Kwen takes a step back then opens fire with the last of the holy water, hoping that this one does a better job then the last one.
5 ft step back
ranged touch attack 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
damage 7d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 2, 1, 3, 6, 6) = 25
Screams from the other side of the hedge maze speak of the dwarves fending off the onrush of the undead as best they can, but they will fall, it is inevitable. You have seen the force arrayed against you and it curdles the blood with fear.
Nogglegrop holds his breath as he drops his protective magics (divine aura), grabs Jinx' other waterskin and prepares to to douse the wall of undead approaching from the rear.
The glow and warmth from the Hearthstone of Gentle Dissuasion dulls and then falls away completely, as it the stone cracks, leaving each of you momentarily blinded by veil of black drawn over your eyes. Blinking a few times you grab the meagre light from the scant beams of light that drop down from the open top of the mountain. A chill fills you, both because Quellious has abandoned this place again, and also because you know you will all fall this day only to rise as the damned and wander this place eternally supping on the innocent flesh of those foolish enough to come to this place.
Garanel drops to the ground. His strong hands ripping up bits of the tangle, gnashing his teeth and screaming profane insults towards all of the gods for betraying him once again.
Kwen accurate stream of holy water removes all of the rotten flesh from Tintragen's face, leaving only a horrific skull behind. The lich reels back in pain, but still functions. Tintragen grows in power as the light falls away, visibly getting stronger as the goddess of peace and tranquility disappears.
Both of Jinx' heavy earthshaker blows land with impossible power, throwing the light undead spellcaster around like a rag doll.
Tintragen stands stock still, wearing an expression of absolute confusion as he falls. His bony body shatters into a thousand thousand pieces.
Streams of water are expended, and the brave group meets the onrush of undead as a cohesive unit. Blood flows, and exhaustion is the norm. For each that falls the healers work in concert to bring them back into the fight. Flesh is ripped and torn by nails and weapons coated with pestilence. No quarter is given, nor is any asked for. You are sheathed not only in your blood, but arterial spray from living foes and friends alike.
This is the end game, for no matter how many fall there is a legion behind them, and the undead will never tire.
Suddenly light fills the area, bathing everyone in healing warmth. So powerful is the divine presence that rocks explode forth from the mountain above, showering the base of the mountain with thousands of tonnes of the obsidian-like stone, but not a pebble lands on the grounds. A glowing hand snatches Tintragen's tarnished soul in a vise-like grip before it can find its place in the afterlife, while another hand lovingly rubs Garanael cheek and takes his hand in the manner of a friend, and then you are simply alone for all the undead have disappeared.
Judging by the sounds from beyond the maze the undead have disappeared there as well.
(end of combat)
The pall lifts, leaving behind only a feeling of peace and tranquility.
PRAVUS MORTIS' HOLDINGS
Grounds (Grounds Map)
1) Gazing Pools
2) Front Fountain
3) Terraced Gardens
4) Manour House
6) The Yard
7) Ornamental Gardens
9) Hedge Maze
11) Herb Garden
14) Food Garden
17) Abandoned Tunnel
First Floor (First Floor Map)
1. Front Porch
3. To the Wilhavyn Vault (hidden in the Foyer)
4. Grand Stairs
8. Meditation Chamber
9. Cloak Room
10. Sitting Room
11. Main Dining Room
12. Private Dining Room
Second Floor (Second Floor Map)
17. Master Bedroom
18. Hall Closets
20. Maria's Room
21. Gaston's Room
22. Serra's Room
23. Guest Bedrooms
Third Floor (Third Floor Map)
Manour Rear Wing
29. Recovery Rooms
30. Clergy Bedrooms
31. Knight's Common Room
32. Knight's Bedrooms
33. Servant's Dayroom
34. Servant's Bedrooms
35. Lady Wilhavyn's Den
36. Root Cellar
37. General Storage
38. The Pit
40. Wine Cellar
41. Black Vault
42. Family Vault
Gwendalyn screams at the lich's touch and shrivels even further, her spell lost to his desiccating magic. Then, Revery activates Wilhavyn's holy symbol to mixed effect, restoring her youth while burning himself near to death. Jinx crushes Tintragen and she desperately tries to heal them all while powerful undead flow into the maze, intent on their undoing. Then it appears that Quellious finally realizes her mistake and takes both old foes to herself, one for reward and the other for punishment, while banishing all of the evil mockeries of life from her sight.
The large woman stands stiffly, having pissed herself in fear when the terrifying horde rushed them at the end. Her cracking voice breaks the silence. "Did... did we win?"
Revery screams in shock as the holy symbol of his deity betrays him and burns his hands and soul. He falls to his knees, and soon the others have brought down the lich.
The next few minutes are a daze, as he recovers enough to try to fight off undead, though with limited success.
But soon a miracle occurs, and all the undead are washed away, along with the shadow of the mount, and the dread feeling that had pervaded this entire complex. Revery falls onto the ground, his face in his hands, and cries.
Gwendalyn sees the dark-skinned enchanter crying on the ground and moves to comfort her friend of years, laying a meaty hand on his bony shoulder. "The gods are what they are. You can still love someone, even if they don't feel the same way."
"Heh. Did we win? Of course we won! For all that spooky talk, he was still just a corpse wearing a dress! You think we'd lose to that?" Patting his earthshaker he grins, "You really think some fool in a dress will stand up long to this? I don't care if he's already dead or not, hit him hard enough and he's gonna fall down!"
Nogglegrop remains still, having been knocked down by the undead's hungry rush, and still just sits in the same spot propped up by his hands and smiling like an idiot.
His sigh is tinny and his words almost too soft to be heard, "Well done my friends. Well done indeed."
The spent Northwoman can't argue with the halfling's logic. She pulls him up into a hard embrace and laughs, then puts the well-armored little man back down. "Yes, and you sure did hit him hard. The Tribunal bless you, Jinx. We couldn't have done it without you." She smiles.
Drained of almost all of his mana, and not to mention most of his blood, Sajeek endures the receding pain of magically knitting flesh and muscle. The vah shir slowly sinks to his knees, panting furiously. He was too tired and battered to talk. Thinking hurt, his body screamed at him, for whatever the ghost had done to him still clawed at Sajeek. Feeling as though he was made of glass, the vah shirs shifts around and sits on the ground. Bast limps over and almost falls, laying his head on the Beastlord's.
Without thinking about it, Sajeek draws upon the aid of the spirits once more and heals his warder. A flash of pain rips through the Beastlord as he drains himself of mana. Vision greying out, Sajeek dabs at the blood trickling out his feline nose. Bast looks up and "murrs" his thanks then closes his mis matched eyes and begins to purr. Rubbing the tiger's ears, Sajeek turns all of his focus on breathing in then out. And not passing out.
Supporting himself with wobbly arms, Sajeek looks around at his friends. He was rather amazed that they had survived. Clumsily, slowly and moving rather gingerly, Sajeek digs his flask out. Unscrewing the cap gives him some difficulty. Letting the top hang by the bit of chain that connected it, the vah shir takes a long drink. Closing his eyes and sighing, he passes the flask around. He doesn't say anything, just watches the others with unfocused eyes.
Eventually his flask returns and Sajeek helps himself to another shot before screwing the cap back on. With some effort, the Beastlord puts it back in his pack, and kinda manages to close the magic bag. Leaving his bag to the side, he blinks owlishly at his friends and grins slowly.
"See? What'd I tell ya? Piece of meat cake!" Sajeek says, grin turning into a smile. Blinking slowly a few more times, he looks around at the after math and nods to himself. "I think I will take a..." The vah shir's emerald eyes roll back in his head. Sajeek goes from sitting to laying flat on his back in span of a heartbeat. Bast half opens an eye.
Bast is guarded in his silent repose, after the healers ensure that it was not anything mortal, and then roused once his body had a chance to rest.
Exhaustion is the norm. You are all caked in blood and sweat. Clothing is in tatters.
Picking your way out of the overgrown maze is a tad comical, since you have passed exits more times than once before you realize the way out.
Wide-eyed dwarves, who have seen heavy combat and have proven their mettle, meet the group and it is only in their eyes that you realize how you must look. From their reactions you have the look of the seal that escaped the great white after 7 or 8 chews.
Sky absolutely dominates everything, as the noonday sun gazes upon the grounds for the first time in over 3 decades. The top of the mountain is simply not there, having been blasted away by Quellious' rage.
It takes time for the birds to return, but return they do. Their songs filling your hearts with joy. What once was an oppressive and cursed place is now nothing short of a paradise.
Your part of the mountain overlooks The Wayunder Lake, since its base had protruded north right out into the lake, from a height of approximately 100'. Your holdings are but a fraction of the mountain, with the bulk of your holdings behind your grounds, and considering the devastation that was wrought upon the mountain the rest of the city will be at ground level shielded behind high walls made of thick obsidian-like rock with tendrils of flame dancing within. The city will be have a soft glow at night, and have no need for torches to be lit for illumination.
The future City of Justiss has taken its largest step. From here invitations can be extended for others to come join in laying the foundations deep into the bosom of Faydwer. Considering the perils of the overland journey it might be worthwhile to request that the Kaladim Dwarves adjust the course of their convoys to come here as part of their travels. to Ak'anon.
A complete shock comes in the form of people wandering about the grounds in complete confusion. These were many of the undead monstrosities you encountered in your travels, now returned to life by the boon of Revery’s goddess Quellious. Tears fill their eyes, for they have distant muted memories what has happened, and swear allegiance to Pravus Mortis, for they owe their very lives to them.
(writing opportunity presented to the group: feel free to make as many maids, butlers, guards, gardeners, et cetera for the grounds as you wish and post them as people you run into, this is a roleplaying opportunity, so have fun with it)
Rockbite lives and greets the party with hugs and tears.
You can provide a home to Nogglegrop's family, Revery's wife, the women that were displaced by Swenj's machinations, the list goes on and on....
Weeks, or perhaps months of rebuilding await, just to make the grounds habitable, let alone cozy.
Pravus Mortis were not handed this, they earned it through the strength of their bond, and the bravery that beats within each of their breasts.
Jinx can't help but feel a bit of a smirk as the group staggers out of the maze to meet the dwarves. He has proved himself in as tough a situation as any dwarf has faced. That pride is tempered as he realizes how many have lost their lives as a result of this twisted place. All his life Jinx has wanted to prove he's as tough as anyone, but seeing the devastation lifted around him he finally understands the consequences of seeking battle for its own sake. Battle is the highest form of discord, and the lich's lust for discord led to all the lives lost and ruined by this curse.
Kneeling down against his earthshaker, for the first time in his life, he whispers a quiet prayer of thanks to Quellious.
Kwen staggers, the battle had been long and bloody, having had to spend much it getting into position to aid the others during the fight. Kwen had no way of dealing the staggering amount of damage that Jinx and the others were able to do, but the rogue augmented their blows by moving a stabbing. The blows that Kwen had taken, were numerous, even blocking as many of them as he could, still many had gotten through.
" Well that lich certainly fell to pieces. " Kwen remarks, a tired grin flashing across his face. Kwen had lost sight of the Herald during the grand melee, still the rogue offered up a prayer to the god of thieves. Kwen was slightly troubled by the Herald showing up.
Upon seeing the dwarves the rogue let's out a tired chuckle then says " What? Never seen a half elf kick this much undead butt?" Kwen leans his back to a wall as his legs give out, and sits ungraceful to the ground, his body letting him know that he would not be doing much more today.
Jinx, not the name the halfling had been born with, but one he had worn for many years, feels the touch of the goddess on his heart. She heard his call and was willing to meet him part way if he would devote himself as a holy champion of good. This group was dedicated to goodly works, and he already owed them for his freedom from the dwarves, and his life from the attack of the jack-o-lantern: the least he could do is act as their shield while they continued on the path they had set out upon.
Nogglegrop breaks it to the group that he would be remaining here with his family, shocking everyone that he has 7 children and a wife, to take care of the needy and of course to sit upon the throne each of you would be making your new king.
Kwen and Sajeek had agreed that a large detachment of dwarves would be permanently stationed within the walls of Justiss, and it appears as if that aid has arrived. They are but 14 strong, but these are some of the finest warriors Kaladim could spare. Each had pulled a large cart with supplies to this locale. Within each cart is mountaineering gear, masonry supplies and enough food and ale to withstand a prolonged siege.
These dwarfs, veterans all, look upon the party with stoic facades, but you can see the respect behind the mask. The tales of this, and they will be told, are to become legend. This is an awkward moment for the dwarves don't like Jinx, but they are forced to admit his prowess in this instance. For these dwarves he is a champion and should be treated with respect.
They run their calloused fingers along the stone, seemingly as lost about the too strong obsidian with the fires within, but pragmatically accept it at its surface level after chipping it with picks and testing its strength.
Much of the mountain had been torn asunder, as had a goodly portion of the pathway up 100' to this place.
After taking the lay of the land they quickly come up with a plan for defence, "There will be those that will come to explore this place now that the curse has been lifted. We will see to destroying what remains of the only pathway up. Once we are trapped up here we will widen the abandoned tunnel and work a wide pathway, with switchbacks, to what will eventually be the city proper."
They look to the group for any sign that this is unacceptable. Considering that you will all be trapped in this place for weeks, or even a month or two, until they have carved their way down the mountain, or unless you lower them down by rope, this might be a problem.
You see the strength of their plan though, for it will protect you from all but winged creatures until you get your feet under you.
They do not ask your assistance, just your leave so they can get to work.
Nogglegrop sets about the dwarves and Pravus searching for the worst of the injuries to lend his meagre dregs of magic to before meditating to regain his energies.
The dwarves nod and quietly unpack their supplies, allowing the group to determine the best location and distribution of the food they brought along with them, and disappear back down the pathway with picks in their hands.
You easily have enough food to feed 50 people for a month without any rationing. All will lose a pound or two, unless you buoy up the meals with summoned bread, if you cut that in half, which will have the food go twice as long.
So much of the mountain has been ravaged that the pathway is almost completely gone, leaving jagged rocks attached to a cliff. which forces the dwarves to use ropes and pitons as much as their picks and hammers.
Helping the dwarves is a difficult proposition at first, since being master artisan they each have a specific way they like things done, but for the tenacious they find a place with the tireless craftsmen.
"Can we not just put up a wall, or a pile of stones, instead of closing it completely?" suggests Revery.
Revery's mind is elsewhere, everyone can tell. Outwardly, he's extremely happy and relieved to have been a part of defeating and dispelling the evil of this place. But inside, he is tormented.
Over the last few years, undergoing extreme tests and difficulties, his faith gradually grew. Before that, he had had periods of piety surrounded by long stretches during which he largely ignored his own religion. But since knowing this group he has looked to the heavens, realizing the gods were very real, and what they, the gods did, and what they, the mortals did, were important. It was an unexpected development for him.
He supposes he swung too far. He put the gods, he put Quellious, on a pedestal. But were they not supposed to be on a pedestal, a divine one? Was that not the very purpose of the gods? And so, in his mind Quellious was perfect, a perfect definition of tranquility and peace. And end to strive for. This place was a means to that end, even if the end could never be reached.
And then two things had happened. Quellious had made a grievous mistake, and had subjected an innocent being to countless years of turmoil and horror. Revery had a hard time with that. In the end, they had shown her the error, and she had corrected it. Much like a mortal would, he figures.
The second thing was the holy symbol. It had promised him peace, and suggested to him, in his own mind at least, power. He had not expected lasting power. But when he had tried to use the power, his own soul had been judged and convicted. It had damaged him, and he did not know why.
Now that there is time to reflect, Revery knows in his head it is over, everything is back to normal. No, better than normal. But in his heart he waits for a sign from Quellious. His ego rules this part of him, and he knows it is folly, for the gods rarely touch mortals this way. So he is uncertain about his relationship with his goddess.
To avoid having to think about this, Revery keeps himself busy with the work around the future Justis. He offers his services in doing engineering calculations, and will familiarize himself with the Dwarven defense body of knowledge (will take a rank in Knowledge/Construction and Engineering). In addition, he will provide extra strength (Strengthen, +3 Str, 2 Mana, 100 min duration) upon request from the workers when they have extra heavy lifting to do. He also lets them know he can provide some protection against rock damage (Mist) when workers enter a dangerous area, though Gwendalyn's Turtle Skin is a bit more effective.
"Sounds like a good plan," Sajeek nods tiredly to the dwarves. They looked rather impatient to get to work. Having one secure route was better the the broken pathway here. The sooner the path to the manor would be taken care of, the better. Sajeek glances skyward, feeling the sunlight warm his fur. "I think I'm going to stagger over off into that general direction," the vah shir gestures vaguely in the manor's direction.
Moving through the "surprised to be here and alive crowd", Sajeek cheerfully excepts the heart felt hugs. Mostly because he needed the extra help to keep standing. Bast had slipped through the crowd, going around to the front of the manor. Sajeek uses the recently brought back almost like a sinking cat uses floating logs. Eventually, he gets aided in the form of a hand almost as big as his upper arm. Gently guiding the wobbly vah shir to the front of the manor the big troll leaves him near Bast. Rockbite thanks Sajeek once more and mentions bring something back to drink. A happy grin cuts across the vah shir's muzzle at that news.
Sitting down gingerly and leaning against Bast's back, Sajeek grumbles, feeling particular sore at the moment. He couldn't really even remember much of the battle, flashes, sensations of pain, fear, and rage. That was about it. Shaking his head gently to rid the thoughts from his mind, Sajeek goes back to watching the clouds, enjoying the sounds of people in background. Feeling a light weight on his left leg, the vah shir reaches down and starts to pet Bast's head.
'Wait a moment, I'm leaning against Bast,' Sajeek thinks, looking down to see what exactly he was petting. A white dog lay next to Sajeek, tips of it's pointed ears touched with yellow. The dog looked like a distant relative of a wolf. Opening liquid brown eyes the dog looks up at Sajeek and "Aroorup's," as if to say, "Why did you stop?" Sajeek was used to getting that look from Bast.
"I see you met my dog," say a female voice in Combine. The voice itself brought images of drinks and dark, smoky rooms. Looking up at the speaker, Sajeek blinks. The sight of a slightly short, very well muscled female greets his eyes. Once she move out of the sunlight, he sees that her fur is a dusty black, her muzzle, hands and feet were a dusty grey-white. The female wore a tattered leather apron over worn clothes.
"So I have thanked the others when you scampered off," She grins. Leaning in close she licks the Beastlord's nose. "My thanks hero." The female says with a crooked grin. She reaches down and flicks his ear rather painfully. "And that's for sticking a dagger in my face a short time ago." She says in common. Rich laughter follows the female as she saunters off, leaving a very confused Sajeek sitting there. Giving a whistle as she rounds the corner, the white dog gets up and licks the ear that was flicked. And then turns and bolts after the vah shir.
"Okay, that was odd," he comments to Bast. The tiger had watched the exchange with a bored half open eye. Hearing a moving mountain, he spies Rockbite returning with two tall mugs. The troll was celebrating apparently, allowing himself a tasty brew. Handing Sajeek a surprising cold mug the troll nods.
"I see you met Hexes and her dog," he says in his gravelly sounding voice. The vah shir didn't have to look up to see the smirk on the trolls face, he could hear it in his voice. "I'm surprised Hexes' dog let you pet her. She tends to shy away from people. Good dog and all, just not big on people petting her head," the troll says with a shrug as he sits down near the vah shir. "It's nice to be able to breath and feel the warmth again," Rockbite comments as he takes a drink.
Not sure what to say, Sajeek takes a drink of the near frozen beverage. It soothed and refreshed, and there was the tingling warmth spreading it's tendrils through his body as the strong liquor hits his stomach.
"Ah-HA!" comes from the vah shir's, startling him. "There you are! Brilliant job, simply fantastic!" The vah shir looks confusedly at the tall human male who is now shaking his hand like it's a ragdoll. The human was curiously dressed, his clothing seeming similar, yet different, perhaps more finely made. The broad chinned man smiles infectiously, his mop of brown hair briefly getting in the way of his ancient grey eyes. "Well, that was a experience that I won't soon be forgetting. Undeath, blah!" The man suddenly brings his left wrist up to his eyes and looks at the band of metal. "Is that the time?!" He pulls out a metal wand thing with green glowing ember at it's end. He waves it over himself once then looks at. Pointing at Sajeek it makes a metal chirp. Satisfied, he puts it away. "Must be off things to do! I'm sure I'll pop in on occasion!" The man runs off to the left , disappearing around the manor. A few moments later a wheezing-whoosing groan is heard, then fades away as the wind suddenly blows.
"Uh, who was that?" Sajeek looks up at Rockbite. The troll shrugs. "That the Doctor. You get used to him. He's a bit..., all over the place, I guess would be one way of putting. Kinda of an odd bloke."
A few hours pass as Sajeek rests up, talking with Rockbite and a few other who come and seek him out to offer thanks, and just to talk as well. Anything to return to a semblance of normalcy.
Rising unsteadily from his brief prayer, Jinx turns to the only follower of Quellious he knows, Revery. Seeing the confusion in the Erudite's eyes, he whispers to him, "Of course the gods make mistakes, perhaps in this case to teach us how to rectify our own. Now, tell me of Quellious. I've never been one to venerate the gods before and who better to learn from that one marked by the goddess herself," gesturing to the scar left by the holy symbol.
Revery nods at Jinx, and provides him with the basic tenets of Quellious, and more if he so desires.
"Thank you for asking."
Though it seems to give him some peace of mind, later Revery is deep in thought for a while, before returning to the same state he was in before. Perhaps it will take time (days, weeks, months) for him to get over his malaise.
"Marked by the Faceless too, in here." Revery points to his head. He wonders if the suffering of Garanel matched, or exceeded, the suffering of the group during that time. It is hard to imaging that being so. He wanders off, trying in his head to determine if it is even possible to answer that question.
Winter had been threatening for weeks now, and the bitter chill speaks of perhaps a month before the first snows of the season to entomb Faydwer in its icy embrace.
14 veteran dwarves, experts in stone work all, stop in mid-stride. They had given their advice on the best course of action. It was advice you either heed or dismiss. They are simply at your disposal and once again await a decision that permits them to get to work before they are called upon to defend against a thousand Seeking Clan Gnolls.
One glances up at the perceived softness of the enchanter and says, "A pile of stones? Are ye daft boy? Ye traveled the lands and understand the forces that can array against...." He shakes his head as he moves back in line guffawing, "A wall manned by who? Not him, never him that wishes to stand in place as the snow falls. Intelligent, maybe. Smart, not so much."
Dwarves are gruff creatures, little versed on the social niceties, but they had kind hearts.
Standing with hands on hips, or leaning against their tools, waiting for Pravus Mortis to come to a consensus. If they understood how rarely that actually happened, they would likely just retire here and now.
Jinx nods at the dwarves' plan, seeing the obvious defensive benefits, "My only worry is that by the time you finish, we'll be in the teeth of winter by the time work would be finished. Seeing as I don't have anywhere else to go, that's not a real problem for me as long as there's food, but for those wanting to get home, it could mean an even longer stay. I'm also not sure Revery can stomach me that long," he concludes with a grin.
Accepting the group's words, and not waiting for a concensus, the dwarves estimate that two tendays will pass before they will be confident that the burgeoning settlement will be as safe as they can make it with the resources at hand.
A contingent of 8 paladins, 5 erudites and 3 humans, once sworn to previous incarnations of this very property (though it was at ground level then), act as guardians of the grounds. They are ever vigilant to protect those that walk the ground and keep the peace. They are sworn to only use their weapons when necessary, preferring to let their presence deter others from attacking.
You estimate that toil will be the norm for a tenday and more before the manour and outbuildings are even habitable.
(roleplaying opportunities abound, feel free to take liberties for roleplaying benefit)
"Ha! No thank you," she replies. "As much as I dislike them, I don't want to fight them all. No sense in it. Eventually we'd meet some more skilled, or sheer numbers would wear us down, and then we'd be dead. Better to negotiate a treaty, which is best done from a position of strength. Much easier to convince someone to not attack you, when they're not sure of success."
The caravan to Ak'Anon already has been re-routed to come to Justiss. It is using this mechanism that the dwarven guard will be brought to your city without making it obvious that they are in allegiance with you.
While the group is unaware these 14 dwarves were but the leading edge of those that could be gathered at a moment's notice. More support was coming behind them. In less than a tenday the group would be swimming in sweaty dwarves.
Twas akin to a nightmare for Jinx, for those born of Kaladim did not look kindly at the muscular halfling.
Those that carry the gnoll's canine, denoting an honourable battle to the death adhering to the old rules, have started the process of forming a treatise with the Seeking Clan, for with that item they could pass freely through gnoll territory. Such an item was crucial and absolutely invaluable, since it would possibly permit a conversation with the clan leaders, or less likely the powerful Mother of All.
Khae had been up front that the dwarves had too much bad blood to consider occupying more than a stronghold in The Loping Plains. Forming an allegiance with their sworn enemies was likely not something the Kaladim dwarves would have expected, but it made tactical sense. You have agreed to a large detachment of dwarves permanently stationed within the walls of your holdings, so it will be an interesting reunion if you permit gnolls to walk openly upon your streets.
Such concerns are years away. In the interim you simply need to hold this rock long enough to get your defences up to fend off those that would take what was earned by the strength of your arms, magic and bravery.
Some of those that you have saved decide to leave, taking advantage of their ability to leave the city before the ragged remains of the path are destroyed. There are tears in their eyes as they offer the group their heartfelt thanks, swearing to carry the honourable and brave deeds of Pravus Mortis to all that will hear them. Others stay, understanding that their families have grieved their loss, and understand that there is nothing for them outside of the holdings.
Nogglegrop is one of those that leaves before the path is destroyed. He promises to return in short order with as many of his people as he can afford to hire.
You are left with 14 dwarven craftsmen/fighters, 8 paladins, 11 support people for the mansion (butlers, maids, groundskeepers, et cetera), 3 priests of Quellious, and 9 travellers that were caught up in the curse.
Kwen nods, at the celebration then accepts a hand up, feeling uncomfortable at first, but still enjoys flitting about. The rogue tries to stay on the edge of things, slightly away but the people who were brought back to life don't make it easy for the rogue to say the least.
The rogue might be tired, but still feels someone trying to reach for his purse in the crowd, Kwen shifts to the side letting the person trying to borrow the contents of his coin, miss their mark. Turning on his heel, he traps the wrist on the assailant, his training taking over.
He notices that he has the wrist of another half elf, her brown hair cascading across her face, an impish smile lights her features, and she towers of Kwen. The rogue lets out a chuckle at seeing her: Shard, Kwen had thought she had looked familiar to the rogue, but with so many undead at the time the rogue couldn't take notice while fighting for his life.
Kwen had met her in some city that he was traveling to when he first went on the run. She had hired the rogue for a job, then payed Kwen, then had him booted out from the city, but not before Kwen had borrowed her undergarments and hidden them around the city.
It had been the first time Kwen had been on his own, he had been gripped hard by a desire to spreed a bit of chaos and something simple as minor theft. Shard had promised to find the rogue and make him pay for the trespass, but she had a smile when she said it.
" I'd prefer if you didn't try to the contents out my purse, plus I think you owe me for bringing you back." Kwen says with a grin, letting go of Shard's wrist he melts back into the crowd.
Kwen spots Rockbite and grins, glad that the troll had made it back to the mortal coil, getting a few mugs from the troll hadn't been too difficult. Kwen gives a chuckle at Sajeek, the Val'Shir was almost asleep, which sounded wonderful so Kwen found a spot away from the party and stretched out, the back of his head resting on his bed roll. Hearing footsteps the rogue looks up and sees Shard walking over to the rogue.
Shard sits down next to Kwen and steals his mug then says " Now we are even. Perhaps you can tell me of your travels when you have a free moment." She starts to talk to Kwen then looks over, the rogue is already asleep. Shaking her head she ruffles the snoozing rogues hair and waits for him to wake up.
The drift of four tendays and provides the party an opportunity to recuperate (full health and mana, no ill effect) and go over their items, which a quirky wizard named Ksenya identifies for you at no charge. Ksenya is strange, and appears to have decided that he is a member of Pravus Mortis, for he simply inserts himself into private conversations to discern when "they" are leaving. The way he asks it leaves no question that he sees himself as part of the "they" he is referencing.
Several orc and gnoll scouts are seen tracking the actions of the group, but none come any closer than a few miles away.
Nogglegrop returns with 7 tiny gnomes in tow, along with a female gnome that he dotes upon, by this time there is a heavily-guarded pathway to simply walk up to the grounds of the manour. Your cleric starts to introduce his progeny, but then gives up as the little imps refuse to remain still. His wife gives each of the party a look that would freeze flame for putting her mate in danger with his foolish adventures.
Nogglegrop laughs it all off, hugging his mate and waving off any hard feelings that might be felt within the group. He whispers, "None of my kin would come", there is less pain in his eyes when he spoke of being a pariah in the past, "but I have sent invitations to all of those that we have encountered in the past, especially those disposed by the crazed wizard in th..."
The gnome is interrupted by the wizard Ksenya, who tsks, puts his hands on the cleric's shoulders and shakes his head. He wanders off leaving behind booming laughter. That one is addled for sure.
Nogglegrop continues, "Anyway. I have also arranged for something else." He smiles at Revery, and the truth of Arwen's arrival is seen within the next few days.
You lose count of the dwarves at 100. There appears to be no central authority, just simply dwarves melding into parts of a larger organic need to fix that what is broken, and to shore up defences. They have been busy, and have done the bulk of the work that will shore up the basic defences:
The rooms of the manour are yours to do with as you will. Your servants await your decision on where they can stay. This is especially important since the snows have fallen and it is starting to get bitter cold.
Ksenya sees to the room assignments. Putting all of the servants and guards in the Hostelry and Monastery.
(please post what your character has been up to over the past 40 days, how you have helped the preparation of the grounds/manour/future city, roleplaying flair welcome here, and include a description of your character, hopefully with either cold resistance (3) or cold weather gear ready to travel as soon as the sun crests the sky)
Things are moving on their own, and those that are working assure you that they can take it from here. The bones of Justis will be here waiting upon your return.
You feel the itch of the road dragging at you, for you have been sedentary for far too long and have a weapon of impossible power that awaits you.
Sajeek looks at all the dwarven master craftsmen had accomplished in a rather short time. Not to mention the paladins and people who had returned to life and stayed. They knew that a decent length of time had passed, and their families would have grieved and moved on.
The vah shir was a bit unsure of how to feel about their devotion to Pravus Mortis. Not that he thought any of them were being false with the group. It just perplexed him a bit. It just seemed odd, all they had done was destroy the curse. Well, actually, they had managed to reveal the truth of what happened to a goddess, and she took care of the clean up and resurrections.
Looking to either side of him, Sajeek grins. Bast sat to his right, looking up and waiting for his ears to be scratched. Hexes' white dog Koashii sat to his left, also waiting to be pet. The Beastlord was glad the two animals got along with each other. The dog was absolutely fearless of the tiger. The vah shir enjoys the growing friendship with Hexes.
Kwen made sure that the servants had rooms that were warm, that there rooms had means of keeping them safe and warm. Kwen also asked Shard to see if she could find out if Nflic the little scamp in Freeport had managed to make it safely since he left. In some ways he wanted more information on what was going on, in others he wanted to make sure that Nflic wanted a place to be safe. He also informed Shard to not put herself into any danger on his account, and only go once the weather had broken into Spring, to be careful as the civil war could still be going full tilt.
Shard and Kwen were attracted to each into, one the reasons why Kwen had liked Shard so much was the fact that she had training as a bard but she had a streak of rogue curiosity that was what so enjoyable about her being here. Still; Kwen had much on his mind, and wanted to help the dwarves as much as he was able too. Sadly the rogue didn't have much in the way crafting or stone carving, still he spent time helping searching when the dwarves needed someone to look out for some possible dangers or if they wanted help looking through a tunnel. Not that the dwarves had much use for a rogue, so most days he spent walking through the manor and making sure that no other surprises were waiting for anyone to come walking into. After all there was the necrognome that had laid traps so Kwen didn't feel safe until he was certain that there was no traps.
Kwen also changed from the forest garb, into his black outfit, the one with the crimson undertones, as for the cold, the rogue had made sure that the longcoat had the ability to add another layer to the lining to help secure the wearer from the cold weather.
The longcoat could be modified for spring weather as well, the lining could be removed. He had payed a lot of coin for that coat. Kwen also needed a few more outfits made, Shard knew a fair amount about creating tailored outfits. Kwen enjoyed staying active, speaking with the paladins, trying to learn more about undead creatures and how to fight them.
Kwen wasn't going to covert to a new religon though, he stayed respectful though, and more information wouldn't hurt, and at least the rogue would have a better idea of what could happen.
Revery tries to set up a sort of structure to the organization of the city, based on areas of expertise and interest.
He suggests this structure to the other four, with the area of concern and the temporary leader of that portfolio
1. City maintenance, construction, architecture and art (Revery)
2. City Defense (Jinx)
3. Citizen Health - mental, physical, spiritual (Nogglegrop)
4. Food and Drink Production and Preparation (Sajeek)
5. Citizen and Foreign Relations (Gwendalyn)
Each of these portfolio includes any requisite training involved in each.
He suggests each of the interim leaders seek out a more permanent leader amongst the citizenry. Then they will work together to ensure smooth running of things in their area, and eventually promote the other to the permanent position should he or she be fit for the job. Each of them will maintain their interest in that portfolio for some time into the future.
Revery realizes his list is preliminary and likely full of gaps, but he has been tired and distracted since Arwen arrived... And he finds that hunger again, hearkening back to an oath made in Freeport seemingly so long ago.
The Dwarves warm up to Revery when he shows a very high aptitude for learning the practices of construction. He studies hard, and tries to learn all aspects of building and maintenance - not enough of the craft to do it himself, but an understanding of the skills, issues and practices so that he eventually learns how to spot weaknesses, things that need fixing or improving, materials involved, and choosing the best options to make it all work, practically.
One of the Dwarves, Dunduin Dur, is middle aged and has a great deal of experience dealing with all aspects of construction. At first he pays little heed to Revery's questions, but he's patient enough and so is Revery. After a time, Revery's questions become deeper, and even helpful on occasion. The others involved in the construction work all have a good deal of respect for Dunduin, and he works well with all of them. Dunduin will likely be Revery's choice for the "construction boss" going forward.
On the subject of design of the city, Revery opens the question up with the others, including Arwen and other close friends who have been made recently.
Arwen is a healer, but she's also an elf, and she finds the stone in this place a bit much. Happily, the gardens are extensive, and require work, so she starts helping out in them - trimming, planting, designing. Revery hadn't known about this side of her, but he's glad she has something else to keep her busy.
Revery's pet project is also very personal to him. He begins work on a small statue of she for whom this place is named. A life-sized statue of Justis. But this is just a prototype, insists Revery. The real one, the one at the entrance to this place, will be much, much larger.
He looks for grey stone to free the elf girl from, but if he can't find any, the dark stone will do. It can always be painted, and it is just a model of the real thing.
On this project he looks for advice from Gwen, Sajeek, Kwen and Noggy, as they knew Justis, and they re-founded this place.
Jinx spends the majority of his time organizing the defense and studying with the priests of Quellious. He quickly discovers that favor from the gods comes not from learning dogma. The history and stories of the gods are important to understand them, but it is the guiding principles of your heart that dictate which one to follow. In his case, the realization that chaos and battle often lead to strife and destruction has lead him to follow the tenants of Quellious.
As he spends more and more time in meditation, he becomes more in tune with the will of Quellious and he begins to show signs of divine favor. He can heal with a simple touch as well as call upon the goddess' aid in battle. For while he acknowledges battle is to be be avoided whenever possible, there are times it is not. Jinx takes an oath dedicating himself to the service and protection of all those who desire nothing more than a peaceful existence.
Nogglegrop agrees that he should be the newly crowned king of Justis. SInce he moved into the master bedroom, a wise suggestion by Ksenya since he was staying behind when the others inevitably hit the road again, and he had 9 gnomelings to lasso. He agrees with Revery that the assigned tasks would fit his skill set perfectly.
Ksenya waves away any suggestion that he should take a role in the city, though if truth be told no such offer was presented, for he was too busy with his gardening. The addled old wizard spends hours and hours outside with Arwen tending to the plants, as they try to coax them back from the brink. She is polite enough to not stare when he forgets to come out with his clothes on.
Justis as a city remains nothing but a concept. The first step was to carve out a stronghold, which is what has been done. Now the majority of the dwarven forces will depart, leaving only a handful as guards, who will chip away at the foundations of a future city, though that will not come to pass for several years.
Looking around his room (#21), Sajeek's ears twitch as he listens to Bast snoozing on the floor. It felt odd, to have a room. The vah shir still prefers to be outside, but the thought that he had his own refuge.., was nice. Looking out the window, the young Beastlord mulls over the recent events.
Noggy's wife was less then impressed with them, that much was pretty clear. The cleric's small army of children seemed like they would be more then capable then keeping Noggy out of trouble. Or get him into it. He didn't really believe the gnome when he said that he was staying at first. As the days marched onwards, Sajeek saw that Noggy was truly serious. It didn't seem very likely that he would leave his family again. The vah shir supposed he couldn't blame the man.
While the young Beastlord had spent a fair amount of time aiding the 14 dwarves, he spent just as much time combing through the manor and grounds. Now that it wasn't full of undead, his curious nature wouldn't let the manor sit uninvestigated.
Gramorn Leatherfoot, otherwise known as "Jinx" by those he has encountered as of late, has found a Quellious' good graces, permitting her to act as her holy champion.
His title is "knight".
While it is difficult to find respect for the apparently addled Ksenya, he is a powerful wizard with the title of "evoker".
Kwen gets up from his bed (room 22) eager to get on the road, Kwen finds himself feeling like he needed to move. He finds himself pacing his room, wondering what he else he could do until the group was on the road.
After a few weeks of studying with the clerics, Jinx gathers his companions after supper one night. Taking a deep breath he begins, "I have something to share with you all. Jinx, as some of you may have suspected, is not my real name. The name Jinx was given to me by the Blooded, my former mercenary company. As we were fighting, the dwarves we were fighting against kept muttering about being jinxed because a halfling bested several of them. They immediately began calling me Jinx and I have been known as Jinx ever since."
"My birth name is Gramorn Leatherfoot, and I feel it is time to return to that name. The name Jinx indicates chaos and bad fortune; my oath now is to improve the fortunes of those around me and bring order and comfort to them. I am skilled in battle, but no longer will I seek it out as a means to test myself."
"Well met Gramorn," Sajeek raises his glass to the halfling. The warrior had been spending a great deal of time with the clerics of late. Something seemed to have rubbed off on the halfling formally known as Jinx. Gramorn has a sense of calm about him now. Before, the little man always seemed to be looking for a fight. And had a tendency to get in arguments with his hammer.
At Ksenya's words, a confused look comes over the vah shir face. He looks over at the aged human.
"So, what again made you decide that you are coming with us?" Sajeek rather bluntly asks the older man. "You wander around forgetting your clothes half the time. And while you are a talented gardener, I don't see I really don't see that helping us out very much while we run around Norrath. Usually, being chased by something large and nasty. Plus, I don't to feel responsible for your death." Sajeek sets his wine glass down and looks at the "caster".
"So old one, what makes you think you are coming with us?" Sajeek asks seriously, not mockingly. "How do you plan on being able to help us out?"
Though not entirely sure how they ended up devoting a city to one little girl, she helps Revery get the statue right.
Gwendalyn's face lifts in a ghost of a grin at Sajeek's question. It was an excellent one, especially without Noggy coming along. The brunt of keeping everyone alive would fall on her again.
Of course, the risks they took and the dangers they braved should be enough by itself to only attract the fit, but could also attract the ignorant or addled. It remained to be seen which categories Ksenya fell into. "And am I only fit, or also addled?" she has the wisdom to wonder in the privacy of her own mind, pretty sure that she was at least not ignorant. Not after what they'd endured.
Revery raises his glass, wondering about Jinx's, no Gramorn's newfound devotion to Quellious. It is quite a change for him, and Revery wonders how permanent it is. He certainly seems very serious about it.
He smiles, "Congratulations." He wonders if he himself should redouble his dedication to the goddess. For the past several weeks he has been avoiding the issue entirely, except when Jinx had brought it up. More time, I need more time, he thinks.
At Sajeek's question to the wizard, Revery raises his eyebrows up on his high forehead, as if doing so will help him hear the answer.
Sajeek chuckles at Ksenya, shaking his head in disbelief. A grin tugs at his muzzle.
"No, I promised my foster mother I wouldn't attack my elders anymore," the young Beastlord laughs and takes a drink. "Okay, so let's start simply. Can you keep up with us if we have to run for a length of time? Can you fight in battle, or cast spells?" Sajeek asks of Ksenya. "I don't want to drag someone through our battles just to have them be slain outright." The vah shir looks at the older human.
"What do you do Ksenya?" Sajeek asks. The vah shir picks a slice of bacon off his plate and gives it to Bast.
The tiger had already finished his own plate of breakfast meats and was silently staring at Sajeek with his mismatched gold and green eyes. Or anyone else who seemed to be ignoring their own cooked meats.
Looking the old man over, Gramorn looks over at Sajeek and then back at Ksenya, "So, what sort of spells are you handy with? You certainly don't have the look of a warrior or a knight and I've never seen you with a weapon in hand besides your staff. I don't figure many your age would be seeking out adventure without a trick or 2 up their sleeve."
Chuckling at the beastlord the halfling warns, "Sajeek, best be careful my friend. My guess is this old man could wave his hand and render us both helpless, or burn us to cinders."
" Oh that is great, I did find some new ingredients and needed someone to test out my mana burning poison, I need to make sure I got the proper ratio down." Kwen says with a wink, " Nah, I'm just kidding, all things aside, who was supposed to be in charge of public relations? " The rogue asks innocently, already having the feeling that this was going to be his job.
Kwen was sitting down in his chair balancing it on two legs instead of all four, his mind on other things, like how much time they would be spending traveling, and what the others were looking for, it seemed like so long ago they had been searching for someone to teach them the Iksar tongue.