Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tales of the Bard 003



Have you ever woken up to a nightmare? The hero's of Ostwick certainly have. Its hard to imagine your life torn away from you, everything and everyone you knew lay within the realm of the unknown. Your very being has been altered, its hard to put on those shoes and keep walking. It takes a special breed to face that kind of insanity and survive. Many didn't that day, however the gods smiled upon 4 of our hero's.

Dex roused first to the hazy sight and sounds of a battle as a newborn might. A hulking giant of a man stand before him, arm missing and dozens of trinkets adorning a network of steely chains bound about his ornately crafted black plate armour. His other arm is making up for the missing one however as he holds a soon dead man aloft in his contrasting silver armour glinting in a ray of light somehow. Silver thrusts a dagger deep into Black's chest knocking loose a trinket that Dex feels compelled to snatch up. Aranel reels as he takes in the gruesome scene. Black and green tendrils slither ever slightly all along the ground, and Aranel, as the others do, eerily feels comfort in ghastly roots known as Blight Creep. Dozens of terrible men and women and children lay nearby convoulting in the fits of realization. Some of these poor are screaming, some chewing through their own limbs, some are simply beating themselves to death. Beams of light pierce the shroud of green fog mist which our hero's can see through perfectly somehow now. The sounds of terrible thunder cracks and the clashing of hundreds if not thousands of weapons rings throughout this day. Jaspyr feels burning in his chest as he awakens. Looking down there is a longsword that has drunk his blood, does he even have blood anymore? The argent blade is pulled from his heart and he feels relief. Seig and Dex clamour up a crest of a hill to spy what sort of madness they have befallen. As they look down into a valley of life, death and undeath they stare into war. Thousands strong on both sides, men in silver charging on horseback against a monstrous foe whom the hero's feel a strange kinship with now. Massive beings, 2 storeys high sway their mighty tentacles back and forth drawing a wave of the blight creep behind them. Men with propped up metal casks lit with fire, and exploding with the sound of thunder dropping the charging masses before them. And fire, there is fire everywhere, divine and holy in nature, imbued with the light of the sun itself.

A Calculated Withdrawl

Aranel has had enough, this scene is too much and he wants answers. Approaching Black, Aranel demands to know what is going on. Black screams a terrible sound and smites Aranel with Silver's dying husk. The others quickly gather up Aranel, Seig deciding to carry his burden, they make haste for the dying wood that lay to the south of the battle. They run for hours as the sounds of battle wage on and grow fainter until finally they are gone.

The Hunger

As the party travels, they are having strange cravings. It starts as a twinge in the back of their minds, but soon enough it begins to dominate their thoughts. Blood, Bone, Flesh and Organ is what they crave, each with their own brand of horrible taste. Each of them are not without new “gifts” though. Aranel is reborn with retractable tusk like fangs perfectly suited to quench his vampiric thirst. Dex's very skin is bulked up with scales of bone and an overdeveloped jaw with immense biting strength. Seig's claws are fashioned into efficient piercing knives as his steely gaze now can see more of a man than he ever could before. And Jaspyr's legs are teaming with new found strength and spring as well as flaying claws adorning his fingertips. They all have the blackgreen tendrils writhing over their skin jutting out concentrically from their core.

Fendis Ren

As the party heads further south the blight creep is letting up. Seig decides to bask in sunlight and get out of this green fog. He is immediately dropped to his knees by the shock of it how can the sun itself bring about pain?

Along the road south they come acrossed to weary blight touched wandering aimlessly. They seem to have no interest in our hero's though. Seig decides he wants to put these poor beings out of their torment and proceeds to dismember and decapitate one of them. The other is dropped to the ground by Aranel and Jaspyr as Dex watches with indifference. After grabbing some of their salvageable clothes one of the blight touched gets back up completely regenerated and walks away, the others head lays their biting at the air.

The road completely clears of blight creep and the moon is out as the party approaches Fendis Ren. They are met at the gate by an old man, who has been cast out today on his birthday. He spins them a tale of how the town has made arrangements with the cursed to put out the old and sick in exchange for keeping their town safe from this awful war. He gladly pays this price so that his grandchildren or their children, or their children can see an end to this madness. Covering up their blight veins, the party seeks shelter within the town. The guardsman, half drunk, half asleep at his post likely doesn't check them over fully and allows them passage. After all, most bligt touched don't ask politely for entrance into their town.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tales of the Bard 002

A businessman and an earless goblin

Abe welcomed our weary travellers back to Ostwick and offered them good work. “I need a good crew to head on down to Proteria and make sure the roads are clear of highwaymen” Little did Abe know of the coming tide. The party decides to make preperations for the road, as well as find someone to decipher their little goblin text they found. Well let me tell you, a sorry soul is a pedler who depends on a dancing earless goblin named smitty to earn his supper. Old Joe Treark was all too eager to get his goblin meal ticket to translate the note Seig had found at the highwaymen encampment. By Joe's translation the note read: “We need ~~ move ~~~~~ position, they ~~~~ been pushing ~~~ further and further, ~~~~ supplies ~~~~~~~~~ brothers and sisters ~~~ join ~~~~~~~.”. Smitty also did a nice little dance for the party seeing as they paid for him and Joe to eat like kings for the next few weeks.

Decidedly the party thought it prudent to warn the local guardsmen and do a perimeter walkabout to see if there was any goblin activity in the works. Well let me tell you, Dex and Jaspyr tried to talk some sense into Jeb Thornsvein(current head guardsmen due to the local militia's best and brightest being up north with lord Brightholm). Jeb wasn't too worried about it, goblins he said “aren't smart enough” to give Ostwick much trouble. Meanwhile Aranel, Seig and Heimdel found some goblin tracks but they were weeks old and not in great numbers.

Pull up a stool

Our intreped adventurers decide to spend the night telling stories drinking and oogling poor barmaid Molly at the Lambs Head inn. Had Molly known what was to happen that night maybe she would have taken the brazen and drunk dwarf Heimdel, up on his various, and numerous winks, leers, and offers. As Jaspyrs eyes get squintier, his slurry more apparent and his cup empty, Seig tells a tale of slavery, gladiators and rebith into religion. Aranel keeps to him self, preferring the company of his bow to that of the dozens of strangers and his new travelling companions that mill about at the Lambs Head inn. And local douchebag Lance Hoodfelt sends multiple stink eye's towards Dex, free of charge of course. All in all, a good evening for our Hero's, were the world to end tomorrow their souls would be content and full of life.


Hero's of Ostwick

As the night turned into predawn morning Seig is awakened by the sounds of guardsmen shouting. Springing to the window Seig notes a thick fog has set in to obscure any view his window should normally portray. As the others wake some hear goblin noises among the clashes of swords shields and shouts from the guardsmen. Aranel and Heimdel rush down to the street to get a better view of events, sure enough goblins are running through the streets. The strange thing though that Aranel points out is that the fog is not of the natural world. Greenish gray in hue and a heavy musk to its scent, the very presence of this fog makes everyone uneasy. As Heimdel causes a panic with the less seasoned travellers staying at the inn, Seig makes them wet their breeches, ordering them to remain “calm” and in their rooms. The party heads out into the unknowable fog. Many goblins dart past, almost shadows on the fog, and they refuse to engage our fellowship, who wouldn't mind expanding their ear collection. Then it dawns on Heimdel first, these goblins aren't invading....they are running from something.

Thrum Thrum Thrum

Aranel hears an army sized force opproaching the blind and ill prepared sleepy town of Ostwick. As Dex is “advising” Jeb to begin an evacuation and light the 6 story hilltop signal tower, the eerie thrum thrum thrum is shatterd by the piercing screams of a young boy running towards the party. Some 20 feet away, the boy is suddenly pounced upon by what appears to be a Proterian armoured man. As the Party rushes in to help the boy they can note the gruesomely twisted features of the assaulting man. Bloodsoaked clothing, sickly skin and black tendril like veins jutting over his bare skin. Over developed jaw and claws this didn't seem so much like a man anymore. Seig was first to the abomination but Dex managed to wrest the Proterian from the boy. That boy would live another day thanks to our hero's. After 2 more Blighted Proterians join the fray the first one pounces upon Dex looking to replace his lost meal. After escaping the sickly grasp, the party fights on. Our pouncing Proterian tries one last time and as he leaps towards Dex Heimdel rings true with his trusty sap covered warhammer. The hammer swiftly knocks the jumper out of the air and crushing its spine back into the ground which it so briefly left.

As battles erupt throughout Ostwick the party sees a guardsman plummeting out of the top of the signal tower to his death. The decision to go up the tower and light it themselves weighs a heavy burden on our hero's. I suppose that is why they are the “Heros of Ostwick” in this tale, and not just “they guys that ran away” or some such.

Quickly they make their way up the tower, encountering waves blighted men, hounds and soldiers. Seig turned to use his peoples gift on the shambling masses following them up the tower. Freezing and shattering their life and limbs to tumble down the cold hard stone steps. Heimdel and Jaspyr face ravenous dogs with the same blight veins. Now no one today knows what got into the dwarf that day, if he was in the moment, stepping up to his responsibility or just the crusted sap and leaves caked onto his warhammer, but that hammer rang true, over and over again. Heimdel surely this moment was meant for you.

At the top of the signal tower a large beast of a man crouched in waiting, supping at another poor guardsmen while jumpers skittered about him for 'scraps'. Our party fought on and through to avenge that guardsmen and the dozens others that were slaughtered that day. Aranel made quick work to light the signal fire and send warning all the way to Eastbourne of their demise.

Successfull in their task, this did not come without cost. Wave after wave of blighted climbed up the tower after our Hero's. In the end however they could not fight off an entire army. Piles of the slain tumbled down the tower, and still it was not enough. In their last conscious moments the party could see the thousands of men swarming through Ostwick along with giant masses of the unknown towering over the fog. And as a last breath of hope, they could see the twinkling light off in the distance of the next signal tower being lit in response to their warning. Take some solice in that, take some pride.