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 Episode 1 of General - 2015-05-27 -  
 The History of Ro-Altaris-Alar 
Common
Giant
Firstmonth
Iu-Tarthes
Secondmonth Ae-Noman Thirdmonth Ai-Gebbon Fourthmonth Ko-Fenas Fifthmonth Ji-Nara Sixthmonth Rin-Taras Seventhmonth Pal-Henach Eightmonth Yun-Feerna Ninthmonth Te-Carob Tenthmonth Na-Vesto Eleventhmonth Al-Gerran Lastmonth In-Dearam

Ro-Altaris-Alar, Giant Steward

Quick Facts: Giants do not worship gods. Giants first came to Dor-Erthenos (the lands of the Diamond Throne) in the year 1228, landing at Khorl. After a thousand years of Dramojh rule, the Giants arrived and started kicking ass. The first Giant city in Dor-Erthenos was Du-Nor, at Khorl. Moving along the eastern coast of Dor-Erthenos, the giants re-claimed city after city and finally came to the Ghostwatch, where they built Ka-Rone a d began to move inland to combat the Dramojh forces. Current ruler of The Diamond Throne is Lady Protector Ia-Thordani, in power only a year. She is not married, but is accepting suitors.

Giants are the only members of The Observance, whose sole power is to elect, supplant and advise rulers of The Diamond Throne. There are 16 Giant Stewards in Dor-Erthenos, each based out of a major city. Current Steward of De-Shamod (the most magnificent Giant City in Dor-Erthenos) is named Dro-Kareth, a huge giant steward appointed by the Monarchy.

Terminology:
Dor-Erthenos (Land to the West) - The Giants of today call the entire continent of the Diamond Throne Serran ' The common word for the world
- Feykin ' What Giants affectionately call Faen
- Little Brother ' what Giants affectionately call a well-liked human
- Bru-Nothan ' the term used for the "Giantish Histories"; the most reliable historical account of the evolution of Serran
Chi-Julud ' the mindset of a Giant set on going to war/combat
Si-Karan ' the mindset of a Giant when protecting and caretaking something
Du-Nor ' the first Giant stronghold established in Dor-Erthenos after their first landing at Khorl in 1228.
Ka-Rone - majestic city built at the mouth of the Ghostwatch
De-Shamod - greatest of all Giant cities, where lies the Diamond Throne

Day of the Week
Dawnday/Dawday
Waterway/Waday
Earthday/Erday
Halfweekday/Hawday
Skyday/Skiday
Firesday/Firday
Restingday/Resterday


The History of Ro-Altaris-Alar Ro-Altaris-Alar was born in the city of Del-Makar, across the Boundless Sea in the Land of the Giants. This construction of this great city began in the year the first giants sailed West hundreds of years ago. The massive undertaking was to symbolize the Giants' commitment to the freedom and revival of the humans and other races in Serran. As their struggle against the Dramojh saw the slow decline of the evil demon-spawn race, it encouraged the Giants to beautify and further engineer their new city as a testament to the victories overseas and the thriving Stewardship of the human civilization.

It was in the midst of this spectacular construction that Altaris' life began, and his mother's ended. As glorious as a birth into the Giant community always is, Altaris' was marred by the passing of his mother due to complications. Wife to a proud, and dignified nobleman in the Grand Senate of Del-Makar, she was mourned throughout the capital by young and old alike. Altaris was born the youngest of three brothers (a huge family by giant standards) and from his earliest memories, Altaris' birthday was never an occasion for celebration, only an occasion for remembrance of the day their mother had passed, and this was to set the tone for Altaris's entire life, it seemed.

Altaris's older brothers were both promising students at the academy of Del-Makar. Alonis, the oldest, was training in the art of War, and had risen to the earliest levels of Warmain. His skill with the giantish-swords showed great promise and he trained in his art with enthusiasm and a lust for combat. Altaris's next oldest brother was named Narenth. He was from his earliest years the consummate diplomat, wise and intelligent, giving much thought to his endeavors and acting only when it was most prudent. Altaris's father, Korin is a huge, learned giant very well-versed in tradition and ceremony. His rise to the Great Senate was not without controversy, but he had weathered all speculation and challenge throughout his many years in the senate and was now a well respected and well known celebrant of the many Giant Ceremonies that dot the yearly calendar.

Korin has always regarded all his sons with pride and respect. As the three grew into adulthood, it became obvious that his brothers' drive and ambition, their focus made them favourites. Altaris never really knew what he was meant to do, but what he enjoyed most was taking part in Grand Ceremony. Naming ceremonies, It is with great pride that he discusses the battle prowess of his oldest son, and with great hope and admiration that he boasts of his next eldest son and the sage he is sure to become. Altaris, however has never had such a competency.

Years of living in the shadows of his brothers, wrestling with the guilt and grief he was born into this world with has been very frustrating for Altaris. However, Altaris's love for his city and love for the ceremony and tradition his father has instilled in himself and his brothers stays deep within Altaris.

Altaris learned early on that the circumstances of the humans born into slavery by the evil Dramojh could not stand. Unaccustomed to oppression and the outright dominion held over a weaker race, Altaris felt a very personal responsibility to ensure that the struggling race was allowed to once again rule itself and govern themselves. Stories that drifted across the sea to the original Giant lands taunted and teased Altaris. It seemed that whatever pursuit he took up, he would always be playing 'second fiddle' to his older brothers. Altaris leaves his beloved giant city and the continent to go and protect the humans he sees as being vital to the development of Serran as a whole. To leave the original colonizing giants as the sole governing force would be remiss at best, and it was his duty to bring the new Giant Traditions to the west. Ro-Altaris-Alar was born in the Giant lands of Chi-Jaran to the far East, across The Boundless Sea. Raised by a noble Giant family in the west, he was born into the stewardship mind-set and thinks as many Giants do that the Humans across the sea need continued guidance. Altaris spent his time back home (gaining the three levels of Giant) Altaris has been ingrained with a special sense of responsibility for the easily corruptible and weak race (humans), Altaris desires to go across the sea. charged with the responsibility to protect and serve one of the Humans that is to play a pivotal role in rediscovering their ability to self-govern, Altaris is sent across the sea after swearing an oath to protect him/her at all costs. the trip across the sea took weeks, a massive ship the size of a small human city. Through days of dense fog, incredible storms and the uncertainty of the world he was about to cast himself into; Altaris furrows is brow in determination and resolve. arriving in the lands to the East, Altaris is welcomed into the Giant community, but is very single-minded about his charge. he is told where to find his charge and goes in pursuit of the one he is to protect, and therein lies his introduction to the heroes First Impressions: Name Thoughts/Impressions Jadan Korr It is hard what to make of this human. I see in him the fervor and determination these humans are renowned for;
yet it seems hidden, lying in wait. Perhaps he will learn how to channel this in the days to come; I will watch him closely and aid him to this end. Chef Strange and quiet, there is more to this adventure seeker than meets the eye. Clearly set on finding a loved one, I'm not sure yet what secret he hides.

Jara I like this Feykin. I've known some of her kind before, all flighty and carefree as she clearly is. But her focus in a dire situation is remarkable for her race, and she may prove to be a strong ally.

Warmain Mageblade Altaris' Secrets:
As a young giant, Altaris had to watch his best friend die horribly after falling from a stone precipice. Altaris has a long, jagged scar on his left arm where he was attacked as a boy by a rampaging pair of lionesses. His lingering fear of lions (including fearsome Litorians) is only quelled by his growing prowess in battle
 Episode 2 of General - 2011-12-02 -  
 Candlekeep 
CANDLEKEEP (Fri.Dec.2.2011)

The continuing saga...

The Eladrin eventually guides you to a glade in the forest, where a small group of Eladrin wait for you. They nod respectfully, and through Asturean they convey their vast appreciation for helping rid their garden of the evil infestation.

Each of you receives a gift from them, a token of their gratitude for the services you have performed, and after a feast of delicious food, and fine Eladrin wine, the elder among them leads you to another glade. The boughs of two beautiful trees meet to form a gateway, and after intoning an ancient ritual, the space between the trees shimmers to life, and you can make out a rocky beach and the sound of waves from the other side.

"You are expected." The elder says in common as he gestures to the portal. He bows low and smiles at your group, "I hope we may call upon you again, in the future, should we discover more of what caused us all so much trouble."

Asturean bows in return, and the group slowly steps through the portal...

...and onto the wind swept shores of the Sword Coast. A rocky arch of coral makes up this side of the portal, and the warm winds of the coast are a pleasant surprise. You breathe in the ocean, and spy the silhouette of what you guess is Candlekeep, the Sword Coasts bastion of knowledge.

"I guess we missed winter..." Gerrick says aloud to the group.

"Indeed you did," a voice replies, and the group turns to face Warnard, with a small contingent of elderly scholars and a smattering of other individuals, "You've been gone for months. It's a blessing to see you alive and well, and I see that Morpheus and Omarlyn were able to find you in the end."

"I can see in your eyes, that you have much to tell me, but unfortunately, much has happened in your absence, and time is of an essence. Please forgive my abruptness, but walk with me as I relate to you recent news."

He leads the group up a winding cliff towards the keep.

"The last time you left Baldur's Gate, following the scandal of Georghen Homphray, one of your number, Sardis, came to Candlekeep. The scholars here, knowing your group for its many good deeds to this region, gave the Genasi free reign to the scrolls and books within. They never guessed that he could have a sinister motive in mind.

"He left the keep under mysterious circumstances, and the rumor is, he left with several volumes regarding some nefarious and dark rituals that no sane man should ever dabble in.

"From here, he disappeared, but rumor has it that a Genasi matching Sardis' description entered Baldur's Gate." Warnard stops, his face becoming very grave, and worried.

"A day later, there was... an event. It centered in the Bloomridge District, much like the event that you men helped put a stop too, but instead of an army of undead, a shadow of dark necrotic essence has spread throughout the district.

"The citizenry panicked. The rich that made it out of the district alive attempted to leave the city, or flee the district, but this was just the beginning of that great city's issues.

"You are well aware of the scandal caused by Lord Homphray's arrest, and then subsequent escape. The citizens had ceased to trust the nobility, and the merchant consortiums that fund the Flaming Fist. There had been riots and upheaval since Homphray's escape. The Necrotic Event, as we've begun to call it, has made things go horribly wrong.

"The event is believed by the citizenry, to have been caused by the nobility, and the city quickly plunged into a full revolt. The Flaming Fist, sadly, has lost control. The city is in civil war, with different factions controlling different parts of the city.

"No one knows anymore what is going on inside. The refugees that have lived outside the city itself have become a besieging force, controlling who enters or leaves the city. And just recently, an army of paladins from Elturgard descended on the city, and I'm told they've clashed with the refugee forces and taken control of the North Gate.

"Amidst all the blood and mayhem, the aura of necrotic power is growing in Bloomridge. It must be stopped!"

At this point, you've reached the gates of Candlekeep, where a lone hooded figure awaits. Warnard slows and speaks under his breath to your group.

"The scholars have provided us with a man they call an expert on necrotic auras and they feel he may offer some insight into what is happening in Bloomridge. I will need you to get him into the district, inside that city in turmoil, and see if you can stop what is going on there. But I must warn you," he says skeptically, as he casts a sidelong glance at the man, "he may disturb you, and you may not want to trust him, but the scholars here vouch strongly for him, and they say he can be trusted. He also has spent time in Baldur's Gate, so the city is familiar to him." You reach the hooded figure, and Warnard continues his monologue.

"Legion," he says addressing the figure, "I was about to tell them about the tragic tale of Demeran Strongheart, and his lust for power. A lust that led him to meddle in knowledge no man should ever consider."

The lone figure drops its hood, and there is a collective gasp from the group, a hissing curse from Bartholomew, and then a choked noise of anguish from Morpheus.

"What is this?" Rhum declares indignantly, "Warnard, this man is a shade!" Warnard has his arms up, attempting to calm the group, but his eyes dart to Morpheus as he notes that the Shadar-Kai seems to know the stranger.

"This is Legion," Warnard says calmly, "And I must stress that the men here at Candlekeep hold him in high esteem when it comes to knowledge of a necromantic nature."

"What a surprise that he should know so much about it." Gerrick says flatly, clearly unimpressed. Legion simply eyes them all in turn, looking unhurt by their reaction, but rather cool and uncaring. The shade speaks as if no one had said anything biting to him:

"Demeran Strongheart was of the brightest young member of his powerful family, distinguished himself at an early age, and eventually turning into a brilliant mage. However, ambition corroded his soul, and when he finally realized that family ties and obligations would always end up leading the less capable members of the family to the greatest heights of power in the city, he decided that he would have to make his own adjustments to the normal order of succession."

Legion seems to smirk at his last comment, perhaps only to himself,

"Demeran knew that if he could take down some of his better-placed kinsmen, he would be able to manipulate the line of succession to place himself in a position of power. Seeking out the means to achieve his goals, Demeran discovered lichdom at middle age and did not hesitate to pursue this path.

"On the night of his transformation, possessed by his newly found power, Demeran put his plans into motion. He committed a series of murders, but he was discovered before he was able to throw the city completely into chaos. The newly-created lich was destroyed in a great battle that involved forces of the Flaming Fist mercenary company in addition to the family's own retainers.

"The other wizards of the family tried to gather the resources to destroy the lich's remaining essence, but they lacked sufficient power to unmake Demeran's phylactery. The search eventually led to a scholar at Candlekeep who was said to be an expert in all sorts of esoteric means for dealing with undead creatures. The old scholar managed to imprison the lich using an ancient minor artifact created long ago. That same statue is believed to have been the cause of the Bloomridge Incident. And the mansion that the Strongheart family owned, is again at the center of this current disturbance."

The shade pauses to gauge the group's reaction.

"Liches... Shades..." Bartholomew mutters venomously.

"Yes." Legion says, ignoring the slight, "Warnard has told you that the necrotic energy is growing, and no one knows what will happen when it reaches whatever height is its goal. Time is vital now.

"And while my being part of this group may bother some of you, I should remind you that Sardis was also among you, and he is the one that took 'Beyond the Far Realms' and 'Blood of the Demon Prince' from this very establishment - two books that can barely be mentioned among scholars without causing a debate about whether they should be burned or not. Your Genasi friend appears to be walking a dark path. The first book is disturbing enough, but the second is the definitive guide to Orcus himself. No sane being has any reason to possess it.

"I know your abilities, I've heard of your valor during the night the undead overran Baldur's Gate, I know you are men of honor. Let me help you in this."

"Bartholomew," Gerrick says gravely, "I'm reluctant myself, but we can't let that city go to ruin. Especially knowing what we do about that statue and what started the Bloomridge Incident. I don't see what choice we have."

"We should have destroyed it when we had the chance," Rhum mutters, then spits on the ground, his eyes locked on Legion's, "But fine, he can join us. Let's just get this done."

"Gods be praised," Warnard says with relief in his voice, "May the blessings of Balduran himself be upon you. You are that cities only hope."

"Uh..." Asturean stammers under his breath at Omarlyn, "Does this mean we are splitting the treasure six ways now...?"
 Episode 1 of General - 2011-12-12 -  
 Aftermath 
Baldur's Gate, Bloomridge District:

Gerrick Greystone reaches down to the shattered remains of the defeated Lich to pick up a thin golden crown, embedded with rubies. He rotates it casually, critiquing its craftsmanship.

"Good quality." The dwarf says aloud, "Expensive."

"The Stronghearts were wealthy." Legion replies, startling the paladin who did not realize he was there.

"So you think the lich was once Demeran?" Gerrick asks him.

"Undoubtedly."

"But why come here now?" the dwarf asks

"There could be many reasons," Legion says, but does not continue. Gerrick waits for a time and then when he realizes that the shade is not going to say more, he rolls his eyes and speaks again.

"Maybe you could tell me what you think is the most likely reason?" the paladin says, straining to remain patient.

"Demeran is looking for his phylactery. The lich cannot be destroyed unless it is found and destroyed as well. "

"But we just destroyed him." Gerrick argues.

"No," Legion says, shaking his head, "he will rise again in the next ten days."

"Here?!" exclaims the dwarf, shocked.

"Wherever his phylactery is, that is where the lich will appear." The shade says matter of factly, "but judging by what Demeran said, he could not find his phylactery here, so this is where it must have been hidden originally."

"That statue we found here last time. That must have been his phylactery," Gerrick deduces aloud, "but if someone else in the city has it, we may have only delayed the inevitable here."

"Correct," Legion says, "Demeran may rise again and continue the rite. People will die."

"Moradin's mercy..." the dwarf mutters under his breath.

"Based on what Demeran said, I'd guess that your friend Sardis has it," the mage adds, " The question is whether or not Sardis is here in Baldur's Gate or not."

"Why do you insist on using, its name?" Gerrick says, his patience breaking finally, "that thing is no longer Demeran Strongheart."

"Isn't he?" Legion says calmly, his eyes meeting Gerrick's. The shade finally shrugs and walks away. Gerrick lingers for a moment more before he walks around the ruined mansion looking for Bartholomew.

"You seem troubled." Omarlyn says as he steps up beside his companion, Morpheas. The shader-kai is watching the fog evaporate, but his thoughts seem a thousand leagues away.

"Yes," the monk says, his tone flat, "It is... a personal matter." Omarlyn seems to struggle with whether to push his friend for more information, but just as he is about to speak, the rubble behind them topples into a minor cascade. Asturean, covered in dust and breathing heavy, is attempting to dig through the ruins.

"This was easier when I had the half-orcs to boss around," the elf mutters to himself.

"What are you doing?" Omarlyn says as he moves away from Morpheus.

"Well this family was rich, right?" Asturean says as he pats dust from him legs, "They must have a hidden chest somewhere."

"You don't think some other opportunist would have found it by now?" Khan says skeptically.

"Other opportunists aren't as clever as me... that is, I mean, not as clever as us." The elf smiles as he gestures at the pile in front of him, "How about you help me move this?"

"I've some expertise in this sort of thing," Omarlyn says, his eyes glinting with mischief, "I expect over there is a better place to look." The thief points to a half ruined wall where the remains of a large fireplace can be discerned, "If there is a hidden strongbox, you'll find it under a lose stone by the hearth. It's a common hiding spot."

Asturean and Omarlyn begin to sift through the rubble and are eventually joined by Morpheus, who rhythmically removes the debris tirelessly. The three work in silence until they've cleared a sizable area of floor space around the hearth, then they begin to crawl around and tap at the stones.

"Here!" Asturean cries excitedly, "This one has a hollow space beneath it!" Morpheus moves beside him and the two of them pry up the large floor stone to reveal a space beneath occupied by a medium sized iron banded chest. They lift it out of the hole, and in seconds, Omarlyn has the lock opened. The three lift the lid expectantly.

Inside is several small bags of coins and gems, but what catches their eyes is a valved horn plated in electrum that lies atop the other treasures. Asturean lifts the horn out delicately, his eyes wide in amazement.

"It's amazing," Morpheus says, awestruck. Omarlyn's eyes narrow in as he examines the horn in Asturean's hands.

"This is rare," the thief says, "If it is what I think it is, the Elturgard paladins will pay a large sum for it."

"What is it?" Asturean asks

"I don't know if it has a name," Omarlyn says, "But if that's what I suspect it is, Torm himself had a hand in making it, or so legend says. It's a revered item by those faithful to the Loyal Fury."

"We should bring this to the others immediately." Morpheus says, as he closes the lid of the strong box and then hefts it onto his shoulder. Asturean continues to stare at the horn for several moments, until finally Omarlyn nudges him out of his reverie.

"Right," the elf says distractedly, a look of disappointment on his face, "we should bring it to the others."

###

Gerrick finds the pirate turned cleric lounging on some broken masonry.

"Have you seen that statue anywhere?" Gerrick asks, speaking in a low voice so as not to be overheard, "You know... the one we took that caused the Bloomridge Incident... and then put it back..." Rhum stares at him blankly, his eyes glazed over.

"No", the cleric says, and then belches loudly. Bart throws an empty bottle across the rubble field, "But I ain't been looking too hard neither," he says as the bottle shatters. Rhum smiles drunkenly at the dwarf, who shakes his head in disgust.

A few moments later, Asturean, Omarlyn and Morpheus arrive bearing their newly found treasure and explain their discovery.

"Maybe this horn can go a long way towards mending relations with the paladins, should we need them," Gerrick says gruffly. Asturean appears crestfallen at the suggestion, and Legion moves in quietly to join the outskirts of the group.

"Well, the necrotic essence is all but dissipated here," Morpheus says looking into the already thinning fog, "I guess that means the city is no longer under some shadowed threat."

"I'm not so sure," Bartholomew says, as he pulls out a black shafted arrow with green fletching from his cloak and begins to turn it in his fingers slowly, "It seems there are other forces at work inside the city."

"You are correct." A new voice says, as a lone figure slips out from the fog. The group grabs for weapons as one, but quickly relaxes when they realize the stranger is deliberately keeping his hands away from any of his weapons. He is dressed in dark leather armor, and is cloaked in a long black cape. The group spies many knives and two short swords hidden beneath the cloak, but the man walks forward slowly with arms outstretched at his sides, in an attempt to appear unthreatening.

"That's close enough," Gerrick says warily, "Who are you?" The man stops, but before he can answer, Omarlyn speaks first.

"Thieves Guild." He says with confidence. The stranger cocks an eyebrow at the thief, and then nods his head respectfully.

"Damn them halflings." Bartholomew mutters and spits insultingly into the dirt. The newcomer chuckles at this and shakes his head.

"No halflings," he explains, "that's an off shoot and not part of the official Thieves Guild of Baldur's Gate. My name is Arthem, and I work for Nine Fingers Keene."

"She's the head of the guild," Omarlyn says, his voice respectful, "many debates have raged on who holds more power in this city, Keene, or the Grand Duke himself." Legion nods his head in agreement.

"The guild has remained out of sight and out of harm's way during this conflict," Arthem says, "we are no army, but things have spiraled far out of control, and Keene wants to do something about it."

"Such as?" Gerrick asks gruffly, his hand still on the haft of his craghammer.

"We've been gathering information," Arthem replies, "Even if we can't act as soldiers, we can still assist. When I heard that you had returned, the heroes of Bloomridge, I set about to find you. We were ordered by Keene not to enter Bloomridge, but I couldn't resist following you. I caught the end of the battle, and I must say, if anyone can restore Baldur's Gate, it will be you men."

"So this Keene hasn't specifically asked for us?" Bartholomew asks skeptically.

"No," Arthem responds, "but she's expressed a desire to use the guild to help end this strife. You're clearly men of action, and you've saved the city before. It seems you're the obvious choice."

The group looks at each other undecided.

"Please," Arthem says as he gestures towards the city, "just follow me to Keene, at the very least, she can offer you valuable information."

He looks at the group, his eyes hopeful...
 Episode 3 of General - 2012-01-27 -  
 Since Then... 
The following took place between the last battle and the next morning...

Morpheus was sitting alone in the corner of the taproom with an odd expression on his face when Omarlyn approached.

"Copper for your thoughts, my friend."

The monk stirred. "I was reflecting upon our current 'working situation,' Omarlyn. We have never found ourselves in a group like this before, have we?"

The dark thief sat next to the Shadar-Kai, joining him in his scanning of the room. Bartholomew had already emptied one barrel and was trying to tap another. Gerrick was alongside him, futilely attempting to slow the cleric's drinking down. Austerean was making sarcastic comments to the dwarf, knowing full well there was no stopping Bartholomew.

Omarlyn grinned. "No, I can honestly say we have not."

"There is something about them," Morpheus continued, more animatedly now. "We have been in professional companies before..."

"Ha! I hope you are not saying these men make a professional company!"

"No, certainly not. And in the past, you and I have found a lack of professionalism annoying in such a group, but with these men..."

"I think I know what you mean. The genuine camaraderie and friendship they share makes them more efficient on the battlefield then many of the professional companies we have been a part of," finished Omarlyn.

"Exactly. For instance, that one," said Morpheus, pointing to the cleric. "I do not think there is a single man or group I could not eventually overcome if that man is at my back."

"We have never been in a company with such a dedicated healer, that is to be certain," responded Omarlyn. "As for the dwarf, he heedlessly engages the enemy so that you and I can do what we do best. Assassinations have never been easier; he keeps them so busy I have stabbed them to death three times before they know what has happened."

"If only he weren't so loud."

"Yes, if only he weren't so loud."

"Well, the elf is as silent as you or me, to be certain. That kind we have worked with before, many times."

"This is true. Yet, there is a difference there as well. These men are...good."

A thin-lipped smile spread on the thief's face. "Yes...we certainly have not had much experience with that before."

Morpheus nodded sagely, missing the sarcasm. "It is the nature of our work, I suppose. I confess, it is not altogether unpleasant. I find myself hoping new orders do not come."

"Careful, Morpheus; it almost sounds like you think these men might lead you on a road to redemption," teased Omarlyn.

It was Morpheus' turn to tightly smile. "Perhaps...and why not? I feel I have done more good with them then in any of the previous missions we have been sent on."

"Why, Morpheus...if I didn't know you better, I'd say you were speaking with genuine affection. Does this include the shade?"

The glass Morpheus had been holding suddenly shattered in his hand. The keen ears of the elf picked up the sound and Austerean looked over; when he saw there was no danger and no money involved, he returned to teasing the dwarf, who was more exasperated than ever.

Omarlyn was not impressed. "I can't believe you, of all people, are prejudiced in this way. You yourself are an outcast from Gloomwrought; you hardly need to maintain the bigotry your people have for shades..."

"It is not bigotry, I assure you," Morpheus interrupted. "It is...personal."

Omarlyn sighed. "You know, if you plan on redemption and truly feel adventuring with these men is the way to do it, keeping secrets is hardly helpful to the process."

Morpheus glared at Omarlyn.

"And THAT is the look you give me when I say something you already know to be true," continued Omarlyn, still unimpressed.

Morpheus considered his words and seemed to internally concede the point. "Very well, you are right, on all counts. Remember, though, that I am not the only one with a secret here, old friend."

The thief smiled. "True enough, as you say. But Morpheus, 'old friend,' you know my secret. I don't know yours. None of us do. All we know is you want to kill the shade..."

"NO! I cannot! He must..." Morpheus caught himself, but it was too late. All eyes were on their corner now, including Legion's. The shade and shadar-kai shared an uneasy glance before Morpheus broke away.

The monk leaned down and whispered "Gather them together here after we know the Shade has retired for the evening. I do not want him here when I address you."

It was late at night when the members of Collateral Damage rejoined in the taproom. As Morpheus had requested, Legion was not amongst them.

"Thank you for coming, companions. I feel I must come clean and let you know exactly the nature of the man who has recently joined our ranks."

Gerrick grunted, shoved the drunken priest off his shoulder and took on a disapproving tone. "I confess Morpheus, when I found out where yer from, I hadda bite back some prejudices I mighta had. Had a lotta practice at it, mind ye, from working with two half-orcs before, TWO of 'em, if ye can imagine. And you proved yerself loyal in a fight; you can tell a lot about a man by fighting alongside him. But this one..."

Morpheus nodded. "You are wise to be suspicious of him, Gerrick. My own people are born the true scions of the Shadowfell, but all who are shades have become so through dark rituals, and Legion is no exception."

"So you knew him before he became a shade?" queried Austerean.

"No. Legion is old...how old I am not exactly certain. But perhaps even older than you."

"Did you know him before your exile?" asked Omarlyn.

"Yes...he is, in fact, the cause of it."

"Exshile?! Why wereyouexshiled?" mumbled Bart.

Morpheus sat down, and his eyes took on a faraway look. Omarlyn had been at death's door many a time with Morpheus and he had never seen his friend like this before. "For my people, there is no greater gift from The Final Judge than that of 'The Sight.' It is only the women who receive it, and so our witches are held in the highest esteem. My great aunt was one of the most powerful witches we Shadar-Kai have ever known. Upon her death, she now serves in the court of The Final Judge."

Gerrick looked questioningly at Bartholomew. "Kelemvor," the priest answered.

"Since our witches do not bear progeny, their gifts are typically passed on to the eldest niece; in this case my mother. Or, rather, she expected it to be so. After waiting for her to achieve the age of majority, she was tested for the sight...it was inconclusive. For years, she thought she would eventually be gifted...but that time never came. When she realized as an adult she would never manifest the Sight, she married my father and bore his children. She never fully recovered, however, remaining melancholy all her days until eventually she killed herself."

The four men in the room exchanged concerned glances with each other, but Morpheus seemed not to notice.

"As for the shade, 'Legion' is not his real name...it is the name given to him by his master, whose identity I know not. We encountered each other when he came to our home, hoping to obtain an audience with my great aunt. We did not appreciate his presence in our home, as we Shadar-Kai bear much righteous anger towards shades. Nevertheless, my father was intrigued enough to ask why he should want such a thing. He claimed that his divinations led him to us, that a witch of our family would know the ritual necessary to reverse the magic done to become a shade."

"You think he means to return to being human?" Austerean asked.

"I cannot know that his origin is human, to be honest," responded the monk. "But it seems likely."

"Wha' happenedthen?" slurred Bart.

Morpheus' eyes took on a hard look. "My father could arrange no such meeting; my great aunt was beyond us now. But Legion would not be denied. He believed my father was merely being difficult and needed persuasion. He framed my father, making it look like he was in collaboration with a particularly vicious group of shades known as They Who Sit Above in Shadow. He threatened to reveal to all of Gloomwrought these false ties unless my father got him an audience with my great aunt..."

"He tried. When he appeared before the Final Judge, I am sure he was not found wanting for his effort. But the task was simply beyond him. When he eventually returned, no further ahead then he was, the shade went berserk. He seemed equal parts rage, fear and desperation; his wrath was vicious. He cruelly made my father's ties with Those Who Sit Above in Shadow public knowledge to all of Glomwrought then captured my younger sister's soul in an artefact not unlike the one we have seen him using. He swore to never let her die and pass on to her destiny unless we get him the audience he needs. Then he vanished."

Omarlyn was shocked. Though he knew Morpheus was an exile from Gloomwrought, the capital city within the Shadowfell, he never knew why.

"My father became a pariah," the monk continued. "No one would speak with us, trade with us or have any contact. The strain of having lost his wife, his daughter and all know the framing...it was too much for him. I came home from the monastery one day to find my father hanging from the rafters. With no one to turn to, and all thinking I am in league with shades, I left the Shadowfell. I wandered for a while until I met a kindred spirit. We joined the same organization and have been on many adventures since," he finished, with a nod to Omarlyn.

"So, ye were taken something by surprise to see him standing there that day as our 'necrotic consultant.'" offered Gerrick.

"Yes...that night I snuck into his room, prepared to kill him for all the agony he has brought upon me and mine. But he is a cunning creature, I will give him that. And, I think, a desperate one. Each person's ritual to become infused with shadow is different, so it is difficult to catalogue beyond mere generalizations. But I suspect there is something to Legion's he was not aware of...I believe whatever it is, it is the cause for him wanting to break free from his former master's influence."

"How do you know this?" asked Austerean, somewhat concerned about how casually Morpheus outlined his plan to assassinate someone they needed the very next day.

"He was expecting me. He remains as desperate as ever to meet the witch of our clan, and I believe it is for good reason, though naturally he would not share the details. He says his former master has the artefact holding my sister's soul. He swears he will help retrieve it if I can arrange for him to meet my great aunt, that he might reverse his ritual..."

With restrained emotion, Morpheus continued. "You cannot understand...for my people, the only thing that matters is the proper passing on of the soul after mortal death. For my sister to be forever denied that...is an abomination. Legion knows this. He knows I must therefore do anything and everything to make his desire reality..."

"My companions...I cannot allow this man to die. If he dies, my sister is forever lost in the most literal meaning possible. Either I somehow penetrate the Final Judge's Citadel to achieve consultation with my great aunt, or retrieve the location of my sister's soul. This creature is the key to my sister's freedom. I therefore must ask a favour of you all: Please allow him to continue to adventure with us until such a time as I know enough to free my sister." Looking directly at Bartholomew, Morpheus continued "Please keep him alive long enough for this to happen."

Bartholomew burped in agreement. Gerrick slapped him in the back of the head.

"There is one more thing," Morpheus whispered, bowing his head. "Should I fall in battle..."

When he raised himself up again, all emotion was gone, the candid and open Shadar-Kai gone, leaving only the Morpheus Omarlyn had known for years. His voice was flat and deadly.

"...kill him immediately, that I may pursue and hound him throughout the afterlife."

Austerean broke the shocked silence with standard irreverence. "As you wish!"
 Episode 4 of General - 2012-02-01 -  
 Where Shadows Meet 
The site of the camp where Jaeron and his Quick Blade mercenary group settled is abandoned, and the refugees camped down the hill have long since looted the tents and gear the company left behind. The broken stone tower remains overlooking the bay of Baldur's Gate, and standing at the cliff side, Legion stares out at the moonlit waters.

There are several merchant ships at anchor now, and the sounds of the docks can be heard even at this great distance. The shade looks down to the palm of his hand where a bright blue flower rests. The flower is called The Azureheart by locals here, but the shade knows it by a dozen different names he's heard it named in his lifetime.

The snap of a branch behind him alerts Legion to a new arrival. He does not turn around, but rather continues to stare out over the city.

"You're late." The shade says.

"My apologies," a voice behind him says, "but I had to make sure I was not followed."

For several minutes there is nothing said between the two, and the stranger finally speaks again, when he realizes the shade will not.

"I have information," the voice says, hesitantly. Legion still does not turn, or even acknowledge the statement.

"Sardis is not in Baldur's Gate." The stranger says, "He left shortly after the triggering of the event in Bloomridge. There are different rumors as to where he was headed, but none of them very good leads."

"I'm not interested in rumors," Legion says harshly, "and your information is stale. I already knew he was gone. We had an arrangement, you and I, and if you can't keep up your end of the bargain..." The shade says nothing, but let's the threat hang in the air. Legion turns slowly to face the voice behind him. The shade looks the stranger up and down with his cold eyes.

"I suppose I shouldn't blame you," Legion says, "I would imagine a drow would have a hard time getting any information in Baldur's Gate."

"The city is more accepting than you think," the drow replies, "and I can fetch a wealth of information in the Underdark." Legion's brows rise in interest.

"So is that where Sardis went then?" The shade asks quietly, "To the Underdark?"

"Perhaps," the drow answers, "but you need to give me time. Trust me, I'm excellent at gathering information, I will get you what I promised."

"Do not fail me." Legion says darkly as he turns back to the harbor. Behind him, he hears the drow slip silently away. The shade stares at the bay for a long time, before he crushes the flower in his hand and throws it angrily to the ground.