Picture it, Narayan. Tensions are growing high as the goblins have been restless in the Southern Mark. Some say they are amassing for war. A war Narayan really can't afford right now.
Me? Why thank you for noticing me. Get the wench to bring another ale and I'll tell you a little of what is going on. I'm Lucik Malek. General ne'er-do-well, rabblerouser and rogue. Now don't sell me short, I'm also the friend and confidante of Navan, crown prince of Narayan. Not that his bodyguard or father care for me, but Navan reminds me of the little brother I lost so long ago. Maybe I can keep him alive where I couldn't my own blood.
Navan? Crown prince of Narayan. Not that he wants the throne. He'd rather be out brawling and carousing, which I can't really blame him. But with the current events teh way they are, he may be rising to the throne faster than any of us want, or expect.
Thea, the head of the prince's personal bodyguard? Heh, now there is a strong woman. Give you a run for your money and then demand correct change. She does her job well watching over Navan, but knows how to have fun. I like her fire. If I were ever to settle down....
The other players in this little tale? Oh where to start.
Anya, Magistrate of the Blind Lady, dispenser and interpreter of the laws od Marduk. She can be a bit uptight at times and I know she doesn't think highly of me. I try to give her reason not to like me. She cringes whenever I come into view, winking at her and patting her firm bottom. Her boyfriend doesn't like that, and neither does she.
Yes, her boyfriend...the elven ambassador Dryden. I don't know too much about him or why he is here, and I don't like not knowing things. Not that I have much say in things, I'm just a ruffian.
Ah yes, Erich. One of the palace guards who somehow got caught up in our little tale. Of the blood of the orcs, this one seems to bear a lot of responsibility and discipline on his shoulders. A strong companion and good to have in a fight, if not quiet. I need to make it a boint to get on his good side. Perhaps the nice bottle of wine I nicked on the way out of the city would losen him up a bit.
Bevyn is Erichs shadow. Another guardsmen caught up in our little game of Conqueror. Along with him, Thea brought 4 of the princes personal bodyguards. Able guardsmen and loyal, unfortunately I don't think they will be around long.
So you see, thats our little gang. Now, where's that wench? Have her pour me another ale to whet my whistle and I'll see about spinning the tale of how this mess all began.
So tehre Navan and I were, sitting in the Beaten Dog with the first rays of dawn touching the eastern sky, having a last round of ales before sneaking the prince back to his palace tower when it happened. The gongs started. Gongs that could only mean one thing. The city was under attack. The goblins were at our door with their cup, refusing to go away even when it had been filled with our blood a hundred times.
The light flashed in Navan's ale-clouded eyes, "Lucik! We should go see what is going on! Do you think its the goblins?"
"What it may be, my prince, is beyond my thoughts right now. If the alarms are sounding, something is wrong. We can find out what is going on back at the palace, and perhaps get a better view of things."
Making our way back through the city streets to the garden wall outside the palace, we slipped in through the door disguised as an ivy covored wall. Thinking, foolishly, that the passage was a little known secret, we slipped through the darkness, only to bump into Thea. Of course she would know about it. "Your highness, I have been ordered to take you with me, now."
"Where are we going, Thea? What's going on? Wait! I need to stop back at my room!" spoke the prince, excitedly.
"Yes, Thea, what is going on and where are we going?" I speak up, stepping out of the shadows.
"The king has ordered me to bring the prince and the prince alone, with me." The guardswoman spoke, looking at me curtly.
I smiled. "Yes that's all well and good, but we all know I'll be coming along as well. You can't watch Navan at all times. Besides, you may need a glib tongue in the times ahead."
"A lying tounge...", replied Theya snidely. I feigned insult. "...but OK."
We made our way through the passage to the princes chamber, where we ran into a large party of guards with the magestrate and her lover-elf. It seemed all 30 of us were to sneak out of the city. Yeah, that wont go unnoticed. Thankfully, the magestrate spoke up, asking that the palace guard of 12 be pared down to two. I pointed at Erich, the orc, stating his strength would be a well needed addition as he could stand in the place of two other men. Thea had four of her force with us as well. So our pared down force of 11 made for the outer walls where Thea said she knew a way out of the city.
On our way through old town, someone brought up the need of supplies and rations. I spoke up that I knew of a tavern where the people would be helpful to us. We ducked into the Rusty Nail and asked the owners for supplies to help us out of the city. They mentioned they were heading out of the city and we were welcome to whatever was left. Packing our packs full of rations, and water, I slipped into the back room, and down into the cellar where I had hid out many times. I slid my money pouch into my coat and strapped my crossbow bolts to my shoulder. Tucked the coded document in my shirt, close to my chest, and grabbed the last bottle of Old Narayan Red off the rack.
"Lucik, c'mon," The prince's voice called out from above. "We're leaving." I climbed out of the cellar, passing Navan a wink and a smile, showing him the bottle, and joined the group. Soon enough we had passed through the concealed passage and outside the walls.
With an invading army of goblins from the west and an invading army, most likely the prince's dear uncle, from the east, we went north. After a small skirmish with a goblin scout party, we turned west, in homes of getting to Surmia. After a couple days, a unit of the Northern Mark soldiers approached. We had spend some time sorting things out that we were refugees from the city, and that Navan was no one of importance. I had used my skill in disguise and the mystical aid of the hat I had had for so long, to change his appearance. Not that many people outside of Narayan City knew what he looked like, it was a good idea to keep a low profile. We had the guards cover their shields and ditch their uniforms, so they looked more like generic guards.
The commander of the unit hailed us and ask us of the news. We told him of the two invading armies and he rode off to raly the Northern Mark.
That evening, I woke up to screams. Thea, on watch, had dropped to the ground, blood pouring from a wound in her side. Her eyes pointed me in the direction of the assailant, just as a bright flash of light erupted in the woods. The light backlit the creature. It looked like some form of giant bug, like a mantis, with a triangular head, a thin abdomen and thorax, from which sprouted 6 limbs, two which it stood on, two which carried double ended, crescent shaped spears, and two which flung the crystal shards that had impaled Thea. Taking a shot at it from the ground, I stood up and looked for the Navan. The bug creature leapt at Erich, slashing it with its double spears, causing some blood. The orc remained quiet as it lay on the ground, fighting as best he could. Bevyn approached with his glaive and thrust, wounding the creature.
About this time, a myriad of people arose from the ground, shooting at the bug creature. I spotted Navan behind the creature as I sent forth a burst of arcane energy at the creature, hoping to daze it momentarily. The creature, swinging its spear at Erich, also threw one of those crystal shards at one of Thea's guards, catching it in his throat. The guard dropped like a sack of potatoes, blood gouting from his throat. But the creature was rewarded with a flurry of blows that took it down.
Before bedding down for the rest of the night, I picked up one of the crystal shards. Five points each of a different color, red, blue, black, colorless and green. I overheard Anya and Dryden talking as they examined one of the blades. They mentioned the name Tiamat, the adversary.
When we awoke later in the morning, we fouind that Erich and Brvyn had dug a grave for the fallen guard. We took to collecting stones to build a cairn for him. I bent down and put a copper over each of the fallen guard's eyes. Anya, appearing beside me, asked why I would do that. I mentioned he sound need it to buy his way across the river oof the dead. After looking at me skeptically for a moment, she bent down and replaced the coppers with silvers. "Now he will ride across the river in style." I an so going to The Hells. Fostering superstitions in a magistrate and a priest can't be a good thing.
The next day we came within sight of the city. Drydyn and I scouted ahead to determine of the city was safe, and were greeted by a squad of armed guards. We used our cover of being refugees and that we hadn't been sure if the city was safe. We two were sent ahead of the rest of the party. They took Drydyn with them to collect the others and escorted me into the city.