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Thread: RotR Chapter One: Burnt Offerings

  1. #1
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    Default RotR Chapter One: Burnt Offerings

    Prologue: Five Years Earlier

    Mokmurian stood in the wide doorway of the great hall, steeling himself against what was to come. Tonight, he would be another step closer to total victory. He took a step into the vast, dark chamber, and then another, then another. His footfalls hammered the floor like an earthquake, his pace was show and reverent. He needed no light to guide him to the dormant runewell in the center of the hall. It's wide, circular rim jutted up from the floor; the walls graven with runes from an age which had long since passed into dust. Inside the well, a murky green liquid sat stagnant, except for small ripples that rolled in random directions, as if an invisible finger were being dipped and dragged across its surface.

    It almost seems alive, mused Mokmurian. The thought unnerved him. If it isn't, it soon will be.

    Words rumbled out of the darkness from somewhere directly over the well's surface. They struck the air like loose rocks tumbling down a mountainside in the language of an empire long dead. The pool began to dimly glow. The gently gliding ripples swelled to miniature waves. What began as a pinprick of light infused the entire pool until it shone impossibly bright. The runewell bathed the entire chamber in an eerie, lime colored luminescence. A stone giant stood over the runewell, entranced by the bubbling green liquid. He was dressed after the fashion of his people. Growths of lavender crystal erupted from a multitude of fissures spread over his rough, grey skin. Mokmurian felt the presence enter his mind before he'd heard its voice bouncing off of the inside of his skull.

    WHO AWAKENS ME?

    "Your servant, Runelord Karzoug." Mokmurian answered audibly. He felt a wave of cold sweep through his whole body. Icy tendrils, like thin fingers crawled across his mind.

    A stone giant? He voice came softer this time, sounding bemused. Willing...and powerful. You will suffice. Heed me! There is much to be done.

    "I will, my Master."

    A rush of images, sounds, and sensations pounded into Mokmurian like a wave. The stone giant hovered over the pool, taking mental note of his Master's suggestions. He revelled in this moment. History would show that it was the beginning. He would rule the accursed land that birthed him, subjugate the race that banished him, and Runelord Karzoug would allow it to come to pass.

    The runewell flared up suddenly, sending a cylinder of putrid green coruscation splashing harmlessly against the ceiling. Unbeknownst to Mokmurian, other runewells were sparking to life all over Varisia: in a deep crack in the mountains, at the bottom of the ocean, deep in the heart of a tangled swamp, even in a catacomb far beneath a sleepy, coastal town.

    The Rise of the Runelords had begun...

    OOC: no posting yet. Very soon.
    Last edited by SuperBall; 08-21-2013 at 02:15 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Five Years Later, Festival Morning

    The sun had only just skirted over the horizon, staining the sky a soft orange-pink, when Abstalar Zantus ran his hand down the lintel of of the small crypt in the Sandpoint boneyard belonging to his predecessor. He was dressed in the vestments of a high priest of Desna, the dreaming goddess. "Today is a great day, Tobyn, my old friend. The new cathedral will honor your memory. Yours, and your daughter's."

    Outside the cemetery the town of Sandpoint was waking up. A rotund, heavily tattooed half orc pushed a long-handled broom along Main Street, sweeping the packed dirt road clean. Gorvi's mind wandered to the two dozen others that he employed to beautify the town. He decided that a good thrashing was in order for any that didn't seem busy enough. Today was an important day, and the town would look its best. He lifted a hand in greeting to a woman in a shop window as he passed by...

    ...from inside the bakery, Alma Avertin waved back at the diligent street sweeper. Her shop smelled heavenly, heavy with the scent of sweet rolls, and pastries, all for today's celebration. She snatched a cookie from a serving tray, pressing it into the hands of a loitering child before shooing him off with kindness in her eyes. The little boy darted off with his prize, running past the theater...

    ...Cyrdrak Drokkus had just achieved the top rung of his ladder when he saw the child sprinting by. The loudly dressed dwarf was securing a large swathe of colorful bunting when the ladder shuddered and fell away. He screamed obscenities, dangling by the decorative cloth, feet pumping the air with a comic ineffectiveness...

    ...down the road at the Grocer's Hall, the guildmaster Olmur Danavkas had just stacked the last of the cabbages onto a very attractive display. The keening wail of Cyrdak Sent the halfling diving for the display, throwing his short arms up defensively. The rack of cabbages had spilled over three times this week. He would see to it that there wouldn't be a fourth. He wiped his hands on his heavy apron, nodding briskly to the Sheriff walking by on a beat. He noted that the Sheriff's chain mail had been polished, and his tabard thoroughly cleaned. Olmur knew that the sudden care taken in his appearance was only in part due to the festival. He knew where he was going...

    ...in the Docks District, Sheriff Baelor Hemlock passed neatly down Market Street. He slowed down, lingering in front of the Pixie's Kitten. Hanging halfway out of windows, Sandpoint's working girls called down and waved, but went largely unnoticed by the big man. He was currently sharing a long knowing glance with Tesserani, the Madame, framed attractively in the doorway. Scanning the street, he stepped through the doorway, catching a delicious scent on the breeze...

    ...at the stately, three-story White Deer Inn, the quiet Elven proprietor smoked a whole side of venison in a big iron oven out back. He wondered how his menu would fare against the other taverns in town. He shouted hello to Gavin Deverin, rolling a big barrel of bitter that he'd ordered from the Two Knight Brewery. Gavin was full of stories about all of the merchants flooding in...

    ...a long train of goods-laden wagons were being carefully unloaded, parked on the flat square that would soon be the Marketplace. Across the road from the parked caravan, Turch the fishmonger stacked the morning catch, trying to decide if he had time to change before the Swallowtail Festival really got rolling. He was sure that it would be a day filled with fun, and not soon forgotten...

    OOC: Posting is now open. Put your characters into the action. We'll take some time for roleplay before moving along.
    Last edited by SuperBall; 10-05-2014 at 04:52 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Gus wiped the sleep from his eyes as he watched the help unload what was left of the merchants' goods. They'd had to hoof it all night to make it too Sandpoint in time for whatever this festival was. He'd done he's share of grueling treks before, but he'd kind of hoped the days of forced marches had ended with his distant and short-lived career with the Hellknights.

    It suddenly occurred to Gus as the sun rose cheerily in the sky above him that he had no idea what these man were actually even carrying. Beer, spices, exotic monster pelts – he'd never actually bothered to ask when he and 'Lalia had signed on. He'd had just been the next convenient excuse in a string of convenient excuses to keep moving. He snorted and smirked to himself.

    Whatever their cargo was he hoped to Hell it had been worth all of the blood, sweat and tears to get it here. Broken wagon wheels, goblin raids, lamed pack animals; Gus had actually had to put the last horse down himself. Eulalia had not been happy when she'd heard what he'd done, but she wasn't the one paying his wages. When the man with the coin said, “Shoot that lame horse between the eyes,” Gus shot the lame horse between the eyes. That was about the height of his mental facilities these days. He was pretty sure he'd had some morals and ideals when this trip had started, but he was pretty sure those had shattered with the first busted axle. Besides, magic was for people he'd told 'Lalia. Boy had she looked pissed.

    That was when it occurred to him that his friend hadn't talked to him since that moment, except to yell, “Look out!” when that goblin had snuck up behind him and tried to hamstring him during that last raid. What was that two days ago? The days sort of blended together when you'd been awake for them and the nights. Gus shrugged again. He'd never been so good with time anyway. Something was either happening or it wasn't. He hadn't given a damn about the past or the future since...well, long enough.

    So many Devil damned goblins...Raid after raid, after raid. He was pretty sure some diabolical wizard had been following them summoning goblin after goblin after goblin to bedevil them. Still, 'Lalia had saved him. She must have been getting over the horse thing. He smirked again, this time significantly more confident as he looked around for the colorful headscarves his currently oldest (and only?) friend wore. She was over it for sure. Why would she stay mad at him?

    As soon as they were done hawking this caravan of tortoises their time was their own again. He saw the stout dwarf guard, Goraxes something or other, already stalking away from the scene of all this tedium. Were they done? Probably not, but he'd seen that dwarf fight. Nobody was going to try and stop him if he'd decided to go grab a morning pint – something that didn't sound that bad to Gus right now either. He looked around for 'Lalia again. He didn't think it was possible to lose a bald woman in a crowd, but Gus often accomplished things other people didn't think were possible. That was the trouble with being great. Great things were always expected of you like losing friends and family and awkward times.

    “Hey!” he grumbled to whatever fat money-sack was closest, thumping his gold filigreed walking stick on the ground for emphasis. He thought that was the one that usually handled payroll. Posit? Gus couldn't remember his name either. “Are we done here? You already paid us, I'm pretty much standing here sleeping on my feet as a courtesy. I would like to not see or smell any of you ever again. Because you currently smell like an ass.”

    He then offered the man his most winning smile.

    OOC -
    William, I'm assuming the caravan you described at the end of your last post is the one that brought Gus, Eulalia, Goraxis (and Erik?) to town. If it wasn't, it is now.

    Perception to spot Eulalia (d20-1): 13.

    James, Michelle; let me know if I've overstepped my bounds with your characters. Dorgyn, I just went with what you said in your backstory about Goraxis heading straight for the smithy and incorporated it into my little narrative.
    Last edited by Tauren_Kai-Jere; 10-01-2014 at 11:28 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Victaria breathed the morning air deep to calm her nerves. She was setting up a small, somewhat sad looking table among some of the other local business selling their wares. Here's had a neatly written sign on it that read:

    "-Victaria Grey-
    Professional Scribe, Scrolls done right!
    Can read/write seven languages...and spells to understand any other!"

    She didn't have high hopes. Many of the people coming to the festivals were farmers, with no need at all for a scribe. But she needed to raise some cash. Raz had always told her she had a destiny, but he had failed to mention what that was. Now he was gone and she was alone, with her mind and her pen the only skills she had.

    She thought exploring some ancient ruins would be a good place to start. Maybe her destiny was to make some amazing discovery, she had already taught herself ancient Thassilonian after all. But those ruins were dangerous, and she would need money not only for supplies but also to hire some protection. She was lucky enough to live cheapily here at the House of Blue Stones, and for the moment she was content to enjoy their impressive library, but it was time to start earning some cash.

    As Victaria stood next to her table, expecting a day of disappointment, she thought about how alone she was. Once she had a family, then a love, and then a mentor. Now it was just her, and she had no idea what she was doing. She sat heavily behind her table, mentally preparing for the day to come.
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  5. #5
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    Default An old boy....

    Up early, Jack strolled down the dirt-packed street, whistling to himself. The last few weeks were rough. Leaving his manor to the dust and dismissing the staff made for awkward times to say the least. The head servant Ted actually shed a tear, exclaiming Sir Jonathan as the best master he had the pleasure of serving. Jolly old, Ted; Jack thought wistfully. He had not even bothered to sell the remains of his estate, knowing full well his debt to the city needed some amount of recompense. At the very least seizing the estate accounted for a third of the debt owed. Still not enough, though.

    “Ah, well. Here’s to Sandpoint,” he said to no one in particular, entering the outskirts of the frontier town.

    Over the past few days, Merriman returned to the abandoned and ill kept Merriman cottage. The windows and door boarded shut; Jack had a hell of a time removing them without tools. Sadly, he had not the money to buy them. Luckily Jack explored the ruined work shed in the backyard, previously the pride of a long-deceased father. Now a pile of wood and broken masonry, lightning or some other type of storm damage knocked it down. Jack had fond memories of dear old Dad crafting many a beautiful creation from wood, carpentry the Merriman trade for generations. Digging through the wreckage, he found a set of old tools, rusted and in disrepair, but still serviceable. Remembering the old lessons, some tender love and care with oil and a whetstone brought them back to life. And thus, he spent two days bringing the home back to a livable condition. Jack kept to himself, and none noticed, most of the old neighbors too far away to see.

    Today though, he desired a few supplies and sundries to finish off the home as his own. After some light shopping, Jack planned to make “friends” at the local public house, looking for business opportunities. After all a retired treasure hunter and ne’re-do-well retained usable skills. He just needed to find the right employer. The rogue decided on visiting an old friend, the town’s apothecary Pillbug Podiger. An unseemly fellow from his childhood, old Pilly fit right in with Jack’s current life choices. He didn’t trust Pilly as far as he could throw him (not far as Pilly was quite rotund in middle age), he owed Jack a favor or two, especially when it came to certain substance used to coat the small bolts of a hand crossbow. Jolly old, Pilly; Jack thought sarcastically.

    Continuing his stroll, Jack passed a small merchant’s caravan. Some young whelp was smarting off to the caravan leader. Jack’s goateed face stretched, sharing the same smirk as the young man’s. Stopping in his tracks he waited, hoping to see the other belt some sense into the petulant youth.
    Last edited by rogue; 08-20-2013 at 09:30 PM.
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  6. #6
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    The young man was about Jack's height and as skinny as a fence-pole. His light brown hair stuck up in fifty directions and his face was covered in a few days of dark stubble. He had a faded red pentagram tattooed around his right eye. His haversack and worn brown overcoat, like the rest of the young upstart, looked like he'd rolled out of bed and onto a dirt road before getting up and going about his business. However, his chain shirt, the composite longbow slung over his shoulder, and his jam-packed quiver of arrows were immaculately kept. The walking stick he was thumping about was in remarkably good shape as well and looked far to rich and elegant to belong to a loud-mouthed caravan guard.

    OOC -
    Figured now was as good as time as any to describe what my character looks like.
    Last edited by Tauren_Kai-Jere; 10-01-2014 at 11:32 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Marching was nothing new to Goraxis. He had marched along the walls of Janderhoff during his time as a Wall Warden. He had marched from Janderhoff all the way to Sandpoint. Marching had never bothered the dwarf, but he had to admit that seeing Sandpoint on the horizon as they approached the coastal town brought a deep sense of relief to him. The caravan had been through the wringer, so to speak, but his part of the trek was completed, and for that he was thankful. Torag had guided them through much difficulty, and had guided his arm when the need was dire. He was pleased that he would be able to relax, if only for a short time.

    Reaching down, he patted the small, nearly empty coin pouch at his belt. “Ya ain’t gonna eat much er drink much with that stinkin’ lil’ bit o coin!” he scolded himself, his mouth dry as dust from travel. He had spent most of his earnings equipping himself for their journey. The rest he had spent on their journey for pleasantries such as mead, bread, and the occasional cheese wheel. He knew that after he had completed his task, the reason for such a long trek across Varisia, he would need to seek out employment. And he had no intention of joining another caravan, at least as long as he could help it.

    Without so much as a hello or goodbye, Goraxis turned on his heel, and headed off into town to find the location of the Red Dog Smithy. He had a determined look on his scarred face, which translated into the steps of his booted feet. As he departed, he thought he heard one of the newer recruits to the caravan holler something to their employer, but he dismissed it because it had little to do with him and his own purposes.

    The sunrise, which was a sight for some eyes to behold, was lost on the dwarf. His mind was of one purpose, and that was to claim his ancestral weapon. As he marched out of the Marketplace of Sandpoint, he barely noticed a sign in front of a table. It said something about scrolls and writing. Walking past, he couldn’t help but wonder.

    “Hrmph!” he grumbled, thinking about someone sitting at a table writing and reading, the concept of the arcane wonders that those words and text held lost on the short sighted dwarf. “What good er words when a slobberin’ goblin is tryin’ ta bonk yer head?” he reasoned, satisfied that nothing on Golarion was better than quality, sharpened steel in your hand.

    Continuing onward, he could have sworn that he heard someone whistling annoyingly. Why anyone would purse their lips and try to sound like a bird was beyond Goraxis’ comprehension. Concentrating on locating the smithy, his eyes scanned the sky for signs of black smoke, a sure sign of a smith’s shop. He hoped that he would be able to find his way, not having gleaned the shops location before setting out on this personal quest. He shunned the idea of having to stop and ask some random townsfolk for directions. No good dwarf worth an iron ingot would do such a thing! If it meant he had to wander every street of Sandpoint before stumbling across the smith by accident, then by Torag’s beard, that was what he was gonna do!

    Following Festival Street, or so the street sign said as he passed by Prickleback Lane, he decided that he would follow this current street until its end, then begin crossing the roads in a thorough criss-cross search pattern, much like the type of tactics he was accustomed to while serving in the militia back in Janderhoff. However, after passing Crab Street, he came to the intersection of High Street and Festival. There, like a lighthouse beacon on a dark and stormy night, he spied the establishment he had been seeking: The Red Dog Smithy. He only hoped that the proprietor was in.
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  8. #8
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    Default Erik the Northman

    Sun-warmed eyelids fluttering in the morning light, Erik stretched languidly in the back of the merchant's cart as he belted a heavy yawn. The goblin raid the previous night had tested the Ulfen's mettle and, by his estimation, he had earned a little rest.

    In one fluid motion, Erik sat up and slid out of the still moving cart landing on his feet.

    First things first, Erik checked himself for his belongings: the Eisnhorn was secured with its leather strap about his neck, at his side he felt the familiar weight of his grandfather's blade, and on his back the heavily scarred shield slapped time with his steps. He gave a quick heft of the purse at his waist to ensure his pay was secure.

    Everything accounted for, Erik strode into town (Sandpoint he heard the caravan master call it), kicking up dirt in the crisp morning air. He simply shook his head and grinned as he heard the exchange between Gus and the caravan master as he made his way towards young woman and her meager stand.

    He glanced at her sign and smiled.

    "Lady Grey, I am Erik, son of Erlend son of Engli, and my thirst is mighty. I propose a trade. My gold piece for the best mead hall this Sandpoint has to offer."
    When the cards are down and some wild-eyed, green-skinned gamorrean grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the duracrete wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jak Starwind always says at a time like that: 'Have ya paid your dues, Jak?' 'Yessir, the credchip is in the mail.'

  9. #9
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    Post Newly Accustomed, or The Horse's End

    Had she thought her father's imperious tone from her own lips would always be enough to stay someone's hand when she gave an order? Much less the hand of a practical, battle hardened man like Gus Erastil?

    The frowning noblewoman tugged idly at the red and white headscarf's fringe against her shoulder. It was an unconscious, fretting gesture from Lady Gordon's long ago girlhood.

    Was it not the way of the world that a wounded horse should be put out of its misery, and a kind of mercy when t'was over?

    But her first instinct had been to heal the horse, not see it put down.

    Her second thought, though, had been to remember what one of her teachers said about learning when NOT to use magic. He'd claimed it should be the first lesson that spellweavers took to heart, but it was usually the last.

    The druid sighed. She must be turning into a sentimental old fool. But she was not so foolish as to ignore the elven bard's augured advice that she stand by the deceptively devilish-looking warrior.

    No, she must grow accustomed to being treated as an equal rather than an authority---and sometimes less than that. Lady Eulalia Gordon was out of her father's prestigious and privileged house now. In time, if she proved herself, she would be out of his shadow as well.

    Anyway, she enjoyed the familiarity of being called 'Lalia. She didn't want to jeopardize the budding friendship this seemed to herald. It moved her even more than all the times they'd protected one another since beginning the trek from Korvosa to Sandpoint. Yes, she was doting in her advanced years all right.

    Still, highborn Lady Gordon receded, and in her place 'Lalia' walked to the fore of the caravan, ready to apologize to Gus for her bitter reaction over the horse's end.

    Speaking of which, some "horse's end" was hollering at one of the more prominent caravan merchants and...oh, she knew that voice. She quickened her pace toward Gus and his insouciant grin.
    Last edited by UngainlyDodge; 08-21-2013 at 01:37 AM. Reason: Phrasing
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  10. #10
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    Default The Market Square

    Posit Farthingsworth glowered at the lean, tattooed archer. He thrust out his chest (as by extension, his ample waistline) and attempted a murderous swagger. Trouble was, the blade-bravos that he'd seen effect this particular strut were built for it. Posit was built for sitting. Sometimes sitting a wagon, sometimes an accounting desk, but mostly just general sitting. His belly reached Gus before he did, jutting a meaty sausage-finger at the warrior.

    His eyes were wide, his mouth set into a grim line, the corners dipping down into a disapproving scowl. He stammered a response that sounded much better in his head, and thinking better of tangling with Gus, capped off the incomprehensible retort with a simple,

    "Yes."

    Before stalking off, shouting at his teamsters about their general lack of ability in their chosen field...
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