Carrion Crown: Kyle's

Carrion Hill, chasing ghosts

Arriving in Carrion Hill the adventurers were greated by a town crier whom was looking for heroes to help kill a beast.
Behind the crier was a list of flyers, most were about reporting orc spies, signed by Tarkus Finley. Another was a flyer about a festival whose sales promotion was about what a person would be willing to die for.

Tarkus Finleys flyers

Carrion Hill streets were difficult to navigate and it would be easy to get lost without Zephyr.
The adventurers made there way to Mayor Heggrys with help from Zephyr.
On there way there they passed by the slipper market. Several of the town watch guard, called the crows had cornered off a ruined building. However passers by could clearly see the blood smeared glyph of some sort on one of the ruined buildings wall.

Letter 1
Coyls Letter

Cov 04a
A Crow member nesting over the Abdar Tax Collectors

Coc 03
Coyl last moments

Tentacle rape demote poster by mikimichellemal d38owtu
Ecthelion face tanking 24 attacks

The Clipped Raven

he Raven Knight sits with his back against the wall rolling a harmonica between his fingers. He had never been to prison before however was not surprised to see the small instrument sitting on the floor. He was also not surprised to find that when placed to his lips he could play with all the desperation and passion of a man stuck in such a predicament as his. It was, after all, a little known fact that the harmonica is not actually an instrument but a small planar creature born into this world in places of idle misery.

The Raven Knight looks across at his companion Ecthelion. For ten long and hard minutes they had been imprisoned and the halfling sitting opposite him was beginning to show the marks and impressions of a hardened prisoner. They say prison changes people and the Raven Knight wondered if he too was starting to show the same changes as Ecthelion… deep down he new he was. Ten unimaginable minutes with no sign of release.

The Raven Knight’s mind rested in the past and he thought of the criminals and vagabonds he had met in his travels. Some of these men had spent up to an hour in prison. Sixty minutes…. he shuddered at the thought of such a lifetime of horror.

A prison guard walks by tapping his baton on the bars, no doubt assuring himself that the bars had not changed from the same stout iron they were when he last made his rounds. The Raven Knight thought about the world outside, forever moving forward despite their imprisonment.

He presses the harmonica against his lips and beginnings to play, a dog howls somewhere in the distance.

Once again he looks over to his companion and wonders what drifts through his mind….


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Silivio werewolf


Druid ghost epi

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Vrood scroll

Carrion Crown Recipe in Lorrimors spell book

Upon the ashen pathways tread Softly, as the whispered dead. As mortal flesh doth rot and fail To leech and maggot, ebbing frail.

Unhallowed words cannot be spoken, With whispered oath, death lies broken. Shed fear, shed life, shed pain, shed time, Eternity seized shall soon be thine.

First spirit torn from Grave-Lady’s grasp Be rent and sown as soured ash. Soft the spiral song reverses, Judgment lost, damnation surges.

Keeper of the damned’s soul take, With packlord’s heart the beast shall wake And flesh be wrought in disarray Stillborn cocoon, to blessed decay.

A hundred slain lie innocent, Grind bone and marrow to cement. Craft now a skull of splintered graves, Unmake life, unmake the slave.

Where history churns dream to blister, Necrophagous secrets whisper Through chronicles of Raven’s tongue A legacy of fear unspun.

Blood spilt atop the Iron Thorn Invokes that which cannot be born. Arise the Tyrant now unbound, Bearer of the Carrion Crown!

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The war room debrief and leaving sentinel keep

The War Room Debrief the next day

After the battle those whom had not already left were asked to attend a debrief in the command war room of Sebastian Traft the following morning. Those whom would attend would be Riff, Benjan, Yharloc, the Grave knight, the Dawn knight, the Raven knight, Teyrn and Maric Bronzebeard, Kitch, Oswald Furyshield, Adivion Adrissant, Ostarian, Falkon, Don Blanco and his tag team partner, Ecthelion Talamar, Unit 1, Doctor Slanimirc and his sister Cassandra, High commander Sebastian Traft and Embreth Daramid whom arrived late to the battle.

Sebastian Traft began to speak. “As of nou wir victorious. Yit aye believe’en thare is still work to be done. This Vrood is still loose. Lass Kendra is missen. En ma gut tells me this was just the begin‘en. Masel hate to be ask’en this, but we need to hunt down Vrood en make him pay for the lives lost hare. Do the rest of ye hae anythen to say on what to do nou”. Trafts awkward Kellid dialect (Scottish) was usually difficult to understand.

Oswald was the first to answer. “I kinnae speak for all me clan, But ye can bet most of em will be returning to the mountains to continue mining. Especially noo that the passes through the hungry mountains are free from the deid”. Many others in the room agreed with the dwarves words. It would be along time before the cultists would attempt a similar tactic with how soundly they had been defeated.

Adivion cleared his throat. “I think it is in our best interest to break the army. It was not raised with the mark of nobles with those nations involved. You can be sure there will be hell to pay in the courts for our actions. There is already bickering amongst the nobles from the different royal houses. War has been talked about more then once on royal tongues. Despite this, I believe we did the right thing in opposing this undead army. I also believe that it would be foolish to continue after Vrood, without considering the impact our actions have already had. The nobles that stand here before you in this very room will all have to answer for there actions when they return home. We should not add murder amongst them. Especially without sufficient evidence against Vrood. As Ostarian has made clear, Vrood for at least a time was respected as a practitioner of the arcane arts. Without evidence all we have is hearsay. Only damning allegations with facts as substantiations, will prove his guilt”.

“Nuff said” Riff replied. “What of the lady Kendra. She is missing eh. Vrood is a criminal and managed to escaped us. I do not agree with us simply packing up eh, and letting him be”.

Benjan walked over and patted Riff on the head “Let him rot in whatever back water town he ends up in”.

“And if that was to be Ravensgro eh, once more” Riff quickly replied, drawing the curtain closed on the mans words.

Judge Embreth Daramid made her presence known by interrupting several private conversations around the room. ‘It is clear in the eyes of the law, those that fought in this battle could be considered a mercenaries force whom seeks to overthrow many of the noble houses or nations. To avoid the persecution of those involved here and to quell any fears the nobles have about the armies intentions, it should be for at least momentarily be shelved, until they are needed again”.

Yhaloc puffs up his chest. ‘It is about time the nobles in this land learn how they are suppose to behave. We have an army here to make em listen. There is no harm with asking for them to offer the folk here some coin for preventing an uprising of undead”.

Embreth turns to the bear of a man. “You advocate more war. Your words are treasonous”.

Yharloc sharply replies. “Well what do these men ere have to say for what they risked. A few extra coppers to there name. They deserve more. They are the ones willing to protect the land with there very life. Not hide behind a law book of words. I did not see ye on the battlefield when me friends were getting slaughtered”.

The room for a while went eerily silent.

“Regardless, we need to search Felgrau for answers eh. We should be grabbing our bunny huggers and heading there. Not wasting time here deciding what eh is best to do next”. Riff continued.

“And the men. Ye can’t discard them like cards. Ye heard the wrinkled harlot hag spout her words. Too long words written in a book the common folk don’t understand dictate their daily lives. Ye laws only benefit the nobles. Nobles who hide in their castles, while good folk die protecting the land. We have a chance to make them listen. If we stood against the dead there ain’t nothing these men can’t fight. I say we march and make the nobles listen”.

“Turn our blades on the people who run the nations. We will have a war worse then which has befallen here today. It will be the war without rivals once more. A classes war which will only result in more blood being spilled”. Embreth could barel contain her anger.

Pockets of squabbling broke out. Embreth seemed shocked by Yharlocs words. Riff went about and tapped each of the heroes on the shoulder, motioning for them to join her in a side room to escape the internal strife.

“I don’t care what that lot says eh. Ya need to go after lady Kendra and make sure she’s safe. She was spotted heading for Felgrau. I have some horses for ya waiting should ya go after Kendra. This alliance is only holding together by threads. We can‘t loose Kendra like eh we did Elmore and Cassielt. She is the main reason we are here in the first place. If it eh, were‘nt for her fathers death and working out what he Whispering Way were up to, none of s would be ere. Maybe you can learn more of this Vrood from there”.

“Lower ya weapons” comes a command from Traft. “This is not the time for more blood to be spill’en”. Tension and tempers continue to flare in the room. Oblivious to Trafts words it appears the room split into five. Those loyal to Adivion, those loyal to the Palantinites, those persuaded by Yharlocs words, the heroes and those like Riff besotted by the sudden hostility.

The construct stands defiantly in the middle, weaponless and awaiting a response.

Ecthelion detects evil at Yharloc, nay.. at all the power ppl in the room

After being seated the Doctor manages to see things once more clear again. “You speak the truth Yharloc. Indeed I am a noble, does that frighten you………. By my examination of your actions I have concluded to a decision that you suffer a rare form of anxiety disorder called Plutophobia. In common terms it means you fear the rich. I wonder if the cause of this is from a traumatic experience you suffered when you were a young child in which has embroider this hatred against Nobles. Clearly your mind has been entrapped by this disorder as you cannot see the sufficed evidence that the Nobles of Ustalav are on the same side as you. Why would Lepistatd march 400 horsemen through the accursed Shudderwood to partake in the battle if the council of Lepistatd did not care. You say let the people decide how this realm is run, bah! Look how well this army is by not having a structured law system. People getting executed without the process of proving innocence, others do as they please by deserting the battlefield. Even this bickering is unworthy of a proper army. Do not tell me a nation can be run like this.”

Ecthelion had fallen into a silence after the mention of his sister. ‘Saera! My beloved Saera!’ he thought. What could be done about Vrood without bringing harm to his sibling? He had vowed to pursue Vrood, and bring him to justice… but his Saera! The moment passed and his attention came back to the hostility of the room. Vrood was of no consequence at the immediate time. The matter of the army needed to be quelled. Stepping in front of Embreth before she sticks Adivion. “You are forgetting yourself Lady Daramid. Put away your weapon. Striking at Adivion would not be lawful, though I do find your rashness to be quite telling, that you would put your oaths to this ‘secret’ order over those you gave to the courtroom. I will remember this in the future.” “Yharloc, the Doctor is right.. your words make little sense.. running a nation is not merely like running around in the Shudderwood after wolves, and the people would not follow you when they hear that I stand on the otherside of the battlefield.”

Ecthelion’s smirked to himself ‘yes.. antagonize them so that their emotions rise, and then sift through those emotions to see if any secrets have also risen.’

Embreth sheaths her sword. “You will pay for your words here today Adivion. I will see to it”. She leaves the War room. You can hear Embreth say the following. “Fetch the horses, we are leaving”.

Adivion moves to Ecthelion. “Please you must protect me. You must protect lady Kendra. They will come after what I value the most. I am no longer safe to be around. I am leaving for a place I know is safe. I will contact you when I can. Please forgive my words”. Adivion leaves the tent.

“Ba… Spout your nonsensical words elsewhere. I will crush the nobles like bugs. You won’t listen, but you will”. Yharloc tips over a chair and exits.

“Well, well, well. Can’t say I enjoyed this. I think its time for me to move on” Benjan suggests. “Well no matter what ales yea halfling, Teyrn and I will always have yea back”. Maric gives the halfling a slap on the back. Ecthelion was just happy he was wearing his armour or the blow would have hurt. A boy comes rushing into the room.

“Raven knight sir… I mean lord. The horses and provision are ready for when you are ready to leave”. The boy gives a polite bow.

“Hahaha. Another adventure already. Well it will be good to get out of this encampment. Its begining to smell like a halflings arm pit”. Teyrn gives his brother a smack in the arm, motioning towards Ecthelion. “I am sorry Ecthelion. I meant no offense. Perhaps I should have said troll-barf, sewer rat, cave gherkin or stench kow”. Teyrn oddly smelt his own armpit and then Ecthelion, giving Ecthelion a strange look, his nose ruffled. The two dwarves gave the messenger boy an inquisitive look.

“Feldgrau” the young boy answered.

Traft adds “Git go’en. I will make sure the men recieve the sails they were promised. Nou go, no more can be said ere”.

Ecthelion your detect evil picks up no evil presences in the room before the characters leave.

The Raven Knight briskly enters the tent. “Judging by the look on Embraths face the politics went as expected. The Nobles have been fighting for 700 years, one day wont change anything. Everything is ready for our departure. What will you have us do Ecthelion?”

Ecthelions thoughts wander back to his sister… "I need to talk further with Adivion before he leaves… Please meet up with me later today. It would be a good idea to prepare to march on feldgrau

“Provisions have been sought and the horses are ready; do what you must to prepare for the journey, seek me out when you are ready to leave”.

As Ecthelion enters Adivions tent, you can see the man frantically grabbing scrolls and stuffing them into a backpack. “What do you wish from me halfling. I have given you all that I have. I have nothing more to give. If you wish my life all you need do is take it”. He holds a dagger to his throat. “I am as good as dead anyway. If you are here to kill me, you are going to have to look me in the eye and break your paladin vows killing me”.

“Relax, I haven’t come to kill you, we are still friends fighting the same battle after all. You told me of a girl named Saera, and I wish to know more on the matter before you leave. I would have you by my side if I thought I could convince you to stay there…. "

Adivion relaxes a little, taking the dagger away from his throat. “So what do you know of the Esoteric Order of the Palantine Eye?” Adivion waits for a response before he continues.

“The Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye is a secretive organization thought to be based in Ustalav, but its hands extends far further then it. The organization adherents believe that within the human vessel lies a divine spark that craves reunification with the primordial celestial motes of the upper planes. Only through an ordered life path can members ascend to higher stations, both in their mortal lifetimes and their afterlives. The order believs in a metaphorical path to enlightenment.

This path is displayed in cathedrals on 18 tiled mosaics known as Stations Above and Below, nine of which are mounted above eye-level, with the remaining nine worked into the floor. The stations above depict an everyman figure growing in power, wealth, and adornment as the mosaic sequence continues and the character follows the Order’s teachings. The nine stations below begin their sequence with this idealized, enlightened everyman straying from the true path; as the stages progress, he is stripped of powers and gifts, demonstrating the ignorance of the uninitiated, or dire warnings to those who would betray the Order. In truth, Tabris was an angel that fell from heaven. He documented his research into the abyssal realms of devils and demons in a book called the book of the dead. The book is an unholy relic. Yet the Pharasman of the realm fall victim to the dark manuscripts. Manuscripts like Cromlech Catechisms, Aldus lost Gospels and Issachar’s Mysteries of Order. such books illustrate dark rituals, ritual sacrfices and the unearthing of mummies from Orision.

The order claim they have a direct connection to Tabris by unravelling ancient old mummies, talking to them, snapping off there jaws and drinking there remains as tea. Those that drink the tea are given glimpses into the future. Such glimpse allow them to manipulate events of the future as they see fit. They unravel mysteries that Tabris himself was cast out of the heavens for, time.

During one of the ceremonies one such glimpse was that of your sister Saera, tormented and tortured by a demonic amalgamation created by Vrood. In the vision, the witnessed hand (person recieving the vision) described Vrood ripping a demon and your sister momentarily from the hells. You were forced to kill her out of mercy. From the encounter you went insane. You lost contact with Sarenrae. You shouted blasphemous words to the light, and embraced the darkness. Vrood had somehow twisted you into something dark. Something repulsive. Something sinister for his amusement. Before the vision subsided, the witnessed hand saw you dead, in a dark decadent realm.

The Esoteric Order of the Palantine are an occult of debauched Pharasman worshipers. All Pharasman of the realm cannot be trusted. The Order say they pray to the heavens, but they pray to the hells. I know the four knights that represented the Pharasman on the field of battle are not members. They are not yet tainted. But the order will at some time force them join. They have ways of leveraging people. Careful whom you tell from what I have told you. They have people everywhere. Lorrimor was cast out of the order, forced to retire from the University in Ravensgro. They killed Alphon Cormarcs wife, stole his legacy and his throne. You will know when you have angered them, as your world will crumble around you. Do not trust the Pharasmans. I do not want to see harm come to you. This is why I advocate you let Vrood go. You are too important to this realm, to die in some backwater city. You are a vessle that will rekindle this country. You are somebody that will bring about a new age in Ustalav. A husk that will unite the land and bring about peace.

I am a better person for knowing you Ecthelion. I fear this is the last time we may meet, for I know the order will somehow find a way to get to me. No amount of running or hiding will save me from such a fate. Take the Journey books with you. I will aid you as best you can for as long as I can. Be careful Ecthelion. The all seeing eye of the Palatine foresees events before they happen. They will know we have spoken".

“I do not fear such divinations Adiviion. Perhaps there is some truth in them, but perhaps not… that is the problem with them you see? You never truly know if they are truths, until time catches up to them… Perhaps they are just grand illusions manifested to maneuver and manipulate a soul like mine. You said yourself that the group pressures you into moving the directions which they point. A sad world it would be if people believed such things indiscriminately…then everyone would be able to go through life, without ever knowing the truth about anything. I do wish you would at least consider staying with me. I know that you have traveled much of Golarion already. Your knowledge will be valuable and I could see that you are protected.”

“Thankyou Ecthelion. That would ease this weary mind if I join you on your quest. I know for at least the moment, I will be safer by your side. I will try not to burden you and steer clear during confrontations. I know a few basic incantations which may aid you. It has been almost five years since I last adventured so I maybe a lttle rusty. I will pack my belongings at once”. Adivion begins to pack some adventuring esesntials. “I will meet you at the gate momentarily”. Ecthelion can see his backpack full of various literature. Including nnihilistic poetry of Krait, Perry and Vhaag. As well as extrnsive tomes on the mysticism, books on historical lineages, whispering tyant, secret societis, pharasman doctrine and much more. Ecthelion had seen similar literature in Lorrimors manor during his funeral. “Just some rote triva so I don’t get bored on the road”. Adivion finishes packing his things. “Ok I believe I am ready”. Evthelion can see the aristocrat has a magic backpack to store his possessions. “From my adventuring day” Adivion says giving his backpack a tap. He then makes his way towareds the front gate.“Just br mindful of my eyesight, its not as good as it use to be”. He slips a monocle over his right eye.

At the gate Ecthelion can see the rest of his party is already set for there next adventure. Riff grabs Ecthelion by the arm. She speaks to him in a stern voice he is uncustomed to hearing from her. More of a motherly tone.. “You be careful. I heard what Adivion said eh. And I know your feelings about his words. But I want you ro be careful none the less. Be careful of bone farmers (assassins), bug hats (insane people) and the scary (undead) eh. Vrood kmows your comming and he is bound to have some sort of trap set for ya. So you be safe. I’m headed for Caliphas to rendezvous with Tarkus Finley. Hes been posting flyers all around the nation about the ork threat in Tamrivena. I am going to see if I can lend him a hand”. Riff gives Ecthelion a kiss on his cheek. “So Feldgrau is it. Well lets be off then”. Adivion spurs on.

Sitting upon his conjured mount Ostarian feels his body tense seeing that Advion is riding with the group, and too close to Ecthelion by far. Muttering a quiet oath that Advion will feed the earth if he betrays the half-knight while his oath of protection is upheld. Focusing his enchanted eyesight upon Advion the faint glow of an aura is seen around him to be read by Ostarian. Ostarian always wants to know who is travelling by his side, in particular if they are undead or arcane spellcasters.

Packing up there gear the heroes gathered what they could for the trek to Feldgrau. The Pharasmans had happily departed with some horse for the heroes for there valiant effort. The journey would only take them about a day. It was quite the surprise for the heroes, to see an entourage waiting for them as they left the fort. Traft had dubbded the fort ‘Sentinels Keep’, with the Pharasmans promising to keep a permenant presence there to forever monitor the situation of the Furrows. This was to ensure the main land of Ardeal was safeguarded from further undead threats.

Waiting at the gate was the friends the heroes had befriended. Benjan, Riff, Oswald, Teyrn and Maric – whom undoubtedly find a way to track or follow the adventurers, the Grave and Dawn Knight, Allarus from Sarenrae, El Chico Muerte, Sebastian Traft, Yharloc, Cassandra and Slanimirc from the Strange Crusade, Tobias the leprechaun, Race and several other notable heroes. Cheers of praise hail from the now parade to the gate. The Pharasman knights gave honorary salutes with there weapons. The leprechauns created illusionary figments of the sky raining petals. The Carnivarle started up there horns and flutes. The dwarven clans dropped to one knee in respect. The peasants sent wolf whistles and cheers, many hoisting a freshly opened ale into the morning air. It was a unaccustomed for the heroesrecieve such a farewell. Even Adivion looked quite shocked at the spectacle.

As they arrived at the gstehouse they could see Sebastian Traft holding a ceremonial sword. As the heroes got closer he smashed it on a nearby wall. Giving each of the honorary troop a shard of the broken sword he says “A mamento for ye to remember even a tyrant will fall. Together we can nou unify the land”. Departing the gates the heroes could hear final claps, praises of a safe journey and prayers of good fortune to Desna as they rode south for the gray horizon and waste, that was the Furrows and Felgrau.

The construct stares at the crowd a moment as his companions ride off in a maelstrom of dust and cloven hooves. It does not understand their joy. It stares on in wonderment for just a moment.

It can hear a strange voice within its mechanical mind, something akin to a memory…

“The people will never cheer for you. They will never cry your name. They will not weep for your demise. They will never know you, or what you have done for them. And you must never know them, for they are mortal, and fallible. You are not. You must never learn their ways.”

The construct shakes its head, as if to dismiss the anomolous programming.

“Your companions are exemplary amongst their kind. Champions of the living. They will bring about the change I desire. They will lead you through the path that you must follow. But know, my child, that mortals are fallible. They will attempt to deceive you. But you must be strong, and I have shown you the way.”

The construct turns away from the crowd and begins to run after its companions.

“I have encumbered you with the burden of decision that few of your kind possess. Your existence is your own, First of Many. Protect your companions, learn from them and guide them, and perhaps we shall meet again someday. Good luck, my child.”

The construct runs mechanically onwards after its companions, towards the future.

More meat for the grinder and no way to sneak upon Vrood with this fawning rabble. Floating petals and horns. Really? Looking upon the happy faces and dodging those that try and praise him directly Ostarian rides his horse apart from the main rabble to keep from going insane with the simple folk assembled in this party. It was much quieter in the tomb study halls of the guild, nothing prepared me for the madness of celebrating survival based on someone elses skills. Their lives mean nothing to me and when the stone crumbles only two here will get my oathsworn help, the rest can perish and feed the earth.

Adivions Concerns

Adivion looked about for Kendra. But she was no where to be found. He asked several men and women of her unit whom had been decimated by the belching skulls if they had sighted the young maiden. One reported he had seen her flee he battle field headed south through the Furrows behind the enemies position with a small contingent of men. Adivion frantically touched at his pocket for the letter he had promised to Kendra in Ravensgro at her fathers funeral. He felt a deep sense of guilt for failing to open up to her about his emotions then. He was even more frightened to hear rumours the young lady had courted a man called Ezekial. Adivion cannot say he was saddened by the news of Ezekial death. Rather the opposite. He had quickly grown fond of Kendra while settling the affairs to purchase her fathers estate. She had also returned his forwardness with a forwardness of her own. Although the two had gotten close, It was Lorrimor whom had asked Adivion to leave, saying the small province of Ravensro was not safe. Forced out by Lorrimors words, and not wanting to jeopardize there friendship, Adivion had listened to his friend and left Ravensgro. Promising to keep his friends journal safe.

Adivion had wrote a similar letter to Kendra that day. He had left it on her dresser. After she failed to speak to him at the funeral, Adivion had not pressed the matter further. allowing her time to grieve. In his heart he still cared for Kendra. It was this which tore at him. He knew he had duties to attend to at the camp. But he also wanted to make sure she was safe. His mind split about wha is right to do by his old friend and what is right to do by the assembled arm, Adivion put his personal feelings aside. He would have to wait Kendra was safe.

Meeting Giants

Leaving the confines of the allied encampment Falkon goes for a walk to escape the cries of the sick, injured or those whom lost loved ones. While walking away from the encampment Falkon sees an peculiar looking mist formation within the sky. It was in an unnatural shape. Falkon knew more about natural weather patterns then most Ustalavic seers and rangers. As the mist drew closer, with his sylph – eyes which could pierce mists – he seen a large floating castle in the sky. It was a round castle of brass and glistening white stone. Which floats amid atop swirling clouds like a massive pillar. As Falkon looks into the fog a brass stairwell loops around the castle and slowly descends the structure. Concentrating hard Falkon can hear the clunking of cogs as they are fixated into place that allows the stairwell to descend. Shrouded in the fog Falkon could hardly believe what he was seeing. At the side of the structure a large oaken door inlaid with brass and heavily fortified with admantite is opened. Looking through the mist Falkon could see a huge man the height of a triple story building, begins to descend the bronze stairwell.

As he man comes into view, Falkon can see the huge man had bristly white hair and beard. His cloak was covered in intricate gold, sea blue and aqua symbols. most of which Falkon recognized through his ancestral heritage (written in Auran – spoken by flying creatures, nicknamed heavens tongue). They basically read as Zoarth the Sky Mage. At first Falkon thought it might be a wizard whom had made himself larger then he usually is. But as his head became clearer, Falkon could see the natural traits of a giant. Adorned on the cloud giants hip was a large book, a pipe, spyglass, horn and wand. Closely following the man from behind was two dire tigers. Each the size of a horse and cart. Perched upon his shoulder was an onyx black cat. It made its way around the giants shoulders snuggling into his dishevelled and knotted hair. The conjured mist which Falcon could see, was thanks to the pipe in the giants mouth. The mist enveloped the stairwell, as well as the surrounding area around Falkon. The cloud giant walked ever so quite, to the point in which Falkon realised it was impossible for his seps to be heard. The giant began to toss pebbles the size of a mans fist around Falkon, creating a cirle of them. Falkon could see the pebbles themselves had been enchanted with some form of magic. After concentrating on them, Falkon could see the giant had cast a silence spell upon them.

With how casual the giant approached Falkon felt no need to run. The giant faced looked weary, but his expression looked like that more of a person under duress or distress. As he finally touched his feet on the ground, the giant gave the two Dire tigers some orders “to keep an eye out on the perimeter and make sure no one breeched it“. After stretching out and giving a large yawn the giant began to speak.

“Yawn…. Hello there little master of the winds. My name is Zoarth. I am better know as the Sky Mage”. It was just as well the giant put up a silence spell, for his voice boomed like that of thunder.

The giant began to speak once more. “I saw your efforts on the battlefield. A most impressive display of magic. It has been a while since I saw someone as talented as you in action”. The giant paused for a moment to consider his next words.

“You may ask why I am here, and why I brought a floating fortress. The answer is simply. Some cultist snuck into a warded burial ground of my people and stole several bodies, reanimating them into undead. The wretches. The audacity of the people now a day. If I was in my prime, we would have sacked a dozen villages with lighting to kill the culprits and those responsible. But I am much more cultured now in the ways of the humans. I just wanted the bodies returned to make sure they were put to rest again, with their ancestors”. Zoarth exhaled more smoke from his pipe to keep the mists density.

“That aside, I did see your powerful display of magic from that orb you have there”. Dewy droplets of mucus pelted the ground from the giants nose. Falkon could see from the redness of the giants nose, he had a cold of some sort. Zoarth spoke again, “Fear not little sylph for I have no intentions of possessing the item, I just wanted to tell you a bit of the history about it”. Zoarth sneezed which almost covered Falkon in mucus. Unflinching, despite nearly drowning Falkon in snot, the giant continued his speech. Falkon did not look impressed.

“The orb of storms was a powerful device which was used by my people over two hundred years ago, in 3827 AR, to enshroud a place called Gallowspire in an eternal storm. The storm was used to prevent the living or dead from accessing the tower. Overtime however, due to the powerful necrotic energy emanating form the area, the storm has changed. It is no longer a haling windstorm of air elemental monoliths. Instead, the necrotic energy of the tower and the pull of imprisoned Whispering tyrant have warped the air elemental into something much more sinister. The winds that blow there today are full of undead. Few living creatures traversing the storm could survive, how it is now. But the undid seem to feed off them, attracted to the area“. Zoarth lets out more smoke from his pipe. He empties it, which momentarily felt as though the sky was raining soot to Falkon.

“Did you know, along with that orb you possess, a great seal was erected to keep the Whispering Tyrant from escaping his imprisonment. It still dumbfounds me today to see how he was defeated. The fact that a mere splinter from shield could defeat something so powerful”. Zoarth got a little nostalgic, letting the sentence hang for a moment. “I was there in 3823 AR when Arodens herald Arazni was defeated and morphed into a horrible amalgamation by the tyrant. Arazni was no match for the tyrant. Us giants and the Knights of Ozem, tried our best to support her as best we could. But the tyrant wielded magics that could kill a god“. Zoarth paused once more.

“After the terrible defeat, it was Iomedae who rallied the remnants and survivors of the battle. Under her guidance we completely obliterated the entire Vanguard of the tyrants army at the Battle of Vaishali Pass. It was a similar battle to the one you just fought, except on a much grander scale. More then 600,000 undead creatures and orc tribesmen from Belkzen, against an allied force of 50,000 knights, dwarves, giants, werewolves, elves, woodland creatures, angles and archons. We managed to recover Arazni’s corpse in the Battle of Three Sorrows, where Iomedae battled Erum-Hel, Lord of Morghs. Arazni corpse was laid to rest in crusaders keep. Today crusaders keep is better know as the settlement Vigil, where all but one shard of Arodens shield protect the city. It is for this reason why it is so important not to let our loved ones become the thralls of his wicked cult once more. To prevent them becoming warped, sinister and creatures that only hunger for power and flesh. No body wants to see loved ones turn into ndead thralls. Although humans might disagree. Espeially those people in Carrion Hill whom choose to work in the mines even in death to provide there families with sails (gold coin) and support them”. Zoarth puffs at his pipe once more to stoke it up.

In between his puff Zoarth sputters out. “I see the dwarven clans that originally settled from kingdom of Kraggodan were faithful to a similar alliance forge during the Shining Crusade (the era of war in which Zoarth fought). It is unfortunate the same thing could not be said of the Shudderwood werewolves. I know how it feels to be persecuted by humanity. If it was not for the knights of Ozem the same fate could have been imposed on the cloud giants, despite our reluctance to ally with the Belkzen hoards under the tyrants command, all those years ago”.

“It s common knowledge that in 3827 AR the Wispering tyrant was defeated by General Arnisant. It is also common knowledge the general defeated Tar-Baphon with the shield of Aroden, when the lich king tried to wish the generals still beating heart into his open hand. As a result of the lich kings spell the shield was shattered and broke into a dozen pieces. One of which imbedded itself into the tyrants right hand, consuming him in holy fire”. As he puffs out more smoke, Zoarth speaks in a much lower tne due to exhaling. “The tyrants soul returned to his phylactery below Gallowspire. Unable to destroy the tyrant completely, the crusaders imprisoned him with the great seal”. Zorath pauses once more stretching out again. His old bones sound like whips being cracked as the crackle into place.

“The Great seal itself is an interesting tale, but I am afraid I do not have the time to get to much into it. Needless to say the orb of storms was used by us giants as an initial safeguard against the tower. After we sealed Gallowspire with a storm, the Pharasmans stole it from us. The Pharasmans said we could not be trusted for fleeing the battle in which Arazni died. Despite all that my people had sacrificed, we were still outcast, cast away by the Pharasmans. Our attempts to relocate the orb yielded no results, despite years of trying. We believed the Pharasmans had to have hidden the orb somewhere deep beneath the surface, in an ancient vault warded by magic. It was only when I seen you using the orb on the forts walls, I realised the treasure you possessed. A treasure that had been stolen from us long ago.

Due to the treachery of the Pharsmans we have had little to do with Ustalvic nations, settling in the land of the Linorm Kings. In truth however, we never told them the Pharasmans the real truth behind the orb. The orb itself is only one of a pair. The orb of storms has a sister, which was used to draw power from the elemental plane of air (think of another dimension of eternal storms) to enshroud Gallowspire. The orbs of storms sister is called the orb of eons. Where the orb of storms has power of weather conditions, the orb of eons has power over planes. It allows one to manipulate planes and create demi-planes only accessible by the orb. This ability was used by us giants to banish a dangerous creature created by the Whispering tyrant. We trapped creatures dubbed paled ones by the Shining Crusaders in an extra dimensional space.

The pale ones themselves were unkillable spirits erected and bended to the tyrants will. The paled ones were not undead creatures, rather pearlescent ectoplasm that did not have the power or the presence to maintain any other form. Despite this the paled ones themselves however did have the ability to possess a person a host/ They could inhabit a persons body. They could conflict and confuse a persons motives. Those that fall victim to there possessions either fell into a catatonic state or was driven mad, listening to the tyrants infernal whispers that echoed through there head. The longer a person was possessed, the more obvious was the tyrant control over the creature. The tyrant turned those possessed into homicidal killing machines either on the battlefield or as assassins who killed people while they slept.

It is funny how wars bring people together, is it not? A lovely female cloud giant know as the Storm Queen, Verakas’s, now possesses the orb of eons. Due to a quarrel in which my pretty cats – Zoarath turns and faces his dire tigers that are patrolling the warded area – killed her birds, she eternally hates me. I was involved with Verakas’s for about a century. Infact I still hold feeling for her. But love can distort a wizards career, no?… And after the unfortunate accident with my cats, she hates me. She believes I let my cats into her aviary on purpose. I do not know how many times I told the delusional woman it was not my fault, but she is stubborn and won’t listen. Fifty years ago when I tried to apologise she turned her blade on me and tried to kill me. I escaped of course, even giving her a sneaky kiss on the cheek while she was flailing about in rage at my presence. However she did warn me that if she ever saw me or my fortress again she would siege my fortress and flay me alive. Hahahaha, some women are bad at rejection heh?’ Zoarth stews over his next few words, wiping his runny nose on his cloaks sleeve.

“Sniffle….In truth, if you should ever see Verakas’s flying barge, it would be a good idea to talk with her about the orb. She was friends with its original creator, Narcyas. Narcyas created both orbs. Unfortunately Narcyas was killed by Tar-Baphon two hundred years ago. But Verakas’s was deeply confided in by Narcyas. I dared not approach Verakas’s myself out of fear for my own safety. The woman could steal a mans soul with the daggers she gave me the last time I saw her. But seriously, a few dead rocs due to my pussy cats (dire tigers) provoked the woman into almost killing me. It would be a good idea not to mention my name should you see her, for the mere fact she could kill you in rage. There s no doubt in my mind now hat the orb is free from its vault, Verakas‘s will come looking for it. As she believes it is her duty to protect the orbs. If you meet her do be nice”.

Zoarth rubs at his nose once more, changing subjects. “So do you have any questions of me half-genie, or is it half elemental. I can never remember what sylphs are…. You must be quick however, my silence wards will not last forever. But one piece of advise I should give you before you speak is do not trust the Pharasmans, if they know you have the orb they will kill you for it. It is one of the few artefacts that can open up the Gallowspire storm to the living. It is a fear the Pharasmans have had for years. It is for this reason, why I do not wish to have the orb. It is bad enough to be hunted by Verakas’s, but the Pharasmans too, that is not for me”. Zoarths shoots a concerned look.

“So out with any questions you may have little one”.

Unit 1.25 Re-programed

Preferring to keep the Beast of Lepidstadt and his homoculus, and her clan away from the problems of the war room, Kitch decided to kept them a distance away from the main encampment. Instead she took on a guise of a small child and entered the fort herself. Kitch sought out Unit 1 to ensure the construct had been following its imprinted suggestions and primary directive. It took some time for her to be able to sneak past the guards. Her efforts were aided by the festivities and celebrations of the previous night, with only a skeleton force patrolling the fort so early in the morning. Kitch manage to sneak past several more guards with a few simple distractions. One guard was foolish enough to be drawn to the sound of rocks skipped against a wall. Not very smart. Her rat kin were accustomed to attuning there senses deep underground and judging distances and sounds for what they really were. If one of her kin were as foolish to fall for such an obvious distraction it would cost them there lives. The most likely result would be that they were eaten alive by an otyugh or the like. Rat kin spent a large portion of there lives identifying sounds while underground. Perhaps it was that they were a naturally cautious bunch and kept a distance from humanity. Kitch simply slipped passed several more patrols with lanterns.

Sneaking into a tent she had to wait several moments while a patrol of guards left the master of arms tent where unit 1 had been assigned to guard. When she got the construct alone, Kitch started by asking a few basic questions, waiting each time for Unit 1 to respond. Her first question went unanswered. Then moments later the construct sputtered into life. Kitch almost went the pistols on her belt, but remembered the White coat telling her it was a bad idea. “Identify yourself” Unit1 spoke. Kitch made herself more vivid, by coming out of her hiding place. She removed the guise she had taken and returned back to her natural form. “It is me Clank, White coat sent me to check on your operational status. I have to ask you some questions about your operational parameters so White coat can configure your metallic brothers and sisters, so the Age of Metal an commence. Now what was that override command. Ah I remember ………… Unit 1 looked as it almost stood to attention as the override syllables were said. She make a quick inspection before she started her questioning. Her first question was;

“Unit 1, what is your mission?”. After Unit 1 replied she asked a series of more questions. “Unit 1 whom is your master, the overseer?” “Unit 1 what data have you collected on the enemy know as the Whispering Way? Report it now?”. “Unit 1 what information have you compiled of Ecthleion and his new companions?” “Unit 1 what information have you compiled on the Carrion Crown?”. “Unit 1 what have you learnt about the agents of the Whispering Way/ Who lead this attack? Unit 1, what is your prime directive? ” She took out the old core and replaced it with a mobius core.

Kitch circled Unit 1 and took notes from what the construct had told her. She had fumbled with some instructions given to her by the white coat. Reading the white coats scribbles was difficult. Worse yet many of the long words were ones which Kitch had never seen before. It was like a jargon maze. But the ratfolk did the best she could.

In a clear squeaky voice she said, “This new mobius core will allow you to become self aware. Whitecoat managed to replicate a similar design like that of the beast master. Where the beast master used the organic matter of the brain and manipulated it with electronic impulses and frequencies, this module uses powerful magically imprinted suggestion which feeds from a piece of piece of trapped magical essence. Whitecoat managed to find save a shard piece of the lesser seal crystal that keeps the Whispering Tyrant trapped (see obsidian portal adventure log – Age of Metal). The shard is empowered with magic that we could never hope to replicate. We saw a worg twisted by its power, turn into some undead necrotic fiend or beast. Lucimar escaped us warped by he energ. White coat studied the shard as best the could, to harness its power. He imprinting some magic he had learnt from the book called ‘Rise of the Tyrant’. White coat says the shard will give you a personality, and allow you to act more independently”. Kitch gave a quizzical look a the possibility that a machination could engage in colloquial conversation in which it could think for itself without spouting of its usual operational directives, like the other creations of White coat.

“The new data in this module will also allow you to detect threats or aggressive actions to better fulfil your designed protocols. It contains a power device called an analyser, which will allow you to analyser a wide variety of situations”. Kitch was still struggling with the long words. She felt as though she was spouting off one of her fathers longwinded speeches about family, safety and security. She started up again after casting such thoughts aside. “The analyser will run your own internal simulations and decide upon the best course of actions that have the highest percentage of success when sequencing best optional scenarios.

The analyser will activate previously closed off senses, detect traps, scan for magic, poisons and various other short range threats. It will allow you to detect hidden doorways to better fulfil your primary objective”. itch took a step back to see if Unit 1 was absorbing the information it was being told. Its eye flared a greenish purple colour. White coat had told her something about what the colour meant. But Kitch had forgotten. White coat simply rambled on to much. In a way Kitch was happy to have a break, as White coat barely slept and was always working.

In a small matter of weeks White coats appearance had drastically changed. He had grown thin, his eyes sunken and circled by riveting darkness of baggy skin. He looked tired, pale. His forehead veined and looked corrugated, uncannily glowing with the metallic emission from working with volatile chemicals and magics. His hands had become tremulous, often twitching of there own accord. There was an added repellent unkemptness, a wild disorder of dress. Kitch had worried about being to much stress placed upon the White coats shoulders. Worst yet was the smell of the man. Kitches nose was keener due to her species. She smelt more then most. White coat smelt. That was putting it nicely. Stale piss in a bottle smelt better to her.White coat had not shaved n weeks. His haired had strands of grey from start to form from not going out in the sun. He looked hollow, a shell of his former self. Many would mstake him for a bearded ghoul.

Turning her attention away from her thoughts, Kitch returned her focus back on Unit 1. “The analyser will provide you with more data so you can make better informed decisions. Included with this will be the ability to extract information from a compiled data bank of arcane, religious, architectural, geographical, planar and cultural paraphernalia. Overtime the analyser will develop naurally with the information it hs collected. White coat said it was a smart system”. Kitch seemed dumbstruck at what a smart system mean, but it was obviously important. Kitch could hear he heavy footsteps of the patrol with her keen hearing, she knew she only had a few minutes left before the patrol would be atop of her. She command her hat to re-disguise herself.

“Tell me any other information you have compiled”. Frantically writing down whatever she could, Kitch missed the incoming sounds of a guard whom closed in on her. As the guard entered the tent, Kitch instinctively concealed her notes, slipping them into a concealed possum pouch around her waisted. Before she a meet turn to meet her assailants gaze, she is grabbed by her tuni collar and lifted frm her feet.

“Well, what do we have here? You’re a long way from home little girl. And prowling around he war couniles tents?“ The soldier shakes his head. “Tch tch tch… very naughty. Do you know what we do to naughty girls here”…. continued below

She sits and watches the night descend upon the souls fortunate enough to witness it.

Drunken soldiers toast and sing raucous victory songs, and she envies their pride. They believe they have won the war. They couldn’t be more wrong. If only they knew.

She sighs to herself and continues walking. She can feel them watching her, a small peasant girl ripe for the taking. She smirks to herself and continues walking, unafraid. They cannot catch her. Woe betides them if they do.

She passes soldiers sitting alone in the darkness. Some weep. Others whisper to themselves. They will never be the same. Once they feared death. Now they fear nothing.

‘Victory? These men are corrupted, and they don’t even know it yet.” She thinks to herself.

She takes a small object out of her pocket, glowing green with an energy and complexity she cannot begin to comprehend. She stares at it momentarily before pocketing it again. She knows where to go.

As she rounds the corner, she spies it standing vigil outside a tent.

’Whitecoat must have a lot of faith in you, little paladin.’ She ponders.

She squeaks instinctively as rough hands grab her by her tunic collar. She is lifted off her feet. A soldier in chainmail walks in front of her, reeking of wine and covered in blood. Another must be holding her.

”Well, what do we have here? You’re a long way from home, little girl. And prowling around the War Council’s tents?” The soldier shakes his head “Tch tch tch…very naughty. Do you know what we do with naughty girls here?”

The soldier grins evilly. She whispers “Please sir, I have some gold…”

She reaches into her pocket and thumbs the device hidden there.

”We aren’t interested in gold, strumpet. We want a piece of…” The soldiers voice turns into a gurgle as a large metal hand closes around his neck and lifts him into the air. It turns him around. The soldier stares into the constructs blood red eyes.

It says “No.”

Without turning its unblinking gaze, it points at the soldier holding the girl. It says “Do not run. I will find you.”

The soldier drops her, shaking in terror. The man seems unsure whether to run or not.

She moves behind the construct and climbs upon its back. She smiles coldly at the soldiers.

“Do you know what I do to naughty boys? I shoot them and feed them to my family.” Urine begins to drip from the guard held by the construct.

She sighs ”Enough playtime. I have more important things to do. Release him, First of Many.”

The construct drops the man.

It says “Run. But remember, I will find you” as the soldiers turn and flee.

She drops down and circles the construct, examining it.

The construct kneels. ”You bear The Creators will, small creature. Is it to change its directive?”

She smiles sadly. “You’ll know what to do.”

She opens the constructs chest and inserts the strange device from her pocket, doing as her friend and master had instructed her. Upon completing the final connection, the construct powers down, and kneels inert. She lays her hand upon its shoulder.

”Get some rest, brother. You’ll need it.”

She quickly runs over to Ecthelions tent and pins a note to the outside before vanishing into the darkness.

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Unpinning the letter from the tent canvass the next morning, the Halfling says to himself thoughtfully, “more talk of the Carrion Hill! Viktor, I know that the war is not over yet, I am wiser than you give me credit. My war is never truly over… a battle is like that, when the war you fight is against evil itself. A cancerous growth on the Golaron itself.”

The construct is once again standing vigil beside the tent. Its movements seem strangely fluid and lifelike.

It looks at Ecthelion patiently as he speaks.

It turns its head, as if to make sure there is nobody around. It says “The Creator holds you in high esteem, paladin. He has few allies, and enemies beyond counting. He does not trust easily. But he trusts you.”

The construct walks towards Ecthelion and kneels down.

“He works in mysterious ways. That message is not meant for you alone. It is a warning to all who would hear it. I am not certain of its meaning, but we must be wary.”

The construct bows its head and stands.

“You are safe in the daylight, comrade. There are matters that require my attention. You will find me at the smithy, should the need arise.” The construct thumps its chest with a metallic clang and turns to walk away.

‘Safe in the daylight.’ Why did Viktor always have to be so cryptic?!!!, Ecthelion ponders.

Ostarian standing close by as the construct and Ecthelion talk in tones that suggest things-a-foot. Moving closer to listen, even as the raw flesh on my back still aches with pain, I overhear some of what is said. Hobbling into the small group, and moving just behind the halfings shoulder I whisper, “Blood drinkers my small friend, nosferatu the living dead, is what he is referring to. They cannot go about in the sunlight as it burns their undead flesh like tar paper.” Waiting for the construct to leave Ostarian then stands in front of Ecthelion and stands as straight as possible, “I come for the debt you owe for the trinket I crafted ye, as you can see I am out of pocket from this battle and would like to rebuild my strength before our next foray. Are you able to set me wright on this? I gave my oath that I would protect you from the undead and that oath still stands as stone. I would not like your debt to get in the way of our dealings, as am starting to like your halfness.”

The construct, as it begins to walk away from Ecthelion and Ostarion, opens a compartment in its side and pulls out what appears to be a dirty old backpack. It looks at the object a moment before turning.

It tosses the backpack at the dwarf and says “For your troubles, comrade. It will serve you better than the last. An eye for an eye.”

The construct turns and walks away. )

Startled and jumping awkardly backwards as the backpack hits the trodden dirt at his feet. Looking for signs of threat or attack Ostarian sees none, and wonders about the construct and its mention of an eye for eye. Picking up the backpack Ostarian opens it carefully to see what strange things unit 1 has offered. Of course, this doesnt mean he will be treated like a friend, or put my like at risk to help him any more than Ostarian would for others. Standing up again, looking at the respect the soldiers have for Ecthelion, Ostarian feels a compassion normally reserved for ancient manuals and writings. Except the half-knight then, he is someone I would make an effort to save if I was nearby and it didnt cost me my own life.

The interior of the backpack is much larger than the exterior. It has two pockets on the sides as well.

Feeling the enchanted worn leather in his hands, Ostarian feels a tear coming to his eye, lifting his gaze to watch the unique machine without a soul walking away. What a strange thing to throw away, clearly the construct has no idea of spellcraft or arcana and what it means to be a wizard. [Quickly walking away to the merchants with a gleem in his eye] No mage worth their book would use such a dangerous extradimensional device strapped to their back, or even want to carry more than they need. I do need to replace my magical devices and the sale of this will help me get the supplies I need. This backpacks always sell well for their value. This still doesnt mean I have any regard for the construct, afterall it is just a device, like a wagon or horse, to use when it is needed.

“My apologies Ostarion, I did not know know that you had finished the artifact?… I do not yet have enough money to pay you, but if you would accept this as a downpayment… It is a nice piece of work: – Ecthelion holds out a sturdy crossbow – ‘This wood and iron weapon resembles a light crossbow with a very short prod. The prod itself is non-functional, but provides the water scorpion with excellent balance. The water scorpion functions as a 1 weapon that magically produces a stream of holy water with a range of 30 feet each time it is fired. The stream strikes its opponent as a ranged touch attack that deals 2d41 points of damage to undead and evil outsiders. To other creatures it is harmless. Only one stream might be fired each round, but there are rumors of water scorpions of speed created from the original.’”

I understand that this is not enough, but it is all I can spare at this moment, keeping in mind our quarrel with Vrood"

Looking at the strange contraption and looking into the half-knights honest eyes, looking at the crossbow again stunned so much that his pipe just hangs loosely from his lips. A bow that spits water, really, its too much, I will take the items sale price off your debt as I need the money to resupply. (Little does the knight know I have already grabbed 3,000 sails from the army before the battle as recompense for my efforts to save the peasant army) Taking the device from Ecthelion, Ostarian guides his mount to the merchants to sell the useless contraption. What do i want with a ‘water arquebus’ blessed by fake gods? I want stones and metals, diamonds will do nicely.

It was hard for Ecthelion to part with the crossbow, as it embodied much of what he himself stood for. He knew that Ostarian would have no need for the bow, and that he would probably pawn it at the first minute, but the Crossbow had now become a token which would hopefully show the Dwarf his honesty and commitment to paying him back for his help.

Standing at the merchant stall counting his bag of coins and gems, Ostarian thinks back to the look Ecthelion had when handing over the crossbow. Feeling the weight of the bag and buckling on his full spell component pouch again, he thinks of the inherent weakness in knights and their emotions. Doesn’t the half-knight see that we need to do whatever it takes to kill Vrood, even sell of so-called holy artifacts for the greater good. One day he will realise that he is standing in a sea of blood trying to not let his sense of justice get wet, and the stronger willed, will crush him while he is distracted. A debt is a debt and I will take it in coin or blood when the bill is due. Getting back on his mount and twinging in remembered pain from his recent crucifixion, maybe the half-knight deserves more of my respect. Maybe.

As dusk begins to descend after what would appear to be the final meeting of the War Council, Unit One makes its way to the smithy to finish what it started. The lathes and forges are intact. The building itself is abandoned, its purpose fulfilled.

Unit One locks the doors, and goes about its task. It fuels the forge and meticulously plans and organises its materials.

Before beginning, it kneels before the forge and bows its head. It puts its wrists together and makes the sign of a V with its metallic hands. It is not quite sure what to say, or why it should say it. But it speaks nonetheless.

“I don’t know if you can perceive me, Creator, but I am appreciative of the updates and augments you have imbued me with. I now comprehend the task I have been commanded to implement, and the means by which it can be achieved. Praise be to you.”

Then it stands and begins its task in earnest. The sounds of industry echo throughout the camp long into the night. As dawn breaks, the construct emerges from its caccoon and begins to search for the party.

A Ravens Worries

The book wieghs heavy in his hands, the purple spiral of Pharasma stares at him intently. Life. Death. Such tired thoughts, such constant thoughts. What is life if not for death? Life without death is an endless ocean, no beginning, no end. Death is the birth of a wave crashing against the shore, violent energy bursting forth in a moment of creation… only to be gone as if it never was.

He opens the book with precision and confidence, every page an intimate extension of his hand. His eyes follow the script; “The deeds of the living shall be judged by the dead, the deeds of the dead by the living.”

He kneels upon the floor of this tent, the soft carpet beneath his knees, his armour replaced by a loose black skirt, his chest bared. He places the book down in front of him. Anyone looking in would have been shocked to see the impressive warrior look so small, so frail. The pain of sacrifice etched across his skin causing the illusion of age. The knight slowly picks up a piece of knotted rope, fragments of metal sticking out along it’s rough surface. With a purposeful blow he strikes his back, blood immediately beginning to run down his grey skin. He thinks of the two cultists, the unborn child upon the alter. He thinks of the burning church, the screams of the living, the wailing of the undead. He strikes himself again. His lips move with silently pray, the only sound being the slashing of the rope. He strikes himself until his mind grows empty and the flames of the past dull.

Tentatively he stands and places a black tunic over his bloodied shoulders. The sounds of the encampment drifting back through his ears.

Not wanting to intrude on his commander purifying himself the Grave knight waited for his friend to adorn his armour once more. “Commander, the pharasman artefacts are being transported back to the capital under heavy guard have been acounted for, and are ready for transport. The dawn knight is personally seeing to there safety. Lists of the dead are being compiled. However, there does seem to be a problem. It appears many of the recorded dead filled out contracts for what they wished to happen with there remains. Many of which according to the contracts, have either sold there bodies for science research at the Lepidstadt University, in return for coin to be given to the beneficiaries. Others bodies are to be put into the Middenstone mines at Carrion Hill as zombie workers, paid an annual fee for there work to the bodies benofactors. I know the Brotherhood of the Dark Crusade do not own or run the mines, but they are charging a transfortation fee to take the bodies to Carrion Hill. How do you wish to proceed.”

The Dawn Knight continues to strap on his armour, his gaze unmoving from the holy text now sitting before him on a table. “Ten years I sat in exile, you know why. Ten years it took to quell the tide of anger inside me.” He runs is finger across the spine of the book. “Ten years I spent studying this text… it was my sword against the anger. Are you familiar with the Book of Saint Lomaros?” He pauses for a moment.

“Within he speaks of his battle with Lord Sara-Tar, a five headed dragon, its heart darkened by the taint of undeath. Enraged, Saint Lomaros engaged the beast, swinging his sword against the its necks. With each blow the beasts heads would regenerate stronger than the last. For days Saint Lomaros battled the beast and for days he moved ever closer to death.”

“On the third day he stood before the beast, exhaustion rattling his body. He accepted his death, and his mind cleared of anger. As Pharasmas warmth filled his mind he saw past the beast heads to the boney rib cage beyond. With his final surge of life he lunged forward and pierced the monsters heart, freeing it from the curse of undeath as the mighty body fell to the ground and the sound of bone splintering against stone echoed through the cave”

He turns to look at the Grave Knight. “We fight a similar beast now brother. To strike out at the heads is to weaken our cause. To strike out at the brotherhood or the university is to make more enemies when we have few friends. The Tyrant is the heart of the beast brother, and until we pierce the heart the stronger the heads will grow, no matter how many we strike off.”

“Send word to the church of the tidings here, but let the bodies go. There will be time enough once the beast is laid to rest to clean up the minions. I need you to find the Harrowed Knight, she is our voice, without her we can not be heard.” He walks over to the Grave Knight and places a hand on his shoulder

“Remember brother; Everyone makes their choices in life and it is Pharasma’s place to judge. Set aside your predjudices and pride and strive to set aside your own judgement on others. For we all reap what we sow. Now go, your path is long and the sky darkens”

The Raven Knight watches the Grave Knight depart. A silent prayer passes his lips once again, this time in blessing of the Grave Knights journey. Finishing strapping on his armour the Raven Knight moves to pack up his gear for the journey to ahead. He knows that it will be some time before he sees his brothers again.

Purposefully the Raven Knight folds a purple cloth over the book of Pharasma and places it within his chest. “My sword against the anger” the Knight thinks quietly to himself.

Presently he calls for one of his men and a small timid looking man enters the tent. The Raven knows that despite his appearance the young man has the heart of a lion. Without turning the Raven addresses the young man. “I want horses ready for the party, our presence is needed elsewhere. Gather enough provisions for a weeks ride and load the horses, I want food, blankets and arrows, enough for all. I want the horses ready within the hour, I fear the night may be dark indeed.”

The Raven Knight turns to the young man and passes him a letter. “Take this to my squire, he can be found in the temple at Lepidstadt. Leave immediately once the provisions have been sought, stop for no-one.”

The young man bows in acknowledgement and quietly slips out of the tent.

Apprentice and Master reunited

Returning to the comforts of his luxury cottage on the fringe of the encampment, Ostarion can hear both the cries of those whom morn the lost, as well as the celebration of those whom survived. Entering his abode Ostarion was greeted by a strange spectacle. A floating shrunken head appeared inside of his cottage while he was rummaging through his possession for a replacement spell book. Immediately seeing the head, Ostarion knew exactly who was the conjurer of the spell. Vrood. He remembered his time he spent at Quaterfaux Archives of Arcane Acadamae in Caliphas. Vrood was noted for creating shrunken heads called soul speakers. In which an undead soul was either torn from Pharasmas boneyard and placed inside the shrunken head of the deceased. Or worse yet the soul had been enslaved during the death of the owners head. Vrood had called them deathecap whispers, but they were more commonly known as soul speakers. The speakers could carry messages and act as a link between the magically instilled charm. The head was a glammer and a magic mouth spell was enacted so he head could communicate with the wearer of the shrunken heads charm.

In a snake like whispers the illusionary heads eyes opened and it began to speak. “Osstarrian. The yearrss have been unkind to you. Why do you sseek me. I have done nothing to you. Rrelissh that you sstill have yourr life old friend. But I will trreat you no differrent to thosse who foolissh trravel with you. I now sserve a higherr massterr. One morre powerrful then you could everr imagine. Join me in etherrnal sserrvitude to the tyrrant. Together we can live foreverr. Morre ssecrretss. Morre powerr then you can everr believe in, is beholden to the tyrantss rebirrth. Join me. Casst away yourr foolissh tiess with the halfling and hiss frriendss. Join me, let uss shape thiss world howeverr we dessirre. Therre is unlimited powerr within yourr grrassp. No vampirre or otherr undead creaturre will ever barre theirr fangss towarrdss you. You will be a massterr of the dead. Togetherr we will make Pharrassma herrsself kneel beforre uss”

The head grows silent for a time.

“Hesssha. You know, therre iss an eassy way in which you can sspeak to the whissperring tyrrant. All you have to do iss eat the flessh of yourr kind or humanss, then speak you ssecrretss to the darrknessss. Golarrion musst die. Ass musst all ssentient sspeciess, sso that the worrld can be rreborn. Let uss crreate a utopia on Golarrion. Frree frrom pain, frree frrom the tiess of morrtality. Frree frrom harrdshipss morrtality brringss. You will neverr have to sufferr again. Kill thosse whom would opposse him. And you will be hiss agent. Hiss agent of the grrave. With it immorrtality and powerr beckonss. Join me and you can be frree of the agonizing pain of yourr leg. The agonizing pain of being alive. Join uss, knowing that ass you age what you have learrnt will not be lost to sandss of time. Join uss, and yourr belly will neverr hungerr. Join uss and you will neverr be confined or rrestricted by yourr morrtality. I will paint a porrtrait to document yourr joining. One sso mosaic, the tyrrant will have little but to laugh at its beautiful depiction, itss majessty of how thiss worrld endss. How a new rreign beginss“.

The head grows silent once more.

“Yet if you continue thiss corsse, allying yourrsself with the halfling Ecthelion, you will force my handss. Leave while you sstill have yourr head foolissh dwarrf and join uss. Lesst your head go missssing and join the otherrss of my collectionss. I will enjoy painting a portrrait of yourr slicced up body of flessh sshould you rrefusse ssuch a graciouss offer. And I will ssavourr making you quiverr when I remove yourr legss and feasst upon them if you sside with the halfling. Hesssha” the voice gave a short snake like chuckle once more.

Recalling his memories, Ostarion remembered Vrood was also accustomed to using magical pigments in his works of art. Ostarion had seen a few paintins and sketches of Vroods‘. Most of which almost turned his stomach inside out. Such portrayals would make a stout mans stomach think twice about staring upon their horrific images. However other pictures of Vrood had a delicate appearance. Some may even consier them to have an exotic beauty about them. Such portrayals had captured the beauty of death in an intrinsic way, it was hard to call them anything but exquisite. Ostarion usually attributed this double nature of Vrood to when the man was lucid. Mainly when Vrood was not tormented by his past. Not the vile natured creature that spouted infernal whispers to the darkness he believed he heard. Vrood was sic and twisted. His ideals made many folk of the Acadamae shudder. Others feared the mans words and creations.

Then it hit Ostarian like cold water being splashed onto ones face. The dwarf remembered some of Vroods most famous pieces encapsulated magic within their design. He often – with the use of sorcerer pigments – weaved spells into his portraits of forbidden knowledge and arcane law. Imprinting or encapsulating magic spells on an underlayer in there creation. Ostarion cannot believe he recently had such a picture in his hands. He had unknowingly sold the piece he collected from the imprisoned cultists flayed skin map he had magically created. He had sold he portrait in this very encampment. The man he sold it to did seem overly eager to get his hands back on the picture. Ostarion had only quickly scanne the portrait and sold it, thinking it no more then a piece of art one might be interested in.

Ostarions thought pattern was broken once more by the voice of Vrood eching from the shrunken head.

“Sso what iss it to be old frriend. Immorrtality on Golarrion. Orr iss it eterrnal death you sseek. Sspeak, and I shall lissten. Ansswerr…”.

Like the others from the Academy I find your insanity unsettling, never will I exchange my beating heart and warm flesh for a prison inside rotting flesh. I have no fear of vampires fangs and will stake the cursed species until my bones age and brittle. My wounds only serve to remind me that power does not come without a price and that I gave an oath to the Masters to hunt you down and end your blashpemy. I have given my oath to the half-knight to stand against you, and this word is stronger than fading ties to you my old teacher. Prepare yourself because the Heroes of this battle…the Knights of the Sun, are coming for your black soul as we speak.

“Hessahhh volanar incamar aranam” (Ostarion knew the words loosely translated to ‘May eternal death come for you’). The eyes of the shrunken head open once more. “You trruly arre a ssimple minded fool arrn’t you” The voice whispered to the dwarf. “You closse yourr mind off to trrue powerr and wallow in morrtality. Ssome day ssoon I will come forr yourr soul. You will be my musse”. Vrood pauses for a moment. “As I contort yourr body into thingss you could not even imagine. I sshall enjoy yourr suculent flessh. I will feast upon yourr verry soul. You will not know of undeath, norr will you enjoy the worrld beyond. Yourr ssoul will be my play thing forr eterrnity. Jusst ass you could not sstop me in Caliphass at the Acadamae, norr will you stop me now”. Ostarion could hear Vrood laughing. “Sso come forr me you crripple. Come and enjoy my arrt. I can tell you that you will not be dissssapointed. I will put on a show esspecially forr you and that halfling. Tell the halfling hiss sisster Ssaera ssay hi. Hehehaha”. Vrood continues to laugh wickedly. “Sseek me out you old fool. I sshall wait forr you. I left you some wind chimess in Feldgrau to find me…”. The shrunken head disappears.

Making sure he has left, I collect my possessions and head as fast as I can limp to the merchants to recover the cursed painting. I will se force if necessary as it could be cursed and it is best in my hands now than ever. Thinking on the power contained in the Flesh tome, I must find time to study this in detail before I face Vrood.

The Strange Crusade

The reek of blood and evil mixed with the scents of sweat, leather and steel corrupted the air. Only the fools were immersed in celebration of their victory, The Brotherhood Of The Strange Crusade returned to their duties, separating the brave valiantly fought soldiers with the vile accursed undead. Vast strategies took place in removing the undead bodies from the battlefield in which included tossing the bodies in the holy water moat and watch them crumble, or they were hauled into a large pit at some distance away, burning the corpses by using alchemist fire. Leaving only ashes and charred bones to be covered up by dirt. Unfortunately the cultist did not get such vivid treatment, they were sacrificed to the OLD ONES (Bags Of Devouring) never to walk the realms ever again.

SPOILER: While acting these duties, The Brotherhood Of The Strange Crusade will sneak in some bodies into the Medical Centre to conduct various research. Comparing Ghouls with people that are infected in the Medical Centre. Take blood and tissue samples from undead bodies. Speak with death on some cultists. Knowledge Religion on the undead.

Meanwhile inside the Medical Centre, Dr. Slanimirc begins preparation of surgically enhancing his capabilities by removing his left eye and grafting the magical eye he found off Dramorg the Damned . He sits on the examination table starting to really feel the nervousness, leaving the work of his fellow Brotherhood to pursue his own obsession. Cassandra could tell the Doctor was nervous as she closed the doors to Room B surgical theatre, by being aware that this was going to be a hard and painful procedure.

“At ease brother…. my skills are as good as yours. Try to relax a little.” she said while putting on her gloves and getting the anesthetic needle ready. The Doctor swallows with worry clear in his eyes but nods, “Okay I’m ready.” Sister Cassandra turns to Brother Bathious, “I will need you to help keep him still…” Brother Bathious was already securing straps down on The Doctor as Cassandra was speaking. The Doc could feel the adrenaline pump through his body as Sister Cassandra approached with the needle, waiting for her to make the incision. Cassandra places her hand on the Doctors shoulder, looking to inject the needle under the eye. “It is okay, brother…. I know this is going to be difficult, but I know you will get through it.” Dr. Slanimirc gives a slight nod and his breaths quiver. “DO IT!” In an immediate response Cassandra injects the syringe under the lower eyelid and so began the operation.

Outside the tent surgical Room B people could hear nonstop screaming. There was occasionally thrashing noises and the sound of stuff falling or getting slammed, showing they were obviously struggling with whatever horrors lurked inside.

OOG: The Item was Eye of Scrying Aura moderate divination (scrying); CL 7th Slot none; Price 6,000 gp; Weight 7 lb. DESCRIPTION This bloodshot eye. Its vivid green iris suggests strange depths, and is unnerving to look at for too long. Once per day you may use it to cast clairaudiance/clairvoyance as a standard action. If you can cast scrying, you may use the eye as your focus object for the spell.

In the procedure the following spells will be used Flesh Culture School conjuration (healing); Level alchemist 2, cleric 3, sorcerer/wizard 3 Casting Time 1 standard action Components V, S, M/DF (a piece of moldy bread and bits of flesh) Range touch Target object Duration 1 day/level Saving Throw Will negates (object); Spell Resistance yes (object) You cause bits of dismembered flesh to grow or expand. Dried flesh begins to return to its original condition. Bits of organs grow into full and complete organs. Fleshgrafters use this spell in the preparation of flesh grafts. It cannot be used to resurrect creatures or heal wounds.

Regenerate, Lesser

School conjuration (healing); Level alchemist 3, cleric/oracle 4, druid 5

CASTING Casting Time 1 hour Components V, S, DF

EFFECT Range touch Target living creature touched Duration instantaneous Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

DESCRIPTION You reconnect the subject’s severed body parts (hands, feet, arms, and legs), but only if the missing limb is present during casting. Multiple limbs can be reattached with a single casting of lesser regenerate. After the spell is cast, it takes 2d10 rounds for the limb to become useful again and for the negative effects of losing the limb to end. Lesser regenerate also rids the subject of exhaustion and/or fatigue, and eliminates all nonlethal damage the subject has taken.

Working alongside the brotherhood is Ostarian, shiny paste covering his facial burns and bandages upon his chest. Discussing matters of undead anatomy and the human frailty with the Doctor, much about necromancy is shared between the two. Ostarian pauses and watches the Doctor at work, seeing a striking likeness with himself in the younger days. It is only right that I keep the secrets of the Doctor to myself as he has given me so much without demand. I continue to restock my supplies of undead body parts for spell components as well.

Ostarian watches the Doc enter the other tented area, clearly nervous but also expectant. Decades ago Ostarian learnt not to interfere in private experiments and leaves the Doc to his own journey. With the disgruntled brothers staring at him, Ostarian leaves to find Ecthelion or Raven knight to discuss future plans. He is still keen to pursue the whispering way and stop the threat of walking dead. As a student of the ancient ways, tar-Baphon in particular, Ostarian knows that a greater foe than Vrood is stirring the undead here.

Ecthelions Rally

Ecthelion stands atop a podium surounded by a throng of injured soldiers. He motions the distant ones in closer before raising his sword and shield up high in front of him. Veins briefly rise under his skin, and his muscles tense, before a shining burst of light emanates to all those that surround him. Many of the injured stand up on legs which moments before would not support them, but casting an eye around the crowd, Ecthelion sees some bodies, still motionless on the ground… those which he was not quick enough to tend to. A single tear runs down his cheek. It looks odd on his otherwise emotionless face. Wiping the tear away, he speaks up in a voice which booms for one so small. “A tear. One of many that I see when I look around. There is nothing weak in a tear.. nothing fearful, in a tear. When our fallen brothers and sisters weep blood from their wounds, we will weep tears from our eyes, to show them respect! To show that we care, and that their deaths were not in vain. It is a beautiful thing, is it not, to be able to show such an emotion. Fitting that we cry after destroying the hordes of emotionless bodies which threatened to deny us of such a luxury. So cry! Flood the battlefield with tears! Rub salt in the wounds, and show the foul beasts that we can do that which they cannot! Weep, cry, laugh… and most importantly… love.” Sobs sound thick in the air, and looking around, Ecthelion sees only a few tearless faces. He makes a mental note of those, for an empty heart can be filled with venom. Thinking to himself – ‘Yes, emotion is a powerful tool, for syphoning out the oil from the water’.

The crowd had gathered in around Ecthelion, and he – not wanting to waste an opportunity to address so many people – piously began to preach to the people… HIS people as he liked to think of them. “I know that many of you are afraid, we face a frightening enemy. There is nothing lovely about the dead walking. It is a daunting thing to stand toe to toe with such an enemy, as it tries to lash at your neck with diseased teeth, but let me tell you something about those which we fight. The very thing that they prey on is your fear. They take it… they embrace it, and they will use it against you. I can tell you now, that you will be much safer, if you can learn to expell that darkness inside yourself, which makes your heart beat so fast that you are sure it will explode. If you can learn to master your fears, then you have half defeated your enemy from the beginning. I know this is not easy for some of you. Past experiences have fed your fears for years now, but it is not too late. I have not feared for over ten years now… I almost forget what it feels like. Do you think I feared for my life, when I challenged the great Thraka to prove his worth in Ravensgro, or when the Splatter Man slinged his magics in my face, and reduced me to an inch of my life? I can tell you now that I did not, and had I feared, I am sure I would not be here today. There was no fear when I charged in toward the minatour. No fear when I fought the deathly horseman in the carnival, and the ice gave way beneath my feet. When gnashing construct dogs continued to wipe my feet from under me, and threatened to rip my throat out, I did not cower on the ground. When negative energy flowed through me at Highthrone, and the reddened eyes of werewolves glared down upon me, expecting me to wimper, I refused……… When larger men than myself stare down at me, intimidatingly, I stand tall. I will not be threatened! A horde of Vampires could not do that, let alone one who should be my friend. Let me teach you all something. The best way to counter fear is to believe in something. Fear thrives in doubt. Unconditional belief is the key. Look around you. These people are your friends, and they will protect you against fear. Now look at me! Even now, in my presence you are less fearful, and safer. Now look to the sun. As I am to you right now, the sun is to me. I believe in the sun godess, Sarenrae, and this saves me from fear. By belief is paramount! This mark on my shield – the mark of Sarenrae – says exactly this…‘I will not fear, because I am walking in the protective light of the Sun godess, and I believe that she will protect me!’ While you are in my presence you are safe, but I cannot protect you forever. Sarenrae beckons you to walk in her protective light. I can show you how. I invite each and everyone of you to the courtyard outside my tent tomorrow morning, after I give thanks to her grace. Come, and listen to the tenants of the Dawnflower… if it appeals to you, then return the following morning, and stand beside me, as I offer up words of prayer to Sarenrae. Pray beside me, and she will accept you as yours, and will help you with your fears.”

Following on from that, I make a diplomacy check (+16) to convert the throng of people to the Sarenrae religion.

Seeing the soldiers, wounded and crippled included, moving towards the golden glowing figure of Ecthelion standing in the crowd so resolute and brave, Ostarian makes his way into the crowd to listen. Hearing the spirit and flow of the half-knights words Ostarian is silent while remembering his soul leaving his body and soul being devourded by the unholy ghost. He realises that a gods name can still inspire the simple minded, even if they dont exist. Ecthelion is a gifted and wise speaker, and were I simple minded I would have converted on the grass here and now. Moving towards the halfling as the crowd breaks up, Ostarian flinches will pain as he passes camp fires and feels the fires heat. “I am not simple minded and my will is strong. Vrood and his master will feed the dirt soon. I must speak to the knight quickly.”

It was difficult for Ecthelion to make out those whom had lost friends and those had not. With more then 600 survivors, and the same amount dead, not everyone had lost friends. Despite this the halfling could see over a dozen of large pockets of men whom did not shed a tear. Many of the Pharasmans did not morn. For them death was natural. It came to everyone. Not even gods could inevitably escape its clutches forever. Just as Aroden had past, just as the old ones had before him, everything dies. Even death will one day come to those whom have momentarily escape its clutches, like Tar-Baphon. Pharasmans made funerals into festivals, shouting praises to the Pale lady. Birth and death were equally to be celebrated. It was just that funeral had a more morbid feel about them. As only Pharasmans truly enjoyed such events. For others it was a process of going through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Such a psychological model was well documented in there parables of Pharasman literature, especially in Ross Kubers “Understanding death – Pharasma’s eulogy into mortal beings”.

Scanning the encampment, Ecthelion could see the Grave and Dawn knight sharing tales of the undead they had crushed with either there magic or metal. They seemed more like frat boys, nobles or bards talking about there latest conquest of women, then that of a decimated army. Ecthelion could see by the look on the aces of people around them, that such individuals felt uncomfortable hearing about their gory tales. It was to early to glorify there deeds when so many had perished. Especially with the battlefield still piled with the recently deceased. They should have known better. Especially since the Furrows was well known for the dead returning to unlife.

Another group was the scallywag rogues that had been seen at the tented tavern, when Ecthelion recruited a scout called Race (Bens Character) to check out the enemies forward positions. The men were cheering, being obnoxious and inconsiderate of those around them that mourned. The Carnivale of the dead acted out a play of how the famous El Huerrero Muerte had almost single handedly held the rear defences against a surprised attack force of Huecuva undead. They spoke of how the huecuvas had an uncanny ability to disguise themselves to appear like mortal beings in cloaks. Men in skeletal uniforms adorned with dark cloaks acted as the Huecuva while a man with a mask slowl but surely rappled them tossing them side. The Lucador Muerte and his tag partner had seen through the Hueuvas illusions in the dwindling light. When night came the Huecuvas illusion faded, revealing them for what they really were. Muerte preferred the solitude of his tent staying away from the crowd.

By those from the surrounding countryside of Ravensgro, the armies that represented barely a word was spoken. Both regiments sustained heavy casualties. It would be along time the before the region recovered from the battle. Looking on Ecthelion could see barely a word was spoken. Those that were close enough to hear the halflings words broke into tears. The brotherhood of the strange crusade seemed preoccupied with clearing the dead and administering medical treatment to the injured. There were even some smiles seeing a halfling address the army. But those who new Ecthelon listened. They shed tears with the blood that had been spilt before. They wept sorrowful cries. Even a few of the dwaves eyes became saturated. Although most were to proud to let such emotion be seen. They simply rubbed there eyes and shunted away from the spectacle. A number of people shot envious glares. Not everyone enjoyed the sight of a Sarenrae paladin receiving laurels and admiration, when they had sent such a small force to help out. None the less, paladin Ecthelion would be even more famous now for his kind words.

Several members in the crowd shouted “Hail Ecthelion bringer of her eternal fire. Hail Ecthelion, the beacon of light against darkness. Hail the halfling prince”. The dawnflower inquisitors took advantage of the spectacle, secretly casting bless spells to momentarily improve the feelings of those listening intently to the halflings words. (Diplomacy check 34) Amongst the halflings words almost all stood to attention waitning for the halfling to add more to his speech. In the background the Grave and Dawn knight slowly shifted there attention towards what had almost completely silenced the crowd, except for the Carnivale of the dead which seemed preoccupied with their rendition of the battles events.

It was strange to see those that cried brim with hope after witnessing such tragedies and horrors. But standing tall, all those whom looked upon the halfling were filled with hope. A burning sensation in ones gullet for a better day, a better land, a better world. The chants stared once more. “Ecthelion the king of the graves and punisher of the dead. Hail the halfling dawnflower”.

Adivion waded through the crowd. “Well done in changing the mood. I was afraid the records would count this as a defeat with so many dead. But it is good to see how quickly the scribes change there mind”. Looking over to his right Ecthelion could see several bards frantically scribbling notes with there ink and parchments to capture the spectacle as it unfolded. “This will most likely reach the ears of those that rule the Ustalavic nations. Be prepared for more doting when they try to put there own interest above that of the nations they say they rule and protect. You will quickly become the envy of many a court I presume, I am willing to bet you will be welcomed into many a noblemans home with such recognition and praise. I suspect you will move on to bigger and better things I suppose. But do not forget your friend Adivion wherever the road may lead you”. Adivions eyes welled with tears.

“I will be required for some time to ensure those that fought here an perished are treated with the repect they deserve, each a heroes burial. Also to see that there families are compensated for there loss. I am proud of what you have achieved and better off for knowing you master paladin. I feel in the not to distant future, together, the two of us will bring harmony to this land. Preventing the constant wars between the baronies. I can see us rising atop a thone, kings of this land upon which thousands shall know our names in admiration. It pleases me deeply to have served you Ecthelion and I wish you well in the future, for I fear my life will be busy for a while why I explain our actions to the royal court to the baronies. Please remember to contact me through the journeybook so I may aid you as best I can, wherever your travels may take you”. Adivion gives Ecthelion a parting bow.

As Adivion leaves several people around the halfling grab him a hoist him up into the air in admiration. “Ecthelion, the halfling king, that will unite the land” one person is so brazen to speak.

After the crowd calms down, Riff makes her way up to Ecthelion. Her unit had been pummelled by the enemies archers. The unit itself taken the most causalities out of the allied forces. Many of her childhood friends lay numb, silent and lifeless on the stone walls. There was at least a hundred dead. Probably fifty or more injured. As she approached Ecthelion, her eyes filled with tears. Her hands and clothes were soaked in blood. Wrapping her hands firmly around her friend, she struggled for words. “Eh…rrherr” she managed to sob, clutching Ecthelion tightly. “I…I don’t want to be alone tonight”.

Staring up into the paladins eyes, Riff felt complacency. Ecthelion was warm, like that of the sun of a summers day. Her heart beated frantically while in his clutches. Her emotions were like that of a whirlwind. She should have been sad. But she was happy to see him again. Even if it meant witnessing the horrors of the battle. Even if it meant friends died. Her face slowly turned red while in his arms, her lips became moist. She daring appraoched his lips, giving him a kiss. “Thankyou Ecthelion eh. You are the noblest man I have ever met. Can you make me eh a promise”. Riff looked deep into Ecthelions eyes. “No matter were your journeys take you, you will come back to me alive eh”. She pulled him close not even giving him a chance to respond, kissing him again.


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