The First Frontier

Someone is obsessed with tentacle porn...

Adella,
We continued to explore the submerged temple, looking for the room where the magic was inhibited. Not wanting to lose the benefit of the beasts summoned, we charged ahead, with several of us hanging on to the swimming support. We found a fearsome sight. Two zombie krackens (supersized squids from the deep waters) and a coral golem. By the time those were defeated, we had sharks, an orca, and several constructs all over the place. I was able to safely hide under one of these, so the zombies could not see me.
Shortly after we finished these foes off, a quartet of water elementals arrived. They were some sort of last effort defense. Luke talked to them in their native language. They seemed to calm down and help us. He is good at winning creatures over to his way of thinking.
With the help of the water elementals, the ice dam was broken, allowing the river to flow once more.

Thanks for the warning regarding the people who took Omar’s possesions. Luke thinks that this is some sort of misunderstanding, and we will work to resolve it as soon as possible.

Stay safe.

Michael.

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Jail Break from Hell

Luke thought being above water would be a refreshing break, but as the sun beat down on him, and Asher’s spell slicked the water away he realized it would perhaps be better to have stayed underwater.

Beatrice for her part seemed to have lost all interest in seeing the great underwater city. She was fascinated by the water elementals, and being able to see them [somewhat] safely up close was absorbing her full attention.

Luke looked over at Michael “Lost you for a second there in the milieu. So many shark fins, I thought Asher had brought the whole ocean in for a visit”. Sorting through the piles of gems and coral Luke saw a flash in the distance. “Ah, looks like they’re here”. A moment later three dogs, panting, from the desert heat appeared before him. He reached down to pull a note from the first ones mouth. The dog looked about assessing the situation, and the water elementals, then seemed to relax, as if its trip had not been a smooth one.

“It seems we are wanted for murder, consipiracy against the state, tax evasion, and” Luke paused at this one, taking a long stare at Asher “Dog kicking. Even the Pixies is listed here for treason against the state”. Luke shook his head “I don’t understand, it’s not like anybody saw her”. He paused for dramatic effect, then explained to the slower Orcs (that would be all of them) “It’s a joke”. With a bellow of laughter the Orcs went back to picking up gems, gold, and supplies. With a giant heft the Troll picked up several thousand pounds of Coral. That’s when Luke realized something strange. The desert troll was female, and someone had been putting make up on her and painting her nails. Luke opened his mouth to speak to Beatrice, but she was so enthralled in a diligent study of the Elementals that he decided to just let it pass At least she’s not in a silk nightie. Luke shuddered at that thought as everyone packed up to make way.


Morning after next Luke and Face were in deep counsel just outside the light of the fire. Next to them images flickered in a shallow pool of water. “One should do the trick, now’s the time before the guard changes” Luke said to Smasha.

Luke was a fickle master. For those that lived by the sword their fates were often short in his employ, but he had a soft spot for those who were themselves meek and of humble means.

Wavering in the pool, reflections of Halflings in jail cells, rippled magically across the waters surface. Luke was tense, not so much about what was to happen, but whether the Halflings would cooperate with their rescuer. One of them popped open an eye, obviously having been feigning sleep. The blink dogs message must have made it to them. Luke breathed a tiny sigh of relief. They quietly awoke each other and prepared themselves.

Smasha finished his incantations as Luke stood. A dark sheet, like a sliding door appeared and a warm humid heat rolled through the portal. Stepping through came a creature that brought a sense of misery and decay with its very being. Face held up his hand and instructed “Listen to boss, he give orders”

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Luke stared at the blight on humanity and chuckled inside. He knew the creature would detest the task before it, and that just made the events about to unfold all the more ironically humorous. “Go to them” Luke said, pointing at the meager cells showing in the pool. “Break them free and make sure they can escape safely. Do so with a minimum of blood shed and havoc.” With that he handed him a vile of a bubbling acid “Use this to open the doors. See them as far out as you can”.

Then, without warning the Devil was just gone from sight, as if it had never been. Luke anxiously sat and waited, it was all he could do now as the morning sun slowly crested above the horizon.

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D&D Mafia warning.

Michael carefully wrapped the Cryo-Hydra head and placed it in a sack.
He pulled out a piece of paper, sharpened a quill, and began writing.

Dear Adella,
Something to hang on the wall. You can use it to scare the younger children. Jeffers can stuff it for you.
This beast had 8 heads and breathed ice. He tried to freeze Luke and Sybaris but they had cold protection. So it did not affect them. They did make noises like it hurt them though. Trying to get it to concentrate the breath weapons on them.

Once we overcame the cryo-hydra, we went swimming. Found an underwater town. There were some ooze like creatures that we had to fight. They spat at us a lot, and tried to envelope us. Annoying, but we survived.
We found a temple that looks like the others we found. We are resting now before we strike.

Well wishes cousin.
Michael.

Michael finished his letter, sealed it, attached it to the package and brought the package to Luke for transport.

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I want a hydra head too!

Luke rubbed his temples. He wasn’t quite sure how to explain this any clearer to his daughter.

“Look, we can’t get another one so you can have a psicrystal image with it breathing ice behind you. It’s just too dangerous”

Luke’s daughter, Beatrice, eyed her father carefully “Soooo, standing around with two dozen Orcs and the Desert Troll is safe then?”. Her comment was dry, lacking any sarcasm, but it wasn’t lost on Luke for a second.

“Well, at least let me go see the underwater city” Beatrice pressed, not willing to relent. Luke contemplated denying the city existed as he ringed the water out of his clothes, then looked up at Face Smasha as he re-enacted the battle, blindly swinging back and forth and making horrible dying sounds of the Slime creatures. Odd, thought Luke, he didn’t remember Face hitting anything but water.

“Alright, I promise to bring you into the city, but only if you finish your lessons” hopefully he thought to himself that will buy me enough time for us to finish clearing out the city.

“But daaaad” Beatrice whined on in the background “I hate telekinetic exercises, can’t I just dig the trench by hand, it would be so much easier”. Luke leveled ‘the look’ at his daughter, making it clear he wasn’t going to budge. “Look, Beatrice, you’re already behind on your electrocution exercises. I mean look at Grim Reaper over there, he’d probably still be walking if he hadn’t fallen off the ice bridge when you electrocuted him. Now I won’t settle for anything less than total focus. This time we’re going to suspend you upside down in the water for the exercise, and no excuses.” that should do the trick, and she’ll be so upset over her clothes getting wrecked it might even dissuade her from deep sea diving for the city.

A broad grin crossed his daughters lips and she nodded. Her eagerness was most… distressing.

Late into the afternoon splashing and yelping from Orcs being electrocuted, burned, frozen, and otherwise used as guinea pigs continued. Meanwhile Luke reviewed ledgers, petted the Blink dog and fed him a tasty morsel of cooked Hydra Head and sent him back to town with some rare gems for sale.

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Gravel to gravel

Left leg was bored. Right leg was too busy with creating poetry. As if that chunk of rock knew what poetry was. The vibrations from head as it chewed sand was not helping either. Left leg was getting a mind ache. Suddenly, there was an overwhelming urge to move forward. Left leg was moving before it realized that head was giving commands. Something about intruders, or something. Right leg was ahead of Left leg, and making a lot of noise. Left leg felt the ground compact differently. Maybe there was something out there.

The Right leg stopped. Head howled, but Left leg could not understand what the problem was. It was feeling really confused. There were stings and chips along its base. Left leg knew it should move, knock whatever was attacking it off. But what passed for its mind started down another path, analyzing Right leg’s last poem. As if that was a poe…
Left leg crumbled.

Head howled again, trying to communicate with the small things. But they stung and stung, Chips flew. Cracks widened. And with a shiver, head broke apart.

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Pre teen woes

The Journey Home?


Face sighed, feeling what seemed like every last bit of energy drain from him.


Beatrice, Luke’s daughter, was quite unlike her father. Or perhaps her mother’s sudden, and vicious, death in front of her had changed her into a non-stop talking machine. Either way their trek across the desert sands hand been a brutal one. The glaring daylight and miserable heat were trifles in comparison with answering all of her questions.


Deep down Smasha wondered if Luke might be better off without family. Face himself had never had any qualms about choosing the strong from his children and leaving the rest to the wolves. He’d even put little Ear Puller to the axe himself when he couldn’t live up to even his own weak name. I mean really, if you can’t even pull someone’s ear off what kind of an Orc are you.


Still, the trackers had been blissful relief, keeping her distracted whenever he was ready for a little retroactive family planning. That, and the last passing blink dog had brought some exotic silks that entertained Beatrice for almost an hour. Face wasn’t sure if Luke would appreciate them being taken from the supplies en route, but he felt more prepared to face certain death by the firey psychic powers of his master than another minute of endless questions about boys, whether she looked good in this or that silk shear and what kind of makeup to wear. And she seemed completely unreceptive to learning how to properly mud paint for battle. Silly children he thought as his eyes fluttered shut.

Beside him Beatrice snuck into his tent and curled up to sleep. Frightened by the baying of desert Coyotes she looked quite odd, Smasha’s bicep and her neck were of almost equal proportion, but she cared not as she drifted off to sleep, comforted by the deep snoring of the massive Orc.


A day in the life


Luke was preoccupied with what to do about his daughter. Sybaris kept motioning up ahead, but as usual the meaning of his gesturing was lost on him. That’s when the arrows started landing all around him. Sybaris let loose with a might arrow, Luke was almost certain he saw small contrails of moisture, despite the dry desert heat. The arrow streaked through the air and struck home. Luke still couldn’t see anything, but he definately heard the squeels of a dying animal, quite large by the tenor of it. As Sybaris notched another arrow he could hear Asher’s voice echoing in his head. There’s another one coming up the right side.


Luke’s daughter was on the right side of the caravan. Squinting into the darkness he grabbed a hold of Face and Michael saying “Cut them off before the…” a pop and a rush of nausea came over him as light and sound distorted, stretched, and then snapped back to normal. But Luke never got to finish his sentence as a giant half Coyote, half Wolf, all killer, riding beast almost barreled into them. Michael worked this one over as he and Face snapped through another tunnel of light to the next one. Another arrow screamed by hitting the riding beast. Luke could swear the beast actually exploded after being hit. The arrow was in fragments, bits of the beasts innards scattered all over. They quickly worked to dispatch the last of the Kobolds.


In the distance a horrible rending could be heard. After a moment of quiet there was the sound of steady tearing and chomping. Luke counted his blessings he could not see what had transpired on the left flank with the Troll, and with a little luck wouldn’t have to explain to Beatrice the subtleties of Kobold diplomacy.

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Draconic, for the win.

Adella,

I have safely caught up with Omar’s companions. They have accepted me, thanks to your letter. Face Smasha also rejoined the group, having been sent off on an errand by Luke. We resumed traveling, following an old river bed. We had a series of encounters with desert kobolds. I got to see how this band fights. They are very effective!

Sybaris has the ability to determine what the landmarks around us are. He was able to find a statue out in the wilderness. We investigated it, only to find that it was some sort of construct. A badly broke construct. Which is fortunate, because fighting this construct when it was whole would have been daunting. Needless to say, when turned this status into gravel.

Our next encounter was with a lair of baby dragons. Apparently they were left in this small cave by their parents while the parents hunted. And they are deformed (according to the others, as I have never seen a dragon before). We captured one and eliminated the other two. But now we are concerned about the parents.

I will fight as hard as I can to make sure we survive any further draconic battles.

Michael.

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The rider.

As everyone gathers around the fire for evening meal, a large shape appears out of the night. The shape resolves itself into a mounted humanoid, mounted on a camel. Two other camels walk in a line behind the first.

The rider dismounts, and approaches with open arms. There is a moment of worry, as the figure remains dark, even as he approaches the light. As the man steps into the firelight, the fact that his skin is dark brings relief to all.

“I am Michael”, he says. “May I join your fire?”
As introductions are made, he smiles. He reaches into his robe and removes a sealed letter, which he hands out to the nearest member of the party.

The letter reads:

Dear Luke Liondel, Asher Turindyl, Sybaris, Pip the Ranger, and Jin Catpuncher.

I wish to let you know that Omar’s remains, and his possessions have arrived safely. I wish to thank you for sending him home. It gives me much reassurance.

The purpose of this letter is two-fold. The bearer of this letter, Michael, is Omar and my cousin. He has felt that it is his duty to pick up where Omar stopped in his quest. I would like to introduce you to him and assure you that he will be as diligent in his efforts to support your group in their quest. The freeing of the magic from the grips of these unholy creatures can only be a good and holy quest.

I have given him Omar’s sword, and some of his other equipment, to aid him in his adventure.

Sincerely Adella.

I Findius Fireward do witness that the bearer of this letter, and my mark, is Michael, cousin of Adella. <arcane>

As the end of the letter is read, Michael exposes his arm. He touches a tattoo on his arm, and it skitters up his arm, revealing Findius Fireward’s Arcane Mark on his arm.

He waits for the group to decide if he is acceptable or not.

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The Masking Rite
A eulogy for Omar Smartsword, fey edition

The men gathered around the ashes of their twice-fallen comrade. There were those who knowingly approached the body, ready to pull aside another fallen soul to rest. One of the figures stood silent, staring down at a mask, its features deforming. As Sybaris’ gaze fell upon the body of Omar once again, dried lips began to fray. The figure stirred from afar.

Ahem.

Many looked up, eyes responding to an unfamiliar rasp. The shadow in the corner of the room looked up at the others in the room, purple eyes glowing from beneath the familiar matte hood. Sybaris held a white mask in hand, approaching the others.

“Let me give some rites first. It is inappropriate to give no closure to a disaster like this.”

A voice, even-toned, emerged from the rasp of the assumed ghastly form. Sybaris pulled the hood away as matte robes melted into cloth-adorned armor, holding a hand newly gloved by blue silk and steel. As facial features shaped themselves into form, she stepped into the light, a set of green eyes looking about comrades.

“We are here to formally recognize the fall of a companion,” Sybaris said, holding the now featureless mask in both hands.

“We are actors gathered here in a grand narrative, weaved by our grace, our fortunes, our wills. Blessed we are, for victories follow adventurers amongst foreign lands and great discoveries lay in wait along alien paths. To this tale we trek.

“Today, we witnessed an unforseen chapter, crafted not by verse or action but by the forces of fate. A violation, by any account, but we recognize our shortcomings. For this, I offer these amends:

“This mask is hereby offered up to imprint, a reminder to us all of a fallen actor. We retain his duties, the role he was forced to abandon.”

She lay the mask upon the ashes. A swift flick of the wrist and an utterance later, she picked up the raw mask, its inside engraved with the lines and contours of a familiar face.

“Omar Smartsword, a Flying Swordsman of great talent,” she remarked, holding the mask up for all to see. "I affix this oath: I, Sybaris of Shifting Tides, will lay to rest this body and hold the role he played as my own until a proper heir receives his part. As a fey, I am officially beholden to oath and will not defy it as do those under the Court of Summer, for no fey strays from a woven tale and no spirit breaks from the truth.

“Now rest properly, Omar Smartsword, for your chapter has come to a close.”

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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

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