Dragon Forge

The Shallows

As the smoke rises from the burnt mound that was a corn field, a women with 2 children in tow run up to see the commotion. Its Martha Mago, wife of the farmer that these fields are own by, and her children who just gawk at their ruined corn crop and switch glance from the crop to the party to the crop and finally it rests at the party. After explaining the situation of the Vicious Hand invasion to the Magos, the party instructs the family to abandon the farm and head to a safer establishment. Before the family leaves, Martha pleads to Kadrim to warn the near by shanty town of the Shallows so that the farm’s hired hands can prepare to flee the oncoming invasion as well. Reluctantly, the Party decides to visit the Shallows to try and warn the people there of the invasion as well.

An hour later, the Party arrive at a very poor rural shanty village of a little over 11 shacks built from whatever these people could muster up to make their individual houses. There are some children running around playing while the adults gather about their own homes talking amongst each other. One particularly elder folk walks up to the Party to introduce himself and provide any information that they require, for a little coin of course. After warning the town of the invasion, the Party is surprised to find out that the head of this town is run by a certain gnome by the name of Shamis Tinkerdoodle and that he comes by every so often to provide the necessities for minimum living. Ero, Galore, and Kadrim believe there might be something useful inside the gnome’s shack enough to investigate. Upon entering the shack, they see common items and furniture that furnish the small building. What really catches their eye is a large black chest that Galore detects is brimming with magic. With a cursory inspection, Ero tries to fiddle with the lock and almost gets impaled by several darts that shoot out. The darts dissolve as the hit the wall behind Ero and a sigh of relief is felt through the party.

As the attention of the party is directed toward the chest, a Umberlin noble named Bannister and his Vicious Hand cronies badger the town elder on the whereabouts of a certain rogue-ish gnome. The altercation is heard by Kadrim’s ear and he sneaks out of the shack, with Minharath in tow, to investigate the commotion from the shadows of the shanty buildings. Bored, Adiah begins to look about the shack and notices that Kadrim and Minharath have disappeared and bursts forth from the shack to search for his allies, but the whole movement draws the attention of the noble and cronies toward Adiah. With a yell of battle, Adiah rushes out to meet his enemies with divine powers. Unfortunately, Adiah’s lust for battle and carnage was not well liked by his patron god Bahamut, so he fought with raw might alone as his divinity failed him. As the battle ensued in full, the rest of the party joined in and a short while after the tide began favoring Kadrim and his allies. Fearing his end, Bannister made a quick getaway through an alley and had almost maded it to freedom except that he was put down by a dozen darts riddling his back as he fell dead. Kadrim was confused as he followed in pursuit of Bannister only to find him face down on the dirt with many darts protruding from his back. After the melee has ended, a badly wounded Shamis limps out of the shadows of the shanty building and just greets the party with a “Just follow me and I can explain some of the questions that you might have.”

Let it burn!

The Party, made up of Galore, Kadrim-sul, Minharath, Adiah, Ero, and Drago, flee east to come to a farm that resides just outside of Umberlin. Tired, the Party believe themselves safe for now from the Vicious Hand. Taking a quick respite, Kadrim and Galore argued about what to do next since their mission objectives conflicted with each other. Bored and annoyed with the conversation, Ero decided to seek out help from the farm; maybe a horse of three to help escape the trouble and enjoy the freedom he has been missing.

Upon reaching the the outskirts of the corn fields, Ero is confronted by a man in cloth with and emblem of twin birds emblazed on his tabard. It turns out that the man was not alone leaving Ero and Adiah (who followed sleuth) surrounded by more Vicious Hand agents intent on capturing the farm for their needs. A skirmish breaks out between the newly formed group and the Vicious Hand causing Kadrim to rush out and wedge between Ero and the enemies,in the meantime, Drago rushes into action by taking on a combatant within the corn fields. After the first salvos, Ero takes a quick step back and launches into his devastating melodies while Adiah pushes off into a corn field to engage the ruffians in their own terrain. All the while, Minharath maintains a vigilant eye on the injures of his abruptly form allies. Panicking just a little, Galore flings a pea of fire into one of the corn fields hitting a few foes but also igniting the corn fields in a blaze.

As the battle wore on and the corn field is being engulfed in arcane flames, Drago bursts forth from the field badly burned but triumphant as his enemy lay in the same field burning into a crisp. With much effort, the battle ends with some substantial casualties but some interesting finds upon the burnt bodies of the Vicious Hand agents.

So... That Happened.... (Part II)

The gear has been picked, a letter read, instructions have been given, and a cleric is found.

The Trio finds themselves in the middle of the arena with a mixture of cheers and jeers. There is even a section of the crowd dedicated to the performance of a certain purpleish-blue gladiator. The announcer gave his less than theatrical performance as he introduced Ragnarok to the ring. The Trio couldn’t believe their unfortunate luck, they had unwittingly wrote themselves into a match with the champion of the arena as his fodder. The tension in the ring grew as the seconds passed and two of the Trio just argued about their predicament. The posturing broke when Adiah, with a shrill battlecry, charged out to oppose Ragnarok. There seemed to be a slight hesitation with Adiah’s charge when he neared Ragnarok when he briefly caught his gaze because the next thought he knew of was the feeling of being blasted to the side by Ragnarok blurred movement and strength batted him away like a ragdoll. The Adiah cheering section gasped at the way their hero could be manhandled. Snapping out of their argument, Drago used his agility to spring away from Ragnarok’s approach. Ero caught in the path only used his innate ability to sense any arcane factors that the mighty gladiator possessed. Whatever magical item or enchantment Ragnarok would be using would give a tale-tell glow wherever it was present. To Ero, Ragnarok just looked like a glowing ball of light rushing toward him.

As the Trio fight for their lives, Galore meets up with Kadrim-sul and they both seek out Minharath. When they reach Minharath he was able to create 6 healing potions and prepare several cots for incoming injured gladiators. Collecting Minharath, Galore and Kadrim seek out more for their escape from the arena.

Beaten, the Trio lie at the feet of Ragnarok who has dispatched them with ease. Paying no attention to his former adversaries, Ragnarok turns to gaze directly at a frustrated Count Josiah Irons and proclaims,“NOW MY BROTHERS! IT IS TIME TO BRING THIS FARCE TO AN END!!”. with the signal thrown, several robed individuals that have infiltrated the audience erupt into action brandishing weapons to slaughter guards and innocents alike. A huge skirmish occurs between those of the Vicious Hand and Count Josiah’s forces.

In the meantime, Galore, Kadrim, and Minharath reach the arena and create an escape for the Trio as they regain their composure. Fighting their way out of the mayhem that has engulfed the arena both outside and inside, the party of six now makes it to the gate of the arena where they fought many of the Vicious Hand and engaged the release lever to let them out of the arena grounds and into the city of Umberlin. Just past the gates, the party hears a loud BOOM and a mighty roar coming from the melee inside the arena. The ground trembles with powerful force to let the party have a small glance behind them to see a rising familiar blackish smokey cloud rising from the structure. Reaching the outskirts of the city, the party is confronted by a band of Vicious Hand cultists that block their way to freedom. With some effort, the party defeats the cultists and flee east.

So... That Happened.... (Part I)

The day begins with the clang, clang, clang of dagger hitting iron bars as Ragnarok rouses the rest of the gladiators. The warriors who have survived their battles rise, some stretch out the fatigue from their bones to the new day. A day of battle and maybe a day of their death. As Ragnarok passes the Trio’s cell, he eyes each one but says nothing in any form of greetings. Ero, Adiah, and Drago shuffle out of their cell to receive their gear like the rest of the gladiators, until a gnome of an elderly face but with a strong compact upper body rounds a corner to catch up with the Trio. “Wait!” came a pitched voice. “The Count has a special battle for you today, you’ll be getting more than just the chicken scraps!” The old gnome smiled, “Time to suit you up in the Hen’s best pecked! Hehehehe." Kibel was a gnome of great skill, he was known within the region as one of the few masters of enchanting weapons and armor he produced with magic. As a long time friend of the Count, Kibel was granted Arms and Armor Master of the city.

“Don’t worry you three, it’s not far. Hehehehehe…,” commented Kibel as he rounded his thirteenth corner of the maze of corridors that make up the arena’s structure. After the fifteenth turn, the Trio with its six guard escort and Kibel arrived to a barred armory guarded by two soldiers that gave the group a quick discerning look and a quicker look at an impatient Kibel and stepped aside to reveal an ornate lock. Kibel studied the lock for a second and rifled through his pockets for the right ring of keys that he desired. The bars of the cage were enchanted with several runes as well as the surrounding walls that housed the weapons. After the desired key was found, Kibel looked to the bars closest to the lock and covered a sequence of runes with his left hand while his right hand inserted the key and turned the lock to several clicks and gear sounds that rivaled some of the most ornate clocks in the world. Second passed and the clicks stopped and Kibel presented his armory and smithy to the Trio. “Take whatever your fancy! But we must insist that these be around your wrist.” He produced six wrist-sized cuffs. The cuffs were etched with pale yellow runes along the perimeter and glowed with a faint hint of arcane power. “They’ll weaken the weapons while you’re not in the arena, nothing more," the gnome declared, “We would want ya runnin’ around the place with such powerful weaponry. Hehehehehe…”

As the Trio went about their examination, Galore snaps out of her reverie trance and begins her day to prepare herself for the coming event. The anxiety of the last event’s fiasco left a bad taste in her mouth that needed to be washed away by research. It was a few hours before the beginnings of the first matches and even then her rotation within the mages was further down the line to get a bit more reading done in the Count’s library. Walking the corridors, Galore passed several mages that hooted and made snide remarks toward her, but she ignored them and just kept to her destination. She hesitated when she passed the black double doors with gold trim and wondered,for the twenty-seventh time, what could be behind that particular door. It took only another second to break her out of her thoughts and proceeded to the nearby library. The guards posted there gave her no trouble as they were informed that she had full use of the library and could peruse through any of its contents. Galore reached for the handle and it suddenly retracted from her grasps as Count Josiah was leaving.

“Oh Galore, I was just about to send for you. There seemed to be a very curious book that I wanted you to look at before you went into your rotation,” greeted the count, “Well go on in, I would love to stay and see what you can decipher, but I must tend to other matters. Do not be too long in there, I know how deeply you research and if left unchecked you can engross yourself in no time.” With the proximity of the Count, Galore found herself flushed and a bit embarrassed to be caught off guard by the master of the Arena. She was a elf damn it! With a nod, the Count slipped by her and proceeded down one the the corridors that led toward the arena’s luxury box. Galore composed herself among the grinning guards and said,“Well you could have told me he was in there.”
“Hehehe… Well, to be honest, you didn’t ask,” laughed the guard. With that, Galore went into the library.

Kadrim-sul awoke to the same memory that haunts him and he finds himself in a sweat as the fatigue is erased from his bones. “But is it my bones that truly ache?” wondered Kadrim. He faced the mirror that was afforded him in his modest room and stared into the eyes of a man he barely knows. No amount of water could help with his ashy complexion as he doused his face with the nearby water bowl set aside on a table near the mirror. “What am I?” the words have escaped him often these past few days. Scouring his mind, Kadrim-sul could not obtain the answer to his questions. The memories that happened to him would flood in and wash out in the most random of times. He geared himself up to meet the coming day and began his daily ritual before events. Check on his guard’s duties, follow up on disorderly soldiers, conduct assignments with mages and position guards in strategic areas that were previously instructed to him by the Count himself.
“I want a full garrison on the next event captain.” announced Count Josiah two day before the next battle arena date.
“A full garrison? Do you expect trouble my lord?” wondered out loud Kadrim-sul.
“Let’s just say that my spies have intercepted certain information that has a possibility of arising during the matches” informed the Count.
“I will send for the extra soldiers immediately my lord. Should I know what to look for in case of such danger?”
“Don’t worry my friend. If trouble comes, you’ll know it immediately.”
Following his inspection of the many guards appointed today, Kadrim-sul entered the luxury box of the arena where Count Josiah would be entertaining noble guests and well noted merchants whom have come to watch the matches.
“Ah! Captain Kadrim-sul, so good of you to join us. Please let me discuss something of importants with the good captain. Please excuse me.” Count Josiah bowed as he and the captain adjourned to a waiting room next to the luxury box reserved for private meetings as the matches went on.

Up before any of the other clerics, Minharath finds himself preparing the several cots that would be needed in the coming battle. He prepared several rolls of gauze cloth for bandaging, needles with numbing liquids, and surgeon’s tools for more complicated procedures. The medical ward even housed a small alchemist table to produce potions of healing. He proceeded to make six potions to help ease the pain of the future patients. With the preparations finished, Minharath decided to venture out into the corridors and maybe chat with the other clerics before their important tasks were needed. He took one step into the corridor and immediately began breathing rapid breathes causing his lungs to store more air than they should. His blooded boiled and his concentration on his surrounding began to blur as his mind delve into a state of madness. He quickly stepped back into the ward and locked the door behind him. As soon as the door was shut, Minharath collapsed backwards and writhed in agony and laughed hysterically at nothing at all. Rage mixed with enjoyment mixed with pain circled his mind like a torrent causing him to blackout and lay silently on the medical ward floor.

Hey Ugly, ya I'm talkin' to you!

The tunnel leading away from all the boos was a welcoming one. Though dragging yourself in chains after defeating 3 foes and then a black dragon (though it be young) and surviving, is something to consider as the Trio‘s steps shuffle through the torch lit hall. Ragnarok was there. Waiting. With a look of pure disgust he yells out,"You tamed it?!??! The crowd wanted to see blood! And you tamed it! Fools! Now I’ll be condemned to spend more time training the like of you and your sorry lot! Begone from my sight! I would spit on you, but it would be too good for the cowards you are. Glory is not for the weak, you must take it with vicious hands and get bloody in the process. That is what shall happen when I step into that arena today. My opponent will feel the life drain from him as I relish in the carnage." And with that, Ragnarok roughly passes Ero, Drago, and Adiah through the gates that lead into the arena.

Cheers are heard even in the depths of the arena as Ragnarok steps onto the sandy stage. His opponent? A duo of elven archers from Ysta, a barbarian from the northern tundra of Howling Plains, a dwarf from the mines of the Emerald Citadel, and four human fighters of the desert lands of Al-hazard. The fight lasted longer than any other fights that the Dragonborn ever participated in. To their credit, Ragnarok was pressed badly and wounded from several places and even with a shattered arm, he slew the mercenaries one by one with unbridled fury and rage. The crowd for a second could not comprehend what they witnessed and they even forgot to cheer when Ragnarok was pronounced the victor. Silence and astonishment could be read from the faces in attendance, only the single clap from a robed spectator broke the uneasy silence. As they cheered, they chanted Ragnarok’s name in unison and commend his brilliance in the ring.

All but one man, Josiah Irons, stood there transfixed and enraged with the audacity of this gladiator’s resilience. “What will it take to end this monster,” pondered the Count. Unfortunately, the crowd was behind the gladiator and Josiah Irons would not want to play that political game with Ragnarok as long as it was he who held the hearts of those within the arena. If only those who fought Dormistos performed better to woo the mob, less attention would be granted to Ragnarok. “There must be a way. There must.” was all Josiah could think of in his frustration.

The stands of the arena lay empty. Custodians of the arena floor prepped the battlefield for the next time warriors stood on those bloody grounds, fewer guards patrolled the vacant aisles. Ravens sought out any nibbles of meat left behind from the battle. The stage was reset and done for today, but for the Count, he had more pressing matters to attend to in his library. There, the future of his city, citizens, region, and possibly all the Realms will be decided.

The next day proved eventful for Ero, Drago, and Adiah. They were visited by a familiar face. Shamis the gnome fashion exact duplicates of the keys that unlocked the chains that bind the gladiators after they finished a match in the arena. Plans were made for their escape and nods of appreciation were exchanged. Now all that the trio had to do was position themselves in the right spot, and all should go according to plan. Easier said than done it seemed. After witnessing the condition Ragnarok came back in, the trio could only surmise the intensity of the battle that he waged. Ragnarok was in no mood to humor anyone let alone the trio who failed him in killing a black dragon. “Cleric heal my wounds,” commanded Ragnarok to a nearby healer with familiar human features, but unfamiliar details. “And who are you and where do you hail from,” demanded the weaponsmaster. No response was given. Whether the cleric was secretive or just plainly in the dark of his own past, he would not want to share that with patient at the moment.

The nail knocked on the wooden post to secure the sheet of paper that held the roster for the next arena battle. Unfortunate for Ero, he was turned around to support the training dummy while Adiah just stood there transfixed on the dummy standing before him. “Hey! Are you gonna hit this thing or what?” questioned Ero to his large purplish blue friend. Snapping out of the trance, Adiah finally spots the paper and notified Ero to scribble their names for the appropriate spot on the list for the escape plan. Upon navigating through several new recruits, Ero is confronted by some orcs who appear to be signing up for the same spot was the trio were about to enlist for.

A scuffle arose and 3 officers got involved (Galore, Kadrim-sul, and Minharath) to side with the Trio against a group of orcs and one dwarven hammerer. In the midst of the confrontation, Ragnarok stormed away from Kadrim-sul as he was demanding that the weaponsmaster keep his gladiators inline.

Meat's back on the menu, boys!
Meat, Dormistos, Galore, Kadrim Sul

As the trio of gladiators vanquished their opponents, the crowds screamed in excitement and bloodlust. Only the cheers gave the combatants ample time to catch their breaths. To settle down the crowd, Count Josiah Irons raises his hand and preaches,“you have fought well my gladiators, but the crowd desires more of you. Come! Face Dormistos of the Black Marshes!”

As the last words come out of his lips, the air is filled with a grinding sound and the floor of the arena begins to shake and a slit of an opening on the floor begins to grow wider like the maw of giant tunneling worm surfacing. The wider the hatch becomes, the more billowy black smoke arises from it’s source.What appeared next was the stuff of nightmares. Twin menancing eyes pierced the veil of darkness and anyone in the vicinity could feel the pressure for those eyes oppressing the skin of the gladiators. With a wave Count Josiah’s hand, the command to the wizards posted on the edges of the arena dispersed the cloud of darkness with a strong gust of arcane wind. Without its cover, Dormistos stood there scarred and restrained by arcane chains from a willowy elf wizard and iron chained by a medium sized brute of a man in dark armor.

Whispers and awe were the sounds escaping from the mouths of each individual in attendance in the arena, except Count Josiah who just stood there staring intently at the majestic beast. It did not take long for Dormistos to scan the stands and meet Josiah’s gaze. Rage and fire boiled in the eyes of the mighty wyrm and Dormistos’ demeanor became one of majesty and stoic to bezerk and mindlessness. As the dragon raged, the handlers were tossed around like ragdolls in the jaws of a violent guard dog. Unfortunately for Galore (Elf Wizard in her own right), she caught the coming fury that was Dormistos first. Badly pressed, Galore did all she could the fend off the beast but did not come away unscathed. Drago Dorsen was the first to react, he charged on with power and speed not common to a man his age, but he defied the rules of time and positioned himself behind the dragon. Upon making a powerful blow to the beast, Drago’s sight was blinded by the sand being kicked up causing his trajectory to be off and fall face first into the arena sand next to the dragon. Ero De’Gaunce was next, using his bardic skills to aid his allies. Kadrim-sul landed on his feet after being launched by Dormistos and realigned himself to do battle. Adiah (the Blueish-Purple Deva) proceeded to chant a few words to his patron that was answer by a holy aura that surrounded the warrior.

Spells, blades, and a bit of man-handling ensued between the three gladiators, the unfortunate handlers, and dragon. In the end, Dormistos cowed down to the might of his five opponents and was restrained again by arcane chains that bursted forth from the sand to hold him while the victorious handlers once again took up their duties. Similar chain bursted forth to restain the victorious gladiators as they stood there being showered with not so glorious BOOs as the crowd roared with their bloodlust and anger that the dragon lived to see another day.

Arena Shake Up
umberlin, arena, ragnarok, count josiah irons, Adiah

The party finds itself waking up to a pounding headache. They realize that they’ve been sleeping on a cold stone floor with a few piles of straw. The party only remembers having drinks with Shamis Tinkerdoodle last night at the Bleeding Wolf’s Tavern.

Drago Dorsen realizes that they are in a cell of old iron and stripped down to your tunic and leggings.

Drago also notices others in similar cells waking up the same way and looking disoriented. Some of them look to be from the tavern.

An aged dragonborn walks the aisle, clanging the bars with a large femur bone making loud annoying ear aching noise.

The dragonborn yells out," Wake up you sorry dogs! You’ve probably have just realized by now that you are in a cell. No…. You are not in prison. You now belong to Count Josiah Irons the Brutal and he owns this lovely arena you occupy. You are here to train and fight and die. If you are worthy enough or have lived through enough battles beyond reckoning, you might gain the Count’s favor or the Crowd’s mercy which might grant your freedom. Fastest way for that to happen, is to become the Champion of the Arena. I bet you’re scared. If not, you should be. There are fifteen mages here guarding the arena and to help them out are 100 armed guards who get very eager for violence."

If that hasn’t scared you enough, then let me introduce myself. I am Ragnarok. I am your educator and weaponsmaster. I’ve killed hordes of fighters, mages, rogues, and others who had the unfortunate honor to meet me in the arena. I have the longest record of being Champion to date. And my last duty to Count Josiah Irons the Brutal is to train the next generation so that they may be as entertaining as I am. I will not die here with shits like you! Now follow me to the training grounds."

As the cells open, a newer prisoner rushes out for Ragnarok from behind and grabs him in a bear hug and starts to squeeze the life out of him. Ragnarok spits a small pea of fire onto the prisoner’s feet causing him to let go. In an instant, Ragnarok stabs his fingers seven times into the prisoner’s torso, stands up straight and continues to walk to the training grounds. The prisoner seems paralyzed at first, then his eyes start to bulge and blood bursts out of every orifice on his head and dies.

“There’s always one,” Ragnarok laughs,“He just costed you dogs breakfast. NOW MOVE!”

In the training grounds you are taught the basics of combat and a few theories of group combat. Within that time Drago notices the others from the tavern and walks up to them. After dodging a boulder from a purplish being who’s color seems to shift from blue to violet, Drago introduces himself to Adiah and after a bit of a scuffle and a little beating from Ragnarok, both agree to team up with each other and Ero.

After hours of training, Ragnarok nails a list of openings for different battle scenarios and there seems to be a group slot available.

After signing up, the party trains in their battle scenarios for the rest of the week up until the day of the event.

Prelude to the Arena Shake Up
Bleeding Wolf's Tavern, Ero De'Gaunce, Drago Dorsen, Shamis Tinkerdoodle

Ero De’Gaunce finds himself in the town of Umberlin off the Shimmering Coast and west of the Black Marshes. Ero has seen a few adventures since he left his homeland and have recently settled here at the Bleeding Wolf’s Tavern.

Tonight there seems to be a full crowd of many different races. Among the crowd, a certain gnome appears to be in high spirits and seems to flow of coins. He is guarded by two very rough looking half-giants who apparently obey the gnomes every command.

With a scan of the room, Ero notices an old beggar hanging around trying to beg for coins from the patrons of the tavern. The beggar spots Ero and starts to move towards him.

Ero meets Drago Dorsen. While moving through the ante-room Drago hears cheers of a person named Shamis Tinkerdoodle who seems to be a gnome, is buying drinks for everyone in the tavern. Also, with further inspection of the room, Drago notices two dark figures among the booths have been watching the merriment with interest.

As the night rages on, the gnome buys round after round after round of beer and says," Round for everyone bar keep! Today’s my pay day and i means to celebrate!"

After three more rounds for everyone, patrons start to waver and fall asleep due to intoxication. The only ones that have not taken one drink is Shamis and two other patrons, even Shamis’ bodyguards have fallen asleep next to him. As Shamis tries to wake up his guards with a kick, he is unaware of the two patrons, who did not take in with the revelry, position themselves to surround Shamis.

As the seedy figures approach Shamis, he finally notices that one of the figures is a familiar face and is shocked that he is being attacked.

Just then, Ero and Drago, shout,“Halt!” Causing the two attackers to turn their way and Shamis took this opportunity to duck under the table.

Ero and Drago face off with the two attackers and a battle ensues. With the help of Shamis’ darts from under the table, Ero and Drago are victorious.

AS the fight comes to an end, Shamis’ bodyguards wake up groggily and immediately start tying up the patrons who have not left the tavern during the fight. As Ero and Drago wonder why the guards are tying everyone up, two darts stick into both their necks and then instantly fall down paralyzed but can still see and hear everything that is happening. Shamis appears from under the table and walks up to your still forms and says,“I’m sorry about this but it has to go this way for now, I’ll find you later and get you out. I owe you one.”


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