Chapter Two: Call of the Dragon

granthorgranthor Member
edited January 6 in Community Creations
Ok, guys and gals, I can't fight it anymore, so I will be dropping a new part to the Story this week. Once you see the coming soon gone, the 1st part will be ready to read? Thx for all your support on this adventure. And Merry Christmas to all.
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  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited January 11
    Elsewhere, a lone man sits by a riverbank, with a fishing rod propped up next to him. No training today, so he went into town and found a fishing supply place, where they had a wide range of gear. The town’s merchant claims his rods are the best to be found, and it can hold its own verse anything in the river without breaking. So he has it held in place with a combo of rocks and sticks, as a nice breeze blows in from behind him. This is Henry a young fighter, he rests next to a clam wide river, not wearing his armor, while only sporting some light elfish brown plain clothes he bought in town. It’s not what he is used to, but he finds it surprisingly comfortable. It sits slightly loose on his muscular body, and it seems to have a relaxed fit for ease of movement.

    He flexes a little as he starring up at the noon sky, now watching puffy clouds slowly drifting overhead. In them, he can picture animals and the sides of people’s faces. Even one reminds him of his friend Richard, as it looks to sport a very long beard resting on a stone face. Ah, Richard, that reminds him, he has been hiding from Crystal these last few months, a mage that group with his party in the mines. There was a huge party in town with the boss of the mines being killed, and everyone got pretty drunk that night. He remembers seeing Richard and Crystal heading off somewhere quiet, and a few days later Richard has been on the run avoiding her. Henry finds himself laughing little at the thought of Richard running from any pretty lady, he has been known to be the one doing the chasing. Maybe he finally found someone that doesn’t just want a one night's stand, and it has him on edge.
    But he hasn’t seen his friends over the last couple of months, so he doesn’t know what came of the whole thing. Only Sam and Sarah followed him back to Fandralore, a place he didn’t want to return too, but he had no choice as he was summoned back to the town. He rubs the golden ring around his neck and it warm to the touch, and then cool just as his fingers leave the edge. Some call it a contract binder, others call it what it really is, a slave collar, as it binds you to its owner, and you must do as that command. Henry is still mad at himself for falling into this trick, he did try to pay off the money owed, but still, the collar remains.

    He now thinks about his friend Sam, who after returning went back to train and study more with the town’s clerics. He told Henry he is gaining a lot of extra skills from their training and would try to find a way to break that seal on the collar to free him. Then there is Sarah, she has never left Henry's side since the time in the mines, but from time to time she does give him space, only to return to be very annoying and clinging to him like a lovesick puppy. But Sarah he feels only does it to get under Ebrae’s skin when they are together, he finds she gets very close to him, and when Ebrae if off on her own so goes Sarah.
    With that thought, a pebbled is flipped through the air, and it bounces off Henry’s head. He turns to see who or what tossed a rock at him, as he reaches for his sword, but he reminders he left it with his shield in the training grounds. He looks around the area but no one can be seen. He slowly turns to take to relax, as he puts a hand on his dagger at his side, and a second pebble strikes him on the head, this time with the sound of a giggle.
    With a sigh, Henry calls out.
    “Ok, Sarah I know it’s you! You can stop hiding now! “, says Henry as he now relaxes his hand from his weapon.
    With those words, a fine figure of a woman with short black hair, and dressed in light black leather armor pops into view from a shimmer in the air. He sees that she is wearing newer armor that shows off patches of skin on her midsection, arms and legs giving her more flexibility in movements. But just like her older winter armor, this one hugs her body like a second skin. She told him she doesn’t like loose fitting armor, as it holds her back in a fight, but he thinks she wears it tight to get his attention.
    He looks up at her as she smiles back down at him with big brown eyes, now pointing a waving a figure at him.
    “Do you like it? I found it at one of the stores in town, and I just had to buy it. “, says Sarah waiting expectantly.
    Henry looks it over, as she now moves her hands too long her body, matching where Henry is looking with a teasing motion. He just sighs a little, knowing she is at her games again, and he stands to be picking up his fishing pole.
    “It looks ok Sarah, nothing that special. “, says Henry now reeling in his line.
    Sarah felt a little put off, pushes Henry in the chest, and gets his attention once more. He can see she wanted more of an ok for him, but he doesn’t care, as she stomps her left foot on the ground.
    “Is that all you have to say!? I bought this for you my sweet, and I figured you would love to see your sweetheart in something nice. “, she says now placing a hand on his arm.
    Before he can reply the line tugs hard in the water, and Henry finds himself grabbing the pole with both hands now. The line is dragged hard once more, as Henry pulls back to bring in whatever is fighting him in the water. Henry thought that the merchant boast about his rod not breaking is going to be tested, as it is pulled violently to the left then right.
    “That’s it, Henry! You got it, pull it in! “, yells Sarah now clapping with excitement.
    He finds as he digs his heels into the soil, he is being pulled toward the edge of the water. Sarah seeing this, grabs hold of his waistline and pulls as hard as she can to help. Henry feeling the power of this thing knows this going to be a long fight, and he takes out his dagger from its holder.
    “I am going to cut the line before I lose the pole! “, exclaims Henry as he reaches up with his dagger.
    With one masses pull, both Henry and Sarah get pulled into the water, and Henry finds his dagger arm is in the mouth of something huge. Who was fishing for whom he things, as a large mouth with prickle teeth clamp down around his arm, and it begins to drag him deeper into the water.
    Sarah grabs hold of Henry’s legs, as he grabs hold of the creature with his free hand, now trying to pull open the mouth with no luck. But he still feels he has his dagger in hand and with a few upward gabs with his wrist, he finds the death blow he needed. As he sinks the dagger deep into the brain, and the creature’s grip on his arm relaxes enough to pull it out.
    Henry now pulls with all his might, grabbing hold of the mouth with both hands of whatever pulled him in, and with one big toss he sends a dead river fish onto the shore, it looks to be about five hundred pounds, maybe more. But whatever it’s weight, it’s been the king of that river a very long time, and now it meets its end at the hands of Henry.
    Henry now feeling very tired, walks up out of the water and sits on the shore, then lets his body fall back onto the ground to rest a bit. Sarah seeing this, moves over to sit on top of Henry, and he is about to give her a few words, but she covers his mouth with her right hand, looks him deep in the eyes, and slowly moves to replace her hand with her lips and gives him a very passionate kiss.

    To be continued…….

  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited January 20
    The gardens of the cultural center are second to none. As a fresh plot of grass is flanked by luscious hedges, bushes, and shrubs. The gardeners tend the freshly cut grasses, as the winter last sting has left the region. Along the main path to the library, a single ornamental piece stands near the right edge, as nature has already claimed it for itself. It is tamed just a little, so it isn’t too wild of a look, but the areas the wild outgrowth is lined with a bed of red roses. Down other pathways coming and going, rows of flowers are forming a miniature world of their own, full of mysteries and wonder; they're like a cloud of color. The hedges, bushes, and shrubs reach high, but this is thanks to great care and a lot of effort. Here and there lies a smooth flat large stepping stone, leading people through the garden, and making sure all the best spots are marked. Plants and flowers are seemingly content with their positions in the garden, none trying to reach beyond their borders. This is the garden of the great library of Fandralore, a place where mages and clerics come from far and wide, given the location of the town within the region, it’s the nexus of learning and new ideas.
    Under a large old tree in the garden, Sam rests his back against it while he studies from a book of healing and blessing, given to him by the Cleric know to simply as the Doctor. Sam learned so much from him the last time he was in town, and with his return, he has given him a few more new lessons to help expand his knowledge. A cool breeze blows through his reddish hair, a color he picked out from some hair dyes, with help from a local girl, he changed his look just a bit for the spring.
    His mind drifts a bit while he rubs the hairs on his head, then the sound of a large fizzle gets his attention. Looking up from his book, he notices a puff of smoke drifting by, nothing major, but all the same, it’s smoke in the garden. He looks around but sees no one, then returns his attention to the book he is holding.
    In it, he sees a chapter on sleeping spells and poisoning both applying and cures. An odd combination he thinks, but in some ways they can be related, just depends on how one applies the mix or one or more.
    As he takes out a small pad to write down a few notes, a very loud fizzle can be heard again, and with it comes the smoke drifting by him once more. Sam finishing his notes from the book, stands up to look around, then picking up his area’s mess, as he doesn’t want to be labeled an untidy sort, then heads off to find the source of the smoky clouds.
    As he makes his way along the rows of flower beds, he enjoys the different sense of the flower planted in this large garden, some of which he is seeing for the first time. But his attention is drawn by a large fizzling in the air, but this time a small bang quickly follows, as smoke now drifts over a large hedge in front of him. Sam slowly moves to peek around the edge and sees a lone young mage flipping the pages of his spellbook while muttering someone under his breath. Sam cans see he is dressed in the student robes, a simple blue-green with black trim along all the edges, and his hair is jet black and cut short to his ears. Sam looking closer at his ears can see he is no elf, as there are no points to be seen. He watches as the mage lifts his hand in the air, then begins to cast whatever spell he was trying, but this time there isn’t a fizzle as a small flame takes shape in his left hand. The young mage begins to smile, knowing he finally got the spell to work, and Sam claps aloud to applaud him with his book underarm.
    With a small scare, the mage jumps around, as the spell fizzles and then crackles away in the air. He takes hold of the area of his heart, while breathing a little faster, then clams himself a little now looking at Sam.
    “ I didn’t mean to scare you, friend, it’s just I noticed you were at it a while this day, and I wanted to express a little congrats to you for finishing your spell. So at you a new mage if I may ask? “, says Sam now coming closer.
    “ Oh no, I am not new, just trying out a new spell is all. I have been a mage all my life, and know a few very good spells, and a few very powerful ones too. “, boast the young mage.
    “ Well, what do they call you friend? I am known as Samuel Wright, but friends call me Sam. “
    “ I am Rowen Read, it is nice to meet you Sam. “, says the mage now putting his book away. As he continues.
    “ I came to this town to seek some new spells, I heard it was one of the best places to do so, and where I claimed this new book of spells. “, says Rowen with a smile now.
    Sam can tell he isn’t much older than himself, so when he boasted about being a mage all his life, that would mean he has about ten years of training. But ten years is still pretty good, as long as he had some adventuring under his belt.
    “ So, I take it you have been adventuring over the coarse of your experience? It’s one thing to learn it from books, but very different when you apply it while questing. “, says Sam watching his closer now.
    Sam can see his smile fade a little at his words, then it strikes him this young mage has never been questing before. Sam has gotten very good at reading body language, and his mages mood now screams he has never been out in the wilds.
    “ I must confess master Sam, I have only been learning my art from town to town, and have yet to do a quest. “, says Rowen turning away from Sam in shame.
    Sam moves to put an arm over the shoulder of Rowen and gives him a huge smile as he speaks kindly to him.
    “ That’s ok friend, you stick with me, and I will see to it you get to practice your art on questing. My friends and I do it all the time. “
    "You will take me with you on adventuring? “, says Rowen with a surprised look.
    “ Sure why not? You need to use your skills outside of the town’s walls, so stick with me and I will help you. “ says Sam now smiling wider.
    Rowen thinks to himself, no one ever gave him a chance to join a party to adventure on, they always wanted higher level mages. But look at Sam, he feels maybe he finally has someone that might help him gain the very need experience he has been looking for. So he agrees to join up with Sam, as the two head off to have an evening meal.

    To be continued…..

  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited January 24
    Hi everyone just a quick update:

    I will be posting a few more parts this weekend, sorry if I was a little slow on the newer parts, but RL calls. I had sick kids on my hand, that time of the year and all that fun stuff. I will push to give you more than one part, I feel I owe you guys at least two lol. I will do what I can, as I have set this ball in motion. If you're new to my writings, know that I am far from perfect, and I know I make a few mistakes here and there, but I try to give you the story as I see it. I hope everyone is still enjoying the story so far, and if you're new here, go back a read, Winter comes to Verra, it's the 1st part of what I am writing here in the link below. And again guys thank you for all your support.

    https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/discussion/42712/chapter-one-winter-comes-to-verra/p1
  • Hiya @granthor - thank you for sharing your amazing community creation with us! We featured you for #FanFriday today, and can't wait to see where these adventurers head next! <3

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  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited January 26
    Later in the week, it’s a special day in the town of Fandralore, as banners and flags are placed high along the different streets, and the people wear their best clothes for the day. They came far and wide from each part of the town, and even from the farming fields on the border, as a parade route is set up along the main road through town. Not long after a large band of bards dressed in gold and silver clothes, play every instrument ever made the march in step, lead by a small team of banner and flag bearers who wear green and red with golden buttons. The bards don’t miss a beat as they play the town's favorite marching song, and the people clap and cheer at the sound of the wonderful music as they pass by.
    Not far behind a caravan of covered carriages of white and golden lined flowers ride down the main street. All in all there count is about ten, as important people from city government wave to the people as they ride past the crowds. They too are dress in their very best of outfits, and sport the ranks of power for each station very proudly on their green dress jackets.
    Madris too rides through the town with a heavy guard escort in her personal royal carriage. It’s an open-air type with the same color white and golden flowers lining the edges. She wants the whole town to see her, as she is sporting a new hair color for spring, one of a dark blue with light green high lights on the ends. She even has taken out one of her best dresses for the day, a spring gown she saves for special days. The light blue dress in uncovered from the shoulder area, and flows down into a fancy deep neckline, showing off very expense necklaces fitted with fine gems. The sleeves start out loose and tighten more towards the bottom, where it meets with golden brackets on both her arms. The dress hugs her body closely, but at the same time has enough given to not restrict her movements. On her feet, she wears silver slippers, which seem to sparkle in the sunlight.
    The parade of horses and carts make their way to the town center, as the town’s people cheer and toss flowers of every type on the road, as they wave to Madris as she rides by. This is a very special day for the town, as they have worked very hard to gain what is needed. This is the day of new growth, one that comes only when all conditions are met, and today is that day when its time.
    At the center of town sits a large bronze statue of her father and mother, he stands with his sword pointed to the heavens, and she is aiming with her bow in the other direction, both looking to the sky. The carriage stops to the front of it, as the people cheer loader. Hagas who was riding in a different carriage quickly exits to rush to his master's side. He puts a hand out to help her step down, then he bows low as she focuses on her parent’s statue.
    From another carriage comes Ebrae dressed in honor guard colors of green and red with a golden sash across her chest, and she has a long sword at her side and white gloves on her hands. She is followed by closely with Ryfon, the captain of the guard, and he bows to Madris as she takes notice of them both.
    “ I am not bowing to you dear sister. “, whispers Ebrae, now moving to her side.
    “ Of course my sweet, why would you do something so silly? “, says Madris with a small smile as she continues.
    “ Where are your friends? I would think they would be here for this important day.”
    “ They are off in the crowds watching, I told them to mingle while we attended to this business. “, says Ebrae now looking to Ryfon with a knob.
    He in turn signals for the honor guards to line up on both sides of the statue, and they draw swords and motion them up into a salute.
    The people cheer more, as the sisters look at each other for a short second, then they take a slow walk up to their parent’s statue. The honor guard now quickly extends their swords to make an archway for the two, while keeping as still as they can.. Step after step the two walk until they reach the foot of the large statue. Ebrae pulls a glove off her right hand, as her sister moves to put her left hand on a smooth plate at the base. The sisters place a hand on the plate and speak the words aloud.
    “ We the children of the founders give our blessing to this town, so it may grow and expand to become greater than it is now. May the gods bless this town, and may we be blessed by the power of the dragon. “

    With that final word spoken, an energy wave flows out from the statue and flows out over the whole town. In a blink of an eye, the borders of the town have been expanded out, and a few buildings have changed. The people let out a cheer, as flowers of different types are tossed at the base of the statue, and the honor guards return their swords to their sides, then escort the sisters back to the carriages.
    As she places a hand on her carriage, she turns to look at her sister once more.
    “ Oh if you would be so kind and to bring your friends to the hall, I have a request for them to do for me. “
    Ebrae doesn’t like the sound of how she said those words, why now after all these weeks. What is she playing at?
    “ Is there a special reason you want to see them now? “, Ebrae says now watching her closely.
    Hagas helps Madris into her carriage, then makes sure she is sitting comfortably before he leaves.
    Madris just smiles at her sister.
    “ Just bring them over later my dear. You can do that much for me, right? After all, it would be in Henry’s best interest to see what I want. “, she says with a grin.
    She orders the driver to take her home, as the people line up to touch the statue for luck, as the band continues to play their music. A practice that is done after the ceremony since the beginning of the first settlers. But Ebrae can only watch her sister leave, as she wonders what she is planning for them all.

    To be continued….
  • Sorry guys, I know I said I would post more than one posting over the weekend, but the family got in the way. lol I will try to give you two tomorrow. thx again.
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    Take your time Granthor your stories are always worth the wait ^^
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    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited February 3
    Nagash wrote: »
    Take your time Granthor your stories are always worth the wait ^^

    Ugh, I need to invest in a new computer, my son keeps take the one I use for gaming haha. I will drop a new part tonight thx for your support.
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited February 3
    Later in the day, Henry stands with his Friend Sam, along with the young mage Rowen, who looks a bit nervous standing in the halls of the Stormhand family. Sarah is also there, wearing a modest outfit of cloth and leather, the top of which sinks down to a low V-shape in the middle, and her paints hug her legs like a second skin. Each of the young men only wears the basics of dress for the day, as there wasn’t a plan to adventure, or seek any troubles this day. Plus with the way the town is set up with defenses and guards watching everything, there isn’t a need to be armored or armed within the town limits.
    Missing is Ebrae, who hasn’t come back from the earlier event from today, but she took the group to head over to the hall when they had the chance. She didn’t explain why and what Madris wanted, only to get here and it will be explained to them. Henry finds himself looking around the hall while waiting with the others. It’s still as he remembers it. The eight hanging polished braziers light the hall in a brilliant glimmer, the masses fireplace on the far wall has a small fire within it, and the hero statues are still in their places with flowers at their feet. Even the saffron rug still runs from a large oak doorway down the center and loops back from both left and right. The grand, clear glass windows in the hall are all opened, to let in the spring air from outside into the area.
    Henry feels a tingling on his neck, as the golden ring gets a little warm to the touch. He rubs the area as it feels more like itching, and a voice in his mind whispers to him.
    “ She is coming. “, say Henry now looking to the large doors leading to the hall from the back.
    The others move closer to him, as they open, and a group of servants enters with large chest carrying them in groups of two each, all in all, they hold four hug chests, that they place in the middle of the room then they leave. Hagas now enters giving each of the group a quick looking over, then look over the wooden large chests, he motions for each person to stand in front. Sarah does not like to be told where to go or stand, moves to sit on one of the wooden benches.
    “ Why are we here elf and what‘s in the chests? You have kept us waiting far too long, and I don’t like to be surprised . “, says Sarah now giving Hagas untrusting glare.
    Hagas frowns deep at her, then looks to Henry.
    “ Why don’t you keep your female inline boy, and make her show me more respect. The mistress on the house didn’t have too…..”
    “ That’s enough Hagas, you may go. “, says a voice from behind.
    Hagas knows that voice all too well, as he turns and bows low. He turns slightly to give Sarah an angry look, then quickly leaves the area.
    Madris walks in wearing a silvery dress, that sparkles in the light from the window, and she is holding a small white cat with blue eyes in her hand. She rubs it gentling, as she moves to sit on her throne. Now watching each of the humans, she smiles when after sees Henry. With a raise of her hand, she snaps her fingers, and the tops of the chest all open.
    “ I have given you all a gift, my way of thanking you. “, say Madris as she rubs the cat more.
    Henry moves over to look in the one chest closest to him, in it is a plate armor set. it’s a dull grey with a layered section to each piece, it looks to be a full-body covering, with solid metal, where the most regular plate would use the chain to cover the exposed parts. He picks up an arm of the plate, and it looks to be well crafted to fit the user closely. It feels light without a lot of weight to it, so it must be of special elf crafting.
    Each person, in turn, finds armor and items that suit their profession, but Henry doesn’t understand why she is giving them new equipment when they have their own.
    “ Why are you doing this Madris? We don’t need gifts from you! “
    “ I have a request. I need you to escort a small caravan to the town of Cenorias, it’s an elf village on the edge of the forest, and from there, I need you to go to the town of Braedon. There is something I need you to get for me there. “, says Mardis looking at Henry with cold eyes.
    “ And if we don’t go, then what? “, says Sam as he moves to Henry’s side.
    Madris smiles and stands up to walk over to Henry. She moves to within a couple of feet and looks him in the eyes.
    “ If you go, Henry, I will release you from your contract with me. If not, well…….”
    “ Ok, we will do it! As long as you keep your word, I will be free from you after finishing this job.”, says Henry now rubbing the ring on his neck.
    “ You have my word Henry, and it’s why I gave you some better equipment, you will need help on this quest, and I don’t want you to fail. “, says Madris in a cool tone.
    Sarah not liking how she is speaking to them, moves over to get in front of her, but Henry takes hold of her arm to pull her back, as Madris just smiles at them both.
    “ Let me go, Henry, I want to know what is she playing at, why not release you now? “
    “ Just do this job for me, and when you get to Braedon my contact will tell you where to go next. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go feed my cat. “
    Madris turns to walk away but yells to her to come back. Henry with no luck tries to calm her down. But Sarah turns and puts a finger between the golden ring and his neck.
    “ I don’t like how she has control over you, I wish I could rip this thing off your neck!”, says Sarah now putting a hand on his chest.
    “ I don’t like this either, but what can I do, if I don’t do as she asks, I might be a slave to her for a long time.”, say Henry now cracking a small smile.
    Rowen hearing this moves closer to examine the ring on Henry’s neck.
    “ Wow, I never have seen one up close. So you have a slaver collar on? Poor guy, I was told about them in my early training, not something you want to be locked into. But I have heard of Archmages that can break the contract of the rings, of course, that is just a story I heard once. “, says Rowen with a puzzled look.
    “ Well, what’s done is done, so let us take up what she gave us, and get on this quest of hers. The faster we get it done, the quicker your free. “, says Sam now slapping Henry on the back.
    The group agrees, and takes up all the things given to them, and leaves the hall.
    In a dark doorway stands Madris watching them go, and a voice in her mind echoes.
    “ Is it done? “
    “ Yes my lord, they are coming.”
    “ Good…………..very good.”, says the voice as it echoes and fades away.

    to be continued.......
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited February 3
    The day is still young, as a nice breeze blows in from the west, and Rowen rides of horseback along with a caravan while admiring the trees along the forest road going west from Fandralore. It was humble, radiant, and rich. Its canopy was overshadowed by spruce, birch, and oak, which provided just enough openings for light to pass down for all sorts of a diversity of plants in the rich grounds below. Thick branches dangled from the occasional tree, and a range of flowers, which grew all over the place, protruded from the otherwise mundane landscape. There is also a mixture of animal noises he hears, predominantly those of vermin, filling the air, and it adds to the sounds of the swaying of treetops in the wind.
    As Rowen rides with the others on the road to Cenorias, a trade town set far on the edge of the great forest, and once he has heard of before from the guild. He turns to question a guard close by about it, and he, in turn, tells him it is well known for the fine lumber they have. Also, there are crafters with great skill in wood carving, and they are skilled in works of art both wood and stone. He remembers his father purchased a few pieces of fine furniture from that town, along with a few pieces they were hung or mounted around the home. So it makes sense this had to be the same place.
    So now he finds himself riding as a caravan guard to that same town, with the new friends he made back in Fandralore. The caravan is made up of five large wagons, the contents were never told to him, but from the number of well-armed Elvin guards, it must be items of high value. He looks ahead while riding next to the first wagon and sees a very beautiful elf girl with long blonde hair. Sam has told him that is Ebrae, an elf ranger that has saved their lives a few times, and she also helped to train Henry his best friend in life. But Rowen can tell right away she isn’t a pure elf, just from that golden blonde hair in a long ponytail down her back, but there is a strange aura around her, it's faint but still there. He finds himself staring at her, as she rides on a Swift Claw when she looks over her shoulder to look back at him. His heart drops when she cracks a smile to him, and he looks away quickly as his face goes red. He has seen her around town before but never has been this close to her. He always wanted to introduce himself in the past but failed to work up the courage. He turns slowly to look back at her once more, as she is still looking him over, and tries to smile back, as she lets out a laugh then rides off down the road to scout it out. He finds himself lost if thought about Ebrae now, a half Py’Rai elf with a strange aura, as he wonders who her father is.
    “ Hey Boy! Get your ass to the rear! This is no place for the likes of you! “, says a booming voice snapping him out of his thoughts.
    Rowen turns to see an older human fighter with chestnut-colored hair, and a long-bearded that covers part of a long scar on this face. He is joined by a second man who he knows as Korneel, a seasoned fighter, as he introduced himself to him personally when they both came to town. But the other fighter didn’t want anything to do with Rowen, so he left it at that not wanting to get into any fights with the likes him.
    “ Excuse me, sir, I will fall to the rear out of the way, I am sorry.”, says Rowen as he turns his horse to ride to the back.
    Then he hears the older fighter yell out to him, as he is about halfway there.
    “ Don’t call me sir! You green ass! “
    Oh, he couldn’t ride back fast enough, as he passes a few more guards, and now Henry and Sarah, who in turn laugh at Rowen after his encounter with who he now remembers are Richard.
    As he circles round to the last wagon, Sam is there riding along with a few rearguards, and he rides over next to him. Sam in turn just gives him a big smile, as he puts away a book he was reading.
    “ Why did we agree to let them join us, Sam? He gives me the chills when he talks to me the way he does.”, says Rowen now trying to relax a bit.
    “ Oh Richard and Kornell are ok, they are good friends. Once they get to know you better, he will treat you better. “
    “ It’s not Kornell I am worried about, it’s your friend Richard. The way he looks at me, it’s like he wants to cut my throat on the spot. “, says Rowen now rubbing his neck.
    Sam laughs at the thought and begins to example what is going on to Rowen.
    “ Oh don’t worry about it, Richard never really liked mages, but after our adventure in the mines, He got a little too close to a female mage. Her name is Crystal, a powerful archmage mage that joined our party and let himself get too friendly with her if you know what I mean. “
    “ Oh…….So in the meaning of friendly, they were doing things in a private way?”, says Rowen turning a little red.
    “ Yes, just what your thinking. Well from what Korneel told me, Richard has been avoiding her at every turn. She, as I understand it, is looking to get married now, and knowing Richard, he isn’t ready to settle down yet. “, says Sam as the caravan slows a bit.
    “ Wait, you said her name is Crystal? As in Crystal Stone? “, says Rowen as the caravan stops.
    “ I am not sure about her last name, I just know she is a powerful Mage and sounds like she is hunting Richard down. “
    “ Oh dear, if its who I think it is, he is in a lot of trouble now.”, says Rowen with a worried look.
    Before Sam can ask what he knows, the guards close by getting a signal the road is blocked up ahead, and to fan out in a protective formation, while the road is being cleared.
    Sam tells Rowen to wait here, as he rides up to see what is going on. Rowen in turn feels is a good time to practice a spell he has been working on, a simple one, but one that is perfect for this moment. He takes out his spellbook, and the pages flip open and turn to a spot in the book he needs, then with the word, DETECTION, an unseen wave fan out from around the whole caravan. He calms his mind a bit to feel the motion of the trees, the brush, and the insects in the area. Then he sees them, a large group of figures moving from both sides of the forests.
    Sam rides back to his side, and sees his friend has a very scared look on his face., and with one word he gets Sam’s attention for a fight.
    “ Bandits!”
    Sam hearing that, signals to the guards to get ready for an attack, a signal that is sent up to every position long the caravan. Then Sam moves over to clam Rowen a bit, as he casts a few spells over him to help buff his spells and skills.
    “ I don’t know if I am ready for this Sam.”, says Rowen in a worried voice.
    “ Just say close to the caravan and the guards, I need to go buff the others. I will be right back. “, says Sam as he rushes off on horseback.
    Rowen not liking this feeling remembers a spell he mastered long ago, as the pages turn quickly in his hand. He finds what he was looking for and casts, AFTERIMAGE, as a double of him on horseback pops up next to him. It’s a perfect copy, and it will hopefully confuse any attackers coming his way. He doesn’t have to wait too long, and a group of bandits charges out from the tree line now, and the guards rush up to meet them in battle. A cling of swords can be heard on both sides now, and everyone is now fighting off the attackers.
    Rowen finds himself flipping pages to find a spell to help, when an arrow sings by his head striking his double, now popping it into a puff of black smoke. He looks up to see three bandits rushing his way, and his horse tosses him to the ground, as the second arrow sinks into its leg.
    He hit’s the ground hard, but he still holds his book very close. He scrambles to his feet, as a third arrow just misses hitting him in the left leg. The bandits let out a yell that sends chills up his spine, but this is no time to get scared, as they mean to end his life. So as quick as he can think, the pages of his book flip and a spell comes to mind, TENTACLES, and black coils of arms race up from the ground, grabbing hold of the three attackers. This gives Rowen time to retreat a little from the group, as he sees the other guards can’t help him now. His spell did save him, but it wasn’t perfect, as it breaks and the attackers rush forward once more. But with that first spell, it gave him a little more time to think, and with another word, ICE SHEET, it sends the three attacks falling down hard on the ground.
    One of the attackers gets very mad at Rowen, and quickly gets back to his feet.
    “ I am going to end you boy! “
    But with those words, Rowen cast another spell, ICE PRISON, freezing this one in a block of ice. The other two seeing this runaway, but a new attacker moves in from Rowen’s right side, just missing his head with the swing of a large club.
    With no time to think, he cast the only spell he can think of, one that his father always told him to make sure he learned and mastered, as he casts the spell MAGE’S ESCAPE. With a step to the right, he enters a dimension of rainbow lights and calming sounds like music, and with another step, he finds himself next to the second wagon. He feels a little drained now, but he remembers he has a potion in his travel bag on his side, it will help to restore him a bit. He quickly takes it out, then pops the top to drink the blue liquid. His strength coming back to him, but not fast enough, as a large attacker moves his way. It’s the same one he escaped from before, but he didn’t go far enough away. Panic floods his mind, as he tries to think quickly of a spell to use, only one comes to mind, as the large bandit walks closer and closer.
    “ IMPLOSION!”, exclaims Rowen with force.
    But the spell fizzles out, and he takes a step back to cast it again.
    “ IMPLOSION!”
    Another fizzle as the spell fails, and he now runs back to the first wagon, with the large bandit grinning at his victim while running behind him.
    He turns one last time, to cast the spell, IMPLOSION, and this time a fireball races forward to strike the attacker in the chest. An explosion goes up, and a smile crosses Rowen’s face that he pulled off the attack, but his smile quickly fades as the large bandit takes a step from the cloud, and rushes toward him to attack.
    Rowen’s mind races as he retreats back, with the book is flipping pages as fast as his mind thinks, and with that he finds a spell to use. But before he can cast it, his book is knocked from his hand, and the force of the blow sends him tumbling to the ground. He turns while scrambling backward to see the large hulking form of a large bandit, now looking down at his prey, Rowen knows he has no time to escape his fate now, as he closes his eyes to brace himself for death.
    The echo of battle fades now, as the sound of something large striking the ground gets his attention, and he opens his eyes slowly to see the bandit dead next to his feet. Then he feels a little tapping on his head, and he looks up to see Ebrae smiling down at him. She walks around and puts a hand out to help him up, but he just sits in awe of her beauty.
    He looks over for a second to the bandit on the ground, now with three arrows stuck in his forehead, then returns his attention to Ebrae who still has a hand out to him. He takes hold of it, and with one motion, she pulls him to his feet and steadies him.
    “ You ok Rowen? “, she asks now helping to brush off the bits of dirt from his robs.
    “ Yee..yes…I am….fine. Thank you.”, says Rowen now looking for his book.
    He looks around the area, but it’s nowhere to be seen, then a whistle gets his attention, and he sees it in Ebrae’s hand.
    “ You looking for this? “, she says with a big smile.
    “ Thank you again, but I seem to have lost my horse too. “, he says now taking his book.
    “ Your not the only one, but we are not too far from Fandralore, they would have run back there. We could return back to town, but with the bandit attack, I am sure we can’t risk the return trip. So you have two choices, you can ride with one of the others, or you can with me. “, she says now calling for her Swift Claw.
    Rowen looks closer at the lizard-like mount as it rushes up to its master, and it slowly takes a step in his direction, but Ebrae pulls it back as it snapped at Rowen.
    Ebrae laughs a little, as she climbs on her mount, then she puts a hand out to Rowen, who looks very scared at the beast.
    “ If you show fear to him, he will not like you. “, she says now looking him in the eyes.
    Rowen takes a deep breath, then takes her hand, and she pulls him to sit in front of her. He feels her body now pressed into his back, as he swallows hard, as he never thought he would get this close to her.
    “ Try to relax ok, now take the reins, and show him who is boss. Don’t worry I am here ok, so you have nothing to fear. “
    “ I never rode on a swift claw before, I was always told they don’t like humans. “, he says now gripping the reins as the swift claw shakes his head side to side.
    “ Oh that’s an old myth, they will let anyone ride, as long as you show them respect. “, says Ebrae now putting her arms around his waist.
    Rowen hearing those words takes his left hand and slowly rubs then pats the swift claw on the side. It lets out a few mutters, then moves when Rowen pulls the reins to turn it.
    “ There you go, see as I told you, show it respect, and it will respect you. “, says Ebrae as he now smiles.
    The caravan now coming back to some form of order, and the road now clear, Henry rides up with Sarah, and he tells Ebrae he will take point. She agrees as the caravan now is in motion again, and Rowen rides with Ebrae next to the first wagon. Richard, in turn, looks at the two ridings together, and mutters something under his breath, then rides up to join Henry in front of the caravan.
    “ He doesn’t like me much. “, says Rowen in a sad voice.
    “ Oh don’t give him a second thought, it’s not you personally, it’s what you are that is his issue. He didn’t like me too, but I didn’t give him reasons to continue that way of thinking. Just do your best, and it will be fine.
    “ I don’t know, but for now I will stay clear of him.”, he says now watching Richard from the back.
    “ It’s ok Rowen. But if you don’t mind, I will rest my head on your back, I need to take a quick nap. Wake me up if things go badly ok. “, says Ebrae now locking her fingers around his chest.
    Rowen doesn’t get a chance to reply, as he senses she has already gone to sleep, and he can only wonder what he got himself into.

    To be continued…..




  • VirtekVirtek Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty
    Enjoying the story, as per usual.
    Nice work!
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  • Virtek wrote: »
    Enjoying the story, as per usual.
    Nice work!

    Thank you very much. I will be dropping a new part today, keep an eye out. Thanks again.
  • Set between the edge of the great forest and a large river named Lotus Run, the town of Cenorias is home to a clan of Empyrean Elves. Unlike their Py’Rai cousins, the Empyrean have a higher structure of government, along with an elite military within their borders, and this outpost town of Cenorias reflects that in its structure. The townspeople also wear a higher fashion of clothing, more to the levels of being more civilized in their minds, as most peoples wear gaudy suits and dresses even in a town of this. As most Empyrean wouldn’t be seen in public without their very best on.
    As Henry and the others ride up closer to town, they can see its reinforced walls, and its silky oak wood rooftops, redwood walls, and white sandy beaches, the town blends well with the backdrop of the forest, along with their entrenched defenses, and the town hugs the edges of the great river. A garrison is set to the far left of the town, home to a division of highly skilled Empyrean soldiers, and within the town, walls are deadly archers that keep watch of all the comings and goings around town.
    Cenorias also has a prospering economy based on lumber and wood crafting, he remembers being told, but it’s also supported by beer brewing, fishing, and fine jewelry crafting. Along with the shipping docks, the town doesn’t lack a steady flow of traffic for income.
    Henry finally leads the caravan to the gates of Cenorias, after the run-in with the bandits not long ago, as a gate guard stops them to check for paperwork. Before Henry can say a word, Ebrae rides up with Rowen, with him still in control of the Swift Claw, and she hands the guard their official travel papers. After a short review of the documents, the guard signals an escort to meet them, and waves them through.. Henry notices right away they are being closely watched from the walls above, as the escort leads them into town, and his feelings now puts him on edge, but Ebrae takes over the lead now, letting Rowen dismount down to the ground, and Henry watches as Sam and him go off on their own, as Sam calls back to them.
    “ I will take Rowen over to the stables with the other men that lost their horses. We will meet you well at the bigs inn in town. “
    Henry signals to his friend he understands and continues on with the wagons. He still can’t shack the feelings of being watched, he knows they have nothing to hide, after all, they were told to come here by Madris. But would she put them in harm's way? This feeling still lasts for a bit, even as they make their way through town. It’s very busy in the merchant zone with people of every race buying and selling their wares. Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, and Elves all haggle everything from simple herbs to some of the best armors. Along the side roads can be seen as a few bars and inns, as well as the town residences of different sizes.
    They finally reach a large warehouse, and the owner comes out to greet them. An odd elf Henry thinks to himself, as he sees they are dress in a very rich and gaudy fashion, along with having an odd curly mustache and goatee.
    He can see he’s wearing a clean shirt that is buttoned up fully to support the graceful jeweled clasp he's wearing. On top of the shirt he's wearing a chic vest with seven buttons, it has a deep v-line, which causes the vest to remain hidden when the suit's jacket is buttoned up.
    The jacket perfectly wraps around his body. It has an elaborate checked plaid pattern that gives the suit a fancy affluent look. The four buttons of his single-breasted jacket are all buttoned up, it's the best way to wear a jacket like this after all. The jacket is the same length all around, it has vents at either side, there's a single pocket on one side and there's a breast pocket which contains a stylish pocket square.
    He's wearing pants that copy the style of the jacket, both in color and pattern and they perfectly complement his shoes. He's wearing a lavish pair of full strap loafers. To top it all off he's wearing a refined belt, which can be accompanied by cuff links and a tie clip.
    Ebrae moves over to hand him the paperwork, and with a flick of his left hand he takes out a pair of thin-rimmed glass. The merchant reads over the different papers, now walking the length of each wagon, check both as he turns each page. With a few more pages turns, he walks back to Henry to speak.
    “ I see everything is in order. The payment as agreed too will to sent to your master, and here is a small bonus, for bringing my goods here in one piece, as I can see your wagons have signs of an attack. “, says the merchant now tossing a bag of gold to Henry.
    Before Henry can say a word or thank him, the merchant has already called for his workers, a few Orcs he has under his employ, and they take control of the wagons to lead them away. The merchant has already retreated back into his office and is gone from sight.
    Henry turns to see the Ebrae leading the Py’Rai Elves away from the warehouse, back toward the gates of the town.
    “ Are you staying with us Ebrae?!? “, yells out Henry calling to her.
    She looks over her shoulder to him, then gives him a small smile with a wave, as she disappears in the crowd of people in town.
    Richard who was quiet all this time rides over to Henry with a pat on his shoulder.
    “ Well now, I think we need to go find some stables and stay here for the night. We can make plans on what we are doing in the morning. “, says Richard riding off with Korneel.
    He can only watch them ride off deeper into town, as Sarah now gets into his line of view. She smiles at him, but the smile fades fast as she looks at his blank look on his face.
    “ What’s wrong my love? You look like someone walking over your grave.”
    “ I don’t know since we were in this town, I get the feeling I am being watched. “, say Henry now looking around
    The area is very busy with people traffic, no one is really standing still, or looking at him to give two thoughts. He can’t shack the feeling of someone, or something has put their gaze on him, but there is no one he can see or tell where they are. Sarah wants to scout around for him, but he tells her it’s ok, as they head for the stables to bed the horses for the night.

    Later that evening, Richard walks down the main road looking for a local tavern to visit with his best friend Korneel, they pass a few on the main street, but Sam told them to find the biggest one. Each place they pass looks to be packed in with bodies, as the locals and travelers have their fill of food and drinks, along with few songs and good stories. Richard starts to get a little upset not being able to find Sam, then looks to his friend Korneel who has gone off ahead to check the other side of the street.
    “ Will check these places for Sam, you keep looking over there!”, yell Korneel
    Richard can only wave to him, as he is not getting frustrated, he looks into a couple more places, they are of good size, but still, no Sam to be seen. He walks down the busy street a little more and comes up to a very nice looking place, and he pokes his head inside to look around.
    This tavern is very clean with white walls and gold trim, and the mood of the place is very quite. Everyone inside is dressed in their very best, and it looks very cozy with the fine seating. Different people are smoking pipes, and having low tone discussions. Even the bar is dressed in fine golden trim, and the bottles behind it look to be of high quality. The bartenders are dressed in the best of wears, giving off the feeling of high class.
    Richard takes a step into the area but is quickly met by a doorman, who in turn stops him where he stands.
    “ I am afraid you type can not enter here dressed like that. “, says the large doorman.
    “ What do you mean my type, and what’s wrong with how I am dressed? “, says Richard now giving him a crossed look.
    “ You have to meet the dress code, and by the looks of you, you're just fresh off the roads. Why, your not even washed, your smell alone is very off-putting. “, says the doorman now putting a hand up to move him back outside.
    “ Why you big overdressed piece of cow crap, I have been in far better places than this, I was just looking for my friends, and……”
    “ And they are not here, so go take your foul smell to some other place, we don’t want your kind here. “, says the doorman now putting a hand on Richard’s chest to push him out.
    Richards blood begins to boil more, as he is getting pushed back, then with one motion he grabs the wrist of the doorman and flips the doorman on his ass. Then he points a finger in his face to say.
    “ Don’t you ever touch me again you bastard! I don’t like being touched. “
    A hand plops down hard on his left shoulder, and he is spun around. He turns quickly ready to fight the person that grabs him from behind, but he sees it’s Korneel, as his friend backs up just missing being hit in the face.
    “ Whoa there! I found Sam and the others, why are you over here starting fights? “
    “ I don’t want to talk about it, just lead the way, I need a drink badly. “, says Richard as he walks off with his friend.
    The doorman can only watch them go, as he is helped up to his feet. Then he yells out to Richard.
    “ That’s right you walk away, it’s trash like you that will never know how to be civil!”
    With those last words, Richard quickly turns to toss a small dagger at the doorman, but it only sinks deep into the door frame just missing his ear. Richard then turns around to expose his bottom side, and he pats his hand on one of the cheeks, then pulls up his trousers to walk off with Korneel.

    To be continued…..



  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited February 13
    Sarah follows Henry along with Richard and Korneel through a large hardwood door, that leads into a very spacious tavern. They are welcomed by Sam along with Rowen, who has saved a nice sized table in the back for the group. Sarah takes in the surroundings, looking at the marble pillars supporting an upstairs, while admiring the old paintings of Elvin Lords, along with smaller statues of different animals.
    The tavern itself is packed. Workers along with groups of adventurers seem to be the main clientele here, which is a good sign to the type of service provided by the place. All the other tables are occupied by most locals, but there are still tons of foreigners and anyone else who wishes to join them. Even the bar stool areas are crowded, as more bodies press in to get the attention of the bartenders on the other side. The place is very busy tonight, and the barmaids spend little time at each table, as they quickly take orders, and rush them back to the kitchen.
    As Sarah makes her way to the table Sam picked out from them, she listens to different discussions from the people around her, with whispers of a few rumors crosses her ears. She knows from her training as a rouge, to always keep an ear open to any news, this was an easy way to score some quick loot from time to time. There are always stories to be told, and with them come opportunities on many levels. From simple odd jobs, too clue that can lead to fat chests of gold, what information passed around any pub is always valuable. But her skill issue that high in the rouge line, as she is mainly a fighter, but she still has a few tricks she picked up.
    She moves to sit next to Henry, now taking a mug for her own, as the table is packed with hard beads and different cheeses, with some fruits and pints of fine ale. Richard and Korneel call for food to be brought to the table, but the barmaids are still very busy tending to the others before them. While Sam and Rowen have books and notes on the table, going over the past few days events, along with chants and spells each need to perfect.
    Sarah sighs a bit, as she can tell it will be a little while before they can eat. So she pours a bit of ale and takes a few bits of fruit to snack on, as she now snuggles closer to Henry.
    He, in turn, puts an arm around her, as they both drink down their ale, then slam their mugs down at the same time.
    “ Are you two going to be doing that all night? “, asks Richard as he slams down his mug
    ‘ I don‘t need you to spoil my appetite while watching you two act like sick love birds. “.
    Henry can only laugh at his words, as Sarah rolls her eyes at him, but now she is focused on Henry as she gives him a warm kiss on the lips.
    “ Fine, have at it then. I will go find a barmaid, I am getting very hungry. “, says Richard now drinking down a second mug of ale, then leaving.
    “ I think he jealous of us my love. Knowing he can’t have me, and that I am all yours. “, says Sarah now smiling at Henry.
    Richard returns to the table, after overhearing her, and bumps into both of them as he takes a mug of ale from the table.
    “ Bah, I wasn’t in the mood. So he can have you, I have better things on my mind. “, says Richard now drinking down a third ale.
    He lets go of a huge burp that echoes around the table, and with a grin, he stumbles off to chase after a barmaid he just spotted.
    Sarah now looks over to Henry, who in turn has gone red in the face, as he tries to hide it by drinking more ale. She laughs at him, then tickles him a bit, causing him to spit out the ale in his mouth back in his mug.
    “ No fair Sarah, you know I don’t like to be tickled there. “, says Henry grabbing both of her hands.
    She smiles wide with a laugh, as the music begins to play, and a song echoes through the air. It’s a haunting sound, as it draws the attention of most of the people in the tavern. Sarah too finds herself listening closer to the words like it was calling to her, and time feels like it stops for a moment.

    “ When the sky burns with fire, the young one shall usher forth an era of harmony and the return of dragons….
    When the time comes that the world becomes shrouded in shadows,……… the false leader shall bring the rise of hope…….
    Upon the day the sky turns red,………. a pureblood shall usher forth the return of dragons.
    Once what's shrouded is revealed,…….. a broken man shall usher forth a new unity…… and strengthening of bonds.
    As the dragons return……”

    Before she can hear more, Henry gets her attention, asking if she is ok. She tells him not to worry, as the song ends, and people clap for the bard who sang the tune. She watches as more bards moreover to the first, and they begin to play a lively tune, one that gets the people in the mood for dancing. This, in turn, gets Richard to return to the table, now holding a keg of beer of his shoulder, and he puts on the table with a thud.
    “ Dinner will be a little late. “, says Richard.
    “ But I found this keg to keep us busy until it comes.”
    “ Good thinking my friend. , says Korneel.
    “ I have been trying to get their attention all this time with no luck. “
    After a few more beers and bits of cheese, the barmaids finally bring over plates of food to the table. A huge roasted wild boar, along with a few potatoes and different vegetables. The group eats their fill, while still drinking the night away. The sounds of laughter and good music fill the tavern, along with good pipe smoke from different parts of the room. Sarah holds on to Henry a little tighter, but she looks at him now staring off to his right, as he watches someone in a hooded dark cloak stare back at him. He turns to ask a barmaid about the person, and when they both look back the figure is gone.

    To be continued……
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    Please never change Richard he is perfect
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • Nagash wrote: »
    Please never change Richard he is perfect

    Well, he is a character I wasn't planning, he just grew up there as I was writing about him. Thx for still reading BTW. Hard to tell if people are. lol
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    granthor wrote: »
    Nagash wrote: »
    Please never change Richard he is perfect

    Well, he is a character I wasn't planning, he just grew up there as I was writing about him. Thx for still reading BTW. Hard to tell if people are. lol

    I may not spend as much time on the forums as I used to but I always love reading these stories
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • Nagash wrote: »
    granthor wrote: »
    Nagash wrote: »
    Please never change Richard he is perfect

    Well, he is a character I wasn't planning, he just grew up there as I was writing about him. Thx for still reading BTW. Hard to tell if people are. lol

    I may not spend as much time on the forums as I used to but I always love reading these stories

    Thx again. I am trying to post more than I am, but I have to still share 1 computer. lol
  • As the morning comes, the town's day starts off with nice spring rain, and it dances off the building and treetops. A slight breeze helps to push it just on a slight angle, giving off a small mist with each swirl of air. There comes a smell of earthy growth so after, as the rain from above feeds the many plants that line the town. From a large variety of trees and brush to the many versions of flowers and fine cut grasses, the scent of it all is a pleasant event. A few sparrows fly down from their hidden nests, some to find a quick meal, while others to wash off their feathers in the puddles that have formed on the ground. But they are quick to retreat to the safety of higher places, as the town now stirs to life.
    One group of adventurers head out to get fresh horses and new supplies, while one person in fine armor oversees the final plans for the long travel the awaits them. They seem to be in good spirits, as they secure all of their personal belongings, along with adding a couple of mules to carry the rest. They joke and express excitement about the journey, all the while as rain dances off them and their mounts, as some speak of treasures to be had at the end of the trip.
    Now overhearing their excitement by the stables, Korneel a skilled fighter, sees a familiar face. And walks up in the mud to ask a friendly question as to where they are off too. He gets the attention of an older human, a well-seasoned fighter type, his name is Iwan, and he is the leader of these adventurers. A man that Korneel knows all too well, as he was once under his leadership, but that was many years ago.
    “ Well if it isn’t my old student, all grown up now, and looking very age like a fine wine. What honor do you bring this old teacher of yours? “, says Iwan.
    Now greeting his old pupil while gripping onto his shoulders with a warm smile, to only have it returned in kind by Korneel who speaks in return.
    “ I thought that was you, your voice is one of a kind, hard and with a steady calming force. I just had to see if it was really you, after all, it has been a long time since last we met. “
    Korneel is given a couple of firm pats of his shoulders, then Iwan lets out a big laugh, as he now walks with him a few steps away from his group.
    “ Aye, lad. It’s been a few years, but time has still been kind to me, and from the looks of you, it’s very kind indeed. Why you look to be a fine measure of a man, not the same young clueless fighter I started with all the years ago. “, says Iwan as he continues.
    “ So, I hear things, and I was wondering. Is Richard still with you? He’s a good fighter, but I teamed you two long ago, in hopes your good nature would rub off on him.”
    “ Yes, he’s still with me, someone needs to keep him out of trouble, and it seems to always be a few steps behind him. “, says Korneel with a laugh.
    Iwan lets out a loud chuckle at his words, he knows Richard all too well, and by his words, he can tell he hasn’t changed much.
    “ Have you heard of the lady mage called Crystal? “, says Korneel.
    Iwan thinks for a bit, as the name does sound familiar, after all, he has played a role in training different arch types, and a mage would have crossed his path from time to time.
    “ Oh, I have heard of one mage by that name, a powerful caster they are, and one that is known in a few circles back at home. Why do you ask? “, says Iwan now with a concerned look.
    “ Well it’s why we find ourselves this far from home, Richard got a little too friendly with that one, and she, of course, took that as he wanted to be engaged. So……”
    Iwan lets out another loud laugh, cutting him off, then finishing what is clear to him now.
    “ So, you two are on the run hiding from her, and if he shows his face back home, she will be there waiting to drag him off to get married. “, says Iwan with a few more chuckles.
    His party calls to him now, and he says a few parting words of friendship to Korneel before he leaves. As he mounts up onto his horse, Korneel calls to him one last time to ask where he is off too.
    “ The town of Braedon, a place were a new underground area has been discovered. friend. “

    He thanks him with a smile and wave, as Iwan nods back to him, then turns to ride off out of town with his group. He remembers Henry telling him, that he needs to go off to this same town, but from whispers he heard in the tavern, there is a dark side to that place. Even though it’s a human town, they don’t like outsides much. So why is there word going out about a new area to explore, and why does Henry need to go there? A fact he never questioned, or was told as to why, but Korneel doesn’t like unknowns, and this town has a huge mystery to it. The rain begins to stop, and the sun peaks out from behind the clouds now. Korneel takes the hood from his head, and wipes the water from his face, now taking in the sun's rays upon his face. Then he turns to enter the stables to get everyone’s horse ready for a long trip.

    To be continued...
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited February 27
    Elsewhere in town, Richard enters a shop that sells armor and weapons. He asked around at the inn and it was said this one, called the Golden Blade, has some of the best gear for fighters in the town. His current equipment could stand an upgrade, as he had it since his time in the mines. It has served him well, but one can only patch up armor and sharpen blades for so long. After the run-in with the bandits, its time for a change to something new.
    As he enters the shop, a bell rings, and echoes, he can see it is well stocked with armor displayed of both sides of the room, and weapons are hung on hooks along the walls. It's not an impressive sight from what he sees, as a shop keeper comes out from the back. An older Elf male with short silvery hair comes forward, dressed in a simple leather apron and plate shirt, and he wears a pair of thin-rimmed glasses. He cracks a smile on his aged face and grins at Richard.
    “ Welcome friend, welcome may I help you. “
    Richard gives a slight grunt at the sight of him, then he walks up to the counter and tosses a small leather bag on the counter full of coins.
    “ I need some new gear, what do you have for fifteen gold pieces? “, says Richard now placing up a pair of older bladed weapons.
    The old merchant picks up one of the older blades with one hand, to get a better look while rubbing the short hairs on his chin with his other hand. Now looking back over to Richard, he smiles a little wider.
    “ I see you have been busy with your older blades, the wear on them is pretty bad, and I can see why you need replacements. The hilts alone have a few cracks in the wood. They will not last much longer without a few fixes. “, says the merchant.
    “ Here is a small selection of small daggers and short swords that just came in, and I have a few long swords on the east wall. All should meet your standards with durability and strength. ‘
    Richard eyes the different bladed weapons, as the old merchant pulls out a few smaller blades to show off, but he still wants something a little more this time around. A simple long sword or even a combo of long with short in each hand isn’t enough. He wants something a bit more.
    “ Do you have any good Broad swords on hand, I don’t want something to plain, and it must have a very good edge to it. “, says Richard looking him in the eyes.
    “ A good broad sword you say? Hmm, how about a special one? I have a one of a kind sword just out of sight. “, says the Merchant.
    He walks around the counter, and leads Richard to a side area of the shop, just behind a few sets of large armor displayed on wood figures. Behind them is hidden a simple table, and on it rest a long, wide, straight blade made of strange steel, and its grip is a tightly wrapped white boar skin. The blade has a wide crossguard, with markers of runes carved into the sides and on the blade is engraved a small name Witherbane the Worldbreaker.
    “ This here is a blade to come to me a few months ago, but I have not been able to sell it. The fact is this blade doesn’t like just anyone, so much so there is has stayed. “
    Richard gives the merchant a crossed look, with a few breaths of air passing from between his lips at the very thought. He moves to give the sword a better look, and it seems to slightly glow blue, but quickly fades.
    “ It has an enchantment on it, or is it cursed?
    “ Enchantment, yes. Curse. No. “, says the merchant now smiling wide as he continues to speak.
    “ Tell you what. If you can lift that sword from the table, I will give you the pick of the house in weapons, and you can take that sword too, all for the fifteen gold pieces. I will toss in a set of armor on top of it, for a couple of pieces of gold more. But if you can’t lift it, I will take ten gold pieces for my time you wasted. What do you say? “
    Richard can only look to the merchant and think he is a little crazy, but this is a deal he can’t turn down, and he agrees to with him. The merchant tells him he only gets three tries at lifting, and he backs away to give Richard room to move.
    He watches the old merchant back away more, and now he wonders want madness he got himself into. He moves to place a hand on the hilt of the sword., then with one motion Richard lifts the sword up a little from the table, and he smiles thinking this was to easy. But before he can claim it, a force takes hold of the sword, and it slams down hard on the table. Richard turns to look at the old merchant who is smiling at him now, and he holds up one finger. This only gets Richard a little mad, as turns to put two hands on the hilt. Now taking a few deep breaths, he braces himself as he lifts the sword with ease once more, and just like before a force pulls down on the sword but this time Richard puts more force to pull back. He fights to lift the sword higher, as a hidden force pulls down even harder, but he doesn’t give way to it. He almost gets the sword away from the table, as the sensation of fire now hits his hands, and he loses the grip on the hilt, as the sword slams down hard on the table once more.
    “ That’s two times, one more my friend. Good luck to you. “
    Richard doesn’t turn to look at the merchant, as he keeps his focus on the sword. He glazes at it and thinks a bit, then he starts to remove all his armor and most of his clothes. He will not let this thing beat him, and he drops anything that he feels will stop him from finishing his task. He returns his hands on the hilt one last time, and with a few deep breaths he lifts the sword into the air, as the heavy force pulls back, and now the sensation of fire strikes out once more. Richard grips the hilt harder now, fighting off the pain of cramping muscles and burning hands. Sweat beads upon his forehead, and now pours down his face, as he fights to lift this blade higher. It now pulls away from him, as if something was trying to pull it out of his hands, but he pulls back with a cry of pain.
    “ You bastard blade, I am not letting go, so you might as well give up you hear me! “, he says now lifting the blade away from the table.
    It begins the glow wilding with the colors of the rainbow, as it now vibrates in his hand violently, but he only gifts in tighter. He feels as if the flesh of his hand was burned away, but he isn’t letting the hilt go, as he takes one last pull away from the table, but the blade pulls back away from him.
    “ Fine, you want to go back to the table, then let's go back to the table! “, says Richard.
    He lets himself move in the direction of the pull, and he takes a quick leap into the air, and crashes down through the table, breaking it into a pieces. With sword still in hand, the feeling of fire fades, and the force that was once there is gone, as Richard lays on his back now, holding the sword high in the air for the merchant to see.
    “ Very well, a deal is a deal. “, says the old merchant now walking back to his counter.
    “ You better have some good stuff for me after all this trouble old man.”, says Richard looking at his new sword.
    Now looking closer at the sword, he finds himself whispering the name Witherbane the Worldbreaker, as a smile crosses his face.
    To be continued……………..
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    TwOheXh.gif
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited March 10
    With new supplies and fresh horses, a small group of six adventurers follows a fighter known as Henry, a young man who has yet to earn the rights of a true warrior, head out to the town of Braedon. The road has a few twists and turns, under a canopy of ash and cedar trees, who provided just light on the trail below. Coiling vines suspended from many trees, and a variety of flowers line the landscape, looking out of place in this dark green terrain.
    In the distance a hodgepodge of animal sounds can be heard, along with the sounds of smaller insects, joined from time to time by the sounds of woodpeckers. Henry rides ahead with Sarah now to scout a bit, as Korneel rides up next to Richard, while Sam and Rowen now share notes and discuss teachings with each other. Korneel calls out to Henry to not ride off to far ahead, and he gets a hand wave in the air in return to signal his understanding.
    Now Korneel turns his attention to his friend, who is sporting a new beard on his face, one that has grown a few more inches since they left their home town. Seeing it reminds him to shave a bit of hair from his own firm face, as he takes out a shape blade, and carefully begins to scrape away the stubble from his face to a squared-off chin. He hears a slight chuckle from Richard, as he cuts away a few more hairs.
    “ Who in the hell are you trying to look good for? Cutting your hair like a same little girl, why to look at me, I just let it grow and not worry about how it looks. “, says Richard
    “ someone got to look good for the ladies. After all, your spoken for with Crystal, so I can see why you're letting yourself go. “, says Korneel with a laugh.
    “ I never agreed to marry her! You know that right? Besides, I believe she is a bit crazy in the head., and I will not be forced into anything with someone like that. “, says Richard now gripping his reins tighter.
    Korneel makes a few more cuts with his knife, then puts it away now looking over to his friend.
    “ Well, all I know is, Oliver gave you the option to go into business with him. Knowing you and Crystal were getting ready to be married, and what did you do? “
    “ And again! I never agreed to the marriage, so it’s not an engagement period! I am not ready to settle down Korneel, you know that right? “, says Richard now giving him a slight look.
    “ She is a good woman and one that knows what she wants. If your not careful my friend, you will grow old alone. “, says Korneel reaching out to pat him on the shoulder.
    As he does so, the board sword on his back vibrates a little, and he quickly recoils his hand. He looks over the sword mounted on his friends back and questions him about it.
    “ So, you found a new sword I see? One that doesn’t like anyone else touches it or you. “, says Komeel now studying the weapon.
    “ Aye, it was a fight getting this one, but it was worth it. “, says Richard with pride.
    Hearing about a special sword, Rowen rides a little closer, only to get an evil stare in return from Richard as he moves closer. He swallows hard, as he flips the pages of a book he had in his travel bag.
    “ Have heard of special swords in my research of items and weapons of magical quality, unlike the two I have personally seen. The Greatsword of Haste, that can steal energy from its target and grant it to the bearer, and Stillblade that can pin its target to the ground after is shatters, as it‘s sheathed in a field of force.”, says Rowen looking closer at the blade on his back.
    He extends a hand out a bit, and chants a quick phase, as the sword hums with colors, then fades quickly.
    Now flipping the pages of the book he holds, Rowen finds the page he was looking for and smiles with excitement.
    “ I knew it! You have one of the King’s Blades, it’s a weapon of a very high level and quality, and it was said only a very few could ever hold it, as the blade takes on a life of its own when choosing its master. The enchantment on that weapon goes back to beyond the Apocalypse, so it’s very old and not much is really known about those blades. I am shocked you found one, as they have been lost a very long time. “, says Rowen now putting away his book.
    “ So how powerful is this weapon? “, asks Richard looking at him from the corner of his eye.
    “ I am not sure, but legend said the King’s Blades were used to fight off dragons. But again that is only a legend, as no one has ever tested the truth of it. “
    “ I see. So sounds like I will be doing the testing to see what It can do. “, says Richard with a small smile.
    Some time passes now, as the sounds of the forest grow silent now, and Komeel looks around with concern. He looks ahead and doesn’t see Henry or Sarah, as the road took a turn around a bend. The quite of the forest now has the echoes of pecking like woodpeckers, but it sounds a little off. Komeel gives Richard a worried look, then quickly rides off ahead. He is followed closely by the others, as it's known to follow the lead of your teammate, doesn’t matter the reason why. The pecking sounds changes beat, the faster they ride until they reach the bend in the road. Now they can see both Henry and Sarah standing back to back in the middle of the road, with weapons drawn, as figures in dark hoods and black armor close in around them. They are still a fair distance away, and Komeel without thinking charges forward on his horse. Richard calls to him, but it’s too late as screaming arrows fly from the treetops down to where he is. His training kicks in without thinking, and he finds himself rolling off his horse hitting the ground hard, as his horse takes the full attack, and falls to the ground next to him lifeless. The second attack of arrows sing down towards him, but this time a magical barrier stops them short of hitting him. Komeel looks up to see Richard charging in fast, now extending a hand down to him as his rides past, and with one motion Komell swings onto the back of his horse. He feels the warmth of healing energy take hold of him, as he begins to feel stronger at the same time. Good old Sam he thinks, he has gotten strong.
    Looking ahead Henry and Sarah are fighting off the group of figures in black, as a new group charge to cut off any help. Richard pushes his horse to ride faster, as Komeel stands up on the rear, now extending out two long swords, and with one last push, he leaps into the group of attacks, killing now two on the way down.
    An explosion goes off behind him, as more attackers meet there end from Rowen’s blast attack. Komeel wastes little time thinking about it. as he drives forward with his weight, to meet the sword of his foes head-on, deflecting blow for a blow from left to right, as his duel weld training is more than a match for them. With a few better-placed swings of the blade, he takes the life of three more. He looks up in time to hear someone yelling out.
    “Bastards! “
    Then he sees Richard and his horse ride past him in a blur of flashing light, and within seconds the body’s ten attacks lay on the ground.
    The other attackers seeing this, abandon the mission, as smoke now fills the air, and they vanish from the area out of sight. But one attack is seen crawling along the ground, and Komeel quickly moves over to take hold of him. He rolls the attacker over, to question them about the attack. But the figure pulls a mask they were wearing and drinks down a small flack of clear liquid before Komeel can stop them. Then death takes hold of the figure, as his body shakes then fall lifeless. The others come over, and one word is spoken.
    “ Assassins. “
    “ We need to be on guard from now on. No telling who else is in these woods.’, says Richard with concern.
    Komeel moves closer to Henry now and looks him in the eyes.
    “ What did you get us into? Why are they after you? “
    “ I don’t know, but we might get answers in Braedon. After all, that’s where I was told to go. “, says Henry now hugging onto Sarah.
    “ Well, it’s going to be a slower trip, we are down three horses. We need to double up, so take what you can carry and let's get going. “, says Richard now taking the lead.
    Sam rides up to give his horse to Henry, as the others take up the gear and supplies off their dead horses. Then he gets on the horse with Rowen, as Sarah and Henry share one, and Komeel rides with Richard. Sam looks around as they ride off and wonders, where is Ebrae, she would have been useful right about now.
    They disappear down the road, as a set of eyes watches them go, an elf girl dressed in a light armored green and brown tank top, with match shorts and boots. She has a long blonde braid slung over her left shoulder, and on her left arm is a dragon’s head tattoo. She watches the others go, as she moves from the shadows, then turns to face a group of six figures in black on their knees with their hands tied behind their backs. Behind each stands an Elvin fighter, who holds their heads from behind chin up high in the air.
    One older fighter walks over to her with an elfish blade in hand, then hands it to her.
    “ You know they will not talk, they are of an assassins guild, and each one has vowed death if captured. “
    She turns to him with a smile, as her eyes glow yellow.
    “ I know. “
    Then returns her attention to the six on the ground, as she walks toward them still smiling wide.

    In the distance, screams can be heard by Sam echoing over the air, and he looks back down the road wondering what else is going on in these woods.

    To be continued…………………
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited March 23
    Henry rides with Sarah hugging his back tightly now, while he watches Richard just riding ahead of him. He can tell his mood isn’t very good now, having been attacked twice on the roads of two towns. Plus losing horses in those fights, putting them all in the position they are in now. It could be worst he thinks, but at least they haven’t lost anyone in the fighting so far.
    The group of six find themselves on the final stretch of road to Braedon, and it looks to be in very bad disrepair, What was once a smooth network of roads that led to town, now have weeds and grasses that are overgrown too reclaimed much of the roads.
    Just ahead the town comes into view, and the edges of it look more like a jungle as trees and gardens grew beyond their now unkempt boundaries. As the group slowly enter the town they see right away, some doors have been bordered up shut, while others are locked uptight. From some windows of every other house, Henry can tell some unseen eyes watch them for a second, then quickly close off any other views to the street outside.
    The town itself looks ghastly, with its gloomy wooden walls, and thick smoke from pipes from the tops of a few homes. The atmosphere of the town gives Sam and Rowen the chills, as Sarah finds herself hugging Henry even tighter.
    “ Nice place you brought us, Henry, looks like something from a bad dream. Now where are we headed next? “, asks Richard as a few more window shutters can be heard closing up and being locked tight.
    “ I am not sure, but we should stable the horses, then ask around about our contact. “, says Henry.
    “ Good luck with that, It looks like the locals aren’t in the mood to talk with strangers, or want to been seen. “, says Komeel.
    Henry looks around at the worn-out cobbled streets and sees a sign pointing to the town's stables as he continues.
    “ If you like I can take the horses to the stables, while you look for an Inn or tavern. “
    “ No Henry, let's stick together, for now, I am not liking being watched so closely, and this town is giving off a very bad vibe. “, says Komeel now gripping the hilt of his sword a little tighter.
    Richard agrees with his friend, as he follows Henry to the stables.
    As they approach a young frail little boy comes out to meet them, and he takes the reigns of one of the horses without a word. His clothes are all worn-out and old looking, and it looks as if he hasn’t had a good meal in a few days. But the young lad still does his job, as he takes in the horses one at a time, then returns with his hand out extended.
    “ That will be ten coppers for the nights stay, please. “
    Richard moves over to give the boy a closer look, but he doesn’t return the gaze, as he looks down at the ground and repeats what he just said. So Richard takes out a few coppers, and gives it to the boy, then asks a question.
    “ Where is a good place to eat in the town? “
    The boy pauses for a moment then points back down the road from where they came, and quickly returns to inside the barn out of sight.
    Richard turns to give Henry a crossed look, then mutters something under his breath as he passes him. The others can only question what is going on in this town with each other, as there really isn’t anyone walking about the place. There are people living here, with a few more peaks from behind covered windows from time to time, but still, no one comes out into view.
    After walking down a few more abandon streets, the group comes to a tavern called the Unlucky Dog. Komeel takes the lead and pushes open the old wooden doors, as they all enter a very dirty area and horrific scent, a few eyes look up to see who the newcomers are, them return to what they were doing. The old bartender with patched-up clothes doesn’t even care to look up to see who entered, as he continues to speak in a low whisper to what is guessed as his friend. It’s dire inside as it is outside, the mood in the room is very cold. The group looks around to see there are stone beams supporting an upper level, along with huge dusty lamps mounted to the sides. Even the old paintings are covered in dust, as this place could use a good cleaning.
    They find it is very easy to get a table, as the place is almost completely abandoned. But the few people that are here give off a clear sign, that Henry and his friends don’t belong. A few whispers can be heard, with a few fingers pointing in different directions, as a couple of people now quickly leave the area.
    “ I am not liking this at all. “, says Komeel now putting a sword on the table.
    “ Should we go to someplace else? I don’t think they really want us here. “, says Rowen.
    Richard slams down the point of his dagger into the wood of the table, giving both Sam and Sarah a quick fright, and it does the job of quieting the whispers around the area.
    Then with one word he yells out.
    “ Service! “
    That finally gets the attention of the barkeeper, and he sends over a barmaid from the back of the house. She is a very young girl, maybe no older than ten or twelve years of age, but she has been dressed up in finer clothes. Maybe to give the place something to talk about, or she is to distract from the atmosphere of the dark surroundings. Like the light of an angle, she has brightened the area just by standing there with her fancy outfit of white top that shows off her shoulders, and red dress bottom with golden trim.
    With her head bowed low she asks what they would like, and Richard without a second though answers in a deep tone.
    “ Just bring us some ale, and be quick about it! “
    He pulls his blade from the table to put it away, as the young girl bows then quickly leave. She isn’t gone too long, as she returns with a tray of old wooden mugs full of ale, and she places it in the middle of the table, then takes a couple of steps back to wait on more requests. Richard reaches out to take one, but Sarah slaps his hand away.
    “ Wait one second you fool, let me have a look at them first.“, she says now pulling a random mug closer to her.
    She takes a few sniffs of the brew, then takes out a small blade to dip into the mug. Taking it out slowly, she watches how the liquid rolls off the edge of her bade, then dips her finger in the ale to feel it on her skin. She remembers her training with the rouges, if there was something foul in the brew, it would be seen or felt, even if it‘s something she could smell, with the training in poisons there wasn’t many she didn’t know about.
    After a few more moments, she gives a nod to Richard to say its ok, then he grabs one up a mug as the others watch him closely, then with a couple of sniffs he looks over at the young girl. He then tips the brew to his lips, as it now washes over his tongue, and with great surprise, it tastes very good. He greedy downs the first mug, as some of it spills out and runs down the length of his beard., then he slaps down the mug on the table, followed by a large burp that comes from deep within his belly and a smile crosses his face.
    “ I take that as its ok then? “, asks Komeel.
    Richard reaches for a second mug, then quickly downs that one too, giving his friend a big smile in return.
    “ This place might look like crap, but it has some very good brew. “, says Richard with a few more burps that follow.
    He orders a new round of drinks, tossing a few coppers on the table, seeing how he has taken a few of the other drinks. He also wants food, as the girl takes the coppers and bows, then she quickly retreats to the kitchen once more.
    “ Why are we here again? This doesn’t look like the best of places to hang around too long? “, questions Rowen as he looks around with a nervously.
    “We hereby request of Madris to meet a contact of hers, and once this job is done, I will be freed from the contract I have with her. “, says Henry now rubbing the golden ring around his neck.
    Richard lets out one more burp, as he laughs at Henry.
    “ You were a fool to let yourself get mixed up with the elfish witch. From the moment we set foot in that place, I knew she was trouble. “, says Richard now staring at Henry.
    “ I know! Do you think I wanted to get mixed up with her, but what’s done is done! Now let's just see this job through, then I will be free from her. “, says Henry as Sarah takes hold of his arm to calm him a bit.
    Before Richard or anyone else can say a word, the young barmaid returns with more ale, and a tray of hard bread and a large block of blue cheese.
    “ Your meal will be here shortly, please enjoy. “, she says with a bow.
    The girl quickly leaves to deal with other people in the room, and Sarah watches her with a sad face. She knows that was her life before, to wait on strangers in the place like this, and to be used for her looks to bring in more customers. She just hopes this girl doesn’t have to deal with the same type of scum she did, years ago but from the looks of this dive, there was little hope she doesn’t.
    The wind blows hard outside, as windows pains can be heard slamming against the walls. It’s quickly followed by what sounds like a deep hollowing roar, as it echoes across the town. No one seems to be moved by the roar, as they continue with whatever business they are into. But the group of six stops to look at each other, as this sound gives a few of them the chills. Sam looks over at Henry a questions him.
    “ Was that the sound a of a….”
    “ A dragon. Yes, Sam, it’s a dragon’s roar. But no one seems to have a care about it. “, says Henry.
    Just then a hooded stranger pulls up a chair, and places it at the table, then places back his hood to show off an aged face of an old Orc.
    “ That was the dragon’s call, or as some would say call of the dragon. It comes from the cave close to town. “, says the old Orc with a smile as he continues.
    “ Madris sent word you were coming, and I am glad to see you made it in one piece. That being said, my name is Sarod, and I am your contact here in town. “
    Sarod takes out a pipe and begins to light it up to smoke a bit of the tobacco. The smell of it is sweet with a touch of bitter herbs. He takes in a few deep draws of the pipe, then blows out a long smoke ring aimed at Richard. But he isn’t moved by the smoke, and only drinks down more of his ale, as Sarod laughs to himself.
    “ So what is the job? We would like to get started right away.”, asks Henry getting Sarod’s attention.
    “ Well now, its very simple really. That sound you are hearing is where you need to go. It’s the new place that opened out not long ago, and I need you to go there and find something for me. “, says Sarod now taking a few more puffs.
    He tosses a small bag on the table, with a rolled-up note tied to a small map. Then he stands to get ready to leave the table.
    “ Everything you need to know is on the table now, when you're done with your job, come back here to get your payment. I will be awaiting your return in Inn across the street.”, says Sarod as he now puts his hood back on and begins to leave.
    “ And what if we don’t find what you're looking for? “, asks Henry.
    Sarod turns slight back to look over his shoulder, then returns his attention to the doorway leading out.
    “ Then don’t come back.”
    And with those words, he leaves the tavern, as a trail of smokes is left behind him.
    The others didn’t notice, their food was placed on the table when they had their attestation on the old Orc. A setting of mutton with potato soup has been placed in front of each of them, and a tray of carrots and celery. More ale was also placed out for them, as the little girl bows with her tray extended.
    “ That will be 20 coppers, please. “
    Richard tosses the coppers on her tray, as he begins his meal.
    Sarah feeling bad for the girl, calls her over, then takes out two gold pieces and hands it to the little girl with a smile.
    “ That is for you pretty girl, don’t let anyone take it from you ok.”
    The girl looks over her shoulder at the barkeeper, who doesn’t give her a second look back, and she turns to smile at Sarah.
    “ Thank you very much! I will keep this very close, take you very much again. “
    With a small hug, the girl now returns to her duties, and Sarah looks up to see Richard giving her a crossed look. But she doesn’t care, if she can brighten someone’s day, she will do it. With that, she begins to eat the meal put on the table for her, and she must admit, this place might look like crap, but the food is pretty good. The group of friends enjoy their meal, and laugh and joke about their day. As they try to relax, Henry can only look at the items left behind by Sarod and wonder what tomorrow will bring.

    To be continued. …..
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    Why do I feel like something bad is going to happen ^^
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • The instructions told them to follow the path out of town to the great canyon, once there take the side path down to the lower part, then head to the dungeon. But no one told them that the canyon would be so deep, or that they needed special mounts to ride down to the bottom. Henry followed the instructions to the letter, leading his friends to this place, only to find himself looking over a very deep edge of a great hole in the ground. The very earth looks to have been unzipped and pulled apart by huge hands, leaving a scar on the very ground before them. He turns to the others for ideas, as he knows their horses can not make this trip safely. But the others give him questioning looks in return.
    “ Now what Henry? Where are we going next? “, asks Sam now moving to his side.
    “ The map leads us down there, but…….”
    “ But nothing, I am not riding down there on this horse! “, exclaims Richard cutting him off, as he dismounts and continues to speak.
    “ Look at that drop-off, it must be a mile deep maybe more. We need to go down on foot, it will be very slow, but a lot safer than riding a horse down. “
    Before anyone can reply, a long sharp whistle comes from behind them, and they turn to see a young pretty redheaded woman in lose leather armor. She is riding on the back of a swift claw, a two-legged reptile mount, as she watches them closely with dark green eyes. Her mount shakes its head a bit, as she calms it down pulling back of the reins slightly, then she looks over the group carefully to size them up.
    “ You looking to head down to the dungeon? “
    Henry can only wonder if others have come this way, but after speaking with Komeel last night, he told him of at least one other group that made the trip to this point. But now looking at this strange young lady, who is waiting for an answer, he can tell she has to lead a few down from the dust and dirt that covers her.
    “ We were looking at options to go down yes, so I take it you have the answer? “, asks Henry now moving closer to her.
    The young redhead turns her mount sideways, so it doesn’t attack his horse, then give Henry a closer look now smiling wide. She likes the look of him, as she moves a little closer, then notices a woman in black leather giving her an evil stare.
    “ She’s your woman? “, asks the redheaded lady with a playful grin.
    “ We are a couple yes, why? “, answers Henry.
    “ What a shame. Anyway, I can take you all down for two gold pieces….. “
    “ What! Two gold pieces, that’s crazy! It’s not that far down, and we can go down on foot just fine without your help . “, says Richard cutting her off as he walks over to them both.
    The redhead just looks down at this older fighter with a long scare on his face, and his long overgrown beard covering his face. She frowns a bit at him, then continues to speak.
    “ You didn’t let me finish. That’s two gold pieces per rider. “
    “ Are you mad woman! I will not pay for it! We can get along very well without your help! “, exclaims Richard now pointing a finger at her.
    “ Ok, that will be four gold per rider. “
    A smile crosses her face as Richard now goes red in the face, and he begins to yell at the woman with a few cruses tossed in.
    Henry moves between them and gets Richard to back off, as he hands the woman a bag of gold. She feels the weight of it and then opens to see it’s full of gold pieces.
    “ I take it that was meant for you? “, asks Henry watching her closely.
    She gives Henry a puzzled look, as this isn’t the first bag being handed to her with that right amount of gold she asks for, but she reminds herself who is control here and questions Henry expectantly.
    “ Old Sarod sent you? “
    “ Yes, it’s the reason we are here. “, says Henry.
    With no other words between them, she turns to whistle out a complex tune, and a handler comes out from a hidden area in the tree line. He is leading a single Daystrider mule with large packs hanging off its sides, and a group of six Scalerunners following closely from behind.
    Henry watches the lizard-like creatures walk in quietly, and stop just short of the group flicking their long tongues out to get a good sense of the area. They seem to be very tame, as the handler uses hand signals to instruct them to line up next to each other. The handler looks over at the horses not far from the mounts, then looks nervously at the redhead, who only gives him a calming look in return. Then she turns to address the adventurers.
    “ Now listen closely all of you, these Scalerunners will be the ones taking you down to the bottom, take whatever you need off your horses, and get them out of here. Unless you want them to be dinner, get them out of here as quickly as you can. “
    Without a second thought, the group takes all of their supplies from the horse and sends them off with a good slap on the rear. Richard can only watch his horse ride off with the others, as the handler now walks over to hand him, and hands him a large bag with tails sticking out the top. He now watches as he hands each of the group a similar-sized bag, and he opens it to see a bunch of dead rats. He looks up at the redhead, who in turn speaks again before he can ask a question.
    “ Before you can ride on them, you need to feed them two rats from your sack, no more, and no less, then tie your bag off on the saddle, then put your gear on the mounts. When your ready, I will lead you down to the bottom. Have no fear, these mounts will get you down safely. Once we reach the bottom, you are to remove all of your belongings and feed them the rest of the rats. Am I clear on this point? “
    “ And what if we don’t feed them as you say? ‘, asks Rowen with concern.
    “ Well, I will not be responsible if you lose a limb or two on the way down. “, says the redhead as the group now laughs at Rowen.
    She moves over with her Swift Claw, watching each of the group now feeding the rats to the mounts assigned to each of them, and they quickly snap up the prized food. After a few bites and swallows the team now move to put all their gear on each mount carefully, then one by one they mount up. The Scalerunners turn to watch the redhead lady now, letting out a few low echoing grunts, as they feel the weight of the new riders. The redhead lady motions for the handler to return home, as she now leads the group down a rocky pathway.
    Henry never rode on a lizard mount before and finds if feels a lot steadier then a horse. With a quick movement, his mount follows the swift mount over the side, and he grips the reins hard to keep steady. Every motion his mount takes, it grips the sides of the canyon walls, and with little effort, it moves down the walls to another small path leading down. Rocks break lost from time to time, but he finds that the Scalerunners has no issues of moving along the uneven pathways. Henry looks up to see the redhead women on her swift claw moving quickly ahead of the team, as it knows the unseen path to take without issues. The pace quickens a bit, as they move down a steep section of the canon, then a few well places jumps across broken off sections. No one is speaking, as most of them are holding on for dear life. Henry turns to look at Sam who has his eyes closed while he hugs the back of his mount, then Rowen who looks to have gone very pale in the face while trying not to fall off of his mount. Komeel, on the other hand, has taken very good control of his Scalerunner, as he now moves up past Henry to quickly ride behind the redhead lady. Sarah too looks to be enjoying the ride down, while she voices her excitement of the quick drops and sharp turns. Then Henry looks back at Richard, who in turn is now smoking a pipe, and he looks to just be enjoying his trip to the bottom. Looking at Richard blowing puffs of smoke brings a smile to his face, and he turns to take in the sights of the red and brown canon walls, as they all make their way down the long winding pathway to the down.

    To be continued…..
  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited April 8
    Ebrae rides hard with her squad of elite hunters and guards, with the look of focused determination, she pushes her Swift Claw as fast as it can run. It gives off a few snorts, as it now leaps over a fallen tree, then quickly regains it’s footing to continue on the quickened pass. A blur of trees and bush pass the group, as they press on through the woods until finally, they reach the edge of a large canyon. She pauses for a moment, to examine the surroundings a bit more, then signals for her people to fan out to search the area in more detail. An older ride named Ryfon, an elf hunter dressed in battle-hardened leather, moves in next to her on his Swift Claw, as he takes a quick drink from his waterskin at his side.
    “ That is one huge hole in the ground, I have heard whispers of this place, but this is my first time seeing it for myself. “, says Ryfon
    “ Yes, it’s very impressive, but I am not here to do any sightseeing, we need to stay on the trail of humans. “
    She turns to watch two of her guards return with an older man, he is pushed down to his knees, as she dismounts to talk to him face to face. The old man looks up at the beautiful half-elf, as he tries to smile, as she smiles back in return. She extends a hand to place a finger under his chin, then questions him.
    “ Have you seen a group of six humans come this way? We have important business with them, and it would be very helpful if you could help us find our friends. “
    The old man tries to look away from her, as his smile quickly fades, but Ebrae keeps his focus on her now holding his chin with two fingers. He finds he can’t look away, as fear slightly takes hold of him. He swallows hard, as he forces a smile back on his face.
    “ I see who you're talking about, they left over four hours ago. They are headed to the dungeon at the bottom of the canyon. “, says the old man in a nervous voice.
    She smiles wide at the old man, as she gives him a couple of light pats on his left face. Then she turns to remount her Swift Claw.
    Ryfon moves over to her, after he gets word on the trail ahead, and voices a little concern.
    “ The scouts have reported the trail down isn’t going to be easy, maybe we should find a different path down?
    She looks to the old man, while the mounts shakes it’s head a bit.
    “ Did they go down that path he speaks of? “, asks Ebrae as her mounts get a little excited.
    The old man can only nod a yes in reply, as she signals for her people to mount up. They quickly take up positions around her, as Ryfon grips his reigns tight. He got a good look over the edge, and he knows he can’t talk her out of this next move.
    “ They are four hours ahead of us, the trail down is the fastest way to the bottom. Follow me, my men, we have a quest to complete. “, says Ebrae.
    She motions for her mount to race forward, and within seconds in makes its way on the steep trail leading down. But to the old man’s surprise, as he watches they all go over one at a time, he sees their mounts have little trouble handling the trail as they quickly move down along the edges. But be remembers, his master has a swift claw too, so why should this be a surprise after all.

    Down at the bottom of the canyon, the group of six lead by Henry dismount from their Scalerunners and take off the supplies that belong to them. After feeding the mounts the last of the rats, then a few moments of checking their supplies and gear, Henry thanks the redhead lady who in turn points to a large horn mounted on pike stuff in the ground.
    “ When you’re ready to return back up, give that horn three load blows, and I will return to pick you all up. “, she says now turning to leave.
    The group can only watch as she quickly makes her way up a different pathway on her swift claw, one that looks to be an easier return up, followed closely by the other mounts. They all watch for a short while, as she quickly fades from sight.
    Henry now turns to see the others standing ready to move on, but the day is getting late, and he knows it is almost time to make camp. So he leads them all deeper into the canyon, to find a good place for the night. They walk along rocky trails and close to huge borders. From time to time the sounds of wildlife echoes off the walls of the canyon, but no one can figure on what direction the sounds are coming from. After passing a few more rocky areas, Henry finds a flat place with very few large rocks to camp on, but it looks to be one widely used by other teams in the past. Some campsites look to be only a few days old, as the wood from them still looks to be smoldering. He wonders to himself, where have they all gone too, but thinks no more on the topic, as he drops his pack on the ground.
    Henry gets a feeling of relief, with the weight now off his back, and prepares to set up camp. But he looks at the others, as they have their eyes focused on something in the distance. He turns to see the head of a huge dragon skull, its mouth wide open, and it looks to be trying to escape the rocky face just behind it. The mouth of it is so large, that it is looking to be able to place a large two flat home in the mouth. Its teeth are pearly white, and the eyes hold enormous emeralds the gleam in the light, The head of the once alive dragon holds a pair of longhorns, that gives the skull a terrifying-looking appearance. A strong gust of wild blows from the south, and with it the sound of a dragon's roar from the mouth of the cave, the skull of the long-dead dragon still can be heard with its last known breath, as the wild continues to blow, and the roar of the dragon echoes in the canyon.
    “ Well sounds like we will not be getting any sleep tonight. “, says Sam now unpacking a sleeping roll.
    Henry can only agree but feels the wild claiming for the night, so maybe it's not going to be that bad. The loud roar as he figured now fades with the night winds. Henry now watches as Komeel makes a fire for the night, and Richard now taking out a bit of food to cook up for a late meal. Henry looks around for Sarah and Rowen, but they are nowhere to be seen. He stands up to get a better look, then calls to them, and after a couple of minutes, he feels a tap on his shoulder.
    “ I am right here. “, says Sarah as she fades into view from the shadows.
    “ You know I hate when you use your shadow walk to sneak up on me. Now, where is Rowen? He should be here with us. “, asks Henry.
    But Sarah doesn’t have a clue to where he went, as Rowen was just standing with the group just ten minutes ago. Henry looks around the area, now joined by the others, as they call for their missing friend. They all become a little worried, as they would have seen if someone would sneak into the area, let alone take one of them away right under there noses. But after a few more calls, a figure steps from a small portal.
    Rowen stands before them with a very worried look on his face, as he looks up at a few angry faces staring back at him.
    “Where have you gone off too? We were worried sick about you Rowen.”, says Richard.
    He can only look at each of them, as he fights to get the words out.
    “ The bodies…..so many bodies. I took a look inside the mouth of the cave, just to see what we are getting into. I knew I had the power to recall out if something would happen. Then I saw them. The bodies just inside the opening. Some didn’t have a chance to make it a few feet into the opening, and others looked to have been dragged in deeper. Whatever took them, wasn’t something natural, after seeing the condition of the bodies. I recalled to here when I felt something watching me. This place is a tome, and nothing good will come of it. We need to turn back now before we meet out the end! “, says Rowen in a scared voice.
    “ We can’t turn back now, I need to see this quest through. Bodies or not, we must press on. But Rowen, you shouldn’t have gone off on your own like that. We need to stick together. “, says Henry now patting him on the shoulder.
    Richard now walks over, and looks Rowen over a bit, then tells him to turn around. With a puzzled look on his face, he carefully does what is told of him, then he feels a slight pressure on his back, then he spins around to see a large spider with a dagger sunk into the middle of its body, heard up in the air but Richard.
    “ This is just a baby, but from the looks of it, we might have more of them in the mouth of the dungeon. You lucky this didn’t bite you, or you would be on the ground with those other bodies. “, says Richard with a small laugh.
    Rowen turns green in the face, knowing he missed something like that, and on top of it all, he recalls back to camp with it on his body. He can only rush over to set up a sleeping area for himself, as Henry watches him go.
    Now Henry looks to Richard, who in turn presses the spider under his foot to crush it flat.
    “ Are we making a mistake Richard? I mean I was told to come here, but is it worth it? Maybe it’s not too bad of an idea to keep this collar on my neck? “
    “ Look, son, if I was you, I would think too much on it. We are here now, so let's watch each other's backs, and we will be fine. When you don‘t have a clear mind, that’s when you make mistakes. So keep your focus, and we will be fine. “, says Richard as he takes hold of his shoulders now.
    He looks him in the eyes, to make sure he isn’t scared, but Henry just shows he isn’t afraid. As Richard now just gives him a firm press on the arms, then laughs with him as the two go to sit by the now out fire.

    To be continued...

  • granthorgranthor Member
    edited April 10
    With lit torches, the group slowly enters the mouth of the skull dragon, as the light dances off old rusty swords, broken arrows, and skeletal remains. Richard turns to look at Rowen, and with a laugh asks a question of him.
    “ So where are your bodies mage? All I see are old bones on the ground. “
    With no words, Rowen casts a light spell, and it brightens the area to the far wall. The light floods the room swiftly, showing off all of the bodies he had seen earlier. Henry takes a few careful steps into the area, and slow approaches one of the fallen adventurers. He carefully kicks over the person, now seeing a very dark blue face, and a look of horror frozen in place.
    Sam moves over to take a closer look, remembering his training when dealing with the dead, then turns to speak with the others.
    “ He has been poisoned, but it’s not a common poison. Be on guard, whatever took them down, is still about. “
    With those words, Sam begins to cast a few protection spells, along with a cleansing spell in case there are ill effects still in the area. The energy of warmth covers the group, with every wave of his staff over the group. But just when Sam finishes up his spells a huge spider leaps from the shadows towards him. Without thinking he quickly turns to cast the spell. judgment, as a hidden force, crushes the spider to the ground flat.
    Seeing that large spider, and now remembering his encounter with one a little smaller, Rowen now steps forward to cast an area effect spell. With the spell Implosion, a large fireball expands out and burns every spider that is within range. He takes a few steps forward to cast it again, then again, and with one final spell, he has cleared the area of the smaller spiders. He feels the need to rest a bit, this level of casting was at a third-tier, but a warmth washes over his body, and he feels his mana returning to normal.
    “ You need to take it slow Rowen, you can’t go off using higher-level spells like that, you just opened the book to that level, and you not ready to keep casting as you’re doing so. “, says Sam now finishing his spell of mana well.
    “ All in all guys, good work, last thing I wanted to deal with are spiders. “, says Henry now moving past them.
    He slowly moves to the far entrance of the room, with sword and shield in hand, followed closely by Sarah, Komeel, and Richard. They stop at what looks to be three large odd-shaped doorways, and he pauses to look them over closely. One smells of rotten flesh, another cool air can be felt coming from it, and still the last has the faith sounds of clicking from within.
    Henry takes out the faded map given to him, and it looks to be showing the doorways, a faint arrow points to the left, and a big red mark is on the right. He looks back at the others, who in turn are still on edge watching for any signs of trouble.
    “ Now where are we going? I don’t want to be standing here all day. “, says Richard.
    Henry looks back at the map, check to make sure he is seeing it properly. Then he points to the left doorway, as the airflow from the center begins to pick up. It grows in strength, then a huge gust of wind floods through the doorway, and with it comes the ear numbing roar of a dragon’s call. The group covers their ears to shield them from the intense sound, with the roaring now vibrating everything in the area.
    Rushing forward, they quickly follow Henry through the left doorway, and after a few steps, the group finds themselves sliding down a steep incline. Down and down they all go, with the sounds on armor scraping the group, and the clinging of weapons in hand as a few wildly try to brace their slide. There is nothing to grip onto, but it doesn’t matter as they all roll to the hard stop at the bottom.
    Rowen gathers himself first, to cast a quick light spell, and it floods the area showing off the area of a huge hall, with ribbed bones of the dragon as support holding back the mountain on top of it. There can be seen what looks like two walkways, and a channel in the middle with green mist. The walkways both look to lead to the same place, but there are different doorways on both sides of the room. Rowen can see about six on each side, and they look to be made from the bones of unlucky travelers.
    The others stand to examine the area a little closer, and Henry moves to take a step forward toward the mist, but Sarah pulls him back from it. Before he can question her, a blue-green slime mass moves up from the mist, as if to be looking for what was close to the edge, then retreats back down from whence it came.
    “ Oh, that’s lovely. We have slime in this place, something that will put holes in my armor, I just know it. “, says Richard now tossing an old rusted dagger he picked up.
    The dagger bounces a couple of times off the cold ground, then slides to the edge of the mist. Then they all watch as it is quickly snatched up and dragged into the mist. But its quickly expelled back out, with half of it missing. Richard turns to look at Henry with a frown.
    “ You can go first. “
    Henry swallows hard a bit, and nods to him, as he takes the right pathway and walks far from the edge of the mist. The others follow with weapons at the ready, as they slowly make their way to the far end of the hall. The mist bubbles up in some places and moves in waves in others. It seems to invite them to come closer, as in places the mist parts to show off hidden gems of high value, only to be covered over quickly as if to tease the group into coming closer. Then a hand is seen extending out and slowly lowers back into the green cloud.
    “ Keep going forward everyone, and don’t think about moving into that mist. I don’t care what you see in it. “, says Komeel as he now sees what looks to be the face of his old teacher Iwan.
    Iwan cries out to him to come to help him, but Komeel can see he is already dead. His face half eaten away from the acid smiles, an ooze dripping from a skeleton hand reaching out to him.
    “ Poor devil, no one should meet an end like that. “, says Richard now pressing on with the others.
    The group moves past the first of three doorways., and the sound of crying can be heard from behind the skeleton door. There is a single skull mounded on the side of the door, and the sound seems to come from it.
    Sarah hears the cries of what sounds like a child, now moves to open the door, but is cut off quickly by Richard. He pushes her away from it, as the crying is now replaced by a heavy knocking, and now a few curses at her.
    “ What is this place you have brought us to Henry? “, asks Sarah as a tear rolls down her left cheek.
    “ It’s where I was told to come if I want to be free again, but this place has a dark evil to it. We need to be ready for whatever comes at us. “, says Henry now moving on.
    “ Aye lad, and right now there is a lot of mind games going on, so everyone put it out of your head. Let's push on. “, says Komeel with concern.
    They pass a few more doorways, and from behind each the sounds of screams and cries for help or just bad curses. They all just focus on the huge doorways at the end, as it’s the place on the map they need to get too.
    As they all reach the end, the doors in front of them are huge dark worn wood, and Henry with Richard and Komeel now push hard on them to open them up. They open with a long creaking, but the way ahead of them is blocked off from a recent cave-in. Richard turns to look at Rowen and gives him a wave toward the boarders. Of course, this is something he needs to do, a spell that is taught to all the mages at a young age. He moves forward to mutter a few words, then extends his hand to pull the borders from the spot, then the boarders fly forward and are turned to dust. The way is no longer blocked, and the group moves forward into a large chamber. Rowen quickly cast a new light spell, and the area is lit up to show off a huge area of gold and fine jewels. The room sparkles as the light dance off the different pieces of gold and silver. Everyone moves in slowly, not believing what they are seeing.
    “ This must be the dragon’s treasure, they are known for keeping it close to them. “, says Sam taking a few more steps into the area.
    “ Aye, but this seems to easy. No one touches anything. “, says Richard as he turns to see Sarah reaching out to pick up a huge diamond.
    Panic races in his heart, as he reaches out to yell at her, but it’s too late as she touches the gem the room spins in a blur, and the group finds themselves in a different place when it spots.
    Touches light up along pillars of white marble walls, and a golden doorway can be seen from the far end of this new area. From it, the sounds of armor clanking and rushing footsteps echo from the doorway. The group gets ready to face what is to come, as Richard looks over to Sarah with a deep frown on his face.
    She can only say sorry, as she pulls out her short sword and dagger ready to fight.
    The sound of many feet gets louder and louder, as Richard stands next to Henry.
    “ Well boys, I hope this adventure will be worth it. Looks like we are about to get into a big fight. “
    “ I know, But I am not backing down, no matter what comes through that door. “, says Henry standing tall with a shield in hand.
    As Komeel stands with the pare, Richard smiles wide, as he turns to face what is to come next.

    To be continued…
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Early Alpha One Tester
    you really do know how to keep a reader hooked
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • Nagash wrote: »
    you really do know how to keep a reader hooked

    Hey if I don't hook you, you might stop reading. lol
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