Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors
- Marcus - a mysterious gaunt man with an unusually large sword who hails from the coasts of Tar Sequinus.
- Roht - a large and lithe barbarian nomad at home in the enormous trees of his native jungles of southern Tar Sequinus.
- Morinehtar - A dark mysterious Ghoyuqan Dæthol from the snowy arctic north of Khitai (Sessrúmnir).
- "Little One", AKA "George", AKA "Star", AKA "Diego" - a somewhat creepy little girl of nine winters.
- Azadeh - a desert noblewoman and sorceress on a secret mission for her people in Mtol Dærask
- Tuck Slapfist - a man at one with natural forces and felines, he hails from the northern regions of Airgíallne
- Rheloer - a mysterious man met upon the road of keen observation and powers of perception and great kicking ability.
The far western tribal area of the region of Torán, a savage steppe prairie grasslands jutted against the ominous Shadowlands (Tywylltir in the Dætholayn tongue). A place under constant threat....
Chapter 1: Finding Ostghan
|“||Being an account of how six unlikely adventurer's met upon a road...||”|
Days One & Two
Along the road to the village of Hamèl along the southern border of the Khuranian Plain was a covered wagon carrying Marcus, Morinehtar and a small girl. Behind them was a small cart driven by Roht, carrying supplies. Behind him was Azadeh on horseback. Prowling alongside (hidden) was Tuck, in panther form.
A thunder storm picked up, slowly building, until lightning felled a tree to block the road and smash the covered wagon. Passengers escaped but the driver was killed.
Suddenly, several strange stag-elk-men creatures (which Roht later discovered were named Flidaīs - a magically warped combination of a stag and a human) charged onto the road, apparently dying from the inside. They swarmed in as the nameless little girl wandered toward them. Marcus charged up behind her and hurled one back against the downed wagon. Then the girl poked one with her finger and it died. Then she summoned tendrils of darkness to crush the life from another.
Azadeh harnessed the storm and turned it against the beasts, striking with wind and lightning. Suddenly Tuck burst in in panther form and savaged another beast. Roht, seeing the great cat, leapt from his cart and charged forth with his longspear to skewer one of the creatures. Then, backing warily from the demon-girl, slew another beast. Roht seemed nearly to worship the panther form that was Tuck.
After the beasts were slain, they rose again surprising everyone except Roht and Azadeh who had noticed them moving jerkily and saw their eyes instilled with a haunting red glow. They were put down again quickly by the party.
Everyone was a bit on edge for a while. The wagon was turned into a tent, and everyone joined together to take shelter, except Roht, who kept his distance. Roht was clearly afraid of the demon-girl, but also in awe of the panther-man, Tuck, who sometimes changed into the form of a man. Tuck seemed to take it in stride, and encouraged Roht to stay with them for now.
They made their way to Hamèl and found the inn, The Wayfinder's Rest, where a brawl broke out with some louts ganging up on some knights. Marcus tried to keep the nameless child occupied and out of the battle (for everyone's safety?), while the rest of the group came to the knight's defense. The party defended the knights and helped win the battle, becoming local heroes. Morinehtar felled quite a few with his deadly bow.
They then did some light shopping and bought a map from a cartographer named Alad. Azadeh struggled in searching for a competent artificer for a “secret project” involving carts and “unusual forces” of which the artificers had “no need to know”.
Upon returning to the inn, they were rewarded with complimentary dinner and smiles and then approached by an old man named Khazan with a proposition. Khazan asked them all to help him by finding his lost brother, Ostghan, who had gone to find an old burial mound (called a kurhan in the local dialect) and dig up a powerful diadem which had been used to drive back the Shadow and thus unite the tribes (thereby also driving back more shadow). Khazan told them that his brother (Ostghan) had bought a crude map from Alad (who had bought it from someone else – someone with a dark blue or black cloak and armor) and gone off to follow it. Ostghan believed that there might be magic items which he could find and sell to the Brotherhood of Magus for money. Ostghan heard of a magical diadem from a wandering ashugi (a local form of itinerant bard). The ashugi told a legend of an ancient princess who was said to command an army of Aškuzai (paragon horse-archers) and that with this she lead the unified tamgas, tribes of the region, to victory and won their place on the land. Ostghan became convinced of the truth of this and so he headed off and he's been missing for a Ten-Day. Khazan doesn't know where Ostghan is, but beged the adventurers to go search Ostghan's farmstead near the village of Derév and the hamlet of Talsan.
Khazan is afraid that the local Brotherhood of Magus will mark Ostghan as having found and run off with the magical diadem and that they will send a Black Robe to find and deal with his young brother. He begs the party to find his brother and clear his name. Khazan told them where to find Ostghan’s homestead.
The group agreed to see if they could help. They spoke to Alad again, who could help little except to mention who had sold him the map. Alad also mentioned that there might be other cartographer's who might help, perhaps in either the city of Tanais or the town of Siun, where he believes the map may have come from. Alad’s wife, however, prepared 9 lovely pies for them all, which Marcus gladly/accidentally bought.
Incidentally, they also met the town Warden of Hamèl, a retired Knight of Kashouli named Masas, who offered the new town heroes work – any time they might need some.
They resolved to head toward Ostghan’s farm in the morning, for good or ill.
* * * * * * * * * *
In Hamèl each of the brave adventurers woke up early and had breakfast and met the Town Warden Masas as he was making his morning rounds and placing up a wanted poster for an outlawed sorcerer named Abragos, a member of the renegade organization the Circle of Khortf, which apparently isn't approved of by the Brotherhood. Roht approached Masas, who gave him some pithy wisdom about, "There are no bad magics, only bad people," which Roht seemed to take to heart. Masas then told Marcus where to find daggers in the town of Derév, which had been their destination in search of clues about Ostghan. Then walked in Tībes, a local retired Aškuzai (a local tribal paragon horse archer) who is Masas' Second, who told Star/George that she could ride his horse when she returned back to Hamèl, which seemed to please her tremendously. The rest of the party were unsure if Tībes was being sarcastic about something. Then a young lass in the employ of The Wayfinder's Rest asked if they wouldn’t deliver a letter from her to a Knight of Kalak named Michael, who was last seen in Derév . The letter seemed to carry ill omens for the Knight. "George" made fun of the girl, calling her pathetic, but they agreed to deliver the letter.
The party rode to Derév and there was much discussion by all and a rousing, if frightening, game of Green Trees by the “Little One” (aka "George"). The party got to know each other better and were successful at not killing one another.
In Derév they found the Cracked Tankard Tavern and Apsachos, the town Barber, Blacksmith, Weaponsmith, smoking a pipe out front.
He took them to his shop and sold Marcus two daggers and two scabbards, which were then gifted to "George", for an unbelievable deal and Morinehtar bought ten throwing knives with an ironic sense of humor.
They then ate a lovely rabbit stew for lunch at the Cracked Tankard, wherein they saw Michael, the young Knight of Kalak. Michael asked them if they had any news of the plague which was rumored to have hit Tar Sequinus. He said he had no information but that rumor from outsiders coming into Torán had said that a mass plague had broken out. Michael was then told about the letter the barmaid from Hamèl wished to give him, he divined the contents of the letter and left the tavern looking ashen. Tuck offered the young man his wisdom and spiritual guidance but the young man wandered off, in a daze, clutching the letter.
Several hours later they arrived at the hamlet of Talsan, where Ostghan's farmhouse was located, which they discovered was quiet, eerie, and on the plains, which made it even more quiet and eerie. The natives were less than welcoming, and apparently were sick and coughing up blood. Thus began a series of diplomatic questionings of all the residents about aspects of Osghan’s personality, interests, work ethic, the location of his house, and his disposition toward women and men &c.
It was discovered that Ostghan wrote all the time in a journal which he kept in a box in the barn. Unfortunately, the key to the box was kept in a tree which Ostghan used to sit in, which he had described to one of the portly women as, “The royal old one where the truffles grew last season”. Roht determined that this must be the oak tree behind Ostghan's house, because truffles only grow near oak trees.
The key was obtained by Morinehtar through the aid of Azadeh who through magic and guile lifted him up into the boughs of the massive ancient tree. Marcus then came running with the box which had almost blown up in his face. Tuck, in his excitement, became a cat and was shot at by the farmer, who in so doing broke his bow string. Tuck quickly ran away and became a human.Through a combination of arcane knowledge, trial and error, and using the key, the box was opened and the note discovered. All then reflected on the notes occult meaning and remembered something Ostghan's brother, Khazan, had said about the local monastaries and in particular a monastery named Siranos. This was in keeping with the cipher used in the note, and it was determined that the note was in fact not a note but Ostghan’s current destination – The Monastery of Siranos near the city of Siun on the border of the Shadowlands. An air of dread was felt by all.
The party, feeling slightly creeped out, decided to leave the hamlet to its own ill devices. On their way out, a cross-dressed tribal wearing make-up with an unusual high pitched voice for a man called to them to warn them: “Yahkte are approaching! Yahkte are approaching!”. A battle with hideous looking monsters ensued. The monsters (apparently Yahkte in the local dialect) were viciously pelted by a sudden storm and a plague of locusts which had apparently taken refuge in the wheat fields they were riding through. Roht and Marcus used their mighty weapons and dispatched the beasts to the Shadowed inferno from which they had come. Azadeh was severly hurt and Marcus suffered some injuries as well.
When the party looked back, the people of the small farming hamlet had boarded up their houses (and presumably saw nothing of the events or the locusts saving them all) and the cross dressed man was smoking a pipe of some foul smelling weed with a jesterly grin and unblinking eyes while a long bloody cut ran blood down his forearm.
The party left the forsaken hamlet and made their way back along the East-West Road toward Derév and Hamél to take the road north toward Siun and the Shadowlands. It was now well into night, the twilight having succumb to darkness, and they were all exhausted but, for the moment, safe.
* * * * * * * * * *
Wherein our erstwhile band while on the road to Siun makes two new friends. Shibalan, an elite mercenary Knight of Şadûr, is first found battling the foesome Flidaīs among the prairied plains in sight of Siun's walls, while Rheloer is met not minutes later in the same battle as three sides converge to give succor. Entrance is gained to the city and then, something, unexpected happens.
As Marcus enters the city he begins to suffer headaches, as nightfalls the headache becomes a migraine which lasts for a few hours and then passes. While he is suffering from the migraine he hears something in his head. The headache persists though for the duration of his time in the city.
Diego explains: Oh, man. All this riding makes my backside hurt and I reaaaaaalllly want a candi apple but I can't 'cause we gotta keep moving. We met this kinda nice man though, who was in trouble but I helpded him with my touch-thingy and then he joinded the group. I dont know if he has any candi apples but he explianed to me what sexs is and now I know that is about girls and boys who make friends. Oh, and we fougted a lot with the mean weird men who kinda scare me and also it's weird cause I feel funny in this place and my head feel foggy and stuff. Oh, and then we attacked some more mean people in this castle place 'cause they were attacking the castle and we won and I was cool and now we're here. And I'm still hungry.
Roht is challenged to an honor duel by a tamgas warrior. This challenge initiates Roht's vision quest if he accepts it. Upon completion of the quest, Roht will be a full member of the Aukhatai Tribe and recognized by all tamgas in Torán. His quest tasks are to:
First collect the following:
- A good pipe & tobacco
- Bark of a sacred red willow
- A bone knife,
- A tanned buffalo calf hide & its skull.
- 2 Rabbit skins
- 2 Eagle plumes & the tail bone.
From these things you must make an Eagle bone whistle & a large buffalo hide drum.
Defeat a member of any other Tamgas in single combat while wearing the paint of the Aukhatai Tribe.
Be gifted a necklace of otter skin.
On the full moon arrive at the Aukhatai encampment at Fort Sudak and present himself for his initiation into the Aukhatai Tribe.
A ranger named Ainuar of the Athair faction approaches Tuck outside the Sanctuary Inn & Tavern after Roht's duel.
The companion's part Sattiôn's Refuge and make their way to their coveted hay loft at the barn of the Sanctuary Inn & Tavern to scheme their plot to make their entrance upon the secret lair of the dreaded cultists of Ialdabaōth.
Wherein the adventurer's awake refreshed and readied to explore the cultsists hideout, Adarkhos check's in on the party and provides them with a mysterious letter, some cryptic piece of intelligence taken from a messenger who later had succumb to the plague, and in which Little One discovers more of the frightening visitations and voices she has been hearing. Morinehtar has his first taste of revenge.