Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

A Dragon's Pawn

Reasoning with a dragon... hmm...

Post to come…

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Blood turns the dry soil to mud. The dead and dying lay in contorted forms – expressions of agony and final defeat. Their numbers count into the hundreds. The mixture of moaning and final gasps before death form a terrible harmony that settles over the battlefield, unsettling even the most hardened of warriors.

Still, more orcs rage in the distance, battling the surviving dwarves who remain massively outnumbered. Good can triumph over this evil, but only if the adventurers and the monk can turn the tide by defeating “Brain Eater”, who now turns his attention to them.

“Mirdauta vras!”, he shouts.

He rides upon a strange steed, never before seen by the adventurers. It’s central tusk is stained with blood. It’s armor is heavily dented but seems merely adornment for the creatures thick hyde. From atop this mighty perch, he wields two axes that seem to crackle and buzz as he swings them through the air, revealing great prowess, meant to intimidate and spread fear in his foes and allies alike.

Encircling Brain Eater are some giants and orcs. These orcs do not look like standard orcs; perhaps two are warriors, perhaps two are shamans, one looks to be a mutant. Further still, there are giants at the orc’s command.

In all the chaos, Z’alden feels as if there’s a momentary pause as Brain Eater catches his eye. The two stare at each other for what seems to be a minute, though it’s just a moment in time. It is not love at first sight. The cleric feels Brain Eater’s insane level of malice and bloodlust. Yet there is intelligence, and something else that he can’t quite understand.

Brain Eater breaks off the gaze with a warrior’s guttural cry:

“Vadok u lat gith!”

“Orcus!”

A Dragon's Pawn
 

Z’alden smiles as the Orc leader turns away from his gaze. The blue radiance of Dragon Light beginning to glow around him would be an anathema to a dreg of darkness such as this one. The Great Dragon’s servant cannot let exist one who calls down on the name of a Demon Prince. He hefts his two maces and steels himself for the battle ahead.

In the next heartbeats, his mind cannot help but race back to the day his village was overrun by orcs and their horrific allies. Even after these many years, he can still hear the screams of the helpless villagers and the demanding shouts of his elven father to his mother, “Run now! I will hold them off!” His mother held his childish body close as they raced through the woods, away from the orcish horde. Z’alden remembers a last glimpse of his father, bringing down orcs by the score as arrows flew like lightening from his massive bow. Not a single orc followed his mother into the woods. His next memory is of the monks of Bahamut tending to their wounds and comforting him for the loss of his father.

The stench of the battlefield is what draws him back to this present. Perhaps this is the orcish horde that destroyed his village and left his mother a widow. In this moment, he and his friends can bring Justice for all those who have fallen under the raging evil that emanates from this Brain Eater. Yes, this orc and his servants shall know the meaning of “Mirdauta Vras”. He remembers what the monks explained to him, how orcs looked for each day as a good day to kill. Let them know this day as a good one, indeed, a good day for Light, as they feel the Radiance of Bahamut, and the earth is cleansed of their filth.

A Dragon's Pawn
 

Brain Eater circles his massive steed in a tight loop. Then he shouts out across the battlefield, “Yes, I now know you. I could smell it, but now I know for sure. Your friends have betrayed your name while organizing your little band of toy soldiers, Z’alden. Or should I call you Zenithar al Denithar? And how would I know that? Do you guess, or should I tell you? Your thoughts betray you.”

He laughs maniacally, continuing to circle his mount, savoring the moment.

A Dragon's Pawn
 

The cleric is bemused and shouts in return with a voice that would send the worst habitual sinners to beg forgiveness, “That a dreg such as you could know anything lifts my spirits. The god of Hope is merciful! The son of Denithar is indeed curious to hear a word like Betrayal coming from the tongue of the licker of the skulls of rats, the valiant chief who conquers cattle. Betrayal, such a strong word coming from the leftovers of darkness, the pawn of the black powers. Pitiful excuse for a minion of evil, do share the triumph of your holding a shred of knowledge. Sharing is a gift of the gods. I would have thought such a gift is not given to those who wallow on their knees in the filth of demons. Indeed, share away, share with us poor who have less than you, and honor the god I serve.” Z’alden bows slightly, arms extended, a common gesture honoring Bahamut.

A Dragon's Pawn
 

Brain Eater pauses, as if searching for the right words. He then forces a laugh, and forced as it might be, it is a terrifying laugh with loathing dripping from it. “You, little elf-man”, he roars, “shall die on your knees, pleading for your pitiful life. Just like your father!”

The orc leader’s troops howl with savage sounding hoots.

“My axes shall be merciful, though, and your head will come off quickly and cleanly. Then I will eat your brains and know your mind. Just like I did to your father. Your powers will be mine!”

With that, the orc troops nearly go into a frenzy. The giants pound their massive clubs on the ground, sending tremors that can be felt by the dwarf.

It is now dusk and a red moon hangs low and large in the sky. The mighty beast upon which Brain Eater rides rears up and the orc leader raises one of his double-bladed axes to the sky, positioned as if by unnatural chance to eclipse the moon for Z’alden.

At first, Z’laden feels the cold chill of prophecy, but then is warmed by the memory of his father showing him an eclipse when he was just a little boy.

A Dragon's Pawn
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