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Thread: The Mantis of the Rose

  1. #1
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    Red face The Mantis of the Rose

    ***

    Interlude: The Mantis of the Rose


    Taipan

    *umph*!

    Amus knocked Taipan on his rump once again into the dust, during their practice. Not only that, the aged Austere Devotee had done it without even looking at Taipan. He froze in his stance as stars faded from Taipan's sight, head throbbing.

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    "You're getting better," Amus said, this time not helping Taipan to his feet for another round of sparring hand-to-hand. "Boy, your debilitating blows and pressuring strikes hurt worse than any man your size has a right to," Taipan's teacher complimented. "And your mind is at peace still, you do not strike out of anger."

    Taipan was about to feel good about his progress.

    "Yet I still beat you," Amus reminded. "Why?" The question hung pregnant in the air, unanswered.

    "Go to the hill and reflect on this," Amus, who insisted on being called such despite his high status as Mantis of the Monastery, advised his student. "It shall be important in the times ahead."

    Yes, the times ahead. Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom was as necessary as being able to defend one's self.

    "Look within to find your faults and strengths. Seek not glory or perishable things, but the eternal joy of light. Look to the world around you. Help call others to virtue, but do so through teaching and example, not force and fear. Show mercy when possible, but be hard when necessary. There is an order and a purpose to creation, and as long as you do not turn back on your goodness, your life shall not be in vain."

    A typical theological lesson from Amus, for he was truly blessed by the Mantis of the Rose. At the time Goldmoon, Chieftain's Daughter and Hero of the Lance, rediscovered the gods by finding the Disks of Mishakal, Amus had not only spent years as a monk, but then became a true cleric of the god Majere.

    ***

    Amus was gone when Taipan set out and reached the nearby top of a grassy knoll, where one could see for miles from the Monastery of the Rose in all directions.

    Taipan had become a monk of The Monastery just prior to the War of the Lance that began some five years ago, won once the gold and silver dragons had joined the war, driving back the Dark Queen's Dragonarmies under the banner of the Golden General, Laurana, said to be an Elf with hair of gold. Taipan had not personally fought in the War of the Lance, though was tutored in its history by scholarly monks. In addition, from this very hilltop at the northern tip of the Dargaard Mountain chain, he had seen far more of the War of the Lance than most had ever feared too, as he'd witnessed the attack on Kalaman from afar.

    As if the War of the Lance had not been bad enough, now in these times, there were more alarming threats to Ansalon, too many to name. Monks pondered to understand such things. Upon the grassy knoll, Taipan lie back to think while the mid-afternoon sun warmed the mountainside.

    Taipan looked to the north. The closest town to The Monastery was the vital port town of Kalaman, that had grown around Castle Kalaman. The town contained some three to four thousand souls, many of them passing mariners. It was a thriving trade port, for it was the only major port town that existed on the long sail by sea across the Turbidus Ocean from western Ansalon - Palanthas, Solamnia, Northern & Southern Ergoth, Abanasinia, Sancrist, Kharolis, and the New Sea regions; to eastern Ansalon - Nordmaar, The Blood Sea Isles, Goodlund, Balifor, Khur, and beyond. By sea, the Turbidus Ocean was the only waterway from eastern to western Ansalon, and Kalaman was the single only port town in between for many hundreds of miles.

    Taipan had once been to Kalaman, as the monks occasionally sent small groups to make the two day journey for the meager supplies The Monastery needed. Taipan had even made a friend in Kalaman. Mer-Kane Maps, one of the longest running businesses in Kalaman, had been creating and selling maps since before the Cataclysm. Located in the business district at the edge of the Open Air Market, the shop that specialized in cartography had maps both local and far flung. Having not seen much of the world in person, Taipan was fascinated. There were diagrams of historic towers of Ansalon, illustrations of mountain ranges and ancient cities, nautical charts for the influx of mariners into Kalaman and a number of other records and diagrams. The shop was so cramped, walls and even ceilings covered with maps from locations all over Ansalon, it was hard for Taipan not to accidentally bump into the most beautiful woman he'd ever lay eyes on - Shala Oakseed, a Qualinesti elf. So ancient was she, she had been a mariner during the Cataclysm. Her otherwordly grace and eternally youthful beauty enraptured Taipan. Shala was friendly, extremely knowledgeable of history and geography and Krynn's oceans, and had an especially soft spot for kender in her heart.

    Things changed at the onset of the War of the Lance, and Taipan had not been to the Kalaman since, five years now. Kalaman was the first city in the war to witness the full might of the Dark Queen's flying citadels. Taipan had lain in this very glade that day, watching the shadows of dragons and the bright flashes of their breath, and the rain of thousands and thousands of draconians - the size of ants from Taipan's distance - pouring off the edges of the flying citadels, their wings allowing them to glide down into Kalaman's streets and regroup into organized units. Kalaman had been devastated with little to no fight. Kalaman was merely a test run - a staging ground for the Dragonarmies' invasion to conquer Palanthas and Solamnia, and ultimately all of Ansalon. Fortunately, the advancing Dragonarmies never noticed The Monastery of the Rose crooked away in the Dargaard Mountains forty miles south, and it went unnoticed.

    Word was, Taipan received from fellow monks who made a trip one year ago to Kalaman, that the port town was rebuilding. Kalaman was so vital of a port that it couldn't. Human and minotaur mariners, hardy folk from Estwilde and the Hinterlands of Solamnia, all had helped rebuild Kalaman Harbor and were beginning to thrive again. Maritime traffic from Ergoth, Palanthas, and Nordmaar commenced, filling the coffers of Kalaman again. Most of all to Taipan's peace, Mer-Kane Maps was open for business and Shala Oakseed was alive and well, the other monks had told him. Then came the Night of the New Star.

    The War of the Lance had been over for many, many months. Some of the monks began to notice the constellation of the Five-Headed Dragon had began to fade. The stars of the Dark Queen were then gone. A New Star blazed brighter than even those of Reorx and Sirrion in the night sky, precisely in the center of the void left by the colossal constellation of the Five-Headed Dragon. Taipan and many other monks fled mindlessly in panic into the mountains, anywhere. When Taipan had finally got his wits about him that night, alone as he shook off the fear of the New Star in the relative darkness, he'd noticed he'd ran in the direction of Dargaard Keep. Yes, the cursed abode of Lord Soth, Knight of the Black Rose, was also near the northern tip of the Dargaard Mountains, where it bled into the forest of Nightlund to the southwest of The Monastery. That night, some of the other, younger monks, who might have panicked longer than Taipan, never came back. Some had perhaps ran into the haunted forests of Nightlund, or even Dargaard Keep. Others might have ended up fleeing toward the swamps of Estwilde to the southeast, and got lost. Hydras were known to live there.

    Magestorms and the occasional Lightstorm began to be seen from The Monastery, and studied. No Magebolt had directly stricken the Monastery of the Rose, but there had been close calls. One monk, out shepherding, had gotten caught in a Magestorm a month ago. He or his remains were never found, despite search efforts. For several months now, the monks had watched the frequency of Magestorms slowly grow, ravaging the mountains around them, and likely Kalaman to the north as well. Lightstorms were not entirely uncommon, and amidst one's cool breeze and light gold and silver rain, silent bursts of yellow light would flicker in the thick, white clouds that were low in the sky and moved preternaturally swiftly above. Silent yellow lightning bolts would hit the land, causing no thunder afterwards or devastation to the earth. Once a group of gully dwarves appeared where a light bolt struck. Most interestingly to the monks, Lightstorms left a blooming springtime in their wake, even now when the true season was autumn. Among the bursting flowers were often trails of red roses. Some monks saw this as a sign from Majere. Even Amus did not deny that it could be.

    The death of Takhisis was soon confirmed by Amus, as was the ascension to godhood of a mortal wizard by the name of Raistlin Majere, who slew the Queen of Darkness. Taipan had heard of the wizard, and of his twin brother Caramon, who were heralded as Heroes of the Lance. At times, tales would speak of Raistlin in Red Robes of High Sorcery. In other times, Black Robes. At all times, he was referred to as a frail mage with a wicked cough and disturbing, golden hourglass eyes.

    Months later brought the disappearance of what had traditionally always been the brightest star in Krynn's night sky (depending on who you talked to) - Sirrion, a planet, truly. The god Sirrion was the god of beauty, poetry, art, fire and passion. The Night of the Second Star came, and again, many of the monks of the Monastery of the Rose abandoned the monastery in a hysterical terror, Taipan among them.

    Then came the fading and disappearance of what had also traditionally always been the brightest star in Krynn's night sky (depending on who you talked to) - Reorx, a planet in truth as well. Reorx was the god of the dwarves, industry, and creation, among other things. Amus taught that Reorx crafted the world of Krynn with his own hammer, chiseling out the mountains and oceans with every blow. The Night of the Third Star came, appearing alongside its twins. Again, that night, at the sight Taipan was overcome with an inexplicable fear. He ran and ran. And when he was done, he came back to The Monastery. A few other monks did not.

    Now the remote planet that twinkled light mint green, Zivilyn - the Tree of Life and god of time, and the planet that twinkled brown and yellow, Chislev - The Beast and goddess of nature, had also vanished from Krynn's night sky. There had been no New Stars to take their place, yet. Would there be? Would it be tonight?

    A strange urgency welled in Taipan as he sat upon the grassy hilltop. There were rumors among some monks of a coming apocalypse, mostly dismissed. Amus was silent on the matter. Some monks talked of making a brotherly pilgrimage to a far away place, where a monastery devoted to Zivilyn was once said to thrive, to see if it was still there, and what the monks had to say. Some monks debated that Raistlin Majere has not yet upset the Balance of good and evil, for other than Raistlin taking the Dark Queen's rule, only gods of Balance had been slain by Raistlin.

    Even in the remote monastery, the hysteria was beginning to spread as gods perished and Magestorms intensified. Many had many ideas. None at The Monastery had acted. And to the god Majere's credit, to be mindful and watchful was one of the god's chief virtues and tenets.

    Yet, Taipan, as he sat on the hilltop and looked to the north - where Kalaman was not far; to the east - where the bogs of Estwilde began; to the south - where Dargaard Keep stood and the Dargaard Mountains beyond were impassable; and to the west - where the haunted forest of Nightlund had expanded into the Hinterlands of Solamnia since the first New Star, decided it was time to act.

    After much soul searching, it was time. A Magestorm was ravaging Estwilde in the distance, blue lightning bolts pounding the swamps into deeper devastation, and killing any nomadic humans living there. Taipan could take no more.

    Taipan decided, after much calm thought, it was time to leave The Monastery.

    OOC
    Hey, Hey, Hey!
    I see you have two trained knowledge skills - religion & history - assuming a take 10 for an 18 on both for the results/knowledge in this post, feel free to roll for better numbers and more specific info...
    just seeing how you "did"...
    Night of the First Star Will save vs fear d20+10= nat 1. was panicked for 18 minutes
    Night of the Second Star Will save vs fear d20+10= 15, fail. was panicked for 36 minutes
    Night of the Third Star Will save vs fear d20+10= 20, fail. was panicked for 32 minutes
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 09-03-2016 at 01:23 PM.
    The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."

    I will, Darvig uttered.

  2. #2
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    Calloused fingers ran the length of his shaven head as Taipan sat cross-legged upon the top of the grassy knoll. His dark eyes were set upon distant Estwilde where yet another colorful storm wasted the countryside. He could admit there was a particular beauty to the fierce storm. Blue lightning bolts struck repeatedly as if the deadly fingers of an angry god cherry-picked the sources of its ire, which resounded over the horizon like a cacophony of violent and omnipotent power. The thunder was so impressive that it seemed to stir his gut and set his breakfast to spinning.

    Still focused and breathing, his body remained still save for the slow turning of his head and neck as the monk's eyes shifted northward. Ahead rested Kalaman, which was nestled securely between the lowlands and the sea. Home to thousands, he wondered how many citizens had their eyes fixed upon the same magestorm.

    Silent reflection took him back to better times, when nature was unblemished by the actions of a human wizard, when gods of balance reigned in the stars and draconians did not scour the land like an infestation. He remembered a time when there was hope for a bright future and Ansalon was a place where families could prosper and procreate without great fear for the world their children would inherit.

    These magestorms were becoming more frequent and the land was changing to become far less suitable for sustaining life. Order and Disorder. Darkness and Light. Life and Death. Without life there would be no existence worth measuring. How could he, a devout monk of the Rose, continue to sit idly by as the balance was torn apart?

    Master Amus had insinuated that his young protege was skilled, strong, and quick, but there was some missing ingredient...some unseen energy or force with which the cleric of Majere had harnessed to so easily dispatch Taipan. The young monk conceded that Amus was his better, for he had no such delusions of grandeur. It was vitally important to understand one's own limitations on one's path to true spiritual enlightenment. Was it experience?

    Taipan had studied the world's history in musty tomes and delicate scrolls. He had watched the coming of the flying fortress and the battle that had reduced Kalaman castle to a wasted shell of its former glory. He had observed the death of gods and the creation of new stars from a grassy hilltop, but he had not truly experienced any of it.

    He blew from his lungs a breath that had been held for untracked minutes and felt his muscles rejoice for the release. The monk placed his palms to the ground and pushed, lifting so he could untangle his legs and shift into a handstand. He held the pose and breathed in anew, taking to the sweet air and holding it in while his body resembled a spear cast from the heavens into the ground.

    Now he faced the south where stood Dargaard Keep and the distant Dargaard Mountains. As his eyes feasted on the impenetrable shield wall that was the deadly peaks of Dargaard his legs separated and spread apart. He released the breath as his body formed a natural 'T', with legs in a split position and one arm holding his weight aloft. The free arm tucked against the side of his body as he took in yet another breath. Taipan closed his eyes and held the pose.

    Perhaps the mountains were symbolic of the wall he had reached in his quest for a perfect self. Taipan considered the fact that he had studied under Master Amus for just over five years and in that time he had not once set foot outside the monastery, save for his daily trip to the hilltop. He was a quick study, and though Amus had driven the competitive urges that once were foremost in Taipan's heart, the young monk still quickly rose to a prominent role with his peers. But was there truly much more that Master Amus could impart to his student without Taipan finding practical applications for the training? Perhaps not...

    The young monk lowered his feet to the ground and resumed a standing position, facing the Monastery, with both hands clasped as if in prayer. He lowered in a bow to the unseen Master in silent acknowledgement for all Amus had done for him. In truth, he owed everything to the Monastery and there would always be a secure place for his brothers in Taipan's heart, but he knew then that it was time to walk away.

    Where storms of magic destroyed the land and gods fell from the heavens, there was a substantial lack of balance. Taipan remembered a proverb Amus had once told him, where a butterfly that flapped its wings on one side of the world had created a devastating storm on the other. The purpose of the tale was to illustrate the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. One could use such an idea to argue non-action, however Taipan saw this as a call to action. He may only be one man, but one man determined to restore the balance. His small part of the puzzle could be tantamount to the survival of the world, or at the very least, the restoration of a land he called home.

    He would flap his wings...



      Spoiler: OOC 


    I'll give it a whirl and see how I come out rolling for knowledge.

    Religion:
    Roll(1d20)+8:
    13,+8
    Total:21

    History:
    Roll(1d20)+8:
    20,+8
    Total:28


    Last edited by Dalamar91; 09-03-2016 at 08:17 AM.
    Talon Everett Human Daring Infiltrator3/Rogue1 Wrath of the Righteous
    Ashtari Windglade Kender Fighter2/Rogue7 Hourglass in the Sky
    Sparkskar Brambleclaw Goblin Fire Elementalist2 The Kingdom of Zog

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    Taipan strolled down the trail that the monks used when they trekked out of the Dargaard Mountains, the trail ending at the mountain range's northern tip. It was a little-used trail. The Monastery of the Rose had few visitors. But at times, when refugees from Estwilde were spotted from the monastery while on a pilgrimage to Kalaman, Amus - who Majere had granted the divine power to create fresh water - would send down a brotherhood of monks with buckets full of it, and the refugees would be beyond thankful.

    Once, since the Night of the New Star, a group of clerics of the Holy Order of Chemosh found the trail and climbed it, coming upon The Monastery. They were collecting the dead, and many had struggled to bring wheelbarrows up the long uphill trail. Amus did not turn them away. Instead, he granted them fresh water for their struggles. Then he turned them away. As they departed, Amus had remarked how it made sense that the Church of Chemosh would prosper in these times. Taipan knew Amus could perform prayers that resulted in augury and premonition, and Majere was known to be the wisest of all the gods of Krynn.

    Pondering on the gods of Krynn gave way to Taipan reaching the end of the trail out of the Dargaard Mountains. He would need travel the rest of the day and camp. Sometime before the sun set tomorrow night, he will have reached Kalaman. Strolling commenced inside a mile-wide trail of red roses, like a glorious red carpet, left by a recent Lightstorm across a gently hilled plain.

    Several hours later there was a crack in the distance. Taipan's eyes lifted to the afternoon sky to the north. A gust of hot wind that would have knocked over a kender gushed harshly at his cheeks and sight, for it carried rose petals, small stones, seashells, anything small. Shielding his eyes with his arm, Taipan noticed the temperature becoming unbearably hot. No rain came. But low in the sky ahead were terrifying, violet-black clouds that spread a mile wide. They roiled preternaturally fast, hurling blue lightning bolts and ravaging everything in its path. Taipan was in its path.

    Taipan looked as best he could about him but he was wide out in open. At the Monastery, a bell would be rang and everyone would gather inside the shelter of a sturdy foundation of a mountain. Now Taipan was standing in open plains. There was no shelter anywhere. So preternaturally the storm crept through the sky, like a spider, with crackling, jagged, purple legs of lightning that were stalking Taipan from above. Not just Taipan.

    Taipan heard the thundering of horses over the howl of the fierce winds and growling, sizzling sky as the land around him darkened. He saw eleven mounted Knights of Solamnia, the lead Knight flying his Solamnic banner. They were at the brink of the Magestorm, trying to outrun it. A purple-blue lightning bolt was hurled from the clouds in a blinding flash. When his eyes cleared Taipan saw just ten Knights thundering toward him.

    Folk had varying attitudes about the Knights of Solamnia, most of them unfavorable. Since the darkness and destruction of Raistlin Majere had swept across the land and the gods had began to fall, any favor the Knights might have regained in the eyes of the common folk after the War of the Lance was slowly beginning to erode. After all, the Knights of Solamnia had done nothing to stop the magestorms or the culprits of hundreds of varying far flung rumors regarding Raistlin Majere and the coming apocalypse.

    Many monks, including Amus, felt differently. The Solamnic Knights had thousands and thousands of mouthes to feed - those refugees who's towns had been ravaged by magestorms and survived the journey to one of the Knighthood's keeps seeking shelter. These keeps were overflowing, and many of a generation of Knights of Solamnia had died fighting in the War of the Lance. Not only that, but the Forest of Nightlund was slowly slithering like a snake - growing - west across the Solamnic Plain. Initial efforts by the Knights of Solamnia to stop the advance by entering Nightlund and battling its undead horrors, though courageous, failed miserably. Most Knights did not return from the forest, dwindling their numbers further, and swelling the ranks of the Screaming Dead of Nightlund that could sometimes be heard shrieking in the night as far away as The Monastery. Or was it the distant shrieking of the elven banshees that haunted Lord Soth each night, coming from Dargaard Keep. Taipan was unsure.

    In other words, in Amus's opinion, the Knights of Solamnia were trying to do right, but were overwhelmed.

    These Knights that Taipan could see had likely been scouting the outskirts of Nightlund, following the Vinguaard River, which dumped into the Turbidous Ocean in Kalaman, to see if the haunted forest had began to spread northwest beyond the river's banks.

    The Knights galloping at full speed directly toward Taipan were still a hundred feet away from the monk, narrowly unable to outrun the coming Magestorm. A blue lightning bolt struck the earth yonder and a great explosion of earth mingled with angry thunder above. Sweat poured down from Taipan's face from the burning hot wind. The land darkened as the churning black clouds blotted out the sun over his head. In several minutes, Taipan knew, the unnatural storm would be ten times as deadly.

    OOC
    takes 2 hours to climb down out of the Dargaard Mountains from the Monastery. random encounter % = none.
    Day 1 of travel north to Kalaman. *begins rolling random dice* magestorm %: yes. [Its a Survival check to find shelter from a Magestorm, and it takes 10 minutes. You may retry the Survival check every ten minutes, during the storm. DC varies.]. random encounter %: yes.
    The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."

    I will, Darvig uttered.

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    Taipan delighted in the path of roses as he walked. Pure joy radiated from his form as he considered this as a sign from Majere that his course was correct. The monk did stop at one point, kneel down and smell the roses, to which he couldn't help but laugh. If experience was what he was lacking, he'd be certain to expose himself to all of life's treasures. He ran one soft finger over the leafy bud of the nearest crimson beauty before standing tall and moving forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    Taipan looked as best he could about him but he was wide out in open. At the Monastery, a bell would be rang and everyone would gather inside the shelter of a sturdy foundation of a mountain. Now Taipan was standing in open plains. There was no shelter anywhere. So preternaturally the storm crept through the sky, like a spider, with crackling, jagged, purple legs of lightning that were stalking Taipan from above. Not just Taipan.

    Taipan heard the thundering of horses over the howl of the fierce winds and growling, sizzling sky as the land around him darkened. He saw eleven mounted Knights of Solamnia, the lead Knight flying his Solamnic banner. They were at the brink of the Magestorm, trying to outrun it. A purple-blue lightning bolt was hurled from the clouds in a blinding flash. When his eyes cleared Taipan saw just ten Knights thundering toward him.
    The monk watched the approaching mob with a sincere lack of expression. The situation was dire, of that there could be no argument, but one had to wonder what cruel god would rain such death upon the Knights. Was the human ascendant - the one who had been named for the very god at the pinnacle of Taipan's heart - in control of such storms? Or were these magestorms a natural act of chaos? Taipan was uncertain, but the longer he watched the more he knew he would never outrun the storm. He knew that that Knights were likely doomed.

    He was not without sympathy for their plight. Taipan's eyes roamed the countryside in search of some sort of protection from the coming disaster. In an ideal situation there would be a cave nearby where he could wave the knights to and they all could find solace from the storm. Perhaps that would be the case...perhaps not.

    He began calmly searching for shelter. It would do him and the Solamnics no good to act frantically. If shelter were to be theirs, it would be theirs, whether or not he ran wildly among the roses. His movements were deliberate and his eyes roamed freely.

      Spoiler: OOC 

    Survival check

    Roll(1d20)+4:
    13,+4
    Total:17

    Talon Everett Human Daring Infiltrator3/Rogue1 Wrath of the Righteous
    Ashtari Windglade Kender Fighter2/Rogue7 Hourglass in the Sky
    Sparkskar Brambleclaw Goblin Fire Elementalist2 The Kingdom of Zog

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    Taipan could hear the Knights of Solamnia shouting over the driving wind and the heavy thunder of their own mounts racing.

    "There, someone help that wanderer!! Who has room!"

    "No women left behind!!" shouted a bolstered knight, beginning to veer from the rest of the knights toward Taipan.

    "That's no woman, Einhardt! Keep going! Ride!!" shouted

    "The man is daft! Look how dazed he walks! He's already lost!" chimed in yet another Knight, jostling wildly on his sprinting horse. In the fury and chaos of the onsetting magestorm, Taipan's calm walking was easily mistaken for someone who had gone mad and simply...given up hope. The Knights had seen it plenty of times before. The Knight that had veered toward Taipan reversed his angle to rejoined his fellow riders.

    The storm had come over them all. Taipan decided to trust his instincts. Yes, it was mostly open terrain - defenseless plains - but there were also hills, caves, copses of trees, and the like dotted about - places for one man to take shelter. The hot wind became searing, forcing Taipan to exert himself to walk in the direction he desired. Taipan made it to what seemed promising shelter enough, but it was not to be. The hilly outcropping of rock he'd come close to, which might have sufficed, was blown to oblivion before his eyes by a shocking blue lightning bolt hurled from above. Taipan raised his arms over his face as bits of stone and earth showered him. The rain made visibility poor, and the sounds of the Knight's mounts thundering passed faded to the vanishing point as the sound of a jagged snaphiss low in the sky over Taipan caused him to jerk his head upwards. Purple lightning, crawling, like a spider, like sizzling skeletal claws, crept through the roiling black clouds. Taipan smelled acid and ozone. The hair on the back of his neck stood straight on end. The monk instinctively dove.

    The world seemed in a void and there was nothing but blue-purple light and an intense explosion of earth and mud, as a magebolt struck where Taipan was standing. There was a deafening snap, and Taipan rolled while feeling the shock of electricity jolt his own senses, his instincts avoiding a direct hit. A clap of god-like thunder split the sky above in the magebolt's wake. Taipan was on the ground seeing turbulent black smoke tumbling preternaturally fast overhead and hearing thunder roll over the countryside as the rain continued to pelt him horizontally in the sweltering winds. Yet Taipan was quick to be on his feet. Another magebolt struck some thirty yards away, blasting dirt. The magestorm was beginning to spit lightning bolts like a pit of angry cobras spitting venom.

    There had to be shelter somewhere nearby. There was no telling how long the magestorm would last.

    OOC
    Survival check fails (counts as 10 minutes of searching for shelter from the storm). You may retry your Survival check every ten minutes, which you can do in your next post, or try something you might think is a better idea! (Survival check for shelter is usually the best idea of course, however).
    Magebolt during the 10 minutes, one strikes at Taipan!
    Taipan Ref save d20+10= 19, fail. Improved Evasion so takes half damage on a failed save: 9 electricity damage.
    Taipan up!
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 11-14-2016 at 12:41 AM.
    The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."

    I will, Darvig uttered.

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    The Knight that had veered toward Taipan reversed his angle to rejoined his fellow riders.


    Taipan was stoic in the face of the fast approaching riders. He delighted in the rugged beauty of the horses as they powered through the wind and rain, their muscular bodies flexing with the exertion. Though they carried the burden of the knights, it was the men who seemed to be suffering more than the brave mounts. He stood silent and still as he watched them pass so close that he could see the whites of the veering warrior's eyes.

    The storm had come over them all. Taipan decided to trust his instincts. Yes, it was mostly open terrain - defenseless plains - but there were also hills, caves, copses of trees, and the like dotted about - places for one man to take shelter. The hot wind became searing, forcing Taipan to exert himself to walk in the direction he desired. Taipan made it to what seemed promising shelter enough, but it was not to be. The hilly outcropping of rock he'd come close to, which might have sufficed, was blown to oblivion before his eyes by a shocking blue lightning bolt hurled from above. Taipan raised his arms over his face as bits of stone and earth showered him. The rain made visibility poor, and the sounds of the Knight's mounts thundering passed faded to the vanishing point as the sound of a jagged snaphiss low in the sky over Taipan caused him to jerk his head upwards. Purple lightning, crawling, like a spider, like sizzling skeletal claws, crept through the roiling black clouds. Taipan smelled acid and ozone. The hair on the back of his neck stood straight on end. The monk instinctively dove.

    What wonderful imagery the storm painted across the sky... Taipan wore the expression of a child who'd been given a sip of his father's brandy, or a wizard who had learned his first cantrip. There was a terrific and complicated beauty about the magestorm that might awe a dragon in his estimation. Fingers of dancing and deadly light broke the earth all along the horizon as the storm played out like a symphony of destruction. Then suddenly the world turned upside down and his body tumbled across the ground. Bolts of energy coursed through his frame to tingle and jolt the hairs on his legs and arms, and heat washed over him as if he had been warmed by the summer sun without shade.

    Taipan rolled into a crouch and felt the wet earth between his fingers and below the pads of his sandals. Another bolt seemed to explode from ground and sent chunks of mud and rock to fall around him. The monk knew he must move, but there was little chance of finding shelter in the deepening darkness. The rain fell so heavily then that the sky was a blu of color and sound. He ran.

    Ever the skilled sprinter, Taipan ran a beeline path towards Kalaman that would have paced a shepherd dog. Rain continued to fall and lightning continued to streak across the sky, but he was determined. He needed run through the storm...


      Spoiler: OOC 


    Endurance check

    Roll(1d20)+9:
    5,+9
    Total:14

    Talon Everett Human Daring Infiltrator3/Rogue1 Wrath of the Righteous
    Ashtari Windglade Kender Fighter2/Rogue7 Hourglass in the Sky
    Sparkskar Brambleclaw Goblin Fire Elementalist2 The Kingdom of Zog

  7. #7
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    The Monk of the Mantis ran straight into the storm. Could it stop him? Or would he pass through the heart of darkness - ahead, where the storm was blackest with hellfire, strobing with flashes of deathly-hued violet-blue lightning bolts upending the earth, thunder shaking the world. Most magestorms Taipan had seen were on average three hours long. It could be a much shorter lasting storm or a much larger one. Could he dance his way for three hours, or less, or more, dodging the assault on the land? Was it a test? Like The Test of High Sorcery was said to be for wizards like Raistlin Majere. Deadly for those not ready, the crossing of a threshold into power for the few but proud, power that also came with its price. Or perhaps Raistlin was making a mockery of The Test with his magestorms. Exerting his weight, Taipan forced himself into a jog that was into the face of the hot winds and rain.

    As the heart of darkness thickened, in a matter of only minutes, a blinding blue flash of a nearby lightning bolt both blinded Taipan and blew the ruins of an old bell tower to bits of flying mud and stone. Taipan blinked his eyes open and kept running. The smell of ozone. Taipan looked up. All went violet, as a magebolt struck him.

    Taipan was one with the storm. As part of the hot wind itself he blew. He need not eat, breathe, sleep. He was scalding hot air incarnate, whisking chaotically but freely amidst the winds of the magestorm. At hurricane-wind speeds, Taipan was helpless but to witness the destruction of the land, south into Estwilde. Surreally, it was for three days that Taipan was one with the magestorm. For three days he witnessed the relentless pelting of the blue lightning bolts and at some times felt as part of the thunder itself. He watched as a lightning bolt electrocuted and slew a great magical beast, a hydra. He could also feel the edge, for the entire three days - the edge of the jagged lightning bolts that prowled the black roiling clouds - Raistlin's hatred.

    Taipan picked himself up from the ground. He stood in the aftermath of the magestorm, as it had raged through the boglands of Estwilde and now was continuing south into Throtl. Taipan stood in mud up to his shins, and bogwater over his knees. Though the thunder dimmed from the growing distance of Taipan and the storm, a dreary, bleak rain drenched the monk. The wind was still gusty for a time. Taipan decided to travel north through Estwilde to find his way to Kalaman. He would have a four day journey to reflect upon what had just happened. There was no food in the bleak bogs and mud that Taipan could find, during the first day, nor fresh water. He was stuck with what he had on him, for now. When he had journeyed a day he found the root of a giant tree, split, so that he could huddle inside. There he slept.

    Taipan opened his eyes from sleep and soon left the tree behind when the sun rose, slopping through Estwilde ever northward. It was late in the afternoon, and Taipan still had come across nothing edible or drinkable in the embattled bogs. He bent up from trying to catch a salamander to eat when he felt a cool breeze.

    It was the breeze of spring. White clouds, billowing silently as they rolled across the sky low and preternaturally fast - about twice as fast a normal storm could. Occasional, silent bursts of yellow flashing light detonated deep within the sea of white above. The rain came, gold and silver. Taipan could not help but be cleansed by it, so refreshing it was. He opened his mouth and drank. A silent yellow flash of lightning struck the earth nearby, silently. Now three figures stood there, looking confused and speaking with each other. One pointed in Taipan's direction, and the trio began moving as they marveled, stunned, and in a state of awe and confusion. Taipan swallowed a gulp of water and looked at them approaching.

    It was two men and one woman, it appeared, all dressed similarly. The gold and silver rain only enhanced their fine robes of cloth-of-gold. The lady had pulled a brown ermine-trimmed hood. All three wore jewelry that sparkled from the silver rain, as did pieces of the breastplates they wore underneath their robes. Maces dangled at their sides, and crossbows hung over their backs. Finally, as the four were close enough to see each other more clearly, Taipan noted they all wore golden holy symbols, that of a griffon's wing. These were clerics of Shinare, by their vestments.

    Amus had instructed Taipen on all the gods of Krynn to some extent, including the Silver Mistress, as dwarves often called her. She was known to the elves as Winged Victory, and often to man as Walking Liberty. Goddess of fair trade and commerce, travel and enterprise, prayed to by traders, sellswords, dwarves, and merchants, Shinare had a temple in Kalaman...and she was one of the last goddesses of The Hidden Vale to escape Raistlin's murder spree of the gods. Shinare's companion, Sirrion, had been Raistlin's next victim after defeating Takhisis.

    The trio fumbled for words. They appeared in a state of shock, but Taipan looked peaceful and calm, and the clerics had noticed the monk's own holy symbol.

    "Mantis of the Rose, wisest of the gods, he is said to be," one of the men spoke in the Common Trade Tongue.

    "Confidant and best friend of Paladine, the Great Dragon," the woman bowed awkwardly, but sincerely, "because no god can keep a secret as well as the Mantis of the Rose, and he gives Paladine wise counsel."

    "Does the Mantis know who we are? Can you tell us, stranger..er..friend?" the second man asked.

    "Where are we?" said the first.

    "I can't remember my mother's name for the life of me," the female cleric exclaimed despondently.

    "We don't even know our own names," one of the men expressed to Taipan.

    "Do you?" asked the female cleric with hair of gold, of the monk.

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    OOC
    Awesome, let's see if Taipan can survive this.
    Random Magestorm Length 1d6= 6 hours. Since you're running against the direction of the storm and succeeded your Endurance check, that's 3 hours of running.
    Hour 1, 10 minutes oh, weird one. gaseous form and blow along with magestorm for 1d4= 3 days.
    3 Days Later Taipan comes to his solid self in southern Estwilde, unfatigued but not subject to natural heaing. Will be a 4 day journey North to Kalaman from here!...through Estwilde.
    Day 1 of 4 Estwilde travel. Magestorm: no. Daytime Random Encounter: none. Survival for Taipan to find food d20+4= 12, no. Survival to find shelter d20+4= 20, nice. Nighttime Random Encounter: nope.
    Day 2 of 4 Estwilde travel. Magetorm: yes, late in the day, its a Lightstorm. Daytime Random Encounter: None. Survival check to find food & water d20+4= 7. Taipan is hungrier & thirstier.
    Lightbolt Strike: summons 3 Human clerics of ?
    Taipan Knowledge (religion) d20+8= 27, nice.
    Taipan up! Odd turn of events randomly lol!
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 11-21-2016 at 08:52 PM.
    The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."

    I will, Darvig uttered.

  8. #8
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    Taipan walked through sloshing mud and pulverized earth as a changed man. He had spent days in awed reflection as not a man, but something so much more. He had somehow ascended to a form more akin to pure energy. As one with the storm, he felt more powerful than he had imagined possible. But it was a teasing power. It both stirred his senses and made him fearful of the possibilities. Taipan thought he now knew what it felt like to be a wizard.

    Three humans materializing out of a lightning bolt was not something that happened every day, or was it? Was there no limit to what was possible in these strange magestorms? All this and more ran through Taipan's head as his eyes fell over the bodies of the followers of Shinare. He noted the plates of their armor and the weapons near their hands, but it was the golden cloaks that most intrigued him. The cloth-of-gold shimmered in such a way to cast them like angels before him. They sparkled like diamonds in the filth of a world battered by the raw evil of a jilted wizard-god.

    The monk stepped forward to greet them. He brought his hands together before his chest and squeezed a fist in his open palm. Taipan held that position for a moment before bowing low and respectfully. He wore a pleasant smile as he listened to their questions.

    "Dark is the night sky, but for the blessings of Shinare. It gives me hope each night to see her glowing like a star."

    The trio fumbled for words. They appeared in a state of shock, but Taipan looked peaceful and calm, and the clerics had noticed the monk's own holy symbol.
    "Mantis of the Rose, wisest of the gods, he is said to be," one of the men spoke in the Common Trade Tongue.
    "Confidant and best friend of Paladine, the Great Dragon," the woman bowed awkwardly, but sincerely, "because no god can keep a secret as well as the Mantis of the Rose, and gives Paladine wise counsel."
    "Does the Mantis know who we are? Can you tell us, stranger..er..friend?" the second man asked.
    "Where are we?" said the first.
    "I can't remember my mother's name for the life of me," the female cleric exclaimed despondently.
    "We don't even know our own names," one of the men expressed to Taipan.
    "Do you?" asked the female cleric with hair of gold, of the monk.


    Had they been transported from afar, these holy warriors? They were a sad lot. He could not imagine what it would be like to forget one's life. Their first kiss, their favorite music or painting, or the first time they saw a shooting star. These warriors were cursed. Or were they born by the storm?

    The Monk's eyes widened slightly at the thought, though his face remained stoic. Could a magestorm give birth to full grown men and women? No, that would be too much. He didn't want to think about what could happen if a Dragon was spawned from a storm. Especially a brutal Red.

    "I'm sorry. I do not know who you are, and I cannot speak for the Mantis. But I can tell you where you are" He gestured towards the city.

    "Over there is Kalaman, and that is where I am heading. I'm sure they'd be happy to host three honorable souls who have lost their way."
    Last edited by Dalamar91; 11-20-2016 at 08:31 AM.
    Talon Everett Human Daring Infiltrator3/Rogue1 Wrath of the Righteous
    Ashtari Windglade Kender Fighter2/Rogue7 Hourglass in the Sky
    Sparkskar Brambleclaw Goblin Fire Elementalist2 The Kingdom of Zog

  9. #9
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    "Kalaman?" the female cleric exclaimed, then paused a moment in thought. Taipan saw she was brazenly carrying her light mace. She had a poised, regale and strong presence. She was beautiful, but there was also a shrewd intelligence behind her emerald green eyes, half-covered in the breeze by her flowing blonde hair.

    "Kalaman..." the younger of the men repeated to himself. He too carried a light mace, though it wasn't in his hands. His locks of brown hair wetted over proud, brown eyes. He was young, noble and strong.

    "Wait!..." the female said, as if a bell had rung in her head. She scrambled through a pack on her back, even leaning her mace against the side of her leg to do so. She pulled forth a small book and opened its cover, efficiently looking at apparent words on the inside of the book's cover.

    "This is my diary," she said without looking up, rustling through pages.

    "Kalaman..." the older and larger of the two men said. His brow was furrowed.

    "Shaelish! My name!" the woman read, and realized. "Artorun," she added, pointing at the younger cleric.

    "Artorun," he repeated, and it seemed to jar him into thought. There was a long pause. Kalaman...

    "Nimit!" they all three said in unison, referring to the large man, who in addition to carrying a mace, carried a great sword strapped to his back. The stern but confused looking Nimit shook his head as if waking from a bad dream.

    Something was happening, Taipan realized. The clerics' memories were coming back to them.

    "I was just about to enter a warehouse to apprehend a corrupt merchant in Kalaman I suspected was inside," Shaelish said, realizing she had her mace out, propped up between her legs. Not only that, the mace glowed with a bluish hue, as if she had enchanted it if in need of using it. She picked it up and sheathed it on her belt that wrapped around her waist and well-shined scale mail armor, dripping with gold and silver rain. A yellow flash burst in the distance from the white clouds overhead.

    "I was just uh..," Artorun said, shrugging to himself, almost in amusement, "just talking to some kender." His voice was one of disbelief.

    "I was tradin' chickens!" Nimit chimed in.

    It didn't take long at all for Taipan to realize that these three clerics of Shinare knew each other, and knew each other well. They were part of the Church of Shinare in Kalaman, which sought out and investigated smugglers, illicit trade deals, and corruption in the markets and the like in the port city of Kalaman. Traders and merchants came to clerics such as these to legislate deals, laws, pass judgement on mercantile feuds, and draw up fair judicial contracts. Where the Church of Shinare thrived there was also most often a close connection between the clergy and the local nobility and rulers. Clerics of Shinare made that there business, for secret worshippers of The Prince of Lies were most often rooted out among the aristocracy, not the poor.

    "Honorable, indeed," Shaelish said, turning her attention to Taipan. "We all live in Kalaman. This looks like we're somewhere in Estwilde."

    There was another pause. What had just happened. It was Shaelish, ambassador like, that broke the silence.

    "We are honored to have run into you, friend," she said to Taipan. "You are alone. There is safety in numbers, and terrible dangers lurking in these bogs of Estwilde. Do you know, friend, how many days it will be to Kalaman from here? What is your name, Monk of the Mantis, and shall we travel together. Nimit is well-traveled and should be able to best guide the way through Estwilde."

    Nimit nodded affirmative.

    OOC
    Up for 3 clerics as company on the journey through Estwilde to Kalaman?
    Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 11-21-2016 at 11:11 PM.
    The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."

    I will, Darvig uttered.

  10. #10
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    "Kalaman?" the female cleric exclaimed, then paused a moment in thought. Taipan saw she was brazenly carrying her light mace. She had a poised, regale and strong presence. She was beautiful, but there was also a shrewd intelligence behind her emerald green eyes, half-covered in the breeze by her flowing blonde hair.

    "Kalaman..." the younger of the men repeated to himself. He too carried a light mace, though it wasn't in his hands. His locks of brown hair wetted over proud, brown eyes. He was young, noble and strong.

    "Wait!..." the female said, as if a bell had rung in her head. She scrambled through a pack on her back, even leaning her mace against the side of her leg to do so. She pulled forth a small book and opened its cover, efficiently looking at apparent words on the inside of the book's cover.

    "This is my diary," she said without looking up, rustling through pages.


    Taipan silently observed as the clerics slowly worked out their strange circumstances. The lady seemed most outspoken of the trio and it appeared that her fellows were about to benefit greatly for her journalistic habits.


    "I was just about to enter a warehouse to apprehend a corrupt merchant in Kalaman I suspected was inside," Shaelish said, realizing she had her mace out, propped up between her legs. Not only that, the mace glowed with a bluish hue, as if she had enchanted it if in need of using it. She picked it up and sheathed it on her belt that wrapped around her waist and well-shined scale mail armor, dripping with gold and silver rain. A yellow flash burst in the distance from the white clouds overhead.

    "I was just uh..," Artorun said, shrugging to himself, almost in amusement, "just talking to some kender." His voice was one of disbelief.

    "I was tradin' chickens!" Nimit chimed in.


    The monk wore a contented smile that widened with each revelation. "Well met, Shaelish, Artorun, and Nimit." He bowed again with respect.

    "We are honored to have run into you, friend," she said to Taipan. "You are alone. There is safety in numbers, and terrible dangers lurking in these bogs of Estwilde. Do you know, friend, how many days it will be to Kalaman from here? What is your name, Monk of the Mantis, and shall we travel together. Nimit is well-traveled and should be able to best guide the way through Estwilde."

    Nimit nodded affirmative.


    The monk looked north as if he could judge the distance with a glance. Kalaman was not far, he knew, but the magestorms introduced a variable element to that made calculating travel time very difficult. Should they be absorbed by the magic, much like Taipan had been not long before, they could be traveling indefinitely by his estimation.

    "I would say not many, but the world has changed and one does not know what waits around the next hill. As you say, safety in numbers, and I would welcome the company."

    Taipan stretched his limbs momentarily before continuing. "My name is Taipan, and I would certainly not call myself well-traveled." He smiled at his own self jab.

    "I trust we are in good hands with Master Nimit as our guide."
    Last edited by Dalamar91; 11-24-2016 at 07:53 AM.
    Talon Everett Human Daring Infiltrator3/Rogue1 Wrath of the Righteous
    Ashtari Windglade Kender Fighter2/Rogue7 Hourglass in the Sky
    Sparkskar Brambleclaw Goblin Fire Elementalist2 The Kingdom of Zog

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