A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default The Colonization of Terenuri (IC 2)

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    All - [Paddleston - Caves]

    The roaring sound that has filled the party's ears since they initially arrived appears to quiet some as the alien monstrosity disappears from view. Each person still has the ringing of SOON in their head, the way in which a large explosion leaves a ringing in one's ears.

    The high priest remains frozen and unmoving, and the ice itself does not appear to be melting despite the relatively temperate, humid environment. The remaining statue's eye no longer gleams, and the alter and tome also appear inert. Althanis clutches the ritual book in his hands, encased in ice, though Roman was able to snatch one page before the horrific explosion suddenly ended the combat.

    From within the water, from beyond the cavern walls, seemingly from beyond the borders of reality, you suddenly hear it. A hideous shriek, like the unearthly call you’ve heard so often since your arrival at Paddleston, but somehow changed. Somehow even worse . . .

    It is a cry of rage, of fury unabated. Without pause, without breath, it continues, rises, until you can scarcely hear your own thoughts. On it goes, and on, for minutes on end, until you fear your very sanity must crumble beneath its weight.

    And then, just like that, it is gone.

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    Roman - [Paddleston - Caves]

    Roman sees, through eyes half-open, his friends and allies stop staggering and clutching at their heads. He ends his meditative chant and takes the plugs from his ears, murmuring thanks to Lady Visenia for her boon of mental protection.

    Finding none of his party in immediate need of help, the eladrin then takes special inks and powders and specially prepared paper from among his magical supplies and quickly performs a ritual to capture the image of the frozen squid-priest in detail. The page also shows the intact statue and the altar, in gruesome, evocative color. "Perhaps Terza or the townsfolk will know who this man is. I should also ask them to direct me to a wise elder who might know how to read this page ... and whether it's safe to do so. I don't want to even attempt prying the rest of the book from his hands. That might have even more groteque results, or cause him to come back to life. Mysterious are the ways of this alien magic." He sounds detached, as if retreating to a rote persona for the task of dealing with horror.

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    Besides a lot of talking, I mean. I'm claiming that Mental Block protected me from the worst of the psychic scream, and I'm using Photostatic Limning ritual to take a picture.
    Last edited by Dimers; 2015-03-16 at 11:16 PM.
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    Hallowhiem and Jirus - [Paddleston - Caves]

    Hacking away at the ice surrounding his legs, Hallowhiem steps towards the frozen man. "I want answers. What is coming SOON? Either I will take them from this man, or if we deem him too dangerous, I will smite him."
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    The second piece of advice is "don't build a hybrid", but hey, this is Tegu8788's game and he's kinda the High Priest of Hybridization, so you're cool there.
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    Damaia

    Damaia leans against the cave wall. She rubs her forehead, trying to dispel the remaining headache from that spirits foresaken screaming. "I'd like answers as much as you do, Hal. I don't know if this one is going to give them to us. He seems more devoted than anyone to this... whatever it is." She glances down at his legs that had been replaced by tentacles with a shudder.

    "I don't have any problem if you want to try to revive him to get some answers, but I wouldn't expect much. I'd suggest we do something to restrain him and blindfold him before you try though." She pulls a stray lock of red hair out of her eyes and tucks it back behind her horns.

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    Jastor Fontaine

    "I'd have to agree with Damaia..." Jastor comments. "If we're going to free him here and now we best have a plan to restrain him in some manner once he's free form his icy prison. Assuming he even survived of course..." The sorcerer eyes the frozen high priest and the blood running from his eyes. He wonders whether the man had once been of nobler cause and then somehow fell to the state they currently found him in or if he had always been such a zealot. Perhaps they'd get a chance to ask him that if he had survived the whole ordeal ... and the wrath of Hallowhiem of course.
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    All - [Paddleston - Caves]

    The party is able to free themselves from the ice with relative ease, though High Priest Althanis remains encased in his frosty prison. Damaia's flaming rapier appears to produce enough heat to begin melting Althanis, though any chance of interrogating the man seems to disappear when the man's fingers, then hand, appear to fall off. As the ice continues to melt away, other body parts drop, some shattering on impact, others landing with a discomforting squelch.

    "Hello? You guys alive down there?" a voice shouts from near the mouth of the cave. A torchlight appears from above, as faces come into view. "Roman, say something! The rain . . . it stopped!" Terza and two of her guards arrive on the scene. "I didn't feel good about not going with you guys, but after that crazy scream and then the rain stopped, I thought the worst." She regards the frozen Althanis, "So . . . is it over?"

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    Throk

    Throk nudges one of the pieces of Althanis that fell to the ground with his toe. "Yeah," he responds to Terza, "we iced him." With the heat of battle leaving him, he seems to have reverted to his normal laconic self.
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    Roman

    Roman blinks with a blank look on his face at Throk's pun, then tucks away the rest of his ritual tools as he turns his attention to Terza. "We hope it's over. It's over for the here and now, at least. We and you and your guards seem to have ... put to rest ... the cultists involved. They were --" He struggles to find an appropriate word in the pidgin Eladrin most of the people use for cross-cultural communication. "They were bringing a water-demon here, and we seem to have driven it back to its horrible home. Had lots of tentacles -- like our friend, here --" He taps a piece of the cultist priest. "But much larger. Do you know this man's face, by the way?"
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    All - [Paddleston - Caves]

    "Hmmm" Terza walks forward, peering at the frosty visage of the High Priest. "I can't say that I have. Certainly not looking like that" she says, indicating his tentacles. "I recognize her though, the coot who ran the church, right?" she offers, pointing to the body of Mother Sharallan. "My guess is that she was the 'face' of the operation, and he was the 'brains'. I mean, seems like a sweet old lady could work the recruitment angle more than a creepy old man, right?"

    Terza gestures to one of the guards who walks over to the statue and pulls out a knife. Popping the large gemstone free from the eye, he tosses it over to her. She catches it, letting out a low whistle. "Not bad, not bad. Probably fetch a few hundred gold in the right market for this. You guys interested?" One of the other guards rummages around behind the altar and produces a small chest. With a grunt, he forces it open, revealing a half-dozen small vials and a handful of coins. "Decent haul, all considered" Terza offers, "why don't we head back topside before your water demon decides to pay another visit?"

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    You'll recall that Terza deals in antiquities

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    Hallowhiem and Jirus - [Paddleston - Caves]

    Quote Originally Posted by Bounty Hunter View Post
    Perhaps they'd get a chance to ask him that if he had survived the whole ordeal ... and the wrath of Hallowhiem of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Meltheim View Post
    The man's fingers, then hand, appear to fall off. As the ice continues to melt away, other body parts drop, some shattering on impact, others landing with a discomforting squelch.
    "So . . . is it over?"
    Sword covered in dark blood, splatters frozen to his armor, his acid splashed shield held at his side, the human stares intently at the meaty slush that was once a cultist. While he normally challenged and cursed his foes, the weight of the rage in his eyes were something so far unseen by his companions. The man was friendly, helpful, joyful when he could be. But he had sworn his oaths, and a Paladin he was. In a low, mechanical voice he mutters, as he watches the tentacles crack and thaw, "It's over. For now."

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltheim View Post
    "why don't we head back topside before your water demon decides to pay another visit?"
    Looking away from the first time, seemingly just aware that a second group had entered the cavern. Yes, yes I believe that would be a wise choice of action." Hallowhiem flicks much of the dark blood off his blade onto the ice before him, the hot liquid sizzling against the unnaturally frozen water. Placing the blade his old mentor gave him so long ago, he lets out a deep focused breath, reaching out with his mind, and finding a rhythm he was familiar with. Turning as he stretched out his hand, the air beneath it shimmered, and Jirus reappeared. Both sets of eyes hard and piercing, looking at the combined allies before them. "Let us be done with this place."

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    Minor: summon Jirus from the Feywyld, spending a surge.
    Last edited by Tegu8788; 2015-03-23 at 07:35 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    The second piece of advice is "don't build a hybrid", but hey, this is Tegu8788's game and he's kinda the High Priest of Hybridization, so you're cool there.
    Guide for starting 4E.

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    Jastor Fontaine

    Jastor keeps an ever watchful eye as he limps towards the others and begins to follow the group out of the cave. "Encountered much of anything like that in your journeys?" He asks, still unsure of what sort of group he had found himself in, but clearly it was one of people who held at least some talents when the time called for it.
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    Damaia

    Damaia had heard a thing or two about the group's previous travels, but decided to leave it up to someone who was there to answer Jastor. Instead, she picks over the bodies looking for anything that might be of interest there. If she finds anything she carries it with her for now. Then she begins pointing the easiest path back out of the cave to Terza's guards. "Come on, over here. Be careful there, a trap went off and it could still reignite if you aren't careful."

    She leads them up and eventually back to the inn where the group could sit back and nurse their wounds more effectively.

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    Jastor Fontaine

    Jastor keeps a close follow behind Damaia and is extra cautious not to set of any traps on the way up and out of the cavern. He looked forward to their arrival back at the inn; this day had not at all gone as he had figured it would and he was eager to simply sit for a moment and relax.
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    All - [Paddleston]

    As though it, too, were a tool of the cult and the Dagon creature, storm abates before their eyes. The party emerges from the depths to witness the pounding of the rain die into a fine mist. The clouds shatter like glass, allowing streams of sunlight to pour between them.

    That sunlight reveals a town truly, finally, dead. No sign of life remains at all - no sign of any fish-creatures, or crazed cultists, or even willing accomplices. The doors to every house swing on their hinges, open and unbolted for the first time since the party arrived. The only thing remaining in the town are hundreds of lines of footprints on the muddy shore, footprints that finally disappear into the tides of the wrathful, raging sea.

    Terza lets out a low whistle as she scans the area, her guards peeking their heads into the various buildings. "So, like I said, we got worried." The path to the inn is straight and clear, and Terza leads the way.

    Once inside the inn, Terza takes her cloak off of her shoulders and hangs it on a peg. She motions to one of the guards to assist the party with their own belongings. "Rest up, get some non-poisoned soup in your bellies, then let's figure out what's next. Your Goliath friend has a day head start on you, if you're still heading up the mountain. Shouldn't take you more than a day or so to get there, especially if the weather holds."
    Last edited by Meltheim; 2015-03-26 at 02:44 PM.

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    Jastor Fontaine

    "Goliath friend?" Jastor asks, clearly out of the loop on something.
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    All - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    "Yeah," Terza continues, "The Rockseeker fellow, he headed up the mountain yesterday, before you arrived. Wonder if he made it out with this weather . . . " she says, half to herself.

    At that moment, Roman's eyes suddenly light up, as if something he'd been rolling around his head finally clicked into place. He holds the ritual page tightly in one hand, and appears to be bobbing his head and moving his lips. Hallowhiem looks at him curiously, his bardic knowledge recognizing the movements and gestures that would indicate rhythm.

    "Roman, you seem to have come away from this experience with a little extra in your brain this time. Have you picked up an earworm?" Hal inquires, before realizing that those outside of bardic circles might not recognize the term. "Sort of a parasite, though not one you can see . . ." he continues. Seeing that his explanation is failing, he tries another tactic, "It's just . . . what song is playing in your head, dear friend?"

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    Roman

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltheim View Post
    The sunlight reveals a town truly, finally, dead. No sign of life remains at all - no sign of any fish-creatures, or crazed cultists, or even willing accomplices. The doors to every house swing on their hinges, open and unbolted for the first time since the party arrived. The only thing remaining in the town are hundreds of lines of footprints on the muddy shore, footprints that finally disappear into the tides of the wrathful, raging sea.
    Along the short hike back to the rain-thrashed inn, the abandoned stillness seems to catch Roman's eye. Though his pensive look remains and he continues mouthing some sort of patterned words, his feet do stop and turn, and he stares at the empty homes twinkling in the sunbeams. He takes in the sight for a moment, then turns back toward the last local bastion of sanity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltheim View Post
    "Your Goliath friend has a day head start on you, if you're still heading up the mountain."
    "That seems wise, yes. The Solid Folk will need to know about how these latest events ended, as much as they need to hear about the troubles with the Conagree, Ilifar and the Emerald Grove. And --" He flashes an unhappy look to Hallowhiem, then Throk. "And Terenuri, as well. I love my Empire as much as the next man, but it's clear there are unhealthy goings-on within that contingent, too. Jastor, you just missed him ..." Roman chuckles. "He is surprisingly easy to miss for such a sizeable creature; his meditations give him an admirable quality of stillness and grace. But I interrupt myself. Lo-Kag Rockhide is one of the goliath people of the mountains. We won his personal friendship, and he ours, in working together to investigate and combat an alien menace in Conagree territory."

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltheim View Post
    "It's just . . . what song is playing in your head, dear friend?"
    "I've racked my brain and can't recall the origin, Hal, though I swear there was some fairy story song it came from. The tune, I know where I heard -- a performance of The Doorways ... no, The Portals, that was it -- The Portals sang this story with a very memorable tune at my University many years ago, and a cluster of students I was close to then produced a copy of the lyrics shortly after the show. I'll try my best to sing it ... mayhap you'll join in, if you recognize the story." The eladrin begins a throaty and somewhat off-key rendition, but with Hallowhiem's help, manages to get through the eerie song.

    You know the day destroys the night
    Night divides the day
    Tried to run, tried to hide
    Break on through to the other side

    We chased our pleasures here, dug our treasures there
    But can you still recall the time we cried
    Break on through to the other side

    I found an island in your arms, country in your eyes
    Arms that chain, eyes that lie
    Break on through to the other side

    Made the scene week to week, day to day, hour to hour
    The gate is straight, deep and wide ...


    At this point, Roman looks out the inn's door at the straight and clear path that crossed so many drowned footprints, and he shudders, unable to sing the final line from the song.
    Last edited by Dimers; 2015-04-05 at 09:23 AM.
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    Hallowhiem and Jirus - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    Hallowhiem continues the song with exhausted reverence,
    "Break on through to the other side.
    Break on through to the other side!"

    before ending with apparent insight.

    Dismay clear on his face, it's easy to see the wheels spinning in his head. "What if, the song isn't about us breaking through to this land, but a warning of these, these abominations, breaking through to us. From, some, other place." He looks between those gathered around him shock. Yes Roman, we must warn our allies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    The second piece of advice is "don't build a hybrid", but hey, this is Tegu8788's game and he's kinda the High Priest of Hybridization, so you're cool there.
    Guide for starting 4E.

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    Throk

    Throk listens to the song. He doesn't really know it, but something about it rings a bell. When it's complete, he sees what can be done about dinner. "So," he says to the rest of the group, "we head out in the morning? We gonna let the new guy (gesturing at Jastor) come along? He seems handy in a fight."
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    Damaia

    Damaia's face tightens as Hal describes his revelation. "That could be problematic. I can assure you that I have never seen anything like the tentacled... thing that was down in the cave anywhere in Oauhmu. I'm certain there's a great many things in this land I haven't seen, but it seems unusual that I haven't even heard of it. That could easily lend credence to your theory about things breaking through from elsewhere."

    She turns to Throk, "I agree, we should probably be off in the morning to the Rockhide range. And I don't mind a bit if the stranger comes along. That is if you don't have anywhere you need to be," she says turning to Jastor. "Whatever you do, I wouldn't suggest staying around here for long."

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    Jastor Fontaine

    "Aye, I don't particularly have anywhere to be and I don't think I plan on staying here too much longer." The sorcerer comments as he looks around at the group with whom he'd fought off...whatever that thing was. "I've not got much of a plan anyway...just been following where my feet take me and though that has been a rather difficult path as of late I can't say that it's entirely bad." He tightens the pack on his back slightly to adjust it's comfort and doesn't much mind that it literally contains the entirety of his earthly belongings.

    "So the morning then?"
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    Roman

    The wizard's face lights up at Jastor's words. "You'd come with us? That's wonderful! A fellow countryman and arcanist is always a delight, but the fact that you're willing to work with people who seem to keep finding danger, that's the real blessing. Not that we seek out trouble," he adds hurriedly. "It just seems to keep finding us. Throk and Hal and I -- and Jirus -- have had quite a time on this continent. We should tell you about the killer vegetation at some point."

    He sighs. "Well. I'm going to see if there's anything in town that might help us reach our next stop, double-check for signs of survivors, perhaps spend some time aiding Terza in antiquities collection. I won't need as much rest overnight. And as flabbergasted as I am at the day's events, and as nice as the weather has suddenly become, I'm sure I'll have no trouble resting tonight."
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    Hallowhiem and Jirus - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    "That is good to hear. Our people do better when we are together, and the mistakes we have made in this land, well, staying together is a wise thing." Petting Jirus on his shoulders, the Paladin looks between those assembled. "There is something I must take care of, before we go. I will return before the morning." There is some sense of finality in his tone. He gives a slight, formal bow, before turning, and leaving back out the door.

    Marching through the drying mud, the Paladin makes his way back to the blasphemous church. Sifting slowly through the sanctuary, he removes anything that calls to him. Iconography, holy items, anything that be particularly potent or have simple functional use to the town below. Taking several laps around the church, he draws a series of circles with his grandfather's dagger. Taking a simple stool and setting it just around the last circle, Hallowhiem lets out several deep breaths, before starting a long series of chants, woven together in tunes and harmonies he learned in his time training in the Feywyld. While he never possessed the divine power his mentor had, Hallowheim had found ways to supplement it. His master could perform such miracles, purely by the power of his faith. The Arcane Paladin settled himself deep into his core of spiritual power, reaching out to memories of time not long before he came to this land.

    His arcane powers still burgeoning, he had finished his Paladin rites. His mentor, a wise kind Eladrin, had invited him to walk through the Feywyld. They spoke of few things. Duty, honor. How dangerous his profession was. Choosing to place yourself between the innocent and those that would cause them harm. It meant literally taking yourself out of safety, and risking your life so that others might live. Every day. Kelaros had outlived many Paladins too fool hardy to realize their own mortality, and many that had fallen to fear, unable to put themselves out their time and again. And how, those that you faced, had to be either turned from their dark path, or destroyed. Fearing to do your duty would put the lives of countless others in danger, and that blood was in your hands. Their armor was a great asset, but it was the Paladin's heart that was his surest protection against the evils of the world.


    His mediation as deep as it would be, Hallowheim reached out with his arcane talent. His words of faith had brought a stillness to the air, but the time for stillness was done. Fire, small and slow, spread over the false church. Fire, a purifying force, covered the building of lies. The dampness still clinging to the forest reigned in the flames, and they focused on the stone building out of place in this land. Pews and tapestries glow, and once the building becomes a furnace, the quarter eladrin begins to throw dark icon after dark icon into the flames.

    The people of this land, they had mighty warriors and men and women of great spiritual insight. But they had no Paladins. No one trained to fight against darkness that was pressing itself against the world. Likely that was why these Outsiders choose to attack here, instead of his homeland. With such an array of might protectors, surely the ----











    Kelaros had a very specific set of armor he wore. The Eladrin's armor had always had a special shine to it. He never seemed to be without it. It was often said that the only way get him to take it off was from his dead body. A jest, because no one could best Kelaros.

































    And now, Hallowhiem found that armor wrapped around his chest.



    This day was a dark one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimers View Post
    The second piece of advice is "don't build a hybrid", but hey, this is Tegu8788's game and he's kinda the High Priest of Hybridization, so you're cool there.
    Guide for starting 4E.

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    All - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    "Well if you're sticking around until morning, lets at least get a good night's rest in you all. After a few days of being sodden I'm sure you'll appreciate being warm and dry." Terza says, as one of her guards stokes the fireplace into action. One of the other guards is in the kitchen area, pulling out smoked meats, apples, bread, cheese and the like. After a few minutes, he smiles to himself as he presents a rough smorgasbord of finger foods for the party to munch on while they figure out their next course of action.

    At Hallowhiem’s announcement, two of the guards mumble that they are going to secure the area as well – saluting to Terza before they depart after the paladin.

    So,” Terza begins, sitting down and stretching out, “you head up the mountain to do some more talking and then what, to the north?” she says, gesturing toward Damaia, “for support from the Tieflings? Not a bad plan, not a bad plan.” She interlaces her fingers and puts them behind her head, “As for me . . . well, we came her for salvage rights to the coast. Pretty sure we’ve got those now. I’ll send word out to the rest of my crew in the morning and we’ll see about getting some treasure hunting done.

    Pausing to collect her thoughts a moment, she says, “You know, this is a decent midpoint between your colony and . . .” she trails off, talking half to herself, “might be worth setting up shop here, actually.” Nodding, she continues, “Yeah . . . by the time you come through here again, this might be a proper town for all your trading needs!” A wide grin splits her face in two as she looks up toward the ceiling, dreaming of untold possibilities and riches.

    **********

    Hours pass while the party settles themselves in for the night. Terza sips some wine on the couch, humming to herself idly. The door to the inn opens and her two guards return, carrying a large chest between them. “Alderman’s house. Rest were pretty bare, but this here’s the motherlode.” one of the guards says, as he drops the chest with a heavy THUNK. Terza leans forward and flicks open the latch, the lock appearing to fall apart at her touch.

    Lifting the heavy lid reveals several large bundles and a suit of armor. “Hmm” she says to herself, “nothing I’m interested in, but you lot might want to look through here.” She lifts up the armor – it appears to be made of the skin of some animal, with thick black stitching at the seams. “Hide? Maybe? Not sure who this is for – too feminine a cut for the Alderman. As I understand it he was quite . . . rotund. Maybe for his wife?” Terza shrugs, then sets it down and opens some of the bundles. Various amulets and other trinkets, a few bracelets, a belt, a pair of shoes. “Yeah – go wild guys. I figure they owe you this much, right? I don’t know what any of this stuff does, but maybe you can figure it out.

    As the group looks through the contents of the chest, an orange flicker appears at the window. One of the guards peeks through, before turning back, “Fire. At the church!” Terza nods, and the two guards bolt out of the inn at a dead run toward Hallowhiem’s location. Suddenly there is a huge blast of white light as a lightning bolt arcs out of the cloudless sky and strikes the church, then the fire is gone.

    Uh . . . doesn’t lightning usually cause fires?” Terza asks to nobody in particular.

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    Roman can ‘detect magic’ on the items to get an idea of their properties. Indicate what you’d like in OOC and they will miraculously appear in the chest.

    Hallowhiem has himself an Invulnerable Coat of Arnd
    Last edited by Meltheim; 2015-04-17 at 03:42 PM.

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    Hallowhiem - [Paddleston - Gleaming Dawn Church]

    The armor was tight, but as he breathed it slowly loosened, conforming to his shape. Having previously belonged to an Eladrin, it made sense that it would not fit him exactly. Just as Hallowhiem was realizing what it would take for the armor to come to him, he heard the shouts of the guards. "You ok? You hurt?" The area was filled with smoke and the smell of smoldering wood. A rafter crashed down just as Hallowhiem was jerked to his feet by one of the guards. "C'mon - it might not still be burning, but it's coming down around us!" Yanked out of his reverie, the paladin followed after the guards, a small smirk forming on his face as the church crumbled to the ground behind him.


    Everyone Else - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    While the others started through the window at the commotion, Throk picked through the chest, pulling out a pair of boots and bracelets that seemed to suit him. Digging further in, he found what appeared to be a skull with a leather strap along the back. Pulling it down over his face, Throk felt a sense of confidence come over him, as if he knew he could strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. Terza looks back at the half-orc, "Wow. Your friend is out there getting zapped to death and you're playing dress up?"

    At that moment, the door opened up as the guards and Hallowhiem walked in. Not only was Hallowhiem not 'zapped to death', but the man's armor gleamed in the moonlight as if it were noon. Terza's jaw dropped, "I thought you said you searched the buildings." She says out of the side of her mouth to one of the guards, who simply shrugged in return. "Well then, you all seem to have benefited from this haul. Let's hope the sea is as fruitful as the land." Looking at Hallowhiem, she continues, "I'm too tired to hear the story now, but I'm definitely pressing you for information on that in the morning" gesturing to his armor.

    With a slight flourish, she walks upstairs, the guards posting watch at the door. "See you all in the morning. I can't wait to sleep without that rain pounding on the roof."
    Last edited by Meltheim; 2015-04-21 at 10:43 AM.

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    All - [Paddleston - Smooth Sailing Inn]

    With food in their stomachs and the threat of sea monsters behind them, the party found no difficulty getting good rest for the night. The petrichor of the previous day finally gave way to the smell of the ocean - tangy and salty and fishy. Not necessarily a pleasant trade, but at least the smells were clean and honest.

    Terza helped the group get their packs together, and slipped a note into Roman's hands, giving him instructions on how to contact her later if need be. The guards each bowed farewells and let the party out into the fresh sun of the new day. Though it had felt like autumn, or even winter, it was still truly spring - the party found the road yielding and the winds favorable, and in little time was back on the main road, heading west toward the Conagree and the Rockhide range. Though it had truly only been a few days, the constant assault of the rain made it feel like weeks, or even months had passed.

    The group ate miles and miles as they travelled uneventfully, passing the time sharing details of their exploits with Jastor to bring him up to speed. They talked of the mushrooms at Ilifar, the weird parasitic mind-controlling creatures of Traps, the Satyr, and the vile plant creatures. They shared stories of their times among the elves and the gnomes, and how it all seemed as if some big event was coming, or perhaps returning. Hallowhiem and Roman were each able to feystep once or twice to confirm that the mysterious entity was still lurking in the feywild, though this time it seemed a bit more familiar and less terrifying than before.

    Minutes turned to hours, which soon turned to days. Within no time, the party had arrived at the base of the mountains. They could see the small path that led to the gnomish stronghold at the base, but also the winding route that led up, up, up toward the peak. The mountain was wreathed in clouds, and it was there, from talking to Lo-Kag, that the party knew they would meet the Goliaths of the Rockhide Clan.

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    Roman -- [Rockhide Range - foothills]

    Standing on a flat, lichen-spotted expanse of stone at the end of a small rise, Roman looks up and across the clutter of treetops at the tremendous mountains ahead, giving voice to thoughts that betray his uncertainty about his direction in addition to his ready sense of wonder.

    "It nearly strikes me dumb, seeing a mountain so close; the ... the sheer mass is hard to comprehend. I haven't often been closer to real mountain territory back in the Empire. Maps with their squiggly roads and little drawn-on peaks give none of this sense of awe! I hope that Mister Stardawn stood where I am standing. He would have loved to see this.

    "And mayhap he's already come this way, spoken with the Rockhide goliaths ... not for our mission, but for the sheer joy of meeting people. A better reason. I hardly even know what to say beyond 'hello', honestly."

    He takes a minute to fully calm his breath, murmurs "honorable spirit" in Elvish and gives an Andurii bow of respect in the direction of the nearest peak. Then he slings his pack back on and comments to Hallowhiem, "Sometimes when I look at a wonder of nature like that, I feel like I need not worry about anything in my crazy life. In the end, the mountain will still just be."
    Last edited by Dimers; 2015-05-01 at 09:16 AM.
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    Damaia

    Overhearing Roman's comment, Damaia responds, even though it hadn't been directed at her. "That is why most of we Oauhmu revere the natural spirits of the land. I may not be very inclined in that direction personally, but I have to admit, in places like this, even I can almost feel their power. I know your people say they can sometimes feel similar things about your gods, but they are so far removed I have to wonder how. No offense meant to your beliefs, but the nature spirits just seem so much more... present in our world and lives."

    Damaia frowns. "At least they usually do. All this talk of your travels through our lands, combined with recent events in Paddleston, have me wondering if they will be so close forever. It seems as if something else is trying to move in to displace the spirits of the wilds. I don't know what it is, but it is dark and threatening and unnatural. At first I came along as a guide and for a little bit of a thrill, but this feels serious to me. There has to be more to do with the Rockhide clan than wave hello."

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    Roman -- [Rockhide Range - foothills]

    Roman nods with a grave expression at Damaia's words regarding the apparent invasion. "It would be understatement to simply note that I agree." Apparently his mind is working over her other comments simultaneously, though, because a moment later, he adds, "The gods and the great spirits have very different presentations, yes. One does not feel a god; they're too far beyond us, like we are to moss. But their influence and works are very present and make a tremendous difference in even daily life. It's not a thing you can feel, but it's easy to recognize with thinking, and then your thoughts might drive great awe, devotion, pleasure, pride, morale, fear -- many very strong emotions."
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