Friday, 16 October 2015

Kampi's Saga - What Was Lost

Kampi's Saga. Need I say more?

We're into the final stretch of Medieval Chaos' season and this mission was probably one of the best I've had this year; Kampi went hard and I was sore for days following so I knew it was good. Kudos to Devon for organizing it!

The first Day of the Moon 
Month of Wine 
Local Year 5315 

Rune: Gebo 
Divine Association: Lokki, the Trickster. 
Literal Meaning: Gift 
Interpretations: Exchange, Giving, Receiving 
  • Right-side: Aid, Generosity, Sacrifice 
  • Inverted: Burden, Debt, Obligation

This past seventh day, the dire armies of Northbrook returned with a vengeance, and only through our combined effort did we manage to defeat them. It was only by a timely warning were we able to attempt to bulwark the town and gather our forces before we clashed.

The hours before the indication of this looming threat were calm, as they often are before adversity. Some days prior, I received a message from an old friend requesting aid and I felt obliged to help; they begged me to keep the reasons for their request secret, so I have refrained from mentioning them by name in my journal on the slight chance it falls into undesired hands.

Whilst I prepared what was asked of me, nearby in the holy grounds of Ithus, Relan (whom had recently been appointed Regent by proclamation of King Willumarius, much to the bishop's chagrin) was discussing things with a new arrival: Brother Hector; he was a pilgrim of sorts from a far off abbey that worshiped Ithus. I had no idea that Relan's faith stretched that far beyond Arrakis.

Brother Hector and Ayla sparring with an neophyte.
Hector appeared to be an honourable man; quite vehement in his faith to Ithus, though it seemed that he and Relan differed on certain thoughts concerning the nature of their beliefs. Nevertheless, it was welcome to have another friend belonging to the saffron-hued church and another fervent warrior to stand shoulder to shoulder with in battle.

After handing over the requested preparations and sharing a few sparse words, I began my Watch duties. After personally making the effort of recording the listed laws into my journal for convenient reference, Captain Milo had me retrieve the javelins left in the moat outside Fort Rowanoak and restock the ballistae. 

I must say I did not enjoy trudging through the swampy moat but I turned down the offer given that Milo could send the jötnar to assist me; they mean well but somehow I believed their feebleminds would only serve to further vex the task. Regardless, this was a job that had to be done, especially since this folk of this town are too focused upon their own to give a thought to upkeep or defence.

Sometime after completing that assignment, my sight fell upon a bound individual being roughly 'escorted' into town from the Northwest road by two Hrognites: Abbott and Theos.

Once within the town's limits, they began to torture the crazed man, proclaiming that since he was a follower of Northbrook (that in itself was a major offence), by our laws they were free to offend him as they saw fit ("during wartime, citizens are permitted to perform major offences against recognized enemies of Dagger Deep."); though allowed, I did not approve of their cruel methods, nor that they were quite willing to perform them in public view. Hrogn rightfully has their reputation for barbarism by such deeds.

After a particularly distasteful inquiry, the desired information was extracted and the gathered crowd spread the news: the man was an advanced scout for a force of Northbrook over a throng in size and not more than an hour or so from the Deep.

Though the town lacked direct leadership that day (no nobility was present; not even the newly appointed Hand, the dwarf Ivar Ironsinger; apparently King Willumarius found the successor of the late Marcus unfit for the role. It was said Ivar was south in Helm's Deep attending to his new appointments and making preparations for some sort of Order he's developing), several members did their best to rally the townsfolk for battle and bolster our meagre defences.

The cleric Phoxx and I set to the task of erecting makeshift barricades at the North and West gates of town, both of which sorely lacked any sort of gate; with aid we hastily constructed rather solid barriers from the materials at hand. The Southern and Eastern gates we had clever folk set up hidden hazards if any foes were to advance via those routes. In fact, just after I finished requesting a boorish trapper to attend to the Eastern gate, I ran afoul of a hidden device that slashed into my maille whilst I was scouting through that gate for any sign of the enemy. Luckily my armour kept me from being wounded, but unfortunately I had not the time to have it repaired before we began to hear the beating of Northbrook's war-drums.

Northbrook approaches.
Our enemy host marched relentlessly towards the town from the West, and perhaps after seeing that gateway blocked, they proceeded around to the North gate. Their formation was brutally efficient, for not even our archers succeeded on disrupting their lines before they crashed upon our bulwark. Our makeshift wall was successful in slowing their advance, but the way we had to construct it meant we could not easily repel the invaders; gradually, with significant loss, they scaled it and joined us in close combat.

After a valiant battle we managed to defeat the first wave of their forces, during which we managed to capture and remove one of their cardinal leaders. The removal of such a key figure so early into their invasion was most likely quite a blow to their morale and hampered their war effort; unfortunately not as much as we hoped, for Northbrook soon pressed a second advance, this time dividing their focus between the North and West gates.

Caught in a pincher, our forces were nearly routed, but our foe withdrew apparently seeking something beyond our mere destruction.

After regrouping we took stock of our situation: rumour had spread that Northbrook was here seeking a brand of vast power; a piece of a map that was recovered off of one of their warriors leant credence to this and it was believed the location they headed for next was the fire portal. There was disagreement on the next course of action: some (mostly Hrogn) called not to lose any time pursuing the enemy and whilst others thought it best to remain in town and gather our strength. I initially felt it was my duty as an active member of the Watch, to stay and help organize a plan. 

But after hearing that Hrogn was outnumbered and in need of aid, I set off with a few others including Hector with intent to render assistance, but after trudging across the plains to the distant jeers and insults hurled at us by Northbrook and seeing that the scant force of Hrogn had become undead thralls, it became clear to the Brother of Ithus and myself that at best we could stall the enemy by sacrificing our lives in hope that the main force would follow our example.

We brought low a few aptrgangr by both conviction and steel, but the tide of their warriors soon washed over us and we fell.

I do not how much time had passed before Relan's familiar touch pulled me from the grey realm, but I was again on my feet, sword in hand, singing death to those who sought to harm whom that I cared for. We plunged in and out of battle until the sun began to sink beyond the horizon. We travelled the lengths and breadths of the realm, trying to prevent Northbrook from achieving their goal; to be truthful, it felt like a hopeless task, for our forces were scattered, our information unclear, and our strength fleeting. We had but fleeting torch light to see clearly by.

Things began to proceed in our favour when we successfully caught their sizeable force in a pincher at Galadriel's, soundly defeated them, and afterwards recovered the relic they sought: a wicked sword that drained both the essence and life-force from those who openly wielded it. Theos of Hrogn now possesses it, and has vowed to those who demanded its destruction that he would carry it only until the remainder of the Wretched Court of Northbrook are destroyed. 

Let's hope that promise is kept, for he who breaks a solemn oath is nidth and his spirit bound to suffer in Náströnd, inside the depths of Helheim.

With their forces shattered and their leadership broken, the remaining forces of our rival fled back North. The folk of Dagger Deep were once again victorious.

Exhausted from the day's ordeals, I sated my hunger with a bowl of stone soup from the trading shop Strange Things From Strange Lands, brewed by its proprietor, the wood elf Elora. Just as we (Myself, Relan, Claudia, Elora and her half-tree(?) son, Seyden) were discussing various things, a far off wail drew Relan and myself, along with other curious folk, from the comforting lighted areas of town to the tall ranges of Calen Tor.

There we came upon a scene of late carnage: a small encampment lay in ruin and there were few scant remains of the previous inhabitants. We estimated that the disturbance that occurred here was not recent but couldn't be older than a week or so at the most. Above all these grim sights, the most unsettling thing seen was an the insubstantial form of a man: similar to a wraith in incorporealness but neither did it bare the dark and distorted visage common to such beings, nor did the emotion that palpably radiated be not anger, but sorrow. It did no harm upon us, even when we attempted and failed to touch it; it just lingered.

This apparition muttered unintelligible things before and when we hauled the corpses back to town, where we hoped that through Relan's miracles the affliction that prevented their rejuvenation could be removed. After a brief session of prayer to Ithus, we returned to see the bodies had been placed outside of the bar; another nearby event that drew my attention, but I saw that Watch Captain Milo was present so I decided not to investigate it at the time. 

Back to where we had moved the bodies away from that turbulent scene, Relan was having no luck restoring life to them, but the improved illumination allowed us to better discern their condition: all but one showed severe deterioration; the one that didn't had a deep, bloody cavity in the centre of his chest. The spectre lingered closest to this body above the others, and we suspected some sort of connection. Through faint words it whispered to Relan, he and a small party darted back into the fields of Calen Tor in search of something they believed they missed.

Soon Relan returned, carrying a small object he claimed was incredibly hot; when he dropped it into my gauntleted hands I felt that he was indeed correct about its heat: it burned like a ember and it's weight and hardness was like a stone, but was in the shape of a heart. After quickly making the association I returned the blistering object to the chest cavity of the corpse.

With a great cry of pain the corpse sprang to life; it ranted and raved as Relan attempted to calm and question it. I did not consider myself to be helpful in such matters, given Relan's better way with speech than I, so during that time I chose to join myself in the other concern: 

Abbott and some other folk had confined an individual in the stockade; one whom they claimed was a mad experiment from Anhk. I was willing to be lenient earlier this day when that prisoner was a follower of Northbrook, but as I gathered this man had not broken any local laws and he was being unjustly held and tortured by Abbott and his entourage; personal vendettas are not to be settled in such a way. Just as Milo and I made to cease this unruly affair, the bound individual vanished without a trace.

Having finished with his consoling of the once dead man with the burning heart, whom was discovered to be the hirebrand Duggan, Relan soon joined the perplexed crowd that was beginning to disperse from around the now empty stockade. Vexed and exhausted, I must admit I vocally expressed my displeasure in a most unbecoming way and declared myself off-duty for the remainder of the night. 

As much as I desired a drink (or several) I felt I needed to be alone, so I said my farewells to my mentor and my captain, who respectively expressed their appreciation for my devotion and dedication that day; Milo even stated that I was due for promotion to senior guardsman.

With that, I returned to my nearby camp and fell into a deep slumber.

Praise Be To The Æsir

Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Kampi's Saga - Time Old Question

Skol! It's Kampi's Saga!

The Saturday prior to the last was his first full mission as an newly appointed acolyte. Though I tested and initially failed his full guild test two weeks prior on a misinterpretation of a particular ruling, the Executive Council deliberated upon the unclear rule and decided to reverse the reason for failure a few days following. So without pomp, Kampi passed and became an acolyte! It only took him a year since arriving at Dagger Deep, but for him (me) the journey is more important than the destination.

Since I'd been training with armour and my shield for quite a while it didn't feel like a huge shift for me; Kampi just has a higher survivability rate now in battle and has a few new useful spells to make him a more effective ally.

Anyway, enough of this, on to the entry:

The fifth Day of Wodin
Month of Autumn
Local Year 5315

Rune: Kenaz
Divine Association: Surtur, the Black.
Literal Meaning: Torch/Ulcer
Interpretations: Potential, Change, Mortality
  • Right-side: Vitality, Guidance, Revelation
  • Inverted: Pain, Delusion, Sickness

It seems the Æsir, in their wisdom, have decided to grant me the powers belonging to a faithful acolyte, for several days prior I exercised them as best I could during the concerns of the day.

It was my first full day performing as a member of the townguard; wearing my hip a sash bearing the azure and ivory fields of the settlement of Dagger Deep, I strode into town carrying copies of the Village Peasant's latest periodical, as I was instructed to do as my first duty. After an attempt to distribute them to a scant and uninterested populace, I left them at the tavern.

Following that I was met by a perhaps overly-friendly elder whom I did not recognize as a local, who was muttering something incomprehensible; and soon after we parted ways I began to feel tired and ill. Nash the druid was also feeling unwell after meeting with him and after witnessing the mage Serenity alleviating her illness through magic, I also petitioned for her aid, and a short time later I began to feel my hale self again.

The old man who was spreading about a malady apparently met a violent end, and after some discussion, members of the Watch still unwell offered to move his body to the gaol until a priest was able to cure and return him to life; thus preventing the disease from further propagating. I should be more cautious with the offered hands that I grasp, but I do believe it also goes along way to be polite.

Captain Milo
Eventually I was called to a meet with my fellow guardsfolk that were also present and on duty; our Captain of the Watch, Milo, ran introductions between the guardsmen and his lieutenant Kalabar. I had brief dealing months ago with this somewhat shady character, his motivation seems that of primarily greed; I wouldn't be surprised if was using the watch to his own gains; ordering patrols in certain locals, etc. I shouldn't state such feelings though as its beyond my station and purview of our Captain.

Lieutenant Kalabar
Before we were stationed throughout the town to our watches, Milo tested our mettle in the sparring ring. Apparently my martial prowess must have been satisfactory, for I was briefly tasked to practice with fellow guard Ayla, who is rather timid in physical confrontations.

Ayla, Priestess of Lanthar
After practice, we were assigned to our posts; mine was the temple district, the northwestern fields and sparring ring, and the town limits bordering the barony of Calen Tor. My watch was uneventful for the first half; I passed most of it watching the comings and goings from the criers' rostrum.

Two friendly, but rather dimwitted jötnar, Stump and Rock, were tasked to watch from the town's walls; their giant voices carried far as they made inane observations and struck up conversations with the townsfolk. They're about as keen as their namesakes, but I'm glad we're able to harness their strength for the good of the Watch.

Stump and Rock, jötnar of the Derprock Tribe.
I learnt the week prior that the Watch was attempting to contain another potential outbreak stemming from a hooded devotee of the one of the profane Chaos Gods that are allowed to be worshipped here at the Deep. Despite knowingly infecting those he came into contact with, the Watch was apparently powerless to do anything about it because it wasn't breaking any of the listed laws. This came to concern again this day:

Kalabar called the guards together on a task that needed performing: we were to enter the unholy church of the Undivided and bring the hooded individual to quarantine in the gaol, with intent to protect the townfolk from further plague. Guarding the entrance to the grounds, I didn't witness the events that occurred inside: apparently after claiming our intention of arrest, fellow watchmen Rycen, perhaps too overeager, slit the fanatic's throat with the intent that we carry his body to lock-up, where it would be tended to by Relan (who was now under the employ of the Watch to stem the possible spread of disease).

A fellow chaos disciple arrived soon afterwards and demanded entrance to his pit place of worship; having no reason to deny him, I let him enter. After his demands were made, he attempted to restore life to his compatriot, but was magically Silenced by Kalabar. To contain the sickness, again the ill were tasked to gradually carry the body to the gaol; we managed to make it to the front door when the other fanatic returned with the Sheriff Balthier and a heated argument began between all present.

In the end Relan restored the body to life, but not before he cured him of his contagions. Once back amongst the living he loudly proclaimed he was 'unclean' in the eyes of his god, and hurried back to his church, presumably to 'anoint' himself with the disease ridden filth strewn about that vile place. I try to keep an open mind about other faiths, but the practices of that one seem most unwholesome.

The pair desired to press assault/murder charges against the Watch, particularly Rycen, but the Watch maintained that those present were acting under Kalabar's orders, who conveniently slipped off before the discussion to a head. I soon grew weary and frustrated at the squabbling, blame, and confusion: I resumed my watch to calm myself; how I longed for a drink.

A distraught Ayla later found me with her watch sash in hand; as she handed it over to me she professed how she believed she could not willing follow morally dubious leadership nor be part of an inefficient, possibility corrupt, organization that is meant to protect the township. I had little to say in reply, for the same thoughts were crossing my own mind.

I barely had time to consider this turn of events, when the seemingly-immortal being calling himself Alexandros (who was last seen a fortnight prior) arrived into town with a mixed retinue of individuals calling themselves the Exorcists. Alexandros' team consisted of two powerful fighting men, a bound fire elemental, and a half-demon girl referred to as a Tiefling. He grimly announced to the town that millennia-old rivals, the demon sorcerer Nepxar and the necromancer Deimin, had chosen our local realm (flush with natural resources, magical energy, and fresh souls), as their battleground, far from the homelands of Exorcists.

Unfortunately, the only thing that these two hate more than each other, is Alexandros and his Exorcists, and the folk of Dagger Deep were soon caught in the middle of a time old feud as the raging demons of Nepxar slaughtered indiscriminately as Deimin used the slain to bolster the ranks of his undead army.

Casters of magic soon discovered that spells used to control demons and the undead respectively did not work in the presence of these powerful beings; though my meagre channelling of faith did function at banishing lowly aptrgangr, more powerful (and plentiful) forms of undead were beyond my capability. I had to rely more on my mettle and faith in the Æsir to see me through that day.

A long and chaotic battle ensued. Through means that I do not fully understand, nor do I frankly care at this point in time, apparently with the townsfolks' aid, the Exorcists managed to banish both the demon lord and the necromancer from our realm; though apparently Alexandros and his team are stuck here, far from their home, which they claim is on the other side of the known world.

I thank Alexandros and his allies for their help against these two threats and wish him the best on their long journey home.

That evening I intended to spend recovering from the day's exhaustion with a good meal and much drink, but outside the tavern I learned to my surprise that Ayla, whilst undoubtedly expressing her apprehension about the earlier events to Balthier, was unexpected appointed by him as his replacement as Sheriff. Looks like Ayla will remain apart of the Watch for at least a little longer. This makes me glad, it can use more decent people with strong morals; gives me hope that what we do is for the good of all.

I remember little else of that night, I should perhaps cut down on the amount I drink when I'm with my mentor brother Relan.


Praise Be To The Æsir

Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson