Legends of Moonsong City

Knights and Pawns

Lyra sighed and surveyed the hopeless situation before her. Valiant knights lay slain on the sides of the battlefield. An outlying tower had been toppled, its defending forces dead and thrown to the wayside. Even the clergy had gotten involved, but the warrior priests had been shorn from the mortal coil for an early meeting with their deity. The enemy’s army loomed ever more menacing in comparison to the dwindling forces of good. The battlefield was a grisly reminder of fragile mortality and the brevity of life.

“Hah!” Lyra exclaimed, slamming an exquisitely carved ivory rook into place. The heavy chess pieces jostled on the hewn stone chessboard. “Check!” she nearly shouted with a smile.

The dwarf, whose name Lyra had already forgotten, grinned wryly beneath his beard. He casually tipped over Lyra’s last remaining rook with an ornate bishop carved of a slightly darker ivory than her own pieces. “Not anymore, it’s not. And ’mate.”

“I—” Lyra started, speechless at the cunning move. The soldier had thwarted her attack and won in the same turn, all while eating his breakfast. She sighed again and resigned herself to defeat. Lyra hadn’t yet won a game with this wretched chess set that she bargained off of Haloisi. These sorts of nick-nacks were far more interesting to the young sorcerer than lost books or uncovered knowledge. She almost regretted the deal.

“Again” Lyra said adamantly, resetting the board. She would need to try a different tactic. “So have you heard about The Swordsman of Moonsong? The fight at the wellspring got to test the full measure of his skill.” she said nonchalantly. “I was there, you know.”

Her opponent looked up from the opening turns of pawn movements and arched an eyebrow, clearly intrigued at the mention of Fletcher’s made-up title. The soldiers of Guss’s Gate were quite enamored with the half-elven mercenary. He had made fast friends with the militaristic dwarves with a few quick words and even quicker sword strikes.

“It was one Hell of a fight.” Lyra began as she returned the series of opening moves. “So, there we were, trying to make our way to the wellspring beneath the fort,” she said, hoping to match the dwarven soldier’s careful positioning with sheer randomness in her own first moves. “Darin prepped us on the layout ahead of time. Good thing too, or else we would have fallen right into a trap. We could see the enemy’s leader, Pete something or other, down at the end of the hall.” Lyra looked pointedly at the opponent’s king, an elaborately carved figure standing head and shoulders taller than the rest, complete with armor, sword, and a crown. “He glowed blue, don’cha know. Luckily we were ready for the enemy on our flanks.”

“We approached carefully, and the Swordsman of Moonsong was showing off his newly magical blade, courtesy of you dwarves.” Lyra tipped over a pawn with the base of her knight, claiming the first casualty of the game. She tried to hide a smile; the knight had a small flaw carved in the ivory, a chip on one side of its sword. It appeared to wield a tiny curved weapon, just like Fletcher.

The dwarf listened intently but took a pawn himself with his bishop. “But little did we know, there were skeletal archers across the way.” Lyra said with a frown, lamenting her first lost piece. “Yours truly landed a Damn good crossbow shot, drove straight through a skeleton’s skull.” Lyra moved her bishop, taking another pawn and perching the bishop on a safe space on the board. “Unfortunately, they seemed pretty resistant to that sort of thing.” The bishop was more detailed than the typical chess piece with a funny hat. Instead it depicted a man with a book, not unlike a spellcaster. Lyra couldn’t help but relate it to herself, trying to stay safe but still be helpful from the back.

The dwarf nodded and took her rook, apparently less distracted by the tale than the storyteller. “I suppose it is just as good that Nisa wasn’t there. Her arrows would have been next to useless on the skeletons.” Lyra sighed yet again. That rook would be missed, it was every bit as stalwart and dependable as Nisa, constantly covering retreats and halting advances. Always ready to strike at the king.

“Boy I tell you, that Fletcher is quite a sight in battle.” Lyra said. The dwarf brightened again at mention of Fletcher. Lyra grabbed the knight and knocked another pawn off the board. "When he gets in an enemy’s face, it is a sight to behold. He was a blur. He lopped off all four limbs of a skeletal champion with one sweep, then spun and thrust his blade through the skeleton’s falling skull within a fraction of a second.” She pantomimed a U-shaped cut with her hand then jabbed forward with a finger. “He seemed to visibly grow at this. He told us later that the new enchantment on his sword empowers him with the strength of a dwarf for a time should he prove himself worthy in battle.”

The amateur chess players exchanged a few more turns, in which the dwarf’s knight took another two pawns. “Haloisi and I weren’t faring quite so well in the close quarters. We aren’t used to the blunt weapons that you dwarves favor. Haloisi was still shaken from our first encounter on the wall. She had a bit of a breakdown before we ventured into the temple halls. Axiomus tried to calm her down, but turned his attention to the logistics of potion distribution mid-thought. I don’t get that guy sometimes.” Lyra mused, stopping an advancing unit with the properly carved knight. “You know Haloisi right? She’s pretty great, very handy with songs and spells, not so much with maces. I think she was still suffering from residual shock or something. Couldn’t hit a thing.”

The dwarf chuckled at the mention of two spellcasters flailing around with heavy maces. His scratchy voice spoke for the first time all match, mockingly saying “Well lass, y’know wha’ they say about you elves.” His voice trailed off, preferring to keep things polite by not finishing the insult.

“Hey, I’m not an elf!” Lyra countered. “I’m only half elf. And you know who else is?” With a quick snap of the warped ivory knight, Lyra took the dwarf’s rook. “The Swordsman of Moonsong, Fletcher Callahan himself.”

The dwarf observed the board with consternation. He had been distracted by Lyra’s tale, just as she had hoped. “Hah! You should see your face right now.” Lyra jeered. “Anyways, the undead leader took notice of Fletcher’s moves too, and began taunting us from the end of the hall as we fought our way through. He kept talking about wanting to test himself against a worthy opponent, or some such nonsense.”

The dwarf positioned his pieces, trying to isolate Lyra’s successful knight. He was certainly no chess master, but he was definitely a practical tactician. Fortunately for him, Lyra was neither master nor tactician; she had to resort to creativity, fast talking, and downright randomness. Though she did know a thing or two about being a squirrely target and kept the knight safe in the onslaught.

“Well anyways,” Lyra began, “we got to the final chamber of the temple. The hallway opened up and allowed us some maneuverability, not unlike the board now.” She gestured at the table. “It was ’round then that Thifal came rushing in to help us.” Lyra slid her second rook into the fray. It would be too easy to label Thifal as the bishop. Besides, the rook perfectly reflected his skillset; unyielding in defense but still punishing in offense.

A bishop struck down Lyra’s other knight, the one with the properly carved straight sword. “Our foes had a mage on their side. It reached out and touched the noble Axiomus with a spell of putridity. He had vanquished many a skeleton with his fiery breath, but the enemy mage rendered him paralyzed for the remainder of the battle.”

Lyra moved her own bishop to remedy the situation. “Luckily, I took the mage out on my own. But that’s when things got weird, and Fletcher did his thing.” Her short friend was fully distracted by the tale now, evidenced by the careless loss of his bishop to another bishop.

“This skeleton master challenged the Swordsman of Moonsong to a one on one duel. We didn’t want to allow it, but Fletcher insisted. The enemy leader had waited patiently for us to finish his minions up until now, and Fletcher was adamant that he return the favor. The undead man told us that he was cursed and must be defeated in single combat, lest he be revived and forced to continue fighting.” Lyra said, losing pieces turn after turn. “We were doubtful, but he held a fantastically brilliant weapon and wore ancient armor. He didn’t look like the type to make things up.” The board was nearly clear now, a sign of true chess amateurs just hunting for heads and having fun.

“Fletcher struck first, but was swatted away with a backhand. Peter struck back, landing a hilt strike on Fletcher’s jaw.” Lyra told the dwarf, who listened intently as he jockeyed for a good setup with the last few pieces. “Fletcher just spat some blood and spun back. The skeletal champion ducked in the smallest of movements and brought his terrible flaming sword upwards along Fletcher’s chest. It left a streak of embers along his armor.” Lyra explained, miming actions with grand sweeping gestures.

“Haloisi was singing at this point, her melodies filling Fletcher with inspiration. I tell you, when you hear a proper musician singing your praises, you can just center your mind and focus so easily. So that’s what he did. He blocked a blow aimed for his neck, managing to thrust back with his own blade.” Lyra was hardly focusing on the chess match at all. Neither was her opponent, fully engrossed in the tale of mortal combat, as any true dwarf would.

“Both combatants sliced at each other’s vitals; neither held back. Fletcher was filled with strength both from the battlesong and his peculiar enchanted blade. The duelists were trading blows faster than I could keep up, and I have very sharp eyes.” Lyra moved her warped knight in circles around the dwarf’s queen. “Then a gout of blood sprayed across the temple’s pews. May I remind you that the enemy did not have any blood. Fletcher was amazing though, he just ate the near-mortal blow and used it as an opportunity, bringing down his sword through Peter’s armor in the most vicious single strike I’ve ever seen.” Lyra slammed her hands on the table, abandoning any focus on the chess match. “And I’ve seen ogres, trolls and giants up close. Understand my full meaning when I say this hit was massive; it cleaved clear through the enemy’s armor. The enchanted armor, which kept the skeletal champion alive for hundreds of years… and it was in two pieces.”

The dwarves in the mess hall had nearly finished their breakfast. Somebody rang a brass bell in the corner of the room. Each of the dwarven soldiers began collecting their arms and filing out of the mess hall towards the wall for morning watch. They all looked weary from the long hours of high alert in the midst of a siege. Lyra’s new friend also buckled on his helmet and hefted his axe, ready to leave.

“Wait, I was just getting to the good part!” Lyra protested.

“Sorry lass, duty calls.” replied the dwarf with the forgotten name. He reached down and moved a lowly pawn a single space, seizing the hero knight, Lyra’s last non-pawn. “And checkmate in two moves. I really enjoyed your story, I’ll be telling the boys on the Wall about the mighty Fletcher Callahan. It ought to brighten their spirits.”

Lyra smiled at a mission accomplished, successfully inspiring another soldier. But she was still disappointed with yet another loss. She examined every possible move, baffled that a pawn could force an ending. Sure enough, the dwarf had assured his victory, perfectly capitalizing on the mutual sloppy play. The night watch was trundling in to the mess hall. One watch’s breakfast was another watch’s dinner.

Lyra slid up to a tired dwarf enjoying his meal of beans and stale bread rations. “Hey bud, you look stressed. Care to unwind with a friendly game? I’m awful, I promise.” she said, setting the board between them. He nodded and chewed on hard tack without a word.

As she reset the ivory chess set again, Lyra was reminded of the enemy that awaited them beyond the dwarven earthworks. Hundreds of gnolls chittered day and night, afraid to move forward into the fort, and even more afraid to retreat into whatever was driving them forward. Undead giants had already attacked once, and skeletal strike teams had infiltrated the holy wellspring below. Then there was the Dread Lady Niln, the probable commander of these undead forces. She remained an enigma, and a powerful one at that, to keep a champion as strong as Peter of the Sun Valley under her thumb.

Lyra shivered at the thought of a full assault. The slightest misstep could spell defeat. She couldn’t see her friends’ faces in the chess pieces anymore. They weren’t noble bishops, stalwart rooks, or valiant knights. They were all just pawns, in the end.

But even lowly pawns can seize victory. All they need is the courage to march on.

She looked up at the tired dwarf and smiled. “Say, have you heard about the Swordsman of Moonsong?”

Adventurers Needed!

Something is definitely not right in Moonsong City. Stories of abduction, death under mysterious circumstances, goblin attacks at night… No, something is definitely not right in Moonsong City.

More and more people are having to take matters into their own hands. The city watch has begun pulling people back out of retirement to handle the increasing numbers of incidents inside of the city’s outer walls. So much so, that it took a party of adventurers to stop a rampaging ogre and his goblin minions a few weeks ago. However, having seen that success in action, the city watch has begun recruiting adventurers to start taking on missions outside of the city walls.

The latest problem that needs addressing is a series of unfortunate incidents involving some undead. The bounty has been posted at all of the taverns in the flats, and you’ve let the barkeep at the Drunken Priest know that you’re available for hire given the right group. People seem to move through all the time trying to find groups to sponsor to further some noble’s name. You figure it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be paired with some other men or women looking to make a name for themselves while some noble takes all of the credit.

Hell, maybe today will be your lucky day…

S1 E13: Do a Man a Favor

Ambush at the Crossroads:
Defeated five skeletal champion Archers (CR2 @ 600xp each)
Defeated three skeletal champion (CR2 @ 600xp each)
Party Size: 4 (Axiomus, Haloisi, Lyra, Fletcher)
XP : 4800xp / 4 = 1200xp each (This seem high to the rest of you?)

For Ser Peter’s Pleasure:
Defeated four skeletal champion archers (CR2 @ 600xp each) [2400xp]
Defeated two skeletal champion (CR2 @ 600xp each) [1200xp]
Defeated one skeletal mage (CR5 @ 1600xp each) [1600xp]
Party Size: 5 (Axiomus, Haloisi, Lyra, Fletcher, Thifal)
XP: 5200xp / 5 = 1040xp each

Do a Man a Favor:
Defeated Peter of the Sun Valley in single combat. (CR7 @ 3200xp each)
Party Size: 5 (Axiomus, Haloisi, Lyra, Fletcher, Thifal)
XP: 3200xp / 5 = 640xp each (For fighting and for being smart enough to not fight. )
Bonus: 200xp for Haloisi for Song w/Lyrics.

Caleb's Debt

The mumbler clears his throat….

Caleb’s debt goes back hundreds of years…. In the time of the Golden Heroes, the Golden Heroes had taken possession of a piece of star metal, a gift from the gods to propel them to their destiny. The star metal was taken right under the nose of two different goblin tribes, an orc army, and the Undead Giants of Jorn the Giantslayer. (He spits at the mention of the name. Thifal hesitates for only a split second, then joins him.)

Jorn (spit) had nearly taken possession of the star metal when the heroes snatched it away from him. It was for this reason that they earned the GiantSlayer’s (spit) hatred.

The Golden Heroes sought to remove Jorn (spit) as a potential threat to them and they marched on his tower. Deep within the bowels of the earth, they uncovered Jorn’s (spit) cultists performing a dread ritual on a chained and subdued bronze dragon. They were unable to stop the ritual in time, but the work they did to eliminate the cultists and attempt to break the magic earned the desperate trust of the bronze dragon, and with her last bit of self gave them a riddle and a map to her lair.

After the heroes had been defeated by Jorn (spit) and chased from his tower they sought out the bronze’s lair guarded by now insanely paranoid elves. Able to win the trust of the elves, they discovered and rescued a set of bronze dragon eggs. They brought those to Mountain Breeze who helped care for the eggs of the bronze by request of the heroes. They soon hatched and participated in the second battle of Jorn’s tower, helping to rescue the heroes when they had yet again been defeated by Jorn’s undead hordes.

Since that time, Caleb and his litter mates have taken turns serving Mountain Breeze out of a sense of honor and loyalty to the old silver dragon who had taken pity on her bronze cousins.

Caleb’s secret is well kept by our dwarven honor. Darin honors you by allowing me to repeat it to you. There are only a handful, even in this castle that know of Caleb’s secret. Guard it well, so that Darin’s honor will not be tarnished by your indiscretion.

Fletcher buys the mumbler a flagon of ale, he must be a tad dry after such a moist tale.

Haloisi makes a mildly disgusted face and uses a subtle hand dance to whisk the spit out of sight.

As Fletcher orders the mumbler a drink, Lyra idly wonders what is star metal and what its significance could be.

S1 E12: Looking out from Guss's Gate

Our heroes took the wall as the first wave of gnolls attacked. Within the attack waves, three giants became immediately apparent. This clearly was the threat that the heroes must meet. Charging out from the wall Thifal and Fletcher looked to slow down the giants some. Only to be surprised by the look of pure hate in these creature’s eyes. They were already dead.

With malice and hate, the brute wights came forward, shrugging off arrows and attacks, they attempted to climb the wall. They were only successful in a single grab, taking the poor unfortunate dwarf and chomping down noisily through his skull.

Our heroes were able to slay all three of the undead giants, encouraging the dwarven defenders and forcing a retreat of the gnoll forces.

After a day of hard fought battles, Guss’s Gate remains securely in Dwarven hands. The party’s heroic efforts in turning back the Brute Wights turns the battle as the dwarves are inspired by the display of martial and magical prowess and rally to drive off the gnolls.

Farther back now on the horizon, the gnolls mill aimlessly. Clearly afraid to attack again, but similarly afraid to flee.

Using the Tavern as your home base, you’re preparing for a well earned rest. Darin has sent a dwarven mumbler to tell you the story of your choice. The history behind Jorn the Giantslayer, or the Nature of Caleb’s debt to Mountain Breeze.

At the same time, Darin is quite fascinated with the Elven curved blade. He turns it this way and that. Finally, he looks up and announces in a somber tone that he can help you. He takes the blade overnight. In the morning when he returns, the blade gleams with light.

I’ve had it enchanted as a gift for your actions on the wall, Darin tells you. It will never dull as long as a dwarf is near, and you will find it even faster and stronger than before. If you strike an enemy well, the blade will reflect back into the user the strength of a dwarf.

Elven Curved Blade +1__

  • Lights 15 feet when drawn
  • Blade will only require sharpening if it hasn’t been within five miles of a dwarf for a week.
  • On a natural 20, recipient gains the effect of “Bull’s Strength” (+4 enhancement bonus to strength) This effect does not stack with previous procs, nor does it stack with the spell if it is cast on you. This effect is immediate however and counts for the damage on the roll for which it procs.

Fletcher takes the blade and looks at it in wonder. He makes several cut through the air, a small almost imperceptible smile forms. He sheaths the blade, turns to Darin, and bows deeply and reverently to the dwarf.

“Soon, this great craft of your people and mine will taste the blood and hear the screams of our enemies. I will endeavor to prove worthy of this honor you do me.”

Fletcher bows once more, then goes off to practice with this new marvel of destruction.

S1 E11: Interlude


The dwarven checkpoint on the river feels desolate. Even cleared of the gnoll and troll remains, there is a haunting sadness in the place. The place was clearly built for occupation by living things, and the meager defenders there now just don’t seem to fill the place up. The grey skies and light misting drizzle don’t help.

Caleb is edgy this morning. His eyes dart constantly, and he’s eager to go. When questioned, he tells you that he’s a survivor because he’s learned to trust his instincts. And his instincts are telling him that something is wrong. He’s eager to get you on the road to the more secure pass warding of Guss’s Gate. Once there, he says, the way should be clear of Gnolls and what have you. You’re not convinced he’s lying, but Lyra is also not convinced she’s getting the whole truth. She’s seen a con game enough to know when there’s a piece of information missing.

The remaining dwarven survivors however are just happy to not be on the Gnoll menu. They’ve cleared most of the structure of damage already. They have asked Thifal if they can come with you to report personally to Darin, the commander of Guss’s Gate. They’re a bit ragged, but they’re dwarves and strong enough to make the journey.

A second scout caught up to you at the crossing, and Caleb sent him back with instructions to have the cavern wait at the crossing until he sends word. He explains it’s the safest spot for them right now, as it’s dwarven made (he smiles atThifal) and very defensible.

S1 EP11: Crap Troll!

We had a good time and defeated 2 nasty bosses. In fact we had to assault the Crossing which was an island with 2 bridges, 4 watchtowers manned by archer Gnolls. A large hut (which turned out to have Mr Crap Troll himself). Also had Gilt the scary barbarian of fury that bloodied 3 or 4 group members all by himself.

Oh the island waters was patrolled by a steenking water elemental.

SOooo there was a pen holding dwarf slaves on the island behind the island guarded by 3 hyenas (the ones that knocked us down before).

We scouted the area and decided to return at night. The tactics discussed were argued over for some time. In the end we did not know what the heck we were doing and decided to come back at night instead of being shot at by 4 watchtowers of archers.

Haloisi got us over the river using her control of water. (Trivial she thinks while we sweat… erhm build a raft? Anyone know water walking?) We used Chunnks of Meat™ from Axiomus’ backpack to attract the Hyenas. Then we ahem pounced on the hyenas. It came down to a last blow from Lyra or Nisa to take all the hyenas out before they could give the alarm.

Then Haloisi went stealth and went to release the dwarfs. We found out that the dwarf owned crossing was captured by some kind of bardic fell person who sang them to the point of not fighting.

The gnolls called for the hyenas to reply in their language and we rued not bringing along the potion of language that was available back at the caravans (which had circled the wagons while we scouted). Lyra decided to FAKE hyena instead of FAKING Gnoll which was brilliant.

Unfortunately Lyra’s rolls were not so brilliant and the Gnolls sallied forth to attack us. Running right into Axiomus’ super powerful field sowed with 24 pounds of caltrops. The caltrops did 4 points of damage split amongst 3 berserkers. Power indeed.

Note all of this occured in the dark and we had no idea what was happening.

Lyra then created fake images of dwarfs escaping to the South that led GILT (the barbarian boss) south for a bit while the main group took care of the berserkers.

Axiomus wisely refused to light his flaming sword thereby presenting our group as a massive target for the 4 watchtowers. He was further encouraged in this by people (Haloisi) hissing, “Don’t light the bleeping flaming sword!”

Anyhow we got the idea that the diversion was more or less successful and figured it be a good time to go flame the towers. Axiomus imbibes the potion of stoneskin that we negotiated from the caravan leader. ALSO casts Invisibility on himself and rushes off to go burn stuff.

Remember Axiomus is quite addicted to his Flaming Breath draconic magic spell. It makes him feel alive!!!

Anyhow he almost runs straight into Gilt the boss but a 32 stealth check while invisible saves the day.

Axiomus torches one tower (well starts a fire on) using Flame Breath. He uses the tower as cover so only 1 other tower can shoot at him. He is deciding which other tower to torch when a 4 square big troll comes out from the dark after him.

He figures out whether he can hide behind the tower because the troll is too big but figures that the troll has reach (which the troll does).

Basically it was time to retreat to the tune of “CRAPTROLLCRAPTROLLCRAPTROLL.”

Axiomus’ stoneskin basically blocks 20 or so points of archer damage. And a couple of hits from Tik Tik the nasty troll. Tik Tik catches up to Axiomus on the bridge and grapples him. To break grapple Axiomus basically has to roll like 18 or higher. It did not happen. BUT Stoneskin allows Axiomus to shrug off like another 20 points of damage.

Meanwhile the rest of the group abandons the plan to lure Tik Tik to the UBER power FIELD of Caltrops. Tik Tik promises to fight them on the Field of Caltrops (because it is so insignificant to Tik Tik’s mind) AFTER eating Axiomus.

Thankfully the rest of the group moves to engage Tik Tik.

After trying to chew on Axiomus’ stoneskin for 2 rounds, Tik Tik throws Axiomus into the river chain shirt and all. Good thing Axiomus had been practicing his swimming. Library and sword fighting in the morning for practice and YEARS of swimming in the river as a daily routine prepares Axiomus for the swim of his life in the swift river (DC 15). Saving 3 times Axiomus makes it to the land without drowning. Axiomus’ 5 skill ranks in swimming saves the day!
(Anyhow I was lucky)

Then Tik Tik grabs Thifal and chews on the previously bloodied dwarf. The 2 healers decide to not heal Thifal since their heals are TOUCH only and no one really wanted to get anywhere NEAR Tik Tik. Tik Tik throws the Plate wearing dwarf into the river. [Cue ominous music]

Thifal basically walks on the river bottom having held his breath to safety. Dwarfs can’t swim but they sure know how to survive.

Haloisi grows tired of the Troll and does magiicks. Oh yah all this while Lyra, Fletcher and Nisa are hitting Tik Tik for all they have got. Fletcher misses the troll on occasion but thats good because Tik Tik is using Thifal as a shield.

Lyra kinda sets the troll on fire using some magicks. OOOPS actually Lyra casts GREASE and the troll kinda lets Thifal out of his grasp. Thifal CHOOSES to fall into the river. Crazy dwarf that one.
It might have had something to do with the 2 blocks of ice (courtesy of Haloisi) blocking Tik Tik’s retreat that the dwarf HAD to stand on.

Standing on ice. Probably not fantastic so I don’t blame crazy dwarf for jumping into the river. Especially since Thifal could not swim. Nope don’t blame him at all. Also at this point we did not know where the water elemental was. Thankfully it did not appear.

Yah but note again. Jumping into DC 15 raging river WITH water elemental WHILE wearing full plate (+1) AND bloodied. Not crazy at all. Very rational actually.

Oh at this point Fletcher and Axiomus are engaging Tik Tik on the bridge. Axiomus continues to joke that the troll has to pay a toll to cross the bridge. Having used the ironic joke multiple times, the troll is pretty much super enraged. Tik Tik decides to bull rush Axiomus AND Fletcher into the water.

Pretty much Tik Tik fails and it is Tik Tik into the water.

Oh so Haloisi grows tired of this nonsense (how far she has come from the tentative adventrurer). “Stand there and stand there!” (paraphrase) she cries out to Fletcher and Axiomus (“Single Column!!!” cries Maximus…cue music from “The Gladiator”). Then using water magics she HEAVES Tik Tik onto the shore right into the target zone of our prepared attacks.
A whopping 30 or so damage takes the bloodied Troll out. It helps that Axiomus’ sword is flaming at this time because Tik Tik had been happily regenerating (as trolls do).

Anyhow so the chief scout of the caravan, who we suspected was not really who he said he was, turns up, AND wait for it. Is actually a minion of our PATRON.

Our Patron is Mountain Breeze the dragon. The one with the voice that is to turn us insane.

S1 E10: Infernal Promises

Lyra woke.

She gasped, her lungs burning for air. She tried to sit up in the shallow water, but was in too much pain. The wagon gently creaked beside her, covered in gnarly arrows. She heard the commotion of battle around her; the clanking of weapons and armor, the thwack of bowstrings, startled draft horses jostling nervously in their harnesses. The gnolls of the plain laughed wickedly with their hyenas.

A shining armored figure darted between a pair of the hulking dogmen. The larger gnolls were unexpectedly powerful, but Fletcher was giving them a taste of what a half-elf could do. He was certainly a welcome addition to the team.

Lyra’s mind was groggy from unconsciousness. The back of her coat was wet, probably from the small stream she had collapsed in. As she continued to survey the scene, she realized the bank of the stream was several feet away. The searing pain in her side suggested that the “water” she felt was in fact, blood. Her blood.

Propped up on her elbows, Lyra took stock of where she lay and what to do next. Haloisi stood over her, clearly the source of Lyra’s recent recovery. One of the caravan carts was just behind her. Fletcher stood to her right. Odd, the sellsword was only engaging two opponents, yet there were no gnoll corpses nearby. Lyra could have sworn there were three before…

Lyra spied a scroll tube. She must have dropped it when the first blow struck her down. She clamored to her knees and popped the lid off of the tube. The cork had the marking of a smiley face, a private joke for her eyes only. It indicated a Scroll of Vanish, originally intended for less serious mischief but perfect for the present situation.

An axe screamed through the air toward Lyra’s neck. A dull purple glow intercepted the mangy paw-hand that brandished the axe, turning it aside. The mage armor was marginally effective against the vicious blow, but it only managed to spin the axe sideways in the wielder’s grip. The flat of the weapon smashed into Lyra’s nose.

She heard a crunch, then saw only darkness.

“Saab Dolnlok” rumbled a deep voice in the darkness.

Lyra found her own voice and responded, “You again. Who are you?” The disembodied voice spoke frequently in her dreams, but never revealed its identity.

“Umngane wakho” the voice answered. “Umthombo kwamandla akho.”

“I don’t… that doesn’t help.” Lyra said. “I still can’t understand you, same as last time, and the time before that.”

The voice rumbled in tremendous disapproval “do you never learn, child?”

“Now you’re sounding like a friend of mine” Lyra chided, “am I dead, or what?”

“Not yet.” The voice resonated with authority. “But perhaps, soon.”

“Well then why are we talking? How are we talking? Why do you keep calling me something-Dolnlok?” Lyra snapped at the voice. She was finished with being frightened by this thing in her dreams; she wanted answers this time.

“I will show you your own power.” It proclaimed, ignoring her questions. Lyra rolled her eyes. The dreams always hinted at power, but never delivered.

“Well there’s not much to show, here in this nothingness.” Lyra mocked, gesturing to the void around her. “How ’bout you give me a face to talk to?”

The voice was silent for a moment, as if thinking. “Very well” it conceded.

Lyra felt like she was falling. The darkness above her brightened slightly into a dreary canopy of overcast clouds. Evergreen trees seemed to sprout from nowhere, arranged in a wide circle around her. Lyra felt her feet make contact with a solid surface – ice. The stale air of nothingness became the crisp smell of a forest in winter. Terrain began to populate around the ice, forming the contours of a land Lyra recognized.

Her heart sank.

“No, please. Not here. Anywhere else.” She pleaded. The sound of a lone crow seemed to echo in the distance. The final details on the scene were complete when a cabin, her childhood home, sprung up beyond the bank of the frozen pond.

A flash of fire burst out of the ice. There stood an elven man. Tall, gaunt, pale; Lyra recognized him as her father, smiling wickedly.

“Why do you wear his face?” Lyra asked, her heart heavy with a mixture of fear and sorrow at the sight of a face buried by time.

“Poetry.” He – it – replied with a grin. “Your father sealed your power. Now I will loosen that seal.”

Lyra felt a tingle around her left wrist. She pulled her sleeve back, revealing a new tattoo, another dark green ouroboros encircling the limb like a bracelet. The tingle turned into an itch. Then the itch turned into a stinging sensation.

“Bashise.” The elf said in the unfamiliar language, without emotion.

Illegible glowing runes materialized in purple and blue over the green snake tattoo. They hovered a few inches over her skin, spinning around Lyra’s wrist for a moment. Then the runes shot downwards in a sudden jolt and dug themselves into the snake’s scales. It hurt.

It hurt a lot.

Lyra screamed in pain. Her wrist felt like it was on fire or worse. The pain was deep and unrelenting, scorching its way up her entire left arm. She continued to cry out in pain, dropping to her knees and clutching the arm close to her chest in an instinctive response to mitigate an injury. It didn’t help.

Doubled over in pain, Lyra saw through the ice below her. Blackness and orange fire churned deep beneath it, a hellscape stretching far in every direction, as if the pond was a portal to the Pit. She tried to fight off the panic creeping into the corners of her mind. With clenched teeth and hatred in her eyes, she looked up at the creature masquerading as her father. The sky had gone black again.

“Good. Your power has grown.” The man said, ignoring her cries of pain. “I emamaki kumele ukhule nawe.” It said, once again indifferent towards Lyra’s ignorance of the language.

The ice beneath her knees grew a network of cracks in an instant. Lyra’s eyes widened as she realized how the voice expected her to wake. She fell through the ice with a yelp, into the waiting maw of hellfire.

Unseen water filled her nose and mouth, squelching her cries of agony. It was icy cold, knocking the air out of her lungs. Her skin burned as if on fire. Her arm was still immobilized by an even deeper pain. She simultaneously fell, drowned, and burned, kicking furiously in an attempt to resurface. The fire and darkness of the hellish landscape filled her vision as she tried in vain to breathe fresh air.

Lyra sat bolt upright and latched onto the first friendly figure she saw. She coughed and sputtered through a face-full of silver hair, hanging on tightly in an embrace of thanks.

The gnoll corpses, the wagon wheels, the arrows littering the ground, everything, was soaked through. An uncorked scroll lay nearby, ruined. Her clothes were dry, but Lyra still had water in her ears. Haloisi’s silent comfort suggested the immediate danger had passed. Lyra squeezed tighter through her fit. She coughed with a combination of laughter and sobbing, afraid to close her eyes again.

S1 E10: Ambush at the Fords

An untold treasure of ancient lore in a secret library held against the rigors of time with a magical energy field that could not be breached; this was exactly the thing to make Haloisi’s blood flow quickly and strongly. The thought of exploring these secrets drove her near to madness with impatience. She was a fool. She had been told that the books were unreachable, and so she had not tried. Certainly they were trapped, and almost as certainly she would be injured or cursed at best if she attempted to breach the defensive wards.

But it would have been worth it, for just the chance.

Now come the riddles, the labors that all must undergo on their way to great discovery. Like the sudden appearance of the Heroes of Moonsong as a part of their own quest, and their sometime companion silver dragon, what was its name? It was unlike Haloisi to ever forget a name, even momentarily. Her memory for such was nearly perfect, a point of pride. But she was distracted, frustrated and wallowing in self-pity and frustration. At the least their track held true toward the Grim Watch.

They were supposed to be guarding the slow moving caravan, but Haloisi’s attention span for such pedestrian endeavors was nonexistent. She tried to ride upon the wagon and study the ancient Crystal Empire language, but it only served to give her a headache. Haloisi studied the new trident she had commissioned as she walked instead, a masterfully crafted item with a hollow haft. She thought she might use her abilities with it to good effect. Her ancestral memories had given the idea to her, a unique weaponshaft specifically designed for one of her talents. Curiosity burned even stronger. How long must they delay their quest for access to the answers she sought? Haloisi kicked the dirt. Not dirt. Mud.

Haloisi’s gaze turned upwards for the first time that morning. There was something new winding across the plain, a small creek or large stream, about fifteen feet across. Haloisi waded right in.

“Oy! Mind yer boots, Haloisi.” Thifal admonished from behind, clambering onto the second of the three wagons in their small caravan to keep his own boots dry. Haloisi ignored the reprimand. She was no fool. As was her custom, the boots she wore were watertight, made of a specially treated leather that was supple enough to swim capably in them despite their long thigh length. They would be quite dry for the endless, tedious, useless march ahead.

Lyra passed by on the first wagon. The child was terrified. Haloisi tsked. How could one be afraid of water? As well be afraid of nourishing food, or good air. Haloisi had touched on the matter in conversations with the child and decided it best to let it be. All had weaknesses, though Haloisi did not fly hers as a battle standard for potential enemies to see, if she had any flaws at all. Haloisi could not come up with any that a reasonable person of intellect could call a true weakness.

Haloisi was tempted to doff her equipment and swim for the first time in what seemed to be an Age of Elves, but the water was a meager three feet deep at best. She sighed regretfully. Just contacting the natural flowing waters, the life’s blood of the world, was a respite. Oh, to be immersed in the sea, hunting tiger fish with just her wits and her fuinsir lahta’cu. Haloisi swirled her trident in the water, making a small whirlpool, then sang softly as she made several more all spinning at once. She made them circle one another. She was so distracted, she almost did not heed the screaming.

Haloisi abruptly ceased singing and reflexively entered a combat stance in the water. They were strung out, fording the small creek with no apparent name. From the hillocks and scattered, isolated groves came the baying of wild dogs, but Haloisi knew better. Gnolls. As quickly as the realization came, so came the arrows, dozens of them. Haloisi quickly drew her crossbow to return fire. Lyra, the fool child, was clambering across the back of the first wagon, a prime target.

Another type of bark, this one deper, more masculine. The vanguard of berserkers moved at frightening speed. Baying sounded behind her. More canines, but these were the four footed kind, attacking the last wagon. One of them was already hurt. Haloisi loosed and killed the beast.

From nowhere, the eerily skilled half-elf that named himself as Fletcher Callahan was in melee right in front of her. Arrows continued to rain down. Haoisi realized with shock that Lyra was face down in a pool of blood. She raced to the wildling mage with a heavy doubt in her heart. She brushed back the half-blood’s dark hair and seized her face, trusting Fletcher’s incredible talents to keep the gnolls away. She reached deeply into the arcane and cast a demanding healing spell. Lyra sputtered blood and mumbled. She would be fine, at least until she realized how close she was now to the water.

Haloisi stepped back and surveyed the battlefield. The gnolls closed from the northeast and southeast, as well as the few gnollish hounds behind. Arrows continued to make sharp popping noises as they stuck in the mud banks. Fortune favored them with unintelligent creatures of poor aim. Nisa was showing the beasts the proper use of a bow, but she could only kill one at a time, and the animals were closing on the elf, Thifal, and the lone remaining guard.

If only there were more water. In the water, these unintelligent vermin would be no match for her. But there were so many, and only so much water.

A berserker climbed the wagon and struck Lyra as she tried to cast a spell. Lyra fell again, for good this time, Haloisi feared.

She dug deep into her soul, and magically imbued her voice to boom the darkest, most dismaying dirge she could recall, an old dwarven lament that carried the ferocity that only the dwarves could muster to honor their triumphant dead. As she sang, she waterdanced, causing the small rivulet to cascade and fountain in a line following the middle of the waterway to both sides for many dozens of feet.

Water sprayed as Haloisi’s voice caused the battle to momentarily stop in mid swing. The closest gnolls scraped their paws back a few involuntary steps. Their leader shouted at them to continue to battle, overcoming Haloisi’s display. It was not enough to break them on its own.

Axiomus stepped forward and with a flourish breathed fire, lighting several of the gnolls on fire. Nisa took a step and fired her bow to great effect. Fletcher’s blade was a blur that trailer canine fur like a scythe ripping through a haystack.

But it was Thifal that truly broke them. The cleric found new vigor in the Dwarven lamentations and struck at the dog-men as if they had been the bane of his forebears. Archers turned toward the sound, loosing. With a growl Thifal took a threatening step toward them. Arrows rained down around him, but none found a mark. He took another step. Arrows deflected off his bright full plate armor.

The dogs panicked and fled. Haloisi immediately stopped dancing. The water fell around her as she sloshed inelegantly through the rebounding waters to once more heal her friend, who was now soaked. Haloisi quickly used watersong to dry the child’s clothing. It would not do for the child to become war-shocked by something as silly as water.

S1 E9 : Aftermath

The sweat is thick on your brow. Even without directly engaging the magma elementals, the heat that they pushed into the room is impressive. Flickers of fire still wash around the opening in the wall where the elementals had attacked from.

The battle had been fierce and fairly evenly matched. The magma elementals were stronger than the construct pound for pound, but the numbers favored the constructs. From the front lines, the soldiers willingly waded into melee combat, burning up as they engaged the elementals. From the back, blue electrical energy blasted into the elementals. Within a few minutes, the battle had been decided. The elementals fizzled in fury as they were driven back into the breach, or pulled apart; their arcane bonds weakening and then failing completely.

Without so much as a pause to cheer their victory, the survivors formed ranks on the far side of the room from you. Their posture is defensive, but it’s clear that they don’t expect to let you explore any deeper into the temple’s antechambers.

One of the spirits silently floats to the front of the line. With a deep sigh of resignation, he looks up with lifeless eyes and asks; “What do you want? What brings you to our hallowed temple?”


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