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Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I
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Falotar



Joined: 22 Jan 2001
Posts: 2579
Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:46 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

PART I: WHEN MINISTERS ADVISE
CHAPTER ONE: THE QUESTORS
Tauridus disarmed the recruit for the fifth time in their daily training session. Jason looked ruefully at his fallen sword where it had landed.
"Guess I'm no good with a blade. Should have become an Adept, I used to be good with a staff."
"You? An Adept? You're too fat!" Tauridus playfully poked the trainee's paunch with his hilt before sheathing the sword. "Besides, you're not bad."
"No?"
"Not at all. Someday you'll probably be Guildmaster."
"Not while you're alive. You're the best Warrior in the City."
"Really."
"Yes really. Everybody says-"
But Tauridus was no longer listening. He was looking out the window that overlooked Sanctum Street. There he could see a Monk with what looked what a month of supplies strapped to his back. Above this he had a bedroll, and tied precariously to the top of his head was a small square of canvas. Walking next to him was a Paladin. Strapped to her back was a broadsword. The blade was hidden inside an intricately tooled scabbard, but the hilt was beautiful. She, too, carried a bedroll across her shoulders.
Tauridus had moved to stand by the window. The pair passed directly underneath, and the oddly adorned Monk looked up and winked at him.
Jason broke off his talking. "Sir, what are you looking at?"
"What? Oh, just a couple of travelers. Jason, would you mind bringing Asthanus to me?"
Jason nodded and left the room. Tauridus heard his footsteps going down the corridor which led to the Assembly Hall. Shortly after steel could be heard ringing against stone. A loud boom sounded on the door. "Tauridus, you in there?"
"Yes, come in, Asthanus."
Asthanus was one giant of a man. He was the strongest member of the guild, once having beaten a Warrior of Discord in a wrestling match. He had a mind to match his body, frequently spending his time at the Great Library. Hence his nickname "the Scholar." Asthanus also never took off his armor.
"What is it you want, Guildmaster?"
"I'm going off on a trip. Can't say when I'll be back, and I want you to take over the Guild while I'm gone."
"Aw, you're too old for adventures. Stay here."
"If I stay here, I'll retire permanantly, and leave you stuck with the Guild anyway."
"Trickster," said Asthanus, smiling. "Well, I suppose you'll have your way."
"Glad you agree. Write out a notice to the King of my absence."

Anyone observing the entrance to the Mayhew Warrior Guild would see a Warrior, dressed in battered steel armour, carrying a blue and white shield in his left hand. In his right hand he carried a pack of food and a strap attached to a bedroll, both of which were slung over his shoulder. An old longsword could be seen hanging bare from his belt. He was walking briskly down Sanctum Street, which the same observer might have seen a Paladin and Monk walk down earlier.

Kliven, called the Calm One by his brethren, nudged his companion. "See there, an Inn," he whispered. "Why not have a drink for the road?" The cold expression on his companion's face melted somewhat, and she smiled.
"You love your wine, do you not?" she whispered back.
"No more than the next man."
"And no less."
Kliven simply smiled.

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 18 February 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 24 June 2001).]
 
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Falotar



Joined: 22 Jan 2001
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Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2001 5:51 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

Tauridus saw the two just as they were entering The Jolly Mug. Thamking the gods, he strode into the tavern.

Fat Hajens, the proprietor of The Jolly Mug, had seen many a strange customer. But never had he seen anything to compare with the Monk whom he had just served. The Monk seemed to be waering canvas tied to his hat. Nevertheless, the gold that his Paladin companion had produced was sound, and what else mattered?
The door opened and in strode a familiar figure. "Why, it's Sir Tauridus!" he cried, handing the tray of mugs he was carrying to a passing barmaid. Tauridus gestured to Hajens to come closer.
"What brings you here?" asked the innkeeper.
"Have you seen a Monk and Paladin?"
"Why, what's the hurry? Have an appointment?"
"Not exactly."
"Friends of yours?"
"Not yet."
"Well, do you mean the Monk with the funny headgear?"
"Most likely."
Hajens sighed in exasperation. "Can't you make a straight statement? I put them over there. At that table in the corner. Paladin insisted that it be out-of-the-way."
"That's the pair."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 07 March 2001).]
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 1:34 am    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

"Mind if I join you?"
Divinia looked up, surprised.
"Who are you?"
"Tauridus the Guildmaster of the Mayhew Warrior Guild." He bowed and added,"At your service."
"Why would we require your services?"
Kliven raised his hand. With his other he pulled out a chair and gestured Tauridus to sit down.
Tauridus nooded thankfully to him. "Thank you, Brother."
"I had asked you a question."
Tauridus looked at her, studying. Her helmet hid her hair. Her eyes where dark. She did not look beautiful, nor was her voice exceptional. Her expression bore the look of a guard dealing with an hysteric peasant, and underneath it a look of noble duty. These two expressions, he had noted, were common to most Paladins.
"Well, Sir Tauridus?"
"Sorry. I was just 'measuring you up', as it were."
"To what end?"
"Lady, I could not held noticing you and your friends gear. I take it you are on a journey?"
"And if we are?"
"I should like very much to come with you."
Abruptly she asked,"How do I know you are the Guildmaster? You look as though you have just been worsted in a tournament."
Tauridus chuckled."Lady, this old armor has stood me through many adventures, and hopefully will stand me through many more.
"I see. So, you reason we are on a quest, and decide to come with us. Your 'services' might be quite useful. Still, this is not your quest. Kliven, tell me what you think."
Kliven nodded.
"Very well. Kliven has remarkably good judgement."
"Now, Lady, as we are agreed on that, who are you? I like to know the names of my traveling companions."
"The Monk, as you have heard, is called Kliven, the Calm One. I am Divinia of the Swift Blade."
"Speaking of blades, what is that sword you carry?"
Divinia sighed. Reaching around behind her, she drew out the sword. Tauridus drew in his breath. The sword was more wonderful then he had imagined!
"I will have to tell you, as it concerns our quest. This is one of the fabled Blades of Ataros."
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2001 12:00 am    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

CHAPTER TWO: THE LEGEND AND THE QUEST
"One of them? I thought there was only one!"
Divinia shook her head. "There are two. This," she tapped the sword, "was the lesser of the two."
"You are right; you must explain."
She nodded."Yes." She drew in her breath, and began...

"Long ago, when Mayhew was only a far vision in the future of Ardania, the God Dauros blessed a Warrior to be His Champion and spread His worship. This Champion was named Ataros. Many a victory did he win, spreading the fame of Dauros. Still, he greww tired of the warrior's way, and took up smithying. The God's blessing was still upon him, he was still the Champion, though he now spent his divine power on forging steel.
His weapons have never been matched since, either by Elf, Dwarf, or Man. His greatest work was the creation of the Blade. Five months he stayed in his forge, and at the end of that periodn he come forth with the Blade. Another he made, to try to match it. But he could not."
Pausing, she said, "It is this second Blade I carry."
Tauridus nodded. "Proceed, my Lady."
"Five other swords he made, these are called the Swords of Ataros. They all are of equal power to themselves, but of less strength than the Blades.
Many years went by. Ataros was still mortal, and he chose an apprentice to carry on the Championship. Generations came and went. Mayhew was founded. Still the Championship lived, and the new religion grew and prospered.
The last Champion was Feras. He it was that moved the High Sanctum here, to Mayhew. Shortly thereafter, a sea monster was reported in the Southern Sea, wrecking ships and preying on coastal villages. Feras swore its destruction. He issued a challenge to all the heroes of the land. Five responded.
To these five he gave the Swords of Ataros, he himself taking the Greater Blade. The Lesser Blade he left behind, saying,"If any mishap should befall us, then at least the world will still have one Blade."
He and the others went to Valmorgen, where they hired a ship. They left the port, and they were never seen again."
"And the sea monster?" asked Tauridus with interest.
"It also vanished."
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2001 11:42 am    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

"Well, you've explained the history of the Blade, but not how we fit in." Tauridus leaned back in his chair. "What are we doing, why are doing it, and where are we going?"
Divinia glared at him. "Remember, Sir Tauridus, that I did not plan on your coming, so I do not know where you 'fit in'. I should, after what I have said, think that you would know that we" her icy tone chilled Tauridus "are questing after the Blade of Ataros."
Tauridus ignored her frosty words, or tried to. "But why you? And why now? It has been missing so long?"
"Then," she sighed her defeat,"I must go back again...

Several months after the departure of Feras, a Monk in the Order of the High Sanctum dreamed of the wrecking of Feras' ship. All he remembered, afterwards, was a voice, saying,'The Blade of the Champion will be recovered by the Champion. She will carry the Blade to find it.'"
Tauridus broke in. "Doesn't make much sense, does it?"
He was silenced by a glare. "The interpretation of the dream was this: Feras had failed, and lost the Blade. Someday the Order of Champions would be restored by Dauros, and the One to find the Blade would be the new Champion. The lesser Blade would be carried by the Chosen One to find the greater. You will notice," she added, "the prophecy says nothing of Warriors."
"Nor of Paladins and Monks."
"The prophecy reads 'she'. That could only be a Paladin."
"Ah. And why you especially?"
"Some years ago, the Incense-Keeper of the High Sanctum also had a vision. He saw me, holding the Blade of Ataros."
"Which one?"
"It did not matter. She who carried the one would find the other. So, I was taken out of the ordinary training and placed in special training.
Last night, the Monk, now promoted to Second Elder of the Sanctum, had a vision of an isle, and the Blade of Ataros foated over it. A voice called 'Come,' and the ELder answered, 'Who?' Then he was shown a company of Questors, myself and he among them."
"I wonder if I was?"
"Undoubtedly, else Kliven would never hae agreed to your coming."
"Then-?"
"Kliven is the Second Elder."
"Well than, this is good company. The Guildmaster, the Second Elder, and the Chosen One, all together searching for the Blade."
He drew his sword and laid it across the table. Divinia laid the Blade across his, and Kliven placed his hand on them.
"Together then," breathed Divinia, and Kliven nodded.

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 07 March 2001).]
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2001 5:49 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

CHAPTER 3: THE QUEST BEGINS
"Hoi, Hajens! My companions and I are setting out for Valmorgen. Any advice for the road?"
Once, Hajens had been a Warrior, serving with Tauridus under Kinador, the former Guildmaster. The two had several adventures together, the last one causing Hajens to retire. He settled down to innkeeping, which he called "a safer, more well-fed line of work." He still took an interest in adventures, and was a wellspring of information on other parts of Ardania.
"You called me, Sir?" said Hajens, bustling over.
Tauridus nodded. "The road to Valmorgen- what's the matter?"
Hajens' fat cheeks lost their ruddy hue. "The- road- to- Valmorgen?"
"Why, what's happened to it?" Tauridus was startled by this change in his friend.
"Oh, nothing really. But- well, rumors, you know; tales. Ghastly tales." His voice sunk, his skin paled still more. "People traveling to Valmorgen, they vanish without a trace! Last year, our own King Ferdin sent a caravan to King Orophen, accompanied by six guards. As you know, it was never seen by any man since. Yesterday, it was, a Ranger came in. He ordered some ale and sat at the bar. Then he began to speak.
'I found the Lost Caravan,' he says.
'Which one?' say I.
He stared at me. 'The Lost Caravan. The Seventh. It was burned. The skeletons of the horses were still pulling it. The guards stil guarded it.'
Then, do you know what happened? He dropped on the floor. A Healer was called, but too late. She said it was poison."
Sir Tauridus frowned. "The only creature I ever heard of using poison was Rrongol the Hunter, but I myself helped to kill him."
Divinia stood up from the table. "Let us not waste time. I am sure that we can slay any monsters we meet. Your story," she glaced at Hajens, "does not trouble me. Caravans are always being wrecked."
Hajens blinked. "Not escorted ones on the main highway. And, Lady, whatever did for the caravan also killed the Ranger."
"What of it?"
"Rangers are hardy folk!"
"Rangers," she said, her voice growing icy, "are cowards and weaklings. They shoot arrows from a distance, and if any real danger draws nigh, they turn and run."
"Wait, Divinia," Tauridus protested. "I've a good mind to recruit a Ranger! If what Hajens says is true, we might need one."
"Begining when has tavern gossip been believable?"
Hajens' face regained its color tenfold. "Lady, I do not tell lies."
Divinia glared at him, and he quailed.
"Come, Sir Tauridus, Kliven; we are leaving."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 07 March 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 07 March 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 22 May 2001).]
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2001 5:08 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

The Second Mayhew Rangers Guild was located a little way beyond the main city. It contained five tents; one for each member and one for an assembly hall. A hedge surruonded the camp. This was pierced by a tall, painted arch which also proclaimed the Guild's name.

The three companions stood outside this arch. Divinia stared balefully up at it, then at Tauridus.
"I believe I said that we had no need of a Ranger."
"Lady, I know that." Tauridus said patiently. "I also know that Rangers are the best scouts in Ardania. We would do well to bring one with us."
"We would not."
Tauridus ignored her. "I know one here, Darnath Trackcutter. He's one of the best."
"Guildmaster, the best Ranger is not worth a gnome for fighting."
"What do you have against Rangers?"
"They use arrows."
"That's it?" Tauridus said in disbelief.
"What other reason do I require?" her eyes flashed. "The bow is the weapon of the coward."
"Lots of bowsmen are brave!" he protested.
"Such as Rogues?" she countered.
"Rogues can be brave." he felt his defenses were crumbling.
"And what of those treacherous Elves?"
"Not all Elves are that way! Why, I kmew an Elf once-"
"You seem to know a great deal of riff-raff, Guildmaster," she broke in icily.
"Fine. Consider my friends riff-raff. But, whatever you think, Darnath Trackcutter is coming with us."
"Do you dare cross the will of a Paladin?"
her voice rose. Reaching behind her, she drew clear the Blade of Ataros. Tauridus raised his shield defensively. Kliven laid his hand on Divinia's arm, and whispered in her ear. She listened. Kliven stepped back by her side.
"Very well," she said, sheathing the Blade. "I cannot understand Dauros' will in this matter, but so be it."
Smiling gratefully at Kliven, Tauridus turned to Divinia and said, "All right. I'll go in alone. If you don't mind," he added. Divinia glared.
Tauridus strode through the arch. He entered one of the tents. A few minutes passed, then he reemerged. A Ranger, of medium height and wearing green-brown clothes, followed him.
"Righto," said Tauridus, "we're all ready. Oh, Lady Divinia, I introduce Ranger Darnath Trackcutter." Darnath bowed and offered his hand. Divinia glared at him, turned her back, and marched haughtily up the road.
Kliven sighed and took the Ranger's hand instead.
"What's eating her?" inquired Darnath.
"A slight prejudice against Rangers," Tauridus explained airily. "She'll adapt."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 15 March 2001).]
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2001 9:42 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

Jagger Tightfist walked boldly into the goblin camp. A goblin, posted at the gate, blinked and called after him. It spoke surprisingly good Ardanian for a goblin.
"Hey! Yer can't go in thur!"
Jagger spun round, his crossbow pointed at the guard's heart.
"I go where I will, Hittar. You know me."
The goblin peered at him. Its eyes widened and it saluted.
"Yeah, I know yer, Lord Jagger. Yer can pass."
Jagger turned again, tucking his crossbow into his tunic. He headed directly for the command tent. The two guards at the entrance pulled out of their slouches and saluted smartly. One pulled back the flap; the other motioned him inside.
A large goblin, seated behind a crude desk, looked up at the Rogue's entrance.
"Welcome, Lord Jagger. What news have you for me?"
The Rogue stood, glancing around him.
"A small band of heroes has left Mayhew."
The goblin blinked. Jagger sighed.
"The large city north of here." The goblin nodded in comprehension. "They are headed for Valmorgen. Stop them."
Again it nodded.
"You understand? Good."
"Where are they?"
"They have come to the borders of the swamp."
The goblin thought, then said, "We shall ambush them on Hollow Island."
"My own thoughts, Captain."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 15 March 2001).]
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2001 5:11 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

The companions had been walking all day down the Royal Highway (The road connecting all the major cities in Ardania). They halted at the fringes of the Gardterra Swamp.
"Bad country, this," observed Darnath. "Tales tell it was once the abode of all manner of trolls and goblins."
"Really?" said Tauridus with interest. Divinia stared at them in disgust. "Scared of a few goblins, Guildmaster?"
"No," he said, coloring slightly.
Kliven was unpacking supplies. Taking flint out of his pack, he soon had a fire going. He began to remove food; dried meat, bread, and potatoes.
"Potatoes!" said Darnath in disgust. Divinia glared at him. Kliven smiled and preceded in remove onions, parsnips and various other vegetables from his pack. Finally he brought out a pot and a knife. He began slicing up the vegetables.

"That," said Darnath, "was the best stew I ever had. What do you think, Paladin?"
Divinia did not deign to answer. Instead, she said, "Kliven, set the tent up." To Tauridus she said, "I am sorry that there is no room for you or your friend in our tent. I did not plan for the presence of auxillary fighters. Excuse me now, I must say the evening prayers to Dauros." She got up, and marched off into the darkness.
"Auxillary?" said Darnath.
"Make that 'unnecessary'," replied Tauridus glumly. Kliven looked apologetically at them.
Shaking his head, he set about setting up the tent. Removing the canvas square from his hat, he unfolded it. He continued to unfold it, pulling out wooden sticks and joints to make a framework.
"I never saw a tent made so fast," said Darnath in awe.
"And to think i thought that was the latest fashion in Monk headwear," muttered Tauridus.
Divinia reappeared. Without glancing at the Guildmaster or the Ranger, she stooped and enteret the tent. Kliven followed.
The other two lay back on the grass. They were soon lulled asleep by melodic chanting from inside the tent.
 
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Falotar



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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2001 10:11 am    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

CHAPTER FOUR: AMBUSH
Tauridus awoke at the sound of grass rustling. Sliding his left arm across the ground, he grasped his shield. With his right hand he drew his sword. Cautiously he sat up and looked arround.
"All right, Tauridus. I'm not a minotaur."
Tauridus grinned in relief at Darnath, who had just materialized out of the trees.
"No?" he replied. Reminiscently, he said, "Do you remember that minotaur hunt the Sovereign ordered?"
"Yes."
"You saved my life. I-"
He was interrupted by the sound of chanting from the tent. Presently Divinia emerged, followed by he scent of rare spices.
"What's he doing in there?" inquired Darnath. "Cooking breakfast?"
Divinia gave him a scathing glance. To Tauridus, she said, "Tell your friend that Kliven is offering the Dawning Prayer to Dauros. The spices are part of the ceremony. If you will excuse me, I have my own prayers to attend to."
She vanished into the early light. Darnath looked over at Tauridus. "Nice to know we have such religious people looking after us, isn't it?"
"Yes," said Tauridus, staring grimly at the Paladin, kneeling at the edge of the clearing. He turned to Darnath.
"Friend, stop making Divinia so angry." He quelled Darnath's retort with his hand. "It's not good for any of us. Now try not to make a fool of yourself."

"Krolm's Rage, that's good," said Darnath, leaning back from the remains of breakfast. Divinia paled at the at the mention of the elder god. Tauridus broke in quickly.
"Excuse him, Lady. It's a common expression among Rangers." He looked warningly at Darnath.
"And Barbarians," Divinia said coldly.
"I do apologize, Lady," Darnath said, sounding only a little insincere. The Paladin looked at him consideringly.
"What were you doing this morning?" said Tauridus.
"Scouting." Darnath took a pull from the flask at his side. "I went all the way to Hollow Island. Didn't spot a thing."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 15 March 2001).]
 
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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2001 9:22 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

The goblin drew back the bowstring. Before it could release, however, Jagger laid his hand on its arm.
"What did yer do that fer?" the goblin said angrily when the Ranger had left.
"Because I do not want my ambush ruined by having the Ranger alerted!" Jagger hissed.
"He wouldn'ta been alerted if he were kilt!" it replied sullenly.
"A goblin kill a ranger. By it-himself." Jagger was amused. "Wait. When the whole party comes, then we attack."
The gobliun looked to its Captain. It nodded.
 
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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2001 11:05 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

Divinia stopped, very suddenly.
"What's the matter?" said Tauridus.
"The Unholy are near," she said tensely, drawing the Blade. Tauridus was about to make a scathing reply (they had had a heated argument earlier), when he realized the significance of that statement...

"That's done it," Jagger snarled, seeing the heroes ready their weapons. Turning to the goblin commander, he said, "What are you waiting for, Captain? Attack!"
The goblin waved its two axes on high, yelling "Arrur!" He leaped forward, followed by five soldiers. Arrows hissed overhead.

Captain Irrek was a born Champion. Big and strong, he wielded the two stone battleaxes with ease. He rushed the Paladin, supported by another goblin. He swung one axe over his head, the other held before him. The Paladin swung her sword. With one blow she severed his arm. He fell back. Turning, she beheaded the other goblin. Irrek jumped to the attack, and the Paladin obligingly lopped off his head.

Tauridus was fighting two goblins at once. His shield bore two arrows. Pulling his arm back, he ran one goblin through. The other spun round and fell, clutching the arrow in his heart. Tauridus heard a hiss behind him. Turning, he saw Darnath pulling a arrow out of his arm.
"Hit?" said Tauridus.
Darnath answered by firing off an arrow. A goblin gurgled behind him.
Kliven strode out of the trees, wiping his hands on a white cloth.
Seeing Divinia cleaning the Blade, Tauridus sighed in relief. "We're all alive, then." He glanced at Darnath. And gasped, "My friend! What happened?"
The Ranger had collapsed.

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 27 March 2001).]
 
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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2001 9:30 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

The attack at Hollow Island was not the only ambush that day.
Shadows were lengthening across the city of Valmorgen. Lozol, Herbmaster of the Royal Wizards' Guild in Valmorgen, had been in the Faethon Gardens, gathering rare plants and spices. Now, caught late, he had to hurry home as quickly as his old limbs would carry him. He was passing the gate of the Palace when he heard a noise.
"What's that sound?" he wondered aloud.
"Only me," said a voice behind him. Lozol turned and saw to his relief that it was, in fact, Horman, Captain of the Palace Guard.
"Thank goodness," said the old mage. "Well, good night, Captain."
"Good night, Herbmaster." Horman raised his halberd in salute. Lozol turned, and- his staff was knocked from his hands; which someone proceded to bind. Blinking, Lozol stared around wildly in the rapidly darkening dusk. He felt a crossbow jammed into his back, and he was whirled around again.
"Help!" he bawled at the Captain, who was looking on complacently. "Help me, in the name of the Sovereign!"
"Which one?" was the calm reply.
"King Orophen! Who else?"
"Orophen will soon be deposed," said Horman. "And you will aid this happening."
"Really?" said the wizard acidly.
"Really."
A Rogue stepped out from the shadows. "My gold, Captain," said he, holding out a hand. Horman dropped some coins into it.
"Our new king will be pleased," remarked the Captain. The Rogue turned.
"Guildmaster Masterpick!" ejaculated the Wizard. The figure made a mocking bow.
"At yer service, Wizard," he sneered. To the darkness behind Lozol, he said, "Gag the old fool." His orders were obeyed; a rag was stuffed into Lozol's mouth. "Now let's get out of here." He disappeared into the night. Lozol felt the crossbow leave its position on his back. He immediatly began struggling. The last thing he saw was the haft of Horman's halberd descending on his head.
 
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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2001 11:17 am    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

CHAPTER 5: A PLOT
Lozol awoke sitting in a chair. A very uncomfortable chair. He wondered irritably why he was sleeping in an uncomfortable chair rather than his comfortable bed in the Guild. He was seated before an unfamiliar table. His musings were interrupted by a soft voice.
"I see you are awake. Pray, have some wine."
Lozol squinted across the table at the speaker. He was cloaked in some dark fabric, either purple or black. His hand rested on a bottle, the other held a goblet.
"Who are you?" the Wizard asked suspiciously. "A new apprentice? Is this some sort of joke?"
"Oh, no joke I assure you." The figure poured something from the bottle into the goblet, wich he then sat in front of Lozol. "I was an apprentice once, but now I am master. As for who I am..." He pulled back his hood.
"I'm sorry, but it's so dim in here I can't see." The figure stood up, and pulled down an object from a shelf. He lit a lamp- of fine Elven make, Lozol noticed- and held it up.
"Cario Farin, Royal Adviser!" said Lozol in recognition.
"The same," acquiensced Cario. "Only, soon I will be Sovereign." Memory flooded back into Lozol's head.
"You intend to depose King Orophen! Traitor!"
Lozol struggled to his feet. "Where's my staff?" he demanded.
"I took the precaution of removing your staff from your vicinity," replied Cario smoothly. "Now, please be seated."
"Sorry, but I've got stuff to do." Lozol heade for the door, which he had just spotted.
"It's locked," stated Cario.
"Well then, what do you want?" Lozol returned to his seat, and slumped into it.
"Your presence here will secure the neutrality of the Wizards' Guild," Cario explaned. "Since tey are loyal to His Majesty, I need a hostage to insure they don't meddle."
"What happens if they do?" asked Lozol.
"Then you die."
 
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Falotar



Joined: 22 Jan 2001
Posts: 2579
Location: Yaro'on the Fair

 PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2001 4:10 pm    Post subject: Quest for the Blade of Ataros-Part I Reply with quote Back to top

King Gurg II was ambitious. He had dreams of overturning the human realm of Ardania and setting up a vast Goblin Empire that would extend to the Northern Reaches, and eventually over the Sea as well. True, many Goblin Kings before him had attempted such conquest and failed, but he was wiser then they. He had the ingenuity to ally with the humans!
He had not actually thought of the idea himself. Cario Farin had sent an emissary to him- namely Jagger Tightfist- to see whether Gurg would enter into an alliance. Against the counsel of his High Priest and the High General, Gurg accepted. Jagger was given the position of General in the goblin armies, and Gurg promised Cario to aid in overthrowing Orophen.
In return, Cario supplied Gurg's forces with good steel weapons and armour, and secretly sent Horman to them. Horman spent several weeks with the goblins, instructing them in elementary tactics and in the use of their new arms. And, as Gurg pointed out to his aides, he could betray Cario at any time.
King Gurg had all of the Gardterra under his control. Also much of the Mathes Forest, so called because of the ancient archmage who had once lived there. Gurg himself now occupied the Tower of Mathes, though he had renovated it to suit goblin tastes. With the new weaponry from his human "friend", and secrets of construction from his Northern cousins, Gurg felt ready to act. But, not too swiftly. He was comfortable now, and had no wish to hurry things. He would attack when Cario gave the word.

"Stand aside!" commanded Jagger to the goblin guard at the foot of the Tower. The goblin obeyed with alacrity, Lord Jagger was known to have a short temper. Jagger stalked inside and up the staircase to the King's room. He banged open the door, strode inside, and sat down in a chair. King Gurg, High Priest Yxocers, and High General Polisk were already seated.
"Welcome, Lord Jagger," said Gurg. "Tell us what has occurred on our northern frontier."
"Your Majesty," began Jagger, "the garrison of Camp Irrek has been destroyed."
"WET!" Polisk stood up, leaning over the table. He was as large as Jagger, dwarfing the King and the High Priest. "WES THI CEMP REZ'D?"
"No, Your Lordship." Jagger was enjoying himself. Truthfully, he had little use for these or any other goblins. "I led an ambush against a small group of heroes. Evry goblin died."
"How many hirues?" Polisk asked eagerly
"None," replied Jagger smiling.
"NUN!" roared the Goblin High General. "YIT Y'U CUM BECK HIR WOTH'UT E SCRETCH!"
"General, control yourself." Gurg shook his head at the General, and Polisk subsided.
"Your Greatness," said the High Priest softly, "I would speak."
"Yes, Unholy One?" Gurg snapped impatiently.
"These heroes bring great danger-to all here." His eyes roved to Jagger. "We must be prepared to stop them, Greatness. At any cost, or our Empire will fail. Grom-gog has spoken."

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 18 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 22 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Falotar (edited 22 May 2001).]
 
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