Prelude: Nod's Quest.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Dungeon Master
 GM, 21 posts
Thu 30 Jul 2015
at 00:05
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
As you sit on your bed, you find it as difficult to find sleep as it was to find an appetite.  Your mind is swimming with the thought of foreign forests and ruins and darkness.  You envision a mountain towering above many others in the night, white capped glowing in the moonlight, the peak disappears into the darkness of clouds.  You begin to feel weightless and can see the mountain in the distance growing larger as you fly towards it.  As you speed across the landscape you see a large forest to the west. It is long and narrow and you are flying parallel to it.  It eventually tapirs to a point and a green glowing circle can be seen within the forest, almost looking at you like the eye of a snake.  Ahead you see a river crossing before you, wrapping around another great forest that is curled up against sheer cliffs that form the base of the mountain.  As you fly over the river, you look down and see the lantern lights of a village to the east tucked against the northern shore of the river, just before it turns south and flows to the sea.  You zoom over the forest and look down to see trees flying past you in a blur, impossibly fast as the mountain looms before you.  Your eyes are drawn down, and you begin to feel drawn into the darkness between the cliffs of the mountain and the forest.  You begin to feel like you are falling.  Falling into the darkness your eyes begin to adjust and you see you are falling toward a structure.  As it gets larger and larger you feel a dark presence and radiating heat, you smell fire and suit, you hear a low groan like a great furnace, and your eyes burn but you see no smoke.  The ruined building comes into focus just before you crash into it...

And you wake up on your bed, heart pounding, in a cold sweat.  Your lamp has burned nearly out of oil and it as but a faint flame remaining.  You are still in your study robes, but have no idea what time it is...

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:11, Thu 30 July 2015.

Nod
 player, 9 posts
Thu 30 Jul 2015
at 01:26
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
In reply to Dungeon Master (msg # 9):

Nod sits up and listens for a moment, still shaken by the night haunt. Sometimes the voices come, but this was different. Not like the waking whispers. The whispers are startling, but they have never made Nod afraid. Not like this dream. So real. Not slides off the bed and strips his study robe. After digging out a night shirt, Nod lays back down and waits patiently to see if sleep will return, hopefully this time more peaceful. His racing mind slows little by little and Nod finds himself drifting off to sleep.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 22 posts
Thu 30 Jul 2015
at 03:11
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
The freshness of morning awakens you.  You managed to get enough sleep you think as you do feel energized though a bit lethargic.  Rubbing the crust from your eyes, you see he early sunlight streaks through the tower at a low angle and hear the sound of sea birds echoes from across the city.  The smell of fresh tea is wafting up from the kitchen and your stomach is grumbling fiercely.

OOC - Please have the equipment and coin sections filled out on your character sheet prior to departing on your trip.  If there is something you want to take with you other than what you can afford with starting character money, run it by me and I'll let you know if it is available.

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:24, Thu 30 July 2015.

Nod
 player, 10 posts
Fri 31 Jul 2015
at 16:54
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod stretches and slides out of bed. He begins to dress in his study robes out of habit, but stops halfway through. Seeing the pile of travel equipment stacked on the chair, Nod slings his study robe to the floor. Nod dressing in travel cloths and stuffs his backpack with his travel gear. The weight on his gear is near the limit of what he can comfortably carry. Tying on the last items, and after picking up his father's shied, Nod catches a glimpse of himself in the dressing mirror. A smirk crosses his face. He heads for the door.
Master Trazen
 NPC, 3 posts
Fri 31 Jul 2015
at 18:56
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
You work your way down to the kitchen where Master Trazen sits sipping on some rose hip tea, made from a native desert rose called the lightning plant by some because the thorns carry a very painful venom.  The tea is quite pungent but gives lots of energy for the day.  Your fox is curled on up on the table next to him and he raises his head as you enter.  "Have a cup.  You'll need it.", he says pouring the red steaming liquid into a cup for you and setting it next to a chair.  "I've prepared you a small care package.  And don't complain.  I'll be fine.  I made five times this much to cover the cost.", gesturing to a green velvet sack on the counter.  You walk over and pick up the sack and it clinks.  "Careful now.  There's three potions of cure light wounds and one of the potions of invisibility, just in case.  Like I said I will not hear a word.  I'm sending you on this mission and I want you to succeed.  I'll not hear another word about it."  The fox lays his head back down and Master Trazen pats his head.
Nod
 player, 11 posts
Sat 1 Aug 2015
at 21:34
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod sits and drinks some tea. So what am I to expect when I arrive on the other side?
Master Trazen
 NPC, 4 posts
Sun 2 Aug 2015
at 00:25
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
"Well you will be in the northern tip of the Arthfell Forest.  I've not spent very much time there.  It is a conifer forest, consisting mostly of ancient fir and pine trees.  You'll not want to spend much time there as ancient forests tend to have all sorts of denizens you'd best avoid.  I suggest you head southeast to get out as quickly as possible.  To the northwest of the elven glade is Moon Silver Pool, and you do not want to go there.  I imagine you'll be out of the forest in a couple of hours and with any luck you'll go unnoticed.  Once clear of the trees you can go straight south and you'll find a road sometime in the afternoon.  From there you should be close to either the Traveller's Stop Inn which is right on the edge of the forest or the town of Olfden further east.  That would be a longer route to Falcon's Hollow but you'll probably be better off on roads than crossing the wild country alone.  Perhaps you can pick up some help along the way.  You will eventually have to head north and cross the Darkmoon Plain and it will be mostly cross country travel."  He turns and looks out the window.  "I suppose we're burning daylight.  Would you like to eat something first or snack along the way?"

This message was last edited by the player at 00:41, Sun 02 Aug 2015.

Nod
 player, 12 posts
Mon 3 Aug 2015
at 22:16
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod taps his leather snack bag lightly. I have some tid bits tucked away. I think I'm rather get moving. I wager my courage would wane as the day grows older, and the fog of recent sleep would clear my mind. I might decide this wasn't a great idea. Nod snatches an apple from the table and clinches it in his teeth. A noise that says "Shall we?" while your mouth is stuffed with apple comes from Nod, and he points with both hands at the spiral staircase leading down.
Master Trazen
 NPC, 5 posts
Mon 3 Aug 2015
at 23:02
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
"Very well."  He slowly rises from his chair and takes a final sip of his tea.  "Let us begin."  Your fox hops to his feet, leaps to the ground, and with one fluid motion circles your legs and stops to your right.  He looks up at you as if waiting for instruction.

Master Trazen leads you down through the many familiar levels of the tower into the basement where he waves his hand, illuminating white crystals mounted along the walls like braziers.  Passing into the dry food storage space he moves to the center of the room where sacks of rice are stacked in a neat square pile.  He stares at the floor and pauses a moment rubbing his chin.  After several minutes he says, "Ah yes, I remember now..." and clears his throat.

[Language unknown:  "U con ouaick hisint'ateson, prom aillut il ver rederslar cabefi heonni she t arwe."]

The floor under the sacks of rice slides aside as smoothly and silently as a leaf on the water, revealing a stair into darkness.  He smiles at you almost childlike, "And so it opens!"  He continues downward and you see him make another gesture causing more lights to emerge, but the architecture of the room beneath you is very different than the rest of the tower.  It is a circular room of white marble and the walls are exquisitely engraved.  As you follow, you are surprised by the sweet floral fragrance, cool dry air, and you begin to see that the elaborate designs form a mural of planets wrapping around the room.  The planets are of varying sizes and textures, some almost as tall as the room, and some not much larger than a honeydew melon, but all are textured in great detail showing continents with mountains and rivers leading to oceans.  Some look to be waterless deserts, and some are giant balls of clouds.  They are arranged on the walls like pebbles in a stream and magical energy flows around and through them like water, forming swirls and eddies.  The carvings of magical energy all seem to flow from an archway.  The archway is quite simple, five feet wide and about seven feet tall at its apex, and the piece of marble that seals off the passage is perfectly flat and smooth, polished to a mirror finish.

Master Trazen slowly approaches the archway and with a great deal of reverence, places his hand on the stone.  His eyes soften as he smiles as if he were meeting an old friend once again.  "They were crafted with love, and you can be comforted even after all these centuries."  As his hand glides across the surface of the marble, his eyes close and he exhales slowly.  He looks at you.  "Come, it is not often you can commune in such an intimate way with your ancestors."  He takes your hand and gently places your palm on the marble.  You feel the perfect smoothness at first, but then a warmness grows in your chest and you begin to have a feeling you haven't had since you were a child.  Joy and comfort take you and you feel safe and loved just as you had when being held in the loving embrace of your mother.  "See?  Isn't it wonderful?"

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 23:05, Mon 03 Aug 2015.

Nod
 player, 13 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 00:38
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod notices the clever little fox tagging along, and frees one hand to pull open the belt pouch that Pippish (Pip for short) rides in. Pip lunges up and slumps into the belt pouch. He hangs his front paws over the edge and pushes his nose out from under the flap, in order to sample all of the passing smells.

Nod waits quietly while Master Trazen searches his mind for the spell that opens the portal to the hidden stairs. Nod follow his Master down the stairs and along the strangely adorned hall. His sways from side to side in an attempt to take it all in.

Nod's face lights up as his hands pass along the surface on the marble.
Master Trazen
 NPC, 6 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 01:23
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
"Now, this aiudara is a hub.  It leads to many others.  Each connection is opened by a different key, and the key to the Arthfell glade is a ritual spell."  Like before, he steps back and places his hand on his chin for a long moment.  "You'll want to prepare yourself Nod.  These portals open from both ways.  While the elven glade should be secure, I have no way of knowing for sure.  Many kinds of creatures have the power to pass in and out of elven glades, friend and foe...  I shall begin, please do not disturb me."

He places both hands flat on the marble slab within the archway, closes his eyes, and begins to recite an arcane incantation.  As he speaks the edges of the archway begin to shimmer with blue glowing energy.  The energy slowly grows in intensity until it shines brightly and waves of blue light radiate out into the wall carvings like flames.  His smooth elven voice begins to reverberate as if being amplified by the room itself and the marble slab begins to swirl with blue energy under his hands, displacing the white marble like smoke under glass.  The blue smoky swirls grow larger as they spin slowly pushing away any remnant of marble from within the archway.  Master Trazen's incantation gently softens as the center of the swirling vortex falls away into a lush forest scene.  The glade looks small.  Under the shadows of the menacing forest beyond, ferns, mushrooms, and moss covered stones abound in the inviting little space.  As his incantation comes to an end, his hands fall through the surface, as the physical reality of the wall succumbs to the power of the portal.  Only wisps of blue glowing smoke remain around the edges.  He staggers back a couple of steps and gingerly helps himself to the floor to rest.

"I'm sorry, the spell takes a bit out of me."  He says as he looks through the portal.  The thick moist smell of pine trees and rich forest soil floods into the room and the song of chirping insects and birds fills your ears.  You see a small yellow and black songbird of some sort flutter down to a rock as it looks in curiously.  "The Arthfell is beautiful isn't it?"
Nod
 player, 14 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 01:33
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod brushes his cloak aside, and moves to Master Trazen. Nod takes a knee and waits to see if the Master's intention is to rise immediately or if he is expected to move through the portal due to some as heretofore unknown time limit. While he waits, Nod takes in the sights and sounds of the forest that flood through the portal. Nod checks intently for possible threats.
Master Trazen
 NPC, 7 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 01:40
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
He turns and smiles to you.  "Thank you Nod.  I'm ok."  He accepts your offer to help him to his feet.  As you scan the area, you see no threats.  You begin to hear the sound of moving water through the forest sounds.  "The portal is open and safe to pass when you are ready.", still breathing heavily he is obviously exhausted from the experience.
Nod
 player, 15 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 01:50
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Well, I guess this is it. Nod pauses a bit. I, um...You've taught me so much. Nod kind of snorts a bit as he is interrupted emotionally nervous laughter. I guess I could have learned more. Clearly, If I'd gone to the poetry and composition classes you were so insistent about, maybe I'd have something more clever to say. Nod steadies himself and extends his hand in a gesture of respect and friendship. Just in case, I guess I better say "Goodbye"
Master Trazen
 NPC, 8 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 02:01
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Your old mentor takes your hand.  His grip is weak, but he is in good spirits.  He smiles warmly and his eyes water a bit.  "You have been a wonderful student...  I wouldn't send you on a mission of this magnitude if I didn't have the utmost faith in your potential."  He puts his left hand on your shoulder.  "Teachers always have ideas how they expect a student to grow.  They never consider the student may have a different, better way...  Until we meet again."  He gently releases you and lets his arms fall into his robes.  He looks into the forest.  [Language unknown:  "Sti oswafo nce wadito urut.  It ive reisolri al."]  You recall the phrase as an elven blessing.
Nod
 player, 16 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 14:27
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod stiffens and grabs his backpack strap and sword hilt. I'll send word if I can. Farewell. Nod turns and takes a broad step through the portal.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 33 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 15:10
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
As you approach the portal the thought of stepping into what used to be a marble slab feels awkward, but you muster the courage to step through the archway and it feels surprisingly natural.  You turn to the sound of cascading water and see an oddly shaped stone statue with a waterfall running down it's face into a small pool.  Soft grass and purple flowers provide comfortable footing.  Several small fruit trees grow in the open spaces of the glade, which appears to be about fifty feet across.  The glade is ringed by Paueliel Trees, silver-barked softwoods that grow to immense heights, but never spread to more than a few feet in diameter.  You turn back to see the other side of the aiudara.  It is on a surprisingly simple monolithic stone structure, built in the same style as the statue and other moss covered block structures lying about the glade.  You see Master Trazen through the portal as he raises both hands in the air and drops them quickly.  Suddenly the portal blinks out of existence leaving nothing but a polished grey granite slab in it's place.

In addition to being a protected location for the elf gate, this glade appears to be a rest stop of sorts for travelling elves.  There are comfortable looking stones strewn about for sitting and lying down.  You also see a large slab laying flat in the center of the glade with some sort of carving on it.  A few steps towards the stone sculpture reveals a carved map of the forest and compass rose.  You find it surprising that being in a forest, nothing is covered in leaves or pine needles.


This message was last edited by the GM at 22:21, Tue 04 Aug 2015.

Nod
 player, 17 posts
Wed 5 Aug 2015
at 01:18
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod blinks hard a few times. He wheels around to see the portal is gone, and turns again in disbelief. He finally draws breath and laughs a little. As he stands there wide eyed and smiling broadly, he suddenly remembers the warning he got from Master Trazen about possible dangers. The grin runs off his face, and the crouches and listens for a long time. Nod stalks his way toward the carved stone map, and begins to study it. Nod attempts to gauge the size of the map, to see it would be of value to make a rubbing or part or all of the carving.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 35 posts
Wed 5 Aug 2015
at 02:22
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
The stone map is to large to make an effective rubbing being about 15 feet across, not to mention all of the moss would soften the paper.  The carving seems to be of the northern half of the Arthfell.  You see the symbol of an aiudara near the eastern edge of the trees and northwest from there about a foot, you see a circular pool.  A large plateau covers the entire bottom half of the map, and leading out of the forest to the east a road follows along the base of the cliffs.  Next to the road at the edge of the forest you see the symbol of a building.  Where the road exits the map to the east, atop the ridge of the plateau you see the symbol of a fortified wall.  Another curious feature of the map is the lupine symbolism utilized throughout the overall design.  The border of the map is decorated with a repeating pattern of a running wolf followed by a serpentine pattern of wolf tracks leading to the elven symbol of the full moon.  Come to think of it, the odd waterfall statue could be a highly stylized wolf.  You begin to see the symbolism repeated on the stone structures all around the glade.

 Just then you hear the howl of wolves off in the distance to the northwest, and Pip whimpers and turns in his belt pouch.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:39, Wed 05 Aug 2015.

Nod
 player, 18 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 02:30
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod takes a moment and produces a quill, and some parchment to jot down a few notes. Not being much of an artist, he does his best to reproduce the major elements of the mat for navigation purposes. Nod scans the map surface for any written messages or fragments of meaning in the symbols.
Upon hearing the wolf howl, Nod feels for the hilt of his sword, and pulls the family shield around to a defensive position.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 46 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 04:27
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
The howling lasts for less than a minute before being drowned out again by the ambient forest noise.  It seems as though the source of the howling is several miles away at least.  After the tension of the moment subsides, Nod looks at the sketch of the map he scribbled down.  It should suffice if he can maintain his orientation.  Further study of the symbolism used throughout the glade doesn't reveal much more other than in addition to the elven style, the symbols are distinctly druidic.
Nod
 player, 21 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 21:47
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Upon realizing the writing and symbolism is Druidic in nature, and given the importance of maintaining orientation and map quality, Nod takes decisive action. Clutching his father's shield tightly (arcane focus), Nod concentrates intently for several moments, and initiates Heightened Awareness. Once the spell is in full effect, Nod calls upon the voice which, on occasion, gives him guidance in situations just like this. Nod spends the next ten minutes reevaluating the area and checking his map for inadequacies.

OOC Heightened Awareness, Make once a day check for untrained knowledge skill: Local History.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 53 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 22:57
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Through the chittering racket of forest animal sounds the echo of the past creeps into your ears and you begin to hear the familiar disembodied whispers that always accompany unlearned revelations.  Your shadow catches your eye.  It is unusually still and eerily normal, following your movements almost naturally.  Pip begins to stir in his belt pouch.  You pull aside the flap and he leaps to the ground and sits for a moment, scanning the area.  You would normally expect the fox to act, well, more like a fox and start to sniff around and dig up some crickets.  But he sits perfectly still for a minute or so.  He then hops up on the map and begins to look closely at the runes and inscriptions.  He digs and scratches at certain areas, uncovering carvings hidden under ages of moss.  As he moves around the map, you begin to understand.


After about ten minutes, the whispers quiet down and Pip begins to behave normally again.  He bounds over to you and spins around your feet several times, yipping and panting before playfully rolling over on his back and smiling up at you, tongue hanging out as if he were a dog.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:44, Wed 12 Aug 2015.

Nod
 player, 22 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 23:14
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Nod steadies himself for a moment, and lets the new found revelations sink in. Nod takes one last look at the map and then he looks to the northwest, remembering Master Trazen's stern warning about the Elves in that direction. Nod checks the sun and makes the determination which way southeast is, and moves off in that direction, making a little clicking sound to entice Pip to follow.
Dungeon Master
 GM, 54 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2015
at 23:39
Re: Prelude: Nod's Quest
Pip flips to his feet in a flash with a single twisting motion.  He wiggles along beside you flipping his tail from side to side.  He tilts his head to the left and looks at you with a cheeky smile as his tongue hangs out the other side of his mouth.  He seems to be in an unusually good mood.  It's how he acts when he's made a new friend, or hasn't seen you in a long while.

The dark mass of the Arthfell Forest looms just beyond the borders of the glade, an ominous wall of unbroken green and shadow.  You step through the edge of the clearing and begin to make your way into the forest.  Looking back, the glade is gone.  All that you see is a dense dark grove of Paueliel trees who's trunks disappear into the dense canopy created by pine trees.

Travel is slow and arduous.  You can barely breathe the thick sappy air that feels slightly acidic in your nose.  The trunks of the massive pines are covered with old jagged undergrowth, brittle, and long since bereft of needles.  It is quite difficult to keep your direction as you pick your winding path through the trees. You are spending much of the way hunched over, you have had to back track more than once, and it's only been forty five minutes...

As you are spending most of your attention trying to avoid getting stabbed by a dried branch or twisting your ankle,  you nearly fall into a large pit.  The hole looks quite new and quite deep.  It is about twenty feet across and the roots of the trees on its edges look freshly uncovered, many fractured or ripped clean off.