Blood & trade chronicles

Mendors Book Translation by Rynoor

Book of Keepings
Vizier-I Azam Mendor Azizia
Translator Rynoor – Keoland Mage Society

-512c -Spring

I have been summoned to the palace this morn to bear witness to a divine phenomenon . I must discern, along with clerics of the faiths any threat posed when viewed by our beloved Bey Alumi Merkanti. He will be gracing the castle gardens this afternoon, where this “water” has manifested. I have summoned Kirlis to saddle………………………………….

-512 –Summer (Unclear on Baklunis calendar)

The pool does indeed have magical properties and no amount of incense burning, dull chanting religious trickery could reveal in so much. It was I whom was able to determine the nature of this pool. The office of the Vizier-I Azam should have been place in charge. The pool ripples tho there is no breeze, nor fish in its depths, the water is cold, like melting ice, even as the sun beats down upon it. It was my request to have a royal taster drink a broth with it’s water mixed in. The Bey – his mind not yet mature has given responsibility to the court administrator, a fool of a man who sees only gold and silver. This office perceives a danger amongst this pools waters ……………………………………

-513 Autumn (roughly)

At my fervent request, Bey Aluni Merkanti has only allowed those closest to his royal house knowledge and access to the pool. Unfortunately the Court Office has also won a great coup. The Grand Buklanis Council will convene in our illustrious city. No doubt to see the work on our great causeway which will offer a massive boost to the war effort once completed. I’m sure the Bey will be to tempted and this pools existence will be revealed . Security on a magical nature will fall to my office and……………………………

-513 Winter (almost certainly)

The sickness is now an epidemic but the city of Alun Korovo Solqu goes on obilivious. Campsite of our guests stretch into the horizon. No one is concerned unless they or a family member is directly effected, the Black sleep goes on taking lives and our Clerics and their gods offer nothing.

Line to visit the Pool of Radiance (as the common folk have begun calling it) has reached the temple district in the city. Forlorn priests struggle to engage even the beggars with this new fervour sweeping the populace. Only the Pool can heal for free.
Our gods representatives show their fallibilities.

-513 (uncertain – but most likely still winter)

Initially I thought the Black Sleep was brought to our dying city by the bloated unwashed throng of visitors whom had come to gaze and sup from the Pool. Did you realise that many forgo daily bathing rituals after coming into contact with the pools waters – FILTH! I now see the truth, thanks be to my apprentice whom thoughtless spoke out of turn. While I watched him getting flogged I thought about what he’d said about the Pool and where is drew its power from to heal and restore. I began to see the correlation between the pools use and the virility of the Plague. My magical test indeed while potent can sometime hide the truth behind the myriad of facts they reveal .

Of those unfortunates that rise after dying of the Black Sleep, I have discerned a similar patern of magic to the pools signature. Magical divining has always been a passion and this will save our city and the office of the…………… (interesting magical analysis of the pool for 15 pages, I will spare the unskilled – Rynoor)……………………….The bile filled Suloise could not have used a more effective weapon but I doubt those pink apes have had a hand in this.

-513 (28 days later I surmise)

The city burns, the dead rise up everywhere. I, the Vizier-I Azam am afraid to sleep.
Battles rage through the city as groups clash to take control of the pool, they still think it will save them. I tried to explain to a mob, but those in the pools thrall tried to have me burned. Their corpses wont rise, I did not leave enough of their remains in my fury. We now sit in my library, clerics, apprentices and a few religious warriors whom did not give up their faith to the pool. Every man killed now rises. Our militia burn our houses to combat the plague and the dead. Utter madness. Our beloved Bey has fled.

Other city states cannot send us aid in fear of the plague spreading, the Seluoise offensive has drawn away our regular army. This city shall burn for even the wildlands brings forth a host of sub-humans to destroy us. They march to their own doom if they encamp here. We will meet to devise a plan to strike……(pages torn out – may have taken them to the meeting!)

-513 (34 days)

A small team of 8 men will try to infiltrate the castle and break asunder my most precious possession – The Staff of the Vizier-I Azam. It shall be ready and charged and the magic conflux it will cause will hopefully destabilise the pool and either destroy it (Unlikely) or send it back the hell that spawned it (some possibility). At least it will be buried under the castle (more than likely).

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Day 8
While the PCs are away....

Duncan was not one to sit idle while the powers-that-be sauntered off to investigate some old ruin deep in the heart of Goblin territory. He knew there was a significant threat right here in the heart of the human settlement and it was his intention to find it. Splitting his men into 4 teams, they would hunt for any signs of the creature amongst the uninhabited parts of the settlement. He would find the creature before it found another victim……

Duncan watched Garn’s 3rd group disappear from view, ruined stone walls swallowed them up. Garn had volunteered to lead a group and had a keen eye for stone work – perhaps his Dwarven eyes would see something the others might miss. Duncan’s own team was smaller, but made up of veterans from the numerous battles and sieges from the war just past. “Lets move, anywhere you can walk or crawl into – check it!” His squad fanned out and made their way among the ruins.

Tattered, shattered ruins
searching through loveless homes
A bruised sky, screams

“To the east, up two hundred paces, MOVE!” Duncan’s order provoked an immediate response from his men who took off in the direction ordered. As they closed in on where they thought the scream had emanated from, second squad appeared from behind a ruined warehouse heading in the same direction. “Second, move right – flank.” Sergeant Grekas nodded and veered his men away. Another scream, inhuman, sounded and Duncan sneered at himself for shuddering and picked up his pace. “MOOOVE!”

Duncan slowed his momentum as he crested a small rise. Below him was something unexpected and more worrisome than battle. Third squad had found what looked like a woman, but her hand and feet were massively deformed, clawed horrors only a nightmare could possess. Garn stood in front of her with his axe in hand; Blood oozed from his ears and the Dwarf looked none too steady on his feet. The creature was sobbing as her features began to change……..
--

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Day 5 - The Second Fleet

The priest of Wee-Jas shook his head in disbelief as the ships drew nearer. Here they were, mere days into the occupation of a cursed city with unknown numbers of enemies a couple of bowshots away, and the civilians were pouring in, like lambs to the slaughter. It was hard enough to keep the mercenaries in line, but a bunch of refugees, likely to wander off into the city looking for treasure to pawn off?

It was only last night that a force of Hobgoblins had attacked Sokol Keep and his own forces. He smiled at the thought of being glad that the Keep was haunted – the Hobgoblins would have extracted a much higher price from his men otherwise.

As the ships drew nearer, he could see some gaudily dressed fop standing on the bow of the ship, smiling inanely down at the Contessa DiMarichi. By the look on her face, it appeared that she was not looking forward to the reunion.

The two started exchanging pleasantries as the ships docked and the unwashed masses started pouring out. Most of them were refugees, owning nothing more than the clothes on their backs. What the Contessa was expected to do with them was anyone’s guess.

“…but anyway, orders are orders, I’m afraid my dear,” said the fop to the Contessa. The priest glanced over to his commander with a questioning look in his eyes.

“Marching orders,” whispered Gwyan. “The Marines are moving out. Their replacements are on the ship pulling up now.” A bunch of Keoland regulars started disembarking in a steady stream. Most looked green, though there were some that looked very promising indeed.

“Excuse me, but I think I’ll make myself acquainted with some potential recruits,” said the priest. He bowed briefly and casually made his way over to the edge of the docks.

“Greetings soldier.”

“The name’s Wirran. Might I ask your name, priest?”

“My name’s not important, though what I have to ask is. How would you like to double your income right now? Before registering with the garrison over there, you’ve got a chance to join our mercenary company. What do you say?”

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4th Night

Garnash Ukto ordered the 1st Company forward towards the silenced keep. Orders had filtered down from the castle that it would be his hobgoblins that would lead the assault this time. He knew casualties would be high fighting the Undead things that lurked inside, indeed many of his warriors couldn’t even harm the creatures with their mundane weaponry.

One of 3rd Company’s messengers arrived. “Oi’ Boss – Rentesh’s company have reached the bridge and scared off a few human scouts, barricades are in place but we can see ’em gathering in force on the other side. Rentesh wants to know if the humans will assault his side or if he should engage them before there’s too many?”

“Tell Rentesh I ain’t a human and I’m not about to guess their thinkings. Fight if they come across the bridge but don’t move against ’em till we gets ordered.” Garnash looked back to the silenced keep where hobgoblins were now heavily engaged with stinking dead things and casualties were high – the second wave would move in soon. Somewhere in the mix of the 2nd company was a collection of clerics, creepy looking Orcs and half Humans in plate armour covered in leering demon skulls.

A voice, clear and direct echoed in his head “Now move the 2nd company inside and drive them to the temple doors. Do not falter; we will take care of the rest”. Garnash raised his personnel banner above his head and barked the order to advance. Whips cracked to help motivate the second wave forward.

Somewhere in the distance a Human horn sounded

Somewhere in the distance a green light begun to glow.

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The Manor - Day 1 +4 hours

Rynoor stood in the corridor as the 2 Ahlissian mercs forced their way into a well appointed bedroom. He thought it strange that such a luxurious room would be found in a run down manor that must have served as an Asylum at some time in Korovoso past. The goblins had given this place a wide berth with of the exception of the 2 goblin corpses which lay desiccated on the front entry way.

The mage move to the door and could now see the mercs ransacking the room, their search for anything of value was insatiable. Another door in a darkened corner of the corridor creaked opened and Rynoor spun around as Dascen drew his sword and hissed a warning “Something in there is particularly foul, be ready” Rynoor scrambled to find some suitable spell components as he turned to warn the looting mercs and was surprised to see them standing by a chest, transfixed by a magical rune glowing on the underside of the lid. Rynoor threw himself to the right of the doorway, arms covering his head.

The explosion sent great gouts of flame into the corridor, not to mention 2 Ahlissian mercs, flying and on fire, whom upon thundering into the far corridor wall immediately begun patting out their burning uniforms. Further down the corridor a strange elderly man dress in nothing but a straight jacket stepped out of the darkened doorway, Dascen began a small prayer to his God and pointed his sword squarely at the old mans chest.

Things went downhill rapidly as Rynoor got to his feet. The manor was now on fire and whatever of interest was in the well appointed bedroom was burning, Yamira busily casting spells to control the flames. The 2 mercs where injured from the blast and both needed clerical attention although it was Gwyan whom produced a potion to sooth the burns. Meanwhile Dascen was about to cleave a restrained old man in 2, but before Dascen could deliver his overhead blow the old mans head lolled back, his eye turned blue and a 3 foot tongue rolled out of his mouth, then he disappeared…….

“Shit” thought Rynoor “I don’t have a spell for this”

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The Glassworks
Turfing the Goblins out

The interior of the goblin stronghold was chaos. Keolandish soldiers and Ahlissan mercenaries clashed with groups of goblins while spot fires from the flaming arrows smouldered and smoked, obscuring anything more than 20 feet away. Kaisee and Raphael had recovered from their less-than-elegant entrance, and were beginning to clear the way from the room they were in and into the main open area. In the meantime, the Contessa, Gwyan, Yamyra, Rynoor and Dascen had made their way through another window and were pushing further forward.

Yamyra began speaking. “Friends, this is our moment of victory! These vile creatures shall fall before us, as we reclaim this land from their degradations!” Her voice carried through the din, stirring the spirits of the group and driving them on. There was something in her voice – beyond just the words – that gave courage and support to the attackers. Goblins fell left and right as the group cut through them.

It did not take long for the goblin defence to collapse. The survivors fled through an exit to the side, while the soldiers and mercenaries tended to the wounded and secured the area.

“C’mon, let’s go!” said Raphael. “Let’s catch them and cut ‘em all down”.

“Hang on,” replied Gwyan. “Goblins are sneakly little bastards. We’d best check that they haven’t left any surprises for pursuers.”

The Rogue knelt down and carefully inspected the passage that the goblins had fled through. A few feet in, a thin line of wire ran across the floor at ankle height.

“Rynoor? Would you please be a dear and find out what this does?” asked Gwyan.

The group stepped back to a respectable distance, and Rynoor waved his arms in the air while muttering a short incantation. He pointed his finger at the wire, then pulled his finger back as if plucking an invisible string.

The wire pulled back, and a huge sheet of plate glass plunged from the ceiling, shattering on the floor over the wire and scattering thick shards of jagged glass everywhere. Everyone stared for a second, then involuntarily looked around their feet, looking for any other wires nearby.

“Nice,” said the Contessa. “We should really head down there and thank them for that little surprise.”

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Day 1 +2hours
Strong Point

Fizz…….

The Contessa crouched behind a broken stone wall as small steel bolts screamed overhead. She called to her captain, “Inesta, order the marines to form a testudo, I want them marching up the street toward that warehouse to draw fire” Inesta grinned and nodded, then ran across the exposed street to a ruined building where the marines where gathering.

Fizzz….

Peering over the wall she could see a contingent of Ahlissian mercenaries pinned down behind rubble, one or two lay dead in the street riddled with small bolts from the initial volley. Many where wounded and bleeding, tending to themselves as their healthy compatriots ignored their plight.

Ahead lay a warehouse which had been crudely converted in a strong point for the goblin defence of the city. Windows had been bricked up with mud so only small firing slits remained and tree stumps had been dragged in front of doorways to block passage. Any major cover around the building had been removed so the last 40 feet in all directions to the warehouse was totally exposed.

Fizzz……..Fizzz

Keoland Royal Marines with large wooden shields moved out into the street forming the shield-wall. Dascan, Yamira, Rynoor, Gwyan and the Contessa took up covered position behind as the formation began the slow march up the street. The drum beat of bolts striking the shield wall increase and goblins tried to break up the formation but the marines where to well disciplined to break and maintained a steady march.

Dascan grunted as they slowly moved forward. His plate-mail was not designed to move in a couched stance behind the shield-wall. Covered in foul smelling mud, sore form a number of minor wounds and sweaty in his steel skin, the Paladin glanced to his right and saw the halfling Yamira skipping along and smiling with excitement. “You look tired Das, sure you don’t wanna sit this one out, doubt we’ll be able to fit you thru a window anyhow!” piped the diminutive bard.

Fizzz…..Thunk….

The goblin attention was now squarely focused on the new threat coming towards them and they failed to notice 2 Ahlissian mercenaries break cover and reach the warehouse wall. Within a few seconds those mercenaries had attached a rope to the roof of the strong point and had begun to climb.

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Day 1 (continued)
What lurks within...

“What is it Dascen?” asked the Contessa.

The squad looked up at the 3-story stone building, the only structure they had discovered so far to have survived the goblin infestation relatively unblemished. A sign hung outside – a green ‘plus’ against a white background. Nobody recognised the symbol, though it bore a resemblance to common healing symbols of the land. Perhaps it was once a place of healing – the bodies of two withered goblins in the building grounds suggested that it might not perform that function any more.

The Paladin’s nose curled up as he stared at the building, and a sour look crossed his face.

“Something evil lives within. Evil and powerful. These goblins,” he said – gesturing at the two long-dead corpses on the ground, “discovered the hard way that evil always turns against evil.”

“Please, spare us the lecture!” said Gwyan. “All I want to know is whether we’re going inside or not.”

“I’m going to need some time to recover from this morning’s activities,” said Rynoor. The Wizard was healthy but had used up his most powerful magic on the beach landing and in combating the squad of goblins they had encountered in the street.

“If you ask me,” said Yamyra, “we should probably wait until we are all feeling a little rested, and perhaps once the rest of the area is properly secured. After all, we don’t want to get beaten up in there only to run into another squad later.”

“OK,” said the Contessa. “Let’s leave this for now and complete our sweep of this area. The other squads from the landing party will be finishing their areas too, and we should be able to secure this part of town in advance of what is sure to be a fun night tonight! The goblins will no doubt counter-attack under cover of darkness, so we should keep a little in reserve for that.”

Dascen stared a little longer at the building, as if he were trying to look through the walls to discover what lay within. Eventually he turned, and followed the rest of the party down the street to complete their sweep of the surrounding buildings.

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K-Day
Hitting the Beaches

“Fog…......blasted fog – we can bearly see where we are going let alone coordinate a beach landing with 2 other warship”

Inesta pulled open his spy glass and peered into the thick white swirling clouds. “you worry too much for one so young Contessa, these men are ready, the captains have their orders and the fog will hinder the goblins as much as it will us”

Still frowning the Contessa Katerina Di Marichi checked her sword and glanced quickly the stern Paladin standing beside her. “Still wearing your platemail Dascen, are you sure you want to wade ashore like a giant steel turtle”

Yamyra appeared from behind a mast ” I’m not going to be able to come up with much of a song if you drown in the landing Das, maybe some empty water skins, tied to your arms would help??” she muttered with a wolfish grin.

Dascen – the stern – six foot tall steel plated follower of Jascar was glad his visor was down as he mouthed a few silent retorts to his antagonists

--------10 minutes later--------

Dascen cursed his visor being down as the goblin began filling his helmet with runny mud. Overborn by a small horde of the creatures as he leapt from the ship into knee deep muck, he now found himself in danger of being drowned in 1 foot of mud and water. Fotunately it was as this point that he, in a fit of rage, balled his fist and swung a blind haymaker above his head, something connected hard to his metal gauntlet and a meaty crunch dislodged the weight on his chest which helped to pin him.

Someone began a sonorous chant in the distance and the smell of ozone and a goblin shriek released the weight on his legs so now Dascen rolled hard and lifted his head out of the muddy water as he got to his knees. Looking to his right he saw Rynoor, the expedition mage, smile and then animated his staff and send it towards the last few goblins on the beach.

-------—20 minutes---------

Yamyra heard the wistle again from echo around the ruined streets as fleeing goblins stopped in mid stride and charge back into battle, eyes a strange blue shade. Quickly she brought her fingers into action a cast a spell to mimmick what she had heard. Some of the goblins stopped, some turned tail again but enough came towards her to challenge the little halfling bard. She prepared herself, staff in hand, with a tune on her lips that always made her feel courageous. A shadow moved past her and a female Ahlissian mercenary tore the first goblin out of mid leap with a well placed throwing dagger.

“Sod it Gwyan, he was mine – who the hell invited Ahlissa to this party anyway?” she asked with a grin.

“Money dear girl, always the money that invites the like of me, can’t you smell it, hidden in all these ruins” Gwyan neatly tripped another goblin and stabbed it kidneys with the 2 daggers she held.

-------30 minutes-----------

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