The Realm of Eärwa

Fast friends or hated enemies...
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[Companions of Irin’ d’orin] Soot and Ash
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Firing the Forge
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Between the Devil and the deep ranks of the Empire
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Uh Oh!
Between the Hammer and the Anvil

This should say it all!

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Everyone froze. Nobody made a sound. Before them was a thriving swarm of the damned. Countless Chain-Devils, Bearded-Devils, Imps, Hell Hounds and Erinyes had conglomerated into the hallway directly ahead of them. Chattering and gargling, pushing one another about, the devils had yet to notice the party as it ascended onto the third floor of the Forge.
As if this mob of madness was not enough, a squadron of armed Imperials came towards the party from the side. The party froze debating which course of action would most likely allow them to survive. Should they descend the stairs and rejoin the band of ragged prisoners who hid one flight below? Should they fire-bomb the Imperials and attempt to run past them. Should they charge forward and jump into a maelstrom of carnage awaiting ahead? The decision was an important one and the party’s hesitation led to the most surprising of events. About ten feet away, the Imperials froze and their commanding officer stepped forwards. “Which one of you is the Quad Leader?”
Enoch stepped in front of his friends and said in a slightly shaky voice, “I am.”
The squadron leader Janis, who had enjoyed the party’s conversation at breakfast, smiled and continued, “Zofo, sir, you are the highest ranking officer. What are your orders?”
Understanding crossed Enoch’s face and he started in at once. “The blasted Devils have gone insane. They’re slaughtering everyone on the lower floors, both the prisoners and our men are falling beneath their onslaught. Right now I need your men to make a shield wall and block off this hall. Don’t let a single bastard by!” Then seeing that the squad had two Rune Priests and two Ice Mages the order to use their powers to assault the devils was given. The plan was to wait until the party flanked the devils and then attack them from this side while advancing the shield wall.
Janis gave the party a map of the third floor, knowing them to be but recent visitors to the Forge. The party finished making their impromptu plans and Enoch taking a breather leaned against the wall. All of a sudden an oddness descended over his countenance and he seemed to sway uneasily. Quinn quickly helped braced him and Enoch spoke in Dwarven as if to the very walls of the Forge, “What do you want? What is your message?” A moment passed an Enoch’s weird spell seemed to fade away almost as quickly as it had come on him. Having no time to clarify the party left the Imperials behind and approached the devils through a side passage.
Battie, who had followed the party was dispatched to report to the Warden about the devils mutiny. She quickly left the party as the party prepared for their greatest battle yet, a battle which might be their last. One moment of silence was all they allowed them themselves before the opened the door in front of them and dove head first into bloodshed and gore.
The battle that ensued was one that would test the party’s very limits. E’myrk launched a barrage of spells against the infernal. Zay stealthily approached the devils, disemboweled them and slinked back into her shadows. Quinn fought with his bear, bow and blade, and took two poisoned arrows to his chest that almost killed him. Enoch, who was enlarged at one point by E’mryk, attempted to run through their numbers like a human armored tank. Vida, meanwhile launched his own spells, devastating the infernal horde before him.
The battle was further heightened by the fact that the devils were joined by an Erinyes Centurion named Frida. She used a blasphemous form of infernal magic and conjured a beast from the bowels of Hell. At that moment the odds of the party’s victory began to slip like sand through their fingers. However, the Divines were looking down upon the battle and they must have blessed the party for a very unexpected thing suddenly materialized. E’myks sorcery is one of chaos and sometimes unexpected results occur, and this time after a series of spells were loosened, chance brought forth a helper for the party in the form of a beautiful unicorn. The unicorn immediate ran forwards and plunged its horn directly into the newly materialized beast that had been drawn forth and banished it back before it had a chance to do any damage.
Quinn and Enoch, being battered to a hairs width from death were sent through a portal created by Vida. The portal led to behind the Imperial shield wall as well as to the Rune Priest that could heal them and stop the poison that continued to spread through Quinn’s body. Quinn and Enoch seeing that the battle was one of desperation called the prisoners forth from the third floor where they had remained hiding. A temporary truce between the Imperials and the prisoners was established and the prisoners were sent around to attack the devils from behind. Once they were in place the shield wall was moved forwards and the remaining devils on their side were pushed down the elevator shaft hole that had been in the center of the room that they had unwisely assembled in. The prisoners too mobbed forwards and push their fair share of devils down the hole; losing only one man in the process. The three remaining Erinyes seeing their inevitable demise, sprouted wings and descended with the evil brethren. Despite all odds the party was victorious.

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At the end of our chain...a devil of a problem

After climbing the elevator chain to the 4th floor of the Forge, the companions of Irin’d’orin slogged through a dingy, shallow moat to reach a landing. Fearing the worst, but in a rush for time, they crossed the water quickly and sighed in relief when all had made it across.
Ahead the sound of fighting could be heard so, naturally, the friends rushed toward it in an effort to save as many of the prisoners’ lives as possible,
They came upon a scene of prisoners attacking their jailers. Devils, imps and hell hounds circling and stabbing and biting and burning the prisoners who were only armed with short swords from some nearby armory in the complex. The devils seemed to enjoy sating their hellish desire for inflicting pain on a large scale and so they grinned and laughed as they fought the escaped prisoners. chain_devil.jpg
Irin’d’orin came into the room swinging, shooting and blasting the devils, also enjoying the destruction of the creatures capable of such unspeakable tortures and torments.
When the fighting in the immediate area had all but completely finished up, there was a moment of pause on the part of the escaped prisoners. This group of stalwart individuals had turned the tide of battle and undoubtedly saved their lives, but why would they? The team wore the livery of the Empire. Why had these then come to the aid of common prisoners against their own?
After a brief explanation, they hurried off down several corridors looking for two things: 1. more prisoners and 2. more devils.
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It felt good to exact at least some measure of vengeance upon their devilish foes. A retribution of sorts for the pain and suffering they inflicted upon the incarcerated. It was one thing to be punished for a crime, it was something entirely different to slowly and willfully destroy a person, good or bad, turning them into something hideous and sentencing them to damnation.devilBearded.jpg
After several small skirmishes and 27 prisoners later, the team quickly made their way up a corridor when in an intersection to their left came the sound of booted, marching feet of imperial soldiers, while ahead came into the same hallway a nice large collection of devils, imps and hell hounds. And as if that weren’t bad enough, two pair of high caliber devils…erinyes.devilErinyes.jpg

Uhmmmm…we need a plan. Maybe more than one. Ideas???

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The Turning of the Forge

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In Zay’s Perspective
“Aaahhh. Good Morning.” Zay said quietly as she woke up. Zay pushed the sheets back and hopped out of bed. she dressed herself and quickly did her daily routine, which was slash her daggers about and balance them. Then punch and kick in case she is unarmed. When she was finished, she went out and could not believe her eyes. She saw a bearded dwarf with a huge cup of ale and singing to herself. Zay had not seen many dwarves, maybe 8 at most? The dwarf had a light brown beard and brown braided hair. When the dwarf took an enormous gulp of ale, it ran down the dwarfs face and chest and then Zay realized it was female. “Oh! nice to know.” The rest of the group came out of their rooms, and the dwarf introduced herself as Battie. The rest of the group introduced themselves. “How about we eat breakfast before we start your tour?” Battie asked. The group agreed and headed to the soldiers quarters. When the group got breakfast, Enoch and Quinn headed to
a near by table by some drowsy soldiers. " Did you just get off duty?" asked Enoch. The soldiers agreed and “the leader” piped up with a swollen lip. " Wheres your little guy?" the guy asked. Zay recognized the guard, but continued to get her food. The low ranked soldier walked over to E’mryk and offered a drink to him and poured it on the gnomes head. E’mryk, enraged, threw his hands up and started to transfer green flames to each hand. The soldier drew a sword and shield and the fight began. The soldier’s friends suddenly were not tired anymore and formed a circle around the fight. But it did not last long. E’mryk pointed his finger at the guy. and the soldier suddenly transformed into a sloth. The friends went from excitement to crapping their loin cloths. :) E’mryk picked up the sloth and dropped him in a garbage can. The gnome cleaned off his hands and replied, “Next?” E’mryk and Zay then went to join Enoch and Quinn. A few of the friends found us “cool” and wanted to join our table. We then finished breakfast and then started our tour.
“Would it be alright if we started with the 5th floor since you obviously are not interested in that one?” Enoch asked. Battie reluctantly agreed and the group headed to the elevator. The group was obviously interested in the elevator. “Oh my gosh! She said it was an elevator and explained what it does! Stop asking the same question!” thought Zay. When the group arrived at the 5th floor, a chain and a bearded devil greeted them. The group toured the 5th floor to only see a bunch of people and torturing devices. Zay could not help but feel sorry for the poor souls. The group finished up and headed toward the elevator. The elevator suddenly screeched to a stop when the top was pulled apart by a chain devil. Quinn had the quickest reaction and shoot 4 arrows, but only 2 hit. Enoch Jumped and climbed up to meet the devil, but was greeted by hellhounds. Enoch still took off towards the chain devil. Zay then preformed a flip and grabbed the edge of the top, and she pulled herself up. Zay then slashed at the hellhounds. The rest of the group fought, and then Vidus finished up the mess. “What the hellhound just happened?” asked Zay.“Did they find out about us or did the devil go rogue?”
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Trial by Fire

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After the party returned to their rooms Enoch saw Zay sneak out to follow the Warden and see what was happening. Knowing that he would only hinder her he shut the door to his room and bolted it from the inside. His mood was dark and the thought of hopelessness hung over him like a rain cloud. The more he thought about their current endeavor the less he liked it. His mind swam with the chimerical thoughts of their ultimate defeat and inevitable torture at the hands of devils from the lowest pits of damnation.
A quiet rap at the door drew Enoch back from his discouraging thoughts. He unbolted the door and peeked out to see a rather attractive half orc standing there with a bowed head. The events of the evening had caused him to completely forget that he had arranged a meeting with her. Without a word he opened the door and she entered under his arm. He bolted the door and turned around in time to see her undressing.
“No. Please don’t do that.” He said confused and embarrassed.
“But I thought…” she muttered.
“No. I only want to talk with you. How long have you been enslaved here?”
“Two and a half years.”
“What is your name?” Enoch inquired.
“Draven Lighten, Sir”
“Well Draven, I’m going to go out on a limb and trust you with a secret” Enoch said smiling through his beard. “My party and I are not what we seem. We’re not part of the Empire. In fact, we’re here to rescue some friends and anyone else we can.”
Fearing that it might be a trap Draven said nothing.
“I understand that you have no reason to trust me but I assure you that I speak only the truth. I also ask only one thing from you, that being that you spread the word among the slaves that a jail break attempt is coming. When we make our moves we will require all the help we can get. If you desire your freedom this very well might be the only chance you’ll ever get.”
Enoch sat back and stared at the half-orc who clearly was debating what to say. After a few minutes she said “I don’t know why but I believe you. I will spread the message as you request.”
Enoch than thanked her and tried to direct her to the door, but she stopped him. “If I leave now I will be whipped because they will think that I disappointed you, please may I stay the night?” Draven pleaded.
“I see no problem with that. You can sleep on the bed and I’ll take the floor.”
A smile crossed Draven’s face and in a small voice she said “I think it’s better if we both share the bed tonight do you?”
“Indeed.” Is all he said and began removing his armor.
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Licking your wounds

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The attempted ambush on the other side of the river was a fierce and deadly battle. We’d had two members of Irin’d’orin taken captive earlier and now we’d lost another to a brutal enemy. Was the light beginning to dim a little? The team had quickly bandaged and searched the carnage for any immediate valuables before loading up and moving away from the scene of the slaughter. The enemy would come searching for their soldiers and we meant to be long gone before then.
Rut’s passing was difficult and none wanted his body in the hands of the enemy. We committed his body to the river and made our way toward where the the mountains we suspected harbored the mysterious “Forge.”
As we trotted our horses past a jutting of trees off the edge of the forest, a light could be seen shining warmly toward us. Soaked by the rain and leaning wearily in the saddle, we decided a short break to discover the source of the light would be a good thing.
Within the grove a trees knelt a beautiful and tall woman. Calling us by name as we watched her, she bade us enter out of the rain and take our rest. The ring of trees closed behind us blocking the light’s escape.
We discovered that her name was Wylde, but she was often referred to as the Matron or Mother. She had been here waiting for us that she might meet us in person, her curiosity peaked by the recent lights in the Deadwood.
“The world has been so dark these past centuries that I admit to having lost hope and, you might say, that I faded somewhat from existence. Then an unexpected light appeared in the forest and I was surprised. Then a second came to life and I was curious. Then a third was lit and I was renewed with hope. The darkness had receded and I felt a kindling of something I hadn’t felt in many, many years.”
We asked her many questions and she freely answered what she could. The napkins and the goblets were explained as relics from the All Father, Allyxann, the giver of life as well as its taker. She spoke longingly of this deity and when asked informed us that she was his consort and that together they had created the pantheon.
Although we had many more questions, exhaustion overtook the team and we slept a much needed rest. We arose to a beautiful morning. Although our new found friend was no where to be seen, we were rested and healed of our wounds. We loaded up the remaining foods and departed for the Forge.
She had thanked us for renewing her hope and had wished us well in our journey to restore the light and to drive back the darkness.

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Wanted: Dead or Alive
What would you pay for a little information...

{From Enoch’s perception}


As we entered the Castra at Myclai, the wooden palisade that we had erroneously thought was a small fishing village, I had two thoughts that dominated my thinking. The first was that the Garrison held a lot more soldiers than the five us could handle. We were either going to talk our way through this or we would certainly be swaying from the gallows by morning. The second thought I had regarded E’mryk and the stunt he pulled on the docks. If only we could force him to keep his trap shut. Ever since he received that scar upon his face he seemed moody, irritable and withdrawn. He’s a tough little bugger and I doubt vanity alone was responsible for his foul mood.


We followed the officer and his six very green trainees through the fort. I could barely keep from giggling as I watch them marching slightly off beat, clearly chafing under their armor. As for the officer, he went by the name of Optio Servius Tullius Augustus of Brand. Being the fact that I am rusty regarding my knowledge of the Imperial ranking system I overestimated the importance of his position. Rut could have corrected me but he was being especially stand-offish. The others seemed lost in their own thoughts as we weaved through the market section of the fort, where civilians squirreled back and forth hocking their wares. We also passed the blood stained gallows and executioner block, if only to remind us what was at stake.


After what seemed like hours but in fact was mere minutes we arrived at a little used officer barracks. Optio Servius entered and waved us in while he told his soldiers to post–up outside within ear shot. While we waited in the main room the officer entered a side room and closed the door. From the outside came a gnarled old man who entered silently and placed napkins and wooden wine glasses for us on the table. E’mryk attempted to communicate to the servant but the old man simply showed us the stump where his tongue use to be, and bowed out. After changing into a less dignified outfit the Optio waved us to seats where he offered us wine. Pretending to avoid it due to duty but really to avoid the potentiality of poison, we sat and began conversing with the officer.


Due to the fact that we were improvising and nervous most of our conversation is a blur to me now. What I do remember was that the priggish Optio had two weaknesses that we wasted no time in exploiting. His first weakness was his over-inflated sense of self-worth. He felt himself far too great for his lowly position here in this backwards garrison off the banks of the Sea of Cerish. The second weakness we espied was his addiction to information. He correctly ascertained that information is power. He incorrectly ascertained that the information that we were in effect peddling was information of that sort. In short, we gave him information that he would in time inevitably receive. For example that the Imperial outpost at Vannte had fallen and its resident giant was slain. The second category of information that we provided was pure cow dung; that is it was rubbish that we made up on the spot.


After about an hour of discussion we had inflated his head by blowing enough hot air up his ass that he felt dizzy with his own sense of importance. We had also convinced him that it would be in his best interest to provide us with horses and safe passage out of the garrison to the north. I was delighted the whole time that E’myrk kept his cool and that Quinn’s unwise dropping of Malus’ name was overlooked. Nevertheless, we were on our way after the hour. We immediately received our horses from the quartermaster and attempted to leave the fort before our play-acting fell apart. Unfortunately E’myrk started another quarrel with the guard at the gate. Luckily we had him on his way before our position could become dire.


For around a mile we rode north towards a ferry that the Optio had directed us to. Upon reaching it we paid a couple of simpletons to take us across and we boarded a fairly large barge that could likely accommodate ten men and their horses. As soon as we boarded we noticed a squad of soldiers were approaching from the direction of the garrison and we knew that our cover was blown. We encouraged the simpleton ferrymen to hurry and when they seemed incapable to reach the speed we desired E’mryk enlarged Rut with one of his spells and Rut sped our passage by quite a bit. Once we were only the other shore the ferrymen started their return and we discussed what we should do. The general consensus was that we should wait in hiding and ambush those that pursued us. I personally found this to be a very bad idea but I went along with the general opinion of the party. Quinn hid the horses in a gully and we crept behind bushes and other foliage.


While waiting I lent the spyglass to E’myrk, he being the only one of us that can see in the dark. He spied on the party that was waiting for the ferry’s return. He estimated their party to consist of ten men or so. Their leader seemed to be a Tiefling with a broken horn. He returned and informed us what he saw when we all heard a noise. Apparently we were the ones that were going to be ambushed, for a moment later we were assaulted by a horde of monstrous beings. There were two giant cyclops creatures, two trolls and six black goblins. The fight opened with one of the cyclops launching some-sort-of ice spell that sent everyone in our party to their knees in pain.


I often find that when I’m in the middle of a battle my mind becomes clear, all inner dialog silences and there is only the fight. For this reason I always have a hard time retelling a tale about a battle. Images flutter through my mind but they seem unconnected. I remember Quinn getting the stuffing knocked out of him when a majority of the enemies descended upon him at the same time. I remember Zay rolling about and slashing wildly with her cruel blades. I remember mowing down a goblin or two only to find the cyclops and troll that attacked me to be more than I can handle. Apparently, we were losing the battle, Quinn fell, followed by Zay and myself. Rut was toppled next and E’mryk stood alone launching magic missiles into their midst. After being revived with a potion from the Gnome I flew into a rage and attacked the last remaining cyclops, who rather than return my onslaught killed Rut viciously by driving his crude pike into his skull as he lay unconscious.


I had only known Rut for a few days but I couldn’t help but pity the poor bastard. I also wondered if he had a wife and/or child somewhere that would be waiting forever for his return. E’myrk and I finished the cyclops off and cut the line to the ferry so that the other pursuing party could not reach us and finish us off. E’myrk revived the remaining members of our party and we limped towards our horses knowing that time was of the essence if we wanted to survive.

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