October 13, 2013
Heading off to War
After a grueling 24 hours of marching, the Crew and the Elven host finally reached the staging area just outside the ruined city of Cewlynvian. There were more Elves here, known as the Celwynvian Watch, a group of Farstriders led by a beautiful Elven woman named Shalelu Andosana.
Paal speaks with some Elves while helping them fletch some arrows. He earns the respect of Nalvalas Silvanthalas or his skill at making arrows and they reveal to him some of the general feelings of the Farstriders about the upcoming battle, the drow and the inclusion of 'outsiders' in their war.
Snargash spends some time speaking with one of the camps healers, a Desnan priest named Beren Felagund. They discuss tactics on how to best support the warriors.
Aragon spends some time searching the camp for other Bladedancers, but does not find any. He assumes that most Bladedancers would not be found in such a back-woods predicament.
Bodi spends some time eating, sleeping and scoping out the female Elves of the camp while Guy and Aethel focus on resting.
|An Elven War Council|
Eventually the Crew is summoned to a dinner and strategy planning council. They are served and eat a wonderful meal of roasted vegetables and bread then after, Eviana introduces Shalelu and some other important Elves. Shalelu gives a basic rundown of the situation and points out important areas on a map of Cewlynvian. She describes the Drow, their tactics and possible places of defense as well as their demon allies and the possible inclusion of an angry green dragon that she has personal issue with.
Eviana then asks the Crew to be involved in the battle set to begin the following morning. She asks them if they can be a strike force sent to secure the old Library, an important point along the main route the army is to take into the city.
|The Crew will take the Library during the Battle for Cewlynvian|
Kaerishiel, of course, tries to throw a fit and attempts to have the Crew left back to guard the camp, but Eviana will not allow it, if the mission is accepted. The Crew, always up for a challenge, accepts the quest. The planning session is shortly concluded and everyone heads back to their resting places to prepare for battle.
On the way back to their camping area, the Crew is approached by pair of Elves, Sairalindë and Findecáno, who ask to join their mission. They offer magical and ranged capabilities to help in the coming engagement with the Drow. After some conversation, their offer is accepted.
Continuing Story Summary
The Crew makes it back to their camping area. They are tired from a long day of marching and strategizing, but the excitement of the impending battle has everyone on edge. The plan calls for the assault on the Library to begin just as the morning sun hits the tallest spires of the fallen city. Everyone knows they need to catch some sleep, nevertheless, most are still awake.
Though it has settled down a bit, the camp in the surrounding forest still buzzes with a quiet energy. Sentries are posted and everyone is on high alert in case of a Drow assault in the night.
As the council disperses the monk seeks out Beren. He recalled a couple of questions which he had meant to resolve while in Crying Leaf. While serenading the town however the matter had slipped his mind but in the questions regarding the Drow’s capabilities he recalled the vial of Drow poison which he had been carrying since their first encounter with one beneath the city. Walking up to the cleric he pulled the vial from his harness and held it out time asking, “Brother, there’s something I’ve been wanting to find out since our capture of the first Drow agent at the base of the Riddleport arch. I took this vial of their poison from her possessions in order to investigate it’s nature and hopefully determine what it’s antidote might be or better yet some sort of prophylactic to render it impotent it before hand. At the very least I need to learn enough about it to identify it from it’s effects in order for Raag Nontoxicum to neutralize it magically. What can you tell me about it?”
Beren takes the vial from Snargash and holds it up, swirling it a little, examining it. “The Drow are notorious with their poison. If I had to guess, I would say that it is sleep poison, designed to quickly incapacitate anyone afflicted by it. As far as an antidote, I know of none. The alchemy of the Drow is based deep in the Darklands. It focuses on minerals, fungi and animal material not found on the surface. As for an antidote, we know none, though staying out of the way of their crossbow bolts is useful,” he smiles. “Through the will of Desna, I can bless others with a resistance to poison, though that is not guaranteed, and I can also rouse some from their drug induced slumber if Desna wishes it to be. The poison is not permanent and I have only seen it last for an hour at most, though that is far too long to be unconscious on the field of battle, especially with the Drow.
The half-orc’s face brightens at the knowledge. “Well, something I can actually use then! While the Three Friends of the Windblown aren’t suited to deliver such for martial use, it can be very helpful in treating someone who is badly injured - perhaps even necessary to simply be able to treat them. Can you suggest approximate dosage for that? We usually use acupuncture to try to block a patient’s pain but it’s efficacy is limited - perhaps coating the needles with this would increase it. Ah, but I’m sorry - this a conversation to save for another evening should the Ladys bless and guard us through the morrow. Desna’s night brother; may she grant you safe and restful sleeee, um, refreshing and enlightening meditations.”
A strange look crosses Beren’s face as he begins to understand that Snargash was talking about using the Drow poison as some sort of medical aid. He shakes his head to take himself away from the horrible places his mind was racing to then smiles weakly at Snargash. “Yes, brother, may your rest be fulfilling this night.” He turns and leaves.
Before finding his blanket, Paal takes a quick climb up the most appropriate tree he can find for a view of the actual approach they must take tomorrow. Even though his night vision is not a sharp as the elves, he still wants to put his own eyes on their planned trail before they move in a few hours. He takes a moment to note a few places that could provide shelter against greater numbers or an alternate route to their objective. Then he climbs back down and replays the image in his mind as he goes to sleep, dreaming the approach to the library he is about to undertake.
Bodi is excited and concerned at the same time. The last battle with the Drow didn’t go very well. After he chased off the Shadow Demon he was swarmed with poisoned crossbow bolts. He made it a point to work more on his movement and acrobatics to aid himself in dodging such attacks, but wondered if it would be enough.
Bodi then retired to his tent, securing all of his equipment. Making sure the rapier was sharp, the scabbard secure, his cloak clean and ready, string on the crossbow was taught. Satisfied that his equipment was as ready as it would be, he tried to close his eyes. Something was missing. The stars were bright, he wandered out of his tent looking up at the sky. He licked his lips, a slight sense of thirst hit him. Yes, a glass of wine would be a nice way to cap off the night. He wondered if he had any left from before, but still was it truly wine that he craved?
Just then a familiar voice called out to him, “Having trouble sleeping?”
Eärwen called out to him and Bodi smiled. That was what was missing, the company of a good woman the night before battle. Bodi turned, half surprised she showed up, and partially expecting her to be there. He flashed her a wry grin.
“We will be taking on quite a challenge here my dear. Your friend, Kaerisheil would just as well see us all dead if not at the enemy’s hands, then at his own.”
She started to shake her head and put her hand up, but Bodi took a step closer to her and grabbed her hand and gently curled it in and kissed it. “Not to worry there sweetheart. One way or another we will prove him wrong. Either I will win the day for you or I will die valiantly, but just to have this moment with you makes it all worth it. Sure some fight for money, and some fight for power, but I fight for love, and without it, life just ain’t worth livin’.”
Eärwen was caught off guard by Bodi’s words, and before she could react he pulled her in closer by her hand, wrapping his left arm around her waist and pulled her in close to him under the scintillating lights of the evening stars. “Give me some sugar baby…”, and they kissed a passionate kiss…..
After several hours, Eärwen gathers her belongings and quietly makes her way out of Bodi’s tent. “We have a busy day tomorrow, get your rest, you will need it. I will see you on the field of battle, friend.”
Bodi takes Eärwen’s hand and gives it one more kiss as she leaves for the evening. He lays down in his tent, again making sure that his armor and weapons are at the ready. Yes, love or lust, he will fight for passion and the moment.
He drifted off to sleep, satisfied mentally and now physically. Sleep came quick to him, as he tends to live for the moment, and for the moment, he was still blissful and relaxed. He would drift off to sleep with thoughts of the lovely Eärwen on his mind and not a care about the battle or if he would live or die the next day….for now….this moment…..he was living like a king. (Hail to the King baby.)
Oblivious to the passion occurring just across camp, Aragon sat, sharpening and oiling his blades. Zenith and Nadir had been with him since he had left the Temple of Air and Steel. They bore many nicks and scratches from their many battles, yet still they endured. As would he.
Wiping them with a rag, he slid his swords into their scabbards and paced into a clearing, where he sought to clear his mind, preparing once again to challenge the Ninety-seven Steps. He did not pause as he usually did, but launched directly into Dragon Rises Over The Mountain. His blades whispered out of their sheaths in unison, and soon were slicing through the air. Wild Horse Tosses Mane. Grasping Bird’s Tail. Scorpion Claws Strike. He flowed through the darkness like quicksilver.
It was effortless, he was ready, he would definitely kill more of the foul Drow than Bodi or Kaerishiel! Their skills were no match for a Bladedancer!
And with that thought, he stepped wide. Just an inch, but then the next step was off, too, by a greater amount. He had to flex to bring Nadir up from the grass to make Cloud Hands, but then Zenith crossed too late, the blades met. A sharp tang! broke the night’s stillness. Aragon stumbled and stopped. His head hung low, hiding his eyes. He swore.
“The 90 Dancesteps of Doom?” a voice calls out in the darkness. “My brother was a Bladedancer. I can never remember the silly names he came up with for his moves.” Aragon turns to see a tall, slender Elf leaning near a tree nearby. She is dressed different from the majority of the Elves here, she is in plate and chain covered by a flowing blue cloak. “I am Tári, Tári Melwasúl, of Kyonin.” She steps forward into the pale light of the clearing. He can see a tattooed line curving across her face. Not Elvish style, more Varisian style, if he reads it correctly.
Aragon scowled. “It is called the 97 Steps, not the ‘90 Dancesteps of Doom’. He was still breathing heavily. He returned Zenith and Nadir to their places on his shoulder. “Your brother was of the Temple of Air and Steel? Did you taunt him with your memory failures for your own amusement, or are you really incapable of remembering something simple that was in all likelihood very important to him?”
Tári smiles playfully at Aragon, “Well, that was so long ago, you know. But yes, I am sure that I taunted him then as I do you now, for my own benefit. Does it bother you that much that I don’t know that much about something that is unimportant to me?” She carries herself as someone of very few years, but Aragon briefly locks eyes with the woman and sees that her eyes are hard and gray, telling of many years. “It did always so bother Maeglin when I did it.” She begins giggling lightly. “Probably why he spent so much time away from home back then. He always was a little childish and petty. The little things got to him so much sometimes.”
He looks her up and down, then says, “So you show me the same disrespect that you showed your brother. How charming. No wonder he chose to keep other company.
“Tari Melwasúl, I find ignorance annoying, willful ignorance more so. That you value yourself so little that you would cast yourself as stupid to make a first impression would sadden me if I gave a damn. As it is, I will just wish you luck in the struggles tomorrow. Slay many Drow. Good night.”
She starts to say something, then stops, nods her head and Aragon, turns and walks quietly into the forest, disappearing from sight.
After his conversation with Beren the monk returned to his tent to check his gear and ready it for sleep once he completed his meditation on The Mysteries of the Nocturne Stellarum. As he was drawing his hocchiku from his webbing he heard from nearby a familiar metallic note and understood its significance. He left his tent and began walking toward its source thinking, “While he would never admit it, he’s too tense with the anticipation of tomorrow’s challenge to allow his chi to flow, although he’s certainly progressed well in that element of his practice these last weeks. Should either of us die tomorrow it would be good to have practiced together on the eve of the battle as when we first met and a good last memory should one of us survive.” As he approached the clearing he heard the voices of his friend and an Elven woman he did not recognise. The icy tone was likewise familiar even if unexpected to hear with an elf other than Kaerishiel, though he knew that some here agreed with their Captain regarding the crew’s presence. Respecting their privacy he waited in the shadows until the bladedancer coldly dismissed whoever had invoked his ire. Ignoring the look of irritation as he approached, he simply bowed in greeting saying to him, “Good evening, my friend. As I still need to perform my day as well as evening devotions, if you wish to repeat yours then I would be delighted to join in our practices together once more.”
Aragon looks around the empty clearing and nods. “Thank you, Brother. I do think I need to make another go of it, and your presence does lend a useful nature to the Dance.” He proceeds to the center of the grass, centers himself. “You may proceed at your leisure.” After a time, the music starts, and the Dance begins again.
Eventually everyone finishes up their evening activities and heads to bed to get some sleep before the battle begins in the morning. As it is, most will already be missing some sleep heading into the following day.
Cast of Characters:Aethelarian "Aethel" Flitterseed - Noble Elf wizard played by +Daniel White
Aragon Whisperwind - Elven Bladedancer played by +Arne Jamtgaard
Bodil "Bodi" Jantzen - suave and smooth swordsman played by +Mike Biancone
Guy Greystone - Gnome telekinetic played by +Gren Drake
Paal Ulfsun - Northman Human ranger played by +Ben Zittere
Snargash Windblown - Half-Orc monk played by +Amergin O'Kai
and +Jason Woollard as the DM