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To see, or not to see, your Thread’s ending? 
Houses veil collapsing and you, bowed to fours
hair matted, sleep mad and scurrying
to vials and pouches a knife, arrows a sword
to waive Doom’s reach anything, really, other
than the truth: a green dragon will have ye
eaten now!  Run screaming girl, hereafters
end has found you sweet, will bind yer meat to
to foulest maw, a swamp mothers crotch reeks
as raw as your shallow fate.  Clutch dear the final
breath, dear.  Grasp close your last unwinding shriek
e’en as Loki’s mounted thrall proofs your brutal
ending know thus dearest Qualmer; to brace
the trackless road as twere your final stage.

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My Mother, the Baroness Lady Elaine of the House Valunan Landis, died in childbirth when I was 13 yrs old and my brother Tacitus was 10. She was survived by her only infant daughter, Eleanor, who herself, only survived a week, before joining mother in the grave. THis may seem to put rather puts a pall on the story of my childhood, but not so at all. My memory of my mother is firmly fixed and quite beloved. She was a graceful Lady in the most civilized sense. She and farming were the joint joys of my otherwise taciturn father’s life. Despite his loss, he saw her in all the work about him. Unknown to him I would often act as the spy when he worked in the fields in hope of hearing him discuss the soil and suchlike with her memory.

Lady Elaine and Lord Byron met whilst they were both at University, she studying the horticultural arts. Their courtship was built upon the shared a dream of growing a small principality into a model of modern land reform. The Landis family was not entirely sanguine the young couple. Her father Peter Landis was a minor official in the bishopric but he was noble and had aspirations for all seven children. But there were four girls and Elaine the third. That she would become a Baroness of a territory however obscure seemed respectable enough. All had to admit that the couple were remarkable well suited to one another. And of course the indomitable bearing of the Mother Baroness Hildebrande was ubiquitously persuasive once she learned of the courtship. And Lord Baron’s military mien added a certain luster to the promise of the son’s noble stock. Upon graduation Byron and Elaine returned to the Farthold as a married couple. Once at hthe familial Keep they were fully invested in a ceremony that celebrated both their wedding vows and their Baronial accession.

One would think that Lady Elaine Landis of Valuna would distain the roughness of the Farthold, especially in consideration of its previous milieu as a sort of maurader’s bachelor pad, but this was not the case. She saw the old Keep as a project which she tackled with the serenity and endurance of the devout Roaon that she was. She was a highborn by both blood and temperment. She never looked more regal than when she held court in her garden with a trowel amongst the verdant work of her own hand. Of course she maintained Grandmum’s labyrinth. Mother would often recall the story to me of Lady Hildebrande showing her the secrets the Lady Baroness’ private retreat the day before her accession. This was the moment she knew the Farthold to be her home.

She was a full partner to the Baron in the expansion of the Farthold into our small farming outpost in the forest dales of the Wild Coast. As a child of Roa, with direct relatives in the Valunan Episcopal elite, it was she who brought the worship of Roa to the land. Her dowry was tied to the construction of both the hamlet’s kirk and the Keep’s private chapel. She patiently raised both her sons in the rites of Roaon mysteries and the Word of Incarum, with evident poor effect. In my case indifference and the call of the forest was ever distractful. In my brother’s case, despite being a fervent devoteé as a child, he grew into apostasy after her death and since has usurped both of the Farthold’s shelters of Roa with the heresy of his accursed St. Mungo.

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The bustling street scape beyond the walls seems normal enough; harried hooded shapes kicking dust plumes across the road, animals racing about always underfoot. The homes a badly placed pile of windows and waddle and dab interspersed with pointed hexagons of rolled and rusting steel. Even the strange two wheeled horseless carts seem to fit in. What unnerves you is the relative silence; no one anywhere is speaking. Even the children stand quietly, silent wraiths hanging at the grim side of their parents. Nor is anyone smiling. And the animals are in fact huge insects, or oddly colored crayfish, or are simply beyond written description. The people they look at you, they look past you and move on. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of colorful fabric – a bright vermillion sash, or the scarlet hue of an embroidered tunic. These people in many different colors they look at you, return your gaze; some even nod and smile knowingly. But they are not of this place, are in fact as alien as you.

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Nine now there was to blaze the moathouse just, embolden’d by their new found fame they were! Tonguely and Zert, Rufus and Kai and Orr’n, Selaphora walking by and close, flank’d too by Luther brave head high and Moonleaf, returned by his good friends love. All these warden’d wide by a runners eye, Farthammer, of the wild coast guarded close by. Gain drawbridge, gain hall, and gain again stairs; saw there no sign of treachery foul they, in freshman bravery, to larder Lubash went! Beyond, beyond now down more stairs spill’d they, and doom made they rushing onward. Foolish!

The Grinder begins

The Grinder begins

Gnolls here made good their threats of red revenge. Sprung was theirs first feather’d traps did fly to home, as iron jaw clench’d to snap the party twain. First Kai leapt brave to glory’s side striking left now right to clear the trail of foe! Yet fail’d her friends to form the timely line, to melee her alone the Gnolls snared, scoring wounds grave past names of blue’d ancestry. Zert, to adventure fresh did come too soon, and fall gath’ring shares of shafte laurels. Oh the warped gnolls harp did sing timely! To that tune came Orrin running bravely, worried for his true friends health unproofed. Wounded, healing, wounded again was he. To this call’d Selaphora crying, trap’d! Trapped and sunder’d from good friends we! And gnollish blades rejoic’d the coming bane!

Those shut fast ‘hind iron wrought freedom quick. Belts, ropes leverag’d fast, arms arm’d in twisting, three men work’d the trick to breaking their own, and so rush’d dropped bars to save their friends. Rufus left, Luther right the fight they join’d, braving feather’d marshal flights in true form. Finally freed did Farthammer spring to flight, leasing back and quick those shafts Gnollish sprung and so flung back to gnolls a promis’d bane. Where Kai did fall to place did Luther rise. Where Orrin fell did Rufus hell extract. Moonleaf, stunn’d by ferocious fang’d foe, did extend Orrin’s first handed rescue, and reach’d Tonguely’s help yond the desp’rate fray. Out came Zert, out came Kai by druid’s kind hand, but lifeblood runneth quick, and following said trail did Kai now ‘tain her people’s grace.

Act Second releas’d, and ill received now our troupes fine play wore tired down. Yet here to dismay’d cries did foe reprise, and bring crashing down our bands hop’d triumph. For to said fray did they call the Bugbears, demons foul wrought in racked wombs equipp’d, birthed to the ancient wizards’ evil. Their bare members bared in strong retort for sport the ‘Bugs flung back the Gnolls retreat, forcing second guessing from our fair group. Too did Zert the newcome friend choose this time to show true color to his new found friends. Like dawn in hell he rose, unfetter’d, to run through elvin frame to hilt cold iron, spilling he to the killing floor Tonguely, and there the fair mage expired. This villian then fled through the bended gate, closing it with brook of mage’s dead frame.

Moonleaf, Unawares of dear friends passage, cognizant now of dangers fore and aft, tender work’d poor Tonguely through the iron bars to more the mend this breach with ally Kai. Alive perhaps, alive still for salvation! The whiles our remainder played rearguard cutting careless the Bugbear’s whisker stray’d to close the veteran pole of angry Luther Freecastle or flirted Rufus’ extended blade. Above sang hafts feather’d from angry harps pluck’d tiredly by fingers

A bloody retreat

A bloody retreat

Farthammer, join’d by Celaphora in dirge fearful. Yet onward Bugbears pushed the failing line. And to the ‘hind did Moonleaf find foe plus! Zert, returned, wounded, still eyed gleeful evil demise of our fairly wounded group, and so did suit to slay Moonleaf at once! Down, defenseless Moonleaf dodg’d the angry blow. Zert, foe determin’d did wind another when, wound ’round by sounds treacherous Farthammer’s arrow ultimate ended traitor’s play.

The endplay, o’er strange buzzing Bugbear’s noise did sound a fateful note to friends reduc’d. Arrow mark’d, lessen’d yet still they pressed, worse to show one wove past Luther’s pik’d front, and as hero scrambl’d to a bladed flank did near rend the lad in bloody twain! Luther! Freecastle! Hommlet’s paragon! Dim, dim the light now show’d the bands remain as Rufus, working brother’s memory, worked a weav’d steel violent front. Celaphora div’d first through bended bars, Farthammer to follow on bended knee and, to Rufus’ relief, turned the pike to strike the Bugbears cursed yellow hides.

Oh the sounds, the sighs the horrible cries did follow heroes wounded remainder. Lifeless walls read little to olven eyes, those that still in half measure could espy fresh corpses moving past their final sleep. Horrors fanged, horrors closing to strike!? Flee! Flee! And in cut time to drawbridge fly! There did bloody trunk’d party rest, no! Exhausted, chasten’d, hasten’d by foul memoirs they scream’d away from that cursed moathouse.

And now there were four.

XP: Six Hundred and Sixty Six 🙂

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Hello world!

Soo.. late one night, most chores for the day done, and I’m thinking how nice it would be to have some place to manage our campaign; one place to coordinate the schedule, one place to post updates, describe sessions, flame, etc.  WordPress offers ‘blogs in under two minutes?  I don’t believe it.  I visit WordPress.com.  I agree to the fascinating legal stuff and WABLAM!!  I’m blogging, as promised.  No I don’t believe it, but that won’t stop me from saying yippee!!  Hmm.  Now I’ve got to invite people..

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