Saturday, May 20, 2006

Triumphant Return Once Again

For sure this summer, my friends, I will be writing more of the adventures of our dear friends in Eberron.

The second semester at Morgrave turned out to be much more than I expected in January...but I have some down time for the next few months and will certainly be able to update at least once a week, if not more than that.

Thank you for being patient...I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I Have Returned

After nearly two months, I have returned, my friends.

I have decided that I shall be updating the story once a week on Mondays. I hope that you all can be satisfied by this. Occasionally when time permits, I will write more, but for now, Monday's will be it.

I hope you are all in good health. Enjoy the new chapter below, "A New Job"!

Chapter III Part I: A New Job

Pushing open the door to the Anvil spreads warm light across Atreyu's soggy face. Letting his eyes adjust, he stands in the door, examining his surrounding. There is a fire lit in the hearth and candles in the chandalier. A barkeep Atreyu does not recognize smiles kindly at him and waves in the direction of the lone customer in the inn.

Wrapped in dripping wet robes, the Lady Elaydren looks horror struck and beckons the four friends hastily over before they can even give a proper greeting.

"My friends! There is no time for pleasentries I'm afraid..." her voice trails off as she fumbles with a backpack for a moment. Setting it quickly on the table, she turns to Coheedior. "You will be the most familiar with this. Take it and go now. There are instructions inside. Great rewards await you at your journey's end, but now, I need your help."

Finishing, Elaydren stands to leave, and Mandrin cuts her off.

"Wait just a minu.."

Before the rougish halfling can even end his sentence, a burst of cracking wood splits the air. A large warforged brandishing a mighty cutlass and four mottled gray kobolds step through the broken doorway.

"Go now!" Elaydren shouts, losing a bolt of energy from her fingers. It slams into the mechanical humanoid, knocking him back a few feet. Elaydren then pulls a small stone from a belt pouch, murmurs a few incoherent words, and vanishes from sight in a puff of acrid smelling smoke.

"Stop those four!" the warforged yells in a metallic tongue. The four kobolds charge the companions.

"You know what to do, Raven," Nox says, urging her large wolf to attack. Leaping into the air, the black-colored wolf grabs onto the left arm of one of the sauren creatures and slams it to the ground.

Another manages to avoid a deft blow from Atreyu's longsword and wounds the shifter with a blow to the side from its crude handaxe. Mandrin seizes the opportunity and jabs a dagger into the creature's lowerback.

Coheedior attempts to cast a spell only to be tackled head on by the third Kobold. After wacking his head on a nearby table, the elven wizard tries to reach for his dagger while trying to prevent the monstrous humanoid from choking him.

The fourth kobold and the warforged manage to surround Nox and quickly force her up against a wall. She is able to parry most of the kobold's feable dagger thrusts, but the warforged's cutlass dances around her staff and lands three slashes to her arms.
Fortunately, Raven jumps on the back of the smaller monster, brings it to the gound, and begins to make a meal out of its face.

Another backstab from Mandrin easily dispatches the Kobold who had attacked Atreyu, allowing the shifter to charge the warforged, axe and longsword blazing. A hard thrust with the sword to the back of the machine's shoulder sends black iquor erupting from the wound. A second hit from the axe to it's side puts the warforged on its knees.

Seeing that his chances for survival are now running slim, the last kobold stands up above Coheedior and makes for the door way, only to be sent sprawling into a wall by a bolt of force from the wizard's finger tips.

"This is only the beginning," the warforged laughs menacingly. A blinding flash of light envelopes the monster. And then, nothing. He's disappeared just as Elaydren had.

"That was...interesting..." Atreyu sighs, breathing heavily and nursing the wound at his side.

Just then, a shout from the bar brings everyone to their feet.

"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE! WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY INN?!" the dwarven female screams at the companions. "You've all got a lot of explaining to do!"

Throwing a small bag of coins at the short woman, Coheedior sighs, "That'll cover anything you need."

Mandrin shakes his head and urges them all to the door.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Brief Hiatus

Tis been too long my friends...and I regret to inform you that it will be a little longer until I can continue relating to you our adventurers' tale.

Morgrave's examination period is coming up soon and so various professors have begun assigning ridiculous assignments and papers. Fear not though! Soon enough, the story will continue.

Until then, my friends.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Chapter 2: Shadows of the Last War Part II

"There's someone here!" Coheedior shouts, kneeling down next to the body of a middle-aged gnome female.

Pouring a vial of clear, sweet-smelling liquid down her throat, the elf craddles the gnome woman's head, hoping it isn't yet too late. Nox appears from behind the bloodied, wooden counter, not a moment later. A look of concern is clearly visible on her face, lit dimly by the single candle that hangs from the middle of the cramped room.

Papers are scattered everywhere across the floor of the message station. The front windows have been shattered and the door of the single entrance way sways on a single hinge. Atreyu sits squat-legged on the floor, examining the muddy footprints that have been splotched onto the layer of paper that now covers the wooden floor.

A painful cough erupts from the diminuitive gnome. Coheedior and Nox help her to her feet. Atreyu looks up and Mandrin, who had been scouring the exterior, looking for any lingering sign of the culprits, appears in the broken doorway.

"My messages!" the gnome shouts. Wide-eyed, she lunges at the counter and immediately begins sorting the torn and crumpled papers, completely ignoring her rescuers.

"Umm...hello? Ma'am?" Coheedior says, lightly tapping her on the shoulder.

Spinning nervously, the gnome looks up at him. "Can I help you?"

Mandrin and Atreyu exchange a glance as Mandrin waves a finger in a circular motion around his head and crosses his eyes. Atreyu's giggles are quickly stiffled by a sharp look from Nox.

"You were attacked?" asks Coheedior with a sigh.

"Oh...yes!" the gnome responds loudly. "But everything's alright now! No harm done! I'm fine!"

"Look lady," Mandrin says, sauntering over. "We're not here to cause trouble or anything. We're glad you're okay...you don't by chance have a message for a Coheedior Cambrian do you?"

She cringes, throwing her arms over her face as if to block some imaginary blow. When nothing happens, she peeks around her forearms.

"You're...not going to hurt me? That means...one of you is Coheedior, yes?"

The elven wizard raises his hand.

"I'm Scribble...Scribble Scribewritter," she finally manages to say. "The monsters that came in here wanted a message for you too...when they didn't have ID papers and I questioned them on it, they ransacked the station and took the note that was for you."

"What did it say?" Nox asks.

"Well...you'd have to show me your ID papers first. But it doesn't matter anyway," Scribble frowns. "We're trained to forget a message as soon as we transcribe it. I'm sorry my lords and lady, but I have no idea what to tell you..."

"Could you at least try to remember who it was from," Nox asks in a very calm, almost soothing tone as Coheedior reaches deep into his robes and retrieves his wooden ID case.

After casting a quick glance at the papers in the wizard's case, Scribble scrunches her nose in thought and then looks up at Coheedior. "A...Lady...E...Elay..."

"Elaydren!" Atreyu finishes.

"Yes!" Scribble shouts in agreement. "That was it! I hope that can be of some help for you. If you don't mind, I need to get this place back in order...No point in calling the Watch, it's not like they'll do much for my small piece of House Sivis anyway...I appreciate your help m'lords, but I can handle everything from here."

Mandrin is the first out the door, followed by Nox and Raven, and then Coheedior. Atreyu takes one last close look at the floor and then walks outside into the rain.

"Guys, it was Kobolds...and a warforged. No dDoubt about it," Atreyu says to his friends. "More metal-breeds. This is getting a little boring."

"Well, it looks like we're out of a job," says Mandrin with a hint of disgust, kicking a loose cobblestone.

"Do you think we ought to head to Elaydren's town house and check on her?" Nox asks.

"That might be a lot of trouble for nothing..." Coheedior responds. "Scribble said they were looking for me, not her...maybe we ought to be concerned about me..."

"Look up," Nox interrupts. She points into the sky as a shadowy figure looms overheard, making it barely visible through the thick rain, even with the light cast by nearby everburning streetlights.

Not a moment later, a small scroll case is dropped at the friends' feet as the screech of an owl shrieks overhead. Nox picks up the fallen case, opens it, and begins reading before the rain can soak the paper housed within.

"My friends," the changeling reads. "It would appear the normal means of communication have been cut off. I trust this note reaches you all in good health. Please meet me at my town house as soon as possible so that we might discuss another matter of business that has recently presented itself. Signed, Lady E."

"Welp, let's get to it," Mandrin smiles, hailing a nearby air taxi.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Chapter 1: Shadows of the Last War Part I

A small candle casts a dim orange light on the otherwise dark room.

Coheedior sits at his desk, reading over old notes and spells. He had been assigned a class to instruct at the University this semester in the School of Conjuration. The Provost, Lunarin Lightenglade himself, had appointed the young elf to the task. Coheedior had never met the man, but the powerful elven wizard seemed to know a great deal about him. Coheedior was appreciative, but in truth had no desire to teach. "Too much work and too many people," he would say to himself in disgust. "Too many late nights, just like this one..."

"Hey, you wanna head to the message station with me and Mandrin?" Atreyu calls to his friend from across the hallway. After their brief excursion into Xen'drik less than a year ago, the elf had taken them into his house and agreed to rent them each a room for a small monthly fee, as neither had anyplace else to go. Atreyu made money doing manual labor and odd jobs for vendors in the market. Mandrin's source income was assuredly not so noble; Coheedior feels no great desire to hear of it either way. "We're meeting Nox on Selna Bridge in fifteen minutes."

"Tonight? It's so late already..." Coheedior grumbles a response.

"I didn't have time to go today, I had other stuff to take care of," Mandrin interjects. "Get off your lazy, elven ass, get away from those dusty books, and let's go!"

Yeah," the elf lets out a sigh and then lifts himself out of his chair. "I'll be right there."

Quickly throwing on some light robes, Coheedior follows his friends out the door. A light pattering of rain has started to fall.

"Wonderful," Coheedior mumbles, throwing the hood of his robes over his head.

After a quick air-cab ride through dizzying heights of Middle City, the cab comes to a stop not far from Selna Bridge. The light rain had turned into a small deluge. Mandrin jumps out of the car and runs to the nearest overhang. Atreyu follows soon after. Coheedior pays the driver and opens his door. "So that's why they wanted me along," he thinks to himself as he steps out into the downpour.

"Nox!" shouts Atreyu, waving his arms in the air. "Hey Nox, over here!"

The changeling turns to them, milky white hair soaked by the summer rain. She waves back and then leads Raven to her friends. Nox had taken up residency in Skypark, a wildlife district not far from the Broken Anvil. The local druidic sect allowed her to join their coven in exchange for her joining their caretaking of the sparse wildlife in Sharn.

"Good moring everyone," Nox yawns. "Shall we?"

Feigning an air of regality, Atreyu stiffens and takes a deep bow as water drips from his thick, mangy hair, "Indeed we shall."

Coheedior rolls his eyes at the shifter. "What an idiot," he thinks to himself, laughing.

A short walk leads them to a back alley at the end of which the local Sivis Message station is located.

Lightning flashes. The door is off of its hinges and both front windows have been smashed.

"I knew this was going to be a long night," Coheedior sighs, and reaches for a concealed dagger.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Epilogue to "The Forgotten Forge"

Mandrin opens his eyes. Darkness. "I must be dead," he thinks to himself. "That was a Dolurr of an explosion..."

"I'm lying down. On a comfortable bed," he says to himself. "Must've done something right." The halfling snickers. He sits up.

A sharp pain shoot through his head. "Ouch!" Mandrin cries in pain. "Apparently dead people can still feel pain," he grumbles. "That doesn't seem fair..."

"Or maybe you're not dead, my friend," a familiar voice chuckles.

"Coheedior! Where are you? I can't see!" Mandrin shouts, somewhat relieved.

"That's becuase your head is wrapped up tight," Atreyu responds. "You took quite a few blows to your skull. That was one Dolurr of a stunt you pulled."

"It's probably safe to let him see again," says Nox. Mandrin feels fingers start to unwrap the bandages from his head. Warm light explodes onto his face. He squints, letting his eyes adjust.

Everyone was here, dressed in wrappings and bandages, just like him.

"Welcome to my home, Mandrin Ahrrenj," a soothing voice says. The Lady Elaydren d'Cannith sits not far form Mandrin and his friends, sipping something warm from an exquisite clay cup.

"so somebody want to tell me how we got out of there?" Mandrin asks, letting a hint of a smile touch his face.

"Nox was unable to revive me and between her, Coheedior, and myself, we were able to get you, Raven, and Mord out before the roof came down," Atreyu explains.

"We blew up Dorasharn Tower?!" Mandrin asks wide-eyed.

"No, nothing so drastic," Nox who is now holding the appearance of an elven woman, laughs. "In truth, I doubt anyone even noticed. That pillar hasn't really supported any main structures for centuries. No one'll be able to get back down there though. Rubble closed up the exit pretty well.

"And those stairs led up? I was right?" Mandrin continues questioning.

"Yeah," responds Coheedior. "Led up to the market through a one way door actually.

"And our money?" Mandrin's eyes glint mischieviously.

"Your gold is sitting on the table," Elaydren replies, pointing to four substantially sized sacks stacked on a small table next to an open window. "Now, if you're excuse me, my friends, I have some House business to take care of today."

Holding up the adamantite plate, she continutes. "Me and my family cannot thank you enough. You have done well. My servants will see that you are taken care of as you prepare to return to your homes."

She starts for the door, and then turns her head back to the four friends. "Keep a close eye on the Sivis message station. Should more work present itself, I shall not hesitate to call on you once again."

With that, Elaydren walks out the door.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chapter 11: The Treasure Within Part II

"Careful with that, Mandrin!" Coheedior chastizes. The halfling gives the plate a toss , snatches it from the air, and smiles deviously at his elven friend.

"Cmon," he says calmly. "Adamantite. It's not like it's gunna break..."

Mandrin throws it once again, but this time, it doesn't come back down. Looking up, he sees Atreyu dangling the metallic plate over his head. The rogue sneers and then begins polishing the dagger he'd pulled from the chest.

The group had pulled a good number of useful items from the heirloom's room including a set of daggers, a cold iron longsword which Atreyu had taken, and a few sizeable gold ingots.

"So we are done here, yes?" Nox asks looking unusually bored. "I'd rather not spend anytime down here that I don't have to."

"I agree," Coheedior nods and then grins, "Let's pull that leverl, get out of here, and then go spend some money!"

"Amen!" Mandrin shouts in agreement, throwing his hands in the air. Getting up and putting his new dagger away, he runs over to a small rusty, metal rod stuck in the floor not far from the treasure trove. Gripping the lever with both hands, the halfling braces himself and then yanks with all his might. Following a terrible screeching, a billow of steam shoots out of pipes leading to the doors. A loud creak resounds and the enormous adamantite doors slowly open. When the doors reach their limit, the noise quickly falls away, leaving only an uneasy silence.

"Alright, just to be safe, let's scout ahead a bit, Mordichae," Coheedior says, feeding his falcon a small nut. Lifting his arm, Coheedior sends his familiar into the air and out into the cavernous room. "Okay, I'll know if anything startles him, Let's head out."

"Where are we gunna go?" inquires Atreyu, scratching his chin. "I could really breath easier knowing I didn't have to wade through those Traveler-forsaken bugs again..."

"There was a tunnel on the other side of that huge pillar," Mandrin answers. "Some kinda stairs leading up. It's gotta go somewhere."

"Let's go then," Nox says, bringing Raven to her side.

The four walk out of the ancient Cannith workshop and into the bleak darkness of ancient Dorasharn.

A loud squawk of pain resonates from near the pillar and Coheedior's hands fly to his temples. "Mordichae! No!" the elven wizards cries out and then sprints toward the giant column.

A spec of orange light appears from behind the stone pillar and not a second later, flies into Coheedior's shoulder, knocking him to the ground.

Raven begins growling and the fur on the back of her neck visiby stands on end.

Drawing his new longsword and handaxe, Atreyu scrambles to the fallen wizard. Mandrin whips out his short sword and loosens three daggers in his belt, straining his eyes to try and catch a glimpse of his foe.

"Weak flesh!" a metallic voice calls from the stone pillar. A large warforged steps from behind it into the adventurers' line of sight. His face is illuminated by the flame sputtering at the tip of his unloaded crossbow. "You have something that belongs to my lord. He thanks you for locating and obtaining it. Hand it over now and I will let you walk away unharmed. Comply, pinkskins!"

Atreyu helps Coheedior to his feet. The elf spits at his mechanical foe, "Rot in Doluhrr, forged! You won't get your hands anywhere near the plate."

"Have it your way, elf. You've incurred the wrath of Edge, trusted servant to the Lord of the Blades," the warforged responds as he reloads his crossbow.

Coheedior whispers a strange exotic phrase and touches Atreyu's shoulder. A small pulse of light is expelled. The wizard quickly explains, "He'll have a harder time hitting you now. Now go!" Atreyu takes off towards the enemy and Coheedior ducks behind a small piece of stone.

"Attack!" Nox yells and sends Raven into a frenzy. The two berserking attackers charge at the warfoged. Edge looses a bolt. The flaming shaft flies through the air and pierces Atreyu's thigh. It doesn't even phase the crazed shifter. Snorting, Edge quickly lashes his crossbow to his back and braces for the attacks.

Raven is the first to rach him. She leaps at Edge who is more than ready. He slices a battle axe through the air and lands a blow on the wolf's flank, sending a splatter of blood to the ground. Atreyu believes he sees an opening and tries to thrust his longsword into Edge's partially exposed back. Before he can connect, Edge's return swing cuts right the his leather armor covering his chest. Blood spills from the wound all over his left side as the shifter lets out a snarl of pain.

The snear vanishes from the warforged's face as a tiny sword pierces his back. THe rogue had snuck behind the pillar and launched a rear attack on the unsuspecting Edge.

"Your mother was a candle snuffer!" Mandrin shouts out, pulling back his shortsword from the metal body. Black iquor leaks from the puncture wound made by the diminuative sword. Turning quickly to face Mandrin, the huge warforged swipes at him and narrowly misses severing the halfling's legs.

Raven takes the opportunity to bit at Edge's feet in the hopes of tripping him up. This distracts the warforged long enough for Atreyu to plunge the cold iron longsword deep into Edge's stomach, releasing a spray of the black lifesblood. Ignoring the deep wound, Edge takes a double handed swing at the wolf. The axe hits Raven square in her chest and sends her flying into the pillar. She lands on her side and stops moving.

Nox screams and her hands begin to glow. A large ferocious dire rat is summoned right in front of the warforged. When Mandrin misses a blow with his sword, the rat latches onto Edge's waist and begins tearing at the wood and softer metals holding him together. Edge barely parries a strong swing from Atreyu and then kicks Mandrin in the stomach, doubling the halfling over. A second kick from the steel foot sends him sprawling. Mandrin hits the ground and a trickle of blood runs from his ear.

A streak of force pounds into Edge's back, denting his composite plating. A second missle shoots from Coheedior's extended fingers and looses metal from Edge's legs.

"Atreyu, take care of him! I'm out of spells!," Coheedior shouts to his friend. Nox runs over to Raven and begins chanting a spell.

Edge parries an axe swing from Atreyu that sends the lighter weapon into the air out of the shifter's reach. Seizing the opening, Edge pushes closer to Atreyu, bringing the axe down in a wide arc, meant to sever the ranger in two. Atreyu raises his sword to parry, but can't muster enough strength to stop the blow entirely.

The cold iron sword turns the warforged axe on its side, and the flat of the blade slams into Atreyu's head. The ranger falls to the ground, unconscious.

Edge laughs sinisterly and brings his axe above his head with both hands.

"Time to die, bitch."

Mandrin jumps onto Edge's back, wraps his hand's around the warforged's massive neck, and slams two daggers into his exposed throat.

Edge let's out a blood-curdling shriek and throws the halfling from his back. Dropping his axe, the warforged stumbles around frantically, trying to free the daggers from his neck. Black iquor spews forth from his mouth, spilling down the front of his body. He falls to his knees hext to the giant pillar. A golden ball shoots out of his back, sprouts wings, and flies into the darkness.

All is quiet. Then a click.

An enormous explosion wracks the pillar and chunks of stone rain down into ancient Dorasharn.

Next installment: Why the horrific attack on Elaydren? What new prospects await our adventurers? Read on, friends.