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Chapter 2 - The Fortress

Apr 8, 2016 8:22 pm
As you start running towards the gate many pile into the wagon that the goblin previously had attempted to pilot and they start heading towards the front gate. You cross the yard in front of the keep as you hear a loud rumble and feel the ground shake again. You look back to only a plume of dust where the collapsing frame of the keep once stood. It blows out past you and makes seeing a little more hard, but you are able to continue out the front gate.

A massive wooden drawbridge door opens out into a long bridge. Having come in hidden you didn't get to see too much of this, but just outside of the main gate is a 100 foot long stone bridge. Many castles are surrounded by moats of water, this instead has a moat of open chasm. The entire fortress rests on a single pillar of stone that goes down hundreds of feet.

As you reach the half-way point you feel the bridge and ground start to rumble again, massive cracking noises are heard as you race across the bridge. Turning back one more time you see the entire ground and walls around the keep are shifting, tilting just so slightly, yet the scale only makes it seem slight. As you finally cross the bridge you watch as the pillar holding all of this up starts to crack and fracture, buckling. The entire fortress sinks into the chasm and a few moments later the ground shakes violently once more. Then there is an eerily stillness.

You are no across the bridge from where the fortress once stood. Aelar has most of his troupe, you still have some of the survivors from the prisoners. You also have a mysterious new traveler who mentioned something about bringing Talia back before the keep began it's collapse.
Apr 8, 2016 8:41 pm
I turn towards the prisoners. "Oh, forgive my manners. I am Xadira Liadon. Are you all members of Aelar's troupe?."
Apr 8, 2016 8:49 pm
Much of the group comes forward, but only a few seem to notice Xadira's greeting. They instead crowd around Aelar, who holds the form of Talia in his arms. The silently mourn their fallen friend and place hands on Aelar's shoulder in a silent solidarity. The only one absent is Alanna, who slumbers unconsciously in the cart. Though unconcious she still breathes raggedly and the black veins spider across her face with a pulsing obsidian color.

One of the members does walk to Xadira, Hello, Xadira, I am Davos. We are not just his troupe, we are his family. I'm only sorry we had to meet under such circumstance. I unfortunately have seen Talia's demise many times before this, I am only upset I was not able to change the outcome. I can see her spark no more, he says, trailing off and looking solemnly at the ground.
Apr 8, 2016 8:51 pm
From the cart you hear the traveler, "That was definitely not excellent. I mean righteous show and all, but this is not what the Stallions stood for. Never." He seems to be talking more to himself than anyone in particular. He still holds Aelar's lute slung across his back.
Apr 8, 2016 8:55 pm
Aelar allows his troupe to mourn Talia for a moment before working his way over to Bill, "You said you could do something to help, right? Tell me what it is."
Apr 8, 2016 9:08 pm
Huh, Bill says, seemingly forgetting everyone was there for a moment, Oh yeah, elfy dude. Please, set her in the cart, and behold, he gestures his hands out wide, more for theatric flair than any practical purpose.

After you set her body in the cart he flings a large canvas tarp over her, so only her profile can be seen. You probably won't want to watch the process, it isn't exactly pretty. He pulls up the lute and starts to play a few notes, then tweaks one of the tuning pins again. He then begins to play a song that sounds so completely foreign. The tone of it is dramatic and inspiring, but somehow woven with pure dread and a slight kiss of death. Being a bard yourself, Aelar, you know how music can be woven with magic, but you've never heard it like this before. You've never heard this style of music.

A breeze starts to surround the group, like a whirlwind is sweeping around everyone. Bill picks up pace with the song and the wind gets more intense. There is a comfort in the breeze, but also that slight hint of something else. Not exactly sinister, but just...something.

The wind sweeps hair and dust up in a flurry and even the heavy canvas tarp begins to ripple. You can swear you see a shuffling of movement underneath, but with the fluttering of the canvas it's hard to tell. Bill stands in the driver section of the cart and suddenly jumps over the back of the seat and lands in the back of the cart as he strikes a strong chord. The sound of the lute seems to be coming from everywhere at once. Then suddenly it is over, and the wind ceases. Everything is quickly as calm as it was before.

"Now, dude, check it out", he says with a smile as he slides the tarp off of the body of Talia and you see that her deep wound is completely gone. It's as if it was never there, and you notice also how the chest, where the wound was, rises and falls. She is breathing. A moment later her eyes flutter open and she shrieks out and crawls backwards quickly in the cart. She stops in a moment and looks around, confused.

"What, where...but...", she manages to say and then turns to see Aelar sitting there at the end of the cart. She scramble across the back of the cart and nearly tackles him over. Aelar! You came for me, I knew you would! I knew you wouldn't let us down! Alanna, I told you!, she says as she grabs on tightly to Aelar.
Apr 8, 2016 9:16 pm
Aelar holds on tightly to Talia for a moment and he is unable to get the smile off of his face. After a few moments of holding her he pushes her back just long enough to lean forward and kiss her passionately. He doesn't stop holding and kissing her until someone interrupts them.
Apr 8, 2016 9:18 pm
She seems shocked initially, but leans into it as well. The troupe around his pretty much drowning out any sound with their joyous cheers. Davos, still standing near Xadira is silently weeping with joy. He also looks slightly puzzled, being a diviner of fortunes, as to what just happened.
Yeah, totally what I meant.
Apr 8, 2016 9:25 pm
Ignoring the scene in front of me, I turn towards Bill quizzically, attempting to discern just what has transpired here. Some form of necromancy? No, that can't be it. Curious.
Last edited April 8, 2016 9:25 pm, a total of 1 time


Arcana check? - (1d20+6)

( 15 ) + 6 = 21

Apr 8, 2016 9:51 pm
"What have I just witnessed?" Ütés wonders, mouth agape as Aelar embraces the suddenly very much alive Talia.

"Excellent!" she blurts before quickly covering her mouth with her hand.

"Where did that come from?"
Apr 15, 2016 2:34 pm
Xadira studies the strange traveler and his use of bardic magic. It's something she has seen before, there are plenty of bards with magical abilities, who have found a way to interweave the magical energies with their music and words. This however is unlike anything she has seen before. She does recall a few dusty tomes, often written by those who have been driven mad, or who soon after took their own lives after penning the secrets and horrors of the magical realm they have found.

One stands out against the rest. A book written by an ancient wizard known only as 'Rufus the Mad'. The book was hard to follow to say the least. Most were incoherent ramblings and there were even passages of a single repeated phrase over and over. Phonebooth. Scrawled in ruby red ink across dozens of pages.

Among this tome of madness, which didn't truly have a proper title, there were certain coherent passages, and on in particular talked about travelers from "beyond our lands" and their abilities to weave powerful bardic magic beyond that of any mere human. They pulled their power not from the same magical energies of our world, but from the many planes of existence they have travelled. After that the passage quickly descended into rantings about light and shadow that seemed to have no real meaning.

'Rufus the Mad' had only ever penned this one tome and was never heard from again. Most assume he took his own life as well, as many of the mad writers often do.
Apr 15, 2016 2:54 pm
"They were looking for you. For what purpose? Are you an apprentice of Rufus the Mad?" I blurt out questions as soon as they come to mind.
Apr 15, 2016 3:00 pm
The smile on the face of Bill suddenly turns downward, Rufus, that's a name I haven't heard for some time. he stares off a bit in the middle distance before turning back to you.

I guess you could say we were his apprentices, or he was ours. Time is a little crazy like that. They kept me here by order of that back stabber. Unfortunately, without my axe I'm not much more than you see before you. Just an old dude who has parties a bit too hard over the years.
Apr 19, 2016 5:51 pm
"Without your... axe?" I study his face to see if he's telling the truth. Or, perhaps, to detect whether madness has taken him.


Insight - (1d20+4)

( 3 ) + 4 = 7

Apr 20, 2016 2:52 am
From what you can tell about this man he seems to be sincere in his words, even if they don't seem to make sense to you.
Apr 22, 2016 5:19 am
"Where are you headed now? Are you... searching for the axe?"
Apr 26, 2016 2:43 am
Yes, it may be my one key back to my home. The instruments here, they simply do not possess the power needed to travel back, Bill says. He has sort of just been staring whist fully into the middle distance.
May 1, 2016 10:26 pm
"Very well. I'd like to learn more about this magic you wield. It's quite fascinating! Ütés, Aelar... Aelar! Oh dear. Perhaps we should leave him with his betrothed." I look uncertainly between my four traveling companions.
Last edited May 1, 2016 10:28 pm, a total of 1 time
May 3, 2016 2:28 am
"Leave him? No, but we should give him a little time. Actually I could use a little myself to recover a bit."
May 5, 2016 1:56 pm
As things wind down from the excitement of Talia's resurection, she notices her sister still overcome with some sort of poison. Bill looks at Alanna's face and puts a hand on Talia's shoulder, She will live. The toxin is crazy powerful, but it passes quickly. Hopefully she will have no memories of any of this.

The group saddles up to head back to the port to make their boat back to the mainland. Torment is awaiting them, loading up more crates to take back to the mainland as the group arrives.

Xadira no doubt spends most of the trip berating Bill with questions, about anything and everything. For the most part he simply says he will tell you everything in due time. Ramas agrees it would be best to tell the full story to the Dagger's once back to the mainland.

Once on the ship it's a smooth trip back in which you all have a chance to rest up and regain your strength. Aelar, Tiana, and the rest of his troupe are reunited and spend much of their time catching up and sharing old stories.

Utes knows there is still one more leg of this journey. With the troupe safe there is but one person left to save. The prince.
Is there anything in particular anyone wants to ask of the new people in this group, or of Bill during the trip back to the mainland? If not I will fast forward to the end of this chapter and your arrival back with The Dagger's at their hideout in Neverwinter.

You will all gain one more level during your trip back. I THINK that puts everyone at 4?
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