DM Brainiac's Age of Ashes

Game Master Brainiac

Current Date: 11 Rova, 4719 AR

Map of Breachill
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Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Hardly containing her excitement, Pril quietly makes her way back to where the others are being tended to.

"Holy peanut butter crackers, folks!" she says when she reaches the resting spot. "I think we've found the gates!" she says as she bounces up and down. "There's a room in there that if elves didn't construct it then I'm a one-eyed dwarf. And there are five blank arches leading out of it. You've gotta come and see!"


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Allandír looks Pril up and down, with as much of a gleam in his eye as the bloodied strips of clothing and flesh hanging from his lean frame will permit. "You are, ah, very much not a one-eyed dwarf. But I am, alas, in need of a rest."

He gives a grimace of pain. "There is a reason I use a bow."

Nell and I are out of it for the day - STRONGLY suggest we head back to town.


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Oh, I absolutely agree with retreating for now - we're toasted. Pril, on the other hand, is a gnome on the edge of something new, fantastical, legendary, and exciting!

"Oh, come on!" Pril cajoles, taking the elf's hand. "You're not even going to come and look?"

Dark Archive

Male Medium Human Cleric 4 | HP: 29/29 | AC: 13/13 | F: +7, R: +9, W: +12 | Dec +9, Dip +9, Itm +9, Lore +8, Med +10, Per +12, Perf +9, Rel +12, Soc +8| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1, D Font 0/4, Wand 0/1| 1st: Bless, Bless, Magic Weapon, 2nd: Dispel, Dispel, Sound Burst| Active Conditions:

"Pril Piddwiemog!" Lucius may not be chronologically older than Pril but he speaks with the absolute authority of an elder lecturing a child. "Calm yourself now! The most wonderful discovery is worthless if it leads to our deaths! Now wait while I use what gifts I have left and then we can investigate the gateways. Briefly!"

That said he stares at the gnome until she calms down and lets Allandir stay where he is. Once she complies he produces the wand and prays briefly over both Allandir and Nell.

Heal Nell: 2d10 + 16 ⇒ (9, 2) + 16 = 27
Heal Allandir (Wand): 2d10 + 16 ⇒ (4, 3) + 16 = 23 If it doesn't use my stats then please reroll. :)

"Now we can go." He concludes, "But I have no more healing magic. Any more injuries I will have to treat in the mundane manner."


With Allandir and Nell healed further, you investigate the room Pril discovered. The six statues that surround the fountain depict six deities associated with the elven pantheon—they each look outward from the room toward the elf gate they’re associated with. Allandir can readily identify them. Starting with the most northeastern statue and going clockwise, these statues are Alseta, goddess of doors and transitions, Yuelral, goddess of crystals and magic, Findeladlara, goddess of architecture and art, Ketephys, god of hunting and the moon, Calistria, and Desna.

The northeastern aiudara is destroyed, but what remains is still decorated with designs of lotuses and icons sacred to Alseta. The next aiudara is decorated with images of crystals, and its upper arch bears designs like those of stalactites. Icons sacred to Yuelral adorn the aiudara. Decorated with images of sunsets and beautiful architecture in what appears to be a desert or savannah, the third aiudara is devoted to Findeladlara. Images of hawks and moons, interspersed with jungle vegetation and trees, decorate the next aiudara, along with icons sacred to Ketephys. The fifth aiudara is adorned with images of wasps, whips, and the waves of the open sea, along with icons sacred to Calistria. Butterflies, stars, and images sacred to Desna adorn the final aiudara.

As you approach the aiudara sacred to Ketephys, the arrowhead that you took from Malarunk begins to glow faintly.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

The tall elf doesn't budge as Pril takes his hand. "Whatever's there, it will still be there tomorrow," he observes calmly.

He winces as his flesh stitches itself back together. "My thanks Cardinal, but I think we should head back nonetheless."

I don't think healing magic cures the Wounded condition that Nell and I both have.

Dark Archive

Male Medium Human Cleric 4 | HP: 29/29 | AC: 13/13 | F: +7, R: +9, W: +12 | Dec +9, Dip +9, Itm +9, Lore +8, Med +10, Per +12, Perf +9, Rel +12, Soc +8| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1, D Font 0/4, Wand 0/1| 1st: Bless, Bless, Magic Weapon, 2nd: Dispel, Dispel, Sound Burst| Active Conditions:

My Battlefield Medicine checks do though. :) Glad I took that feat now!


Yes, no longer wounded.


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril looks around the room in wide-eyed wonder, taking in the magnificence. A large sigh finally follows. "Ok, Allandír, let's go back to town."

As the begin to leave and the single gate begins to glow faintly, she seems to collapse in on herself. "Awwww, man!" she mutters in frustration, but continues the trek back to the surface.


You make it back to Breachill without incident. You are able to rest and recover before returning the next day to the chamber containing Alseta’s Ring to examine it further!


Male Medium Human Wizard 4 | HP: 33/33 | AC: 19/19 | F: +8, R: +8, W: +8| Lore +10, Per +7, Nature/Society +10| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1| 1st: Gust of Wind, Pest Form | Active Conditions:

Ervan takes however long it takes to assess the damage to the portal and registers it with painstaking detail. Every nick and scratch goes into the book. He does, somehow, refrain himself from adding detailed notes to every single bit of damage on how it ought to be repaired and what it might cost. "What gets me is how these ... dreadful individuals managed to activate the portal and, in its damaged state, got through in one piece. I'll need more time to see what damage was done after the arrival of these uncouth creatures and what damage predates them."

It suffices to say that Ervan isn't particularly paying attention to anything that isn't the portal.

Ervan has 'Specialty Crafting - Stoneworking' and such useful lore skills as Engineering, Architecture, and Mining. Perhaps some of these will be useful here.


When you return, the strange woman Renali asks to accompany you as well. She cocks her head as she stands beside Ervan and studies the inoperable portal. "As I said before, I would be grateful if you could get this gateway functioning again that I might return to my home in the Mwangi Expanse. The jungles are dangerous and not for the faint of heart. I will happily travel with you and serve as your guide if you will have me."

Ervan Identify Magic: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30

Physically, the gate is intact, but the magic that courses through the stone has been put slightly askew by some form of powerful magic that seems to be emanating from within the portal itself. Ervan notes that whatever is causing the damage seems to be a part of the magic within the portal and not the portal itself.

Since he is a skilled stonemason, the wizard thinks he will be able to repair the portal with a bit of work.

Donwtime Activity: Repair Huntergate:
Prerequisites: trained in Crafting or Thievery
Requirement: You have the Huntergate portal key
You use the hunter’s arrowhead to guide the misaligned magic of Huntergate back into the proper pathways through the stone’s intricate carvings and decorations. You must attempt either a Crafting check to Repair (in which case the hunter’s arrowhead serves as the repair kit needed for this activity) or a Thievery check to Pick a Lock (in which case the hunter’s arrowhead serves as the thieves’ tools needed for this activity). Regardless of the skill used, the activity takes an hour to perform, and the DC of the check is 24, with the following effects.
Critical Success: Huntergate is repaired, and any hazards that might lie beyond are reduced in power.
Success: Huntergate is repaired.
Failure: Huntergate is not repaired, and the character who attempted the repair becomes clumsy 2 for 1 hour as an orange arc of magical energy lances painfully through their body. A new attempt to repair the portal cannot be made again for 24 hours.
Critical Failure: As failure, but the magical backlash also deals 6d6 fire damage to the character attempting the repairs.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Allandír is similarly fascinated, having obviously heard of the aiudara but never having seen one up close. He examines it closely, careful not to touch it or get in Ervan's way.

He pays particular attention to the carvings, trying to determine what (if any) meaning they may have.

Lore (elves): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15


The carvings on the walls are of an ancient elven style that dates back to the Age of Legend, a time before Earthfall. Allandir is able to identify the designs on the archways as sacred to the gods and goddesses each one is devoted to.

See my earlier post detailing the statues and the gates.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)
Pril Piddwiemog wrote:
As the begin to leave and the single gate begins to glow faintly, she seems to collapse in on herself. "Awwww, man!" she mutters in frustration, but continues the trek back to the surface.

The tall elf gives her a gentle smile as they return the following morning to explore the gates at their leisure: "There, was it not, ah, worth the wait? See here, each of the gates has its own deity: Alseta, goddess of doors and transitions, Yuelral, goddess of crystals and magic, Findeladlara, goddess of architecture and art, Ketephys, god of hunting and the moon, Calistria, and Desna. The arrowhead we took belongs to this gate." He gestures at the gate marked with images of hawks and moons, interspersed with jungle vegetation and trees. "Ketephys. Who only knows what is on the other side."

He gives a small frown. "But of course, we have to, ah, open the gate, first." He gives Ervan a curious look. "What say you? Can it be repaired?"


Male Medium Human Wizard 4 | HP: 33/33 | AC: 19/19 | F: +8, R: +8, W: +8| Lore +10, Per +7, Nature/Society +10| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1| 1st: Gust of Wind, Pest Form | Active Conditions:

The wizard tries to shed his taciturn mannerisms and answer Allandir's question with more than a simple 'yes'. "Yes, it can be repaired. The tool required to fix the broken magic is the hunter's arrowhead. Since we now possess it, we need only invest the necessary time. I am confident I can repair this. Stonework and magic are my specialties and I would rather turn Chelish than hire someone to do this for me."

Repair (Craft) vs DC 24: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28

"I could write an entire thesis on this gate ... but for now, repairing is paramount. Only the Gods know what else might want to come through from the other side."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril spends the evening in town in the tavern, her feet bouncing up and down in anticipation of what may come the next day. She closes out the common room and when returning to her room, continues to pace around as the excitement is almost more than she can bear. It's only through the structure of her training that she gets any sleep at all.

After returning to the elven room, she continues to pace back and forth while Ervan examines the gate that might still work. As the work continues on and on, her anticipation gets the better of her and she moves around the room examining other aspects of the chamber.

Her attention is drawn to the double doors.


Ervan works diligently to repair the stonework of the archway, successfully realigning the magic contained within. Once Huntergate is repaired, touching the hunter’s arrowhead to the portal causes it to activate. The stone within the aiudara arch turns into a churning curtain of gold-and-silver mist. The portal will stay open on this side for 10 minutes, after which it can be opened again by using the arrowhead.

Meanwhile, Pril approaches the double doors. When she tries to enter the room, the door seems to open as a towering iron construct steps forward to bar entry into the room. It wears a metal mask and wield a sword and shield. It immediately speaks in a sonorous voice in Elven, saying, “The custodian of Alseta’s Ring dwells beyond. Only those who carry her blessed sign may pass.”


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril takes steps back as the iron construct advances. When it begins speaking in elven, she turns to Allandír. "Allandír?" she calls out, hoping that he can clear up the obvious misunderstanding.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

The mysterious construct gets Allandír's immediate, undivided attention. He looks at it closely.

Elf Lore (have I ever heard of these things?): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24

"It seems to be some sort of, ah, sentry. It will let you through if you have a symbol associated with Alseta." He looks thoughtful. "She isn't one of my deitirs, but I would imagine you could acquire a symbol in town somewhere." He gives the gnome a mischievous smile: "It will keep you from dying of impatience while Ervan repairs the gate."


Allandir recognizes the construct as a door warden, a type of guardian that was often used by elves before Earthfall. The name is literal, as their shields are indistinguishable from doors when they are immobile. Though capable of speech, they cannot be reasoned with, as they are bound to protect the chambers they guard.

You remember finding a symbol of Alseta in Citadel Alterein that had seen use as a paperweight. It might serve to bypass the guardian now.


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

If the thing doesn't look like it's immediately attacking ...

"Fine then, while you folks pretend to be masons, I'll go find a key disguised as a paperweight," the gnome says with a grin as she exits the room with quick feet.

Off to retrieve the paperweight.


The paperweight was silver so you probably took it with you.

Presenting the symbol of Alseta causes the doorwarden to step aside, allowing you access to the room. This plain rectangular room contains several empty chests, old wooden tables, and mostly barren shelves. It may have once been used as a vault or records room, but today, only a few scraps of paper remain.

Searching the room reveals one important document left behind: the deed to Citadel Alterein!


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3
DM Brainiac wrote:
The paperweight was silver so you probably took it with you.

Aren't we just the efficient murder-hobos. :) :)

As Pril examines the room that's been emptied of almost anything of interest, she finally crows with excitement as she holds up a single parchment.

"We found it!" she crows. "Jumping jam and bouncing butter, it's the deed to the citadel! It's ours!"


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Allandír looks around, taking in the rubble-choked ruin, the dust, and the general dilapidation. "...Indeed. I, ah, don't suppose it's still under warranty?"


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril responds to Allandír's quip with an outthrust tongue. She spends the rest of the time Ervan is working on repairing the archway with thoughts of cleanup and decoration.


Possession of the deed grants legal rights and ownership of the citadel to the deed’s possessor, by local, national, and Hellknight law. Technically, the Order of the Nail could contest this ownership, but as Alak Stagram told you, his order has little interest in Citadel Altaerein or Isger today, and that it is unlikely to contest the your claim to the ruined castle. After all, the cost for repairing Citadel Altaerein and maintaining it is not something the Order of the Nail is eager to front—whether or not you yourselves are prepared to foot this bill is something that you'll have to decide for yourselves!

Returning to Ervan's repairs, Renali inspects the functioning portal. She nods her head in a jerky movement. "It is done. The way to the Mwangi Expanse is opened. But the jungle is not for the faint of heart. I would suggest you take some time to prepare yourselves for an arduous journey. You will likely be gone for some time. Make sure you have done all you want to do in town before you venture forth. I will be patient and wait until you are fully prepared."

You can only wonder at what sort of adventure might await you through Huntergate...

Congratulations on completing the first book of Age of Ashes! Everybody has gained enough XP to reach level 5!

You now have as much downtime as you wish to prepare for the next adventure. See the Campaign Info tab for downtime activities you can take to administer, repair, and upgrade your new keep! Please refer to the Age of Ashes Player's Guide for more information about NPCs in town, as well as a downtime activity to influence and befriend them.

You'll also want to purchase new gear. Remember you have a 5% adventurer's discount on all purchases in Breachill. Also remember you can transfer runes from magic arms and armor, so that you might equip yourselves with gear more suitable to what you use.


Male Medium Human Wizard 4 | HP: 33/33 | AC: 19/19 | F: +8, R: +8, W: +8| Lore +10, Per +7, Nature/Society +10| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1| 1st: Gust of Wind, Pest Form | Active Conditions:

PRETEND TO BE A MASON?! It's that the gnome manages to slip away before Ervan gets his thoughts back together after seeing them scattered to the winds by Pril's words, or else!

Besides, it's not like he has more pressing matters to attend to. Like, say, repairing an ancient elven gate! Not a real mason ... my name will be mentioned in every arcane journal after I write a paper on what we've found here and how I repaired it!


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Some quiet evening ...

Allandír:

Allandír's quite late evening is disturbed by a quiet knock at his door. Opening it, he finds a fidgeting gnome on his doorstep.

"Hey, there," she says in greeting and holds out an expensive bottle of dwarven brandy with sheepish smile. "I'm pretty sure I owe you an apology and an explanation for ... uh ... for what happened before," she says as her bright green eyes dart down to the ground before looking back up at the elf and then in towards his living area. "May I ...?" she asks, indicating one of the chairs inside.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Pril:

The elf's emerald eyes sparkle as he invites her in. "You are welcome, but I should tell you that you are wrong on, ah, both counts. No apology is needed, nor explanation."

He opens the dwarven brandy and pours them both a generous measure. "That being said, I shall of course listen to anything you wish to tell me." He looks at her keenly. "But if I had to guess, it would, ah, have something to do with memories of a previous - and presumably lost? - romance. Something to do with the streaks of blue in your hair that you worry are fading out?"

He hands her the glass of brandy.

"Unless of course, it is my turn to be wrong on all counts."


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Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Allandír:
Pril takes the drink and necks it with just minor coughing. Walking over near the fireplace she lowers herself down to greet Little Peeper and pull her in for a hug. "I feel that I do owe you an explanation at least. I hope you'll forgive me if I ramble a little. It's still ..." Her gaze drifts to the fireplace and she's silent for a moment.

"About two years ago," Pril begins, but then pauses as she considers something. "In fact, it will be exactly two years next week," she clarifies with a sad smile. "It was my turn in the recruitment rotation and I found a place to wait about a week away from the temple. It was near this ford. I think someone was preparing to build a bridge there and there were these logs stacked up along the trail. I sat on one and waited." She looks off into the distance. "As you may have figured out, that was how we got new students; Master Wickt was very particular about how we recruited - there were ... rules ... to follow. We didn't chat with them or answer any real questions. They had to want to come to us. Even if they didn't know it." She frowns.

"So I've got my butt planted on this log," she continues. "And I've been there for two days when I see, sneaking towards me through the underbrush, this dark-haired halfla (a halfling woman)." Her gaze grows distant for a moment and it's clear she's seeing her in her mind's eye. "Well, she gets close to me and then stands up in surprise. 'You're not a dwarf,' she says. 'I was paid to kill a dwarf and you're not her.' Now according to the rules, there were only a couple of things I was allowed to talk about, but I could never keep my mouth shut and had to ask, so we started talking. Her name was Henrietta."

Pril smiles at the memory.

"Three days later and I led her back to the Temple. She was accepted as a student almost immediately. To my surprise and utter annoyance ..." she raises an eyebrow, "... it was determined that she would share my room. It was in the attic above the buttery and was only five foot to the ceiling. But since Hena ... Henrietta was a halfling, they felt that it was very efficient to put us together." She laughs. "By the end of the second week of her stay, I was ready to strangle her. She seemed to find every single nerve I had and press on it. Her clothes were everywhere. She left dirty cups all over the place. She snored. The fact that she adored the color blue enough that over half her clothes were some shade of it." Pril shakes her head. "It came to a head one night when I came back upstairs to find her smallclothes - this godsawful shade of peacock - dangling in the window and breadcrumbs on my bed."

The gnome rolls her eyes and chuckles.

"I lost my temper and proceeded to call her every name in the book - some of them twice. She just stood there and grinned at me and that just made me madder. I have a feeling that they heard me all the way over in the library. When I finally ran out of steam, she was just standing there - still with this weird smile on her face. I asked her if she had anything to say at all?"

She sits quietly for a moment before her hand moves up at the memory to gently touch her lip.

"She kissed me."

Pril closes her eyes reliving the sensation. "It was like I came alive in that moment. The kiss ignited something within me that I didn't even know existed." Her cheeks take on a pink tone. "We didn't leave the room for a day and a half. I suspect that there was a conspiracy of some sort because, in spite of both of us having chores to do, no one came to check on us in all that time."

The small woman ponders for a moment or two.

"From a rational point of view we never should have worked, but ... we did. I came to discover that we completed each other. I've never felt that way about anyone." One hand reaches up to gently touch one of the small blue braids in her hair. "Our story should have had a happy ending. But ... as you've probably guessed - it doesn't."

She rises from the floor to put Little Peeper back in her spot in the corner and climbs back up to take a seat on one of the chairs.

"I went out again about three months ago to recruit. I came back with this young kid - probably fifteen or sixteen." Her eyes darken. "The ashes were cold when we arrived back at what was left of the temple. Every single building ... nothing but burnt timber. They hadn't even fought back. I found everyone in the main courtyard - or at least what was left of everyone. Including ...", she shudders and her voice breaks, "... including Hena. I could tell it was her because she was still wearing the gold charm bracelet that I'd given her on our one-year anniversary."

"Would you like to see what she gave me?" the gnome asks, tears beginning to brim. She reaches down to lift up the left side of her loose tunic. She raises it up to just under her breast revealing the head of a dragon curling under the swell. The image is done in a shimmering gold. She turns away and pulls up the rear of the garment to show that the dragon continues across her back - covering the majority of her freckled skin with the metallic art. There are runes above and below in a strange script. She continues to turn until she faces the dour elf again - raising the right side of the front to show the tail of the dragon curled under her right breast. The shimmering gold trails off, however, along her ribs, leaving just the dark outline of the unfinished image. After a moment she lets the cloth drop back down to her waist.

"She began it for our anniversary and would work on it every Fireday because that was our day of rest. She would work until I couldn't handle the needle any more and then we would make love for the rest of the day. But she'll never get a chance to finish it. We'll never get to ..." She reaches up to wipe her eyes. "There are so many things that she'll never get to say or do and it's all my fault. Don't you see? It's my fault. I broke the rules. I was the reason she died. If I had followed Master Wickt's rules, Hena would never have came back to the Temple with me and would still be alive ... somewhere. I have to follow the rules."

She takes a breath to steady herself before continuing.

"I buried them all and then I left. I don't know where the kid ran off to. He took one look at the ash-pile of ruins and lit out. My first thought was that it was a dragon, but there were strange footprints that were not draconic in the ashes. I don't know who or what was responsible. I just know that Hena shouldn't have been there. She should still be alive."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Pril:

As Pril settles herself down to talk, Allandír gently scoots Small Peeper and Talitha out the door: "They are small warglets, still: I would rather not talk of, ah, death and suchlike in front of them," he explains by way of apology for interrupting the gnome.

He then listens in silence for her to finish.

After a long pause to give the matter due consideration, and show that he is taking her seriously, he responds. "I am wary of giving advice, if only because the decisions I have made in my past do not always, ah, withstand scrutiny. But it does appear that you are taking a great deal of blame on yourself. From what you tell me, Hena was a hired killer when you met her. If you had not drawn her into your life, is it not likely she would have remained as such? Such people live violent - and mostly brief - lives; I do not see that you can say for sure that she would still be alive."

He breaks eye contact briefly, brushing at imaginary dirt on his clothing in order to give Pril some time to take this thought in.

"Another thing that occurs to me: you changed Hena's life for good, in all senses of the word. It sounds as though you brought her tranquillity, and calm, and love. If you broke the rules to achieve that, they were worth breaking. And - supposing you could speak to Hena now - what would you tell her? Would you truly say you wish you hadn't met her? I imagine she would, ah, have something to say about that in reply."

He makes a wry face: "But truly, if you're looking for me to say something sensible, it would have been wiser to do that before showing me your breasts..."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Allandír:

In case it was misleading, Pril didn't actually reveal her breasts - just her torso below them.

Pril frowns a little but doesn't interrupt as she listens to the elf's words. At his comment about her breasts, she rolls her eyes and smiles.

"Men are so easy to distract. Show them a little skin and all the blood drains out of their heads," she says with a small laugh. "I can't imagine what it would do to you if you saw something pink."

Her smile fades slightly.

"I'll think about what you've said," she continues in a more somber tone. "But I can't help but feel that she would have been better off if she'd never have met me."

She sits quietly for a moment, looking down at the empty glass in her hand.

"I am attracted to you, Allandír. And I'm pretty sure that you find me ..." She shrugs her small shoulders. "Actually, I'm not really sure how you see me. Usually big folk treat me like a child. The fact that I'm two or three times their age doesn't seem to change anything. So when one of them shows that kind of interest in me I get defensive." Her face looks upwards at him. "I don't get that creepy feeling from you. So that's nice."

"I have to warn you, though, I'm kind of a mess right now. Part of me feels like I'm being unfaithful. Which is strange, because Hena would have her clothes half-off already trying to drag both you and me to bed. But she was always more forward than I was."

"Nearly flashing my boobs at you aside, I don't think I'm ready for something like that yet. But ..." She looks around the comfortable looking room. "Could I stay here tonight?" she asks.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Pril:

I got that - it was just Allandír's way of lightening the conversation which was getting quite heavy :)

Allandír completes Pril's sentence with a smile: "...I find you intriguing, and beguiling, and yes, very attractive. But I won't try and, ah, compete for you against your old love. It is still a recent grief, and that takes time to heal."

He takes another sip of spirits from his glass, savouring the taste (as an elf, he lacks Pril's ability to absorb strong drink). He gives her another broken-toothed smile: "We have the advantage of time that, ah, humans lack."

He's about to say more when Pril asks to stay the night, making him splutter and spend a few moments coughing as the brandy fumes go up his nose. "Ah, that is, yes... although now I am somewhat confused."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Allandír:

Probably the last 'heavy' stuff for a bit. ;)

Pril smirks a bit at Allandír's confusion, but her eyes are warm. "I didn't even show you anything pink and look at you all conflundered."

She reaches out for the bottle, refills her glass and tops off the elf's half-full one. Picking hers up, she swirls the contents around and watches the light play across the amber liquid.

"I have a feeling that it won't be long until ... that ... happens, Mister Dinúvriel, but I was just ... I didn't mean ..." her voice trails off and her smile fades. "Since Hena's been gone, I've found that I miss having someone next to me at night - someone else's breathing. The feel of their heart beating by me." She lifts the glass up to her lips and swallows it down. She sets the glass back down and looks around the warm room again.

"But I can understand how that could be awkward for you and ... and not really fair. I'm sorry, that was asking too much."

She turns her glass upside down on the table.

"So, what do you think is on the other side of the aiudara?" she asks.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Pril:

Allandír gives a wry smile as Pril elaborates: "I understand, now, although I have never shared a bed simply for, ah, warmth; although I'm not opposed to new experiences. But perhaps another time."

When the gnome switches topic to discuss the gate, he considers carefull. "The creatures we encountered were from warmer climes, for sure. Possibly Osirion? Or the Mwangi Expanse. And the symbols on the arch are those of Ketephys, lord of the hunt. Although whatever structure may have been there would be long since destroyed, I guess."

He gives her a quizzical look: "What are you hoping might be there?"


Part 2: Cult of Cinders

11 Rova, 4719 AR

You spend the next several weeks repairing the extensive damage done to Citadel Alterein. Lucius proves a competent administrator, managing your budget and organizing workers from Breachill to come and perform the manual labor necessary for the overall. Ervan puts his exemplary crafting skills to work, leading the workers in repairs and overhauls to the existing building. In just a little over a month, the courtyard has been cleared out, the battlements and stairs completely renovated, and the place is looking a lot more livable.

The urge to explore what lies beyond Huntergate has continued to grow during this time, and soon it becomes almost too much to bear. At last, the group decides that the time is right to venture through the first active aiudara in Alseta's Ring. You'll want to be sure you are fully prepared before stepping through the gate...


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Allandír:
Pril simply nods her head in understanding at the elf's deflection of her offer.

"I'm just hoping that there'll be something exciting through the gate," she says and a smile returns to her face. "I have little doubt that I won't be disappointed."

~~~~~

As the work continues through the month on the keep, Pril offers her aid where possible, but her skills don't lie in the crafting arena. So her aid, more often than not, doesn't actually help. Once the clean-up is finished and the majority of repairs are coming to a conclusion, she begins eyeing a portion of the central courtyard and questions if there will be room to set up a training ground there.

There are a few weepy evenings spent with Allandír, but they become less tearful and more uplifting as the month draws on.

On the morning that they've gathered to discuss making a trip through the active aiudara, something seems different about the gnome. Allandír finally narrows down the change; The two small braids in her hair that were blue before are now as gold as the rest of her shining locks.

"So, should we be taking food with us?" she asks. "Or is this just a scouting mission?"

Her large eyes widen even further at a thought. "Do you think there's a chance that we'll get through and not be able to come back?"


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

The tall elf's demeanour has changed as the time approaches to activate the aiudara. While never carefree, exactly, his time with Pril (and with the congenial company of the group as a whole) has worked a change on his character, gradually and by degrees.

Now, though, he is all business. His armour is fully repaired, his bowstrings are waxed and he has checked the fletching on each of his arrows several times before securing them in his quivers. His bladed weapons are oiled, sharpened and loose in their sheaths, ready to be drawn at need. His green eyes absently note the lack of blue braids in the gnome's hair, but his focus is on her question. "There is no such thing as 'just' a scouting mission," he informs her grimly.

He does not raise his voice, but he has increased its intensity to make sure he has everyone's full attention. "We have, ah, no idea whatsoever what lies through that gate. All we know is that the things that have come through are from a hotter climate. We cannot, ah, presume that there will be food or drink available. I want everyone, without exception, to be carrying enough food and water for three days. That way, if it takes us a while to reactivate the gate, we aren't dependent on foraging."

He means it: he will actually check everyone's pack to make sure that they have the rations and water he deems necessary.

"Once we are through, we stick together - nobody runs off or separates from the group. If we run into trouble, we leave. The signal to retreat will be screaming and swearing."

He looks at the group, his green eyes intent. "Any questions?"


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

"What kind of swearing would you recommend?" Pril can't help but ask the elf with a grin.


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Allandír doesn't crack a smile. "Loud."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

"Well, of course it'll be loud. There's no point in swearing unless you're going to do it loudly," she says with a roll of her eyes. "I can swear fluently in Taldan, Draconic, Gnomish, and Sylvan," she says, ticking off the languages on her small fingers. "I can also manage reasonably in Halfing, Dwarvish, and little bit of Goblin." She raises her eyebrows innocently. "Did you have a preference?"

She sets her bag on the ground in front of the elf as he attempts to keep a straight face. "And if you're going to go through my bag, please leave spare underwear just where you find it. It's my special set."


Male Elf (Woodland) Ranger (Precision) 5 I HP 61/61 I AC 22 I F: +10 (E) R: +13 (E) W: +11 (E) I Perception +11 (E), Low-light vision I Speed 35 ft I Conditions: Trackless Step
Bruynarth:
HP 48/48 I AC 19 I F +9 (T) R +9 (T) W +8 (T) I Perception +8 (T)

Allandír is very familiar with the game Pril is playing. It's called silly beggars (in polite company, anyway). But he can play it too.

He shakes his head, and leans down so that the tip of his nose is almost touching her own. His voice is even softer than usual. "I disagree: swearing does not need to be loud in order to be effective. Allow me to demonstrate. So pick up your ******* pack, show me your rations and water, and stop ******* around."

Dark Archive

Male Medium Human Cleric 4 | HP: 29/29 | AC: 13/13 | F: +7, R: +9, W: +12 | Dec +9, Dip +9, Itm +9, Lore +8, Med +10, Per +12, Perf +9, Rel +12, Soc +8| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1, D Font 0/4, Wand 0/1| 1st: Bless, Bless, Magic Weapon, 2nd: Dispel, Dispel, Sound Burst| Active Conditions:

"Perhaps we could save the foul language until a real emergency?" The Cardinal asks, a slight smile on his face, which the whole group now recognises as his 'the youngsters are being silly, but let them be' face. He seems to wear it a lot when Pril and Allandir are around...

"Hopefully we will not be gone too long." He continues. "The basic work on the keep is done, but it would not be good for us to leave for too long - it would raise more questions and make for awkwardness within the community."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril doesn't show any reaction as Allandír leans down to go nose-to-nose with her. Her smile doesn't diminish at all and if her cheeks pink slightly it could be blamed on the excitement of a new adventure.

After his carefully punctuated instructions, she reaches down into her bag and shows her waterskin and wrapped snacks, her expression not changing other that an eyebrow raised in question.


Standing beside the rest of you, the strange woman Renali cocks her head and steeples her fingers. "I know the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse well. There is plenty of fruit and fresh water to be found, if you know where to look for it. It is prudent to bring extra rations to be prepared, but I should be able to gather enough supplies for all of you to keep you fed and hydrated during our travels."

Once you are well and truly ready, you touch the hunter's arrowhead to Huntergate. The stone within the aiudara arch turns into a churning curtain of gold-and-silver mist, at which you can simply step through the portal.

The mists of the magical portal fade, revealing a twenty-foot-wide passageway stretching off to the distance. The walls of the tunnel seem to be made of hardened lava, long ago scorched and melted. Tiny cracks and fissures line the walls, within which an orange glow flickers, giving the tunnel a soft, fiery illumination. The wall of gold-and-silver mist from the portal glows from behind, while a similar faint glow beckons about a hundred feet ahead. The air is almost uncomfortably warm and smells of smoke.

Once you are all inside the tunnel, blasts of fire and smoke pour out of the tunnel walls to coalesce into the burning form of a enormous red dragon! The fiery manifestation roars with rage!

Initiative:
Allandir: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Cardinal Lucius: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
Ervan: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
Pril: 1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 12 + 2 = 27
Fiery Dragon: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (5) + 16 = 21

Lucius, Ervan, and Pril may act before the fiery dragon! You may attack it directly, or you can try to counteract it in two different ways. If you are an Expert in Religion, you can attempt a Religion check as three actions to destroy the manifestation. You can also try to dispel it with dispel magic.

Dark Archive

Male Medium Human Cleric 4 | HP: 29/29 | AC: 13/13 | F: +7, R: +9, W: +12 | Dec +9, Dip +9, Itm +9, Lore +8, Med +10, Per +12, Perf +9, Rel +12, Soc +8| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1, D Font 0/4, Wand 0/1| 1st: Bless, Bless, Magic Weapon, 2nd: Dispel, Dispel, Sound Burst| Active Conditions:

Religion: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32

Lucius cries out to Abadar and presents his holy symbol to ward away the flames.


The power of Lucius’s faith is more than enough to counteract this manifestation of evil. With a flash of golden light, fiery dragon is banished!

Lucius realizes that the dragon looked an awful lot like classic descriptions of the evil draconic deity Dahak...

Dark Archive

Male Medium Human Cleric 4 | HP: 29/29 | AC: 13/13 | F: +7, R: +9, W: +12 | Dec +9, Dip +9, Itm +9, Lore +8, Med +10, Per +12, Perf +9, Rel +12, Soc +8| Speed 25ft | Focus 1/1, D Font 0/4, Wand 0/1| 1st: Bless, Bless, Magic Weapon, 2nd: Dispel, Dispel, Sound Burst| Active Conditions:

"A manifestation of Dahak..." Lucius murmurs. "Not a good sign."


Female Gnome Monk 5 | HP 68/68 | AC 23 | Fort +11 Ref +13 Will +12 | Perc +12 (+2 Init) | Ki 2/2 | Hero 2/3

Pril's eyes go wide at the site of the spectral dragon, but before she gets a chance to respond, the Cardinal dispels it with his strongly presented faith.

"T-that was ..." she begins, but again she's beaten by the priest.

"Yes, it was obviously Dahak. But why here? Why now?" she exclaims before turning to Lucius. "And why did you get rid of him so quickly? There are so many questions I could have asked him! Do you know what the chances are of that happening again? I'll never get a chance to do that again!"

The gnome continues down the tunnel towards the other gate, her shoulders slumped in dejection.

I'll assume that Pril would recognize the manifestation as well, seeings how she has a +10 in Draconic Lore. :)

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