Blood of the Throne part 4

SkidAce SkidAce September 22, 2014
23 March (Spring) 509 PE (Year of the Ravens)
0800 am, Fireday

Steak-and-Eggs.jpgThe other councilors were not available the next morning, only Sabina and Joesius were present at breakfast. There was plenty of eggs and bread, some bacon, and even steak and eggs. Lady Sabina just smiled at Shylent when the barbarian discovered the combination was available.

Vallus was discussing various aspects of morality with Joesius, mostly concerning the mixture of martial endeavors and the clerical faith, over a glass of apple juice. The group got the impression that Joesius took adherence to canon and principles just a little more stringently than Vallus, who had a more “rules are guidelines” approach. Probably Joesius’ inquisitor background.

Old Gnarley suggested that they leave soon, as it would take around 2 hours to reach the site where the Kelvein clan had been sighted, and he was thinking that the skulky scouty types like Blend and Shylent might wanna scout a bit before rollin on up in there.

The weather was pleasant and the wind was at their backs as they left the fortress and town of Karnal. They moved out onto the barren scrub and plains, heading to the west. It soon became apparent the the clouds and mist that they had seen the night before shrouding the hills to the west was actually steam and clouds of vapor that obscured the upper portion of the Fire Geyser plateau.

After about an hour (4 miles) of travel, and theoretically halfway to where the clan unit had been observed, Old Gnarley pointed out a small rocky puddle of water that gave off a slight steam into the air. There was a tang to the air, reminiscent of bad eggs.

hotpool.jpg

(riding horses or no?)

xLucix xLucix September 22, 2014
Frederick grimaced slightly at the scent in the air.

“Why is it that the forces of evil are never spotted anywhere pleasant, like a tropical paradise or well-rated vacationing area?” He grinned slightly, thinking himself amusing only to himself.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 22, 2014
Nitram looked at the pool and then at Gnarly, “How hot is that? I’ve heard of some that shoot into the air – is that one of them?”

SkidAce SkidAce September 22, 2014
Old Gnarly looked around at the perimeter of the pool, and noted the dry ground around it. “Don’t know, can’t tell.”

SkidAce SkidAce September 23, 2014
After staring at the pool of steamy water for an indeterminate amount of time, the party gathered up their horses and moved onward. Once another hour had passed, the group abruptly came to a small ravine, only 10 feet deep, but so wide and shallow that you almost couldn’t tell it was there until you were upon it’s edge.

Anyone doing scouting duties could see the multitude of tracks and wheel marks from the passage of many feet and at least two or three wagons. The trail of tracks led both to the north east, and to the west, in the direction of the Fire Geyser plateau.

23 March (Spring) 509 PE (Year of the Ravens)
1100 am, Fireday

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 23, 2014
Nitram checked to see what made the tracks and if he could determine how many.

SkidAce SkidAce September 24, 2014
Nitram moved down into the ravine and began to investigate the tracks. He saw lots of goblin tracks. Maybe half a unit worth of goblin tracks. But the rest of what he saw worried him even more. Enough ogre tracks for a full unit of infantry. (Survival 18)

And several tracks that looked like big four legged lizards, with the marks left by a tail in the sand and dirt between the prints. Maybe twice the size of a horse.

The rest of the group currently remained on the edge of the ravine, and could see that the westward trail led to a small cleft in the the plateau wall, about a mile away.

Blend noticed a small cricket hopping along the ground. It caught his attention because everywhere the cricket hopped, the ground became singed and slightly charred. Following the “trail” of the cricket back several dozen feet, Blend could see little fires that were slowly going out among the rocks and brush of the area.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 24, 2014
Nitram returned solemnly to the group, a slight gleam in his eyes, “These are ogre tracks – lots of them – nearly forty or fifty by my count. They also seem to have another twenty or so goblins with them, probably scouting and acting as a screen. There also seems to be several large lizard-like creatures with long tails.” The ranger paused to let the numbers soak in for everyone. “This seems to be a well traveled path between the plateau and wherever they come from in the northeast. This will most likely lead us right to them, or to whatever they want on the plateau. We could go back now and report what we’ve found – which isn’t much. But, I think we should follow the tracks to confirm if they are on this side of the border and find out why. I’m sure this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. I don’t think we’ll all make it back if we become engaged with this unit of ogres and their friends. We need to be quiet, observant, and smart as we proceed. It might be best to do a little aerial recon an try to stay off the trail.” Nitram looked to both sides of the trail to determine which side provided the most cover and potential ease of travel toward the cleft in the wall while he waited for any suggestions from the group.

the_app the_app September 24, 2014
Rumil, torn between flipping through his newly acquired book, conversing with the new party additions, and honing his spellcasting with cantrip practice, tuned in as Nitram spoke. If the half-elf had issues with that many ogres, then it must be bad. He recalled numerous times the sheer bloodlust and anger that Nitram showed towards that species – so to claim there is a chance we’d not all make it back spoke to the level of the threat.

He clears his throat, “Corellon tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re…” He quickly regains his composure – no reason to let his band know he converses with Corellon. Not yet anyway…

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 24, 2014
excellent braveheart reference. Well played, sir.

xLucix xLucix September 24, 2014
Frederick paused, puzzled. He thought he saw a little flash of light on the ground, and initially prepared himself for combat. After all, fire was the one of the most common weapons, magical or otherwise. He relaxed somewhat when he realized that the bits of fire were being caused by some kind of insect, though Frederick had not heard of any such creature.

“How curious! I have never seen such a specimen in my wanderings physical or material. Are bugs that can burn the ground they walk on common in this area?” He was very interested, but did manage to pay attention to the fact that there were quite a LOT of ogres and their ilk, and agreed that tangling with them was the farthest thing from desirable.

SkidAce SkidAce September 25, 2014
Old Gnarly joined Frederick once Blend had pointed out the unusual cricket. “Nope” he said. “Ain’t never seen no such thing. Probably a demon cricket from hades!”

Nitram assessment of the route towards the plateau was less than encouraging. Given that they were standing in a shallow ravine that provided some concealment from the sides, was favorable. But the ravine turned and headed towards the cleft in the plateau wall. anyone standing or hiding at the top of the plateau or near the cleft would be able to see them fairly easily, in fact, could probably see them right now.

The area to the left of the trail did have more of the low lying hills that “could” be used to keep them concealed from the area of the cleft. The area on the right of the trail also did, but they were fewer and farther apart, making the task much more difficult.

In fact, studying the area closer, Blend and Nitram both could see the movement of small figures (goblins?) with a few larger figures mixed in (ogres?) entering the shadows of the cleft.

The steam and fog in the area also increased from this point forwards, drifting wisps of vapor of varying light grey and pale colors, reflecting the moisture in the atmosphere. Aerial recon could be done up to the plateau, but up the side and over the top was shrouded in steam and the occasional plume of black sooty smoke.

xLucix xLucix September 26, 2014
Frederick tried to capture the demon cricket from Hades I don’t even know what I would roll for this lol

the_app the_app September 26, 2014
Rumil, seemingly having a conversation with the heavens, snapped back into the present situation. He noted folks making a bit of fuss over something on the ground and saw Frederick attempting to corner it. Thinking it some form of madness, he approached to see what this entertainer was doing now.

As he noted the small “fire” insect, he quickly put his hand out to stop Frederick from achieving his goal. “I do not know what type of bug this is, but I have heard stories of demon spies being changed into seemingly normal creatures – only with something small out of place – left in place in order report to their masters of intruders, trailing forces, or hapless fools. Perhaps a little more caution is warranted at the present time? If simply a strange burning bug – nothing lost. If, however, something more sinister – everything could be lost.”

With that, he called forth the inner swell that threatened to consume him at times, overwhelming his fragile elven body with power that can only be described as Corellon’s blessing, and focused his gaze on the insect – willing it to show any magical auras that may be surrounding it. He had to surpress a smirk at the voice he imagined hearing to simply fight fire with ice…such a simple little expulsion of energy…

SkidAce SkidAce September 26, 2014
The little cricket was extremely dexterous and hard to catch. (AC 17) Frederick grabbed at it a couple of times but the cricket moved out of the way each time. Frederick nearly caught it with his last attempt before Rumil interposed his hand. Frederick’s lunge (Att 16) got close enough for the bard’s hand to feel a twinge of heat and pain from the leaping insect.

Rumil’s gaze expanded as he stared at the cricket, which in an infuriating manner was currently sitting perfectly still. There were no auras surrounding the insect, indicating that it was not magical in nature. The fact that it could be supernatural still remained.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 26, 2014
Nitram scolded the two, “Stop messing around with that strangely incendiary bug. Something or someone that resembles ogres and goblins is moving near the shadows of the plateau. Stay alert. We need to move. The hills,” the ranger continued while pointing to the left of the ravine, “should be able to conceal us better from anyone near the cleft. We can move to the plateau from there.” He looked at Blend before heading for the hills, “I leave it up to you if you would rather move in the shadows of the ravine and come at them from a different direction or stay with the rest of us.” The ranger turned and started moving toward the nearest “hill”. Patting Serre’s flank, he said, “My friend, it’s time to fly. There appears to be ogres and goblins near the rocks. Can you check it out without attacking anything by yourself? The rest of us will be there momentarily.”
Serre pressed his head against Nitram’s with a short hiss before leaping into the air and climbing just short of the mist and turning in the direction of the plateau. Nitram began moving the group to cover in the hills on the side of the ravine. Moving slowly to ensure some level of concealment and stealth, he headed toward the cleft.

AFCop AFCop September 27, 2014
Can we assume Aeron is casting his message spell on us?

“I’ll come at them from the left,” Blend nodded and slipped away into the shadows, weaving his way through the foothills toward the cleft in the plateau.

SkidAce SkidAce September 27, 2014
(Sure)

Blend moved ahead of the rest of the group, along the left side of the hills and slight ravine. (Stealth 28)

Nitram and Cragthor followed next, leading the rest of the group; Rumil, Frederick, Aeron, Vallus, Old Gnarly, and Vallus. Using the available cover, the group was able to follow along behind Blend, presumably concealed from observation from anyone in the cleft. (6 out of 8 rolled good stealth) Aeron and Frederick had the most trouble, with Shylent frowning and pointing out a different path for Aeron when he nearly highlighted himself on a hillcrest.

Blend had maneuvered to within 100 feet of the cleft, which could now be seen to be obscured with shadows and steamy mists rolling down from the plateau. There was currently no sign of any hobgoblins or ogres, however there was a large stake pounded into the ground at the cleft opening, with several unknown sigils carved into it.

Farther to the left of the opening was a small steamy pool, similar to the hot pool they had seen earlier on their journey. This one was smaller, but bubbled and boiled as if it was a kettle on a hot fire. It was about 30 feet from Blend, nestled against the nearly vertical hillside of the plateau. Blend had seen Serre sweep over the area, nearly level with the mists and the plateau edge, and then head back in the direction of Nitram and the group, who were still about 500 feet behind Blend.

Looking back at the group, Blend noticed a ghostly figure, similar in shape and size to a bruteman, drifting across the landscape erratically towards the group, who it appeared had not noticed the spectral form yet.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 27, 2014
I’m sure Serre will see it on his way back to the group and let them know.

AFCop AFCop September 27, 2014
Blend used the magical enchantment that Aeron often used to let the group communicate over long distances with merely a whisper. “I’m not sure believe this or even know how to describe it, but there seems to be a bruteman ghost drifting toward your location. Look out.”

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 27, 2014
Nitram stopped to turn an look, trying to decide if it was planning on attacking sense motive

SkidAce SkidAce September 27, 2014
(Sense Motive 11}

Blend was correct, as Nitram looked he saw the ghost of a female bruteman coming swiftly towards him, its rapid pace out of sync with the movement of its feet. As it approached Nitram, the ranger was unsure of its motives until it raised a ghostly short spear and rushed forward…stabbing Nitram in the center of his chest. A cold sensation spread from the point of impact, and Nitram fell to the ground unconscious as the rest of the group saw the ghostly form reach forward and grab Nitram by the throat with its other hand.

the_app the_app September 27, 2014
Rumil, a bit confused at what just transpired, took up a defensive position, instantly tapping his inner energy and calling forth the power that he will mold and manifest into this world.

SkidAce SkidAce September 27, 2014
The group was shocked to see Nitram fall, Cragthor made it to his side just as the pale and momentarily unconscious ranger began to come to. The ghost spirit was nowhere to be seen.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 27, 2014
Nitram’s hand immediately shot up to his neck, as if he was trying to stop it from bleeding. His eyes wide, his head rapidly swiveled around, scanning for robed monks. He only saw a bruteman…and a Korsic female…and “Rillifane help me. What just happened?” He slowly sat up and paused before extending out his hand, “Cragthor, did you see her?”. The bruteman easily helped him to him feet. The ranger ran both hands through his hair and shook his head slightly. “It was like seeing a vision. I was looking through her eyes – I don’t know when. But there was a massive battle between monks and armored infantry on one side and brutemen and ogres on the other. What do you make of that?”

AFCop AFCop September 27, 2014
Blend saw Nitram fall and eventually get back up with the help of Cragthor and Shylent. Nevertheless, he froze and scanned the area for further signs of supernatural assailants, realizing his disadvantage against an attacker that could float through solid ground.

xLucix xLucix September 27, 2014
Frederick was ecstatic! Sure, a female bruteman’s ghost had just stabbed Nitram in the heart, and that was rather troubling, but he had rarely heard of brutemen of either gender reappearing as ghosts. He theorized that the energies necessary to remain on this plane of existence were burned out in the course of their rather physical lives.

He rushed up to where Cragthor and Shylent were aiding Nitram. “Did she say anything to you? Did you experience a connecting of souls? Not that souls is the exact thing that connects, usually. Well, I say usually, but not many people study things like this who are among the published. Except for necromancers, but they’re always biased towards controlling the spirits as opposed to understanding and communing with them. Though there was this one woman…” He trailed off, a slight blush tinting his face before he continued. “Since she tried to kill you, and thankfully failed, do not misunderstand me, it’s possible that she was a warrior of some kind. Perhaps tied to the battlefield where she died, no?”

Frederick then turned to Cragthor. “And to you, Mister Cragthor. Or Sir Cragthor? I do not rightly know if you occupy or occupied any position of rank within your social structure. Then again, I don’t know what you’d be called if you did, so we’ll stick with Mister. Does your people have any mention of spirits in their stories? I would be most intrigued to hear them.” As he blathered on toward the end, a hand, unnoticed by Frederick, crept down to lightly clutch the Book of Kells.

SkidAce SkidAce September 28, 2014
Cragthor glanced at Frederick blankly before relying to Nitram. “Legends say this area was the site of a large battle versus the Wensharian Empire, as the brutemen and ogres tried to defend their homes. Granted they had been raiding the Wensharian lands. The Wensharians won, but did they? Many years later they grew…callous..and used brutemen and ogres as slaves in their armies. And do you see their ‘empire’ now?”

Cragthor turned to Frederick, “Its Cragthor, and my people have nothing but stories of spirits. Yagh!”

Blend saw no other signs of any ghosts or figures, and it appeared that Nitram was “fine”?

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 28, 2014
Nitram seemed confused by Frederick’s rapid questions, attempting to answer them as they came. He finally stopped trying and just waited for the bard to finish, unsure how long that would take. “I don’t know anything about a connecting of souls, but I did seem to be able to see through her eyes during this battle.” The ranger relayed to the bard what he had seen.

SkidAce SkidAce September 28, 2014
From Blend’s vantage point there were no other opponents or ghostly figures discernible. The steamy pool to his left started making bubbling noises, and a small stream of water burst around five feet into the air and sprayed the ground around the pool with mist and water. Blend was out of the range of the water, but he did feel a wave of warmth blow from the area of the pool, along with a slight smell of copper.

The group behind bl;end could hear the sound of the mini geyser, but could not see what was causing the noise from their location.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 28, 2014
Nitram shook off the confusing vision. Regaining his composure, he focused on the task at hand – getting to the cleft unseen. Patting Cragthor on the shoulder, he continued toward the cliff.

SkidAce SkidAce September 28, 2014
Those behind Nitram could see Crathor slowly unclench his fist after Nitram started off to the cleft. It appeared he had not reacted well to the pat on the shoulder, but was giving Nitram a pass.

Neither Blend nor Nitram saw any sign of movement or activity as the rest of the group moved up towards Blend’s position. Eventually they could see the small pool that had geyser-ed up and made all the noise. The geyser was subsiding and the pool was mostly still, bubbling around the edges.

This close to the plateau (just under the edge) the mists and steam that had made for a partly cloudy day increased, until the entire sky was overcast just over their heads. The side of the plateau was nearly 200 feet above their heads, with the uppermost bits shrouded in mist and the sooty smoke that occasionally billowed over the edge.

100 feet away from Blend’s postion, with no cover or places to hide, was the large wooden pole and the entry to the cleft in the plateau wall.

23 March (Spring) 509 PE (Year of the Ravens)
1130 am, Fireday

xLucix xLucix September 28, 2014
Frederick whispered to Nitram, “I do not think your bruteman friend is a fan of physical comradery. Penny for your thoughts, that.” Then he set about trying to be as stealthy as possible, which was not very stealthy. Frederick had never really needed to be stealthy before, so he hadn’t practiced being so.

SkidAce SkidAce September 28, 2014
Old Gnarly pointed at the slowly subsiding geyser and told Nitram “That one shoots into the air”

xLucix xLucix September 29, 2014
The geyser was rather fantastic, and gave Frederick a sense of awe and wonder. And dampness.

AFCop AFCop September 29, 2014
“There is no cover, so we need to cross the distance as fast as possible. I’ll go first and check for sentries. You keep an eye out to see if anyone notices my approach. Let me know using Aeron’s spell. I try to distract or remove any scout or guards and signal when the group should come over together.” Blend waited until he was sure the group understood the plan.

SkidAce SkidAce September 29, 2014
“Got it,” said Gnarly, wait til all of yah are over there."

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 29, 2014
Nitram readied his bow in order to cover Blend’s movement toward the cleft. readied action in case that wasn’t clear enough

SkidAce SkidAce September 29, 2014
Blend moved towards the cleft in a swift and efficient manner. (Stealth 36)

Passing the wooden stake he moved into the shadows and a place of concealment from anyone or thing that might be lurking there. Pausing beside a convenient rock, inside the cleft and out of the group’s view, Blend surveyed the area.

Initially it was hard to see anything, with the shadows and the mist flowing down the side of the plateau. The area inside the cleft was about 50 feet wide and perhaps nearly 75 feet deep. The back wall was steep, but potentially climbable, although probably a far above average difficulty task for most people.

Blend could quite easily see track and footprints in the semi sandy soil at the base of the cleft, tracks of what he would assume were goblins and ogres. Most of the tracks milled around between the center of the cleft area, and the wooden stake.

Otherwise there was nothing to see, no creatures, no likely places for any to hide, and only the faint smell of soot and copper in the air, which changed from cool to steamy as the breezes drifted back and forth.

Blend could see the others covering him from outside, and waiting for a sign or signal from him.

AFCop AFCop September 29, 2014
Blend moved to the wooden stake cautiously to inspect it for anything unusual before signalling to the group to rally up to his location.

SkidAce SkidAce September 29, 2014
The wooden stake was firmly pounded into the ground and was six feet tall. There were bloody hand prints on the sides from about waist high and up. The hand prints were mixed into and covering multiple wood burned symbols and sigils. The blood was fresh, and some of it had dripped down the length of the stake and puddled on the ground.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 29, 2014
Nitram led the rest of the group quickly and somewhat quietly to Blend. He also inspected the stake, trying to determine which hand went where and in what order.

“If we can’t figure out where they went or what this stake does, I was planning on flying up to the top and anchoring a rope or two to aid in climbing. Something to think about, but let’s focus on this for now.”

xLucix xLucix September 29, 2014
Frederick knelt beside the stake and studied it intently, running his eyes over the symbols and sigils. Knowledge Arcana, Loremaster

SkidAce SkidAce September 29, 2014
Nitram’s inspection of the stake led to several conclusions. One, that all the goblin hand prints were about goblin shoulder height, and that all the ogre hand prints were near the top of the stake, above the goblin’s.

There was plenty of blood still pooled around the bottom of the stake. Most of the foot prints meandered from adjacent to the stake, to the center of the cleft area. Oddly, although a few foot prints went back and forth, most all of them moved from the area of the stake, to the central area and then just stopped, not continuing in any direction. According to the tracks, they should still be standing there.

Frederick was fascinated by the sigils and symbols, a few of which looked like something he had seen in a book at some point. If only someone had a copy of Sigils and Symbols by Cardinal. Nonetheless, Frederick was able to pick up on several key points, or concepts behind the construction of the mysterious stake.

Key concepts; conjuration, math, distance, travel, blood, necromancy. To Frederick, the key point to all of the symbols was the channeling of energy, and travel? (Arcana (lore master) 28)

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 September 30, 2014
Nitram looked at the group, “I would guess that they used this to open some kind of portal where the tracks stop right there. That’s my only explanation for why they stop…or a giant rope comes down right there and they climb straight up. That seems less likely than the portal, which I leave to you to figure out.” He was looking at Aeron, Rumil, and Frederick. Mostly at Aeron.

xLucix xLucix September 30, 2014
Frederick sat back on his haunches and scratched the back of his head thoughtfully.

“These are times that you look back on your schooling and realize that Professor Craiftslerve was right when he said that we’d use Advanced Sigilology in the real world,” Frederick muttered to himself.

He then stood up, turning to the group. “I’m not as familiar with these particular sigils, much to the shame of my teachers. Still, I recognize the basics well enough to know that some of them are used in mathematical equations, some of them deal with measures of distance and traveling, and a disturbing number of them are tied to the art of necromancy.”

“I’m not entirely sure what the more complicated symbols entail, and of course there’s an unseemly amount of blood covering some things. What I fear, though this may sound ludicrous, is that those who worship the demon Alucruor are harnessing his energies to transport someones or somethings to whatever destination they desire.” He grinned rather sarcastically, then added, “In short, ladies, gentlemen and those of undetermined gender, we have necromantically charged teleporting ogres, goblins, cultists and the Library only knows what else.”

“You know,” he added, “This would be a fantastic story if we weren’t the ones that are most likely going to have to fight them.”

AFCop AFCop September 30, 2014
Blend, ever introspective and alert, knelt down and studied the strange scene, finally rising and addressing the group. “No bodies, so it must be their own blood. Either that or a sacrifice which they took with them. The question to ask is: why here? What make this area so important that they need to travel to or from here? It must offer some strategic significance, resource or lore. Were they looking for something and if so, did they find it? Perhaps it had something to do with the ghostly figure that assailed Nitram and the battle that occurred here? Frederick, do recall any tales of the battle? Perhaps one that involved a powerful weapon of some sort?”

the_app the_app September 30, 2014
Rumil, wary of everyone being out in the open around this post, took the time to quickly call upon his lord’s favor, granting him the ability to see what is or was there (Detect Magic). His hopes were that it was recently used, leaving behind the telltale signs of magic – whatever its form. He also studied the scene, attempting to recall if any of the sub-humanoid species had such magics at their disposal, whether via a shamen or mage (K:Arcana and Religion + whatever bonus applies from Frederick’s assessment thus far). If these creatures have figured out a way to travel quickly through space, as the bard surmised, it was quite troubling – as no land was safe from a sneak attack. He had studied the different planes – but one that required bloody palms – that was most troubling of all.

SkidAce SkidAce September 30, 2014
According to Rumil’s use of his arcane sight, there was still a strong aura of red and gray magics surrounding both the stake, and a large 20 foot radius area of the ground within the cleft. As Rumil had learned, red was often associated with conjuration magic, while gray was aligned with necromancy. For such an aura to still be visible meant that the magic was either very strong, or still lingering in place.

Rumil, like many students knowledgeable of arcane matters, had heard legends of “teleportation” and portals, but those were only legends. No one he could recall currently knew or practiced such magics, the secrets were all lost to time. Of course, he realized, ogres did have some association with older, cruder, forms of magic.

Aeron mentioned in response to Blend’s questioning of Frederick, that his knowledge of history allowed him to recall that there had been several battles between Varencia and the Anguis Imperium in this area, before they pulled their forces back and turned the entire area into a neutral buffer zone between the nations. Before the area returned to its neutral state however, there had been battles by both sides against the ogres and brutemen.

SkidAce SkidAce September 30, 2014
Rumil, recalling long lost bits of lore from his training, and recent readings, knew that ogres were mainly shamanistic in nature, which normally would not have any capacity for such arcane matters. The other wielders of magic in ogre society were either the reclusive ogre magi (capable of studying anything their reclusive nature led them to) or clerics. Ogre clerics were normally shunned and disrespected by the bulk of ogre “society” due to their abandonment of the spirits, and dedication to specific beings such as primordials or demons.

(Arcana 20 + 2 (Frederick) + 2 (Religion) = 24)

the_app the_app September 30, 2014
Rumil, once he was sure he understood what his sight was showing him and sure that his memory was correct, spoke to the group “I would recommend stepping back my friends. The magic these creatures used still hangs on that stake. I am not certain what they have managed to do – and I am sure many a mage would love to learn – but I see necromancy and conjuration at work here. The type – I cannot say. I do speculate, which even I find hard to believe, that these creatures have managed to transport themselves across the realm – in an instant. I cannot say how, where, or why – but I can say standing as close as we are – with the magic still hanging there could prove, well – worthy of a sad song from our bardic companion.”

With that said, Rumil stepped back and while his vision still lingered, he attempted to determine what spells were used (Spellcraft} hoping that the auras he was witnessing brought to memory another spell or even list of spells he had seen before. While this gift allowed him to see magical auras, they proved difficult to decifer. Some were brighter, some bigger, some moved about, as if the spell was still alive, and others – well, others proved useless. He only hoped he could relay this information to his elven kin – a true mage who studied magic, where Rumil merely manifested it. This was troubling indeed – potentially world changing.

xLucix xLucix September 30, 2014
Frederick thought for a long moment, collecting his thoughts.

“Well, around this area, there wasn’t so much a battle as there was a war. The Varnencians were building their empire and, as empires are wont to do, they fought and killed for it. At first the Varencians were easily bested by the ogres and the brutemen, until they received some much needed reinforcement. That resulted in a stalemate that dragged on for a good while, until some bright boy in the ogre camp decided to bring a fiend into the fray. Not any old fiend, either, but one of the nastier troll fiends. Naturally, the Varencians were at a loss, and resumed having their asses handed to them.”

He paused, frowning slightly. “While there has been much debate about whether or not the translations are meant to be taken literally, or if it was merely the efforts of men embellished as they often are. But, according to multiple accounts, there arose three angels of death from the field. Apparently, though war is all good and gravy for entities such as these, the troll fiend was something a blight upon their senses. So, each wielding legendary weapons, the Asuradeva (angels of death) fought the troll fiend to the death of both the fiend and one of the angels.”

“When the angel had perished, the angel’s weapon was also destroyed; this, the resulting explosion tore through the ogre and brutemen armies, allowing the Varencians to take the final victory. Magical weapons, as any student of the history of them can tell you, often discharge their energies at the time of their destruction. The size of the discharge can typically be measured by the amount of power contained by the weapon. So you can imagine the power wielded by the Asuradeva.”

Frederick looked at Blend, then at each of the other party members. “Now, according to legend, the pieces of the weapon scattered across the land after it was destroyed. Whether the land means this immediate area, or the entire world, I do not know. However, if I were a betting man, I would bet that this demon’s followers and those associated with them mean to either restore the weapon in hopes of using it themselves, or to resurrect the troll fiend itself. You’d think that, when dealt a death blow by an angel and a weapon of near-immeasurable power, the fiend would have the common decency to remain dead. History, though, tends to tell another story.”
SkidAce SkidAce October 01, 2014
There was a silence that seemed to stretch on for almost all afternoon as Frederick finished his dissertation. The whistling of the wind across the edges of the cleft seemed to grow harsher and louder, or perhaps it was just an ominous contrast to the tale just told.

In the moment of silence, there was the sound of another geyser, this one obvioulsy up on the plateau above them, and out of sight. There was even a tremble to the ground, as one of the clouds of blacker soot drifted overhead.

Old Gnarly was staring at Frederick like, what the hell?

Shylent seemed unconcerned as usual, and slapped first Aeron and then Nitram on the shoulder, saying “Well?”

xLucix xLucix October 02, 2014
Frederick then tossed a pebble at the stake.

SkidAce SkidAce October 02, 2014
The pebble bounced off the stake with a slight “thwack” sound, and fell quickly to the ground with a disturbing “plop” into one of the puddles of blood.

xLucix xLucix October 03, 2014
Frederick then, in an attempt of madness or brilliance, attempted to grab the stake with his hand. He had wrapped three cloths and an undershirt around his hand before doing so.

SkidAce SkidAce October 03, 2014
Frederick’s attempt to grab the stake proved fruitless, as it was solidly pounded into the ground, and to big around for his hand to get a good grip. In fact, all Frederick managed to do was get the cloths stained with blood, and to smear a few of the hand prints off of the stake.

Vallus cleared his throat and spoke to Frederick, “Good sir, perhaps you should clearly elucidate your plan before attempting it, so we can express any reservations or point out potential flaws?” glancing at the half soaked cloths in Frederick’s hands.

the_app the_app October 03, 2014
Rumil too was stocked by this bard’s action. This reminded him why his kind disliked the short lived races – they felt as if they were going to die soon anyway, might as well go out with a bang. He shook his head – clearly confused why anyone would touch something with still lingering necromanic magic on it – or for that matter, so much blood.

This bard would have to be watched – or at least kept at a safe distance. First he speaks of some mythical “land sharks” then he, for some reason, knows the history of this hill and all the battles fought here – failing to mention that before we arrived – and now the reaching out and touching a blood ritual, teleportation device of some sort.

Rumil looked to Aeron – shook his head and went back to searchiing the area for any other useful clues.

SkidAce SkidAce October 03, 2014
(for clarification, none of the legends that Frederick remembered mentioned anything about a Fire Geyser Plateau, neither did Aeron’s war history)

SkidAce SkidAce October 03, 2014
Rumil’s search for clues led to an unsettling conclusion. The ogres and goblins put blood on their hands, touched the pole, and then gathered over in the cleft. And now they were not there.

Given Rumil’s shock at Frederick’s actions, the only way to test the theory was obviously something he was not comfortable doing. And likely unwise.

xLucix xLucix October 03, 2014
Frederick shook his head. “Not sure why I did that, to be honest. Just…felt like I should. Like when you’re looking a fire and that little voice in your head tells you to put your hand in it. Only not so little a voice this time.”

He dropped the rags that he had wrapped around his hand, now stained with blood, and looked to see if he could be of assistance with anything else. The hand that had grabbed at the stake now gently stroked the Book.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 October 03, 2014
Nitram looked at Aeron, surprised at his apparently frozen state. “Maybe he’s meditating,” the ranger thought as he stepped up. “If we don’t have a better option to get this thing working, I’m willing to try a little of my own blood.” He pulled out his dagger. “Then, I’ll grab in the same places that the ogres did. Maybe that will open it.”

the_app the_app October 03, 2014
“Perhaps there is some truth to humans being shortsighted,” Rumil stated to no one in general as he stepped even further back. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear when I stated that dark magic is still clinging to this pole – this is not saying that the pole itself if magical – but that magic was cast on this ground. And to be clear, dark magic by the looks of it. This is foolish to try to ‘activate’ this device. We have no clue where it leads, how it works, or what is required to ensure it works without concern. I realize that there are some very eager to find and destroy this band, but I will not be party to this. It is too dark and tainted. Corellon help any that go through with this plan. If had some knowledge of the device, the magic, the destination – perhaps it would be worth it, but as it is, I must advise against it.” With that, Rumil backed further away, should his warning not be heeded. In an effort to be helpful, he did continue his inspection of the area – hoping to find anything, outside the range of the pole and the magic it radiated, that could help figure out what transpired here. Perhaps a remaining sentry, camp, or other such feature remained here…every race had its stragglers.

SkidAce SkidAce October 03, 2014
Nitram gashed his hand slightly and clenched his fist until he got next to the stake. Opening his hand, he placed it upon the wooden pole in the same fashion that the ogres had, placing his own bloody palm print upon the stake.

There was a slight tingling sensation that rapidly spread over his entire body. Those watching could see a faint red shimmering in the air around the ranger’s form. Nitram looked over at the area where the footprints had led, and could now see a small circle of red smoke upon the ground, encircling the area where the ogres and goblins had stood. Nitram also felt a fascination with the circle and a small urge to walk over and stand in it, involuntarily taking one step towards it.

mmartin_10 mmartin_10 October 04, 2014
Sorry Rumil, sometimes these things just happen :)

Blood of the Throne part 4

Unconquered Kingdoms SkidAce