The Rise of Apparition

Treachery

27/11/13
Having valiantly rid the world of the warmongering destructive force known as Plath. The two heroes of the hour headed for safety. Unfortunately one of their number was gravely diminished, and is recuperating in a very nice monastery for the seriously ill. The two known as Apparition and Bellator headed for safety in a ship that was less than ship shape. They had a list of supplies needed to repair the ship. So Bellator and Apparition headed into a ships graveyard and disguised The Bone Scraper as best they could. Bellator then walked back to retrieve their less conspicuous ship. Which was still docked at New River. Needing a crew he recruited a likely bunch of three orks and half orks. They did well and sailed the ship to a nearby trading port. In no time at all Bellator gathered the material. Needing time alone to gather his thoughts and meditate he allowed his crew to do whatever they wanted for a few hours. This was a life lesson in what no to do, the crew stumbled back onto the ship in no fit state. Allowing them to fall into their cabins Bellator hit the streets and found four sober sailors in need of work. Giving them directions to the ship and half an hour to be present he returned to deal with his drunken crew.
The four young elves were excellent disciplined sailors, Bellator was well pleased with their performance. He did however, notice that a ship, which was painted in black flying House Hobb colours was following him. Knowing this Bellator flew past the bone yard and circled around it. The Hobb ship however must of known of his plans as they pulled up broadside and went dark. Bellator never missing a thing stopped and waited for Apparition to come. Unfortunately Apparition this time failed in his usually stealthy appearance, and in fact triggered the Elves to attack him. One landing a shot right into his shoulder. Bellator dived in front of him forcing the elves to stop. The damage was done, Hose Hobb’s ship suddenly illuminated itself. It was like a beacon and would probably of been seen for miles around.
Apparition went to the ground and walked towards the oncoming ship. On the House Hobb ship was a familiar character. The character we met whilst in the temple of the severed rope. Apparition greeted the old warrior, who then insisted on coming aboard the ship. Apparition welcomed him on board whilst Bellator with prejudice and apprehension allowed him into the captains cabin. Where in the corner were the fresh corpses of the previous crew. The offer of an alliance was once again offered to the pair. Bellator having enough of such filth being spoken in his presence over turned the table and sliced the unknown warrior threw his rib cage. The warrior un-petered blasted the room with fireballs, dealing a hefty amount of damage on to Bellator and Apparition however scuttled into a corner and escaped harm. Within the blink of an eye Apparition disappeared from the room whilst Bellator turning invisible jumped out of the window of the cabin. Thus escaping the inferno. The old warrior was out of the window and after him quicker than Bellator could of thought possible. Meanwhile House Hobbs ship was sending over people and Apparition was awaiting them on the main deck.
Bellator levitated up to the under deck to listen to whatever transpired. Not knowing what to believe he heard a tail of treachery, one that smacked of double dealings and underhanded bargains. Apparition seemed to eluded to a previous meeting between him and House Hobb, one in which he seemed to of pledged allegiance to them. Not knowing if this was one of Apparitions bizarre slippery tricks or not, Bellator headed for the Bone Scraper with one thought in mind, that of utter destruction.
Back on the Bone Scraper Bellator headed right for the middle of the Hobb ship, igniting the screaming fire of destruction as he made impact. The ship burned to a cinder in front of Bellators eyes. He counted 7 corpses missing, but it was too hot to go down and have a proper look. So he bided his time and waited two hours, then he went in and his suspicions were confirmed. Felling betrayed, he vowed to carry out and complete the mission. Firstly he rose to the underside of the rim and had his ship repaired to an exceptionally high standard by some men who seemed to know their business and who knew how to keep themselves to themselves. Bellator didn’t even have to kill any of them.
Carrying on his mission of spreading the plague and gathering information on the whereabouts of Apparition. He discovered that they were in house Dae’s land concocting who knows what treacherous schemes.
Bellator now was feeling very very ill, knowing he had the plague headed for the Khanstines stronghold on this world.

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Whilst Lorn went a wandering
Appariton and Bellator unsupervised

Magnificently defeating the road side scum was the last memory of Bellator the benevolent. This new jarring scene in front of him was at odds with the previous memory. He was now confronted with a large, sphinx like creature, in a tremendously large cavern. sex orc sex orc you’re my sex orc The statue is surrounded by monks, worshipers and those in need of healing. Gold is being lavishly thrown into the creature, which seems to be on fire internally, melting the gold and causing the creatures mouth to spout pure molten gold.

Bellator turned around at the sound of Apparitions voice and sees him smiling, for the first time, and conversing with a hunched over old woman whose hair resembled the end of a twig broom. She made some jerking movements which could have been interpreted as laughter and shuffled towards the sphinx like creature with what was unmistakably Bellators gold pouch in her hand. Wasting no time Bellator rounded on Apparition demanding answers for this sex orc sex orc, your my sex orc bizzar situation he found himself in. Learning that due to Apparitions incompetence Bellator was not victorious but indeed squarely routed by his roadside foes and beaten senseless literally. Apparition promptly spent what pitiful god he had left on healing him. Although why Apparition looked so pleased with himself was a mystery. It certainly was not in his nature to do anyone a good turn, let alone any of his traveling companions. The two decided to find Lorn and get back on track with their clandestine mission. On the way out a large, muscilor, presumably a warrior walked right into Apparition. Apparition, however, had other ideas and rather than run into this fello he simply stepped through him in a graceful move any cat would have been jealous of. Bellator was distracted with his own thoughts and grumblings did not have such luck. Bellator was quickly pushed aside by this warrior and he stumbled into the side of the wall. He quickly gained his feet in time to see the warriors squire walk past. A further inquiry from the snivelling servant informed them that this was Sir Argon from the House Argon. A name which now resides on Bellators ‘to kill’ list.
Just as they were entering the exit chamber, an old aged warrior in an alcove beckoned the pair towards him. They looked at each other did an almost incompressible shrug and walked towards the figure. Bellator greeted the warrior whilst Apparition stood back a little. To which the aged warrior whispered in Bellators ear “will not your companion Apparition join us” . Being as he had his hat of disguise on this caused the pair of them to ever so slightly stiffen, and indeed Apparition walked towards the aged warrior as he motioned them to step inside a small anti chamber off the main cavern. Apparition walked towards the open door then transported himself inside, Bellator took the more conventional route and walked in followed by the aged warrior. The room was relatively small, and was indeed one of many cut into the side of the cavern. Bellator whoo, now don’t get me wrong, I wont do you no harm, sex orc sex orc being the type of person to notice the smallet detail, noticed “House Hobb” written in extremely faded cold leaf around the inside of the door, and their symbol carved into well warn and slightly damaged shields at either end of the scroll work. The room itself was covered in what at one time would have been lavish green velvet. But now was warn and patchy, with grates for air circulation around the walls. Again Bellator not trusting the grates were simply for air circulation cast detect good, and indeed a faint aurora presented itself behind one of the grates, but surprisingly not too much of an aura from the aged warrior.

A conversation ensued which resulted in Bellator leaving the room in disgust. As House Hobb requested or suggested that they throw their current mission in return for wealth and power. Refusing to converse any further with this aged warrior Apparition ended the conversation, and the pair finally departed and set out on foot towards Plath. Bellator was experiencing something he had not done in a long time. Hunger, in fact never before had Bellator been hungry. He decided to ignore the unwanted intrusion and he decided to get some rest on the side of the road as it was a dry night. When a group nearby began making an ungodly racket. Intruding on his rest time he went to investigate the noise, seeing a group of wood cutters just finishing a meal he decided that he would like the rest of their meal, and their gold too. So he walked into the camp and asked politely for some food. Unfortunately the woodcutters only offered part of their meal, this wouldn’t do, thus they are no more. Feeling slightly more full Bellator and Apparition decided to continue their journey.
As the walk continued Bellator, Sex orc, and baby you can turn me on, sex orc again with very fine and keen senses heard the crackling of a fire, but could not see one. Thinking this is something more worthy of his time than wood cutters the pair walked towards the sound. They could hear, and smell a fire but couldn’t see one. Apparition and Bellator found a magical circle on the ground most likely some sort of crude alarm system for whoever was inside. Apparition circled the camp without being seen or heard, he discovered that whoever had built this camp had placed a wooden wall between the fire and the roadside, presumably to deter unwanted guests. Such as Bellator and Apparition. The two did not take the hint and Apparition called out “Ho the camp” and the pair walked towards the centre. They were greeted by an elf seated quite comfortably next to a fire, he seemd to be enjoying ample food and hot cider. A kindly fellow he offered the road wery pair a drink and some food. His foot was idly rested on a large chest, a very large chest. The elf was wearing a cloak of white fur, and had at his side a magnificent looking sword set with a blue gem at its hilt. He was wearing glistening chainmail and was flanked by two ravens that periodically rested on his shoulder for a second or two before flying off. Bellator enjoyed the food and the cider, which was brought to him by a matron who came from a ship moored near by. The elf creature then moved his hand in an unusual fashion which sent he matron back to the ship in a hurry. Tiering of this game and deciding he would like possession of this ship Bellator excused himself to use the forest, and promptly poisoned his blade. And prepared himself for the inevitable slaughter, all in the name of becoming a vampire of House Bellator.
On re appearing at the fire side, the elf and Apparition seemed to be at a stand off. Inquiring as to weather his companion had caused the elf offence he was told that it was travellers coming in disguise that caused him offence. To which Bellator answered by casting a handy little spell on the elf aptly named doom. Which he was now fated to be, in the elfs defence he did fight majestically and bravely. He was able to cause ice to fly out of his presence and directly into Bellator, who will now have a collection of odd scars over his person until his rise in to vampirism.

Apparition did help Bellator a little but instead chose to focus on the woman. Inevitably killing her on the ship that she so bravely tried to protect. On the ship they also found a gaggle of rather attractive women, Bellator still being human and subject to some of their more base needs kept three. The rest he threw over the side and promptly burned. Along with the corps of the majestic elf and the matron. The women, who were previously virgins proved to be quite handy with a needle and thread. Bellator had them sew the banner of a travelling brothel. Yet another disguise they could use to aid their mission.
They sailed their ship to the nearest town and Bellator was able to by some ‘Sex Orc Balm’ . A simple balm applied to the lips of the women daily, and would make them quite content in their new life.

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Krevlorneswath the Dwarf (Part 1)
Lorne's view of the first day

We three agents boarded the dark ship once more and set off on this most perilous of missions. I, Krevlorneswath of the Deathwok clan, am a simple treasure-hunter and thief. I admit my skills are known well amongst the shady circles my kind move in, but I cannot claim great fame, and I do prefer it that way.
I find my two companions most suspicious creatures. The shady Apparition seems untrustworthy by nature, and Bellatore is a human Black Guard; probably shifty, unreliable, and foolish, like the rest of his race. The only question is who will betray whom first. I shall watch them carefully.
We sit in the uneasy luxury of this great and mysterious ship, and begin our plans. These ships are known, apparently, to bring death and destruction in their wake, so we must strive to appear utterly unconnected with the Bonescrapers’ appearance in the skies of the 6th Plane. We decide to disembark within the boundaries of House Dae, and infiltrate one of the towns for more information. Hopefully, if the ship is spotted, suspicion will fall on House Dae, and the strains in this bizarre alliance will begin to tell.

In the darkness above the lands of House Dae, we spot a line of torches marching up the road from the heart of this region. Some group from castle Dae, or a delegation returning to House Carfax? Who knows, but we need information, and this is our best bet.
We disembark, 200ft above some ancient ruins in the forest nearby. Bellatore, familiar with his ring of feather-falling, steps off the ship and falls into the night, landing softly on his feet. Apparition merely winks out and reappears on the forest floor. I too have a ring of feather-falling, but it’s really new to me, and I just don’t trust magic. So, sue me.
I know all I have to do is step out, but the height is so great it chills my bones and all I can think of is how great a splash I will make if this stupid ring fails. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have the same doubts!

With the jeers and whispers of my fellows below turning my dark skin red, I step off into the emptiness. Or at least, that was the plan. I must have tripped? However it happened, I found myself plummeting to the ground below, head first, mouth ripped open in a silent scream. Ten feet to the floor, the magic kicks in, and I float the last distance, to land gently on my head, at the feet of my sneering companions. Without saying a word, I get up, dust myself off and glare at these two idiots. “Well” I demand gruffly, “Let’s be off, aye?”
The tall bastards can’t resist a final sneer, looking down their noses at me, in my worn leather surcoat and breeches, against their arrogant coal-black garments. Admittedly, most people look down their noses at me; I am a dwarf after all.

We creep to the side of the road as the caravan approaches, I merely hunker down in the bushes, but Bellatore and Apparition don their disguises. I am now accompanied by a bald monk in a ratty brown robe – the bugger looks like he takes care of sick birds and the like – and a smarmy looking elf, crimson cape swirling behind him. Morgoth, I hate show-offs. Well, I don’t want to disappoint Triac; I prefer my guts on the inside thank you very much.

As the caravan passes, I can see that this is a serious undertaking. The torches are held by a band of 2-300 hardened human mercenaries, led by an Orc centaur, a horrific monstrosity 15ft tall, with tusks curling from his snarling mouth. I shrink back further into the bushes; I’d rather not be spotted by that thing!

Nestled in the centre of this martial display is a shining silver carriage, the object of this protective force, I assume. My companions and I confer and decide that we should try to find out who rides within. The caravan passes, and behind are the expected hangers-on, tinkers, itinerant smiths, whores, beggars, priests and beer vendors; the usual hive of villainy that attaches itself to any army. Bellatore and I are to infiltrate this group whilst Apparition will shadow the convoy from the woods.

Bellatore merely steps into place with the gaggle, fiddling with his robe as if he’d stepped off the path to piss, and blends seamlessly with the other ragged holy men in the crowd. I spot a dwarven purveyor of drink, and stride in to walk beside him, grabbing a pitcher of beer from the chained Orc carrying his stock. I flip the dwarf a coin and quaff with him like an old friend. I am a little perturbed by the Orc, but he seems drugged into insensibility, and as I watch out of the corner of my eye, I see a drunken goblin jump onto stirrups on the Orcs’ back, undo his pants and start having at it with whoops and whistles to the crowd. He flips the dwarf beside me a gold piece and rapes that Orc good. Well. It takes all sorts…

I drink and chat with the clearly intoxicated dwarf beside me and he seems to accept me as brethren, fool that he is, so I ask about the carriage ahead. He tells me that it carries the lady Arundrell, niece to The Lord of Carfax, returning home from a diplomatic mission to the Lord of Dae. The large convoy is demonstration enough that Carfax still does not trust Dae, and Bildur (the dwarf), tells me that there were hard words between the retinues of the two houses whilst they were staying in Dae.

“I tell thee hic those slanty eyed bastards were ready to start the war all over again when they saw the crest of Carfax outside their walls hic. Close-run thing, but the Earl of Dae kept a tight grip on his men, s’far as I could see. Wouldn’t let scum like us inside their precious walls.” He grinned at me evilly. “Not to say there weren’t plenty of locals who wouldnae refuse a frothy mug ‘a beer, and a ride on ol’ Whitey there.”

“Indeed.” I said, disgusted by this pitiful excuse of a dwarf. The fool thought he could control his Orc – ‘Ol’ Whitey’ – and abuse him without consequence. The only good orc is a dead one. Alive and they’ll fuck your shit up, I tell thee now.

I passed the information I’d unearthed to Apparition hiding in the shadows, whispering in our ears, and he and Bellatore came up with some fool plan to talk to the lady Arundrell, maybe even kill her if they saw the chance. Well, a monk and a well-dressed elf might be able to gain audience with a noble, but I’m just a simple dwarf, no chance I’d get invited in. I decide to stay with Bildur, smelly drunk that he is, and keep an eye out from the rear. My companions disappear, and the first I knew of them approaching the caravan from the front was when the order to halt goes out.

I will say, those mercenaries were trained! As soon as we’d halted, scouts filtered into the tree line, spears were raised all round, and pretty soon, there was a hedgehog of blades radiating out from the carriage. Of course they didn’t include the camp followers, who would? So, we were mainly backing away from the spears thrust in our direction, sobering some of the drunker members of the party up. The only one who didn’t notice was that stupid goblin humping the orc behind us. I could hear the “hrngh, hrngh” behind me as the company rumbled to an uneasy halt.

Of course I couldn’t hear anything about what happened up there at the front, but the guys told me later that they managed to get an audience with some cock-and-bull story about representing House Hob. These little lordlings can be such easy marks!
Anyway, next thing I know, a soldier is diving into our rowdy little band asking questions, questions about a ship which sound a lot like the Bonescraper! Now, I’m not the quickest of fellows, but even I could figure out that they could only have heard about the ship from one of us three; it’d hardly been in this plane for more than a few hours. So, I called out that I might have seen such a ship, and the blasted fellow only grabbed me and asked what I knew! Well, that pissed me off, but I wasn’t going to spoil the play, so I let him keep both arms attached. For now.

“Well-ee sor,” I said, playing a bit dumb, a bit drunk, like my fellows, “I was off near the old ruins out to the West, and well, mebbee I was drunk, mebbee I wasn’t, but either way, I was flat on me back. I were looking up, and everything was dark as dark. But then, it came! Arrr, sor, you’ve never felt such cold as when it passed over me, it were like men walking under me grave, n I got the shivers something bad! All in black, with ‘orrible white spines stickin’ here n’ there, it looked like the very omen of death. Now, ten minutes earlier, and I would ‘ave said I wa’n’t in no state to be walking, but after seein’ that, well, I were on me feet and running as fast as me feet could take me! Then I ran into cousin Bildur here, an’ I been drinkin’ as fast as I could to get that terr’ble thing outta me mind!”

Okay, so I hammed it up a bit, but you know, you just start playing the role!
“Where did it come from? Where was it bound?” Said the young soldier, pale now with fear.
“Well, I gots no knowin’ of where it come from, but I tell ‘ee now, it were goin’ South, straight into Dae’s lands. And so, here I am, gettin’ out of Dae as quick as I can. It were death, mister, that ship smelled like death down to the bones.”

I figured we were still trying to implicate House Dae, so this was a nice opportunity to sell it, and it seemed to work. The soldier was looking most uncertain now, and he threw me a bag of gold pieces without even counting them out! Not bad for a few minutes work if I do say so! Probably better than those two idiots in the lady’s carriage would do, eh?

Well, looked like we all did our work too well for the lady’s comfort, ‘cos it wasn’t ten minutes before the soldiers were given new orders and started shoving and smashing at the untidy followers; I guess they thought they could do without the distraction. Anyway, it wasn’t long before some idiot got himself speared up the wazoo for not moving along toot-sweet, and that’s when the entire lot of fools scattered. I stuck by Bildur, because, hey, his beer was actually pretty good!

After I finished my beer though, I started getting worried; sooner or later this moron would sober up, and he might remember that he’d never met me ‘afore, an that I’d joined the caravan not long before everything went to shit for them. Now if he were smart, he’d keep his mouth shut, ‘cos messing with nobility is a fool’s game if you ain’t a player. But, he clearly wasn’t smart, he was a grade ten twit and ten gets you one he’d sneak word to the lady that she’d been had and then our whole game would be knocked back. So, I figured, he had to go. Cheered my whole day up, that did – he was an obnoxious little shit, and anyone who keeps a sex-orc is at least three bricks shy of a load.

So, as he wandered along the deserted road, the caravan just a trail of dust ahead of us, I slipped my punch-dagger into my hand and rammed it into his chest. One-two-three hits into his guts and kidneys and he was a goner, even if he didn’t know it. Too much pain to scream, he just fell over, blood washing out from him in a thick pool. I watched for a moment, granite-faced, then slashed out his throat and let his life drain into the ground.

With that task done, I went to smash the chains on the orc – it’d be hours before he sobered up and I’d be long gone by then. The thought of a rampaging orc ravaging these people who’d raped him sodden kind of appealed anyway. Before I reached him though, that damned goblin jumped down, grabbed Bildur’s bag of gold and scarpered! I’d completely forgotten about him, and apparently he’d been loving Whitey strong the entire time, only Bildur’s murder waking him up! Well, he seemed smarter than Bildur, so probably wouldn’t rat on me. Probably. Bugger.

I was still standing there looking after the damn goblin when Bellatore and Apparition found me.

Apparently they’d found out where Plath was going – he was no longer in House Carfax – and since killing him is our primary mission, makes sense to go after him. We argued about calling the ship and sailing across all leisurely like, but the others voted me down. (What? I’ve got little legs; cross-country in the dark really doesn’t appeal.) So, we set off to intercept Plath on the other main road in Carfax – apparently he was heading along there from Carfax this very night.

Alright, I’m not going to describe those four hours of slog through dark forest. It wasn’t great. Sure, I can see in the dark, but darkvision gives me a headache if I have to rely on it for too long, and the big bastards set a murderous pace. (Look, I could walk them into the ground if I wanted to, but I ain’t got the speed is all…)

Anyway, we arrived on the other road just as it was getting light, and there was already traffic on the road. Well, there was a man and a cow. Never look a gift cow in the…. never mind. So we asked for news of Plath – I mean, who can miss a great big crowd of so-called holy man, all trying to get near their icon. Well, we can, apparently. He’d passed by 4-5 hours ago, whilst we were stumbling through the trees (if we’d taken the ship like I said…).
I just crossed my arms and watched as the biggers conferred. Clearly, they weren’t listening to me, so why bother? Anyway, big surprise – we’re going after them.

It wasn’t far down the road that we came across this peddler with a little table by the side of the road. Now, he had three cups on the table, and I knew what that meant! Yes, I gamble, I like the winning! Anyway, he was standing there, looking sort of pitiful, though there was a big figure in a cloak behind him, so Bellatore and I figured we’d stop for a breather, and maybe a game or two. That cold bastard, Apparition, faded back into the trees, as if he were afraid of these two charlatans! Well, I can cheat with the best of them, so I didn’t think I was gonna get scammed out on this dusty road. I paid the man, as did Bellatore, and we stepped up to pick up the cups.

Whoops! Big mistake, eh? Must have been some kind of contact poison, and it near did for Belle right there! The cups were covered in some black oozy shit, nasty stuff, and it made me see stars and unicorns for a moment. Now I was shaking it off a little, but Belle was swaying and going green, even as he reached for his big scythe. That little twerp had his hands on a pair of daggers and I could see that this had all gone tits up so I reached for my Urgrosh. Now, I don’t know what happened, but maybe I tripped or something because I couldn’t get my weapon out (if you know what I mean hurr hurr). Okay, so the poison was doing funny things to me, but I’m pretty hardy, I didn’t think some two-bit scammer would have anything like this! Bit embarrassing really.

I watched as Belle’s scythe smashed into the peddler’s chest, ripping flesh and smashing ribs, it was a pretty nice piece of work! But the peddler, coughing blood and stumbling, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a stone vial, which he opens and drinks. I can see his flesh knitting back together again – as nice a healing potion as I’ve ever seen. Clearly, this guy has got some resources.

Well, whilst Belle is making a mess of this guy’s shirt, the hooded figure at the back throws off his cloak and moves into the fight. Well, I had to stop and stare a bit, it looked a bit like a troll, but it was entirely made of black stone. To be honest, I was a bit freaked – I ain’t the fighter I used to be, and these old bones might not be up to a magic construct.

The troll thing smashes its fist into Belle’s face, once, twice, BOOM! Now, those were pretty solid blows, but Belle’s looking totally dazed and confused – he opens his mouth, and I can just see “Where am…?” coming out. Oh crap, well, up to me I guess.

I sneak round the back of the beastie, raise my urgrosh high, and swing low. The back of the blade smashes into its knee with a mighty KKKRACK, flakes of stone chip off the leg, and cracks spider web up and out of the wound. It’s a good, solid hit, but all I seem to have done is pissed it off! It turns around and starts on me next.

Urgros10.jpg

Then it all goes dark. Yes, dark. Thanks Apparition.
So, our comrade casts darkness, and I can hear Belle confusedly stumbling about, scythe whirring in all directions, occasionally clanging off the creature. It’s clearly still focused on me, ‘cos what feels like a house comes out of nowhere and smacks me across the jaw. I feel kinda fuzzy now, it’s like there’s a spell of some kind on its fists! Give me a few moments to clear my head and I could figure this out, but I’m feeling kind of woozy now…

Only thing to do is to go for the kill, so I plant both feet in the dark, and listen for the swing of that great arm. As soon as I hear it coming, I launch another low attack, then high on the rebound. CRUNCH, CRACK and SMASH sounds out of the impossible shadows, and as suddenly as it fell, the darkness lifts. I’m standing behind the creature again, Urgrosh held high after that last swing, and its swaying with the damage we’ve inflicted, cracks all over its surface now. But the bloody thing won’t stop!

I look round and see that Apparition has been having an easy time of it, attacking the wimpy peddler. Can’t have got many hits in ‘cos that scammer’s still moving, though admittedly covered in blood. Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t have looked away; next thing I know, another punch comes from those giant fists, and I’m seeing double, head ringing like a great big bell. But, I guess I’m lucky ‘cos Belle can’t seem to avoid any of the hits and each one seems to knock the pants (and the smarts as we later realised) out of him. Only one thing to do, so I grab my beard and pull sharply on the plait with the ring of the Ram threaded on it. Three times I pull, and a great force rockets into the stone creature, fracturing every piece of it and blasting it back 15 feet. The peddler has mostly recovered at this point and he calls his beast back, as they stumble off into the forest.

I’m exhausted, but no time to rest after this, as there’s something seriously wrong with Belle. He’s giggling at us and blowing bubbles… You look in his eyes and you realise there’s just no-one home. Now, I’m a fair healer, and to me, it looks like at least two weeks of bed rest before Belle is back up to full strength again. We’re gonna have to drag him around with a rope ‘cos he won’t even follow us on his own. That is not inconspicuous! What a balls-up, we’re one man down and the mission ain’t even really started yet! If Triac hears about this…

Apparition has barely a scratch on him, and I trust him even less now than before. The look he gives Belle is like a hungry wolf staring at a nice, fat rabbit…

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Introduction
First Looks

It is the 11th Age of Karnstein (year 327), and the power of the vampire House Karnstein is dwindling. They fear the rebellion of lower planes, which threaten their dominion.
Karnstein keeps 10 crack squads of mercenaries for covert actions. One has recently been destroyed on a particularly perilous mission. The elderly warlord, Triac Karnstein, a name synonymous with slaughter and brutality since the 5th Age, has invited three of his House’s top agents to the Fortress-Ship Kail. A new squad is being assembled…

The human Black Guard Bellatore, the dwarf Rogue Krevlorneswath, and the mysterious Shade Apparition have spent some few days waiting on Triac’s pleasure aboard the Kail. All have now met, and sized each other up, recognising the skills that their fellows have (and working out how hard they would be to kill, if it came to that…).

It is late when the three are summoned to present themselves to Triac in his throne room. They enter through cavernous doors into a gargantuan hall which stretches into darkness far above. Slabs of cold marble cover the walls, and on almost each one, a body is staked and chained with steel. Those whom would defy Triac, those who have enough power or strength for him to respect, to them he pays his highest compliment: they are turned into vampires, and chained here to suffer for a thousand years or more. Blood trickles slowly down the walls, from the wounds of the doomed, and the mouths of the gargoyles which adorn the foot of each slab. As the agents stride down the endless hallway, each spots a face they recognise – Leoric Devoc, the King of Sangoll, the whore Arissia – each is now no more than decoration for this room of agony.

Triac sits on his throne of human bone, a slave caught in his claws, teeth buried in his neck. As he senses his agents approach, he casts away the slave, who scurries off, alive this time. Licking the blood from his lips and chin, Triac stares at the three before him, black eyes of true darkness spearing through each of them, tearing a shiver even from the shadowy Apparition. He looks like a wizened, weak creature, but this thing has bathed in the blood of thousands, it would be unwise to underestimate his power.

“You have done well” he says in a voice like the opening of some dark crypt, “each of you has served me well, but now I need more, more from any of you than I have asked before.” Triac coughed and spat "We do not fear! Karnstein fear no House!” The words ring out in that hollow palace, echoed by the moans of the defeated.
“But there is a threat, an annoyance – fools on the 6th Plane.” The rust in his voice sounds like the crash of chains now, “They seek to ally themselves together, to close the Planes below from Our House. This. Shall. Not. Be!” he ended in thunder.
“I want them turned to war, I want them to slit the throats of their neighbours and wash their Plane in blood. Do you understand?”
The three before the throne kneeled and nod in acceptance of the task. The old vampire snaps his fingers, and three comfortable chairs appear behind the agents, "Be seated now, I have intelligence to give you, listen well for I am not patient with failure…

“There is an alliance on the 6th Plane, between 7 great Houses. The 8th House of this plane, Hob, has stayed clear of this group for many years, but we now hear rumours that Hob have been approached, and they are listening closely to this spit rebellion. We will remember their treachery, and soon they will be naught but a memory.
Two of the great Houses, Dae, and Carfax, have been at odds for two centuries, a pittance of time, but significant to humans I believe. They have joined forces in this alliance, but the bonds are weak. Tear them apart, set them warring amongst themselves once more and their plot will turn to ashes. They forget how long my arm is, and I will reach out and crush their pathetic conspiracy.

“This alliance has been orchestrated by one man, one pitiful human monk – a brother of the Order of the Severed Rope – he has called on the Houses to join together to defy our lawful rule. He speaks and sets the land on fire with his words, peasants cheer and nobles smile, and all the while the natural dissension of these idiots is reduced. This monk must be stopped. He must be killed, and soon. His name is Plath. Do not fail me.”

A silence falls as the agents assimilate this, but they rise quickly as Triac steps creakily down from his bone-laden throne. He beckons them to follow as he limps out of the hall, leaning on his slender, night-black staff, which flickers with an unnatural light at each step. Doors are flung open for the commander of the Kail, and all four step out into the Docking Bay. Here lie craft of all sizes, for all purposes, but it is to the strangest one in view that Triac leads them.
“You shall be my new squad; since the Vengeful Brothers fell, there has been a gap in my ranks, now it shall be filled again, and you shall be my fist, striking our enemies. This is the Bonescraper, and it shall take you where you need to go. Its name is fearsome, and its reputation more so, but use it wisely, for it does not belong to you. This is merely one of my tools, as are you.”

Above them looms a dark horror – 100 metres of black iron, cladding a dodecahedral cylinder, dotted with 2 metre long bone white spikes across its’ surface. There are no sails and it seems to burn freezing cold in the dark of the Bay.
Triac leads the curious trio aboard, where warm polished mahogany and brass fittings cover all surfaces. It is a far cry from the brutal exterior. All the furniture is gimballed, as if the craft can travel in any axis without disturbing its’ occupants. Along the walls, four clear glass plates sit atop brass tracks, displaying the outside of the craft, and it seems that they can be moved to view from any part of the walls.

Triac shows his new squad around their vessel, pointing out the stunted, utterly black, goblin-like crew, chained to the ship with cold iron collars. They are known as The Tethered, and they serve the Navigator, known as The Needle. He sits in his cage at the bow, chained into the bones of the ship, every inch of it a part of him. He is the true captain of this vessel, and though he may move it as required, he cares for the passengers not at all.
At the back of the ship, tied securely to the deck, are ten glass cases. In each can be seen an ordinary human body, a merchant, a traveller, a minstrel, a barmaid, and others. Each seems frozen in their clear caskets, unwitting passengers on this dark craft.
“These are your treasure, and the instrument of destruction I wish to inflict on House Carfax first of all. Drop these from a moderate height and they will break, and each human will wake and start moving, remembering nothing of their imprisonment. But they are infected with the worst plague my doktors could design, to ravage the people of Carfax and leave them a stinking, rotting ruin.” Triac cackles, “Be wary though, I would not care to be too close to one of these when it breaks…”

As they emerge from this horror, Triac beckons, and an unseen minion pushes a chair forward. Bound to it with stout chains and manacles, a fighter of obvious prowess struggles. The ancient vampire grasps his neck and stretches him out above the Bonescraper. With one swift blow, he rips out the warriors’ throat, and life’s blood splashes across the bow. “Let this be a dark blessing for your mission. Succeed, and you shall be raised up with my House… Fail and your suffering will be eternal.”
With that warning, Triac turned and left, the tapping of his staff echoing behind him.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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