Monthly Archives: May 2005

Prophecy: Episode Ninteen: The Chronicles of Klarn: Small Surprises

Episode Ninteen: The Chronicles of Klarn: Small Surprises
(5/11/05)

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

Chronicles of Klarn

(In the words of Charley)
Past the Sentries the elevation began to rise rapidly and at same time the
temperature dropped. We were climbing into a mountain range that, if anything,
seemed larger and more forbidding than the mountains around Draconis. There
were thunderheads in the sky, and the air smelled of ozone. The hair on the
backs of our necks stood as if at attention and it felt like little bugs were
crawling on our scalps.

I was glad to be leaving the desert. I wonder if we would even have a chance
without the dwarf feeding us. As we entered the mountains, Persephone told
us we would have to travel one to two days before coming to a way-house. She
said
it had been here for as long as anyone knew and that it was deserted last
time she checked, which she then added was never. After that she quickly announced
that she was leaving. She said something about not liking the sky around here,
saying that it was all prickly and that she didn’t want to end up like
Smokey. So we bid her farewell and I told her to stay away from the bluffs!

About a day into our travels, Lorel spotted some tracks, he said a horse and
rider had been through here within the last week or so. Soon after that
we met a rather plain, tiny dragon. It seemed to appear out of nowhere. It
was probably invisible; lords know how long the thing was following us. It
was about the size of a small housecat. It came up behind us and said, “Travelersss,
I am pleassed to greet you. I am Mondragon and I welcome friendly vissiterss
and converssation.”

The Artificer was quick to reply, “It
is then my pleasure to greet you.

Hal gave the tiny dragon a hard look as if sensing for ill intent and Smity
appraised the dragon with a grin that looked almost foolish with his hairy
chops.

Then Freya asked, “Thou fawning fair-faced sniglett, by chance have you
come across a doe-faced boy by the name of Jack?”

And the Mondragon affirmed, “I did run acrossss a boy ssuch as you desscribe
he wasss mossst agreeable. He traveled with a female of unusssually fair tone.”

“That ruttish rump-fed pumpion, even here scat-brained,
ill-bred feys fawn over that cockered hedge-born dewberry! Think me not thankful
thou tender tongued worm of humblest dimension. ‘Tis only I be shocked that
I spend any time worrying over him at all!”

“I assure you no offensse wass taken young one. I welcome you to vissit
my home it iss not far and I will offer what comfort I am able. Alsso there
are sstormss coming. You sshould sseek cover. You are all too large to hide
from the sstormss clawsss. Asss it iss I have taken your friend under wing.
I
have hidden him from hiss purssuerss.”

Hal asks, “Sir Dragon, if I may ask, where hast thou hidden him? Is he
not at your home?”

“Mondragon – mon asss in ssingle, individual or alone. Asss in
your Monarchss, monksss and monassstariess. A monad – a sspiritual ssusstance
that
all otherss are derived; and mon for I have lossst my fellow and now I make
ssuch friendss asss I am able. If I were to sssay where he wass I wouldn’t
be doing a very good job of protecting him. You do undersstand? Aridarasstrixsiejir
gethrissj perssvek Jack and sso care sshould be taken, no – lesst
he be found. In due time I will pressent him but you musst have patiencsse
for
now.”

“My home iss sso near that your approach did alert me sso your wait need
not be sso long now.”

Sure enough a short time later we started to see a walled compound that included
a wayhouse and garden. It was well aged and in a state of disrepair but inviting
to be sure. It would appeared and disappeared from view as we wound along the
mountain paths. The sky was heavy with moisture and the dark clouds were angry
and grumbling – I
am sure I speak for everyone when say the wayhouse was a welcome sight.

As we neared we first noticed the remnants of a cobblestone path leading in
the direct of the wayhouse. Lorel quickly picked up the horse tracks again.
Night was quickly approaching and we were anxious to get settled before the
storm hit. As we reached the top of the final ridge, the wind began to shriek,
as it slapped and clawed at us; a fine drizzle began drifting down. Beyond
the ridge there was a tiny valley with a swift rocky stream running through
it and at one point roaring over a 30’ drop onto great boulders below.
A few hundred feet upstream from the waterfall, the cobblestone path crossed
a shallow ford. On the other side of the stream was the wayhouse. It mostly
looked intact and much better than a miserable night outdoors.

We quickened our pace almost stumbling down the steep incline and splashing
across the ford. The wayhouse was looking better the closer we approached.
We noticed there was a stable. The sable’s roof was sagging and part of the
garden walls were collapsed but on the whole the structure appeared sound;
the entrance to the compound was blocked by an iron wrought gate, as if on
queue
the storm errupted in full force as I gripped the gate to pull it open!

Torrents of rain poured out of the boiling clouds! Thunder was crashing
and echoing through the valley. Still Lorel and Hal insisted on a thorough
search
of
the area and we quickly figured out that the place was deserted; save for
one tired and hungry horse within the stable. I couldn’t get in quick
enough! So I was the first to see that the roof of the living area leaked
somewhat. The place was damp and chilly. Still the others didn’t want
to start a fire – concerned about calling attention to our arrival
but the little dragon encouraged us to make ourselves comfortable and there
was a nice pile of dry wood stacked so I decided to take him up on his offer.
Soon I had a nice fire going and soon after that the others stopped grumbling
about it. Besides they were to busy questioning our host to notice what I
was doing.

“Now that thou hast brought us to thy abode, perchance wilt thou
be getting on with thy giddy tale of our missing dewberry?”

Lorel interrupted, “Who’s miserable mistreated horse is in your stable?”

“Ass I ssaid the boy iss near but I have ssent him to a ssafe placse
where he sshould be mosst ssafe. The horsse belongss to hiss companion Talon.”

Hal asked, “You say he should be safe? And where might this be? How do
we get there?”

“It iss nearer than you might imagine but I too musst inquire, why sshould
I trusst you?”

Arty responds, “I was entrusted
with the young master’s safety long before you and while I might have failed
initially I, we,
” his arm sweeps towards
our band, “have traveled far and
faced difficult trials to correct my previous errors. I am
willing
to do
whatever
you deem necessary to assure you of our good intent – though I must say,
I suggest our actions to this point, I would suspect, already speak well enough
for us. Personally I would allow myself to be destroyed rather than fail again
at this task.

“And you sspeak for everybody here?”

I believe that I do.” Arty
looks around at the rest of us, and none of us contradicts him.

“Very well, then I believe you. I will ssend you to where you might find
you friend, and again I welcome you to my home.”

Hal continues, “What can you tell us of this place were you will send
us?”

“Only that it iss very near and that asss long ass you take care you
sshould be ssafe. At leasst there will be no dragonsss. Thiss land of ourss
iss very
dangerouss for your kind. You sshould never have come here. Sso I have created
a ssanctuary for your kind. You will ssee ssoon enough.”

Freya asks,”Thy words hath made my thoughts brainsickly. Canst thou be
saying that thou didst apply thy noble strength to the task of creating thy
own world for our kind? Canst that be truth?”

“No, only that I have hidden him within a ssanctury of my imagining.”

Hal asks, “And is he alone?”

“No, I ssent him with the fair, young woman – I believe sshe called
hersself Talon.”

Freya nearly chocked as she replied, “And so, thou hast placed our dewberry
alone with an aptly named young woman – out
of my sight? And thinkest thou he is safe? I dost wonder renewed at
the infections of thy mind that thou hast placed him in such an unsafe predicament!”

“He iss not alone with her, neither are the firsst I have ssent. There
have been many, their numberss uncounted. I created the ssanctuary but a sshort
time ago assss I count time, but perhapss long ago ass mossst meassure time.”

Arty looked concerned, “Are these
others safe or could they be a threat?

“I would like to think not, but in truth I am not sssure. We are all
blesssed with free will and ssome of the otherss have been within the ssantuary
for
decadesss by your meassure.”

Even more concerened he continued, “Has
anyone returned from this sanctuary?

“Not in the way you are assking but anyone iss free to leave whenever
they might want to – I do not hold them againsst their willsss nor do
they need my permisssion to leave.”

Hal hoped to alay Arty’s fears, “Who then would you expect might be the
greatest risk?”

“If I were to guesss – I might sssay Chadranther, for it iss hiss
bane that did bring about the ssanctuary.”

Arty asked, “Please explain this?

Lorel, who up until now seemed to be barely paying attention said, “Chadranther
means, ‘silent cat’ in Elvish.”

“Chadranther wass my Masster’ss appenticse but Chadranther’ss
true originss are mosst obsscure. I believe he wass a sstudent at the College
of Mendeland, a sstudent of ssome promisse, I imagine. My Masster was Majere,
himsself the highesst Sscholar of Mendeland and the ssacred Keeper of Knowledge.
And of coursse a Lord of Mendeland, who ansswered to only Mendel himsself.
The Masster had left hiss holding to fight at Lord Mendel’ss ssside in
the decissive battle againsst the forcsess of the Dread Darklensss. Thesse
timess are now long
passt and of coursse everyone knowss he did not return in body from thiss battle.
No, he did not return, but the apprenticse Chadranther did and he wassted no
time; he immediately ssought to raid my Masster’ss vault. How he did thiss,
I do not know. My Masster’ss vault was nigh impenetrable, having been well
guarded. It wass protected by numerouss trapss both mundane and magical but
Chadranther
did ssuccseed at leasst in part.”

“It isss not my wissh to trouble you with thesse old myssteriess. Jusst
let me sssay Chadranter did not esscape hiss fate and he iss of little threat.”

“What peace is there here good sniglett? Mysteries and tickle-brains,
it would appear my dewberry hath yet ever more threatens. We must find him
post-haste!”

“You will need bring together all people and thingsss you need that I
might ssend you on your way.”

Lorel says, “I don’t like any of this.”

“Then stay if thou must, thou timorous rampallian varlot! We hath no
need of titmice, rather we shall move with all able speed.”

“My friendss, I apologizzze but you musst come to a decsission for thiss
iss my home and I brought you here only that you might ssee your friend. Otherwisse
you musst leave here in the morning without delay.”

Hal spoke for us all I guess, stating, “I don’t like this either,
but we have come this far and we are not leaving without this boy, Jack, but
let me ask you this first; have you also encountered a dark-haired elf of cunning,
scholarly disposition. He is at times cold not unlike a moon and sullen of
nature – his name is Aerdaluna?”

“No, I have sseen no one fitting thiss desscription but if you like I
will sssee if I might be able to find him.”

“Very well, that would be a great assistance to us. Also, if it helps,
he was looking for the good dragons.”

“Then gather yoursselvess together here; I will return sshortly and ssend
you on your way and fear not you will not be ssent back out in thiss fearful
sstorm.”

True to his word Mondragon returned almost immediately, so fast that no one
even had time to complain about my nice fire – not that any of them was
really disappointed. Mondragon returned again simply appearing within the room
in the center of the only table within the room. The mondragon had something
clutched in its small clawed hands. Mondragon’s hands opened to reveal
a small spherical glass ball; then, without warning, the mondragon breathed
out a fairy cloud of sparkling dusts and magic that temporarily blinded everyone
in the room.

All of a sudden, I felt weak and dizzy. The room shifted and changed in an
explosion of vertigo. I tried to scramble to my feet while catching a fleeting
glimpse of a brilliant light in the mondragon’s claws, but then without
further warning I found myself in a gigantic chamber, hundreds and hundreds
of feet high. My senses reeled with the immensity of the scale, vast beyond
my immediate comprehension. Just scant moments ago we were packed tight–me,
near my fire for warmth. Now I could see only Pandora sharing a massive
platform with me, and we were suspended high above a great abyss. Not far away
was a roaring mount of flame so big it could engulf a small town. I was transfixed
for a moment, but I quickly noted that the blaze was not moving towards our
platform.
I called out to Pandora, and then a huge globe of water sailed out of the
darkness above, just missing me as it crashed on the floor next to me, knocking
me on
my ass.

Prophecy: Episode Ninteen: The Chronicles of Klarn: Almost Scorched

Episode Ninteen: The Chronicles of Klarn: Almost Scorched
(5/11/05)

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

Chronicles of Klarn

(In the words of Lorel)
After leaving Broken we traveled several days through the broken wasteland.
It was nice to take a break from tracking; now all we had to follow was Persephone’s
shadow as it danced with incredible twists, flips, and dives across the endless
plain. Noting the
scarcity of game, I again felt sorry for the disfigured denizens of Broken.
We had traveled near three days, and I had seen nothing larger than a coyote.

Ahead of us stood three bluffs, each rising over 100 feet from the floor of
the plain. Rising straight up with nary a handhold from the base to the top,
each standing tall like a prince or a knight who was surveying his holdings.
They marked an end to the badlands and the beginning of another mountainous,
forested area, and it was clear we would have to move through or around them
to proceed.

And finally my prey approaches – it is as said,
all things come to those that wait. Or perhaps, it is just as Becubard planned.
But no matter, for they
approach now and I am ready. It is good form to spare those smart enough or
strong enough to earn their life and is there ever a shortage of those who
will not? Regardless I shall have my fill with this lot, and I will pay Becubard
his piece of flesh. Destiny will win out – I am Destiny’s forge and the
blade that cleaves the chaff from the wheat – The Lord that was Scorch.

As the one who was Scorch, I knew my place; I
was the Prince of the broken plane; my rivals were an annoyance, especially
Fastwing
and he
only because Culleste protected
him. I busied myself belching fire and marking my terrain, all the time knowing
nothing more magnificent than myself; yet now I realize that I, like most dragons,
was little more than a vain, glorified winged lizard and my wings didn’t
even work. I lack the sense to cast even a single spell not that any real dragon
can. The largest, oldest and most powerful dragon cannot equal me in flight,
magic or bearing any longer. By power alone I am a tool of destiny, but my
wisdom and knowledge transform this tool; I have become into a great lord of
destiny and once again I shall render my judgement upon those who would traffic
within my realm.

They are like little boastful bugs down there. They
are unaware that they have entered my lair. I could and perhaps I should
just scatter and destroy
them, but no, I will give them an opportunity to earn their lives. I will know
what they are made of. I will test their loyalty, bravery, and wisdom first,
and then I will test their intelligence and strength. Those that fail will
be consumed, destroyed, or captured so that Becubard too can recreate them.
Oh, and here approaches Persephone, the little goddess of spring to think
she not
only has the wings of a bird but the mind to go with them. Careless and stupid
– but she will be destiny’s bait!

Halfred called out, “Persephone dear, how high canst thou fly?”

“My lord, I can’t fly however high I might want to go.”

“And dear, how far can you see?”

“My eyes are as strong as my wings, my lord.”

“Can you fly high enough to see the tops of yonder bluffs, but be careful
not to stray too close lest you fly into peril? With all this talk of dragons
it would put me at ease to know we are not walking into an ambush.”

“I will do as you ask, my lord, the only request I ask of thee is a kiss
for luck. While I do not seek to correct thee I must remind thee that the dragons
we know, try as they might, they can not fly nor do I believe they would be
eager to climb the bluffs. We call the bluffs the Sentries of Becubard for
they mark the end of the badlands and the beginning of everything else.”

“Then hurry you girl, before it is too late and the sentries are upon
us!”

“Have you already forgotten my fee?”

Moments later Persephone twirls into the air, giddy with the kiss that Halfred
placed upon her cheek.

I wonder at the freedom and carelessness of
this bird-girl, Persephone. There was a time I was like her dancing on the
wind,
without a care in the world.
When did it change? Was it before or after my death? I don’t even know
who killed me – was it some nameless spirit, Aerdaluna or myself? No
matter, I am back now and as focused as my aim.
As a tool of
Corellon Larethian, I my focus is on proving myself worthy to him and bring honor
to Celene and my father’s memory.
That
girl
is
getting
too close
to those bluffs.

I called out, “Persephone, what do you see?”

“Nothing, Lord Lorel, the bluffs are as clear as the sky, but there are
clouds beyond them. There are wonderful thermals here, I could fly a day and
a night without flapping a wing.”

With that Persephone shoots off like a bolt of lightning in a darting course
for the bluffs. She dances, dives, rolls and twists in the winds that surround
them momentarily disappearing from sight only to rise like a new day’s sun
on the other side of the bluff that stands most to the right. When she hits
the
peak of her rise, she spreads her wings looping fully upside-down in a great
circle that leaves her pointed for the second bluff. She closes her wings with
a mighty sweep bolting forward with breakneck speed, disappearing a second
time of the top of the bluffs… only this time she doesn’t reappear.

Halfred asked, “Lorel, where is Persephone?”

“How should I know? She disappeared atop the second bluff.”

“You were supposed to be watching her!”

“I don’t fly well Hal, no better than you walk on water.”

“We have to go check on her.”

Smity calls out, “I can reach her with a prayer and elementals but I
think it unwise to proceed on my own.”

A voice called out from atop the bluffs, “Small ones, you needn’t
worry over Persephone, she is none of your concern now. She is with me and
shall return to Becubard. You should concern
yourselves with your own well-being for my test is upon you and any failure
will author your rebirth or death at my whim. I am the Lord who was Scorch!”

Lord Scorch sits regally upon the second bluff, like a king upon a throne.
From the ground it is difficult to estimate his size, but that he is a very,
very large cat, that much at least is certain. He is not a type of cat any
of us had even seen
before though, for he bears the face of a dragon – red of hue and with
great mane formed of colorful feathers, dragon-like claws and great leathery
wings.

While we prepare to defend ourselves, Scorch continues, “Listen
close to the rules of my test, for as I’ve
said your lives depend upon them. I will ask you a question, for each correct
answer one of
you will be allowed to pass, if an answer is wrong one of you will have to
stay.

I shout, “I will not play this game! I say to you, give us Persephone
now, or come down here and fight us!”

Smity says, “I would be unwise to show weakness!”

And Hal, “Let us hear him out.”

Ignoring Hal’s request I reply, “You hear him out. I will not trade with
terrorists.” Silently thanking Corellon for his guidance I let loose a
volley of arrows.

Lord Scorch backs up out of the range of the arrows. The Artificer
calls out to me, “I can give
you wings, if you would pursue the beast and recover Persephone.
” And
Smity adds, “I will pray for the strength
to walk on air and accompany you, and I shall bring air elementals with me.”

Hal yells to the bluff, “I apologize for the elf’s actions, only give
us Persephone and we will be on our way! We did not mean to trespass on any
territory you might claim; we are only here to seek the recovery of friends.”

Scorch replies, “Your elf has already earned the
death of Persephone!
” And
then there is a loud screeching scream that is brutally and quickly cut-off.
Moments later the sky rains black feathers of the type that had adorned Persephone.

While down below, showered by the feathers, I spread my new wings sprouted
by the device of Arty’s. Smity too has completed his summons, and on either
side he is accompanied by an amorphous cloud, visible only because of the shifting
dust and sand within their swirling midsts. Together with the elementals, we
climb into the air. While at the base of the bluff, Silent Pete and the monks
look for an egress to climb.

At the sight of Persephone’s falling feathers Hal’s heart sinks
as it appears that Spring has given way to a sudden Fall but he calls out a
again. “If you have hurt Persephone I will be force to slay you, coward;
come down here coward and show yourself that we may do battle!”

From the top of the bluff Scorch’s head briefly appears and belches
a fearsome gout of flame that stretchs from the top of the bluff to the base
more than 100 feet below engulfing Hal and the man-beast, mountain Smokey.
Smokey howls out in pain as
his ice-tainted white fur is burned from his body and he falls – a burning
hulk at Hal’s feet. Hal takes what cover he can while ducking within
the flames, protected by his armor and training, he is burnt but alive.

Unable to contain myself, I shoot into the air ahead of Smity quickly
rising to the top of the bluff. When I get there I am briefly surprised to
find it unoccupied, and my senses scream out at me to identify where the
voice originates from that calls out to me.

Who makes it, has no need of it.
Who buys it will not use it.
Who uses it can neither see nor feel it.

And then without warning, before I can answer (if I even wanted to), the 800-pound
beast of claws and fang that is Lord Scorch emerges without disruption from
the earthen
surface
of the
top
of
the
bluff slamming into me with vengeance, fury, power and disdain.

Lord Scorch quickly moves past me, easily gliding over the heads of the
climbing monks as Smity’s elementals begin sweeping the top of the bluff.
To Smity’s surprise there is a second eruption of feathers as, suddenly,
Persephone appears, groggy but alive seemly from thin air in the wash of the
elementals. Persephone quickly comes to her senses and flaps furiously to regain
her balance. Smity decends to look for clues as to what was going on and heard
a low growl coming from an undiscernable location.

My shoulders sting from the rake of Lord Scorch’s claws; but ignoring
the pain, I take flight marveling at the power of the celestial wings and continue
to fire arrow after arrow at Scorch as he moves toward the party.

Suddenly Scorch roars in anger. So
horrible is the roar that the party must grab at their ears to shield themselves
as best they can and when this is not enough instead most simply flee in panic.
Hal stands bravely, his strength of will defending the weaker people
around him. Pandora scowls in the direction of Scorch while mumbling an incantation.
Caretaker looks after the other women as they flee in terror, warily drawing
his cutlass and Smity wrinkles his brow watching the monks flee in terror
while he sends his elementals to cut off Scorch’s path and departs
from his invisible assailant. For my part, I am probably protected from the
worst of the sound, being behind Scorch. It raises the hackles on the back
of my neck, but nothing more.

Grimly focused, I continue
firing Corellon’s deadly arrows at my fleeing target and then a fireball erupts
from Pandora’s hands exploding upon Lord Scorch even as he hits the elementals
full force destroying them in the process. Feeling the heat of his own injuries
Lord Scorch disappears in his own flash of light and magic. We searched in
vain for any clue that Lord Scorch still remained, ready to attack us by cowardly
surprise again.

Hal went to Smokey’s side, “Great Heironeous hear me; grant me your strength!
By all that is right and good allow aid and comfort to this fallen warrior,
Smokey.
If
not
by his
strength I likely would have fallen many times before this day. Even in falling
he defended that which was right and good to his last!

And in this desolate plain, in the long shadows of the Sentries it seemed
for a moment that Heironeous heard Halfred’s plea. The setting sun burned
in Halfred’s eyes and Smokey the Urskan rose; his fur had been burned
off and the fire it seemed sank down to his core for in that moment that he
stood he cut loose with a roar to rival that of Scorch’s own.

As Smity, Arty and I begin to gather the members of our party after having
been spread to the four winds, Smity inquired of me, “Why didn’t
you answer the riddle?”

“I wasn’t interested in playing his word games.”

Smity added, “Humph, I just don’t think you knew the answer – it’s
simple you know, I heard him ask you. The answer was ‘a fart’.”

Arty and I exclaim simultaneosly, “A fart!”

Smity explains, “The issuer has no need of it, the buyer doesn’t
want it and the user can’t see or feel it – they only smell it!”

“I think not, your answer while coming
close, does not quite fit the text of the riddle.
” Arty says, “The
correct answer was a coffin! Which, incorrectly, Scorch probably felt Lorel
would soon need.

And so we fought Lord Scorch and he ran like a scared kitty. Beyond the bluffs,
Persephone, none worse for the wear, led us to a small wayhouse where we found
a tiny dragon who cast a spell on us to transport us to where the dragon had
sent Jack and
Talon for safety.
That
was
when
the
room started spinning.


After the battle the Lord that was Scorch returned to his master’s lair,
the lair of Becubard and he approached the foot of Becubard’s makeshift
throne – the throne he liked to be carried about on when the sun is not
too hot. He approached cautiously, humbly – almost in a crouch his
eyes firmly fixed on the floor.

My dear Lord Scorch – the way you carry yourself it appears you
have returned alone and that you despair that I might be disappointed in your
failure but I assure you, you needn’t worry about that. It is not your
failure but most certainly my own. If I had made you better, smarter and stronger
you would have succeeded, isn’t that true. We can all learn from our
disappointments – no I am not immune. Thankfully we have the tools to
correct this and I’ve already sent my assistant, Mister Fu Manchu to
fetch some scalpels, leeches and plenty of warm water. We will get to the bottom
of this immediately, you and I.

 

Supporting Cast

Smokey

Charley

The Silent Companions

Freya

Arty

Amalamas, The
Caretaker

Three young, beautiful
virgin
women

Villians

Lord Scorch

Experience Gained

3200 xp

Treasure Gained

none