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Shadowborn's Wounded Earth (Blue Group) (Inactive)

Game Master Shadowborn


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"Speak your mind as you will, but Auric is a believer. It is a struggle for him to reconcile his roles, but he is stalwart and a good man to have at your back. Be respectful and he will be the same; he will respect candor but not mockery of what he holds dear."


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

"I didn't intend any mockery" I respond quietly. "I had no idea the lad was a Baal worshipper. Wouldn't have imagined it of him."


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

After mulling it over for a bit, I look around the hall for Auric, to see if he's returning to us or staying away.


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

Liam, do not take too much of this onto your shoulders. My own words have aided in offending Auric. He is a noble man, better than mortal worshippers of Baal deserve to call one of their own.

I shake my head a bit, my tone self-chastising as I continue, Perhaps it would best if we both apologized. Insulting the foundation of decent and honest believer can only lead to disaster.[b]

With that, I get up and walk to Auric, taking a moment to get his attention.

I keep my tone respectful, yet filled with self-reproach, [b]Auric. I have overstepped myself, showing disrespect to one I respect greatly. Other clergy of Baal should aspire to your example. I truly am sorry. With that, I bow deeply, or as deeply as I may here, before returning the group.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

I join Gendo in approaching Auric. "Hey look now, man, y' seem a good fella, and I'd not want to insult you. I never said a word against your god now, just them dwarves. They make me blood boil, and I suppose I took a tone that offended ye. I meant no disrespect to you, for sure, so I hope y' don't hold it against me. An' to be fair, I'd no idea you were a follower of Baal. If I had, I'd a' never spoke like that in front of ye." I hold out my hand to Auric. "Are we good?"


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric shakes with Liam.
"It's water under the bridge. I just needed a second before I said something stupid. Relighting the forge is important to me, that's all, and a simple 'no thanks' would have done. Given our associations, I think we can all say that we're opposed to the status quo, right? I've got as much against the Inquisition as anyone else, even if I pray to the same altar. So let me clear the air about that, as well."

"I'm not clergy by the way, Gendo: Baal has just seen fit to invest me with some of his power. The established church certainly wouldn't accept me or the very idea that the Forgefather would count a human... well, a half-human... among his champions. Anyhow, it was unseemly of me to lose my temper, so let's sit down and have a drink, forget about all this and enjoy the rest of the holiday, eh?"


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

Well then Auric, your next flagon is on me. If relighting the Forge is important to you, then it is important to me as well. It is my honor to join you.

With that I order a flagon of their finest for Auric, and a mead for myself.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

"Drinking on holidays is what I do best!" I'll get myself a foamy tankard of a particular dark amber ale, drawing deeply. "Now, that's the beer I remember from my militia days..."

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

The celebration goes on, with much drinking and feasting. In the late hours of the night many folk head outside for the traditional lighting of the bonfire, while others less inured to the cold stick with a smaller bit of symbolism in lighting the one unlit fireplace in the hall.

Azryn makes his way back to the forge, with the lot of you in tow. He seems distinctly uncomfortable at first, having an audience, but puts on a stoic face and goes about his business. The forge lies bare, the dwarven smith having thoroughly cleaned it out. A bucket of coke sits nearby, another of charcoal, and finally one of green coal. He stacks charcoal in the center of the forge and gets it lit, letting the fire die down until the place is lit only by the red glow along the edges of the charcoal. He gives one long, slow, pull on the bellows, the air bringing the glow up just enough to outline the dwarf's face.

"Baal's breath upon the coals to bring life to the fire, so the fire may bring light, and heat, and life."

Then he makes a conical pile of coke over the glowing coals, giving them time to catch, three times pumping the bellows so the air feeds the fire and allows the coke to ignite as well.

"The world in darkness, not lost, simply waiting. Cold iron all, needing the touch of the Forgefather to loose us, to be shaped by his will."

Now Azryn heaps green coal over the coke. The heat eventually ignites it, and copious amounts of smoke rise from the pile, up the flue. Then the smith takes a poker and knocks a hole in the top of the cone, allowing a bright flame to rise up. Then he takes to the bellows again, giving it eight pumps, each one causing the fire to blaze brightly, limning the room and its occupants in red.

"Midwinter past, the fire to guide us. Baal's breath preserve and protect us all."

With the heat of the forge rapidly dispersing the chill of the room, Azryn turns, seeming to remember his audience once again. He harumphs nervously and then moves past towards the door. He claps a heavy gloved hand on Auric's shoulder as he passes, giving a nod.

Azyrn moves out, and before the door closes three figures swathed in cloaks against the cold move in. One moves near the forge as the others take up flanking positions nearby. The central figure pulls down its hood and unwinds a long, gray scarf, revealing a hard-bitten looking woman with iron-gray hair, cropped short. A deep scar runs across her left cheek and down the side of her neck, making the eye on that side appear to droop. She reaches for a wrapped bundle at the base of the anvil, long and thin, placing it atop the anvil and raising her gaze to the small assembly.

"Auric Ironwright, paladin of the Hand, step forward," she commands.


Jon shivers when the three move in. He's painfully aware of lacking his weapons and his hand darts into his vest to touch the mistletoe secreted there. He hands twitch, ready to create the divine gestures to call upon nature's fury.


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric steps forward.
"I am he."
Is Azryn... part of the Hand? Has he always known?


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

I stay relaxed, trusting that Azryn would not allow harm to befall his apprentice.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

I go still, tense, hand twitching, though barely, towards the dagger in my boot...

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

The scarred woman levels her gaze at Auric.

"Auric Ironwright, for your service to the people of Three Oaks and to the cause of the Hand of Jorin, you are hereby recognized. Our brothers and sisters were slain at the hands of an outside agent, and raised in a gruesome mockery of life. You laid them down again. When the same happened here in Three Oaks, you did not hesitate to help your fellow humans in their plight. All this at great personal risk."

"Also, we have word that Morgrim Thrallhammer, captain in the Jarl's forces and one of our most grim foes, is no more. This is a blessing to the Hand and all humankind. Whether you had a direct hand in this or not, our scouts have informed us you were in the battle where he fell."

She unwraps the bundle before her to reveal a sword laid out upon the anvil. It lacks decoration or ornament, but there is no mistaking its quality; it is excellently crafted. She takes it up, holding it high, point down towards the floor.

"This weapon has ever been the tool and symbol of those who protect and serve our kind. It is a symbol of justice. Note well that it is double-edged. This too, is a symbol. The edge of justice cuts both ways. Those who serve are bound under its auspices as much as any simple farmer or tradesman. Any who are judged enemies of what we strive for will be tested under its edge. Kneel, Auric Ironwright of Three Oaks."


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric takes a knee, bowing his head.

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

She touches the flat of the blade to each shoulder as she makes her proclamation.

"By the Gods above and the Earth below, Auric Ironwright is invested with the title of Paladin of the Hand of Jorin, defender of the free folk of the North, and soldier in the fight against the oppressors. Rise and take your blade, Paladin," she says, as she turns the blade and offers forth the hilt.


Female Human Witch (Stars)/ 1st Tier Archmage

The tension in Kalaya's body fades along with the sensation of impending violence as a smile crosses her face.

The Hand of Jorin. The brothers and sisters of her parents.

Emotion welled up within her as she struggled to contain it, Whisperwing shifting on her shoulder as the perceptive owl sensed her feelings.


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1
Shadowborn wrote:

She touches the flat of the blade to each shoulder as she makes her proclamation.

"By the Gods above and the Earth below, Auric Ironwright is invested with the title of Paladin of the Hand of Jorin, defender of the free folk of the North, and soldier in the fight against the oppressors. Rise and take your blade, Paladin," she says, as she turns the blade and offers forth the hilt.

He takes the hilt, rising once more to his feet.

"Thank you... I... It's an honor to be counted among you.", he says.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

More relaxed now, I'm just paying attention, getting the details in my head, as who knows what may be the beginning of a glorious tale?

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

"It is an honor to have you among us," she replies. "The blade is yours. While you cannot carry it with you most days, carry its message with you always. Some of us never draw blood with it in our lifetimes."

"I am Reina. I'll be your direct superior for the time being. I'd like to hear from you and Jon Commoner concerning these wizards you fought. On the morrow we can meet privately at the Huntsman's Rest. I've already spoken with William Varrus about it. I'd like to hear what the two of you have to say."

"I'd also like to hear what Gendo has to add," she says, turning to the monk, "If you'd be willing. The Hand has no say in what members of your order do, but we like to count you among our allies."

"You two have been vouched for, so you may attend as well, if you wish," Reina says, her comment directed at Kalaya and Liam.


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

I will be more than happy to relay what I can about the wizards. I respect and admire that for which the Hand strives, though I am of a mind that the time for subtlety has passed. Admittedly my judgement is still clouded by all that has been so viciously levied by the Wizards and...other things. I give a short bow, before turning to Auric, A truly noble man well-suited for the duty and responsibility bestowed. It is an honor to count you as a friend. I say with complete certitude, tinged with happiness at Auric's honor.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

"Thank you me lady. If there be anythin' I can do to help, I'd be more than willing. Me da was a servant of the Hand, and brought me up to be the same. Anythin' ye need, just let me know." I'll give a rough sketch of a bow, best as I know how.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

I also give Auric a congratulatory wink and smile, as I not sure a backslap fits the mood "Nice sword," I murmur.


Female Human Witch (Stars)/ 1st Tier Archmage

"Thank you, it would mean alot."


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric blushes a bit at the praise.
"Thanks. Wouldn't be here without help from you, Jon and Will."
He clears his throat.
"Anyhow, we'll be there tomorrow to go over what happened."
I think both the journal and the documents we found fell down the chasm with the dwarven patrol and the ogre, right?

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

Actually, no. He was reading them on your side of the bridge. When the attack happened, he dropped them and moved to rejoin his men for combat. They're still in your possession, just a little wrinkly from sitting in the snow awhile.

With the ceremony over, Reina and the others bundle their cloaks, raise their hoods, and depart. Auric notes the scabbard for the sword still sitting on the anvil. As he takes it up and makes to sheath his new weapon (Masterwork longsword, by the way) he notes the maker's mark stamped into the base of the blade. It's Azryn's.


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric looks over the sword with appreciation, even awe.
"I'll be darned. A real sword... and Azryn made it himself. Who else could be involved in our little family business?"

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

The following day your group makes its way to the Huntsman's Rest in the early morning hours. You breakfast in the common room while waiting for Reina. When she arrives, you not that she's led in by one of the two men that accompanied her to Azryn's smithy the previous night. However, she seems a completely different woman. She dodders along, her gaze unfocused, wandering over people and things without any real comprehension.

Until she gets into the inn and notes no one there other than Ouryn and your group, at which point the facade drops and the senile mother becomes a hardened warrior once again. She speaks with Ouryn a moment. The innkeeper then opens a door to a set of stairs leading down to a room in the cellar.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

As I approach the stairs I smirk at the inkeeper. "Ouryn, you old fox!"

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

Ouryn reddens a bit, looks flustered as he stumbles over something to say, and then simply shoos Liam down the stairs.

In the privacy of the cellar room, Reina speaks her mind.

"This trio of wizards you fought, specifically the one called Varrus, interest us because the represent power outside the Iron Marches. The wizard is only the second contact we've had with independent human agencies from beyond the this domain. There are the occasional barbarian incursions, true, but they represent a direct threat. This Varrus comes from somewhere beyond where humans can rise in power. We would like to know more about where he comes from. While Varrus, for his actions here, is considered an enemy, there may be others sympathetic to our plight."

"I ask that you venture out to locate and make contact with these people. It is a dangerous prospect, ranging out into the unknown, but it may be the best chance we have of helping ourselves overthrow dwarven rule. Scout and report back with as much information as you can, this will be your task."


Female Human Witch (Stars)/ 1st Tier Archmage

Kalaya shares a glance with the large owl sitting in the rafters, unspoken words passing between them.

"New stars and new lands.." she mutters to herself, a tone of amusement in her voice.


"Will you wish us to leave in mid-winter or come the thaw? We have an obligation to discharge to the feathered folk."

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

"I'm hoping for a successful mission," she says with a smile made grim by her scar. "So we'll wait until the passes have cleared. Having you all freeze to death isn't in the plan."


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

A hard smile visits my face at hearing of task beyond known lands.
I will be all to happy to seek knowledge in the 'unknown'. But, as Jon alluded we do have an oath to the Akaara that must be fulfilled before taking on other tasks.


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

"When we first had contact with Thrallhammer's patrol, we were fresh from our battle with the undead Varras had made of the Hand's safe house. They managed to gravely wound me and we had no choice but to flee; were it not for Io's people pulling our bacon from the fire, I doubt we would have made it. As important as new allies are, we should also cultivate the ones we already possess- and make certain they're likely to continue providing aid in the future- before we look to the south.", Auric says.

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

"A wise choice," Reina says. "We have had beneficial dealings with the birdfolk in the past. You should hold to your word and assist them as you're able. While this task is important, it isn't urgent."

"I'll likely not see you again for the rest of the season. If there's anything you have need of, leave a message with Ouryn and I'll see that you're given what aid is available."

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

If you want to pursue Gendo's quest to the Sanctum of Mimir during the winter, let me know and we'll run that, or let me know of anything else you'd like to do in the intervening months. Otherwise, I'll jump ahead to Spring and we'll roll from there.


I'm good with either the Sanctum or skipping to spring. I have some endure elements that I can cast so cold won't be a problem. Food will be an issue, as will snow and drifting, so it's still a dangerous idea.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

I have fish. Lots of fish.


Male Half-elf Paladin 4/Champion Tier 1

Auric may not like the idea of trudging all the way into the mountains and dealing with the logistics of travel in the winter and shoveling out a path, but the winter may be their last opportunity to get up there for a while and it's a good way to build the group dynamic before traveling south. Plus, I just got a lot of screen time- so it'll be good to get everyone else in the group a chance to have the spotlight. So I'm in favor of going to the Sanctum if everyone else approves.


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

Of course I am in for the Sanctum in Winter. As "Auric" just pointed out, it'll allow the group a chance - thinking primarily Kalaya and Liam a chance to establish themselves more solidly amongst us.


I'm in for a winter jaunt!


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

Let's go! Liam is keen for any adventure.

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

Okay, mountain-bound it is. Anyone have any supplies or gear they'd like to pick up before you head out, do so. I'll get the first leg of the journey done.

Due to the snow, your trip to Dunshale, normally a day and a half in travel, takes nearly three days. On your first, you stop at a roadside inn. There you discover a family in residence you normally see in Three Oaks, as well as four men from the local militia. It appears that the original operators of the inn were slain by bandits who took the place over as a lair for the winter, expecting a long stay with plenty of firewood and a well-stocked larder.

Apparently they were found out by a traveling priest of Baal, his inquisitor sidekick, and a band of human retainers (or so goes the story one of the militiamen tells you over dinner). They saw through the bandits' bluff of being the owners and slew the lot of them in a fierce battle. Now a cousin of the innkeeper's wife and her family are seeing to the place in the meantime. They're rather surprised to see your group, as most folk don't travel so late in the season. However, the men recognize Liam, Jon, and Auric from town, so they don't mistake the group for more bandits.

A welcome night in a warm bed passes too quickly, and the group sets out again, staying their second night in an old, abandoned farmhouse just off the road. The night passes without incident, but the group is treated to a symphony of wolves, their howls echoing in the night at some indeterminable distance, providing unease for those on watch.

You arrive in Dunshale around midday. Less than half the size of Three Oaks, it sits under the shadow of the Jarl's stronghold, whose gates are set into the peak of the hilltop the group skirts around before crossing a bridge over an ice-cluttered river to enter the village. All seems quiet and lazy trails of smoke rise from the chimneys. In the distance a few children have assembled snowmen and are busily erecting walls, perhaps a fort for a future snowball fight.


Jon pulls his cloak in closer to his throat, disturbed slightly by the presence of the Jarl's fortress. He reaches into his vest to feel his mistletoe and listen once more to the murmur of the Green, sleeping beneath the cloak of white in winter. Because he knows better, he has his sickle with him only; his scythe is left behind. A sickle is easily explained as a tool to reap any herbs he may find. A scythe outside of harvest-time is conspicuous. A bit too conspicuous.


Male Human (Tian stock) Monk 3

Looking at the Jarl's fortress my expression hardens, lips pursing into a tight line, before the wisp of a smile appears at the stray thought Better if Varras assaulted here than my home and brethren. I look every bit the monk, standing erect yet relaxed, steps measured yet still giving the appearance of a smooth tread, head held high. The key to the Sanctum of Mimir safely tucked away. I feel ressured feeling the slight weight of my medallion top Mimir resting against my chest underneath my clothing.

Will we be pressing on further today? Or would you think it'd be best if we were to perhaps linger and take advantage of getting another warm night's rest in a bed? I ask as I look to the others.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

"It depends on your haste, good monk. I'm quite happy to spend the night in the wilds, but I'm always happy to eat something other than smoked fish," I say, patting the small barrel on my pony. "Although there may be information to be gathered in town about the local goings on." My gaze is also steely as I look to the Jarl's fortress.

All of my accoutrements are befitting the travelling fisherman. My spear, net and hunting knives are all packed at hand on my pony beside the casks of fish, as are my tanglefoot bags. My leather armour is packed in my bedroll.

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

If the party's original calculations are correct, the place will be about a half day's travel northwest of here under ideal conditions. Since you're uncertain just what it looks like or exactly where it is, stopping over for the night and getting a start in the morning seems the best plan.

Your group gets little notice as you move into the village center. The children give you a wave as you move along. Most other folk seem content to stay inside their homes and keep warm. When you find the inn, called the Flask and Flail, your entry is noted by about a half dozen locals, who look up from their mugs to eye the group with mild curiosity before returning to their cups. A solidly built woman with a mop of red curls piled atop her head waves you in, admonishing you to shut the door tight behind you. The place isn't nearly so large as Huntsman's, but given the rarity of travel in winter there should be rooms aplenty.


Male Human Bard 4, hp 29/29

Is it safe to assume I've travelled through here a few times and stayed at the inn in return for storytelling and possibly fish? If so I'll approach the innkeep with more familiarity.

Qadira

Male Human(ish) Level 3 RPG Monkey

Certainly. You've been through a time or two in the past.

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