'13th Age' Campaign

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 Episode 26 of 13th Age
 2020-01-20 -  
Leaving the Dead Vaults... ( Member Submission! )... 2020-01-20 
It's only a few hours to dawn. You are walking the streets of Eldolan, heading back to the rooms rented for you at the Red Quill Tavern by Therilisa. Many of you are lost in your own thoughts; for some, like Nidalru, thoughts are of where to pawn the rings taken off Grayson (if that's his real name...) and where to spend money on magic here in Eldolan. For others, like Legion, they are of the recent combat in the Dead Vaults and the odd events that took place within. Meanwhile, Idris wondered at what kind of people the Golden Dragon put in his path as he walked alongside the necromancer and Milo, now reverted to his considerably-less-menacing halfling form.

One thing you all had in common though: You felt you were being followed.

Whoever (whatever?) it was, it stayed just beyond your sight, even with the lamps providing illumination in the dark of night. Every now and then you'd stop, listen, scan the shadows...but nothing. You'd swear it was paranoia, but each one of you had that feeling...

You began walking again, whispering amongst yourselves that you should perhaps not head to the Red Quill until you somehow ducked your tail...but ducking this pursuer seemed impossible at this point, and you were already exhausted from the day's battles.

Suddenly, the lamps of the street flashed brightly, lighting up your street as though it were midday. Temporarily blinded by the sudden light, you regained your sight in just enough time to see a dark figure fleeing down an alleyway at great speed. Looking around for the cause of the flare-up, you see a Lamplighter Wizard with his staff raised. He lowers it, and the lamps return to their normal levels of illumination. From his vantage point in the street, he looks down the alleyway where your stalker fled, then turns to you and gives a friendly nod. Returning the gesture, you finish the walk back to the tavern, feeling a bit safer here in your first night in Eldolan.
 Episode 22 of 13th Age
 2019-12-19 -  
Shadows over Eldolan... ( Member Submission! )... 2019-12-19 
"Servants of the Lich King..."

Although this was the most obvious conclusion, there was still something unsettling about hearing Therilsa say it out loud. The half-elf seemed to be completely recovered from whatever spell had incapacitated her at the beginning of the combat. She gathered you all in a small circle to get your version of events; after listening intently for several minutes, her beautiful eyes narrowed as she stroked her chin thoughtfully.

"It's hard to understand the plans of the One-Eyed Lord, sometimes...a being that has existed in one form or another since the 1st Age thinks in ways most of us do not. Still, this is likely not the result of the Lich King himself, but those who seek to curry his favour. So, we need to ask ourselves: what is here that wretches hoping to impress the Lich King would want to acquire?"

Hawker's Square was still a shambles, with overturned carts, broken vendor stands, and produce everywhere. Several citizens and one Silver Shield lay dead, with tarps pulled over their corpses. Several Silver Shields were interviewing witnesses, trying to form a picture of what happened. Therilsa Stormhand didn't seem impressed. She stared at them for a moment longer, then returned her attention to you.

"I have been in Eldolan for well over 2 years, now; if I was going to be targeted by some faction for something I did on my own, it would have happened already, I should think. Do we believe it's a coincidence that the attack happened the day you arrived?" Meeting each of your stares, one at a time, she accepted your respective silences as answers. "So...now we ask: what is it about you that might be of interest to the Lich King? Some responses," she continued, with her stare landing on Legion, "are more obvious than others...or perhaps he is interested in these two," she said, indicating Milo and Legion, "for the same reasons the Great Gold Wyrm is?" She let out an exasperated sigh, putting her hands on her hips, and staring at the Silver Shields again.

"Or perhaps it's something else entirely! One thing I know for certain: those fools won't solve anything," she hissed, indicating the Silver Shields with a nod of her head. "They are afraid, undermanned due to other issues, and won't make the effort necessary to root things out; they won't risk exposing one of the magic schools if this was the result of a powerful magician making a statement against another school. No...it's going to have to be you." Therilsa took both Idris and Aegus' hands. "This is nothing less than an attack upon the Great Gold Wyrm. As members of the Golden Order, it is your duty to uncover the forces that would wreak such havoc and bring them to justice, even if it's justice at the end of your blades." Letting go, she turned to the group as a whole. "There is something else going on here, and there may be more lives at stake. It is important to be smart about things; if you falsely accuse anyone in the name of the Great Gold Wyrm, things will go very badly, especially with the forces of the Crusader present in town."

Therilsa then broke away from your huddle, all business. As she took a few steps, you could see her stumble a bit; the spell had obviously done some damage. "I am going to arrange some quarters for you for your stay in Eldolan. In the meantime," she indicated the people being clumsily interviewed by the Silver Shields, "go do a better job than they can do. There must be something to be learned here..."
 Episode 5 of 13th Age
 2019-10-26 -  
A Leaf on the Wind... ( Member Submission! )... 2019-10-26 
Everything was coated in oranges and reds now; the sun had almost finished it's descent and the heat was finally starting to break. He mopped beads of sweat from his brow with his now damp sleeve, a sigh of relief that they'd reach their destination before nightfall.

The dry breeze did little to offer relief on the well-worn road; but at least this road was smooth compared to the winding path from their village; days in the wagon with his family was starting to wear on him.

"Are we there yet?" Came a familiar call from the covered wagon behind him.

"When the wheels stop, we'll be there." Grenyl replied with unmasked sarcasm. "And if your little brother asks next he'll be the first one unloading."

"Boys, leave your father be and wrap your things, we'll be there soon."

"Yes, mother..." both boys responded in unison as Alea came to join her husband at the reins. Adjusting herself comfortably on the creaking bench of the wagon, she leaned in close and wrapped her arm around Grenyl's sighing contendedly, admiring the scene as they rounded another hill.

"Beautiful here even during the drought, isn't it?" She mused.

"These fields used to be brimming with crop; trees bursting with fruit and these last few months have hurt..." Grenyl replied, his usual pessimistic inclination showing.

I think I can almost see it, Alea straighted a little and pointed into the distance, the path still winding into the distance with a few hills in between.

"Yep, that's it... Hildebrand. We'll let you and Samea off at the inn first then the boys and I will unload at the mill, ok?"

The rattle of the wheels and the trudging and breathing of the horses mixed with the dry breeze whistling through the trees along the road, when without warning, a startling clap shattered the quiet afternoon and echoed over the landscape.

Wincing at the sudden sound, and trying to keep his grip on the reins of the startled horses, Grenyl exclaimed "What in the name of Omir!" and Alea was sitting up now, looking all around to find the source of such a noise.

"What was that!?" both boys stuck their heads out, wide-eyed and looking around them as well.

"There!" Alea exclaimed, pointing into the distance ahead of them. "What could..." but she was cut off in bewilderment when she realized what she was seeing... in a cloudless sky of blue, a dense, dark cloud formation seemed to whirl and spin just over the next hill... storm-like clouds in place of the road.

Another ear-splitting clap of thunder sounded and Grenyl snapped the reins to quicken the horses' pace...

The peaceful wood echoed with the second clap of thunder, but instead of lightning, an explosion of light; a whirlwind of arcane force seemed to tear at the air itself; flashing and screeching at reality as it tore at the trees and ground around it.

The cacophony then stopped as abrupty as it began; though the echoes surely travelled far into the forest. The underbrush burned away and nearby trees scorched as witness to the violent cyclone that now vanished, leaving the forest around still in shock.

But in the center of this burned and charred scar on the forest floor lay a figure, cloaked and hooded, sprawled akwardly, unmoving amidst the still smoking forest floor.

"There, Pa!" one of the boys pointed into the treeline from the road, his eyes wide and already leaping out of the wagon.

"Boys, you come with me. Girls you stay here at the wagon." The smoke was still rising just past the treeline and the boys rushed with their father to get a better look.

"Hold on", Grenyl said, his arm outstretched to caution his sons. "Let's just see here..."

Walking cautiously into the threes, Grenyl could now make out the scene, a figure, lying in the centre of a circle clear of any vegetation, the ground gray, black, and smoking. The trees bordering the small clearing were singed, smoking and black, but looked on at the unmoving figure below.

"Hello?" One of the boys called out anxiously. With a quick look from his father, the boy snapped shut but moved still closer with his brother through the brush towards the clearing.

Daring to step into the circle formed, Grenyl crept closer to the figure, watching for any sign of movement, but there was none. Reaching out, he touched the shoulder of the figure, his robes charred and burned and pulled his hand back; perhaps thinking to provoke a reaction, but there was none. Certain now the man needed help, Grenyl gently turned the stranger's shoulder to roll him over and caught his breath... this man's skin was grey as ash.

"Whoa!" one of the boys exclaimed.

"Now, now... " Grenyl regained his composure, trying to set an example for his sons. "I don't think he's breathing... this man needs help... ok help me with him, get his legs...". The boys looked at each other and the older did as he was told, helping to hoist the unconscious man up and towards the wagon.

"Get those things, boy." Grenyl called to his youngest.

"...these!? ..." he called back looking at a smoldering walking staff, and little more than a charred bag, its contents blackened and destroyed.

"Yes, boy, now do it!" Grenyl's voice now strained under the weight of this strange being.

"What's wrong with him, Pa?" the older asked as they made their way back to the wagon.

"I don't know boy, but it's not right to leave him, ya hear?"

Making their way back through the grass and shrubbery to the road, Alea jumped down, clearing space on the back of the wagon for this strange figure.

"Are we bringing him to Hildebrand, Pa?" the youngest asked as he caught up to his brother and father.

"That's where we're going, and there are people there who can help him."

Omir knows, we can't...