It all started with a message:
Hello my friends.
Please join me on Saturday, August 17th, at 3pm eastern and/or at 8pm eastern in the EM Hall in Britain. We have received an Emissary who would like to speak with you.
That’s when he first appeared – Marcus Rotgut. He brought word of something evil… something lurking in Buc’s Den.
A call for aid went out across the lands. Spiders feasted upon any living creature that moved about the island. Citizens were disappearing in the night. The nightmares while awake were worse than those of sleep.
Brave warriors answered the call and assembled in Britain where they prepared to aid the town of Buccaneer’s Den. Weapons were sharpened and Shields were readied. Reagents and Potions were gathered and Spells of Power prepared. Arrows and Bandages stockpiled. The assault force gathered before the awaiting moon-gate ready to fight for Honor, Valor, and if necessary, to Sacrifice themselves to save the town-folk.
As the first warriors passed into the gate, a scuffle broke out amongst the ranks of warriors and sides were quickly chosen. The slaughter which followed reduced the rescue force to a mere fraction of its former fighting potential. The surviving forces attacked the spiders with determination. After many struggles, they succeeded in clearing the threat from the town.
A hurried search of the town revealed a hole in the floor of the home of Marcus Rotgut, Emissary from Buccaneer’s Den. Spider webs lined the tunnels within. Here. The foul spiders must have come from here.
First one, then more brave warriors descended into the spiders lair below the town and followed the tunnels to the Nest of the Queen herself. Though the Queen herself was never seen, Nest Guardians defended the future generations of Spiders in the egg-sacks scattered around the nest. The few remaining captured citizens of Buccaneer’s Den were contained behind webs to await the Queen’s hunger.
The brave warriors again fought amongst themselves seemingly over who would be the first to enter and as a result, their force was further devastated and the warriors were never able to harm the Nest Guardians. A few elite warriors bravely fought their way into the nest itself and searched throughout the nest disturbing the webs and cocoons within.
Marcus Rotgut stared out from within a cocoon. Nauseous from the spider’s poison and strangled by the clinging webs, he hoped and prayed for rescue.
A nimble thief searched the cocoon closely looking for loot and disturbed the silken threads until they loosened. With one hand freed and the thieves help, Marcus was able to break from his bonds and stealth away back to town. He immediately set about repairing the hole in his floor hoping to contain the horrors within the lair below…
There were very evil things lurking about… and then this revolation:
What was shaping up to be a fairly routine meeting of the King’s Council in Serpent’s Hold turned into a shocking one after the people of Buccaneer’s Den apparently ended their decades of lawlessness and rejection of the Crown and petitioned for a seat on the Council.
In an address to the assembly, Marcus Rotgut, representative of the people of Buc’s, said that the support (such that there was) from Britannia’s citizens during the recent spider attacks had left a debt of gratitude that needed to be repaid and, in consultation with the town elders, they had decided to seek proper admission to the King’s realm.
“For ages now, Buccaneer’s Den has been a lawless city of those who chose to live outside of the Kingdom. We now recognize that our isolation deprives us of the protection that we need and also deprives the crown and citizens of Britannia of our skills and knowledge. We have therefore decided that it is time for us to give up our isolation and join with the people of the Kingdom and to become true citizens of Britannia and loyal servants of the Crown.”
Rotgut went on to say that his town would swear an oath of fealty in return for a seat on the Council so that they may be fairly represented in deliberations on the realm.
Initial reaction to the request was somewhat muted, with may governors apparently being too stunned to offer much opinion, although Hoffs, Kelmo and Morgan Ironfist all displayed some degree of suspicion towards the application. The others were more amenable, though, with Victim and York being most enthusiastic at the prospect. “Mages were once disliked too,” ventured the Moonglow governor, “However, a second chance by the Crown has shown it to be a fruitful relationship ever since.”
There was quite a vocal reaction from some members of the gallery, but mostly on the side of caution. “It’s a trap,” shouted Luka Melehan, a descendant of the famous naval lord, Ackbar.
After much further deliberation, it was suggested that there should be some kind of trial period both to access the town’s commitment and to ensure that Rotgut was speaking for the majority of its citizens. In the end, it was left to King Blackthorn to give an official response, “Understand that ancient enmity will not heal overnight. Though you may be accepted to the Council, individual members will still have concerns and may possibly resent your addition. Are you prepared to be patient and work with them regardless?”
“…we will abide by your wisdom,” responded Rotgut.
“Then we shall accept this offer on a short-term trial basis,” announced the king, “We shall remain wary and watchful while the citizens of Buccaneer’s Den work to prove their benefit to the realm. We shall reserve a final opinion to be based on the mutual benefits we all seek. Let it be noted that as of today, Lord Rotgut is installed as governor of the city of Buccaneer’s Den.”
A report from the governor’s meeting on 24Nov2013. Chilling but the further we get into this:
The plans were laid.
It was a bright sunny day in the Island City of NuJel’m. A light breeze blowing in off of the ocean cooled the city streets as it passed through with the promise of an end to the Summer’s heat as Fall approached. The prosperous merchants and the well to do dressed in their finery proceeded with stately paces going about their business on the eastern side of the town while their servants scurried home at the end of a long tiring day to their hovels on the western side of the island.
It was time.
In the Palace, a feast was spread for the noble family as they met at the end of the day to plan the upcoming Harvest Festival for the citizens of the Island. Of course, “Citizens” meant those of stature and wealth and not the lowly servants who would instead labor for the Festival.
A team of servants was assigned to scrub the Chess Board to prepare for the Festival Match in which the Lord of NuJel’m would accept a challenger from amongst the assembled Nobles to play with Imprisoned Debtors as their playing pieces – each piece to fight for the tile their Lord moved them to – to win their freedom as their Lord won the game, or die fighting for a single white or green square.
The Palace Scribes were busy meticulously preparing the invitations to the festival and the Court Chef was reviewing the orders for the wine and exotic foods that would be required.
As the late afternoon sun began to fall towards sunset, a shadow appeared to separate from the shadows cast by the walls of the Inn and began to drift slowly towards the palace. Engrossed in his plans, the Lord of NuJel’m never noticed the passing of the Shadow. The Chef in his kitchen felt a chill of a cold breath on his neck and then it was gone. The Head Scribe tried to suppress the shudder that shook his hands causing the golden ink to spill across the embossed invitations. His master would not be happy.
As the last rays of daylight shone upon the Palace, the shadowy figure crept into the Gardens and began to chant words of power “Kal Xen In Ex An Sanct” “Kal Xen In Ex An Sanct” “Kan Xen In Ex An Sanct”.
At the Shadow’s feet, the earth began writhe and shake as the words of power took effect. The green grass of the Garden began to subside and a sink-hole formed. Darker than the approaching night, the hole grew in both depth and size for a few minutes and then a sudden silence settled in. The Shadowy figure smiled. From within the hole burst forth a giant spider, followed by more and more. Soon the Garden was over-run and the Palace itself was at risk.
The Head Scribe was just returning with more parchment when the spiders burst into the library. Scribes are generally not the warrior type so they quickly fell to be webbed into cocoons for the Spider’s feast. The Court Chef heard the screams and knew that help was needed. He fearfully ran across the palace to notify the Lord of NuJel’m. The Lord’s family was quickly evacuated and a call for aid was sent to any who might heed the call.
After the Palace was overrun, the spiders settled upon an unsuspecting city, pouncing on citizens and ensnaring them in webs to be dragged off to their lair. The Shadowy figure watched the carnage and knew it was time to move. Reentering the Palace, the Shadow crept through the empty palace to the northern chambers and searched through the Lord’s Chamber removing a few very valuable items. A Gem-Encrusted Map of the Island and the Lord’s Journal quickly disappeared into the depths of the Shadow. Proceeding downstairs into the Vault, the shadow removed The Lord’s crown, the Scepter of the Island and the Lady’s Jeweled Necklace from their protective case and they too vanished into the shadows. Returning to the sink hole, the shadow dropped into the depths and made his escape.
When the warriors went to investagate they were greeted by this:
After this monster was defeated it didn’t stop there.
The Vault of Secrets in Luna has been robbed! The Paladins of the City won’t say what was stolen, but have confirmed a break-in at their most secure vault. A shadowy figure was spotted in the area near the vault.
With his prize in hand, the shadow crept through the halls of Luna seeking to make his escape. The alarms were sounding and many people roamed through the area making an escape somewhat challenging. At every turn, another person barred passage. Finally, spotting a chance, the shadow disappeared into a dark corner and vanished.
and then this…
The return trip home aboard the Brigand’s Revenge was a long one. First the main-mast was lost in a nasty storm at sea, and then a dead calm forced the crew to break out the oars as they struggled to move the ship across the leagues toward the island retreat. Exhausted from the efforts, there was a lot of cursing when the Shadow disembarked and ordered the ship back out to sea for repairs at a shipyard.
After a long hike across the island, the Shadow quietly left the sun-drenched jungle and entered the cool shadows of the shanty. Quickly, the entrance to the secret passages below were opened and the shadow passed like a wraith through the cavernous tunnels to his home within the earth. His new treasures were added to those from prior heists.
The Crown Jewels of NuJel’m
The Paladin’s greatest treasure from Luna
The Candle of Love from Empath Abbey in Yew
The Bell of Courage from The War Room in Serpent’s Hold
Looking over the items left a wry smile on his face. There was so much already accomplished, yet with time so short, there was so much more to do. Reviewing the maps of the lands, potential targets were picked out: Zento and the Empress of Tokuno? Ter-Mur and the Gargoyle Queen? The Librarians at the Lycaeum? Lord Blackthorn in his castle? Or perhaps the petty governors playing at being rulers? The Necromancer’s in Umbra? Lost treasures in Mistas or Montor?
The options were many but some were critical to the objective and some merely diversions to distract the pursuit from the real objective.
Time is short and priorities must be set.
This Shadow was shaping up to be trouble. Then he stole Christmas of all things…
Creeping through the Luna moongate, the Shadow made his way across the lawn to where Santa waited to load his sleigh. Behind Santa’s back, the Shadow hid the packages and gifts in his pack and then slipped away through the moongate.
No one saw him except the harpsichord player who sang an appropriate tune.
Within the house, The Lady sensed the return of her plaything. Quickly covering the mirror in the bedroom, she descended the stairs to meet him at the door. One more… just one more she smiled to herself.
As he approached the door, it opened and there she stood smiling… a smile that sent a cold fire through him. Quietly, she turned and led him up the stairs to the bedroom past the covered mirror, but she did not stop and continued further up to the 3rd floor. At the top of the stairs, he noticed that many of the treasures were piled haphazardly off to the side of the room. On a central table lay the Candle of Love, the Bell of Courage, and two more empty spaces. Taking the Book of Truth from him, she carefully placed it upon the table.
“Only one more, love.” said The Lady. “One more and our dreams will become reality. We’ll have the power to rule worlds and more. All we need now is a world-gem. Lord Blackthorn will know where one is. Perhaps the Meer or Wisps may know of one as well. You must hurry for all must be ready before the next eclipse. Time is running out.”
Quickly, the Shadow was ushered out of his own house and sent on his way back the the awaiting ship.
Inside the house again, The Lady returned to the bedroom and removed the cloth from the mirror. Deep inside the glass a small flicker of flame and the shadow of smoke could be seen. Taking up a small dagger, The Lady pricked her finger and smeared a drop of blood across the surface of the Mirror. The image within swirled and a grim demonic face appeared.
“Who dares to summon the Greater Demon Arcadion?” roared the image within with such force that The Lady’s hair fluttered from the breeze coming out of the mirror. Seeing The Lady before him, the Demon smiled showing charred fangs. “Do you make an offering of this Blood? Or is this another trick to command my favors?”
The Lady smiled in return and knelt before the image of the Great Demon. “My Lord Arcadion, all is almost ready. Within a fortnight I will have all that is needed to set you free so that we can rule the shattered worlds together.”
“Then rise lovely lady and let us discuss in detail what remains to be done. If you succeed, I shall insure that the beauty that I have given you becomes everlasting and will grant you immortality that you may serve me forever.”
After a long conversation, the Great Demon’s image faded within the mirror leaving only a reflection of The Lady. A Reflection that showed the fangs and horns of her true self.
This story was getting very interesting …. The Shadow had managed to steal the bell, the book, and the candle now.
The time was right. With the Bell, the Book, and the Candle finally in her grasp, all that remained was to gain the worldgem, and to cast the proper enchantments before the eclipse, to open a doorway between worlds. The foolish Shadow had been tempted and seduced into stealing the required items in exchange for an ethereal ability and the promise of love. A promise that would be broken. Like a broken toy, he would soon be discarded.
Climbing the stairs to the treasure room where gold and gems lay scattered across the floor, The Lady approached the table which contained the the three greatest treasures of Britannia. The Bell of Courage, Book of Truth, and the Candle of Love.
Taking up the Book of Truth, she hugged it to her breast knowing that the falsehood of who she was would be enough. The Demoness within and the lies she had told soaked into the book leaving it corrupted and sickly looking. With a smile on her face, she placed the Book of Falsehood upon the table.
Next she approached the Candle of Love only to see it flare up and reach out to her. Love may love unconditionally, but it seemed to know it’s antithesis. Carefully taking up the candle, she quickly bit into her tongue and spat the blood upon the flame. Hungrily, the flame consumed the blood with an evil hiss, tainting the candle with the hatred that burns in her blood. Quietly, she placed the Candle of Hatred upon the table.
Finally, she took up the Bell of Courage and listened to the clear tone that rang from the bell. This one would be easiest of all. In a world filled with mortals, who had not felt fear at the sight of an attacker? Who had not taken cowardly flight at one point or another? Reaching out into the ether, she gathered the cowardice into a pool and dipped the bell into it and watched the bell take on a tarnished hue. As she replaced the bell upon the table, the clank of the clapper upon the bell sounded dull and flat.
The Bell of Cowardice, the Book of Falsehood and the Candle of Hatred. Only the Worldgem was lacking now. The Shadow must return with it today. Today was THE DAY. Soon the door between worlds would be opened and the Demon Lords would enter Britannia.
With another smile on her face, she descended the stairs to await The Shadow.
We were all at the Kings meeting when Marcus stole a world gem from the King and was revealed to be the Shadow!!! That’s when the call went out to the brave warriors of Siege and we chased after the Shadow. After going through a maze of rock we decended upon a house in force. When we got there, Marcus Rotgut lay dead on the floor of the cottage, the bell, book, and candle were corrupted, and we were attacked by the demon Arcadion. After we defeated him, we were then tasked with purifing the bell, book, and candle.