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cpthero2
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Posted - 07 Dec 2020 :  07:03:42  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Trueforger-Winter 1371 DR

08 SEP 2018

There are problems I face.

I am not where I last was. It seems I have moved forward in time, and changed location. It is now 1371, and I am deep below the Curna Mountains. The magics that have brought me are confusing to say the least. I recall earth beginning to swallow me whole, surrounding my very being, my companion being attacked from all sides by our foe. Not a breath later, I find myself deep in the underground, surrounded by foreign adventurers

I was offered terrible smelling beer by a Hin by the name of Chand, while an older human attempted to make peace with me. His name is Danjo, and he is accompanied by another man of the same region, Shino. He tells me there are from “the isle of Wa.” The three of them are accompanied by a boy by the name of Sahil. They tell me he is an orphan from Ormpe. I agree to accompany them, partially out of cautiousness. If they are to betray me, its best I see it coming. If I am to find out anything that happened from my previous breath, I will need to be as cautious as possible.

This band of explorers informs me they are bound to these caves somehow, preventing them from leaving until they finish the errands they have here. They casually mentioned a wraith and a drow in the same breath, as if neither of these are concerning. The magics that bind them here, they seem like they were unwilling participants of, and they give me an overall feeling of moroseness.

I am wary of any holes spread through these halls, they are filled with creatures called “cave morray.” They are a vicious, hairy, large burrowing worm that attack in packs. I saw an experienced fighter nearly be taken down in a short hallway. There is also creature that turns you to stone with its gaze that also lives nearby. It is called a “basilik.” There may be more then one from what I gathered, or they may all be dead. I have seen more then one petrified explorer in a variety of areas, the evidence would indicate there are more.

Shino and Sahil both showed aptitude with magic. Shino is able to create flame, Sahil is gifted in the divine. Chand indicated he can raise the dead, I will keep an eye on him especially, but he seems like a genuine Hin. Danjo is simple a heartly swordmen, who is apparently, a musician as well. I have yet to hear him play, but his companions claim he knows the instrument well.

I am concerned for my companion, and our journey we were on. Does he live, and did we get away from our assailants? I do hope he was able to escape. Our task was critical, we were ambushed upon delivery. I can’t help but feel there was either a mole, or it was a trap.

Findargland, bring me good fortune, may the Luckmaiden keep my path true.

-Trueforger







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Edited by - cpthero2 on 11 Dec 2020 20:56:52

cpthero2
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Flames of the Faithful

25 SEP 2018

The skies were red with thick smoke blocking out the sun. Tjordiir’s eyes burned with the pain of the close heat. Flames grew high around them, slowly beginning to engulf the Temple District of Athkatla. Ash had begun to settle in his brow and beard, gathering thick in the nooks of his red-brown hair. Alim Nessik knelt by his side, coughing in the smoke. They stood in the tallest tower that they came across, looking out across the district, knowing there was little hope for their cause. Tjordiir shook the ash from his beard, hopping down the short wall he had found ground on top of, knocking more ash from his hair. Alim sat down, next to the wall, nursing a gash across his chest.

“You may need to leave me, Arausamman,” the elven man said to the dwarf, “I fear my wounds may slow you.”

Tjordiir looked to his friend of many years, knowing his words to be true, but refused them anyway, “Never,” he replied, gingerly lifting the elf onto his shoulders. He drew his faithful blade, Findargland, from it’s scabbard and handed his shield to the elf, “Protect yourself, saman, we can make it out.”

From the streets below, Tjordiir could hear the chaotic screams of others in the district, falling to King Dhanar’s purge. Tjordiir wasn’t a practitioner of the arcane arts, but this act of madness, condemning the mages of the Temple District, was not an act he could follow. It was years ago that he met Alim Nessik, the elven practitioner, but through those years, they had gained a strong bond. Men, women, and children alike were gathering their belongings in a hurry, many of the homes on the brink of combustion itself. Tjordiir could feel the heat intensify as he made his way out of the bottom of the tower, now with the stop beginning to smolder. He hurried through the alleyways and cramped streets, dodging falling debris and frighteningly high flames. They grew high around him, the smoke thick in the air, weighing heavy on his lungs.

**

Winds seemed to howl to life as the intensity over the book grew. Tjordiir had just met these men, but they all definitely had history. He had overheard them discus a book, over which none of them except Shino seemed to even approve of. He mentioned the book, in a effort to gain knowledge of the strangers he found himself with. An instant feel of adversity could be felt in the air as Danjo and Shino debated the importance of the book. Before much of an argument could truly be made, the sounds of hatred and wicked villainy filled the air. A devil had shown its form, seemingly speaking to Shino, as he was the only one to respond, clutching the flesh covered book in his right arm. This was the first Tjordiir had seen the book, knowing it to be evil upon sight. Danjo turned to face the devil, a look of pure determination on his face. He made a brief melee with the devil, hardly scratching the skin, The devil cast him aside with a powerful force spell, throwing him across the room with a sickening crunch against the wall. The force carried him through to the group, still with Shino in the hall, smashing them all to the ground, except Shino. He made his way closer to the devil, still clutching the book. The others gained their ground quickly, attempting to stop his advance, Tjordiir was the only who couldn’t find his feat. He could find no voice to speak with, so he simply watched the chaos that ensued.

Everyone was on edge from the visions that Torm had shared with them. Everyone had seen events of each other’s lives. Tjordiir had shared the events of Athkatla, while learning of these strangers pasts. Danjo, the kind old man from Wa, had killed Shino’s parents in his early life, taking the man as his son, as he was forced to kill his own. Sahil was a orphan who spent lots of time in a slum, run by terrible men. They underfed the orphans and even beat them, sometimes to death, as the visions had shown.
These visions had heightened everyone’s emotional responses, and now they seemed at each other’s throats as the situation grew worse with the book. Sahil had conjured lighting, striking Shino multiple times. He had taken on the form of a beast Tjordiir had never seen, and was attacking his companion. “Drop the book!” came from the beast’s mouth as Sahil advanced towards Shino, Danjo back on his feet, was nearby, attempting to slay the devil still. Tjordiir only sat, wishing he had cast less selfishly, knowing he had spells that may help save these fools from destruction.
Just as it seemed to be going poorly, Shino threw the book aside, still making his way to the devil. Sahil looked like he may go for the book, but Danjo beat him to it.

The room turned black as night as the old man picked up the flesh covered book.

**

The fires grew hot enough to singe the ends of Tjordiir’s beard, he knew he needed to get out of the city soon. He could see an exit where part of the wall had collapsed due to the flames. Making his way to the wall, he could see he would need his hands free to remove some of the fallen debris. He got as close as he could to the wall by foot and went to set Alim down. “It will only be a moment, saman,” he said to his companion, only then realizing the elf had died on his shoulders. In the chaos, he never noticed the clang of his shield falling to the ground when the elf expired. His skin had begun to dry and smolder from the flames, if only he had Tjordiir’s constitution, he may still be breathing. Tjordiir began to remove the debris from his exit, the flames quickly approaching around him. They licked at his heels as he barely managed to escape through the damaged wall. The last thing he saw of Athkatla being the lifeless eyes of Alim Nessik, immolating as his body was consumed by the flames.

**

Tjordiir could see the group of men arguing in front of the devil, the devil itself seemed to be frozen out of time the moment the darkness overtook the room. Luckily, Tjordiir’s eyes were used to the depths of the earth, as most of his kind were. Shino attempted to sever Danjo’s arm, presumably to free him from the book, as it began to pull him into the air. Tjordiir could tell Danjo was speaking to his second, but the howling winds made it impossible to hear the men. Small spots of Danjo’s skin began to smolder, just as Tjordiir had seen in the past, he knew what was about to become of the man. Shino picked up Danjo’s sword from the cavern floor, just as the old man’s eyes burst into flame, his being immolating just after. Flames consumed his arm holding the book, dropping the book itself to the ground with a more heavy thud then the book should, shaking loose dirt from the cavern walls. The moment the book fell, the devil blinked out of existence, freeing Tjordiir from his bind.

The group of men stood silent, judged in the eyes of Torm, just at the statue had told them they would be. Noone spoke, but they all could feel a wave of faith pour over them, staring at the half immolated man from Wa. Danjo stood, attempting to look around, simply asking, “Is anyone there?”






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cpthero2
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Riatavin

21 OCT 2018

~Snowflake Mountains, roughly 1268 DR

The snow was thick in the peaks, but Tjordiir welcomed the rough terrain. A challenge kept his mind free of lingering phantoms of the past. Slushed snow gathered in his brow and the corners of his beard, as his warmth melted the snow that rested there. He could see a tree, grown to the ground, that he may be able to take shelter in. Hastily, he moved towards the tree, hoping to weather the storm. Inside, he found a young orc, nursing a deep found across his stomach. The orc looked to the dwarf in fear, reaching for his weapon and grimacing in pain.

“Nar Udautas,” Tjordiir raised his hands in a passive manner. He brought one slow to his chest, motioning to his self, then to the orc’s stomach and said, “Mikog.” The orc looked at him, grimacing again, then nodding in agreement.

“By the luck of Haela’s grace, may you live to see another day,” Tjordiir prayed, clutching the polished fire opal that rested in his beard. He lay his hands on the orc’s stomach, instantly stopping the wound from bleeding further.

“Tjordiir,” he said motioning to himself.

“O’tak,” the orc replied.

“O’tak mikog, Tjordiir maprog,” he replied to the orc.

Tjordiir stayed true to his word, staying by the orc’s side while he rested. He continued to provide divine aid as the orc healed, sharing the small bit of rations he had brought from his home, a small smithing tradehome outside of Riatavin. He took bits of the rations and made small traps, hoping to catch a winter hare or any small game he could. Between the rations and again, the grace of the Luckmaiden, he and the orc managed to weather the storm, living out of the tree until the weather parted for travel. The storm lasted for nearly a month, leaving Tjordiir and O’tak to share stories until the weather parted. O’tak taught Tjordiir phases of the orcish tongue he hadn’t known, as did Tjordiir with his own language.

“Tjordiir mrin lhar,” the dwarf stumbled through the simple speech of his companion.

“Tjordiir Arausamman,” the orc said, placing his hand on his chest, “O’tak hurnden. O’tak maprog,” the orc smiled, waiting for Tjordiir’s response.

~Tjordiir’s Waymoot, Riatavin 1283

“We would like you to travel deep in the northeastern peaks of the Snowflake Mountains. Agents of the Shadow Thieves have been spotted running operations out an abandoned castle hidden in it’s peaks. Get close and observe their operations, see how deep their hands run. Once you have gathered everything you can, burn the place to the ground,” Enducive said to the dwarf, “Don’t look back, just draw your blade,”

“Down dark track, the kill is made,” Tjordiir chimed, understanding just what Enducive and the organization wanted done. He left the backroom of the local tavern, Blackmane’s Brews, shutting the door behind him. O’tak stood outside the door, prepared for the miscreants and highwaymen that frequented Kiirma Blackmane’s establishment. Tjordiir and Enducive had her paid off to keep her happy and complacent, despite her known association with the very organization they were about to strike against.

“Come, O’tak,” Tjodiir said to the orc, who had stayed true to his life debt, following Tjordiir where ever he traveled, “There is adventure to be had.”

“Goodie,” O’tak replied, rubbing his hands together in childlike glee.

The two were familiar with the mountains, often taking to them in depth of winter, just for a challenge to commemorate the day the met. The past two decades of exploration made travel easier for them then most that would attempt it, as such, the journey to Castle Trinity was a quick one. If you didn’t know what to look for, the castle blended into the mountains as if it weren’t there, but even the finest of stonemanship could not pass Tjordiir’s eyes. Tjordiir took out a spyglass, observing the fortress from a higher peak. He could see a few men in the castle turrets, keeping a watch for any approach. Tjordiir knew it would be close to a tenday before the new moon cycle, and that night would make the best cover, so he and O’tak traveled back a half day’s travel to a cave they had found. They made themselves a camp, keeping the fires low, just enough to provide warmth, and waited out the days until a moonless night. During the wait, Tjordiir would travel back to the castle, observing the nightly watch routine to build himself a solid plan. Tjordiir had observed most of the occupants to be human or elven, so he and O’tak took the advantage of their nightsight to make their way to the fortress unseen. Tjordiir had O’tak stay behind on a ridge to keep eye while he infiltrated the walls himself. He made his way through the edges of the castle courtyard, picking up on gossip between two of the guards. Ducking behind some crates of supplies, he listened in, taking notes on names and places. He waited until the guards parted ways for a patrol, taking the opportunity of an overlap to hurridly move to the next location he could stay hidden. He eventually found the dwarf that he had seen working for them. He had observed his accent and posturing as much as he could from a distance over the last few days. He waited until the dwarf was in a convenient place and he made his move, assassinating the dwarf with a quick acting poison. He stripped the dwarf as quickly as he could, pulling him into the shadows as he did. He donned the armor and weapon of his comrade, dressing him in his own clothes. He then practiced the dwarf’s accent a few times, convincing himself into the presumed identity of his enemy and then cut his face with Findargland, dropping it to the corpse of the dwarf. He yelled in anger, making as much commotion as he could, grabbing the attention of the guards. Taking a seat in the chair in the room, he waited, acting winded. From outside where he sat, he could hear the commotion of the remaining guards springing to life, several of them quickly eliminated by the waiting O’tak. He left the open turret he had taken post in, rushing to the nearest guard with a look of bewilderment.

“I found an infiltrator in the turret,” Tjordiir motioned to the one he came from, “I took him out, what’s going on out here?”

“We’re under attack from the ridge,” the man looked paniked, “There’s an archer taking us out.”

Tjordiir smiled as two arrows sunk into the man’s back, “I know,” he whispered as the life left the man’s eyes. He pretended to dodge the attacks that O’tak pretended to fire at him and made his way to the main complex, where their leader would likely be. The first guard he came across, he convinced him to take him to the boss to inform him what was going on. When the man turned his back, Tjordiir cast one of his favorite spells, causing every bone in the man’s body to writhe under his skin, killing him. He took to the shadows, leaving the man’s body on the stairs. From his bag, he pulled out four loaded hand crossbows, each with a bolt infused with the same poison he used before. Just as he had planned, the henchmen guarding this place arrived to investigate the death of their companion. There were three that arrived, and Tjordiir made quick work of each with the poisoned bolts he had readied. Once they all collapsed, Tjordiir quietly made his way through the keep, looking for the leader of this small group. He came across a hidden door in the stone, still partially open, likely from a hurried entry. He could hear hushed voiced inside, fearful for their lives. Opening the door, he fired a bolt into the first man he saw, slicing the other across the chest with his cutlass. The man that lie bleeding was the one he presumed to be the leader of the group. He lied on the ground, bleeding out and clutching a ledger. Tjordiir ended his life and looked at the ledger, flipping through the pages. The ledger linked the Shadow Thieves to Riatavin, but nothing to implicate Lady Blackmane. He made his way back to the courtyard, catching flame to anything in the building he came across.

“At least none of these men will burn to death,” Tjordiir thought to himself, still trying to convince himself the work he did was good.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

Tjordiir sat down in the tomb of Flail, removing his boots and stretching out. He took the tattered green journal of Rakor Blakthorn and began flipping through the pages, reading the life of the recent fallen companion of his newfound companions. The energy was still tense among the gathered men, as Shino and Danjo sat, talking in their native tongue. Sahil sat, providing the food he often did, mediating afterword until he laid down for rest. Chand ate his gruel in silence, everyone still in stunned silence of meeting the fallen companions of Eric, the paladin. Tjordiir absent mindedly stroked the fine craftsmenship of the greataxe that was gifted to him, reading through the life of Rakor Blakthorn. Rakor reminded him of O’tak, especially in his earlier entries that were wrote in broken Dethek script. Reading the trials the orc had lived through and still persevered, Tjordiir was amazed at what the man sacrificed for these men he hardly knew. Reading of his sacrifice and rebirth, Tjordiir saw how much this man respected and trusted his companions.

“By Haela’s grace, I have been lead to these people. Even Torm has told me they are to be trusted. I will help these men get through what needs to be done here,” Tjordiir thought to himself, reading further in the journal, feeling ever emboldened by the tales of the orc.








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Sink or Swim

14 NOV 2018

~Calimport, Summer 1284

Tjordiir trudged through the Muzhajaarnadah, deep below the bustling life of Calimport. The smell was not the most pleasant, but he disregarded it, as a deeper issue was thought to be within the cavern walls of the shadow city. Enducive had sent him here to further investigate the dealings of the Shadow Thieves and they were thought to have a larger operation running out of the bowels of Calimport. He had spent the nights of many tenday mapping out the sewer system, in hopes to make his travels easier. O’tak had ventured with him, providing a much needed conversation to pass the time.

By day, Tjordiir spent his time in the market, under the guise of Massatyr of Jewelers, Ulfgar el Glandershine yi Mirabar. He inspected gems and jewelry brought to him by a varied sort of folk, all the while listening in on the conversations that passed by, hoping to pick out anything on the Shadow Thieves, or any of the other organizations he was told to keep an ear out for. O’tak kept to the shadows, behind Tjordiir’s booth, staying out of sight, but near, should Tjordiir need it.

Tjordiir made his way down one of the twisting side paths of the Muzad, passing by a few forgotten relics of Calimport past. Just when he was about to turn back, he saw the tell tale flicker of torch light. He motioned to O’tak, slowing his step and stepping inside an abandoned doorway. Taking out his spyglass, he looked further down the tunnel, toward the flickering torchlight. Down the tunnel there were several men, moving crates of unknown goods. They were dressed in dark garb, and the fact they were this deep in the Muzad alone, made them highly suspicious. Tjordiir waited for an opening to make his way closer, either to hear conversation or to see what goods they may be transporting.

Tjordiir and O’tak were able to stay in the shadows, thanks to the nooks and crannies of the forgotten city that sprawled across this part of the Muzad. He had finally gotten close enough to see the goods that were being moved. A large part was various spices and trika, common popular items of the region. Tjordiir noted down what the men seemed to be transporting, silently gathering information from the shadows. He waited and watched, hoping that one of them through the night would slip and mention anyone they may work for, and surely enough they did. One of the men casually mentioned “Lady Blackmane will be pleased with this haul,” tying the men to the Shadow Thieves. With that information, Tjordiir motioned to O’tak and they waited for a moment to silent remove the men from the Muzad. From mapping out the tunnels, Tjordiir had noticed some of the lower parts, like the one they were in, would often flood during high tide. The fact the men seemed to be in a hurry told him they may, as well, know this fact. Tjordiir took aim at one of the men with a blow dart gun, O’tak following suit, and they both fired a round of darts into the men. Within moments, the men collasped to the ground, still breathing, but unable to move. Tjordiir and O’tak gathered what they could of the goods and made their way out of the Muzad, leaving the men to the tide.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

The sound of roaring, screaming, and explosions all combined into a cacophony of echos. Danjo and Shino perked up at the sound of the screaming, insisting the group should go help whoever seemed to be in danger. It was agreed upon, even by the newcomer, Epaphus. He too had be teleported to these caves, just as Tjordiir had, granted the way he was differed. The men rushed back towards the stairs they came down, thinking that is where the voice came from, only to be greeted by rushing water. The room they found themselves in began to fill quickly and Shino sealed off the room with his stone-shape. The spell did little to stop the water, as it began to backfill behind the group and even squeeze though the cracks in the cavern walls. Having nowhere else to go, Shino made a pocket in the ceiling where the group hunkered down. He attempted making an air shaft, which briefly worked, before filling with ice, showing there to be water above as well. The group debated what they could do to get out of the situation, rapidly running out of air. They opened the floor to see how the water had settled, only to have deadly gases begin to seep into their pocket. Tjordiir had heard of men smuggling in other men to various places though the magical bags that held more then they seemed and asked if anyone was capable of shape shifting. Sahil piped up, saying he could take many forms. Tjordiir explained that they could all survive within these bags for roughly five minutes, if Sahil could take all the bags and shapeshift into a beast that could burrow, they surely could make for freedom. Epaphus and Chand both explained the geology around the pocket they had formed, saying that if the gasses that were currently leaking in interacted with the elements around them, they likely would explode or die from the reaction, so it was decided to escape by water. Everyone gathered into their bags and Sahil fell into the water, turning into a bull shark and bringing the men to a safer area.

Now trapped in a unknown area, the men decided it was best to explore and make the area known. They came across a door with a complicated lock and Sahil used his own stone-shape to circumvent around the door. As he did, gasses came from the door, causing a substance to fall from the ceiling, revealing several small runes all over the floor. Epaphus, in his scholarly curiosity, read the runes just as Shino tried to stop him, activating the explosive nature, immolating the men in the room. He fell to the ground, bleeding severely. Sahil ran to his side, Tjordiir on his heels. Tjordiir asked if he was alive and when it was revealed that he was, immediately stabilized the young man with his magics.

“It seems Haela’s grace is strong with us,” Tjordiir chuckled, dusting himself off from the debris…






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Six Brave Men From Lands Apart

19 NOV 2018

((Across a few pages in Tjordiir’s small, pocket journal. Scrawled in a hurry, in a hardly legible, common tongue))

I find myself in limbo,
Findargland at my side.
With a man from Wa called Danjo,
Thrice now sacrificed.

His second, a man named Shino,
A young one full of pride,
We’ve battled all hell’s and devils
My brothers, for who I would die.

Deep within the Underdark
Far from wandering eye.
Six brave men from lands apart,
No danger breaks their stride.

Sahil, the brave, he leads us through,
Young, yet truly wise.
An Assimar by Epaphus,
The newest to his side.

Chand the hin, so fleet of foot,
The one who scouts the way.
We’ve seen all sorts of demons,
And come straight through the fray.

Deep within the Underdark,
Far from wandering eye.
Six brave men from lands apart,
No danger breaks their stride.





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Of Mice and Demons

29 NOV 2018

~Mirabar 1253

The was peaceful with the sun high in the sky. A rare day of perfect conditions for a northern spring. The air was still chilled enough that River Mirar caused a steam in it’s flow. The skies were blue, with some scattered clouds in the air. The dwarven guard of Mirabar came down from their posts for a change in watch and a midday meal.

In the lull, a battalion of orcs made their move. A wave of orcs began their attack on the western wall, barraging it with wave after wave of battering rams. Archers fired at the wall from the bottom of the knoll, attempting to thwart the dwarves who were already preparing their ballistas and crossbows for a return volley.

A heavily decorated dwarf stood, beard adorned with a various baubles. Miradin Battlebrave, sword and shield at the ready, lifted a horn from his side and gave it a hearty blow.

“To arms brothers,” the dwarf shouted, “Make Torgar proud!.”

Tjordiir heard the sound of battle from his quarters in the barracks. He was a fresh recruit to the Axe of Mirabar, eager to experience battle, just as his family line had. He may have been born in Waterdeep, but he returned to Mirabar to fight as part of the Axe, just as his father and his father’s father had. He had spent a few years of his youth in Waterdeep, with his parents in their family home, but the better part of his semi-centennial life had been spent in study with the kaxanar and preparing to join the Axe.

“Lady of the Fray, let my blade strike true,” he said to himself as he gathered his father’s armor and shield along with the family blade, Findargland, and made his way to the surface of Mirabar.

~Curna Mountains, 1371

Tjordiir stood face to face with a four armed demon, ready for battle. He gathered his knowledge from the kaxanar and channeled his hatred for his foe into his weapon, followed quickly by casting an Inquistor’s Judgment upon him. He felt ready for the battle, ready to aid his brothers and he attacked his foe. The demon retaliated, ripping into Tjordiir’s chest. His wounds began to bleed fiercely and he knew, if left untreated, he would die in a matter of seconds. Luckily, his brothers were quick to aid. Danjo pulled him back and faced the demon head on, slashing at him with his katana, goading the foe in Wanese. Sahil make quick work of Tjordiir’s wounds, summoning a girallon to help Danjo defend the hall. The demon ripped in Danjo, causing the same wounds as he did to Tjordiir, but the samurai held his ground. His second threw out bolts of soulflame to combat the demon.

Danjo grimaced as the demon made a round of cuts into his torso again, the samurai obviously on his last leg. Tjordiir could feel his heart in his temples, ready to fight, but sure he would die.

“Surely the grace of the Triad would not have us die moments after gifting us with these artifacts to fight this hellish war. Surely my luck has not run out to see me die here,” Tjordiir thought to himself, watching the blood pour down Danjo’s chest, his own chest still tender from the vicious cuts the demon had bestowed upon him. He looked down to Findargland, wondering if this would be the last battle of the luck blade.

**

Tjordiir’s eyes burned for a moment, as they often did on the surface. Where his eyes lacked, his ears heard the chaos of battle. Orcish battle cries met with dwarven profanities and cheers as many of the new bloods to the Axe got their first taste of battle. When his eyes adjusted, he could see cracks forming the eastern wall and a battle raging at the top of the western wall. A battalion of dwarves has following the final member of Clan Battlehammer, Torgar himself. Tjordiir saw the opportunity to prove himself and followed the group to the eastern wall.

Orcs were beginning to overpower the western wall as the eastern wall began to crumble. More orcs piled in from the east, attempting to overtake the surface. The near full force of the Axe were in battle, swords swinging into orcish flesh, felling many of their foes. Tjordiir fought along side Torgar’s batallion, bringing a swift end to many of the orcs that came through the walls. He watched as many of his brothers fell in combat, his first true brush with death. Many of the ones that fell were song writers, smiths, butchers, jesters, and friends. All were soldiers of the Axe, protectors of Mirabar. No life was lost in vain, guided by Torgar Battlehammer, the Axe drove out their enemy, despite the odds against them. Lady Haela had guided Findargland through Tjordiir’s first battle, finding him worthy of glory in battle.

In the tenday after the battle, Tjordiir helped repair the walls of Mirabar, remembering the tales of his father, Rurik Trueforger. He had helped build the first walls of Waterdeep, out of the very stone Tjordiir now repaired Mirabar with. In the evening hours, he frequented the tavern, taking to a wine that was imported from Waterdeep itself. One of the nights he came into the tavern, the tavernkeep told him their latest shipment of the Radamandar Sweet that he enjoyed so much had not come in. There were rumors that some of the vineyards in Waterdeep were experiencing a vine-blight, drying up some of their exports, reserving it only for the finer citizens of Waterdeep.

Tjordiir saw this as an opportunity. He had decided the Axe was not for him, not to disrespect his lineage. His first battle had seen to much death, and he thought he could take up the family trade of smithing from their home in Waterdeep, all the while, investigating this vine-blight.

**

Sahil looked exhausted, as he had been extending his efforts to try and keep Danjo alive. He was nearing his end of ability for spell casting, as was Danjo for his ability to fend off the demon. In a final attempt to thwart their demise, Sahil called out to the Adama in despiration. Tjordiir could not make out the words of boy’s spell, but he only saw the effects. Sahil clutched at his holy symbol, knuckles white in his plea. Just as the demon was to lay into Danjo, surely killing the samurai, it’s from changed into a small, white mouse, chittering on the floor. Sahil smiled and picked up the mouse, speaking to it in beastspeech while feeding it part of a ration. He then placed the mouse in his pack, his allies all in shock.

“Praise Haela,” Tjordiir said to break the silence, knowing it truly was luck that had gotten him out of this entire ordeal.






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Survivor's Guilt

07 DEC 2018

~Mirabar, Winter 1252

“Barakor!” Miradin Battlebrave shouted, his crazed beard of daubles bouncing in his drunken glee, “Tonight we drink to the whelplings that have joined the Axe! May their blades strike true, may their pints never spill!”

“Torst!” the room cheered back to the dwarven bard as he started into dwarven limericks, most of the patrons singing along. Tjordiir was among the whelplings that Battlebrave, the Bard had referred to. He accompanied childhood friends, Haela and Hemeth Hammerstone. They had both been from accomplished artisan clans, as such, their fathers were good friends.

“One day, our clans will unite,” Hemeth mocked his twin sister, motioning to Tjordiir, “You two will marry, you’ll see,” he waved his hands in front his face in a dramatic flair, “Vos veltel! You’ll see.”

“Hush you, Araujargh!” Haela blushed at his insinuation. Most who saw the twins and Tjordiir often said the same thing. Tjordiir felt the same towards her, and they often had flirtation between, but never anything more. She laughed and shoved Tjordiir, snapping him from his daydreaming as his ale spilled on his lap.

“Watch the pints!” he shouted at the twins, laughing in their revelry.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

“Master Hin,” Danjo shouted coldly to Chand, hand twitching for his katana. He took a small breath, calming himself, “Had you pulled a stunt like this in my younger days, I would have killed you where you stand.”

“I-I’m not sure what you mean, Danjo,” the hin stammered, “We had meant to take the books regardless, I’m sure. I only meant to do so in the least obvious of manner.”

“The threats are not necessary, Danjo,” Tjordiir stated to the elder of the Wanese men, “We have little time for arguments. We need to either leave this room, or pack it up and get moving. I want nothing to do with these tomes. The last magic book anyone touched, we almost died to a devil. We had nothing but trouble sense.”

“There could be information within the tombs,” Chand insisted, “I would hate for it to go to waste.

“If you must,” Tjordiir said, “I still want nothing to do with that godsforsaken room, or these damned books!”

Chand opened the tome and stared blankly at the page, “Huh, I can’t read this.”

A small silence hung in the air, broken by Danjo. He laughed harder then Tjordiir had seen anyone laugh in a very long time. The old mad stood winded as Chand passed the tome to Epaphus, “Can you make sense of this?”

~Mirabar, Spring 1253







Tjordiir woke with a start at the sound of the battlehorn. He quickly gathered his gear, rushing through the barracks to join the battle. The Hammerstone twins came from their respective room, Haela armed with a greatsword, just as her namesake would. Her brother carried his greataxes, he affectionately called “Naek.”

“Deladaraugh!” they shouted in greeting to Tjordiir as they made their way to the surface. He returned the gesture in kind, joining his squad as they joined theirs.

The surface was chaos. Orcs were scaling the outside walls, cracks beginning in both the eastern and western walls. The east looked to be under heavy siege, where the west had orcish soldiers scaling over the peaks and archers attempting to take out dwarven soldiers on the wall. There were flaming piles of wreckage, indicating they had someway of throwing large, oiled masses over the walls. There was a fair amount of dwarven bodies, mixed in with easily three times the orcs, but the loss was great. Tjordiir got to work, drawing his family blade from it sheath.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

The blast seemed like it hit him before the sound as Epaphus looked at the tome, reading its contents. The room went white and Tjordiir was bathed in flames. He hunched low, holding his ground as any dwarf would do. Danjo and Sahil were both in the hallway with him and were blasted to the opposite wall and left in a heap. The sound rushed into Tjordiir’s ears and he heard the loudest explosion he had ever heard. His ears rang for a moment, but quickly recovered. His eyes came into focus and he saw Shino laying on the ground, blood bursting from every inch of his skin. A few of his organs lay out on the ground and his eyes were burst from his skull, the impact of the concussive force killing him instantly when the tome exploded. Epaphus lay face down, his hair a matted mess, as the top of his head had blown out from the force. Chand was the most disturbing, the side of his head caved into a crescent from the epicenter of the blast.

Tjordiir took his mind away from the scene, slightly sick to his stomach with a tear in his eye, “Haela..” he said, shaking his head to clear his mind. He then thought of Danjo and Sahil in the hall with him. Surely if he was alive, they too could be. He rushed to their sides, finding them both alive and serverly concussed. He tended their wounds, casting some minor magic he knew, stabilizing any potential internal bleeding, and lay them down comfortable and waited for their fate.

~Mirabar, Spring 1253

The battle was won by the dwarves, but at a cost. Many of their brothers had fallen, and with the rising sterility in their kind, it would be centuries before they saw those kind of numbers again. They drove a massive blow to their orcish invaders, so they likely would not see a rise like that in just as long. Battlebrave, the Bard lead the survivors, cleaning up the courtyard of Mirabar. They stacked orcs in piles to burn, rummaging through for survivors and their fallen brothers.

Tjordiir was the one who found the twins. Hemeth was pierced by a half dozen arrows and slashed by weapons of varying sizes. He still clutched one of his axes in a bone-knuckled, death grip. Haela’s death was much worse. Her torso had been crushed by a fallen part of the eastern wall, her face in a pained anguish in her death. A large fire opal bead lay tangled in her hair, attached to a sturdy chain. Tjordiir took the opal as a keepsake, and started removing the debris from her body.
“I’ve got the Hammerstone twins here!” he shouted, hoping to get help with the rubble. Battlebrave joined his side, saying nothing as he helped Tjordiir with a tear in his eye.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

Tjordiir sat by Sahil and Danjo in the hall, staring into the room, but not truly looking at the carnage. He let his mind wander, attempting to wait out his concussed companions. As he felt the familiar guilt of being the one who survives, he saw movement in the room ahead. Ghostly figures had shown above the corpses of his fallen allies. They made no noise, but began floating around the room seemingly doing something. As he started and watched the images, he realized some of the figures to be the forms of Shino, Chand, and Epaphus just as they were moments before. In a strange trick of the eye, Tjordiir felt like he was seeing two realities on top of each other until sound began to overlap and snapped him to in the halls.

“Huh, I can’t read this,” Chand said, beginning to hand the tome to Epaphus.”

“Don’t!” Tjordiir shouted, unsure if he was even to interact with them.

Chand hesistated, looking to Tjordiir.

“Put the book back,” Tjordiir said, “Just trust me, I will explain.”

He held his fire opal bead over his heart, “Haela…” he thought to himself as he began to explain.

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Troubled Waters

08 JAN 2019

~Tjordiir’s Waymoot, Late Spring 1285

Tjordiir burst into his homestead, startling awake Enducive. The elf helped him run his business whenever other business sent him away.

“My cover was blown, Enducive!” Tjordiir shouted, “I was confronted by Lady Blackmane herself.”

“We can set up your cover in Uzurr,” the elf replied, quickly acclimating to the sudden arrival of his friend, “You’ve done more then enough here, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened… Master Aelin has been expecting the assistance as of late anyhow.”

Tjordiir began packing up his essentials he traveled with. He carried the majority of a working forge with him at all times, stuffed inside his bag of holding. He gathered his tomes of divine study, and packed a month of provisions within the bag. Enducive helped him pack an, already prepared, covered wagon, loading it with the provisions to make the long trip to Lapaliiya. Enducive agreed it was a poor choice to return to Calimport, so Tjordiir was making the long journey following the Lake of Steam and coming down through the Shaar to arrive at his destination.

Tjordiir slowed his pace, looking to Enducive.

“Where’s O’tak?” he asked.

~Riatavin, Late Spring 1285.

Tjordiir burst open the hidden cellar door in the back of Blackmane’s Brews. He had watched many of her associates come in and out of this entrance, while he and Enducive had “drinks” on profitable days.
He made little effort in stealth, as he was looking for any member of the Shadow Thieves. Much to his glee, he was approached by one not long after his entry.

“What the hell are you doing, dwarf?” the man yelled, drawing his blade.

Tjordiir made a hand motion and took control of the assailant’s bones, distorting them to cause extreme agony. The man collapsed to the ground, screaming in pain and coughing up blood. Tjordiir calmly walked up to the man, focusing his spell on the man’s legs, crushing the bones inside and causing the man to pass out. He took his time tending to the man’s wounds, making sure he was alive, but unconscious. While the man lay on the ground, Tjordiir took out the trough he used for cooling metal and began filling it with water from his fingertips. Once the trough was full, he pulled the man over and dunked his head into the trough, holding him under long after he gained consciousness, fighting his squirming until it stopped. He then pulled the man out from the trough and tended to him again, administering the aid he would as if someone had drowned.

~Curna Mountains Winter 1371

Chand coughed a mouthful of water as Tjordiir breathed a sigh of relief as he ran around the pool to Epaphus, seeing Danjo struggling to get him on shore. Danjo dived back down to pull others that had fallen victim to the beast who had pulled them under. Tjordiir shook off his foggy mindedness from the tentacle that had stunned him and made his efforts to get Epaphus conscious again. The Aasimir coughed up a lungfull of water as well, just as Danjo came ashore with Sahil, and the stranger they had brought back form petrification. Sahil began to tend to Chand’s wounds and Tjordiir rushed to the stranger, only to find him dead.

The group paused for a moment, catching their breath before returning to Shino.





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Home Sweet Home: Part 1/2

24 JAN 2019

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

A wave of air grazed Tjordiir’s cheeks, telling him the weather was still deep in winter. Piles of guano tainted what would otherwise be a nice reprieve in the underground. Red and yellow moss had gathered on top of the piles, making for a stark contrast against the guano.

“Whoa,” Chand motioned for the group to stop as they rounded a corner, entering the open chamber, “These plants are familiar, let me take a moment to examine them.”

Chand crouched down, squinting at the plants from a safe distance. He flipped through one of his journals, nodding at some notes, “Yeah, these plants are highly volatile if disturbed. I-I would be cautious if we plan to venture further.”

Danjo paced nervously, eyeing the ceiling and staring into the room, “My son is dying back there” he yelled, motioning in the direction they had come from, “We do not have time for this, let’s find another way.”

“I could morph into a eagle, perhaps find a way out through the ceiling,” Sahil piped up, “We could even try the same idea from before, with the bags.”

“If you simple bump a rock flying out, Sahil, that could be enough to kill us all and damn Shino to his death,” Danjo began to leave the way they have entered the chamber, “He is alone, I do not wish for him to die alone, I am leaving, I suggest you follow.”

Tjordiir took Danjo’s lead and followed him down the hall, the group all following in silence. Danjo returned to a four way intersection they had found earlier and chose the right path, marching into the darkness in silence. After many twists and turns through the tunnels, he found himself at a wall of purple fog.

“This is like the fog from the drow’s lair, it was above, on the same level as Alaric’s Tomb!” Danjo shouted with a smile, “We just need to navigate through, possibly needing to fight the undead within, a small price to pay to save my son,” Danjo said as he entered the fog.

Tjordiir took a deep inhale of air, focusing his nose to the smell of gold. He could smell the gold in his pocket, and the gold within his allies pockets, even a pocket of gold deep within the fog.

“Perfect,” he thought, stepping into the fog.

~Mirabar, Summer 1248

Tjordiir had been leading Haela and Hemet through a thick fog. They were accompanied by Royce and Augustus, mercanaries they frequently used on patrols. Royce was a half elf, a gifted floutist and skilled trapfinder. Augustus was a brutish human, yet skilled with a sword and shield. The group had heard rumors of disappearances in the woods the lay on the southern boarder of River Mirar and had decided to investigate, as there was high reward for the potential discovery of missing caravans.

Just as Tjordiir began to worry they were lost, the fog broke, revealing the grounds of a large manor. The home itself looked like it was maintained, but was slowly being lost to the woods. The grounds had many of the flora overgrown from their planted areas. Topiary trees were spread in the open areas, overgrown past their pruned shapes, some were even shriveled in starvation.

Tjordiir took a deep breath, focusing on the smell of coin. Aside from the coins in the pockets of his group, he could smell a heavy concentration coming from the manor itself, “My nose is telling me the manor is the place,” he said, urging the group to follow him.

He lead them up the front steps of the manor, opening the front door with ease. It opened to a visiting room, walls adorned with polished wood. Beneath years of gathered dust and the withered vines of invading plants, picture frames adorned the walls. A large, tarnished mirror rested above the mantle of a dirtied fireplace, some of it bricks looked to be broken by vines, rested on the floor. Wall sconces patterned their way up the wall, lighting a crimson carpeted staircase.

Tjordiir let Royce take point up the staircase, following a few paces back while he lead the others. Royce disappeared around the corner at the top of the stairs just as Tjordiir could make sight of the upstairs. He saw a floral tapestry that was intricately embroidered. The reds of the poppies were vibrant and inviting, while the blues of the river that flowed through the center were just as intriguing…







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Norogh-Corlar, Slayer of Evil

28 JAN 2019

Tjordiir had always admired his father’s forge. Rurik Trueforger, his father, would spend most of the day fanning the flames, producing the needs for the locals in Waterdeep. He occasionally would even craft a masterful blade on a private commission, able to produce such a blade in under a ten day.

Tjordiir woke from his sleep, deciding to sneak into his father’s forge. He wanted to surprise his father with a blade by morning, so he worked through the night fanning the flames, just as his father did. He arms had not gained the strength of a seasoned blacksmith, nor had his back. As he shoveled fuel in to the forge, burning it hot to make the reddened coals, he felt the twinge of pain in his back. He pushed through, taking his casted blade to the coals, beating it further down into shape. Once he had the shape he desired, he took it the the grinding wheel, rushing to get a blade on it by daybreak. As he just finished his blade, his father came outside the home to open the forge for the day.

“What’re you doing, boy?” Rurik grumbled, shaking off the morning fog.

Tjordiir quickly came to a knee, presenting his blade to his elder, “I made you a blade father,” he said, eyes to the ground.

Rurik looked over the blade, squinting at each side. He laid in on the anvil, flipping it onto both sides, eyes level with edge of the anvil. He picked it up with a smile, slashing it in the air a few times before striking the anvil itself with the blade, shattering it to pieces.

“A blade cannot be rushed, Tjordiir,” he said, frowning with disapproval, “Until you respect the flames and forge, do not try this again. A true smith forges nothing but the nails and shoes until he has earned the right to forge a blade.”

“I-I’m sorry father, I will not tarnish the Trueforger name again,” Tjordiir said, tears streaming down the naked cheeks of a dwarven child.

~Waterdeep 1254

Tjordiir stood at the doors of his family home. The forge his father once used sat just where he remembered, flames gone for the night. He adjusted his armor, drawing Findargland only to show the Trueforger crest on it’s hilt. He straightened his beard, giving his fire opal gem a quick buff, and knocked on the door.

“Tjordiir, is that you?” A seasoned elder dwarf answered, immediately shaking the fog of sleep, “I haven’t laid eyes on you sense before you could grow a beard! Come in!”

Tjordiir stood stunned in the doorway, his uncle, Rorin was as striking resemblance to his own father. The warm welcome and chipper attitude was not something he was used to, coming from the mouth of his father.

“Master Smith,” Tjordiir began, “I have come to apprentice with you. I would like to take the burden of your everyday mundane items, I know my way around this forge. I do not wish to forge a blade, as I have not learned enough to. Please, let me assist you on my family forge.

“You are more then welcome, nephew,” Rorin Trueforger said with a smile, “Now, we should get some rest if you are to apprentice here, we are a busy forge in the day. Oh, and call me Uncle.”

Tjordiir smiled, glad to be accepted so easily, “Yes, Uncle.”

The following day and for many years, Tjordiir lived in his family home, aiding his uncle by the day, and studying his divine text by night. He was true to his word, and forged no blade while he helped his uncle, but he studied his process everytime he took a master’s commission. He watched with purpose, taking notes on the different materials and heats his uncle used.

“You have learned all I can teach, Tjordiir,” his uncle said to him, many years after Tjordiir had first graced his front step, “If you are to continue to study, you should make your way to Athkatla. The city is vast, and many merchants come through there. You will be busy should you find a forge to work at, and I’m sure there is a master greater then I there.”

Tjordiir knew his uncles words to be true, but he had grown to care for his elder greatly in the years they had spent together. His resemblance to his own father had made his bond for the kind dwarf stronger then if he been a stranger. Tjordiir knew he would be packing his things in the following day, so he gave his uncle a long hug.

“I will miss you, Uncle,” he said.

“As will I to you, Tjordiir.” his uncle replied, embracing the hug.

~Uzuur, 1365

Tjordiir had been apprenticing under Master Smith Ganlordix Aelin for half a decade, learning as much as he could from the smith. He had yet to forge his own masters blade, as he had another five years of practice before he would be considered such by Master Aelin.

“Today, we recite the knowledge of rare ores,” Master Aelin shouted over the clangs of the forge and roar of the forge, “Silver!”

“Widely used through Toril for currency,” Tjordiir shouted, feeding the flames to create the coals his master desired, “Also a known weakness to shapechangers, haunts, and devils!”

“Good,” he master replied, never stopping from his project, “Mithril!”

“Elf’s Ore! Known for it’s light weight in any normal forged item. Some believe if you combine it with steel, it can become adamantine.”

“HA!” Master Aelin laughed, “Is that a joke, apprentice?”

“Of course, Master,” Tjordiir said with a chuckle.

“Back to it… cold iron!”

Tjordiir paused, never having heard the phrase, “I am not familiar with this ore, master.”

“From Phandalin, this rare ore is known for it’s effectiveness against many of the fey creatures. It is forged at a lower then average temperature, to preserve it’s nature. It is even said to be a weakness in some denizens of the Abyss,” Ganlordix stuck a final time, holding his blade high. It’s surface was a marbled steel, dark veins striking though the blade itself, “A fine payment for a fine blade,” he said, smiling at the excess cold iron ore he had after crafting the blade.

“That is an amazing blade, Master,” Tjordiir said, admiring the blade.

“And one day, you will forge a better one,” Master Aelin offered a small sum of ore to his apprentice, “Take it, when the time is right, you will forge a masterful blade, I know it.”

“Thank you, Master,” Tjordiir said, stunned in awe.

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

Tjordiir removed the chunk of cold iron from his bag. Shino was working to create the forge and crucible that Tjordiir needed to begin his task. He set a portion of cold iron with a handful silver coins into the crucible.

“I will need a low steady heat, Shino,” he said, “Have you prepared?”

“I have, Master Dwarf,” he replied, conjuring his ring of flame in the prepared area around the crucible. He steadied his breathing, closing his eyes, entering a concentrated meditation to maintain the flames.
Tjordiir kept watch until the metals melted down and merged. He gave them a vigorous stir, and tilted the crucible to pour into the mold they had made from Danjo’s battle battered katana.

“You can rest Shino, the blade cools,” Tjordiir said, placing a hand on the young man’s shoulder.

After a well earned rest, Tjordiir returned to the forge, Shino by his side. They brought the forge back to live, heating and shaping the blade through most of the day. Tjordiir rested the blade on his anvil, just as he had seen his father and every smith do, eyeing the balance of the blade. After many treatments of heat, and refolding, just as Danjo had told him, Tjordiir was finally pleased with the blade, it was worthy of being a master’s blade.

“This should treat you well, swordsman,” Tjordiir said, presenting it to Danjo, “It is forged with the skill of many masters and the passion of your own son’s essence. I give you, Norogh-Corlar, slayer of evil.”







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Grim Resolve

24 FEB 2019

“Ready?” Chand asked, grasping Danjo, Tjordiir, and Sahil. They all stood, emboldened by each other’s magics, ready to face death.

“Ready,” Tjordiir replied, confident that Norogh-Corlar would lead them to victory.

Chand shut his eyes, imagining the nighmare he had just barely lived through only moments ago, yet willing to return, his faith in Tyr his guide. He opened them, revealing two Orcus cultists and the reaper itself he had just faced with. His eyes laid on the scythe, knowing its draining power, causing him to shudder. He looked to his allies, a bead of sweat sliding past his temple. Tjordiir grabbed his holy symbol and thrust Findargland towards the reaper, holy light bursting from its tip, colloding with the body of the reaper in a silent blast. The reaper recoiled as it’s mass swirled around its head, as if in agony, the reaper’s empty eyes, showed no emotion. Another reaper manifested behind the four warriors, it’s empty eyes staring at Tjordiir. In this moment, he knew, if anyone attacked these creatures in such a manner, they would replicate an additional reaper who’s soul focus would be the one who had harmed the previous one.

Danjo raised Norogh-Corlar, charging the closest cultist he could. The blade cut deep into the cultist, Dango performing a quickly flurry of stikes. The cultist stood just as it had, it’s wounds healing just as quick as they had been cut. Tjordiir watched this in horror and waved to get Chand’s attention. He pointed to the door, hoping Chand would understand, “We need to leave.”

Chand shut his eyes, teleporting back to retrieve his allies.

Tjordiir stood, alone with Danjo and Sahil, realizing his message was not received. He would, in fact, be battling death. He hardened his composure, preparing for a final stand. Two of the reapers dug their scythes deep into Danjo, seeming to take his essence with them as they stuck. Danjo shuddered, keeping his stance with a fierce resolve. Tjordiir knew these reapers would make Danjo’s death a swift one if he didn’t intervene, so he did the one thing he could think of and grabbed Danjo around the waist, raising him above his head, dodging the attacks from the reapers as they came down. He threw the man from Wa, as easily a heavy stone, landing him at Sahil’s feet. He tucked Findargland low, raising his shield high, the emblems of a gauntlet and silver scales gleaming bright as they took a flurry of scythe attacks.

“Haela,” Tjordiir prayed, clutching his gemmed bead with his grip on Findargland, “Lady of the Fray, let us take this battle in the name of Torm, Tyr, and Ilmater! Guide my steps, and aid my allies to victory,” he thought to himself, dropping his bead to its natural hang. He took a step back, shield held high, reaching for Danjo’s form. Looking back to his ally, he saw Sahil, armed with his Rod of Flailing, its many heads beating on the reaper who came for Tjordiir’s soul. One of the flails wrapped itself around the reaper’s scythe, smashing it to the ground, breaking it to pieces. Norogh-Corlar sliced through the arm of another reaper, causing it to drop it’s scythe just as Chand appeared back into the room, placing his hands on the only two members he could reach, Danjo and Sahil. Tjordiir looked to the men he hardly knew and kept his shield high, hoping for a few seconds of luck.

**

“What’s going on?” Shino demanded as Chand reappeared alone, gone much longer then he should’ve been.

“Three reapers and two culists,” Chand replied, his heart beating fast, knowing his allies had little time inside.

“Three?!” Shino shouted, “That old fool! How many times does he have to die, get us in there Chand!”

“Our best option is retreat,” Epaphus argued with his young peer.

“Retreat, understood,” Chand nodded, leaving the two to argue as he left an image of himself behind, returning once more to the mightmare, appearing next to Danjo and Sahil, placing his hands on their shoulders.

“This better work,” Shino glared at Epaphus, “I am not loosing my father when he just saved my life.”

“Chand should be back in hardly a moment, if everything goes to plan, we will all be out of there, if he was able to get out alive, I’m sure everyone inside can live for another moment or two.”

**

Chand looked to Tjordiir, keeping in mind where he was and shut his eyes, hoping the dwarf could hold his defense for another moment, as he took Danjo and Sahil back with him, appearing back with Shino and Epaphus with only Sahil.

“Damn stubborn fool, he resisted!” Chand cursed at Danjo.

“Gods be damned!” Shino exclaimed with frustration, “Take me in there!”

Sahil ran to the door, pressing his ear against it in an attempt to hear within as Chand teleported back inside by himself, ignoring Shino’s request.

“Chand! Take me back inside!” he yelled at the image of Chand left behind.

“He went back,” Epaphus said, hoping he would return with the remaining two allies inside.

**

Danjo swung his blade to the reaper’s other arm as Chand dissapeared with Sahil, severing most of it’s bony hand, making it impossible for the reaper to pick it’s deadly blade back up. Tjordiir held his ground, taking the fury of the other reaper, it’s scythe smashing into the dwarf’s shield, not breaking his stance. Danjo’s face took on a new form of determination Tjordiir had never seen. The man knew he would die if he took another blow, but he faced with the armless reaper nonetheless. Norogh-Corlar struck another flurry of blows against the reaper, sundering its body into a mist. A smile came across Tjordiir’s face, watching his virgin blade sunder death itself. Danjo turned around, facing with the remaining reaper who had no scythe to wield. It attempted to assault the dying old man, missing with every attempt. Danjo returned blows with the reaper, already weakened by Sahil’s assault with his flail, quickly sundering it’s body as well as Chand returned, placing a hand on both their shoulders. Tjordiir pushed the reaper on his shield back, raising Findargland for an exchange of blows, just as he felt Epaphus’s magic wear off, leaving him more easily attacked. Chand dissappeared, leaving Tjordiir alone with the final reaper, armed with it’s deadly scythe.

“Deladaraugh!” he thought slicing into the reaper with his equally deadly blade.
**

Chand returned to the group, Danjo in hand, “****ing hell,” he spat frustrated as Danjo fell unconscious.

“Chand,” Sahil said, rushing up to him, “Bring us back in there, we can’t leave Tjordiir to die!”

“I can bring three with me when I do this,” Chand replied, “I saw them take one of the reapers down, and another has lost an arm, I think we three and Tjordiir can take the last one, Epaphus?”

“I can use a visual aid to perform, as well as singing, I can provide the same aid as I just did,” the Aasimir replied, ready to fight.

Chand grabbed his allies and looked to Shino, “Keep him safe, I’ll be back in a minute,” he shut his eyes, ready to return to Tjordiir.

**

“Guide me true, Lady Haela. Let me slay this foe and continue my crusade for the Triad. I am prepared to die, but it is not my time. Grant me the luck to live long enough to stop the coming ends of time. Only then am I prepared to pass my luck to another and accept my end.”

Tjordiir exhaled slowly, calming his racing heart as he raised his shield to meet the reaper’s scythe, blocking an attack, but taking a slice across his chest, feeling its effect just as Danjo had. He quickly brought his shield down, shaking off the haze and blocked the remainder of the reaper’s flurry.

Findargland returned blows with the reaper, slicing the reaper deep, sundering it’s body just as Chand and his allies appeared next to him. On the reaper’s death, the remaining cultist dissappeared, leaving the hall empty, allowing further exploration.

Chand grabbed everyone and teleported back to Shino and Danjo as Tjordiir breathed a sigh of relief.






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A Twist of Fate

05 APR 2019

Athkatla 1266

“The perverse natures of the arcane plague our streets. Heathens and harlots plague the alleyways waiting to steal our children in the night. They will use them for their sick pleasure, even convert them into their twisted ways. You there, dwarf, do you wish to join King Dhanar’s forces and help the great city of Athkatla be free of the necromatic ways of the demented arcane that have brought a curse to our daily lives?”

Tjordiir stopped in his tracks, looking to the man who was dressed in a decent set of armor with a tabard that matched many hanging throughout town, undoubtedly part of the king’s guard. With little coin left from his travels, and being fresh to town, he thought nothing better then to get in the good graces of the local law and agreed to sign up to the king’s militia.

Following his induction, Tjordiir was formally trained in the combat style of the local forces. This did not take him long to master, as his training from his days in the Axe were still relatively fresh in his mind. Once he was declared to be fit for battle, he was assigned with a veteran of King Dhanar’s growing army, Kester Daw. He was a grizzled human, a severe burn scar took over the better part of his face, obviously damaging his left eye.

Now partnered with a veteran to show him the ropes, Tjordiir was tasked with infiltrating and destroying a known rebel complex, likely filled with practitioners of a perverse nature. As was their duty, Kester and Tjordiir made haste in their venture to known residence of these vile practitioners.

“No mercy,” Kester stated, “Each of these men can twist reality, resurrect loved ones from the dead, torment your mind. These are not good people, Tjordiir.”

“Understood,” Tjordiir said as Kester forced the door open, revealing an older male elf, surrounded by children. A flicker of flame stopped from the elf’s finger tips as the children snapped their attention to the door. Tjordiir put a hand on Kester’s shoulder to hold him back for a moment.

“Kester…these are children,” he said, confused, “Surely this can’t be the place.”

“No mercy, Tjordiir,” Kester replied with grim determination crossing his face. The elder elf looked terrified, yet he conjured no magics to stop the man advancing toward himself.

Tjordiir knew nothing else he could do, so he grabbed his holy symbol and concentrated on Kester’s innermost essence. He clenched his fist, taking control of the man’s skeleton, stopping him in place.

“Kester, I can’t allow you to do this, they are children! This man can hardly cast a spell to defend himself. These are not evil people.”

Kester took a step forward, starting to push the effects of Tjordiir’s spell away. Tjordiir clenched his fist harder as Kester screamed out in pain, taking another step towards the man swinging his blade at the man’s chest. Tjordiir heard a scream of pain cry out, not from the man or Kester, but a child that had stepped out to protect the man who seemed to be taking care of them. The man cried out a name, but Tjordiir heard nothing but silence as he clenched his fist as hard as he could, crushing Kester’s bones and killing him where he stood.

“T-thank you,” the man said, “Without your compassion and willingness to stop that man, he surely would’ve killed us all.”

The man approached the fallen child, pulling a cloth over his body and muttering a simple prayer for the lost soul. He gathered the rest of the children and made his way to a bookshelf, removing a certain book from a certain spot, and opened up a passage.

“Should you wish to atone for the crimes of King Dhanar’s evil, I could use the help of someone like you. Alim Nessik,” he said with a bow.

“Tjordiir Trueforger,” Tjordiir responded, coming to terms with what had just happened, “Get the kids out of here, I will make sure you are not followed.

Alim nodded in response, “I hope we meet again, Trueforger,” he said, escorting the children into the hidden tunnels.

Tjordiir closed the shelf behind them, making sure to hide any evidence of it ever opening and gathered Kester’s body to return to the king himself. Upon return to the king, he explained that they had been overrun by forces beyond their control, and that he had barely escaped with his own life. He told the king he wished to continue the fight, but did not want to dishonor the death of his partner and preferred to work alone for the immediate future. King Dhanar agreed to his terms, as long as Tjordiir could promise to catch the ones responsible for Kester’s death.

Tjordiir returned to the home where Alim and the children had escaped and waited in the main area, taking camp for the better part of a tenday. Eventually, Alim returned through the bookshelf, quietly returning it to it’s non descript default.

“Alim Nessik, I decided I would like to help you, but in a better way then you imagined. I will remain part of the king’s guard, deceiving them as I gather information for future attacks, all the while feeding you information so you can better aid those who need to leave town. This was not a one time occurrence, I feel a storm on the horizon.”

“As do I, saman,” Alim replied.






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Reunion of Father and Son

22 MAY 2019

Tjordiir sat in silence, drinking his upteenth pint of ale, alone at the far end of the bar. Between gulps, he caresses his fire opal gem, an occasional tear steaming down his face. The tavernkeep, an ageless, male half elf, approached him. He refilled the emptied pint, noticing the dismay of his patron.

“What seems to trouble you dwarf?”

Tjordiir stared into the fire opal, making no attempt at eye contact, “Their eyes tell a story…” he replied, finishing the pint in a quick gulp.

~Athkatla, 1267

The striking sound of thunder startled Tjordiir awake from his bed. Alim was already on his feat, hands raised to cast a quickened spell. Tjordiir hustled into his armor and snatched Findargland from the bedside, tossing on his belt and shield. Another booming thunder shook the very roof of their home, dust shaking from the rafters.

“What is going on, Arausamman?” Alim shouted over the thunder as he pulled a set of purple robes over his head, grabbing his gnarled birch staff.

“I’ve no idea, saman,” Tjordiir replied, pulling on his boots and jumping to his feet, “I do know, we need to leave, quickly.”

As they gathered their things, more thunderous noise could be heard from further throughout the Temple District, and smoke hung heavy on the air. They made their way downstairs, only to come face to face with King’ Dhanar’s guard. Tjordiir could hear screams in the streets and a thickened haze had begun to settle.

“Tjordiir Trueforger, you are wanted for your crimes against the King. Alim Nessik, you are wanted for your known association of the arcane arts. Surrender or you will be put to death where you stand.”

Tjordiir threw out his hand in a familiar gesture, grabbing the man’s skeleton where he stood. He forced him to attack his ally, buying Alim enough time to throw a wall between them and their adversaries.

“Out the upstairs window?” Alim gestured back up the stairs.

“Indeed,” Tjordiir said, hustling back up the stairs. As he left through their bedroom, he took in one last look, knowing this would likely be his last. The clambered onto the roof, grabbing a few final things as they did. From there Tjordiir finally saw the cause of the thunder and smoke. He and Alim were surrounded in an inferno. The entire Temple District was in flames, people rushing to escape. Several were slain on sight in the streets by any passing kingsguard.

“By the Gods,” Tjordiir looked in horror.

Alim was suddenly grabbed from the open window, snapping both of them back to reality. One of the guards had managed to get upstairs, despite Alim’s best efforts. The man now had him in a grapple and was pulling him back in. Tjordiir tried to cast another spell, but the man shook it off. Alim saw this and fought against the man’s efforts, barely managing to escape his grasp. Tjordiir swung Findargland in a hard slice against the back of the man’s neck, giving him a quick end.
Alim sat against the manor wall, feet sprawled out the roof. His chest was steadily bleeding and his breathing was light. Tjordiir rushed to his side, patching up his wounds enough that the elf could stand.

“Let’s go,” he said, “I’ve got you, saman.”

~Curna Mountains, Winter 1371

Chand burst from through the door with with his teleport, catching his breath, only with Danjo in tow.
Danjo has a forlorn look of anquish on his face and was covered in gore. Chand stared blankly at the group.

“H-how did that happen so quickly?” the hin repeated a few times.

Sahil looked from Danjo to Chand, fearing the answer, “Where is Shino, Danjo?”

Danjo stared at the ground, sobbing, “…my son, …my son.”

“We need to get him back,” Tjordiir said, breaking the tension, “I’ll stay with Danjo. Chand, take anyone else and go get him.”

Chand nodded, disappearing with the rest of his companions, leaving Tjordiir with Danjo. The dwarf stood in silence with the old man from Wa. He could tell by the man’s eyes, it was not a tale to be recited. The two stood in silence for a few minutes until Chand returned with their companions.

“Is Danjo OK?” Shino asked, snapping the old man from his anguish into a hug.




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The Road to Waterdeep is Paved With Good Intentions

02 JUN 2019

~Mirabar 1253

The smell of burning flesh was strong as the irons seared deep into Tjordiir’s flesh. Each section hurt no less then the one before, but he remained still while Maiden Yanna worked dilgently to make sure the patterns would line up perfectly. Once she was completed with her scarrings, she waved a hand over his arms, healing the pain, but leaving the fresh scars behind.

“Kaxanar barakor,” she said to Tjordiir, handing him a pendant, scarab shaped ruby, set in gold, “May your luck never run out, Maiden.”

~Waterdeep 1254

Tjordiir made his way down The High Road, looking for Buckle Alley. He had heard rumor of the Inn of the Dripping Dagger having had closed due to disturbances in their cellar. It did not take him long to find the small, cobblestone alley that lead back Spindle Street, where on the corner, the very boarded up tavern he desired rested. The ever popular tavern, now deserted of patronage was a sad sight to see. The carved griffon statues that adorned the roof, bare of any mount. There were no people outside, gamboling in merriment.

“By flames by purged,” the front door hissed as Tjordiir made his way inside. Time had not taken the tavern, as it hadn’t be closed long. The tables were tidy, nothing left out in a rush. A heavy silence blanketed the floor, almost as if the lack of people was louder then if they had been there. Tjordiir’s ears picked up a slight scuttling from below and he could detect the presence of evil beneath his feet.

Tjordiir steadied his gait, silencing his steps as he drew Findargland from it’s sheath. He made his way to the end of the bar, where he found the steps leading down to the cellar. Just at the end of the bar, Tjordiir noticed the white horse and black raven on a field of green, the emblem of House Thann, stamped onto the nearest keg. With a hopeful glee, he tested the tap, a splash of liquid falling into his mug. The smell of honey and cardamom filled his senses, giving him just what he desired. He cherished the taste of the Radamander Sweet as he made his way downstairs, hoping to find a bottle he might be able to liberate while he investigated.

A cacophony of smells attacked his senses as he came to the cellar entry. He could smell death and many wines mixed all as one. Peaking into the room, he saw many split barrels and broken bottles, along with a handful of skeletons and zombies wandering around. The eastern most wall was crumbled to the ground, stone and dirt cascading from a large opening leading to a dark tunnel. Tjordiir took a moment to cast a couple spells on himself, then took control of one of the skeletons, forcing it to attack its allies. The spell worked long enough to clear most of the skeletons in the room, but a larger zombie managed to shrug off its attacks, clattering it’s bones aside. Tjordiir rushed across the distance with intention to attack the monstrosity, but he slipped on the spilled wines on the floor falling prone at the zombie’s feet. The zombie came down ontop of him and Tjordiir swung Findargland, focusing on his scarab amulet. He felt the legs of the amulet dig into his skin, causing him a mild discomfort, yet enabling him to strike true with his blade. Findargland cleaved the zombie in half, allowing Tjordiir to get back on his feet. Once he caught his breath, he began to repair the hole in the cellar wall, reminiscing on childhood tales of his grandfather helping to craft the very walls that protected Waterdeep, made from the same stones in his hand, Mirabar Stone.

Once repairs were complete, he looked around the cellar for a bottle of the Radamandar Sweet. With luck, he came across two bottles, both of which he took for payment of services.

“Thank you Lady of the Fray,” he thought to himself, both for the gift of wine, and the grace to have lived through another battle.








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A Date With Destiny

26 JUL 2019

~The Great Rift, 1369

Chaos erupted in the midst of a early dinner. Tjordiir and his Tormite apprentice, Percius sprung to their feet to hold back a sudden attack of one of their sworn enemies, the Zhentarim. Percius took point, adorned in full plate, as many of his paladin order wore; Tjordiir drew his trusty blade and grabbed hold of the nearest Zhent’s bones with one of his favorite spells.
As they fought, Tjordiir couldn’t help but wonder how the Zhentarim found them there in the Great Rift. To him, it seemed like an all too convenient coincidence. Was Galvin a hidden agent? Perhaps even Enducive, or Master Aelin? He shook it off as paranoia in his old age, fighting to keep his enemies at bay. As he and Percius were managing to push their enemies back, Tjordiir noticed a couple of the Zhent agents pull out one of the very geodes they transported here, reaffirming his suspicion. As he watched Percius become overwhelmed by Zhents, falling to an unknown fate, Tjordiir was surrounded by a swirling, crashing vortex. The earth seemed to bugle and twist as a brilliant flash of reddish hues erupted in front of his eyes…

Tjordiir came face to face with a single silhouette of a hooded man with wings. In one hand he held a large hourglass, sand flowing endlessly from top to bottom. An ornate scythe lay along his body, as his hand outstretched in a welcoming gesture. Visions joined together in Tjordiir’s mind. The death of the Hammerstone Twins, the chaos of the orc invasion, the burning of Athkatla, visions of people he had never met, all in gruesome deaths.

The man made no movement, not even acknowledging Tjordiir’s presence. Tjordiir looked around and saw all the events of his life surrounding him. Some he could focus on, rewatching his past. Others, when he tried to focus, turned to ash and drifted away. Behind the man stood a large grandfather clock with many faces, some spinning quickly, some stopped, and some ticking just as a normal clock would.

“Time is static, yet everflowing,” the man spoke, a deep voice rising from a seemingly endless void beneath the hood, “You time does not end here,” he spoke in a chilling whisper as he turned the hourglass over, sand pouring from the bottom to top.

~Curna Mountains, 1371

His bones felt heavy and he couldn’t open his eyes. He could hear muffled voices talking in hushed tones. He felt touched and prodded by hands, but he couldn’t move.

“We should hurry out of here, what if the basilisks return?” a high toned voice said.

“Master hin, I am sure we finished them off,” an older voice replied, “Plus, Shino and I are more then capable of taking them on if need be. There is no need to worry.”

Another male voice began chanting, from the tones in his voice, Tjordiir could tell he was not yet fully a man. The boy continued chanting and Tjordiir felt his bones grow lighter. It felt as if his skin was cracking and falling off. Noticing he could clench his fists, he tightened his grip on his darklantern, preparing to flee if more of the Zhentarim were waiting for him. The moment his eyes could see, he darkened the area around himself, raising his shield and preparing to draw Findargland if a fight arose.

“Who are you, where am I?” he demanded, his eyes making out the detail of what seemed to be a cavern.

“I am Danjo,” the old voice replied, “This is my son, Shino. The boy is Sahil, and the hin is Chand. Would you care for some tea, we have much to discuss.”






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Ulfgar Trueforger, Master Smith of Waterdeep

06 AUG 2019

Ulfgar Trueforger wiped his brow, the sweat and gore, now a paste, forming his eyebrows into a pointed peak as he flicked his wrist to rid his hand of the mess. The battle with the Bloodhand Tribe had begun to lull. It was long from done, but they were on the better side of battle in his eye. He smiled, his heart still racing from the heat of battle. He could feel the coin, heavy in his pocket, begging to aquire the finest of ale, and the grandest of a feast, upon the victory he surely knew, would be. He glanced the leader of the simple barbarian tribe, Nimoar, the man who had hired him and gave a simple nod, following him deeper into the tribe’s ground, poised to strike down any foe that would rise.

The battle had reached it’s climax, Ulfgar could feel it in his bones, but to strike down Ulbaerag himself would be the greatest glory. He kept his stride quick, as he often had to with humans, a dwarf may gifted in many things, but stride was not one of them. Nimoar led the way to the largest hobbled hut of the Bloodhands, the home of Ulbaerag Bloodhand. The orc stood outside, with two of his largest brothers, waiting for their arrival.
“Your time has come, savage!” Nimoar spat, most of his companions, cheering at his heels, “If you can manage to take us in combat, this land is rightly yours, but I am sure your death comes here and now.”

The orc stared the man down, hardly changing his stare. He grumbled a gutteral slew of words in the orcish tongue and his two enforcers approached. They wore a savagely compiled set of leather and scales, likely armor they had gotten from prior foes. Ulfgar looked to their weapons, each larger then what he would wield, even slightly too large for the humans he fought along side. One wielded what would be a greatsword, to a human. He swung it as easily as the largest bastard sword, crushing one of the tribe members with it’s dulled edge. The other orc crushed another, swinging a largely too big battle hammer. This one had a hard time lifting his weapon, and Ulfgar took the opening to swing right into the flesh of his arm. The orc recoiled, now unable to lift his weapon. Ulfgar smiled, seeing the look of panic in the beast’s eye as he swung his sword across it’s neck, being the last thing the orc ever saw. The other enforcer fell to Nimoar’s forces, and the group of them stared the orc chieftain in the eye. The orc, enraged, began to charge Nimoar and his tribe as two arrows sunk into each of his legs, both in the thighs and shins. The orc fell forward, he momentum carrying him to Nimoar’s feat.
“I declare this Nimoar’s Hold!” he shouted, thrusting an axe with a quick movement, deep into the orc’s skull.

The bodies were burned, and the repulsive lifestyle of an average northern orc was removed from the grounds. Most huts or other homes were scrapped for firewood as a few of the tribe began the work of felling the woods and prepping the wood to build. Nimoar’s Hold was together well enough by the time the leaves fell, but the frost of autumn had begun to hang in the morning air. The settlement had taken most of the tribes effort to get built, as such, not much had been gathered in the ways of supplies for the cold months approaching. Ulfgar took a group of three other men to scout the woods, in hope for food. Many of the larger beasts had begun to find homes for the winter as well, making larger prey harder to find. They gathered the plants and berries they could find, stashing them away in their packs. One of the men put out traps in certain areas, claiming them to be a “game trail.” They made the efforts they could, but large prey was definitely needed, should they be able to survive the winter.

The group came across a cave, by now, a possible home of a large bear. Ulfgar motioned to one of the men, urging him to follow, leaving the others just outside the cave entrance. The two of them made their way, lightly through the cave. Ulfgar took point, using his dwarven eyes to the advantage, as they gave him visibility in the dark. As he thought, a large bear rested here, even with two cubs. Ulfgar tapped the man three times and pointed. The man squinted, able to barely make out the bears as he nodded. They approached the large bear, Ulfgar plunging a large spike in it’s head as the man swung a large hammer to strike it, piercing the skull, killing the large bear quickly. The cubs stared in a playful confusion, awaiting the same fate.
“Returning with these will do nicely,” Ulfgar said, tying the bears together, dragging the three of them with little effort.

The years went by long enough for tradesmen to have come across Nimoar’s Hold simply by accident. Small trade routes had begun to connect to Mirabar, naturally, Ulfgar helped with the diplomacy of his homeland, urging some to stay in Nimoar’s Hold, helping them to smith their own goods. Among the ones that stayed was Ulfgar’s eventual wife, Ailvana Stoneshield. They lived separate lives for many years before ever marrying. Trade had been established, and Nimoar’s Hold began to prosper. The newfound area of wealth, naturally attracted predators, namely a band of pirates from the south. The first time they attacked, a small number of people fell to their vicious blades. Most attacks they made seemed to nearly cut a man’s arm clean off, some even did. Once they repelled the forces, Ulfgar took one of their fallen blades, inspecting it, bringing it to his forge to learn how this blade cut the way it did. Eventually, he learned this weapon was called a “cutlass,” a common blade among the corsairs of the coast. He crafted himself a blade of the same form, but out of the superior metals from the mines at Mirabar. It took some time, but he completed it quicker then many smiths would. He carved the Trueforger family seal into it’s hilt, along with his personal craftsmen’s seal.

He finished the blade hardly before the were attacked again by the forces of pirates. This time, he attacked with his newly forged blade. It was an agile weapon, easily sinking into the flesh of his foes, he could see why they used them in force. Ulfgar himself made quick work of many of his foes, adjusting quickly to his new blade, Findargland as he came to call it, meaning “luckblade” in his native tongue. The corsairs attacked in a third wave, a desperate final attempt to gain wealth from this new settlement, but by the time they managed their final attempt, Ulfgar had crafted a few of these blades, enough that with his teaching, they became too formidable of a force to take easily, and the pirates eventually let Nimoar’s Hold be, but they had done their damage in the months of raids that had ensued.

Barely able to catch their breath, they began to get raided by the Tethyrian Bull Elk tribe, attempting to take Nimoar’s attained status, common among barbarian tribes. Luckily, many of the tribes did not gather large forces, and the Hold was able to keep their forces at bay, but not before they lit the Hold itself aflame. Ulfgar fought the barbarians off, but much of the hold was lost before the flame was extinguished. The citizens of Nimoar’s Hold worked double time through the heat of the summer sun, working day and night to rebuild the settlement before the winter began to bite. This was many sleepless nights of endlesss forging, but Ulfgar enjoyed the work. His true talent and passion was molding the ores of his homeland, forming a range of objects for day to day life.

With the winter’s bite, came a peace of raiding. Ulfgar took advantage of the reprieve by forging an armory, beginning to arm and teach every able citizen of Nimoar’s Hold. By the following spring, the forces of Nimoar’s Hold had grown strong, as had the walls. Everyone had worked long days to enforce the settlement, with hopes to prevent further raids. Their efforts did not go in vain, as with the defenses and teaching from Ulfgar, the future attempts to take the Hold did not succeed.

Ulfgar continued his teachings while Nimoar’s Hold prospered, eventually Ailvana Stoneshield caught his eye. She became his star pupil, as he focused much of his attention on her. Eventually, they fought side by side in battle when trolls began to invade from the north. Nimoar led a portion of the forces from the hold, including Ulfgar and Ailvana, beginning the First Trollwar. The two dwarves began to compete with their combat kills, leading to their admiration of each other, eventually finding love in the midst of a war that spanned many months. When the forces of Nimoar’s Hold returned, they discovered another orc uprising had been killing gnomish tribes in the Sword Mountains, but Nimoar chose to not get involved, other then take in any refuges they may find their village. Ulfgar and Ailvana made Ulfgar’s small forgehome into a home with room enough for a family and Ulfgar settled into the normal day to day of a husband and blacksmith.

Nimoar’s descision proved to be poor when the Hold was attacked by the orcish army of Uruth Ukrypt. Again forced into combat, Ulfgar joined Nimoar, leaving Ailvana to protect their home and village. Many skirmishes are fought, and many forces fall. Several of the soldiers take severe injuries, including Nimoar himself. Ulfgar lead the forces to victory, after many bloody battles, and brought the survivors home to hear the troll raids had returned. He sent a messager to Mirabar and Silverymoon, calling for aid, as the remaining fighting forces banded to protect the village. United under Aeroth, War Captain of Silverymoon; Samular Caradoon of Tyr; and Ahghairon, the mage, they fight for many years in the Second Trollwar. Ulfgar foughts for many years, but lead a force of injured back to Nimoar’s Hold, which some had begun to call “Waterdeep.”

Ulfgar’s age had begun to catch up to him, and he longed to have a son before he died. He retired in his forgehome, spending the days helping to build Castle Waterdeep. He gained two sons before his death, twins named Rurik and Rorin. He gifted Findargland to him, as it had treated him well sense the day he forged it. Ulfgar saw the completion of Castle Waterdeep and the construction of most of the stone homes before he died only halfway through an average dwarf’s life, his many gathered battlescars eventually doing his body in…







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Haunted

20 AUG 2019

“You are filthy, Arausamman, your clothes are covered in ash, you’ve let your beard get split ends…”

The night sky smelled of fresh flame and heavy smoke. Tjordiir looked over his shoulders, the burning walls of Athkatla still easily seen, even a distance away. He gave a hearty cough, ash mixed in blood covering his gloved hand. Now a proper distance from the city, he took a moment to pour some water from his water skin over his flame licked face, washing away a small amount of dried blood and soot. The smoke rose from the city, blending with the Tears of Selune into a serene canvas. Tjordiir turned to face the south and continued walking, wishing to put the fires of Athkatla long behind him…

The days following were a grueling trek, as Ahm was not kind to travels in the months just before winter. The such sought after climates of the region left a harsh rain season, causing many rivers in the area to swell beyond their banks. Traditional routes to travel through Ahm could easily succumb to being washed out if they were near any bodies of water, the crossing of River Esmel being the most pressing. Lucky for Tjordiir, arrival at it’s banks turned in his favor and he able to make his way into the Small Teeth mountains for a moment of reprieve.

“Don’t forget to eat, Arausamman. There is quite the journey ahead should you find yourself free of Ahm.”

Tjordiir managed to find a small cave to hold up through the winter months, the winter’s bite was even harsh in the warmth of Ahm. He left the cave only to hunt and forage what he could, barely scraping by. He kept off the main trade route through the pass, as surely he was a wanted man. King Dhanar was not a forgiving man, and surely helping his enemy escape wasn’t something he would rightly forget. Eventually, the sun began to rise earlier, and stay out longer. The snow pack in the mountains began to flow, showing the colder months of winter to be passed. Tjordiir took one last look at the rising sun from atop the mountain pass.

“A beautiful view, so picturesque. If only I had the chance to capture it in canvas and have it last forever.”

Tjordiir trekked through the mountains themselves, keeping off the beaten path. Most of the larger predators had hardly begun to wake from hibernation, making his journey about as simple as it could be. He could barely make out the sure signs of homes, coming out of the southeastern edge of the mountains to the small trading post of Brost. Tjordiir traded some of his spare blacksmith tools for some dried meats and berries, gathered from the Forest of Tethir to the south, deciding that would be he next venture.

The traders in Brost warned him not to travel to deep, especially alone, as the beasts of the woods could easily overtake a grown man. Tjordiir saw this as nothing more then a challenge, venturing into the woods nonetheless. The intertwined branches of the forest created a thick canopy, making the woods cool and much darker then the outside. Tjordiir felt more at home, as the environment felt very similar to the underground caves of home. He lost track of the days and even direction he traveled as he wandered through the Forest of Tethir. Occasionally, he would have to fight off an average forest beast, but Findargland turned any beast into a meal with little effort. The normal joy of combat did little to brighten his day as Tjordiir trudged through aimlessly.

“Perhaps it would be best to find a place to relax, Arausamman, you look tired.”

Tjordiir found his way to the edge of the woods, looking at a larger city then the once he had left. As it seemed to be larger then a trading post, surely he could find a decent ale. He wandered into the town and into the first tavern he came across. The barkeep was an elven man, similar in looks to Alim. Tjordiir looked at him multiple times before realizing, despite his wildest hopes, that the elf was a different man. He sat at the bar, ordering the strongest ale they offered and began to drink until he was the last one in the bar.

“What brings you to Riatavin, friend?” the tavernkeep asked.

Tjordiir finished his drink, motioning for it to be refilled, “It is a tale of glory and wonder,” he slurred, waving his hands sarcastically, “An asshole burned down my home, and killed many of my friends, even my lover.”

“Surely, you aren’t implying the fires in Athkatla?”

Tjordiir finished the dregs of the refilled mug, tapping on the side, “Yup.”

“Enducive,” the elf motioned to himself, “And you are?”

“Tired,” Tjordiir replied, laying his head down on the bar. The smell of burning flesh assaulted his nose, the heat of the flames warming his skin. Alim’s shallow breathing pressing him to move quickly through the immolating streets of Athkatla. Screams burst out from homes that were taken by the swiftly growing flames. Tjordiir saw little hope to escape the hell they were in.

“Leave me, Arausamman.”

Just as quick as he had nodded off, he woke again, still facing the tavernkeep. Feeling embarassed, he introduced himself telling the tale of how he escaped the flames. Enducive listened intently, letting the dwarf get out the pain he kept inside.

“What do you know of the Harpers?” the tavernkeep asked, filling the dwarves cup in preparation of a long tale himself.






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The Death of a Slayer

05 SEP 2019

The cool embrace of stone, the heat of the flame, they bring purpose to our shapeless form. Father strikes against steel, each impact, a steady blow. The precision of his strikes are those of a trained master craftsmen. Despite his hurried efforts, his blows leave no imperfections. The alloys that make us meld together as seamlessly as the Weave itself. We live for one purpose and we will fulfill.

We are Noragh-Corlar.

The quickened movements of our master make quick work of our foe. Without us, he would surely perish. Death stared down this battered ronin, yet he stands his ground. We too will push on. Father aids us, pushing us away as he defends himself against a barrage of scythes. Death comes for him as well. Master refuses to die, and refuses to let Father be left. In a final attempt of heroism, we slice though Death again, this time forced to leave Father behind.

Rejoice, Father lives. Death does not.

Abandonment. Father leaves us. Surrounded by vile darkness. Master is unshaken. We glide through their tainted flesh, purging them from existence. One by one, each slice as deadly as the last. Master wields us in a fury like no other. Determination on his face, tears in his eyes. We weave through and through until there is no more. Master weeps.

“Shino, my boy…”

Madness surrounds us, we are ready. Master runs, Father follows. Blood, so much blood. The stench is everywhere. A form approaches from the stench, striking Master blind and afraid. Father comes, he touches our form, granting us a boon to fight. Master gains his senses, we have one purpose and we will fulfill. Master slashes and weaves, we cut deep into the flesh. Three swift blows and a new stench lies on the ground. Master slashes us through the form’s weapon, and we cut it just the same. In a flash of bright light, we prove our purpose.

A crack, a sizzle. What is this power? We feel sick, weakened. We are not long for this world. Master? Father?

We have….

one purpose…

We are…







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Dancing With the Devil

25 SEP 2019

Low chanting echoed through the halls of the Underdark. Tjordiir could feel it in his very soul, these were cultists of a nefarious nature. The walls and ground he and his companions stood on were crumbling apart, falling into a bottomless void, the only way to go was forward.

“This is what we’re here for!” Tjordiir beckoned, drawing Findargland from it’s sheath, “We need to stop this!”

Danjo, without hesitation, drew his virgin blade from his side. The jagged edges of Raughathuld glistening in the shining halls they stood in. Just as quick as he drew the blade, he leaned down, planting a kiss on Tjordiir, and returned to his cold composure. The cruelty of Raughathuld’s edge only matched by it’s master.

The chanting grew louder and the tell tale sounds of teleportation could be heard amongst them. Tjordiir knew, whoever was here, it was surely to be an epic battle. He could tell by Danjo’s resolve, and the resolve of all his comrades, they were prepared to die.

“Deladaraugh Arausamman,” he thought to himself, rounding the final cavern twist.

In all his days of fighting, Tjordiir had always been resolute. Never breaking his demeanor, and always getting the job done. When he rounded the final twist, what he saw struck fear into his heart, causing him to break into a cold sweat. His companions all looked at him while he stared through the illusionary wall before then. There a figure stood, a ruby tipped, blackened rod in hand. His flesh was a crimson shade, and tall twisted horns adorned his head.

Asmodeus, Supreme Ruler of the Nine Hells, stood on the other side of the wall, with an army of pit friends in tow.

“Onward!” Danjo beckoned, raising his banner high, oblivious to the danger beyond the illusionary wall.

“We need to prepare,” Tjordiir managed to get out from his fear shaken lips, “If we are to face THAT, we need to prepare.”

Epaphus began muttering a story to himself, bolstering his allies spirits. Just as he did, a battered dwarf fell through the wall, blood pouring from his many wounds.

“Shut your mouths!” He managed to say before collapsing, “Take my shit and get out of here. You need to stop this!”

Sahil rushed to his side, in an attempt to staunch the dwarf’s wounds. Tjordiir took one look at his brother in arms and knew exactly what he was. His armor and possessions showed him to be a Deep Defender of the Great Rift, one of the finest dwarven warriors in all of Abeir-Toril.

Sahil’s first attempts to heal the dwarf did next to nothing for his wounds, so he attempted his strongest ability. As the blue-white energy formed around Sahil’s hands, nearing the dwarf’s body, a blackened tar creature burst from his skin. In pure reflex, Danjo swung at the creature, which in turn warped around his blade, causing Raughathuld to sink deep into Sahil’s flesh. Sahil’s spell resolved, doing little to help the dwarf, but the creature inside he seemed to be at rest.

“Get out of here before he notices you are here!” The dwarf coughed a mouthful of blood onto the pebbled ground. Tjordiir mustered up the strength granted to him by the Earthblood and lifted up the dwarf in full armor. He put him over his shoulder and began hurrying back into the chaos of the collapsing caverns.

“To the tomb!” He spoke to his companions, making his way back to the presumed resting place of Abysthor.

Tjordiir began stripping the dwarf out of his gear, exactly how his brother asked. His breathing was shallow, Tjordiir had hope for him still. The rumbling of the collapsing caverns grew loader outside the tomb.

“Praise Haela,” Tjordiir whispered to himself, recognizing a praised blade among the kaxanar, a luck blade with one wish bound to it, “We can use his to leave!” He exclaimed to his companions, “Where should we go?”

“The Astrolabe of the Cosmos,” Epahus said, “We could then travel back in time to before any of this happened and prevent it from coming.”

“The Black Monolith,” Danjo said, almost immediately as Epaphus spoke.

“Which is it?” Shino demanded as the ceiling began to crumble, large chunks falling into the chamber, “**** it, we need to leave,” he said, rushing out of the tomb.

Tjordiir hastily grabbed the dwarf’s possessions, luck blade in hand, and followed Shino. The Astrolabe made sense to him, so he spoke in a clear and concise voice, “I wish for myself, Tjordiir Trueforger and my allies, Chand Breckens, Epaphus Nalambar, Shino Fumei, Aoda Danjo Gumo, Sahil the trash picker shaman of ormphe, to be translocated to the Astrolabe of the Cosmos with all our possessions and in full health and vigor.”

Immediately, swirling energy could be felt around them. The sounds of teleportation magic began, and just as quick as they did, time slowed to an almost stop. Another devilish being appeared, flowing scrolls cascading around him.

“As great as it would be to have your souls hear and now, it would be a pity to waste the opportunity for thousands. You can’t travel to the Astrolabe without breaking our deal, granted, I can’t stop you,” the smugness of the devil’s face was palpable, “Do what you will, I just mearly thought you should know of your, and by definition, Albeir-Toril’s impending doom.”

Tjordiir cleared his throat, and corrected his wish, “…to be translocated to the Black Monolith with all our possessions and in full health and vigor.”

The teleportation magic swirled back to life as time seemed to rush to right itself and in a blink, Tjordiir and his companions were in a silent hall with a wall of blackness behind them. Shino pulled out his sword and poked into the darkened wall, causing his sword to disappear entirely, “Looks like we have but one way to go gentlemen,” he said making hai way down the hall, the rest of the party following shortly behind.

The hall ended in a massive chamber, a towering monolith of onyx stone rising to the ceiling and plunging deep into a pit it was surrounded by. Tjordiir could just hardly make out what looked like an elder man, seemingly trapped inside the monolith.

“I think that might be Abysthor,” Tjordiir said, his voice booming in the silence.

“I expected a battle when we found it,” Danjo seemed confused, “This has got to be the Black Monolith.”

“Do you see that?” Chand asked, motioning to a notch in the Monolith itself, “It looks like that rod might fit right in there.”

“Hand it here Chand,” Shino said, “I can walk across the air with my magics and attempt it, there doesn’t seem to be any edge for us to stand on.”

As soon as Shino inserted the rod, the monolith made a loud cracking noise, seeming to come to life. Pressure released along miniscule cracks in it’s surface, opening up to free the man inside. He woke slowly, looking out to his saviors.

“Abysthor, is that you?” Sahil spoke in a hushed voice.

“Indeed,” the man replied, “I prayed for assistance and here you are. Tell me, have you brought the Earthblood?”

“We have,” Sahil replied.

“Then be quick, time is of the essence,” Abysthor motioned for them to join him in the monolith, “I will need assistance, as this will consume my very essence. Do not attempt to persuade me, or stop me, this MUST be done. Each of you can share the burden, but know, I will be gone when it is done. Are you prepared?”

“Without hesitation,” Danjo replied, speaking for the group.

“Then place your vials here,” Abysthor motioned to small compartments along the walls of the inner chamber of the monolith. The monolith hummed to life again and Abysthor began to look drained and skeletal. Tjordiir felt the same energy course thoughout his body, and judging by their faces, so did his companions. As the energy was being siphoned from their souls, Tjordiir looked outside the monolith to see Asmodeus appear outside in a fury. He roared in anger, blasting the side of the monolith with his ruby rod, a seemingly unending source of power colliding with the monolith itself. The monolith stood strong as Abysthor withered away and the ritual completed.

“Go to the Glacial Sea, seek the three knuckled hand,” his ghostly form whispered as it too vanished into nothingness.







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Eternal Torment in the Endless Wastes Part 1 / 2

23 OCT 2019

Howling winter winds assaulted Tjordiir’s senses, iced flakes piercing his eyes. He held a hand up high to block the winds, looking around for his allies. Shino danced his hands in a way Tjordiir had seen before, making their bodies able to survive their present conditions.

“This won’t last long if this storm worsens at all!” He shouted.

Sahil held his prayer beads aloft, chanting a small prayer. The storm calmed significantly, but still raged outside Sahil’s extended aura.

“This can buy us some time, we will still need shelter from the storm. I need to rest to better prepare, I need to commune with the spirits.”

“Get the anytools, we can dig down into the Earth, maybe even reach stone, then Shino could stone shape us a hovel,” Chand suggested.

Seeing no other option, Danjo and Tjordiir took the anytools and attempted to dig into the frozen tundra. The ground was frozen solid, as suspected, so Chand and Shino both used their more pyromantic ways of the arts to soften the ground. The fire easily warmed the Earth, allowing penetration from the shovel blades. After a fair amount of progress had been made, suddenly Danjo and Tjordiir were blasted from the hole in a huge explosion.

“Ah… methane,” Chand said, sniffing the air, “Had I not be rattled by the past events just now, I might’ve thought to mention that.”

“Thank you… Master Hin,” Danjo grumbled, getting to his feet once more.

Just as composure was had by all, a horrid abomination dropped from the sky in an exagerrated thud. It growled a hungered cry and lunged for the group, only to be met by Findargland striking it’s body. Tjordiir was at it’s side in a blink, before Danjo had even fully pulled his blade. Just as Danjo got to his side, the abomination leaped away, disappearing from sight. Everyone kept their wits up, expecting the creature to likely return. A few moments passed, and shelter began to be discussed again. Tjordiir’s eyes never left the sky, he could tell that Danjo too, was on edge, awaiting the creature’s return.

As suspected, it dropped from the sky once more, dropping behind Epaphus and taking a bite from his shoulder. It’s hesitation gave Sahil time to recognize it’s form.

“That’s a famine demon! They can rip you apart in seconds,” he yelled, rushing to Epahus’s side. Tjordiir and Danjo rushed to the famine demon, bolstered by their confidence.

“I’ve got you now, fat boy!” Danjo challenged, eyes stern in the heat of battle.

“For Torm, it is my duty to strike you down, may the Luckmaiden guide my blade,” Tjordiir thought a silent prayer, enchanting his blade against this foe.

Raughathuld cut deep into the demon, it’s teeth ripping into the flesh in a bloodthirsty bite. Findargland flashed in a swift strike across the demon’s stomach, spilling it’s intestines onto the ground. As quick as it had shown it’s form, the demon was dealt with. Danjo flicked his blade clean of gore, returning it to his side, while Tjordiir took a moment to clean his in the snow.

“Is he alright, Sahil?” Danjo asked.

“He will be fine, the demon barely got him before it was dealt with,” Sahil responded, “Perhaps it would be best that I push myself. I will definitely need a rest, but I could conjure a wall of stone, Shino could form it into shelter.”

Just as Chand had suggested, Shino formed a hovel from stone. Between everyone’s magic and the hovel protecting them from the wind, they managed to survive the night. Epaphus conjured a meal in the morning, as they came outside much lighter weather then the day before, combined with Sahil’s magic they could actually make out the time of day.

It was a few bells past high sun. In the distance, there was a mountain range, nothing but frozen tundra for miles in all directions.

A bright red celestial body rested in the skies above Abier-Toril…






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The Beginning of the End: Eternal Torment Part 2

13 DEC 2019

A howling gale tore the group apart as they stepped out from their fairy ring’s retreat. Shino and Chand tumbled away in one direction, the rest scattering from Tjordiir’s reach. The storm blew salted sea air into his eyes, but Tjordiir still managed to spot a couple forms not far from him. As Haela’s grace would have it, the winds seemed to shift in his favor, pushing him close enough to see Danjo and Sahil together in the storm. Tjordiir could feel the power of the Earthbood course through his veins as he grabbed each of his allies and held strong. The gusting winds slammed into his body, attempting to break them apart, but he held strong, despite it’s force.

“We have faced death itself, we have killed an obscene number of demons, devils, and forces unknown, just in the last few days. We were brought together by forces unknown, Hell even by possibly luck itself. We are not dying to a damned storm! Chauntea, grant me your strength that flows through my blood; Haela, give me the luck I need one last time!”

Epaphus appeared, his wings flapping wildly, as if he was attempting to stabilize himself in the storm. Tjordiir snapped from his thoughts, staring at the Aasimir child in front of him. He had not a single hand free, and the winds were too strong to try and tie off his allies he had. He caught the eyes of Epaphus, staring him down, preparing to cast a spell. He managed the hand gesture of his signature spell, grabbing hold of the Aasimir’s bones. Epaphus grimaced in pain as Tjordiir pulled him close enough to get a strong grip on the dwarf’s shoulder. Sahil pointed behind them to a mass in the clouds a small distance from them. Just as he pointed to them, a fireball shot of the mass up into the sky. As it burned through the clouds, the storm seemed to stop. The snow, wind, rain, everything to a halt. A darkened mass appeared in a slight feminine form. Tendrils of the void came off it’s head, as if to simulate hair. “Everyone to me!” Sahil shouted as loud as he could. The form took his advice, teleporting to him faster then Tjordiir could blink. In a speed just as quick, Raugathuld sliced through the being’s torso before it had a chance to do anything, a cold and stern look across Danjo’s face. The storm roared back to life before Tjordiir had a chance to catch his breath. Sahil grabbed a bag from his side and said a quick prayer, casting out a massive net for his allies to grab hold. Shino grabbed hold first and began pulling the net into himself to climb towards Sahil and shrink the area of the net for everyone around him. Tjordiir immediately followed in his steps, as did the rest of his allies in one form or another. Once they were all to Sahil, the shaman child said another small prayer, sending him and his allies to another place.

Tjordiir could hear waves crashing against stone and seagulls chirping. His ears were ringing slightly from the overpowering sound of the storm that he could now see far at sea. He turned around, seeing his allies around him, and a large three-knuckled spire not a half day’s travel from where they stood. His allies stood for a moment, deliberating what to do. Tjordiir, determined to see this venture through, began making his way to the spire, hoping they would follow. He had hardly managed twenty paces when a low rumbling came from the ocean. He turned around to see Shino fumbling to get his armor back on, and a large demonic form coming from the ocean. The form was colorful and bloated, like a drowned corpse, and was advancing directly toward Tjordiir. Chand blasted it with his eldric magic, the form seemed to retaliate by forcing Chand to begin drowning. The hin began to bloat, just as the form itself looked. He started choking and turning blue, while water poured from every pore. Shino, half dressed, looked at the form and mumbled a chant Tjordiir had never heard. With a simple gesture, a beam came from his finger tips, colliding with the form in the ocean. Tjordiir could feel a powerful blast of magic come from the collision and the form turned to dust, blowing away in the wind.

“My boy, your education was worth it!” Danjo exclaimed as Chand managed to recover from his drowning, “Master dwarf, might my son get his armor on before we continue?”





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Helpless

14 JAN 2020

Birds chirped and twittered through the trees, surrounding the forest clearing. The damp smell of underbrush and the familiar feel of earthen ground felt like a reprieve under Tjordiir’s boots, however short-lived it would be.

“Shino, could you form me another forge and assist me one final time?” He asked the younger of the wanese men.

“Of course, Master Dwarf,” Shino replied, creating the forge he had grown accustomed to creating.

Fire burst from the shrouded skies above them, Chand still nowhere to be seen. The heat engulfed Tjordiir, singeing the tips of his braided beard, while his hearty constitution defied the nature of it’s burns, just as it had in Athkatla.

“Do not fear the flames, Arausamman. You must push on, it is your duty to help these men.”

Tjordiir looked to his allies, all holding strong against the flame, and all prepared with various armaments to destroy whatever came into view. Danjo had taken a bow from one of Epaphus’s summoned allies; Shino stood strong, readied to unleash destruction on the first enemy that was spotted; even Epaphus, dying to a chunk of wood in his chest, was ready as he leaned hard on Sahil’s shoulder. Tjordiir looked to the sky and then to Findargland, realizing how ill prepared he was for this moment.

In a moment, shorter then a blink, three robed figures burst from the sky, unleashing hell once more upon his allies.

“Your flames are shit!” Danjo yelled, releasing his readied arrow, piercing one of the figures through the heart, dropping him from the sky. Shino flicked his hand, mumbling a spell Tjordiir had begun to recognize, and a beam came from his fingertips, turning another figure to dust. Epaphus mustered up a breath, despite his pierced chest, and let out an angelic pitch from his lips, obliterating the final form with bolts of lightning.

“You do not have to be strong by yourself, Arausamman, you have friends that can help you this time.”

Tjordiir hammered fervently, shaping the hilt and blade of his new weapon. Sahil sat by Epaphus’s side, making sure the Aasimar was healing after having removed his fatal wound. The constant reminder of the scarlet moon hovered in the back of Tjordiir’s mind as he hammered quicker and harder, fighting the exhaustion that crept in his bones, while Shino stood by his side, keeping his fire strong.

“A dwarf is not a coward!” Battlebrave beckoned to his trainees, “We fight to the end, kicking and biting if we must! That said, your weapon is your best friend, your lover, and the one thing you should always be able to trust. If this is shown to be untrue, you have brought dishonor to your kind. Never be caught ill prepared, it is the difference between life and death!”

Tjordiir watched the crazed dwarf inspire him and his allies, his baubled beard flying wildly in the frigid winds that rose over Mirabar’s walls.

“Today, we take the fight to those that breached our walls and killed our brothers and sisters. Bring honor to them in their afterlife!”

Tjordiir grabbed hold of his fire opal bead, now woven into his beard, “For Haela, for Hemit,” he spoke softly to himself.

“Deladaragh!” Battlebeard shouted, raising his weapon, the mass of dwarves returning his cry.

Tjordiir raised his new weapon from the flames, examining the hilt to be sure of it’s integrity. He waved Shino away, letting him rest with his allies. Giving it a small toss into a nearby tree trunk, Tjordiir felt it would make a fine javelin.

“May you strike true when I need you to, Cridhesaynt.”





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Remorse

17 FEB 2020

“Righteousness!” Sahil shouted, finishing his prayer to the triad. His dire flail sprung to life, as he shifted forms into a frost giant. The dire flail smashed into various demons, eager to take his allies down. Shino and Chand sprung to action, throwing their spells in either direction, desperate in the midst of the action. Ephaphus began his angelic chant, it’s boon coarsing strong in Tjordiir’s veins.

Raugathuld was already in the midst of the action, it’s teething shining red as it tore through flesh. Danjo slashed wildly, determined to tear his innards from within, “IT’S INSIDE ME, GET IT OUT!!!!” he yelled, tearing his own skin apart.

Before Tjordiir could move, one of the demons managed to cause the terrain to change in mysterious ways, forcing everyone within to move at a much slower pace. Tjordiir trudged along, watching his brother in arms tear into his flesh with the very blade he made.

“MAGGOTS! I CAN FEEL THEM CRAWL!!!!” Danjo shouted, flesh and blood flying from his chest, quenching Raugathuld’s viscous thirst. Tjordiir pushed through, hoping his allies behind could bide him the time. Each step a labor to take, staring as the blade slashed gore from it’s master.

The demons grew in force, a wolf headed, crimson skinned beast at it’s head. A twisted serpent slithered wildly, attacking a small militia of gold dwarves, making ease of their opponents. Tjordiir watched in horror as his brothers fell, stepping quicker as he neared Danjo’s side. He held his fire opal tight and touched Danjo’s side, freeing him of the trickery that plagued his mind.

Now resolute, and healed from his wounds, Danjo looked to the crimson skinned Molydeus.
“It took balls to attack up so brazenly! You’re about to lose them!” Raugathuld clashed with the demon’s hide, biting deep, yet hardly piercing it’s hide. The serpent lashed out, killing another dwarf in it’s path, its greataxe gleaming in menace. Tjordiir stood next to Danjo’s side, entangled with a serpentine demon, slashing quick with Findargland, trading blows with his shield, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The demon slithered wrong, exposing it’s softer flesh, and Tjordiir slashed Findargland deep, killing the demon where it stood. Several of the dwarves to the other side of Tjordir and his allies fell to a barrage of arrows, revealing a powerful foe. Tjordiir slipped Findargland back into it’s sheath, taking Cridhesaynt from it’s shealth on his back. Making his way around the corner, Tjordiir willed wings to Cridhesaynt’s side, ready to hurl it down the hall as far as it needed to go to strike whatever was down there. Another barrage met flesh just before Tjordiir stepped around the corner. The Earthblood coursed strong through his veins, along with the spells of his allies. Epaphus’s solemn hymn brought a tear to his eye as he hurled Cridhesaynt down the hall with all his strength. He smiled as he heard Danjo cry in absolute anguish, collapsing his kness beneath the Molydeus. Sahil turned to face the Molydeus, the dire flail smashing into it’s hide. The Molydeus recoiled as Sahil continued pummeling into it. Tjordiir spinted to Danjo’s side, once again healing his ally. Danjo slashed again with Molydeus, this time cutting it enough to bleed, as it’s glimmering greataxe came slashing in retaliation. Raugathuld fell in an arc of blood, clattering to the ground. The metal on stone echoed through the halls as Danjo’s head flew through the air, blood spraying from his neck. The samurai fell to his knees and his body went limp as his head rolled to the ground.

“Another one falls,” Tjordiir thought, defeated inside, “Not you too, Arausamman…”

He drew Findargland, turning to see Shino cleaved in half by this destructive beast, exposing the disc he had just been told of from his chest. “A sick joke, this ‘luck’, maybe mine has finally run out,” Shino fell to his father’s side, their blood pooling together as Sahil pummeled into the Molydeus further, the flail tangling with it’s greataxe, just as it had with the reapers. Chand, in a epic surge of magic, dispelled every spell from the Molydeus’s greataxe, making it’s vicous blade, no more then mundane. Tjordiir rushed into the fray, “Forgive me Haela, I accept my fate.” Findargland ripped deep into the demon’s hide, as it’s massive blade smashed into his chest, cutting him deep into his chest. Sahil’s flail ripped the axe from the Molydeus, and it clattered to the ground. Epaphus, with a small flair to his ballad, summoned a hound archon into the fray. His summoned ally grabbed the axe and teleported to behind Sahil, out of the demon’s grasp. Sahil let loose a massive barrage from the multi-headed dire flail, smashing the Molydeus to it’s death.

“I live again, is this luck, or a curse?”




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Belief

24 FEB 2020

“Do you know what the purest thing in the multiverse is though, Tjordiir? So pure, no lie can refute it? No deception is powerful enough to steer it astray? Not illusion can obfuscate it?” His crimson robes flowed gracefully from his tattooed form, the color an homage to his eyes in his former body.

“Nothing come to mind immediately,” Tjordiir replied, “Time?”

“I am sincerely concerned, Tjordiir, truly,” he replied, “Belief, nothing can obfuscate faith or belief.”
**

-Mirabar

Tjordiir snapped to, seeing his allies entangled with a mass of vines bursting from the tapestries on the walls. Augustus held his shield strong, slashing back at the vines while Royce kept his battle hymn strong. Haela and Hemet were both in the fray, Haela holding her fire opal high, recoiling a large mass of vines while Hemet dug deep with his Naek. Now recovered, Tjordiir rushed to Augustus’s side, helping him push back the mass he was entangled in. With a mild amount of effort, Tjordiir and his allies were able to make their way to the end of the hall. The doors were ornate, made of brass and iron, swirling filigree vines covering it’s surface. Royce made quick work of the lock that held the door shut and they rushed inside, closing the door to what remained of the vines behind. The room was mostly empty, withered vines pouring in through the caves in roof. Their discoloration made them of little worry in Tjordiir’s mind, as they looked long malnourished. In the center of the room sat one large, lonesome chest, glittering in the sunlight. Suspiciously, no wildlife had settled on the whole above, no birds were chirping outside, not even a single rat or bug skittered in the room. Royce approached the chest haphazardly, while Tjordiir looked around the room.

“Well, that was loads of fun!” He said, twirling his thieves tools in his hand, ready to disarm and unlock the chest before them. With a simple twist a turn, the lid sprung open, revealing it gemmed and golden contents, “What luck, valuables for our efforts! We’re rich!”

“Royce wait!” Tjordiir shouted, just as a mass of tongues shot out, ripping Royce off his feet, entangling him into the chest. A spray of blood burst from its seam as the lid slammed shut, crunching what remained of Royce. Before anyone could react, the tongues shot out again, wrapping around Augustus’s sword arm, beginning to drag him in. Tjordiir tried to aid his ally and stepped in a viscous goo, adhering him to the floor where he stood. Hemet too was encapsulated in tongues, fighting to the best of his ability to escape.

Haela watched in horror as her companions were slowly drug into their likely room, Royce’s gore coating the maw that pulled them in. She held her fire opal amulet high and stood strong in her composure.

“Lady of the Fray, grant me your boon. Lend me your strength and, best of all, lend me your luck. Let us live to battle again!” Haela seemed to glow in a radiant aura, growing in size. The power of the Weave seemed to focus strong where should stood as she took her war hammer, smashing into the mass of tongues, turning the flesh to ash upon contact. She freed her brother first, who then went into a wild rage, beating the chest itself into splinters while Haela managed to free her other allies from the mass of tongues. Once they took a moment to gain their composure, they held a small sigil for Royce, and collected what they could of both the coins and his remains.

**

“Belief must be true, for the necessry and natural instincts of all beings to have the freedom to tell their own tales, as they see fit. To live their lives through their own truth, regardless of how others perceive that self-truth.”, the robed man stated with power, “You, Tjordiir, have told your own truth. You have been truthful to yourself. The Emerald Enclave, the Zhentarim, and others accuse the Harpers of falsehood, lies, deceipt, and worse, as they oppose…. their world view. Who is right, Tjordiir?”, he asks.

**

-Snowflake Mountains, Erlkazar






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20 APR 2020

“What do you desire, Tjordiir?” Leira asked in their typical flourish, their crimson robes billowing out behind them, “You, my most devout, my first follower. You can can have anything you want.”

Tjordiir took in his surroundings, but nothing seemed familiar. All around him was a gray, never ending landscape.

“The Fugue Plane,” Leira stated, as if to answer the question Tjordiir had yet to ask, “This place makes me uncomfortable, you care for a drink?”

“I would love an ale,” Tjordiir said, still coming to terms with his death.

With a swoop of their sleeves, Leira changed their backdrop to that of Blackmane’s Brews. Enducive was behind the bar, polishing a glass, just as he always had when there were little patrons to the establishment.

“Radamander Sweet, leave the bottle,” Leira said with a smile, obviously aware of their patrons preferred beverage. They poured Tjordiir a overflowing pint, handing it to him before pouring themselves a pint. Tjordiir took down the pint in a thirsted gulp, while Leira leisurely sipped at theirs. They poured Tjordiir a second pint, sliding him the bottle as well.

“If you could be anywhere, where would you be Tjordiir? What would you want if you could have whatever you desired?”

Tjordiir finished his pint, taking the bottle in hand. In a long swig, he replied, “I’ve dreamt of retiring, having my own tavern. Danjo would be there, serving tea to other patrons as well…”

In an instant, Tjordiir was brought to the tavern of his dreams. High in the mountains of Wa, surrounded by clouds and mist, The Guzzling Golem was a serene place of solitude. Outside, Shino manned the flames of an elaborate forge, while inside, his father served tea to the couple patrons that visited. The massive Iron Golem head adorned the wall, its mouth made into a tap. Findargland and Raugathuld sat above the head, crossed and hung in care. Sahil sat at a table with Pak-Pak, feeding the bird seeds, while he enjoyed a cup of Halruan Black Tea from Danjo’s cracked ceramic pot.

“It’s perfect,” Tjordiir said with a tear.

“Is it what you desire?” Leira asked again.

“Can you take me to Athkatla?” Tjordiir asked between tears, “Can you take me to Alim?”

“You can do anything you like, Tjordiir. You have the freedom, the choice to do so. Would you like to go to Athkatla?”

“I would,” the dwarf replied, drying his tears.

As quick as they were taken to the tavern, Athkatla formed before Tjordiir’s eyes. The view from his flat window was his favorite in all of Athkatla. He could see over all the roofs of the slums, far to the temples of the Temple District.
On a clear day, the Cloud Peaks could be seen just past the city walls. The salted air of the sea filled his senses, he felt at home.

“Arausamman, you’ve been gone for so long.”

Tjordiir’s heart skipped a beat. That voice was not one he thought he would ever hear aloud again. He turned around to see Alim Nessik, sitting on the edge of their bed, dressed in his finest silken robes. His silvered locks draped over his shoulders, pulled back behind a headwreath of flowers.

“I-i-is that really you, samman?” Tjordiir said, dropping his shield to the ground, rushing to the bedside. He grabbed Alim’s face and stared into his piercing green eyes. He felt the warmth of flesh, the air of breath on his flesh, “It’s you, it’s you…” Tjordiir collapsed into Alim’s lap in tears of joy.

“You can stay here in perpetuity, or you can return to your allies, the choice is yours Tjordiir. I can give you a moment to decide,” Leira said as they vanished in a crimson flourish.

“It is good to see you again, Arausamman,” Alim said, stroking Tjordiir’s matted hair, “It seems some time has passed, I remember more red then gray,” he chuckled.

“Too much time has passed, samman,” Tjordiir said, standing from the bed, making his way to their tub. He stripped down, filling his bath to wash the years of torment and death off his skin. Alim stood at his side, tracing over his many new scars.

“You have been busy, Arausamman, a tortured life.”

Tjordiir climbed into the bath, the warmth a long missed comfort, “All too true, samman. Now that is done, and I can enjoy my life with you.”

Alim filled a large pot with water and herbs, taking a sturdy pick to Tjordiir’s hair, and began working the knots and tangles from the dwarfs matted mane. With each worked section, Alim then rebraided the hair, now much softer and cleaner then it was before. Tjordiir cleaned his body himself, dirt and dried blood filling the tub quickly. He drained and refilled the tub several times, until the years of anguish were no longer felt upon his skin.

“I choose to stay, Leira,” Tjordiir said, not even opening his eyes is his bath.

“Then that is your choice,” a disembodied voice echoed and faded, leaving Tjordiir to enjoy his afterlife.

Tjordiir donned his earth-toned, silken robes, putting his elaborate armor on a stand next to the armoire. He placed Findargland with care in its scabbard and laid down in his bed, Alim at his side. He closed his eyes as Alim again traced his geometric scars.

Content again, Tjordiir began to drift into slumber. Windchimes at their open flat window chimed once, before going silent again.

“I’ve always hated those blasted things,” Tjordiir grumbled, a smile on his face.

“It is good to see you smile again, Arausamman,” Alim smiled back as the chimes chimed once more.

Tjordiir got up, making his way to the flat window, taking in the air and scene again. He shut the window to block out the chimes, and turned to return to bed, only to find Leira, sitting in a chair in the corner.

“Your friends are attempting to bring you back, will you go, Tjordiir?”

Tjordiir looked around the flat, taking in all the things that brought him happiness. The smell of mint in his hair, the feel of robes instead of armor, he longed to stay with Alim forever.

“You are a good man, Arausamman,” Alim’s voice said, “I will be here, waiting.”

“It is a paradise, is it not?” Leira said, walking to the window and staring across the sea, “How many souls should be here?”

“Everyone deserves freedom " Tjordiir said, beginning to don his armor, “Send me back, Leira, I will make sure they know.”

“Very well,” Leira said, opening the flat window as the windchimes chimed a final time. Tjordiir opened his eyes, staring at a cracking ceiling, a chill across his body.

“It is good to have you back, Master Dwarf,” Danjo said with a smile.






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Suffering at the Hands of a Martyr

12 MAY 2020

“It burns, Arausamman,” Alim said, crying out in pain.

“We will be free soon, saman,” Tjordiir replied, keeping Findargland at the ready for any adversary that dared to stop him.

The heat grew emboldened as the flames grew higher, engulfing the architecture he had grown to love. The once regal columns of the Temple District, now blackened as the flames consumed everything. The screams of the citizens were the only sound louder then the flames, and the smell of burning flesh hung heavy in the air. Tjordiir did his best to check the homes as he and Alim made their way to the city walls, only to find the charred corpses of many of his friends and adopted family. The suffering was too much to bear, forcing him to ignore many of the homes he passed as they were picked clean by the hungering conflagration.

~The Spire, Glacial Sea 1371

Jarus approached the door, cautious as he had proven to be, checking the knob and hinges for any rigged traps. Finding none, he motioned for his allies to advance, some of them staying far from the door out of caution beyond that of traps. He opened the door and immediately that familar smell assaulted Tjordiir’s senses. Hair, matted with blood, burning just as well as the flesh. Jarus poked his head past the threshold, looking grim as he pulled it back out. Shayzala was beside him, she too saw the carnage within.

“It looks like a couple of them might be alive, they look like they’re trying to say something, but the room seems to be in silence,” Jarus said in a somber tone.

“We have to help them,” Shayzala urged, “We can’t leave them here to suffer.”

“Its obviously a trap,” Jarus stated, bluntly, “Whatever we do, I urge you to be cautious, Shayzala.”

“Perhaps I could dispel the magic, see what they have to say,” Chand piped up, eager to help.

There was no aversion to the hin’s suggestion, so Chand summoned his eldritch energy and dispelled the magic in the room, only to be met with the screams of many dwarves being burned alive. They were hung high, pinned to wooden boards, their innards were trailed out from inside, wrapped around red hot anvils. Where flesh met steel, it had blackened and charred.

“Leave them,” Tjordiir insisted, knowing Jarus’s initial reaction to be true.

“We have to help them,” Shayzala said again, a tear falling down her cheek, “We can’t leave them to suffer.”

Shayzala began a spell, clutching her holy symbol in righteousness. She let free her spell, invoking Ilmater’s divine grace, healing the wounds of the tortured dwarves. Only then, it became clear, her efforts were in vain. The once charred and deadened nerves of their exposed innards, now were fresh and raw. The agonized screams changed to a new, more anguished octave forcing her to cast silence over the area once again.

“The Lying One, a false martyr,” the words echoed in Tjordiir’s mind, now more apparent then ever. The Triad had forsaken them, left them to die. Even a devout follower of Ilmater himself could do nothing for the very ones he should help.

“I’ve had enough,” Tjordiir said, just as Shino stepped forward with determination. Smoke smouldered from his fingertips and a palpable heat could be felt from his aura.

“As have I, Master Dwarf,” he said, gesturing into the room. In a cataclysmic torrent of flame, Shino immolated the tormented dwarves, leaving nothing but ash where they stood. True to his word, the room proved Jarus right. As the dwarves were liberated from their pains, the room too showed it’s malice. Chand reacted in a blink, throwing a wall of force in front of himself and those who had gathered around him. The cataclysmic torrent grew, exploding outward, destroying everything in it’s path. Chaos and heat collided with Chand’s opaque wall of protection, as cracks spread through the walls.

“This forge looks unstable, we need to leave!” Epaphus shouted from down the hallway, accompanied by Danjo. He grabbed the old Wanese man and vanished in a snap.

“Take hands!” Chand shouted over the still growing chaos inside the room. Tjordiir grabbed the hin’s shoulder, as Shino, Jarus, and Shayzayla took hold as well. In a snap, they appeared in the room with two stairways. Epaphus and Danjo were already waiting for their allies.

“I will check the damages,” Chand said, leaving his image behind as he teleported back.

The click-clack sound of manacles broke the silence as everyone stood, waiting for Chand to return. Jarus stood behind Shino, hands still on the manacles, “It’s time we talked,” he began, “You need to be held accountable for your actions. You nearly killed all of us on a whim!”

Tjordiir glanced to Danjo’s hand, it rested calmly on the hilt of Raugathuld. Noone seemed to move in the intensity of the room. Everyone seemed to bust into argument at the same time, Tjordiir just stood in silence until Magenta spoke in their minds.

“Thisss fighting will do us no good,” the coatl spoke in a serpentine manner, “We need to learn to work together.”

Chand appeared again, bewildered by the commotion caused in the few brief moments he had been away. Tempers settled and Jarus released Shino, only after they had come to an agreement on how to handle future situations.

With no other way left to go, the group decided to rush headlong into danger, knowing just what lay on the other side of the rubble they chose to dimension door through.

The smell of steel and death were the first to graze Tjordiir’s nose, followed by cool stone and sweat. Before him stood a formidable opponent, a Jiangshi from Wa. He was outfitted in elaborate armor, a blade at his side, similar in style to Danjo’s. A skinless, flesh hound of immense size stood in the foreground, accompanied by two death drinkers. The Jiangshi looked to Danjo and drew his own blade, and spoke a line of Wanese to the old ronin. Danjo too drew his blade, and in a blink, sank it into the flesh of the carnage hound. Tjordiir stepped forward to aid his brother in arms, slicing into the hounds flesh in tandem. As they hacked away at the hounds hearty fortitude, Jarus snuck behind one of the death drinkers, taking the distraction to his advantage, and made quick work of his foe. The carnage hound dropped as well, after a barrage of blades from Tjordiir and Danjo. Danjo looked to the Jiangshi with cold determination, while Tjordiir stuck Findargland through the chest of the other death drinker, slaying it in a quick slash.

“Ah, to cross blades with a legend,” Danjo smiled, “It’s a shame you won’t survive.”

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Bad Decisions Part 1 / 2

22 JUN 2020

Hemet sharpened his Naek, smiling with an eager glee. He held them aloft, torchlight shimmering from their fine edges, squinting at at the axeheads for any imperfection. He continued his ritual, sweating over a grinding wheel with vigorous intent, the beaded sweat making small runs in his thick blue paste that striped his skin.

“Are you ready, zander?” The Hammerstone twin looked to Tjordiir with a crazed smile.

“Deladaraugh, kuldjargh,” Tjordiir replied, raising his grandfather’s shield and sword.

Hemet looked him over, dressed in thick leather trousers, his beard and hair braided to stay out of his eyes, “Armor won’t save you from the ghohlbrorn,” he teased.

Mirabar stone was not the only precious resource within the mines of the great dwarven city. Deep within its twisted caverns were precious gems and metals, sought by the youthful dwarves of Mirabar. Not only driven by their greed, but by status as well. Many of the elder dwarves had elaborate baubles in their beards, made from gems, metals, sometimes even bones from some of their enemies.

Hemet and Tjordiir had both barely begun Beardgrowth, and were full of a need to prove themselves. As such, the two ventured into the mines, through a long unused shaft, stripped of its surface materials and left to the elements. Hemet used one of his axes to pull back a couple of the boards covering the entrance, offering Tjordiir first entry in a sarcastic wave. Webs and woodrot were a familar greeting, all to common in an abandoned shaft.

Hemet walked through the webs, letting them stick to his skin and hair, with little concern. Tjordiir waved his hand through, knocking the webs from his view. Small spiders scurried across the ground, distressed by the sudden presence of the dwaves. Hemet made his way through the webs, entering a larger quarry, with many paths and tunnels leading from its depths. Hemet stood at it’s edge, squinting into the darkness, until his eyes came across a tunnel that seemed to be eaten from the stone.

“There Tjordiir,” he said with glee, “Ghohlbrorn! We find their shit, and surely a bauble or two may have passed. My grandfather got his this way, its a sure bet!”

“And should it show up, what then, Hemet? You intend to fight one?” Tjordiir insisted.

With a stone cold stare of determination in his eyes, Hemet replied, “Deladaraugh.”

**
“Give us a chance to get back this time,” Tjordiir said, “I will say it now, I think this is a bad idea.”

Shino and Chand stared at the pools of white pudding, determined to immolate them all, “What if it’s the only way to free those trapped in the other room?” Chand demanded, taking a stance Tjordiir recognized as his Wall of Flame.

“You take those two, I’ll take these ones,” Shino motioned to Chand, “On the count of three.”

“If we all get blown to death, don’t say I didn’t tell you,” Tjordiir grumbled, ushering the rest of the party further back the way they came. After a moment, a massive explosion tore open the tunnel wall, smashing debris into everyone there. Cracks began to form as a swirling void began to devour everything around it, growing in a quickend pace.

Chaos broke out, separating everyone as they attempted to escape the void. Tjordiir lost track of some of them and suddenly found himself at the staircase they came down originally. Epaphus and Chand were both huffing in a panic, as they both disappeared and reappeared with different people. Tjordiir noticed the walls begin to crack as Jarus sprinted his way up the steps. Tjordiir was right on his feet, knowing if they were going to get out now, they had to move quick.

**
Tjordiir followed Hemet, decending into the abandoned quarry, straight into the presumed lair of a ghohlbrorn. His grandfather’s armor hung a bit loose on his still growing form, beginning to chafe his neck. Tjordiir’s nerves were in his throat, but he kept quiet, following Hemet as close as he could.

The tunnel tembled slightly, crumbles of rock shifting to the floor. Hemet smiled, “He’s near. If he is here, he’s definitely got a pile somewhere.” Hemet drew his aces and kept low, moving slowly through the tunnel. Tjordiir shifted his weight to try and hunker down, his armor tinkering against the stone. Hemet froze in his steps, looking back to Tjordiir, as the tunnel wall exploded in rubble. The ghohlbrorn burst through the earth, its massive maw of razor sharp teeth, snapping in hunger. Tjordiir was pinned by rubble from the cave wall, the
ghohlbrorn staring him down. It began its approach, hissing and drooling as it stared. Just as it got close, Hemet jumped from a large boulder, roaring as loud as he could. He landed on the ghohlbrorn’s head, smashing one of his axes into its eye. It recoiled in pain as Hemet swung for the other eye in a crazed frenzy. Tjordiir rolled, managing to free himself. His arm was bleeding, his armor having pinched in from the stone. Hemet swung a few more hearty hits, forcing the ghohlbrorn to retreat into its tunnel. He learned down, picking up some dirtier gems from a pile, “Scared the shit of out him!” He laughed in triumph, “Let’s go get you patched up.”

**

“Should we jump?” Chand yelled, staring into the growing void, "I-I can’t bring us through the demi planes with my invocations… I don’t yhink we will make it up the stairs.

Tjordiir looked back at Chand, Jarus, and Shino, knowing surely he wouldn’t make it. Everyone of them stood a better chance, but encumbered by his armor, he was surely doomed. He looked to Jarus, who seemd to be calculating his odds as well. Their eyes met and Jarus let go of his footing, “Geronimo!” He said with a smile.

Tjordiir looked to Shino and Chand, “We made a pact,” he said as he prepared to jump, “It’s worked before.”

Tjordiir jumped after Jarus, welcoming a reunion in his Athkatlan flat.





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Boiling Blood

20 JUL 2020

Cowardice.

Piousness.

No matter the excuse, it is hesitance where action belongs. The squabbling youth that surround me are all too keen to argue. I am willing to do what is needed to save Abeir-Toril, are they?

My soul may be the cost, it is an expense I accepted weeks ago. Countless devils, we’ve faced without hesitation. Now, with a boon granted by our God, we fear the things we face. Surely, Danjo and I could destroy anything we face. Fear crosses the old samurai’s face as I stare at this, the first zulkir. Are we really willing to let this go?

Again we face an impassable barrier, warded by riddles. Without an obvious way to activate this puzzle, everyone stands around shouting guesses into the wind like a group of imbeciles, each guess grating more on my nerves then the last.

The ****ing hin, the balls on this one. He chastises me for “giving up.” These stupid damned puzzles are beyond my expertise, should I too shout answers to the void? All too afraid to attempt a second answer, I chose to write what we agreed onto the wall, opposite of our first agreed guess.

Nothing changes. I can feel the Earthblood boil in my veins as we waste away our few precious hours of existence. Danjo, in an equally daft attempt at progress, cuts his hand and places it on our answer. In a flourish of scrolls, a devil shows his face.

“Danjo,” he smiles like an old friend, “Are you willing to make a deal?”

My hands go for my blade, “I must do what is necessary in the fave of wicked villainy,” I thought, waiting for the opportunity to arise, all the while, the Earthblood boils.






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Posted - 07 Dec 2020 :  16:13:21  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cracks in the Stone

12 AUG 2020

“Leave it be,” I’ve said time and time again. All too often, we bumble into something beyond our understanding. We poke, we prod, we nearly die. The grumbling dwarf surely knows nothing of these things…

Each trapped rune we’ve detonated, we studied for what seemed like eternity, all the while I’ve stood ready for the imminent destruction. It has yet to let me down, yet here we are, ready and willing to step upon their surface. Our foolishness will surely be our deaths.

I have witnessed our end from a simple miscalculated reading. Shino, Epaphus, and Chand all ripped from the living in a cataclysmic roar. Arguably our smartest, and still they fell to a simple curiosity. Maybe I am mad, they don’t seem to recall their own deaths. I recall their battered masses all too clearly.

Simple curiosity pulls the reigns once more. Not even our smartest, Epaphus, even understands these portals. I offer my assistance to bring down these tablets we may need, only to be stopped by the youthful arrogance, the “I’ve done this before” attitude of Jarus. He is right to check for traps, yet in his clumsy foolishness, he drops and shatters a tablet. If the world wasn’t collapsing outside, it would almost be comedic…

Theories and arguments again, in a desperate attempt to restore the shattered tablet. To what end, is beyond me. Should it be restored, we still only have three of the four presumed to be needed. It is all just wasted time. As Asmodeus himself unleashes hell upon the outside, the walls begin to crack. Again, we are forced into the only option ahead as we descend into the portals of Juiblex.

Greeted by the rolling plains of Damara, the stark contrast is almost too much to bear. Castle Perilous looms in the distance, in the foreground, a looming pit adorned with five pillars. All too curious, we investigate the pit. Time has seemingly forgotten this pit, each pillar overgrown with the various flora of the rolling plains. Upon investigation, the pillars reveal more runes.

More. ****ing. Runes.

Of course, these runes can’t be left alone. Jarus, in his brilliance, suggests “Why leave it unexplored?”

As Epaphus recites the command words, releasing the Elder Evil, Sertrous while we remain completely unprepared, I can’t help but wonder, “Why, Indeed?”







Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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USA
2263 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2020 :  16:15:54  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A Questionable Truth

04 OCT 2020

I am so tired, saman, I’ve been fighting for so long. I’ve lost the tales of every scar as they’ve grown in number. The evil is palpable, as once trusted allies become timid in secrecy. We are bound together by circumstance alone and I can feel the daggers in everyone’s eyes. Each corner we round, and each obstacle we face, someone takes the blame. We’ve chosen the life of a Liar, and I can only hope that hasn’t blinded us from truth.

I find myself thinking of when we met, aiding the young practioners escape from King Dhanar. I believed what I was going was good, was right, yet it defied the city I lived in and the man I worked for. I was aiding the enemy, committing evil acts against my home. Was this my turning point? Since that day, I’ve killed countless men for what I’ve deemed as right, as good acts. This has lead me into the violence that I’ve lived since your death. Maybe it’s not evil that follows me, maybe I am evil.

I want to believe I am still on a righteous path. I am contracted to the devil himself, and I’ve helped a Red Wizard become a God. I’ve lost my willingness for a diplomatic approach, replaced by a bloodthirst I’ve kept at bay. Have I betrayed the Luckmaiden, or is this simply my own truth?

I feel like I’ve lost who I am, saman. I miss your guidance, your wisdom. I should’ve stayed when I had the chance. I was given serenity and I chose to replace it with suffering.

I am done with it all, saman. I will see you again soon.





Higher Atlar
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cpthero2
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Posted - 07 Dec 2020 :  16:18:09  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Conflicted

17 OCT 2-20

“Good Luck,” she said.

Ironic. Luck is what I left behind. Traded for Lies and deceit. I looked down to Findargland, now hanging on my right instead of left. My family blade even cast aside, just as easily as my forgotten prayers. Shar wishes me luck, as a twisted joke of the Luckmaiden herself.

The once trusted purple mist swirls around my feet, after the hin commanded “Domination.” I don’t trust this, this place was meant to be kept out of it. These artifacts have twisted the minds of those around me, again I am the one to stand with a clear mind.

Pandorym rests in the bosom of The Lady and I don’t understand the sign.







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