The Swordlands

From 'The Last Warrior'

The two warforged speak at the gates of the hall at the roof of the world. It is to be the last time The Strength Of Steel would ever see Byfrost with his own eyes.

“Why are you so sure that I am equal to the task?” Asks the smaller legionary. “I possess no single virtue that sets me above the others. In faith, I have but a modest talent. In spirit, I boast no great gift. With the sword I am unexceptional at best. Why are you so convinced I am the one?”

“If I were seeking faith I would have asked The Darkening Of The Sky. Had I been seeking zeal I would have asked Justice For All. Had I been seeking skill at arms I would have asked Shiny Metal Bastard. In temperance alone you are different to your comrades.” continues the general. “I would not say that you are uncaring, but your passion does not burn in your eyes.”

The smaller soldier is silent as he hears the generals words.

The Strength Of Steel continues, “In the years ahead you will be tested, and more arduously than any of us ever have been before. You will need your patience, you will need your wisdom. You will be distant, calm, perceptive, and you will endure. You will wait.”

The smaller legionary turns away. Quiet for some time, the soldier looked across the snowy mountainside.

“This duty you place upon me breaks my heart in twain, but I will do as the council has ordained.”

“This task is fit only for you. I am certain no other legionary can endure the horrors that await without becoming unbalanced. You will see mankind tear itself apart. You will see humanity descend into evil beyond imagining. I myself would sooner rip my Ghulra from my brow than bear witness to the future of this world. But the legion must live out it’s destiny, we must be ready when the time comes, and one of us must sound the call.” replies the general.

“And if I cannot endure… if I fail?”

“Then, come Ragnarok, what remains of mankind shall cease to be, and we all will have failed.” replies The Strength Of Steel.

The legionary watches as the general departs, as he trudges through the snow fields under the brilliant blue sky, as he disappears from view.

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An Audience With Shewva, Oracle Of Chronepsis

A century ago came what is known as The Curse. At that time I sensed the presence of a dark power. In a dream I saw The Boon Companion, The Apple Thief, The Trickster, Jack-In-A-Hood, The Sleepless Dreamer, The Gift That Is A Curse, A King Unborn, Night and Fear, Death and Dream, Friend and Foe, The One Who Waits At The End Of A Journey, The Night Watchman who fashions a ship from the torn nails of dead men in which will sail the army of the damned through seas of blood at the end of time. That the dead once walked the land was doing of this dark force. That they are now restless is the doing of Siegmund, for it was he who has disturbed them in his search for the Crown.

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From 'The Saga of Harald-Know-No-Fear'

Where now the legion and the crown?
The old king asked the knight,
We now are lost and so remain,
For this war we cannot fight.

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From ‘The Chronicles Of Wyrm And Man'

The throne of Himinborg was won by knight after knight until the time of Gylfi Beast-Skull, named so for the bones of his defeated foes that ornated his hall at Himinborg. No king before him had furnished Kørd’s church with as many conquests. Wyrm-kin, wolf-braer and Jotunbrud, beasts long, tall, scaled and horned he claimed in the name of the One God. Blessed he was with strength and skill in equal measure, and his knights followed him above all others. He one day asked of his champion ‘Rivenhart, my armies now make for the lands far to the west. Will you not fight with me and make peace for our people once more?’

Rivenhart replied:
’At night I look to the stars
For it is they who speak of the coming end.
Ragnarok approaches and all your warring will count for nought.
But this you should know, great king Gyfli Beast-Slayer:
There is no further salvation
Byfrost is lost to you for the wars of your forefathers
And with it the Crown that was meant for your safekeeping
I made a vow in the sight of Kørd
I know now that I have been unwise
I vowed to protect you against any foe
But I cannot protect you from yourself
If there is an answer to this riddle it is not here in the world of men
And I must follow my destiny
I will take up one last quest
And journey deep into the underworld
There lies below a land of darkness
Born of men’s misdeeds and Faerie magic
Where my journey will end I cannot say
But my time here is past.’

And with that Rivenhart, First knight of Himinborg, took off his badge of office and cast it into the firepit. He sailed a small boat out of the harbour and took the first tide northwards, never to be seen again.

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Last Orders Of The Legion

The Last Orders of Requiem

The gods forged the world in war. Their fury shook the skies, the bones of the fallen made the mountains of the mortal realms, their tears filled the oceans, and from their blood were born men and beasts. As it was made so shall it be unmade. Surtur, the lord of fire, shall come. Thrymm, the lord of ice, shall follow. The great primordials are almost upon us.

Find the Crown. Hold the Bridge! Hold the Bridge! For the Bridge must hold! And from the Byfrost Bridge shall the last among men watch the giants fall.

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The Eladrin Prophecy

From ‘The Prophecy Of House Aellrinath’

I dreamed. I dreamed of a land of Ice and Steel.
I saw the Old King, his heart twisted and poisoned by lies.
I dreamed. I dreamed of the UnBorn King.
I saw his acolytes everywhere. In the shadows they dwell, and in the shadows of mens hearts.
I dreamed. I dreamed of the Last Warrior.
I saw his battles against the UnBorn King’s acolytes.
I dreamed. I dreamed of the Last Days of Man.
I saw men accepting the Gift from the UnBorn King.
I saw Man, that strange, foolish, and noble race, become Other.
I dreamed. I dreamed, and I wish, how I wish, I had never woken. For upon waking I knew the dream was real.

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Coming Soon...
Homecoming

I will catch a dragon fish and offer her to they,
Who look down from the mountain where they watch our children play,
They look out from the silver stream that falls from up on high,
They watch our children dance by day, by night they watch them lie.

I will catch a dragon fish and feed her to the moon,
That lights the silent waters of the ancient high lagoon,
From the darkness of the ocean to the black and sandy shore,
But a ripple on the water and the moon will dance once more.

I will catch a dragon fish and feed her to the land,
Where once there walked a legionnaire, a child within his hand,
His foot trod lichen carpet and his brow with garland lain,
Lies now below the earth and waves, and there he shall remain.

I will catch a dragon fish and feed her to the sea,
Where once were halls of golden boughs now shall sorrows be,
The weeping of the hours pass before the sun shall rise,
Upon that pool of blackened glass where our warrior now lies.

I shall catch a dragon fish and turn it on the hearth,
In my home of ice and crystal on the high and secret path,
The house of all my fathers where my children shall be born,
From whence we hear the prayers till the coming of the dawn.

From ‘Homecoming’, a traditional song from Kindraed

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Into The Labyrinth

Observing the battle from Siegmund’s cliff-top command post, the adventurers behold savagery and carnage on a scale they have never before witnessed. The 2 armies have become intertwined in bloody slaughter and it is difficult to tell friend from foe. It appears that Siegmund himself is missing, and the party resolve to track him down and exact vengeance upon him.

They decide that he is heading for the Crown of Byfrost, and they travel through the crags to the cave entrance into the Galdhopiggen glacier, beyond which lies Byfrost. The follow the tracks of a dozen centaurs through the ice caverns, and are disturbed to notice a lingering stench of death in the quiet air.

Over several days of travel, negotiating routes through the labyrinth, the adventurers encounter strange fleshwarped monstrosities, undead more vile and twisted than any they have witnessed elsewhere. They study some of these specimens and deduce that, unlike the traditional process of fleshwarping which transforms one thing into another, these obscenities have either grown, mutated from a series of fleshwarping experiments and have taken hold in this environment, possibly in a process similar to adaptation, or evolution.

The tracks eventually lead the party to an enormous yawning chasm in the darkness of the cavern network. An ice bridge which until recently spanned the gap of several hundred feet has been destroyed, and at the far side a single dot of light indicates that they have nearly reached the end of the Galdhopiggen caves.

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The Fisher Kings Treasure

Angrbodes Ever-Hungry Sack

Said to have been fashioned long ago by the insane Formorian witch Angrbode, this large sack made of ogre stomachs is a portal to a large pitch black extra-dimensional space whose interior dimensions are as yet uncharted. It contains items and remains that have lain in it’s ‘belly’ for up to five hundred years. It grumbles when ‘hungry’, sometimes loud enough to render stealth impossible.

Hammer Of Thunderbolts

A large exquisitely crafted warhammer whose two heads are carved into the likenesses of ‘The Two Goats’, an Arch Fey embodiment of thunder and lightning. Having been trapped in an extra-dimensional space during the disjunction, this hammer was not subject to the severance from Aelfheim and is one of the last vestiges of fey power remaining in the Swordlands. It is empathically intelligent and strong willed, such that it refuses to be wielded by mortal hands, becoming a normal warhammer. Instead it can be commanded to ‘dance’, in a similar way to a dancing sword.

As a daily power it will animate and fly about the battlefield attacking foes as directed, striking with a crash of thunder as arcs of lightning flash around it. It requires a move action each round to animate and control, with which the ‘wielder’ can either move it 6sq or attack an enemy who is adjacent to the hammer. It can also charge. It’s flight is clumsy and so it can only fly 6sq in a straight line. It attacks at the wielders best stat bonus (any stat) + half level, inflicting 4d6 Thunder & Lightning damage (push 1 sq) to all within burst 1 of the target.

If the wielder does not use a move action to control it at any point it falls to the ground and the daily use is expended. It occupies a square as an ally of the wielder, it can be used to flank, and gets bonuses from flanking. The hammer is prone to fits of pique, if it misses three times in a row it attacks it’s wielder under it’s own command at the start of the wielder’s turn (save ends) and then falls to the ground inert.

Dáinsleif

Forged by the witch Högni of Himinborg in the time of Gylfi Beastskull, this longsword has a blade of ice designed to slay the beasts of the frozen realms. It functions as a +4 weapon, and implement to any arcane spellcasters, and deals +1d6 cold damage to both weapon and implement attacks. On a successful attack, before dealing damage, it’s wielder can trigger it’s daily power as a free action, bestowing cold vulnerability 5 on it’s target (save ends), ignoring any resistance to cold. In warm weather the blade melts, becoming useless. It reforms in the cold.

HælðszjΔlmr

An exquisite black leather helm of Svartálfar (Drow) manufacture, it’s name is unpronounceable in any language but Drow Silent-Speech. It’s wearer’s sense of smell is enhanced (+5 perception, ongoing), and can trigger it’s daily power as a move action, attacking everyone in burst 20sq at +22 vs Will (including the wearer), rendering them completely deaf until the end of the encounter, or until they inflict damage on an ally. Everyone affected also has resistance 10 Thunder.

Mattock Of The Titans

This enormous digging tool made of meteoric iron is wielded as great axe, just about usable by a medium creature. It functions as a +4 weapon, inflicting maximum damage against inanimate objects. On a missed attack roll the mattock will split the ground across 3 squares, starting with one random adjacent square, extending away from wielder, leaving a 10’ deep pit in each square (creatures in that square save or fall in). Anyone in burst 2 of the pit when it opens must save or fall prone, including the wielder. The pit lasts until the end of the encounter then it reseals.

If the wielder has completed a milestone they can trigger the daily power ‘earthquake’ with a standard action, splitting the ground as above but in a straight line of 8 squares, starting from any adjacent square.

Armour Of Smoke

This +4 leather armour was made by a Satyxis enchantress. When the wearer takes damage from an attack they can activate it’s daily power as an immediate reaction and turn into a cloud of black smoke, becoming insubstantial until their next turn, when they can reform at any point as a free action.

If the wearer has completed a milestone they gain an additional use with which they can trigger this effect on their turn as a free action.

Rituals

A collection of coloured glass bottles each containing a roll of parchment on which are written various rituals in draconic scripts:

Animal Messenger (PHB P300)
Commune With Nature (PHB P302)
Consult Mystic Sage (PHB P302)
Magic Circle (PHB P309)
Phantom Steed (PHB P310)
History Revealed (Arc Pow P156)
Magic Map (Arc Pow P157)
Preserve Flame (Arc Pow P157)
Telepathic Bond (Arc Pow P158)
Whispers Of The Edifice (Arc Pow P158)

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The Troll Cauldron

Shrouded in the morning mist the Auslanders and the Satyxis steal across the ice plains infront of the enemy lines and enter a series of winding canyons. Sighting a Kreigschwein encampment they plan to climb around it but find that the cliff path has been booby trapped and collapses, casting them all into the heart of the half-orc force. The party fight well and swiftly overwhelm a large force of half-orc soldiers. Howl unleashes his wrath upon rows of charging Kreigschwein, demolishing entire buildings in his fury. As the last of the enemy is dispatched, trolls begin crashing down into the deep snow, apparently from a great height. As they regenerate and stagger to their feet the Auslanders and the Satyxis set upon them, finally destroying them with fire. They espy a bridge between the two canyon walls far above from which the trolls appear to be falling.

Climbing up and up along a narrow path into the crags that overlook the battlefield, they face several waves of Kreigschwein, defending ever more lofty positions along the cliff wall. Aengus wields dark magic to capture the souls of those they slay and unleash them in a howling storm upon the living, sending hordes of screaming half-orcs to an agonising death.

Reaching the bridge, the Auslanders find a squad of trolls led by the mighty Fisher King. They have hundreds of troll parts frozen in blocks of ice and are casting them into a large copper cauldron. The troll limbs defrost and regenerate, and before long a fully formed troll climbs out of the cauldron and, at the Fisher King’s command, jumps off the bridge to join the Kreigschwein troops some 800 feet below. A small group of centaur archers watch from the farside of the bridge and shout a warning as the party appears.

The party charge into battle. Before long, Karl finds himself face to face with the Fisher King himself, ducking and rolling to avoid it’s fearsome claws until he is finally caught up in the trolls grasp and stuffed into a large sack hanging from it’s belt. He finds himself falling in darkness and lands on top of a vast pile of treasure and bones, where he is attacked by an animated warhammer spitting lightning.

Meanwhile, Aengus has laid magical curses upon the Fisher King and teleports around the battlefield, fustrating the gigantic troll. Howl throws himself headlong at successive trolls, and with powerful swings of his executioners axe he inflicts heavy wounds. The trolls regeneration begins to turn the battle and Howl draws on his experience as a leader and tactition to rally his party.

The centaur archers show their deadly accuracy, and the party find themselves ducking for cover amidst a hail of arrows. The Fisher King suddenly gets Aengus and his father within his grasp and begins smashing them both together, however Aengus manages to lift the trolls magical bag from him and teleport away to release Karl, who comes rolling out amidst an avalanche of treasure. The gnome slides down the ever-growing treasure heap straight towards the unsuspecting Fisher King and with a leap, drives his blade deep into the beast’s back.

A large centaur who had been watching the battle suddenly charges, and throws it’s full force into Karl, who finds himself locked in combat with the flaming-axe wielding foe. The other trolls meanwhile have nearly slain all the Satyxis, and only Rusalka survives unconscious on the icey ground of the bridge. Together the party manage to slay the trolls one by one, and then the centaurs, before finally concentrating their attacks on the Fisher King. The huge troll attempts to leap off the bridge but it paralysed by the sword work of Dian Cecht, before being hacked apart by the rest of the party and burned to a crisp for good.

Exploring the caves at the other end of the bridge, the party find Siegmund’s command post completely deserted, and have a bird’s eye view of the battle that is raging below them. Peering through the mists that swirl below them, they are able to see Serkeljof’s knights locked in a ferocious battle with the Kreigschwein army as far as the eye can see in all directions.

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