Karthan 06 - New Directions contd

Vampyre's combined Rolemaster ICE / D&D 3.5 fantasy campaign.

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Karthan 06 - New Directions contd

Postby vampyre » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:40 pm

continuing Mak on Hellioss
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Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:52 am

k623 Hellioss VIII

Postby vampyre » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:15 pm

K623: 2Thardeth14 Hellioss VIII

That evening they could hear the distant sounds of the drum beats. "I have got rather use to the sounds now." Isabella says with an irritated expression. "Though when they start they still annoy me somewhat."
"Where do they live?" Mak asks. "These creatures that attacked you."
"I think beneath the mountain of fire." Isabella replies. "I have not travelled anywhere near that mountain...sometimes it rumbles and the earth shakes beneath my feet...the whole island shakes side to side. Once I saw fire coming from the top only for a few hours...that was when the earth shook the most."
"Does this happen every night?" Alcaris asks.
“Every night." Isabella replies. "For a few hours…sometimes it is quieter and very distant...but tonight it is quiet and still outside."
"How long will it take us to get to the other side of the island...where these ships had become wrecked." Mak asks.
"From what I know looking at a map that Coulataine had, I would say perhaps 6 hours. I have remained within the tower most of my time here."
"And why are you interested in what may lie over there?" Mak asks curiously.
"Because I think the Imperial University has become interested in this possible site, hence Coulataine's interest. I think he has been hired by the university to investigate and perhaps prepare for another vessel with scholars and the likes to arrive later. I did see an envelope in his cabin with the Imperial Seal...and I think it was the university seal itself, he was shall we say entertaining me at the time....most distracting unfortunately, though he is such a host, it is just sometimes one does not wish to be hosted."
Alcaris grinned at that looking at Mak.
“How close has these creatures come to the tower?” Mak asks.
“I have never seen them anywhere nearby during the night.” Isabella replies.
At this point Mak realizes that Isabella is half-elven (Perintherim), principally due to her hair parting showing her pointed ears. And considering her fine slender elegant form…it is a wonder it did not notice this before…though he is noticing now.
“Are we keen to investigate the ships tomorrow Mak?” Alcaris asks.
“Absolutely, finding a way off this island would be prudent.” Mak replies.
“Well we have 3 or so weeks before the Brinnaca returns.” Alcaris says. “Might as well be doing something. What about this tower…who lives here? It does not look like it has been abandoned. I did sense considerable power both downstairs where the genealogy tree was and I sense magical power above us as well.”
“I found the place empty and yes, it looks like someone has been living here recently.” Isabella remarks.

Mak brings out his new friend, the mouse and says. “I found this little creature, I wonder did you see this creature with anyone before.”
“Yes, the Master of Arms had such a creature.” Isabella replies surprised to see it. “Such a lovely little thing…I think he called it Quested.”
“Yes it seems friendly enough.” Mak says. “And it is quite attached to an item I found also. I suppose by rights I should return it to its rightful owner if that is possible.” He shows Isabella the ring who looks at it with a stunned expression on her face.
“The Master of Arms was among those killed by the creatures.” Isabella says quietly. “Where did you find the ring, was it on him, for I know he had it around his neck on a slender silver chain. A good luck charm he once told me.”
Mak explains he found the ring with the mouse in a cupboard.
“Then he must have put it there…to prevent the creatures from finding it.” Alcaris suggests.
“How they did not detect it is beyond me, for what I can gather it is very powerful. And I confess I do not understand it’s true properties.”
“What I can tell you is that the ring uses what is believed in theory to be the fourth magic.” Isabella says. “One might say the ring is proof that such exists and I can tell you, such a magic exists outside those of Channelling, Mentalism and Essence that is used by magic users in general. But the theory of the existence of the 4th magic is not only a hot topic of discussion by Lord Magic Users but also how this magic evolved and what it actually is for want of a better term.”
“And whether it can be used.” Alcaris adds. “My father knows of it’s existence and can use it…equally so with Khios, the Dark Sorcerer, he is a master at the use of this 4th magic. His Dark Tower is entirely comprised of this magic.”
Isabella is surprised by this. “How is it that you know so much about what is still theory among the magic users.”
“My Father is very adept at studying…and observing the world around him, both what can be seen and what cannot be seen, the 4th magic is one that cannot be seen except in its most primal form.”
Isabella is thoughtful for a moment and remarks. “I have heard of what are called Earthnodes…”
“Yes, that is where this 4th magic can be visually seen and physically experienced.” Alcaris says. “There are believed to be a number of such nodes in the empire and very few know they exist.”
Mak looks at his ring and says. “So if this is just a theory how come the ring exists.”
“Indeed, proof lies right in your hand Mak.” Isabella says.
Alcaris nods. “She is right.”
“Then how come an ordinary man, this Master of Arms come to possess it?” Mak asks.
“I do not know.” Isabella says. “As I said he considered it a lucky charm, one that he never really knew the true understanding of what he was carrying around his neck.”
“How come you yourself can instantly recognize it for what it is…are you a wizard?” Mak asks Isabella.
Isabella smiles. “I am adept in a number of things and perhaps seeing the ring has given part of that away. I can sense this 4th magic…though it has taken me considerable time and effort to understand what it was that at times I could sense. I first sensed it at Cerberus, deep below the city…something very powerful exists beneath the Imperial Capital.”
“Intriguing, you and father would get along fabulously, as he also detected a vast reservoir of this 4th magic below the capital city.” Alcaris says surprised by Isabella’s statement. He turns to Mak and says, “perhaps your intriguing friend brought us here for a reason.”
“Oh the one that you say teleported you 700 miles.” Isabella quips smiling.
“Yes that is correct.” Mak returns seriously.
“Yes indeed, such an interesting story, if not a excitingly long one, not one for a storyteller to amuse an audience with.” Isabella smiles sipping her wine. “I would suggest you take good care of the ring and your companion, both seemed rather attached to you for the moment.”
“Yes I am troubled by the creature. It does seem friendly enough, but I wonder if it is just simply a disguise.”
“Oh…in what way?” Alcaris asks.
“The thought occurred to me that perhaps this simple mouse, could be some form of shape changing guardian. After all, with this 4th magic who knows?” Mak says. “The mouse could be a god and we would not know it.”
Isabella laughs. “Oh how illuminating…it could be as you say a guardian but a god, I think not…but the creature seems harmless enough for the moment and it is not evil.”
“For which we should be grateful I suppose.” Mak says. He suggests that the ring may offer an opportunity to enter the warded areas of the tower by bypassing it’s defences.
Alcaris looks thoughtful. “You could try but the wards are Mentalist and dangerous.”
“And therefore not recommended.” Mak says changing his mind.

Mak thinks how recent was the last person staying here? He notices that furnishings are not old and there is no dust lying across them. There are no wall hangings or tapestries of any kind to gain an impression of age from, nor an idication of who might have been living here. However, there is a wardrobe that wasn't immediately obvious before and it is beside a door that leads to a bedroom where Isabella has been sleeping. He examine the contents of the wardrobe and finds some very fines robes inside. They are a mauve and crimson colour and he sees they bear a seal on the shoulder, a very ornate one. It is an unfamiliar design so he displays it to the others.

Alcaris recognises the crest. “It is of the Star Gazers guild, exclusively of one magic users' profession. They are Astrologists. The guild, like many guilds, have been formed recently within the past 300 years and this particular guild has developed a strategic and vital communications link between the nobility an d Imperial authorities. They also have observatories that watch the night sky.”

“I see,” Mak say. “Could this tower possibly be such a place? It is isolated and I imagine that would make it perfect for studying the sky?”

“It could be,” Alcaris says. “Although I do think that if an astrologer did/does live here then that geneaology tree is rather intriguing. I wonder if he did that, or perhaps someone else who built the tower. It is quote old.”

Isabella adds “The geneaology tree I cannot understand the language it is written in, but it is definitely a genealogy of some kind. The most elaborate I have ever seen. It goes down the walls in branches, like a tree. One could almost call it a work of art.”

“It is almost a work of art by its design,” Alcaris adds. “And I know the scholars will be very intrigued to learn more of the geneaology and its existence. Especially since most people cannot trace back their heritage.”

“Does the geneaology tree indicate who may have been the most resident person to stay here?” Mak asks. He realises that the language difficulty would prevent them from knowing.

Alcaris says “Obvious, the most recent staffer is an Astrologist fron the Empire. But some one who derived their own langauge and not somone wants to struggle again.”

“It is a shame we cannot meet them. This place does seem very interesting. Still I guess we should focus on our immediate problem and that is getting off this island to some form of mainland. Where you need to travel to, Isabella?”

“I am travelling with the Brinnaca to Labalna.”

“Then it seems we are waiting here until the Brinnica comes back.”

“Not necessarily, we could investigate the area where the excavations were discovered.”

“I like that idea,” Mak says. “I have a background in archeology myself. Limited, of course. But I find it interesting.”

Isabella looks confused. “What is this archeology?”

“Think of it as being a scholar, but one who specialises in studying the past. One who studies history. We can learn many things by looking back at what has happened before. Ancient ruins and old civilisations can tell us much about how we developed as a people to this day. It is about rediscovering old knowledge and old ways and learning from it.” Mak informs her.

“Now that I can understand. We are scholars who do likewise. And, of course, we have our adventurers who go out poking here and there, usually getting themselves into trouble.”

“So what is the nature of the excavations on this island?” Mak enquires.

“Well we know that something was removed from here. Artifacts of some kind. Perhaps there could be more. A whole civilisation waiting to be discovered.” Isabella smiles.

“I wonder if this tower could be related to what was found on the other side of this island?” Alcaris adds.

“Well I think it is time to retire for the evening. I think you gentlemen will find the couches comfortable.” Isabella says.

“Of course,” Mak says.

Isabella leaves and retires to her bedroom.

“So it looks like we're going hiking tomorrow, my friend. To look at those excavations.”

“Yes indeed. I wonder what we will find?”

“Hopefully something useful and not trouble.” Mak suggests.

Alcaris smiles. “Don't you think that where there is something useful it is often accompanied by trouble?”

“If it is to do with those dark creatures then I certainly hope not.” Mak counters.
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k624 Hellioss IX

Postby vampyre » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:17 pm

K624: 2Thardeth15 Hellioss IX

The following morning Mak is awakened by cooked food and rising enjoys a hearty breakfast with Isabella and Alcaris. Then they equip themselves for their journey and leave the tower shortly after dawn, the sky cloudy and threatening rain, the air cool and biting. Isabella points the way and with Alcaris leading they proceed through the forest heading to the opposite coastline from the outpost. The going is not too much of a problem and as the 4th hour passes they reach the coastline, looking down from a clifftop to rocks and crashing waves some 400 feet below. “We have to move south to reach the bay as the crew I believe headed to this side in a straight line from the outpost.” Isabella says.

So they travel along the cliff face and 2 hours later see a peninsula ahead and reaching a rise they see below a large bay surrounded by forested rocky peninsulas that arc out like pincers of a crab. Below there is a rocky shoreline and sandy beach and amidst the rocks near the shore are the remains of two massive ships, skeletal hulks of a dark reddish wood, the decking covered by fallen masts, timber and remains of sail rigging. The ships look to be about 500 feet in length and either 4 or 5 masted.

Mak whistles in surprise at the enormous scale of the vessels. “I have never seen anything as impressive as that.”

Isabella says “Many sea going ships are of the size that you see. Indeed, the Brinnica is of a similar size.”

“I cannot fathom how such a large vessel could founder on rocks and not remain intact. A rock would seem a minor inconvenience given the size of these ships.”

Isabella nods and says “From this distance one would think these ships should never have foundered. The bay is sheltered and the peninsula itself would protect from storms. There is no sign of the third ship that we can see.”

Alcaris adds “In other words they should have just anchored. Perhaps they did and something just happened.”

“It looks from this distance that the ships were driven into the rocks. Can't see why. As Mak says, the rocks should not have represented too much of a problem. But if they were driven into them by force then would explain the damage. We need to take a closer look.”

The three find their way down to the shoreline through trees and reach a beach. They see crudely constructed wooden shelters and notice that the two ships are basically side by side, listed to the left where they were holed and most of the damage was done by the rocks, as though the ships had slammed into them.

Mak thinks that perhaps a massive wave could have done that, even though the opening to sea is narrow and the beach inlet itself is sheltered by the peninsula.

They note it is possible to reach the ships by climbing over the rocks and Mak suggests they do that.

“Just be careful because the ships are at least two hundred years old. The sea may have weakened the structure over time,” Isabella says.

The aft area of the first ship is raised and they can see it has two decks. The rocks are wet and slightly slippery. Reaching the side of the first ship they find rigging and ropes that have collapsed over it which make getting onto it easier, even though it is a good 60' climb.

Mak starts but slips and then regains his footing. He climbs up and it is difficult but he makes it to the top of the deck, which is isting downward about 30 degrees. The other ship can be seen alongside. The deck is alive with crabs scuttling about and birds hover above, occassionally taking what they can.

The deck rises aft and at the top is a covered wheel house. Its deck is also covered by remains of rigging and collapsed masks. Isabella suggests this section is the means of getting in and they approach it carefully, using ropes to keep balance while the crabs skitter away from their presence.

They reach a solid wooden door with metal latches which do show signs of rusting. It opens no problem and inside is a small corridor with a door at the end and two doors on either side. There is a smell of rotting timber permeating the interior. Mak moves for the door at the far end of the corridor.

He reaches and exmaines it. It is unlocked and unwarded. He opens it. The cabin inside is very large. The end of it has been exposed to the elements, with the original coloured glass broken and seating inside for eight people. The table and chairs are fixed to the floor and in the chairs are seated skeletons. Their bone has become a darkish blue in colour.

They are all attired in mariners' clothing, much of which has ripped and all were wearing metal helmets. On the tables in front of them are curved swords, scimitars. Also metal goblets have remained on the table for each of them and in the centre of the table is a metal decanter.

Mak assumes this has happened after the event occurred and thinks that the rank, etc of the skeleton uniforms indicate officer status. He has not seen these kind of uniforms before.

It is a surreal setting. The skeletons are a mottled blue colour.

Alcaris says the other rooms are storage and a stairway. He looks at what Mak has found and says “What do we have here?”

“A room full of dead sea mariner officers,” Mak explains. “I wonder what caused the bones to turn blue. Probably some kind of small organism?”

“What's with the – if the ship crashed then why aren't the goblets and things all over the floor? Same could be said for the table and chairs. Also these officers.”

“Perhaps a magical effect?” Mak suggests.

Alcaris informs Mak “I am detecting no magic here, except, of course that which is coming us.”

“Then that is truly puzzling,” Mak says.

“Perhaps they actually lived on the ship atfer the founding. They could have used the ship as a shelter.”

“How many crew would normally man a ship of this type?”

“I have no idea,” Alcaris says. “Quite a few in any case, considering they have just those two.”

“Depending on the ships role, between 1950 – 2250.”

Alcaris opens a decanter and takes a brief smell. “It is wine, but there is something else too.


Mak notices that the skeleton nearest to him has something odd in its stomach area. Through the remains of its clothing he can see a leather binding with metal spikes and beneath the arms he can see the cross is connected to the back of the seat.

They are all like this and Mak can see that the belt spikes are actually embedded into the skeletons themselves, smashing them... the people at the table were physically strapped in place so they could not move.

Isabella looks at this too and is surprised. “What happened here?” she asks, horrified.
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K625 Hellioss X

Postby vampyre » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:19 pm

K625: 2Thardeth15 Hellioss X

Mak observes what he sees in this room. Skeletal remains of crew members sitting on ornate chairs…on the table before them, scimitars and goblets, arranged, not affected by the impact of the ship to the rocks. They are leathered to the chairs, with metal spikes penetrating and breaking their rib cages through the clothing. What happened here? What Mak was seeing, surely must have occurred after the ships founded…there was seemingly no sense to this. Their exposed skeletal bones were blue…was this normal for the world he now found himself in? Had this been some sort of ceremony, was one of these people the captain of the ship, they each wore tattered uniforms but epaulettes displayed some rank. The floor of the room was wet and smelled of salt, as with the walls. The end of the room was a large open area where once windows were, the glass shattered and debris on the floor behind the table. It looked as if what Mak would expect in a room had been emptied, out, their were no charts, maps, instruments…just bare furniture, was this the captain’s quarters or a meeting room of some kind.
“Perhaps this was the result of a mutiny.” Alcaris suggests. “These been the officers possibly involved and made an example of…a weird and brutal kind of justice, almost ceremonial with the swords and goblets laid out as they are.”
“I know Phembar society is very tribal in nature.” Isabella says. “Even now they do not have the ship building capabilities having to purchase their ships from either Hellatrix or Arkulan and these particular vessels look Arkulan in origin. Since their sea going travel is recent like our own empire perhaps a number of tribes were part of this crew and tribal differences occurred either during their travel or upon arriving here.”
“Or the result of what they found here.” Alcaris said. “We know they traveled here for a reason…did they find what they were looking for?”
“The excavations.” Isabella suggests. “But three ships journeyed here, we have seen only two…each driven into the rocks.”

“Well, if this is some kind of punishment or ritual then I find it particularly barbaric.”

Isabella smiles at that and says “Well, they are barbaric. We even have similar cultures in the empire.”

“The term barbarian,” Alcaris says, “is a slang term. I would not say in their face.”

“Then why would such pratices be tolerated? I thought the people of Karthan were reasonably enlightened. But this evidence certainly provides a new perspective. Of course, we are assuming it was men who did this. Perhaps … it may have been more of those creatures that have attacked the island.”

Isabella says “From what I know, those creatures are even worse. They are basically inhuman and I don't think they would have the intelligence to do this.”

Alcaris looks at Mak and says “Remember, my friend, these people do not come from Karthan. They come from the Southern Continent. As Isabella says, their home is called Phembar.”

Mak nods solemnly and looks again at the grisly scene that confronts them. The victims certainly look like men.
“The race that exists on Phembar are a dark skinned people, similar to other dark skinned races in the southern continent,” Isabella says.

“What else is on this ship?” Mak asks. “We should search it.”

“Well let’s have a look.” Alcaris suggests.
The three leave the cabin and make their way down a narrow stairwell entering another corridor with doors that lead to a number of what look to be passenger quarters, emptied the floors covered in debris and scratch marks where furniture had been moved. Each room has 4 portholes some of which have been opened, the hatches long disappeared, exposing the rooms to the cool sea air. There are ten rooms in all and each has a separate bathroom suite. Another level down they encounter bunk rooms and two mess halls, the rooms strewn with debris of rigging, rotting smells of cloth, leather and sea water. Crabs scuttle out of the way when approached. Some of the wooden walls shows cracks and splits in the hull some wide enough to peer through. Gaping holes are all that remains of sealed portholes. The mess hall are expansive and here are found long tables and chairs, nailed into the floor. The kitchens had been emptied of cooking pots and utensils and large stoves had been removed too, leaving scrape marks on the floor where they had been dragged to the doors. The floors and walls were moist and some walls were lined with a reddish black slime, with deep cracks and splits along the hull. Another floor down they climb and once again more bunk rooms are encountered, here the doors had been removed and the walls here cracked and splintered as well with some makeshift repairs done. The bunks and liner ropes have been removed and the walls and floors were covered in slippery slime, reeking the smell of acid.
“This may explain why they were forced to leave for shore.” Alcaris mutters blocking his nose. “The slime must have come from the bay or the rocks.”
The stairs continued down but it was decided not to descend. “This is a merchant vessel, there must be access to the cargo holds from these levels.” Isabella suggested.
They climb back up one level to where the kitchens were and at the end of the corridor they reach a solid door covered in the reeking acidic slime.
“Could there be seawater on the other side?” Alcaris asks.
“I cannot see why, we are too high from the where the water level of the bay would be.” Isabella replies some distant behind Mak and Alcaris. “I think we should not risk it even so. Whatever happened to the crew of the ships it lies perhaps on the island, where it ended for them.”
“Perhaps the third ship did survive and left here.” Alcaris says moving back from the door coughing. “Taking what survivors there were…and did not return.” They make their way upstairs. to where the smell of the acidic slime did not affect them.
“Let’s return to shore and set up a camp before we do anything else.” Alcaris suggests and Mak and Isabella nods in agreement.

They return to the sloping deck and climb upwards to the wooden railings then down the ropes along the slippery bulk of the ship’s hull to the slimy rocks below…that Mak realizes does not reek of the acid that the slime on board the ship did. They carefully traverse the rocks back to the shore, the tide was coming in and Isabella looking at the beach showed where the high water mark would be, just short of the tree line, Mak thinking a ten foot rise with the incoming tide. Reaching the tree line Alcaris says he is going to find an adequate place to set up camp and Isabella and Mak move among the remains of the shelters and crude huts that the crew had built so long ago, now much in ruin and broken, collapsed due to the exposed elements over time. The largest low lying structure is the most intact and here they find 4 large metal ovens and the remains of seating and tables in a long hall, the walls very much exposed to the weather and seemingly designed so. In the back of Mak’s mind he could not help but think if these survivors met the same fate as the crew of the Brinnaca. They find pots, utensils and rusted implements scattered throughout the shelters and the presumed communal area.
“If there was a mutiny and they reverted to their tribal groups a communal eating quarters would have been out of the question.” Isabella says. “Unless one tribe won over the others or the other tribes went their separate ways. It is only since contact has been established with Hellatrix, then Aasla, Arkulan and Karthan has the tribes relatively become united seeing the trade opportunities with their iron mines and timber. And that has been well…set in place over the last 50 years with a loose federation of sorts been formed. It took 20 years I believe before they decided which city was to be their capital, as the presiding tribal leader would have had to give up his dominion of that city to a council of tribal leaders as a result, and none wanted their power to be taken from them…but the largest coastal city was decided upon as that was where the trade and contact initiated from, the right choice in the end.”

A hundred yards or so from the communal building they both come across a clearing where shallow mounds are set facing inwards in eight circles, each marked with a crude headstone on the outer side of the mound. On each of the headstone is carved a circle with three symbols…runic language Mak guesses, but the runes are the same on each of the headstones in the outer circle. He counts 67 mounds in the outer circle, then 52, 41, 29, 23, 16, 5 and 3 in the inner most circle. And each circular alignment of the head stones have the same carved circle but different set of three runic symbols…total 236 graves. Isabella observes quietly from the edge of the clearing.

“There appear to have been a large number of survivors that stayed here. How long ago did this shipwreck happen?” Mak asks.

“It was about 200 or so years ago,” Isabella tells him.

“Are any of these writings and runes familiar to you?” he says.

Isabella inspects the headstones within each of the circles. “One of them I have seen before, on a ship from Phembar, it was adorned on the sails but I don't know what it means.”

Mak doesn't think they are tribal symbols, but would rather be a language. Symbolic, perhaps, or maybe even magical. Certainly not primative scrawlings. Maybe they relate to time and date, he thinks.

PERCEPTION 36 – One of the circles, containing 46 stones in it, might possibly align with the arc of the sun and the direction that it is ascending. “Maybe this is a crude form of calendar,” Mak says and points out his finding to the others.

Isabella looks at him and says “What are you saying? That these are not graves. Perhaps there is one of finding out.”

“That is one possibility. The other might be that they are indeed graves and that the stones have been aligned with the position of the sun at the time of each person's death.”

“So you are saying that these people are dying at the right time to create some kind of crude calendar. That is bizarre.”

INTELLIGENCE 15. He realises it is bizarre what he is saying, unless they all died at around the same time. i.e. that these people were all killed when the ships foundered.

Mak just nods and stays silent, leaving Isabella to say whatever she thinks. He turns his attention to the camp site and calls out for Alcaris.

There is no reply. “That is odd,” Mak says. “We should go and see if Alcaris is alright.”

Isabella nods and they both find Alcaris in a clearing surrounded by dense foliage they have to cut through to reach him. In his hands he is holding a small stone object shaped like a house.

Isabella nods and they both look around the surrounding forest and finds Alcaris in a clearing surrounded by dense foliage, that Mak had too cut through to reach him.
In his hands he is holding a small stone object that looked like a miniature house. “Father gifted each of us with these as we began to yearn to find out more about the world outside our home.” Alcaris smiles.
“An adventurous family one might think.” Isabella muses.
“Oh yes, my sisters and brothers are rather diverse in what we have shall we say adopted as our professions and that was even before we found ourselves setting up our new and present home.”
He places the small stone in the center of the clearing and stepping back utters a command word and it instantly becomes a two storey stone house with stained glass windows and a solid metal door. “Within are the full comforts of home Mak and Isabella and with a simple change clothing for yourself can be amply provided. Mother’s added touch and given the protections father has placed on our homes…one will find it very difficult even with magic or brute force to gain entry. Of course like my brothers and sisters and their homes, we have adapted them with our own personal touches.” He takes out a key and opens the door and ushers Mak and Isabella inside. “The 2nd floor has 6 bedroom suites each with a separate bathroom ensuite and downstairs, there is a lounge, kitchen, study and small library.” They have entered a small corridor with stairs leading upwards and to the left and right doors and Alcaris shows his guests into the lounge area, comfortable and warmed by a blazing fire. Thick red curtains adorn the walls embroidered with silver, blue and black ornate designs. There are leather lounge sofas, and wall shelving containing tomes and rolled manuscripts or perhaps rune papers. The study room, library were further down the corridor and out of bounds Alcaris said, due to some of the personal items he has there and opposite the lounge was a kitchen and small dining area. “Food I can magically create here, like already cooked banquet meals…but at times I do like to cook…a family passion, hence the kitchen.”
“The magical ability to create meals…a summoning spell, is very much sought after by adventurers.” Isabella remarks. “Only the nobility and rich can afford such luxuries in their homes at best. And speaking of food…we have not eaten since this morning.” she observes.
“Well then, lets dine on food and wine.” Alcaris smiles.
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K626 Hellioss XI

Postby vampyre » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:21 pm

K626: 2Thardeth15 Hellioss XI

The table is lavishly covered by a sumptuous hot meal in bowls and platters, plates and utensils for three neatly arranged. Alcaris pours red wine from a decanter and carves the juicy carcass of well…some creature and serves it while the others help themselves to hot vegetables and herbal gravy.

“We know that none of the three ships returned to Phembar.” Isabella states, sipping her wine as they begin to enjoy the meal. “With official and diplomatic contact now established between Karthan and Phembar, scholars and mariners have been able to check their maritime records and this particular voyage was well documented, the first major sea voyage by them. Their was a great ceremony to bless the ships and the crew before they left and expectation of their success was very high, as two very powerful shamans were accompany them, both famed for their power over the sea and affinity with its creatures. They did not return and two years later another three vessels were sent to seek the fate of these crews. They returned 18 months later but we believe they had navigated to an island chain some 1000 or so miles east of here thus returned not discovering anything, except encountering wild tribesman on the islands they did visit.”
“Navigating the vast oceans must have been difficult.” Alcaris remarks.
“It was and still is dangerous. Without the aid of the proper instruments, that were designed by the Sea Mist and Mariner Guild, ships could easily lose their way even with direction from the stars, which is still the prime focus of navigation. The major problem is the sea has strong and very powerful tidal flows and once a ship is within one of these flows it is forced to ride it out, unable to steer against the current, without causing considerable damage. Their have been some recorded incidents of vessels been taken up to 700 miles off its course.”
Mak informs Alcaris what they have found including the grave site.
“In the back of my mind I cannot help but think perhaps we should have done something with the bodies of the mariners at the outpost…buried them at least.” Alcaris says quietly.
“No, the Mariners will bury there own when they return.” Isabella replies. “It is best to leave the outpost how it is as they will investigate in their own way too.”
Alcaris sighs nodding and turns to Mak. “What about the excavation site…anything found of that?”
“We have not looked at that.” Mak says.
“It has to be nearby somewhere for the Karthan crew to have found it.” Alcaris remarks.
“Indeed as they traversed in a direct straight course from the outpost…that much we know.” Isabella adds.
“Well we still have some hours of daylight left so let’s make use of it after the meal.” Alcaris suggests.

After the meal they leave the house and begin searching for the excavation site, Alcaris suggesting trying to find a trail from the shelters…admitting it could have of course become overgrown by now. Using the shelters has a base they fan out in arcs moving in 100 or so yards from the previous arc.

[This is the third arc – Mak notices that certain trees look like they have been planted in a particular alignment. Reddish-gold trunks. Set in two rows of three. Mixed in amongst other undergrowth and foliage that has overtaken the area. The ground beneath them seems harder beneath his feet. More solid.]

Mak scrapes at the earth between these trees, to see what makes the ground harder. He finds orange white coloured stone. He calls out to the others and shows them his discovery.

Alcaris looks at the alignment of the two sets of trees and agrees they could have been planted.

“Why would someone set stone between the trees? Could this have been an ornamental arrangement, or perhaps something of greater significance to the shipwrecked people.”

Alcaris suggests “The shipwrecked people didn't do this at all. It was already here.”

“Then what historical records exist about this island?” Mak asks. “When did people first start coming here?”

“This island we know only as a mariner outpost. That is all. They may have had the outpost for about 100 years,” Isabella says. “Without the outpost we would never be able to navigate between the empire and the southern continent.”

“I wonder what else we might find if we keep looking?” Mak says enthusiastically.

Alacris says “lead the way.”

Mak considers how close to the waterline this is. It is not too far from the sea as he can hear the waves. But they are on the other side from where the ships are. In between is the remains of the survivors' camp. Mak moves down to the shore and examines the sand and looks for any evidence of stone that may have been covered by the sea's natural action. Any obvious depressions or raised areas are what he looks for first. Nothing. The tide is coming in. Mak decides to wade out to about waist height and ducks under the surface to look beneath amongst the rocks and to see if there are any glimpses of man made stone features under water.

There is an area where stone appears to have been removed and there is a metal ramp, shaped like a V, lying on its side. It is about 10 yards away. Mak resurfaces, catches his breath and then swims over and ducks under the surafce for a better look. He thinks it could have been used to launch ships or provide a means to bring them up on shore for maintenance. He examines the ramp and can see it is about 10 yards wide, 60 yards long. Fashioned deliberately and does show signs of having been manufactured with tools. It is very smooth rock, rather than metal.

Mak swims back to the shore and reports his further finding. “I think a sea-faring people have lived on this island long before the mariners started using it.”

“Quite possible,” Alcaris says. “There are many lands in the southern continent we know nothing of or have had any contact with. It could have been any one of them.”

“So … where is this excavation site we want to see?” Mak asks.

“That's what we are trying to find, it has to be here somewhere. Perhaps where those trees are planted. “
“How about we start where I found the stone between the trees and we move out towards the cliffs by that peninsula? I assuming any excavation, while overgrown, should still be obvious. Like a depression in the ground or a cut into a cliff face, for example.”

Alcaris nods. “Yes, we'll give it a go.”

They return to where Mak unearthed the stone and they begin moving towards the peninsula. They begin climbing. They find a path. Trodden in the past, overgrown but still visible. They follow it.

It leads up along the side of a ridge and they catch glimpses of the bay below and the ships lying on the rocks. They come across stone steps that have been excavated, with piles of dirt lying around them, nade of the same stone they saw earlier.

The steps lead up around a corner and they emerge into an area where the trees have been cleared in the past to the foot of a hill. There is an area totally overgrown here by low undergrowth but there are also plants and trees that are set like a patterned garden might have been. Whatever was planted has now grown wild although everything carries a perfumed aroma about the place.

Further ahead is an area that is being cleared and it seems to be the wall of a building.

Mak points to the wall and says “let's take a closer look at that.”

The wall is a mauve colour with streaks of white and silver. About 20 yards has been excavated and at the end is a triangular opening that leads beyond. It seems the excavation ended at this point and the diggers did not proceed further.

The opening leads into another overgrown area but it is only about three yards wide and there is another wall that has been cleared. There are two other triangular openings here. One collapsed and impassable, the other intact.

Alcaris comments “Well, looks like we found it.”

“This place is quite unique,” Mak agrees. “I wonder if that is a doorway?”

“It could be the outer wall,” Alcaris tells him.

“We should go back to rest and think on this,” Mak says. “There are clearly no objects still to be found. But this looks like the place where something may have been discovered and taken away.” He looks at Isabella and asks “What was the account from the excavation. Was it something about staffs being found and taken?”

Isabella says “Some items were taken and they are at the Imperial university.'

“Very good. Where would we find this Imperial Unversity?”

“In Cerberus. I think that is where they are held.”

“Great, so we need to find a way of getting there to see what was taken from here. That might be difficult, given our present circumstances.”

Isabella says, “Well we are here. Beyond this building there must be something that they went through.”

“So, OK we search some more.”
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K627 Hellioss XII

Postby vampyre » Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:13 am

K627: 2Thardeth15 Hellioss XII - Revelation

Having entered the well preserved residence, much of which is covered in tangled weed and vines Mak enters a room lit by the light spell cast by Alcaris. Reaching a door he opens it into a corridor and as he enters lamps illuminate the hallway. The walls are adorned with beautiful tapestries that are remarkable well preserved, very ornate and decorative in design. Of the two doors he sees ahead one is opened and approaching it sees that has been opened by force, the lock mechanism charred and cracked by a spell he surmises. Entering the room Mak sees what looks to be a small library and against the wall is an open cavity, a number of leather bound tomes scattered on the floor below it. This is where the other crew must have found the items Mak thinks and he wondered whether they actually knew where the items were located…the rest of the study has not been searched at all…and the books would be valuable surely?

He peruses some of the books and from Bali’s knowledge he knows some of these contain spell lists of some kind, but in a language unknown to him…the layout of the writing similar to what Mak had seen in spell books before. There were also tomes of a astrological nature, one with diagrams and drawings of the night sky and numerous constellations and names of particular stars. Then he stops…in one well drawn view of the night sky four moons are shown, the fourth just a outline, almost transparent and blurry. Mak knew there were only three moons and had seen them in the night sky…but this picture showed a fourth. He has learned enough to know that each of the three moons are deities in their own right…but here was a fourth. Then a few pages later another surprising drawing feasts his eyes. Lavishly coloured, he sees a giant blue star from which is issuing forth an arc of flame in a spiral pattern to a much smaller white star, orbiting it like a parent. From what he had learned in the hidden places he had encountered using the markers, this is how the Transcendence begins the tail of the smaller sun starting the Long Solisse over this world…once every 2500 years or so…each time leading to a war with Kharagh’s armies. This book I have got to show Bali Mak thinks and places it in his pack carefully. What else is around here?

On a study table is a chequered board on which are 8 4” tall figurines and having a look he sees one is a dragon, one is fae, one is a demon, one is transparent spectral figure, one is a dwarf, one is a elemental, one is Var-Mesk and the last Osgeyr or Azgeyr. These are untouched and Mak wonders why they were not taken…the board divided into 8 squares….they are magical (Note: these are Idols of Lore and may be spoken too for knowledge of the race the figurine represents at base of 15 to lore skill).

Mak will take the figurines and the board on which they stand, taking care to wrap them with rags to avoid damage. He senses they are magical.

The liquids on the shelves are magical, the vials are magical, 1/3 of the books are magical and an area behind the bookshelf that is magical. He moves to examine the bookshelf to find a means of opening the area behind it. He moves two books aside and lodged against the wall he sees four hoops made of metal, each 1' in diameter. Two red and two silver. He retrieves them and examines them more closely. [Appraise 23] He sees they are made of an alloy that he has not seeen before and determines they are not metal, but more like glass that has a metallic look. He recalls being told of glass-like substance called Laen, and he remembers seeing only gold and silver types before. He knows that the colour of laen can enhance certain types of effects or magical abilities. There are no wall surfaces that they could fit into, other than the space he obtained them from. The rings themselves are not magical.

[Will Save 33] Mak feels the impulse to place the two red rings on the floor and he does so. The little creature leaves Mak's pocket and enters one of the rings – disappearing from view – and then emerges from the other before returning to Mak's pocket.

“that is a curious thing,” Mak considers. He puts the rings into his pack for later analysis and study.

He leaves the room and explores the corridor that leads further in. [Search 24] [Open Locks 31, 29, 36]

He finds four more rooms, presumably guest rooms with basic items and furniture contained within. Then it opens out through an archway into a very comfortable lounge area with walls that are made of glass which looks out over an enlosed garden area with blue and white lights that illuminate interior landscaped gardens which have been well preserved.

In one corner of the lounge is a cot and along the railing of it are six butterflies, made of fine gold, that are resting there. On the wall behind the cot there is a floral child's tapestry of animals. It is inset with 22 finely crafted golden bees. When he approaches the cot, the butterflies animate and fly around him, with no noise. Intrigued, Mak watches them and draws close to the cot and looks down inside it.

It contains brightly colour bedding. Everything is as new, as though it was lived in. He moves around the room and goes to another corridor on the far side of the room. Red lamps light up as he enters it and doors lead into a dining room with a kitchen attached. All is as new, clean and tidy. Shelving contains at least a dozen dinner sets with different decoratve designs.

Mak is struck by the fact that there is no dust here, unusual for the apparent age of the property.

He follows a corridor into a smaller lounge area where a small fountain lies at its centre, gushing a fragrant clear water. From here there are two doorways to the right, one of which leads into what could be a master bedroom. [Search 13] He finds old wardrobes with extensive clothing and he notes that preservation spells are in effect to make everything look new. Opposite the large four poster double bed is a large red curtain. He sees a tall wall-mounted mirror, beside which is something that resembles a clock that is ticking.

He recalls his time in Zanarkand, back on Eberron, where he saw many new and strange inventions … mechanicals or machina as they were termed by the locals. This appeared to be something similar. i.e. a mechanical time keeping device, rather than a sand hourglass or something magical.

The clock has two hands, one of which is moving. It is divided into a unit of 36. The second hand is on the 34th position. Between each unit there are 9 divisions. This means that a complete full turn on the clock face would account for 360 divisions. Mak decides it is a timing mechanism for something, but not necessarily a Karthan day. He takes out his notebook and sketches the design that he sees.

Each of the 36 divisions is marked by a rune and a number, of sorts, in a different language to those he is familiar with.

The mirror within the clock faces does not reflect, so perhaps it is a portal of some kind. [Detect magic] Mak determines that it is indeed magical. The clock itself is 2' wide diameter and is fixed to the wall.

He examines beyond the second door and finds what he thinks is a childrens' bedroom. Boxes of various toys are here, of more feminine style, so the room may have belonged to a young girl. He leaves it.

He heads back out to find the others, who are chatting in the garden.

Isabella is interested in a type of plant that she has found in the garden.

Mak says. “Well I found a few interesting things. Surprisingly most of the living areas inside have not been disturbed. In fact it looks like it is new. I found bedrooms, lounges, dining area, kitchen, and there is some sort of garden inside. Everything is well preserved as though the people lived here only yesterday.”
“Yet this garden proves otherwise.” Alcaris says. “We believe that it has a preservation spell but it is one that only slows the rate of growth not prevents it…unfortunately I cannot say how long the spell was cast because this particular spell is not known to me.”
“How many different kinds of preservation spells could there be?” Mak asks.
“Good question.” Isabella smiles. “Ask the church that one they have almost the trademark license on them, but essence users are able to preserve up to 100 or so years.”
“But presumably this location is older than that.” Mak says.
“Yes.” Isabella replies. “I believe at least 1,400 years given the pedestal we have found and its alignment to the 5 sisters, which our astrologers have calculated reaches it’s zenith and I think it does so directly above this island.”
“We believe the pedestal was designed to commemorate that particular event.” Alcaris says. “Surely this cannot be the only well…house, was there a community here…there could be more beyond this one.”
“We should spread out and search the area more closely.”
“Agreed.” Alcaris nods. “But darkness will be upon us in an hour or so…so lets return to the camp and you can tell us more of what you found inside.”
“Did you find where the items were taken from?” Isabella asks.
“I think so…umm…there was a room containing vials of magical liquid, many magical books and a few other assorted trinkets. I have gathered a few things to examine further.”
“No signs of violence…is everything intact.” Alcaris says. “If so, makes one wonder why the left here and did they intend on returning.”
“Everything was undamaged and well preserved.” Mak replies. “No signs of violence.”
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k628 Hellioss XIII

Postby vampyre » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:50 am

K628: 2Thardeth15 Hellioss XIII

That evening back at Alcaris’s stone house they enjoy an evening meal with wine and afterwards discuss the discoveries of the day. Alcaris is intrigued as to why the residence had not been found before especially by the survivors of the wrecked ships. “Their huts are only a mile away from here. It would have provided fine shelter for them rather than the rickety huts.”
“Given what we saw on the ships…I think madness may have overtaken them to some extent.” Isabella suggests. “We can only suggest their state of mind. It would seem that they had enough sanity to consider survival and of course bury their own as they passed from this world.”
“Hmm…we are dying to know what you found inside…not literally of course.” Alcaris grins.

“Well I found these.” He produces the figurines and the board. “I also found a room with vials of liquid and books that all appear to be magical. I also found these.” He produces the four hoops. “I do not think these are magical. They are impressive I do not know how they were made. But I did discover they produce an interesting trick.” With that he encourages the creature out of his pocket and the creature repeats what he did earlier, disappearing through one hoop that Mak lies on the ground and appearing through the second laid next to it.
“That’s amazing.” Alcaris mutters. “Portals that can be carried by anyone.”
“You can create quite a market with these Mak.” Isabella says. “I don’t think the empire has come up with this…yet.”
“The figurines can be use to discern knowledge on the given race they are carved from. And given what some of these are…what is this one?” he holds up the fae figurine. “Do you know what this one is?”
“Not really…I would call it and elven person judging by its ears.”
“But there are no elves on this world.” Alcaris remarks.
“Then that is curious.” Mak replies.
“However, there are Perintherim such as yourself Mak.” Alcaris says. “Where does half of their heritage come from if is not elven.”
“The Ancient Enemy.” Isabella states. “That is what my mother taught me…for she is of Perintherim as well.”
“The Ancient Enemy…what are they evil?” Alcaris asks.
“Not that I know of.” Isabella says. “My Grandmother was of this kind…and my grandfather a Tanatherim. She was very beautiful and spoiled me wonderfully so as a child. I knew she was different enchantingly so but she hid that from public view.”
“Interesting.” Alcaris remarks quietly looking at the figurines. “These are finely made Mak…and it looks like one can seek advice on the particular race by asking of it a question. In the case of the dragon, demon, Mesk and Geyr it would be knowing thy enemy. For they are Kharagh’s creations…the spirit is interesting. I wonder if that deals with the dead…undead or both.”

Mak also says. “I also found this.” He produces his notebook and opens it to the page of the mechanical time keeping device. Both look at it and Alcaris asks Mak what is it.
“Well I don’t exactly know. It is some sort of device that would keep a record of something. The metal arms on the circle plate move in time with the other parts. It is a little bit tricky to explain. I don’t know what this would represent. The plate has 36 divisions marked with a different rune.”
Alcaris is surprised and remembers something. “It looks like a Monorovian clock. They have invented their own mechanical version of our Timekeepers which has two hands one for the hour and the second for the divisions within the hour…I think they call it a minute. Unfortunately the clock is not that accurate over time and needs readjustment every few days…but I believe newer versions are getting more accurate. Their problem and one I can understand is that time in Karthan is measured only by hours not by the minutes as that is how the Timekeepers work. But he says that for spells and magical research the hour has been divided for spells have a duration or effect that is far less the hour. But the general populace…they just go by the hour. But this clock that you have drawn shows more hours than that of the Karthan Calendar. Was there anything else with it?”
“Well this device was fixed to the wall but there was a mirror beside it. The mirror was unusual it did not reflect it just had a mirror like surface. I sensed it was magical.”
“How large was the mirror?” Isabella asks. “Was it on a table or well, could it have been a portal of some kind. Mirrors are commonly used as portals throughout the major magical guild halls.”
“The mirror was on the ground and fixed against the wall…and yes large enough for someone to walk through.”
“So we have the possibility of a portal and a timing device.” Alcaris suggests looking at Mak’s notebook. “This may explain the condition of the house Mak…whoever lived there has returned since possibly more than once.”
“Yes everything does look well tended and looked after. I do know that while everything looks new, there are preservation spells working here.”
“That may need recasting over time…hence one reason for the owners returning here.” Alcaris nods. “I can’t think of why they would bother…what is on this island that would have them returning here.”
“Unless the tower has something to do with it.” Isabella suggests. “Though that is on the other side of the island…it would not be logical.”
“And there is no evident that those creatures have found this place.” Mak states.
“Indeed.” Alcaris nods. “I wonder what else is out there…we hopefully might find out tomorrow.”
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k629 Hellioss XIV

Postby vampyre » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:53 am

K629: 2Thardeth16 Hellioss XIV

The next morning the weather begins to turn for the worse, dark clouds passing overhead and heavy rain following. They decide to remain inside and early afternoon relaxing in the lounge they are surprised by a knock at the door. Alcaris motions his companions to remain quiet as the knock is repeated again and casts a spell. “There is a man outside wearing a blue cloak…a magic user I would guess given the runes inscribed along its sleeves. There are no others within 400ft.”
“Hello anyone in there?” a voice shouts. “I am getting rather wet out here you know.”
“I sense no evil.” Alcaris adds and Isabella nods in agreement.
Alcaris opens the door and motions the cloaked man to enter which he does. “My…my this is quite a place you have here.”
“Thank you.” Alcaris replies and begins introducing themselves to the stranger.
“I am Hylon Caraman of the esteemed Order of Talamasna. I am pleased to meet you.” The stranger said removing his cloak, revealing a robe of glistening blue with silver and red stars along the sleeves and side. Alcaris offers Hylon food and wine which is gratefully received whiled Mak and Isabella watches on. The complexion of the man’s skin is dark olive brown and Mak knows from his own experience that such complexions he has not encountered in Karthan.

“Allow me to welcome you also, I am Mak, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Hylon … tell us, where have you travelled from, and how did you arrive at this island?”

“I have a place of study here. A tower not far away.”

“Oh yes, we have seen the tower. It is impressive and, I gather, also safe from the creatures that we have seen on this island. Do the creatures trouble you?”

“Oh no. That's one reason why I am here. We study them. We do not have that particular race in my homeland. The other reason, of course, is the geneaology tree which you have probably seen.”

“Well this island does seem to offer up so many mysteries,” Mak says. “there are places here which are old yet inside would still appear to inhabited and new. There are remains of old settlements and evidence of those even extends into the sea. It is an interesting place so I can easily see why it attracts your attention.”

“Ahh, so you know about those fine lovely houses? That was one reason for my travelling here this day”,, to have a look at them.”

“Yes, we have seen them. They make us wonder who built them. Do you know?”

“No, not at all. But I am curious enough to have done some research on them since they are here. “

“What were your findings?”

“The architecture and design of the houses are nothing like I have ever seen before. And I have travelled,” he says. “Each of the houses is magically protected. There are preservation spells that tend to get recast every so often, given their durations. So when I do visit here I do like to have a look at the houses, do some excavation work without damaging them, of course, but as I said I am mainly here to study the kobolds and the geneaology. So what are you doing here?”

Mak regards this as a bit strange.

Mak regards him for moment. “Then it seems we both have the same question of each other. You live in the tower but must have travelled from someplace before that. As for ourselves, we are travellers that found ourselves transported here when it was not our intended destination. I guess magic is like that sometimes when it goes wrong. The creatures have surprised us and it would seem they are not friendly to encounter, judging by the damage we have seen by the waterfront and the warehouses.”

“Ahh yes … the Karthan outpost. Yes quite a few ships use the outpost, travelling of course between Karthan and the Southern Continent. The kobolds are a very evil race, warlike, quite primitive and probably would have attacked for bounty gain rather than anything else. They are constrained on how long they can leave their particular habitat for.”

“What constrains them?”

“They live in the depths of the earth where their habitat is very much amidst lava and fire of the volcano.”

“So they do not travel far on the island, other than the outpost? Have they ever approached your tower.”

“No, they have never approached my tower and the excursions outside their domain are very few. There must be something on that ship that attracted them.”

“When will the next ship most likely be arriving? Are ship visits very frequent?”

Hylon says “They are quite common. Merchant ships mostly. And they generally sail in groups. The Mariners sail individually.”

Alcaris says “We are from the empire. Where abouts are you from?”

Hylon remarks “I am from Daishur, home of the Sun Priests.”

Alcaris nods and says “You are the people that build the pyramids. “

“Yes, the Sun Priests build them.”

Mak nods in understanding, but does not ask question as he doesn't the stranger to think he is from some other place.

Alcaris turns to Mak and says “Daishur is in the Southern Continent and is not generally known of by the Empire.”

“I see, does Daishur ever experience anything like the winter we are expecting?”

Hylon looks surprised. “How do you know about that?”

“I have heard stories.” Mak replies.

“Stories, where from?”

“Oh, simple conversations around camp fires during travels. Fearful rumours. That sort of thing. Is that so surprising?”

Hylon nods. “The last time I was in the Empire no one knew about it.”

“Then you must forgive me if I have alarmed you. “

Hylon smiles. “You have not alarmed me, you have intrigued me. Very few kingdoms on Elithaan have knowledge of the Long Winter. That includes Karthan. To all intents and purposes, the Empire is like other kingdoms preparing for a winter season. They are not expecting as up to six years. Daica is affected but not as much as other kingdoms are. We know of it mainly because the Sun Priests have managed to maintain the knowledge of the event and what it brings with us as well. For the last time it happened there was war on an unimaginable scale. It took our people many generations to recover and rebuild. So I am indeed surprised of how you have learnt this, considering if you look at Karthan history though its calendar date may be 8755, its knowledge goes back only 2000 odd years. The last known Long Winter was about 2600 years ago.”

“Then I understand your intrigue – lets just say I have always had an enquiring mind and some of my travels have seen me lose my way in some old places. I cannot claim to understand what I have seen. Indeed I do not think I could ever recall many things at all. But I know that knowledge can be found if people are willing.”

Hylon looks at Mak and says “Knowledge is there but not for the willing. One must consider that there is a cloak over these places. They are called Shades of Gray, have you heard of this term?”

Mak nods and simply says “It has been heard in passing.”

Hylon nods and says “Generally these Shades of Gray are places that have been shielded from the minds of those who live within its confines. I would deem that you have been to such places as have I. Which makes me wonder, I would deem further that you are perhaps … yes … there is something different about you. Did you know of someone called Lazar?”
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k630 Hellioss XVI

Postby vampyre » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:44 am

K630: 2Thardeth16 Hellioss XV

“Yes I know a person of that name?”
“Where did you meet him?” Hylon asks. “Anywhere near Gideon?”
Mak looks surprised at the mention of Gideon. “Yes…in the desert. At a excavation site. I was employed as a ranger to work there. How do you know of that place?”
“I spent much of my learned years there as a independent scholar and amateur archeologist.” Hylon replied. “Unfortunately I fell on hard times recently and Lazar’s offer was too good to be true. I have found a new lease of life on this world.”
“How long have you been here?”
“Just over a year.” Hylon replies. “I was placed shall we say by the Walker of Worlds to a desert kingdom called Daishur. Fascinating people, the Sunpriests took me in and I realized that I was able to understand and speak their base language. Other languages shortly followed including yours, as a result of a visit from the crew of the Sea Mist. One of my natural abilities is an infinity with languages and of course a fascination with history. What about you?”
“Not much to say, other than I grew up on the streets. Chose to leave that life behind, freelanced as a ranger and in recent times have learnt to study and gained some magical crafting skills, but very minor. I prefer ranging for that is what I am best at these days. How were you brought here?”
“By the Walker of Worlds…he is known as Khios, the Dark Sorcerer. It was he who hired myself and others to be what he considers shall we say wildcards…so Lazar informed me. I wonder how many others are there from our world…you are the first that I have seen, amazing as I could easily recognize you from been from our world. Must be a marker of some kind.”
“Yes your story sounds familiar indeed. I still have not figured out what our purpose is other than we may have the ability to change something. I suspect that ties in with the Shades of Grey.”
“Yes.” Hylon agrees nodding looking at Alcaris and Isabella. “For some reason my independent research has led me to this island and the tower on a number of occasions where like an obsession I seem to be unravelling, or trying too, a particular family tree which does trangress the Shades of Grey, in that it is touching on that last Long Winter event, which even the Sunpriests are aware of but cannot and do not speak of it. It is only recently that the Long Winter has been a subject of concern within Daishur because of recent contact with Attalante and it seems they are the only human race to have records that go back to that last Long Winter and beyond. One of the Sunpriests informed me that this is because Attalante has never been a target for attack by Kharagh, for some reason he has left the island continent along and targeted the rest of the continents and the kingdoms that reside upon them. It seems the Attalante is shall we say spreading the word, afterall surviving one year of winter is one thing…surviving up to six years is another thing entirely. It has been said that during this time entire kingdoms will fall not only with the winter but with Kharagh’s invasions. It seems to me that every time a Long Winter occurs most kingdoms are either destroyed or severly weakened and subsequently new kingdoms emerge from the ashes of the former. It is kind of like the cycles of ages in Eberron, which occur every 5000 years or so. But this cycle is precipitated by a natural event.”
Alcaris asks. “So then why can you speak of this knowledge here and now…you seem not to be well gagged from doing so.”
Hylon replies. “Oh because I am not of this world. But there are limitations unfortunately…now Mak, I believe this genealogy I am working on has its origins in Karthan of the distant past…your road might be related to this. It is very shall we say complicated but I believe I am getting close to one particular individual that seems to be the focus of my research, one who lived during the last Long Winter.”
“Who might that be?”
“Well…I am still trying to determine his name, but he became quite famous for a deed of courage that invoked the wrath of Kharagh, indeed he may have changed the fortunes of the war in the empire’s favour. I believe that he may be known in legend through song, you know like the stories of myth and legend spoken by the bards of the empire. However I cannot enter Karthan to find out…I am prevented from doing so.”
“Is this part of your condition for arriving on this world?” Mak asks.
“No…this is a recent shall we say discovery. I have tried to reach Karthan by ship and portal but to no avail…indeed the 5 ships I was on all founded on islands to the south of the empire, it seems the Dark Sorcerer does not want me to go there.”
“I wonder why?” Mak asks curiously. “What could you possibly do to upset the sorcerer?”
“Well one does wonder. His power is vast by my knowledge Mak more powerful than anyone I have seen on our world. Sometimes I feel this is rather a game for him…after all we are here as wildcards our events may upset the balance and the fabric of future history, thus challenging the gods of this world. He considers himself capable of doing such.”
Alcaris nods. “He is considered one of the Powers of Dominion, along with Kharagh, the Ancient Enemy, the dragons or Zhan, and the gods. In this he is unique as he has attained his power by his own means and the Dark Tower where is resides is considered to be one of the most magically powerful locations for it is a repository of the 4th magic and he has fuelled it over a long period of time. My father has studied him from afar and though they are both alike in some aspects, Khios’s power is unrivalled on this world…even Kharagh stays clear of him. His tower is located in a barren region between the empire and Kharagh’s own lands and I do know that some of the empire’s mages has visited him over time and there is indeed a sorcerer profession which he created in times past and is taught at a group of towers in the empire. My father knows that Khios holds the largest library of Spell Lists for every profession save those of channeling which derives from the gods.”
“Still it seems odd for a man so powerful to restrict your movements. I wonder if that would be the same for me if I went to Daishur?” Mak remarks.
Hylon replies. “Ah the interesting thing here Mak is that I…not you have been undertaking this genealogy project, yet I am not from Karthan and indeed I might not be able to complete it as the final name…that personage to which the focus is heading towards is located in the empire itself where I cannot seemingly enter. Yet I sense that there is a reason, a very important reason…for finding out who this person is and therefore why this person is important…nearly 3,000 years later.”
“So what is the name that your research has been leading you towards?”
“I don’t know…that is the problem I just sense the person…a man, but I have no name. He is indeed in battle, but I cannot get any detail of him. As I get closer with the genealogy more does seem to come to light but I am perhaps 100 or so years from him in fully understanding who he is, and even then I might never get his name.”
“Hylon is right…there are stories and myths that go back to a time where great battles were fought.” Isabella says. “But there is no mention of the Long Winter…there are a number of heroes that this person could be.”
Alcaris says. “Be that so…as Hylon said, why is this person important after all this time.”
Isabella thinks for a moment. “I can only think of one reason…and that is if he became one of the Sentari or ascended ones, some heroes were indeed given an immortal afterlife with the gods and he may be one of them.”
“So this person could hold the key to everyone in the world surviving the long winter, is that the significance of your discovery.”
“No I do not think so…but perhaps the key to a single event that could shape the future.” Hylon says.
“Then how would I find him…given that you cannot go to Karthan and that I can, assuming I find a way of this island, then how could I help you? I imagine even communicating with you would be difficult.”
Hylon smiles. “Easy my good friend…just pick up from where I have left off and finish the task. Isabella is correct, these Sentari…ascended heroes might be the answer and that should be easy to find for they would be remembered in story and song.”
“Indeed they are.” Isabella says. “Some very extensively. However true they are…does not concern those who listen, for it is the story of good triumphing over evil and with romance in the mix that people love to hear. I have heard hundreds of stories, songs and seen many plays concerning legendary heroes from the past.”
“But these heroes.” Mak says. “Are they living now. For you implied earlier the one you seek does, after all this time.”
“They live with the gods.” Isabella replies. “There are stories of them returning to help those in need, but I somehow think that these are more myth than anything else.”
“And because there is no knowledge of the Long Winter and the upcoming war…there is of course no stories or legends of them all returning as a host to save the world.” Hylon inquires and Isabella nods.
“No such stories indeed.” She says.
“So it is going to take someone with that knowledge to summon a hero back.” Mak says.
Hylon nods. “Possibly my friend but I think that though the answer may lie in these Sentari…we are looking for one who for want of another term…disappeared after his great deed.”
Isabella gasps. “Surely it cannot be…there is only one that I know of…that never was ascended to the gods itself and that was Kalthior, one of the Five Heroic Champions. He is known to have fought during the Chaos Wars and led the famed Silver Alliance that did indeed turn the balance in favour of the empire. He was pursued by Kharaghs God of War and no one knows where he went. There are lots of stories about his infamy in battle and that even he changed to a zhan form to defeat Kharagh himself…I remember them well as a child.”
“My.” Hylon says surprised. “Could it have been this easy?”
“Perhaps.” Alcaris replies, equally surprised. “Isabella is from the empire…she knows the stories, the legends. If the one you are seeking is one who disappeared after his great deed…Kalthior is the one, I have read of him myself.”
Mak considers, could it have been this easy?
“What now?” Alcaris muses.
“Yes we are stuck on this island.” Mak states.
“Only until the ship returns.” Isabella says.
“But will it be safe for the ships after what we have seen down in the harbour.” Mak asks.
“They will be more prepared this time.” Isabella says.
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k631 Hellioss XVII

Postby vampyre » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:47 am

K631: 2Thardeth16 Hellioss XVII

That night a storm front lashes the island, with howling wind gusts and heavy rain. The storm continues through the night, Mak and his companions safe within Alcaris magical tower. After an evening meal Hylon talks about his time in Daishur. “It is mostly a desert kingdom very large in area and served by 4 rivers which originate from the mountains that lie on its southern border. The land around the rivers is very fertile and there the majority of the population live in well designed cities and towns, quite architectural wonders. The kingdom is ruled by the Sunpriests who believe the sun, or Arias as they call it too be a living entity.” He says. “The kingdom has many pyramids which are used as temples, repositories of knowledge and indeed communication devices. They also revere their founder, a person they call the Master Architect and he has enabled the kingdom to expand its culture and religion to other parts of this world. The Master Architect over time placed a number of Sun Prisms in orbit around this world which seems to me to be part of a communication grid of some kind as the Sunpriests have many pyramids located throughout the world in other kingdoms and lands and the prisms seems to assist with communicating between them and Daishur. But there religion also encompasses the gods as well, deemed to be servants of Arias, the most popular been Elenmire the Star Goddess. She is regarded as the Queen of the void and creator of the stars, which sort of makes her more superior than Arias I would think…but they have her as consort to Arias. You might find this rather strange but the Sunpriests actually do not consider Arias to be well…another star just like those in the void as they do regard the sun as a living sentient entity. Some of the pyramids further serve as observatories, they are passionate about the night sky and have comprehensively mapped the night sky over time tracking the movement of the stars and giving shape in the form of constellations to enhance their stellar observations. I most certainly have been involved in helping their continuing observation and can see why they are passionate about it…truly fascinating. And of course it is just not only the stars they observe, the movements of the moons and other planets are tracked and recorded as well.”
Isabella states. “Interesting…few in Karthan know other planets exist. It is not out of ignorance but the night sky has never been the fascination to us as it seems to be in Daishur. But that is changing, the astrologers have a number of observatories and discoveries are been made almost every day. We have a large observatory in Zeray, a recent addition to the city and it is from there that knowledge of the night sky is been discovered and compiled.”
“How many planets do you know of at the moment?” Hylon asks.
“Four.” Isabella replies. “We are presuming there is more.”
Hylon nods. “There is three more yet to discover by your people.”
Alcaris looks at Mak. “This world is no different to mine in that differing kingdoms and cultures have differing levels of sophistication and knowledge. Daishur knows more about the night sky than Karthan but I would say that Karthan has a more diverse culture especially with magical professions.”
Hylon smiles. “Quite so, there are few magical professions in Daishur…I would say no more than perhaps 20. The empire?”
“My father knows of just over 80 professions.” Alcaris replies. “And he knows there is more…very rare and new professions. As I said earlier, The Dark Sorcerer has the most complete knowledge of all spell professions past and present. Some of these new professions may well be of the distant past, lost to time or through major cultural changes. One thing my father is trying to do now is learn the history of these professions but I think that really only Khios would have that history in detail…he has lived long in this world and knowledge to him represents power, especially magical knowledge.”
“Khios is known to Daishur.” Hylon says. “He is deemed the arch rival of the Master Architect.”

Though Mak was listening intrigued to the conversation in the back of his mind he was comprehending the possibility that his task on this world was now known to him…or was it? Was I really here to find this Kalthior…a hero from the past…could it have been that simple to define, here and now, through contact with another wildcard. Has this been too convenient?

The evening finishes with Isabella recounting the legend of Kalthior and the Silver Alliance and how the great host was formed and took on the might of Kharagh’s armies at a pivotal time after the death of the Emperor at another field of battle. The success incurred the wrath of Belegurth, Kharagh’s god of war who pursued the Alliance intent on destroying them and their leader Kalthior. “Here the story gets varied with what happened to Kalthior and the Alliance and it is because of the variations that it has become accepted that his fate and that of the Alliance is not truly known.”
Mak asks “Where was he last sighted and where did the legends say he went. It would be interesting to visit those locations.”
“That is all party of the mystery.” Isabella says. “There no stories about this and I think the storytellers over time have not embellished this with stories of some secret sanctuary that he may have found or gone too. The mystery is simply that he and the Alliance disappeared from history.”
“So if one wishes to learn more about Kalthior where would one go.” Mak asks.
Isabella shrugs. “Only the stories and legends there are of him.”
“No reports of items he may have left behind?” Mak asks.
“The only evidence of his existence lies in a few historical accounts.” Isabella says. “They mention only the deeds and not of Kalthior’s life of where he was from. It is believed he was Perintherim though other stories have him as a Tanatherim.”
“And what of his name…did it have a special meaning in itself.”
“Kalthior means Silver Hand.” Isabella replies. “He was called that by those who followed him…the Silver Alliance.”
“Who were the members of the Silver Alliance…perhaps the trail of Kalthior could be followed through them.”
“The Silver Alliance were nothing more than citizens of the empire.” Isabella replied. “Craftsmen, artisans…ordinary citizens with a few having militia training. Over time they were joined by Karnirutherim and others from the plains lands where the nomadic tribes live. In that regard we may be talking about the provinces of Kandraith and Lamenvale.”
“So perhaps they would be good locations to visit a pilgrimage to the past. Are the legends strong there and often referenced.” Mak says.
Isabella nods. “Very much so…there is great pride among the tribes that there ancestors were part of the Silver Alliance. But they do not know where their people went or where the pivotal battle took place.”
“Do they hold items that are revered to this day.” Mak asks.
“No…just the stories.” Isabella replies.

“So … are these stories stored in a written form? Are they available in any libraries?”
“Yes,” Isabella informs him. “Many libraries have the written accounts of these stories.”
“Then where is the oldest library that holds these located?”
“I would say the oldest library would be in the capital, Cerberus.”
“Then my search into the history behind these stories should begin there. I think the oldest written accounts may contain some clues. The more recent versions will be copies and I am interested in the most original telling of the stories. The unedited versions, if you will.”
Alcaris says “I can see where you are coming from but if the original accounts refer to where he may have gone then that would be known by now, would it not?”
“Not necessarily. Who controls the knowledge of the Empire? I am suggesting that if a secret must be kept then it would have been kept after the original retelling. If someone does not want something known and then repeated they would ensure it would not be retold.”
Hylon says “If that is the case then why would a wildcard be asked to do this, rather than a heroic citizen who lives in the Empire?”
“I think we know the answer; a citizen of the Empire is not allowed to know old knowledge let alone step into the areas where that knowledge is relevant. That is to, the Shades of Gray. It is quite possible the original account talks of such a place or places and now that knowledge seems to be forbidden. But for people such as ourselves we can look past the barriers and retrieve that information or visit the places that may once have spoken of.”
Isabella says “we do not know whether the deeds of the Silver Alliance are actual true events. In saying that scholars do tend towards that there is some truth to the stories. It is probably because there are so many stories of that period, of deeds done in battles, that there is this overwhelming number of stories that weigh heavilly that perhaps there were these great battles in the past. Though I think that perhaps your idea of visiting Cerberus is ideal I do think that you will not find anything on record as to where they went. And I think that is because there was no-one to record what happened after they were being pursued by the God of War.”
“Who is the God of War and who followed him then … more importantly … who follows him today? Perhaps the followers of the God of War wrote their own accounts of the pursuit of the Silver Alliance. There may be some clues in there.” Mak suggests.
Hylon says “Kharagh has two servants. One is Belegurth – the God of War. He commands all the legions of Chaos and is known as the Master of all forms of combat.”
“So these legions of Chaos … what happened to them? Where did they go?”
Alcaris says “they reside in the domains of Kharagh, beyond the western border of the Empire.”
Isabella says “Yes, unfortunately we border onto Kharagh's domain.”
“And what is known of his domain?” Mak asks. “Has anyone entered and returned to tell of their discoveries?”
Isabella says “Some have entered close to his lands and there have encountered ruined cities of the ancient past. But those who do go there either die there or upon returning die of the wasting disease. Kharagh's races are immune to this disease.”
“And those who did return and die of the wasting disease, did any bring back information from the ruined cities. Anything at all, perhaps in written form. Did any explorer impart any details of old libraries before they passed away?”

Isabella thinks for a moment. “If there was any knowledge it would be in the hands of the Church. Libraries outside of the church has only recently come about with the founding of the profession guilds and that includes those of the Sages and Scholars. It has been many decades since the last fool hardy adventuring party went into the Plains of Kharg. Out of 14 only 3 returned and they died of the Wasting Disease within days of returning to civilization. Others may have gone there since, but no record of such exists. Some advertise their plan to enter the Plains of Kharg attracting interest from scholars but others go there without advertising their intentions. But those who go all are affected by the Wasting Disease and none have survived.”
“Has anyone studied the immunity of Kharagh’s races to this Wasting Disease?” Mak asks.
“I believe the Church has extensively done so in the past and may continue to do so. However there is no cure as no cause of the disease has been found." Isabella says.
“And is there no means of resisting it?” Mak asks.
“None whatsoever.” Isabella returns.
“How long does one have to be exposed before contracting the Wasting Disease.”
“I do not know.” Isabella replies. “It is not something that the empire has generally bothered to deal with. I dare say that perhaps there are scholars at universities studying the effects but really…it does not interest the likes of myself and many of the citizens.”
“So of the 3 of the 14 that went into Kharaghs domain and returned…where did they return. Was it a temple?”
“A border town in Mhalafrei.” Isabella replies. “Near the city of Meggido I think.”
Mak says. “Then that may be an interesting place to go too. It is possible they brought something back that has not been recounted in public stories. Any evidence at all…even a map may prove useful.”
“The Wasting Disease affects the mind and body…when they were found they were insane and naked.” Isabella says. “The reason why this particular even is more widely known is because the towns people became involved with helping them before the Church got involved.”
“Then it would seem that Kalthior and the Silver Alliance are only just stories and it would also seem that while Kharagh’s domain may indeed contain useful areas to explore if one goes there one dies unless they are immune to the Wasting Disease. Are there any historical accounts as to what caused the Wasting Disease.”
“None…it has just been known to exist.” Isabella replies. “And it would seem you are assuming that Kalthior went into this region…I cannot think of why, the battle was fought in the empire not in the wastelands.”
“No quite the contrary, my interest in Kharagh’s domain was the possibility that his followers may have recorded and stored the history of the pursuit of the Kalthior and the Silver Alliance.”
Isabella shrugs. “They may have done…but if they knew where he was Kharagh would have destroyed him long ago. Perhaps that is what you are here to find…his dead remains. I think not.”
“Perhaps. Maybe he left a legacy for others to use in his stead such as personal items.”
“That could be so…but he is considered a Sentari, which means that if he is not with the gods…he is here on this world.” Isabella says.
“Has anyone tried to locate him with magic.”
“I have no idea.” Isabella replies. “I do not think such a spell exists except in the hands of the likes of Khios. And he is not about to give that away.”
“Or if Kalthior has become a god has anyone prayed to him for guidance.”
“There is no faith attached to him like the others.” Isabella replies. “Children may dream or think about him…but their prayers are purely for the gods as it is with their parents.”
“So going back to the story and to the final accounts he is known to have changed to a Zhan and defeat Kharagh. Does the account say how he did that or that he just did.”
“This story goes back to before the Silver Alliance. Kalthior is believed to have confronted Kharagh along with the 5 Heroic champions at the summit of the Mountain of the Skull and there assumed zhan form and defeated him.” Isabella says.
“Where is this Mountain of the Skull?” Mak asks.
“Deep within Kharaghs domain.” Isabella replies. “It is said to be the tallest mountain in the world and the landscape is totally barren.”
“And therefore it is a location out of reach and impossible to get too.” Mak says.
Isabella nods.
“Whatever route he took Mak seems to be your task to find.” Alcaris says. “I believe that Kalthior is in this world and that history has not purposely concealed where he went because simply no one knows where he went and no one has really considered finding him or if they have, they have not been successful.”
“Then perhaps the search for him could begin in those hidden places, the Shades of Grey. Are there any close to Kharagh’s domain.”
“No one knows Mak.” Alcaris replies. “There could be…but look at it this way how have you found the Shades of Grey. They are not on any map.”
Mak says. “This is true. All I have is a compass device that sometimes shows the way.”
“A compass device…interesting.” Alcaris returns. “Perhaps that is what you need to find the way.”
“Unfortunately it is not with me…it is with a friend of mine at….” Mak is unable to speak the name. “It is with a friend that is at a place hard to get too.”
“It sounds like you have to get back there and resume your quest.” Alcaris says. “But now…you have an understanding of the quest.”
“Yes…but getting there is the key. It seems I can go nowhere until a ship arrives.”
“And one will be here in about 12 days from my reckoning.” Isabella says. “My all this talk has me thinking of sleep. Excuse me gentlemen.”
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