Shaintar_J&L_Rangers of Sog

Shh, Don't Tell Kassegore He's a Mount Now
Wait Magpie!

20-21st Dancing Clouds

It was decided to send Derick back to get more of the explodey arrows, after we take the four he has. Salvator divides them in between Magpie and myself.

Kassegore looks over at these things and states in his way: that he is ok with us blowing him up, but only if it would take out the enemy. Salvator starts to heal Kassegore and Roc-tar starts to make a potion.

I ask Roc-tar for his Turtle potion and he says he doesn’t have any. I think that we need to make sure that we start carrying some for Kassegore, mostly for him to carry under his armor.

Roc-tar goes over the potions that he has. Magpie is interested in the Rapid Growth potion and Roc-tar states that it wouldn’t be a good idea for someone to drink that potion.
Magpie: “What about a druid?”
Roc-tar: “They might die or turn into a plant.”

We start heading into the cave, Magpie is in front, followed by me riding Kassegore (to be able to guide him), followed by Salvator then Roc-tar (for the same reason). I’m not too sure how Kassegore thought of me riding him, but for me it was fun!

It wasn’t long at all, before Magpie comes up on a horde of Zombies. As the fighting goes on, we then see that past a chasm there are 6 Hobgoblins and an Ogre that most of his body is covered in black lighting.

A zombie comes up to Magpie and attempts to hit him. Magpie stabs the zombie, taking it out then shouts: “Kassegore Get them!” Then Magpie steps forward and to the side to swing at and take out another zombie.

Kassegore runs up eagerly, Salvator moves up and casts deflection on Kassegore. Sitting on Kassegore’s back I now realize why Sky hates being underground….one CAN’T fly.

As I come to this conclusion, the zombies move up on Magpie and Kassegore/me. Several take swings at Magpie and miss. The Ogre shouts out orders, and then attempts to shoot the black lighting at Magpie.

As there is no safer place at the moment, I shoot a zombie dead over Kassegore’s shoulder. I quickly discover why those riding horses miss so much; it’s hard to do from something’s back. Roc-tar moves up to Kassegore’s side and shoots another zombie to take it out as well.

Several more zombies come up on Magpie, 3 zombies attempt to hit Magpie and miss. One zombie seems to have hit Magpie, just scratching him and the 5th actually stuns Magpie. Two zombies attempt to hit Kassegore.

Magpie calls for Kassegore to help the others and he apologies in advance. I’m not sure what he was about to do.

The Ogre attempts to shoot Kassegore and misses, although I’m not sure that the Ogre can actually aim.

Roc-tar steps back to shoot the zombie that just attempted to swing at him. Kassegore steps forward and does a sweep attack, which takes out 4 zombies. I think that he forgot I was on his back, oh well. That was fun! Magpie’s sword is giving Kassegore enough light that I don’t have to direct him to enemies, yet.

Salvator makes a bigger light source and manages to take out 4 zombies and stun 2 others. Magpie shakes off the hit and then moves behind a pillar. I again shoot from Kassegore’s back and manage to take out another zombie. While reloading, Roc-tar moves forward and attempts to shoot the last zombie. Kassegore moves forward and smacks it dead.

Twelve Troglodytes move out of the shadows and 4 head towards Magpie, 6 towards Kassegore and 2 towards Salvator. Those that came up on Kassegore and Salvator just totally miss their attacks and the same with 3 of the ones on Magpie, although 1 got lucky and took a few feathers off of Magpie.

Salvator says: “Its time to lighten the mood.”

The Ogre attempts to shoot Kassegore and misses.

Magpie turns to hit a Troglodyte and stuns it, however, his second swing misses. I attempt to shoot one near Magpie and miss.

Salvator says: “Since they are not all that bright let me help them out.” Then Salvator makes his light brighter, which stuns 2 and kills 6. Magpie swings twice at the last one near him, the first swing misses and the second one doesn’t. And down it goes. Roc-tar steps up and shoots a Hobgoblin, taking it out. This breaks the hold that someone had over the other Hobgoblins as they now charge forward towards Kassegore.

Kassegore sweeps the Troglodytes near him, taking 5 out. Salvator casts bolts at 3 of the Hobgoblins, one is stunned and all 3 are now light sources. It looks like I didn’t need to help out Kassegore at all.

The Ogre shoots at something, not sure what as it wasn’t near any of us.

As I see the 4 Hobgoblins charging Kassegore, I say a quick prayer and hope he will forgive me for what I am about to do, as I feel it is time for his alter ego to come out and play. I reach forward and pour 1 of Roc-tar’s armor potions down his throat and then punch Kassegore on the snout. As I see that Kassegore is changing, I then fly straight up away from the Beast. Magpie flies to the bridge and starts to fiddle with his new toy and that fiddling makes it look like lighting really likes him. Magpie then swings twice and takes out 2 of the Hobgoblins. Hmm, maybe the Beast didn’t need to come out and play.

The Ogre steps up to Magpie and smacks Magpie. Magpie looks at the Ogre, as if saying: “Is that all you got?” I then shoot the Ogre, just managing to get his attention.

The 3 Hobgoblins move up on Kassegore, 2 swing and miss and the 3rd stuns him. Ok, now the idea to bring out the Beast doesn’t seem so bad. Roc-tar shoots at a Hobgoblin, taking it out. Kassegore/the Beast hakes off the hit and swings with his Kayakor at a Hobgoblin taking it out. The Beast attempts to hit one with its tail and misses, the same with the head butt. I am so glad that I am not on his back at the moment! Salvator pulls out his crossbow and loads it while he moves forward.

The Beast/Kassegore attacks with his tail taking out the last Hobgoblin and then moves up on the Ogre. The Beast then uses the Kayakor to take out the Ogre.

Salvator calls for Magpie to move away, until Kassegore can regain control of himself.

Once Kassegore is calm, I mimic an apology to him. Kassegore doesn’t say anything as he leans down and takes the Ogre’s head as a trophy and walks away. This startles Roc-tar as he was examining the body. Salvator checks us over to see if any of us are wounded.

Magpie checks the door that was behind the Ogre as Roc-tar informs us that there is a ritual going on behind it. Salvator casts deflection on Kassegore.

I ask Kassegore if he would like another guide, in case it was dark again. And to my surprise, he says yes and allows me once again on his back.

Magpie gets the door open and smacks both Kassegore and Salvator’s asses saying: “Go get them!”

A Denier of Death says: “Sog will fall, the Deniers of Death will rise. For they are the true rulers of all!”
Salvator retorts: “Darkness only prevails if there is Light to chase it away!”
Denier of Death: “There is only 1 of you and there are all of us. You have gone too far and too deep!”
Salvator: “All it takes is a single candle flame to dispel the Darkness. All it takes is 1 of us!”

I have to admit the talk was getting boring so I shot at a zombie. Roc-tar shoots one of his potions at the zombies, and thorns grow and take out 6 zombies.

A Necromancer casts something at Roc-tar, which doesn’t do anything. From the back of this room we hear a Denier cast something and say: “Call forth Vinar and the great 13 Necro-lords.” Magpie translates this for us.

Salvator moves forwards saying: “Let me show you what the light can do!” Then he makes himself a light source again. This takes out several of the zombies and stuns several others.

Kassegore moves forward and almost goes Beast crazy on the zombies; his tail takes out 2, his head butt takes out another, the same with the Kayakor.

Two Necromancers cast something at Kassegore and miss both of us. Then there are lots of streams of darkness that seem to be wondering around.

Magpie flies forward and sees 13 more enemies. He drops in between the Necromancer and a Denier and fiddles with his belt. Magpie looks worried for a moment as it appears that his belt broke. At this turn of events, Magpie sweeps those around him taking out 6 enemies and then stabs the Denier for no real damage.

The Denier then attacks Magpie, who shouts “Trolls” to the sloshing sound of something coming out of the water. The Denier then calls out: “Garcon I need you!”

Magpie asks: “Who the hell is Garcon?” As the door opens and a weird creature comes out, Magpie says: “Ah! That’s Garcon!”

Garcon attempts to hit Magpie and hits the Denier instead. And the Denier’s shield attacks Garcon in retaliation.

Salvator calls out: “Dealers of Death, I think you just met your own!”

Two Necromancers cast something at Magpie. This almost brings Magpie down, until he hears Salvator’s voice. I tap on Kassegore’s shoulder and point to Magpie, Kassegore nods at me.

The Denier of Death says: “Take out the false Angel!”
Magpie replies: “The only false one is you!”

Magpie then gets slammed by 4 Prelacy archers, again almost bringing Magpie down until Kassegore yells at him for being weak. Magpie then shakes of the hits, standing up he attempts to sweep all near him and misses, before ducking in the room that Garcon came out of.

The Trolls start heading for Kassegore. The Prelacy start complaining that they are not happy at the way this is turning out and these Damned Rangers of Sog.

Magpie calls out from behind the closed door: “Your welcome!”

Kassegore lets go and stabs the Trolls, bringing them down. I fly over to a corner and shoot a Necromancer dead. Two Prelacy archers attempt to shoot me and miss.

The Denier shouts for Garcon to go after Magpie. After shaking off the hit the Denier moves forward to attempt to harm Kassegore and then continues away.

Salvator says: “The light protects my friends, there’s no protection for you.” Then casts bolt at the Denier, shaking him.

Roc-tar tosses a fire potion on the Trolls, to finish taking them out._ Kassegore must have been pleased that he didn’t get caught in that potion._ Roc-tar then moves forward.

Garcon attempts to open up the door that Magpie is holding closed, when he finds that the lever isn’t working he starts to cut it open. In the middle of cutting the door, something went horribly wrong as Garcon takes himself out.

I take a shot at the Denier and my arrow bounces off of his armor. Roc-tar runs up and throws an entangle potion on the Denier. Salvator casts bolt at the Denier. Kassegore takes out the 3 remaining Necromancers.

We find out that this was old, even during the dark times. This was a place of Vinar and the great 13 Necro-lords. The Necromancers were attempting to make a foot hold here, by repowering the Arcfire devices with Necromancy. We find the notes that showed how the Prelacy are willing/doing this. We also find labs here.

With Salvator watching, we replace things that were lost or used, using the non-tainted items. The new potion that Roc-tar created is most effective against Trolls.

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Dangerous Games
Leave Someone Behind?? What Crazy Talk is This?

28th of Dancing Clouds

We are escorting supplies and food for the refugees. As we are heading back, we see people attempting to make an ambush. They start calling for us to hand over the goods.

Galashorn shoot one dead, then calls out to Gunther “That’s one!”

Maeve shoots one and takes it out. Justice steps up to kick a person in the head to stun it.

Gunther attempts to shoot one archer and misses.

Vhen climbs up a cliff, then sweeps the enemy taking out two. Then says “I give you a second chance to surrender.”

Liarra moves out from the wagon and starts to cast.

I shoot the leader of this party twice and manage to hurt him.

The leader shakes off my hit and runs away, shouting at the others to get the White Silver! Then two of the enemy attack Gunther, one just does a grazing blow the other seems to hurt him. One attacks Vhen and misses, another takes a swing and actually does hurt Vhen. Two attempt to attack Maeve and miss.
.
Felosia does her disappearing reappearing trick, ends up behind the leader and attempts to sweep him and misses, although she shakes another near the leader.

The leader starts to retreat and Felosia says: “What? Retreating already?”
The leader replies: “Tactical retreat……Yes.”

Zaastax sticks his head out then starts to make it look like an Orc was coming out of a tent.

Vhen sweeps the two near him and knocks out three, then moves closer to the leader and says: “You can surrender now.”

Liarra shoots and casts bolt to take out an archer.

Maeve makes herself glittery then grabs her mace, then takes out an enemy. Justice also makes herself glittery then attacks one with her hooves and takes out one.

Zanstax starts to make his creation look like he’s an upset Orger. This scares the enemy enough to start running.

As the leader still looks like he’s going to fight, I shoot him and end up killing him. Felosia says: You should have surrendered.”
At the death of their leader the others surrender. When binds them up and Liarra attempts to heal Gunther. Felosia heals Vhen. Zaastax makes his creation stop and then goes back to sleep. I head after the one that ran, while Maeve heals Gunther. As I start after the one who ran, Galashorn starts saying that the guy was his and attempts to catch up to him before I do.
Silly Glasshorn! I fly faster than you can run!

Galashorn: “Mine!”
Me: “No!”
Galashorn: “Mine!”
Me: “No!”
Galashorn: “Mine!”
Me: “No!”
Galashorn: “Bow and sword!”
Me: “What’s that mean?”
Felosia: “Do I need to field demote you? I still have your cloak!”

Galashorn heads back. Just before I get out of ear shot, I hear Gunther grunting at the argument.

Poor runner didn’t have a chance as I catch him and fly him back to the caravan, and he whimpered the whole way back. With the annoying whimpering, I was tempted to give him to Galashorn, but my common sense won that argument and I handed him over to Felosia. And head back out scouting.

After I see that the path is clear I head back. When I get back to the group, I find out that these guys were hunting Venetti and that they worked for the Prelacy. There contact was a special operative in Brant by the name of Giselle.

Maeve starts to freak out and demanding that we leave right away. We manage to get her to slow down enough to see if we can see where and in what shape Venetti is in. Felosia asks Liarra if she can contact him. Maeve asks that if she can get through to find out if he’s safe and does she need to kill anyone?

Felosia informs Maeve that yes she does need to kill someone, but we need to find out who first.

We find the direction that Brant is in and I head off to scout the way.

We continue on with the caravan, as Brant was the stopping point. Felosia keeps having me scout ahead to check for more ambushes. I find that they have come up with a plan to have Vhen and Zaastax go into town, with Galashorn watching them and Gunther watching Galashorn. Even with the weird plans we have come up with, this is overly complex and confusing.

Liarra links up with Venetti and gets the impression that he is blindfolded and is in a lot of pain. He sends back the message of: “I’m bait, do not come for me. Tell Maeve I love her.” And then he breaks off the connection, which surprises Liarra.

What a silly man!!! He’s one of us NOW and we won’t leave him behind! I am happy to see that everyone in this party shares the same thought and that none of us really need to voice it, even though Felosia says “Fat chance of that happening”. Although Justice does send an image that Venetti is a good person to have at your back.

Gunther leans over to Liarra and says: “Do not read me.” Zaastax tells us that we are all crazy. Felosia asks Zaastax if he would be willing to have Liarra link up with him. After being hesitant, which Liarra takes for a no, Zaastax says yes. Kind hearted Liarra links with Vhen, after Vhen volunteered for the link.

Zaastax starts to talk about compensation for this mission and Justice drops a Ranger Trainee cloak on his head.

We set up the caravan and the four head off into town. I do most of the handing out of supplies as Felosia and Liarra are mostly watching for the others to come back and listening to gossip.

As night falls, Felosia starts dinner and I am watching for the others, when I see Galashorn headed our way. He signs that he has two following him. I quietly let Felosia and Liarra know, and we quickly decide to trap these two. I sign back to Galashorn and we have him come closer to us, and then he ducks into a tent flap.

One of the Prelacy ducks the same way and the other goes around the tent. Felosia corners the one that ducked into the tent and the other finds a crossbow pointed at his face along with Sheelia at his balls. Maeve starts talking in Camonier. After a bit she calls for Justice and asks Justice to show them an image of Venetti.

As the two Prelacy cross their legs, we get the idea that the image was not just of Venetti. As the talks become more and more degraded, I move behind them so that I don’t show them how badly I don’t like the way the talks are headed. They then quickly tell us that Venetti is alive although he may need a healer. Even though we threaten them, it becomes clear that they don’t know much as they are just guards. Felosia then asks Liarra to just get it out of their heads. Liarra finds out that they are telling us the truth.

When Vhen and Zaastax come back they inform us that we need to go to the Broken Barrel as that is were the Prelacy are holed up and even better is the fact that in there is Malakar Dominion in there as well.
Zaastax says: “A famous Goblin Tactician once said ‘If your enemy knows the battlefield, you’re screwed.”
Justice then hits Zaastax in the face with a cloak.

Liarra attempts to get a hold of Venetti again, gets the impression that he is in a dark cellar, again of pain, and the same message to leave him. She relays this to us.

Felosia gives us marching orders. She wants Liarra and Gunther to go in the front door & the rest of us to look for a way into the basement. Zaastax really doesn’t want to go with us as he says “Shotsun”. I have no clue what that might mean. But he says that he’s staying here. He must have changed his mind once he saw that we were all going. Clearly upset he stomps behind us putting the cloak on and grumbles about the “damned cloak.”

We (Galashorn, Vhen and I) find two scouts hanging out by the back door, three by the front door, one on top of the inn and two wandering around circling the inn. We don’t see a way into the cellar. I sign this to Felosia along with we need to go through the front door, who then signs back to stealthily kill them. I get into position and take aim at one of the guards at the back door.

As I see the others are in position, I shoot two arrows at the guard on the roof. Vhen jumps on the next roof and one notices, although he can’t do more than look in the right direction as Galashorn shoots that one.

One guard starts to pound on the door as hard as he can, as we hear the scream of a raptor.

Liarra runs forward and makes herself look like one of the captured scouts. Zaastax runs forward as well.

I knew that Maeve wasn’t happy about Venetti getting caught, although racing forward and going through the WALL, made me think that she went crazy—-almost Kassegore crazy. She proved that she had some thought process as she cries out “Where is Venetti!!” Afterwards, I find out that Venetti shouted back “You idita!”
Then there is the sound of a banging door and a female’s voice shouting: “Thank you very much for obliging my trap! Kill the horse!”

The two guards at the back door rush inside. The ones that were guarding the front door, rush through the Justice size door, hmm I wonder if this will catch on just like Ma’ai’s door did.

While running up, Gunther shoots one of the guards that moved to the new door dead. Felosia and Sheelia run forward, Sheelia quickly outpaces Felosia and she just steps over the dead body into the new door. Vhen runs across the roof, and we hear shouting of “They’re on the ceiling!”

I shoot at one guard at the door, while he shoots at me. He misses and that was the last thing he ever did as my shot takes him out.

A hidden guard heads into the kitchen. It sounds like Maeve and Justice have been shot or at least been shot at, as I hear thunder and lighting starts to show from the inn’s windows. Then I hear Maeve say: “My turn.”

I see Gunther aim under Justice’s tail, I’m sure that in that instance that Justice is glad she’s a mare. Zaastax runs forward. I fly forward towards one of the windows and crash through it and shoot at a guy, killing him. Looking back, I’m surprised that it actually worked.

Vhen jumps down the chimney and tells the guy that is hiding in there: “You may leave.” This startles the guy so much that he actually does. Vhen then knocks on the other door in the kitchen and says: “Your pastries are ready.” This causes a guy to open up the door and say: “What?” Vhen smacks the Shaiakar with his staff. As the Shaiakar falls unconscious, Vhen says: “These aren’t for you!”

Sheelia finding several enemies, runs up to a guy and attempts to grab his nuts. Felosia gets to the door and then casts entangle on the same guy.

One guard takes a few shots and then ducks behind the bar.

Galashorn takes out a guard at the end of the alley and then steps into the inn right behind the ducked guard and demands his surrender.

There is a woman in front of Maeve and Justice, who attempts to get Maeve off of Justice, as that doesn’t work she then attacks Maeve. Maeve looks like she just got scratched. Liarra moves up to Felosia and casts bolt at this woman, who jumps on the table and kicks a bowl of steaming stew at Justice. I guess that Justice was hungry as she licks the stew off her nose.

The guy in front of Sheelia breaks out of the entanglement and then attempts to attack Sheelia. Zaastax steps into the room and slings a rock at the same guy and does a strong hit as the guy stagers, then Zaastax crouches behind a table.

Vhen attempts to continue the ruse, but from the other room comes: “We aren’t buying any of this shit!” So he opens up the door and step inside, to have three different individuals attack him. Giselle manages to hit him with his Arcfire long sword, which wounds Vhen.

Vhen and Giselle exchange blows, which leaves both of them stunned. Although Vhen wasn’t too far gone to have the “Go lay down and sleep” mind trick work on him. The one who attempted the mind trick then says: “Dammit its all going to shit!” Vhen replies: “Go take a nap then.”

The guard in the kitchen reloads and then attempts to shoot Vhen.. The guard near Galashorn attempts to go over the bar. Galashorn shoots him in the ass and says: “I tried to give you a chance.” Liarra runs into the bar and to the back room. A woman (Giselle) calls out: “JeanPo! Good, come here and help me!” Liarra drops her disguise and says: “Not this time.” Liarra hits Giselle with a bolt, wounding and stunning her.

Maeve looks at the woman in front of her and says: “My turn” and hits the woman with her mace stunning the woman. Justice then follows up with a hoof to the face, which smashes in her face, then both Maeve and Justice move to the stairs where they see Venetti hanging on a wall and two Malakar right beside him. The Malakar seemed to have no love of the terrible things that was done to Venetti. One says: “He has no further purpose, he will die.” Maeve replies with: “Come to me, we all die sometime.”

Gunther walks into the room and shoots dead the guy in front of Sheelia. Sheelia looks disappointed at this. From no where arrows come hitting me and Galashorn. A second arrow catches me in the chest, and I can tell that these are not regular arrows and there is no way that I can get them out myself. Then several Shaiakar appear and say: “Goodbye cousins of life.” As I have no clue as to what this individual means I head off to help Maeve and say to the two downstairs with Venetti: “Darling, the best way to live is to help us. I’ll keep the horse and the lady off you.” As I start to head down, the Malakar look at each other and say: “Those women are crazy. Venetti remember we didn’t kill you.”

Sheelia runs up to a Shaiakar and rips him apart. Felosia runs up to another and attempts to hit him. Liarra casts bolt at the other Adept, staggering him and causing his spell to fail. The other soldier in that room moves up to Vhen and attacks, stunning Vhen.

Felosia’s Shaiakar drops his bow and attacks, but misses Felosia. Two others shoot at Galashorn and miss. Zaastax steps forward and slings a rock at the Shaiakar in front of Felosia, taking him out. Gunther moves forward and pins Giselle to the wall with one of his arrows. Galashorn shoots at the last Shaiakar, missing, before he goes down. Vhen attempts to hit the Adept’s focus crystal with his staff, after missing Vhen then attempts to kick him, again missing. Then one (Pavelli) surrenders to Vhen.

Felosia sends Sheelia after the last Shaiakar.

After determining that the Malakar downstairs shouldn’t remove the arrows, I have them lower Venetti to the ground. Venetti tells Maeve: “You are stupid. I told you not to come! Thank you and I love you.”

Looking Venetti over, there is not much that we can do for him other than setting the bones and putting his arms back into their sockets.

The Malakar are willing to share some information with us.
The Shotsun came specifically to capture and get Venetti.
They wanted to find out everything Venetti knows about the Rangers.
They were after any Rangers, but wanted our group specifically (except Zaastax). It would have been a boon to get Artivan or Gibben.
The Dominion is here with a specific agenda, even though technically the Southern Kingdoms are not at war with the Dominion.

At this news, Maeve has Liarra contact Brian (the younger brother, who is a captain) to tell him what we have found. I give Venetti something to knock him out. Then go about carefully setting his bones and getting him back to Sog.

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At what cost?
The line between commitment and obsession

The light from the tavern flickered on street as the occupants moved about. The muffled sounds rose and fell sharply as the door opened and shut leaving a goblin standing on the street. He leaned against the wall for a moment and waited until he regained some semblance of balance before making his way into the crisp night.

The drink had been good and the dice gracious. Geny had been savvy enough to leave before either turned on him. His coin pouch was heavy, but not so much that anyone would feel poorly about it tomorrow. Content and relaxed, the nit never saw the figure emerge from the shadows of an alley he passed. The larger form leaned down to whisper to him.

“I am pleased you did not keep me waiting longer.”

Geny suppressed a scream. No matter how insignificant or important a matter, Kassegore always took an ambush approach. In the couple short weeks they’d been “acquainted” the dregordian had been waiting around a corners, in shadows, and once even in Geny’s home, though how something almost the size of an ogre managed to fit without breaking anything still baffled him.

He took a few calming breaths and suppressed the urge to run before speaking. “You could just leave me messages like a normal person.” Geny had never known a dregordian before but still had the distinct impression Kassegore was not like others of his kind.

Kassegore tilted his head slightly. “Those can be intercepted and I still require our affiliation remain unknown for now.”

There were already a number of rumors surrounding the Beast of Thul, none of them very complimentary unless you considered being feared and talented at ending lives positive traits. About half of them would explain Kassegore’s desire for secrecy and those didn’t even cover the relationship the dregordian maintained with the Twilight Priest. Whatever the truth of matter, it was undeniable that carnage and chaos followed the pair as puppies trailed after their masters.

Geny waited for his conspirator to continue as he mentally tallied off their dealings. The businesses the Rangers were now backing were stable and required no oversight for the time being. The personal cabin the dregordian wanted was already under construction and making good progress. The artificer had been bribed with enough arcfire devices to keep silent about the enhancements being done on the armor. So, he concluded, this must be about something new. Marvelous.

Kassegore stared at him for a long moment. The reptilian gaze seemed significant and all the more unnerving because he couldn’t figure out why. Finally the deep voice spoke. “Do you or any you trust have contacts in the occupied gathers?”

In a way Geny had known this was coming. It was far sooner than expected but perhaps the Beast demanded more blood sacrifices before the arrival of winter. “You’re asking us to risk our lives and the lives of our families.”

“Both are already wagered living as non-humans under Prelacy rule. If your kind cannot be bothered to work for their own interests then they are unworthy of my attention, much less my efforts.”

The callous dismissal of his race inflamed Geny. “You cold, scaly bastard, I didn’t say we wouldn’t do it. Don’t you dare threaten to walk away from this simply because you can’t understand this kind of sacrifice…”

The nit never finished his tirade as he was picked up and slammed into a wall. Geny gulped as he stared at the rows of sharp moving teeth and realized he didn’t know if he was speaking to Kassegore or the Beast. “Insolent nit! You know nothing of what I have sacrificed. I have given everything…”

As Geny was dropped to the ground he caught a fleeting glimpse of emotion before Kassegore could regain control. Never had the Beast come without the threat of violence. Whatever happened must have wounded his ally deeply. He tried a different approach in the interest of self-preservation.

“Exactly what will you do with this intelligence?” Geny probed.

Kassegore shifted its weight and got down on one knee to look the nit in the eye. Geny was slightly awed. No one ever did that for them. “I will bring war to the Prelacy. I will teach them fear as they have never known and watch as all they hold dear and sought to protect is reduced to ash.”

His eyes gleamed at the idea of revenge. “Do you promise?”

“With or without the aid of the Rangers, bring me what I need and I swear I will see to the Prelacy’s devastation or die in the attempt.” With that it stood and walked away.

Geny watched it leave. “Truly, the Prelacy is right to fear that one.” Only after he returned home did the full gravity of the situation press upon him. Geny stared into the fire as he poured himself a drink and wondered how far he was willing to go for vengeance. If Kassegore was so committed to the Prelacy’s destruction was there any limit to what he might do or sacrifice? Ultimately, could its allies bear the dregordian any more than its enemies? Geny’s lips curled but his smile held no humor. “Could they bear us?”

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Darkness Falls on Sog
In Which a Monster is Revealed

“I am ready to dictate.” Typical dregordian courtesy, such as it was. The culture predominantly used body language and subtle gestures to indicate emotions and social niceties. As almost all cultural equivalents were radically different within the other races, dregordians often came across as cold and rude regardless of their intentions.

Despite knowing this, Cairos still felt indignant, though to be fair it was only partially the dregordian’s fault. Artivan, motivated by a disdain for all things bureaucratic, had decided the eldekar would make a suitable liaison with the new quartermaster. Kassegore, completely misunderstanding as he seemed wont to do, accepted Cairos’ presence with a tilt of his head and immediately set his new personal scribe to work.

Cairos had tried explaining his position several times. Kassegore had listened intently, nodding his head to mimic mammalian behavior in a poor attempt to appear understanding, and simply given out new orders. Cairos then tried complaining to Artivan. The commander had listened intently, nodded his head in typical human fashion in a poor attempt to seem caring, and simply told him to keep up the good work. Cairos remained calm by reminding himself he’d be able to dance on both dregordian and human graves long after they were gone.

But such a moment wasn’t going to occur today and probably not tomorrow. The patience gained from centuries of experience allowed him to suppress a sigh as he began writing, but only just.

21 Dancing Clouds

The reports are confirmed. The strange moaning and shadowed figures were undead. The presence of the Deniers of Death is not unexpected as remnants of Prelacy forces still roam the area. After tracking them for two days we caught them as they were attacking one of the outlying villages, but the Denier called upon the aid of creatures I had not encountered before.

Icor splattered his scales as he cut down another zombie. The undead were as easily dispatched as he remembered. The Beast shifted the weight of his kayakor, his arms tensed as they prepared to deliver the final blow to the last zombie before him. He was interrupted as shouts and screams caught his attention. Another zombie had broken the door to one of the huts and small, shrill cries of terror responded and the human trainee faced three…creatures.

He snarled at the situation but before he could abandon the human to its fate a sharp whistle distracted him yet again. Magpie, flying overhead, shouted down, “I’ve got the children. Save Rufis.” The Beast swatted the zombie aside and ran past it, charging down on the new enemies. He recognized the rage of these beings, matching his own in many ways, and understood. These were Abominations. He had not known such existed within the other races.

Had they been more tempered in their rage or more numerous they would have posed a threat. As it was the wild swings didn’t even slow him down as he killed them, Rufis guarding his flank. The white silver of his kayakor burned through them, confirming the monsters they were. When the last one died he took a moment to calm himself. He would need the strength when he tracked the rest of them down.

I am told the creatures that fought alongside the undead are known as the “troglodesh,” corrupted goblinesh who gave themselves to Darkness. The goblinesh kill them whenever possible for these fallen damn not only themselves but all future progeny of their line.

From the village it was a simply enough task to track the undead and troglodesh from where they came. Another half day and I’d found the lair. The initial ambush was simple. A handful of troglodytes wouldn’t have been worth mentioning, but none of us predicted what came out of the cave they were guarding.

Kassegore paid no attention to the bodies at his feet. He stared at the hulking brute that came lumbering out of the cave. A troll, by the description given by the villagers, and far larger than any ogre he’d yet encountered. It easily stood twice as tall as him carrying a crude club that had to weigh more than a human. The troll stood for a moment, scanning the area. He couldn’t stand before such threat for long but, his eyes flicked back toward his companions, he would last a good deal longer than any of them. He reached deep within himself and pulled forth his rage and its terrible power.

The Beast roared as he crashed through the underbrush. His charge took him straight to the looming threat and he struck with his kayakor once, twice. The troll rocked back, staggering under the ferocity of the assault, but such a foe could not be downed so easily, nor did it come alone. The Beast realized it had been pulled into a trap as hobgoblins and troglodytes surrounded him, the combined assault overwhelming him and driving him almost to his knees.

Somewhere he dimly realized his companions where desperately trying to rally. An unfamiliar sensation swept over him. He was losing and had calmly accepted the fact he may very well died on this spot. Very well, let them all see how a dregordian dies.

The sudden appearance of bubbles obscured his vision and he snarled. That certainly changed things. The Beast refused to killed while smelling of lavender.

At Salvator’s shout he lashed out his attackers, scattering their bodies as broken toys in a child’s tantrum. He stepped up and in an act of defiance sank his teeth into the troll’s leg. Though the troll had not been harmed, the Beast had caught its attention once again. The distraction allowed Magpie to stab at its throat, almost finishing the creature. Its eyes wild with pain and hate, the troll raised its club to end the offending aevekar and dregordian. The Beast tensed preparing to dodge, or at least try to absorb the coming blow when a streak of light shot into the trolls head and burned the monster’s skull from the inside out.

The arrow Rufis shot had a vial of dwarven fire lashed to it. His quick thinking and desperate gambit saved us as fire is the only element capable of killing a troll. Though rare the incident has shown the Rangers need to secure more of such for when we encounter trolls in the future.

We rested before entering the cave. Rok-tar modified one of his potions to produce fire in case we ran into more trolls. It is encouraging he learned quickly. I do not know what possessed him to believe cleaning bubbles could be utilized effectively in battle. It was a stressful situation and things happened quickly. Perhaps he grabbed the wrong potion. Trainee Rufis was sent back to find more fire arrows in case that failed. Salvator spent several minutes healing my injuries.

Given the grievous wounds I suffered the rest of the squad deemed to prudent to come up with a plan to enchant me before I went berserk and got myself killed, somewhat difficult since most of Rok-tar’s potions need to be drunk. Combined with the darkness it was decided the best solution was for me to give Nightingale a “piggy back” ride. Her wings compensated enough for weight and balance and both of us were able to keep our hands free.

While trying to scout ahead Magpie was almost completely overrun by zombies. His enchanted blades gave enough light to fight by. They also led everything in those caves straight to us.

Kassegore again noted most, if not all, the zombies were human, an odd choice given their location in goblinesh lands. Ichor splattered. Surely goblin bodies would be more available. Perhaps humans were more easily animated. His tail lashed out and swatted a would-be attacker away. He was not a necromancer. He would never know. A whirl of slashes and one of Salvator’s bursts of Light finished the rest.

The troglodytes were of no more consequence than the zombies were. The dozen or so that showed died swiftly under arrows and blades. Kassegore looked across the chasm and the stone bridge that crossed it. The ogre at the other end was obviously dead and heavily modified by arctech implants. Somehow it seemed to have a hold over half a dozen hobgoblins.

Then and arrow flew past his head and dropped one of the wretched creatures. Whatever tenuous control the ogre corpse held broke and they all charged forward. He looked over his shoulder at Nightingale. The sheepish aevakar pulled open his jaws and poured a potion down his throat. She looked quickly back at the charging foes, back at him, and punched him in the snout before flying out of reach.

Magpie dropped behind the hobgoblins on the bridge and Salvator began chanting. Between their swords and spells only two hobgoblins reached the Beast at roughly the same time the ogre slammed into Magpie. The Beast paid little attention.

The hobgoblins rained blows upon him, but neither the edge of a sword nor the weight of a club could slow him. A headbutt shattered one hobgoblin’s skull and his tail crushed the chest of the other. His roar as he surged forward alerted the last dueling pair to his approach. The ogre, overextended from its attack on Magpie, could do nothing except watch the kayakor descend.

Magpie flew off before the bottom half of the ogre hit the ground, not trusting the Beast. Nightingale’s tactic had certainly been effective but he didn’t want to risk coming down yet in case it had confused the Beast about who its allies were. He and Nightingale didn’t land until it was certain Kassegore had regained control. The dregordian just stared at Nightingale as she approached with an apologetic message in hand. Kassegore, never taking his eyes off her, reached down and took hold of the ogre head and tore out the implant with his claws before walking away with his gruesome trophy.

At the back of the cave was a door from which Salvator claimed a great darkness was emanating. Magpie made quick work of the lock and we descended into the ruins of a long past civilization. The Deniers were conducting a ritual of sorts, mixing arcmancy and necromancy. I have never considered the influence my actions may have on my companions beyond keeping them alive and our enemies dead. My desperate charge against the troll seemed to inspire Magpie. He may have learned his lesson. Time will tell.

Kassegore cut through the first ranks of the remaining zombies just in time to see Magpie stagger under the force of the blows from the Prelacy soldiers. Enraged, he roared at the foolish thief, ordering him to stand up. To everyone’s surprise, Magpie did just that. He finally did the smart thing, dodged the foes surrounding him, and ran into the opening the golem came from and sealed it.

With our attention shifted away from Magpie’s almost certain death, the rest of the combat seemed almost easy. Two more trolls appeared but were considerably weaker than the one we met at the cave entrance. I’m told it was because they were summoned as such things are typically weaker than their real counterparts. In the confusion six Prelacy soldiers escaped the ruins. I gave chase once the necromancers were dead but was unable to take prisoners.

Claude died before they even knew they were being pursued. They had stopped by the river near the cave to catch their breath. They had a long walk and the Rangers seemed content to let them leave after that scaled monster killed their commander. Claude was sitting nearest to the water and was dragged under before he could scream. Vanessa cried out and ran to help but the others stopped her, knowing her lover was already dead.

The Beast began singing of the hunt. The song was meant to terrify prey and drive them before the hunters. They would seek no cover now, only escape. They would die for the mistake.

Distracted by the roars, Renard tripped over an exposed root. No one stopped. He cried to them for help as he died. The roaring resumed.

It was Vanessa who recognized the melody first. It made no difference as the monster leapt from a tree onto her. She sobbed in pain as it lifted her only by the jaws clamped over her shoulder to look at the rest of them. It tossed her up lightly to bite down on her throat instead and she joined Claude.

Jean turned back, telling the others to run. He tried to buy time. They only heard his shout of defiance cut short.

Pierre collapsed a few yards before Javier did. They allowed themselves to do so only because the song had stopped. Pierre had just started to think they may be able to escape when the Beast emerged from the woods. It broke his ribs so he could not scream and his legs so he could not run and his arms so his could not help his friend.

Javier couldn’t even find it in himself to lift an arm in defense as the Beast leaned in. His exhaustion and terror burned themselves out and he only hoped it would all be over soon. The Beast leaned in close and inhaled deeply. Its eyes shut for a moment and Javier wondered if it was basking in the moments before the kill.

Instead, the Beast tied the unresisting human to a tree. Javier waited and watched in horror as the Beast dragged back the corpses of Claude, Renard, Vanessa, and Jean one by one. As each body was laid out it was arranged so the dead eyes could stare at him. Javier screamed and sobbed, begging the Beast to stop, to kill him, to do anything to end this procession of horror but the Beast remained silent. After several hours, when the task was complete, it turned to Pierre and gutted him with and almost casual swipe of its claw.

It faced him and a finally spoke. It seemed wrong somehow that such a horror could speak any of the tongues of men. “There is only death for your kind in these lands, your fellows now proof. Tell your people this.” It untied the ropes binding the insensate soldier. “I am sorry I cannot grant you the same kindness.” With that, Javier watched as the Beast simply walked away and left him with the broken shells that were once his squad.

Pierre’s last breaths were harsh, wet sounds.

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Just So Funny I Had To Do Another Mission Brief
Does the Clean Troll Taste Good?

20th of Dancing Clouds

It was decided, after we found out that it wasn’t Kassegore, that we needed to investigate weird noises that were coming from the forest and surrounding areas. After a bit of traveling we start to hear screaming from a Gather.

Magpie flies forward with his casters and blasts a Necromancer which causes him to be stunned.

Derick steps forward to start to mock the Necromancer, unfortunately I was laughing so hard I missed the full exchange of words.

I fly forward and attempt to shoot one of the zombies.

Rok-tar on a phony race into town, the pony wasn’t happy at seeing dead things walking so it throws off Rok-tar.

Kassegore runs up and roars at the zombies. Salvator rides up and casts bolt, managing to take out two zombies.

I think we made the Necromancer very upset as he then casts something at Magpie and myself that doesn’t seem to do anything, but the last bolt went to Kassegore that causes him to go crazy. Then the Necromancer moves under cover. The zombies move forward, one kills a Goblin. Then we see Hobgoblins and Troglodytes deciding to join the party.
Then from where the Necromancer is hiding, he does something that causes a big cloud of darkness to appear. The zombies move closer to alive things and one takes out an Orc. Two gather around Rok-tar and attempt to hit him.

Rok-tar stands up and takes a swing at one of the zombies which stuns it and then moves in to the trees.

Kassegore tail slaps a zombie, which kills it. Then Kassegore uses his new Kayakor on another zombie and takes that one out. Then Kassegore steps up to the last one near him and attempts to head but the zombie.

Salvator gets off of his horse (which doesn’t seem to be effected by the zombies) and does something that causes him to shine. The zombies don’t seem to do well against the light as one just dies, another looks very stunned and the one right in front of Kassegore looks fine.

Derick calls for us to cover him, then shouts something that ticks off all of the Troglodytes and Hobgoblins.

I fly forward and stun a zombie that was attempting to get into a house.

Three Hobgoblins run up to Derick and as they approach, Derick stabs one which stuns it. Magpie then attempts to hurt the stunned one.
Troglodytes move towards Derick, who then asks for a hand and I turn to him and start clapping. A zombie moves towards Rok-tar and another moves into a house and we hear children crying. Magpie then calls out that he has that covered.

Salvator manages to make the light pulse, which kills a zombie, two Troglodytes, and a Hobgoblins, two other Troglodytes are stunned. Then Salvator intimates the last Troglodytes which stuns it.

Rok-tar moves forward and then throws a potion which makes the three Troglodytes be entangled with what appears to be Taffy. Rok-tar then says: “Hmm cherry. Did I remember to add the poison ivy juice to it?”

I shoot a zombie killing it.

Two Hobgoblins move up to Derick and smack him. The first hit seems to do nothing and the second swing just misses him and the last hit also appears to do nothing.
Kassegore tail slaps to stun the zombie in front of him, then moves forward to the Hobgoblin and head butts it. I guess Kassegore got angry, because that head butt kills the Hobgoblin. Then the other Hobgoblin gets hit with the Kayakor which just upsets the last Hobgoblin.

The Necromancer drops the darkness and casts an ickyness that actually wounds and stuns me. A Troglodyte gets free of the Taffy and then starts to free the two others. The three Troglodytes near Salvator start to run away from him.
Magpie drops a caster and then dives after the zombie that went into the house and stabs it dead with a sword. Then turns and shoots the Necromancer causing him to be wounded and stunned.

The last Hobgoblin takes a step over and swings at both Kassegore (seems to do nothing) and Derick stunning him.
Kassegore does all three of his normal attacks on the Hobgoblin, the first was the Kayakor that just caused it to bleed, next was the tail slam which seemed to wound it and the last was another head butt causing another wound.

Magpie shoots the Necromancer dead then charges up to the Hobgoblin with the sword killing it.

Rok-tar moves forwards saying something and then drinks an ale.
Derick moves away from the fighting. I regain the height that I lost when the Necromancer hit me.
A zombie moves over to two of the Gather’s Goblins which take it out.

Salvator does something again with the light and takes out three Troglodytes while stunning three others.

The Troglodytes that had been entangled manage to shake off the light and three that seem to have run around the Gather gang up on Kassegore.
Kassegore looks at the new three and just takes them out almost without effort. And then moves forward to the Taffied ones.

Rok-tar moves up and using his axe in a sweeping gesture, takes out two Troglodytes.
Salvator moves forward to do a stunning smack on the last Troglodyte.

Derick shakes off the last hit he took and then moves forward to kill the last one standing.
Magpie heads over and picks up his dropped caster and checks it over to find out that it is still functional. Derick starts to check on survivors and finds out that the Deniers of Death are very unhappy with the Rangers and that they are actively working on trying to destroy us. Salvator starts to look for the wounded. Rok-tar looks over the Denier of Death and find that he has a crudely stitched weird runes on his clothes (looks like a metal gauntlet crushing a bone) and takes it for further study.

I head over to the house with the children and find that the Orc that had been guarding it is still alive. I start to whistle for Salvator, who then starts first aid on him. I then start to calm down the children.

Kassegore, after getting himself back together, starts to track where the enemy came from. Once the wounded are taken care of, Salvator has Kassegore tracking and Magpie and I scouting from the air.
We find a lot more Troglodytes. I fly back enough to sign to Salvator that we found them and he signs back that we can start fighting. I sign to Magpie that we are good to go. Kassegore then gets into the water, while Magpie and I get closer and wait for him to engage.

The wait isn’t long at all, as Kassegore then jumps out of the water to slap an unsuspecting Troglodyte with his tail. The Troglodyte barely knows that he was being attacked before it winds up dead. Kassegore then takes a step forward and stabs another one killing that one as well.
Magpie attempts to shoot a Troglodyte and misses the first in a small group, then shoots the other one taking it out. I attempt to hit the one that Magpie missed and don’t seem to get a clear shot.

As we start to make all of this noise, a Troll decides to join our party._ You know these individuals really need to start to reserve their spot!_

Salvator moves forward and as he gets off of the horse, shoots in a general direction of a Troglodyte and misses. It might have been better if he had actually looked at what he was attempting to shoot.

Derick shoots the Troll, while he hit it the arrow just gets pushed out.

Kassegore then runs up to the Troll and goes crazy on it, and manages to wound it.
I shoot a Troglodyte and stun it.

Then four Hobgoblins decide to also crash the party, all of them surround Kassegore. I don’t think that some of them actually have seen a Dregordian raging before as two of them just seem to stand there looking at him funny and the other two take swings at Kassegore and stun him. Then five of the Troglodytes move up on Kassegore and attack, which seems to really do damage on Kass.

Magpie dives down on the Troll and attempts to stab it.
Rok-tar shoots the whole group with the cleaning bubbles. Other than Magpie and Kass, the others don’t look better cleaned.
Kass does this weird looking sweep, which manages to take out the five Troglodytes and two Hobgoblins, then steps up to the Troll and bites it_. I’m not sure that the soap tasted good, but it should be better than the dirty Troll._

Magpie stabs the Troll in the jewels, which does wound it. Then the Troll takes another stab in the throat which just seems to make a hole.
Derick then shoots the Troll with a weird looking arrow in the hole that Magpie made. As the arrow entered the hole it explodes in fire.

Salvator does his thing with the light again taking out several more of the Troglodytes and we manage to take out the rest. And now I am going to have to carry alcohol to make sure that we can kill Trolls with fire.

We do a little bit of exploring of the cave the Troll came out of and find that it goes back a ways. There is something that is making noises in the back and we decide that maybe we need to get most of this information back to Artivan. As we are heading back, we notice that there are tracks of humans going in and out of this cave. The tracks contain both zombie shambling’s and normal humans.

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Hero's Hart Specials
On a chalk sign for lunch on 22nd of Dancing Clouds

Special today Lemon cream pie!! Come and get a slice of Lemon or Lime cream pie free with a full meal and a drink. Get them while supplies last.

You may also purchase a cream pie to go for only a few coins. Inquire inside.

Win a Free Pie: Inquire with in on this weeks contest. The winner will get a free pie, either to go or here to share.

Fall harvest is upon us. Apple Cider is on special. And coming soon Apple Jack and Apple Cyser.

Entree special: Deer Sausage, smoked or fried with mash.

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Cream Pie Incedent: Reformulation of Tangle Taffy: Experiment 1
The Brewing Alchemist's Cookbook- 21st Dancing Clouds

So, I went to improve the Tangle Taffy results. I attempted to gain the aid of several local children. I did get some volunteers when I said that there was candy involved. I did get permission from their parents and went to an empty lot that was mostly stone and dirt.

After formulating, I marked off an “X” where I was going to drop the potion. Set it up on a string and an arm from the building. Then got the kids in place. Luckily I did get Nightingale’s help with it by keeping watch over the children. I think that she was afraid that I was going to hurt them. Which is an odd idea, why would I? So I asked if the children were ready, and when they all were I let go of the string holding the potion bottle aloft. I opted for the wax bottle that I press myself and make from one of the molds I have.

The results were surprising. The explosion was dramatic, not causing any damage or knockdown effect but the reformulation of it, exploded into a form of whipped cream. It was an approximate 20 feet diameter of whip cream. Not at all the entangling effect that I wanted. More of a slight slipperiness and a covering, easily wiped off from the face. The whipped cream was a vanilla taste with a touch of wild cream. I must have thinned it out too much and did not put enough binding agent. Oh, well, back to the lab.

After the kids were gone, I also tested a new Power Bubbles variant where I put in more of the ingredients needed for the explosive qualities. I had a few candles in it hoping to have more of a flammable effect. Which is why after I had the kids sent away, I had the open area blocked off a bit with some tied rope and some warring signs. The results were surprising, not nearly the explosion that I was hoping for and not at all flammable. I shall have to try again. On the plus side the bubbles did scrub the remains of the previous experiment but this formula did consume the candles almost entirely. I believe because the wax was made from animal fat.

Sigh, with two failures in the day, I went home to cheer myself up by making some actual cream pies for the dinner rush. Lemon cream and lime cream with a burlee type of crust.

Rok-tar the Brewing Alchemist

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Tangle Taffy Test: Successful, Power Bubbles Test: Not so much.
Notes from Rok-Tar’s Alchemist and Cookbook Development and Log
20th of Dancing Clouds

I was sent out on patrol with Grey Rangers as a part of my training as a Grey Ranger Trainee. I decided to join the Grey Rangers as they are a large force for good in these parts and businesses that support this are generally more profitable and have a higher community support ratio.
We came across a Necromancer that had summoned some zombies. My Fellow Patrol people were Nightingale, whom is a fellow Alchemist Aevkar, Another Aevakar by name of Magpie, who was in charge of the Patrol but fancies himself a bit of a Archfire enthusiast and a bit of a pilfer. Calling oneself Magpie may have given him that sort of reputation. The fierce Beast/Kassagore Dregordian who is the Quarter Master of the Rangers in Sog. A human bardic type, by the name of Derrik, I think. He may not be a true bard yet but I am sure my brother and him would make great drinking partners. And finally, What some people call Kassagore’s conscious, though I don’t understand why, by the same of Salvator, a Preist of the Light.
Kassagore charged in, as I have been told he is want to do, as did the Aevakars. The Priest and I were on horse back, as I am slow and Salvator has his own horse. I was riding a pony. I rode in to attempt to view the situation better and that blasted pony threw me, leaving me to be beat upon by some zombies under the Necromancer’s sway. Filthy, stupid beast. If I didn’t need it I would turn it’s bones into glue and it’s body fat into candles. So I missed most of the action from the initial sortie. Once I was able to back up and get on my feet the Necromancer had called for additional Minions and Salvator saved me from the Zombies with being a Lightbringer of Arcanon. He summoned a most holy light and the light itself exploded one zombie and dazed and mesmerized the other that was threatening me, so I was able to dispatch it. I then was able to creep up around the building and see a group of Trogs were about to join the fray and harm Kassagore, who was busy with a couple of fearsome Hobs, Hobgoblins if you wish to be proper. I launched my Tangle Taffy and attempted to keep them from eating it by saying that it had essence of Poison Oak, alas I am not as good at bluffing as my brother. The Tangle Taffy, cherry flavor, exploded into a large area entangling all 3 of the Trogs, or if being formal again Troglodytes. There was some other action, as I had said but I was missing most of it due to it being my first time in the chaos of battle. Kassagore had nearly finished off his opponents when my Tangle Taffy shrunk down to it’s original gallon size. This left the 3 Trogs free, I was able to get in close with my axe and kill 2 of them and Kassagore killed the other two. We talked with the locals, healed them, did what we could. Then found some tracks to find out where the Necromancer came from.
I was not able to whip something more potent up so I was left with a few enhancer potions and my cleaning potion. We followed the tracks and found in the swampland a scattering of corrupted creatures. While most were Trogs and Hobs, there was one Troll. The Troll was horrible to behold. Kassagore made his way from the swamp stream killing as he went, getting to the troll. Him and the troll traded blows while the rest of us were attempting to get to him. He had taken a few massive blows. I rode up on my pony, who was cooperating for once, and threw my Power Bubbles potion, thinking to distract the troll and re-invigorate Kassagore, but it didn’t have much effect. While the bubbles were scrubbing him and the troll down, who was a little confused by the bubbles, the other and Kassagore were able to take out all but the Troll. Mental note, a clean troll isn’t really any better looking than a non-clean troll and they really don’t care if they are clean or dirty. I was unable to clean the creature’s conscience. But the 20 foot diameter of foaming bubbles did clean up the area as the creatures were being messy and bloody. I am jus lucky that Kassagore was familiar with the sensation of the bubbles. I need to invent “Angry Bubbles” which should be similar to the Power bubbles but strong enough to strip the skin off of a Troll. What finally ended the Troll was Derrick having a bit of entertainment Alchemy that I have only heard of. A self propelled exploding stick that zips out and explodes in a pattern of colored flame. At least that is what is meant. Instead it zipped out and went up into the creature’s head and exploded his head. I was informed later that such a creature may recover from any wound but those inflicted by fire. I shall have to see about packing the oil vials for my potion launcher the next time I am on patrol. I also need to upgrade this launcher so that it has greater range.
*
Culinary notes:* Trogs like cherry taffy, can’t blame them really. Hmm, may be a secondary market for taffy among the goblins. Children? Hmm.

Potion Notes: The Tangle Taffy performed well, make orange flavored next time. Also, reformulate stronger. For it’s intended purpose the Power Bubbles worked well, it may have a good use in breaking up brawls in the Tavern but must be careful not to expose it to flame, I think that part of the explosive result of the Entertainment Alchemy was in part due to the bubbles. Hmm, must test this with both types of cleaning potions. In a safe area of course. I don’t want to burn the forest down, now that the leaves are going to be turning soon. The Parry Ale worked well, no test yet on the Turtle tincture or the Iron Ale.

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Funny thing happed at closing time
At the Hero's Hart Tavern and Luncheon

Late in the day after clean up from the Opening Day Party, when Jok-tar was sleeping and Rok-tar was about to close up. He had already sent his help home for the day and Nightingale had retired for the day. Rok-tar was closing down the kitchen and making a final look around the main room, Rok-tar was about to turn in when he saw a small light from a pipe in the corner. Annoyed for being un-observant and neglectful of a customer’s needs he headed over. What he saw sitting calmly in one of the most remote seats of the Tavern is a very elderly Dwarf in strange clothing, smoking an equally ancient pipe. Knowing that he wasn’t going to get to bed any time soon he resigned himself and started a conversation. (starting and finishing in proper Dwarvish)

Rok-tar: Sorry to keep you waiting, Can I help you?

Ancient: Yes, You can get me a mug of your best.

Rok-tar: We have many brews that would be good, perhaps some Alvarian Ale?

Ancient: No! I did not say THE best, I said YOUR best (mutters about these young dwarves that can’t hear so good these days) You should have some pride in your own brew!

Rok-tar (Bristling): Mine IS the best but I did not think—

Ancient: That’s the Problem, You did not!

Rok-tar (attempting to be polite and finish): —that you had a chance to taste my brew, yet.

Ancient: ‘Corse, I haven’t, that’s why I want one, get yourself one too, you seem to have had a long day. Keep an old Dwarf company, we will not be disturbed, particularly this late.

Rok-tar (being polite as one should to Elders even ornery ones): Right away.

(Rok-tar first checks the aroma of the fresh pored brew, this late he needed to take it fresh from the fermentation vessel. He finds two clean cups.)

Rok-tar: Here you go, Honored Elder. Please enjoy my very own: Firebeard Brew (and he sits down in front of him after he takes a sip)

Ancient: Hmm, This is Your Brew, your Best?

Rok-tar: The best I have made so far. I am not done brewing yet, only started.

Ancient: Quite so, Hmm, tell me about this brew. You are an alchemist, yes? I am familiar with the terms, please explain yourself.

Rok-tar: Well, I may be an Alchemist but I did not make a potion or concoction here. It may taste magical but I assure you, it is all skill.

Ancient: Magical! Hardly. (takes a long sip) Good, yes. Not Magical and much room for improvement.

Rok-tar: True. As I said, I have just begun and haven’t finished brewing yet.

<explains>

Ancient: Hmm, you show some promise.

<slams>

Bring me one more to go, I have a long journey ahead and it’s almost light.

Rok-tar: Of course, Honored Elder. <rok-tar> Here your are, My apologies for not having a proper container for it, I did have a potion container and I assure you that it was not used and clean.

Ancient: How appropriate. Word of advice, keep brewing. It will keep you young. I left a tip for you on the table.

<rok-tar>

Rok-tar: Come back soon, honored Elder.

The Ancient just grumbles and wanders off into the pre-dawn. Rok-tar goes to clean the table and sees that it is clean and that the Elder left the potion bottle with his brew in it. Taking it up, he rushes to the door and tries to catch up with the Elder, only to find no trace of him. It is only when he gets back to the table that he realizes that this is not his brew. Carefully he smells it, it is a brew of pure ambrosia. He also notices the Ancient left his book. Hmmpf, some tip. Rok-tar discovers that the book is actually a very old book, thinking that he will be back for it and that it would be rude for him to read his private journal he sits down where the elder sat, the seat still warm and takes a careful sip of the brew in the potion bottle. A moment of pure culinary pleasure is all that Rok-tar remembers. The next thing he knows is that there is someone waving a coffee under his nose. Rok-tar had forgotten all but service an Elder Dwarf as his last customer and even that is a bit foggy. It is Nightingale giving him a bit of a wake up with coffee just the way he likes it. The Concentrated Black with a shot of wildcream. Rok-tar gathers up the bottle and the book and Nightingale picks up a small piece of parchment that fell out of the book.

In Dwarvish of an Ancient hand and dialect: “To Rok-tar, your ancestors are proud of you and your brother. This is yours, use it wisely and carefully on your walk across the stone.”* At opening it up Rok-tar swears and has reverence for what he is given. It is a tome of brewing including alchemy brewing and some mechanic work that appears to have recipes in it, one of which, later on in the book, for Alvarian Ale or rather, an older recipe that predates it. Some of it meticulously copied from other sources, perhaps the original brewers themselves.

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It is Our Way
A Very Dregordian Love Story

The blow had been unexpected. Though the ogre had caught him off guard in only a matter of heartbeats the Beast had taken over and would have killed the offending goblinesh had it not been for interference. None had openly questioned his authority since, but personally it only served to illustrate how lacking his control still was.

Kassegore closed his eyes as he recalled the surge of rage, the fear in the ogre’s eyes as it realized the magnitude of its error. It was intoxicating. There in lay the problem. A part of him wanted nothing more than to bring forth that rage and drink deeply, indulging the darkest aspects of his nature. He would not suppress his emotions as his people did but he still sought control.

His chosen path of self-mastery, the path spoken of in legends, had been considered impossible for centuries. Many never completed the journey and remained outcasts. Most died. The rest, the unlucky ones, were lost to madness and became Abominations, cautionary tales to frighten hatchlings and all too real monsters. Such was the fate of those foolish enough to risk their souls to indulge their baser instincts it was said.

The woods outside Sog suited his needs, sufficiently removed from civilization and a struggle for survival for all creatures beneath the currently tranquil atmosphere. Kassegore flexed a claw as he drew it across his chest. Red inspiration welled forth and dripped to the ground calling for the Beast.

She traveled across the continent on little more than a vision and a directive from the Temple following tales and rumors of his passing. He had sailed across the desert in the land ships of the nomads. He swam through the rivers of the Dominion, a shadowed figure spotted only by a few lone travelers. He stood at the walls of Thul and spearheaded the final charge. He was among the Rangers who saved a goblinesh village. She knew she was drawing close and she wondered how much further she would travel before catching the Beast. Then the terrifying and haunting beauty of a forbidden song reached her. It called to something within her and she ran forward.

He sang the song of rage and danced the dance of death. The vermin childer that stumbled upon him did not survive. The primal song required the blood rage to generate the necessary depth of emotion. It was a relic of an ancient time before his people developed the Way, forbidden now but still it survived through individuals such as himself.

The Beast crashed through the woods. Never had it been brought forth so long. Slaying the childer had only intensified his emotions. A deer leapt through a thicket seeking to flee from the threat but was downed by the Beast’s hurled kayakor. It lay struggling in fear and pain until the Beast clamped his jaws around the animal’s throat and savagely twisted.

He plunged his claws into the deer’s chest and tore out its heart. The tang of fresh blood wasn’t allowed the chance to sate him for the killed had attracted the attention of another. A bear, large and powerful, had claimed this territory and sought to take the kill of the intruder. The Beast made no move to retrieve his kayakor. He wanted to feel this death with his own claws.

She watched the Beast stand to confront the bear unarmed. Despite the obvious foolishness of the choice she never doubted the outcome. The sight of the bloody confrontation stirred something visceral within her, the same part that responded to the song. Once the Beast had finished with the bear she stepped slowly into his sight, growling a challenge.

She entered, a vision of Illiana’s grace manifest. The movement of her supple form boasted sensuality and strength equally. Her growl quickened his heart and he could hear the blood sing through his veins. Bloodied but not bowed, he rose again to prove his worth.

The dance of power and endurance had only one end. Even if they weren’t trying to hurt each other he should have fallen easily in his condition. Instead he matched her blow for blow, shrugging off her efforts by will alone. Despite the inevitable she drew it out if only to drive him to further heights. When he finally pinned her his voice rasped, “I will have you.” She bared her throat in submission and a new dance began.

He was already half dead when they started but she brought him back to life before finishing him off. They laid beside each other, spent. Finally he asked her name. Her answer seared itself on his soul forever to be a prayer on his lips. “I am Venatriss.”

She helped him bring the kills back to his companions. Though the cleansing they endured was unexpected she please by it. In the tavern Kassegore’s fellow Rangers were certainly proving…boisterous, but still tame compared to her mate a few hours ago. She knew her task was complete but found herself loath to leave him just yet. As they finished their meal she twined her tail with his. At his look she gestured to the exit.

Later she looked over his sleeping form bathed in moonlight and marveled at the two halves of her mate. After a few moments she forced herself to look out on the river instead. Leaving wasn’t suppose to be this hard.

He alone woke on the riverbank shortly after sunrise. She had taken his kayakor and left hers in return. It was made of white silver and in a design as ancient as his forbidden songs. The note was tied to the haft.

I cannot stay for the path I walk is different from yours. I came to take your strength and add it to my bloodline. I give you this kayakor in return for that gift. Know it has a history and there are those who will be displeased to know you wield it. Also be aware you have made powerful enemies. The Supreme Paladin of the Prelacy has sworn to kill the Beast of Thul for the dishonor done to Camon. Survive, Kassegore.

Kassegore stared at the weapon. Most were tools of war. One such as this were crafted for a purpose and made tools of their wielders. A most beautiful and generous token to remember her by, but what terrible purpose had he been tasked? Whatever it was, it could wait for another time. For now, there was work to be done and needful enemies to be seen to.

It pleased her to know her mate had forged this kayakor. She would carry it with her as she carried him in her thoughts.

She was his opposite and equal, the only one he would ever have and the only one he could never be with. Venatriss. How fitting. The Beast had been captured by the Huntress.

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