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  1. #1
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    Default In Character: The Realm of Mortality

    There they were, the Enchanter responsible for enthralling the city to his will finally cornered in an ancient dimensional temple. The elements who had lent him their aid against humanity and its tendencies to violate natural order had already fallen. The man responsible for such suffering understood all too well what was about to happen. An angry tear fell down his face as he cast missiles of magic at the heroes. A luckless rogue burst into a shredded mess of eerily blue soulshards, but it seemed as if Sykes and his surviving team of Stormreach's finest would be victorious after all. As the last of his defensive spells shimmered with the blows of a Warforged's holy blade, the Enchanter recast his protective bubble. In moments, the heroes would have it shattered. But through the energy field, his voice boomed unnaturally throughout the once-sacred shrine.

    "I know what will happen should I fall to your hand - what afterlife awaits me. Nothing can change that now. I can't have redemption, but I WILL have revenge!"

    The ominous sound of ancient evil darkened the air about them as if speaking the foul words of power tainted creation itself. Every sound wave could be felt as if it were a crushing pressure hot enough to sear skin like the sun.

    Sykes' eyes widened in realization. "He's summoning Hell itself!"

    Reality ripped, recoiling at the vile incantation, an icy dimensional hole four meters above them spilled out space of the Infernal plane as the wizard completed his spell. In an instant, tormented facsimiles of creatures surged at the chance to leave eternal suffering behind. An army of the dead - millions in number.

    "Get us out of here!" Sykes wanted to scream, but there was no time. All of those capable in the party scrambled to cast teleportation spells as the others fought desperately to buy them precious seconds needed to complete the cast. But before they could even finish thinking the unspoken spell in their minds, the Enemy claimed them, their foul claws cutting through the fragile spirits unprepared for such abuse. There was a moment of agony, a sharp reverberating pain beyond physical and emotional capacity of mortal wounds, holding....forever, as their very essences became the burning fuel for the everlasting Fire.

    .............

    Mortality, the reaper of Law, looked down upon the vessel as the icy dragon came in for a final assault. A doomed world should have had nothing that could keep his interest....but a shipwrecked survivor, drowning under the waves, somehow couldn't be ignored. In his mind, he imagined the young woman's unspoken cry for help. This world would have a final chance.

    The woman had drowned by the time he materialized, but Mortality wasn't here to claim her - yet. With a movement of his hand, he captured her departing spirit, chaining it to a vision of an airship - throwing in just enough unusual elements to pique the spirit's curiosity and keep it from passing on. A friendly minotaur readied weapons next to a sunbathing elf.

    Mortality appeared in the distance as the woman tried to make sense of what had happened.

    "I am Death - the reaper of Mortality. The foolish mortals of your realm have loosed a portal to ancient dimensions intended to be kept contained and forgotten. This entire universe, with all of its existing planes, has been condemned. In 90 days, it will be destroyed."

    The woman blinked, clearly not comprehending but feeling a sense of urgency Mortality hoped to convey. The reaper looked frustrated at the woman's lack of basic understanding.

    "You will be this realm's final hope. Prove that this existence has heroes worth saving when this universe is demolished. Save the citizens of Korthos, then move to Stormreach. Become a champion of the people, reach a level of power that impresses even the Reapers, or defy those of us who come to end everything you know and love. And perhaps they will see fit to send your souls to someplace safer in the end. Or fail, and prove my efforts were for naught."

    The woman's vision blurred, waves rippled throughout the airship as the dream gave way to her reality - she was under water! She scrambled to swim for the surface, breaching with a desperate cough that forced the water from her lungs. The ship had splintered into driftwood, but several large pieces floated among the wreckage. She clung to the nearest that could support her, catching her breath and trying to gather her thoughts. But the memory of the dream faded.

    Clueless to the warnings of Mortality or the gravity of universal peril, Kameo waded towards Korthos and the halfling she could spot in the distance.
    Last edited by Qadashael; 09-11-2019 at 07:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Welcome to Korthos

    On almost any other island, surviving a shipwreck at the claws of a frost dragon would have at least sparked some interest. But as Kameo made her way out into the village, arms carefully crossed in a vain attempt to conceal the massive tears in her tunic, no one seemed to care. A single inn was stuffed between a family crypt and a small storehouse. Above the entrance, weathered scrawls of faded paint advertised the only business on the island to no one in particular:

    “Wavecrest Tavern: Stale food, stale service.”

    An arcane sigil glowed with golden power about an outline of a door. Driven by enchanted impulse, she reached out to feel the rune with her fingertips. But as soon as she touched the line her vision swirled into blackness. Butterflies welled up in her stomach as she felt the sudden sense that she was falling. Kameo gasped – but just as quickly as it came, she felt her feet land on the ground. Her vision cleared, and she found herself at a fisherman’s pub, the sound of soft stringed instruments playing from a bardic sigil of tavernly tunes. An elderly dwarf eyed her slowly, from head to foot. Five seconds passed awkwardly as Kameo steadied herself and found her way into a barstool.

    “Leak soup.” The dwarf finally announced.

    “Leak soup?” She questioned.

    “Jus’ wha ya’ need, I tell ye! Leak soup!"

    He reached behind the bar, smacking a bowl atop the table with such force that silverware and soup flew from the counter. Startled by the sound and sudden splash of leak on her robe, Kameo took a moment to regain herself before staring into the greenish water she’d been served.

    “What makes you so sure?”

    The dwarf huffed.

    “Look lass, we got ourselves a pidgeon-livered DRAGON freezing anyt’in that moves! Learn to love the leak- er find yer own food!”

    Kameo waved a hand through her hair nervously, but the movement sent a shiver down her spine. She really needed a change of clothes – even what passed for ‘soup’ would’ve been welcome if it was warm. But of course, it wasn’t.

    “I think I’ll just-“

    “-jus’ make an excuse to up an leave me poor self wittout a sale, I’d wager!”

    “I don’t have any coin.”

    “Then what in Khyber brings ya to me bar?! Get gone ya’ freeloaferin’ good fer nut’tin!”

    The dwarf sprung from the bar towards her, a heavy arm swinging to shove the woman back through the portal. But Kameo proved faster, pushing off the counter to dodge the tender’s blow. With an eerie calm, she murmured a shielding spell that shimmered into life. The dwarf’s eyes widened at the ward.

    “Cultist, eh? Well you can tell yer Devourer all we ‘ave is leak, an’ i’s still too good fer ‘im!”

    “Cultist?!” Kameo darkened. “If you had half the sense to-“

    “Ooze!” The dwarf shouted, pointing behind the woman.

    Kameo spun, arms dancing to cast missles of magic at the sudden threat. But before she realized her error, a hairy shove forced her back through the door. She felt weightless again, vision blurring briefly from bar to beach before falling roughly to the ground outside the Wavecrest’s ward. The rune reddened as the voice of an angry dwarf carried through the portal.

    “And stay out!"
    Last edited by Qadashael; 09-24-2019 at 12:36 AM.




  3. #3
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    Default Jumping Maniacs

    Kameo brushed herself off. “Beardless buggar.” She huffed as she kicked dust towards the portal.

    The cracking sound of a cold ray sang through the air, forcing her back on guard.

    Ahead, one of the villagers had etched a laughable sketch of a frost dragon onto some scrap wood, and was jumping about wildly casting spells at the creature. Another cold ray flew wide, missing its stationary target by several meters.

    “Hold your fire!” She yelled as another far-miss sailed past her towards the tavern. The man lowered his arms, but continued jumping frantically.

    “Get out the way!” The crazed villager shouted.

    Kameo had had enough. With a quick cast, she charmed the man. A pinkish hue floated about his head as he calmly walked back to the wizard.

    “You nearly hit me.” She chided the suddenly stoic man. “Apologize.”

    “I’m sorry, m’lady.” The man spouted, still under the spell.

    “Where can I find a replacement robe in this town? Is there a weaver about?”

    “None, m’lady. But Drexelhand has a few, I think.”

    “Where can I find Drexelhand?”

    “He’s guarding the crypts from the cultists. One of the last casters left, myself not included. Villagers don’t think I’m up to it.”

    “Couldn’t imagine why.” Kameo offered dryly. “Your aim is terrible, but you might have a better chance if you weren’t frogging about.”

    “If I wasn’t jumping, the dragon would get me.” The man offered solemnly.

    “It was a target dummy.”

    “I dodged what I could imagine. It was glorious!”

    Kameo shook her head, leaving the idiot to his village. The spell would wear off in time.
    Last edited by Qadashael; 09-24-2019 at 12:31 AM.




  4. #4
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    Default

    Kameo -> Kalai?

    Fun read so far, looking forward to her further adventures.

    ...or story of her demise.
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  5. #5
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    Default Drexelhand's Deal

    “Heyton….” The name left Drexelhand’s lips like a curse as he spat on the entrance to the grave.

    How hell would balk at his hatred for the man.

    Korthos had been a quiet village, free from the burdens of Stormreach and buoyed by its own inconsequence. But Jacoby had always found some comfort in the protection of the Heytons from whatever evils might find their way to this corner of Eberron. A lifetime ago, drunk with naivety of youth, he had dedicated himself to the study of wizardry in the hopes that he might someday follow in the footsteps of the local legend. But when the hour of their need arrived, Lars Heyton had left them all to rot. Faced with a frost dragon and schools of Sahuagin, Korthos’ wizard warrior had disappeared, leaving Drexelhand responsible for everyone’s survival. Villagers had been kidnapped on his early watch, enslaved to the service of the Devourer in the Cannith Aqueducts. His own rescue efforts had failed, and he had barely managed to teleport out with his life. But not before the Sahuagin locked onto his scent. Shadows stalked his every stride. He couldn’t sleep, not even by lantern light with his wand at the ready. Days turned into weeks, and every life lost weighed heavy on his conscience.

    Epiphany came at his breaking point, desperation and despair giving way to reason.

    Korthos couldn’t fend off a frost dragon. The villagers couldn’t even hold their own against the amphibians. Falling was the only way forward. And if sparing some of the citizens of Korthos demanded siding with the Devourer, why not start by desiccating the bones of Heyton’s family crypt? The Betrayer deserved nothing less.

    Lost in his inner monologue, he failed to notice the Aasimar behind him.

    “Drexelhand, I take it?” A woman’s voice carried from the corner of the crypt.

    The man broke himself from his revelry.

    “Who’s asking?”

    “Kameo d’Deneith - in need of a service.”

    Everyone was in need of a service. Of HIS service.

    “I haven’t the time.”

    The Aasimir closed the distance cautiously, as if studying the man. She decided to ignore the remark.

    “I’d heard you might be able to mend my robe?”

    Drexelhand scoffed. Arrogant adventurer. Here he was, supposedly guarding a crypt from Sahuagin necromancers in an increasingly desperate village. And still, she expected him to care about her loot. Probably expected him to pay top price for whatever junk she felt she didn’t need, too. He stepped forward for a better look.

    Kameo stood tall, with slanted brown eyes accented by emerald marks that glowed about her cheek. Her robe was tattered, by some miracle still managing to hang about her person. Metallic sheens of skin reflected through uneven tears in her tunic.

    “No one could mend THAT.” Jacoby chided. “Best buy another.”

    “I haven’t the coin.” The woman replied, matching the man’s tone from earlier.

    Jacoby smiled ruefully. Typical free-player. He’d half a mind to leave her to the Devourer’s minions, presently about their unholy work at Heyton’s rest. But as he opened his mouth to retort, a second thought occurred.

    “I’ll lend you a robe, outsider, if you’ll take on a task for me. A single Cannith Crystal is all that protects the village from the chill of the dragon these days. Promise you’ll guard it in my stead for tonight’s shift, and you can have it.”

    With a quick cast, the man revealed his inventory. Kameo’s nose wrinkled as Drexelhand plucked an unlaundered robe from his stores. The tag read: “Robe of +0 UMD.”

    Better than rags. Barely.

    (Thanks for the catch cdbd3rd! As an aside, I’ve had two +0 UMD items drop on HC already. Gave our guild a laugh.)
    Last edited by Qadashael; 09-24-2019 at 12:42 AM.




  6. #6
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    Default Welcome to the Party

    Guard duty.

    Not the most glamorous work she’d had, perhaps. But she needed coin, and it was honest.

    “5 silver an hour.” The mayor offered for the shift.

    “10 if there’s resistance,” Kameo countered. “And a bottle of something strong enough to prep for the next job.”

    “Done!” The mayor smiled, obviously believing someone of Deneith’s reputation to be more than worth her haggle.

    Kameo saluted, cursing herself for failing to demand more. The going rate in Stormreach was ten times as much, but these seemed like such a simple people, and the opening offer was terribly low.

    “Bested by a commoner,” she chided herself as she made for the post.

    Ahead was the cellar where the Cannith Crystal lie. But from the shadows approached-

    The village idiot. Jumping in and out of a defensive position behind some boxes.

    “You? Korthos must be more desperate than I thought.” Kameo smirked, shaking her head as she approached.

    “Told you I needed the practice!” The man trained his wand on her, causing Kameo to halt. “I know what you did with that spell earlier. And if you so much as point at me again, I’ll freeze that grin off your face!”

    Kameo cast a glance at the crystal behind her, suddenly certain its peril was worse than she’d expected. The man’s aim was terrifying.

    She was still trying to think of a way to convince the other wizard to lower the wand when the door behind her smashed into pieces. Kameo whirled around, arms at the ready for a cast.

    A man – no, the very image of perfection - marched through the battered door. A massive hammer swung back about his shoulder, shining with holy light nearly as bright as the toothy smile on his face. The cleansing smell of fresh laundry filled the room as he swept his gaze across the pair, offering them a glimpse with bright blue eyes that arrested the Aasimar’s attention. A crimson cape draped from his shoulders into two tails, ending in a black skull and the number one.

    Now THIS was a warrior! Kameo fumbled her words as she tried to introduce herself, but the Paladin ignored her completely.

    “AYE OWE EEEE!” He shouted at the top of his lungs. “EH AFF KAY!”

    And with that, he swung his hammer to the floor, resting on it with both arms as he willed himself into a state of perfect serenity. A soldier at ease. A hero in victory.

    Kameo looked back to the jumping wizard, who seemed to have forgotten he’d been threatening her before. In a hushed whisper, she asked: “What’s he on about?”

    The man scoffed, moving back behind his boxes. “His Holy Highness says he’ll just sit there and look pretty while WE guard the crystal.”

    Kameo glanced back. He DID look pretty.
    Last edited by Qadashael; 09-30-2019 at 04:29 AM.




  7. #7
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    Default Bring out the Bard

    The night was long. As the townspeople of Korthos slept, defenders throughout the city trickled in to protect the Cannith Crystal.

    A scraggly elf with wild-flowing hair strode fourth with a stringed instrument, ignoring the pretty piker at his presumably perfect vigil.

    Kameo glanced at the still-leaping wizard, who despite several hours together hadn’t had the time or patience for introductions.

    “Another friend of yours, I hope?”

    The wizard waved dismissively, turning back to ‘practice his aim’ on the adjacent wall. “That’s Harmony – local bard. Here to help, I’d wager.”

    Harmony heaved his harp as he approached, offering a warm smile.

    “Evening, Miss. Don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure.”

    Kameo shook her head. “You haven’t. I’d have remembered anyone foolish enough to bring a harp on guard duty. Do you have a weapon?”

    The bard grinned mischievously, taking a mock bow. “Why, YOU are my weapon, naturally. And I vow to wield you well.”

    Kameo pulled her crossbow, keeping it pointedly at her side. She wasn't in the mood for pick up lines. “Harp all you’d like, muse. But if you can’t fight, you’re just a liability.”

    The elf hummed softly, then began to pluck the chord. To Kameo’s astonishment, the sound reverberated throughout the cellar, beating as if someone was playing a drum instead of strings. All could feel a sense of unnatural courage and inspiration welling up within as Harmony raised his voice:

    “WE WILL, WE WILL ROCK YOU!”

    Kameo gasped as the single line bounced about the cellar, resounded in her soul. She could fight an army. She could storm a citadel.

    “I take it back,” she managed to breathe after a moment. “You’re amazing!”

    Harmony smiled wide. “I know.”
    Last edited by Qadashael; 10-12-2019 at 08:26 AM.




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