The Shattered Spectrum: The Next Generation

Fallen Heroes
Requiem for a Friend

We stand here, on the edge of infinity. One who marked our lives has fallen. Another who came to trust us has entered infinity. Charisma, friend and companion, we honor you. Walin, rest now, your journey is at an end. The wheel turns and from death new life comes. Light to Dark and return to Light. The dark is only an interval. This I believe. And therefore it is my truth.

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Proper Planning
A rote of Pride

Once again it seems we stumble. My companions went and talked with the Speaker of the Assembly today. They “gifted” him with our dealing with the Gillmen. It seems we have acted harshly. And others suffered the consequences of our lack of preparation. Three men dead, or enslaved. Their families losing their prime breadwinner. It hurts. And reminds me that pride will kill us all. We are small fish swimming in a big sea. And we can’t hold the water back alone.

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These moments of silence
The Wind of Understanding

As I sit to meditate and make my tea I reflect on the journey behind. My first steps into becoming a monk of the four winds. I began with the passive wind thinking that this would be my only path. But then I took a life, anger set in. And I found myself going through and surrounded by the aggressive wind. I took many lives and even had to return a gift to sage because I felt unworthy. And frankly I have been that way for a while. But then I no longer feared myself or my ki. During our trip to the land of the Blue I found myself being able to see things within myself I never knew existed. Emotions I had never expected to have. It became a time to leave the strong winds of aggression. And seek out to transition to the wind of understanding. To understand, one must observe. Quieting the mind, putting thoughts into perspective. Seeking the smallest needs of those around. But the wind, the path of understanding is something that requires a still mind and a calming ki. I am sure my friends think I have lost it by constantly making tea and drinking tea. But it is when my mind, body and ki are at peace and can absorb all things around. It is how I make the tea and drink the tea that brings it to unity. The tea leaves reminds the senses of the stillness of the spirit of the trees. The water represents the flow of ki that is our essence. Then I use all of these things to gently heat the water and leaves just to my liking. This control of ki is what allows me see the things around and within me. Including the flow of ki. Charisma’s light especially shines, but is trapped like water held by a dam. I must say during our encounter I did manage to see that ki began to crack through. Ashford’s anger was quieted by empathy. As Tavoks pride by humility. Wisdom is really causing Tavok to shape into the humble and great King I know he will become. And Ashford’s anger is silenced not by vengeance but by empathy and love. Braith didn’t try to steal. She was instead heroic and selfless. I feel I stand to learn a lot from the 2 guys who’s primary position is to observe. Hawgr the fearless and Summaris the ever adaptive.

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The blue ...
douchebags galore

What a crazy couple of days this has been, since our arrival to the blue trouble just keeps on following us (it’s almost as if somebody was messing with us).

We have spent a few days devising a plan on how to organize ourselves and how to execute our plan to cleanse the assembly from the dark touched. Ashford played an important role in planning and I am learning a lot from that man, he has been a good friend of mine and the only one to actually tell me he believes in me becoming a great king someday.

We finally came with the plan to seek out the speaker and make him call in a special session where he would not let anybody out till we got to examine every single one of the assembly man. Let’s just say that I don’t have a stomach for that buffoon, he is so full of himself and the only thing he worries is his wealth … it seems that the man has no consideration for human life unless it threatens or benefits him directly. I have tried asking him for help for my people and my country but his ignorant ass couldn’t care less about us or the plight of my people … such heartless people – how do they get into position of power to run the whole country … I don’t know but I promise I will never ever deny a call for help from any nation when I become a king … Human life is the most precious commodity we have … and simply ignoring the fellow human when he asks for help is not befit of the king.

I have sent a message to Armak , since blue is being very hesitant in sending us help because of the political ties to the green , and we all know that paperwork and politics take forever to actually turn into action from these pieces of paper that the blue seems to love so much … I told Armak about what is transpiring here and to speed up negotiations with green … in case those fail … evacuate the people as the finger is on the move and I would hate to see my people destroyed … We have also learned that white is not doing good either … after Morty used me as an instrument to deliver the fatal blow to the leader of the white , the white could not contain the miasma coming out from the tower … the capital has fallen and the miasma keeps on spreading … I vow that as soon as my people are mighty enough to help the white they will for I feel guilty of being too weak to oppose Morty and see through his evil plan …

We have also made contact with the Seeker , although our initial meeting went not the way I had imagined it to go there was a lesson there to learn … we are idiots … we have approached this threat of dark lord too lightly , taken no precautions to mask ourselves and stay in the shadows , unnoticed yet deadly … he was right to call us idiots and we fully deserve it … for the actions we took ( and still take sometimes ) are not well thought , we need to start thinking about bigger picture , we need to start thinking not only about the plan A, but also about plan B and a contingency in case they both fail … we need to start thinking how to fly under the radar , how not get spied on , how to have conversations without being scried upon … The Seeker is a wise man although a bit rough around the edges ( I guess his job did it to him ) but I sense much good will in him and he honestly wants to better the life of an average citizen , I also sense that to some degree he is being held on leash by the politicians and he does not really like it ( can’t blame him most of the politicians we met so far are total douchebags ) … I think him and I can become good friends .

I also started dating his assistant Bertha, she is a lovely lady, albeit simple minded and not of the noble blood like me, she is sweet and carrying person. I took her out on a date and brought her flowers (having no vase I have given her my cooking pot to keep the flowers in). I hope that one day when all of this is over I can show her my land and my people …

After our meetings with the seeker and the speaker commenced we had few leads to follow , we decided to go after the gillman threat that was reported. We got on the boat and decided to take them on … our preparation for what was to come was really poor , we had no equipment that would allow us to fight in the water , no spells to allow us to breath under water … we have rushed into the situation carried by emotions not by our brains … ( there is a lesson to be learned here … but I believe I mentioned it already above ) … Needless to say we suffered loses … I dived into the water to save a man just to see him snatched right in front of my eyes by the huge creature we saw before – the Aboleth … I couldn’t do a damn thing and the image of the man being dragged to his doom lingered on my mind when I got back on board … the captain of the ship in his panic and figuring out he just lost 3 sailors to the depths of the ocean started to blame us for their deaths ( I don’t think it was our fault to be honest … we have tried our best , we have risked our lives just as much as the sailors did … although I’ll admit our plan and execution could have been better ) … Given the situation and the turmoil going in my head I yelled at the man to “ shut up “ ( it was just too much to deal with at that moment , I snapped and my anger , anguish and despair took a hold of me ) … he proceeded to yell this time directly at me … my nerves couldn’t take it anymore I punched that man square in the jaw ( now that I think about it , he most likely felt the same way I did about losing his crew and was simply venting his anger … me punching him was not the smartest thing , as a future king I should have been more sympathetic for his loss and for the loss of life ) … That did not go well and the rest of the crew become really angry at me and my companions … heck even my own companions become angry at me and sent me below the decks … When we reached land we were told to “ get the fuck out from his boat “ which we promptly did , that’s when the futility of the situation and my thoughts finally overwhelmed me … I made a small campfire and sat to the side smoking my pipe and pondering some of my latest choices … I questioned my right to be the king of the dwarfs since I could not even save one person how could I possibly lead a nation … I guess I wasn’t too quiet about and my sobbing was heard by my comrades as one by one they came toward me and wrapped me in hugs … as much as I appreciate their concern I know I was in the wrong and should not have punched the captain … the only thing to do now is to meet the man and apologize to him for my actions ( that is what a king would do … being humble and compassionate is something I need to work on but this was a good lesson for sure and I swear to find that captain and ask him for forgiveness for my actions – this is the only honorable thing to do )

The seeker have caught one assemblyman who was a servant of the dark lord and according to our intel also in contact with the “ gambler “ , what we did not know is that there was a contingency plan in place and as soon as the politician called the real name of the “ gambler “ he exploded and melted into a pile of goo … knowing this we have to take precautions during the assembly … we would not want for that to happen there …

We are now back in the blue waiting for the speaker to call the assembly … what happens next I honestly don’t know …

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Arrival
Reunions and Departures

We finally have made it into the capitol city of the Blue. It is good to be back. The way in was difficult and the city borders are tighter than ever. I saw Shara again. She may not be my soul mate but she is a VERY good friend. She seemed concerned with the “Gill people”. Apparently they are raiding shipping into and out of the city.
On a more personal nature within the party Braith seems to be concerned about what that strange lady…what was her name?…Ashford said Wisp? or was it Franchesca? No matter. She told Braith that if Braith turned she would kill her. And I noticed that Braith is no longer carrying the daggers we found. Is this a coincidence?
We have much to do and it seems much less time to do it in. I pray that we will be in time. The future rushes forward and the fates are never kind.

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Oaths
Musings on the Past

It seems Armok has great charisma. Not even a day has passed since we took Thorek’s oaths and yet many in my party have already made decisions that break them. I, however, will remain firm. Though Thorek will now enforce them they are ones that I would have maintained nonetheless. But what of the unspoken oaths. Those to friends, family, and companions. Okenna seems distraught by the lives he has taken. How to help him? And the anger that Ashford carries is heavy and now the added burden of his son being alive and possibly out for his blood. The Fates weigh heavy on this group. I must meditate. Maybe the Divine will give me answers…or maybe new questions?

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Am I lost within my journey?
3rd Entry

I have yet to make another attempt in using the elemental fist or focusing my ki. And yet still I have badly injured 1 and taken the lives of 5 others. What is becoming of me? I went from never have taken a life to claiming the lives of 6 possibly 7. While I did not look to start this fight I surely did not shy away from it. I do not regret my actions because all that are with me are alive. But will my body and soul commit civil war within me? The blood of the gods lays within me. While my of peace within thyself and love those around me are the teachings of a great sage. Remain at peace is of great importance to have peace externally. But to remain neutral in the time of slaughter and oppression chooses the side of the oppressor. And I can not do nothing when so much is at risk. Am I cursed to be given strength and not use it to help those without it? Ashford is fighting with a great loss in his soul. Conflicted with the chance that he may have to take the life of his future. And he still moves onward without hesitation. Seeing such strength within a man has shown me what real strength looks like, and causes me to question my own. Is the destiny of my blood and harmony of my soul meant to co-exist in one body? I must find tranquil resonance. All I can do is read and meditate in hopes that I can connect all that influences me. Whatever the result I can not allow for evil take hold on the innocent. Ashford is very much like my brother. Regardless of what happens I vow to help Ashford get his future back and put a stop to this until there is nothing left within me.

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Writings of Tavish !
The memory of shitty pants !

We finally found Armak (spelling ) I never ever seen such an intimidating Dwarf in my life … ( not that I seen many Dwarfs ) his stature is legendary … and the golems as he calls them that he has with them … not even the blue had inventions of such magnitude ( by the way I don’t think he remembers that I punched him the dream … maybe that is for the best his axes are awfully sharp ) … Armak upon waking up and asking us who we are and what we want from him … started cursing Thorek … that did not sit well with the high priest who needed moment of solitude to gather his wits … within few minutes Solaris came back with the grim news that the priest is dead … assassinated … dammit I should have never ever let him go alone … and I should have trusted my gut ( or rather Flyuffy’s nose that something was amiss ) … we took the body to prepare a proper burial for a man of his standing … i acquired his hammer ( which I used later on to a great success )We headed back to the main compound after trying dissembling Armak’s golems , let’s just say I’d stay to building campfires … this technology thing is not really my domain … upon reaching the top we headed for the temple … what we saw there was carnage … among the dead I saw little Tavok … the rage within me swelled … I cursed the gods , I cursed Thorek to the 7th hell … in his own temple a GOD allowed for this to happen … what kind of god is he ? Maybe Armak was right .. maybe he is a weak god or a god losing power … who knows … it’s not for me to question gods but sure as a Dwarf I can be mad at him ( I wiggled my finger at him !!! ) …I took the body of little Tavok and buried him outside I promised to myself to return when I grow in power and bring him back to life if I can … Armak started to do what he does best … he is a natural leader although a little bit too bloodthirsty for my taste … he wanted to kill all dark touched from the start and I almost agreed with him but I remembered two things … my oaths and something we learned not so long ago " Only through the passage of the strength from ancestor to the youth does the strength of the Threads remain beyond the reach of the darkness… " I don’t know if this applied in this case but the youth should be spared regardless … we got tasked witht he mission of infiltrating the compound of the blackhand … I went ahead with our party Rogue ( I still don’t know if she can be trusted just yet ) … thank god I was fast enough and discovered first trap as well as first dark tainted dwarf that we encountered … I dispatched of him in the most non lethal way possible ( he might have a slight head ache and a huge lump on his head ) We discovered some more traps ( a gas one where I held my breath not to get poisoned ) and few cavein traps ( oh by the way Ashford shat his pants that made me giggle a little bit but then he is an old man and bowel movement must be hard for him at this age … so I cured him of his sickness ) … the party seemed like not knowing which way to go , Our rogue went full mental insanity on me … she even stabbed me … so I took out her legs if she stabbed me again I would take out her head … the party was still deciding what to do and which way to go so I took this as an opportunity to be adventurous and went on my own in a total darkness clinging to the shadows the pray turned into a hunter … oh wait that is who I am … **** giggle **** I went into the hallway where I spotted a trap at the crossroads and that led me to believe that most traps we encountered were at the crossroads … I also triggered another blade trap ( god damn blade traps ) and got skewered pretty badly … mad and annoyed I banged the wooden door to oblivion … and behind them I saw … Another door these ones made of some metal with hints of adamantium … I tried opening it with the dead body of the dwarf we just slayed … but that did nothing … I was about to dwarf the doors … but Okena ( the wise monk ) informed me to use my holy hammer and bash the door … I did as he asked and after a while the doors gave in … we saw the Arman inside sobbing and mumbling something about “ how it supposed to b different how he did it for his people “ I got mad , the images of all the dead dwarfs in the chapel flooded my head , the image of little Tavok carving the statute of fluffy … the rage took over me the inner dwarf in me awoke … the honor the pride of my people… I wanted to kill Armak I raised my hammer and was about to go for the killing blow when in the last moment something stopped me … I still don’t know what was it … was it the oaths ? was it just me and who I am that prevented me from killing Arman ( instead I bashed him upside the head ) I don’t know yet … whatever it was I thank it … Arman was a dark touched he was a traitor but he regretted his actions … all of the sudden his body burst and he turned into the black tentacle monster the same one from my dream … we decided to run as we stood no chance against such monster Ashford decided to blow it up and threw his powder keg into the room while yelling for everybody to get out … we all ran out , I was second to last to run out ( a dwarf moves only 20 but he fucking moves 20 ! ) but I noticed an oddity … the powder keg was too small … so I added a little bit extra powder to it * giggle * for the bigger boom … we all ran out of the room when we noticed Hoger our barbarian friend was still inside … we yelled for him to get out hoping he is not in his rage … he finally ran out … “ Ashford who was being attacked by the dark tainted dwarfs never lost his sight … with the daggers sticking out of him , sweat on his brow and shit in his pants ( or what remained of it ) … he shot the powder keg … Sumaris who is a druid of the elvenkind used his spell to seal the room so that the explosion would not get us … That was the loudest boom I ever heard in my life … I also think I saw a piece of something brown slip down Ashfords pants … * giggle *

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Writings on the wall
Writings of Thorek

Finally, at long last, the horrific night was ending. We had confirmed our worst fears; the fallen could not truly be destroyed. Nightfall brought the shattered armor that Craven and Klauss had managed to down in the daylight back to it’s horrible animated motion. It had reforged itself quicker than our strongest magics could possibly hold back. It was only due to the combined efforts of the Almaniveh and the Archmages of the Isles that no casualties were taken throughout the night. It was pandemonium inside the research tower where it was being held. It was almost impossible to contain. Somehow we managed to bludgeon the unstoppable juggernaut of death back into an immobile stupor, shattering it once more with spells and restraining the pieces.

The White Lady had warned us of this… The Dark Lords domain was more than just the crushing dark of night. His are the dead. His greatest minions cannot be ended by mere death. When his Almaniveh fell in ages past, whatever powers they held in that moment became his to forge anew. In the ages since, I have come to realize why Liora and her people value children and family as strongly as they do… Only through the passage of the strength from ancestor to the youth does the strength of the Threads remain beyond the reach of the darkness…

Val was sitting on the edge of the palisade, he was spinning one of those damned cursed coins again. A nervous habit he had picked up ever since that day… He was staring deeply into the distant west, as the first hints of sunlight began to encroach from behind. Sunlight that could never reach further than perhaps a half a mile west of where I stood.

I knew better than to ask about the coins… His refusal to give them up had nearly brought us all to death blows. Craven had wanted to just kill him and be done with it, and he nearly had. Val’s testimony at the trial had ensured animosity between them. Once the taint of the Dark one is upon you, how can you possibly be trusted? Karlstaff agrees with Craven of course, but he has chosen to acquiesce to Liora’s will… Liora, who truly believes this can only be done with every possible Almaniveh standing united. I am… …unconvinced. If the taint does ensures your fall to the will of the dark, perhaps none of us deserved to live.

Val’s face is troubled. He doesn’t turn to acknowledge me, but he knows I am behind him. For a time, we both just revel in the brief joy of silence. He is the first to break it, and I feel a sense of loss as the moment passes. “How do you convince yourself we’re doing the right thing?” He asks me hesitantly. “You saw that village… they’re just people, trying to live their lives like any of us.” His voice is so very tired… “That… That little child…” He pauses, unable to finish the sentence for fear of losing his composure.

We have been friends since we were children. We grew up together. We played in the river and chased the village girls, trying to tease and tickle them. At times I see a darkness in him that scares me, but in this moment I see only my childhood friend. He is frightened, and tired, and pushed far beyond what human minds were ever meant to bear… His burden, my burden, Klauss’ burden… How could any of us keep going in this never ending war?

I respond after a moment of thought: “I don’t know, but stopping the Dark Lord from dominating the world seems like the only right path.” My own voice is perhaps as exhausted as his. How many days and nights with nearly no rest now? We attack, push back the darkness during the days light… The night, the night brings the counterattack. The battles during the day were the most rest we could hope to find. The fight was so much easier during the day.

We had seen the depths of the Darkened Lands… We had been to the library. We all knew that the horrors the Dark Lord placed at the edges of his territory paled in comparison to the strength he held close. The Dark Lord is a paranoid and nervous god. He possesses a horrific complete domination of his people, and any one of the people born in his land are open to becoming a conduit for his power at any time. But these are just tiny flecks of what he is capable. His true strength is held tightly, kept near his citadel. Gods help us when we must face his hand… Gods help us…

I could only imagine which of the horrors Val was pondering in that moment. For myself, I knew that the only way forward was to stay strong. My people were holding their own, as were most of the united tribes. The strength and creativity they were able to bring to bear when all of the tribes stood united was awe-inspiring. For a moment, a brief fear struck me regarding the innovations of war. Both sides of this conflict were bringing to life notions best left un-imagined. Even now, the captured Fallen was inspiring new and frightening changes to the Golem-Works. I shook it off, and resolved myself.

“We have to push again soon…” My voice trailed off halfway through the sentence. He knew. Of course he already knew. We hated it, it was a raw nerve to aggravate every day, and it left us drained down to the very soul. It was the same weapon, re-modulated, but close enough all the same, that had been used to commit genocide not too long ago. We were supposed to save the world. We were supposed to be the heroes. Instead we were directly responsible for the annihilation of the entire Queendom. How many died there? How many had the Dark Lord killed? How many had we? I couldn’t bring myself to try and think on the numbers…

He went to stand, and I offered him a hand up. “There has to be another way…” He said, his eyes still locked towards the west. “We don’t have long before it gets here, we all saw it, and it saw us.”

I shuddered. “So we do what we can, while we can…”

He said nothing for a moment, his eyes finally dropping as his head went slack and his eyes peered at the ground in front of him. He sighed, then replied. “Yes… we all must do what we can…”

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Traveling with Honor
Reflections of an Oracle

I have now been traveling with this group for around a week I believe. Overall they seem to be good people hounded by circumstances outside their control. Rushing headlong towards the unknown, not because they want to, but because they have been chosen to. Heh, welcome to my life.
Today we left the dwarven temple to Thorek to head down into the Forgotten Tunnels searching for the resting place of Armok, a great dwarven general and the dwarves last warchief. The dwarven high priest accompanied us, leading us. This is truely a case of the blind leading the blind. At first I felt that this journey could only end in disaster. However in hindsight, the disaster will come, as always, from outside ourselves.
We found the temple that Thorek had last walked in and found our way down to a chamber of testing. The first test, one of honor, was, physically, easy. Just 5 oaths, but these oaths I know will weigh heavily upon us.
The second test took the longest time. Craft an adamantine dwarven hammer. And not a fleck of adamantine around. This one took the longest time and the most physical work. But we completed it. And the most ironic part is that Charisma, an elf, crafted the best hammer. The gods have a strange sense of irony.
The last test was, I feel, not a test that can be easily passed or failed. What are the consequences of the past? How do they affect the choices we make now? I do not feel that, though we “passed” this third test, we are done being tested by it.
However the door to the last chamber is open. My companions say this is the resting place of Armok. However the dwarven high priest is silent, and so is the divine, that which guides me. We shall see if this is the end of our task to unite the dwarves, but i feel that there is more to come. And even if this is the end, the dwarves have a choice to make. One that may, and most probably will, cause more death. War continuing with the Green, or Civil War. Not an easy choice, nor one I would want to make even before i took the oaths.

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