Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Family that stands together…

“What are we to do then?” Asks Sancho. "The bandit’s will surely return again and I doubt that they will be fooled a third time.”
Mendez finds himself forced to think for once. “Go tell Father, all our brothers and Uncle Mendoza. If they come back, they’ll find us waiting for them.”
Sancho and Tao run off, leaving Mendez alone with Zia for the first time since his return.
Eyes still down, she speaks. “I am truly sorry. I know I owe you everything, but I was lonely and Sancho showed me nothing but kindness.”
Mendez takes Zia’s hand. “The first thing I did when you were given to me was to free you. I can hardly complain about you making your own choices.”

A Jump back in Time

The misshapen giant glares up at the flying warrior twenty feet above him.
Both heads howling in rage and frustration, it takes a few giant steps back and striding forward, it leaps into the air. Twisting around it lashes out simultaneously with it’s two Dwarven War axes. One slashes wildly, but the other one connects. Beneath it’s twin helmets, smiles spread across both it’s faces. Another foe dead.
It’s roar of triumph quickly turns into an cry of anguish though as it crashes back to earth. Seriously injured and under attack by the human’s allies, it flounders back through the huge avery doors and kicks them shut.

(Assif, retrospectively but rightly, questioned my poor application of the ‘jump’ rules. I reconsidered the action and although just about able to justify it, I did have to push the rules a bit. Imagine this encounter being directed by John Woo.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thesis - All cut up

In the split second before the whirling blade sliced through his torso Thesis had the distinct idea that maybe he should be at home with his feet up and a large tankard of ale in his hands. Luck, Kord, Gambling Chance - these were the things that drove Thesis. He would always act with his sword arm first and head last. Usually things worked out OK, but this time his instinct was wrong and he would pay for his chaotic nature with his life.

Now his immortal soul was hovering just a few feet from where he was when the axe blow struck looking way down at his mangled body, silent as the magical armour that gave him a little too much confidence. But for some reason he wasn't called away yet to the astral and the life that was not life. He felt there was more to do yet and maybe his mission on mortal earth wasn't quite over yet.

He could see Eolar and Elogyn just reaching the castle and he wished that he could do something to help them. They would need all the help they could get. Especially if another of those beasts came out of the other tower ...

Close to the Gods

The mist just cleared in front of them and Eolar suddenly could see the structure in the distance. The sun was just setting behind the fortified church giving it a mystic aura of orange light. It was breathtaking. High up the mountain he would be close to St.Cuthbert!

The plan was simple. With this group of battle-hardened fighters it should be no problem to take the church in no time. After preparing for battle they started to jog up the mountain. He could see Thesis, Durin and Bodush vanish and smiled. He knew they are on their way to the building to be able to attack from inside as soon as the others reached the fortifications. They just made it one third of the way when the arrows started to come towards them. As if this could stop them! Dodging a few they continued uphill.

They just made it half way when Eolar saw a fireball explode inside. Something must have gone wrong. The plan had been simple and clear! They should wait for the remaining people to arrive before giving away their presence! Chen and Wer already started to run full speed. Eolar could hear Elogyn breathing hard next to him and also started to speed up.

The next seconds he could see the amount of arrows dwindling and the noise of fighting now could be heard from inside the walls. He could just make out Durin and Thesis flying up and down above the towers, engaged in battle. By the explosions from inside he could guess where Bodush was. What had gone wrong? Were the defenders able to purge invisibility? Did they have powerful clerics or sorcerers? Running on, he went through the list of spells he had prepared last night. Elogyn was close to exhaustion next to him.

Wer and Chen had reached the building and a snow storm broke lose above one of the towers. He tried to run faster! Just a few more feet.....

Oh my God, they Killed Thesis!

While flying, Thesis looks down at the monstrous, two headed giant, twenty feet below him. Hesitating for a moment, Thesis realises his mistake just too late.
Despite it’s full plate armour, the enormous creature leaps up at him. One massive axe cuts through nothing but air, but the second slices the impetuous Thesis from shoulder to groin.
Thesis is dead long before he hits the ground.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If you want a House Cased Properly

Not trusting any of his remaining bandits enough to get the job done, Baba goes and looks for himself. By asking the right questions and bribing the right people, Baba finds the mansion. Once there, he takes his time and memorises every detail. Every vine and every shutter. He will not forget the exterior of Mendez’s family home.

A Song for all Reasons

Miles further on, high up in the mountaintop fortress, a heavily robed priestess hears the wailing song.
“Raise the alarm!” she shrieks. “The Harpy’s are being attacked!”
Several non-human creatures rush in and a small, chalk skinned one with bulging eyes and wild hair whispers, “Do you think they got past them?”

Harpy Banner

Assif posted this up but only put his comment in the archives.
This banner shows Wer and Bodush getting their hands dirty, Chen getting impaled (again) and Durin finally managing to make an intimidate check. Unfortunately only against his own male team mates, due to his nakedness.
Poor Team Eolar and Thesis didn’t get to do much. I’ll try not to split you up next time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Of Brothers and Lovers

Mendez wakes up as the rising sun bathes him in its warm glow. He’s been asleep for over a day and a half. Groggily making his way downstairs he finds his brothers Tao and Sancho as well as his ex slave girl Zia. They are all looking shame faced.
“What’s happened? What’s going on here?”
Tao explains that he had dropped a sleeping draft into Mendez’s drink and snuck off alone to the magical cave. He had stolen three camel loads of treasure and worse, he’d forgotten to close the cave mouth.
Mendez frowns in confusion. “But why go alone brother?”
Tao explains about his past jealousy and begs Mendez for forgiveness.
Zia then goes on to describe the actions of the two mysterious men she had seen and what she had done to thwart them.
“This seems clever to me Zia. The men are obviously Baba’s lackeys, but more importantly, why haven't you been in my bed and why have you been avoiding me since my return?”
Zia looks to Sancho. Sancho in turn, looks directly at his sandals.
“Sancho! I said look after Zia for me, not seduce her!”
Sancho’s cheeks burn red and he stutters out an apology. “ I’m sorry brother, I didn’t mean for anything to happen…”
Mendez silences his chubby sibling with a raised hand and a smile. “It’s alright Sancho. I had no right to expect Zia to wait around for me. She is lovely and wise to have chosen you. She’ll be a welcome addition to our family. I do expect you to name your first child after me though. Wasn’t it me who introduced you?”
Then he turns to Tao. “There is nothing to forgive you for either Tao. While you stayed here and supported our family, I ran from my obligations. If Father favours me, he is mistaken. If anything, it is I who owe you an apology.”
Tears spring to all their eyes and the three brothers embrace.
“Now, what are we going to do about these pesky bandits?”

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bandit Baba and the thirty eight Thieves

At night, the bandit Baba and his remaining thirty nine thieves, again steal into the city. The laughing bandit stops laughing though when he realises that he can’t identify one cracked step from another. He turns toward Baba with eyes filled with fear and manages to say ‘ Please Ba!’ before his head too is cut from his shoulders.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Zia Chips in

This time it’s no suprise that Zia sees the masked stranger. She's been watching out for someone to return. Although unaware of who this man is, she’s met enough villains to know one when she sees one.
Creeping downstairs she discovers the newly cracked step. Finding a small hammer, Zia goes to every house that she'd previously marked with a red cross and bashes each step until it chips.
Whistling, she then skips all the way back home.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Second Time Lucky

The next night, Baba sends another of his men to ask questions and hopefully discover anyone spending gold as if it were water.
Unfortunately Tao has been.
Realising that the paint hadn’t worked, the bandit instead chips out a small piece of the stone step at Mendez’s family’s front door.
Laughing, the bandit rides back to the magical cave.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bandit Baba and the thirty nine Thieves

The next night, Bandit Baba and the fourty thieves steal into the city. Led by the clever bandit, they quickly get to the area around Mendez’s family home. Unfortunately, due to Zia’s trickery, the bandit cannot identify the correct house. He can’t remember which exact mansion it is due to all the red crosses.
“I’m so sorry Baba. I don’t know how this could have happened.”
Despite his minion’s appology, Baba roars with rage and turns on the tracker. With a quick slice, he lops off the man’s head.

Our Header's full of Rocks

At last I have my scanner back and so (Regardless of real work needing to be done) I've created a new banner showing the 'Living mountain' encounter.
See Assif's comment in the back catalogue.
(Hopefully I'll do the Harpy one before the next session.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Slog Back in Time

Thesis continues up each unyielding step. His eyes are downcast and he barely registers the Sorcerer Bodush as he catches up.
“Nice armour.” He sniggers as he continues past.
An hour or so later, the Elven Druidess Ned appears before him going in the opposite direction.
“Wha? Ned, Where are you going? Has something happened to the others?”
Ned looks embarrassed for a moment and then answers, “I have a bad feeling about what lies ahead. Death is in the air and I’m just not ready to face it.”
Looking down at the little Elf, Thesis feels a pang of sympathy; Elves are comely but so fragile. It’s hard to believe they live so long.
Ned wishes Thesis luck and tells him that Bodush has caught up with the others and that he’s less than an hour behind.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Painting the town Red

Watching from a high window, Zia, the young girl saved by Mendez a year earlier, spies a masked stranger sneaking away from the mansion. Sliping downstairs she discovers a crude red cross painted on the gate. Although she doesn’t understand the meaning, she knows it’s probably not a good sign.
On finding the disgarded pot, Zia wanders down the street painting red crosses on every gate she sees until the paint runs out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Marked for Death

One of the cleverer of Baba’s bandits, hoping to win favour, steps forward. “I will find this Infidel for you.”
Although no Ranger, the bandit’s a fair tracker and manages to follow Tao’s tracks all the way back to the city. A few hours later and he's even able to discover which particular mansion the tracks lead.
Quickly he takes some red paint from his saddlebags and marks the gate with a large cross. Then he rides back to the cave to tell Baba what he’s done.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The X(p)-Files

Using spells and magic, the party manage to search each high cliff. They find littered in the muck and detritus, thousands of coins and handfuls of gems.

After several hours of looking and cleaning the crud off of it all, the party has:

16 Gems (All worth 50gp)
1 full pot of Silversheen
1 Quaals Feather token (Tree)
You also have 12 broken Harpy eggs and a wretched, naked man.

As for experience...

Actually considering it was only one encounter, you didn’t do too badly. Only Chen went up a level though.
(Now he’s the equal of Bodush?)
Roll your HD in front of Sven and send me your revised character sheet.

Chen: Up to Level 9: 37,456 xp (It was worth nearly dying for!)
Eolar: Level 11: 65,334 xp
Elogyn: Level 8: 34,807 xp
Durin: Level 10: 53,467 xp
Wer: Level 10: 53370 xp
Ned: Level 6: 19264 xp
Thesis: Level 10: 46,974 xp
Bodush: Level 9: 42,231 xp
Mendez: Level 12: 67,401 xp

Eolar just missed out. Sorry Sven.

Stay away from the light

While searching the dead Harpies' caves, Chen finds a moment of solitude to consider his second near death experience. It would seem that he's beginning to make too much of a habit of this - the naivety of his training didn't really prepare him for how dangerous the world outside his monastery could be, and now his irrepressible bravery seems more like ignorant folly. Aside from the embarrassment of having to be rescued once again, he now is implicitly in debt to Wer - and who knows how she might choose to invoke that favour...?

Hang on! What's this?! A feather with a strange silver emblem attached? Perhaps he can recover some pride when he returns to his companions with an interesting trinket. He tucks the item into his robes and turns to rejoin the group.

In exiting the cave he looks down on his friends... What are they doing now?!
The dwarf seems to be pumping a clearly insane (and even more clearly disgustingly naked) old man for information, while the clerics are smashing some gigantic eggs in front of him, thus making him pull his hair out!

His friends' behaviour confuses him - as often seems to be the case. How quickly they turn from heroic figures who rid the world of vicious beasts to petty men who rescue captives only to inflict a special kind of torture on them!

At least here, though, the Ying and the Yang are intact. The obviously Good deed of destroying Evil creatures is offset by the obvious pain that this act causes. Chen approves of this simplicity - especially as his group's recent events in the valley seemed to have tipped the balance too far towards Good. If only Karma could always be so clear!

Well then, on towards the Chaotic Church - once he has helped the clerics in this perhaps he will have repayed them for saving him from death against the chain devils? In doing so, though, he knows he will need many hours of meditation afterwards to come to terms with his lack of Balance...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just Shut your Mouth

Baba, the chief of the bandits, roars when he returns to find his magical cave wide open.
“Who has done this?”
He’s red with rage and when one of his men shows him how much of his treasure has been taken, his shade deepens to almost purple.
“Track down this thief! It shouldn’t be too difficult considering that he’s loaded down carrying so much of my treasure!”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Early next morning, Tao leaves alone with a horse and three camels. He travels to the spot he left Mendez the day before and works out the approximate position of the cave.
“Open Cinnamon!” he cries. He can’t suppress his smile when a cave mouth appears less a dozen feet from where he is.
Tethering the animals and lighting a torch, Tao moves carefully into the cave. When his eyes finally adjust to the torchlight, he still can’t believe them.
There is so much! The contents of this cave could buy his Father ten times over.
He should have brought more camels!
Tao’s thoughts stay with his Father. “Once I’ve brought this all home, Father will think of me as his favorite son once more."
Gathering up as much treasure as he can, he loads up the camels and leaves as fast as they can now go, struggling under the weight of all the gold.
Amazingly, none of the bandits arrive back in time to see him go.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brother where wert thou?

Getting home after midnight, Mendez finds his brother Tao waiting for him.
“What did you find my brother?” Tao’s face all but shines when he see’s all the precious gems Mendez pours out onto the table.
“You must tell me everything, including the magic words.”
Mendez does, and they decide to keep it to themselves until they can decide the best course of action.
Exhausted from his recent run and the long journey before that, Mendez trudges back to his room and passes out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I’m Bodush, me fly.

Picking up some extra supplies, Bodush sets off on horseback after the others.
Pulling his thick travel blanket around him as he rides, he shields himself from the biting wind. It’s nothing compared to what he'd endured as a naked child in the Orcish camps.
Riding at a steady pace, Bodush soon leaves the farmsteads far behind. He rides through the first night and although immobile in the saddle, his eyes are ever vigilant.
Stoping only when necessary, Bodush lets his snake familiar Gajarpan, watch over him while he gets the bare minimum of sleep he needs. He passes through a large forest and is careful to drive off any wild animals he encounters. He is also careful to avoid any of the Sylvian races.
Eventually, after leaving the forest far behind him, he comes to a small camp of Prospector’s cabins. It is by a large stretch of water at the very beginning of the mountain range. Charming the Humans and ignoring the idiot Orc, Bodush learns what he needs to about the, so called ‘Living mountain’. After sharing some food and casting a few spells over himself and his mount, Bodush disappears from sight and flys over the eerily silent mountain.
After landing on the far side of the second watery expanse, Bodush travels on ontil he comes to some ancient stone steps. They are perfectly straight and carved directly into the very montain itself. Weirdly, they don't follow any of the natural paths or lines of weakness.
Reserving his spells for when they might be needed, Bodush pushes his spindly legs upwards.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Black Power

Sorel, General of the Black army, fearfully approaches the Temple of Erythnul.
A thin, dark skinned man sits at the top of the steps. He is unarmed and bare chested.
“Please Lord Catidsis. Our men desperately need more healing.”
The priest sneers as he literally talks down to the General.
“Men? Mice is more like it. Vermin. We supply healing as a reward for the death of our enemies. The White army. We will heal one of your number for every one of theirs killed. Is that understood?”
The General looks down at his ragged boots. “Our skirmishers won’t survive another battle, but those Northern scum won’t give us any time to recover.”
Lord Catidsis stands up abruptly and shouts down the marble steps, “It is not us who raids your lands and kills your children. Fight, perhaps die for your lands. If not, then you truly deserve your wormish fate.”
With that he signals one of the lower members of his order to bring out a trunk.
“Take this. You don't deserve it. It's full of healing potions. Use them sparingly and when we hear news of your glorious victory, you shall have more. Much more.”
General Sorel grits his teeth as he moves down the hill towards his men. “We have what we need. Now lets see if we can kill more of those White devils!”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Back from the Grave

After spending several months researching the Necromantic arts, Bodush returns to Seawell.
Unable to find any of his ‘friends’, he wanders through their old haunts and talks to some of his contacts. After less than a day, Bodush discovers that they have travelled to the borders of the ‘Forbidden lands’ to take over another church of Chaos in the name of St Cuthbert.
Bodush wonders why they all waste their time. Eventually everything evens itself out. The cosmic balance always settles on indifference.
Still, where they’re heading is perhaps only a week’s travel from Theynar, the capital city of the first empire. Cradle of Necromancy.
Picking up some extra supplies, Bodush sets off on horseback after the others.

Cinnamon, where you gonna run to?

Taking a deep breath, Mendez calls out “Open Cinnamon!”. He half expects nothing to happen, but sure enough the cave mouth reappears by magic.
With his enchanted scimitar in hand, Mendez creeps forward; alert for any sound of ambush. Surprisingly none comes.
Mendez’s way is lit by his sword and after less than a minute, the tunnel opens out into a massive cave. A cave filled with riches, from coins and gems to beautifully crafted goblets and jewellery.
Realising he doesn’t know how long the bandits will be gone and that he is now without a horse, Mendez stuffs as many gems into his pockets and shirt as he can manage. Then, with a wistful look over his shoulder, Mendez leaves the cave. He’s sure that his small robbery will not be noticed amongst such a wealth of riches. Turning around once in the sunlight, Mendez calls to the cave, “Close Cinnamon!”.
He’s already running as he hears the sound of the cave mouth shutting behind him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cave of Wonders

The bandits are still quite far away when Mendez shouts, “Quickly Tao. Take the horses and ride back home as fast as you can.”.
Doing as bidden by his younger brother, Tao gallops off into the distance, the second horse’s reigns gripped tightly in his left hand. The bandits see him and thunder past the hiding Mendez, after him.
Mendez is confident his brother will be safe. All of his family are good riders and his Father’s horses are the finest in the land.
Sure enough, twenty or so minutes later the bandits return empty handed.
“We’re so sorry Baba.” Says one of the men. “Whoever he was, he was too fast for us to catch. I’m sure he was of no importance though.”
The leader of the men is large and evil looking. Mendez listens intently as they move to the side of a rock face.
“Open Cinnamon!” he commands and to Mendez’s suprise a large section of the rockface melts away to reveal a cave mouth.
Mendez tries to keep track of the men as they enter the cave. Excluding their leader, Baba, he counts about fourty of them. Too many to face by himself.
Waiting in his hiding place, he soon sees the men leave. The leader Baba shouts, “Close Cinnamon!” and the cave mouth magically reseals itself again.
Mendez waits a good half an hour more, before cautiously emerging from his hiding place. Standing straight, he approaches the rocky wall and clears his throat...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Onwards and Upwards

Thesis arrives a day later, at the bottom of a huge set of steps carved into the very mountain. Looking up, Thesis says a prayer.
They seem unending but Thesis steels himself and takes them one step at a time.
Thanks to Kords help, he has managed to recover fully from his ordeal on the Mountain and plods up the unforgiving stone stairway.
It continues for what seems like hours, but just as Thesis is about to give up and rest as best he can, he hears voices. A crowd of voices.
Lumbering up the steep steps as best as he’s able to in his heavy armour, Thesis catches sight of his friends. He calls to them joyously. He’s so happy.
Smiling broadly, Thesis slows to a jog and then he hears something else…
Is that music?

Kord All Mighty

Thesis has never been a man of great introspection, but traveling alone has given him time to think.
Here he is trudging through a mountain pass, chasing after Eolar; But why?
To defeat another enemy of St Cuthbert?
Isn’t the mighty Kord an enemy of St Cuthbert?
Should he help destroy another church, even if it is of a Chaotic Evil god?
Surely his Chaotic Good diety has more common ground with a Chaotic Evil god than a Lawful Neutral one?
In truth, St Cuthbert and Kord are almost exact opposites.
It’s a matter of personal freedom against rigid social control.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cursed Magical Armour

Charging up the slope as best he can, Thesis faces barrage after barrage. After the third wave his horse seems to get even heavier. Thesis looks back over his shoulder and sees that he’s dragging a dead horse up the slope.
Letting go of the reigns, Thesis pushes onwards. Two more rock falls tumble down before Thesis has even got halfway up the mountain. He is smashed in the chest and legs and he screams in rage and curses his new armour. Without it he would have been over the crest by now!
Then Thesis notices something. The rocks have stopped rolling down towards him. He looks up and sees the reason why. There are no more rocks!
Thesis’ laughter is cut short however by the sound of rock grinding on rock behind him. The boulders have all been caught by the strange rock lip at the bottom of the slope. Worse, several of the rocks and boulders are rolling back uphill, as if being pulled by an invisible force!
Thesis starts to run again as best he can. He can move up the incline at about the same speed as the rocks seem to be rolling. He finally manages to get to the top and then curses again. The route down is a mirror of the route up, including the river running the other side of the mountain.
He sprints down it and is able to go much faster this way. He almost loses his footing a couple of times but manages to stay upright.
He is nearing the bottom when a group of boulders reach the summit and begin to thunder down towards him. They’re almost on him when Thesis leaps the remaining distance into the water. The rocks smashing into the ridge behind him.
Thesis breathes a sigh of relief and heals himself as best as he can while wading through the river towards the safety of the bank.
One more impact would surely have been the death of him.

Age of Responsibility

Tao is one of Mendez’s oldest brothers. He’s already well into his thirties and had looked out for the mischievious Mendez when they had both been much younger.
Riding two of their Father’s best horses, Tao leads Mendez to the area where he thinks the bandits must be hiding.
Mendez dismounts and starts to look around.
“Your very good at that.” Tao comments from astride his horse. “Father says your probably a greater swordsman than Uncle Mendoza too.”
Mendez looks up at his brother.
Tao’s still handsome, but the lines of responsibility are already showing on his face. Tao had taken over responsibility for several of their Father’s enterprises many years ago and has run them wisely, but Mendez can see the look of regret in his eyes.
“I’m pretty good now it’s true, but you know I only left because I knew you’d be here to keep our family safe.”
Just then Mendez hears the sound of thundering hooves.

Get out of my (Mountain) Face!

Thesis takes a long look at the route ahead. ‘Why a river? Why a mountain?’ he thinks. ‘Give me a Giant or a Dragon instead!’.
Still leading his horse through the icey waters, Thesis trudges onwards in his oddly quiet but heavy, magical full plate armour. It had cost him a small fortune and it had halved his formally impressive speed, but the added protection it had given him more then made up for it.
Struggling out of the water, Thesis notices the strange rock formation. It seems to be an upward jutting lip. Looking up the path he can see it’s only about 300 feet to the top but very steep; Maybe one feet up for every one foot along. The path lies between two seperate peaks and at the edge of the path is an almost sheer rise either side. Weirdly, at the top are several piles of boulders. Aside from these features, the mountain is devoid of any vegetation or signs of animal life.
Dragging his unwilling horse behind him, Thesis heaves himself upwards.
The ground begins to shake and when he’s just 30 feet up the path, the first set of boulders, unbidden, start to roll down the slope. They gather speed as they go and despite his best efforts several crash into him. His magical armour does little to protect him and although he keeps his footing, he’s hurt.
Thesis has only two choices: Run back down the 30 feet or slog up the remaining 270 feet. As usual, Thesis chooses the confrontational option.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kiss my Ring

The fantastic sky ship closes in on Mendez’s family home and starts it’s spiraling descent. It’s still 300 feet above the ground when Mendez dives from it’s starboard side.
The people's gasps of horror turn to cheers of amazement when Mendez spins in the air and lands light as a feather in their midst.
Kissing Telfis’ ring, Mendez instructs the servants to take him directly to his Father. Mendez is straight to busines.
“My Son, I’m so very glad to see you. The bandits have struck again. They’ve burnt some of our crops and they’ve raided some of the outer lying farms.”
Requesting his brother Tao’s help, Mendez decides to track these villains down.
“I’ll show you where we think their camp should be little brother, but we can find no sign of it.”
After an exquisite evening meal at home with his Mother, Father and all his family, the two brothers set off.

Orc with a Sore Head

Leaving the forest far behind him, Thesis continues to travel North.
Riding again, now out in the open, he makes good time and he half expects to catch up with his friends any hour now.
Instead though, he sees the mountains surrounding this side of the Forbidden lands loom up in the distance.
He rides on and then to his amazement he sees a small settlement. Several log cabins beside a wide stretch of the river.
Slowing to a trot, Thesis takes in as much information as he can before closing. There are four log cabins and they seem to have been there for several years. He can see two men wading in the river. (It must be fordable in this part.) He can see another two working near a semi-permanent fire in the centre of the four cabins. They are all dressed in appropriate fur and leather clothing for this environment.
Then Thesis sees a much larger figure dressed in studded leather armour. An Orc warrior.
Still, it’s only one Orc. Possible using the Humans as slave workers? Thesis feels confident that he can handle just one Orc and continues to ride on.
As soon as one of the human prospectors sees him though, they call out to the Orc. It becomes apparent that he’s not the boss but rather a hired guard.
“Hail stranger!” comes the call from the lead prospector. “What are you doing all the way out here?”
Thesis notices one of the Humans rushing off to one of the cabins and shuting the door behind him. He also notices the Orc draw a large Falchion.
On explaining that he is searching for his friends, the group visibly relax. Only the Orc continues to growl.
“Don’t mind him. He’s just hungover after being out drunk by a Dwarven Barbarian. Could that be one of the friends you’re looking for?”
Thesis rests for a while and enjoys some of the fresh fish broth, cooking over the open fire.
After a few hours rest, he’s ready to set off again.
Optimistically Thesis turns to the camp leader,“Which way?”
His heart falls though when the man points to both the river and mountain path.
“Careful my friend. Although the river’s fordable, the mountain doesn’t like trespassers.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mendez: Playboy, Starship Skipper

On seeing the massive Sky ship floating in the waters of the harbour, Mendez, with Razor on his shoulder, quickly dismounts and leads his horse up the gangplank.
After a quick embrace of Sinbad the Hampster, Mendez takes command and they’re off.
There are audible gasps from the spectators, but they’re quickly lost in the wind and the distance.
The sky ship crew is now about half and half Human and Hampster-men. They have obviously been practicing and make good time. Mendez should be home within the week.
A question flits around the back of his mind; Will it be soon enough?

Who let the Dogs out?

Despite Thesis’ poor tracking skills, the signs left by the wolf pack are impossible to miss. There’s a large pack hunting through these woods. One night he hears baying a few miles ahead, but the fierce barking and snarling soon makes way to whines and whimpers.
The next day Thesis discovers what had happened the night before.
There are signs of a camp and all around the bodies of bloodied wolves. There must be over a dozen. One of them though is monumental. Probably the pack leader, this wolf must have stood over six feet tall at the shoulder.
Thesis takes heart in the fact that there are no human bodies amongst the wolf corpses. He also finds strength in the notion that this camp is recent and was probably made by his friends.
He’s less than a day behind them.