Mysteria

Little Fluffy Clouds
Logged by Stigandr, player of Arcael

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“From the aft-deck you can watch Zobek become cloud as our air-ship climbs and we begin our journey south. Avail yourselves of the hospitality and enjoy the comforts of our facilities. If there is anything you require merely ask the Steward or the Purser.”

The passengers dispersed below deck whilst the dwarven deck-hands were busy with various tasks, the first mate barked commands at them seemingly relentlessly. One hand on the wheel, the captain, Old Ruag, took a swig from a silver flask and offered it out to the sole remaining passenger, Arcael, who still stared back towards Zobek, as if trying to pierce the cloud.

“Don’t linger, everywhere is jus somewhere else to leave boy…” he offered, “Heard tell yu’v flown before?”

Arcael unmoving replied, his voice hollow, “Flown before? I have seen beyond the Ouroboros, rode the leviathan and resisted the temptations of the god-flesh, death has taken me and I returned, lich-queen and geomancer have been swayed by my words, the sentient earth has tasted my blood and yielded to my offering. I have mastered the fey, the clockwork, the elemental, those of undeath and with further time and travel I will thwart even age itself. Yes, in many ways, I have flown before.”

Ruag took another swig and studied the sorcerer, he reiterated his offer of the flask to Arcael, “Fancy words. Dwarves speak more direct. My advice to you in the south? Water is life and sand is not solid ground.”

Arcael took the flask and had a swig of the spiced fiery spirit, he coughed as it seared his mouth, Old Ruag smiled a near toothless smile.

“Two hunerd years I’ve been doing this journey but that’s nothing to some things in the south. The south is full of age, old things, ancient things are everywhere. You’ve a sense of age about you too, even though you’re a slip of a boy. I see more than mortal dangers for you there.”

Arcael handed back the flask and finished coughing.

“I thank you for the warning Captain Ruag, but I am capable and as I have said, I have faced many dangers. I AIM that my journeys in the south enable me to become greater.”

The dwarf put his flask away and put both hands on the ships wheel. It was time to return to his work, as a parting farewell the white-bearded dwarf nodded and began singing to whole wide sky. Arcael listened a moment then decided to head to his cabin below decks. As he disappeared out of view Ruag thought to himself ‘Aye boy, you may become great, but it’s probably greatness you should be most afraid of.’

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"I'm Leaving on an Airplane"
Musings of an Arcanist

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Tranmus the Tall watched out of his stained lead window in the Black Tower of the Arcane Collegium as the great dwarven airship floated over the belching smoke of Silphuress ’s chimneys and wobbled through the ash filled air currents to cross over the dock district on its way to the mooring point near the Citadel.

Once again, another Dwarven vessel had made its way from Templeforge to stop at Zobeck before continuing south over the Magdar Kingdoms, crossing the Middle Sea and venturing into the hot dry lands of Nuria Natal. Usually Tranmus would not know the destination of such airships but on this occasion he knew quite well that it was booked to arrive in the desert city of Siwal, after a short stop in the ancient city of Nuria Natal itself.

No doubt the visting Nurian Trade Amabassador of Siwal would be stopping in to pay homage to King Thutmoses the 23rd, High Priest of Aten and King of all Nuria but some of his entourage would be travelling on to The Garden City of Siwal and, with them, his very own student and scholar, Arcael and his band of ragamuffins that called themselves The Oooze.

Tranmus reflected on this and wondered how they would fare. He had been keeping a close eye on the son of his old friend, Baron Tigo Rennaus of Bemmea but now they would be far away from his influence. Naturally, he would care for Lyla while the sorcerer was gone, and of course, Alexei Splitleaf of Allain , their sponsor, would keep their lodgings in good care, but how would this band of bardic ragamuffins REALLY fare he wondered. Oh, he wondered…..

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cummings and goings

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we have seen clockwork men
shooting nets
destroyed
and then
found false doors dropping floors
monsters to avoid
carpets wrapped and paintings trapped
we headed back with jones
ziv was diappointed
so were we
with the reward

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Alas Smith and Jones!

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Mr and Mrs Smith and Mr and Mrs Jones are both parents who live in The Cartways of Zobeck. Don’t ask what they do for a living. It’s none of your business! But, hey, everyone’s got a right to live, haven’t they?

Smith: These bazaars sure are quiet. The only folks I see out are them pesky Spyglass Guild patrols. Thugs! Still, I hear one of them messed with a wrong’un and payed the price.
Jones: Was it Underhill?
Smith: Nah, I don’t think so. Underhill’s been “well hid” since it began. Here, any news on your young Norah?
Jones: Fraid not! Mrs Jones’s been asking around, but we dursn’t search right now.
Smith: Don’t worry, Mate. She’ll turn up. She’s a clever girl, that Norah!
Jones: I hope you’re right, my friend. If you hear anything…..
Smith: Sure, I’ll let you know…. But best be getting back inside now. There’ll be another patrol due round, and I don’t think they’re gonna be none too friendly to any of us Cartways folk hanging out in the open.

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Strangers in The Night

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Gryxx Sovvtly, Derro Madcaster, sat chewing a sinewy old mushroom skin from their dwindling supplies. Of his group of six derro, only he was gifted with the “faezpower”. The new area they were in was obviously some kind of humanoid location, but for some reason, strangely quiet. The only person they had seen was the young girl they now had hostage, so Gryxx was slightly puzzled, and of course, totally mad.

At the noise of two sound bursts from the cavern entrance, he knew his scouts had company and he sprung into action. Telf, Sikkur and Sasha lined the north wall, while producing ghost sounds to the south, but he started preparing one of his summoning spells: “Let’s see how these intruders like a nice spider”, he thought.

With his big pale eyes, Gryxx watched the battle unfold. One of the first to enter the fray was a huge cat-like predator, all claws and teeth. He knew that Orfis and Holla would deal with this creature first and was pleased to see, that by their expert rogue tactics, they managed to immobilise him fairly soon.

But this would be a hard fight. A burst of light let Gryxx know that another faezwielder existed, so he shot a magic missile at the creature, while the others, covered the space in darkness and delivered further sound bursts before taking out their poison weapons. The summoned spider fell to both sword and sorcery and Orfis and Holla were surrounded. Orfis fell screaming, and Holla, barely alive, retreated back to the hostage.

Now Gryxx grimaced as he realised how powerful these intruders were. They had grounded the cat, but in a flurry of deadly blades, the surface dwellers pressed Telf, Sikkur and Sasha until Gryxx felt he had to retreat. Falling back, he summoned the two remaining derro to follow him, but he knew his opponents would only replenish themselves and return, so he changed his tactic and threatened the young girl. Surely, their high morals would dictate their actions, he thought. However, he did not count on the big cat getting up. With a single pounce, the beast killed Holla and released the prisoner. It was a fight for the death!

Telf and Sikkur fought bravely but before he could do much, the huge and noisy armoured monstrosity grabbed the Madcaster and squeezed him in a deadly embrace. They wanted some kind of picture, but he knew nothing of this, and therefore nothing that could save his life. He pleaded mercy, but his assailants would not relent. The only comfort the Madcaster had before his death was seeing the valiant escape of Sasha as she managed to run past several of the group and flee into the gloom. Alas, their time near the surface had been so short an adventure….

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Tin Pan Alley

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Goblin One: “Quiet! Did you hear that?”
Goblin Two: “No!”
Goblin One: “Neither did I!”

After struggling through the plethora of traps while under goblin Slinger attack from the rooftops in Scaler’s Alley, Arcael eventually got his magic rope out and Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall) started pulling himself up the building as the goblin captain rained fire shots on him from above. bartiman-greenbough (now enlarged) held Arenicus on his shoulders so that the mage could use his HAND OF THE APPRENTICE ability to hurl his axe. On the other side of the alley, the candle wick tail of the wizard’s candle drake held two goblins entranced, keeping them out of the fight.

While Saabu Theet healed his comrades below, Goran climbed the rope to deliver a powerful backstab to the goblin leader, now firmly held in Iron Wall’s unflinching embrace. Soon, all goblins were despatched, bar two that fled off over the rooftops.

Electing to continue their quest over the rooftops instead of through the trap infested alley, the group encountered more goblins, but without their height and cover advantage, they were no match for the elite killing sqaud of Arcael and The Oooze and in the end, the flying lizard man, SCALER himself, came out, making a deal with Arcael to let the band through THE CARTWAYS in return for a song. A song I very much look forward to hearing at the next concert!

Sneaking through an empty cartways market, the group came upon four members of the Spyglass Guild. When negotiation failed, the group turned to battle in the form of preferred NON LETHAL damage. When the non lethal element of that assault failed, the group resorted to its usual method of resolving disputes – outright slaughter!

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Play Misty for Me
Fan Mail

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Dear Arcael

It was so wonderful to see you leading the band on a full moon, and I, for one, liked your twiggy bristles. It’s not often that us kobolds get a handsome human hero to look up to, especially one of such fine human bloodline. So, it is with great pride that we travel out of the ghetto to spend a night in the Wheatsheaf. I wonder if so fine a man as yourself could ever love a silly kobold girl like me, so I have sent you a picture, just in case.

Your adoring fan,
Chochi

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Will you tell me where my country lies...

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Saabu Theet stepped off the airship he had been travelling on for many days, said his farewells, and mingled into the streets of Zobeck looking for the sorcerer bard known as Arcael. He did not have to search long, for passing by The Wheatsheaf Tavern, he was drawn to a pamphlet displayed on the wall advertising a FULL MOON Concert.

On meeting the man and his band, he quickly learned how some of their members had narrowly escaped the scourge of lycanthropy, and soon befriended the group, just as they were organising a new quest for MYSTERIA in the dark underbelly of the city. Goran the rogue arranged a meeting with a man called Ziv the Sly and the group were soon making plans to sneak into THE CARTWAYS through the dreaded SCALER’s ALLEY.

The other companions consisted of a weird mechanical being called Iwandornless Walderin (Iron Wall), a shape-changing druid called Bartiman Greenbough, and a dwarven wizard by the name of Arenicus. Agreeing a price of 5,000 GP for the retrieval of a painting called THE FISH AND THE ROSE, the party delved into the darkness of the Kobold Ghetto and made their way cautiously into the smoking and stinking, trap-infested alley….

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Unknown Pleasures
...and hoping for untold treasures!

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After a really important religious ritual, it’s off on the front foot again. Damn this twiggy appearance, let the music speak for itself!

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Well Worn Journal
What sharp teeth you have.... (Part Two)

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We hadn’t asked for a wake-up call from the innkeeper and we certainly didn’t ask for one in the middle of the night. I awoke to the crash of the balcony doors being smashed through. I still had time to grab my swords and get myself in position at the side of the balcony. I ran my sword through the first fool to step through; he didn’t even see it coming. These idiots have a thing or two to learn about murder in the night. Not that they will be learning anything ever again.

The door came crashing through and more of them came pouring through, all quickly falling to our relentless assault. One of them seemed to be in charge and far more capable than the others, but he didn’t seem to have the backbone to carry his own plan through. On seeing his minions torn apart he decided to flee back down the corridor. I ran to the balcony and leapt to the ground hoping to slit his throat as he came running out the door, but it appeared he at least had the sense to leave by some other means. Frustrated by the escape of my quarry I made my way back upstairs.
My companions had had the good sense to keep one of the would-be assassins alive for questioning. Arcael seemed to think the promise of release and his life would be more effective in getting information from him, I thought sliding my dagger in his eye would have been far more effective. Someone babbled something about defenceless prisoner; I don’t call attempted assassination defenceless, an eye for an eye, perhaps literally. The soft approach seemed to work though and the Sorcerer managed to wring some information from him regarding this challenge the maiden was sent on. The details weren’t particularly important to me; these “Vargamors” as they called themselves had made it personal.

Truman cast some spells to heal our bumps and scratches and we discovered another wonderful twist of this accursed forest. Where the Oracle placed his hands to heal our cuts the skin took on a barkish tone and small twigs and leaves seemed to sprout from the flesh. Disgusted, I hoped that it wasn’t permanent or that someone in the city had a method of removing them.
We made our way out to the forest and in the direction we were told the girl had went. We found ourselves on a narrow trail; there was not much room to manoeuvre the canopy hung low and thorny branches reached in on both sides. I spotted small children of the briar scampering on either side. A nuisance to mortals and fey alike, I made note to avoid finding myself off the path. Huge statutes lined the path, riders atop horses struck from wood. Ominous, but then so was everything in this damned forest.

We entered a clearing with a gentle river flowing across it; a handy set of stepping stones crossed the water. Knowing that things are rarely as they seemed we tied a rope around my waist and I grabbed hold of another. I leapt on to the first stepping stone then quickly hopped to the next. The one thing I hadn’t expected was the second stone moving under my feet and rising from the water. I must say it is the first time I have tried to balance on one leg on the head of a creature, but these things happened I suppose. I hopped backward to the shore as the rest of the creatures rose from the waters. They didn’t seem actively aggressive which made a change for this place, but they seemed irritated ranting about trespassing on sacred ground or something. They seemed to demand for us to give tribute to their goddess, kneeling under the water for an hour. A nice trick if you can do it.

The druid Bartiman seemed to have confidence though and proceeded to step into the waters and lowered his head below the surface. There appeared to no thrashing waves or screams and impatience was getting the better of me. I told the minotaur to hold the end of the rope I still had attached and if by the count of 30 I hadn’t pulled on the rope to drag me back out. I lowered my head under the water and immediately noticed the druid about ten feet from me seemingly breathing normally. I braced myself and took a breath, it was a strange sensation slightly panic inducing at first but relaxing afterwards. I decided I would rise and tell the others. Arcael had his doubts, I can’t blame him trust is a hard thing to come by, that I know. We all complied and were allowed to pass; I filled a couple of water skins if the water kept its properties they may have had uses.

We eventually passed into another clearing with the sight of two beautiful creatures, a nice change to the sights we had beheld so far. They were alluring and seemed to be keen to a little challenge of archery. Not one to pass up on a challenge or a bet I happily obliged. I wasn’t on my best form and certainly not compared to the fey skill. Her suggestion to lie down in her warm embrace that followed however was hard to pass up and I had to agree. I have no idea what the others got up to, but next thing I know I’m being dragged by the arm from the clearing to the next path.

We stumbled into another clearing where an old hag awaited us. She said we had to beat one of three tests in order to pass. Bartiman shouted “all” though, something about something some old seer had said to him back at the Inn. Looks like three it would be. First was the test of skill, playing a balalaika full covered in wasps. Arcael tried his best, but kept disturbing the wasps and managed to get himself badly stung. Thinking I could help by holding the instrument steady, I received some stings myself for the trouble, but he managed to play the damn thing.

Next was the test of strength, something about wrestling with a dwarf, Balgor and Iron Wall tried their luck. I assume one of them was successful, I would have liked to pay more attention, but I had the druid working his magic on my stings to recover some freedom of motion. Bartiman then turned his attention to the third challenge.

A game of Gul Bara, now my skills with games of chance and skill may have been better suited, but I was still nursing some bad stings. After a few rounds, however I did notice that the dice were rolling strangely. We called the hag on her cheating and were met with her furious rage. Surprisingly though she conceded the game to us and awarded us with the enchanted board. Should fetch a nice price back in town in some places I frequent.

Curiously we entered another clearing. Empty, apart from a small arrangement of steepled sticks. We approached cautiously and I extended my thieves pole. I gently flipped the sticks to reveal some familiar looking playing cards, the top one showing my own face. As a kind reward for my caution I was granted a couple of arrows to my shoulder and arm.

The Vargamors burst from the foliage, led by their cowardly leader. I berated him for his fleeing before and his underhanded tactics, truth be told it is exactly the methods I would use. Again his followers seemed as untrained as the last group and we cut through them like ribbons. Their leader seemed determined to press on his attack this time though. The savage actually managed to sink his teeth into me at one point! He was obviously enraged by me knocking him to the floor and making him look foolish. We eventually took his snapping and snarling face and drove it to the ground his blood spilling into the forest floor.

Feeling the pressure we hurried on to come across a huge tree with a house nestled in its branches. We also came across a young warrior glad head to toe in plate. It would seem we weren’t the only ones in search of the young woman. We rushed to the bottom of the tree, Iron wall already swinging a rope up to catch one of the windows and Arcael moving another up through his magic. I took one look at the plated warrior and the look of hopelessness on his face as he eyed the climb. I shoved my potion of spider climb at him and told him to try that. We grabbed the ropes and scaled them as quickly as we could, some more easily than others. Can’t bears climb trees?

I clambered through the window to see the girl sitting casually at the end of the bed and a huge wolf creature tucked up in bed. I wondered how the house managed to stay aloft in the tree it was so full of crap. Not a bit of floor was clear, cluttered with odds and ends, jars and herbs and assorted bric-a-brac. The creature leapt from the bed and started waving its hands. Next thing I know I’m being awoken by the Sorcerer, I guess I must have really needed a nap! I caught a glimpse of Balgor heading back out a window; it wasn’t like the minotaur to be a coward. The others had started their attack.

While the others rained blows down upon the Wolf I maneuvered myself round to get a better angle to slide my swords in. I noticed a sprig of wolfs bane hanging amongst the herbs. I concentrated and used a handy little magical trick I knew to lift the herbs over and place it into the boiling pot.

Perhaps the fumes would have some effect on the bloody werewolf, if the stories were to be believed. I wasn’t going to get to find out though, as after a few well-placed blows from my companions our newly met warrior friend swung a well-timed blow and practically cut the creature in two.

From the belly of the beast we found a still arrived old woman, apparently the woman our druid had been chatting to back at the inn. We had ensured our dominion over the wolves of the Margreve for some time. We returned to the North Road and the rest of our journey to retrieve the artwork was shockingly uneventful. As night drew on and the moon was rising I could feel a strange sensation all over, like the hairs all over my body standing on end. That damn bite is itching too much to carry on writing this. I should get it looked at when we get back to the city.

Goran

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