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.

Sep 3, 2019

Master of Biazzan

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 5

23rd Year of Karameikos (993 AC) Kaldmont (December) 22nd

Jace Blackwater by TL Jeffcoat
  Jace watched the man in chains as he was pulled along the slush covered streets. The poor man's skin was cracked from the sun and his clothes were filthy and torn. The soldiers pulling the chains were dressed in the typical Thyatian legionnaire armor with iron helms, gold painted breastplates and an iron balteus. The ones not pulling the man poked him with spears to keep him moving.
  He watched, with disappointment in his heart. His childhood had been spent training to be a legionnaire but the life of a soldier was not what he wanted. His heart belonged to a higher calling. He wanted something more for his life than to defend the crown.
  When he told his father he was leaving home to go meet the prophet that had come to Biazzan, his father had given him the sword he had made for him when he was to join the Imperial Legion. Jace suspected that he would have ended up on the Isle of Dawn like his brothers.
  The name, Isle of Dawn, was misleading because the land was actually a small contested continent. The empires of Thyatis and Alphatia held the shores and the inland was under constant feud over who owned what. The war was political for now but that never stopped the occasional border skirmish.
  His father had lost a leg during one of these skirmishes with some alien beast the Alphatians had conjured up. Jace did not want that for his life nor did he want to live a peaceful life trading metals to the elves in Vyalia as his father did now.
  Jace watched the man he had come to meet as the soldiers bound him to a wooden pole with heavy chains. The kindling was lit and the flames spread quickly. His crime was necromancy. According to what Jace overheard as he had arrived was that the prophet had brought a man back from the dead without the aid of an Immortal.

Jul 2, 2019

The Dragonborn

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 4

10th Year of Karameikos (980 AC) Fyrmont (August) 3rd

The Portal of Draconia by TL Jeffcoat
The sky over Draconia was blue and cloudless. Zarest rubbed his scaled brow as the sun slipped across the evening sky. He watched through a tower window across the city that floated above the Dreemoth Ravine below.

Several land masses hovered before his view, carrying buildings and gardens. It was a magnificent city of the proudest people in the world of Exandria. The dragonborn of Draconia had built wonders that no other people had even imagined.

As Zarest gazed out of his study window, he pondered the news brought to him that morning. The city of Whitestone had overthrown an evil lord of undead without the requested military help from Draconia. Another mistake in Zarest's opinion as a potential ally was abandoned.
Many of the council felt their involvement was unnecessary and that the successful rebellion was the proof. Zarest felt it was a missed opportunity to make a true ally, something that Draconia never had with its isolationist views.
He rubbed the horn that sprouted forward from his blue scaled snout, which he often did in times of stress. Another bit of news that came from his diviners that afternoon was a disturbance from across the world. Something powerful and ancient had burst from a volcano recently. A volcano suspected of having a portal to the plane of fire. There were supposed to be druids guarding the volcano. Zarest pondered for a moment whether they had survived and had tried to meet with several Draconian nobles.
Those with the power to make that decision were uninterested once again in the struggles of people a continent away. Other than the people of Emon, the Draconians had not successfully made good impressions with other nations.
"The Dragonborn have no time for the goings-on of those who aren't dragonborn. Let them sort their own mess."

Jun 2, 2019

The Jaws of the Wolf

The Immortal Cleansing: Backstory Chapter 3

9th Year of Karameikos (979 AC) Flaurmont (April) 18th

Little Lura and Peiter by TL Jeffcoat
The horrifying screams of her brother still rang in her young elven ears. Valindra gripped tightly to her mother's bosom and squeezed her eyes shut. Her mother's arms strong from centuries of archery, held her like bands of iron.
She had not yet seen the thing that had attacked them but she had heard it howl like a monstrous wolf. It snatched her big brother into the darkness outside their camp by the road to Specularum before anyone had even realized it was there.
Her father had chased after it but was only gone for a minute before he had run back into the camp and pulled mother to her feet. His face was pale and he had his bow out before he followed after them.
Mother had not seen when he stopped and notched an arrow. Valindra could no longer keep her eyes closed and watched over her shoulder. Her gaze was drawn to the shadowy silhouette as it swept from the woods and onto the road on all fours.
Father released an arrow as the shadow pounced at him. The arrow had struck it where the heart should have been but the monster did not stop. He drew his sword and swung at the shadow as it enveloped him and pulled him to the ground with a deep chested growl.
In the light of the full moon it appeared as if someone had smashed a barrel of wine as liquid sprayed and splattered across the road. Father never cried out nor did he move again.
Mother kept running. She did not slow when they heard the sounds of whistles in the woods around them. The monster ignored the whistles and chased after them with a horrifying howl.
It drew closer and closer. The smell of metallic blood and wet fur filled their nostrils. Her mother knew what Valindra saw as it ran them down. She leaned forward trying to run harder.
Massive jaws rowed with long sharp teeth opened from the shadow and the stink of decay and blood washed over them like steam. Red eyes glared over the snout as it snapped at her mother's leg, toppling them both to the ground.