Danomau Greyhawk Alternativa

The Begining of the Phostwood campaign
Aluistra sings the song of Voronathar

As night falls Celene’s dim blue light becomes more noticeable as Luna, the larger of the two moons, is no where to be seen in the night’s sky. The elves of the Earth tribe gather around the large bond fire. Laugher abounds, there’s the smell of roasting meats, music plays, songs are sung, ale flows, and the dancing around the large fire makes every one forget the cold of midwinter.

Aluistra goes to the centre of the circle as the fire starts to go down, the dancing lights accentuates even more her perfect figure. All eyes follow her ever move, as she pulls her blonde hair back, like a golden curtain opening up to reveal her lovely face. As she breathes in filling her chest with air, she pauses for a moment, the musicians stop playing, the elves stop dancing and sit down. Aluistra starts to sing, her angelic voice fills the air. None of the musician dares plays to not ruin what many think is perfection. Goose bumps can be felt and seen on nearly every one present, not from the cold, as no one is feeling the cold of winter, but something moving inside them, with every note sung.

The song is of the heroic acts of Voronathar Uvatharerum. When many centuries ago, hordes of evil creatures overflown the land like a tide of destruction. Voronathar united 4 great tribes of elves, and united behind him,… a new hope was had. Those that did not follow Voronathar were laid to waste by the dark horde, they had fallen to the horde’s might and cunning trappings, there was not even a single survivor of the tribes that did not follow Voronathar.

Voronathar lead the 4 tribes to victory, freeing the forest of the horde’s fowl presence. Though they had been victorious over the bloody horde, the forest was still sick, and the sickness was still growing, as the great evil behind the fowl creatures had not been defeated. It seemed that no one, nor any thing could stand against the great evil. Voronathar though found a way, but a steep price must be paid, would he be willing to pay it? With his heart filled with love for his people, Voronathar laid the great evil down. The song ends on a sad note, reminding the elves that Voronathar sacrifice himself for them. That none of them would be here if Voronathar wasn’t willing to die for them.

Several tears go down the most wrinkled face of The Ancient One . Called like that since his name has long been forgotten by even himself, he was already ancient when the parents of the oldest here where born. His skin is so tough it’s probably harder than any armour that Vertelion the great smith could make. Though very senile and demented, The Ancient One continues to perform the most advanced Druidic rituals flawlessly and better then anyone. As he very slowly rises to applaud Aluistra’s singing. His whole body start to violently shake. He falls to the ground and foams from the mouth. The elves are all taken back by the old one’s violent convolutions, horror fills them as the thought of losing him crosses everyone’s mind. Despite the foaming he speaks in a strange voice, it’s very hard to understand, not only from the white substance coming from The Ancient One’s mouth, but his dialect is strange, he’s speaking a very very old form of elven.

- “Darkness” he screams, “It takes all… the song of birds… gone, the green of grass… gone, the trees… the trees are nowhere! The laughter of children… gone! There’s only silence! The sun is… dead, all is undone… all is cold… darkness… nothingness is what is left! Darkness… Those humans must be stopped! Darkness… Those fools! The darkness is coming!”

“Prophecy!” yells the Witch “Take heed to what the venerable one says or does!”

The Ancient One stops shaking, and stands up oddly fast with such a frail body. His eyes are all white as he touches a few elves. The Starbow brothers: Elodil and his younger bother, then he touches Ivar, then Veg , the Witch and the young Merriladrin that had snuck up closer, and unseen by everyone.

And just as suddenly had it all started, The Ancient One returns to his normal and senile state. The elders look to the elves touched.

“You must investigate what the humans are doing! At once!”

The “chosen” elves look to each other, “but we don’t know any humans, or where we can find them”.

“The gnomes may know! They do business with the humans! At once speak with the gnomish lord! At once!”.

The next day at first sunlight, the party of elves leaves South, in direction of the gnomes, that live very near the border of Nutherwood, a place no elf should go.

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First days of the journey
Waterday, 5th of Needfest (Midwinter)

The elves run quickly as always through the forest. Totally at home, with the irregular terrain. Elven feet always seem to land sure of themselves as if there was something communicating between the land of Phostwood forest and them. Their feet seem to always avoid, that sharp stone or stick that’s point up, that crocked root, that would trip any other runner. Many places were still slippery from the night’s frost, other were a bit more damp where some old tree had fallen giving a bigger opening for the sunlight to shine through.

As the Sun rises the forest becomes more and more alive. The birds chirp and sing more, the nightly frost starts to melt, allowing more smells and odours to escape their icy prison, to rise and float in the air. The elves can some times get a glimpse of a few squirrels, before they climb away at they approach.

Time passes, there’s a few short pauses for food and water. Few words are said during the march, no words need to be said. A shared thought goes through everyone’s head:

“Why us… we are not experienced heroes, The Starbow brothers and Ivar are all good with a bow and spear, but many an elf is and there are far better, such as the veterans of the battles against the humanoids of Nutherwood.

Veg has just now started unlocking some of the secrets nature, there are more advanced druids in the village.

The Witch is actually still learning, and her master had died recently before she could teach her all her secrets, not even a potion can she brew, what will she be able to learn on her own now?

And what of young Merriladrin? She seems at home in the shadows easily hiding there, springing forth when you least expect it. Good for a child’s game, but on this mission will it be of value? Her more sinister skill perhaps may come in handy. When some one has caught some animal, Merriladrin is able to get close, and strike it with a blade in a way, it does not even know what happened, no suffering, no moment of fear or terror, it’s just done and over. But how well will she do against something that’s capable of fighting backing?

Night falls, camp is made, weapons are sharpen, rituals are said and rest is then welcomed by them all. With the morning, camp is undone and the running restarts to the south towards the Gnomes, but also closer and closer to Nutherwood do they go.

As they run through the forest. Elodil’s voice breaks their silence.
“Smoke, black smoke… from the west, from the looks of it far west”
“A fire in the forest? In midwinter?” says Veg while shaking his head, an expression of dismay falls over him. “That smoke is very black, this is unnatural, we need to know the forest is safe”.
“What about talking with the gnomes?” asks Ivar.
“What ever knowledge they know now of what the humans are doing, they will also have should we speak to them latter.” replies the druid.
“Ok, fine be me, just asking” is what Ivar replies back.
“I suspect the scum humans are behind this! ” an anger Elodil ads “West I say”.
Elodil’s brother nods in agreement.
Seeing that the druid has convinced the rangers to go west, the Witch comments.
“Fine west we will go, following the Druids is the elvish way.” she the looks side ways to the druid and hissing almost like a cat “But Veg, I hope you have learned more of nature and of the four elements from the Ancient one, than you have of foolishness of his dementia!”
Veg just shakes his head at the Witch, trying to give the idea that her words had meant nothing to him, he then moves West, the Rangers shortly after take the lead
The Witch slyly smiles at the druid’s reaction, she know she has struck a nerve and enjoys it.
As Merriladrin passes the Witch she winks at her “Good one, though to spite the druid I think I would have done better” she says while smiling sure of her self.
“Oh, really … like what?”
“Err.. don’t know, but I’m sure I would, if I wanted to”
“Bah, you still got allot to learn,… young one”
Merriladrin in an mixed of surprised and anger “Young one! You’re barley a couple of decades older than I am! You aren’t an elder! Who are you calling young!”
“Oh you can learn allot in a couple of decades, like how to spite some one younger” the Witch ads with a wink.
“You really are good at this!”
“So true, so true”

3 days the elves run west, resting only the minimum necessary. The travel was not uneventful or without hazards.

First there was the Wolves, which had ambush them along the way, two wolves attacked them from the front, while the rest of the pack came from behind, catching the elves by surprise.

Fortunately Veg showed the Witch that he had in fact learned a thing or two about the spirits of nature. With the right ritual the plants seem to come alive, grabbing and holding fast many of the vicious wolves. Still the elves had to killed a few wolves that were already attacking them. The rangers showed their talent with their bows, spears and blades. Despite all this several of the elves were very badly wounded by the wolves. The Witch proved then her value as she could produce good-berries. Eating just one small berry was like eating a meal but, it also help cured wounds, most of them completely disappeared after several berries. After making camp and resting every one was totally healthy and healed.

Latter on they had some run ins with some wild boars, at least they ended up with lots of fresh meat. Not as much as they may have expected though, while camping some bears came along but they managed to resolve this peacefully (it cost them though allot of boar meat)

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The Forest Burns
Sunday, the 2nd of Fireseek (Winter)

Then they finally came upon what was behind the smoke. From a distance they rangers are the first to spot it!

“Over there… do you see it! Humans! They are burning the forest I told you! We must kill them all!” exclaimed Elodil
“Yep it’s the Humans alright” added Ivar.
“How are they setting trees a flame in Winter? With this dampness it should be very hard! Are they wizards?” A concerned Druid asks.
“Hmm… I don’t think so” comments the Witch “They seem to be applying some black sticky goo to the tree and only after that do they set it a flame”.
“Perhaps the black goo is the darkness, some demonic power?” asked Veg
“I don’t think so, I don’t see any type of rituals, or anything that reminds me of spells” replies the Witch.

“Look, over there, they get the black stuff from that barrel they have on the wagon, that the two oxen are connected to” Ivar ads.

“What? They make animals their slaves?” A horrorized druid asks
“These savages, these monsters, lets just kill them and make them pay for their crimes!” exclaims Elodil.

“Hmm they have couple of small, strange like wolves or cooshees on leashes connected to the wagon” ads Ivar

“They don’t look like foxes” asks Merriladrin “What are they Veg?”
“Never seen that Animal before, but it’s probably related to wolves or cooshee, more like a small cooshee, do you hear it? It barks like a cooshee” replies the druid

“Hmm I’m calling them Runtshee’s for now, nice way to say small cooshee” Says Ivar.

“Who cares what they are called let’s just kill their masters already” Elodil says having a hard time not charging off in the direction of the humans.

“Wait, let’s see if they are armed, if they are any we should take them out first” ads Merriladrin

“Some of them have strange looking bows, they hold it on the horizontal resting on some stick that appears to be attached at the middle of the bow and is also holding the string drawn” replies the Witch.

“I just noticed they have only burnt phostwood trees, they are ignoring the other trees” comments Veg. “I wonder why”

“We should capture a human and question him” says Ivar
While most of the elves nods in agreement, Elodil angerly adds
“I don’t see the point of that, we won’t be able to trust anything these fiendish humans say”

“No at least we should capture one” says Veg sternly to the angry ranger.
Elodil remains silent as if he reluctantly concedes

The elves soon make their attack plans, as arrows are let loose, the Witch casts sleeping spells upon a few humans, as the druid connects to the plane of fire and produces a flame that he can throw at them.

After the devastating surprise attack, the humans left standing reply firing their crossbows, wounding greatly the rangers. The elves are taken some what back at how easily the crossbows punctured their leather armour. Then the elves notice how long the humans take to reload the crossbows and think to themselves how elvish bows are much superior to these silly humans weapons

A human frees the pair of dogs by the wagon and tries to set them against the elves. But the druid very easily convinces the dogs that they should be friends, it was easy for Veg to convince the dogs to help them against the humans, as their human masters had been cruel to them.

As the largest of the humans had finished just reloading his crossbow and takes deadly aim on Elodil’s younger brother. The crossbowman suddenly stops, says not a word but has a very surprised expression, from something that just happened, but that expression lasts just a moment, he drops his crossbow, then he drops, revealing behind him Merriladrin, wiping her blades right before she jumps back in to the shadows of a near by bush.

“Some of the humans are fleeing” Says a wounded Ivar as he lets loose another arrow
“Don’t let them escape, if they can call for help and send reinforcements we will be in big trouble” replies Elodil as his arrows hits the back of a fleeing man, that then falls motionless to the ground.

Veg sees one human jumping on the wagon trying to use it as cover against the deadly arrows that fly by. The oxen with the commotion start to flee. The druid throws a flame toward the fleeing wagon, shortly after the wagon is all set a flame as some of the black goo had been spilled out, then a few moments latter it violently explodes! Making a a large hole, destroying trees, pieces of human, and oxen are spread through the forest.

The Witch hissing like a cat at the druid “I thought you were the protector of the forest, look at what you just did! Looks like it’s not just the ancient one that is going senile!”

The druid apparently ignores the Witch, but with a sorrow face looks at the unnecessary destruction he had just caused. “This is the vilest of sorcery!”

The elves take one of the humans the Witch had put to sleep with her magic as prisoner and slaughter the rest. The Witch takes out an elaborately ornate dagger. She giggles as a young child that has just received several presents “Oh these eyes might come in handy for some potions, can’t forget the liver, the vesicle, oh wonderful glands this one has, a few teeth.. .the tongue yes, yes” and starts harvests several organs from the humans she killed, placing them in jars.

The Starbow brothers start collecting ears and use them to make a necklace of their kills.

As the human wake’s up, the first thing he see is Elodil’s younger brother necklace of ears just a few centimetres from his nose. The younger of the Starbow’s that had remained mostly quiet till now- and despite having a couple of crossbow bolts in him, still musters the strength to violently punch the human as he questions him:

“Why are you burning the forest!?”

The human replies something that seems like gibberish to the elves.

“Didn’t you hear me? The more you stall the worst this will be!” The young elf hits the human again.

The frightened and very bruised man replies with more strange sounds.

“These stupid creatures don’t know how to talk! I told you guys it would be useless questioning these monsters, we should just kill it” exclaims Elodil

“Hmm perhaps they have their own language, does any one speak human?” asks the Witch

They all shrug.

“Lets take him with us to the gnomes, they speak human for sure! I heard they trade with the humans from the east side of the forest” says Merriladrin

“Yes, we shall” confirms Veg, but we need a place to camp, and attend to these nasty wounds, I have called upon the spirits all I can today, I have no more power to request their aid in healing you now, I need to rest, after that I’ll be able to call upon them again to heal you”

“I too have used all my magic for now” says the Witch “Tomorrow I’ll also be able to aid with magical healing”

A bloody Ivar ads “We need some place safe, we should camp in the trees, if we have to fight up close, neither I or the brothers will last long, and from a high we will have a better advantage with bows”

They all agree. And move back in to deeper woods and try to camp in the trees. Shortly after they are awaken by the dogs Veg had befriended, fighting bears. The bears quickly kill the dogs. They realise the bears were attracted by the smell of blood from their wounds. The druid though manages to convince the bears to leave peacefully, apparently the dogs will satisfy their hunger for now.

Not long after they are awaken again by the sounds of other dogs barking in the distance.

“More Runtshees?” asks Ivar

“And most likely more humans” says Elodil, “They are probably tracking us, we need to move, we are in no condition to fight”

They rapidly try to move, but soon realise their human prisoner is slowing them down immensely. As he trips and falls frequently and in no way can keep up with the elven pace.

“We need to get rid of the human quickly or they will be upon us” says Elodil as he lifts his long spear in direction of their prisoner.

As soon as Veg nods in agreement, the prisoner gasps for a moment and falls to the ground dead. All eyes fall to Merriladrin as she cleans her blades of the human’s blood.

“What, you never seen something die quick before?” she asks.

“It deserved to suffer more for the crimes it has done” mumbles Elodil, lowering his spear.

“Perhaps, but now he can’t suffer, I’ll try to keep that in mind in the future” she points her now clean and shiny blade in direction to the distant barking that gets closer “Maybe you want to discuss that with his friends”

“Let’s go by tree” says the Witch, “It will be much harder for them to track us”

“I agree… but before that help me behead the human” says Veg “We need to send a message to the humans”.

They place the human’s head on spike, to be easily found. Using the his blood they write in elvish “Begone or be DEAD”. They then take to the trees, and almost like monkeys jump one branch to another. It’s slower than running normally through the forest, but much harder for some dog to track the scent.

As they advance rapidly the noise of rushing water can be heard. “We can lose them for sure if there’s a river”.

They wade a bit in the river. It then dawns on them, it’s the Yol river. The other side is Nutherwood, territory of the humanoids and other evil creatures.

Without anyone saying a word they start moving North away from it. An hour later wounded and exhausted they finally make camp.

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Lusting hearts
4th of Fireseek (Winter)

At the camp as Ivar is on watch, he hears the beating of wings, large wings, then the sound of something landing and sniffing the air.

From a distance he hears a sinister, profound and dark voice speaking Sylvan
“I swear I smell human blood near by”
Another voice just as malevolent, but not as deep as the first replies
“I smell it too, It may be dead already I hope the heart is still there, but there’s some other scent as well, something else”

Ivar moves a bit on the branch he is on to be able to see who is speaking.
He sees two man-size creatures, the upper torso, neck and head reminds him of a very large dear of blackish blue fur, with great horns that are pitch black. As they speak the elf can see their great fangs. The rest of body, looks like that of some bird of prey such as great eagle with dark green feathers. What he is looking at are two Peryton. Evil, mythical creatures from Nutherwood. Ivar recalls of stories that only enchanted weapons can truly hurt them, something Ivar knows the elves don’t have.

As silently as he can, the ranger wakes the rest of the elves.

The Peryton though finally notices them in the trees, and angrily ask
“Why do you smell of human blood?”
“We had a battle with them, and killed many” says Veg
“Oh you did? Where are the bodies? I do not see them”
“It was not here, but several hours of travel, but why do you care?”
The Perytons look carefully over the group of elves, the Perytons seem initial very confidant seeing how wounded the Rangers are, but start to grow more hesitant and weary, after counting the many fresh ears on the brothers’ necklace, they also notice that Veg and the Witch are in perfect health. Merriladrin is already out of sight, hidden, slowly and silently moving to circle around the Perytons.
“We need human hearts, take us to the fallen humans!” says the largest of the Peryton.
“Why?”
“While I actually think elf will probably taste much better then human flesh… human hearts are necessary for us… we need them to… er well… mate, we’ve tried other types of heart, so far only human hearts seem to work, though I haven’t tried elf heart yet”
“Even if you find that elf heart works, and it’s likely that they won’t, we are few, you won’t mate much. As you can see we have killed well over a dozen humans, more than double of our numbers. We can take you to the humans, If you are willing to wait till tomorrow”
The two Peryton look at each other for a moment then to the elves “Agreed!”
“Is it wise to try to negotiate which such evil creatures?” whispers Elodil to Veg
“We need time, in the morning both I and the Witch will have our magical powers at full strength, as of now they can easily defeat us, we don’t have many options here”

The Perytons perch on a near by tree, both groups rest uneasily and make sure that someone on each side stays on watch of each other.

As the sunrises and the spellcasters are totally refreshed and rapidly finish healing their wounded to full health before taking the Perytons to where they battled the human, it takes most of the day to get there.

As they arrive, the signs of the battle are still evident, but there’s no bodies.
“Perhaps, wolves and bears have gotten to them” says Merriladrin
Veg and the rangers shake their heads in disagreement, the druid replies
“I doubt it, 12 bodies? In just a day? Though the wolves will eat every thing including the bones, 12 bodies is just too much in so little time, it would need to be a huge pack”
The Peryton angerly turn to the elves:
“Wolves, bears, what does it matter, I don’t see any bodies… or hearts, the only hearts around I see … are elven”

“Wait over there look…” points Ivar

In the distance, they see around 20 men, a large wagon with 2 barrels of black goo, and many bodies on it. One of the men is obviously a knight in full plate, on his horse. Something the elves had never seen before.

“Is that a metal golem, that rides?” asks out load the druid

The peryton laugh for a moment,
“No, fool that’s a man in a suit armour, it protects them well, much better than the leather you or the other humans over there are using. Lots of hearts… but lots of weapons as well, elven hearts seem at the moment easier to collect”

“Wait, that large wagon in the forest, is restricted to following the trail they must of opened up, we can easily circle around and ambush them further ahead.” says Elodil “With your help I think we can take them”

“Perhaps…” says a peryton but not like he was convinced of the idea.

“Excellent plan” adds Merriladrin. “You guys attack them all from the same side of the trail, I’ll hide on the opposite side, and try to catch the metal man off guard”

They set their plan in motion, waiting for the humans to arrive. As the humans pass right by them, the plants in front of the group of men seem to come to life, grabbing the few crossbowmen that were in front of the wagon, pulling them to the ground and holding them fast, most of the men were behind the wagon, about half of them suddenly fall a sleep. Panic starts to come over the humans, as in an instant more then half their numbers appear to be out of the fight. Now arrows fly, Ivar’s arrows bouncing harmlessly off the knight’s armour, while Elodil and his brother’s arrows reduce even more the number of men in the fight.

And just as Merriladrin silently jumps from her hiding place towards the knight, he send out a battle cry, the men that were already starting to scramble with just the thought of running for their lives, seem all of a sudden filled with new courage and hope, and start fighting with great valour, some of them return fire on the elves, but with the cover from the forest they don’t seriously wound then, while other men try to awaken their sleeping comrades.

The knight charges on his horse towards Ivar, right before Merriladrin can lay her hands on him. Very frustrated, the she elf stabs in the kidney, a surprised human from her sudden appearance. No quick death this time, the pain is such it paralyses him, the man wants to scream, but he is unable to, she then stabs deep in to his liver, he falls with a mortal wound that will kill him, … in several minutes, while in agonizing pain. But before he reaches the ground, Merriladrin is already in silent pursuit of the knight.

The witch looks to the Perytons concerned and asks
“So when are you going to help?”

Without looking at her, with their eyes fixed only on one thing – the knight -, the Perytons reply
“I doubt you have heard of game called chess, but in it you let the pawns go first,” they add with a grin “it’s a piece you can usually sacrifice”

The knight and horse seem like one being, and easily avoid the trees, and branches, jumps over the small bushes, the knight lance at every instant coming closer and closer to Ivar. The rangers seeing how infective their arrows were against the heavily armoured man, change their target to the horse, downing the animal moments before Ivar’s head would have been cleaned off by the knight’s lance.

As the horse fall, the knight does not and lands on feet with great skill. While forced to drop his lance, he draws his sword with great speed and force, with that motion of pulling the sword from the scabbard, he cuts deeply through Ivar’s arm and belly, deep into muscle and even bone, almost severing his arm with that single cut.

The ranger goes in to shock almost fainting, the knight’s blade starts to descend, to finish off Ivar as Merriladrin jumps on the knight back, and as she is on top of him, she plunges her dagger through the opening of the knight’s visor that he uses to see. The dagger goes deep into his brain through his eye. The knight and Ivar hit the ground at the same time.

The druid runs to his fallen friend, calling upon the several spirit powers to heal the range while he still breathes.

“That’s it you foolish humans come all together” thinks the witch out aloud between her teeth as she sees the humans concentrating around the ones that are sleeping as they try to wake them. She then casts another sleeping spell, leaving very few humans standing that the starbow brothers rapidly take care of with arrows and spear.

“So many hearts!!” exclaim joyfully the Perytons. As they fly over to the sleeping and entangled humans and start tearing out the hearts. “I just love the warm blood!”

Veg with anger in his eyes “Why didn’t you help us? And leave one human alive! We need to interrogate him!”

With a smile on it’s face the larger peryton replies “We can spare one,… oh so many… Well, we were tried, we had travelled all day, besides you really didn’t need our help in the end”. He them takes a serious demeanour, “But as you have facilitated so many hearts, I shall have many children for sure, I feel we owe you, If you elves ever need a favour just come to our cave in Nutherwood, its the highest one right on the southern bank of the Yol river right after the slower rapids”

The druid simply nods conformed, as he sees the spirits replied to his appeals of healing, and Ivar is much better.

The perytons take flight once they have the hearts. As they leave, the large one speaks
“Words, I thought I would never speak, but true… It was … and he he he… will be a great pleasure from meeting you dear elves, take care”

The witch then tries to feel if magic is present on the knight and confirms that armour, shield, sword and a ring are all enchanted.
“So that is why they feared him his sword is enchanted, it can really harm mystical beasts”.

“Not just perytons but elves too!” adds Ivar.

“Merriladrin, do you want the metal man’s ears?” asks Elodil, obviously wanting to add them to his necklace.

“Nah, you can have them, besides I couldn’t have gotten to him if he wasn’t trying to kill you guys instead of me”.

Elodil looks at the two barrels of black goo, the wagon, the human bodies, then at the trial.
“Veg I think the humans didn’t understand the message you left them with that head, they’re a bit stupid you know, may be we should send them a much clearer and louder message”

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