[Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:32 pm

Chimpman wrote:Oh... He's back again :D.


Why, I do not know who you could possibly mean! :mrgreen:

Nor do I remember what a certain somebody has hidden in the woods outside of Threshold.....
:twisted:
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby Chimpman » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:20 pm

Hey this thread just hit 100 posts - congrats!
RobJN wrote:Nor do I remember what a certain somebody has hidden in the woods outside of Threshold.....
:twisted:

To be honest, I had totally forgotten about this one until I read your story. OT my daughter just met the little sneak last night, though she doesn't know it (he was disguised as a beggar)... and she is headed straight into the Dark Woods on a mission. Hehe.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:06 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

“He turns up more often than a bad denarius!” Gilliam sighed, turning to regard the tall man who leaned so casually against one of the ancient trees.

Bargle was back in his travelers’ browns and grays, the hood of his dark brown cloak drawn back.

“My liege is most upset that Verge still stands. The tales the villagers tell are most interesting. A young woman in white, two dwarves, a dashing swordsman. ”

“Hear that? You’re dashing,” Gilliam said, giving Varis a nudge.

“The druid and the pale girl who saved the village.”

“Sounds like quite a tale,” I said.

“I see the druid, but wherever could the girl be?”

“And why should we tell you?” Durin asked, crossing his arms.

“You don’t have to, Master dwarf,” Bargle said with a smile. “I am already well aware of where she is. And can only assume, since all of you are out here while she is in there that there is some immodesty involved. Which probably also means they will be unarmored and weaponless.” The oily grin slid across his features. He lifted his fingers to his lips, and whistled, sharply, twice. I do not think I was the only one to notice the ugly scar that ran up the back of his hand.

There was a great crashing and clanking and jingling of armored men running. We saw dark forms flash through the trees, slipping through the cave’s entrance.

Hands reached for weapons, but Bargle just clucked his tongue at us.

“Now, now. If you draw those, I will be forced to awaken that which lies sleeping here. It took a very long time, growing this forest.”

From within the cave were shrill cries, and shouts of men as well.

There was a flash of white and gold at the cave entrance, a gleam of golden light at Silva’s throat, and then her figure rippled, like a reflection in clear water. Then she was gone, but for a quiet burst of feet upon dry leaves.

Bargle’s smile twisted into a scowl. He slammed his fist against the tree.

“Confound it! For the love of gold, they are just two girls!”

A pair of men tromped from the cave, bearing Ana between them. They’d bound her hands behind her in manacles of cold iron. Behind them, more soldiers were bringing out their fellows, hung limp between them.

“You will heal the men you have injured,” the bard said to her.

“They are beyond my help,” the girl said with a slight smile. “As are the three that Silva bested. Barehanded.”

Tthe soldiers shifted nervously from foot to foot.

Gilliam and Varis both raised their eyebrows. “Would have loved to’ve seen that!” the smaller of the swordsmen murmured.

Varis rubbed his shoulder. “Been on the receiving end of that. Don’t want to do it again.”

Bargle rounded on two more of the men. “And why did you two let her simply run past you? That was the whole reason you were there!”

“M’lord, she… ah… she wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. We... ah… weren’t expecting that.”
Last edited by RobJN on Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:43 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

“Find her!” the bard snapped, and all but four men dispersed, clanking into the woods.

The sun rose a bit higher, and Bargle stopped pacing every now and then to ask “What could possibly be taking them so long?”

From within the woods, came a shriek, and a soldier hustled through the trees many minutes later, bearing a kicking, struggling figure, golden hair all in disarray.

“Finally!” the bard crowed. “Now, you little troublemaking witch,” he snarled, reaching for the girl’s arm.

She kicked his hand away with a lucky swing of her foot. The bard’s eyes widened as the girl threw her hair from her face.

Wide blue eyes met his, and the girl bared her teeth in a feral smile.

“Well, hullo. You still owe me two gold crowns.”

* * * * *

“I got ‘er, Master Bargle!” huffed another soldier, the legs of the girl he’d thrown over his shoulder still kicking, the white dress fluttering at her knees.

“Put her over there with the others,” the bard said, waving his hand at the small crowd of blonde girls huddling with us in a wide space between the trees.

At least the last few they’d brought in were clothed. We were running out of cloaks to lend.

From what we could gather in brief, whispered exchanges with the girls before a guard prodded us for silence, they had each been visited by Silva, in the town, some hours ago.

“How did she communicate with you?” I asked. “This ploy looks a bit complicated for gestures.”

One of the girls shrugged. “She just… when she took my hand, I knew what she needed.” A round of nods confirmed it was the same for the rest of them.

“This is dangerous!” Ana hissed. “These men are armed, they could hurt you!”

“You go running off into the woods naked for all your friends?” Gilliam asked, keeping his eyes on the twig he was whittling at with his knife.

The girls shared glances, their backs straightening. “As our sister would face her enemies, so shall we,” they all said, as one.

Gilliam looked up from the twig. “Did anybody else just feel that chilly hand run up their back?”

----------------------
The 'gang of girls' were so much fun to write, I just had to bring them back ;)
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:09 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

Ana stiffened, drawing in a sharp breath.

I glanced up at her sudden tension, and swept my eyes along where she was looking.

The faintest of ripples in the air, and a scant shifting of wet leaves caught my eye. I quickly looked the other way, and nudged Ana to do the same.

“You felt it,” I murmured to her, and she nodded.

“Barely. Now that my mind is clear, she is like a …. A buzzing of one bee among a hive.”

“The bard has done… something… here. The trees are not what they seem. I was about to ask you about it when—”

“In the middle of Silva’s bath?”

“It was important!”

“Whatever it is that sleeps here would have slept another twenty minutes. Besides, even with all this ruckus, the bindings on whatever magic is in place here have not slipped.”

“But the bard said—”

“Thorn, the bard says a great many things. I believe less than half of them based on our past encounters. If he said he could awaken this forest, he lied. Whatever it is, it cannot be undone so quickly.”


Bargle stood up as the last of the hunting soldiers returned, empty-handed.

“All right, my patience is at an end, little girl!” he shouted. “I’ve caught all your little friends! And if you don’t reveal yourself, I will have my men take action!”

At a motion of the bard’s hand, half a dozen men drew their swords, and stepped into a loose circle around the girls.

“Here, now, that’s monstrous!” Durin shouted, rising to his feet, throwing his cloak back and reaching for his axes.

Another of the soldiers turned, raised his sword.

A chunk of rock streaked from the trees, striking the soldier’s sword hand, and he dropped his blade with a curse, clutching at his hand.

The other soldiers whirled towards the direction the rock had come.

The girls rose to their feet, in unison.

“You will harm none of them,” they all said. “You will lift your swords only to sheathe them.”

The soldiers took several hasty steps back from the girls.

“Go from this place, back to your liege. You have already failed.” Every one of the girls was looking at Bargle as they spoke.

He laughed, though it sounded somewhat forced. “A clever trick. Let’s see how effective you are without the chorus!”

“She gives you this one chance to leave in peace.”

“I am not afraid of one little witch and her ragtag army of brats!” the bard snarled. “Your little trick won’t intimidate me! Guards, I grow tired of this. Kill them.”

Most of the guards shuffled their feet, and looked morosely at their swords. One, though, stepped foward, raising his sword.

The rest stepped between us, blocking us from reaching the group of girls.

“What are you waiting for? I gave an order!” Bargle shouted.

The guard heaved his sword down.

The girl calmly stepped back, and the air rippled, and then tore apart in a shower of blue-white sparks.

Silva caught the edge of the blade along her right forearm, metal screaming as the blade dragged along the length of the bracer. With a shift of her body weight, the blade whistled harmlessly away from the girls, the guard who’d swung the blade taking a half-step back to check his balance.

One of the girls — or perhaps one of their mothers —- had ensured that Silva had something to wear, a simple homespun shirt of white that hung to her knees, the sleeves coming to just above her elbows.

The girls rose, most poised to fight, others making efforts to do the same.

Silva glanced back over her shoulder. “Nieah!” she said to them, shaking her head.

The guard lunged. The girls cried out. Silva half-turned, raising her arm reflexively.

The blade found a gap in the metalwork, rasping along bone and metal as it slid into the girl’s lower arm.

Silva staggered, biting down on a scream, pain clearly etched across her features.

She clenched her right hand into a fist, and the dark stone adorning her wrist ignited with a harsh purple-black radiance. The stone throbbed once, sending a burst of the light pulsing down the length of the metalwork of the bracer with an angry hissing, sputtering sound.

The writhing energy raced up the length of the sword, and crawled up the guard’s hand and arm like so many scuttling, spitting spiders. The man screamed, his body giving a hard spasm, causing Silva to cry out as the blade twisted in her arm. She gave another harsh, sibilant cry, and the dark stone pulsing twice more, the streamers of purplish-black energy racing faster up along the sword, and into the soldier.

Smoke began to issue from the gaps in the armor, and the man’s free hand curled into an agonized claw, the skin blackening as we watched, smoke curling from the tips of his fingers.

When Silva unclenched her fist, what was left of the man finally collapsed to the forest floor, jerking the blade from the girl’s arm as the body fell, charred and smoldering within the dully glowing armor.

Silva glanced up, at Bargle, while she slid a finger up her wounded arm.

She swiped the finger below one eye, then the other.
Last edited by RobJN on Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby Gecko » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:41 am

RobJN wrote:Thorn's Chronicle continues...

“You felt it,” I murmured to her, and she nodded.

“Barely. Now that my mind is clear, she is like a …. A buzzing of one bee among a hive.”


uh-oh, is that the start of the M-Zen which I was predicting in the other thread. :roll: :mrgreen:

Silva glanced up, at Bargle, while she slid a finger up her wounded arm.

She swiped the finger below one eye, then the other.


This can't end good (at least not for ol' Bargle that is... :lol: )

this is just a post of encouragement, hopeing you'll keep the story going. :D
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:04 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

With a flurry of swords and axes, the two dwarves and warriors rushed the stunned soldiers, batting aside halfhearted sword thrusts and shouldering their way through to the crowd of girls.

Orbiem!” Varis shouted. “Formae orbium!

The order snapped the girls from their confusion, and they immediately crowded together in a tight circle, each sheltering the girl next to her, all the way around.

Gilliam, Varis and the dwarves crouched at four corners about the huddle of girls, weapons low and ready.

Ana and I found uses for the discarded firewood, each of us snatching up a sizeable branch.

“Which do you prefer,” Ana asked the soldiers that had been bowled over, “weaponless or senseless?”

They tossed swords aside, raising their hands in surrender.

“I told you to kill them,” Bargle snarled at the soldiers surrounding the girls.

“You’re going to have to go through us to do that,” Varis said.

“You see? This is why you don’t hesitate when I give an order!” the bard said, throwing his hands up in disgust.

Pratiiya,” Silva said, waving her hand in a ‘shoo-ing’ gesture.

“My dear girl, I am going nowhere without you,” Bargle said to her. “Now be a good girl, and come along, before I have my boltmen turn the lot of your little army into pincushions.” He raised a hand, and gestured with his fingers, and then extended that hand towards Silva.

The sound of a single crossbow being drawn back is enough to send a tingling chill down a sensible man’s spine. From the forest before us, there came that sound, but from a score of crossbows, readied by a score of boltmen, who stepped from behind trees and rose up from the forest floor, leaves hanging about them like shrouds. Every one of them had a clear shot at the girls.

Silva glanced from the bard’s hand, to the crossbowmen, to the girls, who were trying to huddle even closer. Then she shook her head, falling to her knees, shoulders slumped.

Bargle’s oily smile broadened. “There, now, you see? That wasn’t so difficult. Don’t worry, my dear, I’m sure whatever it is my liege has planned for you, it won’t hurt all that much.” He leaned down to take the girl by the arm.

Silva’s eyes snapped up, her left hand seizing his wrist from below.

She placed her right hand flat on the forest floor before her, and shouted “Jvalat!

The bracer flared with blue-white light, and we felt a sharp jolt ripple through the ground.

Bargle regained his composure, snatching his hand from the girl’s grip, tugging the sleeve of his leather coat back into place.

“Dramatic, but hardly impressive,” he sniffed.

The ground jolted again, and one of the trees nearby burst apart in a flash of blue-white fire.

The girls, the soldiers, shrieked, flinching back.

Another tree detonated in a column of Silva’s fire. Then another, and another, and another.

Bargle’s eyes went wide, even as the color drained from his face.

There came more searing, crackling detonations from the woods, pale lights flashing from within the gloom of the trees.

Bargle’s features twisted in rage — genuine rage — for the first time since we’d encountered him.

“My-- You little— ” he snarled, and his hand flew back to strike.

A rock whistled from behind me, and struck the bard’s upturned hand, glancing off his knuckles to bounce off his head.

“You leave our sister alone!”

Another rock flew, hitting him in the shoulder.

“Don’t you dare hurt her!”

Not a rock, but a clod of sodden earth and snow, hit Bargle in the cheek.

He reeled under the surprise of the attack, and with a shrill, wordless cry, Silva’s "sisters" charged.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:07 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

Sharp, sizzling thunder of exploding trees accompanied the girls’ cry as they rushed the bard. Two hit him squarely in the legs. Two more leapt and clung to his arms, while another — in a rather spectacular leap over the back of another of the girls — hit the man squarely in the chest.

He went down with a cry nearly as shrill as that of the girls.

Those left standing rained sharp kicks at any of part of the man that they could reach.

“Not so tough without your ogres, are ya?”

“Lets see how you like being outnumbered!”

“Maybe this will teach you not to pick on girls!”

Somewhere behind us, one of the soldiers chuckled. He was joined by another, and another, until all of them, including the boltmen, were nearly doubled over with laughter, wiping at their eyes.

There were three more sizzling explosions before Silva gave a shudder, and began to cough again.

“No, you girls stay right were you are! We wouldn’t want him to get away!” Ana said as she hurried over to Silva.

The girls — all 9 of them — were sitting on Bargle, but they all peered intently over at Silva as Ana fussed. One of the girls jabbed her heel into Bargle’s side.

“That’s for making Silva sick from her magic again!”

One of the soldiers ambled over the girls.

“Young ladies,” he said. “This wasn’t personal. We were just following orders. But now that our… fearless leader… has been captured, we rather hoped you would find it in your hearts to let us go, so that we might bring word of our… fearless leader’s capture to our commanders and Baron von Hendricks.”

The girls giggled.

“Please do, sir,” one of the girls said.

The soldier nodded, seriously, and then turned to Silva. He bowed, and as he straightened, started shouting orders to the other men.


It was quite a procession, Bargle, limping, mud-spattered, with twigs and leaves in his hair, led by two of the girls. Silva followed, flanked by two girls on each side. (The rest, I make note, departed for their homes so they could properly dress.) We followed behind the girls, leading our horses. Gilliam kept an arrow on his bowstring, should Bargle try to escape.

Baron Halaran greeted us at the front gates of Tarnskeep, and though he did his very best to keep a straight face, he couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Well,” he said. “It isn’t even Yuletide, and I see that you have brought me a present!”

“This is the man who took us,” said the eldest of the girls. “And then he tried to hurt our little sister. So we showed him what-for.” One of the other girls nudged her. “Oh. Um, Your Grace,” she said, bobbing a curtsey.

“Anyone brave enough to take down such a villain need not bow to me! But where are my manners? Do, please, all of you come in, and get yourselves warm by the fire. The cook has just started warming some cider.”

“Oh, I do love a good mug of hot cider,” Bargle said with a smile.

The baron kept smiling. “Yes, yes, some for you as well, from the comfort of your private quarters beneath the keep. Guards,” the baron made a quick gesture. “Please see that our guest has proper accommodations.”

Two guards marched the bard towards the stables, while the baron led the pack of girls up the steps and into the manor.

We followed, as the baron herded the girls through the dining hall and into the kitchen.

The long kitchen table was nearly completely taken up by all of us, and the cook didn’t let the girls tell any of their story until they had a steaming mug of cider and a bowl of the wonderful chicken soup from the pot that never seemed to empty of it.

The cook brewed some of Durin’s tea and gave that to Silva, once she’d heard the girl’s wracking cough.

“No cider for you, young lady! Running around in the forest in just a tunic! It’s no wonder you’re sick half to death!”

Gilliam nearly choked on his cider.


Trying to get a straight story from an excited child is a lot like trying to untangle the yarn after the cat’s been at it. Now imagine, if you will, a basket of yarn. And a roomful of cats.

The baron listened very patiently, and very attentively to the girls. Not once did he sigh, as did Varis, and Ana, on several occasions. Nor did he roll his eyes, as did Gilliam.

He thanked the girls, and made sure they each had another sweet pastry for their journey home, and then he escorted them out, where his carriage awaited in the courtyard.

“Now remember, ladies,” he said, as he helped the last into the coach, “in three days, we will all meet again at the town hall. Be sure to bring your parents. In the meantime, be safe!” He shut the door, and patted the side of the coach, and off the girls went, back to their families.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:22 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

Waning crescent of the Coming Snows (on or about Eirmont 26, 997AC)

“But it makes no sense, for them to attack in such numbers, in this season,” the baron said, shaking his head.

“Food? Supplies?” Gilliam guessed. “Surely this weather has hit them just as hard as it has us. Last I checked, gnolls never were very good farmers.”

“No,” Varis said. “That attack was no mere raid for provisions. Those were slaving bands. A force that size could have easily destroyed the entire village, killed every man, woman, and child.”

“They killed many,” Ana said.

“Those who fought back, no doubt.”

“A pity the only one who knows anything about their plans doesn’t speak our language,” Gilliam said.

Silva looked up as he glanced at her. She smiled, then coughed, and blew her nose into another of the baron’s handkerchiefs. She sipped at the cup of tea by her elbow, then bent over the sheet of parchment she’d spread before her on the low table. She scratched at it with quill and ink, making line after line of swirling, spidery letters and ideographs. I gathered that she was writing down what she remembered of her interrogation of the gnoll.

“I still find it hard to believe that she’s taken half a length of sword in her arm just a day ago,” said Listelle, her head canted to the side as she watched the girl write.

“She shows a remarkable ability to heal,” Ana said. “And given I hear little improvement in her breathing, I am deeply concerned about just how much damage she’s truly done to herself in saving the village.”

The fiery haired scholar straightened, adjusting her shawl. “Were my talents at weaving threads of Entropy greater, I would attempt to diagnose her.” The woman sighed. “Were my talents greater, indeed, I could be of help in her healing.”

“I have done all I can for her,” Ana said. “I have tried to work further healing upon her, but it does not hold. She simply slides back to this fevered state.”

Silva looked up, glancing from Ana to Listelle. A frown furrowed her brow, and she gestured to the parchment with the quill in her left hand. A faint flicker of golden light chased through the veins in the crystal upon her left wrist. She bent back to her work with a short sigh.

I rose, and went to the window. The clouds had thinned, and patches of blue could bee seen amidst the sea of gray and white cloud cover.

A sudden, chilling thought clutched at my guts, giving them a sharp twist.

“What if they weren’t looking for slaves?” I asked.

The baron and Varis both looked up. “What else could they possibly—”

“What if they were rounding the townsfolk up for use as sacrifices?”

“Monstrous!” Ana said.

I gestured at the window. “Do you find it coincidental that we foil a raid on a village, and since then, the cruelty of the weather has since weakened?”

The baron tapped his chin with a finger. “I think Master Thorn has grasped a thread of this great mystery. Which means, of course, that no doubt they will go looking elsewhere.” He rose to his feet. “If you will excuse me, I have preparations to make for the outlying farmsteads.” The baron strode from the study, ringing a bell and calling for his cloak and the carriage.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:08 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues....

Waning crescent of the Coming Snows (on or about Eirmont 28, 997AC)

“And thus, do I present to you, my good people of Threshold, these brave young girls, and hereby name them Friends of the Barony.”

Late morning sun shone warm and golden upon the market square, the sky for once more blue than gray. We joined the crowd in a resounding cheer, and eight of the nine girls blushed, staring at their feet. The ninth, the tallest, lifted her chin and flashed the same feral grin she’d given Bargle.

Each girl curtseyed, and Baron Halaran granted each a shining silver medallion, engraved with the tower and wall on one side, the other the Eye-Within-the-Eye, as the locals call the sign of Halav’s Immortal Queen, Petra.

The baron gave a start, as each girl held the curtsey, but Halaran quickly regained his composure, completing Silva’s ages old ritual. He glanced over his shoulder, and smiled at the girl, who huddled shivering in her cloak, her face lined with strain, but her jaw set firmly, determined to watch her sisters receive their honors.

We were all more than a little concerned, since this was actually the first day we were able to leave Tarnskeep without having to layer on the winter coats and lined cloaks. Yet Silva — who had frolicked in the snows in little more than her dressing gown and a cloak just days ago — now shivered, her teeth chattering even as her forehead beaded with sweat. She’d insisted on keeping her hood up, hiding her hair gone lank and dull in her illness.

The crowd cheered once more as all the girls joined hands and bowed to the assembled townfolk. Then the girls filed from the hastily erected stage before the town hall, amidst the blaring of the Duchy’s heralds’ trumpets. They trooped past Silva, each reaching out a hand to touch her shoulder as they went by.

Asti kuzala,” each murmured. Be well.

Silva smiled, muffling a cough behind another of the baron’s handkerchiefs. She reached out her right hand, brushing two fingers over each of the girls’ foreheads, closing her fevered eyes, her lips moving, her voice nothing more than a breath. There was a glimmer of blue-black light deep in the stone on her wrist.

The girls nodded, as if some exchange had been made, and then they turned, skipping away to their families, to enjoy the feast in the town hall that the baron had prepared in their honor.

We followed the crowd into the hall, and were among the last to fill our plates, the dozens of long trestle tables full, and so we had to make do with places along the wall.

The baron had arranged for just about every minstrel and musician in town to make an appearance, and there was no shortage of music and dancing. Gilliam was nearly mobbed by the girls, as the nine gathered around him, and practically carried him off to the clear space before the musicians. It came as no surprise that he knew most of the steps to the reel, spinning each girl, one after another down a dizzying line.

I was most surprised when Varis set aside his trencher, and took Ana for one of the slower dances, a somber, straight-backed affair, but no less intricate than the lively number Gilliam had been snared into.

Silva nibbled at some fruit, between sighs that sometimes trailed into coughing. I did not fail to notice that her foot kept time with most of the livelier tunes, and her eyes drank in the steps and movements of the various dances.

I held out a hand to her. “Would you like to dance?”

She glanced up at me, smiled, but shook her head. “Aya’muurti na anumanyat,” she said with another cough. “Akaravam svadat nartana.” The last came out a wistful sigh, yet edged with a cold finality.

The dwarf brothers glanced worriedly at each other, and then up at me, having also picked up the odd tone in her voice.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby Chimpman » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:41 pm

RobJN wrote:I gestured at the window. “Do you find it coincidental that we foil a raid on a village, and since then, the cruelty of the weather has since weakened?”

Aaarrrggh! :D Thorn has got one paranoid mind...

...

...

It's very hard to wait! I want to know if he is right... well, I assume he is right, but I want to know why!
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:21 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

The crowds had thinned enough that we were able to find seats on some of the benches that lined the walls of the town hall. While the others danced — yes, even the two dwarves — Silva and I amused ourselves with teaching each other the names of the various fruits on her plate. I did most of the teaching, as she had never seen many of them.

“Win-tur berry I like,” she said, plucking another of the fat, reddish fruits.

She smiled as she popped it into her mouth, chewing. But she stiffened, her face twisting in pain, as she clutched her right arm. She drew in a sharp, wheezing breath, the fingers of her left hand curling, as she clawed at the thick wrappings around her arm.

She slipped from the bench, the plate clattering to the floor as she landed heavily on her knees, her breathing gone fast and shallow.

The music ground to a halt, and Ana and the Baron reached the girl’s side at nearly the same instant.

“What is it?” Ana asked me. “Has she eaten something bad?”

I shook my head.

Silva looked up, clutching at the baron’s tunic. Deep within her hood, her sliver eyes were beginning to smolder with the blue-white flames.

Bhavaam’grham,” she wheezed. “Asura etah ustrjat. Etah ayaat.

Ana stiffened, then rose to her feet, stepping back, glancing sharply right and left.

“Durin! We need your kit!” she called.

“Here, now, what’s she going on about?” Kuric asked.

Gilliam glanced around, his hands flexing. I hadn’t missed him reaching for swords that weren’t there.

“Your Lordship, all these people need to leave. Now,” Ana said.

The baron blinked, finally mastering his confusion. He patted Silva’s hands, trying to rise to his feet, but the girl clung to him.

Etah ayaati.”

“My dear girl, before anybody goes anywhere, I would know what is going on. What has she said? What is she saying?”

Ana licked her lips. They were pale. Her forehead, creased with worry, was beading with sweat.

“Your Lordship, we are taught the names for demons and their kind in every known language, and even a few that are barely known. The Thonian word for ‘demon’ is ‘asra.’”
Last edited by RobJN on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:36 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues....

“Thror-n, we go,” Silva said, leaning heavily on my arm. I could feel the heat radiating from her body, even between the many layers of clothing and our cloaks.

She pointed towards the western wall, where the clouds were beginning to darken the skies, and were lit from below by a pale blue light.

I lifted her into the baron’s coach, then Kuric and Durin followed me in. Ana crowded in next to them.

“This isn’t much of a plan,” Varis said, as he shut the door behind us.

“Half a plan is better than none,” Ana said. “If what the girl has said is true, it might work.”

“Has Silva been wrong before?” Durin asked.

“This would not be a good time to be the first,” Gilliam said, mounting. “Varis. Come on, we need to get to the wall and get those men organized.”

“Hurry back,” Varis said, slapping the side of the coach.

The coach lurched away at as fast a clip as it could manage on the streets of Threshold.

Glancing behind, I saw the group of nine families, hugging their brave daughters and sisters.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:15 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

Silva, Ana and I raced back to the wall ahead of the dwarves and the wagons. Though I got thoroughly turned around in the streets, Silva seemed to know exactly where she was going, her pony stretching out to a full gallop across the now-abandoned market square. Bigger though Ana and my own horses were, Silva’s mount was quick, and surer of its footing across the cobblestones.

She staggered as she slid from her saddle, but motioned Ana and I both away, clutching her arm close to her as she made her way up the stairs.

Gilliam and Varis waved as we reached the top of the wall, one from each end of the line of men who stood, pale-faced, clutching their longbows with trembling hands. No doubt the knuckles beneath their gloves were just as white as their faces.

The girls stood spaced among the men, their hair and dresses tossing in the cold winds that gusted from the west. Frightened though they may have been, each stood straight-backed, lips pressed to grim lines, staring with wide, blue eyes over the crenelations in the wall.

The Black Woods, visible as a low smudge against the mountains along the horizon, seemed to be burning. But the flames that licked at the trees and cast the glaring light up against the darkening, lowering stormclouds was not red, or orange, or even yellow.

The trees were lit with silver-blue flames. Every now and then, a streak of deep crimson — so deep as to be nearly black — would streak from the treetops, up to the clouds, to be answered with a bolt of lightning seconds later.

I clenched my fists at the sight, for what it was became immediately apparent to me: a working of druidic magics, so great as to be ceremonial in scope. A working to alter the weather, but on a scale I’d only read of in the legends of the elves. Larger even than that used to raise up Canolbarth.

The workings until now had been very subtle, akin to a breath of a whisper amidst a crowded room. But what was being crafted now was as a mighty roar, its weight and fury washing against my senses.

As the grounds of Korizegy were tainted with the touch of a demon, so, too, was the fabric of this magic touched with a cold, rust-like rot of some greater demon’s influence. My stomach turned, and I tried to repress a shiver that had nothing to do with the weather.

Suddenly, Silva’s illness did not seem so mysterious.

Beside me, Ana had gone positively gray. She clutched at the arrowhead-shaped pendant of sliver that hung at her breast.

“How could this be let to fester, to grow so powerful?” she whispered. She tore her eyes away from the trees. “Thorn, we haven’t a chance against it. Not even Gilliam would gamble such odds.” She tried to smile.

“How can you be so calm?” she asked me.

“One cannot chronicle while running away,” I replied. “Are you ready?”

The girl licked pale lips. “As ready as I will ever be,” she said, stepping forward.

Silva looked up at her, the smaller girls’ posture one of complete attention.

Ana began to chant her prayer for protection, to call forth a warding curtain of silver light.

Two lines into the prayer, Silva began to chant a counterpoint, and the thin thread of Ana’s magic began to unravel.

Her voice caught, as she, too, felt it, but at Silva’s sharp glance my way, I set a reassuring hand on Ana’s shoulder. The young servant of the Flame lifted her voice, the uncertainty fading.

Without any signal, the other girls lifted their voices, each pitched slightly differently, their chant catching a filament of Ana’s unravelling spell, weaving it back among its sisters, as the girls voices blended into the most complex, haunting harmony I’d ever heard.

What should have been a shimmering curtain of light as wide as two or three men abreast blazed to life, lifted on the girls’ voices, and settled into a towering wall of light, shining silvery-white, stretching the length of the section of wall upon which we all stood, from the ground before the wall, and extending the height of a hill giant above the crenelations.

Gilliam’s whoop of elation punctuated the girls’ weaving, dancing chant.

“Archers, ready!” Varis barked.

The men shook themselves from amazed gawping at the shining wall of light, fumbling to right the grips on their bows. With clattering and muttering, a score of longbows snapped to the ready position.

“Nock!”

Brittle, twig-like was the sound of the dozen and a half arrows sliding from quivers, and clacking against the haft of as many bows.

“Draw!”

The sound was almost musical, the thrum of twenty bows drawn smoothly back, fletchings held to cheeks.

“Sight!”

Per their instructions as they’d gathered and lined the wall, the archers shifted their footing, lifting their arrows to siege-height. The dwindling sunlight glinted off twenty silvered arrowheads.

Varis glanced back at me, and I listened intently to the tapestry of harmony, gauging the ebb and flow of the rhythm. Ana began the chant again, the fifth or sixth repetition, and Silva’s counterpoint changed to an even more complex cadence. The nine other girls followed suit, an the tightly-knit tapestry of voices scattered into a web of song and chant.

As the chant broke into waves of rondeau, one girl’s voice cascading into another, up and down the line, Varis didn’t seem to need my guidance any longer. He lifted his sword, and brought it down as the girl next to him sang out a high, mournful note.

As it fell, Varis dropped his sword, crying “Loose!”

Twenty silver-tipped shafts leapt from bowstrings, and it seemed that even the thrum of each of the strings was part of the magic Ana, Silva and her nine sisters were weaving.

The arrows sped up, pierced the wall of light, as the small choir of voices reached a crescendo.

The arrowheads burst into pure, bright silver flame, painfully bright to look at, and they arched up, up, canted as they were to soar over battlements. But instead, they sailed in bright arcs out over the farmsteads, hanging in the air an impossibly long stretch, before falling to the earth like stars, pinpoints of light shining out among the fields and farmsteads.

The storm, both above and among the trees, crept ever closer.

The archers shuffled their feet, fingers tapping on their bows to the rhythms of the girls’ chanting. It hadn’t ceased with the blazing display of silver across the sky, but their voices had dropped to mere whispers, each girl keeping her piece of the litany going just under her breath.

The resulting murmur sounded like wind through the old grove of oaks back on my father’s farmstead.
-------------------

I wish I could have found some good nine-part harmony sung by girls and/or women. It was a bit of a challenge, finding nine-part harmony at all. Of the few examples I was able to scrape up, the Beatles' "Because" from the Abbey Road album, is sung in nine-part harmony.

Chant versions are evident in the overtonal 'drone' of Gyuto monks' "throat-singing." Chilling, if you're not expecting it, uplifting once you get used to it.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:46 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

We felt the earth quake with each step of the monstrous, lumbering trees, heard the hollow booming, felt it shiver up from the roots of the wall.

And when the shambling, burning trees reached the line of flickering, sputtering arrows — still burning after nearly half an hour — they let up horrid shrieks, stopping dead as the air before them crackled with a silver webwork of magic.

Behind us, teams of three men were heaving at the thick, heavy ropes, steadily drawing down the throwing arms of the baron’s only two catapults.

The perimeter wall flashed again, the trees’ wail climbing into something of a roar. They were losing their fear of the magic.

“Quickly!” Ana shouted. “They grow more powerful in their anger!”

“This will put the fear of your Flame back into them,” Durin growled, as he emptied a bag of silver ingots into the catapult’s bucket. More of the townguards had formed a chain down the stairs to the wagons loaded with the Grand Duke’s precious silver stores, and they passed sack after sack steadily up to the two dwarves.

Silva stood at an embrasure, centered on our meager line of defense. She kept herself wrapped tightly in her cloak, clutching her right arm before her, but keeping it tightly covered. Her eyes watched the shimmering defensive line, and called out to one or another of the girls as the blue-limned trees thrashed against the fragile barrier of light.

The girls, in turn, altered their chanting, timing the harsher inflections to the impacts of the burning trees against the light, and the silver webwork flared, silver flames licking at the branches, scorching them whereas the blue fire did not. The chilling blue flames did not reappear where the trees blackened.

But the effort was beginning to show on the girls — their faces slowly lost the rosiness the wind had brought their cheeks and noses, and their voices were beginning to falter.

One girl’s voice broke, and she bent, doubling over with a dry coughing.

In the field, a portion of the wall flickered, and began to fade.

The two girls to either side raised their voices, sidling closer to each other, and the weakened portion of the light barrier flared, sending the trees cringing back from the light with howls of pain.

One of the archers knelt by the fallen girl, holding a tin cup to her lips.

Ana glanced sharply from one side to another.

“They cannot hold much longer,” she shouted.

“Done!” the dwarves called, flinging the last empty sacks back over their shoulders.

“Silva!”

She turned, nodding as she saw the catapults ready to go. She settled her flickering blue-white gaze on Ana.

The girl swallowed nervously, then straightened her back, squaring her shoulders as she lifted her arms to either side, beginning another chant.

This was was the one she’d chanted at the final conflict at Verge. But instead of the blade of her scythe glowing, the ingots began to shimmer and flicker to light.

Silva lifted her right arm, and we could see streamers of silvery-blue light peeking from gaps in the bindings.

Saaja!” she called, and the two men at the release levers tensed.

She waited a few more beats, as Ana came to the end of her chant, then snapped the fingers of her right hand.

Mujakt!” she shouted.

As she heard each throwing arm slam up against the padded brace, she tore the bindings away from her arm, and sang out the note she’d sung at Korizegy tower.

Overhead, the sky was full of blazing silver, tinged with the blazing blue light coursing upwards from Silva’s gauntlet, wreathed it in a blue fire of her own, lighter, paler, more delicate than what burned amongst the shrieking trees.

The girls brought their chant to a shouted crescendo, and the wall of light they maintained answered, flaring to rival the sunlight. The trees swayed back and away, smoldering against the glare.

The blazing silver ingots began to rain down, sizzling through the angry blue flames with bursts of silver-white fire, the wood bursting apart with sharp, hollow pops wherever an ingot smashed into it.

The angry roar climbed to fearful, anguished wailing as more and more silver streaked into the possessed trees.

Not a flicker of their blue flame remained, just piles of blasted, smoking timber.

The men lifted their bows in a shout of triumph. The girls looked more relieved than anything, some staring dazedly out at the fields while others, quicker to recover, danced with the bowman next to them.

Silva hopped from the wall, but landed badly, leaning heavily into the battlements, steadying herself with a hand as she bent under another coughing fit.

She tried to hide her hand under her cloak, as she straightened, but we already saw the scarlet droplets on the stones at her feet.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:59 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

“She is in better hands than mine with the Baron,” Ana said, when I asked her why she wasn’t with Silva. We were picking through the burned and shattered remains of the trees. A stench like bad eggs and burnt stone clung to the wood, but Ana insisted on combing through the wreckage to ensure that no trace of the demons’ possession remained.

I could feel no lingering presence within the remains, just the hollow echo of things once-living now gone. The roiling of my stomach had everything to do with the lingering stench.

“Are we finished here yet?” I asked through the rag about my face.

Ana swept her gaze across the shattered trees one last time, and then nodded. She reached into a pouch at her waist, and began scattering what looked like fine sand amongst the charred branches.

“These would have been mighty trees,” I said, as we walked back through the fields.

“They have been dead many years, Thorn. Nothing held by a demon for that long can survive. Be it man or beast or plant, it is better destroyed than to suffer that corrupting touch.”

We walked the rest of the way in silence, and by the time we reached Tarnskeep, a gentle snow had begun falling.



We returned to the kitchens to find Durin sitting slump-shouldered in front of a very large steaming mug. One whiff, and I knew that it held not tea, but a very strong brandy. He looked up as we shook out our cloaks.

“So, will you be joining me?” he asked.

Ana frowned.

“You might want one, would make breaking the news go much easier.”

“Out with it,” Ana snapped.

Durin heaved a sigh. “Which do you want? The bad, or the worst?”

Ana crossed her arms. “Start with the most recent,” she said.

Durin sighed again. “The scoundrel escaped.”

“Surely the baron’s men—”

“Half a dozen dead. Four injured.”

“How?”

“The dungeons reek of burnt stone and flesh,” the dwarf said with a wrinkling of his nose.

Ana retrieved her scythe from the corner, and left the kitchen at a very fast walk.

“So was that the bad, or the worst?”

Durin took another long pull from the mug. My eyes watered at the thought of what that much brandy would do to my throat.

“Silva is dying,” he said, his voice rough, and not, I suspected, from the brandy.


The news rocked me on my feet.

“Told you you’d want one of these,” he said, lifting his mug.

“Surely, Halaran—”

“The Baron has done everything in his power. And that is considerable. But it looks as if this is as the Immortals will it. He can ease her suffering, for a time, but…” he sighed, and took another swig.

I left the kitchens, and made my way through the keep, to the sleeping quarters. Silva’s room was easy to find — the girls were gathered in grim silence outside her door, some along the far wall, some standing, some sitting with arms around their knees.

They moved shoulder to shoulder in front of the door as I approached.

“She is finally asleep,” the eldest said.

“How is she? How are all of you?” I asked.

The girls looked amongst each other. One hiccuped. There was a long, tense silence. The corner of the eldest girl’s mouth twitched.

There was a giggle, behind me. Another to my left.

“This is nothing to—” I started, and then stepped between the girls, pushing the door open.

Silva sat propped up in her bed, a tray containing a large bowl balanced across her knees.

Namas’te, Thor-n!” she said, her voice scratchy. “Is good.” She gestured to the bowl with her spoon.

“We would have had him if you hadn’t giggled!” one of the girls hissed behind me.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle Crunch

Postby RobJN » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:13 pm

Song, and Countersong

Magic works much as it does for clerics: words and gestures need be spoken and signed in order to shape and release the power in the form of a spell.

Hennings and Crit, conducting research in the mountain vaults of Booh, found that the echo of an incantation, timed precisely, could negate the spell, sometimes with disastrous results![1] They also found that sound, channelled through certain types of crystal, would be greatly amplified, at times to greaten the effect of a spell[2]. In their explorations, they conducted many interviews with the gnomes and dwarves of the caverns beneath Booh, and found that the effects of echoes and crystals were already widely known amongst those kind. They were able to show, also, that two crystals of certain types, vibrating in concert, would blanket an entire cavern in silence[3] (thus dispelling the rumours that dwarves could sleep through dragon bellows and cave-ins)

In chronicling the few brief encounters they witnessed between Dwarves and the cave-dwelling boggarts, Hennings and Crit also were able to begin work on another branch of research. The dwarves, fighting in common phalanx formation, chanted as they advanced -- not so uncommon in military formations -- however, they had amongst them a clan priest, who bestowed a simple blessing upon them before they engaged in combat, and the dwarves' chant actually served to perpetuate the spell's effect until such a time as a number of dwarves fell in battle, and the chant faltered.[4]

Unfortunately, Hennings and Crit's experiments with dwarven voice and crystals failed to yield results under open sky.[5] They surmised that the caverns and tunnels themselves served as a sort of 'container' for the sounds and vibrations that otherwise would dissipate too widely in the open air.

Their research was picked up some years later by, of all people, the University Girl's Choir director Phineas Krill. It turned out, one of his students was a fledgling student of the College Magica, and in small group exercises, he asked the student to share a simple incantation to bring forth light with her peers. Turning the incantation to a harmonized chanty, Krill unlocked the secret that had eluded Hennings and Crit. The crystals adorning the eaves of the music hall glow to this day.

The College Magica, naturally, quashed Krill's research, and geased the student body of the musical branch not to speak of the effect to anybody.
------------------------
Dubbed "Chained Harmonics" by Phineas Krill, the effects of multiple voices on a magical incantation can be many and varied. Of the more useful applications:

Extended range: For each voice in the rondeau, the range or area of effect is increased by 1/4.
Extended duration: For each voice in the rondeau, the duration is increased by the total of the participants' skill slots devoted to Singing. For example, a mage casting "Wall of Ice" with a choir of 4, each with a single slot devoted to Singing would be able to extend the spell an additional 4 turns.
Bolster caster level: For every 4 voices in the choir, the effective level of the spell caster is raised by 1 level, and all effects based on the level of the caster(range, damage, duration) use this increased number.

It is worth noting that spells can only be effected if they have a duration of one turn or longer. Also, a range cannot be extended if it relies on a touch.


1, 2, 3: Hennings & Crit, (2022 AUE) "Of Song and Silence," Blackmoor Journal Scientifica, pp. 3, 5, 77.
4, 5: Hennings & Crit. (2028 AUE) "Chanty and Rondeau and the Metered Effect on Magic," Blackmoor Journal Scientifica, pp. 34, 37
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:28 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues....


“It does me good to see them like this, as children should be,” the baron said, watching the girls tumbling and thrashing in the courtyard’s snow.

Durin roared in mock fury as snowballs pelted him from all directions.

I glanced up, and saw Silva, perched on the sill of the second floor window, dividing her attention between the girls and the scarlet-laced clouds that roiled about the Black Peaks.

“Patience,” the baron said, setting a hand on my shoulder. He’d seen my gaze stray to the west, as well. “I shall go to Specularum. I will account for my actions to the Grand Duke, and will beseech him for formal aid. I will petition for an armed expedition into the Black Peaks, we will assess the gravity of the threat, and deal with it accordingly. Rushing off, blindly, and playing out our trump card on the first move of the game does not strike me as the wisest of moves.” His eyes strayed upwards, and then they settled on my own.

“I have faith that Stefan will —”

“Your Lordship!” huffed a man-at-arms, clanking through the snows at a brisk jog. He snapped a salute, and a stray snowball caught him across the face.

“Beg pardon, Your Lordship,” the man said, spitting snow. “Column at the gate, Your Lordship. Colors sable upon argent, and azure upon argent.”
The baron’s eyes hardened to ice as the frown furrowed his brow. “What in Halav’s name—”

A muted jangle of many pairs of spurs interrupted Baron Halaran, and the girls scurried from the path of the dozen armed and armored men who trooped through the courtyard. One stepped forward, and unfurled a length of scroll, holding it out at arm’s length.

“Baron Sherlane Halaran? Patriarch of the Church of Karameikos, Shield of the North, Lord over the Lake Windrush and township of Threshold and all the lands surround—”

“Yes, yes, that is me,” the baron snapped. “What business have you barging into my home of Tarnskeep without invite or preamble of hearthsharing? I assure you, if you are on your way through the mountains, you will find them thoroughly snowed-in, even so early in the season.”

“Your Lordship will pardon this humble servant of the Grand Duke,” the man holding the scroll said. “But we are here as agents of Grand Duke Stefan Karameikos, and need seek no invitation to enter the lands or houses of the Baron Sherlane Halaran, who is hereby placed under arrest, to be brought immediately to Specularum to answer to the Grand Duke’s justice.”
Last edited by RobJN on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby Chimpman » Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:41 pm

Oh man... that's not good.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:08 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues....

The list of charges was impressive, as the magistrate read them out at the Baron’s request: harboring enemies of the Duchy, consorting with witches, theft, bribery, false imprisonment.

The dwarves bristled, but Gilliam and Varis set hands on their shoulders.

We had little choice but to stand and watch, as a group of armed men entered Tarnskeep. Some minutes later, they emerged, with the ladies Nevinia and Listelle. They glanced at the baron, but he merely smiled apologetically. Their faces were cool, smooth, eyes and expression unreadable.

After another long wait, the last two men trooped out.

“Well? We were told there would be a third witch. Where is she?” the magistrate asked.

“Perhaps you were misinformed,” the baron said.

“Maybe she’s hiding among this rabble,” another of the guards said, his armor emblazoned with von Hendricks’ eagle. He reached towards one of the girls, huddled in a group to one side of the courtyard.

“You will not lay a hand upon any of them. They are my subjects, and still under my protection.”

The guard sneered, and reached again for one of the girls. She gave a gasp and shuffled back a step.

“You will hold!” the baron said, his back gone even straighter.

The guard’s eyes widened, his arm locking in place. Cords in his neck stood out, but it was as if he’d been suddenly set in stone.

Swords rang as they unsheathed from black-and-silver scabbards.

“Hold your weapons!” the magistrate shouted. “His Lordship has valid claim and cause for his actions. He has not been stripped of lands nor title, and he acts in defense of his people. You, men, will sheathe your swords at once or I will dismiss you.”

I counted twice as many in the Grand Duke’s colors as those of the Black Eagle, and those who’d drawn quickly returned their swords to their homes.

“And you,” the magistrate said, rounding on the guard frozen in place, “are not the acting magistrate here. If only two were found, then that is how many we will take back to the capital. We do not have the resources for a full search of the barony, generous though the offer of aid from the Black Eagle was. We will take advantage of this break in the weather and move out at once. That is, if Your Lordship would be so kind as to release this poor mistaken soldier?”

Baron Halaran nodded politely, and waved a hand. The man bound by the baron’s magic staggered, then regained his composure, turning and marching back to the ranks of von Hendricks’ men.

The baron had his carriage brought around, and he and the two instructors from the Tower got in, bidding us a brief farewell.

We gathered our belongings, and left Tarnskeep, escorting the girls to their homes. Varis and Gilliam secured our rooms at the Hook and Hatchet, and as the sun set, we retired to one of the private dining rooms, to discuss future plans.
Last edited by RobJN on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:51 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues....

Waxing crescent of the Deep Snows (on or about Kaldmont 3, 997AC)

“Black and silver watching the alleyways, as well,” Gilliam said, of the view from the private dining room’s window.

“Demons afoot, villages nearly burned to the ground, and this Grand Duke spends manpower scouring a township for a little girl,” Durin said, crossing his arms.

“As far as the Grand Duke is concerned, that ‘little girl’ is at the root of both of those problems,” Ana said. “It seems pretty clear, black on this hand, white on the other, what is going on up here in the north of the Duchy.”

“Nonsense!” the dwarf barked.

“That’s the rigid, corset-minded thinking we’ve all heard about from the followers of the Flame,” Gilliam said with a smile. “We were beginning to think you were an impostor.”

Ana tried to scowl, but a smile ruined it. “I am not nearly high enough in the hierarchy to have narrowed my thinking quite so much,” she said, lifting her nose.

“Is it rising through the ranks of clergy that narrows one’s vision, or a narrow-eyed perspective that allows such a rising?” Varis asked.

“I’d be willing to bet that they are still debating that behind closed doors,” Gilliam said. He cast a sidelong glance at Ana, who pretended quite convincingly that she hadn’t heard him.

The rhythmic thump-thump-thumping of Kuric’s pacing suddenly ceased, and we all looked up at the silence.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “‘Guests’ of this Grand Duke until his clerks arrive to take statements? They may as well have thrown us in the dungeons beneath Tarnskeep.”

“I have the feeling that if there had been more of the Black Eagle’s men here, that’s where we would have ended up,” Varis said.

“I’ll take house arrest to a cold, dank dungeon any day.”

We all looked over at Gilliam, but he had gone back to staring out the window.

“I’ve been watching their shift changes, and if the pattern keeps up, we’ll be surrounded by the Black Eagle’s men in another two or three rotations.”

Varis drummed his fingers on the table, and Kuric started pacing again, stomping a bit harder this time.

“Well, isn’t that convenient for the Black Eagle?” the dwarf spat. “Tightening the noose around our necks for one purpose or another.”

There came a tap on the door, and we all looked up, at each other.

“What is it?” Varis asked, moving to the door, a hand at the knife on his belt.

“Refreshment, if you please.” Varis’ hand eased from his knife, as he recognized the servingwoman’s voice.

“We did not—”

“Please, sir, I am bid bring this to you from another patron downstairs.”

Varis glanced between myself and Gilliam, and the other warrior stepped away from the window, the quizzical look in his eye doing nothing to soften the frown.

“Bid by whom?” Varis asked.

“Please, sir, I am just to bring refreshment, and leave the remainder of the coin with you.”

Varis unbolted the door, and the serving woman bobbed a curtsey, bringing in a tray with two large pitchers, cups, and a small, worked-leather belt pouch.

I caught a scent of winterberry from the pitchers.

Durin sucked in a sharp breath at the sight the pouch, and Ana sat up straighter, glancing intently about the room.

“Thank you,” Gilliam said, sliding one of the silver marks from the tray and pressing it to the woman’s hand.

Her eyes widened at the generosity, and she stammered more thanks as she closed the door behind her.

Varis slid the bolt back home, and Gilliam hauled the curtain across the window.

There was a rippling in the air by the hearth, right where Ana’s gaze had settled a moment before, and firelight glinted off gold and silver and white as Silva huddled before the fire, her hands shaking, the last of a hazy blue nimbus fading from around her right arm.

Namas’te,” she said, through chattering teeth, and smiled a tired smile. “Kuzalam?
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby Chimpman » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:50 pm

Hey Rob, it's getting good again! So I presume Silva turned invisible in order to elude the search, and had one of her friends knock on the door just to get the group to open it? It also looks like Bargle is not acting on his own, and has the full backing of the Black Eagle. I'm wondering exactly how you will portray Stephan... will he be the good hearted ruler of Karameikos, or something darker? Can't wait to find out!

Oh, by the way... I think I've become sufficiently inspired to try my hand at my own story. Look for it soon ;)
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:51 pm

Chimpman wrote:Hey Rob, it's getting good again! So I presume Silva turned invisible in order to elude the search, and had one of her friends knock on the door just to get the group to open it?


Correct-- while Durin reacts to the sight of Silva's belt pouch, Ana senses Silva's Veil of Mirrors, as she had when the girl used it against Gilliam's snowball attacks.

It also looks like Bargle is not acting on his own, and has the full backing of the Black Eagle. I'm wondering exactly how you will portray Stephan... will he be the good hearted ruler of Karameikos, or something darker? Can't wait to find out!


The next couple of sections should reveal something of Stephan's character. I dare not say more lest I give something good away... :evil:

Oh, by the way... I think I've become sufficiently inspired to try my hand at my own story. Look for it soon ;)
[/quote]


I look forward to reading it!
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Thorn's Chronicle Crunch (now with EXTRA CRUNCH!): Tarwin's

Postby RobJN » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:33 pm

So, in digging through my notes, I've put together a (very!) rough sketch of the trigger encounter from Thorn's Chronicle.

I tend to play a very fast-and-loose style, so there aren't a whole lot of hard and fast numbers to deal with, just some guidelines. It is intended, I suppose, so that the DM can custom tailor the encounter to the number and level of PCs: lots of baddies if the PCs are numerous or powerful, or lesser numbers if the PCs are barely 2nd level.

So, with no further ado, I give you: Tarwin's Gap

As always, questions, comments, flames are welcome :)
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Re: [Campaign Journal/Story Hour]: Thorn's Chronicle

Postby RobJN » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:39 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues....

Through word-swapping and pantomime, we were able to learn that Silva had cloaked herself and slipped away when the soldiers came to take away the baron. She’d been watching the inn for the past two days.

“But it is dangerous here,” Durin said. “It is foolish to risk discovery to simply pay us a visit! You cannot stay.”

Silva shook her head. “Nieah. No stay,” she said. “Go. We go.”

Varis and Gilliam both raised eyebrows and shared a glance.

“I’m almost afraid to ask,” said Gilliam, “but… where are we to go?”

Kva?” I translated, when she frowned over at me.

Iya’te asta. Iya’te at girijaala.” She pointed out the window, which faced the west.

Gilliam sighed. “I knew I shouldn’t have asked.”

At Silva’s behest, we waited. The serving woman brought us an early supper of a thick chicken stew, laced with dumplings, loaves of thick, brown bread, and nearly half a wheel of a sharp orange cheese. The serving woman frowned at the size of the meal, but Gilliam assured her that dwarves ate two or three times what a normal man ate. That seemed to satisfy her curiosity, and she left with another silver in her hand and smile on her face.

About halfway through the meal, we heard a familiar voice in the hallway — the eldest of Silva’s sisters.

“Oh, no, sirs, this is compliments of the house. My uncle is most grateful for your guarding these dangerous upstarts. He’s upset enough at them driving away half his normal business.”

“Well… “ hedged one of the guards. “What can it hurt? Nothing better to do than have a cup or two. I won’t tell the commander if you won’t,” he said, and there was laughter and a hard ‘tok’ of mugs meeting in a toast.

Not twenty minutes later, we heard a clattering from outside the door, followed by snoring.

“A good thing there are no dragons nearby,” Gilliam said. “This would awaken it for sure!”

There was a jangling of keys on a ring, and a ‘clack’ as the lock disengaged. The girl — dressed convincingly in the white blouse and dark skirts of the serving girls of the inn — poked her head in, smiling.

“Tea cake and winterberry pie,” she said, pushing the door open the rest of the way.

Kuric and Durin glanced at each other. “We didn’t order dessert.”

“It’s a Traladaran adage,” Varis explained. “Meaning that a task is quite simple.”

Kuric frowned, and Durin harumphed as he finished off his cup of winterberry punch. “Must all of your sayings involve food or drink? And they say dwarves only think with their stomachs!”

Silva cleared her throat, and in the sudden silence, we heard the quiet tapping of her foot. As all our eyes turned to her, she made a ‘shoo’-ing gesture towards the door.

Gilliam finished bundling the bread and cheese in the table cloth and I followed him out the door, stepping over the two slumbering guards.


The Hook and Hatchet was quiet, save the snoring of our guards at the door, and another pair in the common room. The innkeeper nodded to us politely as we filed through, pointing the way through the kitchens to the girl leading us.

We were met by the kitchen’s delivery doors by the rest of Silva’s sisters, who each handed us a pack and cloak. Another struggled under the weight of our weaponry, which clanked and rattled as she shifted from foot to foot. Her smile grew wider as we each lightened her burden.

“This way, quickly!” the elder girl hissed, tugging her own cloak about her shoulders as she darted through the inn’s yard, to the stable doors. She knocked, paused, knocked again, and one of the large doors creaked open. We hurried across the open yard, stopping in pools of shadow as one or another of the Black Eagle’s guards passed the corner.

A lantern’s light shining in a rear stall beckoned us deeper into the stable, and we saw our mounts, saddled and ready, the reigns handled by several men in deep blue cloaks.

“Took you long enough,” the shorter figure at the back of one of the stalls said, and we caught a flash of blonde hair and blue eyes as she drew her hood up. “Mount, and be ready.”

She reached up, and tugged at a peg on the back wall, and the wood and stone paneling gave a creak and shiver, then slid away to reveal the dark alleyway behind the Hook and Hatchet.

“Quickly now, while the guards are between shifts!” Aleena hissed, and we filed past her at a walk, Silva huddling on the back of the pack mule, looking like one more sack amongst the supplies.
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