Big City Knights
An elven ranger from Aundair
I was born in the deep warrens of Aerenal, 841YK, to Aurelius Khan(NG Aereni Elf Ranger 5/Arcane Archer 2/Wizard 1) and Aurora Khan(NG Aereni Elf Cleric of the Undying Court 4/Hunter of the Dead 2). At the outset of the war, my parents left to join the forces of Aundair in it’s fight against the vile undead of Karnath. I followed them into the service of Aundair in 951YK. There, I trained to become a ranger, as my father before me, under the guidance of the Eldeen rangers. When I passed my ranger trials, I departed to the front lines. By this point, my parents had already attained some measure of fame as Hunters of the Undead. Our reunion on the front lines was short-lived, as our orders soon sent us our separate ways. When last I saw them they were leaving to assist a party of Silver Flame Templars in tracking down a group of Emerald Claw Knights. Their party last reported in, early in 994YK, to inform Aundair that they were crossing into Cyre in pursuit of the enemy.
The ensuing complete and utter destruction of Cyre came as a surprise to all. With the creation of the Mournland, I traveled in search of my parents’ bodies late in 994YK, but to no avail. Without their corporeal remains, the burial rituals of my people can not be completed. I am now the last living Khan and I will not return to Aerenal without them.
The Treaty of Thronehold reshaped the political map of Khorvaire and split-up my adopted homeland of Aundair. My loyalties are now split between Aundair and the Eldeen Reaches, and the peace between them is uneasy at best. I spend my time a restless, orphaned spirit, with no past, present or future.
During the last few years of my life, my general attitude of despair, has turned to a type of reckless capriciousness. I have developed a fondness for spending my days and nights entertaining large quantities of fine wines and fine women. Curiously, the combined influences of my life have manifested an eccentric desire to own fashionable arrow quivers. Having previously made supply runs to Sharn, I was already familiar with the annual Quiver Convention. This subtle interest in collecting quivers, has grown into a life passion and I have been to the Sharn Quiver Convention for the last 4 years.
Unfortunately, the decades of experience I gained as an Aundarian scout, have been washed away by countless bottles, brothels and brawls. Like a man rising in the morning trying to recall the memory of a rapidly fading dream, I am somewhat cognizant of my service in the army of Aundair. I led squads of warriors all around Khorvaire, tracking undead. More than that is difficult for me to recollect.
Despite outward appearances, I do have a few important goals in life. First, I seek to reclaim my parents’ bodies from the Mournland and return them to Shae Mordai so that they may enjoy their afterlife and ascend to the Undying Council if called upon. Second, I would like to honour the death of my parents by continuing their life’s work. Therefore, I seek to destroy all evil, specifically negative energy undead, Heirs of Vol and members of the Order of the Emerald Claw. Third, I would like to contribute to the stabilization of relations between the Eldeen Reaches and Aundair. Finally, I would like to continue my ranger training ultimately to become an Eldeen Ranger. I would also like to continue refining my archery skill so that I may one day advance to the Order of the Bow.
============== Well… it’s been a long time since I’ve actually reflected on any of my personal actions, but given the circumstances, now seems like a good time to start.
So I guess I’ll start with my companions. It seems fate has inseparably joined us together. Why? I have no freakin clue. Our personalities are disparate to say the least. Seems one minute I was enjoying a leisurely trip into the city, next minute I have 3, then 4, companions on crazy adventures and not a one of them is a hot woman either! It hasn’t all been bad, I guess, but it hasn’t all been good either. It seems Sharn currently has no shortage of quests to undertake, and to attempt them on ones own would be madness.
Jack the Hammer Jack is a war-forged; ‘nough said there because everyone knows just how much fun they are. He stands and stares into space a lot. He’s socially inept, but I’d say well-intentioned. He’s great in a fight, if he decides to actually fight. I suppose the thing I appreciate most about him is his ability to carry large loads. I often times use him as an armoured transport, since my strength is somewhat lacking, and he always obliges my requests. He interests me the most, because like me, he’s lost and alone in the world. If I ever return to the Mournland, something tells me his companionship will play an important role, but for better or worse I cannot say.
Corlath Winespitter Corlath is our unofficial leader. He’s a dwarf (ugh!) which puts him 1 notch lower in likability than Jack, but he seems to be the fairest and most even-tempered of the bunch. It’s for this reason that I respect his opinion and defer most judgment calls to him. Every once in a while, he makes what I think is a bogus call, but I usually go along with him for the sake of team stability. He’s pretty good with his polearm and second only to Jack in combat effectiveness. I can occasionally count on him to join me in ranged attacks and in the consumption of fine wines, so I think that helps cement in my disdainful fondness for him. Plus, he sure is the tallest dwarf I’ve ever met.
Guido d’Harkonnen Ah Guido… he is perhaps the most unqualified adventurer in our group and another dwarf to wit! He moralizes when he should be fighting like no other. Worse, he seems to influence Jack a great deal on this point. He might better serve society by joining the inept ranks of the Sharn city guard. However, his debatable morales might preclude that. He seems to unreasonably favor humanoids above all others. Case in point, he has historically waited for humanoids to attack an ally before reacting, but he’ll charge and butcher non-humanoid creatures just for showing up. I guess the best thing about having him around is his ability to soak damage and to be an extra pair of hands, but his flakiness makes it difficult to count on him. If he could develop a more consistent set of values, I might be inclined to respect him a little. He is loyal and somewhat selfless after all.
Mannix The latest addition to our traveling band. He seems a capable compatriot, but I remain wary of him. Much like the rest of the group, his story is as yet untold. The base character of all my companions seems to be of the “mysterious stranger” variant, but I distrust Mannix more than the others. I have not confirmed this, but I suspect he may be a shapeshifter and everyone knows they are not to be trusted. My suspicion is evidenced by subtle, yet consistent changes in his appearance. Whatever craft he employs, deceit seems to be at the root of it. I will withhold judgment for now, but I have a fletched arrow with his name on it should he ever decide to betray us.
=========== Well; another day, another dollar. We’ve just completed a quest to recover the schema for some babe. It wasn’t the most profitable job around, but it pays the mortgage. Plus, the exercise got the blood flowing and now I feel like I may have regained a bit of the war expertise that I thought was long lost.
On the home front, I lucked out with my lady friend, Lindara, umm… something or another. Anywho, she was very accomodating. She even let me practice my shibari technique on her, and not a moment too soon. Turns out, I managed to put it to good use on our next unpleasant encounter…
So we got word that it was nigh time to meet back up with Lady Elaydren, and what a lovely encounter that turned out to be! Here I figured she was going to desperately want me to move in with her and be her pampered royal consort; boy was I wrong. It looked like someone beat her with a pillow case full of broken china and then rolled her thru an oft used, never cleaned stable. Upon seeing us, she freaked, and before we could get head or tail, a gaggle of kobolds, led by a warforged, broke up our reunion. Our party did the usual and the kobolds were clobbered. Now, when it came time to send the warforged back to meet his maker, I decided to put my shibari practice to good use. I tied the helpless warforged up with a flick of my wrist and declared him my prisoner. I’m going to have so much fun with this… ... ...
========= Dire Rabbit! What a day it’s turned out to be! What should have been the relatively easy and mundane task of interrogating the maniacal warforged and dispensing of his remnants, devolved into a spectacle too stupid to believe.
After we had taken charge of the situation with the warforge and his kobold minions, we received more instructions from Lady Elaydren. When she hurried out the door we moved on to the task of interrogating the warforged I had so neatly tied up. As expected, he didn’t cooperate. Also, as expected, Jack and Guido were against even the smallest amount of coercion. So we finally compromised on turning him over to the City Guard. Against my suggestion, it was decided that we should call the local, reportedly corrupt City Guard. I preferred to send word to our old contact Sgt. Dolom, but my request fell on deaf ears. So, Guido was sent to retrieve the guard while the rest of us went for a walk… away from the inn. What happened next is a source of greater speculation. However it actually went down, the end result was plain for all to see.
Perched on a bridge high above the Inn, we waited patiently for Guido to come out and meet us. Unexpectedly, Guido comes bursting out of the door in a half-trot towards our general direction. He was followed by a bevy of guards who were running at high-speed. Confused by the situation, I watched intently seeking clues. Had the warforged undone my masterful rope work and attacked? Alas, it wasn’t so, for as soon as the nearest guard caught up to Guido, there was a clash of blades. Guido was in a fight with the City Guard! What should’ve been the easy task of turning over the warforged to the guard, became a blood-bath. What had transpired for this outcome to occur is not easily divined. Circumstances unknown, we all declined joining in on an attack of the City Guard. On his own, Guido did not make it more than 200 feet from the door that bore him; he lay dead in a pool of his own blood. It was, to say the least, a very unexpected end to the days events. What became of Guido’s corpse, I know not. Unfortunately, it took some valuable items with it.
The city has become tense since the “incident”. Fortunately, our quest takes us away from the City of Towers for a while. Hopefully, upon our return, things will seem a bit more normal.
Blessed be the Ascendant! Things have finally gotten back to “normal”. We hitched a ride out of Sharn; hired on as guards for a merchant caravan. We ran into the usual raiding party trouble, yada yada, but otherwise passed without incident. Turns out that the time I spent beefing up has come in handy. I was a bit more effective in combat this time around, mostly due to my new workout routine. Hope this uptick in my combat effectiveness continues.
Met a new fellow on the road; Lafayette, another guard. He’s quite the fearsome looking fellow. Really tall and imposing, especially with his killer spiked chain. Not sure how he became a caravan guard with a talent like that, but talented he remains. So we’ve added him to our loose band as Guido’s successor. Hopefully he’s not as foolish as Guido.
With the addition of Lafayette, I see Jack possibly being pushed further out of his comfort zone and Corlath to a lesser extent. I’m willing to do most anything if it serves the greater good, Mannix is willing to do anything if it serves his greater good, and it seems Lafayette is willing to most anything that serves his purse the greater goods. Unfortunately, the team seems to be polarizing a bit more because of this new dynamic. The loss of Guido (the moralizer) and the addition of Lafayette (the mercenary) has disturbed the decision making paradigm that guided us so far. This might prove to be very interesting.
Also, I might be the only one to notice this, but Jack seems to be a little more animated as of late. I can’t help but to wonder if our closing proximity to the Lord of Blades is having some effect on him. In Sharn he seemed barely more than an emotionless, animated rock. But now, there seems to be a bit more in his eyes, a bit more in his actions. I can’t quite put my quiver on it, but I’ll be watching carefully. These subtle signs may portend a greater shift and old companions might have to be pruned from the team…
What a dreary place this Goblin kingdom is. I can’t imagine why people would fight over it, but hey, to each his own.
We finally met up with the elusive Failin. No surprises here. He’s just your run of the mill smuggler except that he rolls in style with a magic cart. Of course, when one is in the company of a smuggler, one can expect trouble to find you. We knew Failin for all of 5 minutes when we get jumped in the alley by some of his old acquaintances. I don’t think they were the type of repeat customers he’s looking for. Hopefully whatever he did to piss them off, he will not visit upon us. Anywho, we’ll never know what that may or may not have been because we had to kill the distractions. Oh well. They smelled bad.
Before we hopped onto our magic carpet ride, Mannix and I thought it best to curry favor with some of the local up and comers. We scoped out the scene and did what we could without getting too pricey. I’ll say no more.
So, once all was said and done in Goblin town, we buckled into Failins’ cart and scurried over to Rose Quarry. What an even lovelier place this is… the whole town is a burned out wreck covered in glass! Even better, there is a freakin’ platoon of Emerald Claw troops guarding the place. For once, I’m not being sarcastic. This is going to be so sweet. I need to quickly formulate a plan… hmm, let’s see arrows from 440’ fired from cover… improvised traps… hmm, an illusionary screen conjured by Mannix… oh yeah!!! This Is Going To Be AWESOME!!! ??? ... or maybe not. The party decides to bravely avoid the encampment by turning wide and circling round to the opposite side of the town. Sigh No matter, I’m sure we’ll get to kill a couple of those OEC bastards.
Bonus! Once we bravely avoid the enemy, Mannix and me get tapped to do some legitimate recon work. Mannix throws on an illusion so we look like a couple of the glass zombies we saw scraping along in town, and voila, we are in. It comes down to the wire in spots but we manage to do our part and recon the whole town, while our loud compatriots keep out of site… ... ... or not. Gods damn them! Corlath, Lafayette and Jack have “cleverly” alerted a zombie patrol as to their presence. I really hate those guys sometimes.
Well luckily for us, the glass covered zombies have to be clubbed good, long and hard just to break through their crunchy outside and get to the gooey middle. Not sweet. Apparently nobody else has noticed this, but I’m a freakin’ archer. HELLO!!! Pointy ears, bow, fashionable quivers and a cape that flutters in the wind! Anyway, my assistance is needed to melee these dwarves back to the Stone Age, so I help fillet them as best I can with my scimitar. They really seem to not like Corlath, because they owned him like they paid 2 cents and … uh … yeah … well anyway, we won.
With the battle won, the party decides that we should all sneak in to the big central building that Mannix and me recon’d earlier. I might be the only one, but it doesn’t seem wise to me for a group of 5 to attempt a DL action with a warforged and a well-armoured dwarf in tow. Maybe it’s just me.
So, by some unearthly miracle, we actually sneak up to the building! This is great! All we need to do is slide on in and get into position CLANK!! CLANK!! CLANK!! CLANK!! CLANK!! CLANK!! Holy shite! Jack just broke cover to bum-rush a hapless peon. This is nuckin futs! Screw you guys, I’m going home! Come on Mannix let’s get out of here… ? Mannix … ? oh fudge.
Well, if it weren’t for the fact that Mannix ran in (only the Gods know why) after Jack, I would’ve calmly walked away from this mess. But as fate would have it, a strong wind pushed Mannix into the fray and I couldn’t leave him just yet. So, in I went. And what a beautiful sight I stumble upon! Not only is the OEC leftenant in situ, but so is the troop captain and of course the glass zombie that Jack ran over. Both sides are out of position for what comes next; so there exists this sort of calm before the storm during which we all just stare at each other like we were pawns in sadistic game or something. And then… the scat hits the fan. I have color spray flashing in one corner, everyone’s charging, pulling back or swinging. I end up next to the zombie and start in on it. Jack goes for the captain, while Lafayette busies himself with the now unarmed and dazed leftenant. Corlath casts bless and we all feel slightly mightier than we did before. Even so, the battle between me and the zombie is give and take. He hits me as often as I hit him. Eventually, Lafayette decides to engage a combatant that isn’t mostly incapacitated. Of course, he chooses to “help” me fight the zombie and leave Jack hanging. As the fight drags on, Jack eventually manages to knock the captain to her arse. I told Lafayette to take advantage of the situation and go in for the kill. He unceremoniously declines and takes another pot shot at the zombie, despite the fact that Jack was badly injured at this point. So, I took the initiative and dropped my weapon… drew my bow… and fired as many arrows as I could at the captain. The fight was hard, but eventually we won. Jack was near death though and the rest of us were looking the worse for wear too.
After a quick heal and subsequent search of the place, I managed to spot little inscriptions on the statues in the room. Turns out the seemingly benign map of Khorvaire on the floor actually betrayed a few juicy secrets when combined with the secrets inscriptions. I quickly jotted down some noteworthy locations on my map and then my thoughts turned to escape.
While everyone else was debating what to do next, I peaked out the front door to get a feel for the situation. Expecting a zombie patrol or two, I was startled to see some old emaciated looking guy going coming up the path on his own. He didn’t brandish a weapon or seem too threatening, so I slowly backed away. He followed. Once we got into the main room with the rest of the party in clear view, the gig was up. The damn thing was a vampire! Poof! He sublimed into a cloud of gas. Not knowing if the gas was toxic, I looked to my companions for inspiration… and looked just in time to see them bravely retreating. I thought for a split second, “well if the cleric stays we just might have a…” and there went Corlath out the door. Sigh I really hate you guys.
As we bravely retreated, I noticed a gap forming between some of the faster party members and some of the slower ones. Not feeling like abandoning anybody to the approaching cloud of vampire gas, I slowed a bit to keep everyone together. Everyone that is, except for Lafayette. Apparently somebody told Lafayette that there was a prize if he bravely retreated the fastest. Quickly fading into the pitched shadows, I was both relieved and slightly amused to see him go. Of course, with little light to see in, it would only be a matter of time before the human became lost and disoriented… right?!? As “luck” would have it, not only did he manage to run consistently away from danger, but Lafayette also managed to end up relatively close to the cart. With our party now “joyfully” reunited, I used my keen ranger senses to lead us the rest of the way to Failin. As we shuffled on-board the cart, Lafayette whined about compensation for this unexpected development. I gave him a fair choice: “The Mournland with us, or the Vampire.” Gods I was SO hoping he would pick the vampire.
Ah the Mournland. How I’ve missed this place… I can’t even begin to tell you. I spent one too many days in here before looking for my parents’ bodies. It is what it is and it hasn’t changed. On arrival we find the usual dose of desolation, destruction and death. We encounter a pack of ravenous skeletal dogs. How can skeleton creatures with no organs or hunger mechanism be ravenous? I have no freakin clue. They gave us a run for our money, but Corlath came through with a timely turning. We promptly trotted back to the cart to avoid our dodgy friends – Failin, Lafayette and Mannix – from bailing on us.
Our next action filled stop garnered the attention of all. We happened upon a huge battlefield. There were hundreds of corpses, a shattered tower, a misplaced contingent of Valenar elves and Talenta halflings and a very stealthy ninja crab beast. WTF? This colossal beast somehow evaded our careful inspection of the area and popped out of a pile of corpses to waylay us. It came out swinging and nearly chopped Mannix in two. Jack raced forward only to be beat within an inch of his unlife. I pumped it full of arrows; in the process discovering that it had some sort of automatic return-fire mechanism that loaded me with poison darts. Luckily, the glorious blood of the Undying within me resisted the toxin and I was only slightly wounded. Inches from death, Jack summoned all his courage and might to lambaste the ninjastic creature to the hereafter. Good times.
We eventually come to the mine at Whitehearth. This underground network of caves is accessed using a serious of key charms. We find some interesting things down there. Namely, a tunnel that we affectionately call the “charred hall” and another that earns the moniker of “bloody hall”. This place has clearly seen better days. Luckily, the magic of the Mournland has preserved the carnage for all to enjoy. This includes a tribe of wolves that we stumble upon. They sustained themselves by gorging on the ever reconstituting remains of the previous inhabitants. I ran into this lively bunch as they played in a pond, and their disposition was less than amicable. Luckily, they were led by an awakened dire wolf that was open to negotiation. Mannix parleyed with her and managed to score an extra key charm to facilitate further exploration of this hell hole. Woohoo! The rest of the trip was typical of a trip to the Mournland. We fought; 1) a giant stone dog, 2) a living spell of color spray, 3) a living spell of fireball, and 4) a pair of hostile fire elementals. The only thing unexpected in the Mournland is normalcy. Speaking of which, we happened upon a primitive trap that resulted in Mannix falling into a narrow well. I immediately devised a plan to fish him out with a knotted rope and an everburning torch. I tied the torch to the end of the rope to serve as a beacon and dropped the contraption in to fish Mannix out. Unexpectedly, Lafayette decides to risk slamming on top of him by jumping in too. Mind you, all of about 30 seconds had passed at this point! Talk about unnecessary theatrics. I previously thought Lafayette incapable of such an act. Will wonders never cease?
Speaking of wonders. After escaping this dungeon of death with the vaunted schema, we were all struck with the same sudden realization. When we originally entered the mine, we were attacked by a scout of the OEC… and didn’t remember it until just now! Well, no matter, I’m sure that information was of little material value. Or was it? Much to our confused unsurprise, we were ambushed by none other than drumroll please the OEC! Despite being hopelessly outnumbered and outpositioned, we gained the upper hand due to a bit of clever spellcasting from Mannix. Using a fog to shield our movements, we were able to outfight and outlast the enemy. Having defeated our martial opponents, we turned on the distant spellcaster and vampire leader, but they escaped unharmed. With nothing left to do, we left the Mournland and headed for Sharn.