The city of Majorai, in the country of BeJórne, The United Protectorate of Oskiliath.
On the outskirts of ruined city of Majorai, industrial smoke rises. The city has severe bluffs and is broken into a number distinct Rises. Westlow Rise to the west, where lodgings and markets exist, Kahamut Rise to the centre of the conurbation, and a third Rise, the name of which has been forgotten, as this is where slavery and industry sits, and the mines are dug. In the days after the first greyborn war, BeJórne’s Protectorate was killed, and the city handed over to greyborn occupation, as part of the ceasefire agreement. The city itself spans for miles across a jagged mountain range, with each of the Rises held aloft above the deep cragulous falls by enormous chains, with metallic bridges connecting between the three Rises, and the outside world below the city. The ruins of the city are held to extreme rules under their new greyborn occupation. Parts of these rules make it very difficult for persons to leave the city once they have entered. And when they cannot afford to stay, and are not allowed to leave, they are entered into the slave work force, quickly becoming the slave capital of the world as the indentured work force are made to manufacture weaponry for their masters.
Approaching the gate is a number of adventures. A bugbear who stands tall thin, and furry. His form is slender, and lithe even by his species’ standards. This man wears a long green leather trench coat, and has a pair of mechanical copper and bronze goggles resting on his forehead, ready to use at a moment’s notice. The figure’s ginger-brown fur covers his body and tufts can be seen under his clothing. His right arm is missing, and looks to have been replaced with a mechanical alternative, with tubing and wires connecting this to his own body. He looks to his travelling companion, a dwarf who stands at approximately 5” tall, wearing brown armour, a grey wizards’ hat with a fiery red feather in its brim. The dwarf appears young by human standards, with no sign of a beard, but there is reasonable stubble. On his shoulder, a small yellow chuff sits, and seems to journey with the dwarf. Not far behind the pair, a half-orc is also seeking entrance into the city. She is taller than the dwarf, but not as big as the bugbear. She carries a warhammer, and throwing axe strapped to her waist. Her green skin revealing her orcish bloodline, and the narrowest hint of tusks pocking out of her bottom lip, like two extended teeth reaching for the sky. Her brown hair shaved shorter on the sides, but with enough length on top to be pulled into a braid or ponytail. Her amour is of a chain style, with overlapping plates of leather to firm up her protection. Her shield rests over her back, dented from years of use. They do not have appropriate travel papers, but the greyborn guarding the bridge up to Westlow Rise is willing to accept a bribe. The dwarf, Magnus Marche, offers trade of a scabbard which he carries, said to only fit a legendary blade. This seems to catch Tirus’ -the greyborn- attention. Tirus stands short for a greyborn, at just 8 feet tall, with his naked scaled body exposed to the elements. His grey scales are thicker over his back, and legs, but slightly thinner on his chest and underarms. His head is topped with a series of horns and spiny protrusions, with two main growths being straight, but having a pointed twist at their tip. Across the rest of his skull there are smaller growths of shorter horns and spikes. He carries a tubed weapon which is known to fire out ballistics at great speeds, and can cause catastrophic damage. The greyborn weapons starting to become known as boom sticks, guns or firearms. Rhogar Sandlewood is next to make an offer, of some small device he has been working on. The bugbear produces a small mechanical ball which has cogs and some sort of mechanism. Tirus is appeased by this shiny device and also allows Rhogar to pass. Finally Granuaile offers her axe to Tirus, who takes this and allows her passage into the city too. Once beyond the gatehouse and out of sight, Granuaile concentrates on the axe, and her hand, causing the two to be united, as the weapon’s handle apparates into her palm, having been conjured back to her, leaving the unsuspecting Tirus none the wiser.
The three walk through the Rise, after passing into the city together. Their first stop is the Grand Hall, which has since become a hotel named the Macedonia, which Tirus had suggested is the only reasonable lodgings for outsiders in the city. As they walk, it is clear the city is not a happy one, and that tensions are rising higher due to the choke and oppression by the greyborn occupiers.
Magnus, Granuaile and Rhogar reach the Macedonia, and settle into the crowded and busy establishment. There are very few tables available, and the three part ways, with Granuaile looking for work, and the other two settling to drink in relative privacy. Magnus approaches the bar, and orders a bottle of wine. His strong Bukká accent betraying his home nation, and how far he has travelled. This accent is rare in this part of the world, and it is because of its rareness that it is heard by Orryon Ma’Talli. The elven looking man with fair near golden skin, and blonde golden hair lifts his weary head. His hair is shaved to the skin on the left side, and long on the right. His eyes are tired, and his hands fidget to his satchel occasionally. The blue of his robes is lighter up his body, but stained with dirt or mud near its hem. Orryon looks over at the dwarf who is ordering wine in a Bukká accent, and approaches, seeking some company to share his own native language with.
By a strange coincidence, Magnus recognises Orryon as the son of an old acquaintance. Though they appear similar in age, Magnus is nearly 50 years older than the elven man. The elf is invited to join Magnus and Rhogar for wine, and the evening. Orryon explains that he came to Majorai to find a certain group of people to deliver a letter, but since arriving, he has been unsuccessful in finding this group, and so has turned to his trade to earn his keep. In a city where slavery is rife, and overpopulation is the only way to live if you are not greyborn, the need for trained healers is growing greater by the day. Magnus shares that he and Rhogar are in the city for their own mission, and have a contact they need to meet with tomorrow to discuss their task and employment. Orryon offers to show the pair around Majorai to gather supplies and settle into the city. Granuaile looks for work as a labourer in the city, but Magnus approaches her, offering the half-orc a job more in keeping with her skillset, employing her also for his mission. She agrees to this, and says to call on her when the grouping is ready, but she will wait at the hotel for their return.
Another day without much luck. I have found closeness with a healer here. She isn’t as skills as we, and I’ve noticed not magik, but she has skills, and more importantly, she has heart. If I’m still here in a few days I may see if I can spend some time with her outside the hospit.
Oh, and a strange coincidence today. You remember the dwarven cartographer father worked with? Monsieur Marche. He is here. Of all things. He is in Majorai for some reason with strange company but it was good to see a familiar face, and speak the home language again. We talked for hours over drinks to catch up. It was good.
– Orryon Ma’talli
Orryon shows the dwarf and Rhogar around the Rise, not being able to fully travel the city. Rhogar is interested in the metal working of a tinkering smith, and invites him to the Macedonia to discuss their shared craft later that day. Magnus notices that the group is being followed by a shadowy figure. A greyborn, but not naked like his kinsmen. He is hunched, and whilst grey, is also green and brown in places. Moss seems to be growing out of him, and his horns are gnarled and broken. Magnus splits from the trio, allow the figure to follow him. He purchases a large wheel of cheese and then turns around to address his stalker directly. He offers the mossy greyborn cheese, in exchange for knowing why he is being followed, but the greyborn stays quiet. It takes some cheese and leaves, thinking he is being stealthy once more. Whilst this is occurring, Orryon returns to his preferred healing tent, and begins to assist the human woman who is running the hospit as physician and nurse. Lucial is clearly impressed with his skill and training, as he is able to remove a bullet from a man, and keep him from bleeding, which is perhaps beyond the woman’s skills. The pair shares a moment and their eyes connect for a moment too long, before they get back to work. Eventually, Magnus and Rhogar return to the hospit and collect the tired healer Orryon and the three return to their fourth companion waiting at the Macedonia.
The day passes and cramped accommodation is found in the hotel, with what was once a single room how housing at least twelve bed spaces – blankets on the floor, and straw to rest on. Before the night is passed, they are called upon, with Magnus gathering his allies, the dwarf, half-orc, elf and bugbear are lead downstairs through the basement of the Macedonia. Lead through a narrow and low ceilinged corridor, the four reach a door and are ushered through into a cellar. The room has been refitted into a make-shift office. A large mahogany desk takes up the majority of the space width wise. There are two occupants in the room already. One sat casually behind the desk, with his feet up on the wood. The other stood behind the desk and the first man, taking up most of the space height wise. The figure behind the desk is introduced as Brant Goldust. A halfling and spy of sorts. He is a member of the Silver Assault and tells that he is the contact, and proposed leader of this mission, though he himself does not know what the mission is. The man behind him is a mountain, standing nearly as tall as greyborn. His grey blue skin stretches over ginormous muscles, and shards and spikes of bone grow out of him unusually. Shoulders piercing flesh to give a gruesome silhouette, while knuckles burst from fingers adding bony claws to his hands. A noise is heard, and the larger man, who Brant refers to as 428, leaves this room, acting as protector, body guard and aggressor all in one. In another back room of the hotel 428 is found with his hand around the neck of the mossy greyborn who appears to have followed the group downstairs. 428 is able to restrain himself from taking out his axe, but does command the greyborn to leave. The moss trails up the stairs as the greyborn quietly leaves and stands outside the front of the Macedonia, waiting.
An older human enters the initial cellar with the now six individuals and the mahogany desk. He introduces himself as Maurice, and comments that the group will need to bind themselves to secrecy before being told the full details of the mission. He takes out a stone bowl, with some metallic elements and runes, and fills the bowl with water. Maurice warns that after drinking this water, if the secret of the mission is divulged, then the adventurer’s lives will be forfeit. Magnus takes a look at the bowl, and senses a degree of ancient Anduomantic magik coming from it. Each of the individuals in the room is provided with a cup, and draws some of the water from the stone bowl and drinks. A warm feeling spreads out from their respective chests, and a subtle flow of energy ebbs from their chests back to the bowl, in slow shallow pulses. With the water drank, and the energy pulsing, Maurice reveals the mission. Get across the city to Kahamut Rise, and find Anton Quinn. Once found, he is to be smuggled out of the city and returned to Mountainsfoot on the other side of Oskiliath, where he can retake his position as the Protectorate of Mountainsfoot. Maurice adds that Anton apparently doesn’t want to leave, having been in the area for thirty years. However, tensions across the world are rising, and Anton needs to return home and take his throne.
Maurice goes on to explain that Anton has been aligned with a group called the Rozen Croits, who operate an anti greyborn resistance in the area. He is rumoured to be leading small assault groups into the mines beneath the Rises. These assault groups are trying to disrupt greyborn activity, as the soldiers of Máurdorne are searching for something deep under the earth. The collective group of a Brant, Granuaile, 428, Magnus, Orryon and Rhogar are offered two hundred and fifty gold pieces each on successful completion of this task, and possible bonus funds for any additional appropriate information they find. Maurice suggests that the group take a route through the chasms rather than trying to cross the city on the topside.
At that moment, as the mission is shared and a proposed route suggested greyborn soldiers approach the hotel in large numbers. This is not unheard of in their oppressive state, and random searches and slave takings happen all too often. The group heads out the back of the Macedonia to travel through the bazaar, Granuaile breaks the door of the kitchen so group can’t be followed.
The greyborn bring weaponry into the hotel, and begin to open fire, as well as exhale their ferocious burning breath reminding the world of their draconic heritage. The flames rise higher and higher. Screams can be heard as the group rush through the streets and alleyways away from the hotel. With greyborn approaching the hotel from the front and the rear doors broken by Granuaile, the many lives inside are trapped and quickly consumed by the flames or the rifles. The party dons various disguises to get through the city away from the battle, and barely escape an attack by three greyborn. The wizard, Magnus, is slowed by his limb from an injury earlier in life. Seeing this, Orryon rushes to his father’s friend. The sight of the greyborn firing weapons reminds the elf of his father, and a pair of ethereal white wings burst from his back. The elf is shot, but he holds fast, taking Magnus and flying him to safety, as the wizard casts a spell, conjuring the weather to cover their retreat. The air thickens into a cloud of fog, and obscures all sight, preventing the greyborn from following. Orryon’s ethereal wings fade a minute later, but only Orryon and Magnus saw them thanks to the fog now settled in.
The mossy greyborn turns from the front of the hotel, and spews forth his own breath, not fiery, but acidic and rotten which melts the wheels on a Gatling gun style weapon, preventing it from being moved by his greyborn brethren. He is held by a larger dragonoid man and the fog settles to prevent any further sight, but the screams of the burning in the Macedonia continue, and a lower more animalistic cry of pain is heard breaking through.
Maurice leads the six through the city, still in their disguises to a way over the chasm. A fallen tower collapsed long ago which is forming a precarious bridge. There is an initial jump to the tower’s side, but with assistance from the stronger individuals, 428 and Granuaile, all make it across. Brant turns back to his long-time friend, Maurice, as the human wishes the group luck in their mission. The man then begins to disappear. His skin falling off, as he vanishes from sight, becoming nothing more than petals carried away on the wind.
The tower itself is unstable, as the group gingerly make their way across what would be the tower walls, if it stood upright. Crawling and creeping along the inside, so that one wall became the rounded floor, and the other a curved ceiling. Each footstep is precarious as the stone and brick has been weakened from years of the tower sat in the wrong position. The masonry randomly falls with no regard for the weight stepped onto it, or the individuals making the crossing. After a few near misses, the six arrive at the base of the tower, and reach solid ground. A swarm of bat creatures begin to stalk the travellers, so a decision is made to move slowly, but with greater stealth. Sadly, this slower speed meant that after not very long at all, they journey is caught up by the bats now seen as Dreadbats, with greyborn riders. Huge mammals, with wingspans of twenty feet or more, screeching through the sky. Flying as shadows against the black starless blanket of night. Spells are thrown, and after a short tussle, the rider is knocked from the Dreadbat, into the ravine below, plummeting to the definite demise that must be its fate. The bat flees, but a second with a rider approaches. This time the bat is fired at and knocked from its soaring path, prone. Crunching into the solid earth, and breaking its wing in the fall. This bat’s rider manages to catch itself on the ledge and charges at 428. The giantkin retaliates and manages to overwhelm the greyborn in strength, as Magnus, Granuaile and Orryon cast an assortment of spells at the foe. The beast eventually being repelled by a thunderous explosion of magik energy from the dwarven wizard. With the combat finished, but the thunderous noise possibly attracting more greyborn, the six run. They find a tunnel to hide in. Within this hiding place are several crates and boxes, marked with a well-known insignia. Imperious. The name of this organisation causes Brant and Magnus to have similar disgusted reactions, but their thoughts and feelings will have to wait, as from the shadows, almost unnoticed comes a figure. An elven man, who introduces himself as Mr Anford. He is able to recognise the Anduomancy over the group as a truth spell of sorts, preventing them from telling a certain truth, the mission, without falling into harm. Mr Anford it seems it not working alone, and soon allies of his arrive. Ellis Dumont takes over from Anford, and enquires how the group came to be here, as well as their purpose. Brant cleverly circumvents the questions, giving half answers or misdirection, not wholly trusting these individuals. In the halfling’s exchange he is able to learn that Dumont and Anford are smugglers, and that they are currently working for the highest bidder. The group are untrusting of finding another soul here, having fought hard to reach this tunnel, and with their questionable morals and allegiances, so with Brant leading the way, he charismatically talks his and the party’s way through, without incident and without disclosing the truth of the mission.
Tired from the travel and crossing, the group rests a short while, during which time, Brant Goldust scouts ahead. He crosses a narrow and perilous stone bridge. A natural formation between the lower levels of the Rises, that spans across two mountains and high above the mines below. The halfling deftly crosses and wants to prove his worth and usefulness to the party. He takes out his thief’s tools and spy equipment, and sets up a trap on the steep and natural rocky stairs leading up the other side of the bluff. As the rest of the group finish their rest and join Brant, he declares proudly that he has found and disarmed this trap himself, hoping that his new travelling companions will be impressed. Sadly, his deception falls short and Rhogar and Orryon realise the lie. Neither says anything about it, allowing the bard to have his moment, before the group begins their lengthy vertical ascent. As they climb, bullets sink into flesh and stone, as a group of greyborn long range snipers open fire at the party. Orryon is hit hard, wearing only his healer’s robes, with nothing to absorb the impact of the ballistic. Eventually, the six reach the top of the cliff face, and rush away from the range of their distant adversaries, entering a town, and seeking refuge in the buildings and structures therein. The gun fire eventually dwindles and stops, leaving the group to catch their collective breath and take stock of their surroundings.
Soldiers. Miners. Men. Women. Children.
Young. Old. Humans. Elves. Dwarfs. Gnomes
Riddled with bullet holes.
The group make their way through the bodies, with Orryon checking for survivors, knowing it’s far too late for any of his healing. Granuaile and 428 assist in bringing the bodies together and burning them, so that these poor souls can be given proper rites, in line with the teachings of the Anduwin. Magnus and Orryon lead the prayers, with 428 looking very uncomfortable about this ceremony to the Anduwin, and even complaining quietly to himself that if these gods cared so much, they would have stopped all this wasted life.
With the makeshift funeral pyre burning, the group break into The Red Lady tavern, and find a cellar beneath which they barricade themselves inside. Granuaile sets about preparing food for the six using the remaining supplies in the slightly cramped room. “Turnip Surprise” is prepared. It is initially bland before Orryon magiks seasoning into the dish. Magnus raids the tavern’s wine cellar and partakes of a drink by means of a nightcap, before sleep sets in. With the room barricaded, no one took watch, feeling too tired from the crossing of the Rises, and being shot at several times. As the party sleeps, the pyre burns on, with smoke beginning to billow upwards.
I don’t know where to start! Magnus and his companion (monsieur Rhogar Sandlewood – an intellectual bugbear) enlisted my aid with some mission which would surely help in finding the Rozen Kroitz. We are also accompanied by a solider, Granuaile (one of the few half-orc I have seen here) as well as a halfling named Monsieur Brant Goldust (who claims to be our leader) and a man with an infantile mind but colossal strength. He appears to be giantkin in origin but is different somehow. He asks we call him 428.
We needed to flee the Macedonia as greyborn took to the streets assaulting people. We fled and over my shoulder I saw the hotel burning. In fleeing we encountered a few of the beasts. That feeling came back, and I became what I was when father died. Only for a short while again, but managed to help Magnus (his leg still slows him). We crossed to another part of the city and after a few more encounters found ourselves in a very different Rise. The whole settlement was dead; I haven’t seen horrors like that since the war. We have made a camp here, and at least the fire and the noise from the boom sticks has settled down. Granuaile has made some food and we have found shelter. This has taken an odd turn. I’ll write when I can.
– Orryon Ma’talli