Category Archives: Tales from the Hinterlands

Events that take place in the Hinterlands outside Freehold.

October 2017 Epilogue

EpilogueRumors and News

Admiral’s Log; October 17, 2017 (W.R.)

We arrived in Freehold after the tolling of the bells, summoned by Freefolk Witches and Adepts. Freehold had already faced the mists and most of them survived. Through various methods, the Kings in Gold, Jade, Azure, Crystal, even the King in Black arrived in Freehold Proper.

The Datus then gathered for the first time in decades. Through a bit of theatrics and annoying bits, Kapitan Zaragoza revealed himself as the King in Crimson.

Yes, I wrote that correctly.

He’d been in hiding for… well, much longer than any of us expected. The other Kings knew but they kept it from us all — their own secrets were at risk here. Zaragoza explained the true tale of what happened at the Tower of Aruan one hundred years ago.

By the retelling of the Kings, Gabriella, the King in Gold was originally the King in Indigo but her fleet drowned in battle. The King in Gold was originally Riza, now fueled by betrayal and vengeance. The ritual the Datus attempted all those years ago was intended to destroy the Writhing Curse. Depending on who you ask, a number of things went wrong and it resulted in the spell backfiring.

The Datus were rendered unaging, Riza was gone, and Gabriella was dead — though the strength of her World-Lock returned her to a painful life. 

The Kings that gathered in town were the same Pintados of old – the ancient heroes of the Riverfolk, hidden in plain sight for one hundred years. They were working in secret against the Writhing Curse and had it known they were still alive, then it surely would have moved to stop them. During our visit to Freehold, the Datus assisted in various ways to ward or bolster the Freefolk.

When night fell, Riza sprung her trap. Her magics separated us and sent us to several hellish pocket dimensions. After the Freefolk fought their way through hell, we reconvened and found a way through the hungry mists to the Tower of Arauan.

After a fierce battle, Riza was painfully purified and the Writhing Maw was defeated. The Writhing Curse was abated… or so we thought. Now that I am ship-side, I have heard more reports. It is still out there, it is still claiming souls. Something has gone awry with the rite — was the King in Jade mistaken? Or is this another trick of Kristoff to keep us all at each other’s throats? Or perhaps, one of the Kings is in the employ of the Writhing Curse itself, playing at immunity while accursed?

There are so many questions now. Add to them the strange nightmare the Kings have been having… with the same strange, horrifying figure.

Fell portents aside. This has cost us all much and the Freefolk are not exempt. Indee Malvolen, once of the Jade Fleet, perished fighting the Writhing Maw as it came gnashing out of the King in Gold. She will be mourned and missed but never forgotten.

Spring awaits us all.

Rest well, my friend.

Gabi Laguna, Admiral of the Golden Fleet*

Gold speaks in all tongues and to all hearts

*Written by Nana McConnell

Rumor (anyone may read this)

Rumormonger skill only

August 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

frum the jounall of lysanna “the swift blade” briarbrook

dear diary,

the school hall this week was very very hard. but after my exercises teacher told me that i am the best at letters and i might even be ready for upper-cays letters! he even told mummy and mummy was very proud!

she told me that she will do my chores for me to-day and to-morrow. i think that i will go back to where i saw the elfs and the nurth folks last week

i know mummy does not like it. when i told her, she told me to tell no-body and to never go back there. i had to do brendon and talli and gilben’s chores all by myself for a week straight. she was so mad!!!

but there are so many things going on and its so prety! i looked at it from far away but even then i could see it! they were working on a glowing gem, like in the stories!!!

tonite i am going to take a closer look! brendon is going to be looking for me, but i know he likes fianna from 1 farm over. she is going to talk to him while i make my trip. it is a long walk away so i am bringing nuts and this mornings crust to eat.

maybe, dear diary, this will be the furst of my adventures! may be i get to be a hero like the freefolk!

wish me luck!!!

 

lysanna briarbrook

lysanna “swiftblade” briarbrook

lysanna “swiftfoot” briarbrook

lysanna “the swift blade” briarbrook – use this!!! its so heroic!!

 

OOG: This is the only surviving scrap of a journal found in a burned down farmstead in the Hinterlands last week. It belonged to Yllana Briarbrook, a widowed Hinterland farmer with four children. There were no bodies found in the rubble. Mundane and magical divinations have also discovered nothing.

Rumor (anyone may read this)

Rumormonger or Guild Contract skill only
Hunter-gatherer skill only

May 2017 Prologue

PrologueRumors and News

[THE HINTERLANDS NEAR THE SOULWELL; MAY 08, 2017 (WR)]

A Gnome stepped out from the Soulwell, blue flesh limned by pale moonlight. After several breathless strides, he collapsed unto his knees among the roots and the earth.

“I’ve returned.” His ragged fingers dug into gravel and dirt. “Even from death, I return! Is there no end to this torment?”

He was whole. His clothes, the beads around his body and even his blades – all were wrought anew by the Soulwell’s eldritch energies upon his reincarnation. Only the livid crossing scars upon his face remained of his past life and they remained there in his every incarnation, joining beneath his right eye – the eye that watched his children fall to a light-wrought blade.

He remembered who he was, even if his gods already forgot him*. No longer a sentinel, no longer a parent, no longer a Priest  – now nothing but the whisper of a whisper, an echo of an echo.

“…Memnocrathes…” The Entity rasped as it stepped around him. Its voice was as merciful as a butcher’s blade.

The Gnome remembered what he was. And what the Sun Elves did to his comrades and to his children, the Entity did to his faith. It was nothing but dust and ashes now, the bitter dregs of a once-flowing chalice.

“You did this!” He stared up at it, his hands curling into fists. “You made me do all of this! Every tenet, every code – broken, ruined, shattered! You even made me bring you to this gods-damned Soulwell!”

“Little thoughtling…” it rasped as its towering shadow blotted the moon’s light from his form. “The Orrery…”

He remembered what it wanted him to do now and the rage found him again, filling the spaces where faith had dwelt. His power was a tiny spark when compared to the thunder storm that was the entity, but he had weeks of torment to scheme and plot. The Gnome rose slowly, hands closing around the handle of a dagger in his belt. It was only a memory of a blade, but it was a hateful recollection from when the Solari first struck at Freehold long ago. In the mind of a Gnome, even thoughts were deadly.

“It’s gone, the Orrery. It’s her toy now – to bend or break as she chooses”

“I already knew, Thoughtling” It glowered at first, but then its light softened into cold mirth. One of its hands flexed bloody fingers. “Its power flows to me in rivulets…yet it pales when compared to the essence I wrest from the fallen.”

“But I now know this ‘Freehold’. I know that there is nothing here that can stop me — I have searched the memories and I know this to be truth. My purpose will be fulfilled — my duty will continue. All thought, all memory will be taken and archived until the Gods’ return”

“THE GODS ARE DEAD, ZAKARIEL!” Memnocrathes screamed and forest fell quiet to his voice. “They will never return and I won’t be your toy or Fate’s any longer!”

With every last ounce of his strength, he lunged at Zakariel and buried the Archon-bane dagger into its chest. But his foe flinched only slightly when the blade was driven home. With a single motion of its bloodied hand, it broke the Gnome’s arm and tore the dagger from its flesh.

The Entity’s wings fluttered behind it as it strode forth and grasped the Gnome by his skull to bear him violently unto the earth. Zakariel’s grip tightened as it spoke and Memnocrathes’ vain flailings slackened into an eventual stillness.

“Little Thoughtling, I have seen the raising of the seals and the falling of the Daemon. I have sifted through the memories of thousands upon thousands — even warping the thoughts of a broken Aethereal. 

Know then this — that your blasphemy is not new. Your rebellion is not novel. Your weaponry, all of it, in its futility, means nothing to the Archonis Celestia. I am one of the Gods’ true servitors, not some upjumped Aelfan!

And in the Archive I keep for them, you will not even be a footnote!”

When the Entity removed its hand from the Gnome’s face, his eyes saw nothing and there were only bloody wounds where his gems – his Kha – had been.

From amidst the shadows of the forest around the Soulwell, dozens of cross-scarred Gnomes followed Zakariel silently, blood still dribbling from the holes in their faces.

*A curse among the Servitors of the True Keepers – “May They forget you”

OOG Clarify: Every character that has ever performed Research or used the Analyze Item skill on the Enigmatic Orrery or otherwise Attuned themselves to it receives this as a vision as a very vivid dream Thursday night (May 11, 2017). These characters are aware of Memnocrathes’ surface thoughts and his final actions before his attack upon the Entity, they are even aware of the time of this occurrence.

 

Rumor (anyone may read this)