Beneath the waves… Part 2

Sunday is here and I am beginning this write up way to late in the evening for what I was hoping to achieve today, but let’s see what water I can wring from the stone that is my mind today. This week we explore more of the troubles that are happening around Arciryas, above the waves, upon them or beneath them deep in the ocean depths.

I hope to provide two writeups to fill in the gaps for this week. A brief glimpse into the mind of our sorcerer, Zander, and how they met up with the alternative protagonist of this arc, Rafnir whilst escorting the wizard to Arciryas. The second write up, well, you will have to read to the end to find that one out.

Waking up to pale sand and blue skies.

The waves crashed softly against the shore causing Zander to wake up. He had had that dream again, the great blue scaled wings beating down upon his village sending embers, smoke and screams into his face. Closing his eyes he relived the night mare that had plagued him since it was his reality, the day his world was ripped apart and sewn together into the abominable thing it is now. 

Dragonborn, kobolds and men ran between houses kicking doors down and dragging men, women and children into the streets and into cages on the back of wagons. Zander stood over the bodies of a few kobolds that had tried to take his elderly parents into cages, the spear stuck in the chest of one of them as it twitched and struggled to fight to live.

The great blue dragon hovered overhead watching the man with interest. Unlike the others he hadn’t fled or cowered but instead stood for what was his. Xthalar was amused, perhaps this one could be his toy. Sending a message to one of the Dragonborn under his influence he landed on the roof of a warehouse, the sound of wood complaining and threatening to buckle under his weight was lost to wind as a fresh Chorus of wailing from the captured began as the wagons began to travel out of this town.

Zander paused as he wrenched the curved scimitar from the hands of a dying kobold as a dragonborn in scale mail, made from blue dragon scales by the look of it, strode towards him like a man with a purpose.

Shouting a battle cry the dragonborn charged forward, his clawed limbs leaving furrows in the earth. Zander readied himself, the axe of the raider glinting menacingly in the sunlight was enough to shake even a hardened soldier let alone a bounty hunter. As the dragonborn swung at Zander he rolled under the blow, landing in a crouch he slashed out at the legs of the warrior, the dragon scale scale mail shimmered as the unfamiliar blade glanced off the overlapping armour without making a scratch. Cursing Zander threw a handful of dust in the face of the dragonborn as the warrior swivelled his reptilian head around. The warrior raised the head of the axe and blocked the majority of the dust before it could impede his vision. Striding forward he began chopping and thrusting the head of the axe as if testing Zander. Retreating and parrying where he could, the man lost ground, the onslaught of the much more experienced and better equipped warrior evident. As Zander back touched a wall he parried the axe head, sending it into a beam that supported the warehouse’s roof.

Taking his opportunity he lunged at the larger heavier warrior, cutting frantically at the warrior who had abandoned his axe. The blade seemed to bounce off the mail as if it was designed to polish armour instead of cut through flesh. With a quick flourish the dragonborn pinned the flat of the blade between its two armoured bracers and spun the blade out of Zander’s hand. The blade that plunged into Zander’s shoulder seemed to move in slow motion, cutting through air as it sailed towards his collar bone. As the blade bit through the cloth of his tunic it nicked the bone before plunging into his chest. A headbutt followed the attack which landed Zander on his back.

As the soot and embers fell like snow Zander lay on the ground staring at the blue sky below – he didn’t need to turn his head to know his parents had been stuffed into the back of a cage and were soon to be shipped off to some unfathomable place. Cursing out loud tried to pull the blade from his chest, but the blade bit into his collar bone as he tried to remove it.

“Little sparrow how you fret over your death. Why do you still try to fly when your wings are clipped, broken and limp” A voice crackled over him like thunder over the desert.

“I must get up. I need to save my family” Zander wheezed through his gritted teeth, his consciousness must be fading a the sky appeared to be falling, a wall of blue coming to crash down on his head.

“But you can’t little sparrow. Your wings are clipped” The voice mused in his head seeming to delight itself on his broken from.

“I am not clipped. I just need more power.” Zander spat, the blue sky seeming to stop above him, dark clouds forming a horrible leering reptilian face above his head.

“What will you do with power little sparrow, you have no home, no family and you can’t fly” the voice taunted

“I will watch them burn, all of them. I will cause them a thousand deaths more painful than what they attempted to do unto me. They will regret the day they did this to me” Zander roared at the ground.

“Be careful what you wish for little sparrow” the voice rumbled like thunder from the dark cloud above his head. Zanders vision blurred at the edges as his consciousness began to waver from the pain. The Dragon like cloud seemed to roar as the sound of a thunderclap exploded above his head and pain and darkness flooded his senses.

Xthalar opened his maw, a pulsing energy filled his throat before pouring over his teeth as the sound of a thunderstorm exploded from his gaping maw. Directing the energy at the dying human beneath him he imbued the man with a curse, and power, a dragonmark. As the lightning shot over his fangs and thread its way through the mans body a shimmering tattoo like mark of power burn through the mans clothes writhing like a dragon in flight. After the power left his body Xthalar looked down at the human. The blade had melted fusing with the tattered remains of the mans clothes. reaching down and using two of his claws like delicate instruments of healing rather than the tools of murder and death as they were intended to be he carefully gripped the ruined blade and ripped it out with a flick of his massive claws.

If the man lived he would be imbued with a fraction of the power of the storm, if he lived Xthalar mused before stretching his great wings and taking off to look over the new servants he had acquired.

Moving to the bucket of water near where the five of them slept Zander washed his face, washing away the sweat and feeling of soot from his feverish skin.

Later that morning the party left the hermit Petrels hut and began to make their way back to Arciryas. The old man was a endless source of knowledge and seemed to have a profound understanding of the sea elves which the party questioned him on extensively as they made their way back to the city. About a day away from Arciryas they ran into an old acquaintance, Rafnir the half-orc Sailor who spoke of dark magic, danger and a warning that Arciryas needed to hear.

(Read more here 12MoDoA and here, 12ThMa1)

Entering the city

The city appeared to be busy, the roads into the city were flooded with people leaving the large gates; moving through the streets and alleys of the houses beyond the walls of the city, and soldiers from patrol entering the city, some grim and determined whilst others were merry and seemed giddy with excitement.

As they approached one of the gates into the city a guard stepped in front of them blocking their way “Alright, what do we have here hmm? Mercenaries here to profit from the cities current issues or are you looking to our fair city with malcontent in mind?” the guard said with a malicious grin, his question laden with the mischief of a bored man seeking excitement.

“Laddie, best you move aside. We have word to bring to Sir Blake and you are in the way” Dusk said, stepping forward. Mike and Raynor flanking him like a set of imposing bodyguards.

“All travellers must submit to a search, especially those displaying hostility to the city of Arciryas. Guards, detain these men” the man stammered out, the look of boredom turning into fear tinged with anger.

“Now boys, these adventurers are escorting me back to Blake on business. You would do well to let us through as we are in quite a hurry” Petrel said, pushing through the armoured warriors.

“George, you best do what the old wizard said. I haven’t got the time to play around” Rafnir said, walking towards the gathering of people with a bag of goods from a nearby store. “I too need to see Blake with grave tidings”

George, presumably, looked between the old wizard and the most notable sailor and, if rumour had it, most highly decorated soldier in Arciryas’s recent history before snapping his attention back to the party. “My apologies my lordss,” he stammered, “please, come. I believe Sir Blake was heading towards towards the docks”

(you can read more here 12ThMa1)

Moonlit waves

(read more here, 12FrGS)

After the plans had been made with Blake, Rafnir and Petrel the party had gone back to an inn within the city and rested. As dusk fell they made their move to the docks, greeting as many soldiers and people as possible and loudly announcing how they were to be solely responsible for holding the docks until morning, as per the plan to reveal as many as the infiltrators as possible.

As they walked along the docks, Mike now having found his sea legs and no longer falling on the slick stone pavement, the party split into two groups, Mike and Zandar took one end of the docks and Dusk and Raynor taking the other. A few lights danced on the water as rowboats bobbed up and down on the waves on their approach to the piers. As the party watched the boats come in they heard the some unusual splashing of waves on the dock near by, drawing their weapons of choice they prepared themselves for what they had been preparing for.

The first of the tide warriors slunk forward, sticking to the edge of the water and seemed to move silently out of the water, moving as slick as oil on water. Mike and Zander, turning the corner after looking around the Block and Tackle were greeted by spears flying towards their heads, quick thinking from Zander saw a shimmering shield of force shatter one of the spears whilst, somehow, Mike managed to catch the other one mid flight and hurl it back at the attacker sending it back into the water with it’s own weapon impaled through its gut.

“Time for that Signal” Mike said as he drew Sky Chariot and charged into a group of three warriors who had emerged from the water.

Etching some arcane runes in the air with his hand and speaking arcane syllables Zander walked forward making sure to not catch his ally in the ranger of his spell. A blade slashed from his left, barely missing his cloak as he released the spell. The enormous clap of thunder boomed out from him, the Sea elf’s face had just finished raising his blade to swing down again at the sorcerer before the force of a thunderclap smashed into his form, pushing him into a building and causing organs to rupture from the concussive force.

On the other side of the docks Dusk and Ray had just returned from checking the old warehouse when they heard the boom of thunder. Drawing their weapons they started to run towards the origin of the noise when four figured pulled themselves out of the water, their backs to the paladin and cleric rushing towards them as the sudden eruption of noise had served as a distraction to the infiltrators. as Dusk met the first of the sea elf in combat the scaled elf had just turned around when Dusk’s axe bit into his stomach, sending his broken and bleeding body onto the pavers beneath his feet, alive, barely.

Ray was not so lucky, as he brought his blade down one of the tide warriors swords raised to meet his, stopping it from beheading one of the sea elves. Gritting his teeth Ray urged his blade to split, rust flakes floated through the air as the swords magic activated splitting the blade into three thorny vines of rusting steel as they swarmed down the blade of the interloper, biting into the flesh of his arm and then torso before retracting back to form sold steel again.

“Come on yer elven bastards!” Dusk called as he barrelled into another elf pushing him away from his allies as he summoned on the divine magic of his patron. As the giant spectral crow cawed, its beak splitting open to form a giant axe head, the already wounded sea elf had no chance to move or defend himself as the beak-blade bit down into his chest, snuffing the rest of his life.

Mikes armour rang with the sound of metal on metal as swords, daggers and spear heads tried to find the gaps in his plate. His blade found the neck of one elf before he carried the momentum of the blade and buried it into the torso of the next elf.

“Zander! how many more are there!” Mike called, something heaving smacking into his flank.

“A bit busy Mike!” Zander called, a multicoloured orb splitting into two as it flew through the air, one exploding into acid on one of the Sea elves the other connecting with the shoulder of another who was about to try and run Mike through with a spear – a wave of fire consuming his exposed flesh and sending the elf to writhe on the ground. “They keep coming!”

Flashes of light from the other side of the pier drove Ray and Dusk to try and push through the 7th and 8th warrior that had appeared behind them, Dusks spiritual weapon cutting at exposed necks and shoulders, keeping a few elves at bay and off the backs of the two warriors.

“Dusk, we need to get to them,” Ray spat as he caught a trust of a blade on his shield, “the docks a beginning to feel a bit crowded!” He yelled, looking towards the floating lights that signalled the rowboats were getting closer to shore, friend of foe he was not sure.

“Aye old friend, I am not ready to join my lady just yet. The hateful bitch will never let me hear the end of it” Dusk spat as he brought forward the magic of his axe and a wave of fire splashed out like a wave of water on the Elf that managed to cut at his exposed forearm. “The boys may need my healing too!” Dusk breathed out, catching a spear in the head of his axe and with a twist shattering the coral shaft, sending splinters flying through the air.

“Screw this,” Zander spat, running forward he grabbed Mikes shoulder, “hold on!” he called as he spat out a magical incantation, his dragonmark burning bright like lightning as another boom of thunder erupted from his position. As mike brought his sword down it connected with thin air, Zanders magic having teleported them to the other side of the dock and close enough to Dusk and Ray to see a wave of sea elves crash upon the paladins shield. “Ray! Dusk!” Mike called, as he began the charge at the attackers.

“For Arciryas!!” A voice boomed from just behind them as sailors and soldiers got off rowboats, their boots in motion the moment they touched the pier and speeding towards the sea elves – noting that they were attacking three humans and a dwarf who appeared to be single-handedly defending the docks.

Turning around for a moment Zander and Mike saw a dozen or more figures run from the boats and clash with the sea elves where were exceptionally quick on their feet to give pursuit of the Sorcerer and paladin.

A burst of black magic rushed forth from the mass of bodies surrounding Ray and Dusk, inky black tentacles retreating back within the folds of armour of Ray. Mike didn’t know if he liked Rays connection to the forgotten god, or the powers that it granted him but in this instance the magic did seem to come in handy.

The remaining fight didn’t take much longer. Pincered between the immoveable force of divine magic, the shield and blade of Ray and the magic and enchanted blade of Zander and Mike the sea elves were quick to fall. A pile of moaning or split bodies lay at the feet of the party and even as they ran to meet the other soldiers and sailors they made quick work of what ever elves were left attacking the men.

“Thank you lads, thanks for coming to our aid” Ray said, a bit out of breath as he pushed a portion of his magic through his body to heal the few wounds that got through his defence. “Do any of your men need healing?” Ray asked looking to the sailors and soldiers.

“Already on it” Dusk said, sealing a cut on the forehead of one of the soldiers before tending to another. Mike joining in lending some of his oath driven magic to heal the wounds of the newfound allies, “we were too late for some of the boys though” Dusk said, not daring to look towards the several bodies that were dead on the stones.

“Are you men alright?” called a voice, turning towards the city a group of six guard ran towards them.

“Yes, thanks to this party of adventurers” The captain, judging by his attire and way he commanded those around him, said. Extending a hand towards the newcomers who looked at it puzzled for a moment before taking it and shaking it once.

Zander frowned, a few of the guards appeared to be acting peculiar. The guards were exchanging glances between themselves and a few of the sailors and soldiers from the party they just assisted in driving off the sea elves. Remembering what Rafnir had said he went to call out a warning before blades sang from scabbards and the group was on the defensive from both sides as many of the Sailor sand soldiers were cut into by their own men.

Zander, expending the last of some of his control of magic let forth a gust of wind that pushed and battered those he had noticed to be hostile, the winds moving around and ignoring his allies and the friendlies. “For the living!” He called, preparing to launch a bolt of fire at one of the possessed guards as Ray, Mike, Dusk and the captain with two of his men prepared themselves to attack the possessed men…

Well that’s it for tonight, a reasonably long one but I hope it makes for a good read.

Thanks for dropping in to read this weeks write-up. Come back next week to explore part 3, or another smaller adventure if I decide tomorrow night to change it up for the coming week. Let me know what you prefer if you have an opinion on the matter!

Don’t forget the let me know if you use the adventure and if you do how your party enjoyed it. And as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe