|Lai Yu Fai|
You wake to find yourself a stone floor. As you sit up you see others around you who seem to also be waking up.
A single lamp post is between you casting light out 30 feet. Beyond that all is in darkness. The light shows that you seem to be on a 20 foot round platform.
|Mornar val Ygriss|
Eyes snapping open, Mornar rolled to his left and grabbed for the hilt of his scimitar. The last he could remember he had sat down on the roadside boulder for a brief rest, his retinue beginning to dismount and feed the horses. The road had been long and wet that morning, the damp cold belying what was supposed to be a warmer climate as he led his small honor guard and valet on towards the nations to the north.
Mornar got to his feet and patted himself down, checking for his belongings while backing away from the other people around him. "Who are you people?"
What equipment/belonging do we have? Also rolling to see if Mornar can determine from the other's dress what kind of people they are...
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Raikdar had been up late, at cards. He had won just enough to cover his room and buy a couple more days of trail rations. Enough to get him to the next village. It didn't do to stay too long, nor to win too much.
Now he finds himself on a hard surface. A stone floor, likely. Not his bed in the inn, lumpy as that had been. Not good. He thinks.
At the sound of the voice, Raikdar opens his eyes. He looks at the man asking the question, then around at the darkness. He has the means to push the shadow back, but decides not to tip his hand just yet. The lamp illuminates other bodies, presumably unconscious folk. Raikdar doesn't give his name, instead he asks. "Is this your show? I don't have much, if robbery is the play. Not worth the trouble."
Moving with smooth grace, Raikdar rises to his feet. He is tall (6') and fairly muscular with pale blond hair, almost white.
Godric shook his head wearily. He should have known it was too good to be true. The girl at the tavern had been so interested in his stories. Nobody was interested in his stories. And that wine did taste funny! He thought ruefully that he shouldn’t have listened to her when she said it was elven. The last thing he remembered was...drinking,’he supposed.
Groaning, he looked at his fellow captives. Great. Just great. Either this is going to be a grand tale, or a very short one when my father refuses to pay the ransom...
|Lai Yu Fai|
Slowly raising himself to a sitting position on the stone floor, Kol-Relden will look at those others who are stirring around him. Glancing at each person as they speak, he is about to reply to the various questions "My name is Kol-..." when suddenly his eyes widen slightly. Quickly raising himself into a crouch and turning a circle, he will observe the entire platform to see if Nippy is there as well.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Looking down, Godric shuddered. ”Probably got us here by magic. So...who are you all? Nobles? Sons of merchant princes? I’m assuming this is a ransom situation.”
"You got someone that would pay out for you?" Raikdar asks Godric. Must be nice. Raikdar's relatives are more likely to send assassins. None of the people on this stone platform need to know that detail, though.
Godric shook his head. ”I...don’t know? I think that father would rather I come back on my shield than in disgrace. It’d be better for the family.” He glanced down again. ”That...is a long fall.”
"Splendorem nostrum viam lucis mystéria." Raikdar states in an authoritative tone while making practiced gestures with his left hand.
Four glowing orbs spring in existence around his head then dart away, sending light into the void beyond the lamp illuminated platform.
"Time to see just how long a fall it is..."
Casts dancing lights.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Raikdar's dancing lights show that it is 100 feet to the ground below and that the floor is lettered with bones and debris. As he moves the lights around the room the walls are still out of sight. As he moves the lights in a circle around the platform they suddenly wink out.
A noise that sounds like bones rubbing on bones draws all of your attention.
A booming voice in the dark says, "I see that my new minions are now awake."
|Lai Yu Fai|
The voice in the dark answers, "We could use the term slaves but I find the term distasteful. You are all of noble blood and worth more than mindless servants. I have a task for you and if you perform admirable you will be release and well rewarded."
Standing up, Kol-Relden will look out into the darkness in the direction that he guesses the voice is coming from (Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14), and says
"I care not what word you call us, for you control us either way. However, I do not like having to deal with somebody who's face I cannot see. Show yourself, in order to let us begin to trust you, and so that we may better learn of this task you have in store for us."
Godric smirked, and whispered to his companions ”Let’s play along. Once we are set to our task we make a break for it. I care little for whomever this is.”
Lights flare around a large platform 50 feet way. The skeleton of a colossal dragon is lying there. It turns it head towards you and says, "My name is Vix'thimus and I require 5 ancient gems. They can only be touched by those of noble birth. They will kill anyone else that touches them."
Godric stared at the dragon, jaw agape. Sir Athonius had killed a dragon...and died doing it. It was so great a feat his father had become king. Looking at the skeletal dragon, unarmed and unarmored, the knight felt his strength flee his body. All he could do was stare.
Raikdar feels a thrill of fear, and awe. Even as only bone; the dragon is a formidable presence.
"It seems we have little choice, but do your bidding, Mighty Vix'thimus."
He gives the dragon a bow, such as a princling would give a lord. Respectful, but not too deep.
|Mornar val Ygriss|
Mornar watched the others as they slowly began to wake and pace the small platform, thumbing one of his rings as he considered them. He saw a signet ring on three of them, though it was the only element of opulence they seemed to carry about themselves and any of them might as well have stolen them. The signet ring was such a crass mark of heritage from outlands; the things could be forged or stolen or looted as easily as any other ring. All four of them were dressed in worn clothing, varying from peasant and forester to possibly a moderate merchant.
How on earth had he been lumped into this with the likes of four peasants he had never met?
This thought wasn't so much a strike against the men, as Mornar had served with plenty of honourable and worthy men in the Winter Wood who had come from small farms and villages with nothing but a solid quarterstaff to their name. But why these men, who all looked like they might be common village folk from completely separate nations?
They began to talk about this being a chance at a ransom and Mornar grunted quietly and turned to look into the darkness. Ransom? Doubtful, this was too elaborate. And five men, all at once? Even if these others were the sixth or seventh forgotten sons of some noble house, or perhaps even the second or third of a wealthy merchant, this was too much. It reeked of something deeper and darker - it reeked of the arcane.
Perhaps they were sacrifices, or were to be tortured? But then why five men from five different places, though if it were about something arcane then perhaps that made all the difference.
When the blond man began speaking in a foreign tongue and waving his hands about, Mornar gritted his teeth and his hand again went for the hilt of the scimitar that wasn't there. Yet another frozen reminder, he thought. That was all he needed, some magic-wielding apprentice getting them all gagged and handcuffed just in case.
Of course, the next few moments were more enlightening.
Fire and bones. Mornar narrowed his eyes, trying to cut away the glare of the lights as the voice echoed through the chamber. He had seen bones like this before, high up on the slopes of the Gnorn - the ancient remains of beasts that had once ruled the land. Beasts that had been killed off and driven back by might and magic. A dwindling race. There we fresher carcasses than others up on the Gnorn - a massive, angry volcano ensorcelled into dormancy seemed to attract them like moths to the flame at times. Bones didn't frighten Mornar.
So was it the bones doing this, or whatever was moving the bones?
"Vix'thimus, and I assume there are some titles that follow that considering you are a dragon of quite some size who likely killed many a hero before whatever ended up killing you did the deed, perhaps you could offer something a little more solid to work with. I hope you don't mind, but I'm a blunt man when it comes to these sorts of things and you did snatch me up, I further assume, in particular as opposed to taking on any noble at all. Clearly you have us at an advantage here, so why don't we dispense of the bowing and scraping since the southlands aren't known for that sort of thing and just get on with it. I assume the stick here is that if we don't retrieve these gems for you, you will kill us in some horrible way. What's the carrot? What's the motivation? It's certainly not going to be gold and riches, I know you dragons like to keep that sort of thing to yourself. Power and prestige? Our heart's desire?"
As he continued to monologue, Mornar stepped closer to the edge of their platform, trying his best to see the bones and what might be hiding in and amongst them. Moving the head wouldn't be such a hard feat with some planning, and he knew enough about how sound carried across the mountains and tundras that the booming voice could just be some tiny little man shouting into a cone and echoing through the chamber.
"To be completely fair, and I won't deign to speak for these others, but as of right now I'm actually feeling quite adventurous enough to admit I would take on a partnership with the remains of an ancient wyrm if it made sense, or at least if we figured out some of the details. Do the gems have a collective name, or are they individually rare and known that way? Are they of a particular size, or type or colour? Are they hidden together or, as your obviously important request might indicate, are they spread far across the known world or beyond to storied lands none of us have heard more than a legend about?"
I assume at some point the dragon (or whoever is behind the dragon DUN DUN DUUUUN cuts him off or else he would just keep going. Apparently Mornar is a bit of a chatty, sassy bastard for a forsaken heir - probably why he lost so much prestige at court I guess. Rolling Perception below to see if Mornar spots anything about the bones.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
"The gems are part of the Crown of Life. I tire of this undeath. With the crown I can one again live and enjoy the finer things of life. The taste of flesh, the wind across my scales, and the scent of greenery. I will tell you where to find the gems. You just need to acquire them and bring them to me."
"So, an easy acquisition? A short walk to pick up the items in question? No weapons or equipment needed?" Raikdar asks with only mild sarcasm. Unless the gems really are easy to pick up; they will need some gear. So the question is not sarcastic, however Raikdar is not pleased to be kidnapped, nor is he pleased to have his weapons, armor, and most of all, his spellbook taken. So, try as he might, Raikdar's tone has a tinge of venom.
"It is not that simple Prince Silvershrike. The crown was stolen and then dismantled. I have divined the location of one of the gems and once I have it I will be able to locate the others. You will be given all of your equipment plus some other items that you will find useful."
Then with a chuckle he says, "Besides all that, what else do you have to do? Dodging assassins and trying to make enough coin from gambling to eat your next meal does not sound like a solid plan for your future. Work for me and you will have enough coin to disappear, get revenage on those who sold you to me, or even buy your own kingdom."
"What about you Lia and you Godric? Do you have any pressing plans?
"And you Kol-Relden? Do not fear for Nippy. He is trapped here too and is being taken well care of. His appetite for fresh fish is amazing. He may have put on a little weight waiting for you to wake up."
Hearing his name snapped Godric out of his stunned state. He stood up, took a deep breath, and said "I am a knight of the Order of the Rose. My only concern is earning enough glory to return home with honor. Returning with enough coin, to, as you say, buy my own kingdom, should suffice for that."
|Lai Yu Fai|
"As I have no pressing plans for either now or the immediate future, I agree to do this task for you. Other than the initial kidnapping of us, you have so far shown to be honest in what you have said and done, at least in my view. I also thank you for tending to by companion, even if you did spoil him slightly."
Raikdar contemplates some of the possible outcomes of unleashing a dragon upon the world. He weighs that against the offered reward, as well as considering the possibility that the undead dragon would slay him if he refused
In a sober tone he agrees. "Very well. Let's retrieve some magic gems."
|Mornar val Ygriss|
Mornar isn't sure exactly what he's seeing around the old corpse of the dragon, the flickering of the fires around it seeming to make strange patterns of shadows amongst the bones. As the other apparent nobles agreed with the task set before them, Mornar sighed and scratched behind one ear.
"Just to be clear," he called across the gap. "You, Vix'Thimus, are financing this venture and paying us untold riches from your ancient hoard. Again, and I don't mean to be rude hear but I think I must ask, why are we believing that you won't just kill us once you have all of the gems? Your kind are known for their, ahem, fondness for their collected wealth. I believe it's the subject of several myths and legends."
Vix'thimus leans closer to Mornar and in a deep voice asks, "Are you questioning my integrity?"
He then leans back and laughs at the look on Mornar's face, "It is true that once I have the gems I will have no need for you or any of the others. The future is uncertain. I think of you as only tools to get what I need, but like any good craftsman he takes care of his tools in case he needs them again."
Bluff to pass secret message: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
"The dragon only needs nobles. That means it doesn't need us specifically. At least play along until we are certain that it won't incinerate us and try again with a more cooperative group."
"My word is not without value. If I say I'll retrieve the gems, I'll make a good faith effort to do so."
Raikdar addresses the dragon: "And I have said that I will do so. Just to be clear on that."
Raikdar is growing impatient. He has made his mind up to help the dragon, now he wants to act on the decision.
"The first gem can be found in a tower on a vast battlefield outside a great city. The tower has been sealed for hundreds of year but recent events have opened it. I will send you there. Find the gem and I will bring you back."
With that you suddenly feel dizzy and a wave of nausea hits you. Everything goes black for a few seconds and then you are blinded by the sun as you find yourselves lying in the dirt. As you get up you feel a sharp pain on the inside of your left forearm. You look to see that there is a tattoo of a dragons skull now there. As you look at it closer it blinks and then says, "We are now connected so that I may watch your progress."
As you stand up you see that all of your gear is next to you in a pile. You find that your backpacks have been replaced with a new one that is embroidered with the logo of a dragons skull. As you examine them you find that they are Handy Haversacks.
The ruined siege castle rises out of the churned earth. No doors or windows mar the otherwise smooth expanse of the tower’s walls. The tower is quatrefoil in plan; its eastern wing has largely collapsed, exposing the interior floors to the open air. Only the topmost level seems whole, though its eastern portion hangs precariously over the mountain of rubble left by the collapse. At ground level, the rubble frames a gaping hole in the side of the building that provides access to the tower’s darkened interior.
I use google drive for my maps. The link is by my name. When you try it for the first time it will tell you that you need permission to enter the file so just send the request and I will grant you the permission. The map will be read only for you. I will move the characters around per your instructions.
Godric quickly gets to work getting into his armor. ”So it can watch us now. Damn. Well, armor up! I hope the dragon picked you all well. Are any of you knighted? Mages perhaps?”
"I have some skill at magic."
Raikdar draws his chainshirt of shiny black links on then settles it into place. He then pulls his high black leather boots on. Black leather greaves, and bracers finish out his armor.
He belts on a matched shortsword, and dagger, then takes time to transfer his gear to the dragon skull marked haversack. The haversack, his quiver, and bow case go on his back. Most of Raikdar's arrows have black feather fletching, but about 10 have green feathers. The green ones are blunt arrows.
With his powerful looking horn bow in hand, Raikdar turn his gaze to the half ruined tower.
"We can scramble in through the rubble, I suppose. Would be better to find a door, though. Less chance of collapse."
|Mornar val Ygriss|
Knighted. Mages. Bah, Mornar thought as he wobbled a little bit and kept his balance after the shock of be moved by the dragon. Is it, though? Or simply a powerful mage who wants us to believe?
Whatever it was, it was powerful. As the southern noble began to strap his breastplate back on over his fine but thick linen shirt, he shook his head. "We still don't even know if it has a hoard to pay us from."
Cinching his swordbelt and slinging the rest of his equipment of his shoulder, Mornar hefted his longspear and stood listening to the blond mage. "This place seems an unlikely spot for a gem so powerful and unique. Watch that the dragon is chasing rumours, or better yet someone beat the bones to it and this place has been empty for generations."
|Lai Yu Fai|
Putting on his leather lamellar armor, Kol-Relden will reply to Godric's question. "A mage? Nay, I am not a mage, nor a knight. I suppose that you could say that I am a warrior of nature." He will then strap on his scimar to his belt, as well as a sickle and a dagger. Sliding his other dagger into a boot sheathe, he will put on his new backpack, confident that his possesions will be inside. Finally, a light wooden shield goes on his left arm.
Assuming that Nippy is here as well.
He will then lean down and rub a small crocodile between the eyes, and if necessary, put it's barding on it. Pulling out a small preserved fish from his new pack, he will feed it to the crocodile. Turning to the group, he will say "And this here is Nippy, my companion."
|Mornar val Ygriss|
Mornar looks at the long, stubby-legged reptile, then looks at the large pile of rubble the collection of nobles will need to climb. Then looks back at the lizard, then back to the rubble and up the tower.
Pinching the bridge of his nose for a moment, he sighs and steps forward towards the rubble pile leading up to the collapsed hole of an entrance. "Right then, let's get on with it."
|Lai Yu Fai|