Sep 10, 2020

A Really Bad Day

 

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 10

26th Year of Karameikos (996 AC) Klarmont (June) 2nd


Eva, Naivara, and Vandro by TL Jeffcoat
    "Has anyone seen my bedroll?" Naivara asked as she opened her bag. "My jerky is missing, too." Even with her glowing green eyes that could see through the darkness like daylight was no help to her. The items had somehow vanished from her backpack. She poked a finger at some glittery dust in the bag. There was no other trace of a pixie around. Her parents had talked about them from the Feywild and that sometimes they left behind dust.
    Vandro, with touches of grey in his beard and hair, smiled down at her as he approached. The crows feet at the corners of his eyes deepened. "Maybe, you forgot to pack it this morning? And nobody is fooled here about your voracious appetite, perhaps you ate it already.” He winked at her and then sat near the campfire. He groaned a little and rubbed his lower back. “I don't know how you never aged a day over the last twenty five years."
    Naivara laughed but she was worried. She would have remembered eating that jerky. Vandro always made jokes about her youthful appearance. What he did not know was that she was still a youth among the eladrin people. Gray hair and wrinkles were still centuries away for her.
    She watched the others in their party. A few, like Vandro and his sister, had journeyed for the last two and a half decades all across Karameikos. The humans aged so quickly. Naivara wondered often how they never seemed to have noticed their short lives.
    A tall woman's shadow loomed over Naivara, "Leave the old lady alone, Vandro. It's not her fault. When you get to your 60's your mind starts to go."
    Naivara smirked at the remark and silently thanked Eva for guessing such an age that was still a few years younger than her true age. Eva squatted down and offered some of her own jerky to Naivara. The woman had aged as well over the years but it never slowed her down. She could still run longer than any of the men. She snored as loudly as any of the men, too.

Aug 4, 2020

Between a Satyr and a Hard Place

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 9

26th Year of Karameikos (996 AC) Yarthmont (May) 26th


 Al'faerill and Navi by TL Jeffcoat
  Navi had not visited the hamadryad sisters in a few months. She flitted through the huge trees and stayed in the shade as much as she could. She had lived in this strange world with it's rotating sun and moon for over two hundred seasonal rotations.  She did not appreciate the warmth of the bright sun during this season or the fact that the seasons rotated at all. There was a name for a rotation of each season but she could not remember it.
  She only slowed to smell flowers blooming on the few trees that had clung to the spring petals longer than they should have. She also dealt with a naughty racoon that tried to grab her while she was resting on a branch. The racoon reconsidered trying again after the vine yanked it from the tree. Navi had learned a few tricks in her druid studies with the sisters but the ability to shift into animals still eluded her.
  Maybe napping several times on her way to the sisters was not a good idea but Navi saw no point in life if it was all work and no nap.
  She zipped around the trees of the last hill before she reached the circular dense pines that surrounded the hamadryad home. Inside the circle would have been two thick oak trees that towered over the forest.
  But today, Navi did not see what should have been there. Instead, the pines had been burned down to skeletal remnants of their former beauty. Beyond them the oaks were gone. Where they once stood were two smoking stumps. The scorch marks and splintered stumps told Navi that something had blasted away the trees.
  Between the trees, the sisters laid together, their arms wrapped around each other. As Navi drew closer she could see that they had burned with their trees. Their souls had been tied to the trees which gave them eternal life but also had sealed their fate.

Jul 5, 2020

The Raven

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 8

26th Year of Karameikos (996 AC) Yarthmont (May) 22nd


Lura by TL Jeffcoat
  Lura leaned against a lamp post on the corner of the street. Her hood pulled up to cover her elven ears. To everyone else in the streets of the biggest city in Karameikos, she was just another human among thousands. She was as pale as the native Traladaran people which made her invisible to the ruling Thyatians of the city. Except maybe the city watch. They were always looking for an excuse to harass a native.
  Having grown up around the Krak-o-Ale inn along the Duke's road to Kelvin, she had never realized how many people there were in the world. Lura had been mesmerized by the big city when she had first arrived five years ago.
  The nightmares of the beast that murdered her family would hopefully be forgotten in the noisy human city but so far it had not. She had learned since that the beast was known as a werewolf. She rarely spoke of the monster. These fancy Thyatian immigrants that were taking over the city did not believe in fairy tales and the local Traladaran people were afraid that mentioning one would bring the creature down on them as well.
  She missed her adopted father, Peiter. He was as superstitious as any Traladaran but he welcomed the threats. When he discovered them, he would send word to his lupin friends and they would go hunting. He always said you should face your fears head on and bring a spear in case they did not run away, or especially if they ran away.
  Lura fingered the dagger hilts hidden in her sleeves. She never mastered the spear but few were her equal when she drew sword and dagger or even her bow. 
  Her friend, Oakenmaw, once told her she was one of the best he had seen in the art of the silent kill. He called it assassination. Lura did not like the sound of the word but it sounded better than thief or pickpocket. Even if picking pockets is what brought her to this life.

May 19, 2020

Warden of the Black Peaks

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 7

26th Year of Karameikos (996 AC) Yarthmont (May) 21st


Gauthak Fearless Gathakanathi by TL Jeffcoat
  This had been the greatest week Gauthak Fearless Gathakanathi had ever lived. He had become a grown goliath on a successful ritual hunt. The hunting party had been stalking hill giants south of their mountain home for trophies but had instead ran across a band of hobgoblins hauling stolen wagons full of dwarven barrels.
  Gauthak inhaled the smell of cooked goat meat as he led the hunting party around a bend in the cliff wall to see the pass between two mountains. The peaks rose up and into low hanging clouds that constantly drifted through the pass his people called home.
  The goliath village was behind a poorly built but sturdy wall of tree trunks strung together on the south side of the pass with a massive stone gate and iron door in the center that rose up twenty feet. The gate and door had been built by a storm giant that also lived beyond the pass. Gauthak's dad once told him the giant built the gate for the goliaths because he could just step over it if he needed to.
  For as long as any of the elder goliaths could remember, the storm giant had ruled these mountains and had been a good master to the tribe. What Gauthak understood by that was the giant never came around as long as nothing got through the gate. Gauthak had never seen this giant himself.
  Beyond the wall were several stone structures made with massive slabs of stone leaning against each other. Leather hides were tied across the gaps to seal the interiors from the elements. These structures kept the rain and hard winds out while families slept but they did not give any comforts to the frozen nights.
  This kept with the goliath way of life. Survival is strength, and to be strong, one must stay alive.

May 18, 2020

Tails and Tales

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 6

25th Year of Karameikos (995 AC) Eirmont (November) 13th

Roxin and Salexana by TL Jeffcoat
  "Salexana!" The voice of her elderly head maiden echoed off the ceiling of the underground market. Despite her advanced age, her scratchy voice was as powerful as it was in her youth. Not that Salexana had ever known the woman in her youth, in fact, the head maiden had been old for as long as she could remember.
  The young dragonborn lady ducked into a shop, careful not to bang her head again. Almost every doorway in the market of Highforge was barely big enough to fit a dwarf let alone the dragonborn, who stood nearly twice as tall, had now moved into the gnomish city. The gnomes had made several accommodations to make the Dragonborn more comfortable and they started with doubling the size of their doors.
  Most dragonborn could squeeze through a widened door with little trouble, but Salexana was special. Unlike her mother and every other dragonborn that had fled their old world, she had a tail and stood as tall as any of the strongest men among her people. She had to be careful not to step on gnomes that had a tendency to dash around her legs when she was not walking fast enough. Even the tallest dwarves would run headfirst into her elbows. Not to mention the troubles her tail got her into when it decided to whip around at some inconvenient time.
  She squatted behind a shelf of fancy hats with feathers that were too small for her own head. Her finned tail twitched around near her head and she grabbed it to hold it still. The last thing she needed was for her tail to knock over a stand of coats or clear off a shelf of fancy shoes as her head maiden passed the shop.
  “I’m not sure these hats would fit you, lovely. Might want to try the shop across the road.”
  Startled by the gruff but friendly voice, Salexana released her tail. It struck something that grunted and crashed into a shelf. Fancy colorful shoes wrapped in silk and leather scattered across the floor in a clatter of wooden soles.