Khevoran 2 Session Notes: 31 July 2010

Khevoran 2 Session Notes: 31 July 2010

The party proceeds into the woods in search for the winged creature – several miles behind the lines they encounter it, a huge winged creature that appears to be a mythical dragon, it appeared to have tendrils of black mist encircling it which would occasionally contract, causing the beast to wince in discomfort.  Gronk confronted the dragon directly, and during the exchange the dragon intimated that it recognized Gronk, that he was “the one from Karak ap’ Karak”.  Eventually détente failed and the creature attacked the party.  A fairly intense battle ensued where most of the party was seriously injured by the beast’s flame.  (Two cutscenes occurred during the fight, both can be found below.)  Eventually, a crack shot by Alton and a charge by Vladimir but the beast down before it would have a chance to escape.  The corpse falls on Vladimir, forcing the party to hack away at the bulk of the creature to free him.

Just as Vladimir is freed and the party begins to recover, a Strangler unleashes fire on the party and continues a barrage of spells until he is put down.  The Strangler wore a bracelet that appeared to be bound to the tendrils of fog that were surrounding the dragon.

The party spends some time tending their critically wounded, and then heads back towards Hillcrest (the head of the dragon dragging behind some of the horses).  On their way they encounter small pockets of fleeing goblins and then scouts from 3rd Battalion, who inform the party that the battle is won and the 3rdhas been sent to the goblin cave-turned-fortress to besiege it and prevent the greenskins from mustering for another assault.

The battle at Hillcrest claimed the lives of roughly two thousand Northland army troops and the slaughter of tens of thousands of goblins.  Of Society men, Cutter, Lassiter, Goblin, and Warder Kev were lost in the battle.  The party findsVolkov sitting with the bodies of his last two men and helps him with their burial before separating for healing and food.  The Society and the commanding officers of the five Northland battalions meet several hours later to discuss plans for the future.  After discussing issues of logistics (it’s discovered that Goblin had been magically treating the camp’s water and preserving the teeth of the army from rot and disease), Volkov addresses the need to bottle up the goblins.  With nearly infinite reinforcements from their bloom, there is no practical way to conquer the fort directly, and besieging it long-term is unfeasible.  The party recalls that the bloom backed into a mine extension from Leitus’ compound, and volunteers to head back to the ancient elf’s demesne in an attempt to collapse the cave from the rear.

As they depart to rest (and provide a proper Warder funeral for Kev). Volkov mentions that they should make haste, because when they’re done they’re going to have to go find out what the dwarves have been up to the last thirty years….

 

He wasn’t named Goblin at birth.  But no one remembers his real name, not even the ancient, tiny black wizard from the swamps south of Lachtanburg.  He’s lived longer than many elves, and it’s said that he has forgotten more ancient secrets of the universe than many civilizations ever cumulatively learn.  He was a fixture at the College Arcanum in Teribain for over a century, and was the last one to leave the great tower before the Arch Wizard sealed it against Aril Flambeau.  Along with his apprentice Deke Winters he travelled to the rendezvous point at Westergarde, but no other survivors of the siege of Teribain were to arrive.  For twenty years he trained his apprentice and plotted his return to the South.  When the Society rose up and threw down Tahl’Mearis, he signed on and marched with the army back to Hillcrest, using his abilities not only in battle, but his unique affinity to fire to allow a new, unique mithril alloy to be forged.
Today he crouches over a sand table surrounded by glowing runes in an unmarked tent in the middle of the army camp.  Every time a shaman in the greenskin army begins to draw energy for a spell, the sand swirls around a point in the table, and the old wizard casts a spell on that point, incinerating the offending orc.  He’s feeling his advanced years more acutely today, the effort of suppressing so many magic users on the battlefield, the crushing sadness at the murder of his apprentice, and the weight of the knowledge that he may truly be the last of the Teribain school wizards are wearing on him, dulling his wits; and while he incinerates threat after threat after threat, a circle of deep ones far behind the goblin lines quietly unravel the old wizard’s defenses.
Just as the old wizard feels the icy stab through his heart, a laughing dwarven face forms in the sand of his table.  Goblin snorts and plunges his hand into the sand, gripping as if grabbing the spectral face by the collar.  He pulls his hand back, lifting the sand-face further out of the table, its laughter giving way to consternation.
“Never…” groans the old wizard, “…ever…gloat.”

Simultaneously, both deep in the forest behind the goblin lines and in an unmarked tent in the center of the Northland camp, there is an explosion so hot that it incinerates everything within ten yards, leaving only a sheet of glass with no sign to be seen of a circle of deep ones, or of a tiny old man, whose name really wasn’t Goblin.

Cutter and Lassiter are Sergeants.  This isn’t to say that they are ranked Sergeant, though both are, but more of a description of the very essence of the men.  Together, they were conscripted into the Southlands army under Tahl’Mearis twenty years ago where they quickly proved themselves to not only be devastatingly effective warriors, but also unwaveringly dedicated to their peers, and their men.  Like every other good Sergeant that preceded them, they were a little too rough around the edges, a little too willing to speak their mind regardless of the consequences to receive commissions and become officers – so they remained senior non-coms for the whole of their careers.
Together, they defected with their friend Sergei Volkov on the field at Westergarde, and so loved and trusted were they by their men that every single soldier in their units went with them.  Together, they joined The Society.  Together, they marched back across the Northlands, this time as liberators instead of conquerors.  Together, they kept their men safe when both the North and the South were after their blood.  And together, in a single act of betrayal, they lost all of the men under their commands in a single moment.
Today, they’re out in front of the lines of 2nd Battalion, flanking the goblin lines from the hills South of Hillcrest.  There are no men under their charge, just Cutter’s axe, and Lassiter’s spear, and a red, blinding rage.  When the huge Orcish Warboss takes the field, not only do they find a target for their rage, but the small bits of their minds that remain Sergeants knew that killing that one boss could save hundreds of lives, lives of hard-working enlisted kids.  Together, they charge through the horde of goblins, who themselves are so driven with fear that they simply ignore the two men.  The Warboss sees them coming and grins wickedly, beating his chest plate with his huge, twisted sword and roars at them in defiance.
They crash into the orcs surrounding the boss, Cutter sweeps them aside with his axe and Lassiter leaps past him.  The warboss spits the man on his sword with a roar of triumph, but falls silent when he sees the grin on Lassiter’s face as he pulls himself a few more inches down the huge sword and plunges his short cavalry spear through the chieftain’s eye and gives it a twist.
Together, they lay facing each other in the bloodied mud next to the corpse of the Warboss.  His Lieutenants are fighting amongst themselves for his position, and the goblin lines are crumbling without the whips and roars of the orcs to drive them.  Cutter takes a long draw on the dirty stub of his cigar clenched in his teeth, snorts out a single, satisfied “heh”, coughs, and hands the cigar to Lassiter, who takes it in his bloody lips and takes a puff himself.  He tries to hand the cigar back, but finds his friend staring at him with dead, vacant eyes.  He sighs, pulls a small iron ball from his rucksack, taking care to avoid the massive sword poking from his midriff.  He lights a wick on the ball with Cutter’s cigar, and weakly lobs it into the midst of the orc leaders.

“Fucking amateurs,” he growls, just before the bomb explodes.

 

3 Comments

  1. Kalipso
    Aug 12, 2010

    Poppy takes a minute to gather herself by a shrub.

    “So many are dead. Why does everyone have to die? So many good people are just gone. Even the dragon!”

    “I have a dragon tooth… It takes up a lot of room in my pack, so perhaps I’ll get it made into a helmet. I’ve seen people with the horned helmets before. Surely mine would look quite fine with a dragon tooth! It would be the most impressive battle hat around!”

    “I still have Moriel…she’s stronger. She’s finally becoming what she needs to be. She’s finally starting to understand her place. I’m proud of my Moriel. Someday…someday she may not be mine anymore. I see it happening. There’s no stopping it. Then what would I do?”

    Poppy leans towards the shrub a little bit, as if telling it a secret…
    “You know, death makes you enjoy life all the more. Not that I’m worried about dying…you know, being immortal and all. Even if I did die, I wouldn’t be scared! I’d just be following in the footsteps of most everyone I’ve ever known. It’s not a big deal, death that is. As long as I’m remembered. That’s the important part.”

    Poppy chuckles a little.

    “I’ll have to buy some more bows and ribbon.” She mutters while tromping back to camp.

    The shrub trembles in the wind.

  2. Patricia
    Aug 14, 2010

    They made their way towards the place where they had seen the winged shape. Moriel wondered what it was; it could not be a dragon. Dragons did not, after all, exist. Did they?

    Then she heard it. A deep, rumbling voice, not entirely unlike what she imagined the earth itself would have sounded like, had it been given a voice. Signalling for the others to stop, she dismounted and continued forward on foot.

    Then the humans made one of their strange decisions again. Not just one, but _all_ of them decided to follow, even the humans no more able to move quietly than, well, the average human. And of course, one of them just _had_ to stumble and fall.

    The voice fell silent.

    Had the situation been less grave, and the dragon less terrifying, she would have found the chaos that followed entertaining. But it was a real dragon; she could not think of anything else that it could be, though it had some strange, black tendrils surrounding it, seemingly causing it pain.

    She wanted to step forward, to talk to the creature. It, and the black mist tendrils surrounding it. Maybe it was the size, or the fact that it looked like a dragon, but it _felt_ ancient, in a way that even Elves did not.

    But Gronk stepped forward and started talking to it. And the dragon, well, it sounded as if it _knew_ Gronk, though Gronk did not seem to recognise it. That was curious, she thought, and though there were several explanations she could imagine, some seemed more likely than others. Perhaps the dragon could take another shape. Or perhaps it was mistaken, that it was not Gronk it had seen. Not very likely, she thought.

    She kept quiet, listening to them speak. The dragon said something about not being the one who controlled the goblin horde. But for some reason, the logical question was never asked. But by now, she was getting the impression that this had become personal. It had to be something that had happened in Karak ap’ Karak; the dragon was not, after all, responsible for the death of Gronk’s friend. But the dragon’s mention of Karak ap’Karak seemed to have triggered something in Gronk.

    When the dragon attacked, she was not too surprised, though she suspected that Gronk had given it little choice. Not that it changed things, of course. Still, its death, when it came, was something she would have avoided, had she been able to. It was, all things considered, a magnificant creature.

    She walked over to it, whispering an apology. Not that it mattered, of course; it was dead. And she wondered if it was the last of its kind. There could not be many like it left in any way, still, she did not much like the thought that they might have killed the last of them.

    The tentacles were still there, misty and black, so she did not touch it. Instead she sighed, and went to get the horses. Rather that, than watch as the others were working on cutting off the dragon’s head. It felt wrong, somehow, irreverent.

    As she was getting close to the horses, she heard sounds of battle. She rushed back, and saw a man, a Strangler, she thought, attacking the others. It might be her imagination, but she thought this fight was harder than the dragon.

    When the Strangler finally went down, she noticed his bracelet. The black tendrils that had surrounded the dragon seemed to disappear into the it, and she could not help but wonder if the dragon had been controlled by the Strangler. And if so, had it really been necessary to kill it, or could they have found a way around it? But if Gronk had some issue with it…

    She shrugged mentally, then went to get the horses. As she came back, just in case, she took up a position that would let her at least keep some sort of watch, in case there were more around.

    And as she watched Banagher trying to heal one of the others, there was an odd sound, Banagher looked … upset? and walked away. She hesitated for a moment, then followed. He was standing not far from the camp, and she stopped a few feet away, not sure if her presence was welcome or not.

    “What happened?”

    “I failed.” She just kept looking at him, expecting him to continue, but he just shook his head. She nodded slowly, trying to figure out what he meant. It had to be more than this, she thought, watching as he walked back to the others.

    On the way back to Hillcrest, she found an opportunity to talk to him again. And his words told her a lot.

    “Sometimes, I get the feeling that She has turned Her back on me.” So, his goddess, then. There were so many things she could say, but she was not sure what would help.

    “I do not know your goddess. But if she did, would you not have _known_? All the time?” That came out clumsy, but she hoped he understood what she meant.

    “I have no idea.” There was something in his voice, something that made her think that her own people had the right idea, not to depend on, or trust in, the gods. For while the beings that the humans called gods were powerful, it did not mean they were worthy of the attention and devotion that the humans gave them. Granted, either Banagher or his goddess had destroyed the enemy’s fleet, but she was starting to wonder if it might be Banagher who did that all along.

    “Why would she turn away from you?” She had her own thoughts on that, but she was not going to voice them. He did not, definitely not, need to hear what she was thinking.

    “Why would I know? Maybe I’m not worthy.” He sounded grumpy. She almost wanted to laugh at the irony. Here she was, trying to advice a human on religion. A _religious_ human, even. She wanted to grab hold of him and shake him. But at least she thought she was beginning to see what the problem was, some of it, anyhow.

    She thought carefully, trying to find the right words, the words that might work either way. “Or maybe you did not need her enough.” An ambiguous statement, on purpose. Being human, he would probably find some other, strange way of interpreting it, though.

    “That may be as well.” He fell quiet, looking as if he was thinking. “Those words contain more wisdom than perhaps you realize.” It was, she thought, one of the more arrogant things he had said, though she did not think he had meant it that way. Considering the way the humans tended to speak without thinking, she supposed it was understandable.

    She wondered which interpretation he had landed on. Hopefully, he would start to realise that he was relying too much upon his goddess, that he was not trying hard enough on his own, not trusting himself enough. It was strange how the humans were willing to cripple themselves in that way.

    Hesitating, there was one more thing she wanted to tell him. “Maybe you need to know what parts of you are really _you_. And then maybe she will be there again. But you are becoming too much Her, and too little you.” She left him to his thoughts; she had already said more than she had intended.

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