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From the Journal of Cenfic Aethelm, Battle Sage

rand_al__thor_the_dragon_reborn_by_reddera-d3fo33eA whole season it has been, the caravan from Krakmoor took what seemed like ages to get to this place – for away from anything that resembled civilisation. In this seeming unclaimed corner of the Kingdom we entered the great ruins of the ancient people, the Daedenic people were ancient, and their ruins contained evidence of powerful magics and great battles.

This place was no exception. The battle fought here was deadly, brutal and bloody. And history seemed to want to repeat itself I thought.

Alvor was looking over a lectern in the heart of this complex, when screams and shouts echoed from other corridors and from above. Our group, consisted of Tumut – a Battle Sage, senior, Gernolf, Asrath, together with Countryboy and Eel (a city boy), as well as the mercenaries from the Blades of Hypher as well as five experienced guards. The group also had Kessler Varn, a Kinetic Wizard on contract to Tumut and his maid, Mynovay.

My reverie was cut short as the battle grew closer. Suddenly the gem – a diamond like crystal within the lectern – sprung to life firing sparks into the chamber like room comprised wholly of platinum.

Four beings… creatures appeared… Alvor gasped. “It works!” I looked back as Thyrissa, leader of the Blades, came through the door with Mkaine dragging one of their wounded. IT was of no uses as an ork shattered his body and they were pushed back. She cried out, Zarsh!

I cursed our luck, the Outsiders were mostly human – a short one, with wings no less. Another knightly looking man, one that looked half tiger of sorts – the other was the worst. A blue-purple like worm who radiated heat.

I wrote it off a summoned creature and turned to aid my comrades, hoping that the force-effect would hold the new comers at bay.

Suddenly Alvor cursed out too, and opened the door that Thrissa had tried to pin close. The ork and the Zarsh were upon us and the battle ensued. My Hound of War was dispelled – “The Black” I cried out as the force cage seemed to fail and the Outsiders joined the fray.

Praise be the Rose – they fought alongside us for now.

The tiger-man rushed forward, the short-winged man flew passed Alvor and myself, using a magic wand he healed Theyrissa. On our side. Good I thought. I would not want to battle the serpent beast as well.

The fight was blood. Again my hound was dismissed by The Black. Three are my ancestral warriors seemed to at least annoy him. A few arrows found their mark against the Zarsh, and the Bane imbuement of Saint Remus seemed to help.

We were winning, the worm, great as it was, was able to wound the Zarsh well. The four armed monstrosity, only the second I had ever encountered, wielded two huge blades, hacking and chopping at the worm, at the tiger-man and also at Thyrissa. Again, the short one used his wand to heal. Useful this was.

The knight stepped forward, swapping places with Thyrissa at her request and lunged into the beast with his pole arm, cutting it down – its army rattling and clanking the sound of its defeat to all.

I bellowed out the victory as the battle continued. Suddenly, the Zarsh rose again! The Black had somehow sacrificed its minion, its ork bodyguard, to return this monster to life and once again we were fighting for our very lives.

The beast lashed out at the knight, almost crippling him one blow. The other four… yes four… smashed into the worm and the Tiger man who had tried to grapple with it – and surprisingly had held it down for a moment before a spell enabled it to free itself.

My Bane against Giants failed this time, and I turned to use Flaming Burst Arrows of the warrior Gulthor Fierce – renowned in ancient times for using fire in the midst of large scale battles….

The first arrow struck true and the second dropped the beast – I failed to cheer this time, but breathed a sigh of relief. I escaped this battle unwounded.

We sealed up the door again, checking on wounds. Alvor said he may be able to get us back to Krakmoor if he could just figure…

A knock at the door, Kessler had returned – had vanquished much of the orks above and claimed to have taken three Zarsh and The Black as well. His power was truly magnificent.

Kessler and some of the strangers went above to search for Tutum. They returned empty handed. Alvor was still busy with the magic-gate.

Only now did we have time to talk to the Outsiders.

Theran – the tiger man (a lycanthrope Alvor said)

Aranel – an attractive lass – but a shifter – with incredible powers over her own true form – what they may be though I do not know? Is she the lass I see or is she one of the beasts she can become?

Teliesen – the winged little man, a healer and nature priest or druid I would assume as he called forth a crocodile to aide us in battle.

Rygar – the only real human, but not of this land. A knight by the looks of it, and in his land, a knighted knight – Sir Rygar.

Kessler went back above while the Blades moved what supplies remained inside. We were to camp here this night and by chance or the grace of The Rose, we would have a quick exit back to Krakmoor.

The stranger accused Kessler of lying – saying they had found Tumut’s body but Kessler said he could not. Who to believe? The Kinetic Mage who had travelled with us for some three months or the Outsider Tiger Lycanthrope – probably in their nature to lay distrust, and aptly at the most powerful of our force. Hmm. I warned Theran not to challenge him.

Just as soon as we closed the door again, came a knocking. Eel and Countryboy had found their way back, alive.

We slept. Taking guard shifts as was needed.

The next day, we found the Kessler had left – and the bliksim had taken the Gem! Alvor cried like a child who had been whipped for the first time, and we had no choice but to break camp and head out.

Seemed the Outsider spoke true, for outside, a large trench had been dug by Kessler’s power and the minced, torn, shredded remains of ALL the dead were there. Gernulf, Asrath too. And Tutum. Loosing him will be a big blow to the Society and my credibility as a Protectorate – the rank I am too ascend too.

We left, heading down the mountains and into the woods – tall trees, hundreds of years old, stretched their limbs into the blue sky lit up by a single sun – The Outsiders mentioned three suns in their world? But, at the least the trees are recognizable they said and Teliesen seemed please to be in natural surroundings once more.

The next day, a few hours before dawn, we awoke to screams – Tehran’s tent had been yanked up into the sky as the suns rays began to peek over the eastern horizon. It was Kessler – no doubt about it.

We watched in paralytic stupor – unable to do anything to save him. I turned to Aranel – if you can fly?

She was already on it and the comely lasses smooth skinned body suddenly grew feathers, the red of her robe vanishing unto the new form – perhaps it was the robe I thought to myself – as she took the skies as some reptilian-bird like creature. She caught Theran in mid air, some three hundred feet above us… and a battle ensued.

Kessler was up their but invisible it seamed. I could not take a shot – even the thought of striking Theran with a purging arrow… but it was now too late.

The battle lasted a minute… maybe two… as, eventually, the bird… Aranel.. surrendered victory. Kessler had destroyed the map – the ‘evidence’ of his betrayal perhaps?

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