Sunday, September 28, 2008

The arrival in Bellhaven, and the events that transpired therein.

Our entry to Bellhaven was relatively uneventful... if you consider my use of the word 'relatively'. Blood was on my hands. I do not know how the others coped with this knowledge, I suspect I was the only one who had never before taken a life, but for me it was more difficult then I pretended. Our captives were no doubt interesting, but I had no cause to speak to them. I maintained an aura of detached noninterest. Nothing had happened yet that I found a cause for real concern. I mean, the end of the world was coming, but I didn't believe my intellect would dramatically assist us at this stage. Maserati and Magnus were both better at weaseling information from the unwilling than I, and there was not yet a puzzle for me to solve.

Not yet.

'Pon our arrival we were whisked to see the military defender of Bellhaven, the Lady Aken-shi, a matron of some kind of the House of the Distant Shore. This conversation was interesting, indeed, but largely irrelevant. What was relevant was we were hired to retrieve a certain object from a nearby temple. A certain bell. This was no coincidence, this was sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Of course, we unanimously agreed to this without a second's hestiation ...

Sort of.

Afterwards, we found ourselves plagued by a most unusual phenomenon. Rats, of a semi-sentient kind, were almost assuredly stalking our movments! We trapped a few of these, but they seemed immune to any sort of communication, and at midnight they dissolved into nothingness.

We went to a local library, and a dwarf librarian gave us a particular book for me to look over. The nature of the book, as well as the ruins I found later at the temple, are a matter of some interest that I shall discuss at a later date.

We made our way then to the temple where the bell was located. We were taken by boat piloted by the House of the Distant Shore. It was there that we failed to solve the riddle of Supplication and had to defeat the guardians of that place.

Then we defeated more rat creatures, thus tying the beasts we met the night before to our foe here. We stumbled upon the chief rat himself, and despite Tor's protests, struck a midnight bargain with the beast. We helped him clear out the last of the rooms and thus combined our forces to open the door to the final chamber.

What lay therein shocked us to the core...!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A tale of swords and sorcery. Never before told.

My name is Lekiun Shortsight, the Unwise Brother. I travel with a party of five others in a desperate and foolhardy attempt to throw back the forces of eternal silence and blasphemous mutation back to the nether pits that spawned them. Should we fail, our tale falls with us, for no sound of our heroism shall ever be whispered. Should we fail, I fear, all sound shall be lost, and worse fates besides shall visit upon this humble dimension. Ergo, I have taken it upon myself to record our adventures in this manuscript. A book that shall, I hope, survive the sound-cleansing that should occur upon our evitable deaths. So let any who read this, take heart: The world was not always this way. The world once had music and thunder, and glorious sound.

My current location is the town of Bellhaven, here by the good graces of Aken-shi, Mistress of the House of the Distant Shore. Her rather impressive amazonian warriors have secured this small city against the constant invasion of the Silent Ones, our foes, and their sinister and possibly mercenary allies, the Flesh Circus. With a little help from us, naturally. Some heroes we'd be if we didn't do something heroic once in a while. Sometimes I wonder if it's enough to balance out our clearly violent tendencies, but then I remember I don't really care.

The events of the last few days have been extraordinary, I have gone from humble would-be adventurer to a wizard of increasing skill. I felt as if I've been asleep my whole life, and only just now awoken.

We were five as we traveled towards Bellhaven. Our de facto leader, Magnus the Dragonborn. His humble vassal, Finwe the Wolf, the harsh holy man, Tor the Unforgiving, the shrewd scout Maserati Andrast, and myself, the tiefling firemage.

'Ere long, we were assaulted by blasts of... something like sonic energy... that shook the senses. This reminded me of the legend of the Horn of Summoning: An ancient artifact said to be able to call a hero in time of need. Those who were not the chosen hero would not hear the horn's blast, but would still feel it. I fear it is had been corrupted for some dark purpose, now.

We found ourselves in what we suspected to be a trap, and, with a little craven enchanment by yours truly, revealed some kobolds whom we assaulted. I fear now we may have made a grevious error in that regard, but it wouldn't be the last of the servants of the Silent Ones whose blood we'd spill that night.

After despatching nearly all of the beasts, we interrogated the other. This proved difficult, as they lacked tongues. The Silent Ones prefer obedience among their slaves. The kobolds had been given a choice: Serve without speech or music and betray their holy charge, or leave this world for the afterlife.

We made for their headquarters, a holy lighthouse, and found ourselves facing a demon of water and his squid allies. We dispatched the thing and assisted a beached whale they were attempting to silence. Apparently, the sound of the whale's song was an annoyance to the Silent Ones. There is an amusing ancedote involving Finwe here, but I will refrain from relaying it, if only out of respect.

Maserati was rather exhausted by the battles, although I had suffered little, injury-wise. It was decided we would camp then, and upon that beach we... oh, yes, I nearly forgot, as a reward for our assistance, the whales retrieved a blade from the depths of the ocean as a gift for Magnus: A gleaming silver sword that strikes with all the fury of the sound that these bastards hate. It was a generous gift, but I still dislike whales, I'm not sure why.

Anyway, we camped that night, and as dawn broke, we headed to the lighthouse. No doubt the Priestess there had spent the night in furious contemplation, drawing all her strength and power to the lighthouse. It would be a difficult battle.

Maserati went first, and nearly fell from the mutant kobolds that sprung as if from nowhere. I knew the beasts had to be cunning to outsneak that devious eladrin, and so I blasted them with a hearty helping of fire. In those days, Finwe would make it a habit to charge ahead of me. Now he usually waits until the enemies are well lit before striking at them, lest he share their fate.

After securing Maserati and letting him rest up, we traveled to the topmost floor of the lighthouse, where we dueled the Priestess and her army of mutant kobolds. She struck me quickly with her amazing horn, and telepathically taunted us and she danced through the burning stage that lay upon the roof.

Well, I grew enraged at her presence, at the audacity to strike me, and I set upon her with all the fire I could create. Magnus's aura was magnificent as he weaved in and out of the beasts. Finwe and Tor held their ground and struck until their weapons were coated in blood. I hardly saw Maserati during the battle, a testiment, no doubt, to his skills in that regard.

We spared the priestess, and another, bringing the total of our captives to three. Then, after a brief interrogation, we took them to Bellhaven. Maserati wanted to kill them, he coveted the horn that replaced her throat, but the others were insistent. I, personally, didn't really care.

Our party, I said, was five. I shall briefly introduce them, now:

Magnus Haradin, as I said, is our de facto leader. Maserati would disagree, but he has a problem with authority that has gotten us into trouble before. Finwe seems to have some history with him, and his decisions are usually honorable, if sometimes naive. I don't know if he was exiled or merely left, and he rarely deigns to speak of his past. He has a strength about him that's inspiring, something I've seen before in military leaders and warriors of some skill. His blasts of cold and intimidating presence have both served us well.

Finwe AnĂ¡rion is the masked elf. Why he serves the Dragonborn I daren't ask, but there's clearly some history between them. Something else haunts him, his eyepatch is only proof of this. He hides his face in battle, to better infuriate his foes, I imagine. I've seen more vicious warriors than him, but I can't really remember where. He doesn't seem to mind being accidentally caught within the radius of my fire magic, which tells me he has something of a deathwish, although I do not know the origin. He charges to the front lines with exhausting regularity and cuts down a majority of our foes.

Tor is a holy warrior. A righteous and fearsome man. He's human, which is something, and he wields his mighty hammer as though it were a toy, which is something else, entirely. Say what you will about him, his faith is unwavering. Perhaps too unwavering, as his solution is often to slay and let the gods sort the rest out. Well, the Gods seem willing, because I've seen him bring others back from the brink with a simple prayer. Say all you want about the placebo effect, but I think something else is going on with him. He's a grim person, that's for sure. Sometimes he goes whole fights without speaking, merely meating out punishment with his hammer and shouting wordlessly.

Maserati Andrast is a fetcher and a coward. He's impatient, greedy, lazy, ill-mannered, and self-absorbed. For the last century and a half he's been a vagrant and a thief, and I fear only the promise of quick gold and fame has swayed him to the side of anything respectable. He imperils our negotiations, steals anything that isn't nailed down, finds pleasure in slaughtering our captured prisoners. Few 'heroes' are as narrow-minded or psychotic as our friend. But I see within him the seeds of a good person. I'll not let him fall to the wayside, and I'd give my life so he might live. Perhaps that, at least, would cause him to reconsider his place in this world.

And myself, Lekiun Shortsight. The Unwise Brother, the Firefiend, the Shortsighted, the Secondborn. Never before have I found myself out from beneath the shadow of my elder brother, whose influence is seeped into my home like a disease. I shall admit first my flaws: I actively seek out my own pain and misery, no doubt out of some wish to be reborn in the flames, like the phoenix of old. I love fire a little too much, as my companions know, I've often included them in my indiscriminate castings. If I was a better wizard... My virtues are few: I stay out of the way, speak five languages, and am rather extraordinarily intelligent, although not as much as my brother.

The light is fading, upon the morrow I shall continue my tale with the events that transpired in Bellhaven and the meeting with Elisaan'hae, the Eladrin.