Shadows Rising

A New Horizon

If we have to fight one more goblin...

After harvesting all that they could from the body of the drider, the group made their way back to the main road and continued on their way to Forge. The road began to widen, and they surmised that they were approaching the entrance to Forge, although they reasoned that the gate itself would be sealed shut, in part due to the fact that the road to Thog Tahrir was closed to most people and also due to the fact that Forge was still in a state of lock down because of the appearance of goblins in the Dwarf King’s palace.

As they walked a little bit further, they saw several dwarves standing on the road, just outside the gate. Without being detected, Alatir cautiously moved forward and saw that Bellamin was standing at the front of the pack. Returning to the group, Alatir told them that he saw Bellamin standing at the head of the group, flanked by several goblins and a couple of other dwarves. After some debate, they decided to send Nibil up to engage Bellamin in conversation, since Bellamin would have no idea who Nibil was.

As Nibil approached the gate (with an intense feeling of sadness), Bellamin called out to him to halt. Bellamin, unhappy with the evasive nature of Nibil’s responses to his questions, ordered his guards to arrest him—Bellamin told Nibil that he was sure he’d be more forthcoming with a little…persuasion. At that, Marduke shouted out angrily to his ancestors, invoking the power of their spirits against the treachery of Bellamin.

At first, the battle seemed to be going well—the goblins were easily dispatched and many successful blows were landed against Bellamin and his dwarven compatriots. But every time the group would knock out one of Bellamin’s allies, he would whistle for additional reinforcements. Still hurting from their battle with the drider, the battle began to take its toll, and one by one they each dropped to the ground, unconscious and flirting with death. Marduke was the first to fall, followed by Nibil and Nerryn. As her friends fell in battle, Serine noticed that some powerful magic kept them from death’s door, although she was too focused on staying alive to figure it out in the moment.

Branan was the next to fall unconscious, and soon Serine joined him. Alatir bravely fought on, but it began to dawn on him that this might really be the end (a feeling that he realized he’s had more than once before…) Just as Alatir was falling to the ground, he noticed a powerful magical energy emanating from Serine…his eyes closed and he fell into a deep slumber…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Nerryn was surprised to wake up…after all, she thought, hadn’t she died in the deeps of Forge? Outside she could hear the sounds of the ocean and birds, and a chorus of anonymous voices going about their daily routines. She sat up and surveyed the room—Marduke and Nibil were resting peacefully in their own beds, although she noticed that Alatir, Branan, and Serine were nowhere to be found. As she glanced back over to the window, she heard the familiar voice of Pannan entering the room.

As Pannan approached her, Marduke and Nibil began to stir from their slumber. Nerryn began to pepper Pannan with questions—he told them that they had been brought to the city of Horizon by the power of the Archmage. In fact, Pannan continued, one of the five supervisors had also summoned him to the city, although he wasn’t entirely certain as to why. Nerryn asked where the rest of their party was, and Pannan told her that they had woken up before the rest, and were probably out exploring the city. Nibil introduced himself to Pannan, and after looking around and noticing that his mace was missing, was told that it had been confiscated due to its dark magical energies. Pannan reassured him that he would definitely be able to find a suitable replacement.

Just then, Alatir, Branan, and Serine came into the room. After hugs and pleasantries were exchanged, Branan looked over at Marduke and noticed that he was strangely very quiet. Branan asked Marduke if he was feeling okay, and suddenly Marduke flew into a rage. He was angry that he had been ripped away from Thog Tahrir, as he was planning on dying there along with his ancestors. Announcing his determination to return, Branan, Alatir, Serine, and Nibil spoke kindly and gently with him, reminding him that he had accomplished what he set out to do, namely, the cleansing of Thog Tahrir and the restoration of his family honor.

As Marduke began to calm down, Pannan told the group that Bellamin was under arrest, and that the Dwarf King was on his way back to Forge to deal with his treachery. Pannan went on and told them that no one comes to the great city of Horizon except by the bidding of the Archmage, and that they would be wise to search out the council of the supervisors before leaving the city. Additionally, in appreciation of their service to Forge, the Dwarf King had sent them each a generous financial gift.

Deciding that they would all stick together, at least for the time being, they headed out to explore the great city of Horizon. After visitng several shops, they decided to spend a little bit of their hard earned gold on some really good beer…and lots of it…

Comments

From the diary of Serine Callings:

Second week of the Harvest moon:
I can’t believe I am home again! It has been almost three months since I first set out to investigate my strange experiences at court (or at least stay off the radar of who ever was trying to kill me). I have discovered since then that I am no safer beyond the city.
At least we brought some resolution to the people of forge. Though our encounter with Bellamin did not end so well for us, it seems we raised enough noise and fuss to alert the city guards. He will hopefully face the justice he deserves.
And I am finally rid of that cursed staff! Though it was helpful to draw upon the native energies of the deep, I am relieved to feel more at ease with my own conscience, and happy to see the sun again.
But how it is we came into the light is just one more mystery piled upon a series of mysteries that have been my life since I served at court. We are told that the “powers that be” (implying the Archmage) pulled us through a node, and had been monitoring us. Is this what happened to me previously? Who am I to draw such attention from the most powerful magic user in the land? Was it not my own rogue powers that saved me before, but “divine” intervention from the Archmage? Or are the two incidents unrelated? Who am I to one such as him? Is there more to this than even our rescuers are telling us? I think if I am to find answers, they will be here, in Horizon.
Vance was beyond thrilled at my return, though of course concerned by the circumstances. We have chatted much about my new experiments with enthulite, and the success of the “Seeking stone” spell I crafted in the deep! We have spoken only briefly of the Archmage and what role he may have played in saving me (both times!). Now that the others are awake, perhaps it is time to share more of my past with them. A fresh perspective could lead to a new line of investigation.
In a happy set of circumstance, we have been able to fetch a good price for the drider remains from the merchants here in Horizon! Many of the artisans and crafters never get the chance to work with with such unique materials and I feel that their familiarity with me and their own natural curiosity has given us an edge in the bargaining of their services! One does not live in Horizon without a respect for knowledge and skill (at least, not in the nicer parts of it!). This is a city of scholars, from the craftsman to the mage, and the value of learning or trying something new can never be underestimated. It feels so good to be among the experimenters and great thinkers again!

A New Horizon
 

I…

Amma…

Amma.

There was no sound this time.

I have never been so terrified.

For as long as I can remember

buzzing

humming

But never

SILENCE.

~~~~~~~~

Amma, please forgive my abruptness.

I was certain it was the end. There has never not been sound. It was utterly disturbing. Apparently, we’re now in Horizon. I asked many questions of Pannan, who was with us when I awoke, and we were later joined by the others, but I honestly can’t remember anything but the sounds. The buzzing hum is back and it’s all I can do to trot along behind the others while I listen. I know I act and speak and apparently am behaving in all of the ways they believe I should, but I’m not present within myself.

Everything for me is the sound. Anything and everything else is faded; colors are grayed, voices muted, food and drink tasteless. I can almost hear a sighing, singing whisper weaving through the hum. It sounds so familiar, and if I could just hear it more clearly….

Is it possible for a word to be on the tip of your ear?

~ Little Imp

A New Horizon
 

Arrogance. I, of all, should have known my limitations. This group, this party, is powerful and has been successful for so long, that I became arrogant. Even with my past, my past which has involved countless defeats and narrow escapes, over 400 years worth, I thought myself past all of that. Above all of that.

I have been near death many times, and always saved at the last moment. This time, however, I was cut off and impossibly outnumbered and overpowered. We were in the deeps, with no connection to outside help. We were at the mercy of Bellamin and his minions. The sheer scale of my rescue, our rescue, begs the question:

Why am I alive?

A New Horizon
 

Nibil’s In battle Stream of Consciousness about Bellamin and the Party

I must thank this group of travelers whom I travel with for sending me to death’s door…insanely. Yes, they told me of Bellamin. But sending me alone when you have an impulsive dwarf and an even more impulsive bard in the group? That was stupid. Besides, they didn’t give me enough time. I still don’t know if I’m wanted for murder here like in Barbarian and Gnome territory, something that makes me both sad and angry at alternating times. Now I am fighting this ridiculous battle and that was unnecessary and I’m probably going to get hurt…again. At least there hasn’t been a fire user yet to turn me into a smoking ember for a 3rd time.

A New Horizon
 

Nibil’s Survival Tome Entry 141

We’re in Horizon? Why are we in Horizon? Wait a minute. Who cares why we’re in Horizon.

I’M ALIVE :)

I’m Alive :)

i’m alive…

alive :(

Damn this infernal sadness. Why does it afflict me so :(

But I’m Alive… and evidently not wanted in this part of the world. This should make me happy. But why am I so sad.

A New Horizon
 

Dear Diary,
I saw my friends fall around me. Then Serine, Alatir, and I were left standing. Until I wasn’t. But as I fell I saw a vision – and I knew everything would be all right – like I was taking a well-deserved nap.

After waking up I realized just how dire our situation had been. If anything I feel gratitude for the friends at my side. Not one turned tail as we fought Bellamin – no small feat.

And now…Horizon. After some initial disappointment at the gates of the University, the brief week I spent here before was – if we’re being honest (and we always are, dear Diary) – a drunken haze. But an amiable one. Perhaps this time I’ll find the answers I seek.

A New Horizon
jeremy_langill jeremy_langill

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