As Elanthia Turns . . .
(Crossing, Zoluren: 267 Moliko 360)
This is a long tale but probably the best to tell of the Events surrounding Sorrow…… (also I am keeping the authors’ names out……..but kudos to them )
Starting last summer, in Uthmor of 359, at the Theren Festival: Darkensi, Munira, and some pirates attempt to steal the artifacts from Terald’s auction. They are, in fact, successful, although there’s some pretty good fighting, and I think Darkensi decided HT is just no fun if the people are smart enough to keep the spears you throw at them.
The artifacts are recovered. Romeode purchases one, a ring engraved with initials you may find familiar if you read the Zaulfung Stones book in the library. It gives visions. It gives Romeode a pain in the butt, because (dun dun dun) Sorrow wants it. And Sorrow was already making his presence known.
Sorrow is a very old old old moon mage, a believed practicer of sorcery and child of one of the last emperors of the Empire. His follies have led him to kill an entire city of people with an earthquake, to link with Dzree, etc, etc… And to live quietly within Sorrow’s Keep/reach area near the Crossing for the past however many years. He seems to seek the secret of the Zaulfung stones, and seeks to therefore take the book which resides in Stone Clan protected by dwarves and wards.
Sorrow’s "awakening" on the outskirts of town I am a little hazy on. I am also at a COMPLETE loss on the Marstan and other necromancers thing. [Ed. Note, there are eyewitness accounts of the Necromancer Marstan’s activities around the Crossing.) However, with Sorrow were several cohorts; Prayk, Darkensi, Sadiaer, Munira, and Sidhlot. Prayk — also called Magus by the title-impressed lot, is a moon mage of pretty awesome powers. Darkensi says he’s not a thief, but that’s where his talents lie — poison and hiding and sneak attacks. Darkensi is a Prydaen with a pride hidden away somewhere inside the reach. Sadiaer and Munira are warrior mages, although Sadiaer seems to have more talents yet. Sidhlot is the Necrolord whose reputation is already well known for ill.
S’lai forces paid someone to steal the roster of the Barbarian’s Guild — and one by one, the names on the top of the list were visited by S’lai assassins.
At the same time, Sorrow’s minions were searching libraries for the book.
Well there was a long series of "people going into the reach meaning bad guys going into town" not to mention Sadiaer and Co. chasing Romeode around for his ring. Romeode shortened the process by marching up to the Reach… nuff said. We started to see these S’lai screamers in the Reach again, which have what is so obviously a bardic ability — they cause bleeders and vitality loss with their voices. *laugh* (Screamers had not been seen in that area for many years.)
The best thing about this period of time was that Sadiaer, Prayk, Darkensi, et al, were all fairly friendly in a superior and kinda evil way. They were chatty and not mercurial.
SO: So… One day on the gweth, someone asks Prayk, who long had been rumored to be the weak link anyway, if he recognizes the image of a wolf’s paw print cradled in a moon. he reacted with a fair amount of stress, wanting to know where they’d seen it. He was taken to a tree where sat a Vixen Darsanya, clearly a woman from his past. There are some secrets involved in this part, although they really aren’t very hidden, I’ll try to pretend they are. They argued, she sought to get him to leave Sorrows service and go home.
Piextra’s detailed yet sketchy outline, Chapter 2
Darkensi has been a long friend of Prayk’s and would likely not serve Sorrow if he could get his pride safely away. Darsanya sought out Darkensi to see if she could help. While we sat in the church on the reach, Prayk arrived and he and Darsanya discussed several things of little consequence. She said her sister would be upset with him. As if on cue, the Minx Lissanda slinked into the room. (hehe, as if on cue. I kill me.)
SO: Lissanda is Darsanya’s younger sister, and in that first meeting she flirted with Darkensi quite a bit. She went on to flirt with a lot of people quite a bit, and was also not shy about killing folks if she thought they needed it.
Marstan, the necromancer who sought to bring peace and honor to those buried in the cemetary of the Crossing, planned with a sizeable force from the Crossing to sneak in to the Reach and work some magic around Sorrow that would prevent him from continuing to draw sustenance from the living to keep himself alive. Garfaldo led Crossing forces in a successful diversion, and Marstan was able to gain entry and work the spell upon Sorrow. Crossing forces took a heavy beating. Marstan then travelled to the Islands.
Sorrow’s control of Sidhlot was loosed with Marstan’s spell, and Sorrow himself began to decay and lose power. Sorrow’s people made urgent inquiries after Marstan. There was a run on Aesry to recover the hiding necromancer Marstan, and force him to undo the magic he had worked on Sorrow. The island was hit hard, and wave after wave of deaths fill the news that reaches us from afar.
Prayk and Sorrow, btw, are capable of gating to Aesry, bar some twitching
Marstan is tortured and held at the Reach. His companion Vaxin, a sorcerer, is likewise held there, and tortured. Soon, Sidhlot has also raised the shade of Marstan’s wife, Ilyeana, and she is held there, trying to use her, too, to get Marstan to undo what he has done. Visions from a shade of Marstan’s are seen all over as the torture ebbs and flows. Before that awful night is over, Vaxin, Ilyeana, and Marstan have taken their last breath, and stars blaze in the sky with their names on them as they race to their final destiny and resting place upon the Starry Path.
Lissanda and Darsanya pop up on the reach, fighting with the Crossingers.
Around this time, Prayk brings out a friend of Marstan’s who had been stashed in the Keep and tortured: Lef. Lef is a paladin, a woman, a Gor Tog. Shes not fond of Skra, or Sorrow.
Prayk’s betrayal becomes somewhat obvious to someone inside, so Sadiaer is given control of the Hunters; some weird hidden things which are perfectly capable of casting multiple lightning bolts or the occasional MB. They are weaker away from the Reach. One of them is known affectionately, although infrequently anymore, as Bob.
Sadiaer comes for Prayk, they duel it out, Prayk dies. Sadiaer hauls his carcass into the bowels of the Keep.
Darsanya, Lissanda, and everyone try to plot how to get Prayk out. Sadiaer has noticed Lissanda, who claims to be Prayk’s wife, and wants her. He said if she came to the keep, Prayk might be released. She goes. He keeps her.
Prayk isn’t released (shocking! Scandalous behavior from a bad guy.)
Lissanda starts kicking off (dying) about once an hour. Each time Sadiaer taunts her and ourselves over the gweth. He says she keeps getting killed because she won’t stay out of his pack. Well, stealing IS provocation to violence, right…?
Eventually Sadiaer starts talking love for Lissanda. In the meantime, we range all over the realms looking for ways to free Prayk from the Keep. We find a tapestry in Theren which speaks of a builder, a seed of hope in the darkness. Darsanya receives word from her brother that the builder is in Ratha. We hop a ship to Ratha. Find a nice little moon mage named Gadmadorz with a fish fixation.
Shartug, Elpazi commander, and his forces arrive at some point around now at the Keep.. They’re nasty. Ow ow. Shartug appears to be yet another war mage.
Gadmadorz (moonfishie or something) either is the builder or he is the son of the builder. He helps Paschein find the key to get into the Keep to release Prayk. As a large group breaks into the keep and begins to drag him and his 80-ranks-loss out of the dungeon, some people stop to play with an iron maiden, which blows up and kills everyone all over the place.
There is a face off in which Prayk assists the people of Crossing in killing a lot of critters and some bad guys. Sadiaer releases Lissanda to prove his love for her. Prayk aces him. Lissanda gets mad, says she loves Sadiaer, and drags the dead mage off. Darsanya is exasperated by her sister. Lissanda begins to wear a charm she says Sadiaer made her. She starts acting like a total sot, aside from a few times when she effectively kills a person. Pretty soon, very time Sadiaer dies, so does she.
I don’t know how, but Garfaldo beats on Lissanda for a while and she gives over the charm, which he squashes in a mortar. It explodes, removing Garfaldo’s hand. She seems less under Sadiaer’s control.
Sorrow built a barricade on the reach . Gadmadorz (sillyfishie) alerts the town to this, people go up to look and get boiling oil dumped on their heads. We fall back and regroup,but do discover that we CAN damage the barricade.
The next day we return and chew through some hundreds of favors, but knock the barrier down. There are a bajillion critters behind it, so we run away.
This is where the soap-opera really begins. Yick. There is, for a time, a relative amount of calm. Prayk, Darsanya, Lissanda roam at will the streets of Crossings and the surrounding countryside, with only a few idiots trying to maul them. Some however, suspect that Prayk is playing the townsfolk for fools and will return to Sorrow when he can access the Book.
On the whole, however, relations are good. Lissanda confesses a fear of crowds (very odd in a bard). She retreats to the relative safety of just a few friends. Prayk gets the adoration of many and the insults of some too. Darsanya falls ill and goes missing a while.
When Darsanya returns, someone whispers in her ear that Prayk and Lissanda have been a little too close. She confronts and accuses. They are outraged. Lissanda runs off, heartbroken. Prayk and Darsanya seem to be on speaking terms and then he walks in to find Darsanya and Garfaldo both on the floor, drunk. He assumes the worst and goes into seclusion, and there is much talk of Prayk’s return to the Dark Side. Some people believe it, some don’t.
Garfaldo gets to die a bunch.
Lissanda starts having fainting spells and headaches. They are traced to some hair combs she wears, gifts from her mother, that Sadiaer fixed for her. When she takes them off, she dies fast, spirit deaths. It is decided they must be destroyed. We run to the gelapod and she whips them off and chucks them into the gelapods mouth. She dies, whammo, torn to pieces. The gelapod starts emitting blasts of light which give anyone they touch the effect of a bad gate, without the instant death (its about 40 seconds away).
With the hair combs gone, Sadiaer seems to send shadows to assault her and anyone around her. You see a shadow swirl around the person, tearing the life from them. We take her to the chapel in the cleric guild. The Hunters begin an assault. We pray. Someone invokes Meraud’s name, and lo, a wolf appears before us on the altar, winks, and a blue glow surrounds our heads and lifts away.
We hear a wolf’s howl, and the hunters are driven away. The wolf leaps from the shadows and bites Lissanda’s wrist, leaving a mark. As we all disperse, more of the defenders are bitten, leaving marks.
The marks serve as some protection against the nasty shadows, and Chadatru marks one paladin, and Hodierna some empaths, in the next few days.
It becomes a case of rinse-repeat, with Lissanda running from people who seek to help her, being rescued, lots of people getting ripped up by Shadows. Prayk is angry at everyone in the Crossing, but returns to fight an invasion at the Reach.
The marks lose their potency, and Lissanda has terrible dreams and is harassed by Sadiaer. He develops a new trick ripping the heart out without being in the area.
Chapter 3, from Piextra
Prayk and Darsanya, having kissed and made up, are killed in their home. It requires the work of many to get them alive. Empaths, Clerics, bards, — tons of people pile into the home. Lissanda comes in and cries over her sister. Then Sadiaer decides to pay a visit. Camchack, being a wise man, locks the door of the home. Lissanda, being a nut, unlocks it and opens it. Sadiaer walks in and kills ME! I think because Darsanya and Prayk were still dead, and I was making agist remarks again.
He proceeds to kill just about everyone, with shadows, S’lai, fire rain and chain lightning. Nice guy.
Lissanda won’t stop coming to his call. People conspire to keep her away from him, as they suspect that her in the keep would be a bad idea for the rest of us, so she is slept, webbed, etc. It is discovered that Sadiaer holds a lock of her hair. Many deaths later, this is recovered. Yet Lissanda’s obviously not completely free. But nobody can figure out why.
A town meeting is called about the protection of Crossing. Good and bad ideas are bandied about. Prayk arrives to listen in. Sorrow arrives to let us know he’s always listening in.
Some attempt at reconciliation is made. Sorrow demands the book. He is told no. He says we’re mean. When we ask for a share in the knowledge, he says that would be like trying to teach slugs about constellations. It goes over about as well as you’d expect.
Insults are exchanged. Prayk tells most everyone they’re idiots for baiting Sorrow, and expresses his sympathy for people like Paschein and Barchus and Melvi, who seem thus far in line to lead Crossing’s defense. He storms off.
Lissanda and Darsanya’s brother Keynn arrives in town to see what the heck his family is up to. He’s a barbarian. ( a cleric, an empath, and a trader and the circle will be complete!). He’s long on speechiness, short on temper.
Lissanda’s final bond to Sadiaer is discovered and broken.
Keynn yells at a lot of people, says were all rude, and storms out of the room repeatedly, to return and storm out again. He advises Prayk to go home.
Prayk decides this is a keen idea. If he goes home, he can get Lissanda and Darsanya to leave, and no more of her brothers will arrive to be in jeopardy. He says he’s received lousy friendship for the most part, that he’s tired of being attacked by the people he thinks he’s fighting alongside, and he thinks he’ll take Darkensi with him for his safety as well.
He is asked (and pretty eloquently) to stay. He says it will be discussed with Darsanya. She arrives, they discuss it. Darsanya wonders if it might not put her whole clan in danger, if Sorrow might not follow them, as Prayk seems to be the key to the knowledge in the Book.
They decide to go to Shard at least, to talk to another brother, Nicolys. Prayk describes him as a glory hound, and someone we couldn’t scrape off with a stick if he decided he was on our side. Interest is piqued. and so ends the tale up to this point
Chapter four: Dreamheart’s quick additions
Felinda, a Prydaen Elder, and I mean she actually looks old and is a true Elder, tries to talk some sense into Darkensi. Although I do not have the details, I do know that after a number of talks and meetings, she considered her efforts to have failed, and she killed herself.
Prayk comes back — do not ask me why — and is ambushed by Shartug while setting up a moonbeam on the Northern Trade Route, killed, and taken in custody back to the Reach. There, he dies many horrendous ways as the people of the Crossing can only sit and watch while Sorrow takes his revenge upon the wayward Magus.
Commander Shartug’s lieutenant, Parnore, is seen in the now more frequent prods upon the Crossing and Stone Clan by the bolstered Sorrow forces of Elpazi and S’lai. Munira’s appearances and attacks are back.
In Kaerna, while Shartug is having tea, or something, with a couple people from the Crossing, Dritzfury sneaks in and kills him. The Crossing is at
acked viciously in retaliation.
And so…Zoluren prepares for an awful war. Are you ready?