise upon him. Gone was the fear, the wife, the worry and the shame. Their prisoner, the danger, and the anger took hold.
He smiled, then turned from the window. He moved over to his cot, lowered himself and stared up into the darkness. Awake, asleep, always the darkness. The voices faded to whispers then to silence.
In the shadowy pits of Grishom's eyes, a blue fleck appeared.
Then another, then another, then another.
- 6 August 2013
So every once in a while I try to do a breakdown of known NPC's before a new storyline kicks off. I also plan on introducing another 7-8 NPC's in "Cross into Shadows", so it's good to have this so folks can reference the current ones, since all the names will be involved...
Please remember, this displays information that is known up to this point. Let me know if this helps!
Editor's note: Updates were posted on June 30, 2014 and are incorporated within each character's section. Newer NPCs are indicated as such.
- Main article: Mayor Walkar
He was the mayor of Wehnimer's Landing. He was born and raised in Jantalar. His mother died when his younger sister was born, driving his father into alcoholic rages which he took out on her. Until one night, many years later, Walkar acted to protect his sister, which led to the accidental death of his father. Walkar was then put into the Jantalarian army where he eventually marched on Wehnimer's Landing under the command of Baron Hochstib. In the battle, Walkar refused to kill a helpless woman in the street, so he was wounded by his own brothers-in-arms and left for dead, where he was nursed back to health by a local townsperson. Years later he joined the Town Council of Wehnimer's Landing and in time was elected as mayor. In 5111, Walkar was framed by Grishom Stone for the murder of a prominent Landing citizen named Colson and chased out of town. In early 5112, Walkar returned to help the Heroes of Wehnimer's launch a final assault against Grishom Stone. Upon his return, Walkar was in the possession of a crimson breastplate that was given to him by Elithain Cross. The armor was revealed to be cursed, and while it kept Walkar from dying, it also fueled his rage, began to darken his moods, and just recently caused the flesh from his right arm to melt off, leaving only a skeletal arm behind.
Mayor Walkar succumbed to the curse of his armor during the end of Wehnimer's war with Talador and he transformed into a gruesome abomination, raised up an army of undead and now dwells within a black, dead forest south of Upper Trollfang dubbed the Deadfall. It is unclear at this time what Walkar the Abomination will do next, as many speculate if his soul can even be saved.
- Main article: Khylon Oakspear
Khylon Oakspear is the dwarven town marshal of Wehnimer's Landing. He was originally brought to the town by Walkar, having been an old contact of his during his time in Jantalar. Khylon is the leader of a mercenary group and has on occasion provided Mayor Walkar with some extra support in protecting the town. After Grishom's minions slaughtered many of the town's council members, Walkar appointed Khylon as a trusted councilman to help oversee the town's militia and their training. In 5112, Khylon was kidnapped by the Brotherhood of Rooks and held for ransom in return for the release of Drangell from the town's prison. After suffering over a month of torture and interrogation, Khylon was rescued by Landing Heroes and is said to be recovering from his captivity.
After helping to fight and lead the militia during Wehnimer's war with Talador, Khylon was left injured and often times too weakened to walk. It is said he suffers from numerous wounds that local empaths are having problems healing, and he may have fallen victim to a witch's curse.
- Main article: Stephos DeArchon
Stephos DeArchon was appointed to the town council in 5112. Stephos and his half-elven wife moved to Wehnimer’s years ago after they fled the imperial port of Idolone due to strong anti-human sentiments against the wealthy merchant and his half-elven bride. Stephos has since earned many friends among the local merchants, who elected him to represent them on the town council.
No friend of the Turamzzyrian Empire, there is a lot of talk in town that Stephos may be responsible for funding the Brotherhood of Rooks and arming the krolvin who wage war against the coastline of the Empire. He has recently made up with his estranged wife, Lady Alendrial, whose infidelity is no secret around town. He also has a strong alliance with Lord Winter of Brisker's Cove.
- Main article: Alendrial DeArchon
Wife of Stephos DeArchon, she almost ruined their marriage when she was discovered to be sleeping with Rinhale Hurrst, an imperial inquisitor who was asking too many questions about her husband. In order to try to get close and protect him, Alendrial seduced the inquisitor, but many speculate she was more lonely than cunning. She has seemingly repaired the damages to her marriage and is living with Stephos again, despite the rumors of his corruption swirling around krolvin and Rooks.
- Main article: Deylan
Deylan was appointed to the town council in 5112. He is said to have met Walkar years ago, and when asked where he comes from, he has answered "a little bit of everywhere." His official function on the town council is to serve as a representative to other towns and nations, working to foster and strengthen alliances. Rumors suggest he also acts as a spy.
Deylan is now dead. He spent months impersonating Lord Kuligar Gardane in Talador in hopes of using his soon to be Baron powers to help Mayor Walkar fight a war against Elithain Cross. In the end, the urnon golem, Madelyne Cross, assassinated the Baron during the coronation and the corpse shapeshifted to reveal that it was Deylan. His corpse was taken by the officials of Talador and burned.
- Main article: Elithain Cross
Elithain Cross was one of the founding members of a secret group of magic users called the Arcane Eyes, which was born in the shadows of Mestanir. Their organization predominately worshipped Koar, until a father and son within the organization, Sebasation and Grishom Stone, began to convince other members of the Arcane Eyes that there was true power beyond the Arkati and they should not worship them, but instead try to ascend above them. Elithain deemed such believers as heretics, and used his own daughter Madelyne to seduce Grishom Stone, gaining the trust of their family before getting close enough to assassinate Grishom's father. Enraged, Grishom murdered Madelyne, trapping her spirit into his ritual dagger. This act caused an open civil war among those who supported Grishom, and those loyal to Elithain. The conflict spilled into the streets of Mestanir, just as Jantalar invaded with their army and Mandis Crystal. The anti-magic crystals and new occupying army scattered the Arcane Eyes all over Elanthia and Elithain himself went into hiding. In 5111, Elithain was sought out by the Heroes of Wehnimer's to help them in defeating Grishom Stone in his plans to make a powerful urnon golem. In the end, Elithain betrayed the heroes, using them to stop Grishom, steal his ritual dagger, and in the process creating the urnon golem for himself and transferring the spirit of his daughter into it. Elithain escaped with his new golem servant. It is rumored that the dark power once behind Grishom, is now influencing Elithain, wherever he may be.
- Main article: Madelyne Cross
Madelyne Cross is the daughter of Elithain Cross. She was used to seduce Grishom, making him fall in love with her and gaining the trust of their family, long enough to get close to Grishom's father to assassinate him for his animosity against her own father. After witnessing the murder, Grishom lashed out and killed Madelyne, stabbing her in the stomach with his ritual dagger which ended up trapping her spirit inside. Many years later, Grishom prepared to channel the spirit of Madelyne into a large chunk of urnon to create a golem, but his plan was defeated by heroic adventurers. Moments later, in an act of betrayal, Elithain finished the ritual himself and Madelyne's spirit was used to create an urnon golem. Now trapped inside of her new construct form, Madelyne escaped with her father.
The urnon golem has been responsible for the murder of Rinhale Hurrst, an imperial inquisitor, assassination of Baron Kuligar/Deylan, and now the murder of Earl Hurrst of Estoria in his keep in Idolone. The golem is described as a perfect and powerful weapon, presumably manipulated by her father Elithain Cross.
- Main article: Thrayzar
Once a human mercenary who secretly worked for the Turamzzyrian Empire, Thrayzar was sent on a mission with Drangell to hunt down a witch. In the final moments of her life, the witch cursed him and he transformed into the form of an orc. Unable to break the curse, Thrayzar accepted his new life and began to slowly recruit other monsters to join him, such as goblins, kobolds, orcs, etc. Together they built a small outpost far away from the Empire and Thrayzar taught his followers the common tongue and how to put away their more cruel nature and strive for peace. He was originally hired by Grishom Stone to hunt down Mirayam, who was his original golem creation that escaped. Thrayzar met and befriended adventurers in Wehnimer's Landing, turned on Grishom and protected Mirayam until her self-sacrifice that protected the town. Thrayzar and his clan later came to the aid of Wehnimer's to help fight off the troll siege led by Drangell. He was pardoned by Mayor Walkar for his original involvement with Grishom and became a fast ally. It has been said that Thrayzar was by Mayor Walkar in trying to track down Elithain Cross and his urnon golem.
Thrayzar, having lost his clan after Nysorm the summoner deceived adventurers and led them into their outpost to slaughter them, has seemed to have settled in Wehnimer's Landing for the time being and is helping in the efforts both during, and now after the war with Talador. As Marshal Khylon is in a weakened state, Thrayzar has taken it upon himself to help out where he can with the militia and training new recruits.
- Main article: Drangell
Once a giantman mercenary who secretly worked for the Turamzzyrian Empire, he was sent alongside Thrayzar to assassinate a witch. In the final moments of her life, the witch cursed him and he transformed into the form of a troll. Enraged by his betrayal from the Empire, which had supposedly sent him on a suicide mission, Drangell embraced the monster he had become and used his new powers of superior strength and near immortality to gather an army of trolls under his command. It took an army of dwarves to finally subdue him and imprison him in a fiery prison deep below the ruins of an old keep. Decades later, Grishom's minions located Drangell and released him, thus allowing him to besiege Wehnimer's Landing with his troll army. Drangell was eventually defeated by adventurers after his troll-form curse was broken by the Tehir Spiritcaller named Akhash. Back in giantman form, he was locked away in the prison in Wehnimer's Landing. Almost two years later, Drangell was financed by a mysterious benefactor to form a new underground organization called the Brotherhood of Rooks. Months later, the Lich King Barnom Slim broke Drangell out of prison and struck an alliance between his undead minions and Drangell's Rooks. In the end, Drangell turned on Barnom, providing the adventurers with pertinent information to bring about his demise, in exchange for a full pardon of his past crimes against the town from Mayor Walkar. After Barnom Slim was killed, Drangell and his right hand man, Jankus the gnome, were pardoned and free. Rumors insist the Brotherhood of Rooks still operate within the shadows of Wehnimer's Landing, but it is anyone’s guess if Drangell still secretly leads them or not.
Revealed to still be the leader of the Brotherhood of Rooks (shocker), Drangell had Cosima from Talador captured and burned alive when Sir Davard did not surrender. Drangell was once again declared a wanted criminal in Wehnimer's Landing, but used exploding spheres to collapse a part of the Rooks tunnel beneath town, preventing the Taladorian forces from using them to get into the city. Drangell is thought to have perished or been buried alive in the explosion, but few believe it giving his uncanny ability to heal and never stay dead.
- Main article: Stiletto the goblin
A goblin rogue and sometimes merchant, he is a trained pupil of Thrayzar. Stiletto has often made appearances at the annual Frontier Days in Wehnimer's Landing, but has been known to deliver messages for Thrayzar from time to time.
When Nysorm deceived a group of adventurers and had them attack an outpost, thinking they were killing evil monsters, they instead slaughtered Stiletto's clan, which Thrayzar had helped gather and educate. Stiletto was spared from the onslaught since the killing was stopped, but not before dozens and dozens of his clan perished. Devastated, Stiletto told the adventurers to leave and never return. No one has seen or heard from Stiletto since that event.
- Main article: Glethad
The curator of the Wehnimer's Landing Museum. He helped to display and monitor the Star of Khar'ta relic when it fell from the sky near Wehnimer's. He was later kidnapped by the pirate Thanden when the relic was stolen and forced to try to help him use it. In the end, Thanden was killed by the krolvin Krentuk and Glethad was rescued by heroes of both Wehnimer's Landing and Kharam Dzu. Glethad had become partially obsessed with the Star of Khar'ta and therefore had Mayor Walkar lock him up until the artifact was recovered or destroyed. Glethad has since returned to his work with the museum, working on new additions and studying the book collection acquired from Grishom Stone.
- Main article: Parlay
A halfling pirate who is captain of the small ship called the Fall of the West. He would occasionally merchant in Wehnimer's Landing, and most recently in the summer of 5112 used his ship to help Elanthia's finest adventurers board the krolvin Krentuk's flagship where they were able to defeat the warlord. After undergoing repairs to his ship, Parley set sail for the high seas with the promise to return again to visit more often.
Parlay won ownership of the Albatross, a river gambling boat, from the former captain Gostahl in a high stakes bet. Parlay has since sold his old ship, the Fall of the West, to Councilman Stephos DeArchon who has hired a crew to run it, including Captain Jellybeard and the half-krolvin Falzcrow as the Quartermaster.
- Main article: Kragnack
He is the brother of Krentuk, the krolvin warlord who was slain by local adventurers in the summer of 5112 after he came into possession of the Star of Khar'ta artifact. Kragnack betrayed Krentuk after brokering a deal with Mayor Walkar and local adventurers. As part of the deal, Kragnack would use his own fleet to launch an attack on Krentuk's stronghold back on Glaoveln, trying to overthrow his power. Kragnack also demanded superior weapons be provided for his fleet and that his half-krolvin son, Falzcrow, would be protected in the city since Krentuk had marked the "half-breed" for death. The mayor refused to provide weapons, but it was discovered later on that some locals had offered up some equipment to the krolvin. Mayor Walkar then took Kragnack's son hostage and said he would be safely protected and then released if Kragnack's plans were successful. Angered, Kragnack had no choice but to carry through with his plans, attacked Krentuk's stronghold and overtook it. Hearing of the battle, half of Krentuk's fleet broke ties, departed the Landing and joined Kragnack. The son, Falzcrow, was then released and escorted to safety in or around Icemule Trace.
It is said that Kragnack leads the massive krolvin fleet that has been assaulting the coast of the Turamzzyrian Empire and their ships for many months now. He was reported to be seen at the initial attacks on Fairport, in the County of Torre. His current location is unknown, but it is said he at times augments his krolvin raiders with summoned demons, but how is unknown.
- Main article: Zyndur
He is a Nalfein elf and leader of a group of mercenaries and assassins. He first came to Wehnimer's Landing in 5112 in search of the Star of Khar'ta and offered Walkar and the townspeople a number of krolvinbane weapons and the support of his trained swordsmen. In exchange, he was to be given the Star of Khar'ta if it was recovered. In the final battle, the relic was seen to grow and explode, presumably destroyed. He and his mercenaries later returned in early 5113 when his Nalfein rogues helped locate Drangell and the Rook's hideout. In exchange, Zyndur was given a vial containing a small essence from the Star of Khar'ta that the town's archmage had acquired for testing. Once Drangell was captured and the Lich King killed, Zyndur and his rogues left town.
- Main article: Nysorm
A summoner, who was the lover of a sorceress named Arleasta. Arleasta and Nysorm joined Grishom Stone, and Nysorm eventually learned Grishom was deluded and sinister. He tried to convince Arleasta to flee with him, but she was already devoted to Grishom's cause. In the end, it cost her life when she was killed by the heroes of Wehnimer's Landing, as she had taken on the name of Odilia and attacked the city. Nysorm was filled with hatred for Grishom and eventually helped the heroes connect with Elithain Cross, the nemesis of Grishom. Nysorm has not been seen or heard from since Grishom's demise.
Most recently, Nysorm returned to claim he needed adventurers help against Elithain Cross and led them to attack an outpost full of zealots, but the heroes soon found out they were instead slaughtering orcs, goblins and kobolds who were part of Thrayzar's clan. When they realized the duplicity, dozens of innocents had already been slaughtered and Nysorm had vanished.
- Main article: Juramis Du'Lasfeur
Juramis originally hails from Brisker's Cove where he inherited his father's precious metal business. Juramis first came to Wehnimer's Landing as a traveling merchant and eventually made connections with Grishom Stone, who he believed was an outstanding citizen and entrepreneur who was promoting the growth of the town. After Mayor Walkar was framed for murder and run out of town in 5111, Juramis was appointed to the Town Council by Barnom Slim, who had become the interim mayor during the time. Juramis later went against Barnom and Grishom when he learned of their evil intentions and it almost cost him his life. Juramis then resigned from the council but remained a staunch new ally of the town. It wasn't until months later that his warehouses and ships were attacked and burned in Brisker's Cove, leaving him with a huge loss of fortune and only one ship left to his name. Since then he has been on the move more frequently, fearing for his life while still trying to investigate that forces behind his misfortune. Just recently Juramis revealed to some town citizens during Frontier Days that he now has suspicions that Lord Eldurn Winter, a prominent merchant in Brisker's Cove played a role in destroying his business and home.
- Main article: Jankus
Jankus first came in contact with adventurers from Wehnimer's Landing when they came to the rescue of his merchant caravan which had been discovered raided and scorched in Upper Trollfang. Jankus had claimed that bandits attacked their wagons, killed some of his fellow merchants and made off with a lot of the cargo and some of his gears and other gadgets. Mayor Walkar and the heroes welcomed Jankus to the town and set him up with comfortable accommodations in the Thrak's Inn. It was later revealed that Jankus was actually a high ranking member of the Brotherhood of Rooks and considered to be the right hand of their leader, Drangell. Jankus was known to often assassinate his victims from the shadows, hurling his rolaren handaxe at his victims' faces. In early 5113, Jankus came across a black ora ring that revealed the origins of how Barnom Slim had become a lich, and later used the ring to help the heroes locate the Lich King's hidden phylactery which enabled them to finally defeat the undead master. But, as part of the deal to help the town, Jankus along with Drangell, were given a full pardon by Mayor Walkar for their past crimes in the town. Most recently Jankus has been spotted offering merchant services during the last Frontier Days, but is rumored to still be secretly working with Drangell as part of the Brotherhood of Rooks.
Lord Eldurn Winter
- Main article: Lord Eldurn Winter
Lord Eldurn Winter is a powerful nobleman in Brisker's Cove and has never taken a wife or fathered any children. He is extremely wealthy, often accused of using less than savory tactics of overthrowing his competition, thus gaining a solid position in his markets. Most of his fortune comes from the copper and iron trade, as he has a fleet of transport ships that once metal is brought into the heart of the Empire, he ensures its safe and timely export. A smaller portion of his business comes from oil and pottery. Known to have fine tastes and a penchant for collecting artifacts, he owns a large manor overlooking the sea and while his home is rumored to be quite luxurious, few have been inside. The man rarely entertains guests and has scarce friends outside of his business associates.
- Main article: Grishom Stone
Grishom first came to Wehnimer's Landing under the guise of a wealthy merchant from Mestanir, which was in truth partially correct. However he was also a secret member of the Arcane Eyes, a group of dark and powerful summoners. He bought and restored Cholgar's Bathhouse, renaming it the Stone Baths. He heavily financed the renovations to the Landing Museum and built a small manor on an island off of Mist Harbor. He unsuccessfully ran for Mayor of Wehnimer's, but later resigned his campaign. His secret villainy tormented Wehnimer's Landing for over two years, until his dark nature was finally exposed and his plans of creating a new urnon golem, after his last had been destroyed, were thwarted. He had been responsible for the death of many women and innocents in the town, manipulation of local politicians, the release of Drangell, and even practicing dark blood magic to create a small army of flesh golems made in his image. In the end, with the selfish aid of Elithain Cross, a group of Elanthian adventurers were able to stop Grishom and turned him into stone before shattering him into hundreds of pieces. Despite him being presumed dead, there are rumors abound to the contrary.
Adventurers have witnesses the image of Grishom Stone appearing in the flames of a fireplace in Wehnimer's Landing, and calling out to others for help. The flames revealed that he was connected to a network of bloody tendrils, with eye-shaped vessels flashing images behind him. Many adventuers in Wehnimer's Landing have been afflicted with blue specks in their eyes, and half of them have experience visions, all of which people claim are coming from Grishom Stone, who is trying to communicate.
- Main article: Althedeus
The last name uttered from Barnom Slim, the Lich King’s mouth before his body was consumed by the shadows. The entity, in whatever form and by whatever name, is believed to be the dark force once behind Grishom Stone and now rumored to be behind Elithain Cross. Many believed this mystery creature to be the source of all of Wehnimer's Landing troubles and chaos during Cross Into Shadows.
Discovered from parts of a book of Grishom Stone, Althedeus is known to have many names throughout history, and is actually a being of great power that was born out of the chaos between the Drakes and Ur'Daemon in their wars. Very little else is known of the supernatural being, save for it thrives on chaos, using emotions, living nightmares, and betrayal to fuel its desires and power.
Grand Magister Pylasar
- Main article: Pylasar
A high ranking member of the Hall of Mages in the Swale, Pylasar originally came to Wehnimer's Landing to open and manage the portal to Talador for the coronation festivities. He has since remained in Wehnimer's Landing, assisting where he can, and sometimes where he can't, and he is no stranger to bizarre behavior. He has recently returned to the Hall of Mages in the Swale to seek a way for adventurers to help in the growing threats facing the Turamzzyrian Empire from all sides.
- Main article: Raznel
A witch who once worked alongside the Arcane Eyes and Grishom Stone. Some say she now works with Elithain Cross, but ultimately answers to the shadows that are Althedeus. Thought to once be dead, she was found to be alive in Talador, and most recently dragged to Wehnimer's Landing where her dark powers were used to harm the townspeople. When the Hall of Mages learned of Raznel's presence, she was presumed to have left the area for fear of them finding her.
Lord Thermon Chisholm
- Main article: Thermon
Interim Potentate of Talador after Baron Kuligar was killed/exposed to be a shapeshifter. Thermon sent Sir Davard and the Taladorian army to crush Wehnimer's Landing, and even promised the hand of Cosima, his daughter, to Davard if he won. In the end, Cosima was killed, Davard surrendered and was burned alive, but not before accusing Thermon of corruption and working with the dark witch Raznel. Fearing being captured or brought to justice, Thermon recently took his own life, minutes before a new stone named blood marble was discovered in the mines of Talador, which would have essentially created a vast wealth for him overnight.
Lady Cosima Chisholm
- Main article: Cosima
Daughter of Lord Thermon, she was once betrothed to Lord Kuligar and set to become the new Baroness of Talador. When Kuligar was killed and exposed as a shapeshifter, Cosima was then used as a pawn to be promised to Sir Davard for a military victory over Wehnimer's Landing. Brigands from Wehnimer's Landing raided Talador, kidnapped Cosima as a bargaining chip, and when Davard refused to surrender, they burned her alive.
Sir Davard Priot
- Main article: Davard
Commander of the Taladorian Guard, he was once a mercenary for Lord Thermon and then appointed into knighthood. He loved Cosima from afar, and easily accepted her hand in marriage as an offering should he be successful in war against Wehnimer's Landing, for the crime they had done to their great Barony. In the name of Koar, with the blessing of Prelate Chaston Griffin, Sir Davard led an army to siege Wehnimer's Landing but after Cosima's murder he abandoned his faith and succumbed to darkness, using Raznel the witch to help bring suffering to Wehnimer's. In the end he surrendered, refusing to murder orphans as Raznel had instructed him and he most recently stood trial in Wehnimer's, his court overseen by Second Watcher Lheren Hochstib, Grand Magister Pylasar, and Judge Renpaw. Davard admitted his crimes, accused the Church of Koar of corruption, and was burned at the stake for his association with Raznel.
Prelate Chaston Griffin
- Main article: Chaston Griffin
Originally from the Everwatch Tower, Lord Chaston Griffin was appointed by the Church of Koar to become the new Prelate of Talador, to help rebuild the faith of Koar within the Barony and build a new great temple. He blessed Sir Davard's fight with Wehnimer's Landing and provided him a suit of magical armor and a magical sword, that both failed when Davard abandoned his faith. It is rumored the corruption with Lord Thermon is connected to Prelate Chaston, but there has been no evidence provided beyond speculation.
Sir Toliman Taggart
A Knight of the Golvern Star, he was first met getting off the Glaesen Star in Wehnimer's Landing, after putting his father to rest on Teras Isle. He returned to the Demonwall to help his brothers in arms after word of an increase in demonic activity along the great wall.
A dwarf of the Sunfist, was spending time in Talador during the coronation festival due to rumors of increased monster activity in the North. With dangers rising in and around Wehnimer's Landing, the dwarf hunter has found himself temporarily settled in the area.
A traveling minstrel who rooted himself in the Bitter Bite in Talador for many months, enjoying drinks and lasses and tales of old. He left Talador before they went to war with Wehnimer's Landing, as he did not want to get caught up in the political affairs in the area. It is said his journey took him far south into the Turamzzyrian Empire.
- 12 January 2015
Cross into Shadows – That's a Wrap!
So where do I begin? Cross into Shadows was the culmination of a little over four years of events in the making, starting back in September of 2010. The first few events had as many participants as I do fingers on one hand, and the finale of the saga reached well over 120 people. It's been one heck of a ride, full of lots late nights, only a few lows, and lots of highs. So first and foremost, as always, I want to thank you the players. From the beginning to the end, you guys made it worth it. I know a few folks didn't care for the saga, but something tells me nothing I do ever will go on the top of their list. As for the rest, actions speak louder than words. Your constant attendance and participation were always rewarding, and each night I was surprised to see how events would be reacted too, what you'd do with your characters, and how that might shape the story as it moves forward. The saga gave me a lot of flexibility to adjust it as needed based on the actions of players, and for me that is what made it truly refreshing and enjoyable, because I felt like I was just as curious as the rest of you, on what would happen next. So thanks for all of your time and I hope the saga left you with a lot of good memories, and I hope the community remains stronger because of it. In addition, thank you for my memories from it as well. That said, don't go far. The saga and theme of the Shadows may be gone, but in the wake of the storyline there have been a number of threads left, each one as tantalizing as the next. So never stop buying deeds.
Secondly, Cross into Shadows was able to happen the way it did in no small part because of the awesome GameMasters there to help it along the way. I am eternally grateful and appreciative of a staff that is very helpful and patient, and feels just as passionate about the game, which allows them to go above and beyond their own duties to help out. So instead of just rattling a bunch of GM names and throwing their unknown contributions into obscurity, I'd rather call them out. If I forget someone, hopefully they'll forgive me, I'm still catching up on 14 months of little sleep, hah. I also think it's important for people to understand the amount of work and support, from a lot of people, that goes into storylines, especially ones of this scale.
I want to thank GM's Haliste, Marstreforn, Qortaz, Xayle, Mazreth,Valyrka, Mikos, and Lydil for their help with NPC's all along the way. Their assistance in this area is priceless and they helped provide a lot of flavor to the storyline and opened up a lot more opportunities for the players to get involved. I want to thank GM Scribes for always letting me ask advice or bounce off ideas about all things imperial and humans. The man has a vast amount of knowledge, and I think we should harvest his brain when he leaves his mortal coil, hah. I want to thank GM's Haliste and Xayle again for their help in designing many of the temporary areas used at different parts of the storyline, from Wyrdeep to the Shadow Realm and more, it helped out tons and the way they can paint a room is amazing. I also want to thank GM's Isten, Kaikala, Tamuz and Aulis for all of their hard QC work. With over seven hundred rooms during this storyline alone, not counting the years before, their assistance has been extremely crucial and I'm tremendously grateful for it. I want to also thank GM's Wyrom, Keios, Vanah, Haliste and Estild for their amazing coding skills and script knowledge. Those five helped out with a lot of things, from new scripts to fixing old scripts, which allowed for great things like airship travel, custom alchemy items, new krolvin commands, special scripts for Elithain, and Althedeus and Madelyne, and more. They went above and beyond, and really made a difference where it was needed. There's a number of things in the big scheme of it all that require many approvals, and these are all critical, from items to titles to overall storyline development, so I'm thankful for all of the constant support and patience from GM's Galene, Wyrom, Izzea, Sleken, Isten and Mestys, and I'm sorry if I ever added any grey hairs, hehe. I also want to thank Solomon for allowing Cross into Shadows to secure itself some very cool artwork and kick off with a returning player promotion.
I feel like I'm forgetting something or someone, but I'll blame it on the exhaustion. Thanks again everyone and I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did. I won't be around much for the next week and a half, but then I'll start dabbling a bit and the fallout and consequences, good and bad from Shadows, can slowly begin. My goal moving forward is to establish storylines and events with less of a "beginning" and "end" in mind, which can often stifle the story, especially in terms of finales feeling scripted. I'd prefer to try to carry out more ongoing developments, which many may all be tied together, but it hopefully finds that balance in giving incentive to be around and get involved, but also not make it impossible for people to hop in at any day or month and get connected.
Now go buy deeds, because it's a new year, and my death of player characters counter just got set back to zero.