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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Master Sigurd Waite

    Not many voices spoke in the still after the battle: though Lothar talked in a soft voice, Sigurd can hear him from nearby.

    "First, we collect the dead."

    The wizard instinctively sets to. He says nothing, he just goes to the first root-entangled body he can find on the ground and begins to pull it free, cutting where needed with his dirk.

    He handles the bodies as gently as he can, and forces himself to stare into each face.

    When the ones on the ground are carried away to the horses, he'll look at those in the branches and call for rope.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus curses the wreckage of the the tree. 'Sigmar. Curse. You. You. Demon. Spawning. Beast.', each word being punctuated by a thud of the axe. However, with the fading of his adrenaline Ithelus's illness catches up to him and soon the elf is doubled over and panting, using the shaft of the axe as a support.

    Ithelus looks over at Illiiya, 'Don't you see? it will never be done. First Delbrez, now this?' We might as well just march north into the wastes now.'
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    "First, we collect the dead."

    Wordlessly, Pieter nodded and started helping. He almost felt guilty for surviving when others had died.

    "Mr Waite, can you help me with this one here?"

    He freed one of the corpses with his shortsword, took it by the feet and waited for Mr Waite to grab the other end, politely pretending not to notice the smell emanating from the wizard. Good thing they had horses to carry the bodies. It would be a mournful evening in Hohlesbruck...

    'Don't you see? it will never be done. First Delbrez, now this?' We might as well just march north into the wastes now.'

    Pieter turned to the Elf, troubled. "Ith... Honestly, you worry me. Don't speak like that. There will always be things worth fighting for."
    Last edited by -Sentinel-; 2012-06-22 at 07:10 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    NaNoWriMo 2014 word count: 20,976

    #stopgamergate2014

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Quote Originally Posted by Exeson View Post
    Ithelus looks over at Illiiya, 'Don't you see? it will never be done. First Delberz, now this?' We might as well just march north into the wastes now.'
    Lothar shook his head. "I won't hear that. I'm goin' back to Hargensdorf, see my sister. Go fishin' by the river." He looked up at the wreckage of the tree, rain tangling his beard.

    "Woulda liked to go fishin' with Axel, but I guess makin' sure his wife doesn' get et by daemons will have to count," he said and looked back up to Ithelus. "We're helpin' here. I'm sure Sigmar appreciates it."
    Last edited by goblinpaladin; 2012-06-22 at 07:44 AM.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Pieter and Lothar's words seemed to resonate with the villagers, some of whom were still reeling from the unnatural aftertaste of their unexpected courage. The men trapped in the tree's blackened branches were cut down with billhooks, their scorched bodies falling gracelessly to earth in crashing tangles of charred and brittle twigs. Retrieving the bodies of the men who had been dragged under by the strangling roots proved more difficult; some were no longer visible at all, swallowed up under the coils of the great root mass. The thicker roots were tough as teak, and had suffered least from the flames: blades like Sigurd's could do no more than score their surface. The tree did not readily relinquish its victims.

    In the end, they pulled only one body out of the ruptured earth – a man the roots had not entirely encircled before the conflagration began. The fire had cooked his skin, burning his flesh so badly that he was hard to identify by his face alone – by his singed and smouldering clothes, however, the villagers identified him as Dieter Kless. Pieter hadn't even known his name.

    The rest were lost. Even the buckled, twisted effigy of spiralling wood that contained somewhere within it the crushed remains of Axel the smith proved too dense to cut away. A more dedicated effort might succeed in cutting him free, but the villagers were not prepared to linger.

    Approaching the front of the barrow, Illiiya looked up at the great stone seal, and the tumbled stones to either side. The traces of long-effaced carvings were visible beneath the mottled lichen, the outline of a pair of branching antlers visible on one of the toppled monoliths. The seal itself, however, was bare, a solid wall of weathered stone barring the entrance. The roots of the tree had grown down around it, entwining its edges with thick, unburned ropes of wood. Some small tendrils still moved, wriggling feebly like dying earthworms in the damp air.

    Illiiya's Witchsight
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    The darkness had not passed. She could still feel it, thicker than the rain, oozing our from between the ancient stones. The veil was worn thin here, the winds of Chaos bleeding through. If she listened hard, she felt she could almost hear voices, carried on the wind. Men speaking in archaic and unfamiliar tongues, the patter of earth and the creaking of ropes. The braying of beasts, and the splashing thunder of a muddy cavalry charge. A deep, gurgling chortle, accompanied by a chorus of nasty, childish laugher. The ghostly impressions came and went so fleetingly that she could hardly be sure if she'd heard them at all.

    Deep in study, she'd hardly noticed the villagers working amidst the blackened roots of the tree, high up above the old stone gate. She paid no attention when one of them came walking around the front of the barrow, perhaps looking for another friend or relation lost in the blackened earth – it took her by surprise when he stepped out onto the edge and sat down facing her, his feet dangling over the great stone block of the lintel. Looking up, her blood froze as she recognised the wrinkled-apple face and the white spade beard of the little old man from her dreams.

    “Quite the beauty, wasn't it?” he asked, with a kindly twinkle in his ancient eyes. Rummaging in one threadbare pocket, he produced an apple in one lean, long-fingered hand. “Pity it had to burn. Don't you worry, though,” he said. “I don't blame you. The ash'll make a fine fertiliser for the next crop.”

    He looked round over his shoulder, at Lothar and the others. They seemed not to have noticed him at all. “Such fine friends you have,” he said, with a chuckle – his laugh was surprisingly deep. “I do love company. Do you think they're hungry?”

    He took a bite from the apple, and the juice ran down his chin and into his beard. It was yellow and foul, like pus from a sore – looking closer, Illiiya saw the apple was soft and liquescent with rot, green and white mould furring its skin like the hair of a piebald rat. It didn't seem to bother the old man at all.


    Sigurd's Witchsight

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    As he sawed and hacked at the entangling roots, Sigurd was coming to an uncomfortable observation. The tree was a cinder, but there had been no change in the oppressive darkness that saturated the clearing. It was strongest here, crawling over the surface of the barrow like an oily smog. His desperate miscasts had not helped – the veil between the real and the unreal here was worn as thin as gauze, the echoes of things that should not be doing their best to seep through.

    If he really concentrated, he could almost hear the chanting laughter of the child-like things at the inn...
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-06-22 at 07:55 AM.
    Spoiler: My Games
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  6. - Top - End - #156
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Master Sigurd Waite

    The longer he walks around in them, the more Sigurd's soiled trousers become uncomfortable. He can smell himself now. He goes to help Pieter and hopes no one notices...

    "...There will always be things worth fighting for."

    "We're helpin' here. I'm sure Sigmar appreciates it."

    Sigurd tries not to be sick. He had caused this...

    When it's done and the peasants are still mumbling over the Matter of Axel, Sigurd stumbles over to Lord Verloren. Seated on his horse he looks every bit the Lord in a way he never quite manages in his reception hall. Sigurd ducks his head, exhausted, as he halts in the mud below him.

    "Lord," he says quietly. "I can sense it... the demon. Its laughter comes from within the tomb. As I feared, we will need to open it to exorcise him."

    He waits just a moment and hurries to add, "I will volunteer to go in alone if your men will only open the door."

    He has no plan of doing that, but he has a feeling the elf sorceress won't wait outside. And if she goes in, so will her friends...

    Getting more people killed, Waite?

    He coughs.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Illiiya froze, like a deer wary of predators. She stared at the man on the steps with a wide-eyed look... as she forced down her panic.

    You're... not real. She muttered, Or you're... weak. If you could hurt me, you would have.

    She glanced up to her friends above, her eyes settling on Ithelus. For a moment, her expression softened, before growing cold and hard as she glared death at the man on the steps.

    If you are going to stop me, stop me. But you will need kill me, because I will not break for you. She said in a low, threatening tone, I will not play these games. I will burn everything you touch. I will slay any beast you send for me. And if you attack THEM to get to me... I will show you what a woman with nothing left in her life but revenge and spite does. I will NOT be bullied by you any longer. Now run. Back. To hell.

    Spoiler
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    Not sure if it's even possible to intimidate a hallucination of a demonic entity that may or may not be all in your head... but Illiiya's crazy enough to try.
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  8. - Top - End - #158
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya’s Witchsight

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    The little man sat listening to Illiiya’s words with apparent appreciation, as pleased as a punter at a play – a good one, with ghosts and kings and murders. Munching down the last pieces of his putrid apple, he wiped his beard on the back of his sleeve, throwing the stalk away. Long fingers gripping the edge of the lintel stone, he laughed his phlegmy, jovial chuckle, creasing the laughter-lines at the corner of his old, dark eyes.

    “I’m not trying to hurt you, child,” he said. “Just trying to lend a helping hand. I suppose you could call me...” – he looked up at the sky – “...an answerer of prayers.”

    “Still, I’d hate to spoil such a good speech,” he said with a grandfatherly air. “Burn everything I touch, is it? Careful what you promise, my girl.” He was fading away now, becoming translucent as the rain – he left only the hungry glitter of his eyes and the white crescent of his mirthful smile behind. “People might hold you to it some day.”

    With the last whispered word, he was gone. Looking through the space he had occupied, Illiiya saw Ithelus, shivering feverishly as he leaned on the handle of his borrowed axe. He looked very small, and very ill.


    The villagers were giving the two elves a wide berth. It was clear to the meanest comprehension that Ithelus was not well, and Illiiya was talking in icy tones to the empty air just above the stones. Sidling up to one of his fellows as they watched, Pieter heard Hans Suster mutter something out of the corner of his mouth.

    Told you,” murmured the woodsman. “Mad as a sack of rats...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd
    "I will volunteer to go in alone if your men will only open the door."
    Mils looked down at Sigurd from the saddle. He was quiet – Sigurd couldn’t tell if the old lord’s silence was disdain for the soiled, wretched creature that addressed him, or whether he was simply dumbfounded by what he had witnessed.

    Cutting over the rustle of the rain, Illiiya’s words drifted over to them, strange and menacing. Mils looked round at the sound, watching with the same silent incredulity as the elf talked to herself.

    “We’ll see what we can do,” said Mils, very quietly. Tapping his horse’s flanks with his heels, he walked it over to where Gerolf and the others stood, and began to give tentative instructions...
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-06-22 at 05:45 PM.
    Spoiler: My Games
    Show


    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus regards the gathered group from the mound.

    'All my life I've hated violence, it was for thugs who couldn't think, but that's not true is it? You've shown me that, sitting there and grinning. You're clever, your kind. We kill ourselves in droves to fight you and you just watch the slaughter.'

    The elf shivers, the exhaustion and illness obviously making him half delirious. The grinning skull waved in front of his vision.'You want me to embrace it? the killing? Well I might as well. We're never going to run far enough. Just promise me that each corpse I send your way protects them a little longer.' His gaze falls over Illiiya, Lothar and Pieter.
    Last edited by Exeson; 2012-06-22 at 05:43 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #160
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar gazed up at Ithelus, looked down at Illiiya, and finally stared at the wreckage of the tree a long, long moment. Sap congealed on his regimental weapon. Finally the big man shook his head.

    "This bloody place."

    He slung his shield over his shoulder, and took up a scrap of cloth. He began to clean down his weapon, sticky green coming off the now-dull blade. Coming up behind Illiiya, the soldier touched her gently on the arm.

    "Hey, Ill. No-one there but ol' Ith. Why don' we help the others get their friends together, an' then burn the bones o' the beasts? We can get the hell outta this soddin' rain, then."

    The human looked over his elven witch of a lover with concern in his dark eyes, a concern weirdly at odds with his military clothing- and the naked weapon still in one hand.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    It was here, Lothar. Illiiya said in a muted tone.

    She had a terrible look on her face, a mix of anger and fear... but she did not shrink from his touch. Instead, she took Lothar's hand and gripped it tightly, watching Ithelus oddly intently.

    Was it real? It must have been. I saw it and we were attacked before. I saw it now after that tree showed it's corruption. It must be real... it must be...

    She didn't care about the humans watching, or their judgmental words. She had heard them all before. Right now, all she cared was that her friends were with her. She could face anything as long as they were with her.
    Anyone looking for awesome art, look no more! Check out my stuff here! I do comissions, for those interested. Catch me at this site: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/rukis/

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  12. - Top - End - #162
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Moving past Illiiya and the others with their heads down, the men of Hohlesbruck discreetly ignored the elf and her troubles. She might be a witch, and she might be mad, but she was on their side – that was good enough for now. Difficult questions could wait.

    They laid out the bodies that had been retrieved atop the barrow, some way away from the still-smoking husk of the tree, and covered them with one of the tarpaulins they had used to keep the straw dry. Following Mils’ directions – by way of Gerolf, who took a more practical hand in the organisation of the work – they applied themselves to opening the mound.

    Axes chopped and shovels dug, splitting the charred tangle of roots that clung to the edges of the ancient stones. It was hard, back-breaking work, and the rain did not let up, thinning and thickening erratically as the wind pushed the clouds onwards overhead. Their boots turned the ground to mud, the workers slipping and cursing in the muck as they dug away the compacted earth that held the stones in place.

    Bracing themselves against the slope and pushing with their legs, they toppled the lintel stone from where it was mounted. It moved slowly at first, grinding across the top of the gate with a slow scrape of granite – finally, it tilted and fell, sending up a muddy splash from the wet earth below. With the lintel gone, the seal itself was easier to shift. It fell across the fallen cross-piece with a resounding crack, its sheer weight fissuring it in two as it struck the first stone’s edge.

    Pulling himself laboriously up over the broken stones, Sigurd straightened his back, looking down to see what lay behind. The shattered slabs choked the lower half of the entrance like the world’s sturdiest barricade, but that left six feet of empty darkness yawning before anyone who could scramble up over them.

    The interior of the barrow was utterly dark: Gerolf passed the wizard his torch, but it did little to illuminate more than his immediate surroundings. Cold, stale air breathed out of the pitch-black aperture, bearing the sour smell of mould and dank earth. Breathing in, Sigurd gagged – mingled with the other smells was a sickening stench of decaying meat.

    Something had been left to rot, down there in the dark.
    Spoiler: My Games
    Show


    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  13. - Top - End - #163
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Torn between dread and curiosity, Pieter stared at the entrance of the barrow in solemn silence. He threw a glance over his shoulder, half expecting the wounded knight to ride out of the rain to deny them passage; but if there was any more trouble to be faced today, he expected to find it inside, not outside. He took a deep breath... and almost threw up his breakfast.

    That's not right, he thought. If this thing's been sealed since the early days of the Empire, it shouldn't smell like rotten meat.

    "This is your cave, Mr Waite. Lead on."

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    NaNoWriMo 2014 word count: 20,976

    #stopgamergate2014

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar gripped Illiiya's arm, watching the folk of the village tear open the door into the dark. "I believe you." He rubbed her arm, his rough human hands marking her alien skin. "How could I not?"

    ~

    Lothar peered into the cave, raising himself to the tips of his muck-coated boots. He did not leave Illiiya's side, but neither did he sheath his weapon. The soldier's teeth chewed at his lips, and he muttered an oath to Shallya.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Master Sigurd Waite

    Sigurd chokes on the air drifting out of the henge. He peers in, working the fingers of his cramped hand as they finally begin to loosen.

    "This is your cave, Mr Waite. Lead on."

    The wizard looks at Pieter in surprise. "Are you--coming?"

    He stands up on the collapsed block and looks around. Seeing Illiiya, he scrambles to the ground and approaches her.

    "Illiiya," he says. "You know what this is, right? You know what's happening here?"
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2012-06-25 at 07:33 PM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Ithelus slowly rises, letting go of the heavy axe as he does so. He stalks over to what remains of the supplies, retrieves a torch and moves over to the barrow. Transferring the torch to his off hand he draws his sickle. 'Let's get this over with then'. he says, followed by a hacking cough.
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  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Illiiya Jaelrae

    Do I know? Illiiya said with a far off tone, One does not simply know chaos. I can only guess...

    Illiiya stuck close to Lothar, peering into the dark as the reek of decay struck her. Anything sealed down here should have been long since rotted away. Daemons of rot and pestilence at work.

    Disease... Daemons of rot... a man long dead who does not lie in his grave? Dark, dark magics are here. That is all I know. I've seen things that led me here. I saw them again here. Perhaps the daemons are toying with us.
    Anyone looking for awesome art, look no more! Check out my stuff here! I do comissions, for those interested. Catch me at this site: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/rukis/

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  18. - Top - End - #168
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Master Sigurd Waite

    Sigurd stares in horror at Illiiya. Is it just him, or does she speak in riddles? He looks to the hardened faces of Lothar and Ithelus for help, finding none.

    The wizard turns toward Lord Verloren. If this is a fallen Henge, something has to be done... he has a duty. Another duty. Glancing back at Illiya, he cringes.

    He could ask Verloren to send a letter to Altdorf, if he doesn't come out alive. But at a certain point, he knows he's just stalling for time. "Focus on the sword," he mutters.

    He retrieves and reloads his crossbow, hanging it so it's pointed at the ground. Then he seizes a tarp from the horses. Tarp over one shoulder like a fencer's cape, he turns back toward the tomb entrance on wobbly legs.

    "So," he says. "Who's up for a walk?"

    OOC:
    Spoiler
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    If we head underground Sigurd will prattle repeatedly about things like ley lines, elven construction, dwarven runes, the art and religious practices of the era the tomb was built, etc. - anything his history and arcane knowledge could tell him, that he can talk about to relieve his fear.
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2012-06-26 at 10:43 PM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


    Plays as Ulrich, Student of Law

  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lowering himself gently down over the rubble of the stone seal, Sigurd led the way into the barrow with his torch held before him. Its ruddy light played over old, irregular stones, pushed unevenly apart in places where the roots of the twisted oak had wormed down between them. Its roots evidently ran deep – out of the corner of his eye, Sigurd thought he saw some of them twitch back at the approach of the torch flame.

    The entry-way was a narrow passage, opening into a central space: from there, three round alcoves opened out in a rough cruciform shape. The torch threw long, black shadows across their deepest recesses, lending a daemonic quality to the darkness as they flickered and danced.

    “Unusual layout,” murmured the wizard, his brain searching for something more substantive to say. Approaching the centre, he stopped, seeing something illuminated by the torchlight on his left.

    Something like a tapestry lay draped across the wall nearest the entrance. Raising the torch to examine it more closely, Sigurd saw it was the tangled folds of a richly-coloured banner. Someone had set its shaft carefully against the wall, so that it did not trail against the damp earth – its fine colours, however, had become faded and blotched with rot, its fabric frayed and worm-eaten. Taking one corner in his hand, Sigurd pulled it halfway straight to see its design. The torchlight reflected from a gilded leopard’s head, collared with a chain over an Imperial cross.

    The wizard let the banner fall back, turning back towards the interior. Looking back, he saw Ithelus two steps behind him. The others' presence was reassuring - stepping over a twist of sunken tree-roots, he covered his mouth and nose and headed further in.

    The alcoves to the left and right were filled with ancient, crumbled bones – the bones of two horses, so far gone to age and decay that all that remained of their proud skeletons were dissociated fragments. Decorative disks of copper, once part of some long-rotted harness, had fallen to the ground around their empty-eyed skulls – the metal was green with verdigris, the intricate designs that had been worked into it blurred and softened by the thick layer of corrosion.

    The back of the central alcove had caved in, the stones slabs broken and forced apart by a bulging forest of roots. They framed a rough-cut stone sarcophagus, standing waist-high on a raised dais of earth. Inscribed around its rim were runes in the old Thuringi dialect, the angular shapes as clear as they day they were carved.

    Spoiler
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    The lid of the stone coffin had been pushed askew, leaving whatever lay within open to the air. The sarcophagus, however, was not the source of the stench. That was the filthy, ragged thing that lay slumped before it.

    It was the corpse of a beastman, in an advanced stage of decomposition. Unlike the bodies outside, flesh and hair still adhered to its bones, its coarse fur matted with oily putrefaction. A ragged black gash yawned in the withered flesh of its throat, deep enough to have cleft to the bone.

    The body was wrapped in a kind of tattered shawl. A patchwork cowl, strung about the neck with yellowing bone fetishes, was crumpled beneath its horned head. A little way away, a heavy staff of gnarled oak wood lay tumbled on the earth, capped with parts of the lashed-together skulls of other beasts. By the weight of it, it looked more than capable of crushing a man's skull with a good blow.

    A little way behind Sigurd, Ithelus noticed something gleaming in the torchlight. Stooping, he picked up – it was the hilt of a broken sword, the shattered steel of the jagged blade only slightly tarnished. Lying a few feet away, other fragments of broken metal indicated that this was where it had been broken.

    Sigurd's attention, meanwhile, had returned to the stone casket. He had noticed a detail he had missed before: spattered across its side was a small, irregular stain. Reddish-brown and crumbling, it had the distinct colour of old blood.

    OOC:
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    Everyone seems ready to go, so I've just gone ahead. Feel free to specify that your character didn't enter the barrow if you like.

    Here is a quick cartoon of the design on the banner:


    You can make an Academic Knowledge (History) check to translate the inscription on the sarcophagus.
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-06-27 at 06:40 AM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Lothar held close to Illiiya, his gaze focused on her rather than the barrow's interior. Once they had stepped into the tomb itself, he tilted his head in challenge to the banner, and then the shaman's corpse.

    "Guess it ran in here after the battle. That's the banner o' the Panthers- if it's the survivor, maybe it brought it in here as a trophy to lay at the feet o' the tomb."

    He paused, looking to the shards of the broken blade. "Wonder what was in here that hacked him down. An' where it is."

    The soldier loosened a sword in its sheathe, and stepped closer to Illiiya- although from his body language, it was impossible to tell if he was seeking or offering protection.
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Pieter kept well away from the encroaching roots as they made their way downwards. The Panthers banner and the beastman's corpse by the sarcophagus confirmed his suspicions; the place had been opened before. He did not know how, but he thought he knew by whom. And he wanted to be gone as soon as possible.

    Lothar spoke almost his exact thoughts: "Wonder what was in here that hacked him down. An' where it is."

    "Oh, I think we know the what." There was a tremor in Pieter's voice. "I'd definitely like to know the where, though."

    In an effort to keep his mind from being overwhelmed by his mounting dread, he brought his attention to the ancient runes, then to the inside of the sarcophagus.

    "Mr Waite, can we have some more light over here?"


    OOC:
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    Academic knowledge (History) 57: (d100)[64]

    Another thing. Did we run into any cobwebs during our way down here? I'm trying to guess if the knight comes here often.

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  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Default Re: [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart (II)

    Master Sigurd Waite

    Sigurd's fear melts back to a mild terror. There are so many things to see in the tomb... so many possibilities.

    His eyes dwell over-long on the green copper fittings from the horse harnesses. If he laid them all out, perhaps he could reconstruct what they once looked like. He'd never seen such old metal, unless it was for something regal or arcane - everyday objects seldom seemed to survive the passage of time.

    When Lothar calls attention to the broken sword, Sigurd carefully steps away from it then inspects it - his heart stopping for just a moment. Does it look very old, or like a contemporary piece?

    "Mr Waite, can we have some more light over here?"

    Sigurd hands the torch to Pieter. "Blood on the sarcophagus," he points out.

    Bracing himself, he attempts to look through his witchsight at the shaman's oak staff, and then at the shaman and the sarcophagus.

    If he survives that he begins to translate the runes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    “Unusual layout,”
    Not in Ireland
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2012-06-27 at 10:30 AM.
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

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  23. - Top - End - #173
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    The broken sword was nowhere near as old as the long-perished grave goods of the skeletal horses. It had been well made, of finer craftsmanship than Lothar's old regimental weapon, and the broken stump of its blade indicated that it had been longer and heavier than either of the soldier's swords. A double-edged longsword; not the kind of blade you found on any passing mercenary.

    Mustering his shaken skills, the wizard focused his second sight, taking in his surroundings from another perspective. To see what he saw now, the darkness and the wavering of the torchlight were less of a concern – at least, the darkness that was only the absence of light.

    Sigurd's Witchsight

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    Sigurd was not sure which was worse – the smell of putrefaction from the beastman's body, or the tingling, disorientating sense of dread that crept over him from the surrounding air. True Dhar seemed to be sweating like condensation from the walls of the tomb, polluting the air with its acrid taste and eager, thrumming whispers.

    This was the locus of it all. This chamber, this low cavern of earth and stone. The tree above might have sprouted from its acorn an innocent, mundane sapling, but when its roots had pushed down through these crumbling walls – if not before then - its destiny would have been decided. There was poison in the soil.

    He could sense no enchantment on the mortal remains of the beastman. There were strange, crude sigils daubed on the thing's clothes and scratched into the blackened wood of its fallen staff, and to look at them through the lens of the Aethyr made Sigurd's eyes ache, but he could detect no lingering curse. They were symbols, and nothing more.


    Sigurd approached the sarcophagus, running his fingers over the contours of the graven runes. There was perhaps a foot or two of open space where the lid had been skewed aside, exposing what lay beneath: there, lying on a bed of hard stone, were human bones. As ancient as the bones of the horses, half of them had fallen into dust, the ribs splayed disorderedly to either side and the skull fallen into disjointed ruin. Amidst the jumble of dark brown bones, a wealth of grave-gold glittered in the torchlight. In this place, somehow even the gold seemed to have tarnished. There were torcs and buckles, and the scraps of inlaid armour; the leather that had held them together had long since rotted away.

    The skeleton's hands were folded over the collapsed pieces of its ribcage, as if they had been holding something. The crumbling phalanges, however, lay scattered and broken: whatever they had held had been violently torn away.

    Sigurd's Witchsight

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    This was where the scar was deepest. The darkness seemed to encrust the sarcophagus like dried pus around a scab, an infection in the skin of the world. Still, however, Sigurd could sense no magic bound to the ancient bones, or to the tarnished treasures they were adorned with. The Dhar seemed to gather here of its own volition, lurking like thunderheads over a mountaintop.

    It was so thick he felt he could scarcely breathe, his stomach turning nauseously. Stepping back, he looked away, his eyes falling across the beastman's corpse once again. For a moment, he saw what looked like the tail-end of a maggot, writhing in one of the corpse's empty eye-sockets – then it burrowed away, wriggling out of sight.

    There were no cobwebs in here, no way for any insect that couldn't burrow through solid earth to enter. If there were no spiders, could there ever have been flies?
    Last edited by LCP; 2012-06-27 at 11:15 AM.
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Master Sigurd Waite

    Sigurd's head spins. He takes a moment to compose himself, then jots down the runes.

    He mumbles: "The most high of warriors... of men... the furthest may he fall..."

    He squints. "The mightiest man falls the furthest. This is it. And this grave is the center of it all... maybe it isn't a damaged Henge. Maybe it's all because of Gaerovald."

    He winces, immediately regretting saying the king's name aloud. Humans are superstitious things.

    Pacing the room, he tries to piece it together.

    "The tree must have been able to open and close the door with its roots. Or else the shaman did it by magic." He points at the shaman. "He fled in here when the battle was lost. The knight came in to finish him. He raised his sword..."

    He indicates the hilt in the ground.

    "A long sword. Mighty, but brittle. The beastman swung his club and shattered it..."

    He goes over and picks up the fetish-decked staff. "He had the knight at his mercy. He started bludgeoning him here against the grave."

    He points at the open sarcophagus. "The knight saw it in there. The sword. The sword of legend... and in desperation, he grabbed it."

    "He won the fight, but he gave up his soul."

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    #sherlockholmes
    I just published my first novella, Lúnasa Days, a modern fantasy with a subtle, uncertain magic.

    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


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  25. - Top - End - #175
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    Illiiya Jaelrae

    It was a tomb. No daemons bursting from putrid boils within the walls... No pits to hell or pillars of filth and fire. Unlike the rest of her party, Illiiya seemed almost relieved. She looked about the place, seeming short of breath as the heavy mire of the stagnant winds pressed down on her.

    Cursed blades... Similar to en elven tale of long past. She muttered softly, He took the blade up in rage and desperation, and in the end it consumed him and all he held dear.

    Illiiya steped forward, idly running her fingers across some of the writing on the tomb. She knew not what it meant, but she knew this place was important. It had to be. This had been where the demons were coming from... wasn't it?

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    Witchsight all around. Illiiya never really turns it off
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  26. - Top - End - #176
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    Lothar nodded. "Seems about right. Dunno about openin' the door with the tree, but it must've opened somehow."

    He knelt and picked up a piece of the shattered sword. "This is good steel- a knight's weapon. It wasn't brittle- that shaman must've swung with some magic or somethin' to break it."

    Lothar dropped the shard onto the ground and stood, dusting his hands. "Or maybe that cursed sword worked a cruse to break the knight's, so that someone would pick it up." He made the sign to ward off evil, and looked carefully around the barrow.

    "Do we need to kill the knight to get rid o' the curse here? Or can we just burn this place out with fire, an' prayer?"
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

  27. - Top - End - #177
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    Pieter nodded somberly. "You're probably right, Mr Waite. So now all that's left to do is find that bloody knight, take his sword from him and avoid becoming him."

    He sighed.

    "It would help to know where his loyalties lie. He somehow learned about Reifennen's letter and was determined to destroy it. He also killed the two bandits who were trying to rob the doctor. One might think they work together, but Reifennen's an outsider, so how did they get acquainted? My meeting with Esther made me pretty sure she's not in contact with him. Maybe he just protects Hohlesbruck and its people, but that doesn't explain how he knew about the letter..." The initiate rubbed his temples wearily. "How about we invite him to sit down and chat around some ale?"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    NaNoWriMo 2014 word count: 20,976

    #stopgamergate2014

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Master Sigurd Waite

    "Do we need to kill the knight to get rid o' the curse here? Or can we just burn this place out with fire, an' prayer?"

    Sigurd looks alarmed.

    "Oh no! That could make things worse... the evil has seeped into everything here. The smoke from burning it could be as bad as the tree was... it could come to life, or poison the whole town..."

    He pauses, realizing he might be making matters worse.

    "The militia won't like this, but the best thing we can do is give me the afternoon to study it. Look at everything closely, check around for ley lines... er, magic lines in the area. And--"

    He looks at the sarcophagus.

    "We'll probably want to take a closer look in there. Without touching the contents, if we can."

    "You're probably right, Mr Waite. So now all that's left to do is find that bloody knight, take his sword from him and avoid becoming him."

    Sigurd nods. "Aye. And then that."

    The initiate rubbed his temples wearily. "How about we invite him to sit down and chat around some ale?"

    "Would that work?" A beat later, Sigurd realizes it was sarcasm.
    Last edited by Another_Poet; 2012-06-27 at 06:22 PM.
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    You can grab it on Kindle or paperback.

    Proud to GM two Warhammer Adventures:


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  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Illiiya’s Witchsight

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    What the human wizard said was true. The space around the stone casket was the centre, the focus of the smoky darkness that crawled in the air. She could taste the acrid tang of the Dhar, strong enough to bring memories swimming up from the depths. She remembered whipcords of fire, human buildings burning around her as the heady rush of power thrilled through her; she remembered the monstrous chittering of rats, the hammering of hail against cathedral walls beneath the tremendous peal of a screaming bell.

    It was right there, ripe for the taking. Old echoes wanted to reach out and seize it, to give in to its encouraging whispers and force her will upon the staid, mundane world. New instincts, however – ones she had worked hard to nurture – held her back. The daemons that had assaulted the inn had come from here, or so she believed – if this was a wound in the wall between worlds, then it had drawn attention from both sides.

    She had to try hard to shake the sensation of being watched.


    Over the rustle of the rain outside, Lothar heard approaching footsteps, scrambling up over the shattered gateway. A hesitant, upper-class voice called after them, the stones of the barrow lending it an unearthly echo.

    “You fellows alright down there?” It was Ricard's voice. “Not been eaten yet?"
    Spoiler: My Games
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    The Hour After Midnight
    Threads: I, II, III
    The Lord of Lost Heart
    Threads: I, II
    Ill Met By Morrslieb
    Threads: I


    Threads: I, II, III


    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    "Everyone likes a beer, right?" Lothar's face twisted, and he spat on the ground.

    "I don' like this. How do we kill a soddin' legend?" He twisted the copper ring on his hand, rubbing a calloused thumb over the twin-tailed comet engraved into the metal.

    "Ill? Can you an' Sigurd do some..." he waggled his fingers vaguely, "cleansin' type magics? Usin' these magic lines he was talkin' about?"
    Games:

    [WFRP] Ill Met By Morrslieb, as the increasingly-scarred Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Lord of Lost Heart, reprising Lothar Fischer.

    [WFRP] The Hour After Midnight as Lothar Fischer, former soldier.

    =

    January 19-25 2014 is GOBLIN WEEK!

    I did writings for it! Read them here!

    =

    sext: take my hand as the bombs fall. we will engrave our affectionate shadows on the walls in dush and ash, to last a thousand years. [my twitter]

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