The Realm of Eärwa

A missing priest, some riddles, and fog

Meeting up at Merchant von Trapp’s house, Evon, Ingvarr, and Emrich were confused as to why Tainan had been gone longer than expected. He mentioned several hours earlier that he would be going to run a quick errand, and would be back within an hour. Not knowing him too well yet, the trio made their way to the Great Library to wile away some time before the von Trapp affair and give Tainan time to re-join. Working together, Content Not Found: invarr-battleborn and Emrich hypothesized that the ancient tome’s maps were drawn from the perspective of the world’s other hemisphere, and thus things are angled differently. There is overlap, around the north pole, and that’s where the maps from that book and those from books we know come together – that’s what we think, at least. If we’re right, it’d mean that we have a book with maps from the unknown other side of the world.

Making their way a little early, invitations in hand, they stand in front of the von Trapp manor watching the passers by and trying to look like they belong. Risia and a dwarf come up and ask where Tainan is after introducing Content Not Found: drokki-lighting-eye-thunderbeard. Ingvarr and Emrich decide it may be best to check out the Chateau to see what may have become of the fair priest, but looking over at Evon he seems to have struck up a lively conversation with Drokki they leave to pursue.

Following Risai’s directions, they are able to locate the Chateau easily enough. The scene unfolds with a very large building, with many ladies not associated with the Chateau offering their wares outside the building and several of the Mountain Bandits are in mid-transaction. The smell of smoke (fire, opium, tobacco, and unknown cooked meat) fill the air leading into the Bazaar, as they pass the doorway to the Chateau and take in the ornate doorway inlaid with many different “positions” displayed to imply what is within. Moving through the Bazaar, they come through to the alley street that separates the Rat’s Nest from the Bazaar and Chateau. Trash, filth, sweat, and rotting fish assail them as they make their way through the street where some “homeless” have taken refuge in the crates. They come upon a puddle of blood in the streets, and hear the faint moans of a Halfling. Upon inspection, they realize the blood in the street is separate from the beat up cutpurse, and while the scene looks evident, they think it best to exhaust the Chateau before pursuing the blood.

Entering the Chateau they quickly discern Madame Alandra, who cuts a figure of beauty and leadership. After some verbal sparring, she informs them that Tainan has not in fact been at the Chateau today.

Back in the alley street, they follow the trail of blood to a sturdy locked door of the Rat’s Nest, and listening carefully it sounds as though some guards are gambling on the other side. Emrich deftly opens a window on the first floor, and the two stealthily enter the building. Making their way around the corner, they quickly put down the four gambling guards at the door and up the stairs knocking out two more. The blood trail leads to the end of the hall where they burst through the door to find Squares pacing, wondering what he is going to do with the bound and gagged Tainan. With surprising speed, the two drop Squares and run to the next room relieving his thugs. Cashing out, they walk away with 83 Gold and 94 Silver pieces.

After getting cleaned up, healed up, and powered up ;-) the trio make their way to the von Trapp extravaganza. Only an hour and half late, they present their invitations they make their way in getting late plates and sitting down to converse with Risia and Lightning Eye. Ingvarr sits next to Drokki giving him a greeting “Arcanus Magem”, and Drokki smilles responding "Magem Arcanus. Drokki seems to be fidgeting and muttering something to himself while Risai asks his son what happened. Given a brief recount of the events, Risai appears to lose his temper but recovers and provides a cryptic warning to Tainan that his son seems to understand and his face flushes as the gravity sinks in. Ingvarr and Tainan pick up on what Drokki is muttering “If I have it, I don’t share it. If I share it, I don’t have it. What is it?” Ingvarr says “A Secret.”, and Drokki smiles going further “What was one, is now two, but the two are still one.” while Tainan and Ingvarr puzzle over what he has said Emrich loses interest in the riddles Drokki is offering up, and makes his way around to impressing the ladies. Drokki, realizing they are stumped continues “Power has strengthened by one, but is actually more than one. The Dark City Council grows darker with the power that has strengthened the one. The power did not come from within DC.” Together, Ingvarr and Tainan come up with:

  • The Thieves Guild and the House of Pain were once one, but are now two, however, their power is still one.
  • Something about a Changeling being involved, but not that the Guild Leaders are one in the same, this fact was not fully explored before being interrupted.

Risai interrupts “Drokki, you are making our friends uncomfortable, maybe we should discuss something else?” Announced on the stage is a spoken word performance where the performer states that we should not forget history, for it tells us where we came from. Clearing his throat, he begins “From the center of the realm, the Majestic Living Realm of Providence has brought forth to the mountains, plains and forests the divine light of Helm, Tempus and Mask. Through this divinity, the Imperator has been empowered to illuminate the realm, bringing it to order, and protecting all of it’s subjects. As ambassadors of the Living Realm of Providence, we have become a class of being separate and distinct from all other beings in the realm. Not now as beings among beings, but as an enlightened citizen of another country among the ignorant creature of this dark world. An enlightened state. In turn, we give back an oath of life, body, soul to to further this endeavor. Failing that, my life is forfeit and my destruction is my own to claim.” But the four adventurers are not hearing the voice of the Bard, rather they seem to be sitting around a campfire with others and a military officer is reciting the LRoP oath. They do not recognize one another as they are not themselves, as they see three elves and a Gnome sitting around a campfire. Once the Officer is complete, he walks away and their consciousness comes back to the feast. Drokki looks at Ingvarr and mutters rebirth, before getting up to leave.

Upon exiting the street there seems to be an absence of sound (much like [[File:445227 | class=media-item-align-right | fog_street.jpg]]after a bomb blast without the ringing in the ears), even when attempting to speak to one another it sounds muffled or underwater. There is a crisp, cold smell to the air, and fog has filled the cavern. At this point there is a slight woosh of breeze, and then hearing is returned by the distant sound of screams and cries in the distance. It is evident the light has faded somehow, but it almost looks like fires have been lit somewhere out in the streets. There is a smell of death in the air, much like a tomb. Some of the sounds to be heard are a howl on the wind, ominous clacking of bones, high pitched cackling and low moans all in varying volumes.

Out go the lights!
It's all Squares

Early Afternoon, the four would-be adventurers find themselves in the House of Thron. In appearance it is well appointed, with the light Light just above dimly lit. The torches, candles and other light sources are not putting off any smoke and have a slight sound like running or bubbling water. The rooms have a lived in look (by two Bachelors no less) with books spread about not slovenly but mid research. The picture have scenes that move, or may be interactive which might be disturbing to some. Overall, there is a smell of arcane that permeates much like incense.

Tainin allows Emrich to dress, while Ingvarr and Evon are relaxing enjoy their surroundings, he makes a polite excuse. “I have a quick errand to run. It shouldn’t take me too awfully long. You are welcome to wait here, if you like. Or, I can meet you somewhere out in the festival, if you wanted to stroll the sights a bit longer. Either way, make yourself at home. I’ll return in about an hour.” “Let’s meet at dinner – I’d like to take a walk before sitting and gorging myself,” Emrich says with a smile, heading out the door after his host. Tainin then nods, turns and exits.

Due to the fact that Tainan is a regular customer, he typically comes in the back way which butts up against the Rat’s Nest. As he rounds the corner, the scene unfolds of a low life he has seen many times around these streets. Squares Dawn is working over some poor individual, as two of his cronies hold him up. Due to Tainan’s keen perception, he recognizes the cutpurse he had turned into Tong earlier that day. “Had to pull some strings I did” fist smacking meat “I got your sorry, hairy footed ass out” fist smacking jaw “and what do you have for me?” fist smacks meat “you are empty handed.” Just then, one of the thugs notices Tainan and nods over toward him and Squares turns around to look at him with his yellowing, jaundiced eyes. “What’s this then? Are you looking for trouble?” The wheezing Halfling is bleeding profusely, his breaths come in agonizing wheezes and he mutters something but ends up coughing and sputtering before spitting out some blood and spittle which looks like it might contain teeth. He hisses out with great effort “It was him boss, he got me” stops to take a wheezing breath “arrested.” Squares turns on Tainan.

Standing confidently, Tainan responds “You know I am a well-known priest and son of Risai. You don’t have a move here that wouldn’t end in your operation being shut down and you likely being executed, Squares.” With that, Tainin allows his light cantrip to charge slowly, throwing off brilliant white sparks and rays of light as it travels down his arm toward his hand, stopping at the head of his mace as he draws it nonchalantly. “I will, however, insist that you cease harming anyone in my presence.” Squares, smiling like a snake and very intimdatingly says “So, you are one of the fallen house of Thron, and look to be just as weak as your father. You be in the wrong den, and not thinking clearly. It just makes it easier that you presented yourself to me, now, lay down the weapon.” Realizing the depth of the situation, but not feeling the exhiliration driving him on, Tainan overcomes Squares’ intimidations and says “Squares, somehow I do not think you heard me, but I insist that you cease harming anyone in my presence.” Squares laughs dryly “Bad move priest!” as he launches around behind him unleashing a quick slash across his left shoulder and blood begins to soak Tainan’s clothing. Following, Bob and Kessel drop the Halfling mercilessly to the ground and draw to form a triangular flank on Tainan. Divine power imbues the Cleric’s words as he turns on Squares and Commands in a booming voice “LEAVE!”, to which Squares runs up to the door of the Rat’s Nest behind him. While Bob and Kessel look at each other determining their next move, Tainan shoots a flare in front of Bob before Kessel thumps him across the head knocking him into unconsciousness.

What does the future hold?
Explosions, a thief, flashbacks and a dinner

The scene opens in the darkened cavernous city near the main thoroughfare, the Street of the Gods, outside of the Dark City Theater. Crowds are forming, some food vendors are beginning to offer their wares, as four young adventurers recognize each other waiting in line to buy food.
Emrich, the younger farmer and recent transplant to the Dark City who is plying his skills for the Merchant Vice von Trapp.
Evon OakPaw, the Hermit Druid who, after tiring of spending years in the wilds, returned to Dark City, and who having done previous work helping out in the cavern field for the Merchant von Trapp met Emrich.
Tainan Thron, the local Cleric of the Light, son to Risia Thron, and recent acquaintance to Ingvar by way of the Great Library, known to Evon and Emrich via work done to heal the wounds and see to the pains of the farmers at the fields.
Ingvar, the Sage with a endless thirst for knowledge, knowledge once unavailable to him under the controlling hand of the Living Realm of Providence.

Greetings and small talk filled the moments before the view of the crowd parting and the striking images of the 13 were seen to be making their way to the front of the Dark City Theater. As they filed up on the dais, Axium Cloudroar raised his staff to quiet the crowd and cleared his throat. “Many many years ago, the Gloaming was upon us, certainly before my time, but our ancestors record that the darkening came upon the land and the world was a different place in the blink of an eye…” The area around seems to darken a little as Axium draws out the last word. “After many many years, the dawn broke, and our world began the process of returning to normal. Or, a new normal, for we had a lot to look back on. I realize you all, as much as we” he looks to left and right at the other Guild Leaders “are excited to get on with the festivities, so let the dawn BREAK!” he raps his staff and an explosion erupts from the end of his staff, as a ball of light rockets up to the roof the cavern then explodes in a rainbow shower of light and begins the slow descent to the surface before burning out. This is followed shortly by and eruption of orbs of light throughout the street as other casters at designated points like the way of the street, much brighter than normal.

Tainan looks to the three with him and asks “I am not sure if you three had a planned itinerary, but my Father has an excellent booth he has put quite a bit of work into. A flying Griffon experience, or so he says. It is just over yonder on Silver Street in front of the Wizard’s Guild.” Looking around, everyone seems to be in agreement. “Perfect! We’re off then.” Moving up the street, and taking the catwalk boards up to the roof and back over to the Wizard’s Guild.

Risia Thron, smile from ear to ear, greeted Tainan as he approached. “Well hello Son, and who are your friends here?” As Tainan looks around and offers up names, and explains that they are interested in testing out his new booth. After a discounted exchange of funds, the four enter into the booth and sit down on the bench.

As darkness descends up them, the sound of wind whipping around them and one could almost sense a Viking.jpgdrop in temperature. A view begins to come into focus of snow flurries whipping around, and a snow bank appears before them. The image seems to move forward as if tromping through snow and ahead a wooden palisade appears before them, and up on the walls heavily bearded humans bedecked in furs, carrying round shields and axe, they appear to give a salute with their axes as the gates begin to open. The street that opens before them, frozen and filling with snow, seems to have been shoveled recently. The view of wooden buildings skirt the street, and looking up you can almost see the shutter of one or two cracked as someone appears to peak out. Scanning between the buildings, frozen streams break up the streets. Crossing a great bridge, a magnificent long hall is ahead with two more guards. Much more arrayed than the previous, these two have heavy plates of gold woven into their beards, their chests appear protected by a studded leather and chain armor, a heavy fur cloak from either a bear or a huge feline of some sort. Their arms are wrapped with arm rings, swirling tattoos, and on their feet appear to be heavy fur-lined boots with spikes on the bottom. Breaking the portal of the hall, there is a series of benches, various tables, and braziers of fire arrayed at different points. At the end of a hall, seated on a throne is a heavily muscled man with long white hair. As he stands up, he seems to raise his hand in a warrior type greeting, and as his features become clearer, he is also wearing armbands, but his are much thicker and actually appear to be a serpentine golden dragon encircling his right bicep, while his left is almost a bracelet but up on his bicep. At this point the scene turns dark, and the Evon turns to his three friends to ask “what happened to the Griffon?” but is perplexed at the expressions on their faces as they are looking out of sorts. “I got ripped off!” Evon exclaims “I wanted a Griffon ride.”

As the four make their way out, they begin explaining that there was something afterward. “What did you think?” Risia asks as he seems them emerging. “Not quite a Griffon ride, we saw a snow covered land and what looked to be the palisade of Inglewolf Mammoth.” During the retelling a bump alerts Tainan to something grabbing his pouch, and he turns to grab what looks to be a young boy. “Let me go! Let me go!” the humanoid exclaims, and it quickly becomes clear this Halfling was attempting to lighten Tainan’s pouch of coin. With a quick look Emrich notices a figure up on the catwalk make quick eye contact, and turn to move hastily away. Emrich, seeing that Ingvar is noticing his pouch was pilfered as well and is in earnest to help with the would-be-thief, turns to Evon “Evon, want to take a stroll” as he motions to the catwalk and they pursue the individual. “Hey, aren’t you going to wait for your friend?” Emrich calls out. A well placed dweomer is called out by Evon, introducing Bromm as a new found friend.

Recap – Festival opening
• Risia Thron’s booth, supposed to be a Griffon ride but was something far different.
o Emrich had a vision of oppressor back in Loy “This is what we do, THIS IS WHO WE ARE!”
o Tainan had a vision of working on what appeared to be a wounded soldier who lost his lower leg, as he looks up Tainan sees he is in a tent and as he walks out he sees a row of chain-ganged Elves being led into a cave.
o Ingvarr had a vision of mid shield charge, and he slows for a moment as he looks to his left and a commander screams at him to pick up the pace. He looks forward to see the enemy, Elves.
• Tainan has his pouch attempted to be pilfered by a cutpurse, but he catches him. Emrich notices a watcher (Bromm) who he and Evon pursues while Tainan and Ingvarr stay to deal with cutpurse having him arrested by Tong (1/2 Orc Guard SB).
• Emrich and Evon catch the watcher, Evon Charms him and they learn of the chain of command for the Thieves Guild and that it centers around the Rat’s Nest. Bromm reports to → Dag who reports to → Squares Dawn, a low-level leader of the Thieves Guild. Tainan knows Squares from seeing him around the Chateau.
• Coming up the street is Emrich’s cousin, Ezri, who has the kids and are going up to slide the frozen stream. She invites them to a Dinner at Merchant Vice von Trapp’s house. Pick up the invitation about 3PM.
• Tainan leaves the party at his house while he goes for an “interlude” at the Chateau where he happens upon Squares working over the Halfling cutpurse who was caught in attempted pilfer of Tainan’s pouch.

The festival, and some notes
from Emrich's personal journal

The festival’s opening lived up to its billing, especially the fireworks – I think I could almost see the cavern roof a mile over us when the magic was fired off. The speakers from the ruling council were stuffy, as one would expect from such people at such an occasion, and I still have a hard time accepting that a thieves’ guild is accepted as a part of the mainstream of the city. Nothing I can do about that but live through it while here.

I was glad to run into and spend time with those who pass for my friends in town, and we had some excitement when a pick-pocket tried to rob us. Evon and I blocked the escape of his friend while Tainan handled the actual thief – a halfling playing at being a child – off to a guard.

The experience in the tent, however, was not to my liking, although so far as such experiences go perhaps there is a meaning to it. I’d not thought of that moment in years, and I think I was 4 or 5 when it happened. I still can’t be sure if it was my mother or my aunt, but in the memory it was mother. Very strange and very troubling. And the fact that two others experienced bizarre, disturbing memories makes me think that either something went very wrong with the illusion and the magic jarred our brains so as to evoke those memories – but were they all real? Or even possible? No one’s seen an elf in centuries…no human – that’s certain. I’ll have to think on this.

On a more pleasant note, it was also very nice to see Ezri, and her invite was a surprise – I’ll have to be on my best behavior and remind myself to observe, listen, and remember tonight. Actually, I ought to ask her about what I saw in the tent – she’s smart, and whether it was my mother or hers might be something she remembers.

Need to close for now – have to pick up borrowed nice clothes for our high society affair.

The Gloaming and the Matutinus
Three days of mourning, and 4 days of rebirth

The holiday of gloaming is a time of mourning and preparation, the people remember the loss of their divine connections to their beloved deities. The first day is spent in preparation, planning as if a darkness were coming and what would a community do in such an instance. Menus are prepared, Guilds take inventories, artisans & crafts people prep what they can give, entertainers plan their performances. The second day is spent in arduous creation of magnificent transformation, making the city ready for the rebirth of the Matutinus. Walk ways are added on the rooftops of buildings and bonfires are prepared in the larger streets, tents are erected, goods are baked, wares are prepared, spells are memorized, animals are groomed, fighters clean their gear. The third day is spent in rest and contemplation of what was lost, and what has been gained since the gloaming.

The Matutinus begins with an opening ceremony where the 13 makes an announcement to the city and welcomes the travelers from the surrounding bandit tribes and communities. Then four days of festivals, shows, eating, drinking, debauchery to celebrate the rebirth of the deities and what they mean to the world.


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