Song of the Ages

Another Dimension
Farin

No sooner had we arrived at Fort Dax were we sent out on another mission, accompanied by some half-elf that Wyllo knows. I haven’t had much time to write, been busy trudging through swamp land and killing zombies. We were hired to fight off a necromancer and his army of the undead. Not really a terribly hard task. Or so I figured. But since leaving the fort we’ve been attacked by Were-bears, I’ve been possessed by some sort of ghost and Mosi and I were sent to another dimension of sorts by Belfran.
I took care to make sure we laid to rest the corpses that the necromancer turned into play-things.
They deserve at least that.
Also Mosi thinks I have a thing for him… eww
There are a lot of things I’d be willing to fuck. Gross hairy dwarf with little hygiene standards is definitely not on the list

I think being in a group is stressing Fenris out. Poor thing isn’t used to the company of others. It’s usually just me and him. I’m reluctant to leave, however. Not sure why. I guess I’ve missed the companionship of family more than I realized…

Oh, and I guess we’re going to be hunting down a lich… grand

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Fort Dax is Going to be Important
Belfran

With a portal in Fort Dax, it will have the potential of being a prominent trade hub. It will be the only magical portal in Sutherland, with reasonable access to Bayacre and the Deep Road. Sure, it presents difficulties as far as security goes, but there are ways to manage that. Fort Dax must be politically and economically significant if it going to stand a change of outlasting any of us.

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New Enemy

Yeah, as you can tell, we got out of the tower alive. There was a strange bit with sconces in the cellar that turned out to be a disguised and locked entrance to some ancient tunnels that probably predated the tower, and the entire thing was crawling with undead, but we soon found that blasted necromancer that brought us out here. If I had passed him in the street, I’d have thought him nearly dead with plague. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m fairly certain he had a pulse when we started in on him. Later on in the fight, that was probably debatable.

It wasn’t our easiest fight, I’ll tell you that. I’m still not sure where he came from or exactly what he wanted with the place aside from the dead, but he wielded a strange staff that eventually gave away who he worked for. Almahen, a lich from ancient times that should have been killed long ago, but is now loose once more and apparently stirring up trouble for the entire north. Turns out some of my friends have brushed shoulders with him a time or two, if just briefly. We’d heard from Dax that this lich had been behind some of the armies forming in the Northern Wastes, and had also heard that he was somehow connected to the cults springing up in Sutherland itself. I can only suppose this necromancer was one of his cultists.

We managed to drop the man pretty quickly, but that didn’t take the fight out of him. Maybe he had a spell prepared for the event of his death or Almahen had such a claim on his soul that he could step in and use his body once the man ‘left the premises’. Either way, we found ourselves fighting the very same necromancer yet again, this time while missing his own head. Add on top of it some more undead that swarmed to his aid and it could have ended poorly for us. Fortunately though, we managed to crush the wizard’s body past whatever limits the lich’s power had and, with his death, the undead scattered. We picked them off later and made sure that we burned the bodies before we left the tower, but this was and is far from done. Somewhere there’s some mad dead wizard and he’s needing to be put down. Good thing I’m all fired up after that tower.

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S.O.S.
Wyllo

I’m just here to check in. I’m alive. That’s all.

Yoon stole all of the party’s healing potions at one point and I would punch her, but we’re all alive, so I guess that’s ok. And I’m alive. I guess that’s ok too.

Still kind of want to punch her. Doesn’t mean I will.

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Two Blacksmiths

“You just let him take credit for that? Now you got nothing out of the trip except you have to pay monthly guild dues.”

“Not quite. I should be able to make most of that back by saving on bulk materials for the forge. And we could get the Guild to send us some apprentices.”

“But doesn’t everyone hate him? Do you hate him?”

Brosh sighed and refilled his tankard.

“Look, elf. People change. One day he’s gonna realize he’s not the powerful wizard he thinks he is. It’s gonna destroy him. He’ll need something he’s good at, something that makes him not think he’s totally worthless.”

“And the dead thing he carries around? What if he really is what he thinks he is?”

“Well… At least he’ll have a friend to keep an eye on him.”

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Old friends

Now, I suppose I should tell you a little more about me for this to really make sense. You might know how a few years back the dwarves sent an army to Sutherland to help hold the border, yeah? Well, I was in that army. Not as a soldier, mind you, but as a young blacksmith that hoped that following them along long enough would get me enough coin to afford my own shop. I admit that I was greener than green back then, didn’t even know much about fighting or the like, just had a hope that this would get me the future I thought I wanted.

Then things went sideways. I don’t know exactly why we decided to march out past the frontier and try to retake that tower. I heard some soldiers say that it was part of a plan that the humans and our generals had agreed on, that we’d retake the place and rebuild it enough to really serve in war again, while they would watch our flank. I heard others say that our generals were getting ahead of themselves, determined to risk a few bloody fights in hope that we could make a name for ourselves, or perhaps I should say for themselves. Either way, once we retook the tower, there were no humans guarding our flanks. No one to shield us from the surprise retaliation that the savages threw at us. And at that point, the generals were more worried about getting their forces back alive. They didn’t care about the stragglers that had attached themselves to that army in the meantime. We got left behind and swarmed. The tower became a slaughterhouse; cooks, smiths and whores all trying desperately to hold the blasted pile of rocks from an enemy that knew more about war than we did. I got out alive, if just barely, but most didn’t.

Well, this time I got to see what happened to them. I suppose I didn’t want to think about it on the way up, but I couldn’t fool myself too long. Many of the undead walking the place now had faces I once knew, some of them I even could put names with and had once called friends. I suppose if you wanted a place that didn’t lack in corpses, this tower was the place to be, but these were not just corpses for me. I could very well have been one of them. Perhaps some surface god had spared me that fate or my ancestors had been watching out for me, but seeing what my friends had become really hit me in the gut. I felt fear, but I wasn’t afraid of anything I could put my finger on. It was like a painful itch that I couldn’t scratch, nagging at my thoughts and driving me to distraction. I guess after a while, I had a good idea what I was afraid about.

I was afraid that I should have died here and not them. It may not make much sense, but that’s as best I could put it. I felt pain and fear for having survived what they didn’t. I was afraid that I had let them down by living.

Now, whether this is true or not doesn’t matter. It’s what I felt but thankfully I’m not the green smith I once was. Mama Broarhush made me more than that. She helped me learn that when I’m scared, I need to get angry. Really angry. I survived this place once, I was going to survive it again. I left my friends behind once to their deaths, the least I could do now was return them to that death in peace. I could kill the man who dared use their remains like this. I could and would. For them and for me.

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Another Coded message
Belfran

Through what must have been several days of hard work, squinting and scribbling at parchment by candlelight, the following message has been decoded from The Folly of Llamryl and other Nursery Rhymes.

The day Syr Evan rose to godhood, I remember Eadwig was not happy. You tried to shield me from seeing them fight, Father and Eadwig. Eadwig, of course, had been promised the Authority of War, and Syr Evan, he felt, impeded upon that Authority. Father tried to make them work together, but they became bitter enemies. I wonder if that day was when the darkness entered Eadwig’s heart. Syr Evan, for his part, left behind a holy relic, one that now serves as the final key for the lock that hides Eadwig’s heart. Let no one say I do not have a knack for poetic justice.

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Old stomping grounds

What do you want? Yeah, we got back from the elven isle safe and sound, though we did have to pound a giant along the way. The fort had come a long way since last we’d seen it, with the inn finished and operating. The drinks on tap were good, though I’ll have to see if we can diversify the stock even more. If we could have some of the more exotic brews I’ve had in my travels on tap, I might even consider settling down.

Might, mind you. I can’t always vouch for the itch in my feet and in my soul.

And after that? Aren’t you being a bit nosy? Well, yes, I’ve told you so much of our story so far, maybe it is rude to leave you… but, well, the next part is a bit personal, see? I don’t much like talking about it. Never really talked about it in length even with the rest of the Black Foxes. But I suppose there’s some good in airing it out. Like spitting, sometimes you got to do it to let you breathe.

So, coming back to the fort, we found Anya waiting for us with a job offer. You know, Anya, Fulgin’s sister. Never really met her myself, but she traveled with Qelroth a bit before. Turns out she’s one of those Lighthand lot you hear about. She wanted our help clearing out a ruined tower close to the border to the north. Seems like she’d heard it was being used by some necromancer and she wanted us to run him out of there. We agreed since, well, we all had our reasons, but I don’t think the others knew I had some history with that particular tower. Not good history either. Long story short, lots of good people died and me nearly along with them. Ended up having to spend a lot of time away from civilization, which could be where the itch started. Anyways, we left to get to this tower.

We stopped at the last stronghold and got our supplies. Even ran into a familiar face, though why she’s still with the army at all baffles me. After what the generals did, I’d never want to take orders again. From anyone, not just them. After there, we decided to cut through the swamplands that lay directly between us and the tower. Not a pleasant place, but a bit like home to me now. Like I said, I spent a good amount of time away from normal folk and that was one of the places. We even ran into a familiar face there. Older half-orc woman that nursed me back from the brink of death, back in the day. She’s the one that helped me really tap into my anger and fight. Granted, we weren’t meeting on the best of terms. Her village had just been attacked by savages and she was hellbent on finding them and seeing if they had any prisoners she could free. She gets like that with those she sees as family. It’s just how she is.

I talked the others into helping her. I was going to do it even if they weren’t, but I was glad to have their help. Even with them, I nearly got overwhelmed, surrounded by fur and teeth and… something else, but fortunately we won out and managed to free those two kids you see running around the fort now. Sent them all back here since they had no place to call home no more. The rest of us though had to deal with that tower still, so we kept going forward.

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Secret Text Passage 4
The Folly of Llamryl and other Nursery Rhymes

Transcription of the full secret text that Belfran and Farin found within “The Folly of Llamryl and other Nursery Rhymes” while traveling by ship from Desya to Westport.

VGhlIGRheSBTeXIgRXZhbiByb3NlIH
RvIGdvZGhvb2QsIEkgcmVtZW1iZXI
gRWFkd2lnIHdhcyBub3QgaGFwcHk
uIFlvdSB0cmllZCB0byBzaGllbGQgb
WUgZnJvbSBzZWVpbmcgdGhlbSB
maWdodCwgRmF0aGVyIGFuZCBF
YWR3aWcuIEVhZHdpZywgb2YgY2
91cnNlLCBoYWQgYmVlbiBwcm9ta
XNlZCB0aGUgQXV0aG9yaXR5IG9
mIFdhciwgYW5kIFN5ciBFdmFuLCB
oZSBmZWx0LCBpbXBlZGVkIHVwb
24gdGhhdCBBdXRob3JpdHkuIEZh
dGhlciB0cmllZCB0byBtYWtlIHRoZ
W0gd29yayB0b2dldGhlciwgYnV0I
HRoZXkgYmVjYW1lIGJpdHRlciBl
bmVtaWVzLiBJIHdvbmRlciBpZiB
0aGF0IGRheSB3YXMgd2hlbiB0a
GUgZGFya25lc3MgZW50ZXJlZC
BFYWR3aWfigJlzIGhlYXJ0LiBTe
XIgRXZhbiwgZm9yIGhpcyBwYX
J0LCBsZWZ0IGJlaGluZCBhIGhv
bHkgcmVsaWMsIG9uZSB0aGF0
IG5vdyBzZXJ2ZXMgYXMgdGhlI
GZpbmFsIGtleSBmb3IgdGhlIGx
vY2sgdGhhdCBoaWRlcyBFYW
R3aWfigJlzIGhlYXJ0LiBMZXQg
bm8gb25lIHNheSBJIGRvIG5vd
CBoYXZlIGEga25hY2sgZm9yIH
BvZXRpYyBqdXN0aWNlLg==

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Thoughts on Revenge, Assholery and other things
Farin

My idea of revenge was political sabotage, instead we ended up killing Alwin.
But I guess this ending was more fitting considering Alwin tried to kill us… I learned long ago that just killing people isn’t very satisfying, or at least, I do not finding killing people to be so. When I got my throat cut I hunted down and killed those responsible, but it didn’t change anything. I was still robbed of my voice, and the death of those who hurt me did nothing, and I still had to learn to live with my new handicap.
So, having learned that, I intended on leaving Alwin in ruin and scandal, but instead we left him dead. I guess it’s not really a loss, at least we know for certain that he can never come back to harm the Black Foxes… but there is no sense of personal satisfaction at his death.
Why does revenge seem to make everyone else feel better, when revenge does nothing for me?
Oh well, I guess it doesn’t really matter. What’s done is done.
The visit to House Amastaria wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I probably should have been nicer. I mean, my father truly seems sorry for… everything…
But what can I say? I’m an asshole.
I kept throwing Wyllo under the carriage too. I was hoping on getting myself out of the spotlight by drawing attention to the fact that Wyllo is part of the family. It somewhat worked but I’m rather sure that Wyllo is now miffed at me.
Again, asshole

I know I’ve been acting like a child ever since we got to Celeria, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to be courteous to my father after all these years. I wanted to be jerk.

In other news we rescued Oak’s family. I haven’t taken any time to get to know Oak, he seems like an asshole to me(I guess that means that we should get along fine…) I’m not overly fond of him thus far at any rate, but I am rather curious to get to know his family. Seeing as now the four of them, Oak, and myself are the only elves living among humans on a permanent basis. Chances are I’ll be spending more time with them in the long run after everyone else in the Black Foxes dies of old age.

Note to self: Apologize to Wyllo for being an asshole
Other note to self: Check out that book Belfran stole from my library, he said it’s important

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