Nations on the Brink (storyline)/Fate of the Marshfolk (loresong)

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Fate of the Marshfolk (loresong)

A series of tower shield fragments were found in the Vipershroud as adventurers started to search for the lost Aldoran and Marshtown folk. Will-o-wisps guided them to the fragments and a lone axe, and shared with them faint images of the Marshfolk being attacked.

Though the fragments were quiescent at first, the sisters Delindra and Jisandra worked to bring them to life and eventually a loresong was discovered.

Verse 1

Jisandra sings:

   "Facing foes with weapon and shield
    For honor a hero can never yield
    In fragments perhaps their hopes may lay
    But through memory shall rise another day"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Tenuous at first, the song that lays in wait within the splintered shield fragments trembles like a shy child hiding in a coat room before temple services. Soft voices, heavily accented, merge together as the image of a child blossoms within your mind's eye. Freckles dance across her cheekbones, her wide eyes gazing about as the formless shapes of adults argue around her. Sadness hanges like a thick miasma upon the scene, the child glancing from face to face as they try to explain to her that Lady Kasendra Malwind is dead. A sense of dawning settles on the child's face, and a single tear slips past her cheek before the vision fades.

Verse 2

Jisandra sings:

   "Now hear my words and give up your lore
    For peace at last we hope to restore
    Though fragments now, where once you were whole
    Through secrets revealed, we hope to console"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Stronger than before, the history of the splintered shield fragments tumbles forth in a cadence reminiscent of a child's tune. The nursery rhyme appears to be one of the soldiers marching, and indeed your mind's eye blossoms to life with images of several poor pilgrims making their way from the Vornavian coast towards the Dragonspine Mountains. Time seems to warp and speed along as the growing throng of people slips through jungles, rides a ferry over a river, and passes across a rope bridge. A young girl defiantly keeps pace, her head held high as she calls out a marching tune. Pride shines in the child's eyes as they begin to climb the mountains to the dwarven holding of Zul Logoth. Slowly, the image fades away.

Verse 3

Jisandra sings:

   "A towering shield reduced to splinters
    And our hearts bearing too many winters
    Only fragments remain to reveal a tale
    Of what happened that day on that fateful trail"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Tumbling over itself in a jumble of discordant and chaotic notes, the song that rises from the splintered shield fragments is a confused, rambling tune that slowly resolves into the image of cavern walls. Eyes narrowed, an axe in one hand and a shield in another, a young girl stares defiantly as creatures surge toward her and several others. Wild yells and defiant cries cause the creatures to reel back briefly, but it is enough time for several adventurers to find the motley crew and usher them to safety. Confused ramblings happen over the child's head, her eyes round as saucers as she looks at the gathered adventurers. After some time, the motley group seems to acquiesce to some request, and the child is trundled off behind them as they depart. As the vision fades, the child turns back and waves, her axe glinting in the ambient light of the cavern walls.

Verse 4

Jisandra sings:

   "Reveal to us truth, be free of deceit
    We seek to know who felt battle's sharp heat
    Where fragments are left, and yet we must know
    Who was left standing where red blood did flow"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Plinking and plucking, the somber tune that rises out of the splintered shield fragments echo the sound of raindrops cascading upon stone, leaf, and water. A vision unfolds to all that can hear the tune, bringing with it the dreary trappings of a jungle caught within a twilight rainstorm. Taut canvas stretches between the limbs of vine-choked trees, sheltering a motley crew as they huddle within the mud of a small clearing. Light is fading and a child stands before a pile of timber and straw. She strikes her axe repeatedly against a large stone, sparks bouncing but not igniting at first, until, with a mighty roar, she slams her axe down upon the rock! Sparks skittered across the stone, tumbling into the straw and igniting the pile, which the motley crew quickly feeds, causing it to grow as they clap their hands on her back in a show of appreciation. Slowly, the vision fades as the makeshift camp begins to glow with warmth and light.

Verse 5

Jisandra sings:

   "Don't let voices be silenced that were meant to ring clear
    Free our fair nations of suspicions and fear
    These fragments restore and bring to relief
    The sharpness of pain, the sting of dark grief"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. As if hissed from the lipless mouth of a serpent, the tune that slips from the splintered shield fragments surges forth like a warning that ends with the faint image of a child holding her shield before her in a defensive stance. Axe held high, others cowering behind her with fear, the child shows all the temerity of a budding adventurer rising above her simple station in life. Before her an inky black panther prowls, easily three times the size of the small girl, but she stands her ground roaring back at the thickly muscled beast as it hisses. She watches as it bunches its muscles to pounce, causing her to shift her weight and center herself. Never lowering her eyes, she lifts her shield and braces for the impact of the great feline against her tiny muscles. Slowly, the vision fades.

Verse 6

Jisandra sings:

   "We beseech you now to tell us your lore
    Through fragments we hope to learn evermore"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Lackluster and nearly silent, the song of the splintered shield fragments comes timidly to the air. The vision of a dead feline slowly appears, the beast felled by a sapphire-banded arrow that sticks out of its neck. Wide-eyed and startled, a young girl gazes above the lip of her shield as elves in peacock livery step into the path before her. Their faces are hidden in the shadows of their helms, their decorative armor fancy and imposing at the same time. She lowers her shield, as instinctively she seems to trust those before her, but that trust is quickly discarded as her and her fellow pilgrims are quickly surrounded and easily slaughtered under the superior force. It takes no time at all for the group to be dispatched, their bodies unceremoniously dumped off the edges of the road, their meager items shattered, scattered, and discarded like their very bodies. Slowly, the vision fades away upon an uncaring jungle.

Verse 7

Jisandra sings:

   "Through shadows emerge all we can know
    Through winds that howl and gales that blow"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Fluttering, like a faint heartbeat, the song that rises from the splintered shield fragments quivers in the air like an unspoken promise. A flash of lapis lazuli, the impression of sandals, and the flare of anger in almond-shaped eyes drift between the wide leaves of a jungle's choked vines. Broad leaves, splattered with blood and rain, part to reveal the pale countenance of a young girl laying in the mud. Her blue lips tremble, the breath of life only barely clinging to her, yet despite the nearness of death, she grips her axe with knuckles that are nearly white. A lithe woman kneels beside her, easily pulling the axe, despite a moan of protest, from her hands and discarding it into the jungle. She scoops the child up, mud and blood staining her arms, chest, and face, making her features impossible to make out. Cradling the child against her, she rushes from the jungle, urgency in her step as it lands upon a series of tower shield fragments. Within two heartbeats, the vision fades.


Jisandra sings:

   "Do not let this story end now in tears
    Relieve us now of all of our fears"

The tower shield fragments seems to respond to the magic of Jisandra's song. Faint and thrumming, the subtle song of a heartbeat emanates from the fragments.