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  1. Today
  2. "... jokes? Like... seriously, Akari?" - in the corridors of the Sunbird Manor, the ever-snarky Dime was having a conversation with the ever-stoic Akari. "Yes." - the Living Weapon replied - "Through my errands and adventures in this world, I have been constantly reported as 'boring' and 'unfunny'. Although this should not be a matter of concern, I cannot help but worry about the progression of my final mission, given to me by my master. So, it is crucial that I become 'funny'." Dime chuckles a bit: "Y'know, the seriousness you show about 'trying to be funny' is funny by itself. ... Alright, I'll help you out. First of all, you must show everyone that you have a great sense of humor!" Akari: "....................................................." Dime: "You... don't have a sense of humor, right?" - Akari: "In my severe training, there was no space for jokes or laughing." Dime: "Oh boy, someone grumpier than Baroness Zoe... wait, that's not even grumpiness, that's... kinda... nothing at all!" Akari nods: "It was crucial to rid myself of all unnecessary emotions in order to fulfill my tasks." With a look of pity... and a thought that this would be harder than he thought... Dime continues: "Nah, your sense of humor is still there. You just need to remember ir. Or, as you probably would see better, 're-train' it." Akari: "Interesting choice of words. ... What do you suggest?" Dime: "Let's go to my apartment. I think I know something that might help you out." --- For the next few hours, Akari meditated while Dime was working on something in his room. Akari opened her eyes when Dime reappeared: "Done!" And then Dime gave something to Akari: "Here, this is for you. Maybe this is all you need to learn how to be funny!" It was a small notebook. With a slighly confused look in her eyes, Akari started to read its contents, while Dime was saying: "If you need to pull out a joke out of nowhere, use this. I wrote lots of funny stuff that I know, and there are even stuff I just made up right now. I even made a session for when you face specific enemies, like The Guardian or aunt Adu-- er, I mean, Adunaphel." Akari kept reading, her confusion becoming even more apparent: "... I... would never banter like this in the middle of a battle." Dime: "EXACTLY! They will NEVER see it coming! And then you strike and win!" Akari then looks at Dime: "Are you telling me those jokes also provide a psychological advantage in combat?" - still stoic, but her eyes were sparking with interest... maybe even joy! Dime: "Well, if you wanna see it this way--" - Akari bows: "You have my gratitude, Dimestus. Pardon my urgency, but I need to start my training at once." And she rushes to her apartment. With the speed of a monk. Dime smiles: "No problem!"
  3. Earlier
  4. Day 6: I woke up with rays of sunlight coming through the window. I slept! I shouldn't have to! I still got things to do and time now is running shorter than ever! I rush back to Annakol City. Time to summon the heroes! I'm not important enough to use the Annakol Gazette. Perks of being a rogue: good ones are usually unknown. And I don't like the idea of being known. ... as if I have a choice in the matter. And since I can't use the Gazette, let's go to the next big thing: the message board. Time to write a message. Call to Arms! Looking for extremely experienced adventurers to rescue The Horselords! Hear ye, hear ye, adventurers. The legendary Horselords were imprisioned in the ninth circle of Hell, thanks to an evil scheme that came from a servant of Loki. Veteran warriors, mages and healers are needed in this dire moment to rescue our protectors! However, I can't stress enough that only highly capable adventurers can survive Hell, or even keep their sanity intact. And even to those veterans: this is not a mere trip. Most of us might not come back. That is a place of overwhelming evil. That being said, I am going alone if I need to. But if you are capable enough and kind enough to help me, then meet Dimestus Timalar, in 5 hours, at the Feisty Chicken Inn. And may the Gods bless us all. Done and done. Just then a voice echoes behind me. Prime, my older brother, sounded... quite abashed: "Dime... what's the meaning... of this?!" I sighed a bit: "It means exactly what I wrote." "The way you wrote this... I might be a bit oblivious sometimes, but I do know you. You don't have hopes of coming back, do you?" "..." "Then I'm going with you. Until the end of--" - "No. Galandar still needs you. And I need you too right now." Prime nods: "Speak, my brother." I... hesitantly hug my brother before continuing: "I need you to continue a task I started. Some good friends of mine need protection. Otherwise, the world is doomed, regardless of our success or failure in Hell. ... I need you to go and meet Hero Sharpe, Darla Drowbane, Professor Valence Cogg, Daisy Meadows, Ikaro... and Piety Helback. She's going to tell you 'the truth about Tyr'." Prime looks at me with a shine of doubt in his eyes: "The truth about... Tyr?" "Sorry, brother, but I don't have time right now. ... Forgive me about everything." And, with a last hug, I give Prime a map and then I head to the main gate. Everything is in place. I did everything that was in my power, and now I can only pray it was enough. In my personal rock-spot, I rest a bit. Gazing upon the horizon until I sleep.
  5. Day 5: I spent the whole night at Miskatonic U, ignoring the claims of ghosts and apparitions in the already dark corridors. I don't know if those were true. Nor do I care right now. I was at the alchemy classroom, preparing some special (and nasty) weapons. The amalgam of two researches: the Fletchers' and mine's. I look at them, not knowing if they'll do me good down there or not. I also don't have time for testing. This will have to do, me liking or not. I also made 5 (five) runes of recall, just in case we have to make an emergency retreat back to the surface. It's unlikely we gonna use them, but I read somewhere that "a good strategist antecipates the worst and proceeds with the best". In Hell, there's no such thing as being "too prepared". I left the University with dark circles in my eyes, but I don't have time to rest. In the same day, I got the ship back to Tharbad, then the ferry back to the Shire. Spent some time in the kitchen. I still workship St. Marcus after all. And I was trained by the best cook in all worlds. And I mean it. I actually have been in other worlds and I still didn't find food that could match the one cooked by Ms. Peony Brewer! Pies, pies, some deer meat, cookies, more pies... after all, I'm counting we're gonna spend a LOT of time down there. We need some things to keep your sanity intact and our stomachs full. After all of that was done, I collapsed in a nearby chair...
  6. Day 4: Ah, Halfling Heaven. No matter how many times I visit this place, I always feel at home here. Sure, the Halflings here enjoy a normal, simple life where, if not for Slick, the most exciting event in the year would be the snail races. They are also a bunch of overcapable guys whose the most normal villager would give any outlander adventurer a run for its money. Case in point: the Fletchers. They do what their surname makes you think: fletching. Their arrows are legendary, and some are so unique you can only find with them. To this day, I still don't know how to make what they call "Parasitic Arrows", so I came straight to them to get a bunch. A big bunch. Mr. Fletcher even advised me those are not for hunting, because the meat would be... not good to eat. I looked at him with a "?" face and he said the tips of the arrows leave a... not so good smell in their victims. I smelled one of the ti-- ... I woke up at Nurse Fleetfoot's house right before she'd put me inside the "thingie". That smell knocked me out. Just like a certain Steinhammer dwarf always does... ...! I think I found the missing link. I pack my stuff, said bye and thanks for everyone and zipped to the ship. Time to do some smelly research, and I know the perfect place to do it. With Parasitic Arrows in special quivers, and with my essay about Grit and Grime's smells in mind, I head to Arkham. Time to visit the Miskatonic University.
  7. Day 3: Vampires. Pit Fiends. Hook Horrors. And, of course, Drow. This is the city of Erelhei-Cinlu, deep in the Underdark. Many got lost in the endless tunnels, trying to reach this place, or were devoured by the Kuo-Toans in the way. And many would expect the City of the Drow to be a place of pure and ancient evils. Well, they are right and wrong. Most of the guys who live there are pretty chill and lively... Lolth cultists notwithstanding... and live their lives like anyone else. I was actually chatting with said Drow, Vampires, Pit Fiends and Hook Horrors about one nice barbecue in the next few days (the vampires are out. My fault. I shouldn't have mentioned garlic). As much as the social gathering is nice, I was there on a purpose to fulfill. I went on to look for the best blacksmith I've ever met. And boy, he doesn't dissapoint. After all, when you're a Fire Elemental Blacksmith, everything regarding molten steel becomes a masterpiece. And lemme tell you, for a fire elemental, he's pretty chill. Ok, bad pun, you can kill me now. Anyways, I told him of my urgency and we worked on some stuff. ... Maaaan that place is hot. And whenever my fiery friend saw me sweating like a pig, he let out a strange noise that I think it was a chuckle. An elven friend called Lire took care of the design. I let her know I wanted to mean business. Well... Lich King Masterius, eat your heart out! My fashion is edgier than yours! But, of course, I don't intend to engage my hellish opponents in melee combat. I'm still a kid and I would be whacked like one. Super spiky armor or not. My best weapon is still my bow. And I need some fitting arrows that I can't craft. Time to visit a certain archer family that I know. On my way to Halfling Heaven!
  8. Day 2: Very few people know, but I'm actually trained in magic and wizardry. Nowhere near the level of dedicated super-spellcasters like Zamboni, but I know the basics. And more importantly: I know how to use magic scrolls. At Amberflame Castle, Mr. Silig was quite scared, because I was buying half of his stock in magic scrolls. Of course, the ones I could carry and the most important ones for my mission, but still a significative number. And about the chosen spells... again, I'm not a dedicated caster, so I didn't pick quite the number of damaging ones (but I still got some of those just in case). Instead, I chose ones that could help in supporting, either enhancing my friends or disabling my foes. I'm not the best at dealing damage. My business is being annoying. Tomorrow is time to work the steel, be it covering me or the one I'm going to wield. Next stop: Erelhei-Cinlu.
  9. Day 1: Magic missiles hit a boulder. And another. And another. And another. Emeralds, rubies and rough diamonds. Catch. Rinse. Repeat. Luckly, Staves of Missiles are in good demand. I needed to mine those gems, but in a way that I could save my strength for what's yet to come. And shooting magic at boulders proved to be quite effective. I grab whatever I can and hasted to the jewelry. Lente, the jeweler, was quite abashed with the amount of shiny stones I brought. ... and a bit concerned. If there are too many, their value starts to drop, so he said. At least I could grab enough coins for my side project. Time to rest for a bit, and tomorrow, gonna visit Amberflame Castle.
  10. In the distant past, Realms of Annakolia was connected to DSL with a static IP address. Times Change Current IP provider is AT&T and we are supposed to be connected to fiber optics. (As If - not so much) We are actually connected to a copper wire that travels about a mile before it connects to the fiber optics hub - which is a severe limitation on speed and reliability. I have no other workable option for internet that is reliable and workable for running the NWN Annakolia server. I would change in a heart-beat if there was a good fiber link option. AT&T is about to give me a double wire option that, if I lived closer to the optical hub, would double our download and upload speeds - but NO - we are a mile away and the copper wire downgrades the data too much - BUT - with the paired line we should improve our contact enough to maintain what we are supposed to get currently (which we NEVER get). Server is direct connected to the router - we just need better internet - STUPID AT&T.
  11. I ended up coming back to Barrydale on my own two feet. I had to come back and look after those two after everything that happened. Canon and Aruncus were in beds. Canon was still mentally and spiritually exausted after opening so many portals to Hell, but I think he'll be fine. But Aruncus... well, if I hadn't seen myself, I would say she was in a coma. She wouldn't wake up not matter what. ... Of course she wouldn't. Her soul was trapped in Hell. And now, the Horselords are trapped there with her. And if it wasn't for Zamboni, me and Kothgar would be trapped there too. I should've been able to do something! Anything! I should've been able to prevent... THIS from happening! Safia... Vindul... Gus... Tobin... Some of Galandar's greatest heroes are now trapped in Hell. My mind keeps saying it's not my fault. My heart keeps saying the opposite. And even if it's not my fault, I can't help but think it is. I looked at Canon and Aruncus... thinking, maybe thinking too much. I grabbed a feather, some ink and started to write a letter. "Canon, if you're reading this, then I already departed back to Annakol City. I messed up big time. Long story made short: you're fine, but Aruncus and the Horselords are trapped in Hell. And I'm going to rescue them. Not by my lonesome, of course not. I'm daring, but not stupid. I'm gonna rest a bit and re-supply my stock of... everything. Then I'm gonna speak with Zamboni about all of this mess and reunite the most formidable adventurers we can find to undergo this super-task. You just stay there and be the guy you've always been. I'm glad you're safe, I really am. You might be a little bit of an airhead, but I always knew your heart was in the right place. Now rest and don't you dare leaving this bed until you're fully recovered! Don't make come back from Hell just to put you back in this bed! Be safe, buddy. - Dime" I left the letter on Canon's bedside table and departed. There was no time to waste. The Horselords were still fighting. I must keep on fighting too. I'll reunite the most powerful adventurers I can find to go through the nine circles of Hell, trample Asmodeus and rescue the Horselords. ... ... and break every single rule I imposed on myself about fighting goblins. Hell goblins. Glory goblins. They'll all be there, waiting for us. ... and the single thought of myself killing a goblin... when I noticed, there were some tears on my face. So this is how "failing" feels. But it must be done. I'm sorry, Glory.
  12. The troop of questers, trying to find the last two objects needed for the magic wedding spell that breaks the cruse, are now on Alisha Island where they have made their way to Alisha Village. Along the way they did encounter a small few Ruin Spiders and have some silk sacks but not enough required to make the Dahke Halfling Wedding Cloth. They encountered a ship captain in Alisha Village by the name of Kylon Lionset (yes the author of Simple Sailing). He informed the questers that he was fishing to find another gold ring. Apparently he found a fancy gold ring in the belly of a fish he caught and as he described it to the questers - a ring with a Baronial Crest and the name Drowbane on a banner underneath the crest (BINGO that IS the ring they seek). He then proceeded to tell them how he traded the ring to a hobbit for a magic rabbit foot mounted on a bunny egg.(edited) Obviously, the lucky rabbit foot will allow Captain Lionset to catch more gold rings in bellies of fishes - so he continues to fish. A company of Baroness Zoe troops met and attacked the company - they were heard to say: Kill all but Darla. SOOOOOOOOOOOO Who is this halfling who has the ring now and where did he/she go?
  13. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems at first - nothing is easy - SO - the Drow Priestess said Darla and Hero needed three items to get married. 1) A rabbit egg. 2) A Dahke Halfling wedding cloth. 3) The ancient ancestral ring of the Drowbane family (disposed of centuries ago by Zoe Drowbane). The rabbit egg (found) - Off to Dahke to get the wedding cloth but none are made and the halfling lady who will make it requires a mountain of gems in payment and ten Ruin Spider silk sacks to make the special thread to weave the cloth. The Mystic told Darla and Hero that the ring was found in the belly of a fish by a fisherman from the village of Alisha, on Alisha Island - where it just so happens, a lot of Ruin Spiders live and breed. How nice. Hero says it is simple sailing from here on Narrator: I wonder if anyone remembers a book by that name - Simple Sailing - and if they do, who wrote it.(edited) Narrator: Will Hero's words be a foreshadowing of things to come. Narrator: Will Darla and Hero ever get married. Narrator: Will Baroness Zoe be able to muster forces of evil to "dog" the company - especially the professor - Narrator: Will the Professor's magic dog protection work on Alisha. Narrator: Will getting spider silk and the ring be straight forward and easy??? - Or will things go as usual? Narrator: Tune in for this weeks episode of * Cheezie Organ Music Cuts IN here * Curse of the Lovers
  14. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems at first - nothing is easy - SO - the Drow Priestess said Darla and Hero needed three items to get married. 1) A rabbit egg. 2) A Dahke Halfling wedding cloth. 3) The ancient ancestral ring of the Drowbane family (disposed of centuries ago by Zoe Drowbane). The rabbit egg (found) - Off to Dahke to get the wedding cloth but none are made and the halfling lady who will make it requires a mountain of gems in payment and ten Ruin Spider silk sacks to make the special thread to weave the cloth. The Mystic told Darla and Hero that the ring was found in the belly of a fish by a fisherman from the village of Alisha, on Alisha Island - where it just so happens, a lot of Ruin Spiders live and breed. How nice. Hero says it is simple sailing from here on Narrator: I wonder if anyone remembers a book by that name - Simple Sailing - and if they do, who wrote it.(edited) Narrator: Will Hero's words be a foreshadowing of things to come. Narrator: Will Darla and Hero ever get married. Narrator: Will Baroness Zoe be able to muster forces of evil to "dog" the company - especially the professor - Narrator: Will the Professor's magic dog protection work on Alisha. Narrator: Will getting spider silk and the ring be straight forward and easy??? - Or will things go as usual? Narrator: Tune in for this weeks episode of * Cheezie Organ Music Cuts IN here * Curse of the Lovers
  15. Why are the Curse of the Lovers group having to find three items before a Drow Priestess will marry them and why must it be this Drow Priestess? This is not a normal wedding - This wedding is a magic spell, cast to break, or rather start the process that breaks the ancient curse over the Drowbane family and the drow elves they fought to destroy in the ancient past. Baroness Zoe is ancient - she - transfers herself to female child every generation. If need be she can take other life to extend hers but that is a short term fix. The three items, a rabbit egg, a Dahke halfling wedding cloth, and the ancient Drowbane family crest ring, are components of that spell to be cast when Darla and Hero wed.
  16. *suddenly feels like the Bat-Cave* Can we have poles to slide down? And a butler? Gurly wants a large walk-in closet. Grit would like a heated mud bath spa.
  17. I would love a good weapons store/cache whatever. Or some sort of weapon sharpener. Harli is having trouble keeping her scythe sharpe. Love the idea of a Steinhammer hang out. Remember to include a dog bed for Snowy Steinhammer Maybe am attached Riding boar stable *shudders at the though of boars dancing on the tables*
  18. The Steinhammer Headquarters is currently under development. Dwarves can sit about tables, talk, drink, and tell stories of great deeds. Plans for: 1) Fully stocked, over filled, larder. 2) Sparring Arena 3) Functional Bar 4) Labratory (for dwarven research into science and magic - to make better and more potent ale of course) 5) Sheep - sorta a dwarven petting zoo - it calms dwarf nerves and helps figure out woolly problems 6) Suggestions are welcome - SHOUTS - STEINHAMMER DWARVES RULE - YEA YEA YEA - *chugs Steinhammer ale and falls down asleep*
  19. The Steinhammer Headquarters is currently under development. Dwarves can sit about tables, talk, drink, and tell stories of great deeds. Plans for: 1) Fully stocked, over filled, larder. 2) Sparring Arena 3) Functional Bar 4) Labratory (for dwarven research into science and magic - to make better and more potent ale of course) 5) Sheep - sorta a dwarven petting zoo - it calms dwarf nerves and helps figure out woolly problems 6) Suggestions are welcome - SHOUTS - STEINHAMMER DWARVES RULE - YEA YEA YEA - *chugs Steinhammer ale and falls down asleep*
  20. To easily figure out times = ESPECIALLY with savings time problems making game times difficult to pin-down - here is help. https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
  21. [November 4, 2019] *The mysterious woman with the warm smile reads the text and makes another blood offering. Again, she calls forth undead beings. She ponders, wondering what component she is missing. The beloved pets of the child called forth something more.... didnt' they?* *She pauses, turns at the sounds from down the corridor. She gathers her things and dashes through the zombie horde she had summoned and hides *
  22. Details coming soon. All dates tentative. [November 11, 2019 Prologue] Book Club (Earlier in the day) Aruncus rides along the North Road. She overhears two girl rangers giggling. Pausing to eavesdrop, she over hears them chatting about That Book. Between the girls' giggling fits, she catches the name... Canon... and speculation he may be giving a reading during the book club later that day at the Annakol Theater. Aruncus nudges her horse along and heads back to camp to prepare. (later that night) It was standing room only for the event at the Annakol Theater. Dime, Kothgar, Locks, and Smash were a few familiar faces in the crowd waiting to hear Canon. He appears in a flash and jumps right into a reading from his book, Horselords: A Complete History. He then moves to questions from the crowd. Answers were.... less than insightful and he often had an out of focused look to his eye. Aruncus appears in the back of the crowd and asks about her less than flattering portrayal. Canon only has praise for Aruncus and calls her the heart of the Horselords, a confusing contradiction based on his writing. Another question comes from a Mysterious Woman with a warm smile. She asks Canon to read a passage from Chapter 1. Canon does, but she has a follow up question: will Canon read it again, but BACKWARDS this time. Canon, never one to disappoint a fan, begins to reread the passage and in doing so chants in Abyssal and opens a passage to the First Circle of Hell. The audience runs off, leaving Dime, Kotghar, Locks, and Smash to wrestle with the Hell Archers summoned forth. The Mysterious Woman disappears taking Canon and Aruncus with her. Dime explains, "We need the Horselords!" [December 2, 2018] The Horselords are gathered around the campfire in Sidonia's keep. They are busy mending their boots, cooking, and caring for their horses. The conversation causally turns to the whereabouts of Aruncus, when Dime and Kothgar burst into the camp. They exclaim that something happened at the Annakol Theater involving Canon and a portal to Hell. The riders give a lukewarm response to hearing of Canon in peril. When Dime and Kothgar mention Aruncus is also in danger, the Harras spring forward and ride to her aid. In the city, they encounter the Annakol Theater in flames and denizens from the First Circle of Hell moving about. The riders defeat the Hell-beasties, resurrect Smash, and close the portal by countering Canon's incantation. Lady Sidonia appears at the theater and apologies, to the surprise of the Horselords. She explains that she and Zamboni grew concerned over Canon's book about the Horselords. In it, he detailed the lives of the rider's in too much detail, so Zamboni enchanted Canon, twisting his writing into a nonsensical story. But the magic that cloaked the Horselords was not impervious to all spellcraft. It appears a Servant of Loki has discovered the magic and a way to corrupt it further. When read backwards by Canon and other likely bards portals to Hell can open. Sidonia tasks the Horselords, Dime, and Kothgar to track down the Servant of Loki and stop them, rescue Canon, Aruncus, and the others (here, here) in their midst, and stop the chaos from spreading across the lands. [December 9, 2018] Aruncus lands with a hard thump as she is thrown into the back of the covered wagon. Canon lands nearby, with a loud groan, but not from him but from a larger framed, bound man with a striking resemblance to Canon. "They finally got you," says a caged third man from the dark corner of the wagon. Aruncus pulls herself up only to be suddenly thrown back to the floor as the wagon lurches forward at travels at a great pace. From the sounds of the wheels, Aruncus can tell they are moving across the paved streets of Annakol, and then onto the dirt road, and then into the woods. She quickly grabs her copy of Horselords: The Complete Story and rips a page. She slides it out through the crack under the wagon door. Canon gasps at her action, and asks what is she doing! Aruncus, somehow finding the energy to smile, looks at Canon and tears another page from the book. "I'm leaving a crumb trail," she says as she takes another page and slides it out the crack. Even though she isn't entirely sure what is happening to her, she finds the satisfaction of tearing a third page from the book while Canon watches. The Riders dash out of the Annakol theater, confused and looking for clues. A passerby informs them of a covered wagon speeding away, offering a lead that is quickly corroborated with a torn page for Horselords: The Complete Story. They dash through the gates of Annakol, along the North Road, and into the Annakol woods, following the trail of pages and past the chaos literally left in the wake of the wagon! The Horselords follow the trail to the ferry landing outside of The Shire to learn the wagon boarded a boat and headed down river to Tharbad. Boarding a nearby boat, they make their own way down river.... [December 16, 2018] [no games December 23 and 30] [January 6, 2019] The wagon lurches to a stop, throwing Aruncus, Canon, and the other captives forward. There's the sound of a woman barking orders and after a moment the sound of the lock clicking open. The wagon door swings open, blinding everyone inside. "Time fer another show, pretty boy" slurs the stout dwarf blocking their way out. "I think not!", says Canon. The dwarf replies, "Let me give you some encouragement, pretty boy." The dwarf grabs Fat Canon by the ankle and yanks him out of the wagon. "Yer be singing or yer brother gets it!" warns the dwarf. Canon argues "He's not my brother..." but is cut off as the woman with the warm smile appears in the doorway and quietly says, "You perform again, Canon, or else we will kill each and everyone in this wagon, and then the people you love." Canon glances, helpless, to Aruncus and Willam, for support. With an audible gulp he climbs out of the wagon to do as he is told. The ferry hits the Tharbad docks and the Horselords stampede off the boat in pursuit of the wagon. Pages from the book lead the riders to the Tharbad arena and the second portal opened to Hell. With a bit of effort, they succeed in breaking Canon's enchantment. With only a moment to catch their breath, they spur on their horses and ride at a break neck pace to catch up to the wagon. [January 13, 2019] *RIIIIIPPPPPP* The sound cuts over the thundering hooves and the creaking wheels as the wagon races onward. Canon winces at Aruncus tears as she slides another torn page under the wagon's locked door. "Must you enjoy it so?" he asks. She pauses, looks at him, and reads the next page, "Aruncus climbs onto the rock and begins to luridly tease the team of dwarves nearby...." She stops and looks at Canon. "Why did you write this about me?" Canon, beginning to show strain from his forced spell casting, "I didn't write that.... what in the Hells are you talking about?" Before the conversation could continue, the passengers are thrown to the side as the wagon takes a hard turn and comes to a stop. Aruncus hides the book and prepares for their captures to open the locked door. Canon, pales, as he braces himself to again deliver the enchantment. The riders push hard through the woods along back trails that rarely traveled. Twists and turns. Hills and plains. They finally emerge in the Northern Meadows and find the third portal on the hill. They race to it, slaughtering the Hell Spawn that is crawling forth. Entering the portal they are greeted by...... Krago?! The Dwarven Wizard has divined himself to relay the message the the Servant of Loki is behind this and , forcing Canon to push harder and harder with the enchanted portals through Limbo and into the depths of Hell itself. Krago tells them to keep up the chase, keep after Aruncus and the other captives, and to close the portals as they encounter them. With that, Krago fades, and the Horselords dash deeper into the enchantment, slaying the demons and devils in their path, and again break the spell cast by Canon. Porting back to the hillside, they are met by a drifting torn page from the book, indicating Aruncus is still leaving a trail for them to follow. [January 20, 2019] The wagon jostles the captives as it bounces along at a rapid pace. The sound of the creaking wheels is only broken by the occasional RRRRIIIIPPPP as Aruncus pulls a page and carefully slides it under the door. Canon, weakened even more, slumps against the wagon wall, as his hefty look-alike and the sallow man look on. Aruncus has learned the sallow man has worked as a man servant for a well to do lady in Annakol and was kidnapped for his literary interpretation mistaken as a keen spellcraft. "Excuse me for being well read and worldly," he sighed with sarcasm during their conversation. The Canon doppelganger just had the bad luck of mistaken identify; "I'm going to pick my shows my carefully if I ever get out of here" he hopefully shared. Canon, on the other hand, just rocks with the sway of the wagon. Beaten. Defeated. Finally, he asks, "Aruncus, what do you read on those pages you loathe so much?" She pauses mid tear and looks from him to the page.... questioning his question. She begins reading a passage about some insane story about a ship and traveling through space. As she struggles with the nonsensical words of "flux capacitor" and the confusing story line, the words shift into poetry for a second. Surprised, she looks up at Canon, and then back to the page not knowing what happened. Again, the letters swim before her eyes and the story becomes one of heartfelt appreciation and beauty written by Canon about the Horselords. Her eyes tear up as she rereads the book. Suddenly, the brakes and they come to a halt. There is a commotion outside and when the wagon door is thrown open, the prisoners are greeted with the smell of sea air. [for this game, Safia played the part of Aruncus; Kothgar, Fat Canon; Dime, Willam] The captives are pulled from the wagon and tossed into cages, except for Canon, too weak to do anything. Aruncus, Fat Canon, and Willam try their best to get out of the cages but with no success. The vagabond travelers holding them captive take turns taunting the prisoners and abusing Canon. The Mysterious Woman then appears, revealing she is serving her Master, Loki. She states she no longer has a need for Fat Canon and Willam and infers their freedom. But, she refers to Aruncus as Canon's understudy. With that, the Woman and her henchman pull Canon up and force him to begin another incantation. Aruncus, Fat Canon, and Willam protest loudly from the cages. A vagabond traveler approaches. With a spell he kills Fat Canon, but Willam manages to escape. Aruncus watches on in horror as another portal opens. [January 27, 2019] The Horselords near the coast. They encounter a travel worn William, having escaped from the caravan. He warns the Riders of the perils ahead before they press onward. At the coast, they find another open portal, hellhounds and goblins, and the bloodied corpse of Fat Canon. After dispensing of the hellspawn, the Horselord revive Fat Canon. He shares that the Servant of Loki is forcing Canon to open portals and that Aruncus is another captive. Fat Canon runs off and the Horselords close another Hell portal. Open returning from the Limbo planes, the Horselords see a ship on the horizon flying the Flag of Shorembo. [no games February 3 and 10] [February 17, 2019] The Horselords board Shorembo's ship and are in pursuit of the Servant of Loki by sea. Rough waters slow their travels but they make their way to the shores of Roseberry. [February 24, 2019] [March 3, 2019] [no game March 10] [March 17, 2019] [no game March 24] [March 31, 2019] Aruncus and a weary Canon are roughly moved from the ship to the shore and loaded onto another wagon and hurriedly carted away. Canon falls to a heap on the floor and Aruncus cradles his head in her arms. "I can't do this again..." Canon says to Aruncus, "... it's going to kill me". Aruncus gently strokes his hair trying to offer comfort. She realizes her disdain for him has morphed into an understanding of the situation. Canon didn't intend to do harm to her or the Horselords but was manipulated into this situation, and now exploited by this Servant of Loki. She strokes his hair to offer comfort, "It will be alright... we'll get through this". Canon smiles weakly and falls asleep. Aruncus listens to sound of the wagon wheels pass hurriedly along the road. The wagon abruptly halts, the doors thrown open and Aruncus is blinded by the sunlight and smells the salty air of the ocean. The dwarf grabs Canon by the ankles and yanks him out of the wagon. "No!" Aruncus cries out, but her fight to hold the bard back is useless. The wagon door is shut and locked again. She hears the Servant of Loki berating Canon as she demands he opens another portal. Aruncus hears the sound of Canon being hit and kicked, but he does not read from the book. Things then go silent. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, an old woman sits down at her writing desk and begins a reply to a letter. Dear Mr. Locks, I want to express my appreciation for your nicely drawn image of Canon. Once again, you truly capture his spirit and the joy he brings to the world. I think it surpasses the others you have sent to me! I will display it with honor next to your other works at our Headquarters. Your artistic renderings continue to be popular with visitors. I wish you luck in getting tickets to Canon's upcoming book discussions. I hear they are proving to be quite popular. She continues with other platitudes, gossip, and a few bits of Canon-lore. She ends the note with her name and title, President of the International Canon Fan Club. The old woman then hangs the image on the wall next to the others from Mr Locks. The Horselords enter Barrydale and discover, to their surprise, the headquarters to Canon's Fan Club. The old woman greats them in the garden and invites them all in for a tour. There is the early works of Canon including childhood writings, rare images of Canon's boyhood, an impressive if not eclectic collection of fan art, and Canon's boyhood bedroom! The old woman is Canon's mother and the headquarters is his childhood home. And, the old woman reveals his name isn't actually Canon but.... Ralph Piorkoski. As the Horselords ponder the name, shouts are heard from outside. The Riders rush to discover Canon's unconscious body has been discarded from the back of a wagon outside the gates of town. It was last seen heading across the farmland. As the Horselords prepare chase, Zamboni appears to remove the original enchantment he placed on Canon to mask the writing and details of the Horselords. In conversation, the Horselords reveal to Zamboni that Aruncus is still in the hands of the Servant of Loki, which draws dire concern from Zamboni. He urges them to get to Aruncus before she is forced to open a portal! With this, the Horselords follows the trail of the wagon to the Mouth of the Misty Blue River. It is too late! Aruncus lies in a coma having been forced to open a portal. The Servant of Loki watches as the Horselords have battle with the wagon driver and demons. The Horselords defeat the Servant of Loki, but are unable to revive Aruncus as her soul is now bound to the Plane of Hell. In an attempt to rescue her, they enter and find themselves not in limbo as previously, but deep into the 9th Circle of Hell! The Horselords battle demon after demon... they keep coming! From above, Zamboni reaches across the plane to rescue everyone and is able to pull Dime and Kothgar back to the world. The Magic within the Horselords keeps them bound and he is unable to rescue them. The Horselords are trapped in Hell. Epilogue POV: Dime [April 7, 2019] [April 21, 2019] [April 28, 2019] [May 5, 2019] [no game May 12] ***************************************** ***************************************** ***************************************** *****************************************
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