Author Archives: Dennis

A Mother and Son Separated

Previously, after bringing Kalina back to Kingsport dead, James managed to parlay for his mother’s freedom. Unfortunately, she horribly injured and very exhausted. She was rushed to the clinic of the Temple of Pholtus where she was treated by Father Devon. She lost an eye and a strange slug-like parasite was retrieved from her wound. The Heroes of the White Eye would have one night before having to take Jeanne away from Kingsport, conform the agreement with the day master.

Sixth Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon in high sanction. Bloodmoon in waning. Darkmoon is waxing.)

Having returned to the Careless Wanderer together with James and his mother Jeanne, the heroes remained in their luxurious room, choosing to stay away from the public in order not to offend the day master bu reminding him that Jeanne was still in Kingsport.

Quentin had still been holding on to the two letters that he had written the evening before; one to his Lord-father, and one to his bethrothed; Gwenaëlle. He asked Lauryn who he might turn to for a delivery to Beauclair and she directed him to Fast Feathers Rookery, just up Quayhill, no more than a few minutes away from the Careless Wanderer. He was to ask for Toruviel; a name which surprised Quentin to hear. H was determined to to convince Emrys to come along the next morning.

Seventh Day, First Ride, Autumn Red, 1262

(Silvermoon in waning. Bloodmoon in waning. Darkmoon is waxing.)

For a second night in a row Luca had spent more time than he possibly should have reading through Kalina’s prayer book; The Disciplines of the Dark Queen. As a result he woke up significantly exhausted and not much the wiser. The rituals or secrets he had hoped to find eluded him, but he was getting a better understanding of the ethos.

During breakfast James decided to talk to his mother about the next steps. He turned to the confusing jargon and cant of the guild, one that he knew his mother was familiar with. He laid out the day master’s demands that she leave Kingsport, and the options that had come to him; either see if he could secure her a position as a servant at the Sheridan estate and allow her to stay close, or bring her to the grass plains of Silesia where she could start anew. She chose to former, opting to stay close to Kingsport and her son.

Meanwhile, the rest of heroes sat around, eating their breakfast, trying to pick apart the complicated coded language the two were speaking. Giving up, Quentin asked Emrys to join him in his trip to rookery, to which Emrys agreed.

After breakfast James decided to take stock of all of the things he had been storing inside of the magical bag he had been given by the day master; including some of the items they had retrieved from the Reaverhaunt caves that he never got a good luck at. These included the following:

  • A wooden, lacquered jewellery box
  • Silver necklace with a teardrop pearl pendant
  • An assortment of five different silver rings
  • An assortment of four different golden rings
  • A finely embroidered doublet studded with golden buttons
  • A silver triangle figurine, held aloft by two angelic figures
  • A golden coin pendant depicting Tymora surrounded by clovers

Luca took a few minutes to prepare a ritual in which he could sense if any of the items were enchanted, which he found they were not. The careful conclusion was that these were mundane items that the bandits had collected during their raids around Northshire.

The heroes decided that they would attempt to depart at noon so that they could make it to the Sheridan estate before sundown. Before that they would run some errands.

James and Luca headed to the Silver Cross, the tavern in the Lace where Jeanne had been working and James had made his home for a long time. On the way there, James noticed that they were being tailed by a revolving tail of guild affiliates; different people paid off by the guild to keep an eye out.

When the two heroes arrived at the Silver Cross they found Samuel the Carcerian bartender standing out front. He gave James an uncharacteristically long hug and whispered into his ear that it was not wise to stay for long; the guild was watching the Silver Cross as well. James darted in and out of his mother’s room and picked up only the necessities.

Once they had departed, the duo headed to the Circle of Magi where they hoped they could purchase any potions or ointments that could help them stay safe and healthy in the next leg of their journey. When they arrived, they found entrance to the college obstructed by brother Shakeslocke and the red-robed monks protesting the supposed corruption in the institution. Unfortunately, Olafur, the custodian at the college was not tending to the herb garden out front and could help them inside.

Luca suggested heading out of the city and visiting a man who supposedly sold herbs, salves and ointments. They walked down the Elysian street and out of the similarly named gate. Then, in the shadow of the Bastion of Restraint, they found a cabin surrounded by a fragrant garden of different herbs and plants. A gruff Kaedwyni man who introduced himself as Ecgbrith was found out in front, tending to the garden.

James and Luca found him to be somewhat reluctant at first, but he became a lot more willing to deal once Olafur happened to come walking up. The Miðgarðurian was obviously a frequent patron of Ecgbrith and helped smooth the way. Eventually a deal was reached for several potions. Expensive though they were, Ecgbrith threw in a mysterious potion which he said would help clear the mind.

Luca, having been interested in plants, herbs and fungi ever since getting some strange mushrooms from a guard in his home village once, asked whether Ecgbrith could help him to a herbalism kit. The herbalist put together a small satchel with some essentials that would help Luca cut, harvest, dry and preserve herbs properly and gave him a quick overview on how to use it. It would take Luca quite some time to become adept at what the Kaewyni had told him, but at least he’d have the tools once he did.

The two walked away with three vials of healing liquid as well as a concoction that would “clear the mind,”  as well as a herbalist’s kit. It had cost them a significant sum.

On the way back to the Careless Wanderer the two had a conversation about what the best course of action would be once they had visited the Sheridan estate. Should they go to the Tiverton glades to help the Lady Commander’s family stave off the orc invasion, or should they stay in Kingsport and investigate the illness of the queen?

In the meantime, Quentin and Emrys followed the directions that Quentin was given by Lauryn to Fast Feathers Rookery located at a small but luxurious manse near the top of Quayhill. This walled establishment had several small towers and aviaries in the garden around the building where people were tending to ravens. Emrys noticed that there was a peculiar banner on the outside gate, on the building and on the towers; quartered, with the banner of House Waxley, a turtle on a field of green, taking up the first and fourth quarter, with a black bird carrying a parchment on a field of blue taking up the second and third quarter.

When inside, they found several people behind small lecterns transcribing letters to and from thin strips of parchment fit to be carried by their ravens. After asking about Toruviel Fast Feathers, they stood eye to eye with a slender elf with silvery hair and a tight restraint on his face. After a brief exchange Toruviel explained that they could send letters to Beauclair and that, if properly addressed, the letter would find its way to the correct recipient.

Quentin found it easy to send the letter to Gwenaëlle, watching Toruviel transcribe the letter onto a small strip of parchment with swiftness and ease, but he hesitated with the letter addressed to his Lord-father, Dorian of House Morvrayne. He eventually relented when he was convinced of the elf Toruviel’s discretion.

During this exchange, Quentin asked Toruviel about his name and heritage, and Toruviel explained that he was one of the Aen Gwynt, or Sky Elves, from the mountain range of Ard Thoradun. He explained that Toruviel was one of their great ancestors and a hero among his people. He carried the name to honour their ancestor. During this time, Quentin kept an eye on Emrys, who stood almost motionless, listening, with his hand on the hilt of his blade. Later, when the two had departed the rookery, Emrys thanked Quentin for bringing him.

Just after midday it was time to depart. As people were saddling up and getting ready, Wojciech, the Wanderer’s stablemaster, came to say goodbye to Jeanne. The travel out of Kingsport was done under an overcast sky and soon after departing the city the weather turned sour. It took several uneventful hours to get to Lynnecombe and the heroes were soaking wet when they arrived at the estate.

Lord Marcus and Destan received them in the dining room of the manor and made sure that the servants brought towels, dry clothes and lit the fire in the hearth. Wine and food was brought, though not nearly as lavish as the feast they had received the last time they were at the estate.

A quick conversation about Jeanne’s predicament was settled quickly as Lord Marcus assured James and Jeanne that there would be a place at the estate for Jeanne and that she would be able to earn her keep. It was decided that she would take the place of a stable hand who had recently gotten gravely injured when several bandits had set upon their stables in an attempt to steal the family’s horses.

James revealed to Lord Marcus that the staff had been infiltrated by Steady Hand spies who were interested in books and artifacts coming from the catacombs beneath the estate. While Lord Marcus seemed aware of Harrick, he had not been aware yet of Beatrice, so he was grateful for James’ revelation. He assured James that no harm would befall Jeanne from the Steady Hand spies.

James mentioned that he had learned about the artifact of a small statue which had been retrieved from the catacombs and that he’d be interested to see it. Lord Destan said that this could be arranged in the morning.

Once that had been settled, the conversation turned to a letter that the Sheridan family had received from Pinefall;

To Lord John Sheridan of House Sheridan,

My lord, I hope this letter finds you and your sons reunited and good health. I am sure Lord Destan has explained everything about your lands in the southern Silverpine Hills, including the unusual events of the last few months. There are, however, things that the Lord of these lands must be made aware of.

Since the departure of your Lord-son, one of the villagers of Bristlecone (a little settlement in Pinefall) fell prey to an evil spirit. Robart, the man in question, accompanied Lord Destan on his “voyage” and returned having quite literally lost his mind. We were instructed by your Lord-son to care for him as best we could; it was the least we could do in the wake of his sacrifice.

Several days after your Lord-son’s departure some of the crusaders left your lands; some for Gryphon’s Roost, some for their ancestral lands, some for parts unknown. As luck would have it, some of them stayed behind, deciding to wait out the winter. It was to them we turned when Robart was possessed.

The local wise woman, Isobel, claims that Robart having lost his mind left a vacuum that was easily filled. She, together with the crusaders, managed to force the demon to vacate poor Robart. I will spare you the profane and grotesque details, but the process was disturbing. Unfortunately, poor Robart was not strong enough to survive the ordeal.

Isobel and the crusaders have speculated that the demon must have been able to travel between Old Llygad and Pinefall, much like the crusaders did. It does mean that we have to remain vigilant, for others might follow.

Your servants,

– Gregor of Bristlecone
– Isobel of White Fork
– Ser Gregorian Longshadow

A Letter About Robart

Overview

When the heroes next contact the Sheridan estate they will be informed of new developments in Pinefall by way of a letter penned by several prominent members of the community. They tell of the possession of Robart by a demon, the exorcism that followed, aided by some of the crusaders who had remained behind.

The Letter

To Lord John Sheridan of House Sheridan,

My lord, I hope this letter finds you and your sons reunited and good health. I am sure Lord Destan has explained everything about your lands in the southern Silverpine Hills, including the unusual events of the last few months. There are, however, things that the Lord of these lands must be made aware of.

Since the departure of your Lord-son, one of the villagers of Bristlecone (a little settlement in Pinefall) fell prey to an evil spirit. Robart, the man in question, accompanied Lord Destan on his “voyage” and returned having quite literally lost his mind. We were instructed by your Lord-son to care for him as best we could; it was the least we could do in the wake of his sacrifice.

Several days after your Lord-son’s departure some of the crusaders left your lands; some for Gryphon’s Roost, some for their ancestral lands, some for parts unknown. As luck would have it, some of them stayed behind, deciding to wait out the winter. It was to them we turned when Robart was possessed.

The local wise woman, Isobel, claims that Robart having lost his mind left a vacuum that was easily filled. She, together with the crusaders, managed to force the demon to vacate poor Robart. I will spare you the profane and grotesque details, but the process was disturbing. Unfortunately, poor Robart was not strong enough to survive the ordeal.

Isobel and the crusaders have speculated that the demon must have been able to travel between Old Llygad and Pinefall, much like the crusaders did. It does mean that we have to remain vigilant, for others might follow.

Your servants,

– Gregor of Bristlecone
– Isobel of White Fork
– Ser Gregorian Longshadow

A Foreboding Dream

Overview

After having liberated his mother from the captivity of the Steady Hand, finding her suffering from a grievous head wound which ended up costing his mother her eye, a strange parasite was found in the wound. Father Devon, who tended to his mother’s wound and found the parasite, said he had never seen anything like it.

When James had taken his mother away from Kingsport, housing her at the Sheridan estate to work as a stable hand, and thereby meeting the day master’s demand that Jeanne leave Kingsport, never to return, he could finally rest, reflect and come to terms with all that happened. He had a disturbing dream…

A Foreboding Dream

You are running down the dark, vaulted corridors of an ancient waterway. The only light you see comes from the phosphorescent moss that clings to the dirty walls arched around you. Your feet splash noisily through the sewage as they are trying to escape the dreadful mare that has been chasing you since you jumped through the cracked, marble gate at the top of the Crimson Tower into the terrifying realm of Old Llygad.

You know how this will end; the flaming hooves will thunder down on you and you’ll fall and watch as your own blood mixes with the sewage and spills down the drain. You decide to stop running. You turn around and draw your weapons, steeling your nerves and managing your adrenaline.

You see a set of fiery eyes in the darkness ahead and hear steady, deliberate hoof beats splashing into the sewage as they are coming towards you. With every splash, you hear a sizzle as the flames of the hooves are briefly extinguished in the filthy muck, only to be reignited when pulled free. Thick columns of dark smoke, like that of a tar fire, rise up from the mare’s angry hooves.

The smoke rapidly fills up the corridor around you until the only thing you can see are the burning eyes and the occasionally igniting hooves. You work up the courage to strike. You leap forward and your daggers flash through the thick smoke, hitting corded muscle and rugged hide. The acrid smoke fills your lungs and you feel your strength waning. Your agility fails you as the hooves thunder down on you once more; snapping the bones in your shoulder, cracking your skull and shattering your spine. You collapse into the filth of the waterways.

As the smoke subsides, you watch your blood mix with the sewage and flow down a drain, you notice that same, strange eyestalk rise up from the drain and peer at you. It extends to your paralysed body and you watch in horror and disgust as it touches your face and slides across to your left eye and starts to push its way inside your socket. You don’t feel any pain, but you do feel your eye burst under the pressure.

As the last of your life escapes you and your remaining vision grows dim, you see the eyestalk retract and disappear back inside the drain.

Personal Correspondence of the Cursed Crusaders

Overview

While the heroes were in Old Llygad, James spent some time rummaging through the personal items of the cursed crusaders. Here is a collection of personal correspondence he was able to find and read.

Correspondence

Personal

  • Family update from a wife of a knight who is lording over their hold

My brave lord-husband,

I write a brief missive to you to inform you that all is well at the Wyvern’s Nest. Your son is learning to ride, and your two daughters are being instructed in dance and archery. All three send their love and encouragement.

Your wife has spent the last few wiks gathering this Þrimilce-mōnaþ taxes from the villagers. They all send their warmest regards and yearn for your return. (Though not as much as I, dear husband.) Most have gotten used to an eastern lady collecting the taxes instead of their usual, stalwart mountain lord, and those that failed to get used to it had the house guards to contend with. I believe you would be proud of me.

The granaries are running low, but in a mōnaþ or two, when the harvest comes in, we should have enough for our people to get through the cold months, while still having some to trade for livestock with Lord Grimsby. We could use some more goats after our flock got attack by two Vrocks soon after your departure. Don’t be afeared; the men fought them off with only two fatalities, though I’m afraid guard Will has lost the use of his sword arm, and guard Mira’s mind may never recover.

But rest assured as you ride for Gwenllygad, that your lands and family is in the capable hands of your lady-wife. I might not have the gusts of mountain wind running through my veins, but since our marriage I feel it running through my soul.

Lady Miranda Proudwing

  • Love letter between knight and her suitor

My dearest beloved,

Once more I watched you ride from the Roost to battle forces of darkness and tyranny, and my heart could not swell up more with pride. My soon-to-be wife has been knighted and now dons the lapis lazuli of the Order. You always said that you’d be tapped on the shoulder before I would and I could not be more proud of you for beating me to it.

As you ride off for Gwenllygad, I have been called to fly out with Master Commander Wentworth and lend aid to the defence of Blue Harbour which has been besieged by a horde of all consuming evil lead by Barazod the Fiery Dread. The Order of the Lance has rode out from the west while the Order of the Shield sails across the inner sea from the east. If I prove myself on this theatre, I hope to be knighted before Midinváerne and perhaps we can be married in Æster-mōnaþ, when the grass turns green.

I never thought that after all I have lost, I would ever find someone to care about again.

Jonathan

  • Friends going into business together

Colton,

I never made a better choice than to leave Gryphon’s Roost and start hiring myself out protecting cargo back and forth to the coast. I’ve been asked to bring cargo for others and bought myself a cart, but it’s hard being on the lookout while driving an ox. I could really use your help. You’re good with a sword and you’re good on a cart. The silver is good and there is a steady flow of work because there are plenty of people to protect; the Order can’t protect everyone. They can’t chase down every demon and there are plenty running around the wilderness harassing merchants and common folk. You know where to find me.

Laura

Strategic

  • The order of the shield redeploying troops liaised to gryphon upon completion of expedition

Ser Gregorian,

Upon completion of your next expedition your orders are to lead the members of the Order back home as we will have committed a large part of our forces to the western shore in order to support the other orders in their fight to control the area around Blue Harbour. It has been a long time since you’ve rode across the causeway and through the gates of Dunagore.

Your wife is well and your son is growing up strong and tall, like yourself. He is beginning to take his first steps and is eager to meet his father. Tell Dame Marianne that her sister, Dame Catherine, sailed for Blue Harbour and is to be the personal guard to the Knight Primarch, a great honour. And more gravely, please inform knight lieutenant Morden that his grandfather, Lord Barrow, has passed away defending his holdfast against a harpy attack. He is to take up the mantle as Lord of Felwind Rock. Offer him my condelences.

Ever proud to be your father,

Ser Seraphian, Grand Master of the Shield, Lord of Dunagore

  • Orders to investigate possible collaboration of knights with the savage warriors of the north

Ser Winslow,

After the expedition to Gwenllygad, you are given the temporary rank of Knight Lieutenant and lead a group of four hand picked knights with able griffons who have not received any follow up orders, and fly north, across the Thoradun mountains and east to the coastal settlement of Marburg and meet with their leader who is called Marduk. (For Paladine’s sake, don’t pick Dame Josephine.)

They say Marduk commands a force of two thousand savages and has been able to protect ten times that many people. He and his savages could be valuable allies. One thing you should know is that his tribe don’t believe in the gods. They believe in one god and one adversary, like they do on the plains of Selos. They say he is surrounded by a glow of radiant light and that wings have grown from his shoulders, like an angel.

Report back to me as soon as you have taken a measure of the man, his forces, and the state that Marburg is in. I want to know what, if anything, of the rumours are true, and how valuable he might be in the wars to come.

Dame Hanrietta, Senechal of the Gryphon

  • Armsmen ordered to go support knight lieutenant in the defence of a shipment of grain coming in from the eastern plains of Selos.

Ser Reginald, after the expedition you are to take your squire, sergeant and armsment and ride south to meet along the coastal trail with knight lieutenant Gareth and help escort a large shipment of surplus grain from the eastern plains of Selos, bound for Newport and Blue Harbour. If fighting continues at Blue Harbour, lend any assistance you can before returning to the Roost. As by the command of knight commander of the 7th cavalry regiment, Ser Robert Tolliver

  • Mission to Ard Thoradun to plead the mountain dwarves for aid

Ser Lothar, after the expedition you are given the temporary title of knight lieutenant in order to take your men and commission one other knight and their armsmen and ride for Ard Thoradun to appeal to the mountain dwarves one final time for shelter and aid. Do not bother taking Ser Karagan, since they have refused him on several earlier occasions. Take a noble, like Dame Josephine, or someone known, like Ser Estienne. As by the command of knight commander of the 7th cavalry regiment, Ser Robart Tolliver

Scholarly

  • Correspondence with one of the priests of Pholtus on treating wounds sustained from a demon.

Dear Callum,

I received your letter late last mōnaþ and in the two wikon since, I’ve managed to use the recipe you sent me on two of the nights after they fought a Balor and sustained terrible burns to their skin. Their recovery was remarkable! It is true that in the westerlands dreamfoil and owlsblood is rare, but I’ve got every apothecary scouring the forests for them on their foragings.

As a token of gratitude, I would like to share with you the antidose we have devised against the poison that the wicked Quasits carry on their claws, for it has paralysed many of our knights. The poison does not last long, but just a few drops of this solution and it will greatly enhance their ability to withstand its effects.

Mix equal parts silversage, garlic, mandrake in a pot, together with half a part of ghost mushroom. Add an equal amount of water and let it stew until it turns an even shade of green, like that of wild spinach, and the smell turns sour. Let it cool off. It will thicken as it does, but that makes no matter. Take the slightest drop of paralytic poison and dilute it a hundred times in purified and boiled water. In the westerlands we used the saliva of the owlbears, but I’m positive that the sting of a wyvern will do much in the same way, though you might need to experiment with the dosages. Mix the two liquids together and strain it through a sand filter.

The optimal time to take the antidose is minutes before engaging. We have seen some success in taking it after the wounds were sustained, but the results are unreliable.

May the light be with you,

Rasmus

  • A letter sent to one of the armsmen about his daughter potentially being one of the first recruits to a new school focusing on wizardry, on the northern coast of the inner sea.

Artillery specialist Riordan of White Hills,

I write to you on this auspicious day that the we at the Senhadrim council have divined that your daughter Moira, of seven winters, has great arcane potential. We have since confirmed this as a fact through communication with the knight secretary of the order you serve. We would like to invite her to be formally trained at a newly established school of arcanists at the coastal city of Newport. There, she will be introduced to each of the different circles of magic to see to which she has the greatest affinity and then let her specialise in that circle. Eventually we hope that she will graduate from the circle and start her apprenticeship under one of the Senhadrim and serve the Silver Crusade. We understand that you will have to talk this over with your order, with your wife, and with Moira herself. We are looking forward to hearing from you and for Moira to join us at the circle in Newport. We hope you appreciate the gravity of the opportunity we are offering young Moira.

Rusalka the Red, Head Mistress of the Circle of Enchantment

A Talking Chihuahua

I often have interesting dreams but I don’t often remember them long enough, or they’re just a jumbled mess that only made sense when I was dreaming. This morning I woke up because Joasia woke up, and I immediately told her the dream (or at least the last portion of it). Normally I am not one to try to write down dreams, but this one was fun.

I was driving on a warm evening in a little sports convertible through the streets of Lausanne (or some place like it) in order to go to the embassy of Luxembourg. I had my dog with me, a little chihuahua who I could teach how to say words. I was on my way to the embassy because I needed to vote in the elections and had been waylaid and needed to convince the ambassador to let me vote late. I ended up instructing my dog to convince the ambassador to let me vote and putting the dog into the ventilation system in order to find the ambassador, who was inside the building somewhere.

Now that I write it down it doesn’t seem as sane as I thought it did initially. But I had a really cool little dog that could talk!!