DM Six months have passed since our lords returned home to Dragonfyre, victorious from their confrontation with vampire lord Gulthias Sengir. However, the realm had not sat quietly while they fought within the mists for almost a year. Giant incursions plagued the land, alarming the local rulers, causing a council of lords to be called.
DM The local lords have very little information regarding the crisis. Giants, ranging from ten foot tall ogres to flaming brutes towering nearly twice as tall, have been raiding the settlements. Usually in small bands, sometimes in veritable armies. Some of them even seem to have magic, appearing from nowhere, vanishing as quickly, always destructive and deadly.
DM Dragonfyre has not been passive regarding the raiders. Their militia has organized into dangerous squads optimized for rapid deployment against raiders, and packing nearly as much power. However, the improved tactics seem to be spurring similar advances within the raiders, with ogres wielding ballista as though they were crossbows, or giants bearing huge slabs of wood and steel as shields. Even more vital to the survival of man in the north however, Dragonfyre has information.
DM The giants that have been attacking human settlements are by and large, hill giants, frost and fire. There have been some stone and cloud giants, but no storm giants. Of the giantkin, they confirmed verbeeg and ogres, but no firbolg or voadkyn, march alongside their larger brethren.
DM The hill giants are led by Ruk the Reborn, a king who claims to be the progenitor of all hill giants. While this is considered a bit dubious, there does exist some solid evidence that there was a Ruk at one time, possibly a hill giant, or gigas of that persuasion.
DM The frost giants swear fealty to Jarl Grjotgard and Jarlinde Skadi Ottarsdotter, two fierce warriors. The jarl claims a line of descent from none less than the god Thrym himself, and Skadi is said to be from the offspring of Hrotun Ottarson, one of the first frost giants.
DM The fire giant king is Masud the Mighty, who bears a name that Julian, through no small amount of effort, has uncovered as the fire giant equivalent of Ruk, though whether the gigas was actually related or simply mythologically linked to the hill gigas has remained a question and likely an irrelevant one.
DM The giants aren’t the only threat however, the lords of Dragonfyre know. Wrack dragons, engineered eons ago by giantkind in their wars against the sons of Bahamut and daughters of Tiamat, have emerged back into the world. Verbeeg are not merely hulking thugs, but possess rune magic that bolsters giantkind. While it is of no concern to the local lords of the region, verbeeg rune magic can remove many traditional venues open to the magically talented, such as teleporting into a warded structure unannounced and slaughtering the offending giants in their sleep.
DM In addition, a threat not specifically linked to the giants themselves, but metallic cats have been assassinating blacksmiths throughout the land. Dragonfyre’s sources tie this threat to a warlord named Imperagon, the Son of the Dragon. This mercenary tyrant has been a player of concern for some time now, but has stepped up his plots. Kryss has managed to track the blade stolen from Baron Euphemes during the Brindinford Incident to Imperagon, as well as its history as once being part of the Blade of Fiery Might, wielded by the Sultan of Efreet. If reforged, Imperagon will draw a hundredfold what he has now to his banner, turning from a major threat to a major catastrophe for mankind. Whatever dark technology he has uncovered that provides him with these metallic assassins must be destroyed, and his ambitions along with it.
DM Of course, it is not all foreign warlords and giants threatening Dragonfyre. There have been rumors flying in the past month or so, in Brindinford, in Alsoor, in Drylake, even in Storgard. The Lords of Dragonfyre are not content with their sleepy village. They are building an army, and intend on overthrowing the barons, naming themselves Kings of the North.
Julian This last is a rumor Julian may have leaned into by leaking that the crown of Kamalot has resurfaced in Dragonfire hands.
Julian However, it remains just a rumor. At the council Julian makes it clear that his first priority for Dragonfire and its military is aligned with the other lords: putting an end to the giants’ devastation.
Julian “So. This is what we have learned.” he concludes upon sharing the intelligence they have gained. “What remains then is to decide what to do.”
DM At the meeting is Baron Euphemes of Brindinford, and Dragonfyre’s liege, as well as Baron Althon of Alsoor, Lord Carroway of Almaaz, Sir Miles Berrick of Blasingdell, Lord Regdar of Storgard, Lady Fiona of Gulvania and Lord Boaz of Heredon.
Julian “I would like to hear all views, but my own is that we cannot stay holed up in our fortresses. Stores held in the towns will last only so long. If the countryside cannot be made safe, lords and folk alike will starve, be it in months in less-stocked towns or years in well-stocked ones, but starve all the same.”
Julian “So I think we must find a way to go over to the offensive.”
DM Lord Carroway is the least supportive of any noble. He makes several comments about how Baron Euphemes is a weakling, the Dragonfyre lords are near race traitors for their association with elves, and that Almaaz will be the last standing should the giants push further south.
DM Baron Althon is concerned about how many lives will be lost if an army of men is brought…Against the Giants.
DM Lord Regdar agrees. Having aided the Storgard mountain men during the liberation, he finds it a waste of lives to throw men at giants in their homes and fortresses. “It would be better if a small but powerful strike force could be sent to mete out our displeasure with their aggression.”
Julian Julian nods in agreement. “Small numbers can be very powerful in the mountains where large forces may have problems bringing themselves to bear. And it is in the mountains that the lords of our enemies have made their strongholds.”
Kryss Kryss waits silently for Julian to give him permission to boil Lord Carroway’s skin off.
Julian “I have long experience fighting giants, especially hill giants. The high organization they have shown lately is not natural, they are born for small independent raiding bands. It is clear there is an unusual force driving this, and our best guess is it is their leaders – if a small force could bring them down, their armies may disperse.”
Julian Kryss will have a long time to wait for Julian’s permission to boil Lord Carroway’s skin off. However, the paladin does make a note to focus his population-poaching rumors in Almaaz.
DM “Who would we send for such a thing?” Baron Euphemes finally speaks, his eyes tired.
DM “What about Alaric?” Lord Carroway asks. “I have heard he was seen in the region, and surely he is fit for such things.”
Julian “Why should we send anyone in our stead? I think Lord Regdar is right, if we are to take the offensive this is not work for militias. Whose work is it then but knights and lords?”
DM Lord Carroway laughs. “Your leash grows ever weaker, Euphemes. Is this not a thinly disguised attempt to bring all in his ambition’s path out of their strongholds and away from their men? And then he emerges as the sole survivor…”
DM Lady Fiona glowers at him, and fingers the necklace of wolf fangs at her neck. She appears to be of the same mind as Kryss.
DM Regdar again nods approvingly at Julian. “And I volunteer to go. Storgard lies in the mountains and we have suffered their predations more than any here. My life for my people.”
DM “This is ridiculous, Lord Carroway,” Baron Althon protests. “Lords Julian and Kryss have always looked out for this population, time after time. Your prejudice against the fae clouds your judgement.”
Kryss “The Lords of Dragonfyre set out within the week, if not at dawn. Find your champions, if you care to, and have them meet us here.” Kryss jabs his huge finger on the map. “Feel blessed, the rest of you, that there are men and women who stand against the dark so you can rest and drink wine.”
Julian Julian, having anticipated exactly this response from Carroway, gives the response he had prepared. “I am of a mind with Kryss. We should not delay, our foe only grows stronger, and there is some magic behind him as we have all heard. As for your words, Lord Carroway. God keep such thoughts far from me. I know I have never lifted a hand against you nor deserved this insult, but if you fear being led into danger by the rest of our counsel, then perhaps you could turn your attention to the hill giants while the rest of us handle the more fearsome foes.”
Kryss “They’re only hill giants after all,” Kryss agrees.
DM Lord Carroway blanches. “Almaaz does not have the luxury of sending their leaders away to galivant around the countryside.”
Julian “Not even hill giants, Lord Calloway? They are the least of giants, I assure you. I myself slew several at once when I was but a young knight, even though I was alone and lightly armed.”
Kryss “I care not what they do in Almaaz and while I’m disappointed that you reap the benefits of the rest of our coalition, your leaders and your soldiers won’t be needed. Thank you for making the journey to meet with us.”
DM Sir Miles Berrick speaks up. “I am afraid I will have to forgo direct action. While Blasingdell stands for the region, I am too old to swing my sword against giants. However, I remember when Lord Kryss and Lord Julian came and saved our town from an orcish horde, led by an ogre. I remember our debt.”
DM Lord Carroway sputters, his face twitching as he tries to find angry words that don’t paint him as more of a coward than he already has been.
Kryss “Sir Berrick, please stay and assist us in our planning. Your wisdom is sharper than any sword south of Alsoor and more valuable by ten.”
DM “I will put the word out in Blasingdell. While the most talented mercenaries tend to make their way to Dragonfyre these days, there are still those stout of heart who make their home there.”
Kryss “Once Lord Shael arrives he will tell us of anything important we need to know,” Kryss says. “In the meantime, let’s review where we were most recently attacked and perhaps backtrack where they came from. So Dragonfyre was hit here and here 12 days ago at dawn…”
Julian “Thank you, Sir Berrick. Men of stout heart are never unwelcome.”
Julian Plotting information on a map seems to clearly indicate that the hill giant raids seem to trace back to a lair far in the northern mountains, agreeing with the lords’ other intelligence. The fire and frost giants remain harder to pin down, as they are more liable to move in and out by mysterious sorcery.
DM He feels a gaze on him as the Dragonfyre lords direct the council. Not the impotent anger of Lord Carroway either, but the steady yet weary eyes of his liege Baron Euphemes.
Kryss Kryss looks up and catches his eye, “Is there something you wish to add, my liege?” Kryss asks.
DM “You are doing excellent, Lord Kryss. As always. Pray, continue.”
Julian “A word my lord?” The Baron has not escaped Julian’s notice either, and he seeks to draw him away from the council table for a moment.
Kryss “Thank you milord,” Kryss nods his head at his benefactor, “A thought. Baron Althon? I retain the services of a fine group of craftsmen. If I were to send them to Alsoor during this campaign to help you increase productivity, I’m certain we could sorely use the support in the north.”
DM “Of course, Lord Julian.” While Lord Carroway’s eyes bulge as though Julian might knife the baron in the back the moment he gets him out of sight, Baron Euphemes stands tall and strides proudly.
Julian “You look very weary, my liege. Have you been able to rest?” is Julian’s question once they have privacy.
DM “I can still shoulder the mantle of leadership, Lord Julian,” the baron replies. “Though I hear I’ll not bear it much longer.”
Julian “Oh, yes, plotting to overthrow the noble order.” Julian sighs. “I hoped to shame Carroway into helping, but I think it cannot be done. But I actually thought, well… literally. Have you not slept well?”
DM “In truth…no. My dreams have been troubled. Perhaps I shall seek out that…Guild of Sleep? that seems so popular in Onella. Do you think they might be convinced to open a chapter in Brindinford? Or Dragonfyre?”
Julian “I have not heard of them, but perhaps they might. I will ask Lord Shael, he knows more of such things.”
Julian “And I thought you might say just that, I am sorry to say.”
Julian “Like seven years ago?”
DM “No. Not like seven years ago, thankfully. My mind is my own, clear, thanks to you.”
Kryss “… they’re huge so they need to eat pretty much constantly. That means they’re going to be going through a lot of food. Where are they getting all that food? They’re either foraging on the move or someone is provisioning them. Once we know that we’ll be able to decide how to starve them out,” they hear Kryss explaining from inside the meeting place.
Julian “All right. I am glad of it. But my lord, be on your guard. I had seen some signs about that though our old enemy is dead, maybe some pieces of his cult still are on the move.”
Kryss “We’ve also noticed that they struggle to hit a moving target at range. Perhaps crossbowmen on horseback could be effective.” Kryss continues.
DM The baron frowns. “I will make sure they are not lurking within our city. Once was far more than should have ever been allowed.”
Kryss “Lord Julian is a former cavalry man so he might be able to help train some teams.”
Julian Julian grimaces. “God willing it is only the cares of government, though. I have had sleepless nights myself during this war, more than I would like.”
DM “It is your intent then, to ride out for Brindinford against these giants? Personally?”
Julian “No less, my lord.”
Julian “I swore myself to your defense and Brindinford’s seven years ago, and I did not swear to send others in my stead.”
DM The baron nods. “Accomplish this, and I will name you my heir.”
Julian For the first time in the conference Julian encounters something completely unexpected, and it takes him a moment to reply. “My lord, I… thank you. Even that you consider it, I hold it a high honor.”
Shael Between one moment and the next, Shael seems to have appeared among the assembled. The Lord Shael seems unarmed except a dully glinting gauntlet decorating his left arm, of course any who can see through invisibility can see the blade he wears as well (still, considerably less than the literal armory he usually wears). “Hey, friends.” he says with overt familiarity, clapping Lord Boaz on the shoulder and eyeing Lord Carraway sideways and moving to embrace Lords Althon and Regdar.
DM “Let us return to the council. Your deeds for Brindinford will not go unrewarded.”
Julian “My lord.” Julian assents, and they return together.
DM Shael is greeted gladly by all assembled, save Lord Carroway.
Shael Lady Fiona receives a warrior’s grasp and the Sword Prophet of Ossington leans close to share private words with her; they are merely words of encouragement for the newly minted noble – ‘Dragonfyre stands with Gulvania.’
Kryss “Before we complete our business tonight, I would like to know if any of you can share any information about this Imperion person,” Kryss asks the assembled.
Shael “Lord Caraway!” he says loudly, his voice shaking the window panes, as he steps away from Lady Fiona, “There are rumors you mean to sit the war out like some soft-southerner? I don’t believe it – you and your people are Northerners, strong and hardy. Tell me it isn’t true?”
DM They shake their heads, the Lords of Dragonfyre have more information than any other holding in the region.
Julian “Why do you say it like that?” Julian whispers to Kryss, hiding a smile.
DM Carroway glowers. “I’ll not suffer such insults. Speak plainly, Lord Shael, you allow elves to walk among your holdings openly, false or no?”
Kryss “You think elves are real?” Kryss asks.
Kryss “No, I’m certain its pronounced Imperion.”
Shael He hmms musically, “You heard an insult in my words? Didn’t I say your people are strong, hardy Northerners?” his shoulders fall, “The only insult would be if you were milksop southerners, blind to the bow and weak in the sword.” he shakes his head violently, “No, I fought beside the men of Almaaz at Storgard and they are not!” he demands, his voice rising again to crescendo at the end.
DM “I think I’ve heard enough!” Carroway storms out of the meeting. “Almaaz will send a champion to represent their interests…the interests of the HUMANS of this region!”
Kryss Kryss looks offended and starts to follow.
Julian “A champion is the best we are likely to get of him, Lord Kryss.” Julian cautions.
Julian “In truth I thought it might be nothing.”
Shael Shael waves his hand vaguely, “I’m less concerned about a champion to gain you honor, that is the southerner way, and more concerned that Almaaz will honor our alliance and send men to the front-line to help stave the incursion… as our forces would do in the defense of your land.” he says the last as if an oath.
Shael “You are Northern-bred.” he recognizes and approaches the Lord with his hand outstretched, “Our personal feuds are for times of peace, in times of war we are brothers.” he demands.
DM Lord Carroway continues his retreat from his fellow lords and their plans.
Kryss “Let him go then and well hope his Champion is a better warrior than their Baron is a Baron.”
Shael “Ah, well…” Shael murmurs as if to himself but certainly loud enough for the others to hear, “…the people of Almaaz are certainly Northerners, but perhaps southern blood is too steep in their leaders.” he turns back to the assembled with the demeanor of one too dignified to chase a scared puppy around the room.
Julian “I’m sure his champion will be a fine warrior and a worthy aid to us.” Julian seeks to put a diplomatic finish on it.
Kryss “Does anyone else have a concern to share?” Kryss asks.
DM Lord Boaz considers. “How ‘small’ should this strike force be, Lords Dragonfyre? Too many men will surely run into the same issues as a small army, will they not?”
Kryss “As small as can still be effective. I’m thinking 10 to 12 men and women, split into two or three groups.”
Shael Shael, sitting next to Lord Boaz, mutters quietly to himself, “…be easier if I could just go by myself…”
DM “Simpler isn’t easier,” Boaz mutters back.
Shael He glances aside at the lord and shares a smile, shrugging uncomfortably.
Julian “Fourteen is a lucky number.” Julian suggests with a smile.
Julian “And much more than that, it grows difficult to make a camp undetected.”
Kryss “I’m certain we can put together an army of 14. This may be the smallest military task force in history.”
DM “Fourteen then. Heredon will not go unrepresented either.” He gives Kryss an arched eyebrow. “Smallest?”
Kryss “14 is barely a squad of infantry,” Kryss explains.
Julian “My lord likes to remind me I am shorter than one might think for a cavalryman.” Julian’s smile grows wry.
Julian “But so be it then.”
Julian The (remaining) lords finalize their plans in council…
Julian Once the champions are chosen, Julian immediately begins making preparations to depart, stocking the lordly war wagon with supplies and arms.
Julian He intends to leave in short order.
Kryss Kryss spends that evening reading to Emily until the sun comes up. He leaves her in Master Bing’s capable hands.
Julian When the appointed time comes the war wagon is waiting, stocked with supplies and armaments and with Bear Friend in the traces. Julian greets every lord and warrior and feasts them in the Great Hall of Dragonfire before they depart.
Julian Great Hall of Dragonfire
DM The company assembled, war wagon loaded and the journey north begins. The target, Rukhaus Steading, of the hill giants.
Julian Julian spends much time on the journey talking with Alhandra about Imperagon. The giants may be the greater immediate threat, but it is clear that the mysterious warlord has also earned himself a place on the paladin’s list.
Shael Shael lingers closely, Imperagon is an enemy of Ossington for violating the Peace of the Stones – he must be sacrificed to appease them.
DM Her chief concern is that he is sworn to Baal, a minor devil in a powerful court, rather than the metallic creatures that he appears to possess.
DM “You can never overestimate devils’ ability to deceive and bring misery into the world. It is a second nature to them.”
Julian “A sound warning and well taken. Lord Shael, was anyone able to give you a good description of the metal creature that killed our reeve Griswold in Ossington?”
Shael Shael nods absently, having spoken with a devil about this very matter.
Shael He provides the information he has about the creatures and Imperagon to any listening.
DM Alhandra laughs. “You lords have more information about my foe than I do. The Blade of Fiery Might? I would not like him to gain the power of such a thing.”
Julian “It’s odd that he seeks to reforge a blade and yet has his creatures out murdering smiths.”
Shael He shrugs uncomfortably, “Artifacts often have very particular means of destruction, and if you are seeking prophecies of who might stand against you… sometimes you can be misled.” he glances at Kryss for the briefest moment.
DM “What if the creatures learned of their victims’ skills?”
Shael He takes a slow breath, considering – "That is possible, I know of diabolic engines that can use souls to similar ends.
Julian “From the sound of it he could just as easily have taken Griswold as killed him, but… hm. Yes. Good thought. That is one way a dead smith could be useful to him.”
Julian While Shael is glancing at Kryss Julian glances at Shael, wondering if his fellow lord can think of any others.
Shael Shael looks back, startled. He wipes at his face, “What? Are there still crumbs from the waybread?” he looks mortified.
Julian “Hm? No, no.” Julian frowns, comparing Shael’s description of the beast to long-ago memories from under the Sunless Citadel.
Shael “It doesn’t really matter -” he says, rubbing his fingers together as he thinks.
Julian “I fought a beast something like this. Long ago, before I was even a knight.” he reminisces.
Julian “Alongside the famous Azario, do you remember him, Shael? It was the first great monster I slew, and by God, it stopped for nothing, not spears nor swords.”
Shael “- but, they are likely some remnants of Sardia. Living metal golems…” the unmetal gauntlet writhes quietly against his skin, “…quite fascinating, really. The foundries are primed even before the blade is forged.” he purses his lips and glances at Julian, “Azario? Yes, he’s quite famous, I’ve heard.”
Julian “We only defeated it when we were able to lure it into the deep pit of an ancient trap.”
Julian “Sardia… before the War?”
Shael He nods in agreement.
Julian “None of the ghosts of the old world rest easy, it seems.” Julian frowns. “It is very ill news if these are remaining weapons of the Great War that Imperagon has mastered.”
Shael “With Diabolic influence, it is unlikely he has ‘mastered’ them — tools granted by Baal for some service rendered or soul delivered.” Shael retorts disparagingly.
Julian “Maybe so. But they’ll fight us for him all the same, no? And they must be potent, since the weapons of the Great War overthrew the mighty men of old.”
Shael Shael makes the face he always makes when someone says something imprecise but not strictly inaccurate. “Sure.”
Julian “Maybe we can find a way to break his power over them, when the time comes. Even if it is the devils who grant it.”
Julian Julian sighs. “Or maybe not.”
Julian “Anyway.” He looks at the sun, setting now after a long day’s travel. “By my reckoning we’ll be in the vicinity of Rukhaus Steading tomorrow. Giants at least are flesh and blood and will cleave easier than those metal beasts.”
Shael “We might be able to disrupt them, but the control stones are probably well guarded and maybe not even in this world.” he smiles faintly at Julian, “We’ll be fine, I’ll protect you.”
DM “We will need to set up a base camp, well hidden,” Madoc Gywnth offers. “If we intend to make sallies against them, it would behoove us to have a point to fall back to, away from their grasp.”
DM “Ideally, in a cave or some other tight location where it is our size that is the advantage rather than theirs.”
Shael Shael nods in reply, “Yeah, that’s a real good idea.” he agrees.
Julian “And I you.” Julian nods to Madoc. “We should look for one, or else a narrow path to a high point, or failing either, a place guarded by a close thicket of trees that we can pass between but a giant not so easily. But a cave might be best.”
Julian “We’ll scout out the lay of the land in the morning.”
Julian “For now, my lords, Lady Alhandra, good night.”
DM Their last night of peace for some time to come, Loyal Readers! For tomorrow, they will begin a war upon the giants such as the world has not seen in over ten thousand years! Join us next week for the horrors of giant warfare!
Julian Julian also finds time to ask whether Alhandra has seen any signs of the draconic wracks Kryss described.
DM Not only has Alhandra never seen a draconic wrack, she has never heard of one. She is very curious to talk with Kryss to hear more about these dreaded creatures.
Kryss Kryss is not hard to find. He enjoys a routine when in Dragonfyre consisting of an early exercise session with his much despised infantrymen followed by a long swim in the river. After that he is in the forge supervising a crew of blacksmiths or visiting one of the other crafting shops in town. His afternoons are spent with Emily, barring any major emergencies, although she is often no more than a stones throw from him any other time of day. He hosts a meal each evening for any who care to attend wherein he discussed the news of the day with travelers or gives advice to the townsfolk when asked.
Kryss After Emily goes to bed Kryss goes to work. He stays up late each night obsessing over Shatterspike. After initially taking the weapon apart, the idea Kryss had in mind for the sword disappeared. It takes weeks for him to finally be struck with the solution to his delimma, during a conversation with Shael one night.
Kryss He also makes time to help out in the logging camp. A borrowed axe from one of the lumber jacks in his hands makes short work of even the largest trees but without Shatterspike the mighty lord is less impressive to his coworkers than before.
Kryss While he doesn’t like to be disturbed at night, he does his best to convey an approachable attitude and always keeps a pocketful of silver coins to hand out to children for sweets.
DM Emily spends most of her free time lavishing attention upon the infant Tom Bing has allowed her to care for. She proudly shows it off whenever asked, and claims that she’s going to be as good a mother “as Mama.”
Kryss Kryss asks her one day where the infant came from.
DM Emily claims that her mother fell from the sky. Tom Bing explains that the woman was running through the forest on the route back to Dragonfyre, and after determining that she posed no threat to Emily, allowed her to travel with them back south. As they were staying off the main roads to avoid Sengir’s patrols, the additional company didn’t pose an added security risk.
Kryss “Well judged Master Bing. Where is the mother now?”
DM Tom Bing brings her before the Lord of Dragonfyre, she has been helping to prepare meals and clean the house in Kryss’s absence.
Kryss Kryss looks the woman over from his chair at the head of the dining table. “Lord Julian, may I present to you Ms… I fear I do not know her name. She aided Tom Bing in seeing Emily safely back to Dragonfyre after…” he trails off before reliving the tragic memory.
Kryss The three lords each sit have a place at the head of the long table that runs the length of the Great Hall, Shael and Kryss sitting to either side of Julian.
DM “Bellendora, if it pleases your lordships,” the woman bows awkwardly.
Kryss “It pleases me indeed. I owe you a debt. What would you ask of me, that I have in my power to bestow?”
Julian “Miss Bellendora,” Julian greets her. “You come to us from Drylake?”
DM “Um, I do not want for anything here. This realm is rich, I have a full belly and a nice place to sleep every night. Please, allow me to continue my service in your home. And no, my lord, I do not know what Drylake is.”
Julian “Then from where, might I ask?”
DM “My home until recently was in Ankovya, my lord.”
Kryss “Dark magics there of late,” Kryss replies. “Did you escape?”
DM “A strange man, black of skin like polished firestone, came to me one night and told me that the village would be destroyed. That the Abbot could not save us, and that if I wished to survive, I would take my daughter Marie and leave that very night. What choice did I have? I ran.”
Kryss Kryss looks to Julian for a morale opinion.
Julian “This seems a portentous appearance. Is there anything else you can tell us of it? And… may I ask, do you and i have an acquaintance in common?”
Julian “A storyteller and collector of tales?”
Kryss “Ibn?” Kryss guesses.
Kryss “You suspect him of being the mysterious visitor?”
DM “Oh you know Azario? He is very famous, but it was not he who warned me off. The man who did so…he almost looked like an angel, or the son of holy God, though I would not have said of such a being to have skin so dark before I met him.”
Kryss Kryss leaps to his feet. “AZARIO!!” he roars. “My dearest friend!”
Kryss “Very famous indeed. His name is known from blasingdell to brindinford at least! Where did you see him? How is he? I thought him dead.”
Kryss Kryss loses track of the angel completely in hopes of hearing more about his dearest companion.
DM “I fear my lord greatly overestimates my familiarity with the grand bard. He came to Ankovya to tell stories, but that was his profession. He wandered in every few seasons or so. I remember his recent song, though.”
DM “One to be born from the dragon, hoisting the gold and the flame, arises high up in the sky to the still land. Veiling the moon with the light of Eternity, it brings a new promise to Mother Earth with a bounty and mercy.”
Kryss “Typical Azario,” Kryss replies, sitting back down.
Kryss “What did you do for a living before you left?”
DM “I gathered herbs and plants in the woods most days, and sold or exchanged them in town.”
DM “Some days I would work in the temple for the Abbot.”
Kryss “Julian, I understand that you and Shael have discussed the problems plaguing her homeland?”
DM “Do you mean the wolves, my lord? While ferocious, they have never harmed me nor mine, as long as my family can remember.”
Kryss “I wish my family had proven immune to the dark forces in Gulvania,” Kryss laments.
DM “My lord? No one is truly safe there. Outside of the Abbot’s protection, there is much to fear.”
Kryss “Well, I welcome you, Bellendora, and I offer you a place in my household for as long as you wish with fair pay. It also seems the that any childcare assistance you may require will also be provided.”
DM “Your daughter seems to have taken a liking to mine, my lord, and I am glad for her assistance.”
Kryss “So long as you remain a citizen of Dragonfyre, Master Bing will ensure that she is treated and educated as a sister to Emily and neither of you will want for good food or shelter. I do ask that if your mysterious angel returns with more wisdom that you inform someone on your way out. Preferably Lord Julian if it occurs after last watch.”
Julian “I am glad you arrived here safely, Miss Bellendora, and thank you for the news of Azario. In truth I had another in mind.”
DM “I knew most folk in Anakovya, my lord. Nearly all of them loved stories. Perhaps your friend lives there still.”
Julian "After a fashion, maybe, but your vision was true, I am sorry to say.
DM “Ill has befallen our village?”
Julian Julian nods. “Did the child’s father remain there, may I ask?”
DM Bellendora looks sad. “Marie’s father was killed before she was born. He foolishly marched against the Devil Sengir in a mighty army led by a foul wizard of pride and vanity. They were cut down, all of them slaughtered. Marie will never know her father.”
Kryss “I too have felt the stab of Gulthias’s knife in my heart, but consider your husbands death avenged.”
DM “Then the rumors are true? You have slain the Devil Sengir?”
Kryss “It was… uh… these lady vampires I think. Or something, right Jules?”
Julian “Yes, Lord Kryss, we battled several of his cursed brides as well.”
Julian “But yes, Miss, he is slain.”
Julian "Her father must have been a bold man to go against the vampire while he still walked. Was he a veteran of the even wars by chance? I heard tell that such a man fell in battle at the Spire. "
DM “Yes, he was a veteran of the elven wars. His name was Ogden.”
Kryss “Would you excuse me a moment? I need to wash my hands.”
Julian Julian at last lets go of the part of his mind that has for seven years been quietly wondering whether kryss is a little bit evil.
Kryss “It seems I have the gore of my enemies still stuck under my fingernails,” he sucks noisily at a thumbnail.
DM It having been weeks since they’ve seen combat, this is most foul.
Kryss Kryss chuckles evilly as he exits the great hall.
Julian “Well. Even if we did not welcome new folk here, Miss, in light of your husband’s service against the vampire I feel we could hardly honorably turn you away.”
Julian “Please keep your place here with my blessing, or if you should prefer it – and I think you might find it to your liking – we can also find a place for you in our lands in Ossington.”
DM “Really? Ossington? I’ve heard whispers that strange creatures live there.”
Julian “The fairies are in the forests thereabout, Miss, but the town itself is peaceful and untroubled, and you might find it more alike to your home in Ankovia than the bustle here. But either way we shall take you in, and I pray that young Marie will grow into a goodly girl under our care, as I am sure she shall.”
Julian Julian writes a letter to Mialee inquiring whether the half-elven wizardess would be interested in work on behalf of the fief, to be repaid with some of the items of power the group recovered from Sengir.
Julian He dispatches another to the Church in far-off Onella recording his religious findings respecting the ancient history of Pala and her links to Tal, as well as noting “Apollo” as the translation of Tal’s name into the tongue of the ancients.
DM Mialee’s response is swift in coming, and she is interested in what they have planned.
DM The church in Onella has not sent a response by the time the lords of Dragonfyre have gone off Against the Giants.