Adventures of Meridian Prime

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  1. Mingo Ebonmark

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    Greetings Outlanders! Two of Meridian Prime's finest adventurers - Jason Moryn and Mingo Ebonmark are embarking on a quest to explore New Britannia. The expedition leader is our very own finely moustache'd explorer extraordinaire Jason Moryn and I've been currently assigned the position of camera man; hopefully our expedition team will grow and many more names will be added! I will leave the documentation of our first adventure in the capable hands of our expedition leader Jason Moryn… take it away!
    @Jason_M :-

    Good evening! Allow me to spin a tale about a lake high in the Drachvald, on the Eastern slope of the Vauban Mountains.

    [EDIT] If you have not yet discovered the mysteries of the East Vauban Foothills, don't read the spoiler section, despite your curiosity, because the surprise is DEFINITELY worth the effort! [/EDIT]

    It's no secret that I get lost. I'm a rambler, though not necessarily by choice. I took a long journey from my home in Veritas Sanctuary on the Longfall Peninsula to seek out the city of "Eastgard." I.... probably should have realized that the crier who informed me about orphans in need had misheard some critical information. Truth is, though, we were both in the cups already, and I have a great love of the beautiful city of Eastmarch. So, off I went! I did not make it to Eastmarch. Bandits plagued the roads north of the Vauban pass. Drachvald is not a highly trafficked region in the best of times, but, as dark fell and the bleeding Western horizon was blotted our by storm clouds, I knew that I had to ensure my own safety by leaving the road and taking to the mountains. My progress was greatly slowed, but I soon came upon a sleepy fishing village on the side of a deep alpine lake. Drenched and freezing, I was eager to hail the inhabitants. Hearth fires lit the windows with welcoming warmth. Ambling shadows indicated habitation. Within meters of reaching a citizen, I realized that he was dead - quite a while dead - and I was not welcome! The commotion of the battle in the street of the hamlet brought the remaining residents out, and I was left no recourse but to dispatch them. Hot on their heels was their master, adorned in the unmistakable robes of an Ebon Cultist. Judging by the intensity of his fire and lightning, a high wizard of that secretive order! But he was alone and I cut him down! Satisfaction welled within me, but I knew the souls of the residents would not rest long for the Cult certainly didn't. But what interest could the Ebon Cult have with this small mountain village?

    A great flash of lightning illuminated the mountains around me, and the crash of thunder echoed from the cliff faces, sending my whirling. For the briefest moment, I saw but the afterglow of a scene that took my breath away.

    Jet black spires no less than a 100m in height were thrust from the center of the lake as though they were a waterfalls of obsidian pouring to earth. I couldn't be sure, but there must have been three. I rubbed my eyes with the fringe of my shroud, but the glowing likeness of the Tower of the Shuttered was there, faintly visible in the dark and rain, hideously impaling the pastoral scene as though in defiance of peace itself. I fled that place immediately. Whatever it was, I was in way over my head! I had forgotten all about the orphans in "Eastgard," my brain buzzing from drink, anxiety, and an overwhelming desire to take a hot bath and sleep in my own bed. I read a magic scroll of recall and instantly reversed days of travel over land.

    *** The following day ***

    Morning came to Novia and the massive obsidian towers afforded me little in the way of sleep. With a clearer head, I knew it was time for an adventure! I roused Mingo Ebonmark, by far the worthiest (or at least most eager) adventurer I knew of and we set out. Finding the Vauban mountains was no challenge and the foothills just as easy. The hamlet near the lake wasn't hidden away either, though there were no signs of recent traffic. We found the village as I remembered it but... The towers were gone! Utterly gone! There was nothing there! The lake water was like crystal blue silk, gently rippled by the wind. The air was cool and clear. The dead walked, sure, but, beside that, it was as idealic as could be! The corpse of the high wizard was gone, but his replacement was not! He was no match for Mingo's spear and my sword, however. Tied about his neck on a blackened silver chain was a stone rune. I confess to being mildly illiterate (I can read!) in the ways of magic, but Mingo was quick to identify it: Spirit. Fitting, I suppose, for necromancer - an alchemist of souls. The weather was fine and the recent rain had brought the wild flowers to bear, so we decided to loiter at the lake side and explore the woods about. Mingo didn't say it, but I was sure he thought me a fool. Was I lost? Or did that Ebon Cultist high wizard really shock me with that lightning bolt? Along the opposite side of the lake is a high cliff face. After travelling south from the hamlet, a small gap in the craggy stone atop the cliff gave contrast against the clear blue sky to an obelisk! It was an obsidian obelisk! My heart jumped in my chest! Could it be? We quickened our pace and entered the peaceful wood on the south side of the lake, lying somewhat between the Vauban mountain and the hamlet. There we encountered more Ebon Cultists. Indeed, it seemed every dozen steps into the thickening forest, climbing higher up into the Vauban mountain, brought more and more. Archers, wizards, and fighters challenged us, but we were efficient in our slaughter. We were driven not by greed but curiosity!


    Our progress was interrupted by a fascinating cave entrance. The walls were composed of squared-off columns that seemed to be of natural consequence. A small stream trickled out of the cave and the blue-gray stone of the cave walls beckoned us in! The most interesting aspect of the cave, however, was the ceiling. There wasn't much of one. The cave was open to the sun and the elements, perhaps explaining the fascinating stone shapes. Ore and crystals shown through the walls and floor, but the Cultists weren't mining here. Our battle intensified as we neared a built up camp. At the rear of the open-topped cavern was a wooden platform holding two structures and, between them, three odd looking glass tubes. Upon closer inspection we realized that there were humans inside! Or.... what could once be called humans. Despite his great courage in the face of adversity, Mingo was no fan of spooky things. I wanted to dash the glass and impale the abominations within but something stayed my hand. Could I feel compassion for these monsters, helpless in their slumber? Unborn as they were, I left them be. Nearby, upon a barrel, we found another stone rune. It seems to have been cast aside in haste by the defenders of this make-shift laboratory that yet bled out upon the cavern floor. It seemed to translate into Mind, but I couldn't be sure. My companion, being adverse to spookiness, was already out the door and down the cavern steps. We resumed our trek higher and higher up Vauban mountain to reach the obelisk that we spied in silhouette. We eventually reached the summit of the mountain and the obelisk. The view of the lake and the hamlet were gorgeous, but what really caught my eye were three small recesses cut into one side of the obelisk. Two of the runes would certainly fit, but what of the third? We were determined to scour the area around Vauban mountain to realize if what I saw was dream or prophecy! Our search took us well into the inky night and past a fishing shack along the northern shore of the lake where nearby we were assaulted by an Ebon Cultist abomination of another kind! An earth elemental. After dispatching it handily, we discovered a small red-stone shape embedded into its chest. It's master must have embedded it for safe keeping! We dislodged the last rune and, before bothering to translate it, made haste up the mountain. Excitement pumped in our veins as intensely as our blood as we made haste to the obelisk. We knew the way and no Cultists could stop us! We were determined to see the great obsidian towers raise with the sun! And that is exactly what we did, friends. It was an incredible sight. I was neither a dreamer nor a fool. I swear to you, we saw the great black edifices of ancient evil push through the immeasurably deep lake, higher and higher, nearly to the top of Vauban mountain where we stood next to the obelisk. Together, we jumped from that great height into the frigid lake below. The misty morning air ripped past us as the boiling waters rose to meet us. There was no way you could calmly walk down the mountain, taking hours, when such an incredible sight lay before you! Dripping wet, we made for the only visible entrance at the base of the shortest of the three towers. The towers were truly incredible as we stared up at them, our necks aching for the effort. What could possibly lie within, submerged under a frigid lake for untold centuries? That, friends, I will leave for you to discover for yourselves.

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  2. Mingo Ebonmark

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    So there I was having lunch with my son, young Lethelion Ebonmark, on a quiet Saturday afternoon when the familiar moustache of Jason Moryn came into my peripheral vision. My youngest son was visiting me for the weekend, which was his usual routine after spending the week at mage school playing with pyrotechnics. Jason's visit was a welcome surprise and his beaming grin grew wider when he saw Lethelion with me - I immediately knew that he saw him as an extra pair of hands for another expedition.....
    @Jason_M :-

    We adventurers live for, well, adventure. An adventure can take many forms, whether it be a crusade, a vendetta, a quest, or, perhaps, mere curiosity. Our land has no shortage of curiosities, some of it the doing of our neighbors, while much of it lies upon the layers of civilizations that preceded us. It is my humble opinion that the greatest curiosities – and the finest adventures – occur at the intersection of the two.

    The South Midmaer Way is not quite similar to the North Way. Although the Midmaer way does, in theory, connect Brittany and Ardoris, it is not a popular way. In fact, nearly no one travels to Ardoris by this way, as the journey would necessarily pass through Brightbone Pass, which is quite aptly named indeed, and the Perennial Trail, which is as perilous as it is beautiful. The North Midmaer way branches off to several exceedingly trafficked roads leading West to the South Paladis and Resolute and destinations further west, East to the Grunvald and Desolis and, eventually, Ardoris, and North East to the Drachvald and Eastmarch. But the South Midmaer Way is much less travelled. The only notable destination for merchants and migrants and pilgrims is to Etceter, though many prefer the trip by sea via the westward roads from North Midmaer through the South Paladis to Vertas and the Longfall Peninsula. Those who do travel the South Midmaer return with stories. A great many stories, in fact. The arid plains between the Shaminian Hills and the Quel woodlands are far from dormant. One need not seek adventure to find ancient curiosities just off the road. An ancient caravansary, likely far older than the Cataclysm itself, when the ruined city of Midras was the grandest city for leagues around, still stands and functions. It has been commandeered by Satyrs and their Faun slaves to form a strange market of sortd. In that bustling bazaar you can find all manner of perfectly mundane goods being perused by perfectly mundane humans. The goods and the trade is totally unremarkable except for a few features that are glaringly obvious to any observer of a suspicious nature. (Such a nature is necessary of adventure, for adventure must sometimes be sought out in unobvious places!)

    Whatever is truly happening in that bazaar, I was certain could be found nearby. Strange sky ships and strange enterprise cannot be coincidence. Should one happen to pass through the western gate of the ancient bazaar, they will encounter an incredible site: The great yawning jowls of a sandstone lion measuring 15 or 20 meters high. And, between the teeth nearly the size of a man, where its throat should open, is a door encrusted with 9 vibrant jewels arranged in groups of three: ruby, emerald, and sapphire. A worn and damaged plaque nearby reads that this is the mausoleum of a great king, long since forgotten to our historians, and to meet him one must gain the approval of the so-called regents. And so, to any curious traveler who feels irresistibly compelled to meet mystery, the adventure begins.

    Our journey to South Midmaer was not without detours and delays. To be fair, I did get lost once, and no one can resist a troll or a “Pillar of fire” while passing through the neighborhood. At around that time, an associate of ours by name of Zooty temporarily joined our small party, though he did not linger long. It was well after dark when we arrived in South Midmaer. The ancient but well preserved road that meets the Midmaer Way was lined with gorgeous and equally as ancient street lamps, but they were dark and no means of lighting them presented itself. The rough looking sapphires within were dull and unreachable without smashing the whole stone statue, which would have proven extremely difficult. I was not one to deface such fascinating history, so we continued on our way to the bazaar nearby.

    [The rest of this story contains spoilers. If you have not solved the mystery of the Mausoleum of the King in the South Midmaer Way, you should definitely go and do it! It’s worth it!]


    The rising sun illuminated the market and the surrounding landscape. From high above the rocky hillocks flanking the road, Mingo spotted a verdant valley and lake, the center of which held a massive stone sword more than 50 meters in height. While I cannot attest to the history of the sword, the bazaar is something that I might take a guess at.

    The stonework of the bazaar and the apparent age are not strange. Indeed, there are several other locations of similar style and craftsmanship. The one that immediately sprang to mind while seeing the crimson dawn light wash over the walls and columns was Elysium – or, more specifically, the temple complex nested within the vast chamber within mount Elysium. This is certainly no coincidence, as satyr pillagers are also at work in that ancient place. Perhaps this is an organized desecration of pre-Cataclysm locations throughout Novia, but what could they possibly be seeking? Is this site, and the many like it, connected to Artifice and its vile secrets? After Lethelion and Mingo had explored the bazaar and shared my observation of the banality of its products, we set out to the Mausoleum of the King nearby. Despite young Lethelion’s best and most fiery efforts, he could not force the door open by sword or magic. It seemed we needed weapons of a very different nature to open it. Mingo excitedly expressed his hope that we might meet the king. Wouldn’t that be magnificent! The last time that king had seen the night sky, he must have seen two moons staring back. Was he the king of nearby Midras? So many questions! But the answers we needed were first were to the riddle written on a nearby plaque: who the so-called “regents” were and how could they give us their “approval” to meet the king? We set out, leaving the bazaar and its bizarre secrets behind us. In the early morning light, burning braziers lit our path. Curious that braziers would be idly burning in the arid grasslands of the area. Whoever was here working in the darkness must have only recently broke camp and departed. We were certainly on the right trail!

    The braziers led us to goat paths cut into the walls high above canyon floors below. No water flowed through the canyon, but perhaps there were rivulets and lush growth far below in the king’s time. Rickety bridges broke under our feet as we followed the path. Along the way were ancient tombs of identical stonework as the bazaar outside, but these were immaculately preserved! Well, except for the crude and brutish attempts at prying them open which deeply scarred the entrances. Careless workers made a mess of the interiors, and even more careless demolitions had collapsed most of the tunnels leading within. The fools had closed off the very treasure they sought to pillage. At the end of the trail we did find a tomb we could access and from within we found a ruby-encrusted spear of stone! There was no other treasure within, but our imaginations whirled with the treasures this key would lead us to! Whether that be a treasure of gold or a ghostly conversation we were unsure, but the latter would be as equally valuable to us. Riches or ancient wisdom, we were coming for either or both! The valley that the South Midmaer Way passes through is vast and relatively verdant. Horses and boar ambled from grass to grass, and outcroppings of rock frequently broke up our passage. It was early afternoon before we reached the opposite side of the valley and several more tombs, only one of which yielded its inner sanctum. This one was sealed, but the pillagers, whoever they are, were nearly finished rigging explosives to the entrance. After blowing the door (and burning off young Lethelion’s eyebrows, which is not as worrisome as one might expect as he is a journeyman pyromaniac), we handily slew the ancient skeletal guardians within to acquire a stone sword embedded with sapphires! Following the canyons and cliff faces north brought us into the late afternoon and to steep and unclimbable cliff faces. Mingo wondered aloud how we could possibly reach such dizzying heights, but his query was soon answered by a rope ladder apparently dangling from the clear blue sky! High above the canyon floated a sky ship with a bridge affixed from its deck to the top of the canyon above. It was there that we also met the crew of these legendary and mysterious ships! Contrary to my prediction, it was not Satyrs operating the ships! Humans were behind the desecration of these ancient places. Were they in league with the wretched Satyrs? It seemed sure to me! Aside from magnificent views of the valleys and canyons below, we found another intact tomb, well protected by ancient skeleton guardians, and the stone axe encrusted with emeralds within! [I don’t think the axe is actually in this tomb, but I had acquired it such a long time ago, after leaving Necropolis, that I don’t remember exactly. I might have murd—convinced a faun to give it to me. Good luck finding it!] We had the three keys and made haste to race the setting sun to the Mausoleum of the King! Drenched in sweat for the haste, we arrived only to find that…. No, there were no keyholes for the weapons. There was no place to insert the weapons! Our effort seemed wasted! And so began the very long and very tiring process of determining how to open the Mausoleum. Unfortunately, my friend, I am not a clever man. Firstly, we returned to the tombs where we found the weapons in the order given by the plaque. There we did in fact find slots for the keys, but it was no use. Ruby spear in the first tomb, emerald axe in the second tomb, and sapphire sword in the last tomb we had visited didn’t do the trick. We did, however, realize progress! The precious stones in the Mausoleum door were now glowing according to the tombs we had inserted the weapons. I kid you not, friend, that during this process an entire day had passed [Novian day]. Exhausted and confused as we were, it was Mingo who came upon the solution: The order of the keys did not matter. Where we had found the keys did not matter. We had to return the proper key to its original owner according to the information on the plaque. The information on the plaque was, unfortunately somewhat incomplete, but we were able to solve the riddle. Certainly upset with my incompetence and for dragging them from one side of the valley to the next for an entire day and a second, Mingo “suggested” that he stay put to keep an eye on the Mausoleum while I run all over creation to fix the keys. He passed me a Wolfspeed potion, I assumed a beserkers stance, and off I dashed, as fast as I could, through the total darkness of a New Moon, over the narrow goat paths a hundred meters above the canyon floors below, over the bridges that had already crumbled into more gaps than planks, into the throes of the relic hunters, and through the many traps laid by ancient tomb builders to keep the likes of me out. As I emerged from the final tomb, high above the valley bloody and battered and exhausted, I was greeted with the result of my final effort: The ancient street lights, fitted with sapphires, were alit! A blue network of roads and paths around the bazaar and the Mausoleum far below were lit like a dream of another world! I rushed back to the mausoleum and made it just as the first rays of dawn began to make dim shadows upon the features of the great Lion’s Head. Mingo was bursting with excitement, and we ran to the now-ajar door. What we found there was not at all what we expected! Our vision of darkness and long-still cobwebs and motes of dust shattered as we faced the mawl of the lion, well lit by candles and torches from a room at the base of the stairs far below. And what lay within that sumptuously lit mausoleum, looking every bit inhabited by ancient spirits? That, friends, I will leave for you to discover for yourselves.

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    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  3. Mingo Ebonmark

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    So... I have just returned home from Meridian Prime's latest expedition and my hot supper is waiting for me on the dinner table, BUT! Jason Moryn our expedition leader made sure to remind me that I needed to get the pictures sent out to make the morning publishing. So here they are... now I shall go stuff my face!
    @Jason_M :-

    Unlike in our previous adventure, the North Shattered Hills are a total mystery to me. I arrived looking for dance lessons! No, really, friend, I was looking for an old prospector to teach me some excellent moves. What I found was quite literally earth shattering! The North Shattered Hills are aptly named. Veins of light rippled through the solid stone below. Trees were laid out flat and petrified. And, just ahead, was a crater - a kilometer across - and within was a ruined and slightly leaning tower. I scratched my chin and considered my options. I was going in!

    A thick green mist filled the crater. I had no idea what would happen if I breathed that in! I … wasn’t about to find out, so I stuck to the rim of the crater. The stone itself was ripped from the earth and refashioned into waves of jagged rock pushing outward from the crater. High up on the rim I found a camp with a camera! Such technology! I also found a note. But where was the photographer? The careless fool…. Just two meters behind the tent was a spider tunnel! I ventured down inside, hunched over and slicing through the spider webs. I cut through into the depths of the nest and found…. A green metallic sphere! It was vibrating with power! I wrested it from the webs and made my way to the surface. Night had fallen while I was underground. The dilapidated tower was glowing green from phosphorescent mushrooms. A small sphere, similar in size to the one I had just acquired, was soaring through the air, reflecting the green light! It wasn’t moving very fast, perhaps 1 meter per second, but it was passing through the tower and out into the sky over the crater! It was flying in a large arc! I was flabbergasted by the sight! I continued to follow the rim until I found my dance teacher – who immediately denied any role as a dance teacher and referred me to the South Shattered Hills. Another shattered hills! Another adventure for another day. I found another camp nearby that had a glowing sphere in the fire. In the fire! I managed to knock it out of the fire and pick it up in my shroud. The fire sphere. It was then that my close friend Mingo Ebonmark arrived with my correspondence in hand. The adventure was on! We made our way to the tower to catch the flying sphere! We made our way down into the thick green mist. Although we weren’t poisoned by the gas itself, we were certainly affected badly. An intense sensation of discontent filled us. Our muscled were filled with lethargy. Our eyes burned. But we soldiered on. At the base of the tower we found the corpse of a scavenger. His journal indicated that he had fallen victim to “Just one more day and then I’ll take my earnings and run.” He also mentioned a green sphere that was taken by spiders! A great lead! Except I already had it. At the top of the tower we found a summoning circle enjoined by four small tripods. Mingo managed to catch the sphere on its third pass by removing his cloak and casting it like a net. The momentum of the sphere nearly carried him over! We then placed 3 of the four spheres onto the tripods. We further explored the tower and learned that this was the laboratory of a mad scientist! This certainly fit our expectations! What manner of wizard could unleash the power necessary to rip the landscape itself into such a state?! We also learned that he had created a fail-safe – he would be safe inside of an inter-dimensional pocket until such a time as his assistants could re-assemble the key to his freedom.

    Mingo and I were shocked to learn that we were endeavouring to free the imprisoned soul of the diabolical madman who had destroyed this entire region! We didn’t hesitate for a minute! We were curious! And we’d probably have to kill him, too, if that makes you feel any better about it! We imagined that water must be the missing element, so we sought the bottom of the crater where a small lake might be found. Unfortunately, all we found were spider tunnels. We made our way to the far northern side of the crater and found an abandoned and ruined village. At one time this village must have been spectacular! A great tower laid toppled. Several beautifully build but ruined buildings lay broken. Several wizards and their skeleton thralls attacked us to prevent us from reaching the well, curiously, but we dispatched them merrily! Inside the well, just within finger’s reach, we found the water sphere! We returned to the tower under light of moonlight, stopping to admire the floating sphere. This sorcerer has spares! We placed the last sphere onto the tripod and prepared for the worst! Who is the man who destroyed an entire region with his careless experiments? How much power did he yet possess, and would he transfer to our world peacefully? We were about to find out! And so will you, friend, when you go forth and discover it for yourself!

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  4. Mingo Ebonmark

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    It was a hectic mid-week day, with the daily chores out of the way I was preparing to knuckle down with some Hoplite exercises when an urgent guild message arrived for me. It must be Jason! I thought to myself but I was surprised that it was not, instead it was one of Meridian Prime's new members -Salomon Majere. He had stumbled upon a solution to access a usually locked doorway in the Blackblade Foothills and requested urgent assistance as there was resistance within. I quickly stuffed some adventuring supplies into a hidden compartment in my cloak and made haste; I arrived at the rendezvous to be greeted by the familiar moustache of Jason Moryn! He too had received the distress call and answered! Later on that day as we were leaving the sweltering catacombs we met another Prime - Zooty! arriving a little late to the distress call but not too late to join us at the nearby Oasis for refreshments!
    @Jason_M :-

    The messenger pigeon patiently waited on a nearby cotton bush and watched curiously as a man engulphed in fire ran about in a large circle, screaming and flailing his sword, while half a dozen elves and one skeleton chased after him, around and around. Although the pigeon was an apparition, it

    nevertheless mocked the screaming man with an occasional sarcastic "Coooo-noob-cooooo." The message said blackblade! I know that name from a previous adventure through undead infested mines and through satyr fortified tunnels! But the name more strongly resonated with dragons! I looked down at the carnage around the hardened elf camp - some of which was distinctly not elven - and decided that (running from) dragons might me a nice change of pace. The first sight that met me upon teleportation was that familiar and curious sight of pitch blackness abutted by bright-glowing magma, followed by a hot and thick gust of Sulphur and anthracite. Friend Salo, who in proper Meridian fashion found himself in over his head, greeted me and explained that this is the "Temple of the Inferno"! Quite a dramatic name indeed. And it is a dramatic place! The stone bridges seemed brittle from centuries of hellfire, and above the rivers and lakes of liquid fire were buildings, built into the walls and ceiling of the cavern in an architectural style identical to the city accessed by the Verdantis mines. Ah, Verdantis! Fond memories of elves yielding to my blade pushes away the shame of facing those hardened elves at the Crags. My reverie was interrupted by an earth elemental! Earth and fire elementals abound within this subterranean crucible, and further on hardened skeletons defied the tier 2 rating of the exterior scene. With Mingo's arrival, we handily dispatched the various foes and even enjoyed some casual mining. What we found there within behind switch-locked doors I will leave for you to discover for yourself. Should you venture to the Blackblade Foothills, you'll be greeted by rolling sand dunes, deep canyons, high rocky plateaus fortified by an expeditionary encampment, a lake of quicksand holding the remains of a surprising victim, and, finally, a mystery I have yet to solve - an oasis settlement inhabited by distinctly non-bandity bandits! Happy adventures, and if you know anything additional about this beautiful scene, be sure to comment and share the knowledge!

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  5. Mingo Ebonmark

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    I hadn't had a days rest..... but curiosity got the better of me. Jason had already prepared an expedition team for this desert island treasure hunt and I had already opted out. I was intending to spend a restful day brewing some potions but when Jason started sending out his last call messages and the promises of finding lost treasure; I just couldn't pass it up and snuck onto the departing ship as it was raising anchor. It was a solid looking team this time round, two massive swords stood resting against the wall in the mess deck where Jason and one of our new members, Crillia, were enjoying some beverages. Zooty was also there sitting amongst the crew enjoying some food, his two longswords securely kept on his waist. It looked like this team were prepared to engage hostiles....
    @Jason_M :-

    I felt a little guilty for convincing my comrades in arms to join in this adventure without telling them my true motivation. Such is the nature of treasure hunts, though - deception, betrayal, looking out for number one.... But I really wanted to learn some sweet dance moves! My quest for the mythical "happy happy, joy joy" dance brought me well south of Resolute seeking passage to Penmawr island, a once idealic island trade city off the coast of Jaanaford. (Did I spell that right? Someday I'll go to school...) Now, however, vicious plots of betrayal, dark schemes, and unchecked ambition have brought the wrath of restless death itself upon the island. I wasn't going to make it alone. Treasure be damned, but I knew my comrades wouldn't be able to resist such a sweet adventure. So, looking out over the bay from near the waterfall in Jaanaford, I let the messenger pigeons fly: "Join me in Penmawr Island for adventure, conquest, and a fortune in buried treasure!" Little did I know then that the siren call of sweet dance moves couldn't compete with the ecstacy of gold.

    [As always guys and gals, don't click the Spoiler unless you've already tried your hand at this spine-tingling adventure scene! ]

    Zooty the Great, Crillia the Enthusiastic, and Mingo the Faithful all answered the call to adventure. I didn't for a moment, nor do I expect did any of my companions, consider how we would split the treasure. Our chartered vessel didn't actually take us to Penmawr. No ship would dare come close to that lost port. Instead, they left us on an island on the opposite side of the strait and granted us a small dinghy to cross the way. The water was gorgeous turquoise and the seas amiable. Truly Penmawr must be paradise... Or was, once. As we approached the harbor, tall masts of several ships cast long, wavering shadows over the calm waves. As we neared, we recognized that only one ship was not sunken and it flew the dreaded flag of the Jolly Roger! We changed course to alight upon a spit of sand some hundred meters east of the harbor well away from the village. We made landfall among some tall rocks that obscured the other side of the narrow peninsula. We decided to round the rocky outcrop and look for a rear entry to the town (which sounds very tactical, but we were actually going wild harvesting the abundant black pearls along the beach). Aside from a wayward sand elemental, which every beachcomber is bound to encounter eventually, our progress around the north-east bend of the island was peaceful until we came upon another intact - mostly - ship docked at the beach.

    How such a large, two-masted ship could dock so close to the island was not apparent until we got closer - it flew a very different much more tattered Jolly Roger. Much of the hull was gone but the ship remained righted for it was a ghost ship! The tall-tales and dockside tavern legends were re true! And, partially buried in the sand like clams were the erstwhile and eternal crew, numbering in the dozens! Not ones to shrink from a fight, the four of us rushed into the heart of the battle, eager to see who was the most valorious! Wave after wave of skeletal swashbucklers and archers clawed out of their sandy shallow graves, shaking off sand and bringing cold and calculated violence to bear against the intruding mortals. When the idealic beach had been thoroughly ruined with the prints of intense activity and scattered bones, we took the fight to the grounded brigantine. There we found the captain, and surely he cursed his luck to encounter four blades and a spear in the tight confines of his once-sumptuous quarters. After exploring the ship and finding nothing of value nor clue of the treasure, we continued along the beach only to find the cruelest joke played upon men known to date: five aether liches! Five! One is as Death, riding roughshod over the grandest war parties, but FIVE! It can make an unbeliever believe if only to comprehend the idea of hell. I would like to report to you, friend, that we possess the sense of a gnat and turned around, but, alas, both Mingo and I tested those blue-glowing archons of certain destruction. It will take a good scrubbing to clean the shame from the inside of my armor! In order to avoid the single most terrifying thing I've seen since the aether dragon nest in the Blackblade mountains, we cut over the rock outcropping into the forest above and behind the village. While Zooty led the battle against wild boars and elves, I quietly broke away from the group for a bit of reconnaissance. It might surprise some folks, but a well fitted and oiled suit of plate armor is less constricting and much less noisy than many imagine. I managed to make my way down the rocks, among the palms, and onto the wooden boardwalk and into the village without notice. I ambushed a pirate plunderer by driving my elbow and shoulder into the center of his back and swiped backhand-and-forehand with my two-handed sword in a quadruple slash followed by a coup de grace. The plunderer slid down my blade onto the weather worn planks with little more than a sickly groan from his lips. I quickly slipped into the small house that he was guarding before his mates could spot me. Within I found a treasure map pinned to the wall by four well rusted daggers. The map featured the general topography of the island with a large X in the middle. Nearby was a note, hastily scribbled in awful writing by someone even more illiterate than me. I didn't come here to find treasure, but an overwhelming excitement surged through me. Treasure! Every adventurer dreams of buried treasure, and here it was, at last, within my grasp! I quickly departed the small house and the village, returning up the hill to the woods to inform my friends.

    High upon the rocks above the village, I encountered Mingo. I don't know why I did it. I swear that I was completely unconscious of the decision, as though something basic within me assumed control of my words. I crept up to Mingo and, certain that Crilla and Zooty were our of earshot, whispered, "I know where the treasure is. Follow me." As you might imagine, friends, things did not go well for our team after that. I warn you now that the temptation of buried treasure can overwhelm even the most stalwart champions of honor and truth. The treasure of Penmawr Island remains buried there along with many other secrets both supernatural and despicable. What happened next I leave for you to discover for yourself. Just be certain, absolutely certain, that you trust your companions, for that buried treasure is cursed by both the living and the dead. And if you should come and try to edge me out of my cut of the booty, watch your back!
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    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  6. Jason_M

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    Thanks for merging the threads, boss.

    The next adventure is coming soon. Who knew that the totally mundane Etceter Crag Mines had such thin walls!
     
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  7. Helvig Ingvildsdottir

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    Thank you for the incredible tales of your adventures! You people make me want to explore!
     
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  8. Mingo Ebonmark

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    Utter mayhem! There will probably be no tale spun for this day, but it was a busy day for Meridian Prime!

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  9. Jason_M

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    Sometimes adventures don't end well. It's an unfortunate fact that we adventurers must occaisionally face. Normally, those of our profession have the good sense to downplay our short comings, but I'm something of the shameless sort, so let me tell you about a heroic failure.

    ENTOMBED IN RAVENSMOOR

    I had been there before, as many of my tales begin, as the result of getting lost in the underground. Many people laugh when I tell them that one can cross the sea by taking a left rather than a right, but that is exactly how I transitioned from a relatively peaceful mining expedition in Novia to getting my face melted in the Hidden Vale.

    Within the torch-lit crypt, I encountered a pathetic young man, every bit looking like Samwell Tully. He begged me to slay the undead master of this nightmarish place so that he may return to his master. Ever the courageous avatar, I stowed my pickaxe and agreed to stomp the big, bad lich for the cowering apprentice.

    Five minutes later I was back at the atrium, alive but by the skin of my teeth, and cuffed that clueless buffoon upside the head! Despite my want of education, the diversity of language I used to describe the elite skeletons of Ravensmoor would impress a sage, but I'll summarize for you, friend, 'lest we offend the other tavern patrons: The young apprentice's request was as much a suicide mission as his own task from his wizard master.

    I shouted; he cried. I shouted again; he wimpered. I vowed to return later. Much later.


    *** Much Later ***

    Meridian Prime has become a hub of activity since our last big adventure to Penmawr Island, and we've been keeping busy with all of the new recruits, construction, and the tumult of divine intervention [known to most as R58], but it was time to exploit the great benefit of extrovertism: Big war parties!

    With Zooty in the lead and six more at his back including yours truly, we made our way into the terrible catacombs of Ravensmoor. Joining us were the necromantic Juxta, the adaptable Kynen, brave Salomon, and the dangerous Erwin.

    I fell almost instantly. Despite rigorous training and superlative comrades, the powerful wizards within burned a few degrees hotter than I remembered. Or, perhaps, the size of our party had emboldened me to forgo caution and to quadruple slash first, ask questions later. Fortunately, battle leader Zooty is as skilled in giving life as he is in taking it. Unfortunately, this was not the last time that I fell that night, and the last time would risk my spirit's imprisonment forever within the deepest part of that dungeon.

    The elite skeletons of Ravensmoor defy both presumption and nature. Their extremely durable bones, lightning speed, and empowered weapons make them terrible foes even for a large party.

    We fought valiantly and without complaint until we met the Lord of the Undead! We entered a massive chamber with a throne high above on something of a half-pyramid. [The subject of a loading screen, in fact, though much darker and more foreboding.] When I saw that massive lich, I got excited: I'd never seen anythng like it, and I was eager to sink my sword into it!

    Our first attempt was a rout. As soon as I flashed my sword overhead to cleave the Lord, several of his minions arose from bonepiles around the chamber and let lose a barrage of arrows into our backs. I switched tactics by engaging the archers as quickly and aggressively as I could, but it was too late. In but a moment, I resembled a porcupine, so thoroughly was I perforated. I fled through the nearest door in mortal terror and downed one of every healing tonic I had only to realize that I was now alone!

    My comrades, who were rather less foolhardy, retreated back the way we had come. Unwilling to face the lich and his army again, I pressed on to find my way back to my friends, feeling my way along the pitch-black cooridor until my hand befell a large lever. Uncertain of what may happen upon engaging it, I resolved that whatever the switch may beget, it was doubtlessly less certain a gruesome death than assured by that terrible Undead Lord.

    I was both right and wrong. A great clack and grinding sound opened the wall upon a cooridoor, still and dimly lit by blue fired torches. The wall quickly sealed again behind me, and a completely new dread washed over me like freezing water: I was now totally alone.

    But that was not entirely true. Down the cooridoor I heard the familiar scrape and tapping sounds of bones slowly traversing stone. I was indeed far from alone but surely doomed! So I did the courageous thing and sat down quietly. The only way forward was death, so I took a deep breath and enjoyed as long a peaceful moment before drawing impotent steel against an entire garrison of superior foes.

    I can't say how long I sat there feeling sorry fo--*ahem* steeling my resolve -- before a great grinding sound from behind sent me flying to my feet, sword in hand, to defend myself! The secret passage returning to the Undead Lord was open again and facing me from within was Mingo Ebonmark! I had never been happier to see anyone before in my life! Ever the faithful comrade, he had joined our party late only to find our comrades licking their wounds, and, finding me missing, led the others to bring me back to safety.

    Safety is relative, however, and that passage only served to bring us back to the vaulted chamber of the Undead Lord and his small army of elite archers and mages. But this time we were prepared for the ambush and Mingo's additional spear and sorcery helped tip the balance in our favor! It was a glorious battle and we celebrated heartily. It was a proud moment for us!

    We soon realized that not only was this not the end of Ravensmoor but that that had not been the Arch Lich that the doomed apprentice had tasked us with slaying.

    And so we pressed on despite our trepidation. Were we up to an even stronger foe?

    It turns out that we weren't that night, but we sore to return, and, this time, sooner than later!

    Should you go after the head of the most feared Lich in New Britannia, bear this in mind: There is no resurrection ankh within, nor is there an exit accessible by wayward souls. Unless your spirit be forever entombed, as ours nearly were but for Zooty's contingency, you must have a rescue arranged before entering Ravensmoor.

    But Jason, you might cry, why don't you relate the details of your humiliation as publicly as you flog the boring details?

    Well, friend, I will leave the horrifying details of agony and death for you to discover for yourself.

    I know you can't wait ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  10. Jason_M

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    Killed by cats and K'kkong

    I had accidentally been to Krawl once. It doesn't matter whether you sneek into Shrekk or are invited by the Kobold King himself, if you go bumbling about the myriad cooridors leading away from the subterranean capital, the squat buggers will try to perforate you with their mechanical pea-shooters. To make a long history short, I nary had more than a peak into crawl before my curiosity about quick death abated and I made merrily on my way to the surface and sunshine.

    When good Zooty, legendary general of the newb army, asked if I would like to go to a deeper complex underground, I naturally said yes, loving adventure more than life. When I overheard him mentioning in another room while dressing armor that we would certainly die, I gave pause. But Zooty has brought me back from the brink more times than I can count, so I went with it.

    To my surprise, fearless leader didn't lead us to Shrekk but to the entrenched battlefields of the Hallowed Plains. We made quock work of the infantry men guarding the trenches and made directly for a fortified bunker. Within we found a hatch with a ladder leading far underground. I had long ago wondered how the Kobolds supplied and staffed this fortification so far afield from their city, and the answer was deep and dark.

    Within we found ourselves within the subterranean military complex of Krawl. I was relieved when we quickly left Krawl with minimal resistance and coldly frightened when the passage turnes deeper. This was the entrance to K'Rul, the deepest and darkest research facility in New Britannia and it is here that I encountered the most artificial beasts more incredible than I could have even imagined.

    The entrance to K'Rul was at first glance similar to Shrekk. Many of the structures were similar, and I surmised that this is the residence of the mad scientists and soldier garrison for the facility. We were first greeted by brawlers and grenadiers, which I was expecting, but also a kitty, which I was not! Beware, traveller, for one of these cats is the equal of a hearty adventure, and, unlike their solitary organic counterparts, they are inclined to travel in pairs.

    Within the residentail cavern we also encountered stiff resistance from the elite marksmen of the Kobold forces, the gunners, as well as a hacked watcher! I should have felt emboldened by the sight of a powerful servant of my ATM, but I felt trepidation instead: does she have a secret army of powerful robotic soldiers at her beck and call? Why doesn't she use them to stem the tide of undead? For what manner of cloak and dagger is she reserving them? I didn't have long to ponder these chilling questions before Fearless Leader and I smote the malfunctioning robospider.

    Deeper within K'Rul we found the research and development laboratories and combat testing chambers. The various iterations of ever-larger shock monkeys provided quite the challenge and we held our own admirably well. The penultimate monkey was a different story: isolated within a large chamber, well away from the Kobolds themselves, was a 3 story tall shock monkey! It was fast and vicious! It pounced upon us as though to squash us into paste. Although its jumps were easy to recognize, the massive size of the monkey rendered it challenging to avoid. We beat a hasty retreat, though not before taking our pound of flesh! "It bleeds!" I shouted. I was sure that we could kill it, but my comrade was rather less foolhardy, so we instead used guile to slip past K'kong to the Shock Monkey Combat Testing Laboratory. A forboding name indeed, and we battled wave after wave of militarized monkeys before moving on to a beutiful but disturbing sight.

    Deep within K'Rul we cound a balcony overlooking a vast area filled with house-sized cogs and massive fuel storage tanks connected by serpentine pipes. The massive space thrummed with power and was not empty. The background hum of busy machines that permeated all of K'Rul grew into something rather more distinct and focused and getting closer. It was nearly too late before we realized that this place was a home, alive, and on the attack!

    What massive clockwork beast could the Kobolds have built but then, in wisdom or fear, contained in the deepest depth of their top secret facility?

    That, friends, I leave for yout to discover for yourselves.... and do bring friends.
     
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