Fables of the Borderlands

Violet
Act: I Scene: VIII

Forthcoming…

View
The Sheriff
Act: I Scene: VII

Naat carrying the lantern inspects one of the first cells lining the hallway still littered with rotting corpses, that seem to twitch and stare even though they lay in pieces strewn from end to end. The cell is cramped save for an old wooden desk atop which rests something square and dark, pitch black. He carries the lantern closer as the light shines over it, he begins to see a horrific box of iron. Chiseled along the lines of the box are Demonic skulls, their mouths stretched open as though they were frozen in laughter. Naat feels as though their empty sockets stare at him from some shadowy dimension of evil where nightmares reign.

Mors joins his side, two feeling the icy chill emanating from the box. Naat, using the flat of his blade slides the box from the desk top causing it to fall to floor, and then kicks it staring at it in with a wide eyed naked fear. The too leave the cell, but Naat finds it incapable to refocus his thoughts on anything but the sight of the iron box.

Argosa and Tinaroth having travelled a little further down the hall inspect a different cell. The door is locked but from Naat’s lantern they are able to see through the iron bars, and to their great relief a steep wooden stair ascends. Argosa motions for the group to step back and raises his leg in a mighty kick thrusts his boot into the door, bashing it into the cell. The large crashing sound wrenching down the hall in a miserable echo.

Not waiting around to see what may come to search out the source of the noise, Naat and Mors, hurry up the stair, and pry at the ceiling trap door. But it does no good, instead their sensitive ears pick up the sounds of visitors from the crypt. They press and push and with all their might strive against the trap door, but it is too much. Argosa is right behind them and with little courtesy pushes pass them half knocking them from the stair for he too can now hear the sound of the dead ones coming to them. Tinaroth tries to stabilize the broken door in the frame from where Argosa had smashed it from it’s hinges but to no avail. The twisted wreckage of a door that remained would not stand of it’s own… But now they had arrived, rotted corpses, and bare bones, standing- moving graceless in their horrific posture, their jaws gnashing,a harrowing clacking sound of calcified bone upon calcified bone in skulls of loose skin and muscle eyes swollen the color of a mosquito infested swamp. They leered and moaned and groaned reaching through the iron bars. Argosa smashed against the heavy ceiling door again and again, his shoulder aching and pain wracking his body, Mors and Naat pushing with Tinaroth on the wreckage of a door, the only thing keeping the growing horde in the hall from entering the cell. Then, finally whatever heavy objects had stood atop the door from above came crashing to the floor, and the trap door flew open. The men could scarcely clamor up the stairs fast enough, and nearly jammed the whole with their own bodies trying to pass through it with desperate furvor to escape the wretched claws of the undead who fell into the room the second they could push into the cell.

The group found themselves in a very dark, but dimly lit room, they quickly slammed the trap door shut, and piled as many things in the room on top as quickly as they could. Their hands trembling uncontrollably dropping things as they went, and their heart beating as never before. The harrowing encounter over, they slump to the floor for a good many moments as they recover themselves. Naat still overcome by the visage of the iron box. Tinaroth takes a deep breath and pulled out his father’s lute, clearing his mind he focuses and strums the strings softly and gently, drawing away the fears of his companions. The bard in him gives to a song and the men feel their morale restored. And begin to laugh in disbelief in their luck and with great joy having escaped whatever that place was that lay beneath the Keep. They laughed that is until their was a loud rapping at the door, the sound of a watchman’s truncheon. The men froze, trespassers in wherever they happened to be. The Corporal of the Watch and two Men-at-Arms burst through the door, and soon find the men in the dimly lit room. Their lanterns exposing each man’s identity. “Men, arrest these criminals!” The corporal commanded. Tinaroth with Esmeralda in hand, quickly changed his fingers to a different sort of chord. Strumming as he spoke his eyes keeping full contact with corporal’s own. The veteran found himself raising his hand in a gesture to command pause to the two soldiers.

View
The Halls of the Dead
Act: I Scene: VI

The morale of the party swelled at the sight of the miracle. Argosa had found within him the ability to do something most men only heard about in sermons and stories. Naat had been wounded by the skeletal man from the other room, Argosa called upon the power of his mysterious god, and as he did so a white glow emanated around his hands as held Naat’s injured arm. The soft light settled against the skin, as if it were the first flakes of winter snow and as they dissipated, the pain subsided, and the wound closed. Naat stood speechless in a shock, no one could believe the fortunate healing. Before anyone could ask, Argosa simply finished his prayers with thanks, and took up his long sword.
Everyone but Mors looked to the two exits from the room, he examined the cache under the stair. Meanwhile Argosa and Tinaroth held the lantern to a large iron gate that prevented passage into a larger room with an ascending stair. “That stair, probably leads out of this place.” suggested Tinaroth. Argosa pushed and pulled at the large iron gate, “No way we’re getting through this thing without a key, or switch.” He replied. Just then, Mors found something under the stair that made him grin. “I’ve found a lever in here!” came the small halfling’s voice from within the hidden passage. “Give it a pull then, and lets get out of here.” said the men.
With a yank Mors pulled the lever. The sound of metal clicked in the other iron gate. Mors emerged and approached the small gate that was opposite the stair. The four of them gazed beyond the gate, which now had been unlatched and swung slightly ajar. Thoughts of disappointment began to form their way into words for the group. Just then the temperature fell from cool to cold, as an ethereal figure emerged from the surface of the stone wall in the hallway beyond the gate. It was an image of nightmares and terror, a tall emaciated woman, her jaw hung low in a perpetual silent scream. Her hair waved above her head as though she was submerged in a watery afterlife, she wore a long gown that drifted beyond the ends of her legs, but hovered above the ground without touching. Extending from the ends of each finger were long ragged nails, The spirit passed beyond their sight down the hall, without turning to admire their living flesh, even so each of the group stood in fear, with the heavy pulse of their hearts strangling them in their throats. No one dared to move beyond the gate for fear of the emaciated spirit.
As the moments passed and the ghost no longer near, each of them began to gather the courage to move beyond the small unlocked gate, hoping the hall would lead them to another way out of the dungeon to the safety of their room at the Inn.
One by one, they moved past the small gate into the hallway which lead around a bend. Three doors, beckoned at the curiosity of the men, Tinaroth tried the handles finding all to be locked but the middle. With Argosa behind him holding the lantern in the hallway, Tinaroth entered what looked to be a small armory. There at the other side of the room a weapon rack with halberds stored upon it had remained untouched for many years. Tinaroth proceeded toward the weapons, when suddenly the heavy door slammed shut locking him in darkness. Tinaroth screamed to his companions who banged and collided at the door trying to free him in mutual panic. Just then, things went from bad to worse, as the approaching noise of the walking dead returned, approaching from either end of the hallway. Soon the hungry damned appeared, their hands and arms outstretched to rend the living flesh from the bones of the doomed mortals.

Tinaroth could hear the dreadful panic of the voices of his friends in the hall, the sounds of the undead closing in, and now he could feel the temperature lowering in the darkness around him. Then, the leathery grasp of ancient fingers wrapping around his forearm, fingers which ended in long hard nails, the terror overwhelmed him, it was more than contact, he could feel an invasion from the darkness laying siege upon his mind. His terror at it’s maximum, Tinaroth’s body collapsed upon the stone floor, his mind locked in a distant prison.

Mors drew his short blades, and Naat his sling, how he longed for the meadows of his youth were the sling was for amusement, and not here, in this wretched dark cold place where little more stood between him and the damned at both ends of the hall. Argosa, was afraid but he recalled the use of his sword against the first encounter he had earlier in the dungeon.

The damned corpses lumbered closer and closer to the trapped companions, filling the hall with the stench of their decaying flesh, and sounds of their broken bones chaffing against the stone. Even though there was only a few in either direction, the sound of coming reinforcements assured the men of their worst fears. The walking dead ambled at a pace that allowed the halflings and Argosa to act first. Each of them attacking with desperate ferocity. The blades cut through things, the smith who forged them never dreamed of, nor would he have wanted to, one by one the dismembered husks of former men and women laid in the hall, a scene of abject massacre. Beginning to get fatigued the group took a pause in the melee they shared to catch their breath. As they did, the moans of the undead began to stir and stumble their way from some horrid crypt towards the sound of the hallway clamor. Returning to the sturdy door that had swung closed imprisoning Tinaroth the three attempted their level best to rend it ajar.

The eerie groans of the dead grew louder as the damned approached. And still the door stood firm, pushing and pushing the men began to fear fervently for their fate.

The metal latch began to twist ever so gradually, the men pushed harder, further the metal bent and closer, louder came the horrible dirge of voices from just beyond the hall. The men groaned in a feat of strength, heaving their weight into the door again and again. Still the latch held. From the end of the hall the dead drug themselves from around the corner, groaning and shifting forward on their stiff limbs and decaying joints.
Again the men heaved, yet the door would not yield.

Tinaroth lay within the room beyond their reach, unconscious and drained by whatever ancient evil had invaded his mind. The men panicked with no idea how to escape, the dead lurched forward, swollen swamp filled orbs in their eye sockets fixed dreadfully upon their living victims. The men slammed against the door a final time, the metal tearing loose within the latch, the door breaking inward spilling the men into the room.

There Tinaroth laid, still and silent upon the stone floor without a sign of life about him. Argosa calls upon the mystical force that had answered his prayer before laying his hand upon the body of Tinaroth. Naat and Mors glance the room noticing a panel with three levers and an old rack upon which are stored old rusty pole-arms, but no doors or escape of any kind do they see, nervously they grip their blades and turn their attention to the approaching undead.

Argosa’s prayers claim a moment of grace for Tinaroth as he feels himself awaken from a cold dark place, he opens his eyes climbs to his feet clasping Argosa in sincere thanks. Argosa, turning his attention to the levers, pulls one in a leap of faith. An eerie moan of stone grinding against stone sounds from the hall, as the mouth of a pit opens up beneath two of the shambling undead who fall into it smashing their bodies unceremoniously hard against the rim of the pit as they disappear into the darkness. The four hurry from the small room brandishing the tips of their blades in courage against the doom of the crypt. Each engaging a foul unliving creature of the departed. A gnashing of teeth, melee the swift crescent arc’s of iron blades, as desperate throat clutching grasps lunge at the pulsing necks of the heroes. A head spins and rolls to the floor from Argosa’s deftly wielded longsword, Argosa kicks the decapitated corpse still writhing in blind rage, into the mouth of the pit. Below he hears the noises of at least two more clamoring to climb back into the hall.

Tinaroth lunges clumsily with a rusty pole-arm from the rack in the small room. He misses an abomination badly, placing his body within the reach of the rotting arms of an undead fiend. Before he can pull away Tinaroth is bitten hard between neck and shoulder, the swollen rotten gums and yellow shards of teeth pass into warm flesh. Tinaroth howls in extreme agony, Naat lunged at the monster short swords in hand and plunged them into it’s back as it ravenously fed upon Tinaroth.

View
The Catacombs
Act: I Scene: V

The eerie moans grew louder the party, as the men grew more and more alarmed, frightened in an anticipation at the unholy sounds of death approached. As both living abominations came closer, entering into the field of vision of the men, they exacted a startling terror. The party stood fastened where they stood, gripped by the living fear that shambled towards them. Never ever, had any of the adventurers witnessed the ghastly images of those which had been spewed from the grave.
With their lives on the line each man and half man soon came to a choice of action. The spawns of the living dead were slow, but were still flesh and bone. With weapons drawn, the combatants faced their fears, and moved into the room for a careful position to attack. Argosa, with long sword in hand arced his blade toward the rotting corpse, the sharp edge hacking loose some decayed remnants of the once man, at the sound of old bones cracking as the sword slashed into it’s rib cage. But the rotting corpse, unblinking, simply lurched towards it’s horrified assailant, unaware of injury, attempting to gnash at Argosa’s sword arm, missing only very slightly.
Simultaneously the skeletal creature lumbered towards Naat, it’s aged sword high in impending attack. Naat, quickly hoping to avoid the blade, leaned to the right, but not fast enough, the sword gashed slicing through his shirt and cutting deep into his arm, drawing a howl of pain from the Halfling. In the next instant Argosa countered the open attack of the rotting corpse with a solid blow to it’s neck, beheading the fiend in a swipe. The evil creature falling to the ground as graceless as it had moved. Mors and Tinaroth had been in the rear and advanced to attack, but in that short second, Naat twisted his short sword in a backward arc, and drove it across the exposed spine of the evil creature, shattering the vertebrae and sending its bones in a scatter of defeat across the floor.
Mors attention drifted to the floor of the room. He had heard that places like these sometimes contained hidden devices of death and infernal engineering. His pulse began to settle however, as nothing in the room looked suspicious. With lantern in hand the group began searching the room for hidden clues. Two unopened doors were in this room, to the right a thick wooden door like the one they had entered stood, and ahead an old iron gate. The group approached the iron gate, the lantern casting light upon surfaces that had not been set aglow by flame years beyond knowledge. But no light would pass very far beyond the iron bars. Tinaroth grabbed the gate giving it a tug. “Locked, and probably for good reason.” He sighed, each man hoping to safely leave the dungeon nodded in agreement. The group turned to the remaining door, that rested slightly ajar and paused before attempting to open it. No one wanted to be the first, to explore an area that could contain more of the restless departed, especially Naat who could still quite easily feel the sting of that dire blade that laid there on the floor, licked with the deep red of his blood. Naat stepped back, staring at the mocking blade. Arogsa, placed his hand against the door, each man looking at him; eyes wide and alert. Feelings of intrigue displaced concerns for safety. He swung the door open, it’s iron hinges grating and tearing through the still silence, and sending a shiver down each of their spines. This room was larger, the lantern light revealed a mystical floor pattern, odd lettering bordered a mosaic floor, raising Mors and Naat to suspect diabolical traps, neither dared to cross the lettered border. Another iron gate stood opposite them barring entry to another room, to their right another gate, and in the middle of the wall to the left, a stair ascended to an open alcove. Sticky silk webs stretched across floor and wall, and to the ceiling above. A small iron lever by the far gate caught Naat’s eyes as he surveyed the room, reaching the other side, he pulled it without hesitation hoping to gain access to an exit. Instead, a suddenly felt as though his heart skipped a beat, and the air rushed from his lungs for an instance, a slight soreness pulsed in his feet, knees and lower back. His companions stared unaware of the painful sensations, looking nervously for some sort of reaction caused by the lever.
Mors however laid eyes upon something else. There on the floor at the base of the stone stair, a small round stone stood raised above the rest. As the bard and cleric approached Mors reached out with his foot and pushed down on the stone. Suddenly, the stone stair swung apart along a previously concealed seem with a heavy grinding noise, revealing a hidden space beneath the stair. Mors leapt onto the stair ducking down peering into the passage expecting to find a forgotten cache of treasure, but the lantern light revealed something startling and fierce. Eight long slender legs silently maneuvered a spider as large as the half men, forward from inside the alcove with fearless grace. Eight black and bottomless eyes stared at frightened four, and paused to consider them with something that seemed like an unspoken alien intelligence. Its pedipalps widened, as drops of venom dripped from a black set of fangs.
The spider pounced towards Argosa, with a screeching noise almost biting the cleric’s left leg, Argosa swung his longsword down upon the carapace of the creature, injuring it, but the spider hissed a hateful noise, as it recoiled for a fatal strike. Nearly simultaneously Mors hopped from the stair with his short sword pointed toward the head of the spider, missing his target, just as Naat swung towards the beast, only to miss entirely smashing his short sword into the stair, and snapping his weapon rendering it useless.
The spider unharmed by either Halfling, launched forward towards Argosa it’s pedipalps raised straight in the air, in a flash she sunk her fangs through the armor of Argosa’s leg, and instantly injected the fiery wound with a powerful caustic poison. Argosa had never felt such searing pain! He raised his longsword with both hands, and drove it through the face of the fierce spider, killing it instantly. His leg began to spasm, as poison pumped through his body, the pain of the injury gripping every facet of his attention with tyrannical and unrelenting intensity.
Argosa squeezed his eye’s shut as he dropped his sword to fall to the floor squeezing his leg with both hands, his companions stared in helpless urgency unsure how to help their dying friend. Images flashed through Argosa’s mind, of the places he had been.. He followed the images, the voices of his dreams came to him, the celestial languages overlapping and surrounding him, carrying him away from his pain, and the dungeon catacombs. The group watched, as Argosa began to speak in tongues, prayers perhaps. The words came rapidly from his lips, his face in twisted agony. Seconds turned to moments, as he continued somewhere else in his mind, the group watched as his prayers slowed, and his face became softer. Soon Argosa spoke in slow whisper, all signs of pain gone from his expression. His eyelids opened, as he returned to his body on the floor, looking back at his three friends who stared at him in confusion. He let go of his leg, where beneath his cupped hands had been the marks of the spider’s fangs, there was now merely the unscathed leg. Everyone gasped, in surprise unable to form the words to announce their disbelief. Argosa had been healed, touched by the gods, and marked in their favor.

View
The Evil Eyes
Act: I Scene: IV

It was night, a steady northern breeze blew south through the Keep, bringing with it the chill of the deathly icecaps just barely warmed over the canopy of leagues of temperate forests. Every window was firmly shut in the keep, the shutter locked beyond it ~ as was seemingly the custom precaution here at night.

Just as the another howl died down, softly rattling across the wood shingle roofs, a terrible cry cut through the vespertine darkness. Tinaroth and Argosa leapt from their beds to the window, followed by the Halflings Mors and Naat. It was the unmistakable scream of a woman outside, which by some hellish horror was stricken with such insurmountable fear not to even form words of help, no, only a long desperate scream!

There, below them in the tavern square, by the fountain a mass darker than the night it hovered in enveloped a woman like a horde of ravenous locusts to a defenseless crop. Out of the mass, two fiery slits yawned wide, red intelligent searching orbs formed within, and stared malevolently to the window of the bewildered observers. Then as suddenly as it had come, the shape, slid from the limp body of the woman, and plunged into the shallow fountain.
The four heroes barely equipping themselves, hurried to the fountain where the woman lay pale and cold on the ground. She was alive, but barely. Weakened and unable to explain what had happened or why, the men quickly examined the fountain with no sign or trace left by the creature with the evil eyes. Argosa and Tinaroth hastily hoisted her in their arms and to the Chapel they fled.
An Acolyte of the Chapel was quick to react the moment they arrived, and was able to reverse the afflictions of the unholy. Each of the adventurers was able to tell the acolyte what they saw from the window, but he only grew more gravely concerned. As soon as the young woman awoke from the grip of death she struggled to leave immediately, “Father! I must get to Father” she whimpered, ignoring the pleas of each rescuer and the acolyte to stay and discuss what had happened. Argosa, watched from the threshold of the Chapel entrance as she fled to the massive Guild House. “You must seek out this evil and destroy it!” exclaimed the Acolyte boldly, to which the heroes swore “on our honor!”. The clergyman then gave them a blessing in prayer, placing his hand upon their heads. The men stood, and hurried back toward the fountain square, intent on discovering the fiend’s lair, and banishing it from existence! By now however, Men-at-Arms were on high alert, and hailed the Corporal of the Watch at the sight of the four adventurers.
The men searched the fountain intently, and in vain, for they could not pursue the devil any further until they understood why it leapt into the water. The rapid sound of iron stamping across the paved Entry Yard carried the message that the corporal was galloping towards them, and would only complicate their mission. Argosa leaned into the fountain water reaching forward with the point of his sword. But the further he reached the deeper the sword dived. The Corporal was fast approaching, Arogsa reached further…still further, until suddenly his balance had shifted so far forward that he slipped into the water. Tinaroth, Mors, and Naat looked to each other in utter confusion, Arogsa had disappeared in a shallow pool of water that looked to be no more than 2 cubits deep!
Argosa sunk deeply, and plunged with great pain onto hard, dry stone in a room of darkness. He was soaked but not submerged, his mind rolled in fear, panic, and madness for he was no where near the sound of any of his friends, nor anything at all, and his eyes could behold nothing but darkness all around him. He held his hand in what felt to be an a few inches before his eyes, but his eyes saw no hand, not even an outline…
Mors reached into the pool of water for his friend, hoping that even though he could not see him that he might be able to feel him, but he was wrong. The tension rose for the three companions, the men-at-arms shouted down to them from the battlements howling threats and attempting to command them away from the fountain. But all the group heard was clamor, until suddenly the corporal arrived. He drew his sword and demanded an explanation, the men attempted to explain the insane happening with clarity and reason, but the corporal watchman was not a man capable of understanding the presence of magic. “Back away at once!” he commanded. But the men would not relent, ushered by the fear they felt, Mors plunged into the pool, then Naat. The Corporal charged his sword-arm raised, he was not a man prepared to accept defiance, and his position in the perilous Keep on the Borderlands was not one where he would be wise to take a path of patience over instinct in times of apparent danger. He aimed to wound and maim, and he would not miss… galloping towards Tinaroth he swung with the force of the charge behind his sweeping arc, the Bard wasn’t the only one who chose the path of instinct however, and dove headfirst even though every thought told him his head would strike the fountain basin leaving his ass to be impaled by the corporal’s sword.

But magic is the exception to every rule. Instead each man found themselves smashing into the one before him in a room of darkness. Mors had cut himself on Argosa’s longsword, but the others had simply fell hard upon the unforgiving stone floor. Each saw nothing but darkness, but could hear the close echoes of their voices, which provided a feeling that they were in a small room. Naat, never permitting himself to be unprepared, pulled a lantern from his rucksack. A few nervous moments later, the lantern was lit, emitting a soft glow illuminating the area around them. Each man looked toward the ceiling, 10’ above them, a vaulted stone ceiling defied their every notion, and returned every question with an unanswerable one of it’s own. Then they turned to one of the walls, the only way in or out of the room appeared to be a dungeon door, with long black, wrought iron hinges in an arched frame. The men listened at the door, carefully, quietly, wisely. Nothing. The door appeared to be safe, and free of traps, Argosa was sure of that, he had always been extra lucky spotting (and avoiding) hunter’s traps in the woods as a boy. He tries the latch… Locked.
Suddenly a feeling of sets upon him, the door isn’t trapped, nor need it be! The room is the trap, they are trapped! In a panic he swings his sword hard at the door, but the door is thick and of a resilient oak. Tinaroth, raises his hand, pausing a second swing from Argosa. He kneels low and eyes the lock, then with a dagger probes it, hoping to spring the mechanism. But disappointment is what he finds. Unsatisfied, Argosa kicks at the door, feebly, Naat and Mors look to each other concealing their grins. Tinaroth kicks at the door, in a feeble attempt of his own. Mors nearly chokes holding in a morose laugh, angering Argora, who channels his frustration into a bash against the oaken door. A small crack, and slight twist of the metal was all that was needed, Argosa calms, pushing the damaged door open into the dark room before him. Argosa begins to utter a remark to Mors, but a horrible stench begins to draft from somewhere in the darkness ahead. Each of them had smelled this scent before, for the realm is not a kind nor a safe place. It was the smell brought by the wind of battlefield, the scent of a massacre, the dire aroma of the rotting dead…
Mors and Naat weren’t smiling now, they were seeing. They stared in horror into the room. The human men looked at them nervous and alarmed, and into the darkness ahead, but saw only darkness. The Halflings eye saw into the night the way a human eye never could. Naat and Mors found themselves, petrified, frozen in fear as they tried to deny the abominations before them. A man, half-naked, jerked towards them, in stiff, movements of disjunction and revolt. Only he wasn’t a man anymore, his stomach was swollen and distended, his flesh pallid, and torn. Flesh was missing from parts of his face, chest, and arms. And his eyes were swollen bags of fluid unseeing, perhaps, but his rotted jaw gnashed smashing what teeth remained in his skull together making a reviling clatter, signaling some form of demonic hunger. The other figure was a fully decomposed creature of death. No flesh remained, just bone. It too shambled closer each step a wavering awkward form of balance. In it’s bony grasp it clung to the rotted handle of a sword, which it maneuvered like it was an extension of it’s arm.
The human men stared but could not see, the Halflings saw, but could not speak… And then the rotting man began to moan. It groaned, as vile as it smelled, it’s noises were a song of terror, a long low growl that would have made a war hound turn and run.

View
The Keep at Last
Act: I Scene: III

After a harrowing ten-day on the Eastern path, the weary travelers laid their eyes upon the Keep. Never had they wandered so far from home, or been so close to the face of death to feel it’s steel gaze upon their backs.

The survivors climbed the winding rocky slope that rose in a casual arc towards the gate house and its formidable flanking twin towers. Men-at-Arms called to them, asking of their name and business. “Argosa.” called the first, a tall and rugged man. “Mors”, “Naat” spoke two halflings, in their best Reikland accents. “Tinaroth” said the fourth, strumming a mandolin as he spoke, attempting his best at bardic charm.

Next, heavy chains clanged as they lowered a massive wooden drawbridge. And an enormous iron grate portcullis began to rise showing at it’s base a horrible maw of black iron spikes. Their weapons sheathed the party was bid to enter the gatehouse. They looked about them, to their sides and above the armor clad men at arms moved into position before narrow openings in the massive stone walls, murder-holes and vantage points for a coup-de-grace. An inner portcullis remained in their path in front of them, and as the seconds passed the party began to worry that a carrier pigeon from the coast had long notified the arrival of four criminals.

In front of them on the opposite side of the portcullis a scrawny old man hobbled into sight, holding a huge tome in both hands, and a long wide feather in his teeth. Following him was the sound of metal against metal, marching towards them. A man clearly of higher rank then the soldiers in the towers strode to the side of the shoulder slumped hobbler, he eyed each man in silence for a moment, and then finally, he spoke in clear, resounding tones. “I am the corporal of the watch. Give your names to my Scribe here, and hear the laws of our fair castle.”

The Scribe then documented each of the men into the huge tome, as the Corporal of the Watch continued. “Gentlemen, keep your blades sheathed at all times, treat the inhabitants of the keep with politeness and respect, and the same will be accorded to you. Remember that even though you are far from the realm, that the realms laws apply to you here. Welcome to the keep on the borderlands.”

A side passage was then unlocked and opened, and the men passed into the Entry Yard. It was exactly as Argosa had dreampt it. For reasons mysterious and unknown to him it seemed something from beyond his normal senses and perceptions had an interest in his destiny, his feet weary from travel he decided he would first find a stable and purchase a mount to ride from this day forth. The next thing he knew Argosa had handed over the majority of his payment from the night surviving in the The Tower of the Black Pearl, (including a small loan from his Halfling friend, Mors), to the Trader Konrad Breitenbach, for a horse named Calypso and a good leather saddle, reigns and bridle.

Meanwhile, Tinaroth found himself lead to the local hostelry by a talkative lackey that couldn’t stop mentioning how hungry the wonderful smells of the place made him. Inside, he found a table with three armed men sitting around it. Listening to them, he realized they were brothers, and probably each a Mercenary. He drew closer to hear what sounded like a story of bravery and adventure. “No, brother it was I that threw the first stone, and I’m proud of it.” said one. “That’s true, but you have to admit it could have been a child, you shouldn’t have thrown it until the frightened thing came out of the thicket.” said the second. “- He was a dev’l like Jamie said! An I ’it ’em in the head, knocked him sure as dead I did!” interrupted the third. “That ugly monster wasn’t dead little brother, we chased him for an hour after he got back up.” continued the first with a condescending snarl. Tinaroth followed the conversation as it continued, and began to strum Esmeralda. Something that he had been given by an old man along the Eastern path on the journey to the Keep. He began to sing of the brothers, and their brave victory over the devil creature. The entire tavern went silent as people stopped moving to stare at the nervous song-man serenade…

Elsewhere Mors the halfling, had been exploring the establishments of the Keep, and happened upon an interesting conversation of his own. “I told you yesterday, and I’ll say it again there are hordes of tiny dog men deep in those caves.” The street urchins laughed and poked at his bruises, but the man swatted them away. “Vicious little bastards!” he scowled. “Who?! the dog people?!” teased the Wiley youth. “Them too!” shouted the poor man. Mors moved on…

Tinaroth stopped playing. Embarrassed, he moved to over to the bar and ordered an Ale. Just as he was about to take a sip, Argosa strode into the tavern behind him. At the sight of his companion, Tinaroth jumped from his stool and began to sing with Esmeralda in an ode to the adventure in the perilous The Tower of the Black Pearl. But misfortune struck again, this time the crowded tavern challenged Argosa! “If you’re so great, then do us a good deed and solve one of the many mysteries that plague our Keep!” “Find the Castellan’s fair cousin, Nastalia!” “She was taken by the monsters of the Wood!” Many people began to shout, and talk over one another. Argosa raised an arm and said, “People of the Keep on the Borderlands, I accept your challenge my group and I will do our level best to solve your mysteries, and bring the villains to justice!” The crowd was slowly satisfied, Naat remained in the corner quietly and carefully eating and drinking, wise to remain out of sight of a potential mob.

That evening after dinner, the party paid for a private room in the Inn, and went to bed to rest, for an eventful day was sure to come on the morrow…

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The Eastern Path
Act: I Scene: II

Unknown

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The Tower of the Black Pearl
Act: I Scene: I

A group of commoners found themselves the witnesses of a murder outside of a seaside ale house, nothing too uncommon for an area known to host a bit of swordplay among buccaneers or treachery among cut-throats. But this was different, the body of a frail old man lay at their feet, what words or demands had precipitated sharp daggers was lost to the wind.

One of them, intrigued by the death or ushered by greed perhaps, found a peculiar map upon vellum the only possession of the warm corpse. Soon, a wisened odd fellow appeared along with a gathering crowd of other curious onlookers. The strange man, omitted his introduction instead hey eyed up the dwarf, two halflings and five men who were the first to inspect the murder. He offered these eight a bit of coin, and an alibi to excuse the commoners of their part in the crime. In exchange for this, he suggested they use the map to find an underwater tower, that tonight alone would be uncovered by the tide, the treasures within were theirs for the taking, but the sharp-eyed man said that the purpose of getting to the tower was to get to a huge Black Pearl, and the pearl alone was his to claim.

But the eight commoners turned treasure hunting brigands had no idea what lay in store for them.

What occurred in the tower, was damnation for the men. Less than half of the group returned before the sea swallowed it all. And none of them were the same as they who had entered. Within the men encountered vicious pirates half the race of man, seafarers with orc blood in their veins. A number of these savages took the lives of more than one unlucky hired plunderer.

But the inherent dangers were more perilous than the curved sabers of the men sent from the ship ‘The Black Mariah’, and men common and savage faced death by unsavory and unspeakable means. In one horrible twist of Irony a dwarf not even midway through the term of his life who had spent it hitherto as a Rat catcher in the mines of his mountain home, died from the razor sharp teeth of dire rats after falling from a perilous height.

The cost of lives finally tallied an amount sufficient enough that the common men, turned plunderers found the despicable pearl for their sharp-eyed master, but even with their reward, comfort and safety were not to be had. Instead the plunderers found themselves pursued by remnants of the pirate fleet, back to the Sartosan coast. Even more certainly were the treasure seekers sought by the long reaching arm of the law. A price was placed on each head, and the Sheriff Lupus Tabbeck and his bounty hunters were sent to catch the men with the black pearl.

But the pearl could not so easily be handed over, for the men had already handed it over to the nameless merchant and been rewarded handsomely for their troubles. But no gold or silver was enough to repair the damage scarred across their mind, nor lead their pursuers astray.

Ducking and evading the vengeful pirates and bounty hunters became the torture of night and day. Each of the survivors having already been transformed by their traumatic experiences within the tower of the black pearl sought new identities and an escape from the coastal village.

One of them a once upon a time rope-maker, had begun to have night terrors from the tower, and had begun to hear ‘angelic’ voices. The voices told him he must lead the others and take them East. And so it was he who lead the others east into the dangers of the unknown and chaotic Borderlands, to a reclusive haven unknown to any of the group, but which the voices whispered “The Keep on the Borderlands…”

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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