Burnished Night

A Mercenary's Quest

Day 1, Month 3

Master Waterfall invites us to his chambers. Only Josh and Craig go. They see oddly smoky, green-flamed candles, and odds and ends. Their conversation begins. Unpleasantries are exchanged. The wizard’s knowledge is deep than the norm of the population. He wishes to know of the origin our party. Craig explains to him the nature of our quest to save the world and their bodies, as well as for fame and fortune.

He relays that the aspect is here in Rezel. It was 10 years ago, that he brought the aspect to Rezel for King Pharaday the Greater. Using the Aspect for irrigation, the King was able to conquer the land and turn the country into a prosperous nation. The aspect was recovered by bandits and given to Maderine. She holds the aspect with her power and turned a creature or two into an Aboleth. It is a vile creature that has not been seen for some time.

Craig and Josh leave Master Waterfall. We reconvene for a few days of rest and recovery. Everyone is invited to a feast by the apothecary. Snake meat all around! The first real food we may have seen in quite some time.

We sit down at the largest table where great numbers of snakes, algae, seaweed, and fish. As we begin to eat, the snake is reminiscent of terrible gasoline-coated rubber, as said by Ivan.
Marl has approached with an offer to take us and bring many opportunities for us. Ayella offers a job to Nylyss about taking care of a Duke. Sven shows us that the statue of Shin Shiraz is purified. The goddess is displeased with Josh as he kneels before the altar. They speak with each other and she relents and blesses him.

Day 9, Month 3

Discussion rages back and forth about who and when and what we should do. We settle upon helping Ayella. Many visit the shrine for blessings from Shin Shiraz. A possible problem in the future should her goals conflict with ours.
We head up the river with little trouble, and plenty of help from the goddess Shin Shiraz, we make great time.

Day 10, Month 3

Encountering almost no trouble from the guards, we walk upon the hill in front of the castle. Out storms Duke Rolf and as he descends upon us we collectively express our intentions of treaty discussion. He beats a hasty retreat and thus begins our siege.

We move towards the gate in attempt to take cover and enter the keep. Ivan climbs atop my back as I fly into the air. Josh and Nylyss beat on the doors as does Durgar (Craig). Jason shouts at the peasants to surrender and that their efforts are futile. Quickly traversing the sky, I land blast a foe in the face, he looks unfazed. Ivan jabs at him, but the blade bounces off the stone in his hands. Nylyss finds a weakness in the stone wall and the guard we had been beating upon falls sprawled. Other peasant conscripts are scattered about the keep.

Josh throws Craig (Durgar) into the air. He lands on an enemy. Josh then throws Jason onto the wall. Both thrown people are sprawled. Durgar then stabs and knocks his unfortunate landing victim unconscious. A lone peasant charges at me. They sound the alarm as we break into the keep and begin running away.

He does nothing against my scales. I breathe fear deep into his body and he falls cowering to the ground. Ivan stabs the original target to death. Nylyss continues to beat heavily onto the doors of the keep. They begin shaking and trembling. Josh also beats on the doors and they continue to wear down. Durgar threatens a peasant to make him flee and he drops his spear. The peasants are still running in fear.

Ivan and I open the gate. Nylyss runs inside. Jason shouts about how we entered the keep, threatening Duke Rolf. He is shaken by the words and they begin yelling in panic. Duke Rolf charges from the keep with his lance and armored mount to attack Durgar. More peasants stream forth from the keep. Josh moves to strike Duke Rolf with a jab of lightning. It shocks him into yelling, “What witchery is this?!” Durgar moves and strikes at the horse. With a swift slash, the horse’s flank is cut rather heavily. The peasants move around like milling ants.

I grab Ivan and attempt to throw him onto the Duke. I missed the throw and Ivan lands on the wall. Nylyss slyly argues with the peasants and gets them to back off. We begin to negotiate with Duke Rolf.

Rolf’s horse goes down for a moment, shot by an arrow from Jason. Then he swings his sword at Craig and Josh. Josh takes a slash to the body and Craig manages t use his shield to block the attack. Josh moves backwards and taunts Duke Rolf. Enraged, Rolf accepts his challenge. Craig swings at Rolf and lashes at his ankle and elicits a yelp, swings again and hits him.

I move towards the peasants and away from the Duke. Ivan moves away with me and impresses the peasants. They begin to calm down. Nylyss realizes that the Duke is not calming down and cracks him across the head. Rolf staggers about almost drunkenly. Jason shoots at the horse, misses, and shoots again. The shot causes the horse to crash to the ground, dead upon impact. Duke immediately charges at Josh with a slash from his longsword. A massive blow to Josh’s thigh as the sword digs deep. Blood gushes from the wound as Rolf continues to slash wildly. Josh reaches to grab him and grapple him to the ground. Craig goes into to pummel Duke Rolf. Peasants attempt to talk with Duke Rolf. The Duke swings his sword in anger at the peasant. Craig manages to parry the blow just enough to keep the peasant from dying.

I impress upon the citizens that their Duke has become unstable and may actually be crazy. They begin to creep forward. Ivan shies away to the food stores. Nylyss pummels into the armor of the Duke to no avail. Jason shoots the Duke with his arrows. The Duke swings rather pathetically at Josh. Nothing happens and Josh pulls back with a fist charged with crackling energy and lands it upon the Duke’s armor. Craig stares at Nylyss and seemingly asks about whether he should be pummeled or killed. Nylyss nods at the blunt end and Craig whacks the Duke in the side of the body. The peasants begin to move and surround Duke.

I fly around the keep a little towards to the stable. There appears to be a chimney stack. Ivan spots snakes in the storeroom. He sees that there is a woman and helps her out of the storeroom. She claims to be the Duchess. Nylyss continues to pummel into the Duke’s backside, but he doesn’t seem fazed. Jason fires two arrows at the Duke. One arrow actually seems to hit him and anger him further. Duke Rolf slashes at Josh and brings him low. His anger causes him to lash out at Nylyss and strikes him in his arm. Durgar attempts to attack the Duke but his armor protects him from most of the damage. The peasants reach forward against the Duke.

I fly straight to the Giant and attempt to drag him away. Ivan is taken into the treasure room with the lady. Her reflection does not appear in a mirror and she explodes after showing signs of attacking Ivan and his reaction is to stab her in the mouth. Nylyss bites him in the face and the Duke dies after a frenzied motion of chomping.

Occupational Hazards

Day 1 of Month 2,

To chronicle this journey for understanding is the duty of one such as me. My incarceration in this rather pitiable “menagerie” has enlightened me to the nature of these people’s king and some of the reason for their continuing plight. With a surge of strength, I break my chains and make my way out of the holding as the guards scatter and the nobles follow like ducklings, or lemmings perhaps, their mentally broken leader into his castle.

As my companions and I head outside so that we may plan our way back in, they tell me the progress they have made in searching for the relic of Shin Shiraz. It is an object that appears to be a hilt for a rather ornate sword. Rather than plan ways back into the castle keep, Nylyss and I decide to begin searching for the other parts of the relic. Ah, I had forgotten, the Chil’d known as Ivan had decided to stay within the confines of the keep to be our eyes-and-ears so that we will not be caught unaware by events that transpire amongst the nobles. He is a brave one.

Exiting the keep, Nylyss and I notice a man on wooden stilts walking amongst the fields as snakes nip about his heels. Each snake that jumps merely finds its head in contact with a large metal disc designed to keep them from biting him. Deigning that there is not time to waste, I have Nylyss climb atop my back and we fly towards the man. He looks up, startled, and falls backwards into the fields. I jolt forward to help, but alas, I am a hair too late. Nylyss, with the speed of one well trained in martial arts, reaches forward grasping my talons and the man to ensure that he is not swallowed by the snakes. We carry him back to the castle as swiftly as we can.

Craig, man of mystery and capability, tells me of his adventures entering the keep. He walked around the keep’s high walls looking for any point of entry, when his eyes fell upon a grate located in the side of one wall. Pushing against the rusted iron until it began to bend and break, Craig lifted himself into the sewage canals of the Castle. A terrible stench wafted along the tunnel and into the go-mar’s nose. Wrinkling his face against the stench he pushed his way forward and strove deep into the tunnel’s recesses. Without a map, he began to explore just as any true adventurer does until he came upon a ladder heading up into the castle. As he began climbing, a snake leapt from the slimy muck that oozed along the tunnel’s floor and bit Craig in the back of his thigh. Taking only the slightest of notices, Craig continued onward on the ladder. Every few rungs, he felt as though his limbs were unusually heavy and fatigued. Sensing something was amiss; Craig rushed the last few rungs and collapsed in a heap on the floor in front of a few guards.

Josh, a man of great height and gentleness, decided that the castle had held his attention long enough and went back to the temple only to find it being ransacked. Discouraging the thieves with his intimidating height and deep voice, Josh proceeded to the back of the temple after hearing the sound of one lone person crying out for help. In the back, Josh met Sven, the rather reclusive head acolyte for the followers of Shin Shiraz here in Rezel. A quiet discussion took place whereby Josh was placed in charge of protecting the temple and given an authorized note that he may enter and leave the castle quite freely. Lodgings were also provided during his time as temple guard.

Jason was taken with his examination with the frogman who was my lone partner in the “menagerie”. His decision led him not to enter the castle keep at all.

Every one of my companions gathered at the castle due to their various circumstances. Nylyss managed to administer a potion that cured the strange man that was standing on stilts. Every agent we had contact with and a few extras converged on us as soon as we had gathered. We quickly decided on which loyalties to maintain. We split up and went forth to fulfill our duties.

Day 18 Month 2,

After working a whole month, Nylyss and I trained under Ayella and learned how to make all-out attacks without dying. After many mishaps, and some adventuring, we managed to recover the last bit of the relic. We reforged it and placed the sword into the statue’s hand with Sven.
Salt water began to flow from the tip of the sword. Ayella began to panic and wanted the sword broken. As everyone began to surge about, snakes poured from the sword. We stuffed the statue into my sack and dragged it outside as the bag became noticeably heavier. Outside, the bag ripped and a snake with a fan began growing at an alarming rate until it was gargantuan in size. We bravely fought it, Ivan took near fatal damage. Josh and Nylyss were blinded by snake venom. Craig was continually knocked down but continued to help out. Jason lined up a shot cannon. The cannonball shot off part of the tail. Swiftly knocking out the snake, we stabbed it in the eye. The snake rotted away and left only the bones. As a bonus, the statue appeared out of the snake’s body, whole and apparently purified.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
The Paragons seek entry into the castle

Castle Caverday looms in the distance, just barely visible over the straw and mud thatched buildings of the Bulwark. the massive earth works less than a mile away, the river is nearly blocked from view as well. The stench of rotting sea serpents is not impeded, however. The entire city smells like mud, human filth, and rotting fish.

Sense, Sensibility, and Sea Monsters
The Paragons make landfall

Jason having successfully determined how to navigate the magical vessel, the Paragons spend several days at sea before they believe they’re about to make landfall. One evening with calm seas, Ivan manages to sound the alarm as scaly intruders climb up the side of the Shadow Galleon. Springing into action, the Paragons leap to attack their mysterious enemies. Dark blue scales covered with armor and more weapons, with leathery fins and flippers slapping on the deck, the toothy-marauders climb aboard and attack our heroes with spear and shield, working together in tight formation to push up onto the ship. As Craig and Josh move to engage, they’re thrown to the deck as a huge sea monster has wrapped itself around the Shadow Galleon! Just wider than a minivan, the serpent rears its ugly head only for a moment as it begins to squeeze the black ship into splinters.

Nylyss has luck holding off some of the ruthless fish-men, and Ivan manages to trick one into plunging back into the dark waves, but Mauldin is nearly outflanked before he manages to claw and gore his enemies and reposition, unleashing his magical nightmare mist.

Eventually, the Giant and go-mar carve into the serpent’s hide and arouse its ire. Firing arrows, Jason tries desperately to convert the hard-wood splinters of the galleon into a more effective projectile, but to no avail. It is Craig who manages to take advantage of the beast’s clumsy attack and strike an artery inside of its mouth. Wounded, the serpent retreats, as do the remaining Sea-Devils. Thinking they’re safe, the paragons re-group only to see the serpent rear its ugly head, carrying more of the sea-devils!

Only seconds later, however, the boom of several cannons firing from somewhere nearby sends the creature tumbling back into the sea. The bright light of gas lamps and the heavy paddling of a wheel rudder drown out the sound of the waves, and a large ship made gilded white birch pulls alongside the Shadow Galleon. Armored men, nearly as tall as Josh leap aboard. Both these near-giants and the Paragons are tense and ready to fight, until the newcomers’ leader boards the ship. Clad in a white uniform and wearing a bronze sunburst mask, the man waves his arms and throws glittering dust in the air. A few moments later, the Paragons are able to speak to this man.

He introduces himself as Marl, commander of a group of Chozar marines that have been deployed to Rezel to help deal with the Sea-Monster problem. He and his men are on their way to the Bulwark, and he offers to tow their ship. The paragons, seeing no way to refuse the magician’s offer, gladly accept, and offer him their per-determined aliases and joining him aboard their vessel, the “Morning Sun.”

Josh is the interest of many of the Chozar marines, as they all have giant blood and are interested to learn more about Giant culture. Faking his way through the exchange, the Chozar indicate that they wish to trade with him. He trades his musical instrument for 1/4th of an ancient giant song written on a cowskin scroll.

Eventually, the Paragons arrive at the Bulwark. The town near the port is dilapidated, made mostly of straw and mud, and filled with starving peasants begging to be let into Castle Caverday. Marl bids the Paragons good luck, and tells them that he’ll be quite busy in the embassy, but that their ship is safely in port.

On the Shadow Galleon
Our heroes set sail

Inside the cave, the spiraling stone staircase eventually opens up to an expansive mountain crevice. Black feathered Draken are fast at work on enormous looms modified for their bestial frames. Others still swoop down from the sky to dine on fruits and rodents left in baskets. Few Draken meander on the ground, weaving their claws and wings to swirl magical energies that appear to be infused into the thread from the looms. The bustling mountain metropolis grinds to a halt at the sight of the Paragons and their Draken companion.

Their leader, KithKalas appears angered, but only due to the nature of their arrival. Outsiders on their island must mean that the ancient prophecies are about to be fulfilled, and that a time of great tribulation is about to befall the worshipers of Mistknell.

Kithkalas takes the Paragons to his inner sanctum, where he reveals what must be done in order to return them home. Find the Eight Aspects of the Summer Sun, return them to the island, and a ritual can be performed to prevent the sun from being extinguished. Each of the aspects was hidden in one of the burgeoning kingdoms on the northern continent. The Aspect of Water, formally in the possession of the Diggers of Eastenbarrow, was stolen and taken to the marshy swamplands of the Kingdom of Rezel. The Aspect of Fire may already be in the possession of the Cult of the Master, as it is farther North than any of the kingdoms. The aspect of Good lies somewhere within the City of Bold, and may be safe for now.

The Paragons decide to go after the Aspect of Water, on the eastern coast of the Sea. Kithkalas bids Mauldin accompany the Paragons on their journey, and tasks him with delivering four Dragon Scrolls to each enclave of Draken on the mainland.

Leading them to the coast of the island, they see their ship tied to a small dock. The Shadow Galleon is a foreboding ship made of almost ebony-dark wood, with flimsy silken sails, crewed by a group of vaguely humanoid inky-black shadows. With some trepidation, the Paragons embark on this vessel and set sail for the mainland.

The Quest Begins
Mistknell reveals itself

The wriggling vines of the man-eating vegetables recede back into the jungle as a gigantic winged shadow swoops overhead, momentarily blocking the rain before ascending back into the billowing storm clouds. Night’s approach is masked by the storm, and you reach a small cave at the base of the island’s impossibly steep peaks just as the jungle is plunged into an even deeper darkness. As you begin to dry off your soaked clothes, you feel the presence of something unnatural in the cave. Twin pinpoints of light at the back wall. Slowly, these lights take shape, revealing themselves as the eyes of an impossibly large, pitch-black dragon looming high above you. The small cave has transformed into a massive cavern, leaving you at the feet of the gigantic winged lizard. Before you can compose yourselves, the dragon speaks.

Ironic it is that you have come seeking my help when it is I who seeks yours, Small Things. The people of the Midglass know me as Mistknell, the Dragon of night. Those who listen to my whispers shield this world from the harsh rays of its own sun, and they have done so since the Sideless war. You know not of such things. You are of the other realm? Indeed I know of this place, and if you want to secure your return to your world, I request assistance in securing mine.

This world’s sun is dying. Ages ago, the Overglass controlled it, using it to coerce the people below. In the war, control over the sun was divide into eight aspects representing the true nature of the world. The Deep Prophecies foretold of a time when the sun would no longer shed its light unless a life-granting ritual were performed with all of the aspects present. As you may have surmised, I would ask that you acquire these aspects and bring them to me, Small Things. The task is treacherous, as those your contemporaries would name “Gods” are unaware of the Deep Prophecies and bid their worshipers protect the aspects from the Overglassers. However, if you complete this task, I can grant whatever you may wish. Wealth here, a return to there…

The Dragon opens its jaws, its jagged diamond teeth revealed as it lets out a small chuckle

I could even stop the decay that already ravages your bodies. The Overglassers did not wish that you flourish, Small Things. Despite being Paragons of your kind, endowed with youthful and healthy bodies, the Overglasser’s work is unraveling. In a few years, you’ll be naught but lepers and cripples at the hands of their shoddy workmanship. I can make you whole again, or return you to the simple forms you recall so fondly. Discuss this, and other trifles with my Shadebearers atop the peaks. They will reveal the wisdom of the Deep Prophecies to you, should you accept this task.

The pinpricks of light slowly fade away as the whispering Dragon disappears into the darkness. Your torch flickers back to life as though nothing had happened, and the cavern has returned to its original size and shape, save for the wide staircase that ascends up into the peak’s interior.


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