The First Frontier

Fate is a Bitch

Edithe,

Today I’ve found the East to be a cruel world. It seems that narratives, no matter how rich, meet their end in violent, unfinished manners. Today we fought more formatives, constructs for the adventuring tale we spin, but fate knows no bounds. Despite amazing efforts made by my compatriots Luke and Asher, there was nothing we could do but watch Omar be utterly destroyed by the denizens of the underworld. Pip and I could only gaze in horror.

We destroyed the creatures, but his tale could not rest. Omar rose again to rejoin us as we fought past a plant mass of draconic origins, but even his part of the tale was denied as we fought a dragon, unleashed by the fall of some priests much like the ones we encountered before. Asher was instrumental in our survival as he wrote in the existence of many great winged beast-warriors.

We survived, but I fear that the East has been long plagued by this oppressive hand. A sadness lingers amongst us. I will perform some rites in rememberance of his deeds, as befitting any who would fall in our lands to causes inappropriate.

Do not worry, Martine is here to watch over me. She is performing a rite of shaping so that we may not be overwhelmed by the horrors of the East. I have sacrificed one of my masks for the ritual.

I’ve had to speak. It has become constant, the state of being unmute. It seems I will no longer be much like my father, one of the voiceless Hunt who speak in the language of terror. Please keep it from him – I will find a way to follow in his way regardless.

Thanks dear sister,

Sybaris

View
Enter the replacement.

Michael walked his horse into town. The storm that was brewing out of the desert blew sand everywhere, stinging eyes and making breathing a chore. A the pack animals in a caravan also coming into town gave Michael a realization. Horses did not do well in the desert. But camels did. So he would need a camel to continue his journey.

Getting a camel proved to be harder that he thought. The camel herder declined his effort to trade his horse for the camel. Michael ended up running between several caravans and the herder, setting up a complex set of trades that ended up with him giving up his horse and getting the camel. Rashi, the camel herder, wanted gold and spices for the camel. Cara, the spice trader with the caravan that came in the same time as Michael, wanted several fine leather pouches that Darrien, a leather worker in another caravan, had on display. Jarh of Ead was a caravan guard in Darrien’s caravan who was interested in Michael’s horse, but did not have the coin to pay for it. Darrien did owe Jarh some money due to gambling debts, so Michael was able to talk Jarh into accepting the fine leather pouches as payment of Darrien’s gambling debts.
Michael accepted the pouches as part of his payment from Jarh for his horse. Cara welcomed the pouches for the spices that Rashi required. After an evening of buying drinks for the two caravans, helping the setting up of caravan camps, stopping three fights, and wooing several bar maids, Micheal fell exhausted into his bed roll.

As the sun was rising the following morning, Micheal picked up Galavrata and began his morning rituals to familiarize himself with the weapon. He was amazed at the change he found. The greatsword felt lighter and hit harder. He sparred with several of the caravan guards, finding that his ability to drive the larger men back greatly enhanced.
Michael had read all of Omar’s letters and notes. He realized that he was becoming attuned to Galavrata, in the same way Omar had, near the end of his life.

Michael conteplated this truth as he rode into the desert on his new camel. And with the camel’s aid, it was not long before he located his cousin’s group of adventurers.

He approached as the sun was setting, eager to take his cousin’s place in their ranks.

View
Between a roc and morningstar

The last bits of smoke from the pyre curled up into the sky as the fiery curves of the sun descended below the horizon.


“I’m not waking him up” proclaimed Bob, the tracker who’d been keeping watch over Smasha during his beauty rest. He figured the smelly Orc needed several months more, of uninterrupted, rest to ensure that his own face didn’t get smashed in to look like the Orcs.


“I’m not standing around with all this silly stuff waiting for him” replied Jenny, another tracker, who’d been sent into town to procure an unusual list of goods.


Rising behind them Face stood, a rare smile allowing his crooked, rotted teath to show. As the last vestiges of sunlight slipped from the sky a power seemed to wash over him, and he flexed his muscles, eager for the challenge ahead of him. “Did you bring what I asked for?”


Shaking in fear (Face Smasha, was not a morning person) they dropped fruit and assorted clothing at his feet. Neither of them thought this a good idea, but they weren’t inclined to say anything.



“Who goes there” shouted down the guard standing at the palisade wall.


“We’ve got a new girl for the King” called up Bob


“Unless he’s got enough already” added in Jenny with a tone laced with enough sarcasm so as to earn a jab from Bob.


Gazing down at the amply endowed woman the guards opened up the gate. It was dark, but they figured that his Majesty would have them crucified if they came between him and his earthly desires.


The crude wooden gate swung open and the two guards walked up to check out the woman who’d been brought in by the slavers.


Or, at least that’s what they thought was happening until the first one met a gauntleted back hand to the face. Startled, and overwhelmed by a horrible odor the second one started to back pedal, but not before the other hand glasped around his throat.


He clawed at the woman, trying to break free, trying to get air. A melon fell from her dress, and suddenly as the last gasps of air came to a stop he realized that this woman was… was… really ugly.



“There’s another fire, this one in the stables, your majesty”


“Very well, he wants to play dirty, bring the girl and her mother to me”


A pounding started at the doors of the great hall a few minutes later. His Grace chuckled, humored by the attempts to get through the 3" thick solid oak, copper braced doors. He wondered just how well the assailant would bloody himself trying to get through it.


It was at that exact moment that it shattered, splinters of every shape and size flying inward throughout the hall.


And there he stood, dominating the entrance at over 10’ tall. Waves of bulging muscles rippling down his arms. His Grace would have been in abject fear, but for the dress, and one smashed watermelon hanging loosely from his side.


NOW” his Grace commanded boldly. Arrows and spells flew from the guard at arm standing behind him. They struck home in the soft cotton dress and wool stockings and a smile crossed his Majesties lips.


Cursing in Orcish, Smasha struggled to move forward.


“Ahhh, that’s my good man Suvius. He’s awful fond of holding people in place. Though I must admit, you’re stronger than most. Generally they can’t even curse.” Genuinely pleased with himself a chuckle rolled from his throat, slowly turning into a bellow of laughter. He enjoyed himself for a moment, then opened his mouth to order Face Smasha’s end when he came to two realizations, one more distressing then the next.


First, Smasha was not held, well, not by any spell, rather one of the arrows had pinned his dress to the floor. This problem was quickly resolved as the dress tore from him as he bounded forward. As the dress fell to the floor his unscathed, armor plated second layer fully revealed itself.


Then the second realization struck him. Face was not cursing at him, rather anything spoken, yelled, whispered, or even chanted in Orcish sounded like cursing. It was this last one that held the worst potential, for his grace had assumed Smasha a brute of the direct kind, gifted with unusual stature by his very nature. Instead he came to realize the true nature of the beast as Smasha’s spell pulsed over his body, accelerating his movements, and turning him into an elegant killing machine.


As the fourth soldier flew through the air his Majesty grabbed Adeline, Luke’s wife, holding a blade to her throat. Struggling against him Adeline knew Luke must have sent Smasha as the only way to get around his own ensorcelement. She also knew that she would surely lose her second daughter if she did not act quickly.


“Leave and I will let you and the girl leave alive” as he talked, his slippery tongue buying him precious seconds, he motioned to an aid behind him who struggled, desparately trying to understand new incantations he had just learned this morning.


“Save my daughter!” Adeline yelled. At that moment Smasha fully realized the cold, unwavering cunning of this man. He’d had no intention of letting anyone live. As the dagger slid in slow motion across her throat a portal, swirling in unstable colors opened behind him. Not content to kill off just his wife and youngest daughter he grabbed the little girl.


As life slipped from Adeline’s eyes a shadow fell across his Grace. Smasha had never paused to negotiate. Luke had told him from the beginning to expect even a moments pause to cause lost lives, but while Smasha was prepared for the trickery played upon him, his grace had not expected the cold merciless soldier before him. Instantly ready to accept sacrifices in the pursuit of even a marginal victory.


Smasha was surrounded on all sides by men at arms, ignorning Adeline’s lifeless body he’d charged full speed right into the most dangerous place possible. As they struck him from behind, and the sides, cutting his body with their blades Face took one might swing with his gigantic, 6’ long morningstar. It smoothly contacted with his Grace’s face, sending him spiraling backwards into the caster beside him. He tripped in mid sentence, interrupting the delicate incantation as the two tumbled through the open portal, it’s energy pulsating uncontrollably.



A dull explosion could be heard and a prismatic shower of lights erupted from the great hall. It could even be felt on the low bluff just outside the wall. Jenny dropped 5 copper shillings into Bob’s hand “I really thought he was going to make it”. Little bits of ember and dust settled down on them, and like two kids caught unprepared in a rain shower, they ran for cover, shielding their eyes from the ash with their hands.

View
The Fallen.

Adella stepped forward and turned to face the group of family and friends.
“My brother Omar has passed to the afterlife.”
Tears fell as she lifted the pile of paper in her hands.
“He wrote often, telling of his exploits. I would read his letters to our brothers and sisters, abandoned by our mother.
He was fighting to restore magic to our world. Magic that has been held captive by forces of undead for reasons we do not know. Those same powers of undeath took him from us! From the world.”
She drew Galavrata, her brother’s two handed sword, holding it above her head.
“This blade was his most prized possession. It will go to whomever will take up his quest!”
A young male, dark of skin and hair, walks to Adella’s side. He stares into her eyes.
“I will take up my cousin’s quest, and duty.”
“Thank you Michael.” Adella responded, handing Galavrata to Michael.

View
Where's the challenge? <roar> (21 May 2012)

Dear Adella,
I have some bad news. I don’t know how to say this, but I have died. Face Smasha was sent off by Luke. So when exploring the dragon’s lair, and we encountered several troll zombies, I engaged them with my usual zeal. Sadly without Face Smasha (the troll was on guard duty) the zombies concentrated on me. I can’t even say I felt the killing blow. It turns out that the troll zombies ripped me to shreds. Luke used his usual destructive energies and Asher summoned a number of dire wolves to destroy the zombies.

You may wonder how I can be writing to you. Sadly I was not resurrected. It seems that I am continuing on as an undead. Some part of me would not rest while my companions struggled in this dungeon.

Our next obstacle was a half dragon plant creature. Even as an undead, I shudder at the very thought of how that came to be. Once again Luke and Asher worked to overwhelm this threat with disposable minions, while Sybaris and Pip supported using their bows.

Luke then used his abilities to create a glass ladder for us to get past the pit the dragon plant was occupying.

We are about to assault the next undead priests that are limiting the magic in the world. I will write once that has completed.

Omar.

PS: The undead priests were barely a battle. I approached them openly. As an undead, they did not feel threatened. I told them I was there to aid them. I brought in my “minions” to assist me. At which point Luke used one of his more potent powers. A ball of energy. The priests were destroyed without incident.

Sadly, what they were doing was binding a red dragon somehow. Which then materialized and attacked. It did not pay any attention to me. Asher once again summoned hordes of hipogriffs to battle this threat. With it totally surrounded I attacked as well.
Sadly, the beast had an area of affect fire burst. He burned the summoned creatures, Pip, and my self. I’m pretty sure that Luke was able to save Pip.
The essence of myself went into the sword. I felt my comrades destroy the dragon. My strength wanes.
I … can move … on.
I … love … you.
Pro … tect … yourself. And … our … kin.

View
Trolling the dunes.

Heatrash watched as Godspeaker finished his ritual to the cactus plant. The cactus ritual always brought tears to his eyes.

Movement beyond Godspeaker attracted Heatrash’s attention. Beings came this way! Several looked like they were part animal and part not quite troll.

“Godspeaker! Look! More participants for the Cactus Ritual!”

“Good eyes Heatrash. We must be careful though. Our large and beautiful bodies scares the smaller races. And they have not seen us yet, for they are not screaming and running away! We will welcome them to our lands with the traditional troll welcome. Even you, Caster of Magic Not of the Gods. Try to use a spell that is not hurtful to these little beings. They hurt themselves easily.”

“I will show them great feats of magic without damaging them, or great spiritual leader!” Caster of Magic Not of the Gods spoke. “Do you think they would like some tea as well? I may even have some skones back at the cave.”

The trolls prepared to greet the outlanders with great warmth.

View
Old Blue

Lectra gazed across the rolling sand dunes. Her keen eyes picked out a pack of humans and uglies heading her way. She’d smelled them the day before as the winds unmercifully had shifted in her direction.


No sense in attracting attention. Best to let the ruins seems buried and useless thought Lectra. With that a shift in the landscape came about and she made as much of the old ruins, now her home, disappear in the morning blaze of sun and fire.


Still they persisted. They must be tomb raiders, or worse… adventurers. She coiled herself behind the door. Determined to give them one last warning before letting them settle on their fate.


It was almost too good to be true. Lectra had heard of a peculiar human sport, but until now did not understand it’s appeal. As blue lightening flashed from her gullet she now truly understood the joy of bowling.


Her joy was short lived however as armies of arrows, hordes of hippogriffs, and dive-bombing dimension-dooring daredevils began a vicious assault against her. She decided it would be best to end the encounter with as little violence as possible so she eased low to the ground to shake off the two on her back. There she was met with such animosity from the tall ugly (not to be confused with the short ugly) the she immediately fled. Trying to ensure her escape she let loose another bolt at the summoned Hippogriffs, but then they were on her again and as she slowly slipped from consciousness, the ground rushing up at her she thought her final thoughts stupid adventurers.

View
Wrong place, wrong time, warm fire

In the still darkness of the early morning a faint chanting could be heard. Ordus, who’d been sent out to try to collect firewood in the barren wastes of the desert had returned empty handed. He could hear what sounded like an end to the spell Smasha was casting. There was a long silence and whispered words, a hush so low that he wasn’t even sure something had been said.


He could see Luke’s back hunch over as he kicked sand into the empty fire pit. Ordus, frustrated at the impossible task set before him, made a fatal mistake. He first assumed that Luke’s frustration was over his failure, and second assumed he could make things better with his Orcish eloquence.


It was over in a flash of fire. Ordus’ words of condemnation for the impossibility of finding wood in the desert quickly found him ablaze. With a quick motion Luke ordered Orfuke and his brother Pukus to throw the body into the fire. There would be a blaze to warm them tonight.


Unfazed by the brief violence, Smasha tersely spat out “The divination could be wrong Master. Words from the Gods are fickle things. Your youngest daughter may still live.”


“Then you will find an answer for me. It is time.”


“In the human lands?” was his only reply, and then there was a long silence.


Morning broke and the bold adventurers slowly awoke. Something was different. A smell of death hung in the air, and yet, it was somehow cleaner, fresher smelling. Luke sat staring at the horizon as Omar came over to him “Raiders in the night?” he asked poking a stick at the unidentifiable charred body.


Luke just shook his head, a glint could be barely seen disappearing into the distance. That’s when Omar realized what was different, the Face, he was gone. He glanced at Luke, about to ask him what had transpired, but an eerie darkness hovered over him, and he decided better to tend to getting some breakfast.


Luke turned over a small crystal in his hand. As light passed through it a women with her two daughters could be seen. Their gentle smiles called to him, and he longed to go to them.


His eyes rested on the younger of the two as a single tear dropped from his eye onto the crystal. It was all the morning heat of the desert would afford him. Slipping the crystal into a pouch with a strange diagonal char that matched a scar on the side of his horse, he reached down to pick up his helmet. Locking it in place he slid the visor down. Only his eyes showed through, and a cold hatred poured from them, held only in check by the strangest of maladies.


Smoke slowly curled upwards into the sky, lazily twisting like a serpent as it crawled its way apart from the pire. The sun beat upon the armor clad figure and he made his way to the shade, to await the night when he knew would be the time to strike.


Inside the walls of the city a woman and her daughter hefted the body of a small boy into the pire. The guard at arms chuckled, joking “The little squirt was fast. We should have enlisted him as a courier”, to which the other guard replied “Or for target practice”.


Next for the fire was a creature strange to the woman and her daughter. He was small, and covered in scales, with a nose elongated like that of a dog, or some beast of the fields. His tail dangled beneath him, impeding their progress as they dragged him towards the fire. Despite his small stature, he was heavier than the boy.


The small girl, cold from the night tried to pry off his jacket, it was open already, but his arm had frozen from rigor mortis, poised over his mouth. Trying not to attract the attention of the guards her mother helped her pry his arm away, as she did so a small piece of parchment, stuffed in urgency into his mouth during his dying moments, fluttered to the ground.

View
And the horse survives...(14 May 2012)

Dear Adella,
We have reached the desert. It is hot, but Asher has been willing to cast a spell on Luke and myself so we can tolerate the heat in our armor. Several days in, we encountered some desert trolls. We killed two of them and Luke charmed the third one, which happened to also be a cleric. We are using him as a deterrent and meat shield against other creatures. It worked pretty well, right on up to the time the blue dragon attacked.
I will tell you Adella, that was an encounter. Our first indication or trouble was the lightning bolt that hit the troll, Face Smasha and his horse, and Asher‘s pet bear. All lived, although the bear was not in good shape. The next thing the beast did was take to the air and try and dominate me. It actually succeeded, sort of. When we first saw the building it was hiding in, Face Smasha started casting buff spells on us. Including Magic Circle of Protection versus Evil on himself. Since I was close enough to him to be protected against the actual control by the dragon, I only felt that the dragon was my friend. Luke immediately grabbed Face Smasha and myself and dimension door’d us unto the dragon’s back. He could not fit, but I cast feather fall on him while Face Smasha and I held on tight. The dragon tried to buck us off, getting too close to the troll in the process. After that, the dragon went up higher to shake us off. He was harassed by Asher‘s summoned hippogriffs all the while. The dragon finally bucked us off, but I used feather fall again to keep us safe.
Luke at this point realized that I was under the dragon’s influence, so he broke the spell. Then he used dimension door again to take Face Smasha and myself back to the dragon’s back. Again Luke started to fall and I eased his fall. I was preparing for a fearsome strike against the dragon, when Asher’s hippogriffs finally did enough to drop the dragon. And again my feather fall kept Face Smasha and I safe.

We explored the dragon’s lair. There was some sort of sand trap, which the troll tripped. We decided to explore several passages before trying to loot the lair. Good thing too, since we found more undead, which were swiftly destroyed. There is another room which has several large creatures in it. We are resting before striking, to give ourselves the best chance of success.

I will write more once we have secured this complex.

Love,
Omar.

View
Day Trip to Hell (7 May 2012)
Day Trip to Hell (7 May 2012)

Dear Adella,
A very strange thing just happened. We were traveling along, and came across a town that was half burned out. We stopped and gave aid. We discovered that the town well had been crudely poisoned by a young girl. The fire that burned half the town had been set by a young boy. Both were doing what they thought was right. There were also 4 children missing. We tracked the children to an underground complex. Filled with devils. Imps and Lemures attacked us first. Then a Bearded Devil. After we found the children, a Chain Devil (who was disguised as you, of all people) attacked. We obviously overcame all of these creatures with the only casualty being Pip’s wolf, which died when we first fell into the complex (literally).

The most concerning thing of all of this is the dreamlike quality that it all had. At the end of this, we all looked at each other like we were unsure if it had really happened.

Stay safe sister.

Omar.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.