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DM Zyren's Heart of Light

Game Master Zyrenity

An epic search for the Amethyst heptagon leads a party of fresh graduates through the northern reaches of Ustalav. Based in Karcau, the party visits places like the dark Castle Jarovich or the dangerous alleys of Carrion Hill.


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Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"The true Horror will be if this remains fatality free" Victoria remarks to those around her ruefully.


INDEED

a voice like rustling leaves remarks behind Victoria - a voice she only knows too well. But as she turns around the place between two rosy,cheeked farmers is empty.

------------

The senior judge once again strides over to Solaric and Flofer

Horror Mastery is an event that will be done without the eyes of the public. Below the cursed spires of Vizyalesh is a labyrinth...a maze containing the horrors of Ustalav. I guess you still have lots of questions regarding this competition, but I would like you to come to the academy first - there we can discuss everything with the other participants.

------------

Slowly you get closer to Karcau and on the second day of your journey you reach the small town of Belfurth. Skew-whiff wooden buildings, dragged together next to the large trade road.


Senior Judge wrote:
"Horror Mastery is an event that will be done without the eyes of the public. Below the cursed spires of Vizyalesh is a labyrinth...a maze containing the horrors of Ustalav. I guess you still have lots of questions regarding this competition, but I would like you to come to the academy first - there we can discuss everything with the other participants."

"Indeed, we would be delighted, this would also give young Flofer here a chance to hear about the horrors of Ustulav and determine what he can do to aid with his squire responsibilities. Come along, lad, and let's hear what awaits me in this labyrinth."

Solaric accompanies Flofer to the meeting at the academy


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"Well then, why not reveal yourself and we can watch it together? Plenty of time for fatalities later..." She offers the detached voice.


The two farmers shrug and one remarks dryly

Strange guy, tattered robe...most probably a beggar. Oi, the sun must be back from behind that big cloud, was pretty cold here for some moments. Oi cutie, aren't you one of Karcau's Chosen?


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

I am confused. Did the two farmers talk to Johenric?


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

obviously it has been Victoria. I apologize


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Johenric stops at the town and looks out for a place where he can stay the night.


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"I am frequently addressed that way, but believe myself a servant of the People, not one chosen to stand apart from them" she swiftly replies. "Even the Beggars are citizens, and we should afford them the respect they are due, regardless of their modest station"

Her answer is all smiles and politeness.


True, true... the two farmers nod at each other, obviously satisfied with that answer.

-----------

@ Solaric and Flofer: Directly to the Academy?

------------

The only inn of Belfurth is closed, you will have to ask one of the local trappers if you can stay at their home.


Yes, onward to the Academy. I think you overlooked my last post.


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Johenric takes a look at the houses and knocks a door, randomly taken.


You try your luck at a door that once was painted yellow, now the colour is already flaking off and you fear that the door falls just into the house when you knock at it. To your surprise it doesn't and a friendly old man opens

Greetings...uh...?

he is more than a bit surprised to meet you at his door.

---------------

As you reach the academy square, you realize why the Defend the Castle competition was held outside of the city. A regiment of young recruits had their final muster and are now marching north. The sight of crying mothers, sorrowful fathers and young men with fearful expressions wouldn't have lifted the spirit of Karcau's inhabitants...

The senior judge joins you and Flofer and nods thoughtfully

The poor lads are stationed south of the Ridge...the Countess does not want them to join the fray...not as long as other men are available.


Senior Judge wrote:
"The poor lads are stationed south of the Ridge...the Countess does not want them to join the fray...not as long as other men are available."

"No matter how many times I have seen it, it never gets any easier to watch young recruits leave for war. They look so innocent and unaware of what is to come. They are completely anaware of what battle can look like. Let us hope that we can put an end to this war quickly and efficiently and restore the peace to this great land."


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Johenric introduces himself:

Diplomacy 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (11) + 16 = 27

Good evening Sir. My Name is Johenric and I am on my trip to Karcau. I am looking for a place to stay during the night. Being a magician I could offer you a spell to clean your house or repair minor things.


Clean my house? the man seems utterly flabbergasted. You use magic to clean up things? What does Nethys think about that, heh? obviously the man is surprised that the mysterious powers of the arcane can be used for such mundane things.

Please, come in, Meister Wizard, I feel honoured to welcome you!

he steps aisde and beckons you to enter. The first room you enter is a small and pretty dirty kitchen with a steaming pot on an open fireplace.

--------------

Restore the peace... the old judge echoes and a pitiful smile spreads on his face I don't think we ever had peace in Ustalav...anyway, you should prepare now for the next competition, it is about to start and Narumek is the first one I think, but you will be second.


Judge wrote:
"Restore the peace... the old judge echoes and a pitiful smile spreads on his face "I don't think we ever had peace in Ustalav..."

"Well, my friend, the Inheritor willing, I will do everything in power to help it come to pass. With a little faith, great things can come to be!"

Judge wrote:
"...anyway, you should prepare now for the next competition, it is about to start and Narumek is the first one I think, but you will be second."

"I look forward to this event with great anticipation!"


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Thank you. Well you know Sir, Nethys actually cares only about the magic. By using magic we hail and call for Nethys. The purpose is irrelevant.

Johenric steps in and has a look around.

Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26

Where I am supposed to sleep?


The senior judge looks around and after a moment of hesitation, he calls out for Narumek

Sir NArumek, you are the first to enter the maze!

the other knights also look around, no one has seen Narumek after he defended the castle...

---------------

Ah sleep, yeah well, as you might have noticed, my house isn't used to house such illustious guests. Maybe next to the fireplace? At least it's warm there.

the man shuffles with his feet nervously...maybe he fears the wtazh of a powerful wizard...he has surely heard of toad-curses and the like.


Turning to Flofer, Solaric comments. "Just watch, my lad, he will show up any minute. He is not a chatty sort of knight, but he is most reliable. Just wait a moment and you will see his grand entrance. Hey Flofer, where did you get off to?!"

Where did that young lad escape to this time?! I was hoping my young squire would be able to see Narumek, so at the very least he could learn the meaning of reliable!

Solaric looks around to see if he can find Flofer or the great Narumek.


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

That is a good idea; I will take the fire place. thanks. I wish you a good night, as I have to study something.

Should the old man go way. Johenric casts Prestidigitation for the next 3 hours to clean up the house while studying the heptagon riddle again.

Spellcraft 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
Knowledge Arcana 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Knowledge Local 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Knowledge History 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25

Nethys, let us see what you see.


Male Human Hellknight 4 Bard 3 HP:71/71; AC:32/27/12

Uh...I think I need some food...or something...I don't know about this um...horror show. Flofer says, moving off into the crowd.


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After reading through the heavy tome again - you think it was the millionth time, at least it fells so - you indeed find a strange passage that could hint at another location of one of the shards

A crowned trail leading in the direction of the geese-flight in summer. Follow it until you reach the steaming delta, where imps play and wash, then look behind the blasted faces of old.

----------------------

Narumek? Where is Narumek? the senior judge bellows, slowly losing his temper...

----------------------

Leaving the stands outside the city, Victoria is addressed by Georgi Dumitru who accompanies her on the way back to the city

So, did you enjoy the tournament by now, my dear?


Hellknight 4, Bard 2

Narumek arrives on his horse, wearing his spiked black armor and looking ready for battle.


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8
Georgi Dumitru wrote:
So, did you enjoy the tournament by now, my dear?

"Ahhh Dear Captain, why thank you for asking. We have had the fortune of each others company now, so you will excuse my usual lack of graces when I respon. I find these Games a frivolous excess. Whilst I see their value in matters of politics and a strong symbol of business as usual from the nobility and the ruling classes, I wonder that our City whould have its sharpest minds focused elsewhere to checkmate the evils that threaten this fair land. There are dark men and dark creatures plotting dark deeds against us, and what are we doing? Gaming."

"Don't even get me started on that fine impostor to decency and dignity that is Armais, the man with no claim to a royal lineage; his bloodline as impure as a Karcau sewer. My oatmeal for breakfast was of finer stock than the cheapness in his veins. I bridle also at the loss of my friends dear Pitr, a reliable man when diplomacy failed, and I have lost my loyal and trusted bodyguard Kirk. I do not feel alone, although I miss having like minds, practical minds who understood that sometimes being noble in pursuit of noble deeds means that there needed to be done the occasional ignoble thing. In order to keep things orderly and pretty there is a lot of dirty and laborious work behind the curtains, and thats a fact you'd well know."

"I wonder what dark compacts and unpleasantries I will need to brace myself for. I appreciate the Light, but I understand there needs to be a certain level of practicality, and that means parley with the Dark."

"So to the games? These are childrens games for boy-men who wish to prance around and play at pretend fighting for small tribute and hot wind, there is nothing for a woman to do but stand about like some feted trophy. I suppose though they are the sign for the masses that all is well in the Kingdom, so maybe they are a necessary Evil. As I profit not one whit from them though, and they advance my station and cause not one iota, then I just consider them one more necessary indulgence for me to stomach"


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Johenric being excited klaps in his hands and shouts around Midnight:

Ivy jumps.

nethys! This is One of the riddles

After studying Johenric lays Down trying to get sleep but unable due to his Brain being actively thinking about the new riddle...


The senior judge sighs...frustration mingles with relief...Sir Narumek, you have taken your time...but anyway, you will be the first one to enter the dungeon of horror...brace yourself, cause this is the most deadly and mind-shattering of all contests. You will face evils, evils beyond that what normal mortals can sustain, this is the last chance for you to back out of this competition...

he waits a moment and among the competitors, a handful of knights steps out of the crowd of waiting contestants...

--------------

Georgi Dumitru seems a bit worried after your words have sunken in

It is not only about politics...it is about the way of the heart. In dark times, people need traditions more than ever. They reassure them, tell them that the world is still running like in the old days, that the sun will rise tomorrow again. The tournament is not held to cater for the egos of some knights, the countess chose to hold it now to give the people new hope and a leader to look up to...

I also miss Pitr and Kirk, both graduated from Pettoria, the academy where is also had some classes before the darkness advanced. I wonder if they will ever come back. Hey, but I'm sure you will find a new friend, mhm? he grins, but his mood darkens quickly when his thoughts return to the tournament Aramis is losing at the moment...I don't think that is good, at least not so early in the tournament...I fear he will do some kind of fatuity...

----------------

The next morning in Belfurth - you have just fallen asleep as the rumbling of the old man wakes you up again. He has knocked over a basket with potatoes and grins

Sorry meister wizard, didn't want to wake you up.


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"I know its the charade we have to play, hI understand what it is to keep up appearances all too well. No one is more versed on what it is to have to smile and pretend when you'd rather throtle someone than I."

"Aramis isn't show much losing as simply rising to show his full potential, we already have him cold for sending cursed items to his competitors and facilitating match fixing, I can only assume he will sek to do harm before long out of a sense of moral outrage that the spoiled curr didn't get what he wanted. Of course, that will be a matter for the Nightscarves to attend to, well before there are any unfortunate accidents."

"Perhaps more will be drawn to our cause, perhaps Pitr and Kirk may find a replacement in Karkau, that hurts to even mention their loss. The games might encourage another forward though, perhaps someone might shine through as a rough diamond that can be cut and polished... like Solaric. He's now shining brilliantly, but we need other tools for other jobs. A lady doesn't just buy five of the same dresses, she needs a proper wardrobe, and that means varied cuts and varied cloths."

After a brief moment of reflection she turns to him, almost sad "I haven't heard from Mother in some time, and perhaps I need speak with my sisters at some point... or perhaps I need simply start a Sisterhood of my own"


I'm glad that you mention it...there are rumours about a trio of women that have recently opened a new establishment here in Karcau. I send one of my Nightscarves to spy on the building...he never returned. Ahem...somehow I think you could know something about the three ladies?


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"Dear Captain, you need only have asked. I'd not recommend sending any more men, or at least not ones you wish to have return. These are interesting women that I have a friendship with, however I would suggest that it is a friendship based on a mutual understanding and respect. They are women who drive hard bargains and then insist on payments in full... they have a sense of honour, but no such sense of mercy"

"What else would you ask me of them? I shall not betray confidences, however am willing to pass open information about one friend to another"


Now, the thing was, their establishment just popped up from nowhere...and you know, people are superstitious here. Quickly rumours of witches were spreading. I don't have a problem with people who practice arcane arts, but I have to be sure that they don't eat children...


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

ah...Good Morning. If you so Not mind i will so my Morning studies and once i am done, i will leave. Thanks again

Johenric studies his spells. Says goodbye to the Old man and casts his phantom steed to Travel to karcau.


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

My device has converted the words. I apologize; the "so" are "do".


Hellknight 4, Bard 2

I am sure... Narumek says sardonically, stepping forward and drawing his sword.


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"My Dear Captain, I tell you in honesty that I don't believe they eat children; you know how I feel about such matters, given my hand in stopping the last threats to this city that targetted the helpless, and children at that. I cannot give you such a guarantee about adults, though the sustainance they draw is from the soul, not the flesh"

"They probably did pop out of nowhere, and the rumours are not entirely unfounded, however in fairness they simply exact a toll for services rendered... the greatest risk is for those who don't look fully at their contract"

"If you really feel passionately and wish them to leave, I would suggest that you simply ask them politely and they might accept your kind invitation. Forget your sword though, take flowers. And enter no negotiations nor accept anything except with direct payment. Not even a bowl of soup, particularly not a bowl of soup."


The judge nods and hesitates, he had nearly given you a slap on the shoulder, but he decides that all the spikes on your armour don't look very inviting...

Sir Narumek, may Pharasma be with you!

The doors to the cellar of Vizyalesh are opened and slowly you move inside

Narumek:

You follow a narrow corridor for about 20m until you reach a t-crossing. Left and right dark corridors extent...

----------

Dumitru arches an eyebrow at the mention of soup

I wouldn't eat anything they offer me...as long as they don't harm anyone without a contract I'm fine with that. Those who want to dabble in dark things have to pay for what they gain...that's what I believe. Anyway, I would ask you to speak to them, tell them that I won't tolerate any trespassing...attacks on helpless ones etc.

----------------

The old man grins

I have to thank you, somehow you must have attracted some fairy-helpers, the house has never been so clean before!


Hellknight 4, Bard 2

DM Zyren:

Narumek casts dancing lights and sending them out in front of him, turns right and continues down the hallway.


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Please thank Nethys. And I thank you. Maybe one time we meet again. I wish you all the best.

Johenric rides to Karcau.


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8
Dumitru wrote:


Anyway, I would ask you to speak to them, tell them that I won't tolerate any trespassing...attacks on helpless ones etc.

"I will certainly do you this favour Dumitru, of course no sooner had I warned you off entering any sort of deal with these ladies without clearly examining the fine print then you immediately do just that with a woman that refers to them as her 'Sisters'... oh dear Captain, who knows what exorbitant fee I might levy one day!" Victoria offers with mock shock, then chuckles to him warmly.


Narumek:

Cautiously you go down the hallway now illuminated by the tiny dancing orbs of light...somehow they seem smaller than usual. After about three scores of metres a room opens up in front of you and a foul stench of rot and decay nearly overwhelms you. In front of you, on a large flagstone, you see the words

Those who rest uneasy are the easiest prey for those who dabble in the black arts.

-------------

The senior judge waits for about five minutes until he turns to Solaric

Sir Zekkaran, now it is your turn. Enter the maze and choose your way. If you happen to meet Narumek, decide wisely: Fight together or against each other, horror is not only a feature of monsters and undead...and watch your back, Aramis is the next to enter.

[b]Don; t wet your pants Zekkaran!

Aramis bellows, but his voice lacks the otherwise so natural confidence.

--------------

Johenric, you will reach Karcau on the next day after a ride through the picturesque farmlands surrounding the city. Here the coming war has left no traces, everything seems quiet.

------------------

Dumitru tries a smile, but it's not very convincing

Don't joke with such things...not in Ustalav, heh. he grins and takes a deep breath I guess I'll take a look how Solaric fares. What are you going to do now?


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"To deliver on yuor request and see my Sisters, to pass on your message. I also need to speak with my fellows by the docks, and finally I need to press my case for the title and lands of a rather unfortunate man who found himself and his nephew deceased. I also need to try speak with Mother, I would know what plans she has for me"


Senior Judge wrote:
"Sir Zekkaran, now it is your turn. Enter the maze and choose your way. If you happen to meet Narumek, decide wisely: Fight together or against each other, horror is not only a feature of monsters and undead...and watch your back, Aramis is the next to enter."

"It would be an honor to meet upon the battlefield with Narumek and fight the undead that plague this nation. Perhaps it will give us a chance to know each other better as we are united in a common cause."

Aramis wrote:
Don't wet your pants Zekkaran!"

"Do not fear, Aramis. I will not use your method of battling undead. I have my own techniques at my disposal not to mention the guidance of the almighty Inheritor."

Solaric draws his longsword and enter the maze.


Aramis mutters something behind your back, but he falls silent as you enter the maze.

Solaric:

You follow a narrow corridor for about 20m until you reach a t-crossing. Left and right dark corridors extent...

------------

Dumitru grins

That's surely enough for today, heh. Good luck with that!

ok, where to first?


Hellknight 4, Bard 2

DM Zyren:
Nice, zombies! ;)
Narumek looks around, then if all is clear he proceeds.
Perception:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
His shield is strapped to his arm, and he casts dancing lights every so often to keep the room visible.


DM Zyren:

Solaric moves carefully forward with his longsword drawn. When he reaches the T intersection, he takes a left.


Male Half-Elf Wizard/9

Ok, I will wait until you tell me to be active again - hopefully not so long :)


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

Victoria takes herself off to see the Sisters and pass on Dimitru's message...


Narumek:

The large room is chilly...much colder than the hallway before. Several large candles stand on the floor and weakly illuminate several sarcophagi that rest in the corners of the room. Two doors lead out of this strange mausoleum...by now everything is quiet...

--------

Solaric:

Cautiously you go down the hallway. Suddenly you hear bubbling and churning from ahead and on a large flagstone you read

The creation of monstrosities is not a privilege of nature anymore.

Behind the flagstone the halwway opens up into a dark chamber...

------------

The sister's guesthouse is packed in between two houses and looks a bit out of place in the rather shaby neighbourhood. Fumes of orange smoke rise form the house's chimney and you can hear someone singing from inside...The sisters have put a large signboard outside that reads

Stew of the day: Pumpkin Girl meets Sausage Girl


Zyren:
The creation of monstrosities is not the privilege of nature any more?! What could this possibly mean? If the sign speaks of undead, I don't think nature was ever involved!

Solaric looks around carefully for a moment and then moves ahead.

Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21


Female Tiefling (Succubi) Witch HP:57/57, - AC: 11/T:11/FF:10 - Percep: +15(Dark Vision) F: +3/R: +3/W: +8 - CMB: 3 - CMD: 14, Speed: 30ft, Init: +1 Witch 8

"Haha! The Pumpkin soup, will it never get old?"

Victoria enters the Inn "Sisters, it is I, Victoria, returned to talk once again..."

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