The sun just started to dawn and fill the balcony with bright light. Niema stood there, enjoying the warm rays of this new day while the shadows she had stepped out behind her became smaller and soon vanished. Mornings like these always made her long for the old days where she had travelled the country to fulfil her contracts. She had seen many places, from dark underground lairs to gold-paved palaces, and had travelled with many interesting and entertaining companions. But although there were many, only few managed to deeply root themselves in her memory. With even fewer she had crossed paths again!
Dokan, a paladin of her own kind, she had met not a long time ago as he came though the small town that was near her guild school for young girls. She had heard his voice in a pub next to the street she was riding along for some errands. When she entered the pub, the brawl was at full swing with the tiefling at the center. Since the locals were not too stupid and knew who had entered, almost all brawlers were out of the building before she had fully entered the room. All but one that actively tried, but had his head stuck in Dokan's muscular arms. Once he had let him go, the young farmer had thrown herself at Niema's feet and had apologised. Dokan had only raised his eyebrows and said "Still able to impress the small folk, are we?" In the many hours that followed, they had shared stories from the past under the nervous eyes of the bartender who had made extra sure that the headmistress of the guild school had everything she asked for. The school was known for many good deeds among the locals and brought in good business, but there were also dark stories of people vanishing or found dead. The few witnesses always reported of moving shadows or seeing victims being strangled by their own shadows and although nobody wanted to accuse the school directly, most victims had been known opponents of the school or had directly spoken up against it.
By the time Dokan had to continue on his current quest, Niema had learned much about the late goings-on of distant lands, and especially the fate of some of her former travel companions. Apparently the group had disbanded not long after she had parted.
She turned away from the sun and her memory of the encounter with the fellow tiefling. Faces of some the companions came to her mind: Orestes, Rudha-an, Ghanash, and of course the valiant Vogir. The last face put a smile on her face. The archer that could run as fast away from a fight as his arrows could travel towards it! She wondered what had become of him? What had become of the others? She looked down on the body of the young girl in front of her feet. Hopefully they had a different fate than the young student that had overestimated her own skills and tried to take a short cut to advance her position. The face of the student, when she found out that the shadow she tried to travel along was Niema itself, was telling: Even her better students did not even consider that the shadow connections between all living beings could not only be used to travel along, but could be shaped and controlled at will. Niema smiled. This meant her place as head of the local guild was at least not in danger from within. And only few of her order outside had reached her level and all members of the high council had agreed to a non-aggression pact.
A new thought crossed her mind: She should take a sabbatical and search for Vogir and the others! The archer always mistrusted her but the was some energy between them. What would he say if his own shadow pointed his bow at himself? She could barely wait to see his reaction.
With this thought she ordered the two pupils that had entered on her call to bury the body and make travel arrangements for her. She will leave the school's business to her partner Chada-Ky and take some well-deserved time of for a long overdue search.....
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Vogir grinds his back heel into the dirt and adjusts his grip on his magical longbow.
The battle raging below, though fraught, seems under control. Orestes, Indigo and the new dwarf are handling the remaining ‘Dark riders’, leaving he and Zavia to watch for whoever’s approaching.
He’d assumed it was just the two unencountered ‘Dark riders’ but the crescendoing volume of the hoof beats was making him less and less sure.
Vogir’s earlier confidence has become a distant memory.
Who’s rushing toward them?
Can his martialistic friends finish their opponents before more enemies arrive?
A feeling of dread washes over him.
The clever ambush they’d set to kill a couple of the ‘Dark riders’ now seems more of a trap for themselves.
Vogir’s sweaty palms force him to readjust his grip yet again.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Vogir nocks another arrow and releases it into the melee below. These ‘Dark-riders’ don’t seem so tough. (Especially when he can pick them off from range, atop a cliff-face.)
They were chasing two, but have attracted five of the lizardy bastards. Not really a surprise, as they’d not only pursued them but alerted them of their presence.
Still, five vs. five weren’t too scary odds.
Orestes, Indigo and the newly joined dwarf; Mjoorvitnir were handling the hand-to-hand fighting, while the gnomess; Zavia and he played interference.
True, his arrows weren’t bothering the Dark-riders too much and Zavia’s illusions were being breached…
Still, the battle was definitely going their way.
Two or three of these ‘relentless’ dragon-borns were already down and even the terminally reckless Orestes was still on his trotters.
Vogir’s smile falters though as he hears the thundering sound of horses hooves approach from the distance…
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As he looks down from the rooftop at the others slaughtering the two hags, Vogir smiles at the little gnomess Zavia.
Despite being in the ‘forbidden lands’, despite being pursued by the seven ‘Black riders’, he’s never laughed more or felt more happy.
The teleportation trick that she’d performed and he’d copied was hilarious.
Making the monstrous cat suddenly appear twenty feet in the air and letting it drop to the ground…
The ‘poor’ creature never stood a chance.
Now, after a night’s rest in the relative safety of the farmhouse, they can press on towards the dwarven Mjoovitnir’s homeland.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
For the first time in the fortnight, since his companions left Fewham, Vogir relaxes. Lord Rician has reduced his guard numbers to that of before the threat he’d made.
He’d kept out of sight, watching from outside the town perimeter.
What was weird though was the whole situation…
It smelled a lot.
It positively stunk!
A dragon in the form of a lady, mincing about pretending to be human while being served upon hand and foot.
A Lord feigning consideration for his people while living in luxury.
The flawed defence of the Lady Sybille being Theranthor’s daughter and therefore apparently keeping the Empress’ forces from attacking.
And finally, a secret that everyone seems to be aware of: The local nobility, the dragon empress, the guards and even the locals themselves.
So why wasn’t Lord Rician honest in the beginning?
Why the pretence?
Still, Vogir wasn’t fooled and he wasn’t to be put off. After weeks of waiting, of questioning visitors and travelers from and to the town, he was ready to act.
The mansion carefully cased, Vogir approaches stealthily and under the cover of darkness. Easily bypassing the locked doors, he drifts as mist through the corridors and under the cracks in doors.
Still, despite the hour, Vogir is too early. Lady Sybille is awake and still in conversation with her ‘Father’. Confident in his hidden state though, Vogir edges forward to listen…
The conversation is sweet. Loving even and worse, it seems sincere.
Lord Rician kisses her gently on her forehead before retiring for the night.
It would be easy now. Lady Sybille is completely alone but something stays Vogir’s hand.
Following her to her own bedchamber, she is met by an older women dressed in a robe of dark grey. She passably resembles a Black-cloak but her graying hair and lined face are unhidden by the hood.
The woman smiles when Sybille enters and the affection again seems genuine.
Despite not currently having a stomach, Vogir feels a sinking within it.
This woman is almost certainly the trusted Black-cloak who’d stolen the little wyrmling in the first place. That she was still here spoke of care beyond mere duty.
After combing and braiding Sybille’s long blond hair, the lady-in-waiting puts her to bed and retires to an adjoining room.
Vogir watches until Sybille’s breathing becomes deeper and he’s sure she’s asleep.
He could kill her now.
It’d be easy.
He could kill the nanny and Lord Rician too…
If he wanted to…
If it were the right thing to do.
An eerie sigh escapes Vogir’s insubstantial form and, like a shadow, he slips from the silent mansion.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Eight hundred blue Dragon-borns form a line around the city.
An additional hundred stand atop the hundred identical, slender towers.
They are supported by two hundred of the Black-cloaks and over a thousand Kobolds but Belgos knows that he and his kin are the real defence.
The kobolds are undisciplined and will break as soon as they are pushed and the Black-cloaks have no stomach for a real fight.
The Dragon-borns; they will stand firm. They are the true followers of Thereanthor, her true protectors.
The orcs facing them stand less than a quarter of a mile away. Dirty and pig-like but surrounding Khajag in numbers unimagined.
Not the hundreds he’d been told they’d be facing but, from what he could see, well over a thousand!
More disturbing though, is that they appeared organised.
Orcs, he’d always been led to believe, were stupid and incapable of following orders. Yet somehow five of the sundered orc tribes had, not only reformed themselves but allied themselves together.
Looking up at the sun, Belgos estimates the time to be just before noon.
Suddenly something appears in the sky…
An arrow flies high.
It’s followed by scores more…