Cursed Blood

Frosty sucks

Our intrepid little band headed to speak to the Druids to find out what was wrong. And they came upon a horrific scene three figures frozen in ice. With the assistance of some new found friends Ghostwalker ranger of the whispering wood and his brother Nathanor teacher of the earth mother they headed north to find the missing Druid thane

After some minor scuffles they finally emerged from the woods and started towards the mountains across the plains. Caught in a dreadful blizzard out in the open they quickly dug in to get some shelter as they were resting they were attacked by two large bestial humanoids covered in white fur and wolf liked faces. After dispatching the creatures they moved in and found a small village where the towns people had been frozen in blocks of ice setting up shelter in a inn they heroes met up with Jornarr a Magean wizard who was traveling as part of a caravan to his ancestral home the tower. He had a lot of info explaining the origins of Wolfgangs Blade. He further explains that a large wolf like humanoid called a Vargulf is stalking the remains of his caravan and he has been unsuccessful at stopping it and needs the heroes help.
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S01E01 part2
The Trouble with Tom

Our group of adventurers had managed to get one of the brigands that had attacked Drincent back to Malarkiy’s where they interrogated him further where they learned that their leader was the one who got his head cut off by Eric and that he got orders from upstairs at thier HQ but other than that they got very little. He was taken to jail by Wolfgang where he would meet the justice of the Blackmere Hounds the local law enforcement. Meanwhile everyone else sought to figure out the next move. That’s when Trevor came in very upset and claim that something had happened to scary Tom a childhood friend of the Grimm brothers. The brothers , Calibos and the halfing went in search for Tom where he lived in the sewers under the under keep Haven. The brothers reminisced of thier adventure with Tom where they decided to enter in the Temple of Thel where the cities heroes had faced off with Karrnath and saved a group of children from being sacrificed including themselves. Eric always found Tom unsettling maybe it was resenting he had parents or that he was fat and awkward. But for that reason he had put him up to be th first to enter the horrible place. Tom slowly moved across the bridge and saw the door opened a crack he pushed it in further with a loud creak Eric yelled " Heh fatty why don’t ya make some more noise maybe you’ll wake up Karrnath" as they followed behind Tom. With that the remains of several bodies began to stir inside of the temple " I believe you just did. " remarked Rook. As they rose Tom screamed and ran back towards the brothers and past them onto the bridge. A colomn of darkness like smoke sped overhead of Tom and landed in the middle of the bridge forming into a figure wrapped in a cloak of darkness it’s hands were massive talons out of proportion with the rest of its body. Tom stopped in his tracks mesmerized by his own fear. Eric grabbed the first thing he could a large one sided axe buried in a skull. He tore it out and ran across blocking the creatures claws with the haft of the axe. Yelling at Tom to run which snapped him out of his stupor Tom fled across the bridge as did Rook. Pulling back Eric made a huge overhand hack at the creatures head the creature pulled back and Eric let the foward momentum of the axe pull himself foward in to a somersault which he used to get past the monster and run across the bridge. Maybe it was the adventure or the fact years later Toms parents died destroyed by their own folly. But the brothers always felt responsible for him especially when he secluded himself in the sewers. They went to Toms home and met up with him he was dressed in robes carrying a 4 ft long test tube filled with fluorescent slime which he used as a light source and a way to scare people off waving it around like sword. After being interrogated by Eric Tom confessed that after a particular bad beating up top in the city a strange man had given him a gift a charm that would allow him to defeat his enemies a necklace with a silver fang attached. But they had to get out of there cause something had followed him. And as they made their way a roots a catwalk the swamp wolf blocked thier path. It’s shape was exactly like a wolf but that was were the similarity ended instead of fur it had thick scales and snake like fangs dripping with venom Tom screamed and threw his tube of slime at the creature hitting full in the face. The swamp devil leapt forth pounced on Tom and tore open his throat and Tom fell into the sewer beneath the catwalk. Eric went into a rage charged foward and roundhoused kicked th devil in the ribs knocking him off the catwalk and proceeded to jump after him careless of the green slime covering th bottom of the sewers. Calibos and the halfling followed behind using magic to strike at the devil it was Calibos with his magic and staff who stove in the creatures head and as it dropped in the sewer a stream of darkness like smoke sped out of its mouth. The team left the sewers a little worse for wear Eric needed new boots because of the slime and they had managed to save the corpse of the swamp devil for further examination. " Poor Tom " Trevor said as they left the sewers " Tom was a fucking idiot. " Eric grumbled and if anyone had looked back they would have seen a grimace on Eric’s face that relayed grief more than anger a sadness that he would never admit but Rook knew ha always did.

Meanwhile a dark figure loomed in the darkness tall and thin wearing a long coat and top hat standing in the sewers his hand reached out and a bubbling from the water appeared and Toms half consumed body rose up out the water floating in the air. The other mans hand turns black as pitch and stretches into claws and with one finger he plucks the chain off of toms neck letting the body slip back into the water he walks off spinning the chain on his finger and whistling a funny little dirge funny and sweet dark and ominous

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Season one episode one

The Red Dragon inn was what it was known to the topsiders bit to everyone in Dark-haven it was Malarkiy’s a sanctuary for any one who needed it. The group in there tonight was no different. Poipion was spinning tales from behind the bar Wolfgang was eating stew and relaxing in the corner and the brothers Grimm as they we’re known to the locals were playing dragon chess in the corner one was absolutely still as he contemplated his move while the other was fidgety and constantly telling the other to hurry up. The fireplace kick up as the door was thrown open. Two figures came insde one leaning on the other. Every one recognized Drincent his midnight blue fur was covered with blood and several quarrels were imbedded in him. The other was covered in thick robes hiding all features. Trevor became very upset demand an explanation his imposing figure and tentacles promising vengeance. Poipion calmed him and the party proceeded to help the ranger. They learned that Drincent was bringing an envoy of the Druids to see Wolfgang when they were ambushed by four men and a wolfhound but before the men could kill them a humanoid wolf like creature attacked the men. Realizing that Drincent was poisoned they got two local doctors to look at him they couldn’t identify it but they got him on the road to recovery. Fader the brothers Grimm adopted father said that he had never seen such a toxin when they heard a voice from the corner say rather dryly it was he never gets out of his cave. And behold the Fancyman of Cornwood was there he explained that he was trapped in the veil the barrier between this world and the next and the source of all magic and that everyone was in grave peril. That these men were Mage hounds given dire purpose to destroy all that is magical and the wolf-man that attacked them was their intended target and charged the group to help him or destroy him if no help could be given. The party set to track the men after finding two of them dead and the wolfhound followed after the wolf-man. They came upon a small stone tower locked after a few minutes Eric filled with impatience and his brother Rook knocked down the door the remaining two men were behind a overturned table one was bleeding and the other had a crossbow readied. Wolfgang tried to speak with them to get a surrender but they would have none of it which made Eric charge and get a quarrel in the shoulder which didn’t stop him from hacking the head off the crossbow man. Investigating the tower they found upstairs a large brazier filled with a viscous fluid reddish black and incense smoke filling the room interrogating the bleeding prisoner with the help of a little magic they learned a guardian was summoned when they broke open the door quickly they escaped the tower as a large figure sealed the door and the tower turned to obsidian.
XP 100 each player
DP 1 each character
Destiny points will be held until next level temporary ones will be given out in game to be used immediately

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Epilogue: Popoion and Wagner

Popoion’s tale
Invisible and silent, Popoion watched as the encounter unfolded. They had started out strong but things fell to pieces as Karnath threw spells from afar and his golem came in to CQC. Wagner was paralyzed, Lilith was unconscious and bleeding to death, and the last time the Fancyman had been seen he was within a hair’s breadth of falling unconscious.
Though halflings are well known for their lack of fear, the jester felt helpless, and that they were fighting not to prevent death, but to postpone it a few minutes. Silently he slipped out of the room, his head in his hands and tears starting to form behind his mask. They were all going to die.
Then he heard it: a sudden huge bang as an ancient word was screamed outloud. Popoion knew the language as he had encountered it many times when he was in the ancient ruins and grave robbing. It was a word that loosely translated to “freedom” – though it was also meant as a death curse – freedom at the price of two lives – for both the foe and the one speaking it.
Poking his head through the grand doors, Malark watched as Dol’ran was jumping into the air, over the elevated pit with hammer in both hands, and striking the obsidian crystal that was seemingly absorbing the souls of the children.
Seeing the vision there after, and learning of Dol’Ron’s fate and sacrifice, Popoion was relieved. At last he was at peace, and he would forever watch over noble warriors who died a hero’s death.
Taking Lilith’s head in his lap, Popoion revived her the orb he had been given by Death earlier in the dungeon. Awakening from her temporary slumber, Popoion helped her to her feet and aided in getting the children down from their chains.
Exiting out of the dungeon, Popoion watched for a time as children and parents met and cried for joy. While other children meandered around, and shed tears of despair as they found out that their parents did not make it.
After a time, everyone decided it was time to go home. Perhaps a bitter-sweet celebration was in order. As they headed back to town, Popoion walked up to be beside Fancyman.
“Hey buddy. I think I will be heading out after this: gotta spread the word of Dol’ron – The most I can do for the big lug. Since we got a similar style and work well together, thought I would ask if you want to travel around. Let me know. I am going to stay for the night in town, than heading off in the morning.”

Wagner’s tale
“You cannot avoid your fate: Vessel of Thell.” Karnath chided as his boney claws pierced the flesh of young Wagner. The boy spat at the lich as his body froze into place.
“I had a talk with your wife, and we are in agreement that you need to die you little shit.” Just then, A scream was heard from the foot of the stairwell. Karthus turned sharply and watched in astonishment as Dol’Ron leapt up the stairs four at a time and then proceed to throw his body and weapon at the obsidian stone. Karnath saw a blue bag and chain wrapped around the hammer, and the red glow of the lich’s eyes intensified. “That relic! NO!” And with a mighty smash and blinding white light it was done.
Wagner saw the vision, and knew of Dol’Ron’s fate. He only wished that he could complete the barbarian’s wish in finishing off their shared foe. As the light intensified, a single resounding word echoed through his mind: Rose. The word gave him hope, resolution, and focus. The hold that the necromancer had on him dwindled quickly, and in a moment’s time Wagner had control of his body once more.
The lich turned to see what he could do to the young man, but he only found a longsword blade where his heart should have been. The red eyes died out and the animated corpse slunk then turned to dust. Looking into the blade, Wagner saw that the woman of his vision was embracing a middle-aged man. They left together and the sword’s blade grew dim. It was just a normal sword now.
Wagner aided in getting the children down. And once things settled down, took Lilith aside – he needed to speak to her on a very serious matter.
“I have travelled with many men and women, and none have shown the resolution or dedication to doing what is necessary for the greater good. None except for you and Dol’Ron. Since he is gone, I guess I can only turn to you on this matter. I was hoping I could join your church – I’m not really one to agree with organized religion, but I am hoping you can keep an eye on me. I will discuss more later, but if something were to happen to me – which I think it will, I want you there to make sure that it gets sorted out. We can talk more later on it in private, but I hope you will consider this partnership seriously.”
This was the first time Wagner had opened up to anyone in years. It was strangely spirit-lifting.

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Karnnaths Curse

I watch these fools as they break into my sanctum barley surviving the trap left over from dwarven days. Luckily for them they brought the little one with them I always liked him even before he gave me back the book set me free and gave Selene the finger. It’s too bad he will have to be destroyed nothing can stop the dark one from rising.

Dolraan threw his hammer with all the might of his clan not letting go of the handle he flew with it straight into the heart of the dark crystal at the same time Wagner could hear in his mind the word that would free him from icy doom Rose he said as he drove the blade through the heart of Karrnath he could see karnnaths soul being torn from his body and in the reflection of the blade he saw Rose and karnath embrace each other and the blade went dull. Fancy man quickly threw up a wall of storms around the crystal just as the hammer and barbarian in tow struck containing the explosion and saving the children and vanished. The golem collapsed with the death of his master and poipoin held liliths head in his hand as he poured the life giving elixir into her but to no avail. Her life force having fled her body. He pulled the orb of thessila against her skin it turned to ash. Then a dark figure arouse from the earth and touched Lilith she floated above the ground her skin glowing fully restored she gathered the children and ushered them out The Grimm hovered in front of the remaining heroes and in a harsh whisper that echoed in the souls of listeners he said" The threat is ended but many of the damned souls escaped when I was imprisoned many more than can be dealt with one lifetime your friend is gone he sacrificed his own soul to save the souls of many and closed the gates of the underworld. He is now and forever the bringer of wrath. Guardian of warriors who died in battle father of the Valkyrie. The storm lord elf is no more connecting himself with his magic to the crystal was too much for anyone to bear he will be given new life but he will never be the same and neither will the veil of magic. Know the book of Thel is not here nor is the eye of the abyss the crystal Karrnath used to observe and influence the world from his prison. These are not your concerns but others for you rest you may be called upon again

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The dragons curse

The hounds have taken many hits along this dark road. They have survived and even done well but the darkness is coming they could even feel it when they saved the draconian a of the swamp they felt it when they helped the witch of the lonely pine and they felt it now as they stood above the corpse of a huge dragon knowing that this was not the end. After being interrogated by the obsidian claw captain they realized that all the civilian inhabitants had gone missing after a hint from the mercenary Wagner they headed to the hall to see what they could find what they found was truly disturbing. Chaplin the wizard who had saved them from their initial meeting of Selene Dolraans vampire bride was standing in front of everyone with the black and red robes of the cult of Thel with ram skull topped staff saying welcome friends and that is when Selene also showed up demanding that the kill him our friends have face many a stronger foe and quickly ended the foul wizard and his golem. They learned that Thel ancient demon lord of the underworld was holding the spirit of karnnaths beloved wife Rose. And would only free her if a large sacrifice dedicated to him was made so with the support of the keep the hounds were outfitted and headed off into the caves to find a way back into the caves of chaos.

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Spiders and Flies

Upon entering the webbed area, the group found themselves in the presence of an altered old ally. “My greetings go out to you Azure Hounds. I haven’t seen you for a while now.” Came the voice of Lilith. She had spoken perfect Common, but that was the least startling thing about her. From about the waist up she was an ebony skinned elf, but her lower body was that of a lag spider.

“Lilith… you look… different….” The Fancyman stammered out.

“Did you do something with your hair?” Popoion chimed in.

Lilith giggled at this and played the part of the charmed maiden, though her body was intimidatingly altered.

The Fancyman started to progress towards Lilith as he switched over to his elvish tongue. In the back Dol’ran started to speak his mind on the nature of cursed beings, and raised his hammer as if to lead a charge. Lilith instantly cast a spell that cocooned the barbarian in web. Everyone was now on their toes and alert, but the Fancyman continued to whisper sweet nothings to her in elvish, he even went so far as to kiss her hand.

Then after a time, the Fancymanstepped back from Lilith and turned around casting a spell of lightning and thunder which manifested beside Dol’ron. He called out “See the might of Dol’ron!” as the barbarian started to get electrocuted in the moist web.

Wagner was instantly on Fancyman. Grabbing him by the scruff of his neck, he demanded to know what the Fancyman was up to. At that moment a couple large spiders and another Lilith-monster descended from the canopy. Wagner took this in and moved the Fancyman so that the fighter was between him and the crowd. “We will be exchanging some words after this wizard.”

“Better hope mine aren’t spell incantations…” Mumbled Fancyman as he prepared a new spell.

In the blink of an eye the area was covered in a large area web spell. Hugor and the lizardman guide were instantly trapped while Popoion and Wagner managed to evade the effects and get out of the area of effect. Fancyman had also avoided being stuck initially, but was slower on getting out, and soon found himself entangled simply because he stayed in it too long and had amassed enough strands to hold him down.

Wagner lead the assault on the two spider-women while Popoion hid in the back and attacked the spiders with his shortsword.

As the seconds flew and Wagner carved the monsters up, he called out “Show me your hand! FANCYMAN!” As some sort of cued battle cry for the wizard to cast his powerful magicks.

The response was less than fanciful: “I’m stuck!”

Giving a sigh, Wagner continued to fight the girls, taking damage from them until he was in a corner of the lair with no means of escape. Blood was now starting to seep from his side and his knees were buckling slightly. It looked like the end, as he saw hunger in the spiders’ eyes. He clenched his jaw, preparing to embrace the pain of their jaws, which now showed razor sharp teeth as well as a hidden set of mandibles.

But then the matriarch turned her head. Popoion was using a bell he had brought with him to get their attention. He was also spanking his bum and calling out “You have eight legs and you don’t have the decency to shave even one of them you ugly piece of spider crap!?”

Perhaps it was the heat of battle that made her susceptible to rage. Perhaps it was that the weak Halfling had the gall to mock her when all the other (and notably more powerful) members had fallen. Inconsequential to the motivating force behind it, it was enough to spur the first Lilith creature to charge after Popoion. She realized a split second too late that the two-handed sword wielder still had fight in him, and that he used the opening in her defense to run her through. She fell to the ground in a heap of flesh and carapace.

The other spider-woman tried to kill Wagner while he was focused on the matriarch, but as luck would have it she only found his armor and dealt no wounds to him. Popoion then caught her attention for a quick second which lead to her demise.

###

The party was tired and exhausted when everyone was released from the webbing. It took a full hour to rest up, and no one seemed to notice until after they had rested and were figuring out what to bring back to the lizardmen when they noticed that Popoion was missing – and had been ever since the end of the battle.

Looking around the battle area, the party noted that Popoion’s iconic rainbow scarf rope was found tired to the root of the large tree at the back of the lair. It went into a hallow part of the tree and descended down. The rope ended not too far down the looping ramp, but looking closer they found that fishing wire was tied to the end of the rope, leading them further down.

When they got to the bottom, they found that the lair had all the bones that were missing from the surface. Many decrepit corpses were scattered about, and among them were some that had tattoos on the shrivelled skin, identifying them as the lowly Emerald Claw Corps.

Atop a pile of bones and corpses the group found Popoion cradling the elf Lilith’s head in his lap. He had his crossbow drawn and seemed to be keeping watch over the unconscious woman.

“Was wondering if you guys would ever get down here. I was worried that something might come down here and eat her if I left her unattended, so I had to stay.”

Hugor looked over the woman and found that there was a hole in her clothing starting where the rib cage parted and went down to just slightly over the mid of her abdomen. There was also a rather impressive scar which indicated a huge (and vital) wound had been there, and recently healed by some sort of magic. He turned to the jester inquisitively. “How in the nine hells did you seal this up?”

“Jazz hands.” Popoion stated as he did the action with his hands.

“Whatever.” Hugor said flatly and then continued to assess the woman. “She is in critical condition, though her wounds are sealed. She is dehydrated and malnourished. I don’t know how she is mentally, but she is probably damaged in that regard too.”

###

The group decided to harvest only a couple legs of the spider-woman, as the cloned elf top might make the lizard folk suspicious of Lilith. They asked that their guide keep her secret, it merely did a hissing grumble, and they hoped it was a sign of agreement of some degree.

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Fish, Lizards and Spiders

The party awoke as one, jutting up from something akin to slumber/trance. It had all been a vision, a terrible dream. They were still in the meeting area where the elder had been, but now they were all gone. It was just Wagner, Fancyman, and Popoion – along with Loki and Karel.

“They left, after putting you in the trance. They figured it would be better that than have you awaken and say words that would obligate them to kill you.”

“How did they do that?” The Fancyman asked, “I am immune to enchantment and slumber!”

“They are The Eldar, and can do much to their lower kin that others cannot. In this case, they allowed the three of you to tap into the collective memory of our people. That was an encounter of the dragon as it was five hundred years ago, and it has fed off of the collective memory while it has been at rest: it has more than likely gotten stronger because of it.”

“So what you’re saying is we don’t have a chance in hell of killing this thing.” Wagner spat out.

“As you are: no.”

“Then what’s the game changer?”

Popoion jumped up and down at this: “Dol’ron the noble savage! Hugor the brave… the chaste? Those two could be a big help to us! Unfortunately Dol’ron is on a walk-about looking for his vampire lover, and Hugor is in some church doing whatever it is clerics do when not out killing undead. It could take forever to find the two of them!”

“Stay, I shall return with your companions.” Karel then slid back, almost as if the grass was moving her itself, and she disappeared into a tree. She came back a few minutes later with Dol’ron and Hugor.

“What a convenient plot device!” Malark exclaimed. He then walked between Wagner and the two other party members. “Wagner, Dolron; Dol’ron, Wagner. Hugor, Wagner, Wagner, Dol’ron. Dol’ron, Hugor, Hugor, Fancyman. Fancyman, Wagner…”

“Enough.” Dol’ron and Wagner stated flatly to the jester. They looked at each other with a bit of surprise and nodded to each other. Popoion aptly shut up.

Karel gathered the group’s attention, and explained the new quest. “You all must got to the South East to the Blackmere. Under the light of the full moon, you need to find the witch that presides over that area. She will tell you what you must do next.

###

The group headed back to the keep and bought their supplies, and then headed out down the main road to the south. They then got to a side trading road and continued down it until the hit the River Galeen. It was here, at its shallowest and narrowest that the group found a raft that was dedicated to allowing travellers to pass from one side to the other.

“It’s migration season for most of the heard animals.” Wagner said.

“And?” Responded the Fancyman.

“And so this is probably the most visited spot for them to traverse this river. It also means predators are more likely to be in the area.”

With this, Malark placed all his items in his bag of holding and withdrew his crossbow, his case of bolts, and his rope. Delightfully, the rope and crossbow came out better than when it had gone it: the silk rope was now of elven design, and was far stronger yet also far lighter than his original rope of silk scarves. The Cross bow was now made of a fine and coated wood, and the drawing mechanism was of a shiny silver metal as opposed to a dull iron.

They had not made it 10 feet from shore when a large creature bumped the rafter, spilling the Fancyman overboard. Working fast, Malark took a bolt from his hip canister and cut open his palm, sloshing it in the water a ways from the Fancyman. “Gods damn it! This is very reminiscent of another aquatic fight we recently had!” And indeed it was, for as soon as the jester taunted the creature to distract it from the floundering wizard, the thing went straight for Popoion and thrashed about with the Halfling in its maw.

Dol’ron jumped in and wrestled the creature while Wagner attacked it from onboard with his enchanted sword. Along with Hugor’s magics, they weakened it. The final act that killed the creature was a concussive blast by the Fancyman, who had managed to get to shore and cast a thuderwave spell. The creature sank. When it resurfaced it was belly up. The group dragged it and the raft to shore and they prepared a large portion of the fish-reptile creature for food rations.

While they were resting, Wagner told them of his track findings that he had scouted: lizard men were in the area, and from the range and multitude of the signs it could be assumed that this was more their territory than mans’.

“That’s great!” Cheered Malark. “We can probably get one of them to guide us to the witch then!”

“Why would we want to do that?” Asked the Fancyman.

“Besides us needing to find a reclusive and almost ‘legendary’ witch in a large, unfamiliar swamp, which requires us to avoid back tracking and a plethora of hazards, all while doing it at night and in the time constraint of three nights? I have no idea why I figured we would need a local guide.”

“Point taken.” Said Wagner.

“Well I still don’t have to like it.” Said the Fancyman. “Who knows what those savages will want for their services.”

“Who knows,” Popoion stated, giving an elbow to the Fancyman’s rib (who was presently sitting down), “perhaps they will want your services for theirs!” This point partially eased the aggression of the Fancyman.

###

Navigating the swamp, the group came to a large mound that was a tell-tale sign of the Lizardman culture. It was a meeting area as far as the group could tell, where diplomacy of one sort or another took place. As they got near the foot of the mound, they found themselves surrounded by a several tribes of the lizard folk. Some were serpentine, some were frog like, some were akin to iguanas, and still others were of an amalgamation of the three others.

Four tribe leaders came to the forefront, asking what the warm-blooded ones wanted.

“We search for the witch of these woods.” Proclaimed Popoion atop Dol’ron’s shoulders – for the muck of the swamp and the silt traps were far more deadly for one of his stature. “And we hope to trade for a guide to the witch.”

Showing his new elven silk rope, Popoion offered it for the proposed guide service. The leaders looked to each other than back to the jester. “No. You request service, you give service.” The Fancyman gave a grin at this and raised his eye brows in delight.

“Spiders are large in size now: they attack us now and drag us to forest. We all here because of spiders. Go to Spider Wood with a guide we give, find large spider, bring back so that we find out why they do this. Then guide show you witch.”

“We are in haste.” Said the Fancyman. “Can you send people down to bring the body for us so that we can get right to the witch?”

“We send when you have. We will know.”

###

With the aid of a lizard man guide, the group managed to navigate through the swamp with relative ease. That evening, as the rested Popoion and Wagner took first watch. Popoion felt awkward in the silence of the swamp, so decided to quietly retell a story he knew to Wagner. It seemed to relax both of them, as was Popoion’s intent.

Next up was the Fancyman and the guide. As the two looked out into the veil of the darkness, a skittering sound started to form. It was all around them, and though it grew loud, it was without direction. Then the ground that was in the fire’s light started to turn black. It was only as the darkness got to the bodies of the adventurers’ that what it was became evident: swarms of spiders.

Popoion shot straight up screaming, and as soon and as soon as he saw what was covering him he drew from his sac a vial of acid. Wagner’s eyes shot open, but he remained frozen where he lay, and Fancyman crumpled to the ground as stiff as a statue. Hugor and Dol’ron awoke; the latter rolling around before standing up.

Popoion then succumbed to the poisonous bites of the swarm, and dropped down on top of his acid flask, corroding himself, a patch of the spiders, and his costume. Dol’ron, irked that he could not fight this foe with a bash to his hammer, so he hit his hammer into the ground send out a wave of thunder which instantly popped all the insects in the area.

The following morning they made further south in haste. The guide decided he would stay with them since it was obvious these spiders are not being naturally compelled, but are being manipulated in some way. It was in the quietest part of the Spider Forest that they found trees with canopies of spider webs. Not a sound was heard, and as the got near a wall of web, they found that it opened up. From the shadows an awkward purple humanoid creature stalked into their sight. It clacked and clicked while fidgeting in an unsettling manner.

Words were passed: it asked why they were here, they responded to see why spiders were killing lizard men. It said go away, it was none of their business, and Popoion asked if it knew of the witch of the bog.

“Witch? Witch? Witch? Witch? Witch? What is witch?”

There was a moment of silence, followed by a squeal of pain as the creature found it now had a crossbow bolt in its gut. Everyone looked down to see that Popoion had shot his crossbow at the creature.

“The conversation was getting boring. Started stagnating like this whole gods damn place.”

Dol’ron didn’t hear this, he was too busy slamming his hammer into the things gut, driving the bolt through the other side, and caving in the torso.

“That ended, well. Now let’s get the hell outta’ here and show the lizard folk this cadaver.”

“No.” Said Dol’ron. “We go in.”

“The hell we do! There is absolutely no reason to go in there! We got our body, we know this thing controls spiders, and whatever is in there will be on its home territory and have the advantage! Why would you even think about going in there!?”

Wagner looked to his sword for guidance, and it told him two fates on the two sides of his hand guard and hilt. He looked up after considering the divination of the heirloom and said in a cold voice: “We go in. Its dangerous – like the jester says, but to turn back now would be far worse.”

All but the Fancy man and Popoion walked in. The two were left behind to shake their heads and sigh.
“Ruffians and bone heads all of them.” Muttered the Fancyman. “It’s like they forget not all of us are strong of body…”

“And here people call me crazy.” Replied Popoion. Finding that they were not being considered, but rather ignored the two decided to catch up to the advancing warriors and cleric. Better to be with the group at the center of the web instead of alone on the outer rim of it.

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The Fancyman's Calling

It was another day at the local manor-made-tavern. A few weeks had gone by since the King’s Own: Azure Hounds had been given leave. On the first day of their leave the Fancy-Man of Cornwood and Popoion Malark had managed to solve a murder mystery. It had turned out that Kah-Rel-Tuk the Orkath was actually an elf in disguise (AKA Karel); and she had killed a huntsman as a form of retrebution for killing (albiet accidently) her sister.

Popoion had made peace with her by stopping the wolf extermination, and The Fancy Man was given insight into his mystic lineage. So many questions behind who and what he was could nowbe answered. But everything comes with time, and for an elf, time is plentiful – he would not be given everything at once, but on Karel’s convinience and agenda. In a sort of philosophical sense, the first lesson the Fancy Man needed to learn about his people was that of patience; and it would be nagging at him the whole time; for he was nothing if not a man who thirsts for knowledge.

In their time off, a new soldier joined them: his name was Wagner, and he was an iconic personality of the small neigboring town. It was not his own character that defined him, but his sword, which had been passed down through his family for generations since the Deamon Wars. It was shrouded in mystery, but all knew that it held immense power, and for some it was frieghtening.

Wagner himself was calm and collected. Inittially, he mistrusted the elf for his blatant magical usage, and the gnome for his odd mannerisms, but he soon relaxed around the two when he found them to be compatent in their own rights, if not a bit odd in attire.

But it was on that last day of leave that the captain came to the three members of the Azure Hounds. His first inquery was where the mighty Dol’ron was, to which it was pointed out that he was on a quest tofind answers in regards to his love. Nodding at this, the captain then stated that the group was to be, essentially disbanded and remade – the vizier was going to be crowned king, and that would probably not bode well for at least two of the members present.

As such, they would be disbanded with a small amount of severence pay. And after saying their good-byes, the three members were given a vision. It was Karel, and she wished to meet with them. She gave instructions as to how to find her in the Northwest Forest, and after gathering supplies, the trio was off.

They found out that the Eldar wished to speak with them – a group of supreme elves that were invoked with the powers of an element. It was told that the Fancyman of Cornwood would grow to be the Eldar of Storms, but for now he was only a vassle of the element.

But they did not just wish to give this news to the Fancyman. They also had a quest for the three: there was a growing entity of power full of rage and madness. It was waking from its slumber and would soon wreck havoc upon the lands. To keep the natural order in balance, this entity had to be destroyed: the group was tasked with slaying a corupted eldar.

“Why don’t you do it?” Popoion asked. “Your asking an elf with sexual identity crisis, a spoony midget jester, and a kid with a Deamon Blade to take on some ancient evil that is obviously powerful. Sounds like your throwing stones at a bear if you ask me.”

“We didn’t ask you.” Stated one of the eldar, her voice as cold as the snow that appeared around her.

“And we have our reasons.” Stated another, who’s voice sounded like a bubbling brook.

“It could take our power.” Answered another,

“And add it to its own.”

“So…” Popoion started, “Your plan is to send the avatar of storms after it? So that it can take his power (and life) while you guys just chill at home and eat whatever you guys eat… boulder perhaps?”

“He is not an eldar yet.” Called the woman made of flame,

“And we can find the Storm again if this one fails.” Spoke the man of Mountains.

The quiet boy Wagner, who up untill this point had stayed at the back where he averted his eyes, pointed his finger up and asked in his brooding voice “So your saying we are dispencible?”

“Yes.” Another called.

“Then we better start talking about payment.” Wagner said again.

The three started listing off what they wanted, some things more odd than others, untill the Eldar, as one voice called out: “You are obviously not taking this seriously!” And with that there was a bright flash. When their eyes adjusted, they found themselves in a dark cavern. Only Wagner’s sword glowed with a blue light, mist forming around its blade.

“It’s friggin cold!” Popoion yellped.

“It’s close to freezing temperature – that’s the only time my blade glows.” Wagner stated. The Fancyman cast his spell of light on Popoion’s shortsword, and the three looked about a bit more. There was a sort of purring coming from one direction of the caverns, followed by a splash.

“Should we split up?” The Fancyman asked.

“No, we should stick together. No idea whats out there, where we are, and what is happening.” Wagner stated, but as he looked down, he saw that the Jester was already wandering about to one side of the cave. He muttered a curse under his breath. Taking a step forward, he noticed that a thin layer of ice was a few fet infront of him, and a dark pool beyond that. Looking with his light, he saw that a reptilian creature was looking right at him. It was the basic shape of a crocodile, but it couldn’t be one: crocs wouldn’t be able to survive in this temperature, and it was larger than any croc he ahd ever seen. He whispered to the Fancyman and Popoion to watch out for the thing.

“It is but a toad silly boy!” The Fancyman said. “Don’t waste your time with the likes of it!”

Wagner swing his sword at it none-the less. And as he struck it between the eyes, he found out that they were not eyes. They were nostrils, the glowing shine was bits of snot that ate at the ground and ice when the driped off. The snout rose with a large skull that had a pair of massive curved horns. A serpentine neck followed and a large lizard body brought itself up onto the shore of the pool. Great bat wings unfruled, and a membrane linked spine rose from the top og its head down its back as it looked at the creature that dared to strike at it.

“OH @$%#!!!” Wagner screamed, but the creature turned its head to Popoion as the gnome started throwing rocks and calling it a dumb, oversized, pea brained lizard. The gnome was also waving his bag around – for the jester figured that the thing saw heat signatures more than light, and his sack had a warm magical enchantment. He got the things attention, and it lay waste to him. The Fancyman and Wagner tried their best to stop the thing, but it was hell bent on killing the arrogent whelp.

Popoion had tried to get to its hoard, hoping to find something he could use to turn the tide of battle, but he didn’t even make it a stone’s throw away. With a breath weapon of acid and a massive claws, he brought the gnome to the brink of death before turning its attention towards the wizard who had cast a plethura of spells on the beast including a phantasm and a lightning bolt.

The Fancyman too found that he was no match for raking claws the size of cattle, and fell beside Popoion who he had hoped he could at least bring outside the confines of battle while the beast fought of a phantasm that was of another dragon stealing its gold.

All that was left was Wagner, and though he had laid blow after blow of death that would kill most beast, it was not enough. Though it bled and limped, it had enough strngth left to deal a deadly blow to the boy. As the blade slipped from his fingers, Wagner’s world went dark. The last thing he saw was the gaping maw of the dragon comeing towards him, acid dripping from its jaw like saliva.

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Clone Wars

The events as told through a pseudo-Popoion Malark Narration:

After a quick rest, Popoion and his Jolly Band of Bland Characters set out to find the dastardly dominating duo who had thus far eluded all the traps, monsters, and of course: the Jolly Band of Bland Characters themselves.

It was a race against the hourglass… or perhaps the minute glass… mayhaps even second glass, but alas I digress… time was of the essence in this place of nowhere and perhaps nowhen, and the champions of the Kings Own were hell bent on foiling their connivings.

Blasting down the stairways, with little warrant for traps, they came to a set of double doors with the bane of Malark’s existence: Locks. Indeed the little fool was able to find and disable traps with some proficiency, but the mechanisms that inhibited people from going through wooden or ston portals was a skill he did not have. Thus was the bane of a traveling performer who was also a tomb raider: you had to give up some skills to take up the arts.

Holding his little ring of light to the doorway, Popoion was able to make out the locks in greater detail: there were three, assembled in a vertical set. the two on the outer locks resembled your average lock: a key hole with some metal craft. However the one in the middle had no sucj orifice for a phallic-resembling item to jam in and turn about. Perhaps Malark would be able to blindly unlatch the two others, but this one was going to be beyond his abilities.

Also: it was booby-traped. This wasn’t really established by Malark’s trap finding training, but more of the nice glowing arcane rune(s) that gave a nice pink/purple light above the door. Having a knack for magic, Malark knew that shit was going to fly if they didn’t handle this properly.

Looking at the door itself, Malark and Co. found that it had the exact same engraved scene as the first double doors they ran into: a man on one knee presenting a rose to a white dressed woman. Malark rubbed his chin, pondering out loud:
“Obviously we have a riddle here: my guess is we need to give a password in order to remove that there magical spell of ass-handing.”

“Or we could just break the latches with a thundering hammer.” pointed the Fancyman. Taking the cue, Dol’ron wound up to strike the metal locks.

Malark shrugged his shoulders. it was about all he could do aside from perhaps wetting himself. He couldn’t stop the barbarian physically, and there was no way he was going to be able to stop him verbally while he was in mid swing. The clown just commented plainly while shaking his head. “You know: we could guess. It might havce something to do with that rose.”

The glyph dimmed just as Dolron hit the lock. To the relief of Popoion. Surprisingly: the metal shattered under Dolron’s hammer. Guess metal in this realm had the same properties as metal in the real world: When left in extreme cold for a long period it got brittle.

The door was smashed open and Malark dashed in. Seeing the cowled figure and the supposed vizier, Malark chirped in “Hey friends, I brought some more friends!” It wasn’t his greatest of jokes, but the circumstance did give it a bit of irony. It would have to do.

The others pilled in aside from Hugor the cleric, who stayed back and readied his healing spells. Fancyman got inside the room and prepared a spell in the event the two started to strugle. The vizier muttered “Orcus” and a sound was heard outside: a loud gasp of surprise of Hugor. Fancyman cursed loudly and threw his attention to outside the room. Malark paid them no heed, it was fire time. Taking his last alchemist’s fire, he tried shanking the vizier. Why the vizier and not the other target: because the vizier had up to that point proven to be more of a dick.

No blood was drawn, just some explosions that got a huge corrosive cloud in the middle of the room and the like, but nothing big.

Then the clocked figure threw of its cowl to show the Jolly Band of Bland Characters. Malark cocked his head: “He’s a she?” It was indeed a woman, a rather beautiful one. In other conditions, Malark might have tried throwing his childish charms to nuzzle up to her perky breasts, but at the moment he had plans to foil. Meant he needed to shank her. Sand day: the world would lose a perfect pair of mammaries.

Malark was about to get some more shanking done with his alchemist’s fire when Dolron crumpled to his knees and started sobbing. The woman called for parley, but Frodrick the Fanatic would have none of that: I shan’t raise my blade to ye m’lady, but this !$#@ has got to go. He then brought his shield hand up to his face then threw it out a bit. His head jolted to the woman and looked at her with wide eyes. He cried out “You’re undead!?”

Looking to Dolron, Malark found that he was crying all the louder at those words, he reached a hand to the woman, but any words he belched out were slured and inaudible. The woman paid him little heed. As far as Malark could tell, she had not cast any spell. What the hell was going on with Dinggus Dolron? The Jolly Band of Bland Characters needed his hammer to lay the smack down.

The Malark shrugged and finally got his alchemist’s fire off on the vizier, who lit and who now completely contrasted Dolron: One of fire, one of water. One of sorrow, one of rage. one of inaudible gushing, one of very vivid curses. It made for quite the pallete for the eyes… which were a bit teary at the moment because the corrosive cloud was a bit too close for comfort.

The vizier then went rigid as he looked behind him. He covered himself as if to shield something coming down on him. All the crazies in one room, Malark felt so normal.

“Everyone stop.” Commanded the woman again. When again there was no intention shown of heeding her words, she looked to Dol’ron and said. “If anyone attacks anyone, go into the cloud.” Between outbursts that boarded wails, Dol’ron gave a verbal acknowledgement and a nod to show his compliance.

“You faggoty pussy-whipped curr.” Malark muttered. He raised his hands to behind his head, showing his intent of complaiance. Frodrick looked to the woman “You willing to drop the book?”
“The book? Why?”
“Ye willing to drop the book?”
“Yes, fine. It would do you no good.” With that the woman put the book on the table, to which Malark scooped it up and scurried off to the back of the room, where a crystal coffin like thing laid.

The others talked about some shit, and Malark looked in the coffin… the thing inside looked like a naked twin of the Vizier. Malark noted as such. Some blah blah went on about clones and the made-which-should-not-be-mentioned. Apparently the Vizier is a clone that failed, and is now out to screw his original counterpart. Coo beans.

Malark decided that the lever that was convienantly next to the Clone Tank should be destroyed: acid was the key. The woman shouted some vulgarities at Malark, who complied not to dabble with the mechanism, but was wishing he had used his alchemists fire on someone else.

Dolron was still balling like a baby, almost grovling at the woman’s feet. Cool beans.

Then the Fancyman said the name “Karnath”. Not cool beans.

“Don’t say it!” Malark screamed, but alas, it was too late. The druid that they had mat and sent them to find the book was now before them, thanking them for finding his book – and looking straight at Popoion.

So let’s rehash: The Fancyman babbled to an ancient and a possibly powerful wizard his own name, and now he uttered the one name that should NEVER be mentioned inside this ziggauart. Note to self: Never give the Fancyman expensive things, he just throws them around like yesterdays socks.

But enough of that, Death is looking straight at our midget hero at this point. Some exchange was made: Give book, receive a “get out of jail free” card. Malark was at this point not careing who got the book so long as he made it out of this obsidian hell. It also sounded like that is what Karnath was getting at too. Being stuck with a large hairy wolf bat that stunk of guano and a pale broad who sang constantly in melancholy would get on anyone’s nerves after a thousand years.

Walking ever so slowly, Malark walked to the man, the book now in his backpack. He saw the Fancyman shake his head nervously. As much as the Fancyman was for not being discreet with words, he knew his arcane shit. If he didnt want this guy to have it, then perhaps Malark wouldn’t either. His head started to think: Orcus was the name used to activate some sort of trap outside. The cleric had strode in muttering about a pit. So if that were the case there were three likely possibilities of how to revert it: 1- it was orcus. 2- Pelor: the opposite of the Demonlord. 3- Demogorgon, the arch nemesis of Orcus. The hallway was a little to his right… as in 15 feet. If he got a full drop on Karnath, he might be able to sprint down the hall. Presuming the others delayed the Sorcerer King, perhaps Popoion could get to the warden with the book, and figure out some way to get out of here in one piece… with his Jolly Band of Bland Characters of course.

But as he called out all three name “Orcus! Pelor! Demogorgon!” He saw the road open up from a pit. Then be consumed by a large wall of fire. Damn mages. The heat was intense. Karnath took a swipe that felt more like a snowstorm mixed with death then a slash of claws. Malark booked it to the other side, hazarding the various glass and chemicales that were in the middle of the room… apparently the cloud of gas had been disspersed in this time, and the table and beakers that once presided over the area was no more. He got to the vizier as Frodrick covered his escape, and the Fancyman tried to dispell the magics of the firewall. no such luck.

“Give me the book you… CHILD!” Screamed the woman. Malark watched as Philius Von Fottlebottom took a lightning bolt to the chest in sheer pain, yet no bodily damage. He saw the fire frwoing, and the smoke filling the room. Which was it: the woman or the Sorcerer King?

“Bros before hoes bitch!” Malark screamed, diving away from her as she tried to swipe at him to grab him by the neck. “Here! Take it! I learned my lesson! Spare us please!” He took the book out of the bag, as people screamed “NOOOOOOOO”. Dolron was still sputtering like a boob.

Karnath leaned over and whispered something to Popoion. then walked into the flames of the wall. Retreiving his rope, Popoion ran about the room, handing it to his party memeber (and throwing an end to Phillius). “Quick! Follow me! There is no time to explain!”

“What do you mean?” Asked the Fancyman.

“No time to explain!”

“there is still time – you could have explained in the time we have used to explain you can’t explain.”

Apparently the guy didn’t get it: though perhaps she had won them over, Malark didnt want her out of here. If he could lose her now, there was a chance she and the vizier wouldnt be able to get out. the smoke was thick, but Popoion with his short stature was able to see fairly well because he stood bellow the smoke.

Ignoreing Fancyman, he ran on after quickly tying an Dol’Ron’s wrist with his rope. He hoped the tugs would cow Diggus Dolron into following.

With that, He jumped into the mirror.

The entire group was on the other side: they would have to take in their surroundings to see where they had landed.

Perhaps slap Dol’ron a couple times too. He royally boned them at the end there.

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