Winds of Fate

Where Fate has Led
A turning point

The image in the floating orb was dark. Bare outlines of great halls and carved stone columns were visible to Mixer only because his eyes were no longer human. Even he could barely see the dust motes drifting lazily in air that barely stirred. It was not terribly interesting, yet the Master had been watching that same, dark vista for hours now. And not spoken a word. So Mixer concentrated on the colours he was blending, the swirling golds and reds mixed in the black visible only to his enhanced eyes. To a human, it would just be black he suspected. Black, just like…

A flare of light from the floating orb, seeming blinding in the nightshrouded observatory. It fell across the Master’s scales, setting them aflame with brilliant sunlight, spreading it through the room and out across the waves below. A doorway had appeared in the image, spilling sunlight into the hallway, letting light into a place that had known only darkness for only the gods knew how long. Dust swirled and danced in the light as air shifted and blew, drawn out through the door in a great gust of dry, dead air.

Something appeared in the lighted rectangle. A tall shape, brawny despite it’s female curves, a massive blade glittering in it’s hands. A deep, rumbling chuckle sounded from the Master as he shook his head slowly.
”And so… So it begins. Fate comes to Thakrandralmar, unbidden but drawn. The door is open again. How very, very interesting. ”

Mixer remembered to stir the ink again. ”Is… that important, Master? ” His voice sounded high and cutting, even though he knew he actually possesed a pleasant baritone. But everything seemed smaller next to the Master.

”More than you know Mixer. More than you know. Things have been stirring in that dark place, things that the world forgot. ” The Master bared his teeth in a grin as four more figures appeared beside the tall warrior. A tailed man with a stick. A slender girl. Someone Mixer could barely make out. And a figure with hair of flame. ”Fate has brought them here. Or, at least one of them. What they do with it now… That’s for them to decide. ”

With that, the great dragon turned his gaze back to the orb, and his claws began scratching on the tiles, the pen dancing across the Great Book in time with his movements. And outside, the wind rose, stirring the waves into violent heights…

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Stories in the Dark

The darkness in the corridor felt oppressive, seeming to swallow the flickering light of the torches and lamps, and to dim the magical lights floating around the fey seeming woman, even the embers in the druid’s hair. The five surviving mercenaries looked forlorn and lost, their formerly pristine armor and tabards covered in dirt and dust and soot. The splashes of blood on the floor and walls, the still, silent corpses on the ground only made it worse, took the scene out of depression and into the realm of nightmare. And over it all, incessantly, the tapping, hammering and scraping of the enthralled miners, chipping away at the wall without a care for themselves. A charnel smell rose from the ground where the strange, clawed undead had fallen and dissolved into vile smelling goo.

“It wasn’t like this when we started… “ One of the soldiers looked at the slimy remains and shuddered. “We were just well paid guards. You know, protect the caravans of ore from kobolds and orcs and bandits. Easy work. Then they brought in the harpy in the cage. Used her to charm the workers, forcing them to work for less pay. Then our captain vanished. You know, just from one day to the next, gone. The foreman seemed to think nothing of it, and the fat fiend they called the overseer claimed he had run away. “ The soldier shook his head in disgust. “I’ve known captain Reksmark for two score years. If he’d run, he’d have taken us with him. Then Lieutenant Ackerley vanished too. That was him, by the by. “ he kicked a boot at the slimey goo. “Over the next weeks, things got steadily worse. Miners never came back out of the mine. More and more of the Black Hydra went missing. A couple of the lads began to talk of finding out what was going on. By the time they got their spines straight enough for it, it was too late. The Overseer got wind of it. Gave us an ultimatum. Defend his operation from our friends… or end up in that pit in there! “ He spat on the floor and purposefully avoided looking at any of the invading adventurers. “We didn’t think we had a choice. The fight was… brutal. Short, but brutal. The lieutenant tore through them as if their armor was made of paper. And there were… things in the darkness. They’re all gone now. Deeper. I think. “

Some of the other mercenaries looked like they wanted to interject something, but held their tongues. A few looked uneasily around, hands groping for sword hilts they were no longer wearing.

“Look, if you’re really not going to murder us, I might as well try and help you a little. My name’s Alek, first Sergeant of the Black Hydra. I guess I’m in charge now… “ The soldier shook his head. “If My guess is right, the Overseer is further down in the mines. There’s a vertical shaft down there somewhere. “ he waved a hand down a side tunnel. “I’m guessing he’s got some of our boys down there… in one shape or another. They say they found something down there, not long ago. But I don’t know what. They haven’t taken it out, that much is sure. And yesterday, some guy shows up with a sealed parchment for the Overseer. And everyone was moved down here. That’s when our friends took up arms. Everything’s been completely screwed up ever since… “

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Where the Winds Blow

“They say this wind followed them out of the Mountains… That it brought them home! " The old man’s voice was reedy, but his words were heard clearly around the table despite the busy hour. The crowd gathered hung onto his every word. "You all know how they went up into the heights, looking for them old places? How they fought something old and strong. And how the wind began blowing but a day before they walked through the gate. And it ain’t ceased since. "

Nervous glances were cast at the windows, where trees could be seen swaying in the strong eastern wind, and the creaking of the inns sign was suddenly a little too obvious. "And you’re sure that ain’t no bad thing? " The question came from a young man with more pimbles than beard. Nervous mutters agreed with him.

“Phaw boy! Phaw! Nay, these be heroes we have in our midst. I can feel in these old bones of mine. Ya’ll think old Aldrich would be so keen on them otherwise? Or that Ser Fairshield would jus’ let ‘em run around armed and sparrin’ with his guardsmen? Naw, this wind here, it blows with change! And for the better I say! "

The talk around the table degenerated into a general melee of opinions, and Garrick stopped listening. Instead he concentrated on the fat man behind the bar. "They’re right you know. It’s odd. Father Thomas says there hasn’t been a wind like this in these parts in living memory. And there’s been odd things happening since they left. And it’s only gotten worse… Or rather, weirder. Only yesterday, one of the new recruits tripped over his own belt and fell down on his sword. Not a cut on him. And that’s just one of the things I’ve heard of. And then there’s this business with the Forest… Damn peasants have bought up every scrap of spare iron to be found in the entire town, and the Price of Iron has risen to ridiculous proportions. And noone knows why the damn Fey have suddenly begun acting all cracked. Even Yaril haven’t got a clue. And she usually knows what’s what. I saw her buying Karl’s last five Cold Iron arrows for almost forty gold marks. Forty! " Garrick shook his head.

“Aw come now man! You can’t possibly credit that the lady Ia and her bunch have anything to do with that? I thought your lads practically worshipped Irina by now. And even that Hikari, with her odd way of talking have never done anything to make anyone look at her twice! " The Mayor shook his head so his jowls wobbled. "Naw, I’m not buying it. But is is odd… "

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Just a Pawn.

he heavy, mahogany door was gaurded by two silent, tall mwangian warriors. As always. Fierce and menacing in their serpentskin armoring and with their curved Tulwars hanging only from hooks on their belts, they gave him the creeps with the dead gaze they leveled on any visitor to this hall. Knowing that their teeth were filed to points did not help his unease.

Today, there were no words. The Shubai-Nihr did not smile or taunt. He could not decide if that was good or bad. One of them swung open the door and let him into the dim room beyond. Dim, despite a roaring fire in the hearth. Dim despite the candles burning in sconces on the walls. Every window was covered with thick, burgundy draperies and the furniture was all carved dark, heavy woods. He found the Master seated at the table before the fire, where he had expected him. Where he always found him. The Chess Set was out on the table, apparently unchanged since he was last in the Master’s presence.

With a deep breath he crossed the room, imaginary cobwebs brushing his face as he did so. He knew the room was kept fastidiously clean. And yet he could not help but feel there should be cobwebs…

”You sent for me, my lord? ” He kept his voice carefully neutral. Despite all his own wealth and power, beside this man, he was nothing. Nervously he dusted at an embroidered lapel, even though his silk coat was in perfect condition.

The stick thin man wrapped in blankets and a coat despite the fire, reached out a hand and moved one of the oppositions pieces, a ivory pawn, to the space where one of his own mahogany knights stood. Wonderingly, he lifted the black piece and turned it in his fingers.

”I shall have to have a new one made… ” The Master frowned, thick, white brows drawing down into a thin wedge over his nose. ”Unexpected. And careless. ” He tossed the exquisite carving into the fire and scratched a note on a waxed board next to his seat. ”Now, come. Sit. ”

Sitting down nervously, he waited for the Master to continue, but for a long time there was nothing but the sound of the fire consuming the logs and the unfortunate knight.
”We shall have to move up the schedule. The Barrows debacle shows that we cannot rely properly on outside elements. ” The voice was surprisingly deep, coming from that thin figure. ”I want you to send a message to Haran. Personally. See that he understands the importance of this new timetable. My assistant will have it for you. ” Brilliantly blue eyes glittered in the shrouded face as the Master spoke, and if he had not been sitting down, his legs would have shaken.

”As you say, my Lord. I shall leave at once! ” Without waiting for confirmation he got up, eager to be away from the oppressive room, and the frightening man he served. As he reached the doors, he looked back to find the Master caressing the Ivory Pawn with something that could only be called… avarice. When the door shut on the scene, he let out a heavy breath, careless that the Shubai-Nihr guards saw his unease. Hopefully, he would be transfered after this assignment. Hopefully…

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Adventure log - Session 1
You must gather your party before venturing forth

Log : Session 1

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To Read the Winds
Prologue

The great book lay open on it’s massive stand. From his perch on the mantle of the fireplace, the Mixer could see the sea rolling under great, dark clouds behind the master’s great, golden shape. The wind that blew in from the ocean would have made the pages of any normal book riffle and turn, but the Great Book had pages so heavy that it would take a storm to move them. The room was well lift, by tall gilded lamps exuding a soft golden light and by the radiance that seemed to extend from the Masters eyes as the scanned the pages as he wrote.

The Mixer loved to watch the Master work. Despite the enormity of his being, the strokes he made in the writing box were as smooth and precise as a dancers, and the Roc feather pen linked to the enchanted sand scribbled across the pages of the book in time to each movement.
“Do you understand that which we record this day Mixer? " The Masters voice was a deep rumble, like the shifting of rocks deep in the sea. "And why it is important? " The massive, serpentine head swung to regard him directly and he shivered as those eyes penetrated to the core of his being.

“Some of it, Master Kethrenalax. " It was not the Masters name. Not even Keeper could pronounce that, and he had served the Master for centuries. “But why these people? What’s so… important about these mortals? Surely other beings are more worthy of your time?” He gestured with a long, slender hand towards the five, dimly glowing globes that hung around the room. And within each globe moved the image of a person. Humans. A Horned Man. An elfen seeming girl. And something not quite like anything else Mixer had ever known.

“You see too little Mixer. If you are ever to ascend to Scriber, you must see more. " The Master gestured with a claw, towards the human girls. "Take these two. Indivudually, they are but people. Each important in her own small way. But their lives are about to collide. And when they do, if the Winds of Fate blow right… The sparks they will raise could ignite a fire such as the world has not seen since the Last Azlanti walked Golarion. "
The Master turned back to the writing sands and cocked his great head as if listening to the wind that rolled through the room. "There is a time of great change upon the world, Mixer. A wind such as I have not felt since Tar-Baphon rose. I will follow these five. For while Prophecy might have died with the Last Azlanti, I know Power when I see it…. "

The Mixer knew there would be no more conversation when the Master bent his scaled head and started writing with both claws. He dropped down from the mantle easily and shrugged his wings to get them comfortable. The Master would need more ink soon. There was work to do.


“There are no good news. Galt is more restless than ever, and there’s even a rumour the Crown is sending a company of the army up here to deal with it if spills over the border. " Garrick Fairshield was leaning on the counter of the Horn of Plenty. "And there’s those new fellows that went into the mountains last week. Awful lot of guards for a simple mine. "

“Come now Garrick, " Mayor Kerren chuckled at his guard captain. "You do tend to see the worst in everything. I’m sure they’re just eager to protect their goods from those beasts that traveller claimed he saw up there. " The fat man was polishing the bar. It was late now, and everyone else had gone home. "I’m more interested in what that old fool Aldrich is up to now, with that poster he put up for Adventurers. We get enough trouble out here without having those sorts rampaging about the countryside! I wish the buzzard would just settle down! "

“You know, they might just do some good Kerren… " Garrick muttered darkly. "There’s been word out of the Verduran. Something’s stirring in there. The woodsmen are worried. And at least one of our trade caravan’s gone missing this past month. Possibly more. i know there’s bandits out there, but I haven’t got the men to deal with it. And I’m good, but not good enough to take on twenty plus bandits on my own! "

“Well, be that as it may, I still don’t have to like it! " The mayor harrumphed and scrubbed irritably at his bar. "I just hope things doesn’t get worse. After this odd winter… " The conversation trailed off as each man stared into his ale and brooded on their own troubles.


The year is 4714. Spring is new upon the land and people everywhere rejoice that the oddest winter in living memory is over. in some places, winter never came, and all sorts of things that are normally put on hold during the cold months kept on. In other places it was the worst winter in living memory, where the wolves came howling right up against village walls.

Taldor has had one of the latter. The Winter was hard, and in many places people barely had enough to plant when spring came. The region north of the Verduran forest has been isolate for much of the year, and now rumours start trickling out of the region. Galt is set to erupt into violence again. Frost Giants from the Fog Peaks raid down into the lowlands, gaunt spectres of ice that steal anything edible. The Verduran itself is stirring and the edges of the forest have become places of strange sights and odd disappearances.

The only place of real stability in this region is the town of Highhill. From here, trade has resumed it’s flow and from here the brids fly with rumours, news and requests for aid. And from here, our story begins.

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