Coming Soon [tm]
The unremarkable pair move through the streets of the city in near silence, covered in their signature grey cloak. Ahead is their target, a man dressed in finery, and a young woman. It has been months of patience, planning and watching this man and his crimes are numerous. Only in the chaos left in the wake of the failed Revolution and corruption of a shattered promise would such a man go unpunished. Looking around the pair, both hunter and hunted, move in. The taller of the pair lashes out with a delicate hand and utters words of power, ending the fight immediately but not the man’s life. The young woman cowers as the shorter of the grey cloaked pair approaches, speaking to the magically bound man.
”Did you think yourself safe? Do you think that we do not remember what you have done or know of your plans? Isn’t it poetic that you, find yourself impotent against the same power that you have inflicted on others these last seven years? Tonight your contributions to the corruption gripping the land ends but you still have a part to play. For the horrors you have caused others to see you are blinded. For the lies you have told your tongue is forfeit. For betrayal of the people you are condemned to live upon their charity and compassion the rest of your days.”
The grey cloaked woman wipes her dagger clean and turns to the young woman. ”Remember what happened here and what you saw. Tell the others that the people of the city are not without protection and there is nowhere we cannot reach.”
With that the pair moves off, disappearing into the night.
See you all next Friday.....
The old man rises from the table and looks at his family as he speaks. "We've made a great fortune with sale of new spells, rare Stoneland artifacts and now we are a House of influence. With our new prestige and standing in the city, there is so much we can accomplish but we will fail if we don't work together and find others who share our passion." Many of the gathered scoff and regard each other warily
He continues on. "Find others driven by curiosity, intellect, creativity and scholarly pursuits to encourage all things magical. Find seekers of ancient lore, forgotten and perhaps even forbidden knowledge, and together we may forge a magical aristocracy. Leave no stone unturned and despite risks, everything must be analyzed, scrutinized and pondered. No knowledge is forbidden. Always remember, knowledge cares not for good nor evil. It simply is."
With that the meeting is over and most leave without looking back. A few however remain and ponder the new Lord's words.....
Soft soles patter on the floor of the stone corridor as they approach the doorway, one unarmed in dark robes, a purplish hue, the other in padded armour, moving with no particular haste - the younger of the two turns and speaks
”Why did they call on us instead of THEM?”
The other shakes his head. ”They may only be mundanes, but they are smart enough to know they didn't want a blunt implement here - besides you're asking the wrong questions.”
A quizzical eyebrow raised. ”I am?”
A smile. ”Yes, you should be wondering what we know of the stray through that door - the bloodline is supposedly infernal.”
The young one unsheathes a silvered dagger from their belt - only for it to be pushed back in by the other.
”No, did you not hear what I said? If we can turn him, bring him back...”
”But he's already killed six men, and you want me to go in there without my blade?”
”He is scared, and cannot control his powers- Is it so different to when I brought you in?”
They reach the door, flames curl through the gaps, the older one pushes on the wood, hinges groaning...
See you all next week...
From the floor to the ceiling, runes crawled and snaked together in their thousands, much like snakes in spring over thawing moss on the dark forest floor. There was an disturbing elegance to them, yet also a chilling sense of death, despair, and great sins.
Shying away from the frightful carvings, the hooded figure turned to its companions and whispered. "Must we be so closed to the sins of the past?"
"Let not the shadows seep into your heart, young blood. Find strength in the roots which binds us, and walk the path of those before us with pride. The strength and wisdom of the great ones lingers here." The largest of the trio rumbles with a strange mixture of feral hunger, lust, and protective passion.
"Yes, yes. Next you are going to argue that a mouse surrounded by cats shouldn't quiver! Young one, your sense of fear is only natural. For here the ancestors of the unknowing sinners drew their last cursed breath, shield yourself and be on your guard. The wise one mumbles in his slumber, and we are gathered here to pr-" The third and eldest suddenly halts in the darkest shadow of the cavern, causing the others to crash into one another as she stands firm like a mountain against the storm. Together, their eyes narrows as they gaze upon the bleeding runes before them, weeping blood from the cracked wall
In unison, the trio hiss a hushed whisper of fear, awe, and utter dread. "The seal!"
See you all next year...
A pair of Watchmen work atop the high walls of Tilverton, fixing numerous pikes, and dragging a heavy crate after them
"t'Crimson Legion?" The younger Watchman of the pair asks
"Dead'r'gone." The elder Watchman replies. He takes a moment to gaze upon their bustling town, children playing in the streets, soldiers on patrol, merchants arguing trade in the market...
"So's t'Cormytes'll Come?" The younger Watchman asks quizzically, lifting open the heavy crate
"Cormyrs never comin' here." The elder Watchman replies.
"Then we're alone..." the younger Watchmans expression softens with worry as his eyes find children playing in the streets below.
"We' ain't alone." Says the elder Watchman, he reaches into the heavy crate, raising a severed hobgoblin head by the hair
"The Witch is Dead." The elder Watchman slams the severed head upon a pike atop the high wall of Tilverton, turning to face the distant Stonelands "And we will never be slaves again. Now get to work. Mount them all."
"The light is the way, now follow my lead!" Flipping his amber mane back as he thrusts the torch forth, the golden armoured knight guides his two companions through the damp tunnels. The ladies, an elven ranger and golden priestess looks at one another. Together they roll their eyes at the knight's pompous and over confident attitude, still they remain close to the torch's flickering light as the dark shadows dance over the crumbling ruins around them.
"Its quiet, too quiet. We should have fought -something- by now, a mummy, a goblin, even one of those disgusting owlbears should have reared its ugly head from one of the dark crevices by now. For goodness sake, the last treasure chest wasn't even trapped!" The elven woman hisses with a hint of fear, as she grabs the golden priestess by the arm nervously.
"It is unwise to wish for danger when you quiver in your boots, but I admit I share your concern my friend. These halls are known for their deadly beasts, traps, and hidden passages. Yet, here we are taking a quiet stroll without the slightest resistance. Something is not right." With a comforting smile, the priestess pulls the elven ranger closer towards the safety of the knight's light and presence. As her eyes dart back and forth over the shadows.
Just as the knight's torch reveals the mysterious golden gates they were searching for, a cold gust tugs at the group and causes the torch light to nearly extinguish. Together, they whip their heads back, weapons drawn and blessings at the ready. Their eyes widen in disbelief as the wicked force of evil reaches towards them.
Two Arabellan militias battle desperately in the face of a devastating undead horde.
Beneath their feet, the ancient walls protecting the city rumble as the onslaught from the undead giants causes the foundations to tremor. Behind the pair, citizens clamour for safety as panic spreads. Children cry for their parents whilst the adults scream with terror. In a defiant stand against the invaders, a handful of Luck Keepers brace against the weakening gates, their strength waning and blood staining the old wood.
"Sir! The Keepers are all but spent, the adventurers' resources dwindle - will the gates hold?!" The youngest militia recruit turns to her one-eyed mentor with a face caked in blood and gore. The youth's eyes desperately reaching for hope in her mentor's gaze.
With a calm but firm voice, the veteran speaks as she rests her hand on her trembling protege. "We cannot falter, even in the face of death, we must remain bold. Stay true to your heart, and Lady Luck shall smile upon us."
Just as the young recruit is about to respond, a blur of ochre and sepia sprints past them. Before either of the pair can react, the stranger leaps off the crumbling wall and plunges down head-first with much gusto. Touching down with a loud bang upon the undead giant assaulting the gates. Swiftly and decisively, the mysterious assailant raised their twin blades and sinks them deep into the giants' putrid skull, only withdrawing the weapons once the undead giant collapses against the old, wooden bulwark - blocking all access with its rotten remains. Without a moment to spare, the stranger leaps into the fray, a lop-sided grin spreading across their bloodied, but unperturbed, face.
Gaping wide, the young recruit can do little but stare in awe after the insane stranger, stammering in disbelief. "W-Who is that?!"
Rising with a wide grin, the veteran steps towards the wall's edge herself, flanked by adventurers and the awe-struck recruit. "That, my dear, is an utter fool, an idiot, a complete moron, but also the stupid hero Arabel desperately needed."
With those final words, the veteran and recruit, emboldened by the respite gained from the giant's demise - leap down from the walls before rushing down over the putrid corpse to join the frenzied combat on the ground below. Stronger and ever more determined, their hearts and strikes beating as one as they battle with rekindled hope and fervour. "FOR ARABEL!"