Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Potions



Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC
Blood poured freely from a crack in the skull of the defeated cleric. Cherry ran over and kicked the fallen foe in the groin as Gharad cut off the cleric’s head with a single swing. The blow echoed through the chamber.
 Chai shook his head as the burn form the medallion ceased. He raised the offending object and stared at it for a moment. Engraved into the medallion was the holy symbol of Morgion; a hood with two red eyes. The red eyes sparked at Chai, and for a moment he felt as if the eyes were staring directly into his soul. As the moment passed Chai again shook his head before tossing the medallion next to the kender and sat up.
Cherry smiled and picked it up, secreting it away inside of one of her many bags.
“I take it he is dead,” Chai said as he stood up. He took a scan of the room. “What did he want here? I see no alter.”
            “Could be something in these crates,” Cherry offered. One portion of the room did indeed hold a series of crates. Chai could tell by the lack of dust or mold growth that they were the newest edition to the room. The kender was already poking and prodding at them attempting to get them open. Odren stood beside her and Chai could swear the dwarf was mumbling some nonsense about crate demons.  Between the two diminutive humanoids opened the top of the crate causing the lid to fall tot eh ground with a clatter.
            “Silently fools,” Chai hissed while he And Gharad watched the kender and dwarf, “we have no way of knowing what creatures could still be lurking.”
              Odren spun toward the door. Paranoia and suspicion burned in his eyes. Cherry merely nodded as she pulled a bottle from the. The kender turned the bottle over in her hands and examined from end to end, only stopping to focus on a symbol etched into its side. With her thumb she popped the cork on the top.
            “Excellent,” Chai whispered to Gharad, “we will find out what that potion does and we won’t have to force either of them to drink it.”
            Gharad nodded.
            The scent of the potion within the bottle reached Chai faster than he would have thought. It was both bitter and sweet.  It was a smell vaguely familiar to the cleric of Chemosh, though he could not place it. 
            Cherry placed the bottle to her mouth and sipped it and fell to her knees.
Odren spun around once more, this time facing Cherry. “What is it lass? DO the demons have you? Where are the demons? Can you see them?”
            “I don’t know,” she sputtered, “it was a warmth a warmth in the pit of my stomach. IT spread fast and now…” Cherry tapered off as her ability to speak was lost in a bout of coughing. The coughing turned to vomiting as a red poured from her mouth and out of her nose.
            A red paste that Chai noticed looked very similar to the dust and the wall mold.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Disease and Blades



Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC
Surprised the cleric of Morgion turned to face the intruders. "What are you doing here? You should not be here! Guards!"
“Well we are here so there! What’s going on?” Cherry chirped from behind Chai, “I can’t see!”
Chai ignored the kender. "Your guards have abandoned you."
Chai could see the face of the cleric tighter.
"Then Gildentongue will deal with them,” the cleric of Morgion snapped, “I have no time for you. Be gone from here.".
Chai stepped closer. "Be silent, unless I ask a question. Tell me, I heard the dragonarmies lost Tarsis and that you are the leader of the remnants of that force. What happened?"
“Me the leader?" The cleric of disease laughed.
            "So the hobgoblins were just as stupid as I believed," Chai snarled.
"They all worked for Gildentongue,” the rival cleric began to pace in the back of the chamber, “I had need of their services."
"Who's that?" Chai asked
Chai could see the rival cleric clutch at something inside of his tattered robe.
"He is the one who took over the Red Dragonarmy forces left in the Plains after their Queen failed them.”
“This guy he is boring!” Cherry said through stifled yawn.
“Or was it the Armies that failed the Queen,” Gharad mumbled.
Chai could sense the impatience of his companions behind him.
            “I offered the Draconian a new patron god, in exchange for his help,” The cleric of Morgion explained.
            Chai could hear the sound of steel being drawn. Seems Gharad is pushing things forward, Chai thought to himself. But I must know more! “You offered them the God of Disease?”
"Yes, The Black Wind. He offers salvation through suffering."
“Salvation?” Chai spat. “You mean lies. Your soul will serve the Lord of Death as will any other."
"You will not speak such Blasphemy in the House of My Lord!" The Cleric of Morgion grabbed  a hold of his medallion of faith. You will leave this place now, or you will face his wrath. This is not a place for the likes of you or your pet kender!"
"PET!!" Cherry screamed. "I am no one’s pet, these fine people are my best friends! And your potions are yuk!"
Chai grabbed onto Cherry’s color as she tried to run past him. He could see a stain of red and orange around her mouth. He would have to worry about that later. Chain looked his rival cleric in the eye. "Blasphemy? I am only giving you a warning for what awaits you."
The cleric of Morgion frowned. "My potions," he chuckles, "I suppose they are mine. Try them when I am through with them. They will taste so much better. As for what awaits me. All that awaits me is embrace of my lord as I serve him. And soon so many more will serve him. Very soon.”
"Let us give him the 'salvation' he so seeks," Chai shouted back to Gharard and the strangely silent Odren.
Cherry giggled and stuck her tongue out at the rival cleric. "You smell!"
Chai looked over at his kender companion. The immature insult was only the beginning. The kender taunt had begun and the insult would grow worse.
“You know,” She continued, “If you bottled your stench you could sell it to gully dwarves as perfume!”
Gharad pushed his way past Chai and the kender and charged forward. His blade hit hard into the ground as the cleric of Morgion side stepped the dark warrior’s blade and met the blow with his shield. The cleric of Morgion clenched his teeth as his arms began to shake from a series of blows from Gharad.
“Chemosh,” Chai prayed, “send me a servant to do thy bidding.”  The air behind the cleric of disease whirled and warped as the smell of rank decay overwhelmed the odor of mildew and stagnation in the room. From the center of the disturbance a skeletal owlbear stepped forth. Chai pointed to his rival cleric and smiled. If all went as planned this fight was over. He was wrong.
The owlbear raised its beak in a silent roar as it attempted to dig tis claws and bit into its opponent from behind. The cleric of disease crouched low and spun around to face his newest enemy. The owlbear’s lunged at the cleric only to stub its toe and struggle to maintain its balance.
“A grow tired of this,” the rival cleric shouted as he dropped a vial and darkness filled the room. The cleric began to chant. “Disease breeds fear. Fear is power. Spread disease and reap the terrible reward.”
“Ack!” Cherry cried, “I can’t seem him but I can smell him! Or is that the bone thing?”
“I’m going to keep singing!” Gharad shouted back as he his blade met only empty air.
“Chemosh aid you follower,” Chai continued his own prayers.
‘Vile bone cleric!” The cleric of Morgion shouted. Chai could hear the blood pooling in his rival’s mouth from the spell he cast.
The owlbear honed in on its target and raked its claws across the cleric’s chest.  With a clatter the cleric’s medallion fell to the ground. Cursing again the cleric pulled a glowing mace from a thong on his belt. Through the intermittent darkness and roiling shadows Chai could see the glow of enchantment on the weapon. The rival cleric swung hard at the only enemy able to land a blow on his person and draw blood.  Despite its ponderous size the cleric missed. “Morgion take you all!”
“I can help!” Cherry shouted as she pulled a sling and a stone bullet form her many bags. With a grace only a kender can possess she loaded two stones into her sling and flung them hard into the darkness.
“Nuisance kender!” The cleric of disease creamed as blood squirted from his now flattened nose.
Gharad listened carefully to his enemies movement, no longer relying on his sight amidst the fluid darkness. Lunging forward with his blade and scoring a blow on the cleric’s side.  Chai backed away from the battle. Pushing his foot and around and probing for his enemy’s lost medallion.
Chai could feel his foot reach poke through something familiar, a rib cage of some sort of humanoid. He ignored the skeleton and was rewarded as he heard the metal the metal of the medallion and could feel it through his soft boot. Chai reached down and grabbed the medallion only to find himself on his back on the floor. The medallion slowly burned his hand as he held on even tighter.
            Chai could hear as his undead owlbear continued its onslaught. The smell of copper and the swearing of the cleric filled the chamber. Chai struggled to his feet as he felt the owlbear vanish. The spell had run its course.
            The supernatural darkness evaporated and Chai could see his bloodied and weakened foe.  Chai wondered why the darkness had left, and his rival answered the unspoken thought as the cleric of Morgion swung hard at a dumb founded Gharad.  The cleric’s arm hand extended too much, and lost all its power, glancing sideways off of the Neraka warrior’s armor.
            “Now I can see him!” Cherry giggled as she slung two stones at her foe.
            “Aye lass, me too.” Odren agreed sending a crossbow bolt to follow her stones. The projectiles proved useless as the cleric smiled and stepped left. Gharad smiled wider as his blade moved to meet the side stepping cleric.
            “Abyss damned blade!” Gharad cursed as the weapon slipped from his grasp and landed hard into a nearby wooden crate. Chai tried to laugh at the sheer lunacy of it all but his hand burned too badly. He would not let the cleric have it back. He would lose his hand first. The cleric once more side stepped Gharad. 
            Chai’s eyes began to water, but through his tears he could see his enemy stand over him.
            “Give it back to me!” The cleric screamed as he smashed his mace into Chai’s hand. Chai could feel bones break but still he held on as the blood that leaked from his boiled as it touched the medallion.
            “Face me!” Gharad roared as he retrieved his weapon and charged. The blade struck true, slicing deep into his enemy.
The cleric of Morgion wheezed as blood gushed from various gashes and wounds. His nose is a disgusting mockery of what it had once been. The cleric stared hard at Chai and then at Gharad. "If you let me go of my medallion, I will not kill your friend."
Chai tried to squirm only to feel his muscles refuse to listen to his internal pleas.
Gharad snorted. "Even if you kill him he will just go to his god and be pleased surrender cleric or I will strike you down!"
The cleric of Morgion laughed to the point of tears. "As long as he holds the medallion of my faith he belongs to my god. If he dies he will spend an eternity at the beck and call of the Black Wind." The cleric raised his mace to strike Chai. "Choose quickly Warrior."
“Leave grumpy alone!” Cherry cried out in her shrill voice.
The cleric turned his head at the sudden high pitched scream. Cherry’s scream had been well timed as had been the stone she had thrown at the cleric. The small projectile landed between the cleric’s eyes.  Chai could see his would be executioner’s eyes roll into the back of his skull and fall backwards.
The Cleric of Morgion Falls


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Morgion



Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC

“Withdraw to the lift!” Chai snapped as he viewed the grotesque and diseased faces of the towering creatures.
“Won’t work!” Gharad yelled back, ‘They’d just cut us down as I tried to pull the chain on the lift!”
“Then we fight.” Chai grabbed a hold of his bronze medallion of faith with his right hand and pointed his left hand at the diseased Hobgoblin. “Chemosh, strike the unfaithful with cold and darkness! Chai could feel as his medallion gave off waves of dark energy and a bolt of cold and evil shot forth from his hand.
The axe wielding hobgoblin shuddered as the cold froze him to the bone. The black and yellow pustules on its face froze and cracked as the monster fell over dead.
Chai blinked in surprise. He knew the power in that spell had wavered. It did not strike the creature that hard.  
From behind the cleric a crossbow bolt went wild as Odren tried to take down the second diseased hobgoblin.
“Watch your weapon dwarf!” Chai shouted over his shoulder.
“Cannot let them tell the demons we are here!” Odren shouted back as he tried to load another bolt only to drop the weapon and then his bolt case. “Blasted luck! Demons have cursed my luck!”
Chai shook his head as he kept most of his attention of the slowly approaching second hobgoblin. The creature was in an even sorrier state then his now dead companion. Its face was covered with pustule and sores and its face was swollen to near twice its normal size. Weeping wounds soaked through its clothing. Chai was unsure how the creature could see, or even breathe without being in constant agony. 
“Keep your distance Gharad,” Chai warned as he waved the warrior back. “There is no telling how contagious these things are.” Gharad turned pale and stepped closer to the cleric.
The remaining hobgoblin was either unaware of his companion's death or he didn't care. It pulled out large two handed axe and continued its slow advance on the trio. One of its steps crushed the fallen hobgoblin’s head into a mass of black yellow puss, red blood, and grey brain matter.  
Chai grimaced again. The disease was worse than he had at first suspected. Even the weight of the hobgoblin should not have been able to do that. The cleric prayed as the foul stench of the hobgoblin began to overwhelm his senses. Chai had encountered Hobgoblins before in his homeland of Neraka. They were not always the most pleasant smelling. Chai new the smell of death and was comfortable with it. This was not the smell of death. This was the smell of creature diseased down to its very soul and living even as it rotted. It smelled of a creature being denied both life and death. It smelled of misery. 
The hobgoblin raised its axe and swung wide; it never had a hope of hitting Chai.
            “Lord of Bones,” Chai once more prayed, “Sap what life remains in this creature.” Chai completed his prayer and dared to touch the diseased wretch. The cleric could feel the negative energy pulse through his hand as it made contact with the hobgoblin’s arm.
Cuts and bruises open up all over the hobgoblin’s diseased body. One particularly nasty gash opened across its throat as it fell to the floor. With a silent prayer Chai watched the creature fall, thanking Chemosh for the powers he has given, and asking him to take the two souls, worthless as they are.
 “Huh, that’s interesting,” Gharad said as he poked one of the bodies.
Chai looked over at his companion, “what? You are interrupting me.”
“The disease, it’s gone.” Gharad pointed to the body he was poking with his sword.
“Leave them, we have more important things to do,” Chai replied.
“But what if it is a demon’s plague?” Odren asked as he crept closer.
“Stay if you wish,” Chai replied. The dwarf and the warrior shrugged in response and followed the dark cleric to the end of the hall.
“Looks like the north side is ruined,” Odren spat. His ragged shirt and borrowed Red Dragonarmy uniform dragged on the ground.
“Then we take the south,” Chai replied. Chant moved closer to the southern end of the hall and the wooden door that awaited them. Gharad reached out pulled the cleric back.
“What?” Chai hissed.
Gharad pointed to his ears. The companions stopped moving and Chai smiled. His gaunt face pulled back in the semblance of a skull.
“Chanting,” Chai answered Gharad and Odren’s questioning looks.
“Demons don’t chant,” Odren said, “But that don’t sound like Common.
“It isn’t,” Chai replied, “it is Nerakan. And this cleric is calling on Morgion.”
Gharad reached for the handle of the door, trying to grab it tight as a puff of dust exploded into his face. Gharad scrambled backward and grasped for his waterskin and chugged down water as though his throat were on fire.
“Quiet fool!” Chai spat back at the dark warrior. “The cleric is sanctifying the room. He is turning it into a temple of Morgion and he has just reached the end.” Chai checked the cloth over his face again and grab the handle of the door. The ancient wooden door opened easily as strange orange dust coated the face and scarf of the cleric.  He could spy his final foe. A cleric of Morgion in the traditional vestments: unkempt, torn robes of brown, a loose ļ¬tting smock, and an iron medallion of faith.
            “So what you doing?” A tiny voice popped into Chai’s ear. The cleric wheeled around to attack its owner with his ritual knife and stopped as he was greeted by familiar yet unwanted face. Cherry the kender had returned. Chai regained is composure and placed a finger to his covered lips before pointing her over to Gharad. Gharad nodded at the unspoken command. Keep the Kender quiet.
Cherry giggled then patted the cleric on the back.
“One day either I will kill you or you will kill me,” Chai said to himself before refocusing on his would soon be his new foe.
Chai opened the door wide and stepped inside. "So, you are the leader of the hobgoblins upstairs?"

Taste of things to come

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Disease




Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC

            The cleric shook his head at the crazed dwarf and crept to a nearby corner. He peeked around the corner, holding his hand up. Gharad nodded and grabbed the dwarf’s shoulder. The cleric’s caution was rewarded as he spied two more hobgoblins harvesting mold from the walls. They had either not heard the fellows or they didn’t care. Chai held up two fingers for Gharad. Gharad once again nodded and with his free hand loosed his blade in its scabbard.

Gharad silently joined the cleric, a firm look from the two humans seemed to encourage Odren to stay silent and for that Chai gave a small prayer to Chemosh.

“What is it?” Gharad muttered as soft as the cave and his voice allowed.,

“Two more Hobgoblins,” Chai answered, “For some reason they did not leave with the others.”

“Perhaps we can encourage them like the others,” Gharad replied. Odren stuck his head around and looked as if he were about to say something but changed his mind with another withering glance form Chai.

Chai nodded at Gharad. “I shall at least try. Though it is kind of odd they didn’t hear us.”

Chai squeezed his medallion of faith and stepped around the corner.  

“Hobgoblins,” Chai began as he started to walk toward the pair of creatures. It was easy to forget how imposing these creatures could be until you felt yourself being stared down by them. A distant cousin of goblins, hobgoblins seem to excel in being the polar opposite of their kin. Hobgoblins were tall where goblins were short and strong where goblins were weak.

As the pair turned toward the cleric he could see they wore what had become the standard tattered red Dragonarmy uniforms. But these two were different. Their eyes were cloudy and their faces covered in boils many of which had burst open to reveal a black oozing puss.

With tools no longer scraping at the mold on the walls Chai could hear rasping. These creatures were not undead, but stuck in a living torment of disease.
             
The cleric swallowed and once more prayed to Chemosh, thankful he had covered his mouth earlier. The pair stared at the cleric, as if considering his existence and what it meant. Their heavy breathing echoed throughout the hall.

Chai looked each one in the eye, covering the fear he felt deep in the pit of his stomach. Some disease even a cleric cannot cure after a certain point. He cleared his throat to address the pair. "Step aside. I was told of free passage to your master."

The hobgoblins began to wail as they charged the cleric. The first to reach the cleric of Chemosh clumsily swung its great axe only to miss and gouge the stone floor. The second hobgoblin had slowed its charge as it dragged its axe on the floor, making its way to Chai.

“What did you say?” Gharad asked as he stepped around the corner with his blade drawn, Odren following close behind.

“Nothing you didn’t hear,” Chai snapped back as he focused his attention on his medallion of faith.