November 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm #1547
Grimeye’s long reign of terror comes to a bloody, explosive end, under a star strewn sky, on a dark night, atop an unassuming, flower covered hill in the middle of Shen Ling’s forests. He fell for the trap, believing he had shattered Shen Ling’s defenders during the day, and tracked down the Lord of Shen Ling and his last retainer as the wee hours of night crept cold over the land. A dozen Bugbear scouts, a handful of his terror guard orcs, and two mountain trolls had carefully surrounded the hill in the darkness when they spotted the two silhouettes, standing a lonely guard on the cold windy heights of the hill.
Grimeye’s Shaman’s each concurred with a nod, their divinations revealing one of the distant figures was indeed Daidoji Quan, Lord of Shen Ling. His 2 ogre magi body guards flew over the hill, invisible in the darkness high above, confirming the Lord was protected by just one man, probably the last surviving member of his personal guard, who had been scattered and killed earlier that day. They looked cold, hungry, tired from the day’s earlier battle, and warn out from a harried last minute escape from Oldhome, just as it was being surrounded.
Protective spells were cast, and the group began to advance up the hill, tramping the night blooming flowers of the fields as they stalked forward. They made no attempt to hide their advance, they employed care, but no particular stealth, allowing the darkness of the night alone to render them as ghosts. The Lord would hear them coming, hear the heavy footfall and deep animalistic breathing of the mountain trolls. He would hear the rattle of armor and gear, he would hear them long before they appeared as shadows down the hill, obscured by night. It did not matter, at last, this little half breed lord’s time had come. There was nowhere left to run.
The bugbears came skulking from the north, Grimeye and his terror guard from the south, with the trolls purposely told to hang further behind them. The ogre Magi Circled above invisible, ready to intercept any attempt to flee to the skies. All were given instruction, Grimeye was to have the honor of killing Shen Ling’s Lord.
At about 100 ft. away from the summit they became visible in the inky darkness, and that’s when Tsurichi “Old Bow” began to let his arrows fly. His back to his lord, Old Bow let arrow after arrow fly with deft precision, and a barely contained rage for revenge. So deadly was the stream of shots from this one bowman that Grimeye and his men quickened their pace to a run, to close on the hilltop, lest they lose needless lives to the master archer.
As Grimeye reached just 50 paces from his prey, the lord of Shen Ling distinguished him at the head of his charging orcs, and 3 times let his magical returning spear, Song Bird, a work of flawless elven workmanship, fly towards Grimeye, and as it struck home the 3rd time almost at point blank, Grimeye’s first overconfident swing was a miss, as his opponent danced back beyond the swipe of his axes, bumping up against Oldbow, who had already felled 3 bugbears coming in from the opposite direction.
Then, hell broke loose. Suddenly you all came storming out of null-space. In a moment, Grimeye’s terror Guard were smoking blackened corpses, flung back by Grognak’s fire and again by Grey’s psychic flames. Grimeye himself stood firm and called all his followers forward, determined, like a dog with bone, determined to kill Sun Quan’s son at any cost. “Like father, like son!” he coldly cursed through the fire and fury. Then by the will of Caris, the wrath of Ehlonna’s comet came roaring down upon him, breaking bones and throwing him to his knees, ears ringing, blood on his lips. When he staggered to his feet stubbornly to renew his attack, there were others standing over him….A warrior in jade green great armor with a leering demon mask, whose blades descended like twin guillotines, and an armored chrome god with a shining shield of bronze and fiery ax of black Iron. Even Grimeye was forced to fall back, hoping his mountain trolls might save him from the death dealing warrior gods and the Lord of Shen Ling, whose tiredness now seemed completely faked.
His warriors slain with lightning brutality, his trolls just a little too far behind, Grimeye was surrounded by 3 powerful warriors, and died in a brutal flurry of bone jarring ax chops, merciless flaying bastard swords, and organ skewering spear stabs. His Ogre Magi made one attempt to save him, unleashing a frozen hell storm that would have killed almost anything on their masters attackers, only to stare in disbelief as the frigid crystals settled, revealing the 3 warriors still chopping and stabbing at Grimeye, who was little more than meat for the slaughter at this point. They simply fled in silence into the night, knowing their little war was over, fearing for their lives.
By this point all the Bugbears had been slain by Oldbow, or trapped by Grognak’s wall. Grey, Stern, Hrothgar, and The Lord of Shen Ling Bravely faced off with the last real threat, the two mountain trolls who seemed too stubborn to realize the battle was already lost. They died in a furry and steel, just as Grimeye had a moment earlier, as Caris unleashed her much needed healing powers from the center of the battle, no creature daring to come near her.
In the furious moments that spelled out the end of Grimeye, no one even realized the bloodied, blackened hill, the small, mostly treeless mound in the great forest, had actually become the epicenter of a much greater act unfolding around. Hundreds of shadowy warriors who had followed behind Grimeye had already began to stream forward from the north and flow like water around the hill, their war drums and horns blaring shrill in the night. Not hundreds, thousands in the darkness, swarming at the base of your hill like a black tide around a tiny island. Worg riding goblins, Scimitar wielding orcs, two headed ettin and ogre war slaves, Giant war basilisks the size of elephants, and mountain trolls towering above, all goaded onward by their many chiefs. Flying over their midst, glowing with red and purple flames for all to see, soars a demon disguised as Grimeye. He circles the hill in the dark night 1000 feet away, keeping his watch on you as he beacons the horde to move southward. The bulk of the army seems prepared to ignore you, as perhaps 6 mountain trolls and 6 dozen ettin begin forming up to come up the hill after you. Another 200 worg riders zip around the base of the hill, running a circuit in an attempt to screen the force preparing to assault and to close off any land bound way to escape.
The Lord of Shen Ling’s face is dark, lit only by the distant fires of the horde and that of the stars above, still you see the depth of meaning and finality in his expression and he locks eyes with Oldbow, the man who raised him as his own after Grimeye killed his father and mother so long ago. In the angry flickering light of the growing surging horde, as you ready your gear, cast your spells, and say your prayers, Oldbow gives back the same look, but heightened with the weight of fatherly love. They say nothing to each other, only bow to one another as Grognak howls out in the darkness and unleashes his first fireball into the crowded ring of goblins and worgs racing to surround the hill. Dozens die and Grognak shouts “I will burn you all!” You’re children’s’ children shall weep when they whisper of how my inferno consumed you all!”
But you can see it is a tiny flash in the vast masses, like a pebble thrown into a swarm of ants on the side of an ant hill. Though many die in Grognak’s flame, like ants, the mob itself responds with boldness and anger, chaotically surging further up the hill as Grognak prepares his next fireball. “Plenty more have I for the damned!” he bellows
As the band of worgs and goblin chaotically surge, 8 ettin riding war basilisks come plodding up to the base of the hill, worg riders parting to let them through. At least 50 more ettin on foot are spreading themselves out behind them and getting ready to charge as well.
The army of humanoids flows around the hill and marches on towards the southern tree line to leave you behind. Meanwhile the worgs circle the base, as the ettins began to move up, and several mountain trolls further up also seem interested in coming up the hill and attacking. There are so many targets. You cast spells and prepare, some of you buffing, some of you already throwing magical wrath at the closest and most deadly assailants. Grey can only keep his eyes on the circling demon, a complex calculus of how to defeat him playing out in his focused demon hunter’s mind. The Ettins are spread out, it’s hard to catch more than 2 or 3 in a blast. They will make the hill top in maybe 30 seconds.
The Lord of Shen Ling is about to say something, when his face is lit by flashes from the south. Everyone spins to look.
A concert of lightning bolts and fireballs rips from the tree line to the south, exploding in the dark mass of raiders with sharp cracks and low booms. Then over the sound of confused injury, the sound of horses hooves and a bright light. Flaming arrows by the hundreds come darting up from the mass of humanoids in angry answer, like panicked swarms of fireflies speeding overhead. The chanting of evil shaman summons up vile spirits and blasts of fire which rip back at the tree line in answer.
But in a moment, as if from nowhere, a light so white that its edges seem purple appears and shoots out of the woods like a comment.
The glorious unicorn surges towards the dark horde with supernatural speed, throwing silvery and golden light up the slopes of the little, unassuming hill as she charges right for you. The air glows and the stars are obscured by the brightness. Golden radiance washes out before her like a wave through the dark night. The onrushing horde of orc, goblin, bugbear and ettin halt and stumble with a collective gasp, then try to get out of the way like a roiling mass of insects climbing over itself to move away from the speeding light, like oil trying to pull away from water.
Too late. The Unicorn surges headlong into their midst, barely slowing, like an unstoppable arrow fired by Ehlonna. From her horn a spray of kaleidoscopic light washes through the humanoid horde, and everywhere this prismatic light sweeps, evil bursts into flame, fall to the ground in wracking pain, or vanishes all together. The Unicorn spirit strides unopposable, swishing its head back and forth washing away the lives of whole crowds with flashbulb blasts of rainbow light from its proud golden horn.
Behind it, unable to keep up to any degree, Sheal, Sharn, and Shanzee, and a dozen others come riding after, not much left for them to do but whoop and holler in victory as they witness the living wrath of Ehlonna’s judgement on all who seek to defile the woodlands. All behold the living love, fearless protector, and angel of shimmering color and golden death that is the beloved unicorn of Shen Ling! For all their lives, since they were children, in fairy tales and legends they had heard of her, but few have ever set eyes upon her wonder. Now before them charges the Unicorn of legend, shattering the night and freeing all of Shen Ling.
You watch in wide eyed wonder, even the most calloused and cynical among you feel momentarily paralyzed with awe as the unicorn’s howl rolls across the valley and all the way to the surrounding mountains where it seems to echo and hang in the very air and reverberate through the land. It is like the triumphant cry of a champion horse, mournful wale song, the cry of a majestic bird of prey, and the growl of a lion all at once, and all as loud as thunder. Before you know it, she is up the hill and pawing the ground before you in spirited fashion. Radiance seems to boil off her moon white hide like heat waves off of desert sands. Her mane is like flowing mercury, utterly silver and pure, seeming to hang in the air of its own will with no regard for gravity.
She has split the horde of Grimeye in two and rode right up to the top of the hill. The shocked and brutalized invaders recoil from the path of destruction she’s cut through them. Both sides are reeling in shock and rolling back away from each other and into themselves in a panicked route. Everywhere the enemy is stampeding north and west, as the unicorn rises up on the hill and lets out another wail that rolls across Shen Ling…all now know, the Nightwalker is gone, and no evil is safe in Shen Ling! The Lord of Shen Ling and Oldbow wordlessly drop to their knees and bow.
AND ACTION!!!November 10, 2015 at 8:29 am #1549
GREY WAS HAVING TROUBLE LOGGING IN, BUT SENT THIS TO ME AND ASKED ME TO POST IT
In the aftermath of the glorious spirits entrance, Grey drops his gaze from the now empty sky, Grimeye’s demonic doppelganger vanished with the coming of the Guardian spirit, he gazes down at the nondescript katana in his gauntleted fist. So basic a weapon but full of meaning to others, not to him. The black blood on the blade of more import than the aged weapon of a fallen hero.
Hugging his left arm across his broken ribs, a farewell present from the bastard mountain troll, Grey glides over to stand behind the Lord of shin Ling. With a deft flick of his wrist grey sends that katana spearing point first into the earth between the unicorn and the kneeling warrior.
“Daidoji, you and your kin, have been avenged, again. You do not know how blessed you truly are to know such a feeling.”
True good will mingled with a deep bitterness enfuse Grey’s words, the dichotomy that is the Lord of Threnody manor.
” Though given the nature of his demise, I think it would be wise to prepare to face him again. Maybe not now or even soon but someday…..”
Grey let’s his ominous words trail off, bringing his steely gaze up to regard the bright spirit before him.
“It is has been proven that some beings just do not stay dead or defeated. As was in terrible evidence at the howling winds monastery.”
He pauses to look around,
” thus do I council you to stabilize your kingdom as swiftly as you can, this we can help with if you wish. Then turn everything at your disposal to discovering the way to permanently vanquish Grimeye and his Ketsu cohorts, this we will gladly help you with.”
Slowly Grey backs away to a point furthest from the Spirit to lean achingly against the smoking remnants of a blackened tree. With a weary smile bright in the night he waves his free hand at Caris and Daidoji, and says his voice bright humorous at first then raging into the roar of a crusader.
“Now you two, mount up! Let the lingering hordes see the reborn un scathed golden lady and the victorious Lord of Shin Ling charge across the kingdom atop the most glorious guardian spirit. Bring light and hope to the goodly and death and damnation to the wicked!!.”
To the group his voice falling back to a neat whisper
“the rest of you, go run and play if you wish. Satisfy your thirst while you have the opportunity.”
Grey settles heavily down to sit on the scorched earth under the wreckage of the tree.
“I for one am going to sit right here and rest until dawn, before heading back to Old home and the promise of proper accommodations.”November 10, 2015 at 11:02 am #1550
Hrothgard, with a new-found respect and admiration for the Spirits and Gods of these lands, also takes to a respectful knee before the Great Unicorn Spirit, looking to her with awe-filled eyes and remaining quiet in contemplation as Grey speaks. When Grey finishes, and takes his seat Hrothgard rises, clasping hands with Grey and offering him a respectful nod of approval.
“You as well, my friend” Grey says to Hrothgard with a crooked smile, knowing Hroth well enough to know that his eyes, his body language, his grasp… everything about him said to Grey “Thank you, friend. As always, you fought well, and it was an honor to do so beside you.” Though Hrothgard never had the chance to actually vocalize the words themselves he smiles and nods to Grey who read him perfectly. “Now, leave me be…” Grey smiles and waves his hand, shooing Hrothgard away. The mighty warrior laughs as he turns and makes his way to Stern, Grognak, and Caris, offering them all hugs and saying to them all what he meant to say to Grey as well.
“This was a well-earned victory.” He says, then turns to Caris. “I agree with Grey. Saddle up. Let all in these lands see you with her. You’ve earned that… as have the people.” He gives her a friendly kiss and finds himself a tree to also lean against and clean himself off, wiping blood from his face. He pulls his flask and takes a long drink from it as he cleans his armor and weapons.
His eyes meet Shanzee’s and he smiles and nods to her, welcoming her over if she wishes… (( assuming Shanzee is my hot Monk chick. If not, then just ignore this last paragraph altogether! 🙂 ))November 10, 2015 at 11:58 am #1551
The Unicorn Paces and shakes her noble head, then speaks in a voice that is soft and strong in your minds and seems to carry on the wind, even though it is only really heard in the minds of those around.
“You two speak as if because I am like a horse I am a thing meant to be ridden..”
There is an offended tinge in her voice, as if it is a horrible offense to suggest one should ride a unicorn.
The riders behind her finally catch up, coming most of the way up the hill. They’re silent now, tired, dirty, and bloodied from battle, and silent in awe, but ear to ear smiles of relief and victory are plastered across their faces. There are 14 in all, but you only recognize Sheal, Sharn, and Shanzee among them.
She speaks again in the minds of those around, a spirited imperiousness in her tone this time, and louder than before.
“Am I like a horse to you? I will drive evil from this land and tirelessly defend it! Am I like one of those horses those heroes behind me ride!? ”
There is scorn in her voice. She is then silent, and so is everyone else. The Hordes of Grimeye wail and drum and shout below, continuing their panicked, stumbling route, as the awkwardness of an offended Unicorn/force of divine justice hangs in the air unansweredNovember 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm #1552
Grognak steadies himself. “Word will spread amongst the evil creatures of this land, let all those still living testify to the folly of taking the field of battle against the righteous”!!!!
Then like a tree he falls flat on his back passes out, and is silent.November 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm #1553
Hrothgard sits up and takes to a knee again, bowing his head in both awe and fear towards the Unicorn.
“I am sorry, Great Spirit. I meant no disrespect, I assure you. I merely thought that… I… do not know what I thought. I humbly request your forgiveness, Great Spirit…”
Hrothgard says quietly, but loudly enough for her to hear. He keeps his head down, avoiding eye contact.November 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm #1554
The unicorn regards Hrothgar with fierce blue eyes the shade of glacial ice. All is quiet among those on the hill and even the roar of the retreating horde seems to fade to the background, as if shying away from disturbing the Unicorns focus.
The the Unicorn rises up on hind legs and lets out another furious, valley spanning wail/roar. All of you jump at the outburst, and below, beneath the echo of the unicorns hill top call, you can hear a collective moan of terror rise up in answer from the fearful horde as they claw, shove, and even kill to get past one another and escape into the trees.
The unicorn comes down on all fours and takes a step towards Hroth. A smile seems to spread across her noble features, and mirth dances in the crystal blue of her eyes
She whispers, and as the unicorn laughs in her mind a wave of undeniable humor sweeps all those near by, an undeniable contagion of happy mood that washes from the white majestic spirit.
The unicorn calls the lord of Shen Ling by his first name, like a stern mother to a child, and with a start he gets to his feet.
She finishes the two names as she performs a noble and graceful bow towards the the two and all of you.
“Get on my back you two! All of you with the will to follow, come along with us! There shall never be another night like this, never a night when we will have the chance to send so many wicked souls back to hell! Ride with me! Ride with Lord Quan! Ride with the Caris! Ride with the ancestors and with your hero brothers and sisters! Remind them why they fear the light!”
The Collected riders behind let out a roar of laughter and approval. Oldbow, lets himself cry, tears flowing freely from his eyes at the sight of his lord, his goddess, and his brethren all before him on the edge of victory, he turns his tear streaming face north and draws an arrow, taking careful aim at the tall silhouette of a distant retreating mountain troll, letting his arrows speak for him. Caris and Daidoji mount the unicorn spirit, and look unusually splendid and fitting there. Despite the fact there is no saddle, and despite the fact neither know each other. The Unicorn lowers her head with steadfast determination, allowing one last smile at Hroth and Grey as she picks up speed. Her momentum builds slow and steady as she moves over to the edge of the hill and begins down towards the panicked horde. A thousand pairs of eyes glow red through the darkness as they look back in terror, as the light of the unicorn crests and spills down the north slope of the hill towards them. As she paws the ground making ready to charge, she says one last thing to Caris and Daidoji
“Hold on for your life!”November 10, 2015 at 2:09 pm #1555
Hrothgard stands as cheers as they ride away into the dark night, then turning to his comrades, who all laugh at him. He looks around as others do too.
“What? I knew she was joking! I played into it, is all!” he insists, as the countless soldiers continue laughing. Hrothgard draws his swords and twirls them masterfully in his hands…
“Time for fun, then. Who wishes to dual me?” He says with a smile as the men all quiet their laughter and back away. Hrothgard then breaking into laughter himself as he re-sheathes the large swords.November 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm #1556
Stern reaches over to his brother, “You will not be comfortable riding in your condition” Stern uses healing magic to mends Grey’s broken bones.
Reaching into his pouches he pulls out an onyx statue of a horse, Smiles as his helmet forms into existence “Lets ride!”
The statue burst into life growing to full size and ready to ride into action. Stern mounts Clouse and extends his gauntleted hand to Grey ” You can rest later brother, But tonight is the night they write legends about!“November 23, 2015 at 7:49 pm #1557
Grey looks up at his magnificent armored friend and the mighty hand held out towards him and sighs.
” Ah Hell” He whispers to himself grasping Sterns hand and pulling himself up onto Clause’s mammoth back. Grey calls over to Hrothgar “Hroth! Scrape up Grog and lets ride. Seems we have work left to do my friend!” before slapping Sterns armored shoulderOn Stern!!” With Stern charging forward Grey’s eyes are on the sky. Still plenty of Oni out there as well as a Daemon Masquerading as Grimeye……November 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm #1558
The night is indeed one of Legend…a night of just retribution, and who knows what title the historians and poets will give it. It is only certain they will have to name it something. Caris and The Lord of Shen Ling ride resplendent on the back of the gleaming spirit, leading the charge down into the black roiling mass. When they ride into the horde there is a scintillating blast of light and the army, panicked, routing, pushing against itself, is finally shattered.
The raiders and their war beasts are easy pickings, breaking into smaller groups running every which way, seeking only escape and self preservation. It is easy to pick a target and ride them down. Into the woods they are all driven. The light of the Unicorn glows up into the tree tops and sets the very air aglow. Even when she is out of sight, her howls roll through the forest and her presence is felt as an unearthly golden glow that hangs in the air like illuminated mist Here in the trees the enemy makes desperate last stands, and some resistance is offered, but they are no match for Shen Ling’s defenders, no match for you.
Into the woods the hours pass. The elite defenders of Shen Ling, not great in number, but great in spirit, break up into smaller bands to pursue the ragged tatters of the shattered horde, whose surviving warbands stumble off into the darkness seeking to reach the safety of the mountains before sunrise. Many of Shen Ling’s heroes, elf, half elf, human, many have lost family and friends in the nights of terror that led up to this victory, all of them were thrust into a war upon their home that they did not ask for. Like dark angels of retribution, like devils of vengeance, they stalk the retreating splinters of the horde, giving them no quarter through the night. The people of Shen Ling are not war like, but the raiders that have come down from these mountains have taught them how to be cruel, and tonight, each one of them lets that cruelty make them a dark hunter.
For some, the due of blood is collected soon. Small bands of Shen Ling defenders abandon the hunt and light up bonfires on the hill tops or down in the valleys, calling out to each other in victory. They leave the butchers work early to take up celebration. Common folk emerge from their hiding places in the remote villages, and come out into the chill spring night. Drawn to the fires and the songs of victory, they bring out casks of ale, wheels of cheese and loaves of bread. Colorful lamps and even fire works play out through the forest. Children climb the trees to hang streamers of green and blue silk the sway in gentle breeze. It is as if the entire woods become a network of bonfire celebrations, so many celebrations the air itself is warmed by fire, and music and cheers seem to float on the breeze. Word of victory spreads. The Unicorn and her Heroic riders seem to be everywhere at once, appearing here and there, showing that all are safe. More and more people come out to celebrate, some not even understanding the full scope of what’s happened, entire valleys resound with music and mirth.
Others, more deeply scared, continue the hunt. That night, it is the choice of each to decide how much revenge they require, how dark they are willing to let their souls sink, how much blood they must harvest to set the balance right. Raider death cries, and shouts of “Heart is Homeland” echo through the sylvan woods all through the night, as the running battle beyond the celebrations evolves into a wild hunt that plays out across the woods and hills.
At some point you find yourselves all reunited on a tree covered hill, not so far from the one you left behind. Some time during the night, there was a bright flash of light down in the woods, and Caris and the Lord of Shen Ling came walking up to the fire. All began to cheer when they finally recognized them slogging up the hill almost casually, like any number of other revelers swaddled in their cloaks. As the crowd erupted, The Lord of Shen Ling took Caris’s hand in friendship, and as if rehearsed, both bowed low to the revelers, and to all of you, like two actors on a stage. The two of them look unbelievably heroic together, like something in a famous painting or a scene from a tapestry, and the crowd only goes wilder at the duo’s bow, pushing forward to throw flowers, streamers.
Night fades to morning. A bright fire burns, and some arcane trickster has just thrown something in to make the flames shimmer green and then burst into blues and reds. Their is soft music and hoarse cheers, as even the most intrepid revelers are winding down. Every now and then there is the sporadic pop of fire crackers, or the whizzing sound of a bottle rocket. The blue glow begins to spread across the eastern part of the sky. Everywhere, distant fires and smoke hang in the air, everywhere, people curled up in their cloaks are falling asleep beside the dying fires or speaking in hushed tones in small circles of friends. Somehow you have all found a quiet spot, or rather, things have died down enough that a quiet spot can be found.
“Look Over there” The Lord of Shen Ling speaks, pointing east towards 5 massive trees that tower in a huddle over the others, not too far away. The red orange of pre-sunrise is now washing those tree tops in the faintest, otherworldly glow.
“I had no idea how close to Oldhome we are, I had no idea where we were to begin with. Let’s head that way, If we can get ourselves up to a five minute trek we can all have proper baths, and sleep in real beds tonight, I mean, this morning. Let’s go!”November 24, 2015 at 9:05 am #1560
The Lord, looking handsome and noble despite his rugged appearance, bows to Caris and extends his hand to help her up. His bow is already on his back, his spear at his side in one hand.She is strikingly beautiful, the pine needles clinging to her hair only making her more so
The Lord manages as he pulls her up to her feet before him. He seems taken, as you all are by her, lost for a moment as a blushing smile begins to creep across his features, before turning on his heels in an awkward manner and pulling his hood up over his head to avoid gawking at the divine beauty that is Caris Ambrodel.
“Pull up your hoods, and lets see if we can creep away from this camp without notice”
The lord leads the way, down the hillside as the golden rays of dawn fill the canopies of the massive trees of Oldhome with bright light and dramatic shadow. You first hear the river, then you stumble across a narrow, neatly manicured stone walkway that winds along its bank. Just around the bend, less then a half mile away will be the Shrine, not yet in view. It’s quiet, but not in a strange way, just peaceful and surreal, like walking through a dreamscape. The body of a dead orc floats down river, a reminder of last nights grim toll.
“Last night at some point I ordered Oldbow to come back here with some men, Hopefully he found his way”November 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm #1577
Caris smiles to herself as she pulls her hood up over her golden hair and readies herself to head down the hill to Oldhome. It’s been quite a night and it feels more like a dream where she’s snoring blissfully on a distant couch somewhere. Coming face to face with one’s own Goddess is an experience so profound that it’s going to take her some time to process it all.
She was only briefly alarmed when the unicorn seemed offended that Hroth suggested she ride her in triumph. It was almost as if her connection was so strong she could hear the thoughts of the unicorn before she even spoke them. In her presence, all of nature was magnified to Caris’s senses that she could detect every blade of grass rejoicing and bowing to the goddess, the birds singing her praise, the trees vibrating down to their roots in rejoice! The hum and the vibration from all of nature was like a song entwined with the cheers and adoration from the people around her.
As if she were weightless, she mounted the unicorn. She could feel the soft mercury of her mane as she grasped it in her small hands. The power and goodness radiating from the unicorn seemed to envelope her and her fellow passenger as they rose into the air. They clung to each other and their mount as the unicorn flew over the valleys and hills destroying evil with her light. As the wind blew in Caris’s face and she observed all of this from her vantage point, hanging on for dear life as the unicorn swooped and darted into the darkness, making all wrongs right… She also noticed the Lord close behind her. What this must mean for him after so many years of chaos and sorrow! There was no speaking between them as the event they were both experiencing left them without words. Yet, there was a bonding. The land was being restored, and Caris and her friends had helped to make this happen. She couldn’t help but notice his reservation at being so close, yet overwhelming joy at what was transpiring below him. His land and people were restored!
The cleansing seemed to go on for hours, yet as the unicorn came back to earth to let them dismount to join their comrades, reality began creep it’s way back in as her boots touched the ground. Caris looked into the eyes of the unicorn and said,
“Thank you, sweet Goddess for letting us share in this most magnificent triumph. That we could help bring this land and people back to it’s rightful place is an honor that I will never forget! I only wish we could have helped sooner…”
The unicorn bowed to Caris not breaking eye contact and took off in a blaze of white light. The two quietly came up the hill, not knowing what to say to each other as they made their way to the campfire glow. The Lord held her elbow as they made their way across the terrain.
The sight of Hroth, Stern, Grey and Grognak huddled around the fire warmed her heart. She ran up and kissed each one of them, her face glowing as she reunited with each one of them.
“Well… THAT was quite a ride!”November 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm #1578
You all commandeer a long graceful river boat that rocks up against a small lonely dock along the river, and use it to make the last 1/2 mile or so down and across the river. The short boat ride, with the gentle lapping of the river’s current against the gracefully gilded bow, only serves to make this trip through dawn seem even more dream like. At last you round a sharp bend in the river and come into Oldhome, it’s distinctive pyramid like pagoda the prominent structure, rising on the opposite bank, dressed in golden morning light. It reminds you of the first time you saw it only yesterday, also awash in golden light, the only difference being the angle of the light, for now, it’s morning, and then, it was near sunset.
Immediately you notice two figures siting at the very top of the long stairs that lead up the front of the pagoda. Though far off, somehow you can make them out with unusual detail, as if they were much closer. It is the Old lord of Shen Ling, Sun Quan, and his Golden Lady Layna, their glowing spirits sitting beside each other on the steps in the golden morning light, her head leaned on his shoulder, as casual as any living lovers in the flesh might come out to sit on the steps and admire the morning view.
Daidoji Quan, the living Lord of Shen Ling, shoots up from the bench seat in the boat, nearly losing his balance and falling out. These are the spirits of his parents, who met a violent death when he was still very young…people who had such a profound effect on his life, yet were in it for such a short time. He looks down at whichever two of you are working the oars currently
“I…I have to speak with them, please, row faster!”
He drops to a knee before the bench seat and begins to feel around the boat well for an extra oar, not taking his eyes off the celestial couple on the distant steps, again, nearly knocking himself out of the boat. The normally graceful warrior Lord, whose foot work in battle you have witnessed is like that of a practiced dance, like that of a warrior poet, now loses composure, and seems more like a fumbling boy, stuck on a boat, desperate to reach his parents. His dark eyes strain to stay open, as if he fears to merely blink he might open them again to find his parents gone…they strain also to focus through a building swell of tears that are about to spill over onto his high, soot smudged cheek bones.
He glances for a moment at the river and the approaching shore, and for a moment you think he’s considering jumping into the water and making a swim for it, but one of his flailing arms finds an extra oar down below his seat, and the Lord of Shen Ling gets back to his feet and begins to briskly row, his eyes stuck on the distant couple, as one finally overflows with a rivet of tears. His eyes weep, but his mouth and jaw remain set firm with stoic determination.
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