The Unquiet Earth

Rescuing White, Part 4

As Delan regains consciousness at the feet of Chieftan Saurfang, Allomir White declares that Delan and Jerrik are generals of his large and magnificent army just beyond the mountain pass. Delan successfully bluffs the chieftan into believing Allomir, though the orcish wise woman, Yipyip, screeches that Delan is a liar and that Saurfang should simply kill him.
Delan convinces Saurfang that returning the prince to his army will earn their trust and that they will return with siege weapons with amazing amunitions that Saurfang can use to crush his enemies. Delan demonstrates the power of human weapons but tossing a flask of alchemist fire into a large grouping of straw training dummies.
Saurfang is impressed, but not want to release all of his hostages, because he is not a fool. Delan uses every ounch of his wit (in a tense skill challenge) to create intricate lies and diplomatic reasons for the release of each of Allomir’s men, himself, and Jerrik, prompting Saurfang to relustantly free all of them on their solemn promise that they will be back within the month to provide him with weapons and the aid of a human army.
The humans make their empty promise to the orcish leader and escape his camp, leaving on the orcish road with the blessing of the chieftan.

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Rescuing White, Part 3

On the orcish side of the mountains, Delan and Jerrik wander north along a deer track, finding a few groups of orcish scouts and a cave on krenshar. While resting in the cave, Delan and Jerrik hear a comotion outside and find an orcish protection totem decorated with the sharktooth necklaces that their warriors wear. The heroes also fight another surge of tunnelling worms, like those that they found outside Blue Water, months before.
After several more run-ins with small orcish groups, Delan and Jerrik take some orcs hostage, with mixed results. They eventually learn that they have become the boogeymen of the woods. The orcs saturate the woods with scouts until they finally catch the adventurers while they are resting and beat them unconscious.
Delan wakes when he is dragged into the Sharktooth Tribe’s village and presented to its chief, Saurfang, his advisor, the shamanistic female, Yipyip, and their guest/hostage, Allomir White.

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Rescuing White, Part 2

Delan and Jerrik arrive in Breackbrook and learn from the town captain, Revash Birchtoe, that Allomir White and his men crossed into orc territory almost two weeks before. Revash had sent word to Sagespire because the orcs had stepped up their invasion attempts, sending more and more waves of orcs through the pass, and the halflings were suffering major casualties.
Delan and Jerrik assisted the warriors of Breachbrook with an orcish attack, fighting back more than a dozen orcs and successfully defending the village, but at the expense of one fallen halfling soldier. Delan composed a song about the attack and celebrated the victory and life of the fallen halfling with the residents of Breachbrook before following Allomir White into the orcish lands Beyond.

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Rescuing White, Part 1

Delan spends several restful days in Blue Water, recovering from the Snaprock feast and entertaining the Summerblade sisters with his stories. In town, Delan learns more about his host, the innkeeper. Shara Kine, the owner of the general store lets slip that Jerrik’s uncle, Percival Summerblade, lived in Blue Water and made magic items there until the death of his sister, Eliana, when the twins were born. Delan realizes that Summerblade is an elvish name and wonders why a human man would take his wife’s name for his own. Kael Softbrew, at the Silver Drake Tavern, reveals the Val isn’t who he pretends to be, but refuses to go into details, even after a bribe.
The whole town starts buzzing when a scouting party reveals they saw a completely white caravan on the road, white carraiges, white horses, the drivers dressed in white and blue. But why would the royal family visit Blue Water?
The caravan drives directly to the Blue Hand, and Delan is shocked to see Ivory White, princess of the realm, enter the inn with her entourage.
Val jumps to his feet and greets Ivory by name as his children bow and curtsey to the princess. Ivory frowns as she looks at the children.
“Dear gods, Erival,” she snaps at the innkeeper, “tell me they know!”
“Of course they know, Ivory. Don’t be dense,” he replies, “they are just being polite.”
Ivory snorts and looks around, clearly unimpressed by the inn. Her eyes flit past Delan and then snap back in recognition.
“Is that Lord Jhoras’ little black sheep?” she tsks and shakes her head, “My, my, Erival, you do like to collect strays.”
“Why are you here, Ivory?” Val demands, clearly losing patience.
“Allomir has gone missing,” she says petulantly, “so you must come home.”
“Allomir can take care of himself,” Val replies.
“Allomir is missing, so you must come home,” Ivory repeats.
“Dallibren is in perfect health,” Val says dismissivly, “and his son should be next.”
“Dallibren still has no sons, and you well know it. He hasn’t gotten Sinara with child in all these years, and I doubt he ever will, the fop.”
It is about this time that Delan realizes that Val Summerblade is actually Erival White, lesser prince of the realm, Ivory’s younger brother. They are discussing King Dallibren, their uncle. Allomir is their older brother, crown prince of the realm.
“Tell them I’m missing,” Val says with a sigh.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” his sister replies derisively, “everyone know perfectly well where you are.”
“What about finding Allomir, then?” Val demands.
“My task is to bring you home,” Ivory says.
“Well, where was he when last someone heard?” Val asks in annoyance.
“He was with the halflings in the pass, but we’ve had no word from them.”
“Has anyone been sent?”
“My task—” Ivory begins in monotone.
“I know!” Val snaps, clearly frustrated. He thinks for a moment.
“Damn it all,” Val mutters, finally, “Jerrik.”
“Yes, dad?” Jerrik says, perking up. He’d been watching the back and forth, wide-eyed.
“You know the way to the pass, right?”
“Of course, dad. Just follow the river.”
“Good lad. Send me word in Sagespire.”
Ivory rolls her eyes but otherwise seems to accept the situation. She demands that Val show her personally to her rooms and leaves Delan and the Summerblade youths alone in the common room.
Delan agrees to go with Jerrik and advises that his sisters find someplace to hide in case Allomir’s disappearance is some kind of political plot targetting heirs to the throne. The Summerblades agree. Fira, the eldest, suggests they bring her sweetheart Lan, the blacksmith’s son, along for protection.
In the morning, Delan and Jerrik escort Fira, Jerra, and Lan to the Forgotten Mansion for safekeeping before heading north to catch the road to Breachbrook. Before they hit the road, they find a group of wolves, which they easily dispatch. Once on the road, they find a group of enterprising thieves have set up a toll booth at a narrow spot in the road. They try to fleece Delan and Jerrik, but the heroes dispatch the thieves, finding the signet ring of Allomir White among their possessions. In the thieves’ camp, they also find an opening to some partialled excavated ruins with a rope stretched across it. They venture inside to find a human skelleton, recently picked clean and still wearing its gear and a small colony of glittering crystalline ants. Delan and Jerrik barely escape the ants, because their blindingly beautiful carapaces distract men from attacking them.
After clearing the camp of thieves and man-eating insects, Delan and Jerrik follow the road the rest of the way to Breachbrook.

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Lizardmen Beyond the Wall

After returning to Blue Water from his new summer home, Delan spends one peacuful night but doesn’t get to finish breakfast before Sherriff Chennick bursts into the inn to speak privately with Val. The sherriff seems rather nervous and gets upset with something Val says. He shoots Delan a dirty look before storming out of the inn.
Val explains that there is some trouble at the kelp fields and asks Delan to accompany him to find out what is going on. Delan agrees, and then watches as Val’s daughters help him into his old armor. He strabs a massive scabbard to his back and a quiver to his thigh. He carries an impressive longbow. Delan realizes that Val never used the rapier that he gave Delan.
Delan, Val, and Jerrik leave town and hike a coupel hours west to the kelp beds and find a party of lizardmen sitting around a fire, an ornately deccorated pike thrust into the ground a few feet in front of them.
The leader of the lizardfolk introduces himself as Tatafu, leader of the Snaprock Tribe. He has come to request the aid of the soft-skins as part of the treaty negotiated by himself and Val more than twenty years before. Tatafu asks Val to take up the pike for the Snaprock Tribe, but Val indicates Delan as the new champion of Blue Water. Tatafu then asks Delan to take up the pike, telling him he can bring his mate if he wishes, but otherwise must complete the task alone (Jerrik is upset to be taken for Delan’s mate, but Val quiets him with a look). Val cautions Delan to not take up the pike lightly.
Delan pulls the pike from the ground, prompting all of the lizardman to turn away from him except for a smaller, dark-skinned lizardperson that Tatafu had called Rekka. Rekka maneuvers to follow Delan, watchign his every move.
Delan and Jerrik follow the lizardmen back to their small village, where he completes a skill challenge to realize several things: By taking up the pike, he has become a Ghost, and none may interact with him until his Watcher, Rekka, reports that his task is complete. He learns from the children and elders of town, who choose to speak common freely while he is nearby, that the village is being attacked by a great flying beast that steals the children and carries them back into the mountains. He learns that the water that flows down from the mountain is unseasonbly cold, and dead fish float downstream at regular intervals.
Delan and his “mate” travel upstream, fighting some fastieths and blood hawks before coming to a place where the stream water contains chunks of ice. Outside an ice-coated cave, they fights a small army of ice warrior shardlings, chunks of ice animated by the beast’s magicly cold breath. They enter the cave and find a very young cobalt dragon. Trapped in its lair, the dragon fights for its life, but the heroes finally slay it. They hear a whoop from outside the cave and look to see Rekka dash away along the stream.
When Delan and Jerrik make it back to the village, Rekka has been there for more than a day ahead of them, and a feast is underway. They learn that men have already been dispatched to fetch the beast and prepare its skin to be made into armor for the hero who slayed it. The Snaprock tribe celebrate Delan and his mate for a week, while the craftsman make his armor. Finally, they present it to him and he is allowed to leave, told that he and his mate will be welcomed by the Snaprock tribe as long as they live, paragons among the softskins.

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The Forgotten Mansion

After a week of interpretting landmarks, they find the crack in the mountain indicated on the old parchment. The crevasse is choked with rocks, but Delan and Jerrik climb through the long, narrow channel to enter a wide, hidden valley.
Acres of forest spread before them, completely surrounded by steep, jagged hills. The adventurers explore the valley, and are amazed to find an entire manor and small farm, complete with out buildings in the center of the dell. They scout around and find the aged remains of a woodworking shop, populated by skeletons milling about as if trying to continue their living work. Delan and Jerrik attack the undead creatures and are almost forced to retreat when more skeletons come out from the barracks. In a close battle, the heroes turn the tide and rid the woodworks of all its undead residents. They then search and secure the barracks and rest as best they can.
In the morning, they aproach the manor house, set on a hill overlooking the woodworks. The house and gardens are completely surrounded by a high iron fence overgrown with thorny vines. Upon inspection, Delan finds that the gate is not locked in any way, but is help closed by the overgrown plants. He aproaches to hack away the vines, but the vines fight back, grabbing Delan and drawing blood from him to nourish themselves. Delan breaks free and attacks the vines from a distance, eventually knocking the plants free of the gate and destroying their roots.
He and Jerrik open the gate to aproach the manor, scouting around it to find four points of entry on the ground level of the large house: the front doors, the back doors, a glass-sided sun room, and the servent’s entrance, presumably near the kitchens.
Delan and Jerrik decide of the kitchen entrance and Delan picks the lock. They enter the servents’ receiving room, where dry goods, animals, and other items would be processed and devided before taken to their storage locations. The entire north wall of this room is the butcher’s counter, and it is old and filthy, but shows no signs of foul play. Through the only inner door, Jerrik and Delan enter the kitchen. Though the hosue has been in disrepair for at least fifty years, the pantry was well-stocked, and there are rats in the kitchen. Huge, filthy rats, that attack Delan and Jerrik when they enter the room. The heroes dispatch the vermin and search the kitchen, finding a large dumbwaiter to carry food to the second floor and the doors leading to the pantry, wine cellar, and dining room.
In the dining room, Delan and Jerrik are surprised by the ghost of the former kitchen matron, who doesn’t seem to know, but tries to punish “naughty boys” for “sneaking into the kitchen for sweets.” She calls the maids (also ghosts) to help her, but the heroes disrupt the undead ladies, sending them to their rest.
From the dinign room, they enter the entrance hall, finding the main staircase and a thirty foot long shadowbox-style carved recess, depicting a forest, complete with carved trees, leaves, and nymphs peeking from behidn the trees. All of the dining room’s chairs and lots of other small pieces of furniture have been piled up to make a huge barricade for the front door. The back door, directly opposite the front, is similarly blocked. Delan trips on a loose tile in the floor, and more ghosts pour through the wall to attack, this time, it is the butler and his grooms. The heroes disrupt them as well, and search the rest of the lower level, finding the sitting rooms, servents’ quarters (all behind cleverly designed hidden panels in the walls), and the plant-filled sunroom, where Delan and Jerrik destroy some smaller animate plants. They find a secodn dumbwaiter, to haul boiled water from the furnace in the sunroom, and the servents’ stairs.
Delan and Jerrik take the servents’ stairs to the second floor, where they find the upstairs pantry and the rear door to a huge bedchamber. Entering the room, a truly miserable looking ghost sees them and demand they leave his house.
“She will kill you,” he shouts at the party, pushing them backwards with a banshee-like wail and trying to close the doors on them. Delan and Jerrik advance again, but the master of the house continues to try to force them back. The heroes eventually disrupt him, and they see his face relax from a twisted expression of torture to a smooth face of relaxation before he fades away.
Delan and Jerrik search the master’s chamber, his closet and bathing room, before exiting to the main balcony, looking down over the sun room and entry hall. They approach the beautifully carved doors to the upper west wing of the house and the ghost of a kindly old woman greets them.
“Hush,” she says, “you will wake her!”
The ghostly woman’s face transforms into a hideous scowl and she proceeds to try to kill Delan and Jerrik, turnig ninvisible at will and trying to shove them over the railing. She flies around the balcony, disappearing and reappearing until the heroes finally end her, causing her to scream in disbelief and the entire house to shudder.
The adventurers enter the west wing to find a nurse’s chamber, complete with tools of the trade, the beadroom-turned-tomb of the master’s young daughter, now a sunken, dried up corpse, still tucked in bed, with her red hair arranged like a halo around her skull. They find her disused playroom, with a thousand toys that were never enjoyed, and they find the master’s gallery, where a hundred paintings of a red-headed child hang, each showing a beautiful, smiling girl. Delan examines the paintings and discoveres that every single smile is different, while the eyes are all the same. He realizes that each artist saw the child, but none of them ever saw her smile and had to create the expression themselves.
From the nurse’s journal, Delan learns that the nurse was actually a necromancer who posed as a healer to gain access to the sick child and her father’s money so she could perform a ritual in which she would sacrifice the child to gain power and immortality. Somehow, the ritual had backfired—perhaps the girl’s sickness claimed her before the completion of the spell—and the dark energy had engulfed the valley, turning all sentient beings within a mile of the house into undead monsters.
When he returns to Blue Water, Delan learns from Father Morgan that the house belonged to one Master Savrik Carver, an artisan woodworker who had made his fortune by the skill of his hands. He had donated large amounts of money to the church, almost single-handedly funding its construction and had carved the alter himself. Father Morgan had tells Delan that he is certain that Savrik would want the man who put his family to rest to have the house and lands, and agrees to personally go with Delan to bless and cleanse the grounds and put the Carver spirits to rest.

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The Lost Children

Delan cast about the town of Blue Water to find something to do. He found some rumors that seemed promising: A group of local teens had left town heading northeast a few weeks ago and hadn’t been heard from, since (one of the youths is the innkeeper’s son, and he tells Delan there is a reward for his son’s safe return). There were also rumors or wild boars in the woods, the same direction that the young folk had gone.
Delan and his new metal friend decided to head northeast. They spend an uneventful day and night before finding some tracks that lead them to a small sounder of boars. The party fells the mother boar and her three small but strong piglets. They decide to continue into the woods to look for the missing youths.
After two more uneventful days in the woods, Delan spends an uneazy night certain that someone is in the woods around his camp. In the morning, he finds that several days worth of rations have been stolen from his kit. He finds the footprints of the thief and tracks them into the woods to find a small group of dirty teens eating his food.
The youths introduce themselves as Eolin Feymirror, Lan Luahoan, and Jerrik Summerblade. They tell Delan that they cannot leave the woods, but would appreciate if Delan would take word of their struggle back to town. Delan doesn’t get much chance to reply, however, because the ground begins to shake and holes erupt around the party. Huge white tunnelling worms emmerge and try to grab the party and take them beneath the surface. Delan and his metal friend work with the town youths to destoy the worms, but the metal man sustains too much damage and becomes inactive during the battle. The party is unable to revive him after the fight. They collapse the tunnels and Jerrik explains that this is why they cannot go back to town. They need to fight off the worms that come up every few days.
Delan gives the youths most of his food and drags his metal friend back to town. He speaks with Sherriff Chennick, who threatens Delan and bribes him to keep his mouth shut about the worms. Chennick then calls on the innkeeper, Val Summerblade, to help with “their little problem,” and assures Delan that this happens every few years, and only lasts a few weeks, so he shouldn’t bother anyone about it. Ever.
The teens return home with Val, replaced by some of Chennick’s trusted guard, and they celebrate at the inn. Delan learns that the two pretty barmaids at the Blue Hand are Jerrik’s elder and twin sister, Fira and Jerra. All three Summerblade Children and very happy with Delan, as are Lan and Eolin, and Val, the innkeeper.
Val presents Delan with “his old sword, gathing dust,” and “an unfinsihed adventure,” a map to some time-forgotten something in the woods. Delan gracefully accepts the beautifully jeweled sword and the old, yellowed map, and agrees to let Jerrik follow him to the map’s destination. Lan, the blacksmith’s son, takes the inactive metal man to his father, promising to keep him safe until he revivies or they can fix him. Eolin disappears from town again, this time leaving with her father, a travelling merchant.

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Inn Trouble

Delan Jhoras arrived in Blue Water in the late spring. He had travelled along the southern coast from Sagespire after his elder brother dismissed him on pain of death. He stayed at Blue Water’s only inn, the Blue Hand, and was sitting in the common room one evening, watching the pretty serving wenchs when trouble found him. A drunk from a loud game of cards in a corner of the room bumped into Delan on his way to the outhouse. The man blinked up at Delan, then his expression became hostile.
“I know you! You’re that pompous sharp from Sagespire! No one wins that much money from me without cheating!”
Delan tried to calm the man down, but he would have nothing of it. The drunk called friends and the observant barkeep threw the lot of you out to sort yourselves in the street. A curious metal man followed Delan and the gamblers into an alley.
Delan offered to settle the the score with a duel, and the two men went at it in a fairly civilized manner until the metal man intervined, laying a curse on the gambler.
“Treachery!” he exclaimed, and his thugs joined in the battle.
Delan and the metal man eventually beat all of the gamblers into submission and reenter the inn to a round of beer on the innkeeper.

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