Privet musings of Gudmund Stonebook:
It has been several months this trip to Sog to gather information on the FIrebeard twins. I have learned much about both of them and the city they have chosen to reside in. The Rangers here are very well respected yet called upon for almost every daily task of a city’s militia or city guards. Yet they are also called outside its walls to pursue other tasks. I see more and more why they are spread thin. Watching a folk have rangers do what anyone should to protect their clan home. Yet in this time and travels I have acquired quite a store of knowledge and samples that where, in my estimation, in need of more study and at least recording. So here upon a boat I float heading home. Yet in some ways Sog in this brief time feels worthy of the name. I have the plumbing going into the inn and the huge work of a fire fighting and water providing system for the town itself. Even if the cisterns work in no time we shall have a need of a full sewers system. That is if the towns leaders do not decide they also want fresh water flowing to other somehow key locations. These writings are not helping to keep my mind from the rushing waters, cold rushing waters, upon which I travel. Perhaps being back inside the solid safe walls of a clan home will help my spirits.
Home but not staying:
I have arrived with my crates of samples. I have parts of necro/ archfire from bodies of the dead. Also samples from other builder wrought items once lost to us now seeming to fall from trees. More over I have a tome with descriptions of the creatures cobbled together from the powers of death and the powers of our once proud forbearer’s. Things of nightmare twisting, yet real and quite the danger, things I have seen and fought with my own eyes and ax. All this seems second as I arrive to find that these twisted monsters are in more places than just the area around Sog. They are also the children of Chimera a power dropped upon our world. It seems that the veil and our protections from the ascended are thinning greatly under so wide and onslaught. Worst of all I do not even get a week in the familiar book laden halls. The clans have been called to war upon this evil and the grey rangers called to the fore front. I have been asked to keep with the rangers, if they wish to call me one of their numbers the easier to gather the history in the making.
Elves and towns:
Can one truly call a place a town if there is nothing but tents? Buildings are not needed they say travelers and shops on wheels are still a town. A town is there numbers the people, not a building or a place. I thank the stone I walk upon; I am not of the fae. Yet as they say it is the people of a place that need to be protected. This tent town is imperiled, they need the help of the rangers to understand why they are not selling as they should and, feeling worse than a shade less runner in the desert before even midday has come. They have called and we have come.
The leader, or more so the one that has been in this place the longest, call him not mayor but guild leader. What would one expect of a town of tents, near leaderless and without a force of arms to protect it. He tells a tale of woe how so much meat has gone to wrought and items to collecting dust. Every where one goes it is like the earth pulls upon ones spirit and draws it out threw there tiring feet. Upon entering the place of tents I felt a pull, something wishing to drape weariness upon me, yet it was a weak thing and easily ignored. Or so I thought. Now with his descriptions and what I myself have felt we know there is something deeper here than the dusty warm wind blow paths.
As I sit using my glitter boom as an excuse at work, I watch. Seeking, as the others, sights or sounds that might be the cause of this strangeness. There is a priest of the light and a druid in our band of rangers and they are able to since spots of joy and great energy. In these spots the powers of the shadow seem weaker or held at bay. With this discovery they seem to focus more on the areas with the feeling of good. They seem to identify more than one area or stall and question those with in. We later find that they had been evasive and not complied with the rangers questions. Yet at the time we kept looking for more answers.
A pair searched the circumference of the town, finding the edges of this power where it starts or ends encircling the town. As this takes some time, even with a swift flying priest and nearly as fast on the ground a sprinting scout, I rejoin the others my glitter boom ready for its first real test. They seem to be at a lose getting no new information from questioning more sources. They are now tipped to the fact that some or all of the “Good” spots seem to have owners that are not divulging the full facts.
The fast moving pair has returned thinking that perhaps the Guild leader himself was the target as it seems that he is the epicenter of the effects. They try moving some of his wears and shifting the globe, well that made me ask if it was a globe at any rate. It does not move as they shift his things but it has started rumors abound about his leaving or fear of us the Rangers. I ask the flying priest if he has yet sought to find if it was a dome or less in its height than its circumference. As that is being checked I ask the druid if she would have a method of seeking a large power source. The size of this area and the length of time would suggest a large power source.
It is decided that we need to check more closely one of the happy spots and not allow them to brush us away with pretty lies. They ask directed questions about a box, that there senses tell them hold some power and most likely the power that is keeping the draining force at bay. The merchant a good seeming woman still tries to hide the facts of the box until she is pressed hard. Yet in the end the authority of the rangers moves her to come clean. She was given the box by a druid and a Dwarf Wright, like me. This pair told her to not let any see the box nor to speak of it. They said there was a power in the box to help with the bad feelings and yet they did not have enough to hold it from everyone. Her friends would turn on her if they knew she was protected and that they could not be the same. So she hid the truth from all.
At this point it was clear she had been duped. Her remembering of the druid did not sound correct nor the sun burned dwarf with pure snow white hair. From the desert where he had seen this before was the tale. Yet not even a touch of legend or lore was I to have heard. So we got down to the box itself and a nice solid wood box it was. On first sight it seemed but a block of wood shaped to box size. Yet when further I sought its secrets I find a concealed lid with a potion spread across it. This potion concealed the panel and righting that I can only assume is of the builders, for it is like the writing of my home, yet layered upon itself with no seeming order.
We now know that the happy spots are from the items that this pair maintain daily. They are covering the items inside and using the potions to cover the way to find what they truly are. I feel that I could open this box, yet there is little enough need. We know the builder is servicing the machine inside daily and they have a route that is yet completed for the day. The priest of the light fly’s to see if he can find the pair and we can see the pattern to jump ahead of them. For we have noted that we are now being watched as we question and pull apart this merchants stall. Fear for her safety if we leave grips her. So a ranger stays to keep watch as we go to find a place to lay a trap.
We easily out maneuver them and arrest is made. The druid tells the builder that if he had no part in the true scheme but was only working a job he can go. He takes this opportunity to leave after telling the necromancer the deals off and the contract broken. A small scuffle happens as the necromancer does not really want to give up and yet it is not us that remove him from play, it was one of his hired watchers. Whom we swiftly deal with, the side of ax and shield make for poor sleeping tonics I am told. This one while quick to kill the necromancer, rolls and pass’s the information that we need. There is a building, yes a real one, on the outskirts of the town where they have storage and the builders and red store are there.
Standard warehouse I could almost tell them where each wall is inside. Open storage room, large tall square room. There is a built in awning like this might have been used for a merchants booth. Odd though that there was not a door from this booth area into the warehouse. Yet it points out the exact area where the offices should be, the windows help. They case the place checking for guards and entrances. Two and it seems they must be expecting us. There is a builder with a golem, at least the statue certainly seems like it will throw off the mud job and do something if kicked. The druid strolls over and somehow talk’s the builder with the golem into leaving. This is a good thing one fewer that we shall have to fight.
The decision is made we shall not take one of the doors, we shall enter the offices. I can make a clockwork pry bar. Shove It into the window and watch it work, instant door. Not where the red store are expecting it. So I set to building what is needed, at the same time they check the windows to find one that would be suitable for entry. They discover a fancy looking builder with a slave, sitting in the near open, or it will be once I set things in motion. They like this target we hit a big boss or he works for us.
Knock knock the doors open! I stand to the side as the others pour into the room. It seems they are able to talk this builder out of fighting as well. He sits there as we storm in to the building, just eating. Some free the slaves and others check the room. It is plane that all the doors but the main one into the rest of the warehouse are covered. Well I still have not tested my new glitter boom in a real test, maybe this will be a chance. So the last door is covered, I stand in front of it with my hand on the lever ready to see if this new toy will work as it was designed. I stand there as others go through the door into a small hallway and into other rooms. I wait watching the door on the other side of the hall. It bursts open and in charges a maggot hound. The swift cat is freeing the slaves; the dwarf fighter is in the other room speaking with another slave. I am left standing there waiting as the hound charges.
Past the hound I can see the room and hear others readying themselves for the attack. So I pull the lever. She works like a charm, just like magic, the air flows in a silver stream. Just in time the light tug and swoosh starts the floating glitter aflame. The white flare is near to blinding but it works and the hound is charred and I can hear the yelling turn to screams in the warehouse. Then threw the open door a hawk flies. I suppose it’s the druid the screaming does not get worse, others start yelling. There is a brief struggle and then the red stores switch sides as stone flaking metal arms swing and crush, threatening all within. So we join forces to take it down. I think that the big metal body might be a good target for Jok-Tars mazer. So I load one in my throwing harness and let fly. It does not seem to have an effect but I try again. This time as the mazer is arching threw the air, the druid sends a jet of water into the golem. The water dowsing it makes arching sparking mazer far more effective and it collapse in a spasm.
So the town is saved and the draining of the spell can be removed. The box’s are cleaned up and the air is cleaned of the oppression. Sadly we find that our little adventure was nothing compared to what some others have found in this town of tents. They found that there was a web under the town ready to bring the whole thing to the underworld. The box’s where to draw the energy from the town even in the case that everyone dies all at the same time. They had spent weeks setting up a mass sacrifice of the entire town. Rather I like a town of tents or even this many merchants, the outcome would have been very bad.
Home Sweet home:
Is there a season that is bad for towns? Winter is bad for growing things and makes water wheels a pain. Than summer it’s so hard to keep water flowing since the heat eats it up. This is what seems to be happening in this countryside. We get word that there is another town under attack. This is a small one, yet every life counts and we must rush to save as many as we can. To late even as fast as the scout was we are too late.
The town was an hour away on the back of a bumpy crazy horse ride. As I say though it was to late, we arrived in time to find a town empty of all life. Well other than the four maggot hounds eating the faces of the bodies left behind. We can see from a distance the carnage and destruction. They left the town smoldering or in flames with bodies everywhere. Needing to check those on the ground we move towards the town in a group. I suggest that glitter boom might be a great idea. If we can yell and get them twisted abominations to charge me perhaps we can take them out all in one pull of the leaver. The plan works, a monk runs with me down the road screaming and trying to bring them to us. The rest circle to the sides ready if there is a fight. Three of hounds take the bate, one cares for nothing but the corpse it is eating.
All it takes is one poof from my glitter boom, and the three are gone. The last keeps trying to ignore us, happy it does not work and the last one it taken out swiftly. We put the fires out in the building as one of the troop searches the area for tracks or signs that will lead us. Well it seems they wanted to be followed or where just that stupid. Even a stone loving dwarf grandmother that could not see the heat of the forge any longer would have tripped over this trail. So the bad guys left a framed fallow me sign, so we do so.
An hour more upon the huge crap bags that stink worse than the soars they leave. Yet it is a good hour no more dead bodies and the trail is like a bell leading us to a nice walled inn. If it was not the lair of evil, store house of prisoners. I do hope that we find the last few towns folk and not in pieces and parts. There is a fly over and we gain the knowledge of the layout. Or more so the fact that not only are they leaving bread crumbs for us to follow they don’t shut the door behind themselves. There are a few guards so we plan an assault. Well actually the oddest of things the mute Nightingale is the highest rank ranger. So she is calling the shots, well threw the powers of an Adept. I ask if they would like a distraction a battering ram, perhaps? I am told no they would love one but there is no time. Just let them scout the place more first and we shall charge in.
Well we have time but not much just a few moments after I start working on the ram someone is spotted. They are able to pass the word via the mind link so we all rush in. Seems the new plan is just take out the bad guys as fast as we can, and hope they don’t make the sacrifices. The Mage lets loose with a burst of water tearing through the wall of the inn. Making a hole large enough to go into saying something about a vow not to kill. It was not where the guards are so I decide to go ahead with my ram where his original target was. Now there are two holes into the target, I later learn that the monk broke a third one through the roof.
A fight, a bell rang a few times. Chimera likes um big, the bigger and stronger the better. First time I see a gargoyle its only part’s and pieces. Yet it does not need to be a whole one to hurt or kill. Glitter boom is helpful, yet this monster seemed to not care. It took arrows and white flame, like it was air. The other builders and guards where almost washed away simply as over flow trash. Well other than the leader who says my inventions need to be at least the level of a school boy, not a baby’s toys. The group that went inside seem to have had more to deal with, yet it took them less time that the explosive conclusion of ice and white fire. There were two archmancers in the enemy group. I collected many samples and much information about the Chimeras creations all of this must make it back to the clan homes. We also saved many souls while they were still resided inside the bodies they were born in.
Trip to a Clan Hold:
Called together again, I am not even sure what camp or town we are in this time, yet called together a new group of Rangers, has been. They think they have a line on a machine, some type that is powering the queen of twisted creations. It is hidden in an abandoned dwarf scout post. This is interesting news, far more interesting than being asked again about the glitter for my glitter boom. Why do they ask if they really don’t want to know? I sigh and move on, yet more travel by beast it would almost be better if it was Kassagor and not a horse. I ask if we can get a cart it would be so much more reliable. There is a pair of Ogres in this group and one of them decides that carrying me would be better than worrying about a cart. Oddly my flying harness is more comfortable than the saddle.
Even after a few hundred years of over growth and erosion the optical stairs are near perfect. The Ranger in the lead walks right by them. The next ranger still does not see a thing. So I yell to stop them and they look back at the “crazy” dwarf. I tell them we are here and they are walking right by the stairs. They all look around than back to me. I inform them the exact degree angle to look for the stairs and still they don’t see them. That is a touch scary so I point the head of the first Ranger in line towards them and push. When she tries not to fall her foot lands on the first of the stairs. It’s an easy trip up the side of the cliff after that. Small defense tunnel and into and odd clearing? I was expecting this to lead straight into the mountain side. This is rather nice it’s a clearing, well a clearing of stone full of trees. So thick that the fliers would not have even noticed anything other than a clump of tree’s.
Well no sign yet of the bad guys. Not sure yet who the bad guys will be. Red store and builders seem to be hard at work killing people in the area. Yet next to nothing, until we get to the face of the fort. I recognize the build easily. A few hidden out buildings around a large central door. The scouts check out the area and all they find is trails of an odd troll with a heel on the back of their foot? This is an interesting modification, makes me wonder what it will add. Each of the mods seems to add some ability. This leads right up to the main stair into the central doors. The problem is that the cliff face trap is still intact. Normally these are deactivated or dropped unless the clan plans to return to the scout fort.
Well it was easily over come. The druid high priestess of the silver unicorn just walks right threw the stairs and inside and opens the door. Sadly I was in the rear and not prepared, yet when the door pop’s open I yell for the others to get in there and help her. I charge yet every single one of them beat me into the doors. By the time I am inside there are some red store guys down and there is a bell stand falling apart with a huge bell in the middle. I move to the side to make sure that the hinge has been set in the right position. A glance over my shoulder at more noises of combat, just in time to see a pair of huge trolls with parts of machine and melded weapons. Well they fall down a hole that it seems to be where they came from. Glad we have two large Ogres with us. Now down the hole it seems we must go. After a quick inspection of the bell rigging and piping system.
I don’t really like the idea of jumping down a hole we know nothing about. This does seem a poor idea. Yet my desire to search and probe first is not taken and a brash aevakar jumps the gun and flies down into the thing first. So the rest chase after. I ask the Ogre that carried me earlier if he would mind helping me down the hole not just pushing me or something, so he picks me up and drops me. So very nice of him, luckily I was thinking ahead and not caught of guard so that I was able to land on my feet and doge the Ogre.
So we are all barreling down a raw earth tunnel and come upon the largest most complicated apparatus for drawing and storing energy the world has ever seen. It was monstrous, dwarfing both ogre’s, and one was large even for their kind. It made the 6 armed troll standing in front of it look like a child next to a large horse. It was built of every metal one could ever see on the face of Shaintar, the corrupt working alongside the pure. The design was amazing and yet a thing from the worst of worst nightmares. It was not just built of metal or wood or even stone, it had arms or partial arms from once living creatures completing circuit. At once compelling and repulsive.
The large one that “dropped” me and I seemed to have the same idea. We needed to stop the necromancers, they seemed to be the ones directing all, yes all the types of energy, threw this wonder. So with a jet of ice and a poof from my glitter boom we set to work trying to clear the path to the confusion. Others charged in as well to help, yet the troll standing firm and unaffected by our wrath peered back at us, untouched by ice or white fire. Other trolls in the room and smaller necromancers all fell but the necro lord and his pet care not for the might we bring. Well until the adept puppets the troll to kill the thing that they are worshiping. As bad an idea as this sounds, the outcome is worse. The six armed monster seems well versed in all his arms and there is a large shard powerful weapon in each hand. Oh I seem to have forgotten to record the fact that one of his arms was an archfire cannon. Not a caster a full on cannon.
Once the word returns and stops shaking and bucking, it seems to have all come to rest upon our merry band. Neither so merry, nor ready to dash off in any direction, well other than maybe out of the rubble that is encasing us. As luck would have it I was not deeply buried, we also have along a very powerful druid whom can speak to the very stones and ask them to release people. It takes me many minuets and much leverage to free one. In that same time the druid has freed herself and two others. There are many wounds about; it seems this day they as a group have learned why we shore up everything twice or more when working in caves. Soon after we are freed of the worst of the cave in run more flying scouts. How they may have heard of the fall I am not sure yet there help and healing hands are welcome.
Everyone makes it out of the rubble, well all of us. The necro lord and his pet are chunks as are his troops. Sadly and yet gladly so is the hideous thing that they worshiped. The metals alone are worth digging out, yet more pressing than any mineral is the knowledge of the thing. This is something that cannot be left just buried. I must recover it or its parts at least to study. The Lore wardens would wish it never fall in the hands of others or that we at least are prepared to deal with it and recognize the like. I spend every hour from the time of the cave in until I am nearly dragged out by force digging out chunks. I think it ended up in more pieces than the monster that broke it, even if some of them are only the size of a fist. They will go back for study they will not be lost for others to rebuild, rather I survive the next few days any and all extra time I will seek to preserve this horrible knowledge. Even if that means leaving the Rangers deep in fighting with the twisted minions of Chimera, I am better spent in securing the knowledge of what she and hers can do.