Silver Tears of the Mournland

The Ghosts of Namaran

Trevor to fill in adventure log here….


Deep in the Cyonian Desert

Brother Rydan Garibaldi mopped the sweat from his tonsured brow with a dirty rag. He squinted at the sun beating down on the excavation site from the pale blue sky. No clouds had blocked its punishing rays since he arrived in the ancient land of Cyonia. The hard work of digging in this heat had taken its toll on the formerly plump Lucidian monk. He had shrunk considerably, a fact confirmed by the loose fit of his robes. His skin had also been heavily bronzed by the hours spent working in the sun. He looked like a local now, he would think on the odd occasion that he had to see his likeness reflected in a bucket of drinking water. Like he belonged in this ancient land.

The sound of excited voices drew Brother Rydan’s attention. Attacks from Bethuani tribesmen had been frequent and increasingly severe. The entire camp was attuned to the possibility of further raids. Faisal ali-Hudabri, the foreman of the work crew, came puffing along the path from the worksite, his face, though red from exertion, was also elated. “Brother, Brother,” he cried, “We have found something at last!”

Brother Rydan grabbed his wide brimmed hat and slapped it on his head and caught up his walking stick. “Let’s go, let’s go, tell me on the way,” he insisted, beetling past Faisal and heading towards the narrow canyon where his crew had been digging.

“A door, sir,” Faisal crowed, “Just where you said it should be.”

The canyon walls were steep, allowing no more than two men to walk abreast. Brother Rydan had to navigate around workers carrying heavy baskets of stone to the waste pits. A crowd of labourers had gathered at the end of the canyon. With Faisal shouting the dark-skinned Myvolin workers cleared a path for him and Brother Rydan.

The excavation was just as Faisal had said. The outline of a door could be clearly distinguished from the rough stone of the canyon walls. The portal was dressed in the same yellow stone of the surrounding valley, with hieroglyphs that indicated the Myvolin period. Brother Rydan quickly scanned the symbols, recognizing to his surprise two names: that of the famous and mighty Emperor Nemocasus III and that of his wicked and usurping adviser, Vizier Harjanni.

Excitement welled up within Brother Rydan. What treasures could be found in a tomb with the names of two such famous men of history upon its door! He trembled with anticipation as he nodded to Faisal. The foreman, recognizing the mood of his employer turned to the workers and in his gruffest voice commanded them to break open the stone blocking entry to the tomb.

A Journey to the Ancient Lands 1

The Goldrise Monastery, Vintara

Late afternoon sunshine spilled through the open window, stealing the attention of the library’s sole inhabitant from the tattered scrolls and ancient texts that littered the table before him. The tall and lanky Lucidian monk, Brother Brandos stretched his cramped muscles and gazed out the window towards the city of Arncourt and the azure sea beyond it.

In the fields workers were busy harvesting olives and grapes beneath the warm rays of the autumn sun. In the broad bay beyond fishing boats bobbed next to Cyonian galleys and caravels from the distant Northern Kingdoms carrying pilgrims and trade goods across the busy sea lanes. Banners snapped in the salty breeze atop the tall grey walls of the city and the gates were busy as farmers headed home with wagons empty after selling their wares in town.

At the centre of Arncourt, couched amongst the spires and terra cotta-roofed buildings stood the shining Cathedral of Saint Lucius. It’s soaring walls appeared seamless at this distance and the bronze-clad domes and stain-glass windows flamed in the afternoon light.

Across a broad plaza from the Cathedral rose the equally elegant Helion Palace, the residence of His Grace, the Patrician of Vintara, and Holy Father of the Lucidian Church of Pelor.

Brother Brandos’ was abruptly brought back to the dank confines of the library by the sound of a door creaking its way open. He turned his gaze towards the stacks to watch, to his dismay, as the figure of Brother Haden entered the library, his tonsured head swivelling on a thin neck until he spotted Brandos’ seated form. “Ah, Brother Brandos,” he wheezed, “I hoped to find you here.”

“What do you want,” snapped Brandos, never one to hold much patience with the older monk.

Brother Haden ignored the tone in Brandos’ voice and instead proffered him a sheet of paper. “It concerns your old teacher, Brother Rydan,” he said. “It seems that he has had something of a misadventure in Cyonia.”

“You’ve been reading my mail!” Brandos said angrily, snatching the letter from Haden’s withered hand.

“The letter was addressed to me,” he retorted, his patience with the younger monk already being stretched.

Brandos scanned the neat handwriting on the page, noting immediately that it was not that of Brother Rydan himself. Instead the letter read as follows:

“Dear Brother Haden,

My name is Sister Leena of the House of the Healing Hand, a hospital of our blessed Saint Margo in Ran Adin. I am writing you at the request of one of our patients, a brother of your order by the name of Rydan Garibaldi.

Brother Garibaldi has come to our care some weeks ago and all effort is being made to repair him to good health.

In the mean time, the good brother has sent for your consideration the enclosed item.

May the grace of Pelor and His Saints be with you.

Sister Leena of Saint Margo."

“This was included with the letter,” Haden said, his voice betraying his excitement. In his hand he held a clay jar approximately six inches across at its widest and nearly fourteen inches tall. The jar was covered in ancient markings and symbols and the lid was sealed with lead solder. The jar was obviously a funerary urn and Brandos found his hands reaching out to hold it. Haden surrendered the jar and Brandos quickly scanned it.

“It’s late Myvolin,” he muttered while Haden nodded, “from the period of Nemocasus III.”

Brandos turned the jar, interpreting the thousand-year old writing. “Harjaani!” he exclaimed while Haden nodded excitedly. “Has Brother Rydan found the tomb of the Vizier Harjaani?”

“So you do recognize the name,” Haden said proudly.

“Of course,” Brandos sniffed, “he was the regent to the boy-emperor Nemocasus when he took the throne in the year 782 of the Myvolin Era. Vizier Harjaani was a cruel leader, manipulative and power hungry. He was a skilled sorcerer who used his considerable power to keep Nemocasus weak and under his thumb. During a palace coup, forces loyal to the emperor managed to free him from the Vizier and disposed of him in a hidden tomb. Harjaani’s power was such that he was unable to be killed outright, however, so Nemocasus’ supporters were able to use their own magic to bind his body to his prison. Nemocasus’ reign continued for another forty years and oversaw a period of expansion and large-scale building projects. His middle name was Phillip and he enjoyed boccee and chariot racing.”

“Exactly,” Haden said. “I believe that Brother Rydan sent this to me as an invitation to join him in Cyonia. I want you to come with me. I’ve already made arrangements for the two of us to travel to Ran Adin and see Brother Rydan at the House of the Healing Hand.”

WHAT!” Brandos bellowed, “You arranged this without even asking me!”

The smile quickly fell from Haden’s face to be replaced with a look of surprise, “I, I thought that you would be pleased,” he stammered.

“Well, I’m not,” Brandos stated, “I have too much work to do here.”

“You would rather spend time with your books here than out in the field?” Haden asked, puzzled. “No, no. I need your help on this, Brother Brandos.”

Brandos considered the matter for a long moment. Finally he responded, “Alright, but I’m going to need to bring all of my books.”

“Whatever,” Haden sighed, “just be ready to leave at first light. We travel to the Port of Valsina by road. From there we leave for Cyonia.”

A Journey to the Ancient Lands 2

Lantern Keep, Port of Valsina, Vintara

The hard stone floor of the chapel sent a dull ache through Sir Lawrence’s knees as the voice of the priest droned on. The humid air was made all the closer by the nearly two hundred knights crammed into the chapel’s rather small floorspace. “If only someone could open the door and let in the cool sea breeze,” Lawrence thought to himself.

He attempted instead to focus on the service but despite his pious wishes his thoughts continued to wander. Unbidden memories of a woman’s face kept passing through his mind. Her name was Leora and the last time that Lawrence had seen her she was sixteen and newly married to a foul tempered, cruel man nearly twenty years her senior. He was Count Samos Drethor of Ibyliss and he controlled the vital fortress of Ar Rastan in southern Cyonia. It was crucial to King Darius that he cement Count Samos’ loyalty to the throne so it was he, and not Lawrence, the lowly son of a court physician, who would marry the lovely Princess Leora.

She had risked much to see Lawrence one last time before she left for her new home in the cruel, uncivilized fringes of the kingdom. Her husband was not known for his kindness and it was unlikely that he would overlook his bride’s transgression, even if she was daughter to the king.

That night she had begged Lawrence to forget her. To put behind him the bond that had developed between them from a childhood spent playing together in the vast halls and courtyards of the White Palace. She wiped tears from his blue eyes and tried to convince him that her new life in Ar Rastan would not be as lonely as he feared. She had comforted him, showing him the passion and tenderness that the cold Count of Ibyliss would surely never appreciate.

The next morning King Darius had summoned Lawrence to a private audience. With Lawrence’s father looking on he informed the boy that an opportunity lay for him with the Knights of the Holy Order of the Lantern of Saint Clevoy. A squire with the Lantern Knights, the King promised, would travel the lands of man, fighting to defend the innocent and the faithful. It was, he assured, an honourable calling.

Lawrence did not care. With Leora gone and a sea of anguish stirring within him he only wanted to be away from his old life. A month later he left Cyonia and the palace behind and began a self imposed exile that had stretched on now for more than fourteen years.

The knights kneeling around Lawrence began to rise to their feet. Realizing that mass was over, he stood and offered an apologetic prayer to Pelor and Saint Clevoy for his inattentiveness throughout the service.

As he walked into the courtyard of the castle the large and powerfully built Lord Castellan, Sir Olthren Blakeburn, caught up to Lawrence. “Sir Lawrence,” he growled in his deep baratone, “may I have a word with you?”

“Sure,” Lawrence responded, forgetting to add, ‘sir’.

“I have been approached by a pair of Lucidian monks who have pressing business in Cyonia,” the Lord Castellan began, “They are in need of a guide and possibly a protector while there. I had hoped that as a native of Cyonia you may be able to travel with them.”

The question hung in the air for only a moment. “Yes, of course,” he said.

Sir Olthren had known Lawrence for many years. He now studied the younger knight’s face. “I had thought that I might have to persuade you,” he said slowly.

Lawrence said nothing, masking any emotion that might threaten to appear on his visage. “Good then,” Olthren said, smiling. “Meet the two Lucidians at the docks tomorrow at sunrise. They are booked on a ship called The Osprey.”

A Journey to the Ancient Lands 3

The Lower Docks, Port of Valsina, Vintara

Morning light shone over the bustling lower docks as a diminuitive pair left the ramshackle confines of the Red Dragon Inn. Kasper glanced around the streets, frowning to himself as the faithful Lucidians returned to their chores after morning service. The gnome gingerly rubbed the stiffness out of his lower back and muttered about the spongy pile of mouldy straw that the innkeeper had generously called a ‘mattress’.

Kasper glanced at his new companion and guide for the upcoming portion of his journey. The slender, short-statured lizard man Ssibliss seemed unfazed by the experience of a night in the dank dock-side inn. In fact, Kasper suspected by a pile of rat bones that he spotted in the hallway that the lizard man had made the most out of the rat infestation that plagued the building.

Ssibliss chirped quietly to himself as they navigated the knots of fisherman, labourers and sailors that crowded the dockside. At least on the docks you do not see many of the priests who seem to crowd onto every other square inch of this small theocratic island nation, Kasper thought to himself. With the ship only a few hours from departing he was able to breathe a sigh of relief. It seemed that he had managed to avoid any entanglements with the authorities here. It was a blessing for the Lucidians were famous for their disdain of those who practiced The Art.

Ssibliss gestured towards a double-masted galley in sloup nearby. The lizard man had booked passage on the vessel, though at a steep rate. As the pair approached the dock Kasper groaned inwardly. A pair of tonsured Lucidian monks in their plain grey robes were shaking hands with the captain. Next to them stood a tall, dark-haired Lantern Knight in the black sircoat with the golden lantern emblazoned on the chest.

“Well,” the invisible, disembodied skull of Thelaspin said as he floated next to Kasper, “this should make the voyage interesting.”

Silent Musings 1

After listening to that blasted skull for more than a
week spout off about finding our way to Cyonia I had
to put in at an inn—just for the sake of a soft bed.
It was close. The bed was straw and softer than the
dry dusty earth; but, the amount of nocturnal insects
I had to share it with made me feel the fool for paying more than a single copper.

The room kept the sky away from my head and the earth from my feet…but that was all. I managed to spend enough time studying my newly acquired books to get a fuller grasp of the necro-arcane subtleties inherent of my new skills. That was nice considering that I will be cramped on a narrow ship for the next week with a bunch of devout lunks with nothing better to do than preach about the evils of what makes life…life.

Alright, probably not a fair assessment but I resent having to hide the fact that I’m able to learn complex multi-realities simply because the unwashed bear a fear-filled grudge against their lack of comprehension. Don’t they see the intrinsic nihilism of life and the logical workings of the world? The bliss of the void will inspire there empty minds on their deathbed. Well, that is if I don’t find a better purpose for them. Which reminds me, I should find some more documentation on the limitations and contingencies involved with a properly performed reanimation. It would be unfortunate for me to acquire the ultimate skill and be unable to adequately take advantage of it.

Oh, how I will cherish the day when I wrest the life force from an unwashed and feed it into the quivering bones of a discarded shell of humanity. How I will tremble with pride and ecstasy as I master the puppetry of life and death. Any child with a tinder and spark can spew the fiery wash of sorcery; but, it takes a real dedication to the art to wrestle with the fabric of life itself…to conquer the world of reality and fiction, to encompass the oneness of nothingness…to express yourself with the negative of what energy is…the void of life and death.

Alright, to sleep. We will find the path to our studies…we are so close to Cyonia, if Theraspian is right, we will find our treasure and I can make my master whole again.

Brother Hayden Interrupts Me Again

Here we are again. I’m sitting in my
study, with my latest stack of
texts, (which I just picked up yesterday, I might add) and I think I’m
getting close to pinpointing the location the ruins of Thalia in northern Jemaini. As far as I can tell according to all of my compiled sources, the fabled city should be at the base of a steep cliff on a bay to the northeast of the present day city of Coronet. My instincts tell me that this is, in fact, correct. Then again, it’s been a long time since my instincts were incorrect, so it might be time. Mayhaps I will present this “new information,” (as they like to call it…as if information about a lost fabled city could be new) to the “General” in charge of the search. Then again, it’s not really what I’m supposed to be working on, so maybe not. Maybe I’ll let them head off in the wrong direction…yet again…I just wish they wouldn’t spend so much on these ridiculous expeditions. I’ll pray on it.

Brother Hayden comes in…and I pray for strength…the strength to not hit him square in his smug little nose…again. At least that other time it was an accident…Pelor knows.

So long story short (I have to get back to my books, after all) He’s got an urn, (of which I’m not going to get into here) and a letter from a Sister, about a wounded Brother, and I don’t care what anybody says about it…I’m not leaving my books behind.




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