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Dagmar's Hunt Part 5 - Of Blood and Bone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ben Bell and Melanie Blake   
Friday, 12 September 2014 21:02

Part 5: Of Blood and Bone

Written by Ben Bell and Melanie Blake.

The sentinels stood at the gate of the Necropolis, their unblinking gazes scanning the horizons. The sound of a great horn in the distance echoed over the desolate fields, which raised their alarm. As the sentinels gathered to their armaments, the blast of the great horn came again, this time significantly closer. It was as if the sound had suddenly leaped forward.

Before their ever-open eyes, a militia appeared from thin air. Figures as large as three men tall lumbered over smaller forms.

A third horn blast rose from the largest figure, standing nearly four men tall and wielding an appropriately large two handed axe.

The sentinels clamored over each other as they hurriedly prepared for battle.

From the mass that had recently appeared, a smaller figure, riding on the back of what appeared to be a large canine walked forward. The rider yelled to the top of the gate "I'm here to speak to the Mother of Bones. Open the gates and let me pass."

The leader of the gate's guard, confused by this spectacle and this living creature's bold demand, asked "And why should we allow the living to pass our gates?"

The rider replied "Because she owes me a favor."

The sentry leader laughed at the hilarity, as the rider interrupted his laughter and said "You really ought to get moving and let her know I'm here."

The leader of the sentries stopped laughing and felt rather irritated that this living thing was ordering him around. "And if I don't?" He defiantly replied.

"Then I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate the consequences. She and I had an agreement when she was young, and now a time has come that she must repay the favor. Do not attempt to stop me from collecting on my favor." the rider pressed forward. "Now open the gate and let me pass".

"And whom should I tell her has come to 'collect a favor'?" the sentry leader mockingly inquired.

"She'll know me as Ramgad." he yelled back.

Commotion arose. Some of the sentries stirred and looked over the wall at this statement. One of the older members on the wall quickly rushed over to the sentry leader and whispered in his ear. The sentry leader looked back at his new counsellor with confusion, and back to the rider.

"Why have you brought this force to our gates?" The sentry leader inquired.

"That's none of your business. They won't be entering unless invited. Now hustle and speak to your Mother, the seasons will be changing soon." Dagmar replied.

The sentry motioned for a courier, and sent it to Lilliana. The rotting one quickly scurried throughout the Necropolis towards her throne room.

Bursting into her Throne Room, the rotting one whimpered "Mother, there is --" she interrupted "How are the gates holding? Do we need to supply reinforcements?"

The rotting one groveled "We are not under attack Mother, but a rider has come and says you owe him a favor. He says you will know him as Ramgad."

She rose slowly.

The rotting one whimpered "He wishes to pass the gates and speak with you."

She stood there, staring at the courier with a fixated gaze, then said "... Let him pass".

The rotting one bowed low and scurried off.

Sitting upon her massive ivory throne looking at the door with eyes darkening, Lilliana bluntly states "Ramgad... What a pleasure... It's been a very long time, one might have thought that you had forgotten us. And now... You choose a time like NOW to come riding up on...whatever that *thing* was... And bring mention of favors owed..."

"It's good to see you're still around as well. Before we continue, I need to clarify. I'm not Ramgad anymore. Now I'm back to being Dagmar." the redcap replied.

Lilliana chose a direct approach "Dagmar? If you insist... I'm sure you know that I have much to attend to, so...Dagmar... Why have you come back here, to my home?"

Dagmar began "As I'm sure you remember, I came to your aide as an ally during the Great War of the Damned. I had my own reasons for doing so, and you needed whatever allies you could get. I put down from my immortality to help you with that, but have since regained it." He paused. "Now it's time that a favor is repaid."

Taking a breath, he continued.

"We have mutual enemies. The Damned, the Infernal, the Abyssal, and all of their network. There is a group in their network that I am hunting. There will be Damned, Abyssals, and Infernal surrounding this group, which is where we need to work together." He chuckled, and continued "This isn't exactly a bad deal for you, either -- You're going to have a militia of Fey as an auxillary, and that we are certainly formidable to a great number of foes."

Lilliana tilted her head slightly, then replied "I'm not particularly seeing where this is something I wouldn't do anyway..."

Sensing an opportunity, Dagmar's demeanor shifted as he said "Then maybe this isn't the repayment of a favor after all, but instead an unusual alliance." Curiously, Dagmar continued "So, what has been happening with you? Do you need a favor?"

Lilliana's eyes darken and she rattles "Dagmar, do not attempt to use your wordplay on me. I need few favors, and will ask for none."

Lilliana composes herself and lightens her tone, sounding a bit more 'human'. "It does seem that we have a common enemy. My children and the progeny of the Countess are in great danger. Outside of the shelter of Entros, our kind is being skillfully hunted. The Quelling Tree has many, many minions and they are growing in power. Their tendency for outright murder has increased as well... A war is coming... The time is near that we must strike at the tree itself."

Dagmar contemplates a moment before speaking "...The Quelling Tree, eh? This isn't the first time I've heard of that place. Over this past season I have been eating lots of Damned and they have been talking about that whenever I make them talk."

He pauses for a moment to think, and then continues "It seems that is a major place of operation for them. Are you seeking answers or spirits?"

Condescendingly, Lilliana replies "The Quelling Tree is more than a place, Dagmar. It is a being of a great infernal power...The answer to your question would be both"

"Good. Then we can get answers together." Dagmar replied. Pausing for a moment, he continues "I'm looking for one person in particular, but I don't want you telling your..." he pauses to think for a moment "... children..." he continues "the name of who I'm looking for. Also, it would probably just be best to not mention any names in public."

He continues "We need to find their leaders, and then Scrumrot or myself need to be present for questioning."

Lilliana begrudgingly replies "Concealment of any single fact from, any one of my children... If I do this for you, my debt is repaid. What do you need from --"

Ignoring her question, Dagmar interjects "This concealment is for your own good. We are tracking down a being who can assume any form at any time with the power of a name. We don't mention his name so that we do not get his attention. Your debt will be paid when we find him. Until then, we can have fun eating together." He thinks for a moment, then says "Do you like Hearthbeard?"

 
Dagmar's Hunt Part 4 - Three Fae walk into a bar PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ben Bell   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 21:42

Part 4: Three Fey Walk into a Bar...

Written by Ben Bell

Standing in a darkened, barren waste of the Fugue, ripples and tears of the already thin layer between worlds had begun to appear. An eerie silence layered the wasteland of where four figures stood.

"This looks like a spot where they would be doing rituals" Pox said to Dagmar.

Dagmar looked over at Narkesh, then up to Gorehowl, then asked them both "Are you ready?"

Narkesh nodded, wearing what looked like a grin to his maw of razor sharp teeth. Gorehowl drew his massive two handed axe from his back with a grin.

Dagmar looked back over at Pox and gave a nod. "Let’s go."

Pox opened a door between the Fugue and the Primal, and allowed them all to pass.

Upon stepping through, what the Fey had suspected was true. This area was obviously tainted by the Infernal. Piles of remains with skulls emblazoned in glyphs sat around in a large area. In the middle of all the piles sat a bonfire blazing approximately ten feet high. The eerie silence of the Fugue was long gone, as the sound of chanting and droning filled the night. As they surveyed their surroundings, Dagmar and Gorehowl noticed that Pox and Narkesh where nowhere in sight.

Dagmar crouched down and lifted the skull from one of the piles. Studying it for a moment, he then looked up to Gorehowl who was hunched over him and whispered "Damned."

Gorehowl, whispering as best a troll can, said "That's what we want, right?"

Dagmar nodded, but the Trolls voice echoed throughout the night. Some of the chanting had stopped. Their position was given away.

Dagmar yelled "They know we're here! They're scouts are phased and approaching!" as he readied a mace and shield.

With a large breath, Gorehowl let out a fierce roar that was sent echoing throughout the night. The chanting completely ceased, but some of the droning continued.

Almost instantly, Restless Damned began to phase in around the pair, encircling them. Blank looks adorned their eyes and faces, along with various brandings from their infernal masters. They seemed to be operating as a group, rather than fodder.

"They want to form ranks?! Enough of this!" Gorehowl yelled as he sent his weapon cleaving through the air with all the might of a seasoned troll warrior. At the initial point of impact, a Restless' form was torn in half, while the massive blades continued through the next, and the next, and the next. His massive form lumbering through the Restless that had arrived, many of them tore at him with disfigured claws and shoddy weapons, to no avail.

With a mad laughter, Dagmar began to assault the other half of the encirclement. Their weapons and claws ricocheting off his shield or his armor. The blows that did land clearly had no effect.

It was clear that these scouts were outmatched by opponents they could not harm, but the Damned pressed on with their assault.

As the two Fey were occupied with the vanguard, the ground began to erupt in places. Rotting ones and Ravaged began clawing their ways from the ground, while Risen ran towards the combat at full sprints.

Gorehowl reached down and tore a Ravaged out of the ground with a chuckle, saying "We got 'dere attention!" as he threw the squirming Ravaged into a group of Risen that were running towards them, causing some of them to trip over their comrade.

The mighty troll continued to bat the minions away like insects, when suddenly bolts of Shadowmaw magic rose through the sky, hurling towards the massive figure. Upon the bolts impact to the troll's flesh, he let out a fierce roar as his rage overtook and he flew into frenzy. Gorehowl began spinning in a murderous rampage, devastating and knocking back entire groups of the Damned at a time. Their forms flying through the air as the full might of the troll came to bear.

Upon realizing that his ally may not be his ally at the moment, Dagmar quickly maneuvered to put as many Damned between himself and now frenzied troll as he could.

As if a dozen mages had gathered, more bolts of Shadowmaw magic continued to pelt the troll's giant form, this time combined with bolts of brilliant light. Gorehowl's rage seemed endless as the magic tore into his flesh, inciting his frenzy even further.

As quickly as he could, Dagmar began to make his way to the casters that were assaulting his ally. Groups of Damned were between himself and the casters, as they were protecting their magic users. This group seemed to operate all too well as a unit. These were not the typical Damned that Dagmar was used to encountering. They were too organized, too tactical.

As Dagmar made his way through the horde of Damned, he finally got to see their casters. They had formed ranks and were throwing their magic in coordination. Some were casting, while others were focusing to summon more magical energy. As he gained ground, the assaulting casters noticed him and began to adjust where they were going to aim their next volley.

With a flash of blackened metal under the moonlight, that caster that was closest to Dagmar suddenly had two swords buried through its torso from behind. There was a sickly hiss as Pox pulled her swords out of the mage's torso, and within the blink of an eye buried them into the back of the mage's companion to its right. The rest of the group quickly realized that Pox was now there, and began to scatter as they began assaulting her.

With a gleeful grin she deftly maneuvered out of the way of all their magic. Some of spells strayed and hit the other Damned, but the magic appeared to heal them. As the chaos of a rogue in the mage's midst ensued, Dagmar clashed into the group's flank. Pinched, the mages quickly blinked away. Pox winked at Dagmar and instantly vanished from sight.

Free from the assault of their magic, Gorehowl's flesh began to mend and his frenzy reduced. Regaining his composure, he noticed a Rotting one crawling out of the ground. Gorehowl slammed his foot down and pressed the Damned back into the earth, saying "Take dat you maggot factory!" before continuing his lumbering assault.

Nonchalantly standing there with Damned clawing and swinging at him, Dagmar scanned the battle. He looked back at Gorehowl and yelled "I can't see where..." and then he stopped as he saw the tell-tale sign of three pairs of glowing red eyes approaching from different directions. "TATTERED!" he screamed "TATTERED ARE COMING!"

As the Tattered drew closer they began tearing apart the Damned that were there as they waded into the battle. Undaunted by the casualties being inflicted, the Damned persisted in their assaults.

The first tattered to engage had massive wings and horns. Wielding an icy long sword and short sword that appeared to be dripping, it buffeted its wings as approached, then engaged. Unleashing a torrent of Grimfrost and Darkhallow magic, it quickly decimated all of the Damned in its path as it made its way towards the center of the conflict, Gorehowl.

Gorehowl looked around and saw their glowing eyes as the Tattered began to carve their unguided paths through the masses. Using his mass to his advantage, he plowed through the group in front of him as a means to create distance between himself and the encroaching Tattered. Nothing was capable of standing in his way, and he knew it. As he attempted to break contact, groups of Damned began to follow him, which only served as a breadcrumb trail for one of the Tattered. Gorehowl continued off from the mass conflict, groups of Damned following him as well as a single Tattered.

Above the sound of battle, Dagmar yelled out "Pox go help him!" as he began fleeing, creating distance from the Tattered as well. Small groups of Damned followed him as well, but he casually ignored their attacks. As he gained distance from the Tattered, he turned and saw a welcomed sight of two glowing blue eyes cast downward as Narkesh was eating one the mages with a large brand of the Damned over his entire face. As Dagmar approached, the mage’s body dissipated.

Hearing Dagmar approach, Narkesh looked up and growled "Trevor. Their leader's name is Trevor. I have tasted his spirit, and seen his memories. His spirit has fled his body, but I could not consume it all. I know where they intend to go. Some place called the Quelling Tree?”

Dagmar nodded and said "Good. Then we have a trail. That means we--" Without warning, Dagmar turned around after a large tentacle slammed into his back, delivering a blow that shattered his armor.

Spinning to see his assailant, Dagmar turned to see a large face with deep glowing red eyes and a maw of tentacles staring down at him. A single key hanging around the neck of the Tattered, it swung its other tentacle arm and Dagmar raised his shield to block the attack. Upon impact, the shield was destroyed. The tattered swung again, this time at Dagmar's weapon with intent to destroy it. Dagmar recoiled his weapon and took the brunt of the impact on one of his vambraces, which caused it to fall to pieces. Relentlessly, the Tattered swung its tentacle again and shattered Dagmar’s sword.

As the Tattered assaulted Dagmar, more Damned approached their Redcap target. They seemed disoriented, no longer acting in an actual unit. As they approached, the Tattered turned against them. As his tentacles began to swing, pieces of broken weapons and armor remained in the wake of the assault.

Growling at the Tattered, Dagmar took his right thumb and opened the flesh of his left forearm. With a splash of blood, Dagmar called forth the power within. In an instant, his hands warped into wickedly sharp claws glimmering with magic and dripping with rivulets of blood. With a feral leap, Dagmar tackled one of the weaponless Damned. Knocking it to the ground, he buried his claws into the torso of the Damned and with the sickening crunch of breaking ribs he rapidly tore the creature asunder and ate it’s heart. As the creature’s heart passed his gaping maw, his wounds instantly knitted themselves shut and his pallid skin shined with renewed vigor.

Standing from the fresh kill, Dagmar spun to face the Tattered as it finished destroying the last of the weapons and armor that the Damned wielded in the immediate area. Spinning, the Tattered aimed a tentacle at Dagmar and a blast of nullifying magic hit Dagmar in the shoulder. Resisting the magic, Dagmar lunged forward and tore a huge chunk from the Tattered’s form loose, a blow normally disintegrate a mortal. For a moment, the tattered gave pause before blasting Dagmar with yet another bolt of nullifying magic, which was yet again resisted.

The assault continued as the Tattered and Dagmar continued exchanging attacks. Emerging from the shadows, Pox leaped and tackled Dagmar, dodging a stray swing of his claw. “Another favor repaid” she said as the two landed on the ground. Clawing the air and ripping a portal between layers, the two rolled into the portal and left the Prime.

In the fugue, Pox turned to Dagmar and said “I heard Narkesh. We’ll meet back at your realm. I’m going to get Gorehowl and Narkesh out of there” and then vanished into the Prime.

 
Dagmar's Hunt Part 3 - You did what? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Morehead   
Sunday, 07 September 2014 13:37

Part 3: You did what?!

Written by Ben Bell and John Kazuo Morehead

"Fellow descendants of the Shining Ones, I have invited you all to my realm to discuss a grave topic. If you have not heard the rumors already, let me confirm them for you. One of our greatest nemesis as a kind has returned from the Abyss." Dagmar proclaimed.

A hush fell over the crowd -- a rare thing among a Fey gathering -- and then a few murmurs began.

Dagmar continued "I went to the Prime no more than two seasons ago and met with the Ankou named Edict. It was discovered that there were infestations of Fomor working at a brothel. When we sent the mortals in to investigate, some of them were taken captive and replaced with Fomors. Even I was taken captive, but these Fomor could not contain or replace me."

The murmuring continued.

Speaking over the crowd, Dagmar said "When I went inside the brothel to eat one of the Fomor --" suddenly, Dagmar was interrupted by the Magpie Prince erupting into laughter, which took over the entire crowd of Fey present.

Dagmar glared at the Magpie Prince and rolled his eyes.

Dagmar continued "When I went to eat the Fomor, it was apparent I was being watched by M. I haven't been exposed to his magics in at least two ages, but it crept up like an old memory. He is definitely back."

The Magpie Prince spoke up "Excuse me, Dagmar. Just one question... What would Kellatrix think about you visiting a brothel so soon after your marriage?"

Dagmar sneered at the Magpie Prince "Don't you ever mention her name in my realm again. I banished her from my realm before the night we were married and it has stayed that way ever since. Besides, I'm sure if you wanted to ask her anything you'd have to first speak to her lackey, Pan." Dagmar paused for a moment, then asked "... Wait a minute, doesn't he owe you a favor, and don't you owe me a favor?"

The Magpie Prince quickly looked away and found someone to chat with.

Dagmar resumed "So in order to help hunt down M and his minions, a quest was taken and oaths were sworn. I present to you all: Narkesh, The Desolate One!"

From the shadows a large canine with fur black as pitch, blue glowing eyes, goblin-like ears, a maw of razor sharp teeth and large taloned hands on its front legs emerged. The height of a man at his shoulder, the beast moved with an eerie grace.

The crowd gasped at this spectacle and commotion erupted among the gathering as they came to realize what they were seeing.

A voice from the crowd cried out "Dagmar no one has seen a Barghest since before the gates of Shadowmaw closed! How can you possibly --" Dagmar interrupted "Well you can thank Pan for opening the gates again! The Dead and the Damned both call it Pan's Way for a reason. Besides, just because we THOUGHT they were extinct doesn't mean they were."

Dagmar walked over to Narkesh and put his hand on the Barghest's shoulder. Proud of his new friend, he said "He will be critical in this campaign."

From the edges of the assembly, a low voice spoke, “A fine hunting beast, that.”

Something in the voice caused many of the lesser fey assembled to tense and twitch with the base instincts to fly before a predator. The clanking of chains was followed by the appearance of three Undergoblins bound on leashes like hunting hounds emerging from the shadows, the heavy chains trailing back to the dark furred hand as the Black Goat of the Woods stepped forward. The shadows still clung to him slightly, as if he was somehow wearing it as a stalking cloak, his eyes glinting, just as his tarnished crown that rested on his brow around his massive horns.

“A fine beast indeed, Dagmar, Blood-spiller, Bone-chewer. My child was foolish in so many things, but at least his actions saw the return of the great Barghest to us.”

Dagmar nodded and said “Thank you, lord.” with a note of respect in his voice, as he met eyes and gave the slightest inclination of his head to the great black and grey furred fey.

“So, you intend to turn the Barghest lose on the trail of M? A hunt of dangerous prey is always the best hunt, a true hunt. Not like the games that the Erl King now calls his great Wild Hunt.” The Black Goat of the Woods sneered, his features resembling a goat less, as he barred the sharp teeth of a predator.

“I would join this hunt, if nothing for the sport…and for a promise of one such beast, to add to my kennels,” spoke the lord of the dark woods, and wild growth.

“Then I will help you find one when we finish this.” said Dagmar, the weight of his words sealing the pact between himself and the Black Goat of the Woods.

“Call upon me when the hunt begins.” With a barked command at his chained Undergoblins, and a rough pull on their leashes, the Black Goat turned, his shield of black rotting wood and silvered club across his back, and then he simply stepped out of existence in Dagmar’s domain, the scent of a great forest, equal parts of the clean fragrance of cedar and fir, and the sickly sweetness of decomposing undergrowth and fallen leaves remaining in his wake.

“Well, if nothing else, he always does make an excellent exit,” piped the Magpie Prince from the chaise where he lounged, a piece of elaborately carved and richly upholstered furniture that was most definitely not something of Dagmar’s.

“Do you have anything actually useful to add, Prince, or can I get on with it?” Dagmar grumbled.

“Oh, no, please go ahead, my fine bloody friend.” Then, under his breath, but intentionally still audible to those close by, “I always liked Scrumrot better. At least he has the good sense to appreciate me.”

Visibly annoyed, Dagmar clenched his powerful jaw and stared at the Magpie Prince for a moment before continuing. "The fact that I have invited you to my realm and included you in this discussion should be enough validation."

“And what would you have of me, Dagmar? Certainly, you had the great insight to recognize I am always useful, and certainly my mere presence here, no doubt, lends weight, gravitas, and style to this endeavor, but you must know I have never cared for hunting. That’s what other people are for,” said the Magpie Prince, as he adjusted the cuffs of his shirts, and fiddled with several gleaming rings on his fingers.

Biting back his annoyance, Dagmar leveled his gaze at the Magpie Prince before speaking. “Your inflated self opinion aside, I have a use for you. I’ll get to it.”

“Well, I do hope you hurry, I have a ball to attend at Lost Hope, and while I always believe a host should be fashionably late, it has been going on for some twenty odd years, and I really should arrive before too long,” the Prince stated, as he casually ignored the insult. “Besides, you really keep the most appalling company sometimes; I can feel myself getting more common the longer I sit here. I swear, hardly a noble cartographer or tailor amongst this lot, which as we all know are the two most vaunted and valued professions of all. Well, for those that need professions.”

“I...” Dagmar paused, determined not to let the annoying noble bate him, or give into his urge to simply try and eat the Prince, before continuing, “I am prepared to call in old favors owed and earned. We will need certain items, and since you always seem to have the knack for laying your hands on things that you shouldn’t be able to, and that probably have no business even existing, that is why you are here.”

“Favors owed and earned? Why, dearest Dagmar, are you suggesting that we clear the slate? Nothing more owed, and what you’ve earned gone to secure what you need? Well, well, well,” a sparkle lit the Magpie Prince’s eyes, and a slight breeze stirred about him, just as his excitement began to stir. “I am certainly open to negotiating such terms, though of course there are limits to what I may be willing to part with, though as all certainly know, there are no limits to what my great skill, cunning, and charm can procure.

“Though I won’t have to get dirty, will I? You know I can’t abide filth. Or cabbages. And most certainly not goldfinches. Jumped up little bastards think they’re better than their station. And all that garish yellow. It’s just unseemly. Who ever thought yellow was a color worth existing, I’ll never know, but I’d like to give them a piece of my mind. If it was up to me, which it really should be, as everyone knows I have impeccable taste, I’d do away with the whole thing. Why, certainly, everything would just be much better off without the blasted color, and those preening, useless little goldfinches. Do you know, the Marquis of Hollow Birch Wood once showed up to my revels at Broken Promise House? Can you even believe the nerve? Well, certainly I’d invited the uppity little finch, but to actually show up? Clearly he should have known he wasn’t welcome, and he should have been honored by simply receiving the invitation! Why, if Mother had been there, she simply would not have stood for it, and put that churlish little lout in his place. And he only brought a milkmaid with him. And she wasn’t even lovely. Perfectly plain looking, and simply reeking of manual labor! I really don’t see why we should tolerate that sort.  Certainly we can find another way to get cream. As it is, I’m almost put off it, thinking that some dirty little nobody has sullied the entire thing by working at it with their filthy hands, and their terrible, terrible, ugly plain clothing. I swear, not a single scrap of lace on her, that milk maid! They should certainly all be rooted out, and be made to suffer for the indignity they put me through, having to look at them! Goldfinches, milkmaids, and the color yellow, the whole lot. Stamp them out, every last one, and then maybe they’ll learn...what is it we were talking about?”

And as suddenly as it started, the Magpie Prince’s little tirade was done, and he settled back down on to the chaise, and snapped his fingers and a servant in absurdly ostentatious livery brought him a crystal goblet of pale wine, and he turned to the not entirely accurate, and overly flattering portrait of himself that another servant was holding next to the chaise, as if it were hanging on the wall. “It really is quite a remarkable likeness, don’t you think Dagmar? If you’d like one done, I think I still have the artist about somewhere in a cupboard.”

Boggled by the Prince's rant, Dagmar just stared at him for a moment, then rubbed his chin "For this campaign, I need your talent of acquiring exotic things. We can discuss the details later, but first... Let’s chat about some personal business..." He paused, with a wide toothy grin. "So, that favor that Pan owes you..."

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 September 2014 13:38
 
Between a Mother and her Children PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mckell McIntyre   
Monday, 08 September 2014 11:18

Written by Melanie Blake,

 

Called once again to the Bone Spire from her dwelling within the Fen Bog, Amelia Blytwynn shifted uneasily in her wrought iron seat. The ivory gavel thudded heavily upon the old oak lectern, indicating that the third unscheduled meeting of the Mortis Council in as many days had begun. More of her family must be missing. All gazes shifted towards the front of the room as the somber voice of their Mother echoed throughout the hallowed hall.

"As it stands, our couriers have yet to reach the Concordant Caravan to bring news and warning to the Dead among them." Lilliana's eyeless gaze shifted to the bespectacled Vampire seated to her right. "Lord Von Klaus has brought word of the disappearance of one of the last remaining vampire lords. Lady Callandra DiSangue has vanished from within her own home. Everyone who was present within the manor at the time reports the presence of the Black Mist."

A collective gasp escaped the council. Amelia instinctively placed her hand over her torso as she felt an age old ache, emanating from her stab wounds. Glancing around her, she noted that Amaria was running her finger along the mortal gash across her throat. Seyriss was absently rearranging his phalanges, and Raithe's eyes began to emit an eerily dark shade of green. Her brothers and sisters were just as afraid as she was.

"Who among you would still deny the involvement of Anton Barr, Philippe, and," Lillana seemed to choke on the next word, as though she had to chew on it, "Baltus Vex?"

The memory of Baltus the Blessed brought a hushed sorrow to the room. Vladimir leaned in and began to speak.

"The Countess feels that such abnormally brazen moves by Philippe suggest that he is readying for something much larger than anything he has attempted before. Perhaps he means to make for his end game?"

Lilliana, resting her skeletal hands upon the table once again addressed the gathering.

“Then we too should begin preparing, rather than defending. We must get word to the Concordant Caravan. Any move toward the offensive would be sorely lacking without them."

"All due respect mother, but we cannot afford to risk the life of another of our family on a suicide mission!" cried the restless.

"Raithe!" Lilliana scolded, as she brought her fist down upon the table, "knowing what we now do now, how could you possibly fathom that I could bring myself to send another courier, that I could knowingly throw any one of my Children to the Quelling Tree?!"

The Mortis Council erupted in a panicked outcry, "Mother, you don't mean...You can't!" choked Amelia.


"It isn't safe!" exclaimed Raithe.

"Send anyone else, Mother," cried Seyriss

Amaria coughed, "what if Baltus, Phillipe or Anton find you?"

Lilliana smiled grimly, "My dear children, I know you are concerned for my safety, and for this, I love you all the more. Yet, too long have I remained within the shelter of Entros while my beloved family put themselves at risk every day among the outlands and cities of Memora. The time has come for me to do what I must to protect my family and all of the other Strange Ones that the Tree has wronged. If and when those bastards find me my dear Amaria, I will invite the chance gladly. As Arx as my witness, I would dare them to seek me out."

With this, the Mother of Bones stood up slowly and deliberately from her seat.

"Spread the word of my coming to all reaches of Entros, my children. Vladimir, I will need you to give word to the Countess. The time has come again for War."

 

 
Last Updated on Monday, 08 September 2014 11:26
 
Dagmar's Hunt Part 2 - Desperate Measures PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mckell McIntyre   
Saturday, 06 September 2014 19:54

Part 2: Desperate Measures
Written by Ben Bell and Briana Westmoreland

In a still place, hidden from the world, there was a sudden crackling of power, as the barrier between that place and somewhere else was suddenly pierced.  Pox and Dagmar stepped out of the Fugue and into the darkness. The faint sound of breathing echoed all around.

Frustrated with the new environment, blinking blindly in the pitch black, Dagmar turned from side to side, trying to find something to focus on and growled "Damnit Pox, where have you led me now? The last time you played a game on me you led me to that stupid Caravan all those seasons ago!"

With a nasty chuckle that was more mischievous than humorous, Pox hissed in a lowered tone "I told you, Dagmar! I've got a surprise for you.”  Her eyes perfectly suited to seeing in the dark from the countless eons spent dwelling in the lightless caverns of the Underdeep, Pox circled around Dagmar, clearly enjoying his discomfort.  “Besides, you had fun with the caravan, don’t even try and lie.”

Dagmar turned his head, looking for danger, or anything else to turn his attention to, but the only break in the complete darkness of the place was the glinting of Pox’s green eyes.  Dagmar growled again, but his voice lower this time, "At least Scrumrot and those Xsawahs were okay. Most of the Caravan needed salt and potatoes though."

Pox's ears perked up "How is Scrumrot anyhow? I haven't seen him recently.  Is he still obsessed with that baby eating habit of his?"

Dagmar grumbled in a low gravelly voice "He's okay. He's out hunting for M." raising his voice in frustration he said "Now where the heck are we going?!"

“Keep your d-d-damned pants on, Dagmar.  I found him when I was exploring and I think you both have mutual interests! Now shut that m-m-massive mouth of yours and be quiet before you startle him and he eats us both!" Pox then unceremoniously grabbed his arm and led him through the darkness of the cave system. As they continued onward, the sound of breathing got louder, and distinctly lazy.

As they entered a cavern, the sound of breathing echoed off the walls. Pox dropped Dagmar's arm and put her hand on his shoulder to stop him. The sound of breathing was echoing all around the pair, and she peered around for the source.

Suddenly, the breathing paused, and then shifted. Whatever was breathing was no longer sleeping.

In a low growl, a voice emanated throughout the cavern, accompanied by a gust of dry, hot air, "a Redcap and an Undergoblin..." two small gouts of flame erupted from what looked to be a maw standing about the height of a man off the ground. The voice growled again "Tell me, before I crack your bones, and suck the bubbling hot marrow from them, why did you come here?"

Dagmar pointed to where he thought Pox stood. "It was her idea."

Pox’s hand swept out of the darkness and slapped Dagmar before shoving him forward. Stepping slightly behind him and placing her hands on her swords, she drew on her connection to Grimfrost and charged them with her most potent spells.

Dagmar looked blankly into the pitch black and said, "So uh... We want you to hunt with us."

The voice chuckled. Small gouts of flame erupted from its nostrils with each exhale. "And what could you possibly want to hunt that I would be remotely interested in?"

"We're looking for Fomor... Specifically, the leader of the Fomor." Dagmar said, feeling the heat of the creature’s breath on his face and chest.

"Preposterous" the creature snorted, gouts of flame shooting onto Dagmar's skin and dissolving upon impact, briefly illuminating the face of the Redcap and the dark rock of the cavern. "He hasn't been seen in ages."

"He's back" Dagmar insisted, as he faced towards the source of the heat.

"It's t-t-true! It's true!" Pox hissed out, as she moved further behind Dagmar, edging towards the entrance of the cavern.

Dagmar continued "We need an expert hunter to find Fomor -- especially him -- so that we can get rid of them. We heard legend that you were still around, and Pox has spent seasons attempting to find you. I am raising an army and calling in favors to find him. Not even the Erl King himself has risked this much to find... him. I can offer you safety in my realm, and we could swear Oaths to help each other."

Aside from the breathing of the large beast, there was silence inside the cave.

"Safety? In a realm?" The beast said.

"Yes. Safety in my realm." Dagmar reiterated, then continued "Outside of my realm I offer you companionship and a hunting partner. No favors either way, no games except ones we agree upon."

The silence resumed as the beast contemplated the nature of this offer. Few would be so foolish to make such an offer to one of its kind, what few were left.

"If the tales hold true, we should find many things to eat along the way, but we have to try and capture... him." Dagmar stated.

Aside from the creature's breathing, the silence resumed and seemed to drag on for ages.  After what felt like hours in the hot, close, darkness, the creature shifted, its eyes opening for the first time, illuminating the faces of the Redcap and Undergoblin with a baleful blue glow.

"Take me to your realm, Redcap. It has been too long since I have tasted Fomor," the creature growled, breaking the near silence, and stepping towards the pair of fey.

Despite the fact that it was her idea to come here, Pox couldn’t help but be surprised that it had actually seemed to work, and that both her and Dagmar were still alive. Letting out a breath that she hadn’t realized she had been holding, Pox gestured and opened a portal through the Fugue, the harsh light of someplace else suddenly spilling into the blackness of the cave, and the trio stepped through; the Redcap, the Undergoblin, and one of the greatest hunters the Fugue had ever seen.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 September 2014 19:56
 
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