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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Annabel Lee Ch. 1: The Angels In Heaven Above

    You have been summoned to the outer bailey of The Hammer's Edge's fortress. The castle is of relatively cheap construction, and the outer defensive wall is merely a wooden palisade, but its defenses have proved sufficient in the past. The courtyard is not particularly busy today. You occasionally hear the sound of metal clanging on metal in the blacksmith's shop or the neighing of horses in the stables, but all else is fairly quiet. Business has been down since the end of Shalandara's war with the northern barbarians, so The Hammer's Edge has cut back its operations. Most of the mercenaries have little to do until the next war breaks out, but a few elite units of troubleshooters, yours included, generally stay fairly active even in peacetime.

    Finnian MacGregor, the founder of The Hammer's Edge chapter of the International Overpriced Heroes and Stupidly High Intellect Troubleshooters Union, sees your little band enter and begins limping towards you. He is a large man, tall and broad-shouldered. He has been embroiled in the fires of war practically since infancy, and quite visibly bears the scars of battle.

    "Beauregard!"
    he barks, his voice clear even all the way across the courtyard, "I've got a job for you! We got a letter from some loon... I'd bet money he's just a crackpot, but it's worth looking into, anyway. If he's not crazy... well, that's why I'm asking you to go talk to him."
    Last edited by Ascension; 2008-09-23 at 08:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    The massive Orc, Zurktz, planted his greataxe head-down on the ground and leaned on the haft, his mithral plate making only the faintest of sounds. Resting his hands on the end of the axe's haft, he stared over it at his companions, then fixes his gaze upon Finnian with a slight huff through his nostrils.

    "Crackpots abound these days," Zurktz muttered, shaking his head and setting the black braids flying. He deferred, for the moment, to Hiram, and let him deal with the details. He'd seemed competent enough so far, but he wasn't adverse to ignoring the human's commands if he deemed it necessary.
    Last edited by RelentlessImp; 2008-09-10 at 06:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Hiram strolls casually over to MacGregor, his posture tall and erect but his stride loose and relaxed. In spite of his heavy armor and the shabby formal coat over it, he wears it all like a second skin. He snaps off a quick salute with just enough decorum not to be insulting.

    "Are you sure you aren't sending me just in case he is crazy, sir? I can't help but notice I get quite more than a fair share of lunatics. Birds of a feather, what?" he says with a wink.

    After this brief lapse, Hiram immediately composes himself with a serious businesslike air. "We're ready to head out as soon as needs be, sir. Do you have a copy of the letter in question?"
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Finnian responds to Hiram's first comment with little more than "Hmph."

    When Beauregard asks for the letter, MacGregor produces it from some unseen pocket in the lining of his cloak.

    "Here it is. If you're still willing to talk to him after reading it, he gives directions for finding him on the back. He isn't far from here, although the directions don't seem to correspond to any known settlements... He's probably just an old hermit who's gone barmy."
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

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    Toryn is a dashingly handsome young halfling. His striking red hair is the first thing one's eyes would be drawn to when he's not got his hood up; it falls roughly to the bottom edges of his shoulder blades, and is usually pulled into a tight, thin pony-tail. On more formal occasions, it may be instead done up in an elaborate braid. His green eyes peer at the world--sometimes from the shadow of his hood--perceptively and appraisingly, yet often with an amused sparkle, as if enjoying a private joke. His lips are thin, and usually parted in a cocky grin that reveals well-tended to teeth. His skin is a healthy shade of pink.

    His body is thin and wiry, as is usual for halflings. It is mostly covered in well-toned, athletic muscle. He might be somewhat stronger than the average halfling by the look of him, but he's certainly not going to impress any of the taller folk in strength contests. A simple tatoo of the holy symbol of Lahlo is sketched into his chest in black ink, while another tattoo in blue ink--this one Pahla's holy symbol--rests on the back of his left hand.

    He is rarely seen without his cloak, which he usually has closed so that it covers his torso. This leather cloak is light and plain in appearance. It is double layered, and sewn into the inner layer are many straps and pockets. Since they are sewn onto the inside, there are no stitches or seams to indicate their presence on the outer side. A simple hood is sewn into the neckline, and when raised it puts the details of his face mostly into shadow. He keeps his daggers and various other tools in these semi-hidden compartments in the cloak, and it hangs in such a way that one cannot see the movements of his arms clearly beneath it unless they look very closely. Beneath that cloak, he usually wears a plain green tunic and a pair of simple, brown leather leggings. He is rarely found without a pair of fingerless leather gloves with a thick metal plate over the back of the hand and knuckles, and a pair of heavy (for a halfling) boots that look well traveled. A metal plate similar to the one on the gloves covers the toes and heels of both boots. His hair is often wrapped in a simple brown bandana, and when on a mission he pulls up a similar brown scarf over his mouth. He wears a simple brass earring in his right ear.


    Toryn strolls in with the rest of the group, smirking for no good reason as Hiram takes the letter. "So, what's th' job, boss?" He speaks in a simple tenor voice, with an obvious country drawl. He throws his hands into the air for a moment and gets a distanct look in his eyes, adding obviously fake drama to his voice. "Savin' some fair damsel from a dragon? Battlin' down a hoard of savage goblins? Raidin' th' tomb of a once mighty wizard? Purchasing milk and eggs?"
    Last edited by Proven_Paradox; 2008-09-10 at 02:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Cage sits on a short fence nearby. He wasn't particularly strong, sneaky, and wasn't the most intelligent man on the face of the earth, however, his sharp tongue was often need to prevent the **** from hitting the proverbial fan. He keeps a longsword at his side that glows with a faint, blue aura.

    The name "Cage" had been given to him shortly after joining the Hammer's Edge. His true name has since then been forgotten. Hearing the nearby conversation peaks his interest as he listens carefully.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Asani saunters in, stretching. Her armor isn't on; she decided earlier it just wasn't important unless they had something they had to do, and she much prefers softer, smoother cloth against her skin than the breastplate. Therefore, she enters the bar wearing not much more than a loose, low-cut red dancer's outfit and a handy haversack.

    Seeing Zurktz as something rather sturdy, Asani leans against the orc's side, grinning as if all is well and she isn't invading someone else's personal space. Ignoring the hardness of the plate, in a cheerful voice she remarks, "I hope he's crazy. It sounds exciting!" She giggles. "Will you read it, then?"
    Also known as "Dani."

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Hiram scans the letter quickly. "It seems you've had a stroke of serendipity, then. This one goes beyond crazy. Listen: 'They've taken her from me, you see! They've taken her away! My life, my love, my Annabel Lee. I want, no, need her back. I have I am willing to reward you richly if you'll bring her back to me, restore her to life!' Honestly, MacGregor, he's trying to hire us to bring the dead to life? It sounds as though this fine fellow's understanding of exactly what we do here is fundamen'ally backwards."

    He makes as though to crumple up the letter when something catches his eye and he takes another look. "Wait... 'open a door to the heavens?' Now, that's mighty curious. Well, it's not as though we've got our hands full working right now, and my curiosity's piqued. Either way, this one looks like it might turn out to be a good one. Thank you, sir." He salutes again, with rather more sincerity, and offers the letter to anyone who wants to take a look themselves.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "Well, off with you then," Finnian says with a grunt, "I don't want to hear from you again until this whole business has been put to rest, one way or the other."

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    Translation: Going back to talk to Finnian after finding out that Poe really can open a path into the heavens will slow down the action and do neither of us any good, I don't want you to bother with it.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Galdrie'al looked rather dis-interested in anything else but mantaining his scythe, another job, ho-hum.... but, "A door to the heavens, you said?" He began speaking before he could stop himself, looking interested now. He stood up to walk nearer to Hiram, scanning the letter over the mans shoulder.

    "That seems rather full of blasphemy." The paladin spoke slowly and measured, "But, regardless, we should go see him if only to set this poor fellow straight." He appeared to be considering saying something else, but let it drop.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Tos wander's in behind everyone else, trying to act as inconspicuous as his red skin will allow.
    The tracker and scout leans on the fence near Cage, staying quiet.
    His frog like body seemed well adapted in the deserts of the west, but at this point life looks mildly uncomfortable in the freezing cold lands away from his home.
    Idiots give me indigestion.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Zurktz regarded the female against his side with at least a little bemusement; if it'd been one of the males, he'd probably have swatted them off like an annoying fly. But let's face it; even an Orc likes pretty things.

    He took the letter as it was passed his way, reading through it rapidly several times before passing it on.

    "Heavens, huh?" The Orc grinned, showing off his sharp teeth. "Almost makes me hope he isn't crazy." The Orc hefts the greataxe from the ground and slings it over his shoulder, straightening to his full height. "When we setting out, then?"
    Last edited by RelentlessImp; 2008-09-10 at 06:44 PM.
    Now if you don't mind, I am somewhat preoccupied telling the laws of physics to shut up and sit down.
    I cast irresistable phantasmal killer as a 4th level spell. No save, just die.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "Blasphemy?! Nonsense! We get to go visit our deities!" Asani claps her hands together, obviously pleased. "I hope Pahla is around. I need to thank her for all the fun I've had over the years. Ooh, this will be so great. I want to go!"
    Also known as "Dani."

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Toryn lets out a low whistle as the letter makes its way to him. "Man, I don't think this guy could be anythin' but crazy. If he isn't 'ough, ya'd better believe I'll be there! A daring foray into th' very heavens to restore lost love? 'At's th' makin's of an EPIC!" He passes the letter on to the next person in line, donning a silly grin and cracking his knuckles.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Neillos wanders in a bit late. The pale, gaunt human seems flustered. It seems that, once again, he had difficulty explaining why he was riding a dragon. The lie is a simple one - On a mission around a year ago, we fought the White Dragon in it's lair. However, rather than kill it, we cast a spell that bound it to it's word for one game of wits - If it won, it got our treasure - If it lost, it was bound in servitude to one of us. Of course, since we had our treasure still, we obviously won. The lizard seems so dead to the world because of spite, but knows he must follow the spells command.

    Of course, this is untrue. But, it's easier than explaining that, without his magics, the freakin' thing would rot away to bare bones.

    "What is the meaning of being called? Is a job available, hmmmm? What will our opponents skeletal structures be?"
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    *yawn* If all goes well we won't have "opponents". Let me have that letter. He lights a small pipe with a bit of herb inside and begins readnig. After a while, his eyes grow wide and his pipe goes slack in his mouth, dropping a couple of embers on his arm which snap him back into reality. Once he composes himself, he pockets the letter. I'll take the job.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Hiram at Neillos's approach. "We still don't know if we've got a real job yet, might just be a wild goose chase. Looks to be one worth chasing, though. Seems our chap wants someone brought back from the dead. As in brought back, physically, from heaven, by us, going to heaven. So we're not exactly talking about your usual treatment here, Neillos."

    Turning to the rest of the assembled group, he calls out,"Alright, you heard the man. Anyone have any last-minute preparations before we head out?"
    Last edited by TeeEl; 2008-09-10 at 10:31 PM.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Neillos stares, slack jawed.

    "You... You can't do that, though... I've been trying for years! My pets are the closest thing you can get to that!"

    Neilos grumbles and paces, trying to calculate the situation in his head.

    "I want in! I WANT IN! I need to learn this trick!"

    "...and if nothing else, I'm sure there's some lovely body structures in the heavens...."
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Cage looks at a small locket around his wrist. Theres definately one....

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "Let's do this, then," the well-groomed Orc says, rolling his head on his neck to pop the bones, letting out a satisfied grunt as the muscles loosen up. Then he turns to Asani.

    "Have you had your fill of leaning on me, or do you want to be carried like a child to our destination? If it's the latter, I'm sure I could tie you to the haft of my weapon and let you dangle from it." The orc grins broadly.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "I would consider that intensely uncomfortable and a gross mistreatment of children everywhere. If you want to carry a child, you must support their full body, and especially their head!" Asani chides good naturedly. She steps away and pats him lightly on the shoulder. "It's all right, we'll have you trained before a pretty little thing gives you a kid." She looks pensive a moment, biting her lip, then adds, "I should probably get something a little more road-worthy on before we go, no?"

    Of course, before anyone can answer, she vanishes behind a palisade. In mere moments she returns, her dancers clothes gone and replaced with a gleaming breastplate and some sturdy travelling clothes and other enchanted items, with her red 'locks tied back into a ponytail. She also has her shield and weapon, and a curious tan bag at her side. Those who know her would recognize it as her Bag of Tricks, or her "rhino bag" as she's fond of calling it. "Well? Aren't you all ready to go? We have important things to do, Heavens to march into, dead people to..." she glances over at Neillos, "...deader people to investigate, deities to see!"
    Also known as "Dani."

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    By now, Cage had already made his way back from the stables with a horse. He didnt really like carrying a lot of stuff so aside from his armrments, only took with him a bit of flint, a blanket, and a collapsible shovel. He leans forward, resting on the horse's neck. Any time you guys are ready...

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Toryn smirks and cracks his knuckles. "C'mon guys, you should all know that I'm always ready by now. Let's do this--if nothin' else, we'll be back with tales of the crazy man in a night."

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "Right-o, let's go!"

    Neillos closes his eyes and whistles loudly (though one wonders if the whistle is truly necessary). Shortly after, a white dragons clumsily flies over to him, and ambles to the ground before him. It steps on a sharp rock, but doesn't seem to mind. Neillos climbs on the saddle, positions himself, and grabs the reigns.

    "We're ready when you are, arn't we Kor?" he speaks more to his steed than the party.

    Those who've ventured with him before know his nickname for the dragon is a shortened version of Korpis, a mockery of the word Corpus.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Zurktz laughs at Anasi's words, a deep-bellied, full-bodied laugh. Sliding two fingers into his mouth and whistling for a stable-boy to bring him a horse large enough for him, he slides atop it, taking the reins in one hand and holding the axe over his shoulder with the other.

    "Let's go, then. If this guy doesn't turn out to be a lunatic, the Heavens won't wait for us."
    Now if you don't mind, I am somewhat preoccupied telling the laws of physics to shut up and sit down.
    I cast irresistable phantasmal killer as a 4th level spell. No save, just die.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Tos waits for the other's to get ready and start on there way before begining his traditional hop-jog to keep ahead of the horses.
    Idiots give me indigestion.
    Don't give me indigestion.

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    Wadledo, you dislike EVERYONE. Therefore, you don't count.
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    Maybe this is the only true fix for spellcasting, making people scared of using it.
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    There's a concept called mercy. Are you familiar with it?
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Galdrie'al hopped on the back of his normal horse and kept it at a trot to keep up with the rest. "Well, if this gentlemen is not a lunatic... perhaps there is something to his claims." He looked over at Asani, "I doubt the gods would be pleased if we came knocking at their door, my lady, but the wonders of heavens, the questions I have..." He trailed off and looked in another direction and trotted his horse up further.

    "Don't you think its a tad wrong to bring those abominations to heavens gate, Neillos?" Galdrie'al said, a slight smile on his lips.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    Neillos smiles back. "Naaah, I'm sure they allow Half-Elves in the heavens, Galdrie'al. I'll be fine bringing you along!"

    Neillos then takes to the air, slowly sweeping the skies on his dragon.
    If there's a rule, there's someone out there trying to figure out how to get around it just to piss off his DM.

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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

    "Alright, enough of that. If this guy turns out to be as barmy as he sounds we'll have plenty of time for chat later. 'til then we've got a mission, and it doesn't sound like an easy one. Let's try to stay focused, here."

    "Here, Cage, let me see that letter again, unless you feel like navigating. Let's go, everyone!"
    Hiram heads in search of a stable to hire mounts for those in need, then sets off following Poe's directions.
    Last edited by TeeEl; 2008-09-11 at 04:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Annabel Lee Ch. 1: Raging Against the Heavens

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    If the style of this post bothers you, I can try to cut back on my fourth wall-poking, but I don't really believe in taking D&D too seriously... Now if this were Call of Cthulhu...


    The camera cuts to an old fashioned, yellowed map. As you ride (and/or fly), a red line traces your movement. It soon becomes evident that Poe doesn't have a very good since of direction, as the line circles back on itself a few times... or maybe that's intended as a precautionary measure. Whatever the case, you still arrive at your location much faster than you would have if we hadn't abstracted the journey. Now wasn't that easy?

    Finnian was right in predicting that the trail would not lead you to a village or town. As you round the last corner you see that the rough dirt track terminates near a large stone crypt. The tomb is situated on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the rough seas beyond. The view is quite striking. The family of the deceased must have been quite wealthy...

    As you draw closer you notice that there is a man slumped up against the side of the mausoleum. The ground around him is littered with a variety of bottles.

    Here, have some mood music.
    Last edited by Ascension; 2008-09-11 at 08:37 PM.
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