Rifts of the Taies

The Story So Far - Chapter 3
The Ettin and his 'Kale'

On the Road

The next morning at dawn the PCs headed out along the west road toward the town of Moul. While on the road they came across the other group of adventurers that they had met briefly during the dinner with Tenzikil. On the road though they looked different with their easterner clothing linking them to a much closer location, specifically the province just to the east of Mulkaeran, Druledk.

They stopped to chat briefly, with Tixe and Zykir speaking with the humans from the east, while Evayne studied their belongings. Hanging from one of their saddlebags Evayne saw a pair of Arcane Shackles designed for suppressing Magi and Wizards. Evayne brought this information up to the rest of them and they confronted the Druledk mage hunters about the shackles to which they admitted that they had crossed most of Mulkaeran looking for an escaped prisoner. They urged the PCs to keep an eye out and to avoid him if at all possible.

The meeting ended with neither party liking the other very much, and with the PCs heading off for the town of Moul. They stayed the night in one of the outskirt inns and did not spend any time in town.

Early the next morning they moved out east from the town into the wilderness and hills of the Highlands. They made for the coastline cliffs of the Highlands to follow the coast east toward Camp Draedus.

The Ettins

After a day and half of travel as they peaked over one of the small hills, they could see that over the next hill were two large humanoid creatures standing tall enough that they could make out their heads just over the hill. Evayne spotted an ambush however and brought them all to a halt as they realized that much of the shrubbery wasn’t in fact shrubbery at all, but camouflaged hobgoblins.

The PCs took up a defensive position, though without any real cover there wasn’t much that they could do. As they were trying to decide how to move forward they heard the raised voice of the giant humanoids calling someone “Kale” though who that was referring to and what the argument was about they couldn’t make out.

They were in a poor position and so they decided to sneak up on the giants over the hill and saw that they weren’t giants, but Ettins arguing with a single man that seemed to be holding both of the Ettins off at a distance. The PCs approached the conflict and brought the argument to a halt as the Ettins and the man looked at them.

Both the Ettins and the man pleaded for the PCs to join them. The lead Ettin identified itself as Chokol, and he identified the man as “Kale” the wizard. The PCs refused to assist either as neither side seemed trustworthy to them, but in doing so, “Kale” gave up on his argument and triggered a magical trigger to release the other Ettin from some form or magical binding. With that a necklace that matched those Tixe had removed from the Ogres back in Veik, fell to the ground.

Chokol thanked the PCs and turned to lead the other Ettin and the hobgoblins away to the north. The PCs approached “Kale” who was moderately displeased with them. It was obvious upon their approach that he was a powerful wizard and they presumed that he was in fact the wizard that the mage hunters were after.

The Hunted Wizard of Questionable Morals

“Kale” explained that he too was heading east and wondered if the PCs would travel with him for protection. When pressed as to what he needed protection from, he explained that he was the mage the hunters were after. The PCs then turned to questioning him about the necklaces, and he admitted that those too were created by him and they were enchanted to cause the wearer to obey a specific set of commands pre-assigned to the necklaces. He explained that if they wanted some, he still had three more and would happily make them necklaces to use.

When asked, he explained that he had been using the local goblin clans as a hiding spot from the mage hunters, but that in return they were demanding he grant them more and more power. Upon learning that the mage hunters were in the Highlands, due to a goblin spy, able to look like a human because of him, he gave three necklaces to some Ogres with an enchantment forcing them to seek out and hunt down the hunters, which is why they came to Veik.

The PCs were disgusted by his actions and refused to travel with him. Whatever his problems were, they were his, not theirs. They turned their back on “Kale” and left at a quick trot to put a sizable distance between them and the Wizard.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 2
Tenzikil's Triple E, The Three Slippers, The Pig King

The Dinner

Following the battle in the street with the Ogres, Tenzikil saw to it that the mercenary PCs were able to claim the heads of the Ogres for their own bounty, he then provided them with some food and drink, though because of their injuries and fatigue they pushed dinner out a little ways to let everyone recover and allow them to return the heads of the Ogres to Zykir’s parents home.

Zykir and Mace took the heads back to her parents home while Evayne and Tinorian obtained the necessary materials to pickle the heads so that they could keep until the Imperial Magistrate would come to town to be able to collect them.

Tixe saw to Ironheart’s injuries and helped him get onto his feet again and calmed down from the fire of the rage and the battle.

Later that evening the PCs returned to Tenzikil’s Inn to join him, the Seeker Varian, and another group of adventurers who wore lowlanders and easterner’s clothing and equipment. During the dinner, Tenzikil explained the role of his organization of Tenzikil’s Triple E. His company Explored the far reaches of the Empire and the lands beyond and then made a point to try and understand and Experiment with what they found in the “natural” world. Once they understood it all they would set to the task of recording it and distributing that knowledge throughout the Empire to Explain it to the people.

Tenzikil explained that he was in the process of obtaining the rights to a portion of the Hall of the Dragons just north and west of Daedlina the provincial capitol for Mulkaeran. With this new library and presentation hall, he needed to study the anomalies of Mulkaeran first so that the locals could have their own lands explained to them. To that end he was looking for groups like theirs to travel out into the highlands to Explore for him.

Tenzikil explained that he would give them all time to determine if they actually wanted to join up with his plan and work for him. They ended the dinner and Tenzikil asked that if they were interested in picking up various jobs from him that they could return tomorrow where they would be able to see the jobs that he needed done and what he was willing to pay and give then for the jobs.

The PCs all decided to think on it over night and they each returned to their own respective inns and homes for the evening.

Ironheart returned the Inn The Pig King and while he recovered from his injuries he observed what the inn was named for as a man stepped into a ring with a greased up pig to wrestle with it.

Tinorian returned to his inn The Three Slippers to find that there were three slippers in his room, two green and one blue. When asked the staff and patrons of the inn would only smile and refuse to discuss what the slippers meant. Tinorian refused to touch them initially and planned to try to talk either the gnome Tixe or the sorcerer Zykir into coming to investigate if there were magical properties to the slippers.

Back at home, Zykir and Mace worked with Zykir’s adoptive parents to prepare the Ogre heads for pickling. They also spent the rest of the evening catching up and sharing their stories.

Tenzikil’s Tasks!

The next morning, Tinorian awoke early and made his way to Tenzikil’s inn to review the work being done by the gnome. He saw that Tenzikil had a massive map of the highlands posted on the wall with slips of parchment attached to the map in the various locations where such tasks would be needed.

As the morning rolled on the rest of the PCs eventually made their way to the inn to join Tinorian in reviewing and choosing which tasks they wanted to pursue. Tenzikil explained that for efficiency he would ask that they take more than one task at a time and that they attempt to work in a specific region of the Highlands.

After a lot of discussion and review they decided to take five different tasks:

1 – The Hunter’s Camp – Draedus

This task required them to travel to Camp Draedus out on the western edge of the Highlands to try to determine:
Why the camp was there?
What do the people in the camp do there?
Is there a curse, or corruption over the camp?
Why do people go there and never return?

To complete this task, Tenzikil gave them 60 gold each, A map, and The Eyes of the Eagle.

2- The Giants Walk

This task required them to travel into the hills in the northern part of the Highlands to answer the following questions:
Are there really giants in the Hills?
Where are they coming from?
Where are they going?
What history do they have?
What artifacts do they keep hidden?
Why do they hide from the Highlanders?

To complete this task, Tenzikil gave them 90 gold each, A compass, and a Boulderhead Mace.

3 – The Clans of the Torment

This task required them to travel into the hills in the northern part of the Highlands to answer the following questions:
Why have the goblins come to this region?
What is the goblins social structure?
Are they really hostile or can they be negotiated and traded with?
What incentivizes their relationship with the other races that the goblins subjugate themselves to?

To complete this task, Tenzikil gave them 180 gold each, Some ink pens and ink vials, and a Circlet of Persuasion.

4 – The Highland Spires

This task required them to travel to to the Spires in the western portion of the Highlands to the west of Camp Draedus to investigate the following:
Why do the spires exist?
What builds the nests?
Why does the Stratagos avoid the spires?
And for them to get an accurate map of the Spires.

To complete this task, Tenzikil gave them 180 gold each, a Journal, and a Stormlure Necklace.

5 – Gnomish Research

This task required them to seek out the gnomes that came to the highlands thirty years ago and find out:
Where did the Gnomes actually go?
What are they working on, and what are they building in there?
What did they discover?
Why do they hide whatever it is that they found?

To complete this task, Tenzikil gave them 270 gold each, a Golembane Scarab, and an Amulet of Elemental Strife.

With their decision made, and their meeting with Tenzikil over lunch over where they formalized their decision to take on the tasks chosen, the PCs developed a list of materials and equipment they believed they would need. They split up to get the gear, with the plan to reconvene the next day and leave at dawn to start their journey for Camp Draedus.

They bought horses, ponies, a donkey, feed for them all, tents, bedrolls, and food to travel with for about six months.

The Pig King – Ironheart

That evening, the dwarf Ironheart returned to his inn The Pig King and decided that he was recovered enough to join in with the namesake of the inn, though just a normal pig wasn’t enough so he requested that they bring out their biggest most fierce Pig.

While he stripped down to just a pair of breeches, the Pig Keepers brought in and greased up a Dire Hog that was twice the size of the small dwarf. Ironheart, true to his name, felt no fear and dove into the arena against the Dire Hog even though the odds were three to one against him.

He lept on the greased monstrosity and fought to maintain his grip before finally finding purchase on the tusks of the animal, which he used as leverage to show of the strength of the Earthborne Dwarves of the Wall Mountains as he forced the Dire Hog to the ground and claimed the title of The Pig King and his winnings.

The Three Slippers – Bashful Tinorian

Tinorian was able to convince the gnome Tixe through a myriad of misspeaks and confused intentions with her coming to his room, to come back with him to investigate the three slippers there. She saw nothing special and instead left him to it.

Deciding that he needed to explore the slippers, he put the on the green slippers and put the blue slipper on the handle of his inn room door.

Later that evening a knock came at his door, which he answered to find a human woman with the look of an adventurer herself, though she wore no armor and only normal town clothes, and a pair of purple slippers, though she held in her hand the other blue slipper to complete the pair for the one blue slipper Tinorian had.

The woman also had no idea what the slippers were for and invited Tinorian to join her for a drink at the bar, though the bashful Wood Elf declined and instead retreated into his room for the night.

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The Story So Far - Chapter 1
Mercenaries of the Highlands, Tenzikil, a goblin, and Ogres

Goblins and Fireballs!

In the middle of Fall in the year 1,570 CE (of the Cantabrien Era) the town of Veik, the unofficial capital of the Highlands of Mulkaeran, is always busy with its preparation for the festival of The Mazerun that takes place in the deep crags of the Highlands.

With the preparation for the festival the town is busy with merchants, adventurers, profit seekers, treasure hunters, and others. This year the town of Veik welcomed the arrival of the illustrious Tenzikil, founder, owner, and chief of the company known as Tenzikil’s Triple E, which focuses on Exploration, Experimentations, and Explanations.

The Half-Elf Sorcerer Zykir and her Fighter companion Mace returned to Veik this year where Zykear’s adoptive family lives to seek additional work as mercenaries with the business of the Mazerun festival coming to town.

A Dwarf Barbarian known as Ironheart, a Gnome Druid named Tixe, and two Elves the light Fighter Evayne, and the Ranger Tinorian also came to Veik seeking work for sell swords during the late festival seasons.

Evayne, Ironheart, Zykir, and Tixe all knew each other from prior mercenary work out of The Highlands Inn to the south. Zykir and Mace currently were working as partners and Tinorian was an old friend of Evayne’s.

Separate, but somewhat together they moved their way through the town of Veik looking for the work that would provide them with enough to make it through the winter.

Just before dark, as Zykir’s family was preparing for dinner, Zykir and Mace noticed three large and armored Ogres running through the fields on the outskirts toward the town. They grabbed their belongings and pursued the Ogres into town.

Meanwhile in town there was an explosion, at the heart of which only one body remained, that of a goblin wearing a strange necklace. This was odd as no one could remember seeing a goblin in town at any point in time.

The gnome who saw to the death of the goblin was the wizard Tenzikil. Ironheart witnessed much of the commotion from the common room of his inn, The Pig King and rushed out to see what was happening.

Tixe and Evayne were both drawn to the commotion because of the fireball that exploded in the middle of town to kill the single goblin. Tinorian saw the explosion but decided it was best to stay back and observe the occurrences.

Upon approaching Tenzikil, Ironheart challenged him with what happened and Tenzikil explained that there was an illusion over the goblin and that something had to be done to claim the magical necklace that the goblin had before more damage could be done to the town and the highlands by the goblin.

Tenzikil took the necklace and in the company of his neatly uniformed men and agents of his company all bearing the same symbol he returned to the inn he had rented out for his people. He invited Ironheart to come and pay him a visit to learn about what his company was doing in Veik.

While this was occurring Evayne stopped to speak with the Seeker Varian, one of the Seekers of Nisus from the east. The Seeker explained that he believed Tenzikil had fabricated the incident by giving the goblin the necklace that transformed it and allowed for Tenzikil to create the diversion and draw the attention that he did. Deciding that this was an incident that needed to be further looked into Evayne also followed Tenzikil but from a distance and so did Tixe, and Tinorian.

Shortly after Tenzikil made his way into his inn, Ironheart stopped and saw the rest of the mercenaries that he knew from the Highlands Inn approaching and stopped to greet them. They shared the information they knew from the various different perspectives they saw the event from and Evayne, Tixe, and Ironheart decided that of all the parties involved they trusted each other more than they did either the Seeker or Tenzikil. Tinorian however stayed back and would only speak with Evayne, choosing not to trust the Dwarf of Gnome that she seemed to.

OGRES!!

As they were about to head into Tenzikil’s Inn to meet with him, Tinorian spotted the approaching Ogres. Ironheart upon learning of the approaching Ogres rushed out to meet them head on to defend the town and possibly earn a reward for doing so. With Ironheart rushing out to fight, Evayne, and Tixe joined him.

The Ogres charged at Ironheart and nearly killed him in their rush, but his stout form and axe were enough to bring the rush to a stop and put the battle in the middle of the street. Working together with Zykir and Mace who were still following the Ogres, the six of them were able to eventually kill the three well armed and armored Ogres and claim their heads for the bounty, though by the end of the skirmish, Ironheart was also nearly dead and bleeding out in the street.

Seeing their defense of the town, Tenzikil ordered his men to help the mercenaries and to protect their claim for the bounty that existed on the Ogres. He also invited them to dinner that night here at his Inn, and at his expense, so that he might be able to more properly get to know individuals capable of such a feat as that.

Tixe noticed that all three of the Ogres were wearing the same necklace that the goblin in town had been and she quickly and discreetly collected them and stuffed them into one of her bags.

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Before the Story.
History of the Taies

The War of Pain (aka The War of Lorinis)

1,570 years ago marks the official end to what is known as the War of Pain and the founding of the Cantabrien Empire. While it has been long enough that the War is little more than a legend to most, the influence that the War had on the world is massive.

Before the War, an Elder Dragon known as the Essence of Essences or more formally known as Nisus who ruled the country of Lorinis decided that seeing the future wasn’t enough and instead turned towards trying to change the world. To achieve his goals he created and opened a doorway to another world. This doorway was named the Gate of Auire and through it poured what is now known as The Torment, and such creatures as Goblins, Ogres, Trolls, etc…

Nisus used these powers to change the people of his country and the people he encountered into what the world eventually would call the Tormented. In order to make the changes he believed were necessary Nisus began the War of Lorinis, later known as the War of Pain. For hundreds of years his armies marched until there were no civilizations left on the Continents of Amdrekan and Bastof.

When the battles poured onto the Continent of Malsera, Nisus encountered the first real resistance in an alliance of all remaining free peoples, with the God of the Dead, Nirod riding with them and the Dragoons and their allied Dragons and Nisus’ own kin fighting against him the war ground to a stalemate.

The Wardens of Malsera, ancient druids, allied with the God of the Dead, now calling himself the God of Kings and they opened a doorway of their own to another world with energies that were in direct conflict with those from the Gate of Auire. The Wardens opened the Gate of Yenic and with the Daevas that poured through from that Gate they were able to push back Nisus’ armies and eventually defeat the Elder Dragon and end the War of Pain.

With its end, a human champion named Mierke Cantabrien was crowned by Nirod the God of Kings as the King of men and he created the Cantabrien Empire to span all three continents.

The Era of Cantabrien

For 1,000 years Mierke Cantabrien ruled his Empire as an immortal. During that period Imperial colonies were established on Malsera, Bastof, and Amdrekan and the Empire flourished.

However other peoples and other kingdoms were discovered that refused to ally with the Empire. While Cantabrien despised violence among free men he also held a conviction that unless the entire world were united together then the evils of the Torment or of men like Nisus could still destroy the world.

With their attempts to bring other free countries into the fold of the Empire, the Elves decided that they would not participate and chose to leave the Empire and remain outside of it.

Also during the War of Pain, Nisus in an attempt to prevent his enemies from having strength found a way to seal away and block most of the magical energy of the world. The Prophets Arestines and Arogoth however spoke of a return of Magical power and Energy to the world and eventually were able to give a date for the return, which was suppose to be the year 1,000 of the Cantabrien Era.

Mierke Cantabrien felt that this was his deadline to unite the world and start a campaign to bring not only other humans into the fold of the Empire, but all other races as well.

The Age of the Prophet

The year 1,000 CE came and went and no prophet was to be found. Mierke Cantabrien felt this was the Gods smiling upon him and granting him more time to unite the world. But then in 1,007 CE Tallius Daris appeared and began to fulfill the role of the Prophet.

He unsealed all of the sealed Magical Energies in less than a year. While doing this he also reestablished the magical mountain country of the Stratagos, and saw to the death of Mierke Cantabrien.

However with the rise in power the now many countries that were not a part of the Empire a new power rose from the depths of the world. This intelligent plague became known as The Pit and as it spread across forests, plains, and mountains its corruption spread even deeper.

The Flame of Life and the Crusades

The Prophet Tallius Daris knew that he was the only hope to find a means to destroy The Pit and so he set out to create a power capable of fighting against the formless corruption. This new power, taking the form of a man, was named the Flame of Life and with the Flame’s creation the Prophet disappeared.

The Flame of Life, though he looked like a man, wielded god like powers and single handedly was able to fight against The Pit and win. However The Pit now was far too widespread and the Flame could not keep up and so he called for all willing to join him against The Pit and they marched in a series of three Crusades.

The First Crusade was to cleanse The Pit from Malsera. The Second was fought in Amdrekan, and the Third Crusade was fought on Bastoff and saw not only the defeat of The Pit but also the death of the Flame of Life.

In the years to follow though The Pit reappeared, though substantially smaller and weaker, but the Flame of Life remained dead.

And that is all of the important world history leading up to the story.

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