[Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Tue May 22, 2012 7:32 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

The evening meal seemed quite merry, on the surface. Varis and Gilliam both had stories of an adventure of theirs from before our meeting, and Demarra produced a strange, spidery gnomish device that played three flutes at once when the bellows were worked. She insisted that we dance to one of the livelier tunes to come out of the thing, and after a few turns with me, she pushed me towards Sera.

Once she got over her initial shyness, the weaver turned out to have a very fine sense of rhythm and timing.

The music slowed, to an old Darokinian ballad. Once more, the feeling of heat fluttered through my stomach, my fingers tingling where they met with Sera’s. She would not meet my eyes, but the blush at her cheeks, I knew, was not from the exertion of the two dances before.

The fire was burning low by that point. The sweet smell of the tabbac from Gilliam’s pipe— a not inexpensive Shire blend— drifted lazily above the campsite. Silva lay with her head on Aurora’s lap, already bundled in her bedroll, her silvery eyes barely open as the shrike hummed the ages old lullaby.

“Time, I think, for us to sleep,” Demarra said, folding up the gnomish contraption. “There are beds enough in the vardo for us all, ladies. Sorry, my Karos. Perhaps when Ana takes her turn at the watch….”

“I think we shall take that shift together,” I said. Too loudly?

So was the watch order decided for the rest of our trip through the Lowlands.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby Chimpman » Tue May 22, 2012 10:56 pm

Very nice! There are some hints of secrets sprinkled throughout these last posts - I'm not sure if you've touched on this before, but what debt do the Darrine owe (and why)?
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Wed May 23, 2012 5:13 am

Chimpman wrote:Very nice! There are some hints of secrets sprinkled throughout these last posts - I'm not sure if you've touched on this before, but what debt do the Darrine owe (and why)?

The Darine tribe of Traldar left their lands in the earliest years of the Beast Man invasion. Legends say because they turned their back on family, fields, and hearth, the Immortals cursed them, that they should have none of those things, if they ever settled again.

As with most legends, the gist of things are correct, while losing most of the details through the ages.

When Zirchev stole the magical Eyes, he was cursed, by immortals, certainly, but not any of the Immortals. A circle of White Witches laid the curst upon Zirchev. Foiling it was quite simple: return the stones, and the curse would be lifted. But Zirchev had already used one of them, and saw that without them, his nation would fall to the Beast Men. So he cut a deal to be allowed to use the stones to save his people, in exchange for their finding ALL of the missing stones, not only in the Traldar lands, but all the lands across Brun.

Each year, at the Festival of Falling Stars, one or another of the clans present that years' findings to the High Priest of Zirchev's order. They renew their vows to forsake their claim of any lands and resume the search, in the hope of paying off their patron Immortal's debt to the White Witches.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Wed May 23, 2012 10:34 pm

First Waxing Crescent Moon (on or about Nuwmont 2-3, 998AC)

I nearly forgot just how cold mornings were in the mountains. Particularly the mountains of northern Karameikos. Particularly in the tail end of an unusually savage winter from which the lands still recovered.

Our second day on the road was unremarkable. Despite the conditions of the trails, Demarra’s vardo did not falter in the muck. It only took until sundown for Gilliam to give up placing bets with the woman on whether or not the wagon would mire.

“It’s unnatural,” the warrior complained to Varis. “The draft horses nearly went into that puddle up to their knees. You saw it,” he said, turning to me. “Tell me that is not natural.”

“Where roads and travel are involved, very little the Darine do could be considered ‘natural,’” I told him. “Why do you think the Darokin merchants are so tolerant of them mingling with their caravans?”

I woke well before dawn on the third day. I felt the tingling of Sera’s work at the borders of our little camp site, knew that she’d woven a buffer of air and heat between us and the cold winter’s night. So the cold sank only skin deep, rather than into the bones. Fortunately, her wardings also served to keep the heat of the campfire from leeching away as well.

Gilliam came closer to the fire as I coaxed it to life, rubbing his hands together.

“Morning greet you,” I said, inclining my head.

“And you as well,” he said, through chattering teeth. “Your pardon if we forego the ritual of waters. Mine seems to’ve frozen in its skin.” The warrior flexed his fingers before slipping his gloves back on. “Is it just me, or is it slightly warmer here?”

“A working of Sera’s,” I said. “Some sort of warding of Thought and Energy, to keep the worst of the night’s cold at bay.”

“Did she work any magics to keep the wildlife at bay, as well?”

I frowned. “She didn’t mention it.” I concentrated, leaning slightly on my awareness of the weaver. She was still asleep in the vardo, quite warm. And dreaming of— Well, she dreamt, and I will leave it at that.

Ever so faintly, the threads of Thought and Energy shimmered at the corners of my vision. I turned a slow circle. “I do not sense any threads of Entropy, beyond those needed to anchor the warding,” I said.

“It was a very quiet night. Too quiet.” He huddled closer to the fire, feeding it extra kindling. “Can’t you just do that thing you usually do?” he asked, waggling his gloved fingers at the slowly growing flames.

“Not today,” I said.

“Don’t tell me, it’s your weaver’s time of the moon, and it’s effecting your magic, too?”

I shook my head. “Ah, no. It has more to do with the night’s unusual quiet. Let us just say, the less magic used today, the better. And she is not my weaver.”

Gilliam snorted. “Keep telling yourself that, Thorn. I almost envy you.”

Varis hunched down next to us, the battered helmet that had become our cook pot held in his gloved hands, heaped with fresh snow. I took hold of the chin strap, hanging it over the tripod Gilliam had erected from the longer branches we’d collected the day before. One learns very quickly, I was told, not to invest in such trivialities as cook pots and fancy trail gear. Having lost most of our supplies on the way to the Lost Valley, I could not argue the point.

“I don’t suppose you could get that to boil a bit faster?” the bigger warrior asked, rubbing his upper arms.

“Not today,” I said, again.

The vardo’s door creaked open, the brass chimes jingling. Aurora stepped lightly into the cold ground, and I heard the two men beside me suck in sharp breaths.

“That ground is still half-frozen,” Gilliam muttered. “I just want to hold them down and put some hose on them.”

“You’re more than welcome to try,” Varis said. “I’ll give you ten to one odds on the little one.”

Aurora reached up, but Silva ignored her sister’s hand. In fact, she ignored the steps as well, jumping from the doorsill to land a good yard behind the shrike. Aurora shook her head, closing the door quietly while giving her twin a sour look.

It earned her a face full of snowball.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Thu May 24, 2012 9:54 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


Silva’s laughter was like the silvery chimes that adorned the far corner of the vardo. Aurora had barely brushed the snow from her hair when another smacked into her shoulder, causing her to sputter and spit out the half mouthful of snow.

“Which of us is supposed to be the elder?” she called, ducking a third snowy projectile.

“I have been caged, and then with the sickness,” Silva said. “You have much more time to play in the winter-fall than I.”

“I was busy helping this sorry lot turn the weather right side up!” Aurora shouted, flinging a snowball of her own. Silva’s form blurred, then resolved a foot to the left, untouched by snow.

“You spend too many times at work. Play for a time, like when we were growing up.” She lobbed another snowball.

I’d seen her throw rocks hard enough to stagger an ogre. She was pulling her punches.

Aurora threw two more snowballs, one passing through another image of her sister, the second spattering over Silva’s gown as she rematerialized. She gave a shriek of surprise.

Ogres…

“Girls!” I called. “Girls!” I shouted, as loudly as I dared.

They looked up, arms full of snow, poised to shower each other. Gold and silver eyes blinked, each a picture of innocence.

“I would remind you that we are in ogre territory. Hungry ogres are very light sleepers. The two of you are making nearly enough noise to wake the dead.”

They stared at each other for a long moment before Aurora let her armload of snow plop to the ground. After which point Silva flung hers at the shrike, who scrambled backwards with a very unladylike curse.

“Girls!”

Silva swallowed her laughter, holding her hands clasped before her, her head slightly bowed.

“Akhada’kha tadiya zalaka payassa?” she whispered to her sister.

Aurora giggled, despire her dripping hair.

“He makes the words, just like Father,” Silva whispered — in her broken Thyatian, no doubt for my benefit— with a pout.

Aurora tried to scowl. “Shush. You are the elder. You must set the example.”
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Thu May 24, 2012 11:23 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


I put the twins to work feeding the horses, and busied myself making a similar morning meal for my companions: a gruel of oats and a bit of barley, spiced with cinnamon and sage. Gilliam nearly wept when he saw that Demarra had a store of kaffa beans.

“Thorn, if you do not want the Darra, I will gladly take her off your hands,” he said, counting out the beans and then setting to work with mortar and pestle.

“I am not his to give or take.”

Gilliam very nearly overturned the mortar. “How did you—“

Demarra smiled. She stood over our shoulders, clad in a garish mix of purple and yellow and red wool, all of it accented with jewelry of gold. Neither of us had heard the brass chimes, nor the creak of the door. A glance at the vardo revealed no more than the gentle sway of the various chimes in the morning breeze.

“If you are good,” the Darra said, “I have a cousin I could introduce you to. Several cousins, if that is your preference.”

“Please, do not encourage him.” The chimes rang out as Ana stepped down from the vardo, pulling her cloak tighter against her shoulders. She wore a knee-length tunic of white wool over cream colored leather breeches. The silver flame-shaped pendant glittered at her breast.

Demarra laughed. “I would give him a week before they manage to break him,” she said.

Gilliam’s smile broadened. “Now that’s a bet I’ll happily take up.“

Ana muttered something about “men,” and stomped across the camp, to check on the twins.

She returned a bit later, the girls in tow, and Sera finally joined us, settling next to me, huddling over her steaming bowl of gruel.

“Thorn tells us we tread on ogre’s territory,” Varis said, finally breaking the silence after we’d all taken a few spoonfuls of breakfast. “Did you not think to mention this to us a bit sooner?”

Demarra shrugged. “We travel a long-disused trade road. We should be the only ones on the trail for quite some days, still.”

“And what of Achl’ss?” I asked.

The Darra waved a hand. “The green should still be fast asleep on her hoard. You know the greens do not like the cold any better than the black. If we are quiet, and avoid the use of magics for a few days’ travel, we will be fine.”

Varis frowned, as did Ana. “How would you like to make that bet?” the cleric of the Flame asked Gilliam.

He shook his head. “Oh, no. Only a fool bets when dragons are involved.”

We all turned to regard Demarra, but she only shrugged again. “Do not mistake confidence for foolishness,” she said. “If the Darine had to take the long road ‘round every time dragons and ogres were involved, we would have never left Traladara, for all our wandering.” She raised her arm, shaking it so that the bracelets slipped far enough down her wrist to reveal the faintly glowing glyph. “This is road the gift bids me follow, and I have never doubted Zirchev’s guidance.”
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Thu May 24, 2012 11:30 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

A thrush’s call drifted on the cold morning wind, and Varis raised his hand, bringing our small column to a halt.

The thrush’s call was followed by a winter magpie: Danger approaches.

We all dropped from our saddles, with the exception of Varis, who plucked his shield from its place on his horse’s flank.

“Into the wagon, you two!” he shouted at the twins, drawing his sword and guiding his mount in a slow circle, getting it used to taking guidance from the warrior’s knees rather than the reins.

Gilliam’s white charged around the bend in the trail, the saddle empty. I heard Ana and Sera gasp, but moments later, the warrior bounded into view, loosing two arrows in rapid succession.

Two ogres plodded along the trail, each bristling with arrow shafts, fighting as much with each other as trying to squash Gilliam with their great clubs.

“What was that about this road being abandoned?” Ana asked the Darra. She tugged at the cord holding the leather cover over the blade of her scythe.

Varis spurred his horse forward, his shout of challenge distracting the ogres enough that Gilliam could gain more distance on them along the road.

The closest of the ogres swung, and Varis ducked, bringing his sword out as he charged past. The ogre bellowed, but appeared more surprised than hurt. Varis’ blade didn’t come away stained with blood; the ogre must have been wearing several layers of furs and leathers.

Gilliam kept the arrows hissing at both creatures, and they waved them away as we might buzzing flies. Varis took the opportunity to turn his mount, readying to make another pass.

One of the ogres swiped at Gilliam with a bellow, sending up a plume of snow and frozen chips of mud. Its yellow eyes fell on the vardo, and it gave another rumbling growl, swatting the bowman aside as it stomped down the trail towards us.

Gilliam rolled as he hit the ground, came up kneeling, shaking his head, fumbling with shaking hands as he tried to nock another arrow.

Ana checked her grip on the haft of her scythe.

A clang of wood upon metal told us Varis was engaged with the other ogre. We were on our own.

I readied my grip on my staff, keeping well to one side of the reach of Ana’s blade. I raised my staff.

“Begone!” I called to the beast. “We are travelers, and will be through your lands before the sun sets! We do not wish to—“

The ogre did not wish to let me continue, and I had to duck its wide-armed swing.

Ana stepped into a swing of her own, but the silver blade chimed as it struck metal beneath the ogre’s leg-wrappings.

Sera gave a shriek, backpedaling as the ogre reached past me. The horse gave a frightened whinny of its own, lashing out with its hooves. It had better luck, and the ogre howled, stepping back and sucking at its hand.

“It’s after the horses!” Ana shouted. Her swing was better aimed, but the ogre stepped aside, and she was only able to nick it’s great hairy knee. She barely ducked under its retaliatory swipe.

I leapt in, bringing my staff down on the ogre’s foot. I got the back of it’s hand for my efforts, and the clamor of battle was drowned under a great surging roar that rang in my ears. The sky swam, overbright, blotted out by two clubs raised above me.

The creature gave a roar as something struck it in the shoulder. It gave another roar, it’s head snapping back. A rock bounced into the ground nearby, and I blinked hard, as it finally resolved into but a single image.

A flash of white, whiter than the snow darted over me, a glint of silver as a pale hand scooped up the rock. Snow flew as Silva turned, adding that momentum to the throw. The ogre howled a third time. She knelt, tugging at my arm. “Up! Up, Thorn!”

The ogre's howl turned to a roar, its shadow looming over us. It brought the club down in a two-handed overhead swing.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Fri May 25, 2012 11:01 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


The air shimmered, about a foot over Silva’s head, and blue-white sparks and splinters showered over us as the ogre’s club smashed into what seemed to be empty air.

Sera stood nearby, hands outstretched, fingers flexed as she held together a weaving of Thought.

The air thrummed, and Aurora’s knife spun end-over-end, trailing purple-black flame. It struck the ogre high in the shoulder, the stone in the blade pulsing, sending streamers of inky blackness creeping outward from the wound. The ogre’s growl climbed to a howl of pain.

The ground beneath me gave a shudder, and I heard Silva whisper something, a spidery, slippery word that could only be True Magic. Her fingers tensed against the ground beside me, and the trail at the ogre’s feet begin to steam. In moments the ogre was struggling to pull itself from a soupy, oozing mess of mud and liquefying rock.

Ana balked at the edge of the bubbling circle of muck. Aurora shouted a word, and the gem on the knife pulsed again. Another moment, and the ogre was wrapped completely in the webbing of shadows, its struggles growing more frantic.

Silva helped me to my feet, keeping me upright as the world heaved and spun around me.

I could hear Varis and Gilliam talking, but their words echoed in my hearing, lost beneath the ringing that still throbbed through my head. I saw Aurora walk across the oozing patch of trail, and jerk the knife from the writing mass of the shadow-wrapped ogre. The blackness collapsed on itself, tattering and blowing away in the cold winds coming down the mountains.

I felt hands at my shoulders, and sat as they bid me, against the wheel of the vardo. I leaned back, closing my eyes, just for a moment….

Glimmers of white light crept into my vision, and I felt a small hand in my own. I opened my eyes to see Silva staring down at me, the frown easing from her pale features.
She held one finger up, and nodded as I followed it to the left and then right.

I struggled to my feet. My head throbbed, but nowhere near as badly as it had moments before. I was certain that I sported quite a bruise, much like Gilliam had across one side of his face. His left arm was in a sling, and Ana was binding it in place with a long strip of linen, chiding him again for trying to draw a bow with a dislocated shoulder.

“It would serve you right if you never drew one again,” she was saying, tugging at the knots. “And don’t you dare cut through these bindings.”

A clamor of stone on metal drew my attention to Varis, who was working a dent out of his helm.

“Looks like we might have a new candidate for the cookpot,” he said.

Sera crouched, holding out her hands. “May I?”

Varis handed her the helm and rock. She gave the rock a strange look, letting it fall to the ground, then waved her fingers over the helm, fingers moving as if to pluck the strings of a lute or lyre.

A sharp tingle shivered through my palms, and I flexed my fingers on reflex. Varis’ helm glowed, white-hot for a moment, and Sera passed her hand over the dent. She plunged the helm into the snows piled by the trail, a gout of steam billowing forth, then handed it back to the warrior.

Varis turned it this way and that, running his fingers over the metal, knocking on it. He smiled. “Amazing,” he said. “It’s good as new.”

“Better,” Sera said. “I have realigned the matrices of the metals, that they might strengthen each other.”

“Let me see that,” Aurora said, bending to peer at the helm. She held a hand over it, a glimmer of reddish light seeping from one of the stones adorning that wrist. She frowned, pursing her lips.

“It would take a dragon’s weight to crush it, now,” she said.

“Macha would have me use this weaving along the edges of his knives,” Sera said. “I only just now thought to apply it to the piece as a whole.”

“If you are through playing house, the gift bids us forward,” Demarra called, from where she lounged on the driver’s bench.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Fri May 25, 2012 10:33 pm

Some notes on the Night's Embrace spell/effect that Aurora invokes can be found on the Facebook page.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Sat May 26, 2012 4:54 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


It was slower going, picking our way around the other fallen ogre. The trail wound to the north, the ground becoming rockier, and Demarra had to navigate off the trails around two rockfalls. We had to lever the vardo from a boggy patch, after which most of us were covered in clinging, half-frozen mud past our knees. Once the vardo was freed, it was agreed that we would take a midday meal.

The gray light of the late morning dimmed further, and when it did not immediately brighten again, I glanced up to see just how large the clump of clouds must be. I nearly fell over backwards. It was no cloud at all, but a steadily growing winged, serpentine shape.

Varis and Gilliam scrambled for their weapons, and Ana grasped her symbol of faith. I felt the calming, golden warmth as Sera drew in threads from the Spheres.

By then, the downdraft from great leathery wings was blowing smoke and embers and snow all about us. The great bulk of a green dragon settled on the rocky outcrop below which we’d made temporary camp. It peered at us with great, unblinking golden eyes. It drew in a great breath, reared back its head back and loosed a roar.

We clapped our hands to our ears against the pressure of the sound, but the twins seemed unfazed. They glanced at each other, and Silva stood up, brushing off her plain white dress.

The dragon drew in another breath, and began another roar. By then Silva had walked over to where its tail brushed against the ground. She gave the tip a sharp kick.
“Paryaptham!” she shouted up at the beast.

The thing’s roar cut off abruptly, its narrow snout snapping downward. Aurora’s figure blurred, then winked back into view by her sister’s side, the tip of her knife resting against the soft flesh inside the dragon’s gaping maw.

“You know what this is,” Aurora said. “Go ahead, finish your bite.”

The dragon’s head snaked back, and it glared — no small feat, since it had neither eyelids nor brows.

“Broodkillers. I recognized the stench of your magics. You trespass. You break the truce. Why should I not bathe you both in my breath, and pluck those stones from your steaming remains?”

“Because if you do, your liege will come down from his mountain and take them from you,” Aurora said. “Would you give Ulghfriss so many of the red? Perhaps my sister and I should just climb his mountain, deliver them ourselves, and save you the pain of his claws and flame.”

“With that many reds, I would be a match for my liege. And with the blacks, be his better.”

“I have already used the black against one of your enforcers,” Aurora said. “Would you share his fate?”

“You have not the strength to use it twice under the same sun. And you have no sword-sisters to use it in your place.” The dragon bared its teeth in what passed for a smile among its kind. “This one is of the other line.”

The dragon’s tail rose, the tip coming up under Silva’s chin like some great green worm. She pushed it away with two fingers, her nose wrinkling.

“I am not so greedy to wish for gold. Silver will appease me. This one smells well aged. Her blood will taste sweet. Let her screams be her song, as I rend the flesh from her bones.”

Aurora’s eyes narrowed, and she bared her teeth.

The dragon’s breath rattled, and it tossed its head back and forth, as if shaking away a buzzing gnat.

Silva held the thing’s tail in her right hand, and the purple veins of the black gem shone like cracks in midnight. She gave the dragon’s tail a wrench to the right, and we were forced to cover our ears again as the thing howled. She brought her hand back to the left, and the dragon trumpeted another howl, its head dropping. Not to attack, but to stare eye-to-eye with the Imperial princess. Baleful purple light shimmered in the silvery depths of her eyes.

“Shall I sing to you the song of the dragon and the Hawk?” [I interrupt here to note that Silva spoke in the hissing, clicking tongue of dragons. I understand it, though I do not speak it myself. The wording is not exact, but I have come as close to the meanings as I could render, between the draconic and human tongues.]

“No, your Grace.” I never knew a dragon to whisper. Nor its voice to quake with any sort of fear.

“Shall I sing to you of the fates of the children of Veshak and Jerys, and Yshrakh and R’histhesa?”

“Please, your Grace….”

“Perhaps you wish the names of your broodlings added to the song?”

“I beg your Grace! I thought you another copy, like the golden one.” The dragon began to pant. Smoke streamed away from the dragon’s tail, from between Silva’s fingers.

No, I realized, it wasn’t smoke, but shadows.

“This is how you do service to their sacrifice? This is how you remember them? You would threaten us?”

“Please, your Grace…” The dragon actually whined.

“I brokered your peace. Is this what you have done with it, after all these ages?”

The dragon’s tongue lolled out.

“Go from here. Fly back to your Ulghfriss, and bid him recount for you his part in the Twenty Years’ War. Ask him where his children are, and then ask him why I have not done the same to you.”
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Mon May 28, 2012 6:15 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


“What just happened here?” Varis asked, as the dragon took wing, flapping away to the north and east.

“Are you mad?” Aurora asked, staring between her sister and the departing green. “Ulghfriss has had three thousand years to hoard and sleep and molt. He is not the hatchling he was in the Twenty Years’ War anymore!”

Silva blinked. Her eyes had gone back to their regular, shimmering sliver. “Three…?” She waggled her fingers. “This many?”

Aurora reached over, pressed down one of Silva’s fingers and lifted another.

Silva frowned. “That is very many.”

“It would be best if we were not here, my sister.”

We were all too happy to break camp and be back on the road.

Demarra laughed, so hard she had to wipe tears from her eyes. She would break into chuckles every time she laid eyes on the twins, even after we’d traveled the rest of the day, set up the night’s camp, and had an evening meal of hares and molasses-glazed yams.

“Only one of the Trueborn would be so bold as to take the dragon by the tail in its own lands,” she said, as we sat by the fire, sipping hot kaff, sweetened with cream.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Tue May 29, 2012 6:49 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

First Waxing Crescent Moon (on or about Nuwmont 4, 998AC)

Every rustle and skitter and flap of night bird wings brought me instantly awake and alert, half expecting to have to somehow channel dragonflame into the earth and away from where it could do my or my companions any harm. It would have been a fool’s errand, anyway, since a dragon such as Ulghfriss would have made the infernos of Verge look like mere candle-flames in comparison to his mighty breath.

Judging by the surly moods and lack of much conversation around the morning’s breakfast, I was not the only one to spend the night tossing and turning. The twins sat on different sides of the campfire, each studiously ignoring the other.

Things did not improve as the day wore on. Another rock slide blocked the trail, and the vardo sank up to its axels in the boggy mush of half-thawed mud. We had to make use of magic, Sera driving wedges of air beneath the wheels, and levering the vardo up with another, larger wedge; the twins kindled their dragonstones to light, in turns softening and then hardening the muck along the trail. The rest of us pushed, pulled, and coaxed the horses along. Aurora’s insistence that we work faster at every heave of the vardo did not endear her to any of us.

Lunch was a cold affair of trail bread and jerky. We wanted to be underway as quickly as possible, and out from under the shadow of Ulghfriss’ lair. Aurora kept her golden eyes trained to the north, scanning the mountain peaks for any signs of the great red.

Another hour along the trail saw fine white flakes drifting from the leaden clouds overhead.

Gilliam pulled his hood down further. “A fine day this is turning out to be,” he snarled. “What else could possibly brighten it?”

His answer came as a huge granite boulder, missing the vardo by less than an arm’s length. Another followed it, crashing along the trail between Gilliam and the pack mules.

“That’s no rockslide!” Varis shouted. “Scatter!”

“Where are you going, puny manlings? Our master bids you stay and play a few rounds of catch!”

Another boulder careened from the mountains above, peppering us with chips of stone as it sailed overhead.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:24 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


Laughter followed another volley of stones. We had little choice but to keep spurring our mounts this way and that — there was no cover atop the stony hills, the spurs of rock not even large enough for either of the twins to shelter behind.

An icy surge climbed up my spine, and one of the stones glanced off the air slightly above the vardo.

“The giants in the Wendarians would play at similar games with the shepherds of my village,” Sera said. “This was one of the first things I did when I came into my power.”

She raised her hands again, and another boulder spun away from Gilliam as he flinched. He turned, giving the weaver a broad grin. He spurred his mount next to mine.

“I see one of them, up there, but he is well out of range of my bow. I wonder if you might be able to fix that.”

“No!” Ana shouted. “Your shoulder needs another day of rest.”

Sera’s fingers twitched, and another boulder sailed away from the vardo. A bead of sweat slid down the weaver’s face. “Usually they give up by now.”

“Could you reflect the next one?” Aurora asked.

“You mean catch it and throw it back?” Sera took a few deep breaths. “Maybe twice.”

“Once should be all you need,” the shrike said, flexing her fingers. She turned her hands palms upwards, the red-gold glow of the dragonstones painting the ground at her feet.

The next chunk of granite slowed, as if thrown through molasses. The surging tingle grew to a nearly unbearable itch along the nape of my neck. Sera’s features grew strained, and her hands shook as her fingers worked at the threads of Thought surrounding the boulder. It began to pick up speed, returning along the path it had followed, arcing up towards the ridge where it seemed the giants perched.

As the stone hurtled upwards, it began to glow, first a soft red, with yellowish streaks. When it topped out on its trajectory, the stone burst into flames, and the giants’ roars were drowned out by the thunderous clap as the stone exploded in a shower of molten rock.

“Had I known it possible to heat the stones, I think the giants would never have bothered my village again,” Sera breathed. “But it would take… days to build up that amount of heat!”

“Not even Druid’s fire burns that hot,” I said.

“They do not call these ‘dragonstones’ by accident,” Aurora said, the red gems’ lights flickering out.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:27 pm

For those interested, I've worked out most of the stats for the Kaledresh Darine, Darra Demarra. You can find her full stat block on the blog's "Characters" tab.

Demarra, Darra of the Kaledresh
4th Level Female Darine Thief/Wayfinder
STR 10 AC 6 (Leather + Dex)
INT 13 +1 HD 4 (16 hp)
WIS 11
DEX 15 +2/-2
CON 9
CHA 16 +1
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:56 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...

First Quarter Moon (on or about Nuwmont 5, 998AC)
With the exception of a steady drizzle of icy rain, Nytdain passed uneventfully. Demarra’s trail cut across the fold in the Black Peaks, rather than following it, so the roadway was clear of rockfall, and we made good time. I sensed some sort of magic at work, not of the Spheres, nor from the lands around, but somehow connected to the road. Demarra simply smiled her knowing and enigmatic smile, patted my cheek, and shrugged before taking a bite of my waybread when I asked her about the nature of the magic she seemed to be working.

“We do not question what simply is,” she said. “The sun rises in the morning. Do we know how this is?”

“Everybody knows that Ixion rides his chariot across the heavens and gives us the day,” Gilliam said, and Varis nodded his agreement.

“Ixion?” Silva asked. “Nieah, nieah, nieah.” She leaned forward, and picked up one of the sticks in the kindling pile. She scratched at the muddy ground, drawing circles within circles. “Atra Sollux,” she said, pointing towards the center of the bulls-eye. “Atra Mystara.” She pointed to the third ring. “Yada valate Mystara…” She stirred the stick around the third ring, spinning it towards the left. She glanced up, her smile fading as she saw the blank looks on most of our companions’ faces.

“Savages,” Aurora sighed, plucking the stick from her sister’s hand and tossing it into the fire.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:36 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


Demarra called a halt some hours before sunset. We could both see and hear the mighty Achelos, winding its way from down from the Black Peaks, but the Darra insisted we wait until first light to make for Three Axes.

At the mention of “axes,” Silva gave a shuddering sigh, and pulled her cloak tighter about her shoulders. She did not eat with us at the evening meal, though not for lack of Aurora’s trying to coax her to at least take a few spoonfuls of the stew.

She spat something sharp and chilling in Ancient Thonian when Aurora pressed, and stomped off to the vardo.

“No,” Demarra said, laying a hand on the shrike’s shoulder when she made to rise and follow her sister. “Leave her be for the night.”

“She is not herself,” Aurora insisted. “I do not see how the mention of the ford would affect her so.”

“She probably thinks upon her two dwarven friends,” Ana said. “Those two cared for her when she first arrived. Kept her safe. One of them is dead, now.”

The shrike cocked her head. “She knew they were frail, mortal beings.”

“They were her friends,” Ana insisted.

“She should know by now not to grow too attached.” Aurora sighed. “I shall have a talk with her.”

Demarra kept her hand on the shrike’s shoulder. “No. You will stay here, and leave your sister to her grief.”

Aurora’s hands closed into fists, and her breathing quickened, but the Darra’s gaze did not waver.

“It is only one more life. Hardly something to be so upset about.”

Demarra’s slap seemed to even cause the fire to pause in its crackling.

“Unlike your kind, Shrike of the Fourth Guard, we are only given one brief lifetime, to make of it what we can. We do not return, except by some miracle of the Immortals, and they care for us nearly as much as you seem to.”

Demarra stood up, turned towards the vardo. “I revoke my invitation to share my roof. I forbid you to pass my threshold.”

Aurora was on her feet. “You cannot do that! My sister—“

“Try to follow me if you will, sidheling. See if your dragonstones will protect you from your own nature.”

“My sister—“

“Is in no danger this night,” Demarra said. She climbed the steps and shut the door behind her.

Aurora took a step after her, raised a hand towards the latch, then hesitated, before lowering her hand. She spun, and sat down hard on the top step.

“I will stand guard here tonight,” she announced, as if that had been her intention all along.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:53 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


First Quarter Moon (on or about Nuwmont 6, 998AC)
I had just dropped into slumber after my turn at the watch when Sera’s wards vibrated. I had time to rouse myself, and had just laid fingers upon my staff when the campfire roared to life, followed by a shrill shriek.

It was not the voice of anyone from the camp.

Varis and Gilliam approached at a run from opposite sides of the camp, where they’d been at watch, weapons at the ready. The vardo’s door creaked open, and I felt the familiar glow in my stomach, the tingling along the back of my neck. I squinted, a brightness among the threads of Matter and Energy at the fringes of my vision. Sera held a weaving of earth and flame ready to loose, then.

“Shrike, stand clear, I can’t get a decent shot,” Gilliam said.

“What is going on out here?” came Demarra’s sleepy voice from the shadows inside the vardo.

“Assassins in the night,” Aurora hissed. She sat atop a struggling form, dragonstones bright as she pinned it by the neck, pressing its face into the wet earth by the camp’s fire. The flames snapped and crackled, though there was nothing but ashes and coals to feed them.

“Is this what you were after?” She pressed the tip of her knife to the figure’s cheek — all that was visible of the face beneath the dark cloak’s hood. “It was unwise to try to use my own blade against me.”

“No, mistress! Your pardon! Your pardon!” The figure’s voice was muffled, male but in a higher register. And, judging from the size comparison, a bit shorter than the shrike herself.

“Aurora, he’s just a child!” Ana had apparently made the same deductions I had, and spoke before I could.

“A child that thought it could take the knife from my belt? Goblins have been known to start slitting throats not soon after they gain their legs.”

Beneath the cloak, feet kicked, accompanied by a muffled clanking. “This one is no goblin! Please, mistress! One begs the chance to explain!”

“Well, he’s too well spoken to be a goblin,” Varis murmured, lowering his sword. “Don’t think there is even a word like ‘please’ in their tongue.”

“The words are formed all wrong for one speaking through pointed teeth,” Gilliam said, relaxing his half-draw on the bow. “Let the boy up, let us hear what he has to say.”

The dragonstones’ glow ebbed, and the campfire gradually dimmed, though it brightened again as Varis and I fed it more wood.

Slowly, reluctantly, Aurora stood, and backed away from the cloaked figure, the knife held in a low guard.

Ana, Sera, and Demarra descended the steps of the vardo, but Aurora stepped in front of the doorway when Silva tried to follow. They argued, briefly, in the High Thonian, but Aurora crossed her arms, Silva rolled her eyes and each remained where they stood.

The cloaked figure struggled to his hands and knees, and then regained his feet, his motions stiff, jerky, almost as if he were worked with strings. The hood turned this way and that. Gilliam pulled back on his bow’s string.

“Just take a seat by the fire, friend,” he said. “Slowly.”

Slowly was about the only way the figure could move, and as the cloak — which dragged upon the ground behind him— lifted away, we could see the reason for his halting, somewhat automaton-like motion: leg irons, the chain between them wound ‘round with cloth to muffle it. His wrists were likewise bound.

Varis and Gilliam exchanged glances, brows raised. Sera glanced over the figure’s hooded head, at me. The flows and tendrils drifting at the corner of my vision had changed, reds and browns fading to deep blue, traced with white. She readied the air to harden around our visitor if need be. I nodded, and a corner of her mouth quirked.

“Well, now, friend, let us have a look at your face.” Gilliam still held the bow at a half draw.

The clanking of the chains was barely audible as the figure lifted his hands, tugging at one side of the too-large hood and then the other, until it fell back.

The face— beneath a layer of soot and grime and a few bruises— was of a young man, not a child. His eyes shone a brilliant amethyst, amidst the dirt and bruising on his cheek and forehead. His hair hung nearly to the iron collar about his neck, probably a lighter brown beneath the soot and dirt and cobwebs tangled in it. His lips were chapped, split amidst another bruise on his chin, but his smile showed all of his teeth intact.

Demarra had already set our helmet cook pot over the fire, and I nudged the flames along to speed the water within it to a boil.

Ana glared over the halfling’s shoulder, at Aurora.

“No, mistress, these… the other mistress is not to blame for these.” He brushed a finger over the bruises. “The Tarsfotar, they do this when one disobeys.”

“At least let me—“

“No, mistress.” The halfling flinched away as Ana made to place her hands on his wounds. “One hardly even feels them, now.”

“They are certainly recent, but not fresh,” Gilliam said. “Tell us, friend, what is your name?”

Wide, purple eyes blinked, and the halfling cocked his head to the side. “Name?” The word came out sounding as if he’d never heard it before.

“How are you called?”

The halfling pursed his lips, as if the notion never occurred to him. “‘Hara’khen?’ But all of this one’s kind are called such.”

That was certainly no name for a person. It sounded very similar to the dwarven word for ‘prisoner.’ They drew from the same base runics, of that I was sure. It would have been nice indeed to have Durin here, as the dwarven tongue is so remarkably precise in its depth of nuance, that only a native speaker can tease apart the many layers of detail and meaning.

“Surely, there is something else we can call you,” I suggested.

“‘Hara’khen' will not do?” he asked.

I shook my head.

“One is not allowed to have one of these… names… in the presence of the Tarsfotar. One is simply Hara’khen, as the others. But now…” He sat up a bit straighter. “But the Tarsfotar are gone, swallowed by the hurghon. That is how this one escaped. To seek help, for others who yet live beneath the hurgonkres.”

“What do the others call you?” Ana asked. “When the.. Tarsfotar are not around?”

“Sythian,” he began, then glanced around, as if on reflex, even as he blushed. “At times she calls this one ‘Pyrklist.’” He winced, as if waiting for a lash to fall, or a blow to land. One pale purple eye opened, and then the other as he looked around at each of us. “You would… give that to this one?”

“Sounds rather dwarvish for a halfling name, but I think it sort of fits,” Gilliam said, with a shrug.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:03 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


Demarra offered the halfling half a loaf of bread and some of the cheese, and he only ate at her insistence, though his stomach growled several times during the exchange.


“What do you think?” Varis asked, as we stood around the vardo, off to the side while Ana tried to treat the halfling’s wounds.

“Ana says she felt no deception from him,” Demarra said. “All I can feel from him is a feeble trembling of hope.” She clucked her tongue. “Such a sad life it seems he’s had.”

“He approached me nearly unnoticed,” Aurora said. “If he can do that, he can hide his nature from our truth-seeker. I do not trust him.”

“He asks our help,” Silva said. “We must—“

“His first action in our camp was to try to take my knife!” Aurora snapped. “He reeks of forgesmoke and iron. That means dwarves.” She spat the last word, like it left a bad taste in her mouth.

“Do I detect some dislike of the stone born?” Gilliam asked.

“Kuric and Durin were both quite likeable,” Varis said. “I haven’t had anything but honest dealings with any other dwarf, either.”

“They are covetous, dark-hearted, scheming little—“

Gilliam snorted. “Best measure yourself against the door post before you call anyone ‘little,’ my little friend.”

She glowered up at the warrior. “Just because I tolerate you doesn’t mean I like you.”

“You love me,” he said with a grin.

“You confuse me with the demon-addled copy of my twin.”

Varis cleared his throat.

“My knowledge of the roads and trails only goes so far,” Demarra said. “If it is not a path Zirchev or another Darine has not already tread, I can not find it. We do not travel many mountain passes.”

Aurora’s eyes narrowed a bit. “You said you would find me the fastest route in pursuit of the man and his demon.”

Demarra nodded. “And this, I am doing. But once they enter the Cruth, I can help you no longer.” She shrugged. “But perhaps that one can.” She pointed past us, to where Ana sat by our visitor.

“No,” Aurora said. “Absolutely not.”

The cleric of the flame waved us over. “You need to hear this,” she said. To Pyrklist, she said “Go on, tell them what you just told me. After you finish chewing.”

The halfling’s cheeks bulged, and the rest of us settled by the fireside as he chewed. Aurora descended the steps, but kept a sword’s length between herself and our guest. Silva stayed just behind her sister’s shoulder.

“Docrae? Atra?” she asked, but Aurora shook her head.

“Nieah. Hin-lor.”

“This one— Pyrklist,” the halfling caught himself, and his voice wavered slightly as he pronounced his name — “fled, down the mountains, across the wide, cold water. Orc, goblins, the Gorsfotar, they are cruel, they do not help the hara’khen, but exchange us to the Tarsfotar for the very klistdens we mine.”

“Tell them what caused the cave-in in your mine,” Ana prodded.

“There were two, a man and his dottir. He claimed she was ill, and the Tarsfotar had stones that could soothe her fever. The Tarsfotar laughed. The man made jest. Pyrklist knows the stones are not of a magic that heals. They must remain within the mines. They are tribute to the Karrnath, and cannot be tainted by the touch of Man, and certainly not by such a sickly dottir. The Tarsfotar would sooner expose the khurdenklist to the skies and the hated Syharwehrf.”

Aurora folded her arms. “Is there some point to this tale?” she asked.

“The dottir, she had the buhrwyr, the burning sickness. We did not think any but the denwarf caught it. Khurdenklist are not the cure for it. Even this one knows that much. Such only makes the fevers much worse.”

“They can all burn to ash, for as much as I care,” Aurora said.

Ana frowned. “Tell her the symptoms of this sickness,” the cleric prompted.

“Great pains,” Pyrklist said. “It does not make Pyrklist happy to hear the cries of the Tarsfotar. This one might dislike them, but does not wish them such agonies.”

Aurora smiled, baring her teeth.

“The fevers, they burn, very hot. The Tarsfotar, for as much as they drink, cannot make their thirst leave them. Their voices, they are raw. They sound of cracking stone and smoke.”

Aurora’s smile wavered.

“And their eyes. They weep tears of fire. We can see it, burning within them, through their eyes.”
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby Chimpman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:45 pm

RobJN wrote:Some notes on the Night's Embrace spell/effect that Aurora invokes can be found on the Facebook page.

This reminds me a little bit of Simm of the Grasping Dark. Perhaps this is magic that Thanatos stole and twisted for his own purposes?
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:52 pm

Chimpman wrote:
RobJN wrote:Some notes on the Night's Embrace spell/effect that Aurora invokes can be found on the Facebook page.

This reminds me a little bit of Simm of the Grasping Dark. Perhaps this is magic that Thanatos stole and twisted for his own purposes?

I'd like to think Thanatos would have been impressed, but dismayed that the spell didn't inflict quite enough pain, thus, his "improvements" in the "Grasping Dark." ;)
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby Chimpman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:37 pm

RobJN wrote:“Ixion?” Silva asked. “Nieah, nieah, nieah.” She leaned forward, and picked up one of the sticks in the kindling pile. She scratched at the muddy ground, drawing circles within circles. “Atra Sollux,” she said, pointing towards the center of the bulls-eye. “Atra Mystara.” She pointed to the third ring. “Yada valate Mystara…” She stirred the stick around the third ring, spinning it towards the left. She glanced up, her smile fading as she saw the blank looks on most of our companions’ faces.

“Savages,” Aurora sighed, plucking the stick from her sister’s hand and tossing it into the fire.

:lol:

This is actually very interesting since the twins are feyborn, and fey are usually associated with Myth and Magic, but also princesses (or derived from) of Blackmoor (at its height) making them also associated with high science. This shouldn't be surprising to me since we already know that they've put 12 (or more) satellites in orbit, so their Blackmoor must have had a very good understanding of space and the universe beyond....

This actually raises another question... How do you see Thorn's Mystara/Blackmoor fitting into the Spelljammer setting (if you do at all). I'm most curious if you would apply Grubbian physics or Heardian physics to your setting.
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:45 pm

Chimpman wrote:
RobJN wrote:“Ixion?” Silva asked. “Nieah, nieah, nieah.” She leaned forward, and picked up one of the sticks in the kindling pile. She scratched at the muddy ground, drawing circles within circles. “Atra Sollux,” she said, pointing towards the center of the bulls-eye. “Atra Mystara.” She pointed to the third ring. “Yada valate Mystara…” She stirred the stick around the third ring, spinning it towards the left. She glanced up, her smile fading as she saw the blank looks on most of our companions’ faces.

“Savages,” Aurora sighed, plucking the stick from her sister’s hand and tossing it into the fire.

:lol:

This is actually very interesting since the twins are feyborn, and fey are usually associated with Myth and Magic, but also princesses (or derived from) of Blackmoor (at its height) making them also associated with high science. This shouldn't be surprising to me since we already know that they've put 12 (or more) satellites in orbit, so their Blackmoor must have had a very good understanding of space and the universe beyond....

This actually raises another question... How do you see Thorn's Mystara/Blackmoor fitting into the Spelljammer setting (if you do at all). I'm most curious if you would apply Grubbian physics or Heardian physics to your setting.

This really hasn't come up in my work, as I know very little about the Spelljammer boxed sets and the phantasy fysics thereof. So, just out of familiarity, I would be inclined to stick with "Herdian physics" of the Skyshield and outer void. This doesn't mean I'd write off the Spelljammer material -- I'm just not familiar with it enough to incorporate it properly. From what I've seen of it, it'd make a fantastic addition to the ongoing work, opening up plenty more cans of worms :twisted:
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:08 am

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


“These… fires, they are red?” Aurora asked, leaning forward.

Pyrklist nodded. “Yes, mistress. Red. Like the forge-coals.”

The twins shared a brief glance, and Ana crossed her arms. She drew a breath, but Silva spoke first

Anjuah—

Nieah!” Aurora hissed. “It is not our problem. We’ll just give this one some bread and send him on his way.”

“Pyrklist does not ask for charity,” the halfling said, quickly. “This one knows of commerce. Of the ‘trade’ the Tarsfotar speak of. An exchange, yes? Pyrklist gives you something you desire, and you will perform a service for him, yes?”

Aurora wrinkled nose and brow smoothed as she barked a golden laugh. She kept laughing until she clutched at her stomach and wiped at her eyes.

“What could you possibly—“

The chains clanked, just a bit as the halfling rummaged about under his tunic. He held a soot-stained cloth out to the shrike.

She plucked at the corners, and Pyrklist shifted his hands, so that he cupped the revealed bundle. There was a sound, like the whisper of cloth, and the muted clatter of many stones or pebbles rubbing together.

Aurora frowned, then squinted, cocking her head this way and that.

“Hold it closer to the fire, I cannot see,” she ordered.

Pyrklist stretched his hands towards the fire which flickered, danced away from his fingers, though there was no breeze from that direction. The flames themselves seemed to… ebb, and dim.

The hafling blushed, bobbing his head. “Your pardon,” he said. “I forgot that the Tarsfotar have us wrap them in shadows whenever we are close to the surface.”

His brow creased, and his eyes took an odd gleam, as if from moonlight, or starlight, though he did not lift his eyes towards the heavens. The bundle in his hands wavered, and then the campfire flickered back to full light.

The twins gasped.

Nestled amidst emeralds and sapphires the size of acorns were several oddly-cut glossy black gems, shot through with deep purple veins.
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RobJN
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby RobJN » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:46 pm

Thorn's Chronicle continues...


Aurora reached out, but Silva slapped her sister’s hand away from the stones in the halfling’s palm.

“Nieah!” she said. “They are Holding. But…” She leaned closer, tilting her head to watch the firelight reflect off the facets of the dark dragonstones. “The Sealing. How is this done?”

“They are brought to the Reclaimant, who holds it before a tone generator,” Pyrklist explained. His offhand reply made it seem as if this was something everybody should know.

Silva frowned, glancing over to Aurora, who also frowned, but her expression was not of bewilderment, but concerned surprise.

“What is gen-“ Silva began.

“‘Generator,’” Aurora said, her voice flat. “Describe it for my sister.”

“This one does not know the workings—“

“I know of its workings,” Aurora snapped. “If it is what I think it is.”

“There is a… a box. Of dark wood. A crystal such as that,” Pyrklist extended a finger to point towards one of the red dragonstones in Aurora’s bracer. “It is bound in copper, and a place for one such as this beside it.” He wiggled his fingers beneath the rag, and the black dragonstone wobbled back and forth. “There is a crank to one side. The Reclaimant gives it turns and the red stone glows and sings, making the other go dark.” He shrugged. “As this one said, how it works is not known, but—“

Silva plucked one of the black stones from the halfling’s collection, and held it up before her. "It is not right," she murmured, turning the stone this way and that. "There are holes. Spaces, like the cracks in a wall. A weakened prison will soon break."

She sang a note, and the red dragonstone at her wrist flickered to life. It gave another pulse of light, and then the note she’d just sung filled the night air, while she herself sang another note.

It was the pair of notes we’d heard in the orrery at Koriszegy’s Keep.

A third note filled the air, and I turned, to see that Ana had brought forth her scythe, and given the silver blade a hard rap with her knuckle.

The purple veins within the dark dragonstone seemed to writhe, uneven flickers of light bursting within the gem. The notes for the briefest of moments seemed to swim through a thick miasma, the pitch bending and warping, but then rang pure again as the black dragonstone went dark.

“Yes, that is what it sounds like, very nearly!” Pyrklist said, smiling. “The Voice spoke true, in telling this one to seek the strangers.”
Rob
Thorn's Chronicle: The Thread Index|Thorn's Chronicle Blog
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RobJN
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Re: [Thorn's Chronicle] Masks of Dreaming Night

Postby Chimpman » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:53 pm

Oh man... it just keeps getting better. I have all kinds of questions now:

1) What is "bound/held" inside the black dragonstones that the hin had with him?

2) What are the dwarves doing with such items?

3) How many such dragonstones are there (I can only imagine how long the dwarves have been hoarding them for.

4) How the heck did this hin manage to escape his captors... especially with the treasure that he carries!

Keep it coming, Rob. I'm hooked once more!
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