A Shadow Riseth
Entry 3

… the four assailants wasted no time in filling our captive with bolts, slaying him within seconds. We gave pursuit, but most of them scattered. Thankfully, Filandrael sneaked around the back and tripped one up, taking him prisoner. It was clear that our enemies knew our location and had no intention of allowing a prisoner to reveal their plans, so the plan had to be changed.

Some guardsmen came out and questioned them. I had thought to enlist their help, but our friend the Warden Dwarf carefully (if drunkenly) hinted that our enemies may be among the Worthy Men as well as among any other group. They pushed for interrogating the prisoner ourselves, in private, and I could not deny the logic in this, though it pains me to lack a face we all know we can trust.

We tiptoed on back-alleys around the night-time streets to the address given by our first prisoner, found a scantily-used apartment, and our group scouted it while I stood watch and Filandrael shared some recent events with me — his membership in a certain group, and the clear attempt by someone to frame him for the assassination that was clearly timed for that exact moment.

We used the apartment to interrogate our new prisoner, who was quick to name the Hurch Gang as his employers. He stuck to this story and offered to take a message to the Hurch leader, Plint Dundarry, if we desired. He insisted he did not know Plint’s location, which seems plausible.

The rogue did not have much else to offer, and did not long survive his wounds. He bore two notes – one with the name “Dick & Pickle” (the place where we held the first prisoner), the other with a description of my old friend Filandrael — clearly, they have singled him out for something, though precisely what I cannot surmise as yet.

What to do now? Believe the rogue’s story or not, the Hurch Gang is our most solid lead, and we have no real reason to doubt it (or at least no more likely direction thus far). But we have no friend in the ranks, do not know the territory, and they are one of the strongest gangs in the region. Entering on our own could be suicide, while entering with backup could start a civil war, or at best might still leave Piter short on men to defend him.

We crept back to the town square and into the rear entrance of the Elf’s Tears — all but Bargol, who threw caution to the wind to spend a luxurious night in his own room across the way at the Dick & Pickle. The rest of us have boarded at the Elf’s Tears for the night after an unexpectedly long day. Filandrael and I quietly went upstairs to find any further hint of those who set him up, but found nothing, and with no further ideas we, too, retired for meditation.

The day has been long and eventful. I cannot help but feel this task we have been given has barely yet begun.

8th day of the Wyvern, Year of the Crown

We awoke early this morning feeling refreshed. On a hunch, I led our group across to “The Crossroads” to see if I could sense my quarry. He remains undeniably near, and confoundingly out of reach. I sensed nothing, apart from the same sign I have had now for nearly a day — all in the region around the square.

We finished breakfast and questioning locals and hurried on toward the King, as we hoped to consult with the King for new instructions.

On the way there, we came across a family fleeing their own home. I regret to say my first reaction was to leave their plight to the guards — we had no time to spare, and our quest was urgent, was it not? But it became clear that the guards paid no attention to their concerns, and the “rats” they claimed had overtaken — overtaken! — their home were far more dire than any should have reason to suspect.

Many of the rats were normal, but clustered into groups that seemed to have a wisdom of their own. Others were of an enormous size, enlarged by some unnatural force — a sorcery not entirely unknown to me, alas. We dispatched them with only moderate difficulty, though Filandrael was nearly slain, and barely pulled to safety.

We laid open the children’s room and I immediately put another horde of rats to sleep. Fyrsson charged into the parents’ room, and then a terrible thing happened, and this I swear: a shadow dislodged itself from the very wall and moved to attack him…

For King and Country
Entry 2

7th day of the Wyvern, Year of the Crown

My quarry is near.

More than this I do not know, and it drives me nearly to the point of madness.

As within, so without, for the city of Worthen is in chaos. All were gathered for the memorial of King Greatworth’s daughter, Alia, when a crossbow was fired from a window of The Elf’s Tears Inn: a clear attempt on the life of the king.

But the Greatworth dynasty was not fated to end so soon — the shot missed, and guards rallied around him to escort him out as the square erupted into riotous terror. Many fled the square while guards entered The Elf’s Tears, and I followed only to find on the third floor an old acquaintance as the prime suspect: Filandrael, known as ‘Nolya’, of the very line of Arinoth and kin to Calentir.

Thankfully, Filandrael had not harmed anyone, and I was able to defuse the situation, though not to prevent his being taken into custody. We gained an audience of Dwarves, Men and Halflings as we processed, with Filandrael under guard, to meet King Piter. There I pledged to help him in whatever way I might, and gained a team to help: two Wardens, a soldier Dwarf named Adrik, a woodsman (who may yet prove to be that worthy guide I sought if indeed one is needed), and a mysterious half-Elf sorceror, who had used strange magic to disguise himself as a human barmaid.

The king bade us find the truth of the matter and, after some bowing, agreed to entrust Filandrael to my keeping, with the promise that he would not leave Worthen until the king was satisfied of his innocence. “Let this be your first test: keep this Elf in your protection and under your guidance. With no heir to my throne, it makes too much sense that I would be a target. Already I hear the Fiori, the Curious Crows, the Hurch Gang, the Revitalizers, all of them clamoring for the throne. Discover what you can…”

In short order as we conferred, new information came to light: The man bearing the bier with the king was none other than Ozymandias Welton, who drove the cart that killed Alia; and perhaps more pertinent, the bolt was fired from the second floor of The Elf’s Tears, not the third as everyone had hitherto thought.

We hastened back to Memorial Square and split up to search. The sorceror, Bargol, found a place to spy the whole square for anything unusual, but witnessed nothing. The Wardens interrogated a man who was earlier at The Elf’s Tears, who tells them that “there’s a man named Walter in the West, hiring strong men.” They also met with a persuasive halfling with the ill-fated name of Nilbud, who quickly joined our company.

The rest of us made for The Elf’s Tears and the innkeep barred our way upstairs only until we revealed our purpose. He led us to the secret crawlspace on the second floor, where a man was hiding. I put him to sleep before he could escape, and our muscle removed him for questioning. Meanwhile, we found a concealed box of crossbow bolts.

The innkeep knew nothing of the sleeping man but bought our company a round of stiff drinks (for those of us who would have it), and we retired to a room at the “Dick & Pickle” across the square. Adrik’s quick inspection of the man revealed a telltale scarring under the hairline which confirmed his membership among the Nicks, a cruel and dangerous organization of cutthroats expanding their operations. Searching further, we found something more telling: he held a purse of 50 Downings — gold pieces minted in Tumbledown — with a note that read: “Crawlspace before the attic. Small Window. During the speech. Don’t leave until the next day. Don’t Miss.”

They woke him with a blast of cold from the sorceror and began to question him. This began to seem futile, and I removed to the hallway to scan the area for any trace of my quarry, but found nothing.

When I returned to the room, my companions had acquired a name from our prisoner: Hector Strong – though few heeded it. Already, the group was splitting up and I hastened to join the main party, while Nolya headed for The Elf’s Tears and the druid Warden and the halfling headed for the King, to apprise him of our findings.

Just then, as the rest of us headed out into the night, we were beset by men wielding crossbows….

Wandering in Worthen
Entry 1

6th day of the Wyvern, Year of the Crown

I have always found the race of Man to be a boisterous and jovial lot, but now perhaps my mind is changed. I have arrived in the city of Worthen and the streets are full of dreary faces. The town prepares for a memorial of the passing of their King’s final daughter, and last chance for an heir to the storied dynasty of the Greatworths.

How brief a time is given to Men, and how inspiring that they are able to make anything of it! And yet, how sad that a line once so great is now reduced to sickly children and roadside accidents to snuff out their last.

It suits my mood. I, Eldorin the Untested, leave my people on a task of dire importance but, perilous though my quest may be, I shall not write much of it here lest this journal fall into the wrong hands. At least, if writing helps me to grapple with the size of my task, then a success I shall call it. One step at a time, I think, and the journey will be made.

But first, Worthend. The journey hither was uneventful enough — I had hardly left the shelter of the Fey Woods when I came across the ancient and sturdy roads leading into town. But now that my sight is set elsewhere, I find that a guide may indeed prove useful. Perhaps one can be hired here in town. Of course, to find a guide, I may need to decide my next destination….

Kai'ckul: Age of Wardens
The Story So Far...

She is a young world. Despite the legions destroyed in the Lost Wars, she is still in turmoil as civilization fights for purchase. The Dragons — the fathers of Her races, you and I — are gone, disappeared before we were able to hold on to more than vague memories, and long before the written word. Now, we are alone. Now, Wardens — guardians for all of the civilized world — patrol the outskirts and the forsaken halls of our ancestors, protecting us from the evil that once plagued Mother Kai’ckul; an evil which has been absent for generations — since our ancestors destroyed them in an act that now seems quite permanent. Now, we scrape and scrabble with and against one another as without the Lost, we have been left with a void. A void of directionlessness. Restlessness and wonder. Yet, something, deep within us all knows trouble brews.

And you, young adventurers, at the tail end of Pax Omnia, the end of the Age of Wardens, will decide the fate of Kai’ckul and her people. You are destined to reveal that which pricks up the hair at all of our necks. Will you be the beginning of a new Age of Heroes, or the end of time itself?

We find the beginning of those answers now, as we turn our eyes to…

Eldorin Gwaehiriel, a High Elf Wizard member of The Circle, from Oakenfell; Fyrsson Akhtar, a Mountain Dwarf Cleric and new member of the Wardens from Akhold near the Bloody Neck; Nilbud Underfoot, a Stout Halfling from Terminus with a wicked punch; Bargol Bandol a Half-Elf Sorcerer Wild Man;Jethrael Landiskew an Ender Ranger Trailblazer; Aemeri Grundelwhern a “Low” Elf Druid; Nolya, a fringe High Elf whose taken to the life of a ne’er-do-well; and Adrik Strakein a Mountain Dwarf Soldier from Tumbledown.


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