Mar 2 2015

Shadow of Hope 55

The Anquillan raised a hand and opened his mouth to reply to Rôhn.

“Not to cut this short,” Kurn cut things short, “but we’re for the inn. Exchange words there.” His sword was still out and his eyes still alert, despite — or especially because of — the ranger’s sudden appearance. His voice carried more edge than even his sword did at present.

Still annoyed with her for her brash self-centered actions, Kurn told Zulian firmly, nodding to indicate the stag, “Be merciful, but be quick, or think you Haron and the horses able to fight off this wood alone as they stand waiting for our return? We must regroup to the path.”

“Now.” Continue reading

Feb 23 2015

Shadow of Hope 54

Kurn’s head snapped to his left as he reined up his horse, looking off to the side.

As the barbarian reached Zulian with the stag’s head cradled in her lap, he saw the last vestiges of life depart from the grand animal. He heard her cry for help, but realized there was no help to be had.

He spun his mount, turning his back on the scene unfolding on the ground and once again placed himself in the position of guard. He scanned the undergrowth around them looking for possible attack. Continue reading

Feb 16 2015

Shadow of Hope 53

With a thunder of hooves behind him, Kurn yelled ahead in frustration even as he tried to keep her in sight, “Zulian! Rein up! You’re stretching our line! You’re going to get Erellia or one of the others killed!” Even if she couldn’t make out the words across the noise and the tension of the moment, he knew she could at least hear his tone.

“Gods!” Erellia cursed under her breath, wheeling her horse around to face the others. “The rest of you stay together! Follow as quickly as safety allows.” Continue reading

Feb 9 2015

Shadow of Hope 52

Kurn volunteered across the line, simply stated, as if all the speculation, questions, and debate did little to address the issue or help, “If it’s sentient, it can be killed. If it’s not, every force has its balance and opposite.” That the party was present in this region to determine how to stop it was good enough for Kurn. The questions were simpler that way, as were the actions required, whether those actions would require sword, spell, engineering, or whatever. People got in their own way, making things so needlessly complex sometimes.

“Without further information,” Erellia said, “I could only speculate at the possibilities, and speculation is curr–”

The elven woman was cut short by a horrific, tortured shrieking from some distance off to the left. All the beasts of burden in the group snorted and stamped their discomfiture at the distinct sounds of an animal being savaged. Continue reading

Feb 2 2015

Shadow of Hope 51

As the party began to traverse the region, the environment in this locale became much more temperate than that through which was traveled only days, even hours, before. Calmer winds, warmer air and a sense that spring embraced these woods for some time permeated all that could be seen. Borlak again joined Erellia at the head of the line while Zulian fell to the rear.

“The evil we face,” Erellia addressed Talon’s outburst, “remains hidden, though I am able to share something of its nature, and if you wish to quantify our actions in such a way, I should say we are here to rescue any and all who are threatened.” Continue reading

Jan 26 2015

Shadow of Hope 50

Talon took Rôhn’s offering of tobacco. Absentmindedly wrapping his smoke, Talon watched Zulian stalk away before turning back to Rôhn to say quietly, but loudly enough for anyone save those at the far edge of the clearing to hear, “The two women in my life saved it.”

He put the new cigar in his mouth and seemed content just to mouth it for the time being. Continue reading

Jan 19 2015

Shadow of Hope 49

“First of all,” Erellia said, turning to Finn, “welcome Master Farstrider. I apologize for the,” turning a raised eyebrow at Talon, “abruptness with which you were brought into these circumstances. I greatly look forward to hearing what exactly Talon has been telling you during your journey with him, and I assure you that if after hearing our tale you wish to depart from our company, you may certainly choose to do so.”

Finn bowed again and said, “Oh, I don’t expect to be leaving anytime soon, m’lady. I’d been hearing about these parts for some time and wanted to come and see what all the fuss was about.” Continue reading

Sep 3 2014

Shadow of Hope 48

In his usual quiet manner, the barbarian said, ” I am Borlak Dotkina of Sunari, well met.”

“Finn Farstrider of Anatomber, well met again.”

Linking arms with Talon, Rôhn pulled him toward the party, speaking to him as if the Halfling were not present and gesturing to each of the rest of the party members in turn and pausing after each introduction to allow the inevitable superfluous exchange of verbiage characteristic of Humans.  “Allow me to introduce Katarina Tshurka, Priestess of Trymeya…Marcus, Scribe of Denevor…Kurn the Swordmaster…his squire Haron…and *this*–” he gestures toward the Lizardman, “is Cheskith, chef and Chanter of the Silvaraean catacomb-dwellers.”  Rôhn’s tone became more enthusiastic, “His people fought bravely against the Hordes in the Great War!”  Rôhn tucked his thumbs in his girdle and rocked back and forth on his heels, looking up with smiling eyes at Talon, eager to ask him about his whereabouts and exploits since the collapse of the Dragonkeeper’s temple. Continue reading

Aug 22 2014

Shadow of Hope 47

“Zulian, if you would, please,” Erellia directed the half-Elf.

With an affirming nod, Zulian led her mount by the reins, passing slowly between the two misshapen trees and onto the narrow ridge beyond.  The remainder of the party followed her lead and in due course, the entire company was strung out in a single file line, trickling over the terrain.  Erellia watched over the procession as it formed and was the last to pass through the trees and on to the path that led to Anquilla. Continue reading

Aug 4 2014

Shadow of Hope 46

Having been refreshed by an undisturbed evening of rest and the promise of a rain free day ahead, the party departed the camp in heightened spirits, anxious to continue forward on their journey. At Erellia’s request, Zulian and Borlak exchanged positions at the head and rear of the column, and the slender half-Elf lead the way along the murky flow of the Wicked Way.

Travel was swift as the sun’s rays and the gusting winds began to dry out the terrain, and the lay of the land became considerably less cluttered. Despite a noticeable increase in elevation, the morning hours passed rapidly, and a quick lunch was consumed astride mounts as the scribe of Deneir anticipated. With little sign of trouble throughout the journey, a mounting sense of tension began to form amidst the ranks. Surely something must be lurking nearby in these inhospitable hills to threaten this small group of travelers. Continue reading