Grimwyrd: Compacted Darkness

Joush M.: Good morning everyone
P.P. A.: \o
Ken (GM): GOOOOOODMORNING GRIMWYRD
I am fiss-pokin as we speaks
so, anyone else snowed in yet?
we got 6 inches in the last 48 hours
P.P. A.: not nearly
It’s a bit chilly, but nothing less
Ken (GM): ~jealous~
Halloween hit, and an ice storm followed
its been a mess here 😛
Joush M.: Nothing stuck here. Just a little freezing rain and slush
Fiss: Wow, I am awake!
Ken (GM): egads a fiss!
my god, are you ALL here?
Fiss: The need to commit holy murder in the name of the forces of light is strong.
Adolf S.: ayy
Ken (GM): TRULY
hokay then, where last we left you guys


Ken (GM) Dawn rises the next day. You camp breaks apart with scorned, half elf rovers, and deshiveled men of all walks striking tent and raising banner. The militia of Lord Roderick is ready for another march North, to victory.
The golden-boned witchy woman has been exorcized, her demon expunged, her metal pilfered. Her legion of skeletons are heaped by the roadside; a warning to others who abuse dark magics.

Syviis hopes the only further power to be taken by all this death is heaps of free fertilizer for the local farmers
(To Syviis): Your troupe of elven mystics report in; morale is high and your name is revered in the army. The holy warriors of the elven elder spirits will not falter!
(From Syviis): if there is time to respond, I wish them success, and remind them to be wary…in victory, the dark forces often offer themselves to us to be used…a trap disguised as a tool . Trust in their own powers and do not use these vile magics…I believe in them!
(To Syviis): DONT BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! BELIEVE IN ME WHO BELIEVES IN YOU!
(From Syviis): basically…yes lol


Syviis: I just don’t want to have a bunch of wide-eyed Elves go “Oh look at all this red dust and coin armor and magical shit that seems REALLY easy for us to use!” 😛
oops whispers
Ken (GM): ~whispering intensifies ~

Adolf S.: This place is called Swineholt, is it a pig farming hamlet mostly?
Ken (GM): yeah, they drive their stock together, but its a small town of farmers, tanners and butchery

Suðri Skornbrekker looks over the mountains of bones. His sympathy for the poor souls that were forced to animate them is briefly interrupted by thinking of how one could arrange all those bones into a pretty neat-looking shrine or other building, but this is not the time to dwarf around.

Gray rises early and looks grimly North a moment before he collects his equipment and checks the wagon loaded with supplies and hung with those gleaming banners. With that done he cleans up, washing away the blood of yesterday and examining only a moment the healed cut before he pulls on arming coat and mail.
Ken (GM): the tannery REEKS

Bomrek raps his knuckles on his armor a few times, flaking off a bit of dust and grit. “It’s been a little while since I’ve heard a full line of muskets fire. Brings back fond memories.”

Gray is used to bad smells. He still growls and spits to the side before shaking it off and speaking to Bomrek. “Aye. A proper line of battle was a change from our normal skirmishes.”

Doc: btw does the horse need any first aid
Ken (GM): @doc: Bavieca is okay, she took a superficial hit for 3 damage from the skelly, but it was crushing. roll me 1d-1 for Veterinary first aid she got from your followers?
Doc: rolling 1d6-1 ( 3 )-1 = 2
3 crushing might not even show up on a horse tbh

Suðri Skornbrekker: “After treading through deserted enemy lands for so long, it feels good to know a line of allies in our back and scores of bullets following ours.”
Roderick: “Now if only we had enough muskets for the militia.”
Ken (GM): [well, Academs Mine is a primary gunpowder refinery…might be a good stopover?]
Bomrek: “That’s what accountants are for, Roderick. Scrounge together enough gold and I’m sure a few cousins of mine would be happy enough to send across a few shipments.”

P.P. A.: So the locals of Swineholt are fine and co-operative?
Ken (GM): The farmers are happy to have you to restore order; they have had most of their meat sent North with promises of payment, but not much in the way of real coin. Of all things, their loyalty seems assured by bill payments

Syviis: “Lets hope our foes have been so preoccupied with their dark magics that they did not stop to consider the incredible power of a musket-armed force.”
Gray looks thoughtful at the discussion, a strong hand rubbing across his jaw as the savage brute looks over the group. “Need a couple months to drill and train to make that happen. Can’t conjur them from darkness and sacrificed blood.”

Suðri Skornbrekker will inquire with them about any Dwarven caravans that might have passed through, remembering the request of the Dwarves in Oakway
Ken (GM): The dwarven caravaneers passed North, but haven’t returned in weeks. Trade is all sorts of fucked up. If you can make the highway safe again, it might normalize.
Roderick: “I don’t think we have months to train them, but they don’t need to be crack troops.”
Gray: “Aye.” He says thoughtfully as he stands by.
Bomrek lets out a short laugh, and waves his hand Roderick’s way “Months? Maybe to hunt Elves in the forests, but not to fire a gun on the battlefield.”
Ken (GM): >point that end that way
>put it nicely on the ground when its empty
>dont step on it as you march into them with clubs
Gray: “I can teach a man to fire a gun in an hour. Two months of drill is to stand in a line, and stay there when told to”

Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Bomrek: “We could try producing guns, perhaps; assembling them would take a while though, and we can’t easily work the wooden stock.” He strokes his beard and finally shakes his head. “…nah, let us just hope we can acquire some along the way.”
Ken (GM): well, lets plan what to do with guns when you get em
Whats the plan for today? march north and meet what comes?
Joush M.: Gray’s good with that. He will prowl ahead a bit with the outriders and keep an eye out for trouble.

Syviis packs light and begins scouting ahead on the road
Joush M.: On the subject,
>make sure we have some scouts out and all that.
Doc: we definitely want to hit that mine, though
Bomrek: Bomrek nods to Suðri . “A fine sentiment, but what can two Dwarves do? We’ll need a workshop, at the least.”
Doc: with just the guns we have, we could hold off a fortified position for about as long as our supplies last

Suðri Skornbrekker also prepares for continuing the march north, packing some scrap metal to chew on along the way. He wants to pop out some small moving parts to try and assemble into a machinery whenever he finds the time.
Syviis: [cogpoop!]
Ken (GM): righto, so the order is North


Ken (GM) you dispatch scouts, and assemble your men back into the ragged line of rover wagons and booted men. You set out with the morning sun, and the day warms with the clomp of boot and tramp of hoof

Syviis clomps stealthily

Ken (GM) A fierce wind rises from the South and the stormy weather threatens again, but rain seems to miss your army as you travel. Fat clouds black-bellied with rain pass by, but the day remains warm enough.
The farms here are scattered and sparse; it seems a late harvest was underway, but as you travel further north, more and more homesteads lie quiet, no smoke in their chimneys, no workers in the fields.

Near mid-day, you come across an odd sight…

The scouts report back that ahead, a farm was razed to the earth, burned to cinders. They spotted no movement, no soldier or army, but the land was scoured of anything living. Trees burned to stumps, fields razed, the homestead nothing more than ash.

The oddest thing about it; the devastation doesn’t pass further than the boundary of the next field. One step to the side, and lush green land sits on either side of the land

Bomrek looks to the others, and looks thoughtful. He offers “It may be worth investigating. Elf?”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “That calls for an investigation.”
Syviis: “A farm of resisting fools” Syviis nods to Bomrek and stalks forward

Gray prowls closer to the field and kneels down, waiting for the others and studying the ashes as he scents the air, calling on the Raven a moment to study the scene with shaman’s sight, looking at the local spirits with a frown across his rough features.
(To Gray): The spirits are not here; this place is dead. You see the occasional sprite, mote, living in the land. Here…nothing stirs but the wind.
The smell is that of sulfur and brimstone. and something you haven’t scented in weeks; dragon-flame. The stench is unmistakable

Syviis keeps pausing to sense for magic as she does
(To Syviis): The land here is dead; you can see the natural flow of magic bends away from this place, like an ugly scar. Its like a hollow in the earth, or a stone in a river. [Mana level is Low]

Suðri Skornbrekker readies his rifle and looks around the area.
(From P.P. A.): remember his beardy-dangersense of shady magic
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You sense no immediate danger here, but you sense a trembly feeling of dread. Your mustache tingles. Its as if something terrible and horrible was here. Something youve faced before…

Syviis: “This reminds me far too much of our trek back from the South….the magic here has been leeched away, even the natural ebb and flow of mana avoids this scar of a farm.”
Gray: “Dragons did this. Burned the place to ashes. Even the spirits have fled or burned.” He says thoughtfully, dropping a handful of ashes as he rises to his feet. “Prepare, we may face attack from the sky again. It seems some dragons survived the battle around the Ansible”
Roderick: “I almost welcome the chance to see what these new dwarven weapons can do to them.”
Bomrek: “A Dragon?” Bomrek makes a sound of frustrated disgust “I’ve had enough fire by now.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Dragons? I guess it was too hopeful to think that… during that day, they had all fallen. Whatever allies Jadeite might have might have brought their own before the calamity struck,” Suðri comments, looking around and looking uneasy.

Doc: (fyi – Rod is wearing his brigandine and rapier during normal marching hours if they get ambushed, but would put on his plate for something like this)
Ken (GM): @doc: sounds like a solid plan; march light, investigate heavy

Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Gray: “Can your bird see anything in the sky?”
Memory tilts her head at Suðri
Gray: “Or they’ve returned from the dead. The line is blurred between here and Hel these days.” The beast looks around a moment, then nods. “Memory. Have a look around please, search for dragons or agents of our foes?”
Memory: “I shall search the skies, and I shall be like the wind. None shall see me but shadows” Memory lifts to the sky on her black wings, and melts into a shadow on the sky as she lifts off! She disappears from sight!
(To Gray): Memory has shifted to an invisible spirit form! She’ll be quite hard to spot now
(To Syviis): Memory has shifted to an invisible spirit form! You can still see her intensely magical form though. She’ll be quite hard to spot now
Syviis: “She wasn’t kidding…and I suspect even shadows would have a hard time seeing her now.”

Ken (GM) your men look on from the roadside, curious about the burned land and your excited conversation inspecting it…

Ken (GM): Rod; what have you to say to your men? They seem a bit uneasy at the sight of this burned out land
P.P. A.: Are there ruins left of the farmstead, or just a heap of ashes?
Ken (GM): [there is approximately an acre of scorched earth here. ]
Ken (GM): [the farmhouse itself is barely recognizable, a few heaps of burned wood and stone]
Gray: “She’s in the world of wraiths and shadows. Clever.” He says thoughtfully as his eyes track her a moment before he looks away, pulling a hand though his hair, looking to the uneasy men then to Roderick. “Nothing to fear here, but a warning about the dragon might keep them from fleeing if one appears later”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “I do wonder what could have provoked a dragon attack on but a lonely farmstead. A hideout of rebels maybe?” Suðri cautiously approaches the farmhouse, trying to upturn the rubble to see if there are any clues buried underneath.

Doc: how many dragons have we killed without the Ansible?
P.P. A.: one and a half
one proper dragon, and the lich who transformed into one

Ken (GM): Suðri ! Perception/search
Suðri Skornbrekker: 11v12

Ken (GM) the dwarf strides into the ashes, head down, parting coal and dust with a prodding foot. Eventually he turns up something of interest.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You find the homestead, the fireplace, the basic layout of the walls. Near the hearth itself, huddled in the stones, it looks like there are human remains. But the bones have been charred down to nearly stumps. Underneath that, they seemed to be huddled over the hearthstone itself, protecting it? There is a message cut into the hard rock there
Two dwarven runes “precious/Silver” and “Bane/cursed”
The message is cut into the flagstone somehow…as if by magic…
Suðri Skornbrekker: Suðri mumbles a quiet prayer for the corpses, and then calls out to the others. “There is something here! Bomrek, come take a look too.” Suðri Skornbrekker himself touches the flagstone and ponders the meaning of the words. Perhaps those silver-swords from the capital…?
Bomrek walks up to Suðri “Did you find something?”

Syviis walks over to check it out

Gray starts though the ashfield, the beast’s massive boots raising some of the ash as he walks to Suðri there among the ruins.

Roderick also

Ken (GM) the homestead was a meager building, the stumps of foundation timbers stick up like matcheads from the ground. Suðri points out the hearth, and the melted stone slag of the fireplace.

Suðri Skornbrekker points to a hearthstone with Dwarven runes engraved in it. “These say… ‘Silver’ and “bane/cursed’. They were not carved into the stone by hand, however.” Suðri strokes his beard. “It seems these people tried to protect it… Either something is hidden inside, or this is a message—perhaps silver being the answer to some kind of curse or undead that has been conjured?”
Bomrek: “What could..” Bomrek turns to Suðri, waiting for some explanation, being the stone mason and all.

Suðri Skornbrekker pursues the former notion, and feels around the hearth, trying to see if any stones are loose or sound hollow. He mumbles, while doing so: “There were also those silver-swords Rolf brought from the capital… maybe they were unfinished, and to be infused with some kind of magic?”

Gray makes a thoughtful sound, tilting his head to the side. Silver doesn’t quite make him uneasy, but does remind him that he is one of those things harmed especially by the metal.

Ken (GM) the hearthstone seems solid enough, prying it up from the ground, it seems to be a single slab of some kind of granite. Nothing seems to be underneath it, or inside it

Suðri Skornbrekker ponders. “Can you detect anything, Syviis?” He puts the stone back in its place. “…if not, maybe it really was but a warning… We should still have that silver from when I made a new axehead for my bardiche—I shall make some silver bullets out of it, if that is the meaning of this.”
Suðri Skornbrekker is going to mix it with something like lead though, since silver alone probably wouldn’t make for a good bullet.
Joush M.: silver’s acutely almost as dense as lead and makes a perfectly serviceable bullet.

(From Syviis): what do her elf eyes seeeee?
Syviis leans forward and gently moves around the ash and stone flecks with the shaft of an unfinished arrow
(To Syviis): The stone seems normal enough, but concentrating on it…there is a lingering magical power there. Its seeped away, but stains remain. This message was carved with magical skill
Syviis: “My best guess is that there was indeed a magical spell upon this stone…very skillfully added. But it has been blasted away with the fire…perhaps it was the target of the rage beset upon the farm, and the people here were casualties of it.”
“Roderick, would any in the ranks know of this farm or anyone nearby?”
Gray: “Some kind of ward or mark to protect the place?” He shakes his head. “I don’t know enough of magic to guess.”
Roderick: “We can ask, but it’s doubtful. We’ll likely be better served checking with the nearby farms.”
Syviis: “Let us seek the next one with life as we march North then…this is curious, but our mission is as critical as ever.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods.
Syviis makes mental note of the remnants of magic, hoping to make sense of it later if she sees that particular ‘flavor’ again

Gray walks from the ashes, pausing to dust off his boots and settle in before starting north. Staying in sight of the wagon but barely as he ranges ahead and watches for danger.


Syviis stops before leaving the edge of the property, paying a silent prayer of respect and peace for the dead, and a promise to return with good news for the land and those who suffered this wrath
[Syviis then hustles, realizing she’s been praying for an hour, and gets to the next farm huffing and puffing]

Ken (GM) It’s a short journey to the next farm over, but the first one with occupants isn’t for half an hour’s hike. You take a moment to speak with them, your militia marching along at the road, proceeding.
When you ask about the farm with blasted earth, the farmhands make signs of warding, and seem quite fearful about speaking of it “T’was a damnable thing, that night. Full of furious noise and hatred! The sounds coming up from across the hills were demonic! Terrible! We went on the dawn to offer help, but the land itself was burned away! Its a warning! We cann’e stand against these dark powers! ”
Gray says nothing for the men, looking to the farmhands without interrupting.
Syviis: “Did the family there own any charms or magics of their own?”
The farmhands make more warding gestures “They did! They had a dwarven smith among them, a talented horse-shod, but he was learned in the dark arts, he was! The wrath we heard must have been in retribution from Lord Jadeite! The mage lord wont allow for the unclean to use their evil ways in his lands!”

Syviis glances to the Dwarves, then back at the farm-men and sighs
“Thank you for your time”

Oh no he di’nt!

Suðri Skornbrekker struggles to suppress his indignation at those words, and says nothing, glad that Syviis ended the conversation timely.

Syviis turns to Rod as they leave “Might be a good idea to post a spare man nearby…see if this farm was told to warn Jadeite of our coming…”
Syviis: “Not that they’d need much warning…but it would be nice to know if the farm hands are told to rise up and protect this false crown.”
Gray: “I don’t like that.” He says thoughtfully, looking at the farm. “The ‘mage lord’. Humph.”
Roderick: “Jadeite already knows of our approach, and we want to make him uneasy anyway.”
Syviis nods “I suppose it doesn’t matter…he could rally all the land against us… it does not stop the fact he is a rat on a sinking ship, and we are the tide.

Suðri Skornbrekker: ““Unclean’ and ‘evil ways,’ pah!” Suðri finally complains after being out of earshot of the farm. “I shall not blame these peasants for believing the lies of that villain, but to hear them enrages me still! …at least we now know that whoever created those runes might really have been working against Jadeite and his witchcraft.”
Syviis: “We now also know that Jadeite fears Dwarven Magics and the power inherent in your souls and craft.” grins
Gray: “Aye. I wish we’d been able to stop the dragon. Let’s head North and see if we can get another chance.. in any case, we are a few days from the powder mills at Academ’s Mine. It would be bad if a Dragon was to strike there.”


Ken (GM) the rest of the day passes well; the weather holds and the men remain in spirits, despite the fearsome remains of the ashen farm behind them. “We have the dragonslayers!” being the most prominent excuse for bravado.

Ken (GM) as the evening falls though, you come to Carne, and the farmtown brings odd news. Your scouts report that from the approach, it seems in the town square that dark forces are at work!
In the village square, animated skeletons can be seen working at a large stone obelisk!
Odder still, as the setting sun approaches, it seems people are secluding themselves to their homes, immediately.

Suðri Skornbrekker makes true on his word and starts chewing silver from the lump created back when he made his new bardiche head. Suðri pops out little bullets and distributes some of them among the musket-users, and keeps some for himself.
Ken (GM): [adding silver rounds to the musketeer’s inventories]

Gray takes sword in hand and nods to the others, starting ahead at a jog. “Time to fight. We can’t let them finish whatever their ritual is!”
Suðri Skornbrekker spits out a bit of silver that was stuck between his teeth, and readies his weapons. “I agree.”

Syviis nods and begins looking for the source of power…if there is one…is there a Necromancer at work here?
(To Syviis): From a distance, you can see the flow of mana twisting around a single point in the square. There is some strong necromancy at work there.
Syviis: “The magics are concentrated at a point over there….I’m going to see if I can disrupt it.”
Ken (GM): [blowing it up disrupting it? or something else?]
Syviis: [depends on what the source is]
Ken (GM): [aha]

Doc: How many skeletons, roughly?
Ken (GM)/Militia Scout: “looks like about a dozen or so sir? They’re armed with shovels and hammers, looks like”
Roderick heads out with the others posthaste and doesn’t bother with the heavy armor

Ken (GM) You rush down the roadway ahead of your men, weapons bristling, excited for the prospect of facing evil in it’s natural form!
P.P. A.: Nah, skeletons are a relatively unnatural form of evil
Evil’s natural form is that of an elf

Ken (GM) The highway cobblestones give way to a paved street and several sturdy stone foundation buildings. The reek of butchery and tannery again mingle on the summer air, the river’s cool breeze nearby. The houses nearby have all shuttered windows and bolted doors, but their occupants watch as you pass from the windows, peeking from behind the thin slatted wooden planks with curious eyes

Rounding on the square, you come to a strange tableau: The roadway passes near the river and the clear land nearby leaves a grassy glen ringed by the road and houses. In the square is a massive block of stone, black and ugly, it’s jagged form sticking out like an obsidian thumb.
Around it mills a dozen or so skeletal forms, their bones clacking in the quiet, the CHIP CHIP of steel tools on the hard stone. They seem to be working at it, chiseling out some statue form. The upper half is already finished, and the visage of a mustachioed man stands proud, a hand raised… and wicked green fire rimming his outstretched hand.

Bomrek: Does it look like it’s fallen from the sky, or somethin’?
Ken (GM): [the ground around the unfinished statue is churned up, but there is a somewhat crater-like depression it sits in, on the glen]
Gray: “Are these people enspelled or just used to the sight of strange obelisk being assembled by the undead?” He growls when he sees the face in the rock” That’s our ‘mage lord’, let’s tear this thing down.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Tsk, using undead labour to rob honest mason’s of their work and bread. Not that I would carve a statue of that man.”
Doc: when the netherworld sends its people, it isn’t sending the best
Bomrek: Bomrek shrugs, and nods toward the skeletons “It’s a living”

(To Syviis): The necromancy is emanating from the stone in waves; you can see the lines of power radiating out from the flaming hand on top. It is strong…and unruly. Not refined magic, crude and blunt.
Syviis raises her bow and sets an arrow along her sight, aiming at the source of the green fire “He’s gloating…but you know what one says about Pride
Syviis: [unless anyone has any better ideas, she’ll shoot the fire-hand thing]

Gray looks around, hunting for a necromancer, for some source of the magic that guides the skeletons as they hew rock, drawing one sword then the next as he searches the area.
Gray: rolling 3d6 vs 14 Perception with Night Vision 5 and +4 to Scent from Discriminatory Scent, or Detect (Spirits) with Precise ( 4 + 5 + 2 ) = 11
Joush M.: Well, he’s not going to stop her
Syviis: “Let’s see if this severs the magical connection… perhaps a generous donation of bonemeal will help these poor folk with their next harvest.”
Syviis lets loose an arrow with a sizeable jolt of power

Suðri Skornbrekker looks for a nearby place that provides cover, and takes aim at the statue in case it comes to life or something.
Bomrek takes aim at one of the skeletons, for now. Even if that statue does come to life, it doesn’t have legs, these skeletons do
Ken (GM): righto; everyone on covering aim, and syviis blowing it up
Roderick isn’t aiming
Doc: unless aiming his horse counts?
Ken (GM): Syviis! Will + talent!
[bavieca is lining up a shot :P]
Syviis: rolling 3d6 ( 5 + 1 + 1 ) = 7
Will is 15 plus talent of 4…so 7 on 19
Ken (GM): jesus
Syviis: She’ll do the 3 zap-points into that shot too
(unless I needed to state that first, then default is still 2)
Ken (GM): beat by 12, gotcha
Syviis: lol
Ken (GM): rolling 3d6 ( 3 + 1 + 6 ) = 10
shit

Ken (GM) Syviis looses a bolt, literally, and thundering lightning flies from her bow! The energy strikes the statue’s outstretched hand, and the white hot glow explodes into a burst of lime green fire! Several other smaller jolts of power fly off, scorching the grass, but mostly coalescing atop the skeletons around the statue!

Syviis summons magical sunglasses that descend down from the heavens on a ray of light and gently cover her eyes. Trumpets begin to play, and a large, illusionary scroll reading “Dealeth Withit” appears under her.
(did not actually happen…or did it?!)

Gray settles himself for battle as he watches how the emerald flames effect the monsters. “Green flames. Like the Ogre Blade, or Gorgoth magic”

Ken (GM) in the aftermath, the smoke clears…..and a raging red bonfire sits on top of the stone… and eerie green light flies up into the sky out of the boulder, like a beacon!
Syviis: “Upon retrospect, that did seem a bit obvious…” She sighs and gets out another arrow, looking to see what the skeletons are doing

Ken (GM) the skeletons are still, dead on the ground, pieces of them smoking from where they were violently destroyed

…in the distance, you hear an echoing cry…
It is faint, but must be far off and powerful, the sound like screeching metal…

Ken (GM): [map magic]
Gray: “Right. Knew that was too easy. Nothing’s ever simple”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “…I suppose we’ll get our chance to avenge the farmers and the Dwarf.”
“Let’s take cover by the bridge, so we’re closer to the water in case we catch fire, perhaps.”
Syviis: “A fine idea.”

Ken (GM) the evening sunset lines the sky overhead with red-tinged fast-moving clouds…

Suðri Skornbrekker looks to make sure the skies are clear, then rushes across the open field into the bushes and thicket near the bridge.
Gray follows after, though he stays in the open and watches the skies.
Doc: is there room to get the horse under the bridge?
Ken (GM): Bavieca raises an eyebrow, but there is a gap there to stow her
Doc: also did we bring any spare guns

Ken (GM) the bridge is old, stone and timber, fat pilings of heavy blocks carved in ages past. Mossy and green

Suðri Skornbrekker props up his dwarfgun on his bardiche, and aims towards the open field, keeping an eye in the sky. Skornbrekker definitely brought his ordinary musket too, right next to him.
Ken (GM): [yeah not a problem; the dwarves seem to have been packing everything lately. Seems they have a lot of carry space freed up…]

Ken (GM) You race to cover and watch the skies, passing out guns and watching. Soon, you hear the metallic screech again… much closer, and much louder

REEEEEEEEE

(To Syviis): You spot through the clouds an Aura, it comes over the horizon but pierces the cloud cover like a flare. Necromancy, and tons of it
Syviis begins aiming through the clouds
Bomrek: (Shit, we’ve been lured into a trap, right where the frogs want us – Near Water!)
Syviis: “Watch my aim…it comes.”
[Kermit the Necromancer Lord…]
Suðri Skornbrekker is ready to aim at whatever appears
Ken (GM): (The french are coming?)

Ken (GM) Syviis points at an unassuming bank of clouds West, but you see flitting between the clouds, a shape. Dark, but winged, and very large…..and moving very fast
Roderick begins aiming
Suðri Skornbrekker does too.
Gray: “The light’s with us. We will meet this challenge, like we’ve met the rest” He waits and watches the massive winged shape come closer.

Ken (GM) The shape twists on it’s course, but Syviis marks it out. The great winged beast draws closer and closer and must be moving incredibly swift. As it passes through clouds, you see it is massive as well, much larger than the beast you slew at Glardenfen.

And then you get a clear look at it, lined in evening sun: It is a skeleton of a dragon! Tattered leathery wings bearing it’s impossible form toward you!

It punches through the clouds in a dive straight toward the green flaming beacon!

SCREAMING overtop the dragons cry, you hear a voice!
“HEROES OF GLARDENFEN! WITNESS ME!”

Suðri Skornbrekker begins aiming at the head, since that worked on the last skeleton.
Roderick doesn’t try to get fancy with it

Ken (GM) The thing slams into the earth, sending up furrows from the ground in it’s impact. The massive legs bend and creak, white bones like tree trunks, scintillating with silvery script! Atop the thing’s head, a figure in stark white, bearing a staff glowing hotly with magic power. It outstretches a hand and bellows!
The Man: “WAIT!”
“Hear me!”
[wat dooo?]

Syviis stays her arrow…for now

Roderick keeps aiming. “Speak!” He calls out

Suðri Skornbrekker shouts: “Make it quick!” and uses the time to steady his aim. Perhaps the man is a juicier target than the dragon’s skull after all.

Gray starts walking closer, but in no hurry, and shouts cross the battlefield. He says in that deep, rough voice of his.. “Bomrek, don’t shoot him quite yet!”

The Man: “Hear me and stay your hands! Your weapons are mighty and have much greater purpose!” The Man sweeps his staff side to side, and the dragon skeleton sways with it. Steadying, it seems to growl, claws digging in, wings tucking back. The man atop it is skeletal, pale white, withered like dead wood
The Man doesn’t seem to see you, perched in cover where you are, but his voice carries across the glen
“I will barter with you! I will broker safe passage, and aid you on your quest! The Mage Lord must fall!”

Gray: “You have me at a disadvantage.” His sword flashes, putting one away then the other. “You know me. I don’t know you.”
Doc: disadvantage: racist against skeletons

Ken (GM): BOOM BOOM BOOM the dragon steps to the side, and the man comes into clear view, unobstructed by the beacon of black stone

Suðri Skornbrekker aims at the man’s staff, which seems to be controlling the dragon. He does not intend to shoot just yet though.

The Man: “Gray! Fierce warrior! The tales of your prowess are legendary!” He yells, his voice raspy but full “And Syviis! Bomrek! Suðri! Roderick! Each of you must hear me! ” He points along the bank at your hiding spots, the dragon’s head swiveling to each of you in turn, empty black sockets of bone stained black
(To Gray): You can see the mighty spirit entwined in the bones; the contorted creature is the ghost of a dragon, broken and ragged, pierced by the bones and all jagged pieces of itself. The spirit is bound to the staff, clearly

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Was it you who destroyed that farmstead south of here?” Suðri calls out to the man.
Syviis: “If your words carry no magic, then you may speak. If we indeed share the common foe, we would be glad to hear you – but be mindful we repay trickery with force.”
The Man: “This beast laid waste to much in it’s time, master dwarf!
And fear not oh fierce elf, I am not your enemy today!”

Syviis lowers her arrow and steps forward, mindful of the dragon’s jaws
“Then speak. And explain this beast while you are at it.”
Gray: “His staff binds the spirit of the dragon. It would either rage out of control or be banished if the staff broke. Do you have a name, Elder?”
The Man: “I did Gray, once, but it is lost to me. And that is not a story for today.
What I speak of is a truce, between myself and your forces. Safe passage guaranteed, for me and for you”
“I have seen your power, and fierce as it is, I do not wish to have it turned against me. My loyalty to the High Lord is not so infallible. I would see to it you succeed against him”
Roderick: “And what assurance do we have that your word to us means anything more?”
Gray: “Explain what you mean? You have no name and are in the service of the usurper?” He frowns thoughtfully, nodding a touch as he considers what the man says.
The Man: “Roderick, I have little to lose but my life, and you have much to gain. I ask you to trust, to listen.”

“I am one of the wizards of Greyhold, turned by Jadeite’s dark forces. He unleashed a dark power on this world, a creeping darkness unlike anything we have seen in this age. I would not see that destroy us. I would see us seal that away again into it’s dark prison, it’s festering demesne”
“I was granted a demon bonding, much like those you have seen before. Zur’s golden bones. Deloth Ainur’s silver tokens. I myself am bound to the Withered Eye. Each of them grant power but my benefactor was more benign than most. I was simply shown portents of the future…”

Gray nods thoughtfully, seeing how closely the man’s words match what they heard from the hag, “A dangerous bargain”

Suðri Skornbrekker quietly says to Roderick and Bomrek: “If Rolf was here we could ask him if he recognizes this guy.”
Suðri Skornbrekker asks the man: “So these things our foes possessed… they did not in fact possess, but were possessed by them to some degree, harboring some demon in them?”
The Man: “Truly; the tokens are infested with the demonic power. Possession is a pact drawn with the inhabiting creatures. You yourself understand this firsthand, do you not, silver-blood?”
Suðri Skornbrekker looks down on his crystalised body, and cannot help but agree. “…I see—and it was that yours showed you the future, which is as grim as it is shaping up to be, lest we right things. Does your demon have a say in this, however? Is it loyal to jadeite still, and might disagree with your actions?”
The Man: “The Withered Eye has no loyalties but to itself, and it grants it’s powers to me in hopes I might persuade you. It’s say is mine, and we say that the Darkness CANNOT triumph!” The Man punctuates his words with a flourish of his staff, and the dragon he rides rears back, screeching in it’s otherworldly noises

Syviis turns to the others and raises an eyebrow

Ken (GM) in the distance, a baby wails in fear at the noise

Suðri Skornbrekker looks back at Syviis and shrugs a bit helplessly.

Roderick: “And when we are victorious, the Darkness beaten back. What then?”
Gray: “Humm.. Can you prove what you say, or what you offer? Something to give us reason to trust you, Nameless Man?” The towering beast tilts his head to the side, then nodding to Roderick. Trying to resist the urge to question the man more.
The Man: “Trust is earned, not taken! I hear your need for truth and assurance. I offer this: let me alone to do my work and I shall assist you in the future against The Darkness. More to the point, I offer intelligence. At Academs mine, beyond the town in the hills, lies a place of power. Jadeite’s forces have worked there, and hidden away their doings, but it is important to him that it remains secret and safe. That place, revealed or even destroyed, would put him at great disadvantage”

Gray gestures to the loam between them. “Mark a map for us then. If your words prove true it will go a long way to making us trust you. If they are false, we will overcome whatever trap this leads to and know your true nature.”

Suðri Skornbrekker whispers to Roderick and Bomrek: “It could be a trap, but it would be a pointless one. Nosy as we are, we would probably have taken a look anyway, so now we are forewarned. Uncomfortable though I am with it, I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt… until we know more.”

Syviis nods

Roderick nods. “If we are meant to fight, just as well that we delay doing so.”
Syviis: “We will reach Jadeite with or without the way prepared safe. But time matters for those suffering under his regime’s hand. If this leads us to a sooner victory, we can all be glad.

The Man speaks a word in a dark tongue, and gesticulates, green fire on his fingertips. A sheet of parchment materializes on the ground in front of you
Gray: “Ah, I’d have drawn a map on the ground with a stick.” He says thoughtfully as he walks to the magically conjured skin, reaching down to take it up carefully and studying it.

Ken (GM) the parchment shimmers a bit, like it is slick with oil, but etched out on the surface in black and red is a simple map of the land. Academs mine lies dead center, with an obvious trail annotated to the East in the hills nearby
(To Gray): You notice as you look over the map, the writing and drawings slither about, adding details and expounding upon where you look, as if it was alive.
Gray grunts at the magical map, almost scowling as symbols shift. Studying that hidden place and trail. The towering lupine beast turns and walks to Syviis, nodding to her. “The map is quite an impressive spell. It shows a path”

Syviis: “And what will we find there?”
The Man: “A dark temple to a darker force, and the key to his minions’ hold over the population. Their silver swords are enchanted, a great working each of them. But they are themselves tools of a greater force. Living metal bound to the will of the High Lord, secreted away in the earth where he discovered it.”
Syviis doesn’t even have to look at the Dwarves to know they’re interested-as-heck
(To Syviis): The map glows like a chunk of uranium in a reactor. It’s a purely magical construct

Suðri Skornbrekker heard ‘silver swords,” and with that is convinced that the man is speaking the truth.
The Man: “He has worked his magics, bound the living metal to his will, and in turn bound a piece of the Living metal to each of the swords. Their silver is that of the land itself. In hand, they can channel any amount of power they wish from each other, to each other. An open channel into The Ways. A dark wound on the universe itself”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Hard to stomach,” Suðri commends, poking his elbow at Bomrek.
Bomrek: (>living metal
I’m reminded of the terminator)

Syviis: “After this is over, what of you, Nameless One? Ridding the world of this infected power may take a toll on you as well – while self sacrifice is admirable, if you truly are an ally, would you work with me and the other mages of Light to help you?”
The Man regards Syviis, and the dragon he is perched upon seems to step back in trepidation
Syviis: “I admit…you may have to give up your rather imposing method of transportation should the vile power fade from the land.” She smiles kindly
The Man: “I fear what might happen, should the Withered Eye be separated from me now. What i might be without it”
“or what it might be, freed of a human vessel”
Gray: “There are worse things then to die and pass beyond”
Syviis: “If you are not our foe, we will do everything we can to help you, and contain any lingering darkness. I only tell you to prepare you should Jadeite’s claws be deep around your soul.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods quietly.
Gray: “We will tend your flame and build your shrine.. and banish your deamon back to where it belongs. It may be gone a long time, but such things matter little to something that can’t bleed and will never age”
“But that’s a long way off. For now, we need to make camp. Before dawn we should start striking north to reach this hidden Nexus before whatever rite happens there finishes”

The Man: “The pact is then SEALED!” and thunder crackles in the sky after his words
The Man rears back, and the dragon flaps it’s scaly impossible wings, and the creature lifts ponderously to the sky
The Man: “FARE WELL, HEROES!”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Take care!” Suðri calls after him, as a sign of goodwill.
Syviis: quietly “I can’t decide if I am glad…or worried…that we made a pact with a draco-lich riding future-wizard.”
Bomrek lets out a breath, and immediately goes for his pipe, readying it to smoke.
Suðri Skornbrekker: “These are strange times indeed.”
Gray: “The only payment I offered was what I’d give anyone bound in a Pact to a Deamon.” He says thoughtfully.

Syviis walks up and checks the map, making a quick note on her own paper-maps
(To Syviis): The map’s writing slithers and reforms, enchanted to enhance your view of the environs, detailing the landscape and other features as you investigate them
Syviis: “A wise idea. I would be worried about any pact with one covered in the darkness we fight…but perhaps this will be a success where cleaning the taint from other foes had failed. This one seems conscious and aware enough to fight when the time comes.”

Gray nods to Syviis, reaching out, almost touching her before he shakes his head and instead looks to the map, studying it a moment then rolling it carefully. “Magic when a stick and dirt would do. Damn mages..” He looks to the sky, hunting for where Memory’s gone off to. Wondering what she thinks of this.
(To Gray): Memory’s voice leaps to your mind “You wish me to return?”

Suðri Skornbrekker knocks on his armor and whispers: “Could you separate this living metal from the swords it has been inserted into, and maybe make it whole again?”
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You get a feeling from your armor, that it could, or at least it believes it could
Suðri Skornbrekker strokes his beard and nods, and relaxes a little after this fortunately peaceful standoff.

Roderick returns his musket and mounts his horse. “His aid was likely worth more than what we’ve given him in return. And if he betrays us, I do not believe we will be any worse off than if we had not reached this agreement.”
Ken(GM): Bavieca is a bit damp, but happy to be out of the river now

Syviis returns her attention to the green flame in the middle of town, looking for a way to arrest it
Ken (GM): [blow it up again?]
[or possibly even roll thaumatology?]
Syviis: rolling 3d6 ( 6 + 1 + 3 ) = 10
Beat by 2
(To Syviis): Youre pretty sure…maybe, that if you walk up to it and touch it, you can turn it off. Like a lightswitch. It’s a raw magic torch, and the way it reacted earlier means it’s just malleable as heck.
Syviis spends a moment studying the beacon, then reaches out to try to switch it off

Ken (GM): BOOP the big bonfire snuffs out, and the green light flickers

Gray: “Not unless you’ve finished. But I have a map I’d like you to see.” He speaks to air, deep voice rough.. then nodding to Roderick. “He could exploit our trust to strike at us when we attack a Nexus east of the next town that would be a trap. He could easilly take good advantage of that”
“He also knew us. Well enough to know our weaknesses”
(To Gray): Memory responds “I shall return. I fly some ways Northwest of you. I have seen a mighty draconic creature wing to the town below. Do you fare well?”
Gray: “The beast wanted parley, not battle. We are fine, but have more questions then answers. A new ally or foe, and a new goal on our road to the North.” He speaks to the air again, seeming to have a conversation with shadows.


Ken (GM): allrighty, so youve secured an alliance with ~DARK POWERS~
sounds like a 4 point day to me 😀
DUN DUN DUNNNNN
Syviis: Wooo!
Doc: neat
Joush M.: Thanks for the game man
Doc: got back in time for the wrap-up
P.P. A.: \o/
Indeed, thanks
Fiss: Yus, it was nice having a normal – ish sized session. Thanks again for putting up with my 3pm runs.
Ken (GM): hah, sorry doc 😛
alright, until next week ya sods. Any major purchases, gimme a heads up on discord, and well updated sheets.
wish me luck! Back to the toddler wrangling!

About KentonBlack

I'm an avid gamer, computer troubleshooter, and all around dashing fellow. I blog After Action Reports on my gaming, running as the GM for several GURPS 4e games
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