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51
In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Johan on August 31, 2014, 12:16:33 AM »
As she-gnome elder spoke to Bareglar it was hard for the half-orc to not scrutinize the colorful filaments of light that in the wake of the ritual drone continuously rained down in the Grove of Needles. It was like standing amidst a shower of streamers of cloth that fell to the earth, but of light instead of cloth. Vibrantly colored light that continued to pulse in time to the rhythm that had carried the drone.

But the little gnome was speaking to Bareglar, and he did his best to attend her. He did not know her…he did not know anyone at the grove this night…but she had a remarkable presence that compelled Bareglar such that he could not pull his attention from her bright green eyes that seemed to look directly into him.

After the roll call of those who had returned to the Great Cycle, she allowed a few score of heartbeats to pass before she continued. Enough for anyone present to offer silent respects to the newly dead, should they need.

“Many of you have seen,” she started again at last, “the Blood Tear.” As she uttered these words, the raining lights swirled and coalesced, highlighting a portion of the night sky, low on the eastern horizon. Bareglar’s eyes followed the lightshow and landed – as intended, no doubt – on a comet of sorts that was so small that it might be completely missed by anyone who was not a stargazer. Although many of those collected nodded gravely and agreed that they had seen this heavenly body, at least some had not seen it. Bareglar was comforted to know that he was not alone in his ignorance.

“The Blood Tear”, the elder continued, ”in many parts of Elsenban is regarded as a symbol of doom. Of destruction. And it is feared as such. But we are aware that it is not a sign of fate, evil, death, or doom. Rather, it is a sign of change. Great change that is coming to the lands and her people. And we Children of Mahiya know that change is wrought often with pain.”

“There are tumultuous times ahead.” She said with conviction. “There will be change. There will be pain. There will be blood. Her face was serious now, as a parent that is delivering an important message. “There will be a return to the Great Cycle, possibly for many of us here in the grove this night.”

“Bear in mind that with the Blood Tear evident, the change has already begun. But by the same token, the Tear is yet low on the horizon, which tells that the change is still in its infancy. There is a long road of change ahead.”

“Let us first talk of the significant changes that have come upon us this cycle past.”
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In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Wildfire on August 25, 2014, 08:48:29 PM »
Ashe looked out at the faces that were gathered at the symbolic fires and entwined circles. Many of the young faces were filled with hope and innocent wonder at what they had just witnessed. He imagined that he would have to now include himself in that list. While he was by no means young (he was man quite beyond his years) he felt like a child at seeing the dazzling display. It brought to him a warm kindredness in spirit with the others that were witness to and partook of the spectacular ceremony. He was reminded that it was so easy for one to get lost in the day to day business that the slog of melancholy can deafen them to true music of their soul. The recent events certainly focused his purpose but it was this ceremony that made him appreciate why.

The brush wardens gathered to the central fire as Shankaria spoke the names of those that had passed to the next cycle. Ashe knew some of the names- a hierophant of his stature would. He had made numerous contacts through his years just by who he was and the reputation he had gotten during that time. He was not sad to hear of their deaths. He had known quite well that their voices would be mingled and joined as one and heard through the Vallenwood’s everlasting melody. His voice, as would the voices of everyone here, one day would be part of that sacred song. He smiled thinking not of their absence but of their presence and the life they had. So often it was that grief, and occasionally deep despair, would take the ones who’s lives were touched by the one that died. It was a hard emotion to overcome. Ashe often thought that it was the naked realization that a piece of themselves had died that made the death of a loved one so difficult. He knew that if one allowed that seemingly insurmountable gloom to pass that it would ultimately lead to celebrating the life that was being mourned. If one could embrace the epiphany that a piece of that person, in fact, lives through them, they would feel a freedom like no other.

He knew it, but couldn’t always feel it.

The shadow hanging over his thoughts quickly left. This night was far too precious to him to yield to the past. He was in the present and what a blessed, shining gift that was!
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Character Info / The Line of Jarren Godsmith
« Last post by Johan on July 28, 2014, 06:28:07 PM »
In the second era of the Droung'Knaqt Empire, a time of great expansion for the empire, Jarren Godsmith, known as "The Incorruptible", was a General Commander in the Droung'Knaqt army. Jarren was a military genius who exhibited tenacity, tactical ingenuity, and great honor. Many were the battles that he saw and great were the deeds that he did.
 
It was held as common knowledge during that time that Jarren was descended of such parentage as could trace their blood directly to Moradin himself. Jarren's line earned the clan-name "Godsmith" as theirs was a line whose smiths could craft wondrous items directly from metals that no other smiths could work.
 
During this time Jarren had been married to a combat medic that had been assigned to his army, and raised a son, Schervick. During the war of The Hundred Warlords he lost his wife. As demanded by honor in that time, when Jarren returned victorious from that campaign (having subdued the Hundred Warlords, exacted tribute and fealty, and brought them into the Droung'Knaqt Empire) he gave his only son into his wife's clan as compensation for losing her. Jarren's wife's name was Charina Fireforge.
 
Schervick Fireforge was many things: Dutiful Son, Loyal Warrior, Gifted Seer, Ardent of the White Lady, Honored Nicht'Luraw. In the decades that followed his mother's death, Schervick served his father as well as his new clan. Jarren was a man of the hammer and shield though, and did not hold with Schervick's gifts of vision or Arcana and the two, while friendly, did not build a familial relationship.
 
Nearly 100 years later, a growing empire to the south - the DrachkParjun - declared war on the Droung'Knaqt. Jarren was commissioned to put the DrackParjun down. Schervick came to Jarren and beseeched his father to let another have this glory. Schervick explained that he had a vision: if Jarren put the DrachkParjun down, the Droung'Knaqt Empire would fall, and the Godsmith clan (at that point Jarren was the only Godsmith in existence) would be stricken from the face of the earth.
 
Jarren was enraged at his son's request; he accused Schervick not only of trying to unman Jarren and make a coward of him, but also of trying to steal Jarren's glory and by doing so jeopardizing the Droung'Knaqt empire. Jarren thrashed the young seer near to death, then left to war in what turned out to be a bloody 70-year-long campaign.
 
Jarren put down the DrachkParjun, but in the doing he fell in love with the Princess Indalia Shieldstone, the only child of DrachkParjun's royal family. He claimed her as his war prize, and after a time he announced his intention to marry her.

Schervick once again approached Jarren; it was the first time in over 80 years that the two had spoken. Schervick renewed his warning to Jarren as the White Lady had shown him: Indalia Shieldstone was already dead, and Jarren and all his children but one would follow. That one, should he be born, would bring about the end of the clan of Godsmith, destroy the Droung'Knaqt empire, and make the Gods weep. Schervick was ready for Jarren's attack, and left his father alone with his anger.
 
Jarren and Indalia had many children over the next decades while Schervick shared his visions among the Kharan'Jhul. But never could any evidence be brought to bear; no other seer had seen what Schervick had. The removal of Jarren's wife would not be met with approval, and among the Kharan'Jhul it was held that doing so would bring the Droung'Knaqt to their knees as readily as NOT doing so. And, as doing nothing afforded the Kharan'Jhul time to perhaps plan, it was decided to do nothing but watch, and protect who we could.
 
As is the case in any civilization, there came a time when a plague descended upon the Droung'Knaqt. In this particular plague the entire Godsmith family was wiped out while their 20th child was only a few years old. Some of Schervick's visions, at last, had come to pass. Many looked to Schervick as the lone survivor of the clan of Godsmith, but every seer in the Kharan'Jhul said no: Schervick had ceased to be Godsmith on the day when he entered the Fireforge clan. One, then, survived. And all the seers agreed: that one would be the vulture that gorged upon the carcass of the Droung'Knaqt Empire.
 
5 decades passed, and a new name entered the Droung'Knaqt Empire: Vorntoque Dramwall. Vorntoque and his wife came out of the hinterlands of what had at one time been the DrachkParjun Empire. It is believed that he was raised in the Wretched Swamps.
 
His wife, it is said, was odd to the extreme: intelligent, and elegant in company but frighteningly dark in solitude. She eschewed the public eye as much as she could, and cloistered herself indoors, claiming to suffer from extreme photosensitivity. She often made mention of things that happened so long ago that only the most learned of scholars might know them. It is said that she had a taste for blood, and sometimes dined on hapless citizens of the empire...especially the elves.
 
In the Empire, Vorntoque was a soldier in the Droung'Knaqt armies when he joined the Tareen'Phol; he was a gifted dispatcher.
 
Vorntoque grew in prominence within the Tareen'Phol and in the political arena of the Droung'Knaqt societal circles, although it was frequently whispered that his wife was more likely the brain behind his standing. Over the course of but a few decades, he had grown from a virtual nobody to a powerful force in the Droung'Knaqt senate.
 
Then the blight, which left him the only survivor of the senate. Vorntoque proclaimed himself emperor, and there were none to challenge him.
 
It is written in the library of the Marin'Thar that Vorntoque had only a few children with his odd wife, and only one survived: a lad named Kervan. Before that son had come of age, his parents plotted his death, as they did not deem him worthy of their bloodline. The child, Kervan, had been warned by Schervick Firforge, and understood their intentions. He fled the Droung'Knaqt Empire, never to be seen again. Kervan begat children that eventually led to a number of dwarven clans, notably:
Ironaxe (a great warrior clan far to the north-east), Granitesoul (long extinct clan of ill repute), Stoutspear (plains-dwellers to the west) and the Stonehammers of Derkenwold.
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Game Log / Forest Keep Session 39 “Ancient Halls with Dirty Walls”
« Last post by Wildfire on April 28, 2014, 04:20:25 PM »
My pleasure! *bow*
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In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Johan on April 27, 2014, 03:53:29 PM »
The opening drone ended as it had the last two years: with a multi-chromatic rain of lights floating down from above the grove to settle into the pine needles that carpeted the ground.

Da’khaire watched and listened to the little druid who seemed to reign over the forest’s warders – the Gnarcheon, in her own tongue – as she spoke of those brothers and sisters who had died since the last festival. Da’khaire spent a great deal of time isolated from his brethren, however, as there were not many druids where he lived, west of Kurr and Lake Vallensun, so he didn’t recognize any of the names.

This, he was beginning to understand, was the boring part of the night.

He supposed that if he knew any of the names uttered by the little gnome, it might have a different meaning to him, but as it was this was nothing more than listening to a roster of names of people he had never met.

He was very curious therefore why the half-orc who stood just a stride or two to his right emoted so much at this roll call. It was possible, Da’khaire supposed, that the half-orc knew some, many, or even all of the names called out. But one might not expect quite the level of happiness that the half-orc showed during this funeral account. With every name uttered by the little gnome, the half-orc seemed to grow happier.

Da’khaire watched as the goliath that had earlier been wrestling – the very same who had led the drone – leaned into the half-orc and held a close and quiet conversation with him. After that conversation, the half-orc seemed to settle in and attend with the sort of sobriety that such a telling warranted.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bareglar attended happily while the little gnome spoke to him. She opened her conversation with a remembrance of those Brothers and Sisters who had returned to the Great Cycle over the last year. There were few more than a score of such departed, and as she uttered name after name Bareglar watched as one spectral spirit after another graced her presence at the center fire. There were a few feral gnomes, more than one human, a great antlered centaur, and Bareglar was amazed to see his own wolf friend in the front of the audience when the little gnome uttered the name “Sharchute”. The wolf started straight into Bareglar’s eyes and smiled.

In his weakened state through the cold moons, Bareglar had not had the mental acuity to understand that his wolf-savior had been of such intelligence. Thinking on it, he could not until now have told whether the wolf was a male or female, though the spirit-form was that of a she-wolf. He was also not until then aware that the she-wolf might carry an orcish name. ”Sharchute” in his father’s tongue meant “Delivering one”.

In this confusion, he looked about, and met Bal-Jhor’s eyes. The goliath was standing next to him, and leaned down to whisper to him. “I did not know Sharchute.” He said, “But I know her story and I will tell you tomorrow, if you wish. Know now, however, that she was no typical wolf. She was chosen by Her and through her life whelped many Wolf Lords. Some of her children are here tonight, others are in distant lands doing Her will.”

That thought brought great comfort to Bareglar. “Thank you.” He said. “I would be grateful to know more…tomorrow.” Bal-Jhor placed a huge and heavy, but comforting, hand on Bareglar’s shoulder and nodded earnestly.
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Game Log / Forest Keep Session 39 “Ancient Halls with Dirty Walls”
« Last post by Johan on April 11, 2014, 04:41:14 PM »
Thanks, WF
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Game Log / Forest Keep Session 39 “Ancient Halls with Dirty Walls”
« Last post by Wildfire on April 09, 2014, 07:00:54 PM »
Forest Keep Session 39 “Ancient Halls with Dirty Walls”

World Date:

Party:

Mirri: Phineas
Faznar: Chassic
Belwar: Griznuq
Zurn: Wildfire

After defeating the Iron Orc we continued our search for Burke the Ettin whom we knew had the glyph of the Varn’Khor. So we went deeper into the cave. Mirri snuck ahead and came to the smoldering remains of a fire and heard voices. The rest of the party moved forward to the fire. We then heard a resounding thud. “Um…that can’t be good.” So Faznar shimmied his way to the entrance (turns out the cave is doughnut shaped). Along the way he saw what appeared to be a big bear on the right side of a chamber and on the left was the garbage dump. The “bear” was just a pile of hay covered in multiple bear skins. When Faznar got to the entrance he found a big damn boulder blocking the entrance. “Yeah…that wasn’t good”.

Mirri, Belwar, and Ghering stay at the entrance while Zurn and Faznar search the bed for the glyph. It’s vulgarly apparent that the boulder will not be moved by the likes of our puny party and no glyph is found in the bed pile. Voices are heard outside the cave though and Ghering can understand them and even speak their language! He informs us that there’s not just one ettin but two. Imagine that…two bodies and four personalities!

We begin to try and negotiate with the Burke and Ernesta (female ettin). Having assumed that the ettins are actually in league with Margarath our negotiations don’t really go so well. In fact, they put yet another rock in front of the cave. “Yeah…that was soooo not good.” They apparently don’t like Margarath either.

Since there is no other way out, we toss ourselves on the mercy of Ernesta who is clearly the brains of these two..er…four? Being able to tell the difference between honesty and bullshit Ernesta decides to let us out but not before we hand over our weapons. They have nothing to gain by holding us and as it may be, we’re actually sort of on the same side.

Finally freed, we take a big sigh of relief and deep breath of fresh air since the cave kinda stunk. Through our conversation we forge a tenuous alliance with the ettins. They tell us that they were actually pressed into service by the Iron Orc (he was the boss! No wonder he was so damn tough) and don’t really feel comfortable holding the glyph. They agree that we leave them alone and agree to help them in the future should they need it, they’ll give us the glyph. We agree. We also tell them that we’ll inform the Forest Keep that they’re out here and to not harm them and that they should be able to find sanctuary in the Keep if the need arises.

The following day we’re about to head back to the Varn’Khor outpost and imlore the ettins to come with us to help clean up the mess they left in front of the door. Four day later we arrive to the outpost to find that it’s infested with dwarves, elves, and humans! WTF? How in the hell did they find this place? Of all the nerve…

Belwar and Zurn approach the troupe and Belwar recognizes an old friend named Scarmane. Belwar informs the infesters that we have a pair of ettins with us but they’re on our side. Mirri, Faznar, Burke, and Ernesta approach (Two ettins, a gnome, and a cat lady walk into a bar…). Naturally the troupe is nervous wondering if the ettins were going to cook them or squash them into jelly. Instead, the ettins help clear their pile of trees in front of the outpost door. In short order the door is cleared.

Belwar and Scarmane use the glyphs to open the door (yeah…Scarmane of all people. Y’know the dude who we only ever met in game this one time. It’s not like Zurn was carrying around the damn glyph for years keeping it safe or anything or in the party for even longer. Nooooo….he didn’t do anything like that. snark snark). Inside we see a tunnel that runs deep. Oddly enough the tunnel doesn’t appear to be fashioned stonework but rather more like dirt…odd for an old dwarven dwelling. Upon close inspection…it’s not dirt it’s Garachi guano (Those aren’t pillows!). Suddenly we all realize what this means. It means this place has to be scrubbed down of all the poop that’s been smeared and dried on the walls. We must undo the work of “thousands of generations”.

After traveling down an impressively long poo lined corridor we come to Hall 1 with a double hammer sigil carved into the floor (the sigil was discovered after the hall was cleaned of Garachi ick). At the opposite end of the hall are 3 ramps leading to Hall 2. Nothing else is in Room 1.

Hall 2 is also empty but it also has ramps on the opposite side leading to Hall 5 and 5 and 5 (3 rooms identical to each other and empty). On the “south” side of Hall 2 is an entry to Hall 3. Hall 3 contains table-like structures tall enough for dwarves to work from or use to eat from (or both). On the east side of Hall 3 is Hall 4. Hall 4 is a long room and at either end are stone hearths that have fires burning in them. Either these fires are always burning or lit up when we entered the front door (I know, it sounds self absorbed and egotistical to think such a thing)…we’re not sure. Later, after the two week cleanse, we find out that there is a secret door on the east side of Hall 4 hiding a corridor that continues east and banks north to meet with the entry hallway that leads to Hall 1.

After investigating Hall 4 we explore the other side of the complex and find ourselves in the north west corner in Hall 6. This hall has 2 circular carvings in the floor in the shape of a doughnut. The inside diameter is 10’-0” and the outside diameter is 15’-0”. We ultimately have no idea what these are for but we guess they could have been used for training in some way. Hall 6 next door but not connected to the other Hall 6 has 2 sets of  3 triangles in a triangle pattern. The pattern on the west points north and the pattern on the right points south. Each individual triangle is carved into the floor. Again, we don’t know for sure what these patterns are for but, like the other room, we guess that they are also for training.

Hall 7 next to the Triangle Hall 6 is a long hall and carved into the floor are 7 holes that appear to be in very specific locations. We assume that something like posts fill these holes and that they too are used for training.

Johan’s Very Important Note (not expressed in game): The east wall of Hall 7, when cleaned, is found to have a gemmed mosaic of Moradin’s Hammer & Anvil on it. The mosaic is 8’ tall and 12’ wide.

Turns out that the mosaic on the east side of Hall 7 hides a secret door that leads via a short passage to a library of sorts. From inside the passage, one can look into Hall 7 through a clever lens system that uses the gems of Moradin's Hammer  (on the mosaic in the room beyond). There are 4 10x10 tables one of which has a big damn old book written in old dwarvish. On the east wall are a shelves of scrolls and such. On the south side of the Hall 8 is a hallway that leads to a big set of spiral stairs. Hrm…wonder what’s up there…
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In Character Discussions / Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Last post by Johan on March 14, 2014, 04:28:58 PM »
The deep, constant vibration of the drone, delivered by the gathered gnarcheon, was felt in the bodies of all who were at the grove that night. Pine needles danced upon the floor of the forest in response to the drone, and lights from each of the four fires flowed through the night on the energy currents driven by the drone and seemingly guided by the four Chankathur who threw their wild spirits into the night.

Then Maragarn’s flute joined the voices of the Ritual, and the swirling halo that encircled the Grove of Needles reached in towards the center of the circle. Towards the white light that thrust up from Mahiya’s fire.

The physical world in the grove quivered with the power of the drone. The divine fires put forth their lights according to the will of the song that Varshya sang, Eswarth and Mirriam beat, Cailyder graced, and Maragarn knitted together. Every living thing in the grove was joined as one body for a brief moment.

Then, when the drone seemed set to break stones asunder, and the song of the Chankathur seemed set to shatter the lines that kept two from becoming one, the lights all mingled together in a flash of brilliant luminence that left a spectral image in one’s eyes and rained down upon the grove as from a Vallenwood. In that instant, when the fires’ lights all joined in one silent explosion, silence fell suddenly upon the Grove of Needles. The drone abruptly ended.

Most of the convened gnarcheon had participated in this ritual in the past and knew what to expect. Some who had not before participated had been briefed by their mentors and preceptors. Still there were others for whom this was a real experience; these few could only look on in wonder, somehow able to see with great clarity Mahiya’s fire and the few participants there. As though the distance that separated each gnarcheon with Mahiya’s fire was but a few strides.

They looked on in silence while a tiny figure stepped forward, somehow looking simultaneously directly into the eyes of everyone present, and she spoke softly though the power of the ritual brought her matronly voice throughout the Grove to all who were there, speaking to each in their native language…such was the power of the ritual: to bring all gnarcheon together as one, so that all understood each other.

“Welcome, children,” Shankaria said, “to the Grove of Needles. This year there is much to speak about, much to learn, much to share. We have come far, but there is more work before us than there is behind.”

Bareglar sobbed his joy, recognizing in an instant his true family.
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Game Log / Session 38 "The Iron Orc"
« Last post by Wildfire on March 10, 2014, 12:33:06 PM »
I actually have fun writing them even if I do miss a couple of details.
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Game Log / Session 38 "The Iron Orc"
« Last post by Johan on March 06, 2014, 08:11:20 AM »
Thanks, WF. I appreciate the effort that it takes to pull these things together.
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