NPC The Storyteller's page

21 posts. Alias of Clebsch73.


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I'm between classes now, but still pretty busy. Next term will be much the same, but I'd like to try to get things rolling. It will just be halting during the week when I'll be putting in a lot of overtime.

So with the armies victorious, the six heroes gathered at the gates of the citadel to enter and cleanse the fort of demons and their allies. They were fortified with the righteousness of their task, confident that the gods watched over them. But gods still require valor of their servants, and the creatures waiting within would be some of the strongest and most vicious they had yet faced.

Map is up. PCs are at the bottom outside the front gates. It is the only reasonable entrance, as the gates were broken in an earlier battle and never repaired, making it impossible to lock them.

The main double doors of the gate stand slightly ajar, allowing a cautious look inside. The doors and ceiling are tall enough to allow horse riders to enter without dismounting. The passage was designed with a portculis that could be lowered to prevent entry, but that too appears damaged, hanging with its bottom five feet above the floor. Doors flank the hall and another set of tall double doors (intact) block the far end. Nothing is visible, although there is a distinct smell of sulfur throughout. There are no lights illuminating the area.

Act/move in any order, but do not move more than a single turn would allow.

"After the leaders of the Knights of Kenabres defeated the mythic chimera and attacked and disabled several of the watch tower catapults nearest the south facing gateway, all the serious impediments to the siege of Drezen were removed. Now five armies began their preparations for the battle for the fortifications built by the dwarves as their part in the limiting of the World Wound. Dwarven fortresses were formidable and the armies of the enemy were filled with demons, human cultists, and tieflings."

The Storyteller paused to light his pipe. The evening's story telling was just getting under way, so everyone was waiting for his dramatic rendition of the battle.

"And so, the Battle of Kenabres finally concluded in victory for the crusaders. The Fifth Crusade had begun," the Storyteller concluded. He let the reaction of the crowd take its course, as both children and adults enjoyed the successful resolution of the tension that had been skillfully maintained by the Storyteller.

Then the Storyteller continued. "Now children, take note of what these heroes did next! They assisted with the cleaning of the fouled shrines and giving respectful last rites for the fallen. Next time your parents ask you to wash the dishes or weed the garden, remember that these are jobs for heroes! And Iomedae blessed them for their piety and devotion, rewarding them for letting no time pass between the defeat of the demon horde and the start of the healing of the city. As they placed the last of the dirt on the graves of the fallen, a faint glowing mist drifted up from the graves and made the air smell as sweet as dew on a spring morning."

They then returned across the city to the Defender's Heart. Some of their euphoria evaporated as they surveyed the devastation the city had still to deal with. And they knew that while the demons may have retreated, it was unlikely they would leave the Worldwound and never come back. But they held out hope that there would soon be news suggesting demons had also been destroyed near the other wardstones, giving the crusaders respite sufficient to regroup and plan their next move.

Indeed, when they made their report to the leaders at the Heart, they learned that message spells had confirmed similar reversals to the demon's attack in the other wardstone cities. They also learned that some were shocked that the wardstone had been destroyed, fearing now that the demons would have little to stop their next attack. Some crusaders scowled and turned their backs on the group. But most showed relief and respect.

As the group moved toward their bedrooms for much needed rest, people watched them go by with eyes brimming with emotion: admiration, awe even, gratitude, and reverence. During the sleep that followed each experienced a singular and memorable dream. The setting of the dream varied for the different people, but each found herself or himself in the aftermath of a hard fought battle. From the mists and smoke of the battlefield emerged a woman with scars on her face and hands but quite beautiful, dressed in plate armor. She spoke with a clear voice full of compassion. "I thank you for your kindness and service, your sacrifices and your piety have been noticed. I regret I cannot reward you more directly in the future. But perhaps this will serve as evidence of my gratitude."

Each person then received a gentle kiss on the brow.

In the morning each remembered the dream vividly and felt even more benefits in addition to those they began to enjoy after the defeat of the demons.

Each PC gains the following: a permanent +2 bonus to the skill of your choice; 5 permanent hit points; a bonus feat of your choice (you must qualify for the feat); and a +2 increase to the ability of your choice.

The first book is complete. Conclude your leveling up and your mythic tier. There will only be a few days between this point and a new assignment from someone very senior in the crusade heirarchy.

"And so, the heroes vanquished the evil foes guarding the wardstone, clearing the way to remove the protective enchantment on the wardstone. Although they were relieved to be able to achieve their goal, the outcome, even if successful, only achieved the minor advantage of preventing the demonic forces of the Worldwound from using the fragment of the magical wall against the crusaders. Even if successful, the demons still occupied the city and driving them out would be as difficult as ever."

The storyteller paused, noting the look of disappointment in the faces of some of the youngest who had never heard the tale before. "But sometimes hope is kept alive by small successes."

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"And so the six heroes stood ready to advance to their objective, the wardstone. They knew they had to destroy it so the forces of evil could not use the fragment against the crusaders. But they knew the prize would not be free for the taking. The demons would surely guard the wardstone with fierce demons, stalwart warriors, and crafty magic. Or were they overconfident, leaving the stone lightly guarded, unable to imagine the crusaders could mount a successful assault on the garrison? All they had to do to find out was open the door and step through. ..."

The storyteller looked up at the full moon, which had just been rising when he began the evening's storytelling session. The faces of the the village looked at him with such intensity, he knew he had them right where he wanted them. He yawned and folded his hands in his lap. "That ends tonight's telling. We will resume after supper tomorrow."

Groans rose all around, particularly from the children. But the village knew that they would enjoy the anticipation. Only the smallest children were unaware of the outcome. Already some of the older children were teasing them with false spoilers about what was waiting for the heroes through the door. "Giant spiders!" one said. Other hints involved disgusting demons, scary undead, and swarms of insects. They would have a to wait a little longer to find out for sure.

I'd like to get a post from Anarya before we proceed, although I don't want to delay past the weekend.

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"And so the crucial battle for the wardstone of Kenabres began. The heroes advanced, being forced by the evil of the city's occupiers to fight the undead remains of former allies."

The storyteller launched into the narrative that would culminate in the fateful attempt to destroy the wardstone, an event that would change the direction of the Worldwound Incursion. It was already dark and a fire illuminated the storyteller and the faces of the rapt villagers who were listening with great concentration. The children who had never heard the story before frowned at the description of the zombies. This was to be one of the most frightening parts of the story for the younger children, but all who listened were deemed old enough to be able to hear the story for the first time.

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"And so, after the briefest of rest, the heroes resolved to push on, to deal with those guarding the approach to the second floor of the Gray Garrison." The storyteller resumed the story after a break. He had not lost any listeners. Some of the children who may have fallen asleep before hearing the outcome of the previous battle could be seen getting a quick summary from some of the other children, with a few disagreements spicing up the retelling. The old man smiled, knowing this was the way of storytelling.

"The heroes needed to get up a small staircase and the enemy was at the top and they knew they were there. That meant they would be vulnerable to attack before they could engage the enemy. The enemy had some magic they could throw at them as well, darkening the room, but the forces of light were not without their own magic to counter it. So they planned their next move carefully."

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"And so your heroes discovered the baby of the great silver dragon, Terendelev. The heroes would learn in time the full story of how Terendelev traveled around the Inner Sea, trying to use her influence to encourage the good and the lawful to join a new crusade. While in the country of Molthune, her recruitment speech attracted the attention of Spravilvost, a relatively young bronze dragon who was living there disguised as a human. They spent some time together and this eventually led to Terendelev's discovery that she was with egg."

Some of the older children listening to this gave each other knowing sidelong smirks, which the storyteller ignored.

"By the time she knew this, Terendelev was back in Kenabres. She sent a letter to Spravilvost, but the letter stolen when the messenger fell victim to a scam by the clever half-elf bard, Safthana. She held onto the letter and began to seek out some way to make a profit from this information. It was soon after that the news arrived of the fall of Kenabres and the death of the silver dragon who so inspired the city. Safthana recruited four young dragons she knew to be operating near the Worldwound and added a dragon rider to the host for added protection. She entered Terendelev's manor, leaving the dragon rider at the door to keep the curious looters away and managed to get to the last room before the prize she most sought, a wyrmling silver dragon, which she knew she could sell for almost any price."

"But she had not counted on the presence of true heroes in Kenabres who had an interest in protecting the legacy of Terendelev, including her distant relative Karas. But you know the rest, how the heroes made their way past the dragon rider, past the guardians left to protect their loot, and eventually, past all her mercenaries, until she was nearly killed by Karas raging thirst for revenge."

"Being the noblest of heroes, however, they did not execute their captives. They healed them and bound them and escorted them back through the ruins of the city to the headquarters of the crusade, where the leaders welcomed the discovery and recovery of Arkalendev as well as a chance to try those who came to profit from the city's misfortune. The heroes were healed and celebrated, and then, they got a call from the leader of the crusaders resisting the takeover of Kenabres, Irabeth, to meet Quednys Orlun, the founder and head librarian of Blackwing. The mission they want the heroes to take on might mean the different between final defeat and a second chance at vanquishing the demons from Kenabres and perhaps beyond."

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As the storyteller launched into the next part of the story, all thoughts of romance were forgotten as he described the horrible swarm of undead ravens.

"As the heroes ran to help the unfortunate woman, those who had noticed the unnatural appearance of the swarm had alerted their comrades to the fact that these birds appeared to be dead and yet still they flew after the terrified woman. All, except perhaps the fool, Franti, who had only recently arrived n Kenabres, knew that these birds were likely infected with a disease unique to the Worldwound, called demonplague.

"Of the afflictions wreaked upon Sarkoris by the Worldwound and Deskari’s host, the demonplague was perhaps the most insidious. This vile sickness spread through water, affecting plant and animal life alike. In higher creatures, the demonplague caused madness and then death, but in animals and other unintelligent beasts, it continued beyond death, animating them as undead horrors called plagued beasts. The plague also twisted and corrupted plant life—turning them into abominations like bowel worms, parasites that eat their way out of an infected person's stomach every couple of days, pallid, arm-length, maggot-like, eyeless worm with a nasty collection of toothy mouths on one end. It is but one of a dozen plants and animals I could describe, corrupted by demonplague."

Since Demonplague was by this point in the crusades a well documented disease, here are the stats:
Type disease, injury or ingested; Save Fortitude DC 18
Onset 1 day; Frequency 1/day
Effect 1d3 Con damage and 1d6 Wis damage, and victim is fatigued if it takes any ability damage from the disease; certain creatures slain by demonplague (those with Int = 1 or 2) rise as plagued beasts; Cure 3 consecutive saves

If members of the crusade remain in the city, as rumored, they will likely have potions to help cure the disease.

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As the storyteller wound down his exciting description of the battle for Blackwing, he tried to relieve the nervous energy incited by the events with a touching description of how Karas and Anarya sat talking after the battle was over. Many of the young girls, and, truth to tell, not a few of the young boys, although they would be loath to admit it, were hanging on each word. The storyteller smiled inwardly with satisfaction.

He concluded for the night, happy to let the youngsters chat among themselves about where character they thought should fall in love with which.

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Behind the screen:
Time: 1d24 ⇒ 21

"And so the crusaders who fell into the abyss of caves and tunnels under Kenabres moved ever closer to returning to the surface. They started as strangers but quickly became friends with a dramatic shared story to tell. But they all wondered whether anyone was left in the city to tell.

"They had lost track of time in the sunless underworld. When last they saw the sun, it was a day of hope, but when they fell, they had already witnessed the destruction of the Kite and, presumably, the wardstone. For all they knew, there would be no city for them to return to.

"As they made their way past the mongrel lair, they found themselves in an old sewer system. After trudging along a dried out remnant, they found an ancient set of ladder rungs connecting to a higher level. This level had fresh water in puddles. After another ladder they came to just below street level. They could see out holes near the top of the tunnel that allowed storm water to flow into the tunnels. No light filtered in with the air. They all stopped and listened. No sounds could be heard. The holes were too small to allow anyone, even the diminuative Franti in goblin form, to get out of the sewers. A short distance further and they came upon a disconcerting sight: dried patches of blood splashed on the walls from where it apparently had flowed from the streets into the sewer.

"They continued until they came to another ladder."

The old storyteller paused, savoring the look of excitement on the faces of the children hearing the story for the first time. He patted his pot-belly and sniffed the air. "Time for a feast. The story will continue after everyone has eaten." Groans of protest arose from the many children who would have gladly foregone supper to learn the next part of the story without delay.

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And so, children, the heroes rested after their initial assault on the Lair of the Traitors. They showed great bravery and valor in the first fight, but also admirable restraint and humility, knowing their powers were still forming and their skills had much that needed improvement. They showed mercy to the ones they defeated, something the watching deities took note of with approval. They sent dreams during their sleep to give them subtle guidance toward goals that would eventually bring great rewards.

Now, rested and refreshed they prepared to reach the depths of the lair to find the leader, who carried a secret they would have to win to gain an ally of great power. But that is getting ahead of our story.

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"And so, children, nine people fell to what would have surely been their deaths but for the sacrifice of the silver dragon. Among these nine were six whose destinies became intertwined that moment.

"Though different blood flowed though their bodies--including the blood of human royalty and those more humbly descended, of celestial beings and fiends--yet all carried a strong resolve in their hearts to survive and to avenge the tragedy of the attack on the city."

The storyteller narrated in detail the story, describing each of the nine and some of the dialog they shared, some based on the letters of Franti and the journals of others, some invented on the spot.

"They found themselves beset by various vermin that infest the low places: rats, giant flies, snakes, and even an unholy long-dead priest. They bested every threat that came their way, even a devious kobold illusionist. They rescued a strange creature who would make you run to hide behind your mother's skirts, but the heroes learned what you all need to learn, that appearances do not always match what is inside. The mongrelfolk had good hearts and they helped the heroes endure injuries and disease and provided what they could to supply them for the next challenge, the Lair of the Vile and the Vicious!"

An older girl at the front asked, "Does Karas get married to Anarya?" The look on her face showed that she hoped the answer would be yes.

"You'll have to wait for the rest of the story, for these things take time and there was much they had to do before they could think of such things."

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Terendelev and Khorramzadeh crashed together above the plaza with fury that matched that of the storm. The dragon bit at the demon, buffeted him with her enormous wings, scratched with her claws, and lashed him with her tail, while the Storm Lord swung his sword and whip with blinding speed and skill. Terendelev drew first blood with a ferocious bite, but she was no match for the demon. For every wound she caused, she was struck with three from the terrible weapons of the demon lord. Still she battled on.

Suddenly, from below, the ground gave a sickening rumble and a large section of the plaza began to drop away into a cavern that was just below the city. Seeing that a dozen crusaders and bystanders were about to fall to their death, Terendelev drew back from Khorramzadeh and cast a spell that granted the magic of Feather Fall on those who had begun to fall.

Each of those affected began to drift downward, like dandelion seeds in a spring breeze, but what they could see above them froze their blood. The dragon's selfless deed had given Khorramzadeh an opening, which he exploited with a merciless laugh. His flaming whip wrapped around the dragon's neck and cut so deeply, her spine was severed and her head nearly removed. The light quickly faded from her benevolent eyes and the whip wrapped around her neck. The Storm Lord pulled the limp body of the dragon to the side to collect her corpse as a trophy of battle.

The crusaders drifted into darkness, the sounds of battle drowned out by the crash of boulders and showers of earth which fell around them.

One more post to come. Do not post yet.

Terendelev raised her noble head and sent arcane celestial words into the teeth of the wind. Instantly the wind died down, the rain stopped, and the clouds overhead cleared. For 80 feet in all directions, sunlight streamed in from above. Crusaders cheered and gained hope and courage from the power they took to be Iomedae's sign that she was watching over them still. Many of the demons quailed at the sunlight and retreated for the cover of the storm, still raging beyond this region of magical calm.

The respite was short-lived, however, as the Storm King, Khorramzadeh flew toward the ancient silver dragon to do battle. He had cast magic on himself that made him twice his normal size, at least 30 feet tall, with massive bat wings carrying him three times as fast as a man can normally move. When he saw the sunlight and the crusaders scurrying from the storm to take refuge in the light, he laughed a horrible cackle and cast his own spells as Terendelev took to the air to battle him above the fray to protect the humans from being damaged in the fight. Image of the Storm King

The Storm King's spell caused the ground where the sunlight was shining to tremble, rumble, and then to split into dozens of rifts. From many of the rifts, powerful demons appeared and began to attack those who had been knocked to the ground by the earthquake.

Directly in front of Khorramzadeh appeared an eight-foot tall demon with the head of a hairless wolf, horns, huge bat wings, and a two-handed scimitar with a jagged edge. This was a Gallu demon, sometimes called a warmonger demon. As soon as it appeared, it started casting spells to cause fear and confusion around those crusaders who approached it to bravely attack. Image of Gallu Demon

Terendelev flew at the two demons, breathing a huge cone of intensely cold air. Khorramzadeh cracked his horrible whip of fire and flew directly at the gargantuan silver dragon, apparently little harmed by the dragon's icy breath, while the gallu simply waded into the region of quaking earth. Each step caused new rifts to appear nearby.

PCs please do not post until the last of a series of posts from the GM go up. Thanks.

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The initial panic caused by the apparent destruction of the wardstone subsided relatively quickly as the well-disciplined crusaders recovered and began to form improvised battle groups and direct civilians to get to cover. The standard bearers of the various organized factions of crusaders were already flying before the attack, part of the pageantry of the Armasse tradition. These surged toward the west and the crusaders drew weapons and began to advance as well. This gave the civilians incentive to put themselves anywhere but between the oncoming demons and the crusaders. The leaders who had witnessed the destruction of the Kite from the vantage point of the raised platform had quickly moved through the crowd seeking out their standard bearers and men and women at arms.

One question remained to be answered: was the wardstone destroyed and if so would demons now be able to teleport into the city? The question was definitively answered when an 14-foot tall balor demon appeared on the plaza in front of the Temple of Iomedae at the opposite end of the Old City from the cathedral. His red skin flickered with flames interspersed with electric tendrils. He wore a night-black breastplate and wielded a massive jagged longsword and a flaming whip. Veterans of the 4th Crusade recognized this demon as none other than Khorramzadeh, the Storm King, the same demon who damaged the Wardstone 20 years ago.

He stood still in the middle of the plaza, apparently concentrating on a spell, for there suddenly appeared above him and covering the western half of the Old City a dark cloud that immediately rumbled with such loud thunder that many under its shadow were deafened. At that same moment, demons began to teleport in, some erupting from tears in the earth itself. The Inner City became an instant battleground, but one with no clear lines of battle, only clusters of Crusaders battling hideous minions of the Abyss.

Yet in the midst of such a desperate fight, shouts of excitement, cheers, and praise to Iomedae rose from those in the Clydewell Plaza at the sight of a young woman with long blond hair and no weapons or armor transforming and growing into the protector of Kelabres, Terendelev, an ancient silver dragon. It filled the western end of the Clydewell Plaza, raising her head high to locate the Storm Lord and flaping her wings to prepare to take flight.

Caught between the silver dragon, two long fountains and the Cathedral were a knot of six thrown together by the circumstances. East of them, a cluster of three crusader allies battled a mallor demon, a dretch, and a human wearing crusader garb but an unholy symbol of Baphamet on his chest.

One more post coming. Please do not post until it has appeared. Sorry this is taking so long, but I've had to work around a few technical issues this morning.

Lord Hulrun's words were obliterated by a tremendous crash of thunder from a lightning bolt that struck the Kite, turning everything white for a moment. When all eyes turned to see, where the fortress housing the wardstone had been was now nothing but a plume of red smoke wreathed in sheets of electrical energy. Movement from the direction of the storm caught everyone's attention next, accompanied by a dizzying cacophony that surged toward Kenabris, a mixture of wind, driving rain, and the spine melting ululations of a thousand demons headed straight for the city's heart.

And so as the people watched Lord Hulrun ascend the platform and stand before the crowd, the plaza was balanced on a knife's edge of anticipation to hear his words that Armasse could begin and desire to seek shelter before the storm broke. Flickers of lighting and rumbles of thunder nudged the crowd one way while the ruler of Kenabres' words tugged them back.

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A hush fell over the crowd as Lord Hulrun and his entourage moved slowly toward the speaking platform. Attitudes toward the leader were mixed. Some admired him for his zealous inquisition to root out remnants of the old Sarkoris shamans and witches during the Third Crusade. Others resented or even hated him for the exact same reason. Perhaps more than either of these groups were the crusaders too young to know much about those times over 40 years ago.

As people waited for him to reach the stage, more than a few nervous glances were made toward the skies. The day had dawned remarkably clear for a city on the edge of the Worldwound. Any day when sunlight touched the streets of Kenabres was considered a good day. But as noon approached, so did dark clouds from the northwest. Even before the rift opened, violent thunderstorms frequently stampeded across the plains. But now when storms came through the Worldwound, they rained down more than water, thunder, and lightning. Dark magical energies rippled across the skies and dropped strange creatures or acid rains into the cities and farms of Mendev.

It was usually best to get indoors before such storms struck, but people were so anxious for the start of Armasse that they waited despite the towering thunderstorm as black as midnight that seemed only minutes away from the West Selen River. Lord Hulrun looked back, saw the clouds and immediately picked up his pace to get to the stage the sooner and beat the arrival of the storm.

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As noon approached, the heart of Kenabres, the old city, filled with people eager to see the ceremony to open the Armasse festival. The old stone buildings were crowded together with little space between them except the narrow streets. The west and east end of the old city were dominated by two structures, the Temple of Iomedae and Clydewell Cathedral. The cathedral was the spiritual heart of Kenabres and the most visible structure in the area, rising above the walls, its green copper spire a reminder that Iomedae was watching over the city. The temple, though smaller than the cathedral, was also an impressive sight with its massive domed roof. Also visible from the old city was the Kite, an emblem of the city's role as defender of Mendev, a twenty foot tall kite shield facing the twisted realm of the Worldwound across the West Selen river that flowed past the city at the foot of high cliffs. The Kite marked the well-fortified and guarded building wherein stood the Kenabes Wardstone, a tall stone obelisk covered with arcane runes that invoked powerful protective magic that stretched all the way north and west to the next wardstones along the border.

Between the two massive buildings were two open plazas, in front of each building. Most of the people were milling about the Clydewell Plaza, where a platform had been built for the city's most important citizens, rulers, and military leaders. Already on the platform were Nestrin Alodae and Eterrius Sunnestier, the two highest ranking clerics of Iomedae. Nestrin was quite old, with a soft white beard, resplendant in rich vestments befitting the leader of the most popular religion of the city and of the Crusades. Eterrius, though younger, was also the director of activities at the cathedral and more active in coordinating the resources of the the church with the military activities of the Crusades.

Other dignitaries waiting for the arrival of the ruler of Kenabres were Hatherelm Arir, a widely admired playwright from Cheliax, Captain Chun Dawai, the Tien soldier responsibile for keeping order in the crusader camps north of the city, Kimroth Otai, who lost his right arm fighting demons and now runs the largest inn in the city, Quedyns Orlun, the founder of the Librarium of the Broken Wing, the premier library for researching anything related to demons and planar travel, Caelda Halse, an aasimar swordsmith who held a newly crafted longsword which was to the prize for the winner of the combat contest, Crocris, a half-elf druid who tended the many parks and gardens throughout the city, Juliani Nalti, the crusader promoted to oversee the protection of the massive winched crane which is needed to lift supplies imported to the city from the river below.

All the leaders of the prominent crusader orders were present, resplendent in their polished armor and ornate holy symbols. There was Commander Ciar Cobelen of the Everbright Crusaders, Miammir of the Order of the Flaming Lance, Commander Ashus Striegher of the Order of the Sunrise Sword, and the stone-faced Liotr Hawkblade, chief inquisitor of the witch hunters who patrol the city looking for evidence of corruption and possession. Various other civic leaders and bureaucrats filled out the ranks. Also present was Beltran Ravenken, spokeman for the secretive Riftwardens, who study the effects of the Worldwound on the land itself.

The name Terendelev was on the lips of many, who hoped they might see the ancient silver dragon who resided in the city and was rarely seen. Although she had never attended the festival in her dragon form, many still hoped she would grace the ceremony with her presence. Although it was known that she sometimes mingled with the people in the guise of a human female, none were sure what she looked like. Most looked for a tall woman in paladin gear with silver-white hair, but if she was in attendance, none had yet positively identified her.

A murmur went through the crowd as the ruler of Kenabres, Lord Hulrun Shappok, emerged from his large home near the plaza. Replendant in his polished armor, the sword of Iomedae emblazoned on each shoulder plate and on his large shield. He began to walk toward the plaza, accompanied by a number of soldiers and a few aids holding scrolls and other documents important to the event. It would take several minutes for the ruler to make his way toward the platform where he traditionally opened the event with a short speech. People began to shift closer to the east end of the plaza to get a better view and to hear the speech.

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The Storyteller walked slowly into the lodge, stepping carefully past many seated children in the open area in front of where the adults sat on benches, finally reaching the ‘speaker’s chair,’ a throne-like seat raised slightly above the floor. He positioned a cushion and sat, rose, adjusted the cushion, sat again, stood a little, fluffed the pillow to shift some of the stuffing, all the while watching out of the corner of his eye the children fidget in anticipation.

Finally comfortable, he spoke: “As you know this is the first night of stories in the new year and it has been seven full years since we last told the great story, the one that must be told lest we forget the sacrifices and the courage of those who, so many years ago, sought to seal the Worldwound, the rift between the Abyss and Golarion that opened at the exact moment the great god Aroden died.”

The storyteller paused for dramatic effect and surveyed the faces of the crowd. “It will take us many nights to properly tell this tale. As you know, storytellers love to embellish stories, to add details, to gloss over some things and makeup things to fill the gaps in our understanding of what went on. Be it known, however, that this is the true telling, as taught to me by the great storyteller of Arkestan, who is the keeper of the archives with the written records of those momentous events. Among these are the letters of Franti the Fool, who had pledged that he would write a thousand letters to his dearest love that she might after that agree to marry him. Others wrote of their parts in these events, of course. My story is as close to what really happened as can be told. Someday, one of you will take my place and it will then be your responsibility to do the telling. So listen well and remember….

“We start our tale in Kenabres, in the year AR 4713 on the 12th of Arodus, which falls near the middle of summer, although summer so close to the Worldwound was a pale shadow of what we enjoy. Seventy-five years before, one of a series of enchanted wardstones was erected in this now fortified city on the edge of what had formerly been the land of Sakoris. Just twenty-five years prior, however, a demon lord had damaged the wardstone during a savage assault. Yet the wardstone still held its magical power to keep the demons at bay.

"Those terrible days of the Fourth Crusade that followed were becoming distant memories, but the city still maintained its border vigil. The festival of Armass was therefore a welcome break from the grim task of defending the world from more demon onslaughts.

"Then, as now, the sages of the community held forth on the lessons history taught about how to defend oneself in wartime and in peace, the warriors of the city taught the common folk how to fight with the weapons they could secure around their house-holds, and many other entertainments were held such as jousting tournaments and demonstrations of fighting techniques. But before any of this could begin, the ruler of Kenabres, Lord Hulrun, had to open the event with a ceremony at high noon in front of the cathedral of Saint Clydwell. The Clydwell plaza was jam packed with crusaders, residents of the city, pilgrims, and tourists. Whether by luck or fate, six particular people found themselves standing near each other as the speech was about to begin…"

PCs: Make an introductory post, outlining briefly the events that led you be standing near the speaker's podium in Clydewell Plaza, including your thoughts about this place and this day.