Monthly Archives: March 2005

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Sounds of Silence

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 6)

Sounds of Silence

Reason is the greatest gift. It leads to
discourse, which leads to peace, which leads to Serenity. If all
could be convinced to reason with each other, the world would enjoy
harmony of benign order. Some refuse to use reason and instead
resort to violence, at which time action – governed by reason and
wisdom – is required to counteract their deeds and restore
peace.

-From the teachings of Rao.

Pain. And then merciful darkness.

* * *

Dreams punctuated the darkness.

A small man, eyes dark and cold and filled with anger,
glared down at the man known to his comrades as Silent Pete. The
man opened his mouth to scream an order at Pete-or at those who
held him down-but no sound emerged. Instead, a silent black fog
spewed out in a mist that congealed into a serpentine, almost
draconian, shape. It took on form quickly, and its eyes locked on
Pete’s. And then it shot with blinding speed right at Pete’s
mouth.

More blackness.

* * *

Glauron stared at the infernal gate, and thought back-with much
distaste-on the events of the past evening. Pete, his friend and
the leader of the Silent Companions, had disappeared through that
gate not two hours past. And, all Glauron and the rest of the
Companions had done was watch. Yet, their orders had been clear,
given by Pete himself.

“We are here at the request of Father Ancalimë to stop
others from going into the gate,” he had spoken through motions of
his fingers. “Please stay here.” Then, only to Glauron, he had
signed, “I must enter. Somehow I know I will find information
regarding Tybold there.” And then Pete had entered the gate.

Father Ancalimë? Why protect the gate at the request of
a priest of Corellon Larethien? And where was Tybold Reisen, the
one they were supposed to meet in an inn in Aniel?

A night ago, all of the Companions had dreamed the same dream;
in the dream Tybold had first turned to ice and then had melted
into oblivion. Tybold, though not a Silent Companion, was a friend
of all of the Companions. They instinctively trusted him and in
mysterious ways were drawn to him. Tybold seemed to show up in the
strangest of times and locations, often meeting with the Companions
in a tavern to share information, or guiding them to refuge in the
cellar of an abandoned cottage, or in the inn of a friend. Two days
past, the Companions were traveling to Aniel, a small elven village
in the southern tip of the Gnarly Forest just outside of Celene.
They were to meet with Tybold and discuss an urgent concern raised
by recent actions of the Knights of the Watch, sworn enemies of the
Archclericy of the Veluna.

The Companions served the Archclericy of Veluna via the monastic
servants known as the Celestial Order of the Moons, a group
comprised of representatives of the seven noble houses of Veluna.
All of the companions, save Joord Gambol, the halfling, swore an
oath of silence to the Order upon joining the Companions. The oaths
were administered by a high priest in the Archclericy and they were
binding. Joord was not sworn to silence so that he could serve
specifically as the mouthpiece of the Companions. But as a result,
Joord never was included in sensitive information pertaining to
their missions.

Pete had been building the Companions one-by-one over the last
six turnings of the seasons. Glauron was the first companion Pete
gathered. Back at the end of Reaping in CY591, Pete had come upon a
small party of orcs camped out near Drachensgrab Hills in the
Pomarj. The orcs had Glauron’s hands bound cruelly behind his back
with rough rope. One end of the rope left the knots at his wrists,
coiled tightly around his neck, and then led a few feet away into
the large grotesquely calloused hand of a large orc. The orc was
enjoying himself immensely. Every few moments he would pull hard on
the rope-choking Glauron-as he simultaneously jabbed him harshly
with a sharpened skewer formed from a long, stripped branch. The
end of the skewer was red-hot from the orc’s campfire.

Glauron had not so much been captured by the orcs as delivered
to them, perhaps purposefully, though to this day he wasn’t
entirely sure. What was clear was that his own family of elves was
responsible for his predicament, but the reason was a mystery.

 

It was clear he hadn’t fit into the world he had been born into.
As long as he could remember, Glauron, a dark elf from the
Underdark, had always had a fascination with the surface world. He
didn’t despise the Underdark, but it held only functional qualities
for him: He understood the Underdark, but did not enjoy it.

The Underdark was a countless set of subterranean caverns,
chambers, tunnels, lakes and rivers all buried deeply beneath the
Drachensgrab Hills and other mountainous regions in the southwest
corner of the lands of Greyhawk. The Underdark housed many villages
and cities for Druegar dwarves, Svirfneblin gnomes, and the dark
elves know as Drow. There were other darker creatures and entities
as well, known to Glauron through the tales he had heard as a child
and through the training he had received in his teens and his
twenties.

In his first thirty-five years, he had never once viewed the
surface world somewhere above the Underdark. He has listened
reverently to the stories of his elders as they described it
however. He had pictures that solidly filled his imagination of
what a starry sky must look like. He had dreams at night where he
felt wind flowing through his hair and nightmares where his eyes
were blinded and his skin burned. This compulsion of his, this
wondering, did not fit in well with his siblings. It did not fit in
well with his cousins and all the other elves of his house. He was
a respectful son, doing his duties without being reminded, without
being asked. His chores were accomplished quickly, freeing up time
so he could wander, so he could explore. All of his free time was
spent wandering the myriad tunnels and caverns of uncharted areas
of the Underdark.

This was difficult because the Underdark was vast, and over the
course of many centuries, the once growing populations of the
Underdark had not thrived but had instead shrunken. Entire cities
had been abandoned due to the ravages of wars and famine. Glauron’s
goal in his explorations was always to find passages leading up, to
ultimately find a way to the surface world. After more than a
decade of trying, he had discovered several mazes of passages that
seemed to lead up, but all of them, save one, had eventually been
blocked by collapsed tunnels or by unsurpassable rivers, or by
inhabitants deemed too unfriendly to risk further exploration.

However, ten months before being captured, he had discovered a
chimney of sorts in a never before explored cavern miles-and mazes
of tunnels-away from the Drow city where Glauron lived. His innate
powers of levitation had not developed yet, so traversing the
chimney was difficult; however within the interior tunnel of the
chimney were small pockets perfect for foot and hand holds. It led
up for what seemed an eternity, tasking Glauron to the point where
he was sure he would not be able to go on, but eventually it opened
into a closed structure. No phosphorescent moss was present and
even with his darksight, the darkness was complete. Faerie fire
revealed he was in the front of a large, empty chamber. The chamber
was longer than it was wide and had cavernous arched ceilings. From
his vantage point at the head of the chamber, Glauron could see
rows and rows of stone pews moving away from him in perfect balance
and spacing. Though layers of dust and dirt covered the room
entire, it was clear that this room was built with reverence. The
stonework of the pews was glass smooth, with intricate designs
carved throughout. The altar was raised in a series of levels,
steps moving down from the top to the round aperture that Glauron
had just exited. The different levels of the alter were ornamented
with countless braziers and many iconic figures carved beautifully
from stone, silent sentinels overseeing an empty auditorium, where
Glauron was now certain that innumerable dwarves had once prayed.
The top level held a stone podium behind which the largest dwarf
Glauron had even seen stood overlooking the podium, overlooking the
pews of his congregation. As he starred at the huge statue, Glauron
was certain the eyes of the statue moved. At the same time all of
the braziers throughout the chamber lit and the altar was bathed in
a warm light. The intensity of the light was almost unbearable, but
the fear was worse and Glauron let himself fall into the well he
had so recently came out of. The terror stayed with him for the
entire time it took him to return to his own city of dark elves,
far away from the dead city of dwarves.

It was over two months before Glauron could bolster up the
willpower to go back to the hidden city. For the first few weeks,
Glauron had more often than not woken in the middle of the night in
cold sweats, feeling the eyes of the dwarven god upon him. He never
spoke of his finding to others, partially worried about punishment,
but mostly because he still felt hope that this city would reveal a
path to the surface world. After two months, Glauron was able to
convince himself that ancient magics still lived in the chamber,
but the levels of dust he remembered convinced him that no living
dwarves still frequented the city.

Several explorations over the next few months proved him right.
The altar of the chamber would always come to life, but no other
signs of life existed in the dwarven city. The city was vast, and
in months, Glauron had made little progress in visiting all of the
buildings and chambers. He was amazed at how little time had
affected the city. None of the buildings were in disrepair other
than the dust that neglect for untold decades caused. Many chambers
and, in some cases, entire buildings, were locked off and thus
rendered inexplorable; the locks protecting these areas still
seemed to look perfectly functional, time had not tarnished them,
but no keys were found and it was readily apparent that no amount
of force Glauron could apply would open even the smallest of these
doors.

The doors that were unlocked, whether large or small, opened
easily and silently on hinges of some unknown construction, hidden
from view. The twin doors leading out of the cathedral were of
particular wonder. They were constructed of stone, and intricately
woven with iron bounds. The doors were each greater than ten feet
wide and rose thirty feet or more towards the beginning of the
arched ceiling. Upon first encountering them, Glauron was sure he
wouldn’t be able to budge them. But he had opened them with as much
effort as it would have taken to move a curtain wall. They had
opened up to show that the cathedral was one building among a city
of buildings nestled into a vast cavern that housed the entire
dwarven city. The city was swallowed by the cavern like a drop of
water in a pond.

Over time, Glauron became quite familiar with the city. Through
his innate abilities, he often uncovered clever walls that would
rise or slide out of sight into a pocket in the stone construction
of the buildings. Hidden rooms and passages were uncovered this
way, but much to his wonder, very little was every found in these
passages. Glauron became convinced over time that the peoples of
this city had abandoned it rather than losing it to war. Nothing of
value seemed to remain.

His searches always were with the target of finding a way beyond
the city, a way up to the surface. On the day that he finally
succeeded, his elven senses had alerted him to another dwarven
secret passage, this one off a set of crypts. A solid wall had
split down the middle where there had been no seam visible moments
before. It had only opened a foot or two, but from the tunnel
beyond Glauron felt for the first time in his life, a small breeze
play on his skin and through his hair. The feeling was thrilling.
He followed the flow of air out of the tunnel and into a small
chamber from which the night sky was visible. For the first time in
his life, he saw the open sky. The light of the stars was painful
to his eyes, but the sight of the sky and the stars was the most
beautiful sight he had every seen. Tears streamed from his
eyes.

The chamber only had a small exit and Glauron had to climb to
reach it. He forced his way out of the small hole and was standing
on the craggy lip of a high mountain. As he looked out, overseeing
the Drachensgrab Hills, he felt a sharp pain simultaneously at both
his neck and thigh that was the last thing he noticed before going
unconscious. When he awoke, he was no longer high up on the
mountaintop. He was in an orc encampment, tied and bloodied. He
felt for the wounds at his neck and thigh, looking for darts. None
were found, but he recognized the symptoms; he knew he had been
brought down by his own people.

 

In the orc encampment, Glauron did not initially see Pete-nor
did the orcs. But Glauron did just catch Pete’s initial attack. Out
of the side of his eye, he saw something move swiftly through the
camp. Afterwards, many orcs lay upon the rough earth. The remaining
orcs reached for weapons, but in a blinding series of punches,
kicks, and swings from a large spear-like weapon, they soon also
fell.

At that point, Glauron got his first clear view of Pete, a
sturdy and somewhat unsightly human male. At least he looked human,
but he was disproportionately large, more akin to the size of an
ogre. Pete held his finger to his lips as he quickly severed
Glauron’s bonds and then motioned for him to follow. They ran off
together into the night and kept running until they were far from
the orc encampment.

That’s how it all started, Glauron thought.
Eighteen months past. Left for dead by my brethren, I never did
find out why Pete was there. None of us know how he comes to us.
But he saved me and trained me and here I am.

All of the Companions had similar stories. All stories involved
Pete. Most stories involved Tybold as well. Joord Gambol had been
the second to come to the Companions. The Halfling had been a
prisoner in Whitehale, a small but powerful province of Veluna,
accused of the murder of a minor noble in the Landis family, the
most powerful family in Whitehale. Joord was hours away from the
noose, but Pete- with information supplied from Tybold-had proven
Joord’s innocence. Unfortunately, the actual party responsible for
the murder, a first cousin of the Landis family, had escaped.

The others had followed in similar ways. Nine months past, Milav
and Dunai had been students of a monastery in the Duchy of Ulek.
The monastery had been burned to the ground by unknown assailants.
Pete had shown up, traveling with his friend Tybold a few days
later and had offered the brothers a new home. They had
accepted.

And most recently Benito Mierow had been brought into the
Companions. How Pete had come upon Benito was still not clear to
Glauron. Benito was a mystery to all actually. There was a darkness
within the man. Even before he joined the Companions, he never
spoke. His oath of silence was made with his eyes and with small
nods. Benito was still new to the drow sign language that all of
the Companions used to converse with each other, but even with this
language, Benito spoke little, more acknowledging others than
speaking himself.

Benito joined us two month’s time past. Tybold was with us
in Devarnish and he witnessed the ceremony as Benito became one of
the Companions. He left shortly thereafter. We were training in
Devarnish until a week past when Pete informed us we were to leave
to meet with Tybold.

“We must find him near Aniel,” was all that he had signed. So
the Companions had left Devarnish and traveled to Shernobb. And
somehow they had gotten wrapped up with Father Ancalimë and
the gate. And now Pete had been lost as well.

* * *

Pete could not move and pain like he had never felt spread from
his mouth like the angry rush of rapids over sharp rocks. He tried
to search his mouth with his tongue to discover the source the
pain, but for some reason he was unable. Nor could he reach for his
mouth with his hands; in fact, he could not move any other part of
his body. Then he remembered something. Wetstone.

I’m encased in stone. Wetstone.

The wetstone had already constricted upon him, crushing ribs and
driving the breath out of him. The pain throughout his body was
excruciating, accentuated severely by the agonizing pain in his
mouth. His mental conditioning was of almost no use in mitigating
the pain. He was completely encased save for his eyes. From his
eyes, light was visible through long cylindrical tubes which gave
Pete a crazy, warped vision of the world around him.

And he was unbearably hot.

I’m being cooked alive, Pete thought.

And then he continued to remember. He had walked through the
gate. He had fought a wingless dragon. He had lost the fight. He
had lost consciousness.

When next he woke, he had been held in chains by orcs. And then
he had first met the small and evil man. The small man had asked
him who he was and why he had come through the gate. Pete had
remained silent. He was sworn to silence. And besides, Pete really
didn’t know why he was here. As always, he had trusted a vision.
Where the visions came from, he did not know.

The man had quickly grown angry.

“Hold him down; spread him out! If he will not use his tongue I
shall find a use for it. I am growing tired of these fools.”
The orcs had pinned Pete down. The small man had gazed down at
him, anger burning in his eyes. The anger did not seem to be
entirely directed at Pete however. The man had looked to another, a
tall dark-robed, dark-eyed figure standing near. The anger had
magnified as he said, “Aerdaluna, can you not see this? All you
have to do is nod and tell him to speak.”

Aerdaluna? Pete had thought, recognizing the name from
the vision. That is who can help me find Tybold.

The one called Aerdaluna did not move however, nor did he speak.
Instead, he shrugged and turned his back on Pete with indifference.
The small man’s eyes glowered with anger. His fingers reached for
Pete, fingers that ended in sharp, scaled claws. The claws pierced
the cheeks to each side of Pete’s mouth and with preternatural
strength, the man easily forced Pete’s mouth open. With his other
hand, he then grabbed Pete’s tongue. In one quick action, his claws
dug deeply through the rough texture of the tongue and then with a
sharp pull, the tongue was removed.

“Grumic, are you hungry?” the man had said to the largest,
ugliest orc, tossing him the bloody stump of a tongue. Grumic
caught the stump and wolfed it down greedily.

“Coat the foolish monk in wetstone and bake him over an open
flame,” the man had said to the orcs. “Maybe that will make him
talk.” Then the man had looked at his hand, wet with the blood from
Pete’s tongue. “Or maybe not,” scoffed the foul man.

And then Pete had passed out.

 

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Jack and the Bean’s talk

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 2)

Jack Draco: a conversation with a wild bean bush

Today I am lost; but the good news is that isn’t unusual for me.
At least, most of the feathers are gone. I’ve kept a few for
humility’s sake, plus I can’t get them out of my hair. They stick
to me like the questions that constantly cling in the recesses of
my mind. I am not a know-it-all like Aerdaluna, and my spirit is
short of the conviction and patience of Father Ancalimë. I am
nothing if not curious, and I never stop asking why. Who could
blame me? I don’t even know my own parents or why my mother was
killed. Why was I saved and for what purpose? Why has Corellon
taken such an interest in me? Was it all just fate?

As fate would have it, I’ve been blessed with many talents and
wondrous opportunities. I have been lucky my whole life. I probably
should have been killed a dozen times over, but instead I’ve grown
from my many adventures or should I call them misadventures. What
bears most heavily upon my current predicament is the most recent
of these adventures.

I am not that different from most men of 15 years. I decided it
was time for me to make my way. Tarien the Hunter had taught all I
would need to know to survive on my own and so I left the good care
of Father Ancalimë for a life on the road. I kept a good pace
for the first few days of my journey, but by the seventh day I was
quite hungry; that is when Drendel’s Teeth found me. Maybe hunger
made me delusional, but at the time the wild life of a Highwayman
seemed to be a brilliant turn of fate. I could rob from the evil
rich and give to the deserving poor, starting with myself and my
friends at the orphanage. But, that isn’t how it turned out.

What happened is we robbed from everyone and gave everything to
Drendel; Drendel is without a doubt the most dangerous man I have
ever met. He isn’t a large man, I am slightly taller at only 5 feet
6 inches, but he is extremely strong and fearsome. I never saw
anyone challenge him and survive. His red eyes burn with fiery
ambitions average men could never understand. With all humility I
had never met one so young and talented as myself until I met
Drendel. I became one of Drendel’s Teeth; and I, perhaps
deservedly, cursed myself by robbing and pillaging at his side, but
I did so with a contrite conscience full well knowing the error of
my ways. Still, I’ve said fate has a way of putting me in the right
place at the right time and this occasion was no different. The
most disturbing thing about the raids was finding out what Drendel
most coveted. Far and away what Drendel most covets is to find
young, beautiful, virginal maidens.

This may seem a bit twisted, but that simple motivation is not
as clearly obvious as it seems. I found this out early on. One
night after a successful raid, one of the Teeth tried to take
liberties with one of the beautiful captives, and Drendel sliced a
mean grin into the man’s midsection. He left him on the muddy path
to slowly bleed to death – his only comfort being that maybe the
wildlife would finish him off first. So no, in my experience none
of the men nor Drendel himself ever slaked their lustful energies
upon the captured maidens. Curious, don’t you think? Rather,
Drendel or Bart (the group’s illusionist) would take the women from
the camp and always returned alone. One night there was a hoop and
a holler as one of our scouting parties returned with a captive.
They had found Freya skulking about and captured her. Drendel was
very pleased, and I knew that my fate was set and that I was
exactly where I was supposed to be.

All my life I’d been wondering about what I should really be
doing and here before me was another opportunity. I could not let
Freya suffer the fate of those other maidens, and I was in the
perfect position to do something about it. That night I acted
without delay. I put all of my talents to good use. Picking the
lock, healing Freya and moving silently – like a shadow amongst
shadows from the camp. We disappeared together into the woods, and
I made sure we left no trail.

When we got back to our Village and Father Ancalimë’s good
care, he was in no mood to grasp the full nature of my triumphant
return. Even Freya didn’t seem to understand that I had save her
from a fate worse than death. She seemed to think, just like Father
Ancalimë, that the whole affair was my fault. Freya said she
wouldn’t have been out there if she wasn’t looking for me – some
people just can’t take responsibility for their actions.
Unfortunately, after that I was confined to the walls of the
orphanage. And to make sure I stayed put, Father Ancalimë
tasked Arty with my care. Arty never sleeps and he never gets tired
of watching me. So it was especially fortuitous that Freya was
eternally in my debt for her rescue. She helped me organize the
other orphans to be my eyes and ears in the Village. That’s how I
found out about Drendel’s defeat at the hands of Lorel and
Aerdaluna. I also found out that rumor had it that he escaped with
untold treasure into the Forbidden Woods. Now I ask you, how could
anyone expect me to stay put with all this stuff going on?

Thanks for listening and for the goodberry beans; I’ve got to
get going again. If anyone asks, I was never here.

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Horror in the Night

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 7)

Horror in the Night

Of the two moons of Klarn, Law waned while Chaos swooned in its
unpredictable path reflecting the blood red light of the evening
sun which caused the ever-present mists of Klarn to glow a soft red
hue. The bonfires on the East and West sides of Draconis set
shadows dancing throughout the camp; the flames highlighting the
evil intentions displayed plainly in Drendel’s crimson eyes.
Drendel’s joy bubbles and spills like lava from a volcano while his
grin beams through his sharpened teeth and the words play out on
his forked tongue.

“To think I have you, my most unworthy whelp, to thank for the
gift of this day. Because of you I have my enemy the Elven Wizard
Aerdaluna bound and in my care. And, as if that were not enough by
itself you also delivered yourself to me, but make no mistake, we
are not yet even Jack of Fools. If you had delivered back that tart
you stole from me, then, I might have been inclined to forgive your
transgressions but no, now I shall have my fun with you too and you
shall know my wrath!”

Jack tries to speak back, as half-formed thoughts expressing his
regret for ever having worked with Drendel swirl with expressions
of rage and pity for one so strong fearing one as young as himself,
but the gag in his mouth is too tight and the chain tight about his
neck, held by Drendel’s own fearful strength, prevents any
conversation.

“Strip him and cover him head to toe with tar from the pit. When
he is done roll him in feathers and set our little bird free.
Tonight we will feast and tomorrow we shall have a hunt! Whichever
of you brings me his feathered crest and our mark will be my next
Lieutenant.”

The orks gleefully rip and shred Jack’s clothing, sparing little
of Jack’s skin in the process. Filthy claw-like nails scratch his
flesh as they rip the clothing from his body. Then one especially
large ork gives a sudden painful tug on the collaring chain about
Jack’s neck and Jack drops back-first into the mud. The pain is
sharp as Jack is slammed down but then the mud cools his freshly
scratched back and then again the pain is renewed as the ork pulls
him across the wet earth. Jack travels backward on his ass, pulled
by the neck, down the muddy path towards the huts of Ragginhold the
Dwarf and Glenwaddle the Gnome to a pit that is filled with the tar
the orks use to fashion arrows and bolts. Reaching down with an arm
thicker than Jack’s leg the ork’s nails bite into him again as Jack
is yanked up by the throat and hurled into the pit.

“Retest the Wizard’s bonds, and pay special attention to his
gag! String him by his neck to the post. We will question him when
his will and body are weaken and his defiance is no more. Let him
witness our festivities. I want him to see how well we take care of
his friends. Tomorrow after the hunt I shall have ample time to
speak with him.”

Jack is thrown back and forth, left and right, first on his
stomach and then on to his back again over and over as the orks
pass the chain between themselves taking turns tugging him through
the black tar. Pain is renewed and magnified as the chain tears
into his throat. Jack, grabbing frantically at the chain with both
hands, tried to create some slack lest his head be removed from his
shoulders. Tears burning in his eyes – tears of pain, anger and
even of hatred, not for the orks but hatred only of Drendel.

“Blade, fetch me the unclean wench! The whore with yellow hair,
the one our gelding Caretaker told us was impure. We will feed her
to the Dragon but first strip her of her clothes, leave them for
the other women. She came into this world naked and she will leave
the same way.”

“It seems a waste; she is a fine lass, Lord Drendel,
she would fetch a fair price in the right market or couldn’t we at
least -“

“What? Do you want your scent upon her before the Dragon gets
what it is due? Shall we play with your food too?”

“Of course not Lord, I would never -“

“Get the girl!” He turned towards the construct, “And what of
you man of stone, I wonder can you feel pain?”

“Not in any way I expect you could understand.”

“I understand pain, both in the receiving and in the giving,
especially in the giving.”

“Ah, but I cannot feel physical pain I feel only the
pain of loss – pains of the soul; something I gather you are
unfamiliar with.”

“We shall see – Raggin, weld this man of metal and stone into
stout chains and hang him from the trees, upside down. We shall
test its tolerance. At the very least he will make a fine
target.”

Stepping past his row of prisoners Drendel finally comes to the
last silent captive. A man dressed in dark robes, his forearms
bearing the brands of the Silent Brotherhood of Monks, his hands
bound behind him and his feet chained. Silent Pete stands quietly a
full head taller than the 5 foot tall Drendel. Then suddenly
Drendel lashes out with cat-like speed smacking Pete with the back
of his right hand. The strength of the blow sends the startled monk
flying backwards at least 10 feet, but with a roll that is more
instinct than thought Pete regains his footing. Smoke drifts from
the corners of Drendel’s mouth as he commands, “On your knees,
Monk! On your knees before I remove your head. You will tell me who
has sent you! You will tell me why you are here.”

Pete silently assumes a lotus position sitting with crossed legs
on the ground.

The large ork approaches, “Master, the boy is covered; you can’t
tell what color he is anymore – ha, ha-eee!”

“Good, gather some birds and prepare a feast; let the young cast
the feathers upon the boy until he is more bird than man.”

There are distant screams from the women’s small brick and
mortar prison.

“Monk, surely you know where your knees are? Don’t you have any
words of wisdom for me? No, Tie two birds together and they have
four wings but they can not fly? You are disappointing me and that
is most unwise. Do you not see what is happening here? Can you not
speak?”

Blade drags a beautiful blonde woman naked through the mud
towards the fires on the ork side of the camp. Her screams of
terror and despair echo off the thick wooden posts that surround
and protect the camp.

“Do you not see how you are making things worse for yourself?
Well, let me make myself clear.”

To the orcs, “Hold him down; spread him out! If he will not use
his tongue I shall find a use for it. I am growing tired of these
fools.”

Drendel glared at Aerdaluna, “Aerdaluna, can you not see this?
All you have to do is nod, tell them to speak on their behalf.”

Aerdaluna does not move and Drendel falls upon the silent Monk.
There is a struggle but as more bodies pin the Monk, Drendel rises
from the pile with a bloody stump in his hand that was Pete’s
tongue.

Still there is no sound from Pete.

“Grumic, are you hungry?” Drendel calls out to the ugliest ork.
“Let this wet your appetite,” as he casts the freshly cut meat to
the salivating ork who smacks it down with a horrible, moist,
exaggerated sound of contentment. Then a piercing screech higher
than any a man could muster yet at the same time deep enough to
cause the earth to tremble that none can ignore sounded telling all
that the Dragon is awake as it emerges from the far side of the
pit. Its hide is splashed with firelight but its color is bleached
by the night such that none can tell if the marking on its scaled
back are natural coloration or maybe just dirt from his hole.

“Ah, it seems you, Grumic, are not the only one who is
hungry.”

There are clangs and dings as Ragginhold begins to work the
chains onto the Artificer as the unnamed woman is dragged before
Drendel.

“Grumic, this silent Monk is my gift to you and yours so make
this a feast worth remembering. Coat the Monk in the wet-stone and
when it hardens bake him over an open flame. Only leave him alive
so that he might enjoy it! Now for you woman.”

“Spare me master; mercy, I beg you if not for me than for my
child my Lord, I am a new mother.”

As Drendel stands the naked girl up his red eyes bore into her
eyes of soft green and he backs her slowly to the very edge of the
pit. She stills herself as the hot fetid smell of the Dragon’s
breath greets her. “No dear – now you are food.” And he pushes the
beaten woman down into the pit with a flick of his wrist.
Thankfully, her screams are cut short in the crash of the Dragon’s
gnashing jaws.

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – A Short Vignette

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 9)

Vignette

“Aye, mates me gi’en name be Amalamas, that’s Ama-lamas but ye
can call me Caretaker fer that’s what swabbies call me lately. Most
wise because I took care o’ th’ animals which be nay really me
occupation but thar wasn’t much need fer a jack around Draconis an’
it didn’t pay nay t’ be busy if ye understand me, so I became th’
Caretaker. What’s more I got t’ take care o’ th’ fine ladies as
well, an’ nay by choice at first but more by means o’ reputation so
me job wasn’t half bad but I still long t’ feel th’ roll o’ a stout
ship beneath me feet. Rollin’ around wi’ th’ ladies’d be a worthy
pursuit but unfortunately good lady fate an’ Drendel – they’s both
different ideas in mind fer th’ Caretaker. I’d rather be gullied
an’ fed t’ th’ sharks than be on Drendel’s bad side. That’s pretty
much th’ only one he has. I’ve learned a lot bein’ here I’ll say
that fer th’ place, an’ it’s a wonder it really be an’ I’ve seen me
share o’ it a aft o’ Drendel’s Wrath. So I be glad ye’ve taken me
on as yer guide. I’ll do me best, I promise ye.”

” Now take thar odd shaped prints here that yer tracker can’t
get a handle on. Aye these starboard here, th’ roundish ones that
sink so deep wi’ claw marks off t’ th’ side. Th’ first time I saw
prints like this we’d beached on a desert isle, an’ saw prints, nay
nearly as large as these, but similar none th’ less. Th’ Cap’n sets
us t’ followin’ th’ prints t’ whate’er makes them. Says they’s th’
footsteps o’ a fat desert turtle. Well, th’ Cap’n he had a
hankerin’ fer salmagundi, so we needed a fat turtle an’ quick
enough we find them; big fine desert turtles, large enough fer our
cockswain t’ ride about like a fool while he downed a black jack
filled wi’ bumboo.”

“Cap’n was right; it made a fine stew, mayhap we’ll share a pot
one crisp night. Anyhow these ‘ere; they’s ain’t th’ work o’ nay
hard-shell ‘tall; these be surtaki prints, which be ’bout th’ most
foul temper beasties I’ve e’er seen. Worse e’en than,” pointing to
Sapphire, Cicily and Pandora, “th’ three beauties we be havin’, an’
funny lookin’ as well! They’s be ’bout th’ size o’ a large bull,
wi’ a giant serpent’s ‘ead, desert turtle feet, thick green fur an’
an horse’s tail. They’s be always hungry an’ they’s will eat
anythin’ as long as its meat!”

A shadow passes over Caretaker’s sea swept face pausing in the
deep creases it find there as his hand drops down and he grabs and
rubs his crotch with meaningful resigned despair.

“They’s gave me the job o’ carin’ fer th’ ladies, on account o’
them bein’ such spiny sons o’ a biscuit eater; one time I got a
little t’ close an’ I caught one o’ the’r barbed thing-a-ma-jigs
starboard between th’ humps o’ me two-backed beast! Drendel thought
that was about th’ funniest thin’ ‘e e’er saw an’ figured at least
now he had someone he could trust around th’ lasses.”

Caretaker clasps his hands together and rubs them for warmth
quickly, then places his index finger to his lips signaling for
quiet while leaning in closer.

“Now these ‘ere three beauties are not what they seem. Don’t be
asking ’em to scrape the barnacles off of yer rudder! Right said,
they’re more dangerous than the beasties. I don’t want t’ be sayin’
this too loud, but Cicily o’er thar be as cold as a winter morning,
as temperamental as a summer storm an’ she’s twice as dangerous as
a lightnin’ eel, but I’d guess nay near as scary as Pandora.
Pandora, she walks in Davey Jone’s shadow she does, an’ she always
seems t’ know what be on a man’s mind, an’ she could charm th’
scales off a snake. Me, I’m a drivelswigger but she’d be a fine
freebooter herself; an’ I can tell ye about her in one little
story. Drendel gave me lots a jobs, an’ lord knows I did a lot a
things I ne’er thought I’d be doing. One o’ me jobs was makin’ sure
these sweet bountiful booty were pure as th’ day they’s were born.
Drendel figured that I was th’ best man fer th’ job on account o’
me accident an’ me travels. So that was me first job wi’ these
beauties; so here I be all eyeballs down between Pandora’s timbers
an’ she says t’ me, ‘I`ve crushed seventeen men`s skulls between my
thighs!’ An’ I don’t doubt her.”

Daggers flew from Pandora’s eyes, “Shut your fool’s mouth
Caretaker! You were more than eager to do Drendel’s will.”

Caretaker winced at the barb and continued, “Sapphire be th’
quietest o’ th’ bunch, an’ so I figure she’s probably th’ one ye
need t’ watch o’ th’ lot. She’s sweet an’ that’s worries me – she’s
got nay activities. She’s too calm, an’ her green eyes be as deep
as any ocean. I’ve seen many a good man die fer a lass such as she.
It’s such a waste! I’d take on three foul temper’d, dirty salty
wenches before one like her.”

Freya snorted, “Caretaker, by appearances thou strikest me a
most notable coward, and likely a gifted and infinite, endless
liar, the possessor of no one good quality as befits one of thy ilk
and station. If perchance I misjudge thee mayhap thou canst yet
explain to us mayhap these women came thus to be captured, seeing
how they hast been reluctant to speak for themselves.”

Caretaker eyed the women, “Well first off I be havin’ t’ tell I
wasn’t thar fer all th’ negotiations, but I ‘ear Drendel bought
Sapphire from her father fer a fair price an’ gather that Cicily
was taken against her will at sword point and that her family an’
guards didn’t fare as well. I can tell ye Drendel sank Pandora in
drinkin’ contest in th’ same port as he found me. She was all bung
hole an’ eyes that night an’ Drendel was flashin’ a fair bag o’
coin. Well, she swaggers up t’ th’ bar an’ bets him her virginity
against his bag o’ coin that she can out drink him. Let’s just say
she lost th’ bet.”

Pandora spit as she hissed, “He Cheated!”

As we left, the three gorgeous rescued women all made their way
handily through the rough mountainous terrain outside the walls of
the Draconis settlement. They have a quick gait, as this is the
first time they have been truly free since they came under
Drendel’s care. Outside the walls of the settlement there is no
pass or road. The land appears pristine and lightly forested, with
a great mountain range spreading on either side making certain the
direction that the hunt must have taken. Sapphire and Pandora both
grabbed large spears that they had insisted on bringing with them
from Draconis, Sapphire was actually carrying two and Cicily
brought a sword she took from the unconscious Blade.

Caretaker continued, “I be glad t’ be out before nightfall;
Drendel’d be none too happy t’ find us an’ I’m sure I will be
havin’ worn out me welcome. I oughta be warnin’ ye, we won’t be
findin’ any settlements out here, scarcely any folks live in these
misty dragon isles. I don’t think th’ dragons much care fer th’
ways o’ men. Hear tell anybody here better be havin’ good reason,
shipmates or both t’ travel here. Drendel says thar’s nothin’ but
crazy hermits, wizards an’ mad men here so we will need t’ keep an
eye on our supplies. It’s been rainin’ a lot an’ th’ mountains be
filled wi’ snow at the’r peaks so we will need t’ keep t’ these
woods, it’s th’ only way that Jack swabbie an’ yer matey could be
havin’ gone. I figure it will be five full days travel t’ th’
nearest settlement, an’ that be Broken. Broken be a foul place
where th’ cast-offs o’ Becubard be found. They’s be nay too fond o’
Drendel, truth be said they’s may nay be fond o’ nay body. I figure
if we head thar right away we might be havin’ a chance, if Drendel
catches us thar be nay tellin’ what he might do an’ I’d rather nay
find out. Still thar might be nay avoidin’ it. Now anythin’ ye need
t’ know be that th’ air here be thin, so thin its hard t’ catch yer
breath but that’s nay all bad because its also too thin fer a
dragon t’ fly if ye believe Drendel.”

Freya interrupted, “Sapphire, art thou mark’d for hot vengeance?
Why dost thou bear two spears?”

“No, I only carry that which in my imaginings will benefit our
journey and I carry two because Cicily left her own. Still, these
are not simple spears but rather they are dragonlances forged of
ironwood and dragonmetal and they should not be so quickly
discarded. Drendel had insisted that the three of us be trained in
their use.”

Cicily added, “I prefer a sword. You may have wanted to be here,
but as you’ll recall I didn’t have a choice and I’m not Drendel’s
plaything!”

Pandora chided, “You’re not very bright either.”

Cicily bit back, “At least, I’m not a stupid, ill-bred, barroom
slut.”

Pandora glared, “Oh, don’t you remember, I pasted the test.
Isn’t that right Caretaker?”

“Aye, an’ I’ll be dancin’ th’ hempin jig if I’m lying. Avast,
Cicily she’d be in th’ belly o’ th’ beast by now darling. Pandora
be a picaroon fer sure but shes nay as slutty as ye’d believe.”

Freya turned towards the women thinking to her self again how
strange it is too be traveling in the company of three such
beautiful women. Freya, at 16 years of age has no shortage of
feminine charm herself; she being a sauve 5 feet and 112 pound of
toned muscle and curves topped with shoulder length lavender hair,
but she is a girl and these women are the princesses of fable and
myth; and to think –

[THUD!] Freya stumbles, banging her head against a small
tree.

Pandora bursts into laughter, “Stop staring you’ll just make
yourself all hot and bothered, better to pay attention to where
you’re going.”

Freya puts her hand to her head and shakes out the ringing in
her ears, “I was hoping perchance thou might properly introduce
thyselves?”

Sapphire begins, “Your words are strange but I will try. I am
from Zandia. My father is a noble man and a follower of Gilien; he
is a Governor in the Mystic Isles. Our lands have suffered blight
these past years and many of our people have died, my Mother
included. She was a gifted mystic herself and some have suggested
that I have inherited some of her talents. So my father sought to
find me training in Whitestone or even Mendeland itself if my
talents could carry me there; but we lacked means and without my
mother there was no one left to mentor me. Then against all odd he
received an offer of marriage from a Prince of Whitestone, an offer
with a large dowry of goods and coin that our village desperately
needed. Furthermore, my father was promised that I would have
access to the great scholars of Whitestone. It was as if Branchala
was at last bringing back beauty and music to Zandia. And so I
traveled by ship to Whitestone, and there I met my Prince’s
Lieutenant Bart. Bart was disguised as a noble scholar of the
college and he brought me to a landmark he called the Scholar’s
Gate. We stepped through and I found myself a prisoner in
Draconis.”

Cicily then continues, “I am Cicily Green, half-sister to
Horonimo Prisius’ who I believe you’ve met, the cousin of Melina
Prisius, the young woman saved by Hal and Lorel and their companion
Aerdaluna, who I hear you pushed through the gate. My family was
the ruling head of the Milinus barony. I hail from Sheernobb Manor
a fortified manor on the edge of the Vicounty of Verbobonc and the
Welkwood Forest. I was kidnapped on my way to carry diplomatic
greetings to Aerdaluna as a representative of Celene and to make a
donation for the Prisius family at the Temple of Rao in Veluna
City. Drendel slew my guard and assassinated members of my family
sparring only me. He dragged me through the gate in the Forbidden
Wood.”

Pandora finishes with, “I am done talking.”

Freya prompts, “You said Drendel cheated?”

“That’s right. We were in a tavern, named ‘The Powder Monkey’ in
the port city of Waterdeep. I was minding to my own when I notice
Drendel. He was carrying on about needing to hire and flashing an
abundance of coin. Well that’s more than enough invitation for me,
but he swindled me and that’s not easy to do. He’s got skills;
you’ve got to give the devil his due. True enough I challenged him
to a drinking contest, but he put something in my drink, there’s
just no other explanation and what it was I don’t know, but when I
awoke I was in Draconis.”

Sapphire adds, “He plans to marry us off, that’s why he gathered
us, and that is why he trains us. So we might be acceptable to our
suitors.”

Cicily spat, “Speak for yourself, as I said I don’t remember
volunteering. Any man so much as touches me will get far more than
he expects.”

Pandora snorts, “Right, like any man would pick you over
me!”

There is little daylight left by time the settlement is left
behind. Travel is slow, too slow as Lorel follows the tracks left
by the surtaki. No trace is found of Jack or Aerdaluna. When night
falls a quick rotation of guard duty is organized. Most everyone is
weary by the work and trials of the day. Many need yet recover from
injuries and some even from torture. No one is at ease, with one
exception – Arty. Arty seemly unaffected, untiring keeps watch
throughout the long night.

As the sun sets the sky erupts in a fabulous display of orange,
red and yellow hues that dance in the clouds and the ever-present
mists. Cicily gazes off in the direction of the fading light, it’s
last tendrils playing in her eyes as she folds her arms across
either shoulder to shield herself against the growing chill of the
evening – happy for even a moment to be free. Caretaker, lost in
the beauty of the scene fails to notice as the Artificer approaches
him and asks,

“Amalamas, you have said that Drendel can travel
using the gate. How does he accomplish this? Are you a witness to
this?”

The Artificer, a 6 foot tall construct of stone and metal,
appeared suddenly with imposing, black eyes of coal staring,
grasping. “How strange – how different than the salty, air and
rolling decks that are my home,” thought Caretaker, “How far has he
traveled?” Momentarily lost in the fading thoughts of beauty
replaced by the bottomless black eyes and the stone and metal face
of the Artificer, Caretaker is suddenly reminded of their present
grim realities.

“Aye, he travels by th’ gate t’ places only he knows, an’ by his
own means. I be havin’ seen him do so wi’ me own eyes. O’ course
now that fstarboardful bunch o’ bleached bones guards th’ gate.
Yonder bony dragon came wi’ th’ smaller mud beast that yer swabbies
slain. Drendel said they’s were both visitors from th’ broken
plain. More o’ Becubard’s doin’ I’d guess. If we’re t’ leave this
place will be havin’ find our own port. Bony guards th’ gate now
th’ key t’ th’ gate be about his dry throat.”

“Amalamas, I am not sure if I understand you
correctly. Drendel, he seems to be able to get the key from around
the bone dragon’s throat correct? Also, who is this Becubard you
keep refering to?”

“Aye, Drendel can get th’ key an’ use th’ gate an’ why nay? I
don’t expect he be any more natural than th’ bony wyrm itself. I
think he built th’ gate or had it built but that key around what’s
left o’ th’ dragon’s neck unless it be needed on th’ gate. Drendel
always locks th’ gate as he be goin’ through. Drendel be th’ only
one I’ve e’er seen e’en try t’ touch th’ key. Ye be one strange
pile o’ rocks, oh I bet Becubard’d like t’ get his claws on ye but
I’d stay away if I were ye. Ye be seein’, Becubard be nay good an’
I don’t think he cares. From what I hear he be a wild, bug-eyed
loon an’ a damn powerful one. I e’en hear he be th’ one who killed
or at least nearly killed old bony but that’s nay th’ worst that
he’s done – oh nay, nay by far.”

“Please do continue. Am I to understand that he is
the one who has joined Drendel on his hunt? Or is this some other
individual? And, if that is not the worst he has done, then what
is?”

“Arrr! Rocky, yer an inquisitive one aren’t ye? Here, let me at
least wet me pipe wi’ a bit o’ grog. Ahhh, now where was I…
I can’t really be sayin’ what exactly Becubard does or doesn’t do.
Mayhap them lost souls in Broken could tell but nay wantin’ t’ end
up like them I can’t say that I could. Thar’s nay much around these
parts he’s nay at least partially t’ blame fer. Mostly, he uses
magic I suppose but on them few occasions I traveled wi’ Drendel we
mostly took th’ long way round if ye get me meaning. Nay one e’er
called Drendel a fool but nay – Drendel did nay care t’ run into
Becubard an’ Becubard ne’er did call either. That scurvy dog
travelin’ wi’ Drendel goes by th’ name o’ Warburton, Warburton an’
Warburton’s 1st mate; I can’t say that I caught that swabbies
name.”

Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he comments, “Arrr, this grog
ain’t half as bad as it smells. It brings a song to me
lips…

Arrr!

Were th’ sauciest shipmates t’ e’er sail on th’
sea.

We take what we want an’ we do what we
please.

We pillage an’ we plunder – all in th’ name o’
greed.



Johnny Rumblood’s in a whale o’ a mess.

Th’ Captain found him drunk – asleep in th’
nest.

He gave him forty lash an’ a week in a chest
Arrrr!

“Hmm, Blade did nay be havin’ a bad idee, I might be havin’ t’
get loaded t’ th’ gunwhales myself.”

Freya picked up a rock which she threatened to throw at
Caretaker, “Thou grog-headed, foul-boweled, tormenter of all that
is fair and just perchance thou mayst see fit to …”

Caretaker continued off-key, ducking…

“Lock up yer daughters cuz here we come!
Arrr!

Th’ scruvy Rockman an’ salty old C!

An’ we be guilty o’ treason in th’ highest
degree!

Said th’ wee bitch yellin at th’ top o’ th’
tree!

Arrr!”

The night settles hard in the valley between the two mountain
ranges. It’s a dark, cold, overcast night, a strange night in a
strange place for all of the company. When the clouds break the
black sky shimmers with occasional light shows but no stars can be
seen. Two moons shines, the moons Caretaker calls Law and Chaos.
Law sheds soft silver radiance, but Chaos is red and it’s light is
less comforting.

Caretaker looked wistfully at the sky as he sipped on his grog
and mused, “Drendel say’s thar be a third moon, th’ very heart o’
evil he says, but I’ve ne’er seen it.”

Sapphire looked up into the darkening sky, “It is true, there is
a third moon. A Wizard of the White Robes receives their magic from
the silver moon, Solinari, their robes honor its glow. Red Robes
are empowered by Lunitari, the red moon, while the Black Robes
receive energy from Nuitari, the mysterious black moon that only
they can see.”

Caretaker looked over at the young woman, “Then how do you know
it’s there?”

It seemed as if a cloud passed over her face, “I have been in
the company of the Black Robes. It was they who brought the blight
upon my isle. It was their black magic that poisoned our land. The
magic of Ezoran the Deceiver and his ilk.”

Pandora sought to break the black mood that Sapphire looked as
if she was about to fall into, “I look good in black, but then
again I look good in anything but I am at my best in nothing at
all.”

Cicily smirked, “Right now a fire would look good.” She and
Sapphire laughed at Pandora’s scowl.

Freya shook her head in disbelief, “Arty thou spongy rough-hewn
jolthead! See what a cackling thou hast brought upon us?” She
continued with a hint of sarcasm, “Mayhap though Cicily hast a
point, or at least a pointy-head. While she doth cast about for
firewood, I shall of Hal’s armor maketh me a pile. Thence, I shall
find a set of sturdy sticks and thereupon raise a doleful din. In
this way might I yet double again our chances of being spotted
afore daybreak!”

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Charley & Smokey at the Gate

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 4)

Charley & Smokey at the Gate

In the company of Aerdaluna

“Smokey, how much did you say you weight?”

More than everyone else put together.

“No, I don’t believe you, but you do eat more than everyone else
put together.”

I can go for months without eating.

“That’s called hibernating, and I thought you were kidding about
that. Don’t you ever worry about getting fat with all your sleeping
and eating?”

Not when I’m always doing all of your work. Besides I
may eat more than you, but you are fatter. Life has been too easy
for you since I have joined you. Why don’t you get a job? I don’t
know why the Master puts up with you. Have you become an enchanter
to?

“”You’re right, Smokey, I am an enchanter, at least my lady
friends say so, but my spells are not so strong as you – or should
I say as so strong as your breath.”

“Look lively you two! A fool will live and learn or he will
die a fool’s death! Be alert! My preference would be not to join
such a fool or fools. No beast, man or army is stronger that an
idea whose time has come; I have a deep concern that this involves
more that a boy with too much idle time. These woods have a bad
reputation for good reason not unlike this girl. I’ve been warned
that she is nearly as slippery as the boy, Jack, that brought this
interruption down upon us.”

Let me go thou churlish reeling-ripe
over-stuffed teddy-bear! And you, behold thy mirror thou cockered
bat-fowling canker-blossom or thou shalt earn a beating for thy
reputation fouling.

“Hold your tongues – all of you – at least for the moment
for, behold, the gate stands before us. This gate most mysteriously
appeared seasons past unannounced, and ever since these woods have
become known as the Forbidden Wood. The wildlife vanished in the
presence of this gate and the gate’s origins are unknown. Look to
your feet, did you not note that the grass is burnt. Why then do
animals approach this gate? I sense a powerful enchantment here –
one beyond my understanding or capabilities. Do you have a sense of
the power Artificer?”

I do. It is an out-worldly and wild magic I
sense.

And look as these glyphs and wards carved into the stone –
they too have an otherworldly cast, but this here this is a
wizard’s mark. I can read it thus!

And with the wave of his hand and a silent incantation a soft
light sheds off the mark revealing it’s secrets to the Elven
Enchanter.

It is the mark of Istar, Istar of Mendeland. I do not know
this Istar or the nature of his studies and so our wisest course
would be to investigate before we find ourselves trapped, as we
were last time. I have no interest in repeating that
experience.

Thou tottering shard-borne maggot-pies! Jack
has been missing for a full day now. Art thou not the heroes for
whom the bards spin their yarns? How could you leave Jack to such
an unknown fate! I’ll not stand by – I am not afraid!

Suddenly bursting with quickness beyond that which Smokey could
counter, Freya leaps forward with all the skill of a trained
acrobat, sweeping her leg and pushing at the same time. In a flash
Aerdaluna’s choice is made for him as he stumbles through the gate
and vanishes in a brilliant flash of magical energies, and the deed
is done! Quick as a whip Charlie lands upon Freya calling for
Smokey to hold her. The Artificer stands open jawed looking into
the gap.

Oh bother! This is my fault, I will get
Masters Jack and Aerdaluna. You go get help in case I fail. Good
travels my friends.

And with that, the Great Artificer disappears into the
abyss.

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Aerdaluna’s Journal 2

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 5)

From the Journal of Aerdaluna

29 Readying 592 CY

Thank Corellon for inherit weaknesses, for they teach us
humility, reliance upon others, and they provide opportunities to
the oppressed. In this case specifically I was the oppressed of
whom I speak and it is the weakness of the human mind has allowed
me to salvage some dignity in a bad situation. I may be quick of
wit and body, some would even say I have eyes in the back of my
head; unfortunately Nebula was actually on my shoulder. Regardless,
I was most unceremoniously pushed through the gate in the Forbidden
Wood. My assailant was the foul-mouth, unkempt girl-woman friend of
Jack the Misbegotten – I believe her name is Freya.

So I found myself sliding down a rail of mud into a pit and
then nearly overrun by the tumbling body of the Great Artificer. In
the pit a Dragon and a squad of trained crossbow men stared us
down! And where were my well-paid, trusted bodyguards – on the
other side of the gate, so ultimately I guess I was the biggest
fool. So far it may be a blessing that Charley and Smokey didn’t
follow me. Oftentimes I am more capable on my own unfettered by
concerns for others. My diplomacy and enchantments give me ample
opportunities, but I would have enjoyed watching Smokey break that
somewhat pathetic looking Dragon creature in half.

I found myself in an outpost named Draconis, and the Dragon
was the least of our worries for here we had stumbled upon the
hidden hideaway of Drendel and his cohorts. The principals being
Drendel and Bart, the Illusionist, but there was also a third man
of dangerous demeanor that I didn’t recognize – I believe his name
is Warburton or something similar. He wears a sleek, black plate
that is quiet as the night; I never saw him remove his helm. He had
a wicked array of weaponry at his disposal and an associate or
bodyguard that looked as much like a dragon as a man. When this
thing looked at me it instinctively licked at the blade of a curved
sword that it carried. I found it all together unnerving but not as
unsettling as the screams I heard that night.

In the morning to my surprise, I found out that Drendel had
decided to stage a hunt of the boy named Jack. This gave me all the
opportunity I would need. While all were distracted, Nebula’s sharp
beak made quick work of my bindings
and the rest was easy. Shortly thereafter, I had Bart himself
escort me from the camp; unfortunately I didn’t think it would be
wise to take the time to free the others. I have no idea when
Drendel will return. It pains me to leave the Great Artificer
dangling in a tree but I can not honestly say that it (or is it he)
will be any safer with me. By the look of it he has been welded
into the chains that bind him. I sought egress through the gate but
there is an evil looking set of bones stationed above it. No, I
think it’s best that I should exit through the front gate. I will
leave notes where and when I am able, when I feel it is safe. May
Corellon be my guide in this strange, new land – Bart tells me it
is named Klarn.

[This entry was actually made on 28 Readying 592 CY.]

 

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Aerdaluna’s Journal

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 3)

From the Journal of Aerdaluna

15 Readying 592 CY

I have been troubled deeply by the events of enigmas past.
The wizard’s quest for immortality only confirms my fear that
humans can never be trusted. Too short is their time and even
shorter their understanding. The brevity of their days gives birth
to ignorance, impatience and foolhardiness. Truly, it might have
been better if humans were known as ‘dwarves’; one’s mentality is
after all more important than ones stature. Dwarves may be
foolhardy, but at least they are not impatient or ignorant; neither
are they especially gifted. That is the most troubling thing about
humans, for, my fear is that they may be the most gifted of us
all.

I have come to the temple of Father Ancalimë, this time
I have no question of conscience or spirit but rather I come
seeking the Artificer of the Lortmills. I believe the Artificer
might be able to assist my research regarding the mysteries of this
past encounter. To my surprise I find the Great Artificer providing
daycare to a towel-headed human whelp. Not only that, but I have
arrived on his birthday and must join in the celebrations; perhaps
the gods are testing me. Sometimes I wonder why I ever left the
clouds of my homeland, but then the answer is so obvious in the
question and these circumstances. No matter I will
persist.

28 Readying 592 CY

I awoke this morning to find the temple in an uproar. It
seems the whelp, a boy named Jack Draco escaped in the night.
Apparently the foolish boy discovered the gate that is secreted
away deep within the Forbidden Wood. I had heard of this gate but I
have never seen it with my own eyes. Father Ancalimë has
requested my assistance, and the Artificer is beside itself with
what I might call grief at its failure to guard the child. I have
already sent my nighthawk, Nebula, to search the Forbidden
Wood.

This Jack Draco had an accomplice, a pretty half-elf maiden
named Freya. She says the boy stepped into the gate and vanished in
a brilliant flash of light. Apparently, he had a rope attached to
him. Freya brought the rope back with her and it looks like the
rope was sliced through and there are traces of a foul smelling
liquid on the severed end of the rope. I will accompany the
Artificer to the gate this day. I am surprised to find myself
missing Lorel. He may be annoyingly brash but he would be a welcome
sight here now. At least Charley and Smokey can assist me.

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack – Through The Breach

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn (Chapter 8)

(In the words of Freya)

It never surprises me how boys can be so irritating. Take these
big boys as an example they think they are brave and even go so far
as to let people call them heroes. First of all they are upset that
I encouraged Aerdaluna to go after Jack – a mere boy of fifteen
sheltered years. Then when they find out that no one is coming back
soon, what do they do? They rush headlong into the gate like I was
telling them to do all along.

Hal was a little confused at first, “Charley, explain to me
again, why are we bringing the girl?”

“She knows the boy, Jack.”

“I thought you said you know this Jack boy.”

“That’s right, but he will probably run from me because I worked
with Drendel.”

“And why do we want to find the boy?”

“Are you always so quick?”

“I just don’t understand why we want the boy.”

“Smokey, why don’t you try to explain it?”

“Aerdaluna went after the boy; the girl will help us find the
boy!”

“So, why did Aerdaluna go after the boy?”

I interrupted the dolts at this point, “He wasn’t any ‘quicker’
that thee, thou mammering orc-skinned barnacle, so I PUSHED
HIM!”

Hal looked back at Charley, “So you just let her push him
through the gate?”

“She wasn’t a prisoner then.”

“So, thou hast declared me a prisoner anon? Why? Mayhap ’tis
because I’m smarter than all thee put together? All thee hath more
hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more words than
faults. If thou weren’t so busy watching my arse instead of thy
master’s mayhap thou wouldst not be here but (and I don’t mean to
set thy knickers in an uproar) thou didst not and I did. I am just
doing what needs be done to save Jack; he is perhaps only just a
little smarter than thee, thou roguish tardy-gaited
dewberries!”

Lorel was droning on about animal tracks heading into the gate,
too busy to notice his wolf wandering through it while he was
picking at the ground. As soon as Lorel realized his error, he ran
after the wolf leaping through the gate himself without pause of
any sort. While that lackwit Charley was picking his jaw off the
ground after seeing Lorel jump through the gate I wriggled free of
the teddy bear’s smelly grip, grabbed my gear as I ran past Chuck,
and dove through the gate deftly. However, I almost fell flat on my
face going through as the other side of the gate sloped down
steeply into a gigantic pit of sorts. Within a few moments the
others followed. I couldn’t help snickering when the armored idiot
stumbled through the gate. He’s such a stick in the mud. His ideas
are as wooden as his gate. And he can be so full of himself for all
the humbleness he feigns. To continue, he tripped his way through
and then haphazardly rolled down the ramp to end in a pile at the
base. I know I shouldn’t have laughed, as he did seem to hurt
himself at little, but it was a pretty funny sight. While he was
standing up, the mimes came through the gate. If I didn’t know
better, I’d say that they staged the whole thing the way they moved
almost as if their movements were choreographed.

Simultaneously, we heard a screeching, growling, hissing,
thumping noise come from the other side of the pit. It sounded
pretty big and the hole that was carved out of the other side of
the muddy wall of the arena seemed to indicate a rather large
occupant. We weren’t terribly surprised to see a dragon of sorts
emerge from the cave. It didn’t look like any of the more common
dragon’s I’d seen before. It actually looked to me more like a
snake with legs rather than a lizard. The creature had scales that
were striped with tan making it blend in with the sand of the
arena. I bet that if it didn’t move (and make a raucous noise), we
would have a difficult time noticing it.

Hal challenged the creature, threatening to hurt it severely if
it chose to attack. I imagine the dragon must have been laughing
for all the good it did. It stood up on its hind legs and charged
us, moving at an incredible speed nearly crossing the entire space
of the vast pit in a moment. Being the smart lass that I am I chose
a hasty retreat and the mimes scattered so quickly one could hardly
keep track of them. We were all in the mud at this point, well
everyone but Charley and the Bear — they were “bravely” guarding
my rear again I think. The muddy walls of the pit were taller than
6 men high, but one of the mimes was so scared he ran up the side
like a monkey, right in front of me!

Hal called out, “I will not run from you wyrm, have at
thee!”

Um, at that point things got a little fuzzy for me. I was
planning to charge the beast and attack its flank while the other
warriors did likewise, however, the shear ferocity and size and
speed with which the creature charged us with got the better of me.
I, well – I remember running as fast as I could to get as far from
the beast as possible. I noticed that mime running up the wall.
Unfortunately, I could not do likewise. Luckily, Lorel and Hal
began to assault the creature as Smity prayed to his dwarven god
and then charged after the creature as well.

The beast took the measure of the armored man before him; sword
drawn – voice calm, noticing at the same time the archer sneaking
into a flanking position while setting arrow to bow. Whether it is
that the Paladin seems a less immediate threat or maybe Lorel, the
archer is less intimidating, the Dragon leapt toward Lorel, his
mouth open splaying darkened foul-smelling saliva and advertising a
wide collection of spiny teeth. Before an arrow could be notched,
the teeth snapped down on Lorel’s shoulder bringing forth a trickle
of blood. Lorel gasped; silently thanking himself for the chainmail
he so recently purchased with his tough bartering and then put good
use to the arm the armor had saved.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be on the
receiving end of Lorel’s bow. His arrows bit deep into the beast,
seeming to almost explode with the intensity of the sound they made
as they struck the creature. Hal’s sword bit deep into the
creature’s armored hide as well. And, I’ve got to admit that while
Hal is a bit slow and irritating, he is more than a little useful
in a fight. Within moments the creature was dead at the feet of the
two warriors. I understand that Lorel’s wound itched a bit,
probably from some poison, but it didn’t seem to bother him too
much.

Able to collect our senses we began to investigate our
predicament. Some of the men tended to each other’s wounds, while
the mimes began to search for an easy way out of the pit. All
together things seemed well in hand at the moment. Anyhow, I
noticed something that looked like bundle in the mud and started to
go investigate. But no, not happening…Hal, the conquering hero
and, apparently, the wannabe “father” of the group, had to come
give me a talking to. Who the hell does he think he is talking to
me that way?

“Excuse me, young lady. I must have a word with you.”

“Speak then if you must.”

“It seems to me that you are out well past your bed time and it
would have been better had you not involved yourself in this
affair. Your actions were reckless and immature. I am worried that
you may be a liability to our efforts.”

“Forsoth, me thinks I heard a jackdaw. Thou art a droning
clay-brained fustilarian. Thinkest thou that thy years give thee
leave to insult? Art thou so base as to imply a weakness in the
fairer sex? Thou are a venomed fool-born varlot. Thy prejudice
precedes thee ‘gainst beautiful young maidens.”

“You wrong me, lass. I have no quarrel with the young or with
women. I only have a quarrel with you and your addle-brained
actions. You put the life of Aerdaluna at jeopardy without regard
to his own safety. This is what concerns me. Your actions are what
is immature and thus they reflect upon you.”

“And would thee defend thy slow-witted bat-fowling friend as he
left a brave young boy to whatever dangers thou hast conjured
against thy friend? Hast thou only compassion for thy friends and
not for others?”

“My slow-witted bat-fowling friend was being wise in his caution
seeking only to recruit help against whatever dangers might have
been found. He was not abandoning your friend; he was attempting to
save him in a rational way. Your recklessness is apparent in your
language as well as your hands. How am I to trust that you are not
going to put one of my other companions in harms way to satisfy
your own sense of justice? I can’t and that disturbs me.”

“Thou art a qualling onion-eyed minnow. Hast thou such fear that
thou can’st not approach adventure without thy diapers? This
dissembling to hide behind the safety of thy companions suites thee
not. However, worry not “mother.” So long as thy goal is to rescue
mine own friend, Jack, thou’rt assured of my assistance. Thy fears
can be put to bed; I’ll not endanger thee or thy nannies.”

“Your tone makes me doubt the truth of your words such as they
are.”

“What I mean thou odiferous tardy-gaited malcontent is that I
will help thee and not behave so rashly as thou purportest.”

At this point we were interrupted by the mimes indicating that
there was something interesting outside the pit. They reported back
that there were a collection of buildings and huts surrounding the
it. Presently, I was more concerned by what might still be in the
pit. The muddy earth was speckled with coinage of questionable
value but there was some silver mixed in with the copper; base on
the volume alone it was far more than I’ve ever seen. I thought it
might be wise to gather some, but first I quickly checked the
bundle I had noticed, finding that it was remains of one less
fortunate. I was relieved to find not Jack’s but rather some other
poor souls, I woman by the looks of things. I said a prayer to
whatever gods she worshiped and wished her well on her journey.

My thoughts were interrupted by Lorel’s shout. He suggested that
we try to head back the way we had come. Charley was still hanging
from a rope he had tied around his waist. He was blankly staring
upward, and I noticed an immense skeleton poised upon a cliff of
sorts just above the gate. Charley began frantically working a
knife at the rope never taking his eye off the colossal bleached
skeleton of the dragon born of nightmares that perched on a ledge
just above. Charley was soon tumbling backwards, head over heels
still fixated on the bones. Hal rushed towards Charley but suddenly
stopped, averting his eyes and stumbling as if stunned mumbling
something about “great evil.” And then Smokey came flying through
the gate in a flash of brilliance; he immediately lost his footing,
rolling and falling, until his 1000 pound massive body finally came
to rest on Charley’s now groaning form. It seemed obvious for some
reason that we would not soon be returning the way we had come.
Charley swore that he saw the bones move, but I swear to you I
watched the whole event and they never did; still, no one wanted to
go much closer to test his theory and Charley was in no shape to.
He had to drink a healing elixir just to get to his feet. We
decided that perhaps we should follow the monks’ lead and
investigate the lay to this place in which we found ourselves.

Spider-monk-ey and his companions had secured a rope to climb
out of the pit, and the dwarf, Smity, raised a portcullis that
allow the rest of us out of the pit. We began to take stock of the
rest of the area were found ourselves. To one of the pit were a
bunch of ramshackle huts and what looked like a tavern of sorts. To
the right of the arena were some more sturdy buildings made of
brick and stone. We decided to head for the tavern first. The pit
floor and its coins would have to wait after all.

The tavern seemed to be more a storage house filled floor to
rafter with goods. By the smell I could tell some of it was rotten,
a good portion by my guess. Amazingly, even with the stench, the
elf, Lorel, still announced that he could smell orcs. Orcs are a
vicious, evil race. It is said that they were bred from the
corruption of elves. Whatever, I say, being a half-elf, some
describe me as a corruption; regardless of their origin, what
matters is that they are foul in the extreme. Lorel began stalking
them and within moments an orc charged out of a building as we
opened the door. He didn’t last very long. One by one, Lorel led us
through the other buildings locating several scattered and
terrified orcs. We subdued and interrogated one named Grumic.

Grumic, an especially ugly orc with a huge under-bite which
showed off his cracked, yellowed-fangs, revealed that this place in
which we had arrived was run by Drendel. This is the same Drendel
who had kidnapped me before–Drendel the outlaw and the caravan
raider. Grumic said he left one day past on a hunt–of Jack! He
also told us that the leaders of the village were on the other side
of the pit where the orcs were not allowed to go.

I almost couldn’t believe my hears when I heard Lorel promise,
“Orc I give my word, though it is against my nature, I will free
you if you tell me everything you know. Only, be truthful, because
I will know if you lie, and know this, I hope you do lie for when
you do I will put an end to you!”

Grumic stammered, “I will tell you but how can I trust your
words?”

Lorel smiled a wicked smile, “Speak while you can, while you
have the chance.”

Grumic considered for a moment, “Well, I tell you this, there is
a man in that hut.” Grumic points. “His fate is not of my
doing.”

What we found in the hut was horrific. The orc continued
swearing up a storm saying that it wasn’t his fault as he brought
us over to a hut that stood away from the others; a wisp of smoke
rose from a hole in the roof. It is hard to describe what we found
inside, but as we entered we saw a large wooden table built on
sturdy legs. In the center of the table a latice of iron replaced
the center wood creating a grill covering a hole in the center of
the table. Low embers still red lay under the table slowly baking a
macabre statue of red stone. The statue was seated in a lotus
position, its knees jutting outwards and strangely the hands of the
statue were bound behind its back. Most horribly the statue was set
upon the grill and it had holes for eyes that displayed the
tortured eyes of a still living man. The eyes were staring out in
pleading horror and pain. The orc whimpering, as we looked closer;
he looked panicked and made to back away but Smity had a firm hand
on him.

The man had been covered with some kind of clay that had
hardened to a soft stone. There were pipes shaped like horns
sticking out of the man’s ears and mouth that were otherwise
encased in the stone. Dried blood trail out of the trumpet stuck in
the man’s mouth and through it we could hear his shallow sucking
for air which had up until now been assuring the man a slow painful
death while he roasted. Smity moved forward and carefully chiseled
away the stone, realizing with increasing horror that the clay had
either compacted or expanding while it dried in such a way to
further injure the suffering man; no doubt cracking bones in the
process magnifing its captive’s pain many times over. Then there
was a gasp and flurry of motion as the smallest monk, a halfling,
ran to the imprisoned man’s side and suddenly there was a eruption
of activity amongst the monks; a rush of the flashing symbols as
they conferred in their silent language. They became more and more
agitated and we knew this man must be Silent Pete their leader. His
appearance was frightfully horrible. He was covered with blood and
other liquids. It almost looked as if the orcs had dumped some kind
of broth into the pipes but as easily it might be the monk’s own
juices. The orcs were obviously roasting Pete alive for feasting
this very evening. As if that weren’t enough the smallest monk made
it clear without speaking aloud that Pete couldn’t tell us what
happened because, according to the small monk, the orcs had cut out
Pete’s tongue and eaten it while he had watched!

Smithy, our dwarf, is a priest and a craftsman and a good thing
too, for after removing Pete from his encasement he immediately
began caring for his many wounds all the while praying in his
strange dwarven tongue for guidance and assistance. Pete weakly
signaled to his companions and one of them translated with a
strained voice. Apparently, Drendel had ripped out his tongue and
given it to the very orc that we had with us; Grumic had eaten the
tongue raw! This was too much for the orc, and he made a run for
it. As Grumic tried to escape, Lorel slew him without much of a
thought, a swift arrow to the back. Lorel hated orcs before this
sorry event and clearly his hatred was more pressing than his
promise. It might have been better to let Pete and his companions
deal with the orc, Pete’s was by far the greatest injustice, but
too late now.

As Smity continued tending to Pete’s wounds, those of us less
busy continued investigating the huts on this side of the pit. We
were surprised to find a gnome and a dwarf hiding out here on the
orc side of the encampment. They had been conscripted as craftsmen
and were disheveled but in good heath. They gave us a bit more
information; advising that the others had past through the gate
recently and they too were captives of Drendel. They described the
Artificer and told he was hanging out, literally, from trees on the
other side of the camp. One of the mimes confirmed their account
noting that he had seen someone or something hanging in the trees
earlier. We also found out that Aerdaluna come and gone; according
to them he had been captured but soon after Drendel left on his
hunt, for some reason, Aerdaluna was released. He was said to have
left the day before with Bart, Drendel’s second in command,
seemingly as best friends. I was shocked thinking that Aerdaluna,
the great wizard, who is known for saving villages and defeating
Drendel’s outlaws might now to be a traitor, but Lorel and Hal were
quick to explain that first and foremost Aerdaluna is a diplomat
and enchanter. So they were not so surprised as I, but rather they
were relived. And to think they were worried about Aerdaluna who
could obviously take care of himself; I should have it so bad, and
who was it that they weren’t worried over? Who was tarred and
feathered and even now was being hunted naked with no supplies
while Aerdaluna walked out of the camp hand-in-hand with the
enemies? I had had enough!

“Now, who is overreacting I ask thee thou craven ill-nurturing
clotpoles? Didst I not tell thee we all should have come through
sooner, for Pete’s sake. We needs make haste! There are yet people
in need of saving.”

And so, they agreed, at least in part, acknowledging that haste
was indeed called for. The gnome told us that all Pete’s and Jack’s
gear was most likely in one of the buildings over on the other side
of the pit. As we approached the other side of the camp we could
hear the plaintive cries of women imprisoned so we headed there
with due haste to see what we could do. There was real fear in
their eyes as they stared through the barred windows of a near hut,
fear and a good share of desperation. Hal, the churlish fen-sucked
giglet that he is told them they would have to wait until he was
ready to release them setting them off in a new chorus of screams.
Near the women we found and freed Arty. He was hanging by the
ankles, or what passes for ankles in his case. Chains on his legs
were strung to trees one on either of two adjacent trees. Someone
had welded the chains on to his legs, a second set of cruelly
weighted chains hung down from his wrists. That must have hurt; I
know that Arty doesn’t feel pain the way the rest of us do, but
I’ve seen him ‘react’ to pain so I know that he does feel
something.

Some of us set to freeing him first and others went to deal with
the remaining leaders, Blade and Caretaker. Smity said that he
would break the welds off Arty that left Lorel and Hal free while
the monks still tended to Pete’s injuries. Hal, Lorel, Charley and
Smokey searched building by building heading to where the leader,
Blade, was supposed to be.

But Blade wasn’t where he was supposed to be; rather Charley
found that the lock on Bart’s hut had been broken. Inside they
found Blade near as drunk as a man could be and still stand. He was
the one that Bart had left in charge–Ha! He was so soused that he
could barely keep his dagger upright. He did tell us which building
held the rest of the gear that was taken from the prisoners though,
in Drendel’s hut; but from what I hear that was about all they got
from him before he passed out.

By now I had had enough of the screaming, so I went to free the
maidens myself. The women were still locked within the small stone
and mortar building that housed them. The door was barred from my
side. Before they could renew their caterwauling again I told them,
“If life thou dost chose to live then thou must learn to make more
valued use of thy tongues. I prithee explain how thou didst come to
be here?”

Each of the three women was more beautiful than the next if that
is possible, truly and I am not one that normally finds women thus.
The first, Cicily
Green
with strawberry hair that was filled with curls and
blessed or cursed with woman’s figure on her girl’s frame, seemed
quick of wit even while distracted in gaze and manner. The next,
named
Sapphire
, has tanned skin and darker wavy raven hair
highlighted with blond streaks and ends due to excessive sun; she
appeared well-collect and self-assured. The last and the loudest of
the three,
Pandora
, is smaller of stature but larger attitude. She was
wild and filled some secret sinful contentment. Her hair is short
and free and as expressive as her spirit. I took an immediate
liking to her but she has a dangerous way about her. At this
juncture I was about freeing them.

Sapphire gushed, “Thanks to you, I’d feared we were done
for.”

Pandora look askance as Sapphore, “Speak for yourself. Where is
the idiot in the armor who told me to wait?”

Cicily hissed at the others, “Are you all crazy, we need to get
out of here! I don’t know about you but I am tired of waking up to
screams.”

Sapphire added knowingly “And wondering if the next might be
your own?”

“Not if I can make them scream first!” laughed Pandora.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, “Silence thy clucking or
thou might yet wake any foxes left in our midst. Twas a simple
enough question I asked, by what means didst thou come to be
here?”

Pandora’s eyes searched the heavens, “Let’s see now maybe, oh
gosh, maybe we were captured. Duh, or should I say duhith?”

I glared at her, “Thou’rt a ruttish hasty-witted gudgeon! I’ll
think twice afore rescuing the likes of thee again!”

And so it went; the others found Caretaker next, although I hear
his name is really Amalamas, but we call him Caretaker because it
is easier on the tongue and one of his jobs at the camp was to care
for the livestock. Caretaker explained that both he and Blade were
former prisoners who demonstrated some worth to Drendel and were
conscripted into service. He was quick to say that he’d like to
join us if we would have him, and he offered to lend what skills he
had at his disposal. He explained that he is a sailor generally and
a navigator and mapmaker principally. No surprise that Hal was
hesitant at first, but guardedly decided to let him come with us.
That’s when Hal noticed that I freed the women. The four of us were
standing there. The men could hardly bring their fallen chins to
bear with their tongues lolling and flapping in the wind. We were
goddesses all; the other three probably only a few years older than
I am; or maybe even my same age, though I think not given that they
are human. They are clearly not the independent adventuring type.
They appear to be as fragile as spring flowers in early summer.

I took advantage of their silence, “Hal let me take advantage of
this moment were I find, pleasantly, thy jaw is incapacitated by
thy lack of wit and overwhelmed senses. A moment I prithee to
explain to thee of hollow-boned implacability that I never agreed
to thy lordship and I’ve had quite enough of thy platitudes anow.
Thinkst not to lecture me about these women.”

Hal was thankfully speechless. With Caretaker’s help we made our
way quickly through the rest of the camp and departed before
nightfall. Charley and Arty broke into Drendel’s modest hut and
there we found a map that Caretaker had prepared for Drendel. Hence
we found that this land we find ourselves in to be named Klarn.
Apparently we are on an island or islands for lack of a better
description of it. They..it has a strange shape to it, kind of like
a circle with a hole in the middle all afloat on a sea of
mists.

We decided that it was time to set out after our companions; we
had learned as much as we could from the dregs at this place and
retrieved anything of value. The weather was overcast, cold and
rainy so we put on our warmest clothing and wrapped our cloaks
tight about us as we set out.

Supporting Cast

Smokey

Charley

The Silent Companions

Freya

Arty

Amalamas, The
Caretaker (former prisoner/servent of Drendel)

Three young, beautiful virgin women

Villians

Drendel’s minions and a Landwyrm

 

 

Prophecy: Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack

Episode Seventeen: The Chronicles of Klarn: You Do Know Jack
(3/3/05)

[Featuring
Lorel
, Hal & Smity, and guest
staring Freya, Arty, and Silent Pete and the Silent Companions]

Chronicles of Klarn

(In the words of Freya)

Jack Draco

Jack
Draco
was brought into this world on 15 Readying in the year CY
577, by
Melwasúl Uruviel
, a.k.a. Melody. She wasn’t his mother,
but she might as well have been.

Jack never knew his real mother‘s name, but
according to Melody she was a beautiful Illumian human woman who
was dressed as something akin to a wizard or sorcerer. Melody found
Jack’s mother in the forest surrounding Aniel. She was mortally
wounded and feverish. Three men stood
nearby apparently uncaring of his mother’s state. Suddenly one of
them barked, “Leave her to die and let the child within her die as
well!” One of the men looked back at Jack’s mother briefly and then
they left.

Melody went over to the dying woman. Before she died, the woman
mumbled a name, “Jack Draco.” Melody realized that she was not
going to be able to save the woman, but she was surprised to see
that the child within the woman was still alive and might yet be
able to be birthed. Hoping that the child would be as beautiful as
the mother, Melody was able to free the baby from his mother’s womb
and all through the night she suckled him on fey milk.

In the morning Melody approached the Elven village of Aniel and
waited until Father
Lenwë
Ancalimë left for his morning walk. She had
seen how he had cared for the Elven and Half-Elven orphans and
realized that he would be better able to help the mortal child she
had found. Father Ancalimë was at first resistant to taking on
the care of a human child as all of this other children were either
Elven or Half-Elven, but Melody kissed the baby’s forehead and
declared the boy one of the fey so that Father Ancalimë would
accept him. Father Ancalimë took in Jack and raised him, the
only human, along with the other orphans. Through the years, Melody
was pleased to watch him grow to become a beautiful young boy,
occasionally popping into his life for a week or a day or perhaps
just an hour.

As Jack grew the Elves exposed him to a variety of occupations
and trades. He was first apprenticed to Aegnor Tîwele, the
town minstrel. Jack took well to the profession, he has a beautiful
voice, but it didn’t seem that music and poetry could hold his
focus in the long run. Raised by Elves among Elves, Jack frequently
considered himself one of them even going so far as to dedicate
himself to Father Ancalimë’s god, Corellon Larethien. Jack
found that he picked up the role of priest quickly, but again, he
didn’t follow through with the study required to continue as a
cleric.

When Jack was 13, he discovered that he had a dark streak in his
past. During lessons on arcane magic with Revan, it was discovered
that Jack could generate bolts of mystical energy by simple
exercise of will. He could even create a field around himself that
deflected many far ranging attacks. As a side effect this field
made it difficult for others to track him. He was branded a warlock
with the blood of demons in his veins and a few of the elven
mothers with young children began to shy away from Jack when he
came near.

Concerned about the seductions of such power, Father
Ancalimë encouraged Jack to be rededicated to Corellon. During
the ceremony, a green light pervaded the temple and Jack’s armor
transformed into a green living metal while his features took on an
otherworldly cast. Father Ancalimë was shocked to find that
Corellon had recognized the amazing boy as a true believer and had
begun a transformation in him to become part celestial. Those
chaotic elven mothers who had shown fear a few days ago, now wanted
Jack to touch their children so that they could be blessed by
Corellon.

Jack was then tutored by the village’s best hunter, Tarien,
another true believer with Celestial blood running through his
veins who was able to guide Jack in his use of Celestial blood.
During this time, Jack began a quest to find his mother’s killers.
Tarien taught him techniques that he said would one day become
necessary. All he has to go on at this point is the description
that Melody had provided.

A stranger visited the village and Jack sat fascinated as Jonata
Quimbel
told him tales of the School of Broad Horizons. She had
joined with a group of “less reputable” humans who frequent the
area, bandits, in an effort to find potential recruits for the
mansion. That night, Jack skulked away from the home provided by
Father Ancalimë. He wanted to get into the mansion and receive
some introductory training; in the process he got a bit too
involved with the bandits, Jonata had been hanging out with. Jack
barely escaped the fate suffered by the bandits when they crossed
paths with two local Elven heroes who also saved our village from a
horrible curse, Aerdaluna and Lorel. Crestfallen, Jack returned to
the orphanage a few months after his departure and received a
severe scolding from Father Ancalimë who felt that he was not
yet old enough, even for a human, to begin a life of adventure. Too
bad for the good father, Jack doesn’t agree.

The Present

Really, this whole thing could be blamed on Lorel and Aerdaluna.
Freely, I admit I pushed Aerdaluna through the gate, but Laurel ran
through all by himself and if they had done their job right Drendel wouldn’t have
escaped in the first place.

Now, I’ve already mentioned that Jack had gotten mixed-up with
some ruffians. According to Jack they were a scurrilous gang led by
an interesting but exceedingly dangerous half-dragon, Drendel. So
when Jack came back from their hideout, Father Ancalimë was
furious and he applied some strict restrictions to attempt to end
Jack’s wandering ways. He assigned Arty to be Jack’s caretaker and
guardian. A “voice of calm and reason” Father Ancalimë
says.

Arty is a
warforged discovered by the elves of Aniel during exploration of
ruins in the Lortmills. When found, he appeared to have no memory
of how he had come to be in the ruins they found him in. He has a
knack with making things and offered to help the elves in the
creation of magical items, but recently he has been tasked with the
job of watching after “Master Jack.” Oddly, the first time Arty was
introduced to Jack he refered to him as Lord Draco, which was odd,
not because it wasn’t his name, but become is was and Arty had
never met Jack nor had anyone told him Jack’s full name. Father
Ancalimë corrected Arty and since then he refers to him as
Master Jack.

Arty doesn’t know how to have a good time and he never sleeps.
So, Jack recruited us, the other orphans, to be his eyes and ears
in the Village. It wasn’t long before we found out that Lorel and
Aerdaluna had been sent to foil Drendel’s camp and by most accounts
they succeeded. Then some of Drendel’s teeth, that is what Drendel
called his highwaymen, they started showing up at the local
markets. We found out that Drendel had escaped with Bart (his
lieutenant) and that they had disappeared into the nearby Forbidden
Forest with all the loot they had stolen while raiding caravans.
Well, right away Jack decided that he would have to checkout the
woods. I wouldn’t let him go by himself so late that night we went
to investigate the woods together. The Forbidden Woods are scary!
Almost no animals live in the woods and the folks who wander in
them most times never comeback. I didn’t think it was a good idea
but I knew better than to try and talk Jack out of a plan. Nothing
was stirring in the woods and we didn’t mean to cause any trouble.
Poor Arty had no idea that we had left. Jack had two of the other
orphans take our places in the beds. I was really worried. I don’t
care what anyone says, woods are more frightening when there is no
noise. In the middle of the woods we found the gate.

Supporting Cast

Smokey

Charley

The Silent Companions

Freya

Arty

Amalamas, The
Caretaker (former prisoner/servent of Drendel)

Three young, beautiful
virgin
women

Villians

Drendel‘s minions
and a Landwyrm

Experience Gained

3200 xp

Treasure Gained

Retrieved possessions of Arty, Silent Pete, and Jack

Map of Klarn