Dogma Chaotica

Aello's Revenge

A cloaked figure rides across the moonlit field. It rained on his way here, and the hooves of the horse splash in the puddles of the pitted road that leads towards a dilapidated building. It was once a warehouse for a trading company, but the company had fallen into ruin, and the building forgotten. Now it was occupied by dawn-touched fanatics, who used it to stage runs on caravans leaving the nearby city. There is a light shining from the upper floor, where there are a few windows. Nearing the building, the figure dismounts and slowly walks towards the building. The figure pauses before the door. The door is only slightly worse for the wear as the building. Inside the sound of voices speaking in Thol can be heard, laying bets on dice and bragging about their latest attack.

The man smiles grimly. “I’ve got you now” he says in a low voice, in Aeg. He raises one hand, gloved in deep red leather, and knocks on the door. The voices fall silent. “Are we expectin’ anyone?” a voice queries in Thol. Footsteps sound leading towards the door. The door opens slightly and a ragged looking Thol carrying a sword looks out, but cannot make out a face in the shadowed cloak. “Who are yea and what is yer business here?” In broken Thol he answers “I be seeking ones of the name of Therin”

The door shuts and, and whispered conversation erupts. He cannot make out what they are saying. The door opens once more, slightly, and another face shows in the doorway. This Thol is better dressed, but does not seem to bear as much weaponry or armor as the rest. “Who are you and how do you know of me? What do you want?” The figure responds (in markedly better Thol than before) “My name is Aello, and our paths crossed many years ago, in another land.” Aello pulls back his hood and exposes his face, a feral grin splitting his wolverine face. “And I seek your blood.” The Thol, a surprised look of alarm on his face, tries to slam the door, but Aello kicks it open violently, knocking him backwards. Another half dozen men stand within, drawing various weapons. They are covered in mismatched armor that has seen better days, and some of them even bear signs that their previous owner died wearing them, slashes and holes in the armor. There is one rather heavily built fellow wielding a massive hammer, another with a mace, and one with a sword. Two skinny fellows seem to draw bows of some sort. “I have spent a long time searching for you, Therin. You were not easy to find.” Walking into the building further, he lets his cloak slip completely off exposing blood-red hide armor. He draws a shield from behind his back and a kopesh from his waist. “This is going to be fun.” The Thol turns and flees, disappearing in the darkness.

The six Thols move to advance on Aello, but cannot ready their weaponry in time. A peal of thunder fills the room, as Aello roars a mighty battle cry. A shell of stone and earth form around him, and electricity sparks from his skin. He charges towards them, Kopesh raised above his head, and slams into one of them with all of his strength and force, doubling him over. Back and forth the battle rages, the three thugs supported by two fellows with bows trying to bring down this interloper and Aello giving as good as he is getting. A cloud of lightning envelopes Aello, striking out at his foes seemingly in sync with his own blows. A hammer swings by but misses, Aello dodging out of the way and the hammer smashing a good sized dent in the floor. Aello swings his kopesh, and lightning fills the air, arcing off of his weapon, through his unfortunate foe and continuing on to strike another, who falls to his knees as his legs give out. A mace clips Aello in the back of the head. Arrows rain down upon Aello, often missing or not piercing.

Aello’s attacks seem to draw upon the very earth itself, and eventually Aello triumphs. Looking down at his foes, he sees the massive hammer and picks it up, realizing it is magical. “Hmm… I kinda like the feel of this.” He stows it in his backpack for the time being. Looking around, he does not see Therin. “The coward ran, did he? Heh, so you want to drag this out. Well, have it your way.” He moves towards the back of the building, where they disappeared. Eventually, tracking their footprints he discovers a secret door. “Thought you could get away, eh? You can run, but you can’t hide.”

Behind the door there is a wooden staircase, leading to the roof. As he exits on to the roof he is ambushed by three Thols, who attempt to restrain him. Taking their measure, he snickers inwardly and lets them think they have won. As a figure darts out from the shadows with a dagger, Aello breaks free with a jerk and slams his hand down upon the ground, seemingly drawing some energy from it. As he looks around, the others suddenly looks nauseated and sick. The figure lurches away into the darkness, and one of the Thols looks askance at the figure, then darts away to follow it. The two who remain nervously look at each other, wondering if this is as easy prey as they thought it was. As they fight, Aello has the obvious upper hand, and actually seems to be toying with them. He taunts them mercilessly as he savagely beats them up. Just when it seems Aello is going to win, the two Thols return, and charge at Aello, managing to land a devastating blow on Aello, who was preoccupied with the other two. Aello takes a moment to recover, and looking around, grins evilly out of proportion to his situation. His armor flares red, and he pulls out a flask of something, and throws it to the ground. All around him flames leap up, and the wooden boards of the warehouse catch fire.

Scoured by the burst of flames, they try to attack Aello, but he seems as unfazed by their attacks as he is of the fire. He stands tall, ignoring both their attacks. Aello straightens and stops for the briefest second, and energy visibly gathers to him. All around him, the remaining Thols are knocked about by storm winds, and are unable to keep their feet, staggering away from him. They seem to come to some sort of unspoken agreement and all turn and flee almost at the same moment.

Moving through the flames, Aello seeks out the one who is clothed in fine garments. Picking him up handily, he walks calmly to the nearest wall, where he came out, and pins the struggling figure to the wall. “Years and years ago you came to my town, you bald bastard. The townsfolk wanted to slaughter you where you stood, and we could have, too. Instead, I spoke up for you, and advocated to give you the benefit of the doubt.” The terrified figure struggles weakly, as if to say something, but cannot make a sound. Aello continues; “In return, you broke free and slaughtered half of my town. You destroyed my town, and burned down my home. You killed the only women I ever loved. You killed me that day. It’s only fair I repay the favor.” With that, he shoves the kopesh through the fearful Thol, impaling him and pinning him to the wall. After killing the last man, sword still dripping blood, he takes on a very distant look in his eye. After a moment he sinks to his knees and whispers “now what?” As the strings holding Aello away from his own pain, away from his own heart dissolve, the very air around him becomes violent.

Suddenly grasped by the situation, Aello flees away from the scene, leaping from the burning roof, running frantically away, trying to outrun his very self. He finally collapses to his knees again in a field. A mighty storm is gathering around him, making it hard and painful to get anywhere near him. Thunder fills the air, as the last of his mental blocks dissolves and a great cry rends the air. Lightning strikes. The earth shakes. As the storm subsides, there is a great rumble of earth, and a pillar of stone is forced up from the earth.

Aello kneels upon the pillar, holding the bloody hammer. With a sudden burst of rage, he stands up and slams the hammer into the stone with a great force. Beneath him, the stone splits apart, and cracks spider-web away from him. As he sinks to his knees once more, the stone pillar crumbles to the ground, leaving him lying in a heap of rubble. Still holding the hammer, he starts to cry, and the tears fall on the blade of the sword, wiping away the blood. As if in sympathy with him, the heavens above begin to rain, soaking Aello and turning the ground to mud. The rain runs down his face, runs down the handle, and wipes away the last traces of blood.

Epilogue Within the burning warehouse, a cleverly disguised door opens, and a shaken Thol steps out. He is dressed much better than his (former) fellows, with fine clothes. He views the carnage with jaded, hateful eyes. He walks over to where a Thol in matching finery is pinned to the wall with a sword. He puts a hand upon the body, and the clothing seems to dissolve, revealing tattered armor like all the rest. “Rest easy my friend, and I am sorry. I never thought he would get this far.” His eyes harden as he stands there. “I will avenge you, Rienes. It was I he was after, and you paid the price.” As the flames grow, Therin turns away, and leaves the warehouse behind him. He gazes out into the horizon, where a storm is gathering. “I will find you, Aello”

Final Summer Event Part 3
Gene's Wild Night

Gene had a headache. Today’s session had degraded into the equivalent of a shouting match yet again. This time it didn’t initially involve Gene, it was between Rohaln and another smaller house over unauthorized changes on trade duties or something, Gene didn’t really care. The point was, the big guys were ragging on these small guys who were just trying to stay alive, and nobody else was standing up for them, he got involved on principle. Gene didn’t have the authority to actually do anything to the guy from Rohaln other than yell at him, but Gene’s words were enough to make him feel like he would come off as a greedy, selfish asshole over what was essentially loose change for them, especially given that many other houses viewed Gene somewhat favorably. (His “actually get things done” policy and extensive cuteness helped out a lot.) Once everyone was clamoring for things that were actually important to be addressed, he had to save face and prove his point somehow, and the easiest way was by being as obnoxious as possible to Gene as politely as possible. All in all, it was a fairly typical day, as far as they had been going recently.

But all of that didn’t matter. It was Gene’s last official day as the Ambassador from Rasir, the problems brewing back there demanded his special talents and expertise. Food wasn’t an issue, but the slight overcrowding had led to quick spread of Dark Drain, and several people he knew were infected. He was glad to get back and help out, though. As good as Gene was at getting people to like him, he was even better at the sorcerer thing. He felt like he might have gotten a bit rusty, but filling up several arcane batteries every day was a half-decent workout. It wasn’t as good as he’d been able to get when he was working with his friends to help found Rasir, but it was a lot better than letting the magic inside him stagnate and make him do something he knew he would regret as soon as he found out what it was. Still, he always felt like he had a little magic left over every day, no matter how hard he pushed himself. It wasn’t really a problem, since it could get him out of a sticky situation with any goons Lekaral might send his way (he was pretty sure she wanted to “deal” with him personally, or at least he hoped so), but it gave him this nagging feeling all day that whenever he was frustrated, he could just blow up the problem and not have to deal with it. He knew it wasn’t true, at least for most of the problems he had (blowing up other ambassadors is a big no-no), but he still had the thoughts.

Gene did a last check to make sure his mailbox was empty – oddly enough, he’d received a small note from the ambassador from Rohaln. Seems as though he wants to have a dinner with Gene in honor of his accomplishments during his time as ambassador. Other ambassadors had been invited, including the one from Tirlae whom had helped him out with the food situation, it was going to be a nice little shindig. Gene thought about it briefly. He was supposed to meet with his replacement, Liz, tonight, but she wasn’t supposed to get in until later. He probably had enough time to stop in for a guest appearance, grab some food, and then duck out in time to meet Liz and brief her on the situation, maybe get to know her a little. The letter helpfully provided very specific directions, and indicated that the party would start as soon as possible. Gene headed out.

Gene was sure he’d followed the directions correctly. He’d read them several times, seen every landmark, even tried to walk at a constant speed to make sure the timing was correct. But he didn’t see any restaurants around here. In fact, this didn’t even look like the kind of place a diplomat like him should be. It was a dark alleyway, with several boarded-up doors but nothing that looked inviting. The only light came from a street to the left, the right led to more tight corridors. Things like this were why Gene was never in charge of navigation when he was with his friends.

“Hey fluffball.”

Gene turned to the rude voice interrupting his thoughts. It came from a figure on the left. Silhouetted against the light, Gene couldn’t make out any features, but it was big, and Gene was pretty sure it had whiskers.

“Hi there! Hey, maybe you can help me with these directions here, I think I might have taken a wrong turn or -“

“No, you followed ‘em alright, fluffball.”

Gene wasn’t fazed by the name-calling. It was annoying, but he’d heard worse. “Are you sure? I’m looking for a party here.”

“There’s a party here, alright, fluffball. It’s gonna be a regular ball.” The figure moved towards Gene. He could see it more clearly now, he could tell it was an otter. It looked like it was holding a dagger, and it was grinning. “And you’re gonna be the guest of honor.”

Gene turned around to look for an escape. There were more otters there, holding various large, heavy objects, moving casually towards him. He turned back to the first otter.

“A ball? Really? Gee, I think I’m a bit under-dressed, honestly. I’d better go change.” Gene smiled, in a vain attempt to defuse the situation. What the hell is these guy’s problem? he thought.

“Nah, it’s alright, fluffball. You’re just fine.”

“Actually, I have a prior engagement anyway, really important. I can’t stay long.”

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, fluffball.” This came from an otter behind Gene. ”’Sides, this won’t take long. It’s just what you get when you keep stickin’ that cute li’l nose of yours into other peoples business.”

“We’re just gonna help you remember to let everyone deal wit’ their own problems,” the first otter continued. He was about five feet away from Gene, and was waiting for the others to finish encircling Gene.

“Hey, are you guys with Rohaln? Tell the guy who sent you he’s an asshole,” Gene said, without the slightest trace of concern. “And really, I hate to split, but I have more important things than whatever a bunch of big muscley guys can come up with in a dark alley. See ya!”

With that, Gene forced all of the magic he could feel inside him out at the same time. It exploded out of his hands into the ground in a flash of lightning, sending Gene flying high into the air toward the street and the thugs around him onto the ground. Gene rolled as he landed and came up running in the general direction of the Diplomat’s Den, where he was staying. He had to leave tonight, there’s no telling what kind of crap Rohaln’d pull while he was asleep, now that they were pissed. Today must’ve finally been the last straw, or maybe they figured they could get away with attacking him since he wouldn’t be around anymore. Either way, Gene didn’t need to know.

Gene made sure to stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets on his way back. He knew he was supposed to be meeting with Liz right now, but she was going to get his old room and he’d leave his notes there, she’d already been evaluated for the position by Alice and could figure out whatever she needed to know from the notes he’d leave behind. Gene had to leave now, whatever those thugs were planning on doing wouldn’t have been helpful for Gene to do any of the things he wanted to. He couldn’t help his friends with broken bones or shaved skin or missing kidneys or whatever. Gene entered the Diplomat’s Den and walked to his room as calmly as possible, no need to let anyone think he was leaving tonight.

He entered his room and quickly took off his clothes, before finding his leather armor. He donned it for the first time in… he wasn’t exactly sure how long it’d been, but he’d missed the armor’s magical warmth, and he could swear the armor was hugging him, as if it had missed him. That’s ridiculous, Gene thought, armor doesn’t have feelings. He rooted around in the room a bit more, picking up his Hedge Wizard’s gloves and a magical amulet. Then he turned to the desk in the room, with the sending stones lying on top of it. He used his Mage Hand to pick up the one marked “Alice” from across the room, held it up to his head, and focused what little magic he could still feel inside of him into it until it turned on.

“Hey Alice, um, change of plans. Rohlan wanted to throw a going away party for me, and it involved breaking all of my bones. I get the feeling they really wanna make sure I attend it, so I need to split right now. I haven’t met with Liz yet, but don’t sweat it. If what you’ve said is true, she’s smart enough to figure this out on her own. Besides, you can just tell her yourself, right? Alright, I gotta finish packing. You know how to reach me.”

He deactivated the stone quickly, feeling a strong recoil from it. He tossed it back onto the desk and looked for his backpack. Still in a corner, still packed with stuff he was pretty sure he was going to need. Money, water, Rules Cyclopedia. Gene took it over to the desk, wrapped the paper each stone was resting on around its respective stone, then placed the stones in his backpack. He looked around at the clothes scattered throughout the room. Too many to take them all with him. He sighed and started stuffing the cleanest ones into his backpack until it was full. Content with his packing job, he hefted it onto his shoulders and looked for his dagger. Lying on the bed. Gene picked it up and placed it in a sheath on his armor. He grabbed a gnarled staff with one end lightly charred lying against the wall near the door. He paused. It wasn’t very good for beating people with, it was too thin and light, but when he held it, he felt like he could blow up the entire building without even trying. It’s a good feeling, he mused.

Gene noticed the arcane batteries that were next to where the staff had been. He picked one up, one he’d charged that morning. Olivia had said to never try to draw energy back out of them, only to put it into it. But he was feeling somewhat depressed right now, the fur that was peeking out from under the armor was nowhere near as fluffy as it could have been. What’s the worst that could happen? Gene thought. He tried drawing energy from the battery, in the same way he turned off the sending stones. A little came at first, then far more than Gene was expecting, far more than he remembered putting into it. He could feel the magic flowing through him, swirling randomly around his insides, bouncing around his brain. The room spun, his vision swam, and colors danced around in front of his eyes, intensely bright colors brighter than anything Gene had thought were possible before. He closed his eyes, but he could still see the colors, burning into his eyes, driving their way into his head.

Then Gene opened his eyes and he was fine.

In fact, he was better than fine. He was fantastic. He felt like he could take on whatever the world was going to throw at him. And his fur was extra-fluffy again. He dropped the useless battery and opened the door, and almost ran straight into Liz.

When Gene didn’t show up for their meeting, Liz assumed he had forgotten and went back to his room at the Diplomat’s Den. Liz had talked to the front desk and learned that Gene had just arrived and headed for his room. She was about to knock on the door when an extremely perky Gene opened it.

“Gene?” Liz asked, startled.

Gene stopped in his tracks, took a look at Liz, and then leaned against the doorway. Liz was kinda cute – a canid, like Gene, slightly taller than him (not like that was rare or anything), with short, white fur, light brown eyes, and small ears. She was wearing stylish orange and white clothing, and she definitely did not have Dark Drain. Whatever Gene was doing, she was more important at the moment. “Yeah. You must be Liz,” he said, smiling and offering a hand.

Liz smiled in return and shook it. “Normally I’d insist on ‘Elizabeth’, but from you, it’s fine.” Then she noticed Gene’s equipment. “Um, going somewhere?”

Gene looked down at himself. “Oh yeah, uh, it’s kind of complicated. I need to leave Aegryndoun tonight.”

“Maybe you can tell me what’s going on first?” Liz suggested.

“Real quick. There are people who literally want to kill me somewhere in this city and I don’t think they’re going to take no for an answer.”

“You should start with why they want to kill you.”

“Yeah. Um, Rohlan is kinda upset with me because I keep stopping them from being dicks. I don’t think I’ve actually hurt them much, but they’re pissed off and they’d like it better if I stopped it. Which I won’t, but they wanted to make sure I do. And probably you.”

“They can do that?” Liz asked, shocked.

“Well, technically, no, not really, but they’ve tried it before. It’s actually how I got on their bad side to begin with. It’s also how I got on the good side of Tirlae, but I can tell you that some other time. Right now, I’d say don’t go out of your way to make ‘em mad, but don’t let ‘em push you around either. Just make friends, y’know?”

“That was a good place to start. Now, who are our friends here right now? What are you in the middle of working on?”

Gene sighed. “I don’t have time to tell you that, just go through my notes. They’ll explain everything, it’s how I kept everyone straight.”

Liz peered around Gene into the room. “Are you planning on leaving all that junk lying around?”

“Not really, but like I said, I really gotta go. Um, pack up all the clothes and ship ‘em back to Rasir, same with the batteries and anything else you don’t want. I’ll pay for it when it gets there.”

“What’s that smell?”

Gene turned back into the room and sniffed. It was faint, but there was the odor of burnt fut. “Oh that. I was shedding a while ago, okay? You still have your own room for a few more nights if that’s a problem.”

Liz inhaled deeply. “Not at all. I actually think it smells… sexy.”

Gene grinned. “If you like that, you should smell me right when I wake up in the morning. If cuteness had a smell, it’d be that.” Then he suddenly remembered what he was supposed to be doing. “Maybe you can find out later. Like I said, I really need to leave tonight.”

Liz frowned. “I was really hoping you’d be able to fully brief me on this. Diplomacy is a delicate thing, especially considering how much we need food, building supplies, medical aid…”

Gene placed a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, you’ll do fine. It’s not all that hard, really. Just do your best and keep in touch with Alice, alright? No sweat.”

Liz took a step to the side. “I suppose I’ll be hearing about what you and the rest of the Agents of Radiance are up to eventually.”

Gene was about to leave, but stopped. ”’Agents of Radiance’? That’s what we’re called? Seriously?”

“It’s what Alice said you were called,” Liz responded.

Gene shrugged. “I suppose it’s better than anything coon-dawg would’ve come up with. Well, I’m off. Later!”

“Safe travels,” Liz said as Gene headed out.

“Not likely!” Gene called back over his shoulder.

Gene had learned that a caravan had left for the general direction of Rasir last morning, and he was itching to get on the road and catch up with them. That arcane battery he’d absorbed made him feel wide awake, and he still didn’t want to fall asleep in this city, not while those otter goons were after him. His fingers twitched slightly, he felt a little jittery. Why’d Olivia say to not suck energy back in from the batteries? He felt the best he’d felt all day. Nothing could stop him. He almost wished he could meet back up with the otters, just because it would be awesome. Too bad he had to stick to the main streets, as awesome as midnight explosions would be, he didn’t want to attract any more attention than he had to. Right now the only person who knew he was leaving was Liz, and he wanted to keep it that way. Nope, just walking along well-lit, wide streets, with almost nobody in sight. Hey, are those otters? Gene realized that yes, those were otters. In fact, they were the same otters he’d danced with earlier that night. Maybe they hadn’t seen him yet… no, one of them just made eye contact.

“Hey fluffball!” the otter called out to him. The group quickly moved towards Gene.

“Fellas! What a pleasant surprise. I trust you kept yourselves amused without me?” Gene said, once again totally unconcerned.

“Nah. You left just when it was gettin’ good.”

“Well, I should let you know that I’m not really in the mood for you clowns,” Gene said. “I think it might be better for all of us if we just went our ways and forgot this ever happened.”

“Not happenin’, fluffball. You ain’t getting away so easy this time,” the otter said, brandishing a dagger as the others circled around Gene.

“Oh, that’s a shame,” Gene said, feigning disappointment. “I guess I’ll just have to kick your asses. Who’s first?”

The otter with the dagger snorted. “Like a little fluffball like you could take the four of us. I’d like to see you try.” His free hand suddenly darted out and grabbed Gene’s staff. “Hold still, it’ll make things easier on ya.”

In a flash Gene drew his dagger and slammed it into the belly of the otter. He gasped, and a ball of intensely flashing colors flew out of his mouth, hitting another otter in the face and bouncing off to hit the other two. Once all four had been struck, Gene pulled his dagger out of the otter and wrenched his staff out of his hand.

The otter with the dagger clutched at his wound and stared at Gene. “What the hell was that?”

Gene cricked his neck. “Warm-up. Come on, don’t act all surprised. You guys have to know I’m a sorcerer.”

“Yeah, but… not like the stabbing bouncing lights kind. What the hell?”

Gene grinned. “Like I said, warm-up. Now it gets fun.”

Gene spun around to slash at the otter behind him, who had recovered from the lights hitting his face and was about to strike. As Gene slashed across his chest, lightning arced out from the cut, hitting the same otter and everyone around him, including Gene, who just seemed to enjoy it. Before anyone could react, Gene swiftly rolled out from between the otters, sheathed his dagger, and started walking away as if nothing had happened.

“If you guys still just wanna call it even,” Gene said, “I’m fine with it. You’ve even got some nice burns to show your boss.”

“Don’t think you can just walk away!” one of the otters Gene hadn’t stabbed called out.

Gene raised his staff onto his shoulder, pointing it backwards at the otters. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah!” the other relatively unscathed otter shouted.

With his free hand, Gene snapped his fingers. Something fell from the sky and exploded in the middle of the thugs. When the explosion cleared two of them were unconscious, the other two severely injured and more interested in getting out of sight before any guards showed up. Gene moved the tip of the staff to his his mouth and blew imaginary smoke off of it before returning it to a natural position. I love doing that, he thought.

Gene still felt plenty of magic flowing through him, this had only stirred it up more. He broke into a light jog and continued for the gates, he was sure he could catch up with the caravan before sunrise. They’d probably let him crash on a cart or something while they moved, besides, he was cute when he was asleep. No way they’d wake him up. This trip back was going to be no problem at all.

Intermission: Gene's Stalker
A good day takes a turn for the weird.

Gene was pleased with himself. After subtly reminding (through some discreet hand gestures) Tirlae about the favor they owed him, and by extension Rasir, things finally started happening. They didn’t go exactly as he would have wanted them, but then again, nothing ever did for him. Part of the charm of the chaos. At least his people wouldn’t starve, which was better than what he had at the beginning of the day. As he exited to the street, he was stopped and handed a note, he was told a hyena woman wanted him to have it. The deliverer didn’t seem to have any connection to it, so Gene thanked him and went on his way.

“Good news, turns out I didn’t have to serve any time for my attempted theft. Law decided I had taken enough of a beating as my punishment (that and I had some good Lawspeakers) that I only needed to do some minimal service. I just wanted to let you know that I forgive you for the pain you caused, but I might have to fix that problem with the others.

“See you around, Floofums.

“-Lekaral ♥”

Gene read the note. He cocked his head upon reading the word “floofums.” Puzzled, he reread the note as he walked back to his room at the Diplomat’s Den. As hotels went it wasn’t bad, though Gene did notice the furniture didn’t hold up well to the bolts he sometimes shot off while sleeping. Upon entering his room he tossed the note onto the nearest pile of papers in the room. Many piles were scattered throughout the room, composed of notes from Alice, other ambassadors, and himself, though recently the latter were mainly “PAY ATTENTION TO ME YOU SELFISH BASTARDS” instead of the usual “she’s kinda cute – where’s she from? does she like strawberries?”

Alone in the room, Gene took off most of his clothes, to get more comfortable. He dug around in one of the piles of clothes that littered the room, retrieving his Hedge Wizard’s Gloves after a few moments. He sent its Mage Hand into a pile on the far side of the room, it came back with his magic dagger. He tossed the familiar weapon lightly in his hands a few times as he lay down on the bed and started thinking. Lekaral… Lekaral… where did he hear that name before? He began juggling the dagger between his two hands and the Mage Hand.

He tried to think back to his journey with Alice. The last few weeks (months? days?) as an ambassador made everything else blur together, somewhat. His increasing powers didn’t help much, either. He couldn’t remember the last time he blacked out, though it honestly was a matter of time before he lost control of himself and things started exploding. Lekaral… wait, those guys who jumped him and his friends on the road to Aegryndoun, or something along those lines. Most of ‘em were mooks, though their leader, she was something. Hyena. Crazy powers. They had knocked her out and brought her to the police, there wasn’t much of a reward since she was small-time. At this point Gene noticed his dagger hadn’t come down from the last toss he gave it. He glanced up and noticed it was buried several inches deep into the ceiling, next to a few other similar marks. He sighed (“don’t know my own strength,” he muttered) and pulled it out with the Mage Hand. He slowly turned it over in his hands, letting his mind wander back to the sorceress.

Lekaral. Apparently beating people up and taking their stuff isn’t a big enough crime that you get locked up for it. Not if you use the stuff you stole to hire an expensive legal team and get your ass off with a slap on the wrist. It’s crap like that that made Gene glad to live someplace else now, free of the oppressive bureaucracy. Though he’d managed to cut through some of it today. But if a crazy chick was on the loose and out for revenge, that’s a bigger problem. Why’d she forgive him? Was Gene the one who insisted on sparing her, rather than killing her like they had every right to? He looked at his bare, fuzzy chest. He rubbed a hand on it, even through the glove he could still feel each individual hair, tickling his hand. Yeah, that’s probably it. If he knew her, and he didn’t, she’d probably prefer to link up with him in person and send goons after his friends. At least the Thol was probably safe, he wasn’t with them when they captured her.

Gene tossed the dagger back into the pile he found it in, and got off the bed. He walked over to a desk and picked up a sending stone lying on it, labeled “Alice.” He couldn’t remember how he was supposed to activate them, so he used his workaround: hold it up to his head and gradually pump more magic into it until it worked. After a few seconds he felt it turn on.

“Hey, Alice! It’s Gene. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Good news is, our orca buddies from Tirlae came through and helped get us some supplies, might wanna send them a thank-you card. Make sure our building plans are finalized, everyone’s gonna want a piece of that magic fount once everything’s built. Food shipments should be on the way any day now, keep the roads clear for ‘em.

“Uh, bad news is, the building stuff has been delayed. I know, minor thing. Just tell everyone that we’re all friends there in Rasir and it’s cool if friends share a room for a couple of days. Or, um, weeks. Keep getting wood from the forest, I know it’s kind of a pain but that’s all you’ve got for now.

“Last thing, tell my buddies to stay on guard. The sorceress robber chick we turned in a while back, Lekaral, didn’t have to do any jail time. She sent me a letter and I think she’s out for revenge. I don’t know what she’s planning, so be prepared for pretty much anything. Don’t worry about me, she says she doesn’t have any problems with me. Besides, I can take care of myself. Alright, see ya.”

Gene stopped the flow of energy into the stone and could swear he felt a distinct “thunk” as he did so. He placed the stone back on the desk, before picking up another one, this one labeled “Aello.” Gene knew that Aello was off on “sabbatical” alone, pursuing a personal project of his. Gene wanted to make sure he could keep in touch with his close friend and insisted they get a set of sending stones. He activated the stone.

“Aello! How ya doing? You’ve been a bit quiet lately. I managed to get some food for Rasir. They’re doing fine. Also that sorceress we beat up a while ago? She’s free and she wants revenge, she might send people after you or something. Thought you might like the heads-up. Later.”

Gene disconnected from the stone and placed it back on the desk. He reached over to a third stone, labeled “Olivia,” but paused before touching it. He took a deep breath before carefully picking it up and placing it against his head. He closed his eyes and took a few more deep breaths before activating the stone.

“Hey baby! Look, I swear, I thought she was actually an ambassador, not an aide to one of them. I was trying to get someone to give me some support, y’know? I mean, when it went from a business dinner to drinks at her place, I had to be polite and accept. As soon as I found out she didn’t have any diplomatic sway I left as fast as courtesy would let me. It had nothing to do with the fact that her boyfriend showed up, I was planning to go out that window anyway. It uh, looked like fun. And it was. Didn’t even get scratched.

“You probably already know this, but you’re not the only one who’s watching me now. Remember that crazy hyena chick? She’s loose, and I get the feeling she’s looking for a pomeranian playmate. Really, she’s crazy. She’s gonna attack my friends or something. I’m gonna do the best I can to explain to her that I’m already in a relationship, but I don’t think she’ll take it all that well. Besides, I don’t think it’d work out between us anyway – you understand me more than anyone else.

“Hey, I’ll keep charging those arcane batteries for you. Sorry I can’t send you all that many, they keep exploding. They’re doing a great job at keeping me focused. I’ll talk to you later, though I bet you’re listening to me most of the time anyway. Bye.”

Gene pulled the stone away and quickly placed it on the desk. Olivia was his girlfriend, though how she managed that when Gene kept running off and doing stupid things was beyond him. He got into this whole mess because he wanted to protect her – first from starvation by the blocked bridge, then from the invading Thols, and then from any problems the house of their town might have. Gene forgot to mention the last one to her, and was glad she was really good at scrying. She managed to link up with Alice’s followers and was one of the first people into Rasir once it had been cleared and prepared, there were still cooling scorch marks caused by Gene’s powers, and she found him helping Aello recover from his near-fatal wounds. Since Gene seemed to have gone an awful long way to make a new town for her, she decided to stay. She was great. A bit clingly, but great.

His duties done, Gene thought about how he would spend the evening. He didn’t have a date and there was a sorceress on the prowl for his soft, fluffy tail. Well, he thought, seems like a good a time as any to go take a bath. Maybe there’ll be some cute girls there. And after that I can go check out the nightlife. I’m not going to let some crazy chick get between me and a good time. He grinned and grabbed a towel before leaving the room.

Home With No House, Part 1

The group traveled to Farsin, only to find it under night ambushes by Thol attacks. The Thols had built a Seismic Pulsar, designed to tear up roads, cause cave-ins, rip up crop lands too late to replant, and anything else they can use to cause harm. The group, after a round of gathering information, discovered someone had given the Thols a way to get around and into the town.

The group tracked down the Thols, taking out their sentries and finally causing their machine to be dismantled. Naja Salaheem gave her life for the good of the team and the town, taking many hits while performing the crucial task of dismantling the Pulsar. Unfortunately, Naja took one too many hits when the Thols turned desperate, resulting in her tragic death. They gave her brother sent to track her down the news, which he sent off along with the body back to her home town.

While the group was off dismantling the machine, Alice did some work investigating. With the right questions and more than just a little charm, she discovered the one responsible for the information leak: Darris Loran, a Kangaroo whose family had been captured during the Alekker war and was threatened to release what they wanted to know or his family would suffer. Two weeks passed since he gave the information and he had yet to see his family. After confronting him, realizing what he had gone through, Alice started boasting that she had done the town justice by bringing its wrath upon the one who leaked the information.

After the town believed the sell-out to be dead, Alice told Darris where he could go for safety and gave instructions to a contact in the town in the event his family did show up. As thanks for her help, Darris gave his only remaining possession to Alice.

After an eventful day, the group rested up and decided they would take the cavern path up to Nolairnas, forcing Alice to have to wait with the vehicle to make sure the road ahead will be safe.

Home With No House, Prologue

The party accompanied Alice Nora to Aegryndoun; Alice’s group needed informing and supplies for the journey were needed. Among other items, Alice sought a map of possible paths to the settlement sites, a way to contact her followers, and some local news.

On the way there, the party encountered two groups, both easily dealt with. The first was some Arcane-Twisted Panthers: animals that had magic but never gained sentience, in this instance causing them to act as if rabid. The second encounter was a group of raiders in which the party captured the leader, Larelle Wils, a Female Wolf Sorcerer, and turned her over to the Aegryndoun Law House, collecting a small bounty in the process.

One they had arrived at Aegryndoun late in the day, the party encountered an example of politics, in this case between two port-based houses, Orca House Tirlae of Feldra which was ambushed by Otter House Rohaln of Niros. The two houses sent representatives to negotiate a fair compromise of the waterway use. Tirlae wanted priority given to its Arcane goods to bring in more money across factions while Rohaln felt its shipping of resources (wood, ore, etc) took priority. The party saved Tirlae from the ambush, earning their favor and Rohaln’s ire.

Meanwhile, Alice was busy taking care of most of the business needs of the group. Using her top negotiating skills and a bit of charm, she was able to pick up many essential supplies for a price almost what the vendor paid for it. As far as her followers and contacting them, she was able to enchant a pair of mirrors, allowing her to contact her her followers with updates on the journey.

As far as news goes, she discovered the exact locations of the three sites she had heard rumors about and was going to investigate. In addition, the Thols that had attack Alekker and Delornen also hit Farsin, causing a collapse in the major trade tunnel to Nolairnas, leaving only the recently unused walking route.

Upon meeting again with the party, Alice showed them the map she had drawn up with the possible routes. The party chose the northern path, to Farsin.


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