Difonix: Living Zimerhelq

Sereg's Folly
Written By: Imanelf

Many know not of the hunter Sereg,
Feller of beasts,
Destroyer of Xvart’s ,
and ender of the Tirapheg,
Master of Arrow and bow,
Maker of many melodies,
Favored by the gods,
and son of the bough

He has but one flaw,
In which he will not bend,
All giants must die,
To any length he’ll go to reach that end,
No rest, no waiting,
No time he will waste,
If there is a giant nearby,
He will dispatch it with haste,
It is a noble thing,
That the hunter will do,
But blind to the perils,
Like that boulder it threw

Many battles will be fought,
Each has a price to pay,
Many giants will die,
many friends will be lost along the way,

All will know of the Hunter Sereg,
Slayer of Giants,
Tamer of Storms,
And Breaker of the Tyrant,
Many will speak of his heroic deeds,
But not of his friends, his allies, or even his creed
They will see his results, and all will be jolly,
But by any means an end, is Sereg’s Folly

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Wednesday Session 4/22/15
We're #1! I mean, we roll 1s!

The drama continues…

“Sereg!” Indilwen yells. “How many giants will you kill? Before they kill you? Before they kill us all? One? Two?”

Sereg pauses and Indilwen continues, “If we recover and prepare, we can kill them all. I will help you kill them all.”

“If we take the time to prepare, we’ll lose them,” Sereg replies.

“Surely you could track them,” Indilwen counters with a smirk. “Aren’t you Corellon’s favorite ranger?” The rest of the party catches up with the bickering elves.

Just then, screams fill the air as three griffons in formation swoop in for an attack up ahead. Some form of weapon whips out, sending one of the griffons plummeting down in a burst of feathers. Horn blasts from Bearclaw Keep call the attack. Sidon Bearclaw leads on his cave bear-driven chariot.

Sereg whistles a call, getting the attention of one of the griffons, who circles closer. “Sir Trellic!” Indilwen cries, recognizing the rider.

“Follow me to the giant and his handlers!” Sir Andred Trellic commands. “Beware the chain!”

The party comes up on said giant, which Sereg recognizes as a cave giant, extremely rare to find above ground. Even more strangely, two orcs are perched on its shoulders. Upon closer inspection, the orcs wield chains attached at the giant’s wrists by manacles. One of the orcs wears a strange set of goggles. Similarly, two more orcs balance on the giant’s feet, the four controlling the giant as a bizarre marionette.

The elves in the party fire arrows at the giant and its handlers, with varying success. Corkscrew moves forward, only to be pulverized by a huge rock hurled by the giant. Unfortunately, Đragaš slips on the muddy ground, slamming into Raven’s back, stunning himself. (For those of you keeping score at home, this is confirmed critical fumble #1).

The group fails to notice an unusual eldritch blast that hits the giant, as Lt. Raven Bearclaw charges forward. The giant hurls another rock, which violently takes Corkscrew down. Indilwen begins to make her way to the dwarf, attempting to fire off a shot with her shortbow. She too slips on the mud, painfully twisting her ankle. (Yes folks, confirmed critical fumble #2).

Sir Trellic guides his griffon in for an attack, scoring a hit on the giant with his lance. The giant retaliates, whipping the chain out for a hit on the griffon, Gryfwen.

Indilwen hears a strange chanting behind her in the language of creatures of the Underdark. Turning around, she sees a brown-skinned humanoid with somewhat elven features. Not forgetting Grog‘s theory of the Oa’xacoa potentially responsible for the abduction of her retainers, Indilwen calls down the sacred flame of Corellon, singeing the dark half-elf. She hears Corkscrew’s shuddering breath, assuring that he yet lives.

Sir Trellic lands Gryfwen behind the giant, who begins to swing its chain for another attack. Fortunately for our heroes, the giant is evidently confused and ends up wrapping the chain around its own head. (Mmmhmm, confirmed critical fumble #3). Sereg lands a powerful arrow shot in its chin.

The dark-skinned half-elf moves past Indilwen, who hears a voice speaking elven in her head, “I’m a teacher at the Mithoi School.” Huh?! Sophos fires his bow, killing the goggle-wearing orc. Đragaš also lands a shot, finishing off one of the foot-orcs. Indilwen attempts to move forward, but her injured ankle crumples under her weight.

Sir Trellic smites the evil giant, which falls to the ground dead. The party fires arrows and magical blasts on the remaining orcs, felling one. Sir Trellic finishes off the final orc with a blow from his greataxe.

Indilwen attempts to tend to her twisted ankle, despite having exhausted her magical healing. Both Sereg and Sir Trellic move forward to assist, Sereg reaching the lady first and healing her with a spell granted by Corellon Larethian. In thanks, Indilwen slaps the ranger across the face.

FADE OUT.

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Wednesday Session 4/8/15
Decisions, decisions...

This session’s guest stars: Dan, owner of Đragaš Brewing, playing Đragaš the ranger and Derek filling in as Flynn Mithoi.

As the party tends to their wounds, Corkscrew “investigates” the bodies of the fallen creatures. He finds that the orcs bear markings of the Twisted Nail tribe, known to be in the employ of the Storm Tyrant. They also appear to be well paid in gold coins identified as being from an ancient dragon empire.

Đragaš runs in from further afield. Seeing Lt. Bearclaw, he reports that the orcs only appear to kill the militia and anyone fighting back. Otherwise, they are only herding people towards the keep. Flynn rejoins the party, as they continue through the streets of Dagger Rock’s second terrace.

Coming up on an intersection, members of the party hear some disturbing noises. Three tribal orcs are having their way with some poor women, while four more orcs wait their turn. Everyone moves to attack, including the clearly incensed Lady Indilwen.

Perhaps still feeling the effects of the previous fight, the party members are slow to deal damage, taking more hits than they give. But an impressive sneak attack from Corkscrew provides the motivation needed. Sophos dodges blows, while Flynn shoots rays of frost into the melee. Lt. Bearclaw lands a successful hit with his greatsword, following up with a maneuver to disarm his opponent. Sereg fires a lethal shot to an orc threatening Indilwen, allowing her to move forward and send her longsword through another orc attacking Đragaš. Sophos scores a mighty blow, felling one of the three orcs surrounding him and breaking the morale of the other two, which turn tail to run away. Not having it, Sereg downs one with an arrow shot and Indilwen calls down a sacred flame of Corellon Larethian to finish the other.

Lady Indilwen immediately moves to comfort the three women, speaking soothing words and recommending a tea of pennyroyal and angelica root. Flynn conjures the illusion of a comforting blanket to cover the women. Corkscrew kindly drags the bodies out of the view of the women, where he can loot they no longer have to see the creatures that violated them.

While Indilwen heals Lt. Bearclaw and Sophos, Đragaš observes giant figures excavating into the bluff of the upper terrace. The party debates whether or not to proceed. Indilwen informs the group that she has exhausted the magic granted to her by her god. Flynn also reports that he is low on available spells.

“Besides,” Flynn adds, “It’s almost time for my bath.”

It seems the party has decided to return to the keep to rest. Except that Sereg has already started in the direction of the giants. Indilwen chases after him.

“Sereg, it’s too dangerous. Corellon has granted me no more healing magic for the day,” she tells him.

“I don’t care,” says Sereg, affecting a reasonable impersonation of Indilwen’s voice. “I’m his favorite ranger!”

Frustrated, Indilwen calls back to the group, “Sophos, stop him!”

Sophos is barely able to contain his patronizing look. “How?!”

While the rest of the party tries to decide what to do, Flynn is suddenly struck with an insight into the giants’ activity. He describes to those listening that the land of Zimerhelq was historically populated by dwarves and orcs and that the very land they’re standing on was the orcish capital. Uskroth, an orcish war-chief, is known for standing against the human invaders led by King Zimer and, in fact, slew the king himself. His tomb is purported to remain hidden in the area, housing magic beyond legend. In particular, a dwarven-crafted warhammer possessing giant-slaying magic.

Meanwhile, Indilwen catches up to Sereg again.

“Are you or are you not a member of my official diplomatic escort?” she demands.

“I am,” Sereg answers warily.

Indilwen straightens. “Then I order you to stand down!”

Sereg doesn’t stop. “I can’t do that,” he replies.

Indilwen freezes, out of options. “Sereg, this is reckless!” she pleads.

His muttered response is only audible to Indilwen’s ears. Her face pales as she watches him continue on…

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Wednesday Session 4/1/15
Raven Bearclaw activate!

Scott H. joined us for the first time and agreed to play Lieutenant Raven Bearclaw, favored son of Dagger Rock.

Lady Indilwen, Sereg, and Sophos head out of the back room of Grog’s Happy Half-ogre Inn, now accompanied by Corkscrew the dwarven vintner. Indilwen breezes by the escort of local militia, intent on finding this Sir Kinndyr Davvydq and rescuing her ransomed retainers. Upon leaving the inn, however, panic is spreading through the streets of Dagger Rock. The vineyards are burning, silhouetting large forms along the upper terrace.

In elven fashion, Sereg and Sophos fire off arrows, scoring hits on the closest silhouette, which disappears beyond the edge of the bluff. Meanwhile, the alarm bell sounds and Lt. Bearclaw orders the town’s citizens to retreat to the keep. Sergeant Oakheart volunteers to lead the people to safety, while Lt. Bearclaw initiates a charge through the town. The party ascends the ramp to the second terrace, only to watch in horror as a monstrous orcish creature in strange spiked armor strikes a mighty upward blow with a battle axe, rending the head of one of Lt. Bearclaw’s comrades-in-arms in two with a shower of brain matter.

Indilwen calls upon the blessing of Corellon Larethian, as Lt. Bearclaw, Corkscrew, and Sophos charge and Sereg begins to rain enchanted arrows down upon the creatures. The three powerful, strangely-armored orcs and a more conventional tribal orc are ready, and the battle begins.

Lt. Bearclaw enters the fray, exchanging blows with the creatures. Sophos practices his control of the elements, pulling water from the very air to bring one of the orcs into striking distance. Unfortunately, the creature returns the favor, felling the monk with a single savage blow. Corkscrew weaves in and out of the scrum, scoring precise and painful hits. Sereg continues to fire arrows, while Indilwen moves to tend to Sophos.

Despite the arrival of an additional tribal orc, the party prevails. They heal and take stock of the fallen creatures before looking up to the third terrace, where the vineyards are still in flames…

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Wednesday Session 2/25/15
Competing theories

The party left the xvart lair behind, deciding it would be more useful to report the intelligence they gained rather than succumbing to a horrific sonic demise.

As they enter the vineyards surrounding the town of Dagger Rock, a strange, muttering dwarf finds his way through the vines to Lady Indilwen’s horse. She screams in terror, almost kicking the dwarf in the face. Confused, the dwarf scurries off. Only Sophos notices that the dwarf stuffed a note into one of the saddlebags on the lady’s horse.

The group is met by an escort from Bearclaw Keep, led by Lieutenant Raven Bearclaw. The lieutenant seems relieved at their arrival. Indilwen explains that they have important information to report. “Also,” she asks Lt. Bearclaw, “Do you have a problem with vagrants in your vineyards?” Raven simply looks confused as they continue into the town of Dagger Rock.

The party is given time to clean up before reporting to Sidon Bearclaw, Raven’s father and constable of the town. Most of the group fails to notice that Ved doesn’t accompany them. Private Wilster reports their information on the xvart lair, the fire giant army, the downed griffon rider, and the falling sky castle.

After Wilster’s report, Sidon informs Lady Indilwen that two of her retainers disappeared from their inn the previous night. He suspects the Storm Tyrant may be responsible, the mastermind behind the giant activity in the Thermal Mountains. He suggests that she visit Grog’s Happy Half-ogre Inn, where the Storm Tyrant’s spy network is rumored to meet. Indilwen thanks Dagger Rock’s leader and takes her leave. Private Wilster is asked to remain behind, where he receives a promotion to Sergeant for his assistance to the town.

Before heading to Grog’s, Sophos informs Indilwen of the note left behind by the dwarf in the vineyards. Conveniently, the note says to meet the dwarf at Grog’s. The group makes their way to the inn and Grog shows them to a private back room where the dwarf sits at a large table.

The dwarf introduces himself as Corkscrew Vines and says he has information on the whereabouts of the lady’s retainers. He has a price for the information, however, which angers Indilwen. Corkscrew relates that he is a well-known vintner in the area, and that he desires to know the secrets of the elven winemakers of Amberilla. Indilwen only agrees to discuss the possibility after the dwarf provides the information on his retainers. Corkscrew relates that he suspects the halfling and gnomish nation of Poota Belly, who aren’t shy in demonstrating their desire for access to the Ulurassal poppy.

In addition, Grog presents a ransom note requesting that 800 gold pieces be delivered to the Dagger Rock by noon the next day. But his theory is that the surface drow of Oa’Xacoa are behind the kidnapping. Frustrated by the extortion and competing theories, Indilwen insults Grog, who calmly informs her that her character will be judged by how she deals with the issue. He also suggests that the group seek out Sir Kinndyr Davvydq, who can provide information on the tunnels beneath the Dagger Rock, where the kidnappers may be lying in wait for the ransom drop.

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It's a... what now?
Wherein the heroes encounter some things with subsonic sacs and descend down into the darkness.

tirapheg2.png

Sketch from Flynn’s “Exotic Monster Parts ’n Sundry” field notebook.

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Excerpt of a dwarven drinking song
found in the dwarven ruins

Brothers of the mine rejoice!
Raise you pick and raise your voice!
Down and down into the deep,
Who knows what we’ll find beneath?
Diamonds, rubies, gold and more
Hidden in the mountains core.

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The Griffon Spy, chapter 2
Part 2 , Written by Ved StringSinger

She stood there proud, without a doubt in her eye,
she glared daggers at us, I thought I would die,
and with a scoff and a scowl, The good lady did protest,
“I’m not going down there, surely you jest”
“its filled with vermin, demons and filth”, to which I would agree,
“but there is something that needs doing, it might as well be you three”

Sereg did not let her finish, he turned boot to heel,
turning his back to her, walking away with zeal.
I followed him in time, not sure in the matter,
thinking this foolish, we must be mad as a hatter

These demons prepared traps, Sophos did see,
I did not, and took a blade to the knee,
an ambush was laid, it was poor at best,
Sereg wasted no time putting arrows in chests
They fled like cowards, victory was within reach,
until the rats got out, pouring out of the breach.

the battle was taxing, our resources drained,
spirits were low, we were all in pain,
but continue we must, to find this man,
to save him from demons, and shed light on his plan

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The Man of Masks
Written by Ved StringSinger, the bard of ballads

Every show, there is one who asks,
and answering is such a disagreeable task,
so I wrote a song, so all may bask
in the answer of why I wear the masks

Mayhap I am humble, in the eyes of the gods,
Not wanting to show such a hideous visage,
Do the masks hide a beastly grin?
No, I am too handsome, the prettiest of my kin

Perhaps they hide a sneak, skulking in the shadows,
Stealing into the night to dodge the gallows,
Do the masks hide a clever thief?
If they did, this song would be brief,

No, I wear the masks, like all men do,
Not to hide, but to show whats true

The father wears a mask of happiness and glee,
When the burdens of life has brought him to knee,
Life weighs on him greatly, on shoulder and soul,
But it will not break him, it will not take its toll,
So he wears the mask, to bring joy to his kids,
So they do not see the pain he has hid

The priest wears a mask of devotion and piety,
To hide the anger, fear, and anxiety
It is a great gift, to be chosen by a god,
But the horrors you see, make the world seem flawed
Other men are the demons, that is his view,
Murderers, pillagers and rapists to just name a few,
But god has taught him forgiveness, to all others be kind,
So he wears his mask to keep these thoughts in a bind

I do not wear the masks due to burden or shame,
They are not hiding some monstrous maim,
I wear the masks only to show what I can,
Like all do when donning a mask of man.

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The Griffon Spy
Part 1, written by Ved

The Griffon Spy, Part 1

In the realms above, upon the sky
mythic beasts and knights do ride,
with wings of gold, body of lion.
and riders clad in the finest iron,
all do respect, if not fear, the griffon riders of valkrehq,

half of one, we did meet,
beast and saddle, but no rider in seat,
its crest was false, faded and worn,
and with this, deception was born,
“I know this symbol,” wise Bartholomew did say,
“It belongs to a spy, of whom we must slay”

We marched with conviction, to do the deed,
following the trail left by the steed,
when demons we met, with bodies of blue,
who desired nothing but to add us to stew,

A Balista they had, a machine of death,
all had thought they’d drawn their final breath,
when the great sage Manara, with conjuration and curse,
created a cloud, to obscure the bolts course,

With Mist on our side, quick work was made,
the demons stood no chance when put to the blade,
Now we go into the pits, to find a spy,
into the lair of the demons, and their watchful eyes.

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