Heroes and Heroines
Live Action Roleplaying
Source: Humphry Butler
The Memory Teller.
To: The First Thieftaker, Elder Brother Harrigan, Guild Leader of the Mistwalkers.
It was my honour to represent the guild on a recent Auxiliary mission to a classified research station near the borders of the protectorate in order to investigate reports of a stranger who has been asking questions about the place in a most suspicious manner. Due to the nature of this station and the wyrde and eldritch magiks that they are investigating, it was advised that we walk to this location which took us a week to complete. I was most concerned about this as I hadn’t expected to be absent from Sir Brayford for so long, but I had prepared twenty-seven outfits for him (cleaned and starched), so hopefully he wouldn’t spill too much food on himself and so that number would suffice.
After a weeks trek we approached where we were informed we would find the station and there our band of eight (consisting of Lady Eleanor de Poshyposh, Snowflake the white ogre, the swear brothers Dougie and Genghis McFife, Ylva the fox person, Miguel from the shimmering plains, Mai’Ru the light mage, and of course this humble servant), encountered some straggly behaving elementals who attacked us unprovoked on the path. Dispatching them we proceeded further and encountered two distraught men who claimed to be researchers from the station, saying that they had been attacked by a group in red and black who had been resistant to their magical defences. These creatures, according to Mr Mai’Ru, were the feared Hissard – scourge of users of magic everywhere.
We immediately set off to check out their story and indeed we discovered the research station which was infested with these beings. We attacked and slew the band after a brief but brutal struggle, which allowed the researchers to return in safety. Slowly the band of high level wizards made their way back singly or in pairs, telling stories of how they had narrowly escaped their doom at the hands of the Hissard. With each tale Mai’Ru became more and more fearful and he informed us that his people had been attacked by the Hissard in concert with another group and the had only narrowly managed to be defeated, he also warned us that as each group fails to report back, more patrols would be sent out.
More worryingly the researchers, a very strange bunch to be sure who were tasked with investigating planar travel – possibly in the hopes they would send themselves somewhere and never come back – informed us that the pens beneath the station, where many powerful magical creatures had been kept, were now empty. One researcher in particular was most upset at the loss of his favourite, a young creature called Geoffrey, whom we were assured was perfectly harmless and exceptionally friendly. Of course we instantly assumed this would mean it was a most deadly and dangerous beast – Auxiliaries being well known for their paranoia.
Resting for the night after driving off more Hissard and elemental attacks, we conferred in the morning as to our best plan, coming to the conclusion that after a change of clothes, doing the dishes, polishing the silver, and serving the tea, we would proceed to sweep the local area looking for escaped creatures, strange elementals, and bands of Hissard, ending at the local village where our mysterious questioner had last been seen.
We pushed off after a brief flurry of Hissard attacks (we piled the bodies up in a nice pile just outside of the compound now that they were perfectly harmless and would play no further part of our adventure). Our first encounter was with a strange firey salamander who, despite the begging of our Druids, refused to come with us. It may not have helped that the ugly creature was being attacked by a band of humans in shaggy and dirty clothing (honestly, it was like they had never even heard of soap). We originally interceded to prevent the creature from hurting these people, but we then found out these people were from the ship “the Progress” which was known to our druids as the factory hunting ship that comes to a region and “strips all the local animals from the ecosystem leading to ecological collapse, starvation of the local subsistence farmers, and suffering outside of the natural balance.” (quoting the Druids).
In the end we found ourselves assailed from two sides, the creature and the Progress crew, too much for our small band to deal so we allowed the poachers to flee, giving their word that they would never return to this area upon pain of being chopped up and turned into meat-slurry-on-a-stick. They agreed and fled while we finally managed to remove the salamander from the ecosystem where it had no natural predators.
After this we then stumbled upon three creatures that seemed to be puissant in the element of earth, they were called something like Ginossi, and appeared to have a rudimentary intelligence and social structure to the point that we were able to negotiate with them to go our separate ways. A lucky result for us as these creatures appeared most fearsome.
At last we reached the local village where we met two fine and stout eel farmers working on their net. These kind and honest folk were happy to share a drink with us and informed us under (if it is not too much bragging to say) my skilful questioning that they had indeed met our quarry who had asked them many questions about the local area, eels, sustainable eel farming practices, the cataclysm, and many more questions besides. It seemed that we were a week behind him at this stage. With their direction we set off in pursuit but were quickly chased down by one of these good, if apparently very simple folk who had pointed us off in exactly the wrong direction and thus corrected we continued along the path until we came across a group of assorted strange monsters including one that looked very familiar. Then it hit us, this was Geoffrey that we had been asked to look out for especially, through the clever use of food we lured Geoffrey back to the research station where his friend was overjoyed to see them. The other creatures we had been forced to slaughter.
Recharging ourselves with a revitalising lunch the researchers asked us to track down some local troublemakers who had impersonated a repair crew and stolen a set of valuable power crystals. Wishing to be helpful we agreed and set off, brushing aside a few waves of Hissard who sought to disrupt our repast and journey, and into the deepening gloom we headed. As night started to tighten its’ grip upon the gloomy forest we encountered a group of thugs, clearly looking most guilty. We tricked them into giving away that they were the people we sought and were in possession of the crystals. Agreeing that this meant they were thieves, and that stealing is wrong, Mai’Ru dazzled them with a mass flash, and then we proceeded to meet out Auxiliary justice – only slightly troubled by a sneaky scout who popped up behind us and slit Mai’Ru’s throat as he leant down to collect his throwing daggers – but luckily Mr Dougie was nearby and actually paid attention to what he was asked for a change.
Rescuing the crystals (and loot) we pushed a little further along the path and found a well dressed and well spoken gentleman. Questioning how someone in such finery would find themselves in the woods it became clear this was no ordinary person but was indeed our mysterious questioner.
Agreeing to share tales over a meal we brought our ‘guest’ back to the research station where we exchanged our stories in return for his. Mai’Ru explained the history of his people and the Hissard, Ylva told of her and her friend Brock’s mission on behalf of the howling woods, Miguel about how he survived an attack from the Undead that killed all his village, and Dougie and Genghis explained about evil undead unicorns and how they are really bad (and how they destroyed their home), and at last our mysterious guest was satisfied and prepared to speak.
His name, he told us, was Maruelius. As he prepared himself we drew close, the firelight casting dancing shadows around us as stars shone upon our huddled group, and he began to weave his story. He had always had great strength in the protective properties of what we call spiritual power and he had a friend, Julia, who was what we would consider a Seer. Julia had a dream vision and let them to a place where they uncovered an artifact that radiated great power. Julia told Maruelius that this devise, in the guise of a stone with strange runes upon it, would allow them to travel together anywhere with Julia guiding them to their destination and Maruelius protecting them from the dangers of the journey.
Together they set off and they visited many worlds where they gathered the stories from the people that lived there. Hundreds of worlds over many, many years including a world where they encountered no one, but strange squares, each maybe four meters in length (about 12 Protectorate feet), beyond which great pillars and temples stood, from the top of which empty buildings stretched as far as the eye could see. Mai’Ru became excited at this description, saying it sounded like where the guardians once lived (I confess I do not understand what he meant, although he mentioned that there were people like him who were the servants, and legends of guardians who had died out).
However as they prepared to travel one time they were attacked by creature that sounded like hepathic beasts. Maruelius’ power protected them, but every so often when they prepared to travel they would be beset by these creatures. Disaster befell them one time when during this assault Maruelius’ protections faltered for a moment and they were dragged into a dark place where many hepaths tried to grab them. Maruelius regained his strength and escaped, but Julia had disappeared and he knows not where she has gone. Worse, without her he cannot steer his device and must rely on blind luck to see him safe as he travels.
His most recent journey the device brought him to our world. Here he was assailed by the Hissard who seemed to want nothing other than his device, to distract them he had to throw it away and escape while they clambered after it. After this he wandered collecting stories and hoping some how to recover this artifact so he could escape our world. Naturally the thought of the Hissard with some way to travel instantaneously terrified us all, especially Mai’Ru, and so we vowed to recover it for him.
We retired to discuss our plans, and to eat our dinner. This was the point that things got weird.
We had walked for so long that we had lost track of time and forgotten it was All-Hallows Eve. A time when the veil grows thin and the undead can burst through to this plane spontaneously. Maybe that wouldn’t have been a problem except do you remember that pile of Hissard bodies we had stacked up outside? Yeah, well it turns out that wasn’t such a good idea as they started to come back to unlife and attacked us. Three waves we were forced to destroy, shades and spirits and zombies and skeletons fell before our weapons, though they drained us sorely. Hails of throwing knives, maces of power, and generally lots of violence and healing spells were used before the research wizards thought to prepare a place that could be warded and the bodies placed within it to prevent them hurting anyone else.
Ubdead problem solved we set off to find the Hissard and recover the stone. A long trek awaited before we came upon a glade where Maruelius had told us he had seen many Hissard coming and going from. We snick carefully up but there were no Hissard, but rather an eldritch glow surrounded the clearing and gathered there were many undead, surrounding a menacing necromancer.
Somewhat surprised we paused and engaged this person in conversation, drawing forth from him the boast that he had stolen the glade from the Hissard and taken their possessions including a strange stone that thrummed with magic and power. Indeed the very stone we sought! Happy the Hissard did not possess it, but of course unwilling to let a necromancer live to bring forth an abominable horde on this night of horror I offered the man a drink (having laced my drink with a feeblemind potion). Alas he was too cunning and refused my offer so instead Yvla called forth vines from the earth to entangle his feet and I slipped around the undead to slit his throat. Sadly the entanglement didn’t stop him from calling his undead to attack us and they turned upon me, binding my feet to the floor, thankfully only after I had run my blade over his neck, and while his life force bled out I was beaten into unconsciousness.
Brave Ylva tried to rescue me but she too was struck down and fell beside me and it was here in each others arms we tragically expired from this realm and into the afterlife.
Of course then things got even stranger. Being All Hallows Eve spirits were able to enter our bodies and we lurched to our feet, falling upon the party who had abandoned us and during the scuffle and in the confusion Lady Elanor was struck down and required an elixir to recover. It is entirely possible that I struck her down, although I was most certainly not myself at the time.
At last they brought down the zombies inhabiting our corpses and Miguel dragged us back to the station where our storytelling friend sanctified our bodies and Dougie brought forth his scroll of resurrection. But who to bring back? A vote was held and the party chose Ylva to receive Dougie’s blessing of new life. My body was brought back to the station and placed upon a chair to await transport back to the Protectorate in the morning. Dougie reached into his sporran for a drink of wee Jessies finest gutrot whiskey (your sight back in 3 days or a full refund) when he discovered he had been given not one, but two scrolls! Our hospitaller swiftly took a drink and read the second scroll in what I hope was a suitably embarrassed manner and thankfully I was restored to life for after all, what would befall Sir Brayford without me?
Maruelius identified the stone as the travelling device he had been missing and agreed to let the researchers examine it in return for help to find Julia. Leaving the assorted sorcerers and wizards to their excitement I headed off to bed.
The next morning arrived and with it a rude wake up call as waves of Hissard attacked the outpost. Time and time again our weapons were bloodied to repulse the strange attackers in their red and black, but we decided that the stone would not be safe here and hence we prepared to leave and take it elsewhere, but as we made ready Mai’Ru’s axe of his ancestors twitched and tried to pull him off to the where the we had slew the necromancer the night before. Not wanting to pass up a chance to pay off part of what Mai’Ru called “his debt” we agreed to accompany him just in case there was danger about. Luckily we did for we came upon the clearing after being attacked by a very strange pair of misshapen and horrific crystalline birds, and in the clearing was a gateway of some description. We approached, Mai’Ru minded to destroy this portal after a dream he had had, but when we approached there was a flash of light and Hissard appeared.
A fierce battle and a couple of throat slits later they lay dead, although they had assailed us with some strange mental powers during their assault, and Mai’Ru used his axe to attack the portal. Another flash and another wave of Hissard, we were suffering greatly and sore wounded but no matter, we dealt with them and this time many of us joined Mai’Ru in his task, the portal buckling under our assault before vanishing into the ether.
The are made safe we left with Maruelius and his stone to bring him to the University where I hope they will be able to replicate his device on a smaller scale and issue stones to all mistwalkers so they can jump in and out of places instantly. After a weeks journey we safely returned to Shadyvale to make our reports.
Your humble servant, etc. etc.
Humphry Butler (deceased once).
An excellent weekends adventure, a million and one thanks to David M. for being an amazing referee and keeping the monsters coming at us. Thank you monsters! Even thank you to Luke despite mixing up “doubles” and “Quad” damage calls. 😊 And a huge thanks to the big evil necromancer who became such a good friend to Ylva and myself. :D United in zombiehood.