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The growing story

The wise have gathered, the fools will scatter..

The wise men have gathered many a story. These pages will grow with their knowledge.

I was born in the township of Salahir. I myself am of no importance, but my words add to the greater view. At least that is what they told me. Seers travel through our world to warn us of the impending drama that is to unfold. 'What drama?' You ask me, I have no idea whatsoever. But they told me that without my way of thinking and my specific addition to the story they would never get the complete picture. Does this make me special? It did at first.. But I know now that these three have been travelling for many a year and have gathered the stories of many individuals. I am just a small part of it all, but without me there is no story. This is why I give you these words, to help complete what is to come, to help prevent what is to happen.
They asked me only to tell what I felt was relevent. I do not know if it was in the herbs or if they did something magical, but telling you all this simply feels right.
The township of Salahir is one of the bigger townships of a fellowship protected by Santa Cora. I have no special bond with Santa Cora itself, but I would give my life to protect Salahir. And I would probably do the same for the township of Tirhana. I have never been to any of the other townships and I probably never will. Though I have heard many a nice story about Santa Cora's market festival, I would not want all those outsiders walking around freely in our township during that time. I feel good about Salahir, it's this good feeling that makes us strong.
Officially we belong to the empire, but the Priestess in Santa Cora keeps their rule at bay in trade for keeping visitors from the Necropolis away. Peace of some sorts has reigned in our world near to a hundred years. Though if it was up to the some elements in this world demons would walk the land and orcs would rage through it from the north. As long as the precarious friendship between Lord Nethanlik and the Emperor is kept alive we will know our kind of peace for a while longer. Some tell us this peace cannot last, but it has for a long time, and they have been saying that for almost as long.
I am only telling you this because this peace makes my life a lot easier. I am a dabbler of the small arts, a creator of simple beauty. And in war there is not much use for the simple magical joys of my creations. One of the traders once told me that Lord Nethanlik has one of my dancing birds on his desk. I do not know if this is true, but the idea alone makes me smile. I have a good life, I provide for my wife and my two children and I am able to do what I like for a living.

The tall dark man laughs, 'Powerful you say?'. He sighs, 'I think not, my friend. I cannot see beyond the Daruh Mountains. My sight cannot penetrate the storms of Tashu Desert. And all I can see on the waters to the south is the wreckage of our ships that dare sail too far. The men that bring stories from across those boundaries, those are the powerful ones. Though who actually tells these stories for the first time no one seems to know.'
Admiration clearly in his voice he says, 'I'd like to one day find someone who has travelled beyond the bounderies. I would richly reward anyone in helping me find that knowledge. Tell me, ancient one, do you know something about it?'

'I know not of what you speak, but I know there are five Stalrik stones.'

My village lies in the outskirts of the Tlefekuh hills, just below the Daruh Mountains. If it's a clear day we can see the top of mount Elisia. Though short of the dwarves no one has come through the mountains for as long as I am alive. Some tried to leave through the mountains, but none have come back. But that could have easily been because the dwarves admit no outsiders inside their halls. Do not go looking for trouble there my friend, they are fiercely protective of their lands. They come to trade to what they call the lowlands, and some even travel further into our lands. But all of them plan to return to their sacred halls before they die. Will you be going into dwarflands aswell? Not that it would matter any, you never share any of your tales. We have only rumours and ancient legends of what the sights of the halls of Daruh are like. They are mostly friendly types, them dwarves, don't let anyone tell you different. They share their ale and fire. They even give good deals on their precious stones and metals. Not much you can do wrong actually. Just don't try to enter their lands without a good cause, do not make them angry and watch out when they are drunk.

Ha! Do not think for one moment our noble emperor cannot simply crush the lands of those lowly country folk. Why would he even want those petty and horrid lands? It would only bring more trouble than profit. It's bad enough that we need our own rabble farmers. We can keep them in check easily enough, they know we are their superior in every way. I am told most of them live in swamps and hut villages, and they walk around in furs or barily any clothes at all. No, it is a wise decision to let them suffer in their own miseries. Better to keep our watchful eyes on that Nethanlik fellow. He calls himself a lord and has some decent armed forces, I wager our good emperor will turn his attention there soon enough. Or maybe we could rid ourselves of those elf monsters. They say our own forests are shrinking and no one will miss those dirty woodcreatures anyway.

You cannot go to Adrian tower. It is inhabited by a wizard of enormous power. He has ogres for servants, spiders for caretakers and a dragon as a pet. No one goes there, it is certain death. And what if you go and you draw his attention away from his own projects? What if he decides to leave that place and come and visit us? It would mean disaster for all of us. The surrounding villages have patrols around the tower, not for protection, but to keep wanderers away from there. They tell us you gather information to prepare for somethingbig. But if you go to Adrian tower and draw out the wizard, your petty prophecies will matter no more.

Yes, a mighty stone lies beneath the ruined keep of Malrok. But it is a haunted place. Death for many a curious fellow I tell ya.

Silverthal (Post Session 1)

What brings you to Silverthal? The Silverthal stout? The quiet? Our songs? Not much more here if you ask me. Don't mind me though, I love the quiet of our village, the happy tunes in our family rooms and I can't miss our drink. But It has never been of much interest to most of the outsiders. We had that one fella some years back though, looking for something. A place of somekind, I cannot remember much of it. But since that man came by we have all kinds of stories about our cemetery. Mostly stories of the night though, no sane halfling goes there at night. So who invented the stories is as good a question as any. They say our village was built on some kind of ruins. Makes sense I guess. No use having to dig our own stones out of the hills when good ones are lying around.

Skeletons (Post Session 2)

Beware the undead..

The undead are not the most rare creatures in this world. But that does not make them friend material. The don't talk, they don't eat, they don't help and try to kill you when you aren't watching. Well, they try to kill you when you are watching. Better stay clear from them is the smart idea, which is actually kinda easy. They are slow and don't follow to far anyway. Just don't go entering the places they reside though, they will try to take you down. But one thing you can be sure about with skeletons, whatever they are doing, it's all part of the greater plan of the Lich King. Any permanent death to any skeleton, or any other of his other undead minions for that matter, is felt by him. Where ever he is. And he will remember and punish if he deems it necessary. Watch my words, friend, watch my words.

Legionaires (Post Session 3)

Who wants to go into a mausoleum at night?

There are undead which are not controlled by the Lich King. A long time ago, there was a terrible war raging these lands. A powerful magic was unleashed against the elite golden legionaires of the Stalrik empire. If not for their own protective magics they would have died instantly. Though that might have been more fortunate for them. As the two magics fought for control, the legionaires suffered the consequences. They both died and lived again that day. They became the undead skeletal legionaires. All of them becoming entangled into one undead entity, with their own will and goals. It is said the Stalrik emperor gave them one final task in exchange for their freedom. Beware these skeletal warriors, rumours are they are still around these days. Forever suffering and forever searching for release. I cannot tell you if killing one of these creatures releases one of their souls or actually hurts the whole legion. They have their own reasons for being somewhere, mostly dark places of power.

Everyone collects something (Post Session 4)

The archmage is a collector of many things. Amongst them are, valuable stones, magic apparatuses, power, glasses, knowledge and books. He values all these things and they say he knows what he has collected by heart. He shows these items to the world in both public and private places. And where ever they are he has his own both secret and non secret ways of reaching them when he craves their touch. His underlings serve to protect these items, but if you ask me he has a special bond to his collection. If any happen to go missing you can never be sure if it was by chance luck of a thief or through a devious deeper plan of the archmage himself.

Only men of power get their own coat of arms

Only one man knows if the Stalrik emperor is actually the same person as our glorious emperor. Some believe this to be true, others say it to create stories. We will probably never know for sure, for he will surely not tell us.

Dragons (Post Session 5)

No use running away from a dragon

I was born in a wealthy and powerful family. But being the youngest of three brothers my presence and court training were less required. I had formal training and schooling, but after that I got the freedom my brothers did not get. As a child I was always interested in stories about dragons. But those were mostly childrens stories, I was interested in the real deal. When I was old enough I asked my parents for permission to leave our city and look for more. My father was in doubt at first, but my mother shared my passions for knowledge and the strange things in this world. She convinced him that I would bring knowledge and thus more power to our family. I would bring back things my older brothers had no time to find.
I left and traveled our world for many years and learned many a thing. Specially about dragons. There aren't as much dragons out there as there use to be, but if you know where to look they can still be found. In the western part of the empire, near Meadows or Concord, dragons sometimes swoop over the lands in search for food. Mostly free animals, but sometimes they take farmer's animals. None that cannot be missed though, they are intelligent creatures and know the balance of the world. They say the wizard at Adrian tower has a dragon, but that is a place I will not go. Even with my traveling experience and personal guard I cannot guarantee safe passage. I have seen the dragons that come to Drakkenhall, I have talked to the red dragon called Sivak in the southern elven lands and was run out of the Iklan woods south of Westhaven by two bronze dragons. I also met with an old green and yellow to whom I promised not to divulge his name and location. I have learned many a secret of this world, but those are not of dragons. I will be returning home soon, I have seen enough to make my parents proud.

Daughters of a powerful man (Post Session 7)

Tangril slammed down his mug and beer flowed over the rim. Ofcourse I have done things in her name I do not like. I serve the Emperor's family, I do what they tell me. Even Llessa get's to tell me what to do. Even though she rarely makes use of us rangers, sometimes she needs our expertise. The last one was not that long ago actually. She asked me to follow Lilliane, not to get to close and it was more important to find out if she went where Llessa thought she would than what she was doing there. Where she went you ask? To the Wild Wood she went. And I didn't follow inside either. Not that I dare not enter, no, I've been in there a few times. It's just not smart to follow someone in there that might be friendly with the High Druid. You cannot hide from him inside his own wood, that's for sure. So I camped outside the wood, quietly waiting for her return journey. Even though I was following her, I am also charged to defend her with my life. Bit of a double assignment I guess. Even though I am good at my job I actually think she knew I was tracking her. But she isn't going to tell me if she did now, she might just use it against Llessa if ever necessary. Family politics those are, not for a lowly ranger like me.

Prophecy (Post Session 8)

A story is what a story does

The child's parents weren't happy having to abandon their child, I can tell you that. Though what would happen if they hadn't given the child away no one could know for sure. I remember their sorrow more than anything, I cannot tell you if it was a girl or a boy or how long ago it was. Though more than 60 years at least, that was when I moved away to the Court of Stars. I think the child was given to a dark one, a protector of sorts. The child was to be told nothing of it's possible future. Though the ways of the dark ones could be cruel, you were sure that they would keep their word. What was even worse was that they couldn't even agree if the child was part of the prophecy or not. Though the difference in skin was a clear hint, the rest was shrouded in unclarity. Every time something got close to the prophecy the discussions would rage and a child would be in danger. I have seen another at court a few years back, she was female, no idea if she was the same one or not. But she disappeared into the world again, no one here knows where she is now.

Of songs and stories (Post Session 9)

A good song has structure and meaning. It not only tells a story but it tells it in a superior way. The length and vibration of a line in a strophe have meaning beyond the words by itself. Sentences of strophes exist out of syllables and a good sentence has a different amount of syllables than the other sentences of the same strophe. As I said that all good songs tell a story but good stories can also include songs, though some are not always directly shown.

A High Druid's Mark (Post Session 10)

A special message for a special purpose

There is nothing simple about dwarven chests

They say the High Druid marks what he sees as being his property. Some marks are easily visible, others can only be seen by those that need to see it. He knows every tree and all animals inside Wild Wood. It is his domain, everyone in it knows it and accepts the symbiosis. Most actually like it and enjoy the protection of the Wild Wood. Though at times others try to disrupt the balance, sometimes by icons themselves, most of the time in name of one. Legend tells us that onne of the worst corruptions took place in what is now called Dire Wood. A place where the mages of Horizon took their experiments to prove the world their magic is more powerful than any other. Though whatever happens to these marks, they never lose their connection to the High Druid. If you are marked he will always be with you.

Tattoo (Post Session 11)

Does this look familiar?

Balance Keeper (Post Session 12)

What balance needs keeping?

Is a picture of a chest also a chest?

Heed the signs of an Icon. There is always a price when an Icon bids your attention, but ignoring an Icon is never good. The result is not always apparent and immediate, an Icon is patient and lives a long time. They might ignore you for many years, but if one decides he needs you in their games of power and your physical state is not important to their goals. Anything might happen. I have an uncle who will never ride a horse again who can attest to that.

Prophecy (Post Session 13)

Born a child will be, one of elven heritage but not like others
Birthed a child will be, of the forest but not like others
Brought into this world a child will be, with features like the others
Delivered to our lands a child will be, with promise of the future

Brought up this youngling will be, removed from it’s warmed crib
Raised this youngling will be, protected by the others
Trained this youngling will be, kept safe by a protector
Nurtured this youngling will be, free of the weight of it’s task

Retrieved this elf will be, to see more of it’s world
Sent out this elf will be, to see more of the world
Unlikely companioned this elf will be, by mixed green blood of this world
Challenged this elf will be, to brave more of our world

Prophecised this elf will be, to unite our people of this world

Golem (Post Session 14)

Nobody knows much of that ruin of Stalrik. A past empire of somesort. Don't really care that much for most of it but for one thing. The main tower is more than just a tower, my grandfather always told me stories about that tower. It was mostly normal stone, but the base of the tower was a sleeping stone golem. Ensorceled by either the emperor or it's first mage. Protection for the keep, the emperor or maybe something inside the tower. It's still there under that ruined tower if you ask me.

Adrian (Post Session 15)

What would happen if Adrian returned?

Adrian was a pretty popular name once, but I don't think anyone wants to name his son that way anymore. No one wants their child to be connected to that place. Some people even say the wizard comes for your child if you dare name it Adrian. Some even say the wizard calls himself Adrian at times. But that's just silly talking, no one really knows what goes on in that tower. Since the real Adrian died of mysterious causes and the wizard took over the place a smear has been put on both the name and the tower.
There are stories that only someone named Adrian can remove the wizard from the tower, or that the name is part of a riddle or password to enter through a secret entrance. Fancyful ideas, but no one living near Adrian's Tower is strong enough to find out and if there is anyone out there that is strong enough to do something against the wizard, he or she probably doesn't care about the tower. At first people just said to wait for the man to die of old age, but that was more than a lifetime ago. Guess he either has found a way around getting old or he isn't human but perhaps an elf like some rumours say.
And what if Adrian was not dead and he would return? What would happen then? Was Adrian just a nice old man that helped neighbouring villages? Was he man without powers, or was he more than a man with just the resources to make the lands around the Tower prosper? It was a long time ago and the lands used to be more prosperous indeed. But I guess that is just wishful thinking on my part. The Tower will never be like it once was, but just a little bit better would suffice. Just enough better that the rotten wizard would leave us alone.

A missing message is given

Magics (Post Session 16)

Beware the effects of mixing magics

Cleaning a scroll (Post Session 17)

Are any magics still left?

A scroll tells us a story (Post Session 18)

Never has there been such a heroic story as the one I am
going to tell today. This is the story about how Myriath Hearthstone went
to Outlook en defended the lands against an invasion by the Orcs.

The gold dragon had spend a lot of its energy on driving back the
demons, which had caused reduced control of the situation in the wastes.
The Orcs grabbed this opportunity to gather forces on the outskirts of the
wastes. These troops consisted of all the evil this land had to offer, apart
from demons who were a proper nuisance but were not allied with the Orcs
and the undead who kept to their own plans.

Myriath and her band of Trollslayers had been hunting the wastes for
the remaining trolls, unaware that an even larger army had formed and
had started their march towards Argent Dale. When Myriath became
aware of the mass murder and destruction which occured in Argent Dale,
leaving it in rubble, she turned to the powers that are. They guided and
helped her reach the most important gateway from the North to the South.
The crossing north of Outlook; the Endless Horizon.
There the gathered powers of the Trollslayers, along with the humans of
Stalrik, and some Elves from Queens Wood withstood the siege lead by
the Orc Lord.

If it hadn’t been for Myriath and all the brave soldiers of the free world.
We wouldn’t have been able to tell this story today!

    Myriath was her name, trollslaying her fame
    She gathered her troops from across the land
    Stood up to the Orc Lord with all her might
    And the bad was driven back from where they came

This is not our forest. The High Druid gave us refuge here after we failed our allies in the war. Some of them, all dark ones, even chased after us to Wild Wood. Most were dealt with by the creatures from this place, but some made their refuge in nearby ruins. They cannot leave that place for fear of the creatures outside, but for some reason the inhabitants of the forest cannot enter aswell. It is protected by something old, we have no idea what. Nor will we find out as we do not go near.
Our elders tell us that there will be a time of reconciliation. But our younglings are starting to ignore the old stories. If we are to be allowed back in the graces of our past allies, something must happen soon. Before our elders pass on to the next life, my generation looses faith and our younglings take over. We need a sign, a presence of something or someone. I cannot but dream of the old age. We have a decent life here in Wild Wood, but our previous path was a lot more glorious.

Wild Wood (Post Session 19)

The Dire Wood was of course already known for the weird creatures, that occasionally emerged from the woods. But lately the number and ferocity of these creatures had grown to an uncrontrollable point where even the High Druid started to worry. If this would escalate even further, along with the Orc invasion and the flyby’s by The Three, this would most certainly cascade deeper into Cataclysm.

So the High Druid called upon the powers of his loyal subjects. But also help was coming from an unexpected direction. A new order, who called themselves the Balancekeepers, had joined forces to put a stop to the Dire outbreak.

As the troops gathered on the outskirts of Wild Wood, they marched across the bridge at Endless Horizon. and from there they continued west towards Dire Wood. There the troops split in smaller groups of people as they wanted to cover as much ground as possible as soon as possible, before they would be overrun.

Some groups were never heard of again. Some groups only partially returned, with people lost to the Dire creatures tearing them apart. A few groups however achieved to reach the exact middle of the woods where they found a mysterious clearing. Nothing but some grasses grew there. But it was very clear this was the source of what was currently going on in Dire Wood.

A strange stone was emitting very powerfull magic energy causing all but some of the balance keepers a massive headache. Those few who remained standing, walked up to the stone, and with a massive hit by their combined forces, they shattered the stone in various small pieces which were distributed to avoid them ever being put together again.

With the stone destroyed, the troops were able to clean up the largest of threats, thus returning Dire Wood to its normal dire state.

A message (Post Session 21)

A view to die for..

A message (Post Session 22)

A pendant on Brugo's neck

A stone

We topple the stone
The winds die down
We conquer the world

Orcish "nursery" rhyme

A helm

A dragon's helmet for a dragon?

Dreams (Post Session 25)

Much needed sleep takes you under, but only for a short time as voices enter your dreams.

'Do you think they know we are here?', a hissing voice asks.
A sigh and a heavy voice says, 'Probably not, they're having trouble keeping our brethren from their own place'
'But we are in their homes and have been for quite a while. A solidly build place, we feel good here. I do not want to leave', the other hisses.
Another sigh, 'Maybe the time has come to reach outside, I am not sure yet. This is the first time our people has found a place of our own. We can keep our Brethren out and we have grown as a people. Maybe we should take a different name for ourselves, we are nothing like our Brethren anymore.'
'But won't they want their place back? The small fat ones? What then?'
'I do not know, my friend. Maybe we can help them with the other places they lost, maybe we can keep living here.'
'You mean go against our own Brethren?'
'They are our brethren no more, they are chaotic, we are civilized. We need to grow further. Time will show us.'
'You are wise, I will speak to the others.'

Sleep takes over again.

You roll to your left side and voices come.

Female voice: I cannot control it, it goes too fast!
Male voice: What have you done? You should have confered with us first!
Female: It was a spur of the moment. It was just so beautiful, I just wanted to thank her and then I just did it.
Male: You have no idea what you have done!
Female: I know exactly what I have done, I just didn't expect how fast it would go. I think it's a sign.
Male: Yes, a bad one for the world. We must discuss this.. Without her.
Female: She will find out anyway.
Male: Yes, but only afterwards.

Blessed fog of silence takes over your sleep.

Male voice: Nicely done, little sister! A spark of genious!
Female: Brother! I thought you went away, I miss you dearly.
Male: I am far too old, dear sister. But I had to gather one more, my last I hope.
Female: The last one was yours then. It gives hope.. of a kind.
Male: It gives hope only because of what you did, sister dear. The conclusions are getting too close.
Female: We know. Will you come for the meet?
Male: No, I cannot. Keep him calm, sweet sister. You have made a good choice, do not let him convince you otherwise.
Female: Thank you, dearest brother.
Male: Farewell, little sister.

Centaurs (Post Session 30)

Who should play what role?

Tower (Post Session 31)

This is knot just a work of art (Post Session 32)

A dragons paintings (Post Session 33)

Should we go there?

Words can be read (Post Session 35)

Sun Keep no more (Post Session 38)

Reach had already fallen, and there was not much chance for the guardians of Sun Keep to survive for very long. And if it hadn’t been for the marching armies, the view over the wastes would have been almost magical. A soft glow of a new morning flowing over the goldens sands.
The fall of Sun Keep would give the armies of the Orc Lord free reign over the lands east of the Glittering River. The endangered border of the Queen’s Wood would double in size almost over night. Most bridges leading over Glittering River would have to be destroyed and that was a step unimagined by most people of these lands.

No one expected Reach to fall as fast as it did. The high walls allowed for many a casualty among the enemies, but the hordes of fell creatures were simply to numerous for almost any keep to resist. There was no way of knowing if Reach was still standing or if it was simply a smoldering ruin. It did not matter, the Orc armies were passed Reach and were marching on Sun Keep now. Even though the walls of Sun Keep were as formidable as those of Reach, the defense of Reach had not made a real dent in the legions of the Orc Lord.
We weren’t giving up though, this is what we were trained for. We had more preparation time than Reach and we had made good use of it. We knew we would fall against the coming threat, but we would not fail our task. We would take down as much as we plannned, hopefully even enough for our masters to prepare a defense that would take care of these ugly beasts of the wastes.

At least that’s what we thought before we saw the armies gather before us. We needed a miracle that day. But Horizon had its own problems, Stalrik had its main force on the other side of the river, the Dwarves were busy and too far away, and the Elves, who knew about the Elves. We were told the Elves joined the war, but they always kept their own council on what to do. Elves don’t leave their forests do they, at least not with more than a small group of travellers, scouts or emmisaries.

How wrong we were about the Elves that day. It was glorious! The enemy was at our walls, just throwing almost everything at us, fully convinced that they could take us in one single day of mass battle. And they might have been right as well, but for the Elves. They had perfect timing and a perfect plan. We didn’t expect anything and so weren’t watching, but chaos ripped through our enemies as elven arrows massacred them from behind. And that dragon! Such grace in its deadly swoops, and always joined with magics from someone on the ground. Dark Elves, High Elves, Wood Elves, Centaurs and other creatures of the Wood. They were all there, the joining of the three is what makes them a real power.

It was a bad day for everyone that day, but it was the worst for the Orc Lord. His armies still killed many an Elf, but more of his were slain and a retreat was forced that day. After that day and in honour of the Elf Queen we changed the name of the keep from Sun Keep to Queen’s Bone. United we stood, and as long as the Elves are united this keep will not fall.

At Sun’s Keep the Orcs were sighted,
Luckily the Elves came united..
Saved was the place of stone,
And renamed to Queen’s Bone.

A new tattoo (Post Session 39)

Time (Post Session 42)

High Rock (Post Session 44)

The city once named High Rock is not a place we need to go. It has been taken over by the blue one of the Three. As the attached scroll tells us, it was vanquished last time. With that knowledge and the help of the Three it will have to be a worry for a later time.
We have learned other things about the last time and we will work our way to Sun Keep and you will have to investigate High and Low Dale. We have also learned about a place called Horizon and we need to find out more information before we decide what to do there.

One last fight (Post Session 47)

Two more chests (Post Session 53)
Darkness awoken from the water
Death spread to son and daughter
Brunhilt, the waters she braved,
and Santa Cora was saved

This hero of none
Hunts demons for fun
But disturb or support
your fate will be short

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