Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ministered and Revived

Gylwics 18th Dyarr YT330
Voltarr lay dead on the guardroom floor. Vojeslaw lay slain a few feet away. The torpek Olorin had finally succumbed to the savage onslaught of a dozen cultists. Gorran Anastasz Petrowec had died for the second time. The black clad myrmidons had formed up and were pressing the remaining four adventurers back. Then Father Nicolai raised his hands in supplication. The answer was swift and amazing. Four winged figures, fully nine feet tall and radiating intense light appeared around him. Most of Nicolai's companions were afraid and shrank back in awe, but the effect on the cultists was much worse.
Some were struck down with terror - dead or catatonic or white with fear. Even the hardiest ran screaming from the room at the sight of the four seraphs. The angels moved swiftly to the fallen and touched each in turn. Breath returned where for a few seconds there had been none. Within minutes they were sitting up dazed but much recovered, looking in wonder at a table covered in white and laden with meats, fruits and wine. Someone noticed that the slain and immobilised cultists had gone. And so had their death-aspected torpek comrade. As they sat quietly eating the fine food they felt as refreshed as if they had slept. The heavenly visitors patiently spoke to those not too awestruck to speak and then swiftly and silently disappeared. Before they did their leader reached out and touched Olorin's head with a glowing coal which did not burn him and then silently blessed Father Nicolai's mace.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In the Balance?

Gylwics 18th Dyarr YT330
The first warriors to engage the intruders had rushed in immediately, but the remainder stayed long enough to collect their carved shields. They began to replace their battered bretheren and the battle began to tip in their favour. Voltarr and Vojeslaw on the right of the line staggered under the blows of their opponents. Hamec on the left also suffered a huge blow which caused him to reel backwards like a drunken stevedore. For a while both Voltarr and Hamec were slumped on the ground unable to defend themselves. Meanwhile one of the unholy warriors had slipped out one door and back in through another and was now about to fall on the adventurers from behind when he tripped over the prone form of Hamec.
To make matters worse, Tolarr's left boot began to came apart sending him crashing to the floor. Voltarr who had managed to rise, suffered a similar fate as the stitching in his boots dissolved. Gorran could see holes developing in the clothing of Hamec as he lay on the floor. As if some huge invisible moth were eating his garb. Although no-one was looking at the time, the costly clohing of Vojeslaw was suffering the same depredations as Hamec's ordinary shirt and trousers.
The cumulative effect of the blows taken so far had worn them down. Vojelaw, Voltarr, Olorin and Gorran were totally fatigued, bruised and bleeding. Nicolai was less hurt and Hamec was almost untouched in spite of being stunned and prone. On the other hand, half of their opponents were down. The mage was being helped by a guard but the huge warrior and the utterer-of-curses were down and showed no sign of rising this side of judgement day.
Still unseen, the diminutive Brimstone had crept back to the locked door and was busily trying to unpick it from the outside. It might at least provide a route to flee if things got worse.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gatecrashing with the Torpek

Gylwics 18th Dyarr YT330
Olorin was certainly visible from the moment he burst into the guardroom. The slate-robed guide had said they would become fully visible the moment they did anything to attract attention to themselves. The guards who had just finished checking for intruders were still reporting to a huge warrior near the centre of the room. Around the walls more than a score of others were sprawled on benches, sharpening short leaf-shaped swords or polishing black leather and bronze mail. Several black shields bearing the carved image of a man with a lions head were hanging on the walls.
The torpek nobleman rushed towards the standing figures. His first axe stroke had one opponent reeling before anyone could react. The helmed warrior did not draw a sword, but reached over and grasped at Olorin. A strange feeling ran through the torpek and he felt the malevolence directed at him but he took no harm from the touch.
Although Olorin was clearly visible from the outset, Tolarr and the rest following him in may have been unseen for a few seconds as they rushed into the battle. But Tolarr's axe was soon dealing out damage alongside Olorin's and those opponents who were first to leap up crowded towards the pair.
Nicolai and Vojeslaw noticed a grey robed man to the right of the torpek. He was starting to mumble words and his hands were moving in strange gestures. They both rushed towards him but several guards formed up in front of the man. Nicolai's mace and Vojeslaw's sabre were soon busy. Voltarr tried to work his way round to reach the grey mage.His opponent cursed as his magic failed him, leaving him all but drained of mana. Voltarr is well known to wield his staff as a weapon as readily as an aid to casting and blows rained down on the hapless grey mage. He turned and ran but immediately fell as Voltarr's prop hit the back of his skull.
As Hamec and Gorran came through the door they moved to the left of the torpek to counter a new foe. An armoured figure with grey robes was rushing forward shouting foul and foetid curses at the intruders. Several of the group began to feel less confident but Olorin and Nicolai did not. Olorin cried out to Eru and continued to swing mighty blows into the unholy cult guard.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Gylwics 18th Dyarr YT330

The room was long and narrow. Down the centre were cages. Iron bars fixed into floor and ceiling surrounded small square areas of flagstone with pitiful collections of rags and the bones of the previous occupants. Some were animal skeletons but some were human or human-like. Father Nicolai went into each cell and reverently gathered and wrapped for burial the humanoid remains.

As he entered the last cage a creature leapt from concealment beneath a pile of rags. The speed with which it moved was alarming. It could have easily sprung on Nicolai but instead chose to rush past him out of the cage. Before Olorin could ready his axe the beast was swiftly past him and had disappeared through the arch into the cavern beyond. The animal reminded Olorin of the small tree creatures in the forests of Surt Tzingi. But this was much, much bigger. Perhaps more than an ell in length!

When they chose to explore the caverns themselves they discovered some large caves sloping slightly downwards. In the second cave they made several interesting finds.

The first was a floor with shallow pools and rivulets of slime. They gathered round and peered at it. They prodded and poked it. They dropped pebbles and dried meat in it. Finally they agreed that it was thick and sticky and that it stuck to a stick. But their considerations did not prevent Hamec and Vojeslaw from slipping on the stuff or keep their boots clean of the slime as they picked their way through.

A large growth of fungi was the next to be examined. Ochre, russet and verdigris coloured growth covered a large area. Brimstone picked some smaller examples of each type and pocketed them.

Large areas of the floor seemed to be covered in some form of growth which swayed slightly but they did not examine this as closely and chose to keep as far as they could from this. Perhaps not far enough.

Although they did not explore the whole cavern they did find a speleothem column, a pile of large boulders and two exits. Both were narrow. One appeared to be a natural formation, twisted like a shepherds prop. The other was straight as a die and led downwards beyond their sight with steep flights of steps and level passages alternating.

Disappearing into the Depths

Gylwics 18th Dyarr YT330

The busy citizens of Gylwics were out on he streets carrying out business, performing their duties and breathing in the air of a town on the knees of the Karbath mountains. Many of them looked straight through the slate-robed guide, two torpek, cleric, novice, mage, craftsman and diminutive thief as they passed through there midst. Even when they were within touching distance, none noticed them. It was as if they were so unremarkable that they could not possibly be there.

On reaching the castle at the highest point in the zig-zag street the guards also failed to register the little group passing through the gates or walking by the manor-keep into the ruins of the old keep.

Their new guide informed them that unless they drew attention to themselves they could all pass unmarked for several hours. He followed them into the collapsed cellars of the old keep but would not go any further.

When they reached the tunnel stair where Brimstone had stopped on his reconnaissance it looked as if he and some others would baulk again. The leadership of Olorin quickly persuaded Brimstone and Vojeslaw (once the later was persuaded that cats do not frequent dungeons). But Tolarr was still unwilling to go deeper. Olorin began to get angry and started speaking loudly to the other torpek in their own language. Tolarr shook himself and turning the spigot in his cask swallowed a great quantity of liquor before he forced himself onward. Perhaps the drink explained the red-faced look and the way he mumbled to himself. But it did not explain the scowl.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Settings Drawn from the Deep Recesses

A neat stone wall, almost man height surrounding untended gravestones. In the centre a larger monument stands proudly but many other markers tllt this way or that. The graveyard lies at a crossroads near to a rocky escarpment. The hills are brown and windswept with small twisted trees and areas of exposed rocks. Like bones showing through decaying flesh in the full moon's light. Nothing is moving. Nothing that can be seen.

A flat raised circle of lush grass rises through the dense broadleaf forest. The rising sun will soon rise between two carved stones, Two circles of stones sit within the space. Thirteen stones in the inner ring, more in the outer ring. Grass, stones and forest are still shades of grey in the half-light.

A settlement of black-timbered houses are splashed with sunset red reflected from the snowy peaks around it. No church or castle is evident but a single temple rises up in the middle of the town. And at it's summit is an altar and towering over that is the image of a wolf-god it's head still crowned in gold. A chill wind blows through the empty streets, stirring up the ochre leaves.

After using his talents to seek out a few images from the mind of the cultist, the magister of the Loyal Aurdun of Fyhar Gora slumped forwards exhausted. The resistance of the dark disciple had been formidable.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tribes and Nations -2

In the days of the Old Empire, civilization surrounded the Mare Nostrum. Peace reigned in a hundred provinces. In some the Empire was welcomed and in some sullenly resented. When three great rulers contended for the throne six centuries ago, a civil war started which resulted in countless deaths. Empty victories followed bitter defeats until the legions were almost filled with barbarian voices. Then within five years all three parts of the empire were assailed by external foes and the west of the Empire almost fell. Provinces were lost in the deserts of the south , in the mountains and plains in the north and along the great rivers of the east Finally at the eleventh hour all three would-be emperors realised the truth. Only together could they survive. Each ruler swore a terrible oath binding himself and his successors. Assistance was sent where needed and the invasions were stopped. And so the jointly ruled Empire was born of necessity and flourished to the point where some of the lost provinces were recovered. Of course later the Stygian Revolt gave rise to the Tetrarchy and the fourth Imperial City and the deeds of Heraclios, Destroyer of Achmenya added the fifth part of the Pentarchy. The five rulers are of course not equal in all things. Two Augustii and three Caesars rule from their great cities. As time passed the five imperial pentarchies grew further apart in culture, trade and military doctrine. So much so that it is often more like five empires. Many Augustii and Caesars have threatened to break the sworn pact or delayed assistance but somehow the Pentarchy has just held.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Caught in a World of Shadows

Gylwics 17th Dyarr YT330
Earth-kin are small. Brimstone often found this useful. When he decided to try to sneak into the Horned Bear at night he made the most of his size, but it still wasn't enough.
He left the Old Wall Inn quietly enough. He was careful moving through the streets around Second Turn. When he saw the Skallagrim heading home through the dark streets he quickly got into a hiding place that a child would scarcely have fit into. And the squeeze through the window bars of the Horned Bear was tight even for him. However, the act of breaking and entering was not altogether silent. When Brimstone searched the cellar that Voltarr had previously looked in he found the concealed sliding panel that Voltarr had missed. It was hidden but not by magic. His lantern revealed another room filled with all kinds of valuables and a reinforced double door. Brimstone was tempted to fill his pockets with gold. Instead he picked up a handsome dagger and a small chest with arcane paraphernalia.
Turning to go he heard a voice in the darkness. Dousing the lantern and flattening himself against a wall was not enough. A figure in the cellar had seen him. Seconds later Brimstone panicked as a strange shadowy web wrapped itself tightly round him. As he struggled the grey filaments tightened until Brimstone could not draw breath. Within a few more seconds he felt conciousness slipping away.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rhyming Games - 1

отнема скрити знания
оставя тайна името
лъжене във вътрешната пещера
тайни са скривалище

dream-thief takes a hidden knowledge
dream-thief leaves a secret name
hiding in the inner cavern
secrets are a hiding game

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tribes and Nations -1

Some details of the peoples living near to the realm and their characteristics according to the common view. The name of that people in their own language is also shown:
Most men of the muggyr would assume that any of these people other than Szekely living within the realm are either thieving Bayars or plain murderous savages. Almost all would be deemed uncouth, uncivilised, and untrustworthy. They would be genuinely surprised to know that their neighbours have almost the same opinion of them.
Kőgótok (also Greuthungi) are blonde, blue eyed barbarian tribes. These nomadic horsemen have horses larger than the ponies of the Beseyok and Ruaroch. They occupy lands north of the Karbath Mountains but pay little heed to borders. Some trading takes place with the Kőgótok. They are skilled with lance and bow.
Thracius (also Thracous) are a wild dark-haired rabble led by a weak feuding aristocracy. They have long coveted the realm but rarely threaten the borders to the south. They favour ambush tactics and use short swords of a type not commonly used in the realm.
Beseyok (also Pazinags) are a grouping of semi-nomadic tribes who live across the wide grasslandss to the north and east of the realm beyond the Kunok. A few large settlements exist, usually with the hall of one of their leaders. Other horse-lord peoples share the steppe such as the Ruaroch (also Ruaran). Thankfully, no great leader has managed to unify these warrior tribesmen. These horse-lords have acquired a fearsome reputation and are believed by many common folk to have horns and tails. Few have any first-hand knowledge.
The Wallach (also Vlak) occupy the lands lie to the east of the boundaries of the realm. They frequently form Bayar bands for brigandage and raiding of neighbouring states. Wallacia is a unified state but it is very poor. It is in turn raided by the Gaetok and Beseyok. It may once have been larger and more prosperous.
Gaetok or Daciok (also Daous) is sometimes translated as 'People of the Wolf'. They are not numerous but have some individual settlements north east of the realm. It is not a unified kingdom. They are bandits and outcasts with strange magical rites and stranger religious practices.
Kolloth (also Norici) are now mostly assimilated into the realm but some independent settlements still exist round the western fringes of the realm, They have always been known for their fierce warriors and skilled craftsmen.
Skalgrimoth are blonde warriors settled in the border regions of the realm. They are mostly civilised. It is not known whether this tribe were once connected to the Kőgótok or are from the northlands. They show no special affinity for horses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Darkling Shadows

Gylwics 16th Dyarr YT330
After the bustle of the part three days the comrades decided to spend a quieter day in Gylwics. They had informed the authorities about the events in and around Szurkal. Indeed the whole area north of Korzow was bustling with men in armour and sturdy spear-armed bors. The expedition to seek the hidden manor would have scores of fighting men.
But our adventurers would be looking for the assistance of a man in slate-grey. And they had been led to believe that they should start looking at the Horned Bear.
The place was tucked away down an alley off the road just past First Turning. It was a small square single storied building connected to a larger two-storied stone villa. The Black bear on the green inn-sign told them that they were at the right place. Father Nicolai looked at the men lounging in the courtyard and decided it was the wrong sort of place. He stayed outside while the others went into the taproom. The place was fairly quiet. A curtained alcove in one corner was in shadow but the rest was fairly well lit. Apart from a few tough looking regulars, Brimstone spotted a seasoned warrior who looked less like the type. The man seemed to take a liking to Brimstone and chatted pleasantly for an hour or two before leaving. He seemed to be well travelled.
Olorin slapped gold onto the bar and ordered drinks for all. After an hour or so with various eyes watching them Olorin was invited behind the curtain where he met a man dressed entirely in grey. He claimed to be one of the fabled Masters of Shadow. He knew a great deal about Olorin, his friends and all their recent activities. For a while they discussed whether he could help. He convinced Olorin that he could get in and out of any manor, palace or dungeon for a price. That price would be steep. But then so were the risks. Olorin silently prayed for guidance and was instantly sure that this man was not to be trusted. But his help seemed to be foretold so Olorin continued. A meeting was arranged for the following night in a locked chamber in the Old Wall Tavern.
After returning to the taproom to discuss with the others what had just happened, a shadow swept across the room and with that the grey man was gone. They took their meal in the now empty alcove. Nicolai joined them but kept his vow of abstinence from strong drink.
While the meal was being served Voltarr slipped into the kitchen. The floor was piled with provisions normally found in a cool cellar. Searching he found a trapdoor with a ladder beneath. He explored the cellar, which was vaulted with several pillars supporting the kitchen floor. He was rummaging about in the sacks and such when the cook almost came upon him. With his light put out he could not be detected as he had already cast spells of concealment on himself. He was very nearly trapped by a sack which fell over the trapdoor when the cook climbed out. But he exerted his powers to move it slightly and so escaped. But he did not find anything hidden in the cellar.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Nest of Troubles

Szutsavanica, 15th Dyarr YT330.

The tower of Szutsavanica was surrounded by an ant's nest. A few weeks ago it had occupied the grassy bank with only a few herders huts for company. Now the huts had been flattened and piles of materials and buildings were scattered around it. Its conical roof still stood a hundred feet above the tops of the first new buildings. All kinds were under construction – mean and noble; bold and magisterial; functional and ostentatious. Streets and yards laid out with whitewash lines marked where even more would be built.
Mages in blue robes were striding about looking purposeful. The gold-coloured trims and ornamentation sometimes shone with a new found lustre. The settlers included craftsmen of course, building the town and making whatever was needful. But shopkeepers and merchants were also quick to stake a claim to the best plots. The mock streets were the scene for several real arguments daily. No beggars yet. And fewer women than men.
But everyone was talking about the strange marks daubed on the walls before midnight. Tower and town were without answers. The scrying had added no information about the deed or its agents. Watchmen had failed to catch anyone. It was frightening many. Some had gone back to their former places. Most could not. Some of the settlers whispered that a lord would have been more apt to action than these magisters. But after two weeks the council had finally acted. They had sent for one of there own. Voltarr was summoned to the Council.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inn Signs - 1

The Horned Bear (Szarus Zsaru) is not an inn that 'outsiders' visit much. It is in the worst quarter in Gylwics. It doesn't have fine food or wine. From the visible marks on furnishings, it appears to have had more fights in the last few weeks than noble visitors in a similar number of years.

It does have a painted sign with the old bear 'a pied' carrying a hunting horn. Since there are many hunting lodges in the Karbäth Mountains this is an appropriate sign for an Inn which may have started out providing refreshment for thirsty huntsmen. A few wild outdoor types still drink there. Probably those that don't want to be bothered by too many questions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dreams and Interpretations

The Prognostications of Ingusz Vàrrbäth-Matha, Celestial College

185. The herb of blood opens the door. Visions of conflagration. Pallas in Taurus opposed. Schemes in the Dark Tower lay low the life-giver eclipsed. In the dregs of Nagyolaszi is the taste of death. Stone-folk bait the trap and spring it. Chosen of the loyal strike a timely blow. The sword of the righteous sweeps clean.

This extract from the writings of Värbäth-Matha was written in YT 325 at the time of the Dagor Nimlagor. It is generally taken to have been at least partially fulfilled by the events which took place in Nagyolaszi on 23rd to 25th Byad YT330 when the necromantic Samagina cult was suppressed by a group of loyal subjects and the Order of Michael. References to the eclipsed Sun are symbolic of life-force corrupted in necromancy. Pallas may refer to cult mysteries or to the unmasking of the cult. House Taurus mentioned is considered by the Celestial college to be unfavourable to the detection of mysteries. Other interpretations have been put forward which seek to explain references to visions, the 'herb of blood' and 'chosen of the loyal'. Since there are never any interpretations from the author, none of these versions can be tested. The cynical say that these soothsayers are always unwilling to face such testing.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gifts and Practices

Clerics of the Church of St.Kosz of Astergow and of the various venerations

Most clerics serve in one town or village for most of their lives. Whether their saint is St Vanaslasz or St Nar. Whether they venerate the Archangel Gabriel or Vala Orome.

Brotherhoods and Orders each have their own Rule, but all agree that clerics should exhibit one or more of the following 'outward gifts': Healing, Prophesy, Teaching, Preaching and Exhortation.

The practices of each branch of mother church include Prayer, Blessing, Abstinence and Scripture. Laity and clerics alike are encouraged to devote time to these practices but in the Brotherhoods and Orders the hours of each day spent in these disciplines is set out. Those who break the Rule must answer to their superiors.

Those miracle workers and militant defenders who move about the Realm must of needs practice their Rule whilst also carrying out their allotted mission. The book of Bapu Bazacs recently circulated in the houses of the Michaelines, is the first to try to offer practical advice to active clerics in their sojourns.

"Every aspect of the true church has a distorted counterpart in the cults that seek to supplant her. Curses replace blessings. Desecration and false prophesy are practiced instead of the truth. Only one type of practices are used in both true-church and cult. A few Clerics are practitioners of Binding and Warding against evil. All cult priests can do this too. They however need it to gain power and defend themselves from their own kind!"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Prognostications of a Madman (Vol 31 Part i)

The Prognostications of Ingusz Vàrrbäth-Matha, Celestial College (written circa. YT326)

211. The Secret Knowledge shall stand against the imperial bulwark. What is not thought can still be spoken. Many will perish but the defender of the muggyr must be weighed in the balance. Neptune in Capricorn rising. Six shall rise but one shall fall to the grey. New moon in the house of the dying. A staff, a trap and a feathered-cap shall be the instruments of the spheres. Seek the help of a slate-robed man in Giliwics.

212. The herb of blood shall come to meet the father of Collisz. Jupiter in Libra. And judgement will come to pass against the followers of the other ones. Nienna on the cusp of Mandos. A red death meets the son of Dostoi in the time of need.

213. Cousins at enmity. Mars in Gemini opposed. The cat shall find it's yarn but the other shall give away it's secret. In the trap a final hazard. Kill or cure for Vojeslav?

214. Hall of the Winter Stars. At the birth of Manwë. Counsel shall be sought against the Inhuman One. The trail of death shall point to Polaris but who will be the chosen men.

215.Children of stone. Your fealty shall be tested. Iron in blood slaked by secret rune opposed. Light of nadir stars reflected.

216. Scions of Aquarian lore. Before Byòl is run through once a need shall arise in the tower of the bright flame. Much wisdom begets little action. Mercury in Virgo reversed. Seek the tombe of words unwritten. Saviours of Szürkal may be found in the path of success. Boldiszar is in the path of ruination.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flight into the Earth

Szürkal, 13th Dyarr YT330.

As the sounds got nearer, other beast-like bellowing and snarling semi-human cursing started. It came from the northeast a short bow shot outside the gate

Thomäs when asked, said that it could create a shallow earth-mole tunnel heading East towards Komiro. The villagers could be saved if they abandoned their homes. It was quickly agreed that this was the only way, So the village was ordered to assemble at the headman's house and instructed to keep the infants from crying out. Thomäs created the means of their escape starting in the cellar. With no noise and no spoil a tunnel appeared. Father Nicolai had only just started leading the villagers to safety when four Tröw and several Yrch attacked the gate.

A trunk thudded into the gates. Gorran and a local fired a few shafts at point blank range but the two Tröw who wielded the ram seemed oblivious. When the gate collapsed after less than minute, Olorin ordered a withdrawal towards the tunnel entrance. Unfortunately, this seemed to be interpreted by most as an invitation to run for it and Olorin soon found himself left behind. Gorran and Hamec halted at one corner of the Headman's house but most of the villagers did not turn to fight. The enemy seemed surprised at seeing the village run so quickly and against their orders they pursued.

Tolarr led the other warriors from the wall opposite the gate towards the tunnel entrance. A few minutes later more Tröw and Yrch had clambered over the wall where they had been posted. They were not far behind Tolarr.

The two most daring Yrch were almost on Olorin when Tolarr stunned one with a missile. A strike from the other managed to hurt Olorin. It drew blood despite Olorin's formidable armour but he made it to the tunnel. As the two Torpëk entered the building they turned to protect the villagers as they all made their escape down into the earth.

Olorin made a mental note to teach the group about proper withdraw tactics.

Earthbound and Water Weird

Szürkal, 13th Dyarr YT330.

Thomäs Surka popped out of the grass in front of Ihkz. This was not uncommon behavior for Pokhoi, but it startled the water-mage more than he liked to admit. He had some knowledge of similar beings in his own country but they looked nothing like this. As small as Brimstone but green-skinned and entirely bald, the creature seemed preoccupied with something and muttered to himself. It seemed entirely oblivious to the effect of his singular appearance. Everyone was busy preparing to defend themselves. Most were concerned with the fate of their families, livestock and homes as well. but the Little Green Man was concerned with telling Ihkz that the Lady of the Grotto was a 'foreign devil' and that he must remove her and return the Lysha to her proper place. Ihkz wandered whether she was as 'foreign' as he was. The villagers who passed by in the twilight addressed it as Tomas Szürka, or Hagy Tumavek or sometimes just as 'Good-harvest'. When chatting about it he was referred to as the Maszükk, our Pokha or even the Little Green fellow but it soon became clear that the locals would probably do what it wanted them to do, if asked. They seemed to trust it never to ask them to do anything either 'good' or 'evil'. The village headman was alarmed when Thomäs told them about the denizen of there grotto but when Ihkz and Voltarr pointed out that the lady concerned had requested them to find her 'proper worshipers' they were even more alarmed that their Lysha had been lost.. Thomäs was still in a state of agitation. Hopping from one foot to the other it poured forth a stream of information. Most of it was unsought but it was all about various corrupting influences

  • the lydarc kaá, satsas and dag sighted in caves previously uncorrupted
  • men in black and dark blue robes who have been disturbing the harmony of the earth.
  • a presence of the 'other-ones' (the blood drinkers, the wild nature forces)

No clear dates or accurate directions were to be had from the pokha. He seemed to pay little heed to intervals smaller than seasons and navigated without map or sight of the heavens. But the robed figures did bother it for some reason and Thomäs remembered a few specific facts

  • one of them brought two Lydarc Dag into 'existence'.
  • one of them used some foreign name which sounded like 'Bael'
  • the men carried goat horns
As soon as the sun was full down the village heard ominous howling coming from the mountains. The sounds were vulpine but not solitary or furtive and they chilled everyone who heard them. They were not the sound of an ordinary pack. There was something about the howling that seemed almost like speech. The speech of cruel beasts, hungry for destruction!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Undignified but Unsullied

Karbäth mountains, somewhere north of Komiro, 12th Dyarr YT330.

Something was odd about the privy. Aside from the horrendous odour - something was odd about the privy. They hadn't noticed on their first visit to the village. Perhaps the vile stench had acted as an olfactory camouflage, preventing them from seeing clearly. Something was odd about the privy. Their captive had said that one of his friends had remarked that something was odd and he had died the same day. Others too had disappeared with foul play suspected.

Which was why Voltarr, Father Nicolai, Olorin, Gorran and the others were gathered around examining the outbuilding and holding their noses.

The rest of the bayar band had been gone more than an hour by the time they had reached the village. They had left behind some of the female servitors. None were alive. The bayars had clearly been in a hurry to go. Most of the buildings were ablaze but the stable, the apothecary, the small stone-built house and the two-story headman's house were standing.

The privy was too large. And the lower half was brick built. Clearly too much for a simple village privy in a very seedy looking village. But something else was odd about the Privy.

Which was why, his dignity in shreds, Father Nicolai ended up up-ended in the privy. His feet wedged in two small indentations in the wall and his buttocks on the smooth plank he was reaching backwards at full stretch when his hand found the lever. Eschewing all modesty and at risk of vomiting from the noxious vapour, Nicolai pulled the lever. Water poured into the pit below his head from pipes in the wall facing him and drained away through vents in the opposite wall.

Soon the pungent stink had abated and enough night-soil effused for a secret door to be just visible. Perhaps this was a back-door to the hidden Manor.

The contents were of the remaining buildings were disordered and looted. But by careful searching, Olorin uncovered two very interesting pieces of parchment upstairs in the headman's house. Voltarr collected some intact 'potions' and in doing so came upon the remains of the real physicker.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Travels with the World Wise

Törpek Ötödek like Tolarr are far-travellers and often have information about places and customs of men that others do not. Indeed their viewpoint on the lives and cities of men is often clearer than those of men.

Tolarr was greatly impressed by the physicians of Lazargorod and the feats of manna demonstrated in Vedetimova as he wandered through the world. These cities were founded as noochracies and still retained many laws and priviledges from the days of the founders not found elsewhere. Further from home he passed through the great city of Kirlyovsk with it's royal palaces and strange domed churches. Even a stone-dweller törpek could not fail to admire the great walls and gates and the fine art of Kirlyovsk.

Many years later he had a chance to compare the splendour of Kirlyovsk with industry and wealth of Heimbrechtstadt many leagues to the west and the dignity of Hrabenberg on the great river and was able to understand as few are the breadth of humankind's achievement.

Other places such as Kasmirova, Czernebogsk or Gogol Merski painted an altogether less favourable picture of the works of man: deceit, corruption and the exploitation of the weak and poor. Tolarr, though not given to introspection, observed all of this and learned from it. Above all other races, men and their deeds could face in two directions.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trumpet and Drum

'Fass es Spitze' (tr. Drum and Horn, alt. Trumpet and Drum) is an old street in an old city. It's the place where those who espouse the second oldest profession meet. And also where they gain mastery of the skills they need to survive. Why did it get a name in the northern tongue which sounds like an inn?

Scholars say that the name became associated with Festök and Szinesze. Festök is the term for dyes and in this street it was principally indigo and purple. The making of dyes was the trade carried out in that area before the street became what it is now. Indeed, the dyestuff was mixed in a wooden vat or drum so the link is double. Szinesze is the term for a female player and in some circles specifically an Aeyep female player. Unlike dye-making this occupation still thrives in the vicinity, notably at the establishment of Madame Rygara. Why did these two trades share the same small part of Korzow? It is likely that wandering players were good customers for those selling dyed cloth, particularly cloth in unusual and dramatic colours. Acting was then regarded as for those of low birth, perhaps even outcasts. So a street with dye-works may have been the only place that would accept them. Now the entertainers share the street with armorers and mercenaries rather than fullers and such. Both players and soldiers are greatly in demand in Korzow. Merchants need security for goods shipped across the dangerous Karbath Mountains. They also have the money to hire entertainment. And the dramatic arts are seldom as well accomplished as in the house of she who in her youth belonged to one of the greatest traveling troupes in the land.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fragments of the History of the Törpek

Earth-kin in the Realm consider that they all come from the same father. One of the seven progenitors, Azaghâl is mostly mentioned in the tale about the legendary axe. But Azaghäl was the second of the seven and he and his kin made there home in an area to the west of where the Realm now stands. His city was Gabilgathol and it was carved high in the peak of a very great mountain. The tragic tale of that once great city is said to still cause one of the Törpek Másodek to cover his face with his hands in grief. Several hundred years ago a great number of Törpek Másodek migrated east where they took over the city and holy-mountain of Azigilmahâl. Another legend suggests that once, ages before story, this was the city of the seventh father but whether the Törpek Hetedek also migrated is not mentioned. Of the other Törpek, the line of Iaurgond has most dealings with the line of Azaghâl. Far-traveled adventurers such as Tolarr and prospectors from the north do reach the Realm occasionally but they seem strange to the folk of Azaghâl these days. It is said many of the Ötödek take man-names and pay less heed to old ways.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Written on a Scrap of Parchment

Karbäth mountains, somewhere north of Komiro, 11th Dyarr YT330

A single piece of parchment is left un-burnt and discovered in a strange village by Olorin. From the location, the nights struggle and the note found with it, it is clearly unholy and probably significant. The choice before them is this - seek out the meaning or return to Giliwics with a cryptic puzzle? It seems that whichever they choose, the sands in the glass are almost done.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Felled or Snared

Karbäth mountains, somewhere north of Komiro, 11th Dyarr YT330

Our comrades having blundered through the village of the damned were high on a coll and preparing to camp just below the treeline. The moon being just a day short of full in the winter sky, was already risen and shone on the group as they made camp. Brimstone was busy making snares and Wojeslaw was enhancing them using his talents. Now anything wandering into the camp would not do so silently. As an afterthought he applied Argentum to a few so that Voltarr could cast enchantment upon them.

The camp settled down but not for long. Within an hour of setting the traps and before watches were set, a heated argument broke out between the two guides. It soon became clear that the bad feeling between the two men was an old score and that a woman was at the root. The shouting soon descended into ugly threats and daggers were already out when Olorin tried to intervene. His authority was not enough to calm things but when Father Nicolai spoke up the two men backed down.

Olorin took charge of the first watch. It was well that one of the two guides was also on watch because he spotted the intruders before they reached the camp. Perhaps he was especially vigilant because of the fight with Antal Komiro. Or maybe St Kosz blessed the lad born in Astergow.

The raiders were many. Iwan Fodor spotted at leas two dozen men armed with bows spears and swords traversing the slopes towards them. They were following the treeline from the eastern escarpment. Vojeslaw shouted a challenge but Iwan had already loosed an arrow which hit the leading archer.

Olorin and Ihkz started waking the camp and within a few seconds all were awake. Some sprang up immediately alert and had there weapons to hand but all were quickly roused. In places like this, the slow to rise may never get the chance. Ihkz shouted something when he saw the attackers but he had no time to explain.

Olorin barked orders and a defensive line began to form. The first bayar to rush forward tripped in front of Iwan and Vojeslaw. The mechanician took more than a a minute to club him insensible.

The rest of our group were more effective, for in spite of being outnumbered the raid was over almost before it began. With a screamed command the Bayars rushed the camp in a frenzy. Had they time to consider this the friends might have marked this as extreme behavior for common Bayars.

The deadly greataxe of Olorin dealt the most damage .One bayar received a mortal blow to his head. Another two were left dazed and shaken by a massive sweeping attack. Even when a Bayar blundering through one of the traps caused Voltarr's enchantment to fire, hitting Olorin with a massive blast of raw energy, Olorin ignored the blast and continued to cut down raider after raider. Finally a blow from his axe hit one of the spruce trees. The tree fell with a crack and landed in the melee, trapping Anastasz, Nicolai and several of the bayars.

Seeing so many of their men felled or snared, the leader shouted on them to run. More than half their number were left dead or captured. A close look at the captives confirmed that they were indeed the 'villagers' of the strange village in the ravine.