Posts Tagged ‘5th Edition’

When It All Ended Pt. 11

March 31, 2018

Garth Whispernight walked into his room and then he shut the door firmly and locked it and threw the deadbolt. He looked around the room, leaning back against the door. The mansion had responded to Percy’s desires to be a home to the Raiders by growing and evolving based on all of their subconscious desires. Garth’s room was pretty straightforward and was not as decorated as some of the other rooms. The main feature was some facsimiles of some of the objects that Garth had stolen over his career. It was none of the jewels or coin but was instead a few singular and unique trinkets from particularly memorable heists. In the middle of it all, there was something that he wished he had stolen and he would have if he had had the time.

It was a painting from his native Kofrain. The painting was on a ceramic surface and it was simple geometric shapes and colors. It was not really supposed to be anything. It was also most likely not worth anything as its style did not speak of any great skill in creating it. Still, it was important to Garth. The real one hung in the School for Thieves in the slums of Karaisar. Garth had stopped and looked at that painting every day since he was a little kid. For some reason, it had calmed him when the going got tough. It reminded him of simpler days before he had pissed off both the authorities and the guild by stealing from Lord Abdellah. That had been against the unspoken truce of the city. Garth had been the only one brave enough (or foolish enough) to pull it off.

He had been finally forced to flee but he had gotten his revenge and he gladly left even though it still made him sad to think of those he had left behind. He had carved a swath of destruction through the lands between Kofrain and Eloria. Garth liked to claim that he had joined Morgan’s Raiders because they caught him red-handed but the truth was that he had been ready for a change. What had started as a new challenge had eventually become a true calling. He liked playing hero with his new friends. He owed a lot to them. They had literally saved his life over and over but more than that, they had made his life worth living. They had also made him a better man which is exactly what real friends are supposed to do. Now, it was his turn to repay them.

He had been very careful not to say her name. He had been told that true names had a lot of power in the fairy world, especially with the ones residing in the feywild. This is also why he had never used his own true name while in the feywild. Of course, he had never used it anywhere else but that was a different story altogether. Now, it was time to break a rule.

“Lady Cliodhna, I would have words with you!” He called out into the air. He was not exactly sure what he expected to happen but the sudden appearance of the archfey on his bed was definitely not it. He blinked and backed up, nearly up against the opposite wall. This drew a laugh from the impossibly lovely woman.

“Surprised, Thief?” She asked. Outside of the wild beauty of the feywild, she looked even more beautiful. “I had not thought that you could be surprised.”

“I think I kind of expected that we would talk at a distance,” Garth said.

“Like your wizardess does?” Clio asked with a bright shining smile. “The two of us on either side of the great divide? What would be the fun of that?”

“How did you get here then?” Garth asked.

“How did I pass two planar barriers do you mean?” Clio asked. “I told you that all you had to do was call. I gave you great power through the use of my name and you finally gave in.”

“I did,” Garth said. “I feared you for a long time.”

“You still fear me,” Clio said with a toothy grin. “I can smell it on you.”

Those words and that one look made Garth’s heart pound all the faster. “Is that what you want? Me afraid? Is that like seasoning for the meat?”

Clio laughed again, this time a good long laugh. “Do you really think I want to eat you?”

“Don’t you?” Garth asked. “You always have a hungry look in your eyes when you look at me.”

“Eating a halfling is such an uncouth and mundane thing to do with one’s mouth,” Clio said. “There are much more enjoyable things to do with one’s mouth and other parts.” Her smile at that was so wicked that Garth found himself smiling back, a shiver going up and down his spine.

“I have never met a woman who matched my appetites,” Garth said gently. He was not sure if he fully believed the fey but he was definitely curious. The thrill of the game was a siren call, probably literally in this case. The possible reward was definitely worth the risk to him.

“And the thought that I may be your match thrills you,” Clio said. “Are you then afraid that I may exceed your appetites?”

“Not exactly,” Garth said. “I’m definitely excited.”

“I can tell,” Clio said with a musical little chuckle. Garth could hardly believe he was entertaining the thought that he was entertaining. In his wildest dreams, he could never have predicted this. Well, looking back, he should have seen this possibility during their first meeting.

Garth suddenly shook his head, shaking off that feeling for the moment. “This isn’t why I called you. I wanted to talk business.”

“Business?” Clio asked. “What business could possibly be more important than what is about to happen here and now?”

“Outside of this plane, there is a dragon in the Royal House of Eloria,” Garth said. “We intend to face it tomorrow and we intend to kill it. Frankly, we could use your help.”

“My help?” Clio asked. Her curiosity had clearly been piqued.

“There are lizard people in the city,” Garth said. “I would love it if you could help take care of them.”

“Is that all?” Clio asked. “A paltry thing. It has been far too long since I have felt blood trickling across my skin anyway. Name your deal.”

“Deal?” Garth asked. “I ask you to fight on our side against the dragon and its forces tomorrow and until the battle is over. I also request that you leave me in fighting shape tonight.”

“Easily done, I have great healing powers,” Clio said with a smile. “In return, I will dine with Elorian royalty, you will give me a tour, and then you and your friend will let me explore this realm on my own.”

Garth thought about it for a moment. “Do you intend to hurt the people of this land during this vacation?”

“That is not my intention,” she said.

Garth knew that the fey were compelled to speak the truth but they could come close enough to a lie to be deceptive and manipulative. “Alright, we have a deal.”

Cliodha patted the bed beside her. “Then come and let us seal it.”

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Bron: Neverwinter Arrival

September 25, 2017

It had been a long trip from where Bron’s tribe roamed to the outskirts of Neverwinter. Bron found himself hesitating to check out the city. The thought of it was a bit overwhelming. Bron had been pretty careful to avoid civilization up until that point. The tribe had rarely been in towns before, preferring the wide open spaces and the freedom that lifestyle provided. The humans and dwarves and little folk towns he had seen had only been during attacks. Bron had been in orc towns on a few occasions and one goblin settlement to guard his tribe’s trade delegation. It was not a pleasant experience but nothing was really pleasant back then.

The Noonday Witch had told him to go West and this was the end of the west as far as Bron knew. Even if it was not, he did not know anything about boats and did not want to get on one. He did not know what to do about a city. What few thoughts he could manage were so tied up in that problem that he failed to notice the guard approaching him.

“Hey there, big fella,” the guard said. The man had a wary but amused look on his face. Bron immediately enjoyed the man’s apprehension. “Why are you staring at the city of Neverwinter? I guess glaring would be a better word, actually.”

“Is there a law against that?” Bron asked.

“No,” the guard said. “I don’t suppose there is but it will make people nervous. We get a lot of visitors walking past here and most of them are relatively clothed and clean.”

“I will go in when I am ready.”

“Do you need somebody to hold your hand?” The guard asked with a smile.

Bron narrowed his eyes. “I am Bron. I am scared of nothing.”

“Good,” the guard said. “The gates are open. My name is Aroc Blackstone. You behave yourself, alright?”

Bron was so taken aback by his manner of speaking that he simply just started walking past the man. He did not care who this little man was, Bron would show that he was not afraid. Bron had truly feared little in his life beyond the dark power of the warlock who lead his tribe. And even then, anger could be so much more powerful than fear. He walked through the gates and although he got a few second glances, nobody moved to stop him. He thought there would be several people trying to repel him. He had been raised to be the enemy and yet a lot of people paid him no mind.

He walked down the streets and saw all sorts of new things. His senses were in overdrive as he looked around. There were vendors shouting for people to buy their wares. There were all sorts of exotic looking people. Bron almost bumped into a Dragonborn woman. The woman did not apologize and neither did Bron, they simply stared at each other. If she was waiting for an apology, she would be waiting forever. She finally stepped aside and walked on her way and Bron walked on his. That was the first Dragonborn that Bron had ever seen. It was strange and Bron wanted to fight one immediately.

He continued to walk down the street. He saw men and women creeping in alleyways. He saw women hanging in doorways, calling out to men. He saw warriors, heavily armored and carrying gleaming weapons. He saw temples for the first time. People honoring gods outside of Gruumsh. There were the smells of good food and fresh ale. It was all so interesting. Bron had little experience with all of it.

“Where are you headed to?” A dwarf asked from the open door of an inn. For the second time, Bron had been caught off guard.

“My business,” Bron said. He started to walk

“Where are the rest of your clothes?” The dwarf asked, spitting on the street to punctuate the sentence.

“What clothes?” Bron asked.

“You’re as dumb as you are ugly, aren’t you?” The dwarf asked, narrowing his eyes.

Bron grunted. “I don’t care about thinking,”

“Alright. I’ll try not to tax you. There will be no thinking necessary,” The Dwarf said. “How about a job? A place of your own?”

“A place of my own?” Bron asked. He had never owned anything besides his weapons and the food he hunted or took by force. The thought of his own territory no matter how small was an appealing thought. He could start to make a name for himself here. He could show his strength and earn the respect or fear of those around him. Through those two emotions, he could earn power. Power to do as he wished. The look in his eye grew far too excited and he could sense the dwarf move a little nervously, a little bit of doubt creeping in.

“There is a room upstairs. Unfurnished. I don’t suppose you need any furniture, though. You can stay here if you work for me as a bouncer,” the Dwarf said.

“A bouncer?” Bron asked. “What is that? Is it a kind of warrior?”

“You stand near the door. Anybody who is inside that I want outside, you make that happen,” The Dwarf said. “Anybody who is outside who I want to stay outside, you also make that happen. You exert my will on other people.”

“Will there be fights?” Bron asked with a smile.

“Sure,” the Dwarf said. “As much as you can handle and all the ale you can drink as long as you’re still standing enough to do your job.”

Hurricane Hak

March 18, 2017

Hak ran through the trees as quickly as he could. At age twelve, he was already over five feet tall and very athletic but that was not strange for a half-orc. He would have had an easy time running except for the tree roots underfoot and the arrows in Hak’s back. Now that his seemingly bottomless rage had run out, Hak could feel the blood dripping down his back even as he ran. He could not stop running or the slavers would catch him again. Two people had already died in the escape attempt, Hak had to make this count or he would join them or he would be back in chains. Both were pretty much the same option.

It had been a long year since Hak had seen the tribe that had raised him. Some of them were half-orcs and some of them were human but they lived together in relative harmony. They hunted together and fought off powerful enemies together. It was here that Hak had learned how to use the rage his blood gave him to his advantage. He missed the grip of the enormous sword he had earned in combat on his sixth birthday. The slavers took the tribe by surprise, using powerful sleep spells to steal away some of the younger members. Hak was shipped far away and put to work. He lived his life in chains now but that was over now if he could just keep running.

As he ran past a tree he reached up and pulled a large branch off of it and carried it with him. If they caught up to him, he would make them pay for every lash of the whip and every boot to his ribs. It almost made him hope they would catch up, even if it would probably mean his death. He was a rabid dog. If he was cornered, he would kill anybody who came into reach. The trees fell away and he was in suddenly in the open which filled his stomach with anticipation. It would not be long now. His heart fell at the sight in front of him. It was a cliff and beyond that was the sea. Hak had run the wrong way.

The men and women who had been following slowed to a jog, forming a semi-circle to make sure Hak could not get away. Hak raised the branch and swung it a few times, showing them that he meant business. He backed almost to the edge of the cliff and growled at the slavers. He tried to access that rage again but it had been depleted. He was just so tired but he would not give up no matter what. A dwarf with a battle ax charged and Hak swung as hard as he could. The branch broke a little on the dwarf’s head, sending the slaver stumbling away. Hak laughed wildly, his eyes wide open.

The tiefling woman to the dwarf’s right did not take such chances. She aimed a crossbow and fired it into Hak’s shoulder. There was a terrible moment when Hak fell to one knee and he felt they were going to take him alive. He tried to push himself back to his feet but he lost his balance. Time slowed down as he realized he was falling over the edge. He could see the disappointed faces of the slavers. He could see the dwarf already yelling at the woman for firing her crossbow. Then they were gone and Hak was alone, falling parallel to the rocky cliff face. At least the slavers had lost. Then came the water and sweet oblivion.

The light came again and Hak held his arms in front of his face. There was the sound of seagulls and the crashing of waves. He realized that the swaying he was feeling was real and not just from his recent blood loss. Though the sun hurt, Hak dared to open his eyes anyway. He was on a ship on what looked like the ocean. Standing over him was a woman with cloth strips tied over her eyes. She smiled in relief as he moved to sit up even though he let out a grunt as he did. She walked down the length of the ship, the ship’s crew took little notice as they went about their duties.

“So you’re finally awake, are ye?” A man with a long beard said. He walked with purpose and authority and Hak knew he must be in charge. He was a human but he was not an ordinary one.

“I am awake. How–?” Hak asked.

“How did you get here?” The man asked. “We fished you out of the ocean. You’re lucky we recruited a cleric a while ago.”

“Lucky,” Hak said. He looked up and could not see the cliff anywhere. “Very lucky. Thank you.”

“We didn’t save you for free. We could use a big lad like you,” The man said.

Hak tensed, remembering how the slavers had put him to work. “You could, huh?”

“Yes. For pay, of course,” the man said with a smile. “You would follow my orders but no more chains and no more whips. What do you think?”

“I have a choice?” Hak asked. He could not hide his surprise.

“Every person in the world has a choice, lad. What are you going to do with yours?”

Hak looked the man in the eye for a long moment. “I will follow you. See what the ocean has to offer,” Hak said at last.

“Good,” the man said. “You look like you could use a drink. Then we’ll see about putting you to work. I’m Captain Trystan but most people call me The Shark. What do we call you?”

“I am Hak.”

The man grinned and patted Hak on the shoulder. “Hak the Hurricane. I like it.”

Bron’s March

February 25, 2017

Bron had traveled quite a distance by then. The rage at his clan still burned deep in his heart and he never hesitated to unleash that anger. Creatures died as he swung his great ax. He used every part of them but more out of necessity than saving the environment. He thrilled at the new challenges each animal presented. His blood surged with each kill and sometimes he lost a day or two pursuing a target that temporarily got away. He did not care, the Witch had sent him in a direction. There was no true time limit.

Prey beasts became boring. There are only so many ways to skin a deer. Bears were more fun. Sometimes he would drop his great ax and just wrestle one of them. Finishing a bear off with his bare hands was difficult but satisfying. It felt like more of a fair fight, not that it mattered. He even got the drop on an owlbear once. The battle had been a close one but Bron had been victorious and he had consumed the beast as he healed the next two days.

By chance, he stumbled onto a robbery one day. He had not expected it. Neither had the robbers or the young woman standing on the roof of the carriage that was getting robbed. She had clearly noticed Bron first and her expression confused the robbers for the moment.

“Monster!” The woman shouted. Her eyes went wide as she turned completely away from the robbers.

She fired a bolt from her crossbow and Bron barely managed to get his arm up to block the shot. The sting of the bolt pissed Bron off. He lunged for the carriage in a blind rage but the robbers were already there in the way with their swords. They were actually defending the carriage they were trying to rob. The robbers put up a good fight. It was three against one but Bron barely felt their blows. The last robber died as Bron brought his ax down onto her neck. He thought about taking the head as a trophy but she just was not good enough to keep.

He looked up at the woman whose hands were shaking as she tried to load the crossbow. Bron slapped the crossbow aside and started to climb the carriage. She did not even run. In some ways, Bron respected that. It did not stop him from putting his hands around her neck. She made a little noise as he started to squeeze.

As he strangled her, he heard nothing but silence at first. Then he heard whimpering from inside. He looked to the woman’s right and saw the body of a slain ranger. The girl he was strangling was dressed as nobility.  A mistake had been made.  There were no warriors left here. He let go of her neck with a grunt. She gasped and turned a little less blue.

“No challenge,” Bron grumbled and jumped down from the carriage.

“You certainly get messy,” The witch said as she stepped from behind the carriage. Bron could still not see her face.

“None of this blood is mine,” Bron said. The remark was matter of fact and brief as ever.

“I imagine that’s true,” She said. “You have carved yourself a little path. How are you feeling?”

“I want more challenge,” Bron said. He stared hard at the dark shadow beneath the Witch’s hood.

“Patience,” The witch said. The word brought a growl from Bron’s throat. “Head to Neverwinter. The challenge you seek want starts there.”

“What do I want with a city?” Bron asked. He had born in the wild. He had never even been in a city before.

“Go and find out. Unless you think I am just smoke and mirrors,” The Witch said with a smile.

“What’s a mirror?” Bron said without a hint of humor in his voice.

The Witch laughed and slowly faded away.


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