104 - BREACHING THE WASTE

Go down

104 - BREACHING THE WASTE

Post  Admin on Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:45 pm

The Zephyr Breeze has berthed at the House Orien outpost on the outskirts of Delethorn, in the Eldeen Reaches. Over two days they take on fresh supplies and prepare for the journey that will take them northwest into the Demon Wastes.

HOUSE ORIEN OUTPOST
Guildmaster – Apratius
Rangers – Tharek, Khrucius, Damacles
Warden of the Wood – Lunarius
Constabulary - Demathar, Tarius, Klemenar, Erek
Traders – Talon (gemstones), Gestar (supplies), Khronos (magical items)

The Zephyr Breeze glides into a airship port that has been constructed on the outskirts of Delethorn, which is one of the larger settlements of the region.

The dragonmarked house lies adjacent to the structure and is itself of very strong and permanent construction, mostly stone, although it is clear that great effort has been taken to make it blend with the natural environment so as not to draw the ire or distrust of druids with whom the house endeavours to trade with.

During the two days in port, Ahlissa conducts some private business and is accompanied by four members of her standard airship crew. Shore leave is granted to all others and the Valenar company take the opportunity to stretch their legs for a bit and look around the small community. The buildings are designed to be harmonious with the surrounding forest and agricultural lands and mostly crafted from earth, wood and stone. The roads are dirt tracks and with the exception of the Airship Docking facilities, there is little that stands out against the landscape.

Accommodation can be obtained in the local inn houses (The Whispering Tree and Reacher's Homestead). Both are magnificient structures that provide comfortable rooms and good hearty meals.

… Aidan does some more general research and studies of the dragonshard notes and look around the local environment. Couple of evening meals.

Aidan learns that the local farmers in the Eldeen Reach and referred to as “Reachers” and that they typically live simple, rustic lives with a fierce loyalty to their own local community. They focus on caring for their land, producing a good harvest and growing their farm to as a legacy leave for their children. He finds that the Reachers are generous and friendly, doing whatever they can to make visitors feel welcome.

The local druid advisor, or Warden of the Wood, is a tall and powerfully built man named Lunarius. He is fully bearded and his green eyes have a piercing quality. Almost fey-like although he is not fey, Jillian infomrs him. He wears well-worn grey and brown coloured robes. No weapons, only a great oak staff. Aidan learns that he has a direct link to the Great Druid, which is said to be an ancient tree named Olian. His role is to guard the farmland and the forest in the local area and he guides the Reachers activity so they pay their best respects to the land.

Shae Mordai's enigmatic representative, Athovar, remains onboard the Zephyr Breeze during its time in Delethorn.

Jillian spends time with Aidan, on the second day they venture into the woods and admire the beauty and the wildness of the land beyond the farming fields.

“I have dreamt of such a place,” Jillian tells him as she paddles her feet in a small pool of water that they find at the end of a small stream. “My homeland was ravaged badly when the Quori invaded and we know nothing of nature and its beauty. This is surreal and truly amazing.” She looks at her reflection in the pool of water and smiles and looks at Aidan.

… Aidan is watching her.

“You are close to Ahlissa?” Jillian asks Aidan, matter-of-factly.

“No.”

Jiliian nods and says “A pity,” then unexpectedly disrobes in front of Aidan and unashamedly slides into the pool of water. “You wish to be with her, but she is spoken for already. Everything in Khorvaire is …. so political,” she muses. “Hmmm … this water is so refreshing. Why don't you join me for a swim? Loosen up a bit. Forget about the dragonshard. Just relax.”

… Aidan joins her for a swim.

The following morning everyone is accounted for on board the Zephyr Breeze and it departs on a course to leave the Eldeen Reaches. They fly fast and true without incident and are amazed at the truly vast expanse of nature with its towering trees and untouched land. “This was preserved in agreements after the Long War,” Ahlissa tells Aidan. “The Five Nations had sought to dominate everything you see and wrest control of it in their bitter fighting. But it was not to be. For nature is strong and these woods repelled all invaders. Eventually the Five Nations all agreed that this land was not to be tamed and it was left to the druids to maintain. It became its own separate nation.”

A day passes. The further northwest that they travel, it is apparent that the life is seeping out of the earth. This is evident from the lush green land giving way to dried soil and black cracked rock.

The Zephyr Breeze climbs its altitude and then glides to a standstill as it approaches a massive and forbidding looking mountain range. “The Shadowcrags.” Ahlissa informs Aidan and Jillian. “This mountain range is the physical barrier that blocks access to the Demon Wastes. We could follow the range either north or south and seek a way around, which would cost us dozens of days, or we could fly higher and attempt to cross over at the risk of being dashed against the rockface by the powerful and unpredictable storms that manifest there.

“Could we not try to control those storms using magic?” Aidan asks her.

“That would be highly specialised for those conditions have existed for millenia.vbNot only that, but you would find the air thinner to breathe and I think we want to keep our wits about us from this point forward. I have instructed my crew to locate a gap that we believe exists near here and we will use that to navigate through the range, if possible. “

...

“There is a place on the other side named Maruk Dar, which is a massive fortress that guards the passage into what we only know as The Labyrinth, which is where we must go to find your ruined city. The fortress is maintained by the Ghaash'Kala, a collection of orcs, humans and half-orcs – villanous scum who are sworn to prevent travellers entering that place. We only know that they will fight to the death,” Ahlissa tells him “It is highly likely that we'll encounter them.”

...

Ahlissa's crew study instruments and eventually identify the gap that they can follow through the Shadowcrags. It is a perilous passage that narrows in many places, so much that the clearance either side is only 20'. The ship is placed on high alert as this would be the ideal place to stage an ambush, but nothing eventuates, with the exception of some minor rockfalls that come down on occasion, either bouncing off the hull or repelled by the energy shield that has been activated. After two hours of cautious flight they break through to see a violent looking landscape.

BREACHING THE DEMON WASTE



Ahlissa commands the Zephyr Breeze be brought to a standstill so that the condition of her can be fully assessed before making way again. A crew member informs Ahlissa that the onboard sensors are malfunctioning. She asks for specific information. “The landscape is highly magnetized in many places, which is affecting our ability to identify the shape of the land, detect incoming threats or plot a correct course of navigation,” the crew member tells her.

She nods and simply replies “We will deal with it. Use visual navigation. Fly lower to see landmarks.”

… Aidan offers to map the landmarks as they fly by.
“That would be valuable as very few travellers have returned with accurate descriptions of this place,” he is told.

A vast dust cloud is sweeping in from the horizon, a massive rolling storm that will easily engulf the airship when it reaches them. “Proceed ahead,” Ahlissa commands the crew who lay in a course and control the ship accordingly. “We can't outrun that, so we'll meet it head on.”

Within half an hour the airship is engulfed by the storm and the airship's shield is powered up to keep it at bay. Visibility is down to 50' and it is a howling, shrieking maelstrom that would flay the skin of anyone exposed to it.

… WILL 31. Aidan feels slightly light-headed and then the feeling passes.

Jillian looks concerned and asks “is everything alright?”

“I feel fine, thanks.” Aidan replies.

“You do not look so weel, you're a bit paler than usual. Here have a drink,” Jillian offers a flask of water.

Aidan drinks it “Thanks. I felt light-headed for a moment.”

WILL 29 … Aidan feels a burning sensation from his lower back and thinks he hears a whispering voice … INT 20 … the voice is ominous and familiar, much like the voice of Izendraazt from so long ago in Zanarkand … the voice makes makes no clear sense and diminishes into a fiendish howling that fills his mind and disorientates you, briefly.

“Are you sure you're OK?” Jiliian asks again, “here drink some more.”

“I think Izendraazt is trying to communicate with me and I feel a pain in my lower back, it could be something else.”

Perhaps Izendraazt was Umbragen himself … perhaps he was the one that went over the edge and gained the taint to fight against the darkness? Aidan thinks.

“Stay still,” Jillian tells Aidan. “Let me check your back.” She lifts his tunic and looks closely. “There is nothing physical to report. No rash, no wound, no markings or discolouration. Perhaps you ate tired?”

“No … I have felt this before. The only differece this time is that Izendraazt is trying to communicate.”

“I fear you have bonded with that entity through your obsession with the dragonshard, although I'm pleased we recognised that months ago and your interaction with it has lessened. Still … it may be regaining some hold over you.”

WILL 26 … Aidan experiences a sudden migraine, and he stumbles but Jillian catches you and leads you to a seat nearby. She looks closely at Aidan and looks alarmed. “Your eyes have changed,” she is worried.

Ahlissa comes over and asks “Is something wrong?” Jillian point and says … “the dragonshard is gaining influence over him.”

“Let me see” Ahlissa kneels down as Aidan regains his bearings and the piercing headache subsides.

“We had to expect something like this to happen as we get closer to the destination he wishes. He does not control me although I feel I am a conduit to him.”

“Notheless, your eyes look awful. They've gone bloodshot and your pupils have gown larger and very black. We will keep an eye on this situation. Otherwise, you are feeling OK?”

“Yes, the migraine is gone. That is what it felt like. But earlier I experienced the pain that I felt before in my lower back.”

“You mean, of a dragon mark manifesting?”

“I think we have concluded that is what is happening but at the same time Izendraazt tried to talk to me but he was very incoherent.”

“Then this is interesting. Abberant dragon marks are one thing, but associating them with a possesive entity is quite another. I am very intrigued by what is happening and no doubt The Twelve – if they ever heard of it – would seek to stamp you out as they have done for lesser manifestations. For this reason we will keep you protected. Just let us know if anything else happens. Stay rested.”


Then it happens … a warning sounds …. a crew member informs two peculiar airships materialise and manouvre to intercept the Zephyr Breeze. The ships look like the massive decayed skeletal remains of dragons, that have been merged with wood and steel. They radiate a red glow, are shielded and appear to armed with heavy ballistae and giant grapples.

Ahlissa observes the ships through an eyepiece and states “There is movement on board. I cannot make out the detail but I think they are humanoid.”

Then a sound emanates from a command console and a crew member activates something. “An incoming communication, Captain.”

“Put it on audio.”

“Done.”

… there is a crackling sound and the communication can be heard. Gutteral voice, deep “Enemy vessel, you have strayed into the domain of Maruk Dar … I am Captain Cortesh of the Ghaash'Kala, you are ordered to cease advancing and surrender your vessel to us. We have you surrounded. Prepare to be boarded.”

“Are there more vessels out there?” Ahlissa asks of her crew, who study their consoles.

“None detected. But we are experiencing massive interference.”

“Then we will fight … sound battle quarters ...“ Ahlissa picks up a device and speaks into it. “Captain Cortesh, this is going to be a bad day for you. You will let us pass. We will not allow you to board us.”

Turning to Aidan and Jillian, Ahlissa looks defiant and tells them. “Either stay here if you wish, or go below to your quarters. Things are going to get ugly.”

...

Aidan elects to stay. Jillian stays out of concern for him. WILL 21 … Aidan stumbles momentarily and feels a further burning sensation in his lower back but then he feels a surge of strength. The weakness inflicted by the migraine dissipates. There is a distant snarling sound in your head.

The two enemy vessels manouvre violently ahead, turning sideways and adjusting their angle of approach to revealing arrays of ballistae aimed at the Zephyr Breeze.

“Open gun ports,” Ahlissa commands and the Zephyr Breeze reveals its cannons as it moves into position with the intention of firing a broadside salvo at the lead vessel.

The red energy shield around the enemy vessels intensifies as they reach close distance 40' and the Zephyr Breeze seizes the initiative, firing first. A massive salvo is released with incendiary shells targeted straight into the side of the first enemy airship. The shells smash against the hull, splintering and shattering the dragon bone remnants into many pieces and laying waste to the lower decks of that vessel.

PERCEPTION 24 … At the close distance Aidan can see mangled bodies and injured crew members in the other ship and can see many fires spreading within it that other crew members are trying to extinguish.

In response, the leadc enemy vessel fires its ballistae and several large bolts smash into the side of the Zephyr Breeze but many are deflected by the shield. Ahlissa commands that a second salvo on the opposite side of the Zephyr Breeze be directed at the second enemy vessel and the crew oblige, inflicting similar damage to it.

The second enemy vessel climbs up, seeking to avoid any further cannon fire while the first one is burning and lists to starboard as it moves past and attempts to circle behind the Zephyr Breeze.

“Cease your assault and we will be lenient,” Ahlissa speaks into the device.

“You will comply with our wishes, Captain,” the enemy responds. “Surrender your vessel to us.”

“We have you outgunned. I have only delivered a warning. Stand down.”

“Never! We will crush your vessel.”

Ahlissa commands that the cannons be reloaded and orders the crew to turn hard to starboard to follow the lead enemy vessel. She informs Aidan “the Zephyr Breeze has a tighter turning circle so we will catch them and outmanouvre them easily.”

The second vessel, also burning from several fires below deck, crosses overhead and there is a cry of alarm from the crew as several ropes with grapples are fired downwards, some striking onto the Zpehyr Breezes' deck.

“Things are going to get a bit rough,” Ahlissa says. “Stay on guard. Prepare to repel boarders.”

Jillian says to Aidan “Just lay back and we'll see what happens.”

Aidan says “No, I am feeling much better now … quite invigorated.” He stands to help repel the boarding parties.

The Zephyr Breeze turns swiftly inside the arc of the first vessel and comes up alongside, firing a port salvo into the stricken ship, smashing it from the other side and decimating the structure that was left inside, sending it downward out of sight into the swriling storm.

There are three groups of humanoids dropping down, sliding down the grappled ropes and onto the deck. The group confronting Aidan and Jillian consists of a rather large half-orc with an eye patch and a mean looking battle axe accompanied by three goblins wielding vicious scimitars. Jillian has shifted from wearing adventuring clothes into elven battle armour and has manifested two energy-based scimitars from her bare hands to join the fray alongside Aidan.

Aidan lunges at the half orc while Jillian attacks the goblins. He strikes solidly, causing 18hp and making it howl. It retaliates with a sweep of its battle axe and looks enraged. It swings wildly and the blade swishes overhead. Aidan strikes back doing a further 17hp as he cuts its side through its leather armour. It swings again, this time striking Aidan's leg for 14hp. Howling with triumph in its eyes, it takes advantage of Aidan's momentary stumble and swings down but misses and breaks the wooden deck beside him. Aidan swings upward and pierces his blade through the creature's stomach, causing it fall forwards on top of him, bleeding heavilly. Aidan rolls it aside and leaps to his feet seeing Jillian is now only confronted by one remaining goblin and he assists. Running forward he swings and catch the goblin across its left shoulder, it shrieks and jumps backward swinging wildly but misses. Annoyed, it tries a more measured approach but fails miserably to connect with any exposed skin. Aidan hits the witless goblin soldly and it dies on the end of his blade.

Looking around, Aidan and Jillian see the other two boarding parties (which were larger) have been killed and the second enemy vessel has moved to a position 50' away, just on the edge of visibility. The fires on board are extinguished and the Zephyr Breeze is climbing and circling around to confront it head on.

At that moment, there is a volley of fireballs launched by the enemy vessel at the deck and bridge of the Zephyr Breeze. Aidan and Jillian dive for cover REFLEX 25 and the incoming firestorm bursts and explodes all around them, partially stopped by the airships shields. 14 hp.

At the same time, a dark swirling cloud of what appears to be small flying shadowy creatures erupts from iside the enemy vessel and connects into the side of the Zephyr Breeze.

“Enemy onboard … some kind of shadow gremlins,” a warning shouts as Ahlissa commands crew to clear enemy out from below decks. “They are using magic against us … prepare to fire forward cannons,” Ahlissa commands and a devastating salvo is launched, ripping the second vessel into pieces.

Aidan and Jillian see it fall from the sky and disappear into the storm that surround them.

“Lets go back inside and see if we can help below decks,” Jillan says to Aidan.
Aidan goes with her.

There is panic in the corridor leading to the quarters where Aidan and Jillian are accomodated. They see the small winged creatures swarming over two groups of crew who are trying to stab and slash at them.

Jillian and Aidan separate to assist the groups of defenders. Aidan casts Gust of Wind down his side of corridor with the enhancments (extend, quicken) and the swarm of small creatures is pushed back violently and they smash into the walls and fixtures, leaving the crew unscathed. The few few winged creatures that do not die from the impoact instantly are left stunned and easily eradicated by the crew. As they die, the creatures dissipate which Aidan recognises is summoning.

Jillian is assisting the others and Aidan repeats his spell in the opposite direction after shouting out a warning to take cover or hold on to something. The same effect results and the threat is eliminated.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief as general quarters is sounded and damage assessments are conducted. Aidan assists with healing and Jillian administers healing salves and potions also.

Afterward they return to the command deck where Ahillsa greets them warmly and smiles. “That was a bit of fun, wasn't it? We barely entered the region and were made to feel so much at home. I guess we won't be seeing Captain Cortesh any time soon, but I do wonder what else is waiting for us. I have consulted the few charts we have and believe we can navigate a course away from the fortress Marduk Dar and gain entry to the Labyrinth a bit further away. It will only an extra copule of days to avoid the fortress but I think I would be wise. The impact of the ballistae missles caused some minor damage to the hull, but that is easily repaired. I am informed that Athovar – the representative from Shae Mordai is unharmed. Tell me Aidan, how are you feeling? That was your first taste of real combat for quite some time ...”

“The last effect of the pain empowered me somewhat and enabled me to realise there are spells I can cast that I had not been able to do so before.”

“Then that is good indeed … Aidan Half-Elven, the Warrior-Scholar,” she muses. “Seriously, you did help us turn the tide against the boarding party. That half orc looks like quite a horrible piece of scum. You did well to bring him down and my crew were impressed at your magic against the summoned creatures. I think we have all earnt some rest now. I am taking the airship down to a rock formation that we have sighted below and we'll weather out the storm.”
avatar
Admin
Admin

Posts : 112
Join date : 2008-04-04

View user profile http://ucav.darkbb.com

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum