Monday, 6 May 2013

Viridi and Corellon's Blessed Sword

One item on the demon-turned-dragon lord of Ruber's wishlist had been procured, the holy weapon of

Dallas Kasaboski
an ancient paladin. Now, our characters travel to Viridi, the land of nature and magic, to acquire the next weapon.

The garrison was stationed just outside of town. Verius stopped the party just outside the line of sight of the garrison and explained the next item.

Some time ago, an eladrin wizard was doing his best to keep evil at bay and was fighting an onslaught of drow. As they crept closer and closer, threatening to overwhelm him, he pulled out a sword, knowing his use of magic at close-range would be more dangerous to him. Corellon, the god of arcane, beauty, and the arts, blessed the weapon and while the wizard died fighting, he took the drow with him.

As such, the people of Viridi sought to combine magic and martial practices into an artform. Kalgar recalled as much from his early warfare and history lessons, and because of his talk with the guard stationed outside of Viridi.

Viridi soldiers trained quite hard, but were not an aggressive people. They viewed their practices as art and refrained from fighting, if they could. However, the guards at this garrison were stationed a little ways off because of the fact that they were a little more aggressive. The underlying passive nature of a traditional Viridi guard is nothing to scoff at, as Kalgar recalls that they are quite formidable and what they may give up in aggression, they make up for in devoted practice.

Watching the garrison behind the cover of forest, Kalgar, Tong, and Alvyn tried to learn what they could. Verius had told them that the garrison was likely host to three commanders (the Commander, Watch Commander, and the Cali, captain of the guards) and several other officers. The Cali would likely have the sword on him.

The garrison was very natural in construction, combining the will of the elves and eladrin and that of the forest. Tong saw that some trees had encroached close to the walls and decided to have a look. With a swirl of robes, he was gone and up a tree. Alvyn searched the area for any oddity of arcana, but could only discern the heavy, but general, aura of magic about the place. Recalling the Viridi way of mixing magic and martial, he awaited Tong's return. Kalgar studied the guards's movements, but there was nothing interesting or tactical to learn there.

Tong returned quite quickly and informed them that he could see inside the walls, and that there was a way they could possibly infiltrate the garrison from overhead. Inside, there were many, and seemed to be many rooms, including a pit of some kind in the middle.

Kalgar, Tong, and Alvyn talked amongst themselves.

"Look, I don't want to mess with these guys, but we can't leave here empty-handed. Verius has never seen the sword before, so if we can get a chance to see it, I could make a copy. But first, we need to get rid of our babysitters."

"But how can we do this?" Kalgar asked, "We can't simply march up there and ask for a look!"

"What if we went overhead, like I said, there's a path up there."

"And if they catch us sneaking around, we'll really be in trouble."

"I could dress as a zealot devotee of, who do they worship again Kalgar?"

"Corellon. And you already dress like a zealot, how will that get you inside?"

"I thought they would let a devotee see the famed weapon..."


And just then, Orianna, the tiefling guard who Kalgar had spoken with earlier, pulled on Tong's robes and pointed toward the garrison, where Alvyn had strolled up to the front gate.

"What does he think he's doing?"

"Hey there! Hi! We, my 2 friends and I, had heard of your prowess and wondering if any of you would like to spar?"

"What?" the guard on top of the wall asked, readying his bow.

"Well, we were just traveling through town and we know you don't get a lot of chances for fighting, especially those outside of Viridi so we thought we'd see what you guys were all about!"

"Um...I cannot do that. It's against the rules."

"Come'll be fun! Come on, shoot me with your bow, live a little!"

The soldier looked like he really wanted to, but he stood by his orders and said he couldn't.

Wandering back, Alvyn looked to Verius and said, "Verius, you and your men, go back to town, we'll handle it from here. We'll return soon with the sword."

Raising an eyebrow at his audacity, both in his claim and for his orders, Verius, with crossed arms, said they will go, but one of his men will stay to watch them.

"Fine." and with whispered breath, "But as soon as your guard changes to Drewsus, we'll do what we want." (Drewsus being the tiefling guard Alvyn had recognized as one of the Doomguard)

As Verius and his guards left, the gates of the garrison opened and out walked an elf. The party recognized him as Alufyr, the handsome elf warrior they had met during the Canitian hunt.

"Al, what are you doing here?" Alvyn asked.

"Well, I am stationed here. I heard you guys wanted to spar?"

"Yeah, but your guards are no fun. How about you? Think you're up to it?"

"Oh, I think so."

And with that, he led the party inside and down into the pit. The garrison was well supplied and there were soldiers and craftsmen everywhere working at their posts. The pit, was exactly that, and had several jail cells lining it. Inside one was a dwarf, and in another, a troll.

"Hey, what's he in for?" Alvyn asked, pointing to the dwarf.

"He and his wife got into...a domestic dispute."

"That usually doesn't require jailtime." Kalgar said.

"Yeah, well it does if your wife kills a Viridi guard."

"Ah." Tong added.

"Alright, let's agree to some rules here. You get knocked out, you stay down. Non-lethal, all else goes, deal?"

"Sounds good."
"Let's do this!"

At this point, several guards had stopped what they were doing and made their way over to the edge of the pit looking down.

Alufyr pulled out his sword and held it back while he waved his other hand in front of him. With a flick of his wrist, a green aura quickly emanated and the disappeared.

Tong flew in for the first attack, elbows and knees flying. Alufyr was not worried and easily turned his attacks aside with his magical shield. Kalgar moved in, swinging his katana high and brought it down, hoping to simply break the shield through sheer force.

Through their combined attacks, Alufyr's shield went down just as bolts of arcane energy, loosed by Alvyn, slammed into him.

"Not bad. Now, try this..."

Alufyr quickly brought his sword up, down, around, and slashed at both Tong and Kalgar, drawing his magical energy out of his shield and into the sword. Tong's robes became singed and Kalgar too felt the arcane fire leaping at him.

Alufyr teleported away and tried to bring his sword down on Alvyn. Just as the weapon was about to make contact with him, Alvyn teleported back to where Alufyr had started.

"Nice, you're quick."

Enjoying the fight, the combatants went back and forth at it. Alvyn drew the battle standard he had made, with the symbol of the party upon it, and slammed it into the ground as it auto-assembled. Tong used his great speed to confront Alufyr at every turn, and Kalgar acted like the anvil to Tong's hammer, keeping Alufyr pinned down and dropping his shield. Alvyn used these opportunities to slow, push, slide, and riddle Alufyr with bolts from his many wands.

The fight was fast, intense, and at this point, several soldiers were cheering on both sides. Alufyr knocked Tong aside, as Kalgar brought his katana down.

"Corellon may be the god of beauty, but when it comes to the beauty of battle, there is no match to Kord."

Easing into the blow, Alufyr returned one of his own, "Kord is mighty, but I fight with the justice of Bahamut."

"Indeed, but perhaps Avandra is on my side, as your luck is about to change."

This barrage of verbiage continued in fine spirits, and while Alufyr put up a great fight, it was Tong who got the final blow in, knocking Alufyr unconscious.

Helping him up, the party congratulated him on the fight. Alufyr praised the party's coordination, and unique skills, and they all shared laughs. Just then, they heard a booming voice.

"What in the Nine Hells is going on here?!"

The party looked up, and the soldiers had scattered. They looked to Alufyr.

"Oh, I...I shouldn't have done this, it's not right, not proper."

Just then, an old, grizzled, eladrin jumped down into the pit. It did not take the military expertise of Kalgar to realize this must be the Cali. He was highly decorated, and looked to have seen some great battles. He wore an ornate scabbard at his side.

"Lieutenant! What is this? Who are these people?"

Just then, Alvyn stepped up. "Um, hello? Yes, we are friends of Alufyr's. We met him in Canitia, and while we were passing through, we hoped to spar with him."


"Well, not only because it's fun, but we wanted to meet you and, see your sword."


"Look, I'm going to be honest with you. We were sent here by the balor-lord of Ruber, who's actually a red dragon by the way, because he's amassing a bunch of holy weapons to help with his dastardly schemes." Seeing the tension in the Cali's face, he added, "But, we don't want to help him, we have a plan."

"Go on."

"If I could see the sword, just see it, I could make a copy and fool the people we're working for. We don't want to help them, we want to end them, but until we have the ability to do so, we're forced to do his work, or make it look that way, or else die."

"Why should I believe or help you?"

Tong chipped in, "Have you seen the world outside? Lines are being drawn and countries are facing off against each other. If you don't do something, your country is going to be drawn into this horrifyingly global conflict."

While not normally perceptive, Kalgar caught the half-smirk on the Cali's face. "It's not the kind of battle you want. It will leave nothing but destruction in its wake, and your men will not earn glory, only their own death. You have little to risk from simply showing us the sword, and much to gain from your enemies being waylead and/or destroyed."

"Plus," Alvyn added. "You could totally kick our asses as reward if you wanted to."

The Cali smiled at this and said, "You have yourselves a deal."

He gave the party a chance to set up, to place themselves. Climbing out of the pit, the party spread out and was ready to fight.

With a familiar flick of his wrist, the Cali brought his arcane shield up, but he also lifted his sword into the air, running at Tong and Kalgar. A couple of quick and heavy cuts left the two a little surprised at his ferocity.

"Alufyr probably took it easy on you. I won't."

The party regrouped and struck back. The Cali was incredibly powerful, tougher than Alufyr, and they had to fight hard to break through his shield.

At one point, Alvyn and Tong turned the tide and laid heavy damage upon the Cali. He turned on Alvyn, who ducked behind a door and locked it. Inside, there was a simply work bench, a forge, an anvil, and a drarven woman, chained to the anvil.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"See that dwarf in the pit? He's my husband."

"Got it." And Alvyn focused his energy, blasting through the door and knocking the Cali offbalance.

Looking almost bored by the fight, the Cali ran to one of the guard towers and shut the door behind him. Robes swirling behind him, Tong raced after the Cali.

Opening the door, he had just enough time to notice the Cali holding a bow with three arrows notched. He had just enough time to close the door as the three arrows pierced the door, one making it through and hitting Tong in the shoulder. The door exploded outward as the Cali kicked it into Tong, trying to knock him back.

Tong, pushed back, kept his footing and punched through the door, hitting the Cali in a most unfortunate place.

"Ugh...good one."

Kalgar raced up, leapt off of one wall, and landed between Tong and the Cali, knocking the latter back into the armoury tower. He pulled a potion out of his pack, and took a drink. Alvyn had made the potion days earlier saying it would help in combat, and that he would know what to do.

Alvyn used Stinking Cloud to try to bring down the Cali, while Tong and Kalgar tried to keep him inside. However, he was pretty powerful and pushed past them and ran toward the northern end of the garrison.

(I take this brief pause to include the battle map of the garrison, which Dominic, our DM, was so awesome in creating for our benefit)

Tong and Alvyn followed in high pursuit. Tong raced into one room, and found himself face-to-face with another dwarf, cooking in the garrison kitchen. Angry that someone was in there, he threw soup at Tong.

The ascetic monk had sworn off food lately, claiming that his master desired a greater discipline from him. With a psionic belt of vigor, made by Alvyn and aided by Ting Tang Wong Gong, the belt kept Tong from the need to eat or drink.

Dodging from left to right, the dwarf threw noodles, rice, and soup at him. He dodged most, but a bowl of soup crashed down on his head, the noodles coming threateningly close to being in Tong's mouth.

Alvyn heard Tong's screams and busted into the room, sure something was wrong. Seeing Tong freak out over spilled soup was a little too funny to bear, and looked to the other doors to find out where the Cali had gone.

Tong, angered by this culinary assault, flew past him and opened the door to a storage room of sorts. Barrels and casks of food and drink were everywhere, and the Cali whipped a bag of flour right at Tong's face. Before he had a chance to duck, Tong was coated in food and flour as his head was smashed through barrels. Tong came dangerously close to breaking his fast. Then, Alvyn used The Silver Storm to knock the eladrin aside while moving Stinking Cloud to trap him.

Just then, Alvyn heard horse hooves.

Kalgar had ran away from the battle, around the pit, toward the stables. Untying a horse, he mounted up and raced across the garrison. Kicking the door down, he barely had enough time to see the dwarf recoil in alarm and frustration, as he burst through the second door.

In one of those moments which is frozen in time's memory, Alvyn saw Tong's jaw drop as he flipped back onto one hand; Alvyn's hands had just flicked out two wands from up his sleeves and his eyes followed Tong's up to see Kalgar, the battle-crazy 300 pound dragonborn, riding down the Cali from atop a horse, while flour and bits of cheese coated the air.

The Cali, momentarily stunned by this, quickly recovered, and leapt aside, not to avoid an attack, but to save a jar of jam from falling to the ground.

Mumbling, "It's my favourite", the grizzled eladrin continued the fight.

Just then, Kalgar's head rolled back. He felt a terrible rumbling in his stomach and head. Blinking, he thought it odd as the rumbling was like thunder, but of a kind he had never felt before, coming from inside him. Feeling sick, he leaned heavily to one side and the horse cantered to the left.

The rumbling in his head flashed images of his youth to Kalgar's eye. He saw dragonborn children, squalling, fighting, kept in strict discipline by their elders. He saw a dragonborn youth spewing out acid which skittered across the deck of his ship. He remembered the harsh beating he would get if he even thought of breathing a dragon's breath. Kalgar recalled that he was the first of his class to inspire fear from others and how he used that skill to great effect. Aware of the benefits of a dragonborn naval force, but also aware of the dangers of dragonborn's inherent dragon's breath, the Aesian navy had put up psychological blocks to keep their soldiers from even thinking about it.

Reeling, like a drunkard aboard ship, Kalgar's eyes rolled back in his head, and he threw his head forward. Just then, bolts of electricity shot out at the Cali, not from above as is Kord's favour, but from Kalgar's face.

Surprised, excited, and with quick reflexes, the Cali managed to duck, weave, and push past them, racing toward the other tower.

Tong raced after him for a third time, but this time he knocked on one door, as he raced around to another. Peering in cautiously, he saw the Cali loose three arrows into the door he was just at.

"Nice. You've learned."

Just then, the party descended upon him, and table, chair, horse, and combatant were thrown everywhere in a free-for-all match.

"Come on, we can't beat him, but I want to bloody his nose."

It took all of their combined skill, but the party were able to bloody the captain of the guards and as soon as they did, they surrendered.

"You win." Alvyn said, "Good fight."

"Indeed, you all fought well. That was exciting."

"And you, you brought a horse into things. That's new."

"I thought it would make things interesting."

"It sure did. Here, hold on." And going off to one side, he returned with a glass bottle and some glasses.

"Have a drink with me, that was a good time."

Alvyn and Kalgar accepted without hesitation. The alcohol was smooth, dark red, and extremely rich in taste. The Cali looked to Tong, who tried to politely decline.

"No, no thank you, I don't...I don't drink or eat anymore."

To which Alvyn replied, "Come on, Tong. Special occasions call for special action, you've earned it."

Clearly hesitant, but tempted, and not wanting to be rude, Tong used all of his chi energy to swallow the drink, but keep the liquid from being absorbed into his body. (The exact details of which I'll leave you to imagine as they were horrifying in their actual description)

"This is a very fine drink, and you've earned it, take the rest. And you, dragonborn, take the horse, he's yours."

"Thank you, sir, now about that sword."

"Yes, of course."

And with that, Alvyn was shown the sword. He studied the magical energies and taking a commonplace sword, enchanted it to be a low level magic sword, with the same type of aura as the Cali's. Taking the sword from Alvyn, he walked into the pit, opened up the cell and ran the blade along the troll's arm. The troll merely grunted as his arm healed instantly, but the blood had given the sword the emerald green look it had lacked before.

Kalgar said to the Cali, "Thank you, for all of this. You have treated us well, and we have learned much. I am glad we can leave this place as friends. Kord's strength upon you."

"And Knowledge of All." Tong added, looking tense with his efforts to not imbibe alcohol.

"And hey, maybe we could come back sometime, for a rematch?" Alvyn smiled as he said this.

"That sounds like fun."

Making their way out of the garrison, the party approached the bushes to find Orianna waiting. Telling her they had the sword, they quickly made it back to the town, where they told Verius of how Tong and Kalgar distracted the garrison, while Alvyn stole the sword. Verius, pleased with the mission's ongoing success, urged them along, on to the next weapon.

Just then, Alvyn head Vex's voice inside his head. He claimed that there was a group of people in Viridi who could help Alvyn.

"Help with what?"

"With...your condition."

"Help how? Get rid of it?"

" promises, but maybe."

"Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"I didn't think you were ready. But, now you might be, look for The Circle, you'll know how to find them."

Extremely excited by this, Alvyn turned directly off course, into the forest, telling everyone to follow.

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