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Rising Phoenix Gaming

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An OSR Fantasy Game of sorcery, swords, and adventure.
  1. What's new in this club
  2. "Sounds like long past time someone go down there to check it out, Master Lodo," Artoria gently prodded, killing her own mug with a deep pull of the beverage and flagging down someone for as many refills as the quartet wanted, "Especially if just talking about the nightmares is enough to get the temple to warn people off from looking into it." She smiled, "We'd be grateful if you'd show us how to get down there. More hands in the right place lighten the burden and find the lost lambs."
  3. Ardan listened intently, and then shook his head slightly. "No mention of what happened to the Mage who remained after that?" He was curious, as if the Mage had simply vanished. "Are Earthquakes that frequent and serious here?" He'd felt them once or twice in the mountains, but they were small, barely making the trees sway. "The Dwarves just repaired the foundations and none of you were sent to inspect the work? Does anyone alive know what's actually down there, and that the work was truly done?" Ardan had many questions, but was trying to be mostly polite in how he asked, so as to not offend Lodo.
  4. At the mention of nightmares Lodo silently swept his gaze around the tap room then back at Artoria. He took a deep breath and coughed, his breath rattling in ancient lungs. “Heh, nightmares, well been plenty of those I suppose. Yeh, the castle you see up there on the hill was erected after the original collapsed in 682. Now the original, at least I suppose it were the original who knows when it were built maybe a hunnert years before then or maybe five hunnert. Either way it were old. This land here has always been soggy. But back in those days the kingdom as we know it today didn’t exist. It was all little fiefdoms every man who sat in a castle called himself a king and ruled what he could.” Lodo glanced around again but this time when he settle his gaze was on the fire in the hearth and even then they could tell he didn’t see the fire he was seeing the past… In the distant past before the kingdom this whole area had been called simple the north. Those men who lived here were in almost constant conflict with the neighboring Dwarves who occupied the near mountain range. A trade town was first set up because of the natural landing along the wide a fast river. That town became a fort then a some one lost in histories dim past decided they were a king. This king whose, name is long forgotten wanted a castle but the land was too marshy, faced with this fact and still desirous of his castle the forgotten king brought mages from the south to raise the land with sorcery. This was no easy task but it was accomplished and then the king had the wizards raise a hill for his castle to stand upon and dominate the all the lands that could be seen from it lofty towers. After the land had been raised and the hill, most of the mages departed returning to the south, but one stayed to serve the king. When the old castle was being built the king want dungeons, the mage advised against it but the king was determined and in the end the mage acquiesced. Using mor magic he made it possible for dungeons to be dug into the magic hill. And so the castle was built and stood for centuries. Eventually the kingdom here was absorbed into the realm of the Kingdom of Apria, the kings who had ruled here were replaced by Aprian Counts and life went on. Then in the year 682 in the Aprian calendar, a series of earthquakes caused the castle to sink and finally collapse. Since there was a city here then it was decided to rebuild the castle on a smaller scale of course. It was built on top of the ruin of the old castle. “When I was lad prolly no older than yerselves, a quake shook the city and the walls were damaged and so was the castle. That’s how I became a mason, the foundations of the castle had cracked and they needed small fellows to slip into the old ruins underneath and do the work to shore up the foundations above.” He sits back and points at himself. “It was hard dangerous work, the air was close under there and it was unstable…and there were I don’t know maybe ghosts. Most of us was kids, a lot of us died in that hole. A in the end we didn’t finish the repairs. The king made peace with the dwarfs down south and that led to the dwarfs up here making peace and the count hired dwarfs to finish the repairs. And that’s that.” He sits back glances at the young adventurers but seems to avoid looking them in the eye…
  5. Artoria made a show of finishing her beer with a hearty gulp and grin. "No treasure, Master Lodo, but a mystery the brains of our group refused to let go cold. And I'll have to beg your grace to not laugh until I can explain The nightmares people have been getting lately? The three of us had the same one, detail for detail far as I can tell, seen clear as I see your face now," the blonde bladesmith continued, jabbing with her finger to emphasize her point, "Spooky enough, right? So we went to the temple. And besides them getting *very* interested, the very next thing they tell us is to drop it in the scrap bucket like burnt iron. And we've just spent a moon traveling away from all we've known to your village of many, many villages. Determined. Not gonna do that." "We dreamed about underground tunnels in your city. And apparently only your castle isn't water-logged enough to stop people from digging them, Master Lodo."
  6. Ardan signaled the barkeep who sent the boy with beer for the four of them. All the while Lodo watched them through shrewd narrowed eyes, grunting every so often then finishing his beer in one long swallow as the serving boy arrived with a new mug. "Heh, You girls want to know about the castle eh?" He set his beady eyes on Ardan, "And you boy, what you after treasure what kind you loking to dig into..." He trailed off laughing then took a long swallow from the new mug. Meara smoothed her skirt and pushed her beer, untouched, toward the old stone mason who gave her a nod. "So did you help build the castle," she asked? Lodo finished his mug with two more swallows and picked up Meara's mug laughing. "No haha, no, I be old but not that old. That bloody damn monstrosity been standing there on that hill fer almost three hunnert year. But I did work there when I was a boy learnin to be a stone man, back before we made peace with the dwarfs and they took all the stone work for themselves." He put both hands on the mug but doesn't drink, "So what is it yer after about that place?"
  7. Ardan took his own seat quietly, Not pulling one for Meara because he knew she didn't like it when he did. His father had instilled certain values, but he and his friends stood as equals, so they were exceptions to the normal conventions. "if Lodo was amenable he'd order drinks for the four of them.
  8. Artoria could read, but she had no idea that the answer to her rhetorical joking question had been a treasure trove of books so big it had its own building. As spooky in its own way as the elven ruins. This. This was better. Artoria flashed a smile of gratitude the serving boy's way before she focused on Lodo, the big blonde tip of their little formation. "Master Lodo," she offered respectfully to the elder, not quite believing that there was no such thing as even an informal stone mason's guild in a city built of so much well-crafted stone, "My name is Artoria, and these are my friends Ardan and Meara. I'm told you helped build the castle, and we'd love to hear about it over a pint or two if you're willing to share, maybe answer a question or two." She took preemptive action, pulling out a chair across from him and sitting down, all smiles and sparkling interest in her eyes, confident.
  9. Meara smiles "There is a Library, a place where books are stored to be copied and read, we can look there..." Hours later and dozens of books gone through the travelers form the north are just as clueless as before. A kindly old man in a brown homespun approaches. "It is very nice to see young folk interested in books, most seem not to have the time to read. But seems to me you are looking for something and not finding it. Prehaps I can help. My name is Del, and I am the book keeper here." Meara looks at her companions, "We are looking for anything about tunnels or cellars, or underground buildings." "Cellars?" The book keeper looks startled and maybe a little afraid but the look passes quickly. "We do not dig them here, the water underground is too near the surface, all of our storage is above ground. The only underground construction would be at the castle, up on the hill. But i don't know anything about that." The old man rubs his chin, "I don't know anything but there is one who may. His name is Lodo, he is very old, in his time he was a stone mason. I have heard him talk about working on the castle in his youth when he is in his cups. you can find him at the Tilted Cup, that is where he stays, day and night." After taking directions to the Tilted Cup the three walk to distance. The tavern is old in the oldest part of the city, easily marked by the difference in style and construction. to say the place was rundown was understatement. The inside of the tavern was the same as the outside, it had seen better days and those days were many many years int he past. The three drew a few looks but most soon returned to their cups. they asked the serving boy after Lodo. The boy scrutinized them but eventually pointed to a table close by the big fire place. Lodo was old, scrawny, wiry, his weather beaten face a mass of wrinkles but his hand on his mug was steady and his eyes were bright as he looked at their approach.
  10. "No, we aren't," confirmed Artoria with the confidence of someone who has guaranteed food and shelter for the next month. She frowned, thinking. This place was a village stacked on a village stacked on another village, way too big to search every odd door for the tunnel from their dreams. That was a quick way to get bit or stabbed for sticking their noses into someone's unsavory business. Still, she didn't want to let go of this if only because they had been told to let go of this. Achings were determined like that. A thought occurred to the blonde smith and she looked down at Meara, voice soft, "You're the smart one. Do you think they might have written down any maps or hints we could use? I bet they have way more than 5 books in this city."
  11. Ardan sighed. "Translation, "Let the adults handle it, now run along now children." He said quietly once she was gone. There was abit of bitterness regarding this, but a tinge of relief. He looked to Meara and Artoria. "So we just got stonewalled by the authority who was willing to talk to us." He didn't really expect the two of them to back down, but there was a first time for everything. Ardan shook his head. "We're not going to back down, are we?" "So what is our next step?" He asked his two friends, clearly signaling he was with them, whatever they decided.
  12. The dwarves made their farewells and as they left the building, the Templer Essine entered accompanied by the young adventurer’s friend, Meara. Once they had joined Artoria, Arden, and Celis, Essine was first to speak. “I hope your meeting with the dwarfs went well I had wanted to be here to make sure they didn’t take advantage, but was duty bound elsewhere. I do wish I could stay but again duty calls. Now if you three will excuse us I must speak with The Proctor.” The two older women walked away to toward the alter leaving the young ones alone in the pews. Meara leaned forward motioning her friends to get close, “Essine found me in the market, she didn’t say anything, but I think she saw me asking some questions. I don’t think she approved.” “Did you find anything?” Ardan asked hiding his own disapproval. Meara smiled broadly, “I did. Something is going on, just from listening at various stalls most of the folk here have restless nights and bad dreams. Most don’t seem to recall the dreams; not like we did, or maybe they don’t want to talk about it. Anyway, form what I did catch most everyone that has any memory of the dream only recall damp walls and mummering voices.” “Do you think it’s a spell,” asked Artoria. Meara sighs and shrugs, “While I wandered, I looked to see if I could feel or see any magic and I didn’t. There don’t seem to be any sorcerers at least not where I was, I didn’t detect an active spells and what few items I could detect were not very powerful.” Suddenly Meara sat up and pulled away from the other two, with glances around, Ardan and Artoria did likewise as Celis and Essine approached. Essine gave them a nod and a somebr farewell as she continued past without stopping toward the fron entrance of the temple. Celis stopped and watch her friend leave then turned to the three young people sitting on the pews. “Essine has been given a task by the Count, and it concerns these dreams. Now I know you find them odd and because of your youthfulness poking around,” she directs a look at Meara, “could be harmful. I suggest that a cup of wine before bed to let you sleep through. As for poking aound on this I don’t want you three… “ she paused, “to do anymore. Essine will find out what its all about and I don’t want any of you getting into trouble. I have some duties of my own now if you will excuse me.” As she walked of each of them could hear the unspoken “kids’ that she didn’t say when she paused.
  13. Artoria suppressed the ungrateful strain of disappointment at not getting a hint *now*, but good news was good news and to hope for more than one egg a day from a hen was greed itself. "Thank you, Master Balkan. I look forward to your teaching," the blonde bladesmith offered respectfully, mind wracking as she tried to think what kind of gift to prepare. It was traditional for the Apprentice to earn their keep from a Master, her own training from her Father not exempt from petty tasks to both teach and repay materials and time spent on an inept crafter. Gods, what would she even bring? Bottled moonlight and the hair of a unicorn like the stories? It would have made her laugh if it all wasn't so serious. "Before you go, Master Balkan, I have one question. Things I've made with the rune so far, they will last until you return? I don't want to fail my friends with poor workmanship," she asked, glancing at Ardan in badly-masked concern.
  14. Balkan nodded sagely at the human females words, though he would never admit it this young girl impressed him with her display of wisdom beyond her years. “Hai, we share much in common. The rune you possess is minor but that it sings at your touch shows that you are true. We, my Rock-brothers and I, have business to attend to down river but I will return in the second phase of the new moon, if you would like to come to my forge here in the city, I will give you instruction.” He looks on expectantly at Artoria
  15. Artoria reined in the flood of immediate questions that threatened to burst loose as the niggling concern that she had been given something very very important in the form of her tiny rune stone was seemingly confirmed. "I am a smith, Master Balkan, and everything that happens with I make, whether it breaks in use or succeeds in it's wielder's hands, is partially my responsibility. And that's with a hoe, a horseshoe, or a knife. The ore which goes into a knife, the timing, the force hitting the cooling metal... This rune... I'm pulling 'ore' out of the invisible air and hammering it, weaving it into something stronger, sharper than any simple knife can be. I don't know what I don't know. And that's something I can't afford to ignore as I try to improve and find how to do more with it." Her expression hovered between determination and hope she had put it into words right.
  16. Ardan sighed. "Well I can't imagine getting into those would be easy, or something most people want to do, even on good terms." He shook his head. "Especially me." His father was the Constable of his village, he'd been brought up to obey and respect the law, though he had bent it a few times. Still, the only place nearby was the dungeon under the castle. He couldn't help but shudder slightly. "Give me the woods and rolling hills, the depths of the wilderness any day." he spoke quietly, more to himself. "Do you think there's something going on down there, something that might have been left in those depths that could be causing these issues?" He asked Celis, not so much hoping she said no, but wondering just what path he was walking in asking such a question.
  17. Cellis shook her head, "No, nothing underground, wastes is dumped into cisterns which are emptied a few times a year. The closest to sewers would be the old castles dungeons but they have been closed up, when the new castle was built over the old." Balkan, pursed his lips, "No no it is just that the Alfaen look upon crafting with a more secretive manner than we do. I just thought that they may not have known what they were gifting. But if you say that the Alf knew then that is good enough for me. So. what exactly is it you wish to ask of me?"
  18. "Of course, they did. They're elves," Artoria replied with absolute respect for the strange band of wanderers who had pointed the trio at the ruins, pausing a heart beat before asking, "Should they not have, Master Balkan?" She hadn't noticed anything bad happening when she used the rune to craft or enhance weapons, certainly nothing near the forge or in her health or two headed sheep being born in the local fields, but... A look blended from confusion and concern danced across her face.
  19. Ardan nodded. "Well we all have a good recall for them, and it was the same for each of us." He said quietly, having already related the story. I am surprised you would have such a disturbance, while I've not been here long this city seems quite nice. Is there a large sewer system that might be what we were seeing?" He didn't know much about such things, but they'd been told a variety of things about the city during their training, so he thought to ask.
  20. Balkon leant forward but did not reach out to touch the displayed rune. He gave a short grunt and then straightened up casting his eye back on Artoria in mute appraisal. He hooked his thumbs into his belt as his twinkling eye, drew in a deep breath through his nose, and stood stock still, like a rock, in contemplation. Cellis watch all this for a moment then placed her hand upon Ardan’s arm and drew him some distance away. “The dreams, Ardan, tell me about them,” she ordered, her voice a low whisper. Arden did so but kept glancing back at the dwarfs and Artoria, when he was finished he gazed expectantly at the priest. “This concerns you? Why?” “For some weeks people have complained about bad dreams. Many people from all walks of life. But none could recall the details of the bad dreams. Even I have had my slumbers disturbed and no recollection of what or why.” “You say an Alfaen gave this to you? Freely?” Balkan finally spoke though his eye never wavered from Artoria’s face. “Did the Alfaen know what it was they gave?”
  21. Oh Gods. Breathe, Artoria, Breathe, Stifling the minor blasphemy in her own thoughts before it reached her tongue, she gave herself a heartbeat to assess the dwarves. Their teacher had told the trio about them, but the combination of short stature and a musculature to rival anyone she'd ever met put her on a mental backstep. Odd, and she could see how the tales of dwarves being strange could start, especially if they were as... exacting about their etiquette as she was just told. Best get off that back foot then. The blonde bladesmith took her own advise and breathed out. "Master Balkon," she replied and a respectful nod of her head, "Having been brought up in a forge by my father since I was little and not considering myself anywhere near being a Master of coaxing steel from ore and into the Tools first shown us by the Maker, I hesitate to grant myself any title after a mere few months of learning how to use an art, but, yes, I was given a... Rune by the elves. And I've learned how to use it to make weapons stronger or faster or a combination of the two. Either alloying the quality into the item forever as I craft them or for a moment on something already made." She flushed slightly, all her sliver tongue faltering as she tried to avoid stumbling over the word 'magic', certain there were as many degrees of invisible power she was unaware of as qualities of metal. Artoria presented the aforementioned runestone to the master dwarf, willing to let it speak for itself.
  22. Cellis leaned in closer and placed a hand on Ardans arm, "Wait, your saying the three of you dreamed the same dream?" Before Ardan could respond a commotion at the door to the temple drew everyone's attention. Three heavily armed and armored Dwarves had entered the tmple and were making quite a racket of disarming themselves "Balkon," called the proctor, one of the dwarves looked over and she waved him to come to them, then she lowered her voic and spoke to Ardan and Artoria, "the dwarves are very formal and tradition bound, when speaking to them only speak to Balkon and don't even refer to the other two as being present lest the be offended." The dwarves by this time were divested of their arms and shields and had approached. They were interesting looking to the two youths who had so far only seen the beings at a distance. All three stood at about five foot in height, were broad shouldered and thick but not by any means fat. Their bare arms were thickly muscled and covered in course hair, indeed all of thier exposed skin was exceedingly hairy so much so that it would almost be safe to call them furry and not be a far off exaggeration. They had full heads of thick straight hair cut short at the nape of the neck and each wore a good beard that was also worn short but was very thick. Two of them were dark haired not quite black but a very dark brown, the last, Balkon, was lighter colored, a sort of reddish brown that caught the eye. he was sizing the two youths up even as they studied him and Cellis spoke. "Welcome Rock-brother," said Cellis with a short bow, "it is pleasing to have you once again in our Hall. Allow me to introduce to you two of the travelers I spoke of in my message. This is Ardan, and this is Artoria. It is she who has some questions about Runes." Balkon looked once at Ardan then focused on Artoria, the other two dwarves who were several feet back both gazed at Ardan. Balkon sniffed in a great breath and with a slight bow of his head addressed Artoria ignoring Ardan. "I am Balkon of Clan Khorakal, Rock-brother, Steel-shaper, Master of Shield and Blade. I have been informed that you are a Shaper and have questions. If you are worthy I will gladly share knowledge."
  23. Ardan nodded. "As she said, it was very strange, we all shared the same dream. I wasn't happy letting her go on her own, but she was insistent." He knew this was a risk, telling her all this, but it was done, and he wasn't going to leave Artoria unsupported.
  24. "Yeah, I did," Artoria forced herself to remain outwardly assured at the larger woman's focus, "The same dream for my two friends and I last night. Wet stonework tunnel none of us have ever seen, narrow with one light at the far end. Whispering in our ears but no one in sight to speak. Approaching an exit and then... Wake up." The blonde bladesmith lost most of her cockiness as she let her hands mime a popping bubble, the strange abruptness of a dream's Is-Not giving way to daylight's Is, "Sounds moonstruck to me, but It's not the kind of dream I'd think I'd have. Our friend Meara is off in the market chasing it right now in the market."
  25. Cellis didn't seem to be listening closely to the youths but was rather watching the door as parishioners filed out, then almost as an afterthought, "Oh that's right, you came for the smiths. I sent word to Markham but have not received a reply back yet but Bosh, the dwarf smith, sent word that he would be here by mid morning." She looked again at the door as she rubbed at the corners of her mouth worriedly, then looked pointedly at Artoria, "Did you say something about dreams?"
  26. If Meara got herself kidnapped by strangers here after all the near-misses they'd had getting here, Artoria didn't know who she'd be more mad at. No one by themselves could fend off a determined attack by enough strangers, but, rightly or wrongly, the blonde bladesmith had more confidence in Ardan or herself getting out of a situation like that. Didn't think she'd really be convinced until she saw Meara toss a lightning bolt or fireball at someone like in the old stories. "Yes, it was. Back in the village, there's too much that needs doing to devote that level of personal attention. And, sometimes, the gathering devolves into whoever's drawn the Elder's ire the most that week," Artoria continued with a big honest grin, recalling the times her usual apprenticeship had been the not-so-subtle focus of those rants, "We're fine with waiting, M'Lady. To be honest, finally getting here gave us all a lot to process, pretty weird dreams last night if I'm honest." She chuckled, eyes dancing with mischief.

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