Dunstrand Rising - Gallants Ride Again

Fulfilling our Mission for the Protector

Chronicled in 9167 by Jacquelyne Falkrik, Lictor of the Gallants, 2nd Squad >

The loping forms are three of the cat-people we killed earlier – they have been “brought back” and are witness to the power of the protector. Gale makes insulting alley-cat noises in an attempt to communicate – they are not laughing. They speak a broken form of our language – we do the best we can. They are to protect us in our own quest this new god has given us. This god-creature i suppose reminds us of Rastur from our continuum. The protector has sent us to his people in order for us to lead them into the light. In exchange, he will show us the way home. Thats the deal. We’re struggling with everything, Helvia continues to lead us. Her mission is done, but i am befuddled with the illness and disease from the sorcerers occult power.

I suppose i should expect it by now, Pan Ge’Diam’s influence is still so strong. Taelin is here – with his horse and pack. He is the rock of the Gallants. He does his best to keep us organized and going. We’re all wounded, and he does his best to heal us. Helvia eventually gives him the Ring of Bandage – the ring our predecessors pulled from another world. We are weary beyond below. Unfocused, inattentive, exhausted. They tell us we must travel across a gorge 400 feet deep to get to their tribal lands.

We arrive and debate endlessly on making a bridge from fallen trees and crossing with the horses. Gale thinks we should do this. The cat-people tell us that place exists where we can descend and ascend with the horses 1 day away. I prefer to go with the known, most surest way of crossing and we choose to select that path. However, as we discover what awaits us – small poisonous snakes, lizards, and massive snakes that prowl the depths of the gorge, perhaps a rickety bridge was the safer option. Regardless, in the dark, many are repulsed by fire, so we camp on the edge of the gorge the night before and cut some torches from the jungle nearby. In the night, those on watch are visited by apparitions of themselves. some of the group are touched and are altered – how i cannot say since i was so tired i was allowed to sleep through the night.

As we make to descend the next morning, we are attacked by some some of odd beast – massive with a giant horn that could gut a horse. I am last, and urge the group forward while i lead it away. It must have poor site, for i am able to out-maneuver it and it charges right off the edge of the cliff! We continue to make our way down afterwards. We are attacked by snakes, but we defeat the danger and move on. At the bottom, a mile long journey of switchbacks, we are offered two ways to return to the top. The cat-folk must choose – they are more knowledgeable than us. The way they choose was correct – for we made it without incident. The cat-people get Gale back with a fake noose of some harmless snake. Its a joke that not funny to me – Gale could have panicked and taken others with him a rush to escape. fortunately he had the presence not to. I have move the animals across some trouble spots, i take several kicks to the chest and gut – it fucking hurts. Good thing Taelin is there – with the satchel and ring, and the radiance infusing the area around us, i nearly shrug it all off as nothing. This is the way it should work for us.

At the top, i prefer to camp with the ravine to one side protecting us – but we move on. I am lashed to my horse most of the time – i cannot keep up with the 40 hour cycles, but i am healing a bit faster than everyone else. They take us to a fort in the jungle, overgrown, which was a place for their tribe. Odo wakes us in the night, there are three creatures. We debate endlessly, making noise enough to wake the dead, about what to do. Helvia order one of the cat-people to the top of the wall – their vision being much better than ours in the night. The creature interrupts our pointless arguement to tell us a charge is coming – we here a huffing and strange noises. One crashes through the wall of wood – but the others remain behind. At least everyone is up – i roll to the side, out of combat. On the next night i take a watch, another charges. Odo brings on his warp-spasm to fight to beast. Pointless combat ensues. I dont remember much honestly, i remember standing in its path and it rushing past me – like i was not there. I was so nearly stunned that i did not swing Bone Shaker – but i did. The battle was one side. I go to bed. Stupid beasts. I grow weary of travel – i just want to return home. No offense to my traveling companions, but i want a clean barracks, a bunk, a bath, a fuck, and 10 days of sleep – without any of them around. I grumble and push and we ride hard and knock of a day.

We arrive at their first camp – about 60 adults and nearly half again in young. We are met and told to strip – i order everyone to follow suit and lay down our clothes and weapons. Gale complains about them attacking. They tell us to go – i choose to attack. Odo follows through and bastard is dropped between my blade and his spear – but the rest in this little group keep fighting. Its a fight that lasts only moments. Every time (well, nearly) we do the right thing, to avoid bloodshed, we get taken advantage of. I tried to split up fights at the end, but they would have none of it. Well, even naked, we killed over our own number in moments. Our escort of cat-people, the primary one being named “Chief”, now stick close to us. they tell us that was not the leader, but a band of “braves” – young with something to prove. I pushed Helvia to go challenge their chief or champion for leadership. Apparently there is some precursor to the fight – a war of words. I am exhausted, but this i can do. My words cut home and their chief starts to snarl and ends up spitting on Helvia – who has her rage kick-in; she rushes the old cat while Silvas throws his sword. She grabs it mid-flight and cleaves the old bugger open. I have my back to the fight the whole time – talking to some of their people and making sure no one interferes. I am happy, the deed is done – i can see it in the eyes of the cat-folk i am talking to. We can lead these creatures away from their dark god and into the light. We can inform the primitive peoples that we have fulfilled our oaths and the land is theirs to return to as well.

Then i see terror in the eyes of the cat-people i am talking to. I turn and run, throwing the rag sheathe off Bone Shaker as i go. Ahead i can see Odo pushing aside Helvia as some tentacled monstrosity crawls out from the insides of the fallen cat-chief. The fight we really came for is happening now. I cleave with all my might. Again and again we strike the writhing mass. Arrow after arrow, spear point after sword blade – again and again. Eventually i end up caught in its tentacles. Much of our effort goes to breaking free and avoiding them – in my injured state i cannot. As it brings me to its maw, i wait till i am close and break free and slash again. The mouth is massive – it takes a bite from my leg – muscles grind and tendons shred – fuck, it burns. It nearly severs my leg below the knee, but i just keep standing still and hacking. Odo brings on his warp-spasm. All of us cleave and hack. Silvas charged it from horseback, still it comes on. We are all hampered by tentacles, and finally it hews a chunk in a bite from me – above the calf this time, through the thigh. I know its a mortal wound as i fail to throw myself aside in time. My iron will once again stands me up as the blood runs down my legs in spurts. I get to watch the monster finally killed. My sword drops, but i stand. Taelin rushes to my side. Theres blood everywhere, he can barely find the vein. When he clamps down on it and stops the bleeding i go numb and pass out. Even with it, all i can think of is i died standing up as everything fades to black.

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Helvia the Darklands Ranger

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HELVIA – the Darklands ranger; Helvia is a Ranger of the High King; She served her tour of duty in the Darklands of the east.

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A Brave New World - Literally
Travel through continuums to save the blood royale.

Chronicled in 9167 by Jacquelyne Falkrik, Lictor of the Gallants, 2nd Squad >

The date is… well, I have no clue. Gone is Trebleina’s tower and gone is the frozen cold surroundings of the north in Kaald. This world has none. Odo, Silvas and myself were exploring a mirror in the wizards tower when we saw Gale in the reflection. We tried to yell to him, and we pounded on the mirror. Maybe he sees us, maybe not – The Gallants have a special bond. I ask Odo and Silvas to hold the mirror away from the wall. At once the three of us were pulled through the mirror and dumped in a jumble on some near featureless desert like plain. We are dazed, disoriented and its painfully and immediately obvious that a haze of radiance is over the area. Flat in all direction, no wind – it was eerie. What was more strange was the 2 unknown people there with us. One was a half-elf, like Taelin. It was eerie how alike – even down to the Soul Gem they possessed. She had a feral glint in her eye like him too. She seem ready to draw on us, while the other – some sort of shaman or wizard by his animal headdress – seems to be more interested in the environment and how he got there, than us. Confident? Perhaps – or the classic absent minded magus. He does not talk much. Odo begins to get agitated. We are all checking our gear, and he pulls out a strange journal – it seems familiar. It is the journal of the Mejai Rabaddon – the dark elf priestess we captured on the boat. He flips through and grunts, growling under his breath… about the most emotional he ever gets. He motions for me to come over and shows me the contents. It is a series of drawings of monkeys and baboons. It reads “You rejected me, yet here I find you taking this road less traveled. Shame on you little monkey… stealing essence – does Jaq know you are such a bad boy? You will not rid yourself of me that easy, my little plaything. Well, the knowledge is yours, but the book has gone on to a home more suited to it, to someone who can really use it.” I turn to him with a questionable look. Odo swears he will never use the knowledge he learned from it – it deals with the draining of large creatures or sentient smaller ones essence on their death. He says he already feels the pull of the book. But we are pretty confident after talking that if he never calls upon that ability, his anxiety of losing it will not cripple him. Augh – it never ends. Malek be damned!

I rallied the Gallants here but kept my cool. Helvia (the darklands ranger – just like Taelin!) was suspicious of us, and waits for us to get our bearings after we determine no one is hostile, but the story she told came out like this:

She is a genuine Ranger, on a mission from the authorities that protect the High King and his family. The royal family’s dreams have been disturbing of late – violent conflicts. In one dream, the youngest son was wounded – and it carried over into his waking life! She was called upon for her unique skills operating far from friendly help. She was warned that a “rift” had taken place – that the continuum of Pan Ge’Diam – can we not escape from the influence of this place!? It must be close in proximity to the great Nexus to have such power. It had pulled another continuum into conflict with our own (perhaps through our own travel to it even? Are we at fault for this horrible situation?). Thankfully I have been tutored by Lady Geraldine Aelishan on such things and have a rudimentary understanding. It truly boggles the mind how many “realities” there are in a vast multiverse. The grand viziers and priests and such did their best to place upon the fluctuating powers a filter of sorts – to only draw like minded souls – those of good or virtuous outlook – into the time/space rift with her. And so, she believes us to be the result of all these incantations and rituals. I wish I could say i’m flattered – but Odo and I are both fed up with the push and pull of these continuums… I just want to go home. How did Khotva the mage get here? I am not sure if he is wearing an antler helm or has antlers himself! Nominally we were all supposed to be good – but there was some sort of power he radiated – it was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I tell Odo intentions are one thing, acts are another. And Gale! We were reunited again. Always taking notes, always watching and recording. Some day he will be a great herald – perhaps for us, perhaps for some great lord. We are lucky. We have four of the brothers Gallantine – and a ranger of the High King, as well as some powerful southern magus. Strange road companions, but I felt confident. She did not seem trusting at first, but she was eventually won over – Gale and I are both charismatic. Odo may not be, but it is soon obvious he does not lie. When we took the time to look around, our mounts were with us as well (perhaps a result of our will!?). Poor Helvia could not ride – through the course of our time with her, she and Khotva were comical in their ride skill. Mules were well suited to them – and Gale looked like a fool on his mule, staring at Helvia like a moonstruck calf. My horse Judge was here, as was my husband’s war horse. We were both happy to be reunited with the animals who have seen so many fields of battle with us. However, the bond we built in Pan Ge’Diam was gone. I once again needed full tack to guide my horse – no longer were our minds as one. Well, perhaps when I return to find myself back in charge of the small army we raised, things might be different. I cannot wait to take the field against the Umbakains again – that was a conflict I could understand.

The High King’s family. This is some seriously deep shit we’ve stepped in. Physical violence… we have to protect them, they are the Duke’s patron and the only defense between us and the horde of screaming darkness in the Fallen East. Of course we agree – how could we not? Introductions are made. I have taken Helvia aside and tell her about the Gallantine Code and how we do things. I dont want to intrude on her leadership, but I have so much experience to draw upon and I think we reach an understanding. She is REALLY like Taelin – theres energy boiling under the surface always. I ask Odo to make sure I don’t overstep myself. I explain to the two who are not of our company about the blade I wield – Bone Shaker. How do you sum it up? You find a elemental spark specialist – a mage blacksmith on a floating city who doesn’t want to make you anything. Then convince him it’s in his best interest to make you sword of amazing earth elemental power. Then, out of spite, he still deeply taps your essence and charges you 10,000 silver. Then after you get the sword you create a civil war on before-mentioned floating city. And get a lot of people killed and knock off a chunk of the city. Its hard to believe – I don’t believe them for not. We set off, and after a while I cannot feel the mana flows as I once did. I was able to determine that the pattern is not set here. My meager aura sight serves me well, but I feel seperated now. The mage, Khotva, does not seem at all bothered. I guess I still have my blade and skill – its not failed me yet. I make a concerted effort to project myself in my dreams to the side of the High Kings banner – to imagine defending his standard and family from attackers… and it works! We battle under the hot sun.. but again the kings youngest is struck and his arm laid open! Upon this, he vanishes – I divine that he must have woken up. After the first night, I tell the others… and to some effect the Gallants rally to me and the High King’s family now has our name in their ears as we rally and defend them in their sleep – perhaps not us as individuals, but we are bigger than one anyway. We are Gallants.

We seem to be making this world as we go. I am able to lighten my very physical step… and I get off and walk. While Judge has served me well, sitting astride a horse all day can make me weary. The brace is hardly needed though. Other things, we concentrate four of us to recreate the north hillock of Braddon Bog and we have high ground – and bog! The terrain around is is like dessert turning into Dunstrand. I don’t make tracks until I think about it. Everything here reacts – all of us are able to impose our will somewhat on the world around us. We even place stars in the sky and turn endless plain into a road, which leads us to a city. Between here and there, we encounter illusions of ourselves – like a mirage or reflection from another time and place. At one point, I charge a group of “us”and pass through one – and I am holding Gale’s journal! Goblins too, we meet – in the sun. Just as I think they should not be able to be in the sun, the mage decimates ALL of them in roaring flame – it is truly impressive. I have seen Geraldine wield power, but hers is more subtle – never have I witnessed this raw power. things are not as they seem – ever. Odo asked “can we keep him?” Odo knows the rules – he would be taught the pledge – but I feel that he has come for a reason. A name he uses – Choural – is familiar. Silvas seems to think there is a connection to us. The dissonance changes and fluctuates positive and negative. All of us feel the horrible wilting and wild thrills of hope and elation. Its like being on an out of control wagon ride or bucking bronco. Now I find myself dreaming of what life had been like knowing my parents – but I do not lose sight of the defense of the blood royal.

We finally arrive in the city – a “model of civilization” – the guards are at ease and not hostile – a welcome turn. But you get one warning of breaking the law, then death. At the gate, our weapons are bound – secured so that anyone will know if they are used. Even sex is regulated – peace at the point of a spear, so to speak. After our weapons are bound, we are taken to exchange solid metal for some sort of paper currency. How ridiculous – what value is paper and clay markers!? Civilization indeed. I try and greet everyone and learn the customs. They are all welcoming, but something seperates us. We are taken to the council (just in time to man being sentenced to death – which he seems to accept fatalistically) and they speak at length of the city, their eugenics, and how they have been here for 50 years (but no one leaves and the city has existed for 400 – it moves around obviously!). Their voting and political process is odd at best. Its a wretched place, but my good nature and social powers serve us well. Helvia is concerned greatly about splitting up our three and Gale and Odo – but 2 Gallants are worth ten others… I tell her to relax, and that bunching up has its bad effects too. I, Helvia and Khotva go back to the council. We were honest with why we were here and they applauded us. We return to find out about posting notices for the city dwellers to help us look for the cause of the disturbance. No one wants other from our realm to come and make war on the city – a possible outcome if we cannot find the real source and our patrons send others. We all agree to seek a solution together. We will post a reward, but the councilman says its not logical – it is in the interest of everyone in the city to help in this, and no reward is necessary. The other have adapted to the 40 hour day – I have not. I must sleep as normal while they keep going. I sleep much and guard the room. Silvas gets his warning – excessive drink! Later he will sleep and I will walk the streets in the dark. There is only about 2000 inhabitants. It is a perplexing place. No one tries and rob me, and something is always going on in places. I seek out the library as well.

Odo and Gale go to the smithy, and take some of the rubies taken from the dark-elf priestess. They equip themselves with some strangely decorated banded mail. Lighter than normal – it takes a few days to fit. The library and school is sought out as well, but the efforts to learn to read their language is too much. there is nothing to discover there. I seek something on Entrophy and I find no more than I could in the Companions Library at home. We wait a total of three nights. During this time, I keep dreaming of my parents and finally I am rewarded with more than snatches of sun or stars, river and clothes. A vision of my mother assails me nightly. I am piecing together her story more each night. It cannot be real, I am unsure of the reality of this. I am a bastard.. and my mother likely dead. I cannot say more – I must look into this when I return home. I am terribly sad, my poor mother. She was very beautiful, and as with such beauty, it took a man to ruin it. I must blot it from my mind.

Once free of the city, I free my blade – Bone Shaker feels good in my hand, I feel whole again. I dont want to have to fiddle with the bonds in an emergency. I command the others to do the same – we know it will be done again when and if we return. We travel for a half hour away from the city, seeking a place where disturbances have been observed. We encounter – seemingly out of nowhere – a Justicar of Balthazaar and his retinue of three squires and a knight. As we get near, I sheath my blade, I dismount and I walk to him, hand up. I kneel in front of his horse and exclaim our service to his cause. such a man would be a powerful ally here! As he nears, he must have seen my insignia because he names me enemy and moves to strike me down. Once again I feel a wall of flame above me, like dragon fire must feel, and his retinue is engulfed in flames from Khotva. I hope they are dreaming and not brought here like us. I draw Bone Shaker again, and strike his horse, drawing upon my essence to tear earth power and pour it into it. The horse rears and the Justicar goes flying. We batter him, but I spare his life! We cut him out of his armor while he is unconscious. Helvia is tough to control – like Taelin. We straighten out our differences when he wakes, once he understands his position. We would be enemies otherwise, we agree, but must help each other here. I brief him on our mission and status so far. He admires my blade. Though his is no small project either though, it must be worth tens of thousands! His name is Sir Freidrich Donovan, father of the Donovan house (i know this house of Umbak). His brother was in his retinue – Pierre Donovan. We speak about his homeland and i find i miss some things about it greatly. He is strangely personable – but soldiers on campaign mingle with ease. He has seen more winters than he looks. We compare scars and battle stories, with Gale and Odo joining in. Silvas stays distant – his noble blood still binding him to his opinions. He exclaims that I sound and even like like I am Umbakian – I agree, and I very well might be, but circumstances limit me confirming this. He looks at me oddly. We argue about politics and border disputes. Gale cites treaties and agreements, against the true belief of righteousness. We cannot count on his blade long – he vanishes when I sleep. But he is alive, to take word back to his land hopefully and to the High King’s people. Helvia has interesting things to say about women and men, and women and women – as in fucking, sucking, and whatnot. Its a subject I am not comfortable with. And I do not seek to resolve this situation now. I like women, I am a women. Such things are frowned upon by many, yet I was once a man and cannot help what I like. She intimates that I may be wound too tight – no shit.

We are set upon by savages – large headed peoples stocky and powerful. We are forced to kill a few, but I manage to make sure we drive off half our attackers. Savages they may be, its not their fault they do not understand and there is no need to kill them. We keep traveling towards disturbances and eventually we come across a tribe of these creatures. I help Helvia communicate with the shaman. She must undergo some drug induced vision in the tribal circle. We have most of our weapons taken from us – I convince the shaman mine is a spirit weapon of sorts – it is near a hundred pounds for him to lift (so I have been told – I don’t know how much exactly, my own arms feels like its a feather). Helvia succumbs to the drugs. I must stand in her stead. I survive the smoke drugs. We talk – as normal. First he says he knows what we might be seeking. I try and explain in terms he can understand and eventually it gets through. She shaman says the tribe wants to be avenged on us. I dont want more bloodshed. there must be a contest. As leader, of course I volunteer Helvia. She is leader, she must prove us. The brother of one who we killed wants to savage us, and take out his vengeance. I make it clear that victory need not be death… the shaman agrees. The shaman and I commune more. I try and honor him and his people and he says we may stay the night only and they will help us tomorrow. I ask him to pray for us, and he instructs me to look up – I cannot describe the site above us. A celestial entity so beautiful it brought me to tears. I felt like my mother was holding me once again, I thought of all the terrible things that brought us here, and how far of a journey we had to go, and the great spirit made me see the bright path laid out for us. I knew then we were doing the right thing. The loss of my life meant nothing – Helvia and her mission must succeed. Khotva seems to dismiss it all – he is is truly a product of his occult perspective.

Helvia is dragged from her slumber as the shaman strips naked, and runs out of the tribal holy circle. I dont know what to do, so I follow suit. I strip Helvia’s clothes off and force her to drink water and run with me. I push and prod her, and eventually we sweat out the drugs and come full circle. The entire tribe is staring at us… well, and so are the men that travel with us. Helvia giggles and waves. I am embarassed. Silently, I don my clothes. I help Helvia with hers. She’s still a bit out of it, and makes a few gropes. I grab her and tell her she must face one of their warriors and NOT to kill him. We must be defeated for them to save face. Fine. She has a wicked smile, I don’t like it. I arm her with a cudgel from one of the warriors – hopefully it wont kill anyone if things go sideways. They join in combat in the ring of tribes folk. Holy shit, the tribesman goes berserk. He hits himself in the head, foams and curses and screams and runs at her. She does the same back – how could I have forgotten about the half elf curse! They fly through the air, both crazed. As they collide, she manages to nearly brain him with a jumping attack. He crushes her chest, you would swear a few ribs cracked. Even with the sorcerous armor Khotva put on, she is nearly killed – she crumples. I scream at her to lay still. I dont think it took much persuading, but I could see her twitch – she could have gotten up. But she willed herself down and overcame her rage. The tribesman howled his victory and I ran out to cover her, in case he changed his mind. Poor Helvia – her chest was a mass of bruises and she could barely get a breath. I left her to those who could help her best and made sure with the shamna their honor was satisfied. the shaman and I talk more. There is a tribe, a tribe of evil men. They are lead by some sort of creature – not natural. We will go. These peoples have hurt and driven the shaman and his folk from their homes. I promise revenge and an accounting. Odo trades his spear for 2 women. We will find out the next day his was a virgin! I accede to this deal but only as a business transaction – he does NOT own them no matter what they think. This is for the night. This man who traded, he brandishes his spear and makes a big deal of himself. I cannot help myself. I walk straight up and kick him between the legs. He does not drop, instead we begin a contest. Soon it boils down to a slug fest. Odo watches without comment – Gale is cheering me on. Once again, I am taking on someone way bigger, and I know with way more resilience than myself in my new, weaker state. That sacrifice of health to try and return Rayla to life really is starting to tell – I am nearly off my feet when I finally land the knockout blow. Damn the savage had a hard face – my hand is a mess. I ask Odo how many that makes – 5 apparently. Five impulsive personal fights that could, no SHOULD, have lead to my defeat that i have won. So, weakened, a woman, and without anyone backing me up, its still me under all that – violent Jaq. This is much to think on. Perhaps Helvia is right, being a woman is not necessarily a disadvantage. She bandages up my hand, Odo makes sure I am ok. I got 2 black eyes – I will look like a damn racoon tomorrow. Well, at least I don’t need makeup!

We leave when Helvia is ok – middle of the day. Her chest is bandaged tightly, and she looks terrible (well, shes a woman, how bad can she look really?). But, she smiles and we go on. Odo is caught up in the whole “2 wives” bit. Their names are “Umfoofoo” and “Feefee”. I tell him that he must take care of them – they are his responsibility. I try and give him some advice on satisfying women. Helvia makes more jokes and intimates more sexual things I am not comfortable with. I make it a habit not to sleep with fighting companions – male or female, but her arguments are persuasive. I admit, I am tempted. I think Khotva thinks we are fools – he has not been with soldiers before and does not understand. Helvia scouts ahead as she has been doing, risking her life. An ambush lets her past and seeks to entrap us. From a treeline rush three large panther-like men. Tall and powerful. We form a line with Gale in front and they die in a hail of bow and crossbow. Gale moves to impale the last on his spear and he literally jumps over us. The spear drives deep still, and Bone Shaker cuts him open as he flails through the air. Now the violence of action – I cannot help myself – cuts to the quick and I step in for Helvia. She just watches me in my statue of command – and does not countermand my orders. I hope she learns how to do all this right, she will make a better leader than me. We rush in further, I command no quarter and we mount up to use our power and initiative to overrun any enemies beyond the small tree line. We charge at some wierd child-man creature who screams at us to stop. He stops Silvas’ horse cold. The rest of us rush through, passing through his animation or illusion or whatnot – leaving it to converse with Silvas. The others stop and slow as they turn – I keep the pace up,my heart is racing, I will not stop – forward is the way and some of the others seems like they will be into mincemeat if he can charm or force them into whatever he has planned. The Gallants will not bow down, we are the ones who will dictate the terms here. The dissonance now works for us and against us, as always. But for right now, we are in full command of our powers.

We have visions as we rush in – visions of other Gallants, other people time and places that once were. From these places we take things in exchange for essence – the world is once again responding to us. For myself, I worry about my inability to change, and my fear of who and what I am. I am good, and yet violence seems to be in my heart. I find a little solace deep inside, a little part of me that says I am doing the right thing. Others take materials from where they are seeing. Gale takes the satchel of Bandage. Like the journal of the other mirage Gale I rode through, they are solid enough and work. We all are gifted with something.

I alone though continue when the man-child starts to question us. Its obvious we wants to parley, but my gut, my sense of emotions feels only antipathy, a feeling of us being beneath him. He “demands” to know why we attacked him. As the others try and talk to him, he even suggests that his only motivation in sparing us might be that we have nothing worth stealing. I paraphrase here, but this is no good creature. It is wrong, and vile, and I am sure the source of our woes. Judge and I tear into some black shadow wall he puts up at the last minute. As Bone Shaker strikes him, it cracks! My sword is knocked out of my hand, Judge plows into the dirt and I tumble like a rag doll over him. All inorganic matter vanishes. Ribs rack, I know my collarbone is broke – fuck, i feel it sticking through my skin – and I can feel my ankle twist again without the brace (gods I will miss that). His magical robes are torn asunder. Even he is nearly brought speechless by the power of Bone Shaker – in one blow nearly all his magical protections sundered. Helvia screams and runs to my battered form while the others rush in. I have no idea how I am alive. A combination of the light footedness I willed into this world for myself and Iron will. Odo throws the magical potion we bought in the city to me, and I fall backwards, into the grass. As I hear the combat around me, Helvia stands over me, looking me in the eye and assessing if I am in my right mind. I can barely speak. I am diseased too – a foul malaise spreads over me and i can see how awful it must be by the look on Helvia’s face. Blood is in my mouth even after the healing potions. I am unable to walk. I croak “sword”. Helvia hauls me up and we retrieve my blade as the other fend off shades and other magics. The battle rages. No one pays attention to us. I am limping and without Helvia’s help I cannot move. She is crying, and kneels to help me grab Bone Shaker. I cry when I see it… my poor blade. Cracked, nicked deeply, black veins running through it – shadow and void work no doubt. But its not broken. I am dragging it as we move – I can barely lift my arm. Helvia and I come up from behind the wizard man-child thing. Odo, Khotva, and Gale are fighting shadow creatures and trying to keep him occupied. I take the sword in both hands above my head and I tell Helvia to push me and run – it is the last thing she does before some magic washes over us and she is frozen in her tracks. Its not so much an attack as a fall. Silvas strikes from the front and I from the rear. The poor sorcerer has not got enough protections left after silvas charges him. I open the back of his head as Silvas sails over us – and I hear the sickening sound of bones breaking and a body crumpling on itself. I scream with rage and everyone snaps out of their fugue – the wizard is dead for sure as a crimson road founts from his head to the ground and he slowly pitches forward. Odo, I scream at Odo to free up Gale and the obvious need for the infamous satchel from our fallen companions past. Together, they force feed Silvas every ounce of healing we have, I scream and Helvia cries, and we all will for Silvas to be whole and hale. His battered form shakes and shudders – he is ALIVE!!! It worked.. the sky swirls above and we are infused with emotion – the sky roils with lights and mist – like the celestial entity I saw before. I believe the god of healing has been born for this world! I kneel and drive Bone Shaker into the earth. It is rich and cool here – like home. I slump over the blade – as I slide across it, it cuts. I don’t care as I roll off onto my back. I am on my back, looking at the sky, and the faces of Khotva, Helvia, Gale and Odo staring over me, and I can hear Silvas coughing as I blissfully fade. I must be dying.

While I dreamed of death, my thoughts went to my birth. I could see everything as if it were my mother’s eyes I was looking out of. She was a young and fair maiden, her mother matronly, wise and beautiful too – and one of the White Sisters. Her mother must have been one of supreme rank – High Dame Mother by her brocade’s insignia. Never had I thought to meet the head of the order within a nation. She is Umbakian – perhaps the chapter house in Havluk or Portia? The visions play out, of court -royal court, of a young man, of a love that should not have been. The passionate love between them was forbidden. I can see his ring glinting in the firelight next to their bed – the royal house of Teilhard, King of Umbak. I can sense the tragedy about to unfold. I feel it in my bones. But the dream goes nearly no further – only the look on her mothers face when she reveals she is pregnant. Its raining. I hear lightning, but there is none here. Shit.

Few things survived the disintegration of void/shadow stuff my horse Judge and I went through – only those with some mystical taint. I suppose I should be happy Judge survived – Silvas is still trying to calm his war horse down. There was no hiding anything now as the group went through what little survived. The spider embossed scroll of “emergency” – its effects unknown, is found in the grass. The beautiful case is gone. Two of the rubies (the others are power) are found by accident – we knew they had some power, but right now the power to buy goods is the one most appreciated. In a crumpled heap is the silken, web-like armored lingerie of the dark elf priestess. It barely fits me – lets face it, I look ridiculous. It fits Rayla (its hard to believe she is dead and gone) or Erin better – but both are smaller than the dead priestess. Helvia fits it – I will gift it to her for her assistance in our time of need. I am sure she will look much better in it. Sometimes it is not what you yourself can do, its what you can enable others to do. That is a good lesson in leadership. An appropriate gift? I don’t know – do women give such things to each other? I will soon find out.

I have to find some cover my self as well – I stumble over the broken bottle of Entropy. The glistening liquid is slowly being absorbed by the ground, so much for restoring myself through the boundless possibilities of chaos. It enough for my blade though. The entrophy and a land that responds to my will. I shove the sword into the earth, which it parts like butter. I envision the earth leaching metals from the dirt, impregnating the blade, healing it and knitting it back together. As I slump over the pommel, it twists and shudders. The traces of the mages brain and blood and my blood on it seep into it as well, and I personally feel the power of the earth in my veins and the flows of energy in the world all around me. I feel its coolness and depth. I will it to be whole. I hear the terrified scream around me and I realize that the ground is shaking under me. The earth – soil, rocks, metal, roots – all around me is sinking and compressing. The elemental spark in the blade is drinking it all in. Soon I am holding onto the grip, on top of a column of hardened earth and rock. I collapse after I pull the blade free, and feel myself falling. I don’t remember hitting the floor of the sinkhole, but I am assured of this by the pounding in my head. There is a small man with a hammer and anvil in there, and he wants out so desperately. I am alive – thats all I can think of. I am still clutching Bone Shaker in my hand still battered and bruised from my fight with the tribesman. “You look like hell”, says Odo. Khotva just stares at me and the blade i am dragging – the point is dragging a furrow in the ground and my feet are once again sinking deep in the earth as i walk. Bone Shaker is whole again. I dont care what I look like. The potion has knitted my bones back together, but I am a mass of bruises and ache. I am young, but I feel old. Everyone is standing alone… none of us can believe what’s just happened. Its hard to process this kind of victory – we do not know what it really means. How will we get home? that question is all in our eyes and on our lips. The rent on the continuum fluttered and sputtered when the sorcerer died, seemingly closing with hardly a whisper before we could make use of it. It seems just there still – at the edge of my perception though.

We take stock of what’s around us. A mage playing at being a mad god. Why had he attacked the royal family of Gladnor?

The accoutrements of the magus are few. With the kind of defenses he had – he must have been of the highest rank – he probably needed few. Defeating him was an act of pure determination and luck. Lots of luck. I jeopardized the entire crew once again for my own mad notions of how we best operate – but once again it worked. When i am proven wrong, will it be my death? Speaking of battle, we look to recover anything we can use. At least there are caps and shirts for me to wear – hardly fitting (or flattering according to Helvia), but It covers me and keeps the wind off. I honestly could care less about being naked, but i guess theres more of a thought to preserve modesty for women. Honestly, i think its just so that men don’t lose focus – by the sweaty balls of the Beast-Lord, its not like i have something we’ve all not seen a million times before. Well, at least Darian would have been proud of me for the unrelenting action we executed. There is really little here. A pavillion tent of animal skins we cannot take with us, well appointed with rich decoration for this world and the savage company the mage keeps. We do find several tables of glass trinkets, liquids, journals, and toys – easy to transport cheap reminders of home. Our enemy’s name is Orom. Odo wants to offer Khotva the chance to come back with us – but i think he has his own path to pursue. I feel bare and cut off from the coven bond Geri and fazeel and I have made… but maybe i can regain some of my lost mana i am forced to share with them through the draining of these personal trinkets of Orom. We gather up what items we can – the remains of his robes, pieces and tatters that radiate shadow and void. The protective value of them is gone but what ever link or bond they had to the dark realms is still present. A couple of rings, one of obsidian that appears to absorb light, and another of what appears to be a snake skin material, the flesh almost seems to be alive. Moth are magical but Khotva can tell you that the obsidian ring is some kind of fetish for quick casting. We will have time to figure these out i hope. Time passage does not seem to correlate with our world, so i fear not for the extended stay to heal. Silvas will need a lot.

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Lament for Fallen Comrades
Jacquelyn creats a lament to be read when burying fallen Gallants

Sun above and earth below
to march a darkened road we go
we are the fallen and the dead
remember when you lay down your head
of comrades past and deeds long done
sing and drink and thank those now gone
[Once Gallant, Always Gallant]
lay us to rest forever more
[Once Gallant, Always Gallant]
and when your breath becomes a chore
[Once Gallant, Always Gallant]
we will meet again on the darkened road
[Once Gallant, Always Gallant]
and recognize those who live the code
[Once Gallant, Always Gallant]

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Heralds Quarterly 9167, Q3
Anwin Retires

The wizard Anwin has officially announced his retirement. After years of working for the Council of Cerran’s Grant – and most believe the twin river powers to the north – the wizard Anwin has announced he will retire to private life. The lavish remnant of the guardhouse above the dry river bed that he occupies will go up for sale. Over the years its been the scene of a few conflicts, but in the last decade or so, it has become increasingly busy as the council has relied on it as a base of operations to consolidate its power in the area. Anwin has said he takes no side personally in the ongoing struggles of the Riverdan folk, and wishes everyone prosperity. He has repeatedly sided against traditional concerns in his tenure as the “consultant” of the council and used his power to lend weight to the council’s decisions. Anwin’s departure in 3 months will leave the council with a distinct lack of effective power and presence. It is said that the council is seeking to employ one or more lesser wizards to fill in his stead. Anwin has not said where he will retire to, but likely a more warmer clime – the Vale Evander it is speculated.

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A peace process between Gwinn and Dunstrand?
An agent of the peace process goes missing - find him before the peace process is derailed.

One of the families of the ancient Bronzemen that scattered when their people were defeated by the Sea-King clans was that of Jaime Nasaeles (na-sael-aes) – a “Fish Lord” of Tarmysia with direct kin recently in Bar-Innis of Lily Glen (brother Jaisel Nasaeles married to Sarah Jaskal- now Sarah Nasaeles), a cousin of the family of Saenkromyr of Lily Glen (land owners, but no titles). The Jaskals have a few farms in the Saelish region of Audbrey Dale. It was through these family ties that a meeting between Tanner Holmraef and Braekikian Phertaosh of Gwinn (an agent of some noble birth) was going to be arranged – to talk peace and even possible withdrawal from Tarmysia.

The Gwinnish agent was smuggled into the area known as The Saelish using family commerce connections. The agent’s group was attacked and it is assumed they fled into the countryside. At the same time, it seems much of the bandits, squatters, and rogue mercenaries in the area vanished – believed to have been purchased by rival agents of Gwinn (or even rival political factions in Dunstrand) to scour the ruins of the area and kill or capture the peace process. The Duke is readying a force of two hundred to ride through the area and sweep up “traitors and agents” – Tanner Holmraef – regent of bar-Innis is afraid there will be a lot of collateral damage to an area just starting to rebuild after the civil war. You have 7-8 days before this happens, and the peace process is possibly derailed permanently (there are hints that political factions want this to happen on both sides).

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Red Hats (2nd squad, 1st platoon) made official Bannermen!
Baron Wheglin affirms Bannermen status of new breed of Gallants

The Gallants 2nd Squad, first platoon has been affirmed by Baron Wheglin as making it beyond the proving status of Bannermen.

View bannermen status levels…

We are now level 1 officially!

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Return to Tarly Castle

You have sat for several hours calming yourselves and enjoying the comforts of the hidey-hole. Dimly, you can hear an occasional “thud” from the other side of the concealed door. The outside of the door had stonework grafted to it to make it look like wall, but its 6 inch think iron bound oak. On the back side of the door is a symbol of Aerna.
- There is no obvious latch from the inside and you have searched but have not found an obvious way to open it.

The elven woman’s statue in the front entry occasionally makes deep sighing noises, though her lips do not move.

The temperature remains constant and warm. The food is fresh – yes, there is a larder you find, enough to survive months down here if you need to.

The mirrors in the chapel are strange; at certain angles they fill with nothing more than darkness. The chapel itself appears to be a last minute conversion of a bedroom – it appears to be shaped and furnished like them, but with an altar instead of a bed. The holy items (candles, bells, polished bowls and plates, candelabra, etc.) are all magical in nature – but remain a mystery.

Even the garderobes are nice – all toiletries provided. One storage room has a steady drip of fresh water – not enough the do more than a whore’s bath for enough for 5 people to live on daily.

There is no dust on anything and its all clean.

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Service in West River Run
Wiping the slate clean of past deeds

After being captured in Nettlebay, Baron Veff forces the characters to put down Cabellan agitators in Barrid and Molra.

In Barrid, the PC’s do so by being heavy handed, and a riot finally flushes out the agitators, but kills a few citizens.

In Molra, the same pattern surfaces. The PC’s in the course of a smoother investigation to win hearts and minds, uncover the body of a dead kid. It turns out that the agitators are far more organized here, and harder to crack. The dead kid turns out to be the latest in 5 deaths – from countryside to city – a couple homeless and 3 runaway kids. A cult of Sun Stealer is uncovered! However, in their rush to uncover them, the Gallants alert them to their presence and only catch the last cultist to leave the lair. The Gallants let the priesthood of the Church of Light handle the lair, where they find papers implicating judges, businessmen, etc. They are rounded up by the church and tortured. It turns out the papers are fake! The church of light looks bad, and the Gallants look good – as the agitators fear to even raise their heads after the mess, for fear of association.

They are released from service! They return home to Marvencol and the white sisters to rest. However, there is a military build up in West River Run. Just when the 2 sides look like they are going to war, they disperse – turns out a spy had infiltrated the Baron Veff’s circle and convinced him Richfield was planning an attack – pulling troops from Cabella and making way for a GWINNISH INVASION OF CABELLA!. The Gallants were ready though, and the Earl is pleased. The troops they recruited – about 20 under The Gallants banner and 20 under his are sent to reinforce West River Run for the Duke of Dunstrand. The Gallants return to Hawks Blood Inn.

Rest at Blackbath; The Gallants are acceptable “catches” now in some circles. Romance is in the air.
- Mary gets pregnant
- Fry-Bread falls in love

Hunting accident – assassins!

MORE TO COME

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Service in Richfield
Lord of Richfield and the Reagent scheme to keep the Gallants around

Sir Gar Samuelson of the House Guard of Richfield escorts the group to the north end of Richfield… the Blood Hawk Inn (a small keep really).

Storm Giants vs. Flying Elves!!!

The flying boat approached the enclave of the elves… it was then that the Gallants realized how foolish the frontal assault was. The spirits of the air commanded by the elves spun the boat upside down, for the Gallants had little control over it. All around the spirits of the air shriek their anger against the Gallants. Lighting arcs through the air – the giants and elves begin their clash! The sails on the giant boat are torn to ribbons, the boat shakes and twists – no one falls but its all anyone can do to simply hold on for dear life.

A Dangerous Bargain!
Bandage reaches out to the far presence and agrees to bind himself t oit in exchange for its help. It is the Anwin of the other world! The Anwin agrees and Bandage is tranformed – a plit tongue, ears… like an elf. The other Anwin says that the races need to come to a peaceful agreement – if the Gallants follow this path, they will find what they need to destroy the Anwin of their world.

Astral travel to the home of Shannustul the Explorer
- Killed by a lucky blow to the head!!!

The Demon of Desire!
Bandage uses up most of its power in discovering how it works. The power to defeat the Anwin of their own world is greatly diminished when the demon finally expends the last of its power.

Striking At Gwinn
The trip home is difficult… but Naked has already mapped out the escape route through the hills. It takes a week and a half to transport the heavy coin boxes and captives safely – but its done.
+10 days
The captives are nobles… minor, but still claim a ransom would be in order. The Gallants debate, even asking the nobles what they think they would be worth – Spin hinting that it better be worth while “for the Earl”. The Earl having taken the coin, and allowing the Gallants to ransom and keep anything they can get plus the jewelry from the nobles. Spider picks up the rest of the healing kits the group bought from the midwives and herbalists.
+3 days
spin decides to send Bandage to scout the area near the mine Windbag keeps talking about in Cerran’s Grant. Its also another way to get a potential spy out of the midst of the Gallants – as Books reminds Spin that they are all alive because of the bond between Bandage and the Anwin of the other dimension.
+10 days
After some back and forth slow messaging, a strongbox full of newly minted Gwinnish currency is theirs. Spin manages to involve the House Guards of Richfield, giving them a small cut of the proceeds and making friends in places that count.
+20 days
during the time, the group meets the local “arcanist” – Aman Fazeel. He tries to identify 2 potions for them, and manages to trigger the effects of one – releasing an inky smoke. Its at night however, and no one notices.

The group finds out they coins are plated though – but only after the coins form (200 coins per snake) 5 snakes and attack Books, Spin, Windbag, Naked, and Spider. A minor poison only, but a clear message. The Gallants ditch the coins for their worth – after Books checks to make sure the enchantment is no longer there.

After the return from the mission to snatch a garrison payment run from the Gwinnish forces, Flower’s will is read by Books:
The Last Will and Testament of Flowers

Mission to Guard the Workers at Marvencol

BANDAGE IS DEAD!!!!
Right before you guys headed out to Garnet Hill (with the old mine you are currently at) you got a personal messenger. A man arrived from Fort Sian in Cerran’s grant. He was told to he could claim a reward from you. The man who told him this is dead – its his remains he brought. There is very little left – its very burned – but the ring on one of his fingers indicates it is Bandage. The man says that he came to him in secret and said to deliver his remains if anything were to happen to him – for 250 silvers. The story you get is that Bandage must have been recognized by someone. A group of them cornered him in a flop house he was renting in, and burnt it to the ground around him. Some witnesses say that the fire came from a man.. rumors are that it was the Wizard Anwin…

Mystery at Garnet Hill

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