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...Ina kug ba-bar-ra sab tumu mul nam-tar
Ina ges’u’ges da usu da ussa ana’am kig
Ina dirig ki’kukku gu ana’am kar su ti nig’u’rum.
-Fragment of the prophecy of Ul Tel'Menadian, Seer of the Third Court, in the ancient tongue.
A Brief History of Arvinon
The current year is 1242 of the Fifth Age.
The Fifth Age began at the end of the War From Beyond and the defeat of Those From Beyond. The victory tore the land apart, with the Izvis peninsula sinking in part and creating what are now the Pryayatsu Empire and the Straits of Afin’Dor. The nation of Afin’Dor, who’s rulers brought about the war, ceased to be while leaving island littering the Straits with ruins from their former glory.
Most of the times greatest heroes and villains of the time died in the war along with the northern god Falthur Deedkeeper. This included almost all the users of magic be it those who wielded the very fabric of reality, unlocked the powers of the mind, were friends of nature or followed the will of the Gods. The greatest exception was the Tower of Knowledge in the city-state of Arithanos, which became the greatest concentration of magic users of those who survived the war.
Most of the current kingdoms, especially in the west, were created after The War From Beyond by those left in power or those who seized it. The notable exceptions are the dwarf lands of the Granite Kingdom and the elf lands of Gaermound-i-Alkarinqa'ara, although the former lost a substantial portion of its lands as the world sought to heal itself following the War From Beyond.
<How in Hades did I end up here?> Karven thought to himself. A caravan guard.
Working for Teven Lei wasn’t so bad but he wished that the human was a bit more cautious on the paths he chose. They had left Arkas weeks ago, sometimes skirting and sometimes entering the Prang’s Folly, the wastes controlled by Huul Ale’ereos. It was dangerous but it had saved them weeks of travel. Too bad it didn’t save Deng, one of the other guards, who had been carried away by the strange creature one of the other guards called a ‘Dunewinder’, a strange, worm like creature. Arkas was good while they were there. There were plenty of other Halflings to meet, even if they might give him strange looks.
He had made friends amongst some of the guards, too. Maispar, of the race known as Raptoreans, was an odd character. He could be cheery at times… but dark and menacing at others. But, occasionally, when they could find cliffs or other high points, he could be coaxed into flying Karven about, even if he only called it gliding.
And then there was the flame haired man named Oloek. A bit of a grouch, who spent his nights drinking, he felt some kind of camaraderie with the man. He knew what it was to be an outsider amongst your own people. Although, the past couple of days had been rough for him since he ran out of the hooch. Karven had seen him sitting on one wagon’s and didn’t realize he drank so much he got the shakes.
“Caravan guard” he sighed. It could be worse, he supposed. Teven respected his power and it had been useful to drive off a couple of bandit groups. Magic was rare and strange to most. Seeing the sky light up with his power that night was enough to send them packing. Too bad most of the other guards chose to keep their distance, though.
Maispar walked down the street in Arkas, disappointment on his face. He had hoped to find the knowledge needed to put their spirits to rest.
“Arithanos would be your best bet. Either that or Svligi Althith… Lord Elbure or Jussi Huovinen both possess deep knowledge of things lost to others, even the long-lived elves.” The sage had told him.
As he walked out into the market square to get something to eat, he checked his coins. He knew that there was no way he had the funds to make it to either city. As he walked up to a vendor, he paid for the meat pie and thought of what to do next when he overheard the next customer, a bald and thin human male, say to a flame haired man “Yes, I’ll hire you. I need a couple of more guards, at least one more scout, and someone who can cook a decent meal. Itzel can barely make a passable stew. One we reach Salustia and then Arithanos.” Then bald man then began to haggle with the vendor over the price.
Maispar knew his ancestors were providing him is opportunity. “Sir,” he said to the bald man “not to be eavesdropping, but I could not help but overhearing that you are in search of guards and scouts. I have gifts and talents that can help on both fronts.”
From there, it was a matter of a little negotiation with the man, Teven Lei by name. He didn’t let on that he was trying to get to Arithanos or that he was short on coin, but this was an opportunity to gain both. His ancestors sought an end to their restlessness and had provided him the means to accomplish this.
Oloek walked with the bald, unctuous man. Teven Lei, after seeing him deal with the 3 men who thought he was cheating at dice, had asked him to work for him.
“Guards with swords I can find anywhere. But the magic you possess… yes, bandits fear those things.”
At first he didn’t want anything to do with the man. Salustia, really? The place was in the middle of the blasted desert. But, the man had seen him drinking and told him he’d throw in a keg of whatever rot gut he had been drinking… and he thought, <well, could be worse>. And it was.
Damn the heat. The thirst had caused him to consume the keg faster than he expected. Plus, Deng had owed him whatever brandy and whiskey he had after losing at dice… and the blasted idiot goes and gets himself eaten by the giant sandworm creature.
He was feeling surlier than usual. He was also hoping that cheery little Halfling would keep his distance as he sat on the wagon. And he hoped that Itzel made something other than beans, turnips, and boiled cabbage for dinner. Again. Hmmm… maybe Itzel had a stash of cooking wine he could either cajole, dice for or just straight out buy from…
The caravan, consisting of 10 wagons, marched along the desert waste.
As the sun started to sit low in the western sky, Teven looked to Maispar and Rendal, a Catfolk and the other scout, to find them a place to camp for the night.
"6 more days, tops, and we'll be in Salustia. Mark me on it" Teven said to whoever was listening. He had been saying this for three days now and the other guards had begun to mumble that Teven had lost his way in the desert. But, he promised meat for dinner that night and that had caused the grumbling to subside.
As Rendal came back saying that he had found a rocky, defensible spot a couple of miles west, the picked up the pace and made it there a half hour before sundown.
Camp was made and dinner was being cooked as you find yourself off duty, as the night watch takes it's turn.
Miaspar knows his talents, and looks for any trees to climb up so that he may see far with his low-light vision. His wings and superior jumping ability should make scaling a tree easy work. There, he keeps a close eye out for any bandits or monsters.
If it is necessary, I will take ten on the climb check. I will use my wings to help me up the tree if that will assist me further.
Last edited by VestigeArcanist : 06-18-2012 at 02:50 PM.
Oloek curses this damned desert under his breath, his shaking was definitely worse then usual, driving him nearly mad. And so Oloek rudely barge in the cook's wagon once they stop, quickly closing the door behind him. "Hello Itzel. Do you happen to have a little pick me up I could buy from you?"
As the sun dips below the horizon, the temperature of the hot desert subsides a bit.
Camp is struck near a rocky uprising from the hard pan, like stubby fingers reaching towards the sky. Senior members camp inside or on top of wagons, leery of laying on ground where snakes and other venomous creatures can warm their bodies against.
Hard, oversalted and overcooked meat is served with some wilted greens and some mashed up roots but it's been a week since meat has been served and everyone seems to relish the change.
Miaspar, after his meal, stretches out a bit before looking for a place to perch himself. Unable to find any vegitation larger than some small scrub, he climbs his way to the top of the most stable rocks. He scans the horizon, looking for trouble, whether it is bandits or feral creatures.
As the stars take their place in the sky, winking with cold, distant light, it feels as if they draw the heat from the desert as you begin to see the mist of your breath begin to form.
Karven and Oloek, something of favorites of Teven, as far as he values any men above what they can do for him, are given accommodations on wagons.
Oloek, unable to find anything to drink, grumpily makes his way to his cart, pulling his blanket over himself as the cold wind causes it to whip around his body.
As he sleeps, it is restless as he sees himself on a vast plain. The grasslands extend in all directions. Although he can't see anything taller than some knee high grass, no buildings or trees, he feels claustraphobic. He feels as if he's being watched, that the sky is closing in on him... that he can almost see a face as the stars begin to move... and he wakes up, sweating in the cold wind, looking around. Only the tarps, stirring in the wind, move as he covers himself and tries to go back to sleep.
Karven, finally giving up on trying to make conversation with Oloek, finds Itzel and a few other humans sitting around the fire. Sitting, he tries to to join the conversation but mostly fails in his attempts. He had hoped that being amongst other races taht his magic abilities would be more accepted but he sees that he most are still fearful of magic.
As the embers die down and everyone except those guards that have night duty make their way to their bedrolls, Karven climbs up on the wagon, noticing that the familiar stars have an almost red tinge to them.
Miaspar, perched on the rocks, thinks to pull out his weapon, but thinks that it is unnecessary and overly paranoid. Though he grows colder, he doubts his reflexes will be dulled by the tension of his muscles. He brings his wings in to wrap his torso, they will insulate him from the elements and keep his body warm. He keeps a steady watch, as would a bird of prey.
Karven lays down on top of the wagon, looking up at the red stars. His mind lazily ponders what's going on, but he doesn't feel overly... anything by them. No fear, no amazement, nothing. He stays like that for a while, watching the stars and conversing with his fey inside, before closing his eyes and getting some rest, if nothing happens.
The air, cold and biting, blows through the camp. With it comes strange sounds... sounds like the mewling of cats down a long, vacant hall...
Suddenly, the sound of hoofbeats can be heard, charging hard on the sand. Everyone is instantly awake as Teven meets the rider, who you realize is Aulex, one of the night guards responsible for keeping a perimeter around the camp.
"Teven, riders approach. At least a dozen on horses. They look to be Tel'Amrin Suul Aliman!".
With that, Aulex leaps from his horse to the ground at Teven's feet.
No knowledge check~
Tel'Amrin Suul Aliman are the lords of Huul Ale'ereo. Their warlord/king, Ankinhôr Kahzeel, a hobgoblin reported to rule the desert with an iron fist, laying waste to to travelers who enter his domain.
Kn:History or Kn:Local check if you want more information.
"If we are in their lands, we have gone too far west and north, Teven. What do we do?!?" Aulex asks, almost hysterical.
A murmer goes through the assembled guards.
There are a total of 15 members of your party, including the three of you, but most have only fought against bandits and the occasional wild animal but never against an almost equal amount of trained soldiers.
Last edited by razorback : 06-19-2012 at 02:33 PM.
Karven is knocked out of his near-sleeping state by the commotion. He overhears what's going on and jumps down off the wagon. "You shut your trap, gather your weapons, and prepare for a fight if they bring one." He plucked a few strings on his lyre before proceeding to continue playing. "We can either try to be diplomatic or we can try to get the jump on them. What say you, Teven?"
Oloek curses the desert once again "From their reputation, I don't think we can afford to be diplomatic. No one rides this hard to talk. I say we open the hostilities. Everyone who's experienced in combat, grab a sword, those who aren't, grab a bow. I'll lay an ectoplasmic sheen, hopefully most of the horses shouldn't make it through standing. Archers, shoot those stuck in the sheen, swordmen, cut down all those who get out... he then turns to Teven "Unless you have a better idea?"
If Teven doesn't come up with a better idea, Oloek will cast Vigor and force screen on himself and ready and action to cast grease in front of the horses. If Oloek doesn't have 3 rounds, he'll just ready an action.
"There's no way we can outrun them. Maybe we can barter with them? That can't think we did it on purpose?!?" Teven says, pulling his hat off and wiping his sweating head, even with the cold wind whipping about.
"The rocks! If we put our backs to the rocks and circle the wagons in front of us, they can't charge us down with their horses! It will give us a chance to use the archers! We might get lucky and take them out before they can get away and find reinforcements. "
Before any of you can do any different, he yells out "Jons! Vince! Terrance! Get those wagons moving! Make a half circle in front of those rocks right there!" He says he the bird-faced man points to an area where the rocks circle into themselves. "Quick before I tie you to the wagons and make you pull them yourselves!"
He then rushes off, yelling to anyone with any kind of bow to ready themselves.
I'll try to have a map up in the morning to give you guys a better idea of the layout.
Oloek takes a few seconds to focus himself, before following behind Teven. "So you wish us to hold our fire until you can talk to them?'
Focus Concentration: (1d20+10)
If Teven says yes he will answer "You're wasting a good oportunity to strike first, I pray to the gods your hopes don't kill us all.
Either way, Oloek will help move the wagons. After that he will hide behind one of them and summon his mindblade and watch for the enemy, once they're closer, he will cast vigor and force screen on himself.
You can make out 13 riders in the distance. Blue rectangles in the upper left corner. They have stopped and it looks like two are conversing.
Guards in white are on the (black) wagons with either crossbows or longbows out.
Guards in blue have longspears out, set vs charge.
Guards in green have longswords drawn.
Teven has a light crossbow out and has put has rapier belt on.
Miaspar is on the tallest of the rock fingers, about 25 feet above the ground.
Karven and Oloek are both on the ground behind the cover of the wagons, each about 10 feet away from Teven.
Teven looks at Oloek, thinking on his words.
"Well, they aren't hostile... yet. If they come charging in, then we give'em all we got, boys. Maispar and Rendal, can you make out what they are doing?"
Before either the Raptoran or Catfolk can answer, the horsemen suddenly spur forwards, half look to have horsemen shortbows and the other half look to be drawing scimitars.
Edit: Aw, crap. Still working on the map sizes on the internet.
Last edited by razorback : 06-20-2012 at 07:50 AM.
(alpha)G for color guard from map.
From the distance, near the front of the pack, you can see one of the horsemen raise his scimitar up high and shout something in a gutteral language. The other horsemen then raise their voices in response, sounding like some kind of battle cry.
The guards at the openings between the wagons (blue on the map) ready themselves, longspears planted against a charge.
Maispar, you're up.
Last edited by razorback : 06-20-2012 at 02:35 PM.