Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chapter 6: Edge of the Abyss

Sionaas stood and brushed of his robes. “Oh don’t worry, it’s not far now, just up this sheer rock face, over a couple peeks and crags, then up the narrow mountain trail over looking Dead man’s cliff.” Sionaas said with a smile, but then he frowned. “Maybe we should have taken the service road up… well this ways faster.” He said brightening again. “If we don’t die of course.”

Turning and looking forward at the mountain tops he had a bit of a twinkle in his eye. “You know I need to thank you. You see, your fulfilling a life long dream today. I`ll never be able to thank you enough.” Sionaas smiled. “well off we go!”

And with that strange unimaginable speed, unbecoming of an old man, he practically leapt up the mountain face with the others hard pressed to keep up.

Meanwhile, in the fading light of twilight, high on the mountain tops, a tiny flash of light could be seen. This flash of light was quickly followed by another, and then another, and then another. After this one however a flicker stayed, which, with time, grew to a light. If one were to be on this mountain and next to this light, one would see it belonged to a campfire, which in turn belonged to a dwarf. The dwarf as it turns out, was sent to this particular mountain top to accompany a group of people he had never met into a place where they did not belong. Needless to say he wasn’t very happy about it and the fact he had been waiting three days for this particular party did not help the matter in the least. This Dwarf went by the name of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem looked at the man made cave and scoffed. Even he could see it was shoddily made and he wasn’t even one of the stoneworkers of his people. They should have paid the extra money and gotten dwarves to do it. The dwarves have a good relationship with the Entmarkians, who import all their stonework for hefty sums of gold. Humans knew nothing of stone, how it breaths and moves. He on the other hand was a part of it. But he did not work the stone as his brothers and sisters. He worked with the soul. He was a cleric of Ademander, the dwarven god of death, though he told his friends he worshiped Moradin like everyone else. Admander was the defender of the halls of Moradin and expected glory and honor in death, but the real reason Lorem chose Ademander as his god is because not many do and as a result it is a quick way to respect and wealth. And the more respect and wealth you have, the closer you are to winning.

Lorem pulled out a hunk of meat that he had marinated in the special dwarven mushroom glaze and put it on the spit over the fire. He had foreseen that today was the day Sionaas and his troop would arrive and decided he would try to build a bond with the wizard and maybe with a few of the stronger gentlemen as well. After all, it would be good to have a few powerful allies for leverage latter he thought as he pulled out his last keg of Dwarven Ale. Lorem smiled as he thought of the way he had negotiated and clawed his way up the political ranks of the highly structured and hierarchical dwarven society. For a dwarf of his prowess he was at a much higher status that others at his level and as for having leverage there was no one better. Lorem knew everybody and how to get what he wanted from any of those people. If life was a game, than Lorem was a winner, or at least he was going to be, one way or another.

Lorem turned the spit slowly as he rested his feet by the fire.

That’s why this mission was annoying him. There were few rewards for doing this, but if he were to fail the punishment would be extreme. He was to take these “Frotars” or others, into the mausoleum of Aym, Queen of the Dwarves.

Lorem spit. For some dwarves still spit at her name. Aym was a woman who's greed nearly destroyed the Dwarven empire. The only reason that the mausoleum was built (and then sealed to never be spoken of again) was so that the soul of Aym would rest in peace and no longer haunt the dwarven empire. So when the magician Sionaas accidentally uncovered an entrance in his excavation, he asked to explore the dungeon and Thodrim Dwarf King agreed.

That one still had Lorem scratching his head.

However Thodrim would not allow anyone in unless a cleric of Admander accompanied them and made sure NOTHING is disturbed within the tomb. And guess who was at the proper rank and level for this particular mission…

The sun had set and the wind had died down to a low roar. This side of the mountain was shielded from the harsh easterly winds that prevailed here, bringing cool air in from the ocean. Lorem was starting to get annoyed.

“They should have been here by now” he grumbled

“Right you are” shouted an Entmarkian voice from across the man made plateau.

“Who goes, friend or foe.” responded Lorem

“Friend, if ye be the same.” Came back Sionaas’s voice. For Sionaas it was, accompanied by four
extremely tired looking individuals.

“Aie, I be.” Lorem said giving the proper response. “Come I’ve built a fire, warmed the ale and cooked the meat which waits for ya if ye be hungry.” Lorem looked at the individuals. A dark haired man wearing black, a peasant, the elf (as that is what he referred to Sionaas‘s assistant), and a paladin from a god he had never seen before. Well, it looked like he would have to carry them through this.

“Yes, please eat.” exclaimed Sionaas. “and tomorrow start on your adventure. I will be here when you return. Lorem will answer any questions if you have them, but for now I have pressing business elsewhere, but my mind is with you.” and with a few powerful magic words Sionaas disappeared in a flash and puff of purple smoke.

“Now,” said Lorem, “I believe a few introductions are in order and then a good nights rest, for tomorrow we enter the abyss.” He looked at the deep and foreboding cave that, in the dark, did look like the door to the abyss itself.


Thomas Mendicant said...

Not one for long periods of silence, along the final stretch of the journey to the entrance Thomas began to question his companions.

"I'm always one for a story so if you would, please tell me of your order Aurelious. You see, I've always thats a steep interest in dragons since I first saw on on a tapestry and...Well I suppose I should quiet myself if I am to let you respond."

Lorem Ipsum said...

"On behalf of the Dwarven kings and Moradin God of this mountain and all things dwarven i have prepared you food drink and fire; now please speak."

i move to portion the food into servings, and distribute it. "We stand to gain a great deal from one another, however to do so we must at the least know each others names."

With this he pores himself some ale and motions the others to do so also.

Thomas Mendicant said...

"My apologies good dwarf. With fatigue of the body comes fatigue of the manners. Thank you for preparing this for us." Thomas pauses to give a slight bow. "Thomas Mendicant, at your service. I too hope to gain much from this adventure, though from Sionaas himself and not this place."

Thomas moves to pour himself some ale and finds a place to sit near the fire.

"I am curious Iorem. Did Sionaas offer something great to your people as well? It seems odd that he would be so easily granted access to your catacombs."

Aaron said...

Calenon sits down near the fire, taking some of the meat but drinking only from his waterskin. "As you all know, I am Calenon Handir, 'the elf,'" he says, sneering at Lorem as he says the last part. He rummages around in his pack, pulls out a book, and begins to study it as he continues to eat absently.

Aurelious Wolfbane said...

Aurelious sits near the fire, having his fill of the meat, but like Calenon, avoiding much drink. He moves back a little further after he has warmed. "A Paladin of The Golden Order, my name is Aurelious Wolfbane..." Aurelious looks as if he is about to stand for a moment, but remains seated. "Well, Master Mendicant, there is much that can be said about The Order of The Golden Dragon. Too much for this sitting. Is there something, in specific, I could tell you about?"

Lorem Ipsum said...

"I know not the motives of those who have granted you access [or perhaps i do and the DM will tell me what they are], my sphere of social influence does not reach those that would allow you entry and it certianly does not involve outsiders." Lorem pauses for a moment, "...not that i have a distaste for outsiders, i mean you know wrong, I just have little contact with you."

And with that he segways the conversation to topics of distant lands, and small talk. When the fire dies down he suggests a suitable area to set up bedrolls and offers to take first watch, reminding everyone it will be an early when they rise in the morning.

Thomas Mendicant said...

"Please, call me Thomas if you would. Hrmm...Perhaps it best if you start simple. Where is your order based? What're its basic tenets? And is there a true connection with dragons, or is it merely a fancy title for a sect?"

Eric Knutson said...

Obviously I would say this before everyone had dispersed for the night:

"My name is Richard Von Weber, though some of you may have heard of me as 'The Spirit of Death.' [I think that's what you came up with, Dane. I deleted the e-mail where you wrote that] I assure you that if you do not cross me you will not have to learn why I've been given that moniker."

DM said...

(I will be oosting for graham while he is away)

Aurelious cocked an eyebrow as he stared incredulously at Thomas who sat excitedly on the edge of his seat. Aurelious thought a moment, then sighed and gave in.

"The order of the Gold Dragon is one of the five knightly orders in Myrcia, my home." responded Aurelious, "Our sect belives in honor, justice, and good above all else. The sect wears the symbol off the Golden Dragon to represent this."
Aurelious pointed at the symbol on his breast. It resembled a curled Golden Dragon.
"as for direct contract with dragons..." Aurelious paused. Unbenounced to the others Aurelious contimplated his future. "There is a great honor that is bestowed only upon the few. It is the Mantle of the Golden Dragon. To win it I must seek friendly relations with a gold dragon ... and ... fight a red dragon... alone." Under his breth he muttered, "but that is not my feared enenmy."
Aurelious stood and rolled out his bedroll. He turned with a stern look. "Now if I have answered your questions I must sleep, for tomarrow, I feel Sol brings foul work. May we pray he bring it not too foul."
For the rest of the night Aurelious refused to answer questions or, indeed, talk at all.

Thomas Mendicant said...

"Not only speaking to one...but fighting a dragon as well. That is a truly amazing goal. I apologize for the frankness of my questions Aurelious, as I realize now in particular I could have phrased the last one more carefully."

Appearing to be wrapped up in concerns of his own, Thomas was unsure if Aurelious heard him speak. Leaving him be he thought to himself, he would do his best to befriend this paladin. After all, maybe they could search out this dragon together some day.

Thomas prepared his bedroll slowly, taking time to evaluate his thoughts. "Not only have I found leads in both Aurelious and Sionaas, but it seems like this Richard may hold an interesting tale to add to my repertoire. I can only hope this fortune will not be counterbalanced in this coming trial." With that last thought, Thomas turned in for the night.