29
Apr
14

Hârn: Genisis – Entry 23

HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 23
PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 22
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 24

10th of Azura in the year 720 TR

We have traveled west into the mountains for several days. Spar provided us all with strange creatures, like over-sized mountain goats, native to this region. He assured us that horses would find the cold and harsh road difficult, if not fatal, to travel. We procured the remainder of our supplies, included warmer clothes for myself, and set out, choosing to take the main road through Ammon rather than risk cross country travel.

Our travels have been largely quiet, though everyone seams tense, clearly concerned about another attack. During the day, the Voice and the Savage typically become quiet, but with nothing to do to keep my mind distracted they often come back to me, arguing and bickering. Nothing has happened yet, but if it does, I trust the Cleric of Larani will be able to control me. If no one else can, at least he can be trusted to do what is right.

My companions concerns were well justified, however, as we were attacked on our first night. Talon and Marcus were on watch when they spied movement. They got a call out just in time to rouse us before a rain of arrows fell on the camp and several more cloaked assassins appeared out of the night.

It is during these surprise ambushes that even I can admit some appreciation for the Savage. He is violent, merciless and cold, to be sure; but his never-ceasing itch to fight means he is never caught flat footed, even when that means rolling out of a bed roll to avoid an arrow and scooping up our weapons in a single motion.

Playing a character with multiple personalities, including one of a violent, crazed, berserker sets up lots of potentially comedic situations when played straight. Typically when ambushed in the at night, due to my high initiative values, I get to declare that my character immediately leaps to his feat, weapons in hand and ready for action as he charges into the dark woods to slay our attackers, which strikes of a combat heavy, power gaming player move.

This is usually followed by the GM asking if I mean that Scaurus charges into the woods towards the enemy. I reply, yes, if they happen to be in the direction I randomly charged into the woods, which is much more in character and hilarious.

At first, I had difficulty finding the attackers in the dark. My companions scattered into the woods, looking for the attackers; only Mai Lin had the good sense to stay by Spar and ensure no assassins crept past during the fighting. Though I could hear their cries from around the woods, seemingly suggesting that the attackers were everywhere, none presented themselves to me. I only finally came upon one about to stab Marcus from behind.

I threw my sword and was able to impale his leg, warning Marcus of the incoming attack, though it was Mai Lin’s arrow that claimed the kill. Moments later, a deep horn blew from the mountains and the others fled. I came upon Merrick, nursing minor wounds, who confirmed that he encountered, and grievously wounded, the man who fled the attack in the inn a few nights prior. He had made his escape, surely not the last we would see of him.

Spar consulted his book, then suggested we head out immediately, clearly concerned about whatever he had learned. No one seemed to disagree, though I could see the exhaustion and hints of fear in their eyes. Since then, we have traveled all day without rest, barely stopping to eat. If we are lucky, we will reach Ammon late tonight, before the assassins find us once more.

11th of Azura in the year 720 TR

We arrived in Ammon just after midnight, cold, hungry and tired, finding a small inn with plenty of room where we bedded for the night. The morning rose early and crisp, giving us the first peaceful look out over the mountain range since we began the journey. The inn keeper told us the population of the small town consisted largely of retired Knights from the local King’s army, just over the mountain ridge in Damascus.

We spent the day shopping for additional supplies, weapons and armor for the remainder of the journey. Echo insisted we travel a short ways to visit a waterfall after nearly every shop keeper we talked to kept rambling on about it. The followers of Peoni maintained a large church in the town and also watched after the falls and gardens around it as some sort of sacred site.

Upon our return, however, the day quickly turned sour. We were met outside of town by a small band of town guards and retired Knights wearing their old armor and weapons. I smirked under my breath to Echo, suggesting that I would deal with the majority of them if he could handle the two frail, elderly Knights on the end. Retribution from the control rod was swift and brutal, shocking the guards as well as the rest of the party who had not heard my suggestion. Echo seemed satisfied as I stood without saying another word, though I could see the other members of the party, the Shek-Pvar in particular, eyeing him strangely.

They escorted us back to town, then Mai Lin, Falcon, Merrick and myself were separated from the Shek-Pvar and Cleric of Larani for questioning. The lead Knight, Sir Shawn, deemed them not to be probable threats. An assessment I tended to agree with, having seen them fight. The Berserker was ready and urging to carve a bloody path to freedom as we were taken into a confined room with only a handful of guards for questioning. No doubt they would have fallen quickly, but I soothed and repressed his voice, intent on seeing what new opportunities might present themselves.

As the line of questioning progressed, the situation became clear. One of the Knights, a retired General, returned home to find his wife brutally murdered. As the only new comers to the small town, blame was immediately shifted to our crew. The majority of those with us declared their innocence, trying to come up with alibis for the obvious frame-job. I, instead, chose to feed it.

Innocently I fed Sir Shawn information about Echo leaving on his own early in the morning. Only Merrick seemed to realize what I was up to as he cast me a side-long, bemused look as I spun a tail inditing the Cleric indirectly. Sir Shawn seemed shocked but left from the room to question the others. He returned, suggesting that the others had fingered Merrick and I as likely suspects, though the others quickly provided alibis and claimed to be with us at the time of the murder, unintentionally shifting blame back onto the Cleric of Larani and the Shek-Pvar. The game was amusing, though I had no real hope that it would stick.

Getting to play the chaotic character with questionable motives once in awhile is a lot of fun and produced a lot of amusement at the table as I repeatedly insisted that Echo was likely the murder. More players got to partake in the interrogation as they were suddenly drug into the investigation as I added more and more casual details incriminating them as complicit in the crime.

After several rounds of questioning, Falcon seemed to get an inkling that something was not right. Calling upon his divine powers, such as the powers of Siem can be called, he managed to disrupt an illusion around Sir Shawn, revealing him to be one of the black robed assassins we had faced before. I couldn’t help but clap my hands and laugh as the truth of the murder and our framing became clear, though I doubt anyone heard me over the scuffle as the assassin murdered one of the guards and fled for the door. I wandered out after the others while the Knights and guards held everyone at sword point, watching the cloaked man flee. It seemed almost strange to see the assassin operating in day light.

Echo’s command rose over the yelling and confusion, ordering me to stop the man, alive unfortunately, despite the spear pointed at my chest. I easily slipped the old man’s weapon point, toppling him over a wooden bench and was off. I held no fear that the old men behind me would catch up, though my quarry was a bit more sprightly.

Quickly, though, I caught up, drawing my short sword and slashing his legs as he attempted to flee. He crashed to the cobblestone road in a flurry of robes and I seized upon him. Talon arrived at the same moment and fell upon him, surprisingly quick for the Shek-Pvar, and we drug the man back to the guard house for questioning.

The questions proved to be short lived, as the assassin taunted us, promising that “He” was coming for the book. The rider who would bring his forces down upon and destroy this city. A towering and ferocious warrior. The rider known as Conquest.

His words were no doubt threatening to all, but particularly chilling to my ears, even as blood began to drain from his eyes and nose as he died from some self administered poison or spell. For the last few weeks my dreams have been visited by the silhouette of a great, powerful warrior, the Great One who has urged me towards the mountains. Now this warrior rides on the town, the manifestation of my dreams. This town is well and truly doomed, as are we if the Great One has determined that we are his enemy to be slain for his glory.

Spar’s face was drained of blood as he whispered of Conquest, one of four great followers and legendary Generals of Lord Cowlin’s army. Though the story of Lord Cowlin was often believed to be legend on Hârn, the others seemed to already know it was true and, despite his banishment thousands of years ago, Spar was suggesting his army and his Generals still walked the world toward whatever purpose.

Cowlin was an ancient warlord banished to Genisis ages ago, whose spirit the others of the party have encountered once already in the past.

Indeed, this must be the Great One from my dreams. The great horn from the other night sounded ominously over the mountains as the sun fell to the west, signaling his imminent arrival.

The Great One comes to destroy us all.

PREVIOUS: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 22
NEXT: HÂRN: GENISIS – ENTRY 24
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