Written by Jay L.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:11
The wagon train rolled to a stop amid a cloud of trail dust. The lead wagon driver, a weary looking man wearing the emblem of the Caravel was overwhelmed by the sense of comparative silence unbroken by the plodding of beasts and the squeaking of axles. He took a look around at the small dark glade and the lodge under construction in its center. To the driver, it looked more like some sort of library than a proper lodge, but these heroes always wanted things their own way. All in all it was a right creepy place, but he had to admit that it had a sense of rightness about it that was hard to identify. This was the second of these new estates that he had been to on behalf of the Caravel. He didn’t know what all the fuss was about with these new things, but it was clear the Concordant Council was throwing in behind these endeavors, and was routing all sorts of materials to help defray the initial building costs.
The foreman of the workers ambled over and put his foot up on the front wheel while offering up a waterskin. “Afternoon, was expecting you a couple days ago. We are almost completely out of mortar here.”
The driver gulped down a few mouthfuls to clear enough dust to speak. “Well, you know well enough we are a bit lucky to have made it this far without troubles. Be glad we are here at all. How is this one coming?”
“Well enough, this one has some sort of section entirely for books, makes the basic lodge plan hard to work, but we’ll get it there. Guess this one isn’t the worst. I heard one place is half buried in a swamp, and no one can sleep there for fear of the worst nightmares. I hear every one of these estates is in the ass end of nowhere”
The driver laughed at that. “Even worse, some poor bastard is having to outfit a ship of some kind. Bet it won’t hardly float when they are done. Crazy ass heroes. Never will figure them out. Can’t hardly stand when they are around, but no doubt times are changing and we will need them. Caravel is pulling out all the stops these days, even sending loads from the Vault in some cases. I been on a few of these plots now, and let me tell you in the all the places I have been, there is nothing that feels quite the same as these things. It likes like they belong here is some strange way.”
The foreman gestured at the new tents set up in the distance. “We aren’t the only ones who notice. I don’t think the Heroes have even been here yet, they just send the plans, and tell us what to build and how it ought to look, but see all the people that flock to these areas. Looking to set up new homes and help out around here. In another year, this place will be a small fort of some kind. Had some cartographer come through on behalf of the Wayfarers making sure the local area was mapped out well and proper for future expansion. Times, they are a changin.”
The two men pondered the implications of their thoughts in silence for a moment. The foreman motioned to the left “Alright pull up over there and let’s unload. I got a feeling this is just the beginning of a lot more work like this.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:30
Dagmar's Hunt Part 5 - Of Blood and Bone
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 6 -Behind Enemy Lines
Written by Tim Frank, Ben Bell
Monday, 13 October 2014 20:34
Part 6: Behind Enemy Lines
Written by Ben Bell in collaboration with Timothy Frank
As the Concordant Council’s meeting was drawing to a close in the dim lighting of candles, Edict leaned in and said to the Firstborn of Shadowmaw “We have Fomor among us.”
The Firstborn, startled, said in a loud tone “Fomor are among us?”
Sensing that the mystery had been revealed, Meridoch seized the moment and announced his declaration. “PEOPLE OF MEMORA, I AM MERIDOCH!”
In an instant, Dagmar leapt upon Meridoch and immediately began to rend his flesh and spirit, hearing no more of the monologue that Meridoch thought he would give. In a matter of seconds, Meridoch freed himself, and Dagmar leapt again.
Grappling the exemplar of the Fomor a second time and burying his powerful jaws into his flesh, Dagmar began to rend Meridoch’s flesh and spirit bite by gruesome bite. Feeling the leeching effect upon his spirit of the Redcap’s magic, Meridoch spun around and evoked his magic upon Dagmar. In an instant, the Redcap vanished from the Prime and was cast into the Deep Fugue where he was encased in an Infernal prison.
Furious at his circumstances, Dagmar keened the prison and studied its construction for a moment. Noticing a new arrival, a faceless and amorphous being with a golden sheen moved over towards him. Dagmar looked away from the prison at the sign of the creature’s movement and observed the Fomor moving towards him.
As the Fomor moved closer to the cage, its faceless body spoke. “The mighty Dagmar. Devourer. Breaker of Bones. The Bloody Maw. Eater of the Abyss. Prisoner. Fool. Captive. Here you sit, captured by your desire and bested by our master.”
Dagmar glared at the Fomor as it continued its lecture.
The Fomor continued. “Did you truly think that you could consume our master so easily? Did you truly think that your trivial war would really be so successful against us? Surely even a simple being such as a Redcap should know that we can be anywhere at any time, in any face we choose to take. Did you really think you could catch us all at the Concordant Council’s meeting? You may have caught one of us, but there were more of us there. To your credit, we didn’t think you bright enough to keen one of your beloved Xsawah. Regardless, you are still a disgrace to be considered a Shining One.”
Lazily touching the cage, the Fomor’s form transfigured to mirror Dagmar’s own.
“You know, you really have done a magnificent job of making it easy to infiltrate so many groups of mortals. We thank you for that.” The clone said, as it attempted to assume Dagmar’s voice and speech pattern.
“Since you’ve already won this game, I suppose I should tell you that there’s one thing you forgot.” The imprisoned Redcap said, with the Fomor repeating every word in unison with Dagmar.
“What?” The clone asked as it leaned in curiously towards the cage.
“That I can break these cages easier than you can construct them!” Dagmar and the clone said in unison – when suddenly the Clone realized what it had just stated. Dagmar easily punched through the cage wall, grabbing the Fomor by the skull and burying his black-nailed thumbs into his clone’s eyes.
Now bound into a form, the Fomor panicked and screamed in agony as Dagmar quickly crushed the skull of his clone with a sickening crunch. The scream echoed throughout the Deep Fugue, where sound seemed to reverberate and reality seemed to ripple.
With a deft movement, Dagmar sprang from his cage on top of the Fomor and buried his maw into the exposed cranium of the Fomor, devouring its brain in a few seconds and consuming it’s essence as it’s form disintegrated.
Looking around, Dagmar saw a massive hallway resembling a dungeon-like labyrinth containing a multitude of cages being attended by Fomor. As the sound of the screams continued to supernaturally echo and reverberate, the other Fomor looked up and witnessed the aftermath of what had just occurred.
With blackened fingernails and the Fomor’s blood still on his hands, Dagmar reached into a pocket of his leathery kilt with a wicked, toothy grin. Erupting into maniacal laugher, Dagmar exclaimed “IT’S FEEDING TIME!”
Producing a small charm resembling a Magpie, Dagmar activated the magic item that the Prince had loaned him. The foundation of the prison in the Deep Fugue shook and quaked as a shockwave emanated in all directions from the Redcap.
A brilliant flash of light replaced the shockwave, and when it subsided the entire militia of Fey had blinked into the Deep Fugue around Dagmar. If the Fomor had expressions, it would be one of shock and horror as they gazed upon the group of Trolls, Undergoblins, Redcaps, a Barghest, and the Black Goat of the Woods.
Taking advantage of the confusion, Gorehowl raised his horn carved from the trunk of a tree. With a blast of sound combining the bellowing from the horn as well as a thunderous roar from the militia, the carnage began…
OUT OF PLAY NOTE: Players, you can learn about this story’s information via random people in Memora who are freed from cages between the September, 2014 social and the October. 2014 event. Be creative! These random people could be people drunkenly raving at pubs, or even someone close to your character. Friends, siblings, relatives, parents, you name it! Regardless of which method you choose, the story is the same.
Dagmar's Hunt Part 4 - Three Fae walk into a bar
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.