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  1. #21
    Community Member DrowsworD's Avatar
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    Default Sewers, Sewers and More....

    “Again?” the young elf mage jumped from the chair, sparks flying, making her hair stand on out in a web around her head. “What is it with you and sewers?” a question Koryx would have asked too if he wasn’t deeply troubled about what they found last time.

    Several organized groups of kobolds, living under the city with the machas to attack two guards was disturbing enough. That the city hadn’t sent a legion of soldiers down there to rescue their own and clean the place out, but rather farm it out to some ‘fresh-off-the-boat’ sellswords was a terrible lapse of judgment by the Harbor Master and the Guard Captains. But, the lack of proper leadership in the Guard did put some coin in Koryx’ pocket; and he found some gear he can sell or use later.

    "Sorry folks," Waldhorn sighed. "She's right though. If you have armor you would rather wear down into where we're going, now would be the time to consider it." The paladin was all gung-ho and spit-shine; out to right the wrongs and save the damsel, or in this case, a guard that got himself captured. Koryx had known paladins and cavaliers; worked and trained with them long enough to know the type. They were often single-minded and steadfast in their belief that what they thought was right and everyone else was wrong. Waldhorn wasn’t as arscha as that, but his fondness for sewers was nearly as disturbing as the giant sword he swung around most of the time.

    “Gob-spittin’, yappy-yammerin’, smuge smellin’, creepin koball infested sewers again,” Koryx muttered as he headed back to the Leaky Dingy to change into his sewer stompin’ gear. Maybe this job will pay enough to get out of that waterside tavern and into some place that isn’t always damp.

    Koryx thought about this group he was mixed up with. They seemed to be good enough, although he was going to have to watch his jokes and language around them. The mage seemed to have quite a temper, but she cooled off fast. He could tell she was used to a lifestyle that this mucking about in sewers was not part of. He knew the type – he used to be one of them.

    The half-elf was a different matter. She was quick, especially with that knife, and a good shot with her bow. She didn’t seem to take to well to him at their first meeting so he was going to watch it with her. He had plenty of experience watching what he said in ‘certain company’. Plenty of times Brother Payton and Sir Tordellin had him mucking stables and cleaning the practice yard to “…teach him his place, and the place of others…” when his mouth overran his brain and he made comments that were “out of character for one chosen for a holy path”.

    “Holy, smoly” Koryx cursed to his bundle of possessions. But there’s no reason to pilias off the people you are working with, especially when they are helping put coin in your pocket. Now he just had to figure out how to get a good one over on that tin can with a sword. “Ha”, he smiled, as the seed of a plan began to grow. “That might be a good one, and the girls can help, even if they don’t know it.”

  2. #22
    Community Member Fricko's Avatar
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    Default Origins...

    =

    Waldhorn, Ashja, Curissa de Noisette, Koryx T'hal, a few other regulars, and one recent arrival sat in the Wayward Lobster tavern, breaking their fast at the long table in the northeast corner. True to his word, the tavern keepers and vendors had lowered their prices, once Harbormaster Zin has spread the news of their recent services to the community. His meal of poached sunfish, pea soup, and hearth warmed milk had come at a less fearsome charge, while the price of his small room had been lowered noticeably as well. The conversation had actually begun with a group of harbor guards, dock workers, and displaced farmers who were now finished and gone from the other end of the table. Their "where did you come from, before you came here..." tales had been enough to start the ever curious and unabashedly forthright Curissa eying each of her companions speculatively.

    The young Paladin shifted uneasily as her eyes considered, then passed over secretive Ashja, bostrious Koryx, and the quiet stranger who smelled of crushed plants and wet wolf lingering over his cornmeal porridge, coming to rest at last on Waldhorn with unspoken decision.

    "Where are you from, Waldhorn? What were you, before you became a Holy Soldier?"

    "Originally? I'm from a fork in the road called Lessyk, just north of the Harrowcrown Forest in Thrane." He wondered how much to tell of the rest of his history.

    "Before, I was just a boy in service to traveling missionaries," he smiled and waved his hand dismissively. "I pulled a two wheeled cart with camp gear on the road or trail, and helped with mundane tasks like gathering firewood, setting up camp, preparing meals, assisting where needed. It was my family's tradition to serve the friars, our family heritage."

    ************

    Waldhorn was born to a family with a history of providing retainers and servants to the Church of the Silver Flame, to its' Temples, Schools, and Missionary Expeditions. They were the cooks, maids, groundskeepers, coachmen, gardeners, and such in settled areas. They worked as expeditionarys, helping to spread the word about The Flame, via the missionary friars, to less civilized regions where The Church did not yet exist. His extended family served among the multitude of packers, camp tenders, personal servants, guards, hunters, fishermen, sailors, scouts, and navigators. The oldest children received appointments or positions in more civilized areas, with the best of choices going to the first born. As the youngest child, Waldhorn had trained as a packer and general camp tender in service to the missionaries. It was the least profitable, least desirable, and most uncomfortable of positions, but the one holding the most opportunity and promise for escaping the boundaries of class and heritage.

    His father made sure he understood that the small amount of coin received in payment for his labor was the lesser portion of his earnings. The most important return was in the opportunities to learn from the many knowledgeable and experienced members of an expeditionary mission. His schooling was not structured, or formalized, but was up to him to acquire by watching, listening, and questioning those kindly souls who would grant him time and answers. His father explained that if an interest was shown in the skills held by another, and that other was approached with humility and appreciation, the skills he desired to learn might well be shared. The expeditionary missions were considered dangerous, but the opportunities for learning and advancement were worth the risk to those in the family who might wish to rise above their station of birth.

    Waldhorns' duties ranged from pulling a wheeled cart of supplies over the rough trails, to gathering firewood, assisting the camp cooks, and even standing night watch when extra eyes were deemed a boon to the safety of the sleeping friars. Naturally, he greatly admired the shining wonder of the Paladins who sometimes joined a mission company, when the friars ventured into dangerous areas. The young teen watched the Knights every action, and especially when they practiced with weapons against one another. For weapons, Waldhorn only had a long skinning knife, and a self-made longbow used in hunting wild game for the feeding of the company, but nothing as powerful as the long swords and war bows that glowed with mystical properties in the hands of those Holy Warriors of The Flame. It was his dream to one day rise to join such elite company, although he knew it unlikely for one of his low born station to do so without assistance.

    ************

    "I admired the Paladins assigned to us from time to time, and when the opportunity was presented, I took it." Waldhorn struggled uneasily with that twist to truth, as it went against his Lawful nature.

    He had not taken an opportunity offered, he had stolen it from the bodies of the dead, in a thoughtless, panic stricken struggle to simply survive an unimaginable horror and betrayal of trust. Strapping on the armor and picking up the weapons of a poisoned Knight was basic commonsense under battlefield circumstances. He was still in shock over the fact that Dol Arrah seemed to be blessing him with the powers of the Paladin as if it were intended. The young man tried to live up to the Blessing, even as he sought out the origins of the betrayal.

  3. #23
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default The Lost Seekers, Venn's Trail

    Ashja rose at dawn the next morning and went down to the common room to break her fast. There, she found Waldhorn sitting in the same chair, at the same table, that the group had occupied the previous evening. Considering the job they had to complete this day, she truly hoped he hadn't been sitting there all night. She sat across from him and ordered cornmeal porridge and a pot of tea from the serving girl.

    "Good morning, Waldhorn," Ashja greeted the big man. "I hope you slept well."

    Waldhorn raised his head and gazed at her for a moment, complex emotion dancing in his eyes. "Well, enough, lady."

    Ashja chuckled. She was certainly no lady. That title was reserved for Curissa, or should she say The Lady Curissa. She thought Curissa a bit full of herself and wondered what her story was. She acted as if everyone should treat her like royalty. Well, maybe sewer runs are just what Her Highness needs to bring her down to earth with the rest of us "mere commoners." The thought made Ashja smile.

    A turn later, the rest of the group had joined them and they were discussing the next phase of their investigation -- to find Venn. Half a turn after that, they were on their way back into the Waterworks sewer.

    **********
    As expected, the rescue party had to fight their way back to the entrance they had discovered the day before. Surprisingly, the kobolds had not stepped up their security. Kobolds were pretty stupid, Ashja guessed.

    The group slowly made their way down into the drainage tunnels. They checked behind every door, and in every nook and cranny they could find looking for the lost guard. Ashja was surprised to find as many powerful kobolds as they did that day. She was even more surprised to find a few hobgoblins -- and an ogre, of all things. The worst was when the slime dropped on them from the ceilings. If she was lucky, the slime wouldn't eat through the leather of her armor before she had a chance to clean it.

    Roland led the way with his big double-headed axe. His armor clinked and clanked, drawing the attention of every kobold guard in the area until finally Ashja got frustrated and yelled at him to stay back until she could at least scout ahead and let him know what he would be running into. The healer was using his spells as judiciously as possible, but Roland really needed to slow down, or there wouldn't be any healing later. She understood his need to find his friend, but if he wasn't careful, they would all die.

    Ashja managed to slow him down, but just barely enough. She could feel him crowding behind her, barely at the distance she had requested. She could clearly hear his armor and the mutters under his breath. While her command of the dwarven language was sketchy at best, she could tell that he was swearing and having trouble staying as far back as she had asked.

    They found prison cells and released several prisoners, escorting them safely back to the entrance. One of the guards that Master Henrick had provided took the rescued prisoners back to the caravan and the party again descended into the dungeon to find Sigurd, the missing guard.

    They explored every inch of the dungeon before they found a chamber that could have belonged to leader of this kobold band. When Ashja found the room, she heard the high-pitched yip of the kobolds. She also heard the deeper sound of a much larger creature. Her nose told her it was a hobgoblin. They seemed to be negotiating about something.

    She would never know the outcome, because at that moment, Roland rushed into the room, the other two guards hot on his heels. Ashja drew her bow and fired at the kobolds throwing magic at Roland and the others. She shot at the kobold clerics that were healing their comrades.

    In the end, they found Sigurd's cold, dead body in one of the cells. Roland carried the corpse out, eyes streaming tears. The rest of the party made sure no stray kobolds or hobgoblins ambushed them.

    Back at the caravan, Master Henrick had fed and healed the rescued prisoners and offered places in his caravan to any a who were willing or able, using whatever skill they could contribute. A bare handful took him up on his offer, the rest too traumatized or injured to be much help.

    **********
    The boy was dead when they found him. The other prisoners told them that they had heard his last scream days before. They found a message scrawled in blood beneath the body -- Shan-To-Kor.
    Last edited by Aeryyn; 04-27-2014 at 08:09 AM. Reason: Minor spelling and other changes.

  4. #24
    2015 DDO Players Council Hazelnut's Avatar
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    Default Origins...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fricko View Post
    ...
    He had not taken an opportunity offered, he had stolen it from the bodies of the dead, in a thoughtless, panic stricken struggle to simply survive an unimaginable horror and betrayal of trust. Strapping on the armor and picking up the weapons of a poisoned Knight was basic commonsense under battlefield circumstances. He was still in shock over the fact that Dol Arrah seemed to be blessing him with the powers of the Paladin as if it were intended. The young man tried to live up to the Blessing, even as he sought out the origins of the betrayal.
    "And they have now sent you here to Stormreach to 'spread the good word'", asked Curissa, "how very exiting for you."

    "More or less", replied Lurch and tried again to change the subject, "and what brought the Lady de Noisette to Stormreach"?

    "Dumb luck, a storm, a dragon, and an airship but mostly dumb luck.", Curissa grinned and began her story, " I was supposed to be on my way to Pylas Maradal for a visit with my cousin as part of a year long sight-seeing trip before heading to University to study business and sorcery..."

    ******

    Aleas looked up from the pages of the book she was casually flipping through on Curissa's bed, "what good is a book without any pictures?"

    "Honestly Aleas, you are old enough to read. You know what books are for. Please stop pestering me so I can make sure everything is packed for my trip," replied Curissa as she tried to squees another pair of boots into her travel trunk. "Why don't you go pester Fenella for a while?"

    "Fenella's no fun since the Undying Court declared her 'favored'. She's worse than the Clerics with her preachy speeches now."

    Curissa opened her mouth to protest but decided her little sister was right, their other sister was far to preachy since becoming a favored soul of the Undying Court.

    Aleas pulled an old stick out of a vase that sat at the foot of Curissa's bed, "Aren't you going to take this? You really should, you know."

    "I don't think I will need Uncle Cinead's little toy wand."

    "You never know, and besides you aren't very good with fire magic. With this you don't have to be. And he might not like it if you show up and don't have it with you, and ....", Aleas wasn't going to stop talking until Curissa took the wand her uncle had made for her six years ago. So, she plucked the wand from Aleas' hand and stuffed it into a boot that had finally found a spot in her travel trunk.

    As Aleas was looking around the room to see what else she could coax her older sister into packing, the maid walked in and announced dinner was ready.

    Early the next morning, far too early if you asked Curissa, and certainly far to early for Aleas who had chosen to sleep-in instead of seeing her sister off, Curissa was up and in a carriage listening to her father lecture her on the importance of trusting the staff to do their jobs properly.

    "Sweetheart, you understand that when you re-pack your bags after your maid has gone to the trouble of packing them for you, you invalidate all her hard work. When you take charge at the manufactory, you can't be running around the workshops re-doing everyone's jobs."

    Still to sleepy to roll her eye, Curissa simply mumbled, "yes father", for the umpteenth time as the carriage pulled up to the first class passengers' entrance of the airship tower. Stepping out of the carriage the noise of people finding their way and servants organizing luggage woke Curissa up almost as much as the brisk clear air of the early morning.

    Muirenn, Curissa's mother, stepped out of the carriage in her morning seeing-family-off dress. Honestly, thought Curissa, who has a seeing-people-off outfit. Let alone one specific for family or for the morning, or (even worse) both!

    Muirenn looked at her eldest daughter, "Be safe, and listen to your uncle, and don't electrocute your cousin. Be nice to the other passenger and mind the staff. But don't let them take advantage either."

    "I love you too, mom", Curissa said as she hugged her mother. Her father hugging both of them together before the moment ended. Curissa entered the airship tower with her maid and two porters carrying all her luggage up to the waiting airship.

    ******

    "Two days out of Shae Thoridor, a storm blew up and we were forced to stay below decks. I heard we were sent way off course trying to stay out of the worst of it. Just about everyone was sick. It must have gone on for a week or more. I still don't know if it was the storm or that awful dragon that sent the ship down but I woke up in the sea and again on that miserable beach on Korthos island and you know the rest", Curissa finished her story and looked around the table hoping someone else would tell their tale.
    Last edited by Hazelnut; 05-01-2014 at 07:01 PM.
    Zyinniah Hazelnut and Curissa Hazelnut on most servers.

  5. #25
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default The Seal of Shan-To-Kor: Part 1

    Over the next few days, the team investigated the clue left behind by young Venn. Their discreet inquiries led them to Wayfinder Dael in Jester's Haunt, just off the Marketplace. They moved to the Rusty Nail Inn to be close to the steam tunnels. Word of their deeds had spread to the Marketplace and the proprietor of the Rusty Nail had extended the same lowered room and board rates as had Mistress D'agon at the Wayward Lobster.

    Ashja had listened to Walhorn's story. She couldn't help but feel there was more to it than the simple tale he told about becoming a Paladin. She had seen the disquiet in his eyes. He used a long bow with more than a little skill, for pity's sake, and she suspected that he must have been associated with the Silver Flame at some point in his young life. How else would a Paladin come to own such a weapon? Steal it? She strongly doubted the upright and stalwart Paladin was capable of stealing.

    And now that she understood Curissa a little more, Ashja could see that the elf had little experience in the world. Curissa had come from privilege and plenty. She had a limited understanding of the dangers that existed in the real world. Like the time in the Waterworks when the silly elf ran up to a squad of kobolds guarding the entrance to the tunnels. She had darn near died before the group could dispatch all of the guards. They were lucky the battle hadn't attracted the squad a few dozen yards further into the tunnels.

    Koryx was still a bit of an enigma. At first she thought he reminded Ashja of Roland, but the more she got the know the dwarf, the less she thought so. And now that she thought about it, they only looked somewhat alike. Koryx was little like Roland -- apart from being a dwarf, that is. Now Waldhorn, he was more like Roland in personality and mannerisms.

    She didn't know about the enigmatic druid. He had gone into the Cerulean Hills one night, and the group hadn't seen him since.

    **********
    A few days after the recovery mission, Master Henrick had one of his personal guards teach Ashja to ride the horses the caravan used for patrols. When she was proficient, he sent her with the outriders. Her tracking skills were a bonus to the caravan master, as were her trapping skills. She kept her lockpicks safely tucked in the bottom of her backpack, wrapped in a square of oil cloth she had found in her travels. Ashja hadn't mentioned her lockpicking skills to the caravan master. She had, however, told him that she could disarm traps, and some trap mechanisms were similar to locks, so she let him draw his own conclusions.

    After the caravan lost Sigurd, Ashja had moved up in the ranks. If for no other reason than she was no longer the newest member of the caravan guard after the former prisoners had joined. Master Henrick had assigned her as a squad leader by the time the caravan reached Starilaskur. She was to ride the outer perimeter, watching for traps and ambushes. Her squad was responsible for the caravan's southern flank, while Roland's squad was responsible for the northern flank.

    About a week before the caravan reached Starilaskur, one of the newest members of the guard set up his bedroll a little away from the rest of the camp. The next morning he was gone. Ashja searched the area, and could find only his tracks leading away from the caravan. She found no other tracks that might indicate he had been taken, nor could she find any evidence of a struggle. After half day of searching, Master Henrick called off the search and the caravan again lumbered toward Starilaskur.

    **********
    A week after the group moved to the Rusty Nail, they had explored the steam tunnels and found the Helm of Shaagh and the kobold's blockade. All the clues they had found about Shan-To-Kor and its seal led to the kobolds' blockade and the Cloven-Jaw tribe of hobgoblins.

  6. #26
    Community Member DrowsworD's Avatar
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    Default Friday = Storm

    There is a storm moving in at the moment so I am not certain if I will be able to get online tonight. It depends on how fast it moves. I am one that doesn't like using computers during storms....

    I will be on if possible, maybe a bit late if he storm moves slow or long lasting.

    Koryx

  7. #27
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default Origins . . .

    Ashja had listened as Waldhorn and Curissa told their stories. She would be interested to hear how Koryx arrived in Stormreach, but he was slow to tell his story. She didn't want to share the entire truth with the group, even though she was beginning to trust them.

    She had suspected that Curissa came from a wealthy household, and the story the elf had shared the other evening had confirmed that to her. Ashja wasn't surprised that Waldhorn had come from much a more humble place in the world. The young-old man seemed to be trying to atone for something. (Well, we all get here from somewhere.)

    Koryx turned to Ashja. "And what about you, lass? What brought you to Stormreach?" he asked.

    Ashja looked at the tankard of hard cider she held between her hands.

    "I was looking for a new start. I, er ... left ... a, uh, bad situation to try to make a better life for myself. I worked as a caravan guard as I made my way to Sharn."

    **********
    Ashja and Roland had had a friendly competition going between them. The caravan ate a lot of rabbit and other game, and Master Henrick grumbled good-naturedly about the expense of the arrows used to catch that game. Roland refused to compete with Ashja when it came to snaring game, though. She was the hands-down winner of that competition. They had to suspend the competition on more than one occasion because the cooks complained of having too much meat to store.

    Ashja tried to make a competition of collecting root vegetables and other edibles from the surrounding areas, but there were very few in the caravan who knew what to look for. Ashja and the herbalist tried to teach the guards, but after young Relf came away with gut cramps from poison berries, Master Henrick decided that only experts should look for plant edibles.

    The caravan made up the days spent searching for the lost guards. In fact, they made up so much time that the caravan arrived in Starilaskur two days ahead of schedule. The bonus was smaller than desired, but more than it could have been. Ashja had not quite parted company with Master Henrick. She told him that she wanted time to think about his offer to continue to Sharn and spent a couple days at an inn as far away from the caravan as she could. She was tired of interacting with the same people all the time.

    But about the hundredth time she turned to make a comment to one of her dwarven companions, only to realize they were on the other side of the city, she decided to continue to Sharn with the caravan.

    **********
    "I booked passage to Xen'drik not long after we arrived in the Sharn. I, too, woke on a beach on Korthos Island. After another group of adventurers managed to free the dragon, I booked passage to Stormreach. And the rest you know, as the Lady Curissa has already stated," Ashja said with a slight nod to Curissa.

  8. #28
    Community Member DrowsworD's Avatar
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    Default Koryx - The T'hal Merchant family

    “Not a bad place, thought Koryx, as he looked around the Rusty Nail and tried not to think of the last ‘meal’ he had at the Dingy before moving his knapsack to this inn. “Good enough for my purse, I say”, as Koryx thought of the dwindling funds and his current needs which required him to be always on the lookout for work. Tonight though, everyone was drinking and talking – getting to know more about each other. We had fought hard and laughed a bit with each other, but we still knew little of how each come to this.

    “I know well the tale you tell”, Koryx started as the Curissa and Ashja finished their stories. “I was on something like those airships, a gnomish contraption from my homeland. As far as I know I am the only one to have survived the trip, although there were strange magics involved in the air and water around Korthos that day.”

    “Somewhere east or south of here lies another land I know as home. We were an exploratory force, small but well provisioned, composed of ocean vessels and a new-fangled gnomish flying ship similar to the airships used here. Either the gnomes made a mess of the aether in the area, their magics went awry – as gnome-magic is apt to do at times – or that egg-eating dragon attacked us.

    Either way, there were large explosions in the air around us, the sea went swirling and flying into the air and sucked down into the ocean and our ships and people were swept away. I don’t know how long I lay on the beach until that Halfling found me, but it is a good thing he did.

    My family is the T’hal merchant family, largest of the merchant groups, composed of elves, dwarves and humans, all working together for exploration and profit. My clan, and distant relative/adversary to the Kundarak dwarves here, worked for generations with the T’hal, fighting pirates and kobolds, exploring Q’barra, the ancient caverns of Mror and providing support for the T’hal merchants all across Khorvaire and other lands.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “But, it was an accident!” Koryx explained again to his father. “How I was I to know Gordim would break his arm trying to get his stuff out of a tree, especially naked.” At the time Koryx thought it would be a real hoot for the senior acolyte to find his fully packed bag in the tallest snaketree in the garden. And how was he to know Gordim was allergic to snaketree sap. Not only did the Senior break his arm, he swelled up like a blastfish and turned a nearly plum shade of purple.

    “You will not be allowed to go on the Airboat”, Koryx father said again. “Gordim will not be able to travel and so you will not be rewarded by taking his place. It was thought that you should stay and tend to Gordim until his color and ‘size’ returns to normal, but Sister Agatorix says no. You are to leave in the morning to Xorica, where the priests and soldiers will keep you busy with work and studies until you learn that tricks and jokes have consequences.”

    Koryx had turned red, then pale, at the mention of staying - and then going to Xorica was worse. A mining and smithing village, so far on the other side of nowhere that he may as well have jumped out of the Airship the first time he was in one.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Like most of you, I peddled my skills around Korthos until the dragon was released and it was safe to travel once again. Luckily, I did acquire some gear there. And even luckier, I was approached by a half-elf maid wanting to know if I was interested in earning some coin,” Koryx nodded to Ashja and drank down his ale.

  9. #29
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default Secrets

    Ashja listened as Koryx told his tale of how he came to Stormreach. Her ears burned a bit when he reached the end of his tale, but she lifted her mug to him with a smile.

    Ashja could sympathize with him. She had also lost her family, too, only at a much younger age. She barely remembered her brother and father, and could see only her mother's eyes in her mind. And she hadn't seen her cousin Mahmoud since shortly after they had been bought and freed by the Brotherhood. Evyn and Roland had been like brothers to her, even though they were different races, but they were gone now. She could honestly say that this mismatched group of fortune-seekers felt much more like family than the one she had been born into.

    **********
    Starilaskur was the biggest town Ashja had ever see in her young life. Growing at the intersection of several House Orien trade routes, the town sprawled across the countryside. Townspeople, tradesmen, and travelers clogged the cobbled streets. The caravan rumbled around the outskirts of the town until they came to a large field near the gate leading into the Trademeet district. One other caravan had arrived ahead of them and had set up their booths and sleeping tents.

    Master Henrick pulled the caravan into an area that had ample shade, water, and grass for the livestock. In less than half a day, the caravan looked as if it had been there for weeks. The first full day the caravan was in Starilaskur, it rained. Ashja had been worried about her friends in the caravan, but she was snug and dry at the Inn of the Gilded Phoenix, so she let it go. That night she realized how much she missed the company of the caravan. She spent the next day getting her armor and weapons repaired, and selling the items she no longer needed or wanted. It was good to have extra coin in her purse.

    After Ashja returned to the caravan, Master Henrick told her he was glad to have her back, as were other members of the caravan. When she had settled into her quarters, she and Roland set up a watch rotation that equally divided the day and night watches among all of the guards. When she reported to Master Henrick before her watch duty, he told her that he had had a visitor the previous day. Ashja sat next to him and looked at him blankly.

    "A man with the symbol of the Silver Flame around his neck came asking if we had seen a young half-elven girl in our travels."

    Ashja was dumbfounded. Brother Varn! Here?

    "I told him no, even after he described you. Have you anything to tell me?"

    She stared at the caravan master, her jaw slowly dropping.

    "Girl, ye've been nothing but helpful and useful on this journey. Ye've given me no reason not to trust ye. Ye haven't used those fancy picks of yours on any of me wagons. In fact, ye've done everything ye can to protect me and mine. I trust ye, I did not trust that Flame-ite." He looked at her and gently said, "Ye don't have to tell me, but I could help ye more if I knew."

    Ashja closed her eyes, trying to hold in the tears. Once she began to speak, she could not stop. She told the caravan master everything, from the attack on her family until the caravan master took her in. She held nothing back.

    **********
    Past experience had taught that despite her best intentions to keep her past to herself, she would eventually say something and her friends would have to decide for themselves whether they wanted to remain her friends. She only hoped that word of her escape had not reached the Silver Flame here in Stormreach.

  10. #30
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default Scourge

    The next day, the party once again descended into the steam tunnels. As usual, Curissa complained about the smell and the damage to her robes. Ashja wished the elf would wear an old robe when they went down into the tunnels under Stormreach. Oh no. You have to wear the newest robe you own every flaming time we go down in a bloody tunnel. Oh well, she was learning to tune Curissa out when she started complaining like that.

    Descending into the steam tunnels, the group readied themselves and crept toward the Caverns of Shaagh, the underground city of the hobgoblins.

    **********
    Ashja worked with Roland and Master Henrick to arrange the watch schedule so that she would be less than likely to encounter Brother Varn or any of his acolytes. She wondered who he had brought with him. Probably that ogre Petrik. That boy is cruel just because he likes it, and he always was Brother Varn's pet acolyte.

    Master Henrick's wife, Helga, helped Ashja affect somewhat of a "disguise". Mistress Helga cut and washed Ashja's hair with henna. She then showed the young half-elf certain mannerisms that could identify her to Brother Varn. Then the older dwarf showed her how to change them. She especially coached Ashja about how to change her walk -- ever so slightly so as not to look like the same half-elf. Master Henrick's swordmaster taught Ashja a different two-weapon fighting style as hers was so distinctive.

    The last thing the caravan master wanted was to have the Silver Flame dogging his heels and persecuting him. He saw what those bloody Flame-ites did to those merchants with whom they disagreed. The thought made him shudder.

    Ashja was very surprised that Brother Varn was still pursuing her after all these weeks. She thought she had given him the slip after she left Vathirond. Apparently the trail she left leading into the Mournlands had not been convincing enough. Somehow he had managed to follow her all the way to Starilaskur.

    When she arrived in Starilaskur, she had picked up a weeks-old copy of the Sharn Inquisitive, the Brelish tabloid. She read some disturbing stories. The locals were still discussing the attacks on a village near Vathirond by monsters from the Mournlands. A chill ran up Ashja's spine as she read the story. She remembered the eerie sounds coming from beyond the Dead-Grey Mist -- the land that used to be her home. The thing that had shot out from the mists to grab at her was neither alive nor dead. Her quick reflexes had kept her from being yanked off her feet. She had drawn her weapons and managed to kill the thing before it killed her -- barely.

    She practiced her new walk and fighting style until she no longer had to think about it and Mistress Helga was satisfied. The older dwarf had seen enough mercenaries and hired fighters in her day that she had the swagger and confidence memorized. She simply taught Ashja how to walk and talk with the confidence of years of experience that she did not have. Her position within the caravan guard helped with the deception.

    A week after the caravan had arrived in Starilaskur, Master Henrick prepared to leave the city and head west to Hatheril and on to Wroat. Trading had been lighter than hoped because of the seasonal rains, but it could have been much worse.

    **********
    The party exited the steam tunnels laughing and joking about the only room with in which they had found treasure. Everyone, stripped down to their small clothes, had managed to jump across the span to the platform -- except Ashja. She came up short again and again and again, landing in the fetid water below. Koryx even cast bull's strength on her and she still could not jump the span. Curissa was embarrassed that she had not thought to have a featherfall spell ready to cast.

    "So if we learned nothing else from this adventure," laughed Ashja, "we learned that this half-elf can't jump."

    "Aye!" roared Koryx, slapping Ashja on the shoulder. "But at least we walked out with the seal."

    "That we did, my friend, that we did." Even though Ashja had not collected a reward from the quest, she was still happy to be in the company of such good comrades in arms.

  11. #31
    2015 DDO Players Council Hazelnut's Avatar
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    Default Scourge

    Curissa slowly opened her almond shaped eyes, revealing deep amethyst coloured irises and stared up at a ceiling of clean smooth hardwood strips. For a moment she wondered why she wasn't looking at the snow white canopy of her own bed. Then memories of recent events flooded back and recent emotions showed on the smooth pale skin of her perfectly formed face.

    Curissa remembered the excitement of leaving her home in Shae Thoridor for the first time in her life; the worry as the airship was rocked and thrown around by the storm. The utter fear as the airship crashed into the sea near Korthos Island; Hopelessness while stuck on Korthos freezing to death; then hope as she devised a plan to leave that frozen waste; and pride when she convinced the captain of the ship to risk a run at the Sahaugin blockade while Curissa attempted more sorcery than she had ever tried in her entire life. The emotions ended with a strange new confidence as Curissa finally realized how much those events made her more independent and confident in her own abilities that she would have ever know if she had stayed on the path her family had planned for her.

    She slipped out of the clean linen sheets on the simple well made bed and stepped across the carpet to the window that overlooked the Jesters' Haunt square in Stormreach. She ran a had slowly up the smooth silk of her new nightgown feeling first the gentle curve of her hips, across her smooth flat stomach ending in the firm round breasts. The room might not be as elegant as the one her parents gave her, but the nightgown was as smooth and beautiful as any she had before and she earned this one herself.

    Curissa had asked her new friend, Ashja, to go shopping but, as always, the enigmatic half-elf refused the offer. It was a shame, really. Ashja was half elf, and her elven heritage gave her a beauty no human could match but she insisted on denying that beauty and hiding it in a tomboy appearance. Ashja still had hope, and Curissa would try to teach her every chance she got.

    The thought of Ashja reminded Curissa that they had a "mission" today. And a mission meant payment. Payment meant better cloths and the chance to move into the social circles in Stormreach that she would have been a part of in Shae Thoridor; that she should be a part of in Stormreach.

    This mission was to visit the underground city of Shaag. There they would retrieve some relic of the old giant empire. This sounded like the sort of mission Curissa could handle. Go to another city, bargain for what you need, and bring it back. Curissa had gone with her father on many trips to bargain with suppliers, and this should be no different. With that in mind, Curissa chose the beautiful new dress she had purchased the day before and selected makeup that would give her a profession, but breathtakingly distracting, look.

    She walked down the steps to the common room of the Rusty Nail. She opened the door stepped in, struck a pose of quiet confidence that showed the curves of her body to the few people in the that early in the morning, and waited to be sure she got the appropriate looks from the room.

    When she was sure that she had everyones attention, she walked up to the table where Ashja sat with the paladin, Lurch. Curissa was a disappointed that Ashja wore the same stained leather armor she had used for all the crawling through sewers they had to endure on their jobs for Harbormaster Zin. Didn't Ashja understand how to dress for a negotiation?

    Lurch was in his usual platemail armor. He had thoroughly cleaned and repaired it since their last mission. It showed signs of use, but that could be forgiven. The scars on Lurch's face would convince everyone who saw him that he was a true hardened warrior, the worn armour only help with that impression.

    Curissa wondered what the rest of Lurch's body looked like. Was it as scared as his face, or was the skin still smooth and perfect over what must have been rock-hard rippling muscles that supported that heavy plate armour and swung that huge heavy great sword.
    Zyinniah Hazelnut and Curissa Hazelnut on most servers.

  12. #32
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    Default Koryx – Secret Mission

    “So you are Karaxen’s grandson,” the elder Brother asked as Koryx stood in the office. Having just arrived, and with no time to get a drink, a bite to eat or clean up, he was ushered directly to the Elder’s cabin. “I have heard of your exploits, and will not tolerate foolishness, childish pranks or ‘accidents’”. “Or anything fun”, Koryx thought as he heard fewer and fewer of the Elder’s proclamations and rules.

    “I knew your grandfather and your mother”, the Elder was saying. That brought Koryx’ attention back to the office. Few mentioned his mother, at least in casual conversation. Her betrayal and murder were stories told in the dark, with names and places changed to protect those still in power. “I have no qualms about punishing poor behavior, regardless of who you may be related to. I also hold no opinions on your grandfather’s actions or your mother’s fate. What they or others did is of no concern of mine, or yours, as long as you are in my service.” The man rambled on but Koryx' only thoughts were why he specifically brought up his grandfather and mother.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Rusty Nail was much better than the Dingy, but Koryx wondered why he was dreaming of Xorica and Elder Morrak. The Nail wasn’t much like the rustic barracks he stayed in while there, and the food was much better. Thinking of food, he realized he could smell the bacon and coffee, and knew there was a big pot of grits on the stove and maybe some fresh biscuits out of the oven soon.

    His mouth watering and stomach growling, Koryx made himself ‘presentable’. Curissa always frowned at him and Ashja when they showed up at table with pillow hair and clothes that had been worn for two or three days. She was always so proper, nearly elitist, in some of her ways. He suspected she was living much below her station, and she did little to persuade the idea. If she was hiding from someone, she wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

    “I have some news,” Koryx told the table of friends as he pushed away a plate with the remains of breakfast. “As you know, my liege-family, the T’hal’s, are not known in this land. I heard a rumor that the name was overheard in the Inspired Quarter."

    "I am going there today and will not return for several days, a week at most. I must be careful though, for this may be nothing but a rumor. A group such as us, asking around may scare off whoever it is. One person asking about lost family will not raise much suspicion. I will not approach the person if I find anything, unless of course it is one of my clan. Once I discover the source of the rumor, I will return. In my absence, please be careful on any jobs you take.”

    With that Koryx went back to his rooms and changed. He put on the rusty armor and old clothes he had when he arrived from Korthos. Dressed as many of the refugees from the dragon siege, he hoped to reduce suspicion and not be recognized as one of the adventurers making a name in Stormreach.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Your duties are simple enough,” the sergeant said in an almost calm, conspiratorial voice. “You two take these implements of mass removal and go about 300 paces west of the last barracks. Don’t tell anyone where you are going, don’t talk to anyone before you leave and if you meet anyone on the way, don’t talk to them, either.”

    Koryx and Jorab looked at each other and at the Sargent. Koryx knew this was another mundane task disguised as a ‘mission’. The sergeant liked to make a production of everything, even the most menial of chores was a grand endeavor.

    So Jorab and Koryx picked up their implements, also known as shovels, and went off into the forest to dig yet another latrine.

  13. #33
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    Default Depths

    "Look, Curissa, I told you before, I'm not shopping for dresses with you," Ashja, more comfortable wearing leather breeches and a soft tunic, told the elf -- again -- as they left the Rusty Nail.

    "Oh, but you'd look so cute in..." Curissa started, following the half-elf through the door.

    "No," Ashja cut her off. She turned and climbed the stairs out of the alley. "I'm looking for a weaponsmith and an armorer, you are welcome to join me. But I'm not going dress shopping with you."

    Curissa sighed and followed the half-elf through the Marketplace toward the House Deneith enclave.

    Ashja topped the stairs and turned right, avoiding the vendors in the lower market square. Curissa gave her a sour look, but continued following her to the House Deneith enclave.

    As they passed through the gates, they asked directions to the nearest tavern. As the pair walked to Hammersmith's Inn, they marveled at the military precision with which the compound operated. The courtyard buzzed with activity. Sergeants yelled at recruits that they needed to get packed and moving, they were leaving Stormreach in a bare three hours. Entering the inn, the pair heard guards complain that between Stormcleave and the Blood Tide, House Deneith was pushing its resources to the limit.

    Ashja and Curissa entered the common room and found a table near a group of adventurers as eclectic as their own. It came as no surprise to Ashja that the dwarf was very, very drunk. The halfling, ("Scholes of Vedykar, at your service") told the pair that if Ashja and Curissa were willing, he would turn their contracts over to the elves ("Just a small job, clear the troglodyte infestation from beneath the compound"). Curissa wrinkled her nose in distaste. Ashja pretended not to notice and accepted the offered contracts.

    "Another sewer crawl?" screeched Curissa, as they left the inn. "What is it with you and sewers?"

    "It pays well," replied Ashja. "Tell you what, you find the next contract. That way, you can't complain about the conditions."

    "Fine," pouted the elf.

    Curissa was mumbling to herself in Elvish as they arrived at the Dragon Tooth Arms. Ashja took her armor to the Lion's Head Armory while her weapons were being serviced. She paid for the repairs and told the armorsmith that she would pick them up on the morrow, just before they entered the sewers in search of troglodytes. Her weapons and armor might as well be in good repair if they were starting a new investigation.

    When the elves returned to the Rusty Nail, Ashja showed the contract to Waldhorn and Koryx. Both the human and the dwarf tried to suppress their grins as Curissa pushed past the group and stomped up the stairs to her room.

    "Not happy about it, is she?" asked Koryx.

    "Not in the least," responded Ashja dryly. "I told her she gets to find the next contract."

    "Can't wait to see what she comes up with," Waldhorn chuckled.

    "In the meantime, let me buy you a drink, my friend," bellowed Koryx as he motioned to the serving girl. "Here's to our next adventure, may it pay more than the last" he toasted when the tankards arrived. "Now, let me tell you what I found out about my family..."

    **********
    Ashja woke the next morning with a splitting headache. The noise outside her tent was a cacophony of voices and grunts, in a myriad of languages. She heard a little Dwarvish, a little Elvish, and a lot of Common. It made her head hurt. Her eyes squinted open and she saw Roland sitting cross-legged on the other side of the tent, sharpening his war axe. The sound reverberated inside her noise-sensitive head. She flinched as her hands moved to cover her ears.

    "Good ta see yer awake. 'Ow's yer 'ead?" he asked, a little too innocently.

    "What time is it?" asked Ashja, wincing at the bright sunlight that streamed through the tent opening. "Do you mind turning the lights down a little before I lose my stomach?"

    Roland got up and pulled the tent flaps down. It helped -- a little. The noise coming from outside her tent didn't lessen, but it seemed quieter. Ashja closed her eyes in a vain attempt to get the tent to stop spinning.

    When she woke again several hours later, the tent still spun. Bile coated the inside of her mouth, and she groped for the water skin she kept on the crate next to her cot. Ashja pulled the stopper and squeezed water into her mouth and over her face. She rinsed the taste from the inside of her mouth and between her teeth, and spat the rancid liquid into the chamber pot.

    "Next time, ya might want ta think twice before ye try ta drink a dwarf under the table, lass," boomed a voice from inside the tent, "ye'll lose every time."

    "I know that, now," croaked Ashja, her throat raw and sore from vomiting.

    "I had Roland keep an eye on ye," the caravan master stated. "After all, he's the nimwit who so unfairly challenged ye. I told him if anything happened to ye, he was responsible. I also made him clean yer tent after the ale he kept feedin' ye came back up. Good thing he was here, too. He rolled ye over just in time ta keep ye from drowning."

    Ashja watched as Master Henrick opened the tent flap and Roland entered with a tray of steaming food. Her stomach rebelled at the sight, but the caravan master made sure she ate every bite. She had to admit that she felt better afterward.

    "My cook knows several hangover cures, he prepared the most palatable fer you," he told her. "Get some sleep, ye'll feel better on the morrow." With that, the caravan master gathered the dirty dishes and carried the tray back to the cook wagon.

    "I'm sorry," whispered Roland. "I didn't realize ye were so drunk. I almost killed ye. I'd never forgive myself if that happened."

    "S'ok, b-be f-f-fine t'morr," she slurred before drifting into sleep.

    **********
    Ashja declined the third, fourth, and fifth tankards that Koryx kept trying to buy for her. She sipped at her goblet of water as Curissa complained again about the contract they would undertake on the morrow.

  14. #34
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default Suspicions

    Ashja heard mild Elven curses as they descended into the sewer to the north of Hammersmith's Inn. She had tried to talk the elf into wearing one of the dresses that had already been through a sewer, but Curissa insisted on wearing a dress she had recently purchased. She seemed to have it in her head that she could negotiate with the monsters.

    Ashja remembered the first time Curissa rushed forward to "negotiate" with the bugbear guards when they searched for the Seal of Shan-To-Kor. Waldhorn had barely stabilized the elf's wounds and got her out of the steam tunnels before she bled to death after the hobgoblin guards attacked without warning. It took a while for Curissa to recover after that fiasco.

    Ashja shook her head and sighed as the party methodically worked its way through the sewer killing troglodytes, minotaurs, spiders, elemental and undead creatures, and slimy masses of ick. All to the dulcet tones of Elven cursing and Dwarven war-chanting.

    **********
    Master Henrick was livid at the treatment he was receiving. It wasn't bad enough that the rains had started as soon as they arrived, turning the caravan yard into a muddy mess, but now they were being harassed by the city guard. The caravan master had tried to schedule a meeting with the mayor, then with the captain of the guard, but both requests had been met with lame excuses and stony silence. Two days before the caravan planned to leave Starilaskur, Master Henrick exploded at the fifth squad of guardsmen to "wander" through his caravan site.

    "No!" roared the dwarf, red-faced and trembling. "No more! Ye have done nothing for the last three days but disrupt me business! We have done nothing wrong, yet ye sniff after me people like hounds after the fox! Either charge us with something or leave us alone!"

    The sergeant of the guard smiled at the caravan master and left the area.

    "Helga!" Master Henrick bellowed. "Prepare to leave this gods forsaken place! I will not tolerate this treatment!" He stormed off to make his wagon ready while his wife organized the caravaneers.

    Ashja and Roland posted guards around the perimeter to make sure that all of the unsold goods made it into the wagons, Mistress Helga had already taken whatever gold they had made to the local office of the Bank of Kundarak. Ashja chatted with her guards as she made her rounds. One of her scouts, Joory, handed her the latest copy of the Sharn Chronicle.

    She wondered if Master Henrick had heard the rumors or read the Sharn Chronicle. The next time she checked in with Roland, she told him what she had heard. The dwarf was thoughtful, but said nothing. An hour later, Master Henrick sent for both Roland and Ashja.

    His wagon was much larger than it looked from the outside. Ashja could feel the slight tingle of magic that permeated the inside of his home on wheels. She looked around the wagon as he motioned her to one of the cushions. In one corner, she saw a small altar to Kol Korran next to a statue of Olladra.

    "They seem to suspect one of us of murder," said the caravan master bluntly. "What do the two of ye know?"

    "Not much," said Roland. "Just that my squad is being followed whenever they enter the city."

    "Same here," replied Ashja. "I haven't been in the city since we first arrived, but my squad has also complained of being followed when they visit the taverns and bordellos."

    "As with the caravaneers," confirmed Master Henrick. "We're leaving with the dawn. Make sure none of yer guards wander out of camp tonight. Me gut says it's time to leave. Keep a watchful eye, let's meet again later to compare notes. I want the caravan guarded closely this night. No one is to go into the city, I want everyone accounted for when we are loaded and ready to roll."

    **********
    As expected, Curissa sought to "negotiate" with the monsters living below the House Deneith enclave. And, equally as expected, the monsters did not want to negotiate. When the party exited the tunnels below the enclave, her new dress was stained and torn. Ashja almost laughed, but felt a little sorry for the young elf, she seemed so ill-prepared for the life of an adventurer.
    Last edited by Aeryyn; 06-08-2014 at 02:44 PM.

  15. #35
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    Default Koryx - Warrior Ordinaire

    “Gob-sucking, slime-pugging, whistle-blowing, crazy-hole sorcerers and wizards and scroll-hugging, book-thumping scribes and tome-spouting, note-taking scholars and sages and …….” Koryx slumped into a chair at the Nail mumbling more expletives and slurs at any and all learned individuals. “… and he had the nerve to tell me that although there MIGHT be others on these ‘plains’ with my same family name, they may or may NOT be the same T’hals that were on the gnome-ship and that there was no way to contact them, except for some great expense of special shards or teepee; things I have never heard of. I mean, if they are there then they are my family and why can’t he in all his fancy talk and research and scrolls find a way for me to talk with them? I was willing to pay all I had, or more if needed, but I can’t pay what I don’t have, and he couldn’t guarantee any contact – the gnoll-loving charlatan.” Koryx downed the ale in front of him in one gulp - not the first he had that day. The serving girl immediately brought another, obviously ordered by Koryx not to let him go without.

    Head now in his hands, his dark hair matted from several days of ale-induced stupor after his return, he continued to mumble about shards and plains before falling to the table - unconscious.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The last hole was nearly done, Jorab on top clearing away the dirt as Koryx squared off the sides and broke away some roots along the bottom. This was the third set of pits dug in a week. Whether they would be used for something or it was just some training/punishment the Sargent used for wayward priests and soldiers, Koryx didn’t know. He did know he was getting tired of digging holes.

    Tossing a large root out of the hole, he noticed Jorab was not in his usual spot. He was supposed to be moving the dirt away and spreading it out in the area. The soldier was always in trouble, falling asleep on guard, chipping his weapons and not repairing them. He wasn’t sure if Jorab was here to watch after Koryx or the other way ‘round. But this wasn’t like him. He had gotten better; not wandering off or sleeping when he was supposed to work. That was never Koryx’ problem, he got the jobs done that were given to him. He just liked having fun doing it and that fun usually turned into a prank or joke. Come to think of it, the pranks and jokes often didn’t work out as well as he hoped and he usually ended up in trouble.

    Climbing out of the hole he found Jorab’s shovel at the edge of the wooded area near one of the pits. “Did that fool wander off and get lost, chasing down a rabbit probably,” Koryx thought, since Jorab liked to hunt was often bringing back fresh game to supplement the supplies. “Jorab!, Jorab!!” Koryx called for him as he went down the deer path they both had used earlier to the get to stream.

    “What’s this,” he thinks, as he picks up the bloody dagger partially buried under the leaves on the path. “This is Jorab’s, I know it,” Koryx noticed the nick in the metal near the hilt which he had seen before on Jorab’s blade. The black blood covering the first third of the weapon was puzzling. It did not look like rabbit blood, and why was the blade left behind. Koryx picked up his pace, dagger in one hand and, he noticed, Jorab’s shovel in the other.

    Nearly running now, Koryx burst out of the path into the clearing to see disaster. Two goblins, one wounded, one standing over Jorab with a spear, turned to see what was trampling through the woods toward them. Koryx, surprised at seeing goblins this close to the mining village, stopped for a moment. The wounded goblin, not as flummoxed as Koryx, moved slowly toward him, holding his side with one hand and nasty looking sword with the other. Koryx was faster than the goblin thought, though, and rushed toward it brandishing the dagger. As he reached the goblin he whipped around and smacked the creature with the shovel knocking it to the ground. The other goblin, apparently thinking that one dwarf standing was more a threat than a prone human, turned his spear toward Koryx. Koryx stopped, eyeing Jorab and cast the shortest healing spell he knew, hoping it would be enough to bring Jorab around. The goblin must have thought Koryx was casting a spell at him, as he stepped to the side as if to dodge any magic coming from the dwarf priest. This gave Koryx time to finish his spell and toss the dagger at the goblin, missing his mark but gaining a second hand for the shovel, which he now wielded as a weighted staff.

    The goblin had one spear, which darted in and out while Koryx parried or moved from its path with little space to spare. Koryx had slid away from the other goblin, hoping it did not wake up anytime soon and not wanting it to be at his back when it did. “Jorab! Wake up,” he kept yelling, hoping the healing and his desperation would be enough to bring the soldier out of is stupor. The goblin whipped his spear back and out, in and back, over hand or swung it like a scythe, all to through Koryx off his balance or make him miss a step. Koryx could only block or dodge. Once he tried to parry and attack, but the shovel was too short and too unwieldy to use as an effective weapon. He got a small cut on his arm for that folly, and another on is leg the time he thought he had an opening.

    Swing, block, swing dodge, thrust, dodge, just barely made it this time; it was obvious to Koryx that he was tiring and the goblin was waiting. It was odd there were only two of them. Either they got lost, being this close to a village, or they were part of a scouting party. Either choice made him wonder where the rest of the goblins might be.

    Suddenly an arm appeared around the goblin’s face and a hand with a bloody and notched blade cut the creature’s throat, black blood spurting toward Koryx as he dropped to the ground exhausted.

    “Come on,” Jorab says. “We have to get back to the village. That gobber I stabbed is missing! He must have slipped away, maybe to warn his friends.” At that Koryx got to his feet, a new rush of fear and adrenaline pushing him down the path and toward the village.”
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  16. #36
    2015 DDO Players Council Hazelnut's Avatar
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    Default Stormreach Investigations Group Photo


    Koryx, Waldhorn, Ashja, and Curissa
    Last edited by Hazelnut; 06-13-2014 at 09:56 PM.
    Zyinniah Hazelnut and Curissa Hazelnut on most servers.

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    Default Koryx – Cap’n Koryx Krunch – Scourge of Barrel’s Bottom

    “Yo Ho Hum – give me some more rum,” Koryx sang, lifting his glass so the girl at the Salty Wench could fill it once again. “Ya knows Waldhorn, I really like running around the island with my best buddies Curissa and Ashja – and you too. We can kill some pirates and hobba-gobins, maybe take a trip on a pirate ship – Hey! That a rhymer. But ya know what I want to do most? Just sit here and drink more rum. I really like the rum. It’s almost as good as ale. Maybe we’ll see if I can get to the bottom of Barrel’s Bottom.”

    “That bilge-rat sage and his gob-gobber talk and me thinkin’ I could find my famly. What good is learnin and magic and all that if it can’t get me home? Ya know I left without permission, ya know. Hid out on that trog-stinkin’ gnome boat to ‘see adventure’ and prove myself. But we showed ‘em when those gobbers came at us, that we did. Me and Joban warned the mines and we was prepared…..”

    Once again, Koryx passed out into a deep, troubled sleep. Many in the bar had made bets on how long it would take for the dwarf to drink himself under the table this time.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    “Sargent! Sargent,” Joban yelled as they ran into the village. One or the soldiers came running up, “What is the matter with you two, screaming and carrying on,” then he stopped seeing that Joban and Koryx were both wounded.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “You two saved a lot of lives today,” Brother Payton said to Koryx and Joban. “If you hadn’t stumbled on that scout party, and I am still not certain exactly how that might have happened; we would have been taken by surprise. I am adding a note detailing your story, and your luck, in my report to the Home Office.”

    Brother Payton didn’t look pleased to have to write a report to the Home Office, any more than he liked to admit that Koryx and Joban might have made a difference in the outcome of the battle. “When the next shipment leaves tomorrow, Koryx will be part of the escort to Midsport.” Brother Payton smiled a not so pleasant smile, ”Koryx, report to Brother Tolander. He is readying the shipment and may need you to carry a shovel or something.”
    Last edited by DrowsworD; 06-20-2014 at 11:44 AM.

  18. #38
    2015 DDO Players Council Hazelnut's Avatar
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    Default Treasure Hunt

    She sat curled against the hard stone wall of the ravine shivering and scared. While she sat there trying to keep yet another torn and ruined dress around her shoulders, Curissa thought back to how she got herself into this mess...

    Ashja had just informed the team that she found the team another "job" that involved crawling through sewers to deal with some nasty kobold gang or stinking troglodytes that was blocking things up for Stormreach. Curissa couldn't keep quiet and had complained about it. It's not like she was the only one who hated sewers, Koryx did nothing but swear under his breath every time they went into yet another sewer.

    "Another sewer crawl?" cried Curissa, as they left the inn. "What is it with you and sewers?"

    "It pays well," replied Ashja. "Tell you what, you find the next contract. That way, you can't complain about the conditions."

    "Fine," pouted the elf.

    And Curissa started to think about what sorts of jobs didn't involve crawling around sewers. There were plenty of caravans that left Stormreach for other parts of Zen'drk that were looking for guards; the marketplace was being harassed by a new gang and Coin Lord Amanatu's guards were spread pretty thin, they might be looking for some freelance help; or maybe the ship captains needs some extra support.

    That could work, and Curissa had some friends when she helped run the sahaugin blockaide of Korthos. If the ship was in, she could ask Valeria about some potential work. Two days later Curissa had talked to Valeria.

    "Good morrow to you lass, I see life has been treating you well since we dropped you off. What brings you back to the docks?"

    "Good day to you as well lieutenant Valeria. It was rough at first but I've taken a job as a private investigator with an outfit called Stormreach Investigations. If something needs finding, we find it", Curissa grinned.

    "I don't need anything found right now, but why don't we go to the Lobster and have a few drinks? There's always some fool sailors that've had too much that talk about some treasure or other that needs findin'."

    "I would like that."

    ...

    Captain Dustdyn had been so friendly and he had promises of treasure maps and lots of work for a private investigator like Curissa in Three Barrel Cover. Maybe Ashja was right and Curissa was just too trusting.
    Last edited by Hazelnut; 06-21-2014 at 02:22 PM.
    Zyinniah Hazelnut and Curissa Hazelnut on most servers.

  19. #39
    Community Member DrowsworD's Avatar
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    Default Koryx – Up From the Bottom

    “Koryx!” “Koryx Stoneshield T’hal, you sodden, stinking, short-toed, bare-bearded sorry excuse for a dwarf, get your bag of bones up off the floor and get down here….NOW!” Koryx mumbled something about one more drink and then his eyes opened wide. “What was that woman yelling about? Well I got some things to say to her. First of all, I am NOT short-toed!”

    Tossing his sodden, she was right about that, shirt in the pile in the corner he tucked on his old travel robe and headed downstairs. Stumbling, “I need a drink, or three,” he thought, although he had the idea that part of Ashja ire was due to the amount he had been drinking. Well, what did she WANT him to do while waiting to hear from Curissa.

    The two of them were sitting at a different table today, one way in the back, in a dark corner where all kinds of nefarious business could take place without anyone noticing, or at least, pretending not to notice. Koryx went by one of the servers to grab a pitcher of ale, but she swung away from and glared, then looked to the table where Ashja and Waldorn were watching. “Ya got any of that strong, black coffee?” Koryx asked. Bring me a cup, or a pot. I think I might need it. The girl nodded and headed back to the kitchen.

    “Did you hear anything? Was she found? Where is that dress-totin’ wisp of a girl, I got some words for her. And you too”, looking at Ashja. “I am NOT short-toed, for one, and why you callin’ me stinkin’ just cause I don’t take a bath after every full moon.”
    Waldorn handed Koryx a piece of cloth. It looked like a dirty rag at first, but then Koryx recognized it. It was a piece of the last dress Curissa was wearing when she left the Nail; the last time any of them had seen her.

    Later, someone told them that she was talking with some ‘traders’ out of a place called Three Barrel Cove. That is what brought them here. They knew a name, Captain DustDyn, but hadn’t able to find where he was. They had heard all kinds of unsavory rumors about him, however, and that was what had them all worried.

    The piece of fabric was stained with blood and dirt; Curissa would be horrified. It had writing on it, scrawled in an unskilled hand. Koryx couldn’t make out much of the letters, but he did understand the numbers; 100000 coin.

    “Well that’s that now isn’t it,” downing his third mug of coffee. Ashja suspected there was more than coffee, water, sugar and cream in the hot liquid, but she didn’t smell any spirits. “Might as well be ten hunerd thousand, or a hunerd hunerd for all we got. Anyway, we could buy a hunerd mages for that coin. Maybe one that isn’t always wandering off to buy dresses and complaining about gettin’ her shoes dirty. Koryx pounded the table again. “Hobgoblins arse! Are you two just going to sit there frettin’ about the coin or help me figure a way outa this? We ARE going to get her back, and this Cap’n Dustdyn is going to know he don’t mess with MY family – even if they are a pain in the back side sometimes.”

    “You know what, Koryx,” Waldorn said, sounding angry, especially since he didn’t call him Kory but used his full name. “Ashja and I have been all over this town, asking if anyone had seen Curissa, if anyone knows a Dustdyn, anyone know of a mage with her description. What have you been doing for six days? Drinking yourself into a stupor every night, singing, telling BAD jokes and not helping us out one bit. Now you are questioning US!”

    Koryx looked around the bar. It was getting dark and the place was filling up with regulars and sailors. “Look, a place like this always has some folk from town that come in, but most are traders – or pirates – that only stay a day or two before they leave,” Koryx explained to Waldorn and Ashja. “That group over there”, he nodded toward a table of three sailors. ”They have been in here every night for five days. They always sit a few tables over from you and they always have at least one watching you and one watching the door. Me, I am just the stinkin’ drunk dwarf that will probably end up fallin’ off the pier one night. But you two, they are watching.”

    “Last night I was dicing with them, and drinking. You think I stink,” eyeing Ashja, “that big one smells like he sleeps with a hobgoblin. One of them mentioned Cap’n D, but shut up when Big Boy snarled at him. I am pretty sure that they are part of Dustdyn’s crew and they are watching to see what we do. So, me, I am going to get good and drunk again tonight,” winking at Waldorn,” and when this place closes, we are going to follow them to their ship.”

    “He stood up, staggered a bit and said in a too loud voice, “You two are on your own. I ain’t got it and ain’t gonna give it. All I need is some ale, or mead, or more rum, and I don’t need you tellin’ me what to do.” Koryx walked/stumbled over to a table nearer the men he had pointed out, sitting with some locals – mostly other drunken dock workers – and pulled out his dice bag. “Come on boys, let’s throw some bones to see who buys the next round.”

  20. #40
    Community Member Aeryyn's Avatar
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    Default Barrel's Bottom

    "She what?!" roared Koryx.

    "She was kidnapped by pirates," repeated Ashja, as she laid the scrap of fabric on the table that the barkeep had given her when she entered the common room.

    "Well, kobold snot and ogres' balls!" exclaimed the dwarf.

    Waldhorn shook his head as he closed his eyes, the exasperation plain on his face.

    "She certainly keeps us guessing what she'll do next," said the big paladin. "I had no idea that letting her find our next contract would result in her kidnapping."

    Written on the scrap of fabric were the words: Ye be needin ta pay one thouande platinumm to git yer sorceress back. It was signed, Cap'n Dustdyne.

    "I guess we'll need to start by finding out who this 'Cap'n Dustdyne' is," said Ashja.

    **********
    Master Henrick swore long and loudly in Dwarvish when he heard his herbalist was missing the next morning. He sent Roland with a small squad of guards to find her. Ashja and her squad guarded the caravan and made sure no one else left.

    Two hours later, Roland returned with the errant herbalist. Master Henrick gave her a dressing-down in front of the entire caravan. He never did that, but he was so out of sorts about her disappearance and his treatment over the last ten days that he took it out on the hapless herbalist. An hour later, the caravan left Starilaskur for Wroat.

    **********
    Ashja listened, shocked by Koryx' words, then watched the dwarf as he tottered across the common room.

    "I've been so worried about Curissa, I didn't think to watch our backs, Waldhorn," she said, a trace of fear in her eyes. "How could I have been so careless?"

    "I just wish he would have told us sooner that we were being watched," complained Waldhorn. "We might have been able to learn something by now."

    "I agree. I'm sure he'll hear about it when we rescue Curissa," said Ashja. If she's still alive. The thought sobered her.

    "Well," said the half-elf pushing up from the table, "I think it's time to start the evening's events. I'm going up to my room. Wake me when it's time."

    "All right, Ashja. Rest well," replied the big paladin.

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