Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Searching For Jaryn

Ethan stood at the bow of the Urchin's Pride. Seamist spraying him with every crest of the waves. The Soarwind vessel's progress through the sea was rhythmic, it had a hypnotic pace to it. Ethan reflected on the difference between the Elemental Airship he had been on only weeks before and the Urchin's Pride. Both he knew took skill to pilot, but the Pride also took teamwork.

Glancing up at the rigging Ethan could see several crew trimming the sails to adjust for changes in the wind. This work was necessary to keep the ship working at an optimal level. Every man played a part in keeping the vessel working, unlike the airship's that House Lyrander possessed. Those were reliant on Dragonmarked Heir's dominating the elemental that powered the ship. Ethan had no doubt they were difficult to pilot, but there was no team element in the success.

With a sigh Ethan returned his gave to the waves crashing against the Urchin's Pride. He had been disgruntled of late. The encounter with Tharunn hadn't gone well. After the boy had run off Ethan had looked for him, with no success. Tharunn had disappeared. Eventually, Ethan's companions had said it was time to move out. The thought that the boy was alone in Flamekeep left Ethan feeling hollow.

Arriving in Merylsward several days later the party quickly found accommodations and set about the task of locating Jaryn. Distancing himself from the party Ethan quickly scouted out the less than reputable locations of the town. Knowing that the individuals he was seeking out wouldn't likely be interested in talking to a Kinght of the Flame. Aundair and Thrane had battled heavily during the last war, and the people of the Eldeen Reaches had seen some of that aggression. Though he had missed an encounter with the cultists, Ethan had learned some valuable information about Jaryn and where he may have been headed.

The party had been searching for Jaryn for over 40 days. So far the search hadn't resulted in much new information. The weather was bad, with fresh snow falling daily. Visibility was poor as the wind lashed out and blew the snow around. Ethan walked out front of the party leading the way. A rope lashed the party together so they wouldn't loose each other in the blinding blizzard.

The going was slow as Ethan methodically tested the ground in front of him. For every step he took he pierced the ground before him with a staff, ensuring there were no sink holes. So close to the Demon Wastes the terrain was treacherous with jagged cliffs and steep inclines. The party didn't want to find themselves up to their heads in snow. This had been the routine for weeks now and the party was clearly exhausted with the pace. Only Braddoc's military training had kept them going this long.

As Ethan moved methodically forward, the party trailing him by twenty feet he heard a loud crack. Freezing in place Ethan looked for the source of the noise. The blinding snow provided no clues. Ethan was about to continue forward when the ground fell out from under him.

Arms flailing Ethan fell and was swung by the rope tethering him to Braddoc. The wind was knocked out of him as he slammed into a cliff face. As he hung from the rope Ethan was glad he had taken Nenia's suggestion and used the rope. He felt himself being raised up and that's when the rope snapped, sending him plummeting down the cliff face.

Reaching for his dagger Ethan plunged it into the icy cliff praying Olladra hadn't abandoned him yet. The dagger found it's mark and Ethan's progress downwards came to a jarring halt. Ethan hand no idea how far he had fallen, the blizzard was obscuring all sight beyond 10 feet. Pulling another dagger out Ethan began pulling himself up. Using the daggers as spikes he drove them into the icy cliff face and pulled himself up.

Ethan didn't know how long he had been climbing for. Feeling had abandoned his fingers long ago and his left leg was tingling. It was sheer will power that had kept him going, but Ethan knew that wouldn't last for much longer. He was loosing the battle. Drawing upon the magic in his gloves Ethan felt a surge of strength and continued his ascent with renewed vigor.

Delian stood at the edge of the cliff. It had been almost an hour since Ethan had plunged over the edge. The party had given up searching. They had all agreed it was too dangerous to climb down after Ethan. Truth be told, Ethan was the only party member qualified to even attempt the climb. They had to face the facts, the elements had bested them and they'd lost one of their own. Delian said a silent prayer for his fallen friend and turned to return to the others. That's when he heard it, a scraping sound. Surely the weather was playing tricks on him. Yet, there it was again. Moving carefully forward Delian approached the noise. As he arrived at the ledge he looked down only to see a gloved hand drive a dagger into the ice and pull its owner over the cliff.

Sterling stood waiting for Delian to return so the party could continue. Ethan's death was unfortunate and he would miss Rogue, but the party needed to press on. Looking towards the Paladin Sterling watched as he dragged a body over the cliff face. Running forward Sterling arrived at the scene. Ethan lay at the Paladins feet, his exposed skin blue with cold. Worse Ethan's left leg was mangled and bloody. Looking over the edge Sterling saw a trail of blood running down the cliff.

Calling to Jonathon the Warforged hoped that his friend wasn't past saving.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Back in Merylsward

16 Olarune
A bitter wind made the candles flicker as the door to the make-shift temple opened. Emesha looked up from her meditations to see a tiefling quietly shut the door and step into the room. Years of experience instantly warned her that there was more to this man than met the eye. However the Flame within her heart called her to treat everyone with respect – if not wariness.

“Well met,” she said as she rose from her mat. Her companions had already made their way to their bunks in anticipation of tomorrow’s journey back into the wilderness. A month was far too long to be holed up in this place while the cult moved throughout the lands. “How can the Flame be of service to you?”

The tiefling smiled. It seemed genuine enough. “I have traveled far to come to this place. It is my hope to find a champion of your faith in this town. He is known as Jaryn. Do you know of his whereabouts? I am in urgent need to speak with him.”

Emesha held the emotion from her face. This was the second time in a month that Jaryn’s location had been sought after. What had he got himself into? It must be important for people to follow him half way across Khorvaire. “I do not know where he is. I have not had contact with him in a few months – not that I think it is any of your business. What do you want with him warlock?” She could tell by the slight raising of his eyebrow that she had guessed his attire correctly.

“I only wish to seek his assistance in locating an item I am seeking. I believe he has knowledge of where it may be located.” He paused. “Not that it is any of your business good cleric.”

A moment of silence passed between them as the tiefling took in the room. He took a step toward one of the torches and warmed his hands. Emesha thought she saw the flames actually reach toward the warlock. She shook her head. It was time for this one to leave. A sense of unease filled her heart.

“You are correct. It is none of my business…” she paused.

“Skamos” he said without turning his head.

“Skamos.” She continued. “However you are not the first one seeking my comrade and the others have quite a head start on you.” Her mind reeled. Why had she said that? Dread filled her heart. This warlock was up to something. There was no way she would have divulged information like that willfully to someone like this. She started toward the rear of the room. She needed to get some assistance. If she could reach the door she could easily raise the alarm.

Suddenly her body immobilized and her mind shrieked as a sudden blast of pain tore through her mind. The warlock was looking at her now. Somehow he was tearing memories from her. Back through the previous weeks they flashed until they settled on Jonathon and his comrades.

“Ah.” he said. “It seems that my friends are more astute than even I gave them credit for. No matter. I must admit that I was not relishing a cold journey through lands ruled by narrow-minded nature lovers. They have saved me a trip. I thank you for your assistance Emesha.”


In the morning they found the door of the temple ajar and Emesha’s frozen corpse lying in front of the altar of the temple. There was no sign of a struggle.