Kingmaker - As the Ravens Gather

I'm finally going on leave!

Andsvarr buried his axe in the skull of another one of the demon filth streaming from The Worldwound.

“Take that ya bleedin’ bloody freak!” He reared Nashorn, his faithful whooly rhinoceros steed, around and scanned the battlefield for another one of those Abyss-spawned enemies. There! Just within chargin’ range. He spurred Nashorn, hefted his axe, and cried a call to Angradd, dwarven god of war. Nashorn knocked aside a score of lesser demons with his horn as Andsvarr concentrated on the huge demon which was cutting a swath through the Mendev troops like it was scything wheat. The demon tried to intercept the charging dwarf’s blow but the cavalier’s axe bit into the demon’s shoulder severing it from it’s body.

Andsvarr leaped off of the rhinoceros and began hacking at the demon’s legs while Nashorn stabbed at it with his horn. In short order, the duo slayed one of the last demon officer’s in the field.

“Well good buddy,” the dwarf cheerily. “Another victory for the good guys!”

Later on in the barracks.

“Mail Call!…. Colonel Andsvarr, letter from Brevory.” Andsvarr looked at the carrier questionably. “One Aethelia Linnormheart.” Still a look of confusion.

“Ohh just read the damned letter, Sir!” taunts one of his sergeants. Andsvarr snatches the letter from the carrier, rips it open, and reads. His eyes go wide.

“Me brother’s getting married! Boys, I’m finally going on leave!”

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Thoughts...

Ancient Cyclopses…

That would not have been Slade’s first guess for what was behind that damned spy-bird, but wizards did strange things, who was to say what was normal for them? Was a one-eyed giant zombie somehow less normal than a conspiracy of phantom ravens…

But giants, living or dead, meant a real fight. The kind your descendants would remember in song across the ages. Slade hadn’t seen a fight like this since…well, the last time they faced off against a group of giants, in the troll cave. Assuming they hadn’t been killed by goblins years ago.

And damn Yorick for not naming an heir yet. Or having a proper true-born son of his own. Or a proper wife. Nine hells, more sober than Corbin wasn’t much of a standard to set. Humans were short-lived as it was, and it was time to think about the future.

Slade said nothing for a long time, and simply stared off into the darkness. His grip tightened on his waraxe, but the wyverns sensed his mood, and kept their distance.

The troll fight killed Corbin, even if Gorum saw fit to change his mind about it and throw him back. And that could very well happen again, one of them could die in that ancient ruin. Best bet was Markoa. While an excellent archer, that might not make much difference inside the wizard’ lair. Looked to be either a tight fit inside that monolith, or underwater, and a bow wouldn’t be much good in either circumstance. Come to think of it, the only one in good shape was Lizvetta; Corbin might have trouble in tight quarters as well. Slade made a mental note to get the longspear from Fennario tomorrow before they left camp.

Then he pulled out a scrap of paper, and began to write. The elf was just dumb enough for this to work.

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Session 33 – Into Lands Held by the Nomen

04 -14.Pharast.4712

04.
The Inquisitor’s Band prepared for another expedition into the lands east and northeast of Narlmarch. During this they were visited by Jubilost Narthropple who explained that his expeditionary force of gnomes had not found any sign of the lost dwarven city they searched for. They planned to investigate the unlikely location of the abandoned dwarven mine that once was occupied by the Company of Masks and then head into the wilds of Iobaria.
In return for the Council’s and Slade’s Band’s countless generosities Jubilost gifted them with the beginnings of a map of the Nomen Heights compiled by some of his scouts.

06.
Markoa, Inquisitor Slade upon Fennario, Corbin, and Regik with a pack horse and an extra steed headed out by riverboat from Meereover on a sunny if cool day arriving at the outflow of the Gudrin River to begin their foray.
Upon coming to the Gudrin River Ford they encountered a guard post and a toll of 5cp per horse. The guards of Mosskull Ferry asked many questions and warned the recognizable leaders of the northern dukedom to keep the peace within the Lady’s lands.
Later down the road it was easy for Markoa to notice that they were being followed by a Ferry scout. Markoa slipped away and watched as the scout was met by Griarkis Bearhunter who was long thought to have died in the raid by the Company of Masks upon Tatzlford back in Erastus of 4701.
The General was confronted by the group where empty threats were met with Corbin’s cold rebuff and Slade’s assurances that they were passing through but that violence would be an unwise choice. In the face of overwhelming odds Griakis slunk away.
The group soon left the guarded communal farms and suspicious homesteaders behind and entered the Crags losing their escort.

07.
The group explored deeper into the Crags and entered unexplored lands.

08.
The rough broken lands of the Crags gave way to the rich lands between the northern bank of the Little Sellen and the Gudrin Rivers.

09.
The fertile rolling hills brought them within sight of rougher foothills and the distant mountains of the Tors of the Levanies. Dusk found Regik attacked by a hunting manticore which inflicted grievous wounds but was defeated by Gorum’s roaring fist of fire and pure holy battle that descended from above at Corbin’s command which consumed the creature.

10.
Just upriver past the confluence of the Runoff Creek and the roaring frigid waters of the Little Sellen River where the river narrows as it passes through a gully between tow rocky hillsides the party encountered a small oblong flooded island thick with vegetation. There they were attacked by a fearsome giant flytrap that almost consumed the entire party but for the divine defenses of the inquisitor and the combat prowess of Corbin and Regik who carved into the plant creature. The healing fury of Gorum that flowed from Corbin saved many from sure death.
There, lost among the bones of centaur, animal and humanoids, were some impressive treasures that were reclaimed.

11.
A little east of Dragonleaf Gully, while exploring the area, Slade spied a narrow crack in the mountain side and discovered an abandoned dire bear cave inhabited only by irate bats disturbed by the invasion of the curious dwarf. There at the back Slade could not miss the vein of high-grade iron ore.

12.
Moving along the shore of the vast lake to the northeast the only encounter was with a herd of elk.

13.
The exploration of this part of the mountain brought the party over to the other side of the Tors and here is where they spied the Ghost Stone and came to meet Zzamas the phase spider who cautiously approached them and asked for aid in driving away invading “zeel” that had driven the otherworldly creature from the glowing monolith. A promise of reward was given and the group gathered to camp and discussed tactics.

14.
Approaching the Ghost Stone with the dawn only one strange insect-like multi-armed “zeel” was seen and as they drew closer it opened fire upon them. Recognized by those wiser in the ways of the worlds beyond as xill the party approached as three more of the militant violent creatures phased in from the ethereal plane. The battle’s start was withering to the party but tactics and perseverance turned the tide and the last fleeing xill was lethally pierced by one of Markoa’s arrows leaving it to die in the spirit realm.
Zzamas appeared later when all seemed clear and proved true to his word as he dragged a large impressive chest from the ether in payment. Unlocked, the chest proved to hold a trove of strange clothing, a spellbook, and a wand.

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The Letter

Waving a piece of paper in his hand, the Duke shouted at Marshal Slade “What is this?”

“Don’t pretend you don’t know” shouted the dwarf, “you’re smarter than you pretend to be”

“Who am I supposed to replace you with?” countered Yorick, “Topper Red?”

“why don’t you just take justice into your own hands! You seem to have the knack for it”

“Is that what this is about? When have I ever done that?”

“You should know”

“I swear to you, I have never done that”

“I’ll remind you nice more, I can tell when you’re lying. Like now. It’s fine, if you want the job, it’s yours. Give it to the taking bird, if you want, I don’t care. You need to learn that a stable nation is a nation of laws, and not of men”

“It’s in the book, have the bird read it to you” the dwarf spat. Dropping the metal bound book on the floor, he stomped out.

With an indignant shake of his head, Bartelby flew over and looked at the book. “it’s the manual of city-building boss” “Cover says it was written by Abadar himself”

The door slammed.

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Session 31 – Ascent to the Lady’s Audience

“…here amongst the Ffolk comes Death/ so to ancient Sovyrian wherein Death lies impotent go we/ and leave the Sun to die…” “The fabric of the world will be torn with a needle, first and prime will become one./The upstart will tend a garden of aspirations that will bring suffering and draw war./A crow will pick at the dead and darkness will cover thought and ravens will gather, growing fat and numerous./A gardener grows the bramble but is wounded by the briar./Forsaken blood, dishonored blood, destiny’s blood, tainted blood, the blood of war. They may bind the tear or rend the fabric asunder.” –translated fragments of a lost elven poem from before the Exodus inscribed within the grand hall of a ruined elven fortress deep within the Narlmarches of the Stolen Lands c.-5400 AR

27.Lamashan.4712 cont.

Lizvetta looked up at the climbing vines and ancient vistas of elven life hidden beneath them on the ceiling of the large hall of the ruin’s tower and saw an elf-like creature staring down at her. Its body looked thin and stretched like an afternoon shadow with rugged skin that seemed like tree bark and had the green cast of rotting meat. The long black tips of the thing’s fingers and toes were pulled out like frozen taffy into needle sharp points that dug into the mortar and overgrowth allowing it to scuttle about to take a better look down at the shocked commander of the Order of the Raven. Markoa shot the thing cruelly and forced it to run from the central tower. As it left, being followed by the members of the company within, those outside were dealing with the murderous quickling.

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Erastus 4712

Baron Yorick Ravenswing sat at the Council table trying to enjoy the general quiet and peace of the room. As of late his Ravenwing Hall had been a difficult place to be. He couldn’t count the hours of meetings, reports and rulings that he’d had to make in the wake of the actions of the Gyronnan Cult.

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Sarenith 4712

Topper Red leaned against the brick wall in the alley and tried to regain his composure. He wiped his face with his sleeve leaving the stains of his tears, sweat and vomit and then he took deep shuddering breaths in order to force the panic down.

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Session 30 – Let the Dance Begin

24 – 27.Lamashan.4712

24.Lamashan (???) – The cool bright sunny day found Meereover busy with the work of the dukedom. Fishing boats and cargo barges crossed the Tuskwater with sails full of cool fall breezes. Haniver sailed the updrafts near the pier until high enough to attract the attention of the ravens in the city and raucous chases would ensue. The streets of the city were a chaos of horses and wagons, pedestrians and livestock. The city was alive with the buying and selling of the harvest’s bounty and the Bales resounded with the conversation and laughter of its patrons.

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Desnus 4712

With the beginning of Denus the Stolen Lands seemed to be sinking under the water like ancient Azlant. The constant rains and mists soon had the snows of winter either washed away or turned into soggy layers of slushy ice. The frequent sleet had turned the naked trees into shimmering branching icicles and the evergreens into casualties. Fields stood unplowed and roads generally empty as the relentless wind turned the wet into raw freezing suffering for any beast, bird or man.

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Great Sword

Slade sensed the wave chaos before Corbin even knocked at his chambers, The air practically sizzled with his madness. He wondered as he invited him in if they would eventually have to put him down like a rabid dog. “Come on in Corbin, What do you want?” Slade asked as he sat back down to his ledgers. Corbin looked at Slade and placed an item carefully wrapped in oiled cloth on an empty section of his desk. ( basically directly in front of Slade because his desk is loaded with paperwork) Slade new what it was instantly and started to carefully unwrap it. “You know Corbin Yorick tried to repair and I also told you it was pointless.” As Slade pulled out what remained of the hilt of Corbin’s great sword i small chunk fell off. Corbin bit his knuckle " be careful Slade! I was just hoping maybe you could reforge it its been through so much with me." Corbin the slime destroyed most of my stuff too you may have to let it go." Corbin reached out to pet the hilt and Slade slapped his hand away and took a long look at the crazed cleric and saw someone that looked like he lost a friend. (deep sigh) “I will see what i can do but DON’T PESTER me! do you understand!?” Corbin nodded enthusiastically. “You wont see me till you hand it back” Slade thought for the briefest moment of letting the (“repair”) take a few months but then decided against it. “Ok Corbin go away and let me finish some of my ledgers.” “Thank you Slade very much.” Corbin was tripping over himself to get out the door and Slade help him out (not very gently) and closed the door as Corbin was about to say something, Slade shook his head and heard a muffled thank you. Slade sat back down with a heavy sigh and gingerly pick up the hilt of the once great sword "What am i going to do with this hunk of metal he idly scratched at the ruby in the hilt with his thumbnail, pieces of steal flaked of like a crust. Then the ruby started to glow “what the??” aaaarrrrrrgg (a banshee like scream erupted from the hilt and an image of Gorum’s head with an open maw came to being in front of Slade, he could smell the fetid breath as the mouth tried to close over his head Slade fell backwards in his chair to hit the floor with an oooofffff. (Dark and evil giggling in the background fading to nothing) “By Abadars purse strings” Slade flung the hilt against the wall and what remained of Corbin’s sword Shattered into dust, the ruby dropped to the floor with a ping Slade cringed “Oops… damn Gorum” he muttered under his breath. He looked at the ruby as he got up and considered trying to crush it beneath his boot, he fought the erg and picked it up placed it on his desk and wrote in his journal “pick up new greatsword for Corbin”

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