Eldergate

Before the Council of Nations
Interlude

“Step forward.”

The speaker, none other than Orion Winters, glares down from his seat at the center of the raised dais at the back of the room. To his right, sits Myrella of Talanthas, heir to the throne of Talanthas (Nation) and Orion’s own grand daughter. To Orion’s left, sits Khalkus Ironcrown Crown Prince of the Dwarf Kingdom, Khul. Beyond Khalkus is Chief Stormrider of the Free Tribes of Hyland, and on the other side of Myrella sits Anselm High Druid of the The Druid Nation. On a hastily constructed addendum to the dais, just to the left of Stormrider, the newest addition to the Council of Nations, Gethrr the Cunning is seated. Just below the council, are seated the Advisors: Archmage Villius Carpenter, Gannemede Atriss, Dorvin Merchant, Shesael Glimmerspark, and Gaius Thorne.

The Council of Nations meets on Gathering Island, in a magically constructed building, of a massive scale for a temporary structure. A blend of Druid and Arcane might, the Council hall is essentially a tower, built into a massive tree that is re-grown each year for the event.

Kyrian Stone, Nero Torvus, Oskar Dankil, and Warbird have been summoned to appear before the Council to bear testimony to yesterday’s events, in which the Island was nearly tipped over.

Councilman Winters leads the questioning, his dark eyes boring into whoever appears to be speaking at the time. His questions show a keen intellect, and it is clear that he reads a great deal into even the slightest inflection, gesture, and facial tick. From time to time, one of the other members, usually Myrella asks a clarifying question. Orion goes often to Gaius Thorne and Archmage Carpenter to verify the probability of the group’s accounts.

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To Save the Gathering
Victory at a price

During the Second day of The Gathering, many disturbing rumors were floating around, but the one that proved the most interesting to Nero Torvus and Oskar Dankil was the one about the disappearance of Grelnik Nickerwick and Goran Steelheart Scourge of Hyland.

Oskar and Nero’s paths intersected as they both did more research to find out what happened to the gnome. The pair decided to work together as the clues began to indicate that the researcher and the Barbarian Conqueror had disappeared together. From Morwin the Mouse – they learned that Steelheart and Nickerwick had left the city along with Goran’s bodyguard Therrick Gorgonskull, but had not left the island, headed toward the northwest.

Nero and Oskar agreed that Goran’s purpose was most likely to enter the access tunnels for the levitation system on The Gathering Island, with the intention of inverting the island and killing everyone on it.

The pair tried to convince anyone they could get to listen of the danger, but could not get anyone to take them seriously, so in desperation, they ended up recruiting Kyrian Stone, Hobb, Harold Smith, and Dane (one of Morwin’s hirelings) to assist them in tracking down Goran and the Gnome on their own.

About an hour out of the populated region of the island, near the coastline, the group found signs of excavation and located a shaft leading straight down into the ground. Climbing down, they opened a mystically powered door, and fought a pair of medium sized centipedes, which managed to give Kyrian a nasty poisoned bite before the group killed them. After about 45 minutes in the tunnel, the lights went out for about five minutes – and then came back on. The group decided that the risk was imminent, and pushed hard to get to the end of the tunnel end before Goran could accomplish his goal. In the process, Oskar suffered severe fatigue and muscle strains from having to make his short legs keep up with the faster humans.

Upon their arrival at the end, Nero had to once again expend mystical energy to open the doorway. The door opened onto a huge globe shaped chamber, with a dropoff leading about twenty feet down to what had been the ceiling when the island was upright. At the ‘bottom’ was the corpse of a massive fifty foot centipede, collapsed near a 20 foot hole from whence emanated a steady stream of mystical energy that pulsed and writhed up through another hole at the top of the room. An inverted platform ran around the circumference of the large room, with another stairway leading down to a chamber where a light shone through a window.

Nero decided that any avenue to stop the barbarian leader that did not involve dying at the hands of him and his brute of a bodyguard was a preferable to rushing in and trying to fight the pair, so he convinced the group to slide down to the corpse of the giant centipede and push it into the mystical energy stream to disrupt the flow. Upon reaching the bottom, the group discovered that several of the massive creature’s ‘babies’ had survived the battle with the Free Tribesmen, and taken refuge under the corpse of their ‘mother’. As the group began to push the massive vermin, the smaller ones were disturbed and came out to feed.

Meanwhile, whatever the gnome was doing in the control booth succeeded – at least in part, and the whole island shifted by about thirty degrees, throwing Nero into the pit, to be saved by a last minute grab by Harold, and Oskar was left dangling by his fingertips as he too was thrown by the sudden shift. Once the two endangered heroes were pulled out of the pit, the group redoubled their efforts to push the monstrous mutated centipede into the energy stream. Their success, however, was not without price. As the energy stream was disrupted, and the island leveled back out – they attracted the attention of the massive man known as ‘The Minotaur’. Therrick Gorgonskull jumped and slid down to join the party. With one devastating blow, he slammed Harold with the force of a rushing bull. The barbarian warrior’s great club collapsed the cart handler’s rib-cage and sent him flying back to disintegrate in the mystical energy stream.

Enraged, Hobb began swinging his club at the assailant with manic fury, as Kyrian rushed to his aid, and Nero sent firey darts at the monstrosity of a man. Oskar placed a blessing on Kyrian, which seemed to help, as Therrick missed two lethal blows, but Kyrian’s own attacks were likewise deflected without harm. The same could not be said of Hobb, who managed to dislocate the man’s knee with his desperate attacks. Unfortunately for Hobb, this managed to draw the warrior’s ire from Kyrian, and The Minotaur caved in the simple dwarf’s head with one destructive blast that sent the body flying.

Nero, his magic depleted, realized that if he could give off mystical energy to open doors in this place – then perhaps he could draw upon its energy to replenish his own. Reaching out to the energy stream, he pulled in the raw power – and cast it out in another fiery dart that once again staggered the enemy. With a roar of pain and fury, Kyrian took advantage of the opening and brought his bastard sword down on the distracted opponent’s injured knee, severing the limb and dropping him to the ground.

Distraught and outraged at the terrible price that had been paid for this momentary victory, Kyrian Stone called out a challenge to Goran to come down and join his bodyguard in hell. The wily Chieftain would not be so easily baited for so little gain however, and decided to give the group their ‘victory’ for now. He exited the chamber via another passage with the gnome scholar in tow.

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Beginnings

Virtually one in five members of the population of Axyss journey to The Gathering in the Spring, and the player characters were counted among them this year.

Upon their arrival at The Porta-Inn near the south eastern edges of the island, they were recruited by Briar Thistledown to take part in The Gravity-Game; chief sport of The Gathering.

Oskar Dankil Traveled with his brother-in-law and a handful of the employees that work at his father’s brewery for the last time, planning to sign-up with the Order of The Shield. The journey was troubled by bandits, an injured ass, and a squirrel with big nuts, but in the end the group arrived essentially unharmed with their cargo intact.

Visenya "Worgbane’ was sent by the Monster Hunter to whom she is apprenticed to hunt down and finish off the injured Worg that had assaulted a group of Halflings traveling the road to Harbor. Although nearly killed by the enormous wolf-like creature, Visenya returned with its hide as a prize.

Kyrian Stone made the trip as a caravan guard and the journey was uneventful largely due to his knowledge of safe travel routes and practices. Kyrian managed to kill a black bear that escaped from one of the traveling menageries, and despite protests from the animal’s negligent owner was cleared by the Gatewardens that arrived to clean up.

Ryah Warden met up with Warbird at what she believed to be the direction of The Shield. The two met at a crossroads and traveled together to a small fishing village on the northeast coast of Hyland. There, they declined to attack a ‘fish-man’ that was disturbing one of the locals’ nets, and instead paid for passage to the world wide fair.

Nero Torvus came to The Gathering to make a name for himself as a fighter and begin his pursuit of recognition outside of the fight pits in his home.

As the Silver Sphinxes, the team managed to rack up two wins in the Introductory Level of the Gravity Games based largely on the spells of Nero that removed their opponents’ rope from the game.

Each member of the group at one time or another heard the presentation of Grelnik Nickerwick, and while intrigued by the possibilities, were even more fearful of the possible consequences of lifting the continents back in to the skies. Looking to profit by the gnome’s odd obsession, Nero attempted to offer to collect his research for the University of The Tome but found that the gnome was actually an excommunicated member of that Order and had already contributed all of his research to their store of knowledge.

Oskar spent most of his time between matches and helping at his father’s market stand serving at a medical tent near the performance center, where he was given the opportunity to treat the innumerable maladies that arise from such a large gathering of people. He worked along side servants of virtually every Elder known on Axyss, and got to know a little more about the way their organizations were structured. He also ‘enlisted’ in the Order of the Shield and is expected to report for duty as soon as The Gathering has ended.

The Session ended with the opening of the first official day of the The Gathering, when the final influx of adherents to the Druidic Laws joined the festivities. The peace of the Gathering was broken when the rumors of a large group of Orcs converging proved to be true. The Gatewardens had to physically restrain many from attacking the aliens on sight, but managed to prevent violence long enough for Gethrr the Cunning to present his request for recognition as a nation and a ceasing in the efforts to eradicate those who followed him. The group was removed to protective custody on the outskirts of the island so that the Gathering Council could debate the matter.

Not to be upstaged by Orcs, Goran Steelheart Scourge of Hyland started another scene, by leading a group of about fifty of his warriors into the gathering and presenting a speech proclaiming that he had conquered one third of Hyland and would soon take the rest. He announced that any who chose to join him were welcome – those who would resist him would be destroyed.

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The Gathering
Introductions

Since the fall of the Elders, the people of the world have celebrated the Gathering twice a year.

The Gathering is held at the sacred Isle of Spring Dawn and Fall Twilight traditionally held to be the center of the world. People from all Five Nations come together for officially seven days, but what has become more like 15 as merchants and travelers arrive early to get a jump on the best spots and deals. The strictest adherents to the Druidic Laws refuse to trade with city dwellers outside of the designated time.

This is the first year each of the characters have been able to get away from their training/duties to make the journey, (or perhaps their duties – due to a Craft/Profession skill have drawn them here) so the sights and sounds are all new. The only way to the Island is obviously via boat – but virtually everyone has one, and there are no shortage of travelers willing to lend a seat to someone willing to help row. To those who have lived their lives among the nomadic tribes, this is the most people they have ever seen in one place. The sounds and smells of so many people pressed together are almost overwhelming. Many of the nomad tribes use beasts of burden – some mundane, others – not so much so, and the sheer variety of boats making the journey across the sea is staggering.

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