The Swordlands

Moving On
In Which We Discover An Innovative Use For Ray of Frost

“Fascinating though these murals are,” said Thunder, “We need to find a way out of this room before we, excuse me, you, starve to death.” He grinned, wryly.

Aengus sighed quietly. “Of course,” he replied. “Not all of us have the benefit of your Warforged constitution, and there is a pressing need to get out of here and attempt to help the Knights of Himimborg from dying in combat agains the raiders.”

The group quickly noted the room had a portal shaped gap in it’s decorations, in the area of the World-Tree mural. Closer examination revealed that one gemstone in this area was missing, and Aengus realised that it would be possible for the group to replicate it’s shape through magic and thusly open the portal. He also noted, however, that arcane magic was not what was powering the portal. Thunder examined the portal and the missing keystone space as well, but also concluded that it was somewhat of a mystery to him.

A dank water stain dripped along the wall by the portal, with algae growing at the bottom of the edge of the room. With help & guidance fromm Aengus and Karl, Sigurd carefully aimed a Ray of Frost into the space. Her magic shone and with precision the gem-shaped hole was filled with ice. The surrounding stones began to glow, with tracks of colour arching through the walls. The portal seemed to pulse for a second before flaring into life, glowing brightly.

“Right,” commented Aengus. “Let’s see what’s on the other side.” Carefully, the Eladrin pushed his head through the portal, seeing what appeared to be an empty room full of debris. Signalling the all-clear, the party moved warily into this next room, Aengus noting that the teleportation effect didn’t seem to be taking them very far.

Entering this new room, lit only by Sigurd’s light and the small glow of Thunder’s blue eyes, they could see a room filled with metal junk. A second later, and there was a sharp intake of breath from Iben.

“These are pieces of Warforged…” he said quietly. It was true, scattered around the room and covering the floor were arms, legs, torso’s, gauntlets and even some heads. Most were intact, but some had rents and other damage in them. Four pillars held up the ceiling, ten feet up, and on the far side on a raised plinth were three stone statues.

The middle statue was instantly recognisable to Thunder as a statue of Kord – wearing a horned helmet and holding a massive sword in one hand. The other hand was raised in a clenched fist. The statue was expertly carved, and Kord’s expression was clear in it’s power and fury.

On his left was a slightly larger statue of a Giant. Each character recognised it as that of Surtur, the lord of the Fire Giants. Carved into the wall next to him, leading all the way around, were scenes of fiery destruction being wrought upon human settlements. The sea was being boiled into steam, a city stood ablaze, a mighty forest became nothing but ash.

On Kord’s right was another statue, this one of Thyrmm, the lord of the Frost Giants. The carvings on his side of the room showed more scenes of devastation as storms covered the land in ice, glaciers replaced rivers and forests turned into petrified wastelands.

As Karl began to softly tread his way through the piles of Warforged components, Thunder began to test the ground ahead of him. Despite picking up a longspear, he was unable to locate the actual floor under the accumulated stacks of metal. Aengus looks ahead at the raised dais on the far side of the room, and spotted several pieces of alchemical apparatus and some books and tools. He also spots that the tools were sized and shaped to work on Warforged.

Thunder, moving carefully and wary of sinking into the mass of metalwork, reached the dais. Kneeling at the statue of Kord and bowing his head, he prayed.

“My Lord Kord, grant me the wisdom to see the path I must take. Lead me onwards to your enemies, that I might destroy them in your name and discover the truth of my existence. Guide me towards the battles I am destined to fight.”

In answer, the room began to shake and rock. In the middle of the room, a great disturbrance started, pieces of metalwork sliding together, before a mound of metal rose upwards. As the collected items fell away, a gigantic Warforged, fully twelve feet tall, stood revealed, it’s eyes glowing red.

Staring at the party, it’s mouth opened.

“Designate: Enemy!” it cried out.

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The Leap of Faith

The skeletal creatures were just as fast and as deadly as before, but this time the group were ready for them.

Staying tightly bunched together, they worked hard to protect each other and guard each other’s flanks. Karl’s possible loss had dimmed their spirits a little, but the pressing concerns of staying alive made their hearts sing with the joy of battle.

Ducking beneath the claw-slash of one creature, Thunder drove his spear into it’s shoulder, hearing it hiss in pain as the magical weapon struck home. He punched forwards with his shield, wrenching back with the spear at the same time and pulling it clear. To his left, he could see Aldis swinging her greatsword in clear, bright arcs, her scales glowing gold in the dim light.

An echoing boom rang through the chamber, and two skeletons were blasted backwards off the ledge, their bones splintering in the air as they fell. A cry of “Melora!” came from Sigurd as she celebrated the success of her magic.

Aengus had worked a bit more space for himself. Teleporting to an adjacent ledge, he began peppering the attacking skeletons with Eldritch Spears, the emerald blasts of arcane power slamming into each foe in turn. Thunder himself used his power to Turn Undead to crush another skeleton to powder. The tide began to turn.

Just then, climbing into view, came Karl, blooded but undefeated. Of the three skeletons that had taken him over the edge there was no sign. Attacking from the side, his return threw the skeletons in chaos and within a few seconds more they had once more fled from whence they came, their whispers their only presence amongst the group.

Aengus’ face broke into a wide grin as he saw the diminutive gnome stand panting, keeping a careful eye out for any further foes. “How did you manage that?” he called. “We thought you were lost to us!”

Grinning in return, Karl told his story. “Well, my Lord,” he began. “They took me over the edge and were clawing away. I didn’t want to drag our esteemed Warforged friend over the edge with me, so I cut the rope and took the drop. Managed to twist around on the way down and land on one of them, so that left two more. Got the drop on one nice and swiftly, and then one-on-one it turned out my fighting skills were better than his. His head is down there somewhere. Body too – nearby. Then a short climb back up and back into the fray.”

“Oh, incidentally, my Lord – thank you for the Eldritch Spears. Most, uh, illuminating when you need a little light to climb by.”

Now able to cross safely to the larger platform, the group swiftly moved across to examine this strange machinery. After some examination of the device, built into the actual stonework of the tower, Aengus and Sigurd were together able to offer some ideas as to what it actually does.

Sigurd’s quietly assured voice gave the news. “It appears to be a magical device that requires a power source. And by that, it requires some sort of captured spirit in order to function. It strikes me that in order to get this to work, one of us will have to sacrifce ourselves.”

Thunder knew in his heart that this was the moment he had been brought back for. He was the obvious choice, surely, being a spirit within an artifical form, rather than flesh-and-blood like the others? But before he could voice this thought, Aengus made a surprising suggestion.

“Bully!” he said. “How about our minotaur friend?”

Opening the box, he swiftly coversed with the minotaur spirit, offering it peace away from the demands of the group. With some persuasion, the minotaur spirit agreed to inhabit the machine and power it – floating gently through the air and sinking into the metallic construction.

Within seconds, a faint portal had appeared, which swiftly grew strong and whole. Exchanging looks, the group headed through to see what features they could discover in this strange place.

They emerged into a smaller room in better repair. Around the walls was a huge mural telling the history of the Swordlands region. For full details, see the Glorium page of the wiki.

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The Second Wave
In Which Karl Takes a Fall

Once introductions were completed, Thunder checked again at the insignia on the Dragonborn’s muscular chest.

“That is a symbol of Bahamut, correct?” he queried.

“Yes,” she replied simply. “The Platinum Dragon is both my patron and my ideal. I strive each day to live up to the standards Bahamut sets for me – to battle against evil, to prevail, and to help others do the same.”

“Then truly we two are well met,” smiled Thunder. “I follow Kord, God of Strength in battle and, if I recall, long-time ally of Bahamut. I pledge my shield with yours – together we shall work to drive evil from the land!”

“If I may,” interrupted Karl. “My Lord Aengus, we must keep moving. Outside, the Knights of Glorium are still surely engaged with their foes. Time is of the essence.”

Swiftly now, the group continued to round the edge of the tower, jumping across gaps in the stonework. A second large platform gave them a second to pause and gather themselves, and to see ahead.

The whispers had started again. Murmurs of “Auslander”, “Wyrm”, “Kindraeder” and “Einherjar” echoed down from the walls.

In the far corner of the tower, a faint light glowed. The largest platform seen yet stood there, and in it’s centre a magical light illuminated the surrounding stone. Straining his eyes, Iben reported that it appeared to be some sort of mechanical construction that stood on the platform, an intricate web of metal extending upwards. Sigurd offered that it must be the key to the tower – the location they were searching for within the grim stonework.

Between them and this construction was a larger gap. Karl, again, volunteered to be first to take the jump, with Thunder again acting as a counterweight should he fail to make it. With the ropes tied, Karl took a short run-up and launched himself into space, arms reaching out.

As he landed, he had but a short second to brace himself as three of the creatures sprang out of the darkness, crashed into him and sent him back over the edge and out of sight with a sharp yelp. More creatures poured down the walls and over the edge of the platform, screeching their rage at the interlopers.

A moment later, the rope around Thunder’s waist went slack.

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Inside the Tower
A Picture!

Picture taken by randomling.

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Enter The Dragonborn
They're Coming Down the Walls!

Aldis Salsgard raised her head painfully from the cold stone floor and cautiously tasted the air as her eyes adjusted to the dim light.

Cold, she thought to herself. Stone, dust… and living creatures! Her head ached, and she could almost feel the shackles that had bound her. Blinking slowly, she looked around. There was a peculiar whispering in the air.

She could see that she was on a small stone platform in some sort of tower. Around her, there were gaps in the floor and she could see down a thirty foot drop to a lower level. There was light coming from shafts of sunlight breaking through gaps in the wall higher up the tower.

Another source of light caught her attention. Across from her, a group of humanoid creatures were climbing the stairs. Two humans, a gnome, an Eladrin, and I don’t recognise the other, she thought. The human is some sort of mage, with a light spell active. I wonder what they’re doing here? Have they been captured too?

Closer to her, Aldis suddenly spotted another figure. Bone white, skin stretched tightly over it’s frame. The gnome saw it at the same time and froze, before writing a short note and sending it floating back to the others. The whispering increased, and Aldis briefly heard the word Wyrmling… in her ears.

Then things began to move very fast.

In a blur of motion, something, skittered down the tower wall, leapt off, and snatched the note out of the air before grabbing the edge of the stairs and swinging around under them. The gnome reacted by drawing weapons and shouting a warning, as his companions did the same. The mage brightened her light trying to see where the creature had gone.

All around, the whispering got louder before a swarm of creatures descended from the walls. Glancing around, Aldis saw one run up and over the edge of the platform she was standing on, claws extended.

Reflex and training overrode thought. In one fluid motion Aldis stood to her full seven-foot height, reached over her shoulder to her greatsword – Thank Bahamut it’s still there! she thought – and parried the attack. The creature hissed at her and lunged again, twisting past her sword and lunging for her midsection. This time, her platemail took the blow but the creature didn’t break through. However, a second, and then a third creature joined her on the platform.

As the creatures attacked all around them, Thunder charged forwards, heading up the stairs to the larger platform, knowing that fighting on the staircase itself was a very poor decision. He heard Sigurd curse behind him, readying a Thunderwave if the creatures behind them attempted to jump the gap, with Aengus settling in to blast anyone that got too close.

Gaining the platform alongside Karl and Iben, a furious melee began. The bone creatures were fast and tenacious, dodging and striking hard where they could. Iben struck out with his axe, the runes glowing softly, but taking injuries in return. As he fought, keeping his shield high and his stance defensive, Thunder looked across at the figure on the other platform. Suddenly he recognised the insignia on her golden armour.

“That’s a Paladin of Bahamut!” he cried out. “She needs our help – push through these monsters and help me get to her!” Focusing the power of his own god at the undead creatures around him, Thunder issued a proclamation as he attempted to Turn Undead – “In the name of Kord, back!”

One creature was reduced to dust instantly by the wave of radiant power that issued forth, but the others dodged over or under it. Thunder could see that the Paladin was using radiant powers of her own to strike out, scoring terrific wounds on her opponents.

Back down the stairs, Sigurd blasted two attackers to dust using a Thunderwave as they attempted to jump across. Together with an Eldritch Spear from Aengus, the third figure was also knocked back off the ledge and smashed onto the floor below.

Iben, Karl and Thunder fought back and forth across the platform, struggling to reach the Paladin. As several of their foes fell, and the Dragonborn’s greatsword neatly took out a couple more, the creatures suddenly backed away and disappeared over the edge of the platform, disappearing back into the darkness from which they had come.

A sudden silence fell.

“Hail and well met,” called Thunder to the Dragonborn. “Let me introduce myself…”

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The Tower of Glorium
Whispers in the Dark

Iben stared around him at the inside of the great tower of Glorium. Rubble lay across the floor, from the upper storeys and from now-ruined columns. The only light came from shafts of sunlight, breaking through old walls higher up. The dim light only emphasised the shadows.

A shiver passed through the young Kindraeder, swiftly supressed. Thousands of tiny spaces honeycombed the walls, and from each one Iben could see the remnants of a buried king or warrior. Lifting his eyes up through the tower, past the ruined floor of the next level that stood thirty feet over their heads, he could see the tower roof was more than a hundred feet up.

Sigurd whispered a quiet word, and from her hand a golden radiance spread, illuminating the space around her. It revealed, on the far side of the room, a ruined staircase winding around the edge of the tower.

“With your permission, my Lord?” asked Karl, and at a nod from Aengus he started forwards. “I shall scout ahead,” he continued. “Don’t get too close – this staircase doesn’t look too safe.”

With Karl going first, and Aengus in the middle, the group began a slow and careful ascent of the stairs, mindful of the crumbling stonework. The staircase hugged the wall, but had no railing or other method of support, leaving a yawning gap to the group’s left.

After a short climb, Karl came to a gap. The staircase ahead had crumbled away, leaving a five or six foot space before it continued. Peering over the edge, he could see that the drop was somewhere in the range of fifteen feet to a hard stone floor – the sort of distance that could easily break a leg.

After a short discussion, Thunder wrapped a length of rope around himself, with the other end attached to Karl. After a short run up and jump, Karl easily cleared the gap. With a little more work, everyone got across safely – Thunder himself landing with a loud thud on the upwards stairs.

Karl continued his slow ascent, keeping a careful eye on the tombs embedded in the walls. As he climbed, he could see that the bodies within were becoming less well-preserved. In some cases, only the skeletal remains of the inhabitant could be seen.

Iben suddenly became aware of a whispering – a quiet chorus of voices lingering in the air. Straining his ears a little more, he could hear a word, seemlingly being passed back and forth around the inside of the tower.

Kindrader…

Glancing around, he could see that the others could hear it, too. Thunder heard an ancient name for his kind, Sigurd a quiet moan of Ausssssslander… Weapons were loosened in their sheaths, spells brought to mind.

As he rounded the final corner to arrive at the upper level, he could see ahead of him the remains of the floor of the second level of the tower. Upon that floor, kneeling quietly, was a single figure. Bone white in colour, skin stretched tightly over it’s frame, Karl could see it’s hands ended in viscious claws. It seemed unaware of him for now.

Using the mage hand power of his gloves, Karl sent a tiny handwritten note back along the stairway, keeping half an eye on it as it floated gently along in the air.

...and as such, he saw a blur of motion come down the wall, leap, grab the paper and disappear into the darkness below.

The whispers got louder.

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A Fighting Retreat
Into the Tower

Iben was facing three or four bog trogs when the Color Spray went off next to him. Taking full advantage of the distraction of his foes, he killed one and charged into the space it left, crashing his axe into the skull of another. A few Knights attempted to follow him but couldn’t make it, and whilst Iben’s courage was unbowed, a small nagging voice in the back of his head suggested that this might not have been such a good idea.

As the bog trogs recovered, they began to try and surround him and cut him off from the others. Several blows got past Iben’s armour, and despite his rage and fighting mettle, he could feel his lifeblood beginning to pool at his feet.

Grasping her Holy Symbol of Melora, Sigurd spotted the danger Iben was in. Focusing her thoughts, she prayed swiftly to her Goddess for the wounds to heal and Iben felt the gash along his arm close up by itself.

I have falled in with powerful allies,” he thought to himself. A second later the ground just to his right appeared to freeze, ice forming in seconds and growing and stabbing upwards into his foes. Twisting his head, he saw Sigurd lower her hand, a pleased smile upon her face. Withdrawing from the frontline, she began to make her way towards the tower.

Aengus, too, was beginning to retreat. However, before he did so he launched a green-tinged Eldritch Spear into the melee, his magical sword flaring in his hand. One bog trog was punched bodily off it’s feet, it’s head a smoking ruin. On the front line, a crack of thunder sounded as the Warforged used his own powers to try and turn the tide.

Serkeljof had been fighting one of the huge trollkin, man-to-beast. It had flailed about itself, smashing parts of the rock to pieces, but so far it’s opponent had proved too elusive. Seeing an opening, the beast smashed both arms down – only to find that Serkleljof had slipped to one side. Leaping upwards, his rapier flashed through the eye of the beast, and it staggered back and collapsed off the bridge, dead.

Catching the eye of the Knight Commander, Thunder called for a retreat. There were simply too many enemies to hold them at this position, and with more trollkin coming and the horned humans yet to join the fray, the situation looked difficult. Defending the tower doors would make things easier.

“Back to the tower! Back to the tower, all of you!” he called. Despite his rage and bloodlust, Iben heard the words and managed to pull himself back from the combat.

As the Knights and the group pulled back slowly, Aengus teleported between them and the bog trogs. Freezing the air and the ground around him with a magical word of power, he stopped their movement and was able to teleport back out within seconds. This opened a gap between the Knights and the trogs, even as they advanced.

Pulling back, the group, led by Karl, entered the tower as the Knights get a careful eye on the now slowly-oncoming horde of monsters. A watchful silence fell for a second.

A silence that was broken with an echoing boom, as the stone doors of the tower shut with an utter finality. Karl, Aengus, Iben, Sigurd and Thunder were locked inside – whilst the Knights, the bog trogs and the trollkin eyed each other with mutual loathing on the outside.

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The Battle of Glorium

Serkeljof was proving his mettle as a commander. Seeing that engaging the oncoming ships in open water was suicide, outnumbered as they were two-to-one, he quickly brought his two longships into dock. Swiftly, the well-trained and experienced Knights of Himimborg took to the island and readied themselves.

Thunder had been checking the area over for strategic defense points. Where the group had landed, three small bridges split off. Thunder explained his plan to Serkeljof and the others. In the cold air, he was the only one not surrounded by puffs of misty breath.

“I have seen such a situation before,” he stated. “When outnumber, we need to funnel them towards a killing zone and prevent them from surrounding us. With your ships docked there and there,” he pointed to the longboats, “They have no option but to land here, in front of us. As such, if you will take one flank and Gunar the right, we can hold the centre. As the enemy advances, your Knights can fall on them from the sides and we will have the advantage.”

“Hmmm,” replied Serkeljof in his mocking tones. “You have some experience of this sort of thing then, yes? I should trust you?”

Thunder’s centuries old body shifted slightly on the rocky ground. Meeting Serkeljof’s eyes, the Warforged spoke with certainty. “Yes, you could say I have some experience. I also know that you can see that this is a good plan whether you like to admit it or not. Get the Knights into position.”

Gunar, the huge shipmaster, nodded his own approval and the plan was laid.

Whilst this conversation was going on, Aengus and Karl continued to work on the door of the main tower.

“My Lord,” acknowledged Karl. “This…is going to take some time.”

“I agree,” replied the Eladrin Warlock. “I hope our friends can bring us enough space in which to work. There do seem to be rather a lot of them on those boats…”

The seconds ticked by as each group took up it’s position. Serkeljof drew his rapier, warming up his limbs with a series of test strikes. Watching, Iben could see that his technique was good.

For all his abrasiveness, thought the young fighter, He does care for the other Knights. And he is clearly and experienced fighter himself.

“Here they come!” warned Sigurd, her keen eyes watching the shore. “Watch out for arrow fire!”

As predicted, a small shower of arrows were launched from the boats, but with no real effect. The assembled Knights of Himimborg gave a great roar of challenge as the boats began to discharge their occupants. Hideous squat bog trogs were the first to land, their horrific appearance matched by their savagery as they howled and charged forwards. The approaching longships moored side-by-side, allowing creatures from all four boats to leap from ship to ship and head towards the land. Several troll-kin began to wade forwards through the others, towering above them and screaming their own battle-cries, and in and amongst these monsters were several human-sized figures, great horns or antlers coming from their helmets.

It was a site to freeze the blood of less doughty warriors, but the Knights of Himimborg stood firm as the wave of bog trogs assaulted them. Fighting furiously with axe, spear and sword, they may not have been disciplined but they certainly were effective. Several bog trogs were killed in the opening few seconds.

Thunder waited for the first wave to reach him before lifting his voice in a blessing. “In the name of Kord, Knights of Himimborg! Victory or death!” The divine power crashed across the battlefield in an instant, and each Knight could feel the spirit of the God watching over them. Following up this prayer, Thunder drove his Legionspear into the nearest bog trog, levering it’s arm out of the way and opening a gap for Iben to wade in with his axe.

A second later he heard a quiet female voice next to him, saying “Don’t look at this too closely…” before a series of arcane syllables sounded. Sigurd spoke the words for a Colour Spray, and rays of brightly coloured magical energies glinted in the light in a wide area in front of the defending Knights. Around them, bog trogs howled and clutched at their eyes, seemingly dazed by the powerful magic.

Invigorated by the success of the spell, the Knights counter-attacked, hacking and slashing back at the trogs. Serkeljof’s rapier sparkled in the sun, piercing and stabbing around him on the group’s right. To their left, the man-giant Gunar wielded an oar from the ship as a weapon, giving him incredible reach. More than one bog trog had to pitch backwards, trying to dodge it.

Abandoning his attempt to open the door for a moment, Aengus ran forwards towards the back of the fray. Grabbing the box recovered from the ship, he opened it. Immediately the spectral form of the minotaur appeared, swirling around him. Before it could do anything to Aengus, he shouted to it.

“We are sorely beset by foes! I seek not to quell your rage at confinement – instead, I say to you go forth and wreak destruction upon them!” He pointed to the oncoming bog trogs, engaged in furious battle with the Knights. With a bestial roar, the Minotaur spirit raced into the midst of them, passing through the battle-lines of the Knights like a ghost. As he smashed into the middle of the oncoming horde, he almost disappeared, but the shrieks and cries coming from his position showed he was doing his work well.

As more and more bog trogs and trollkin disembarked from the ships, they fought their way past the spectral minotaur in their midst, the sheer press of numbers meaning that it couldn’t block them all. The Knights of Himimborg were driven back a step, a couple falling, and for a moment it looked as though the line would break.

Just at that moment, as Aengus turned to head back to the tower door and assist Karl in opening it, the Gnome yelled out in victory.

“It’s open! I got it open!”

Peering inside, Karl could see that the door opened into a large space, partially filled with rubble and with a staircase reaching around the inside. Small shafts of lights illuminated parts of the tower, and dimly, in the walls, he could see what looked like hundreds and hundreds of individual tombs.

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Voyage To The Tomb Isle

Serkeljof explained the nature of Glorium. Up until a century ago, the Kings of the Swordlands had been buried on this small and remote island, locked away in stone tombs.

Perceptively, Aengus asked “And what happened one hundred years ago that made them stop?”

“The Curse,” replied Serkeljof. “Across the land, the Dead walked. There were pitched battles everywhere, villages disappeared. It was said that some sailors passed by Glorium and heard the sounds of wailing from within the tombs – they claimed the Kings had awoken and were trying to get out. Once the Curse had passed, we never visited Glorium again. Our dead are cremated, or sent out to see on longships. Never buried. Never again shall the Dead rise from their graves.”

“And this island is on the way to us finding the King?” queried Iben. “Then we shall have to stop there and investigate it.”

“Agreed,” said Serkeljof. “We will take the longships. You can take your own…vessel…and meet us there.”

Ignoring the insult towards Ariel, the group left Serkeljof to his preparations. Boarding their own boat, each one checked their armour and weapons again for readiness. Some now glinted and gleamed with magic – gifts from the Knights of Himimborg after their efforts last night against the rats.

Thunder gripped the Spear he had received. There had been several offers to the Warforged, but when he saw the sigil on this item he had strode forward and seized it immediately.

A Legion Spear, he had thought. Charged with lightning. I can do a lot with this.

The last thing that happened before Himimborg began to be left behind was a short blessing on the voyage. Those workers on the dock paused in their tasks, and the Knights of Himimborg gathered at the edges of their vessels as Thunder spoke to them all.

“You are all valiant Knights of Himimborg!” his voice rolled out across the water. “You take on a great Quest today, to find and rescue a King. There will be terrible dangers ahead. Hideous foes await us, magic will assail us, the Dead may walk again. But I know that Kord is with us. He is with us in our Strength, in our Resolve, and in our Courage. He is with us because we earn his favour with our bravery. And he is with us as we crush our enemies, in all their forms, before us! Knights of Himimborg, you are blessed in the name of Kord!” He raised his arms high and bellowed “For the King! For Kord! For glory!”

As one, the assembled Knights roared back “For the King! For Kord! For glory!”

Setting sail, Ariel kept up easily with the long oar-strokes of the two longships. As the hours flew past, there was little conversation amongst the party. The prospect of investigating an island where the Dead had been locked up in tombs for more than two centuries, possibly eager to get out in all that time, did not make for an enticing prospect. Thunder spent the time in contemplation and prayer, asking for Kord’s assistance in the coming times.

As the island came into view in the distance, Aengus fey stepped over to Serkeljof’s ship, disappearing from one place and emerging in the other a heartbeat later. Other Knights had been running from ship to ship by using the still-moving oars as gangplanks, but it looked to take years of practice and the Eladrin didn’t fancy a dip in the sea.

After a short conversation with Serkeljof it was decided that the group would land first and do some reconissance, with the rest of the Knights following soon after.

Glorium hove closer into view, it’s three towers reaching high into the sky. Two were reasonably small and squat, but the third was huge – reaching more than a hundred feet up. It’s wide base and narrow windows made it almost a fortress in it’s appearance.

Landing on barren rock, Sigurd bade Ariel to take herself away a short distance and wait for a call, which she did gladly. The silence of the island was disquieting after the noise of the voyage, and weapons were loosened in sheaths before anyone stepped further out. Between the islands were a series of bridges bordering and crossing several shallow pools of water. The whole place seemed largely deserted.

“Wait!” said Iben, suddenly, pointing to the ground ahead. “There are marks, here, faintly made on the rock.” Gathering, the party could see faint scuff marks, as if made by something, or someone, heavy moving around the island. They seemed recent, and the tension rose another notch.

Swiftly checking out the two smaller towers, it was discovered that the doors were locked with some sort of mechanism. Not wishing to disturb the place any more than necessary, it was decided to head for the main tower and try that door.

As it reached high into the sky ahead of them, both Aengus and Karl produced lock-picking tools and began to squabble humourously about who would be the one to open it. As they began to examine the door, a shout came from over the water. Distantly, all could hear a Knight of Himimborg relaying the information they had not wanted to hear.

“Sails! Sails! Four longboats heading here! ‘Ware raiders!”

“Outnumbered two-to-one,” commented Thunder. “They’ll have to land and bring the fight here. We should prepare for a battle.”

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Onwards From Himinborg
A New Sail

Thunder came swimming slowly back to consciousness. His head throbbed with a mead-induced hangover, with not even his Warforged constitution able to compensate. Staring blearily around him, he could see he was still in the Great Hall of Himinborg. All around him, men groaned and clasped their heads in their hands, all feeling the after effects of the previous nights revelry. All apart from Sigurd, who didn’t drink.

Damn Wizards are always the same,, thought Thunder to himself. Always happy for the rank-and-file to drink, but always staying aloof themselves. Shaking his head slowly, he reminded himself he was no longer of the Legion, that those days had passed. Gingerly, he brought himself to his feet, levering himself out of the way of an errant sunbeam that seemed to be determined to shine directly into his eyes.

The various members of the group found each other in the chaos of the Hall, watching as some Himinborg knights were awakened with buckets of water. Asking around, they confirmed that Serkeljof and the other knights were intent on leaving that morning, questing to stop the raiders, find the King, or both.

Carefully, the group left the Hall. Outside, last night’s rain had frozen into solid ice, making the wooden steps down to the docks slippery. The city was busy now, people moving with practiced ease, going about their business. Recovering from it’s woes, with a renewed sense of purpose the docklands were a hive of activity. Two fine longships were moored in place, knights moving slowly aboard and taking up places at the oars.

Ariel, the group’s ship, sat small but proud next to them. Aengus had finally completed the new sail and it was carefully put into place. Ariel, the bound air elemental that powered the ship, quietly expressed her approval of the message written on the sail and pledged to continue her efforts to assist them.

Aengus, Iben, Karl, Sigurd and Thunder went in search of Serkeljof. He was brightly ordering the knights and dockhands, giving quiet commands and staying at the centre of the maelstrom of people working around him. As the group approached, his cool voice rang out.

“Ah, my friends, you have decided to join us, hmm? I was fearing that you had, hah, decided to sleep in. We go in chase of the King, and I believe that you were thinking of accompanying us. If so, you need to get ready soon. We leave as soon as we can.”

Aengus replied to him calmly. “Of course we seek to aid you – Iben has a personal score to settle with the raiders and as for the rest of us, we were victims of that attack last night too. We would all gladly gain our revenge.”

As Karl nodded in agreement, Sigurd added his voice to the discussion. “We have two options, of course. Either to move against the attack you mentioned last night, or to ‘follow the fire’ as Sigmund put it last night. Is there any chance the two can be combined?”

“Yes,” stated the Nordlander. “We are to set sail to the North, heading towards the Kings last known position. In the meantime, should we receive any further reports of fire – “

“My lord!” called a young warrior from the docks. “A report has just come in! The Ship Graveyard is aflame, and another town too!”

Serkeljof called for a map and laid it out in front of him. “You came from here,” he said jabbing his finger down into it. “The other fires are here, here, and here…

“They form a line.” Thunder completed the thought in everyone’s minds. “What is the next place on that line?”

Glorium,” replied Serkeljof. “The Tomb Isle.”

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