Category Archives: Slaine

“Slaine” for Savage Worlds

The Chase

[written by Kiely]

After the men were long gone, Grolach and Kiely decided to venture after the mystery men to save the beast girl. Kiely, being the heroic one, also wanted to bring the men to justice. Bran informed “the team” about a nearby sky chariot which the men might be headed towards.They came to a forest and ,of course, everyone went inside. Later the team came to rat-tentacle thingys. Kiely knew that they were zoogs. WEIRD! They were very easy to tame with Kiely’s powers. Everyone got safely past them even though some poor people didn’t. Grolach was glad because he had a death wish. [He really wanted to die, REALLY, REALLY BADLY!] Unfortunately Grolach didn’t get his wish and he continued with the rest of the group.

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Night Stalkers

Kiely awoke with a start as rough hands seized her in the dark. She could not see the faces of the hooded figures stooped above her and she did not linger to find out who they were. Bolt upright in a flash, she slipped between the two and out the door of her private room. Sounds of struggle came from another room as she made for the stairs down to the public hall. She slid deftly down the railing as her two assailants gave chase. "Get her!", one said just a bit too loudly.

Grolach and Duco slept in a common room with a group of sweaty, drunken merchants. Ailyn was in another common room for women while Mokk had a private room complete with body servants and healers; the best was always reserved for druids and bards. Grolach was jolted awake by the shout from the corridor and got up to share a few choice words, or even some knuckles, with the unlucky boor. He instinctively grabbed his axe as he stumbled out of the room, waking Duco and several others in the process, and heard a general commotion. Someone was hurrying down the stairs while female voices called from one of the private rooms.

He poked his head into the room to see two cloaked men struggling with the girl and her mother who had garnered so much attention earlier. One of the men held the girl fast and slapped a hand over her mouth as he kicked open the window to climb or jump to the ground. The mother put up a far more effective resistance but was eventually pushed to the floor while her assailant made for the window as well. Grolach could hear the sound of horses’ hooves as boots thudded into the mud below. Not knowing what resistance he would face outside, he made for the stairs.

Kiely was there with Bran and his hounds. Her attackers fled into the night with the others to avoid a scuffle as the sounds of struggle woke up most of the patrons who weren’t dead drunk. Unfortunately, the gate guards were dead drunk, and the cloaked men easily made off with the girl on horseback.

 

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Strange Gifts

The young girl walked slowly toward Bran’s huge hounds, who were slavering as they strained against their chains.  Some tried to dissuade her but the girl’s mother said proudly, "Go ahead, Ciara, show them!"  Ciara extended her right hand in a calming gesture and, to the astoniment of all but one of the onlookers, the dogs sat silently on their haunches.

"Well done, sweet!  Her name is Ciara and I am Rionach, her mother!"  The child’s cheeks flushed red with pleasure under dirty, straw colored hair – her father’s hair.  But her father, Corm, had died two winters ago in battle with the Finians on the border of Alba.  Ciara had first displayed her gift as a toddler and was always surrounded by animals, both tame and wild.  Her parents encouraged her talent and hoped that Ciara would come to the attention of the Druids as a prodigy, and that their entire kin would be elevated in stature and wealth. 

The young bard, Kiely, also had a gift.  Later in the evening, after the mastiffs had regained their tempers and their watch, Kiely surreptitiously sang a few quiet words and the dogs, as they had with Ciara, sank tamely to the floor.  No one noticed her do it, except for Rionach – and one other.  Kiely smiled while Rionach cast an angry glance, then looked away.

"Ciara, you have a wonderful gift.  You would make a fine bard", said Kiely.

"She’ll be a druid, not a bard", sneered Rionach haughtily.  "We will settle for nothing less." 

Across the packed hall, two hooded figures who witnessed the conversation slipped out into the night. 

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Buail Le

The freak storm passed and Grolach, Mokk, Duco, and Ailyn headed back to the muddy trail leading north to Murias. A chaotic and tragic scene greeted them – the crushing hail stones had wrought havoc on the caravan. Several oxen had been killed and others crazed, dragging carts into ditches and spilling grain, pottery, textiles and many other goods onto the mud. The bodies of two merchants lay battered and bloody in the back of one of the intact wains. The survivors salvaged what they could and resumed the slow march through the muck.

The destination was Murias, capital city of the Sessair, but the next stop was Buail Le, the Meeting Place, a sleepy fortified village that came alive only during festival times. Ringed by a ditch, earthen ramparts and log palisade, Buail Le was home to the family of Bran Rib-Crusher. Bran had made his name in battle with the Fomorians and was granted lordship over Buail Le by the King himself. When the caravans came to town he held court in the Golden Goat public house, his wooden mattock and his two vicious mastiffs keeping drunken revelers in line.

The exhausted travelers were in a foul mood as the caravan pulled within the walls. Other merchants had arrived the previous day and a marketplace sprang to life. Rare items could always be had here before they went for sale in the stalls of Murias and Grolach procured a particularly fine iron axe, paid for with gold from the tomb of the Master. It was at this time that a young local warrior named Dugal unwisely decided to taunt and goad Grolach into fisticuffs to prove his toughness to his mates. An icy glare and a fist or two to the noggin proved otherwise.

As darkness fell and rain returned, the travelers packed the Golden Goat to capacity. A beautiful young bard named Kiely regaled the patrons with the epic story of the days when the Sessair first arrived in Eriu from Atlantis and conquered the land from the Titans.

 

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Cleaning Up

With the Master vanquished, the four companions heaved a collective sigh of relief and turned to the business of clearing the rest of the tomb with renewed vigor and confidence. They turned down the narrow passage next to the Master’s chamber. The air was close and foul and cobwebs clogged the tunnel and stuck to their bodies. Mokk thrust his torch ahead to clear the way for Grulach as they came to yet another pitch black side chamber.

Grolach strode boldly through the entrance and was immediatly pounced upon by a spider the size of a dog. Dripping jaws lunged for his unprotected neck but he drew his blade and skewered the thing, which curled up and fell with a thud. Mokk, perhaps dizzy with blood loss from his wounds, rushed into the chamber only to find three more of the beasts hovering overhead in their webs. The druid chanted a quick prayer and fire sprung from his fingers to set the webs alight. Grulach, Duco and Ailyn were by his side in an instant, stabbing up into the bellies of the spiders. Another of the beasts was dispatched but the fangs of the others found their marks. Mokk and Duco stiffened and collapsed on the ground with wide eyes and drooling mouths. Ailyn and Grolach killed one more and then Ailyn, too, was stricken by their venom. Grolach , though bitten several times, shook off the effects and slashed the spider in two, ending the threat. The others soon came to and, though shaken, seemed none the worse for wear.

One passage remained to explore. Grolach , impetuous and overconfident, strode boldly down and into a room containing a carved granite chest. A stone in the floor gave way under his foot and darts flew from the walls. Danu was with him this day, for the darts flew by inches from him. He opened the chest and the companions were greeted by the sweet glint of pure gold, offerings to the Master and whatever dark gods he served.

[Thus ends the first adventure of Grulach and Mokk]

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The Master

Thankfully, Mokk’s injuries were not as severe as initially feared. Grolach staunched the wounds and the party decided that they must discover and vanquish whatever hazards lurked deeper in the tomb.

Retracing their steps to where they battled the inhuman, yellow-robed creatures, they saw the bodies still undisturbed in death. They proceeded and entered a chamber no doubt used for preparing the dead for the journey to the Otherworld. Rotted wooden tables held rusted implements of the embalmer’s trade, stained with blackish blood. Rain cascaded from a rough opening in the ceiling under which was piled dirt and broken masonry, perhaps a tunnel for tomb robbers. Water swirled down a ghastly blood-stained drain in the floor.

Cautiously creeping forward down the sloping passageway leading from the chamber, Mokk’s torchlight pierced yet another black chamber. A narrow, foul-smelling tunnel ran to the right. But ahead, lying on a stone platform carved with incomprehensible symbols, lay the body of a large man, untouched by time and decay. To their horror the man’s eyes opened wide at their approach and the head turned to glare at them. "I am the Master," rumbled a low, gutteral voice. "Only those who serve have a place here." With that, he sprang to his feet upon the bier with the agility of youth, rising to his full height in his shining mail and brandishing a wickedly barbed spear which he hurled full force at Grolach .

Grolach , taken aback for but a moment, knocked the spear aside with his shield and was the first to leap in, his blade ringing against the Master’s drawn longsword. Ailyn, protecting the wounded druid, thrust with her spear while Duco sprang forward with his knife on the Master’s flank. The cunningly crafted iron rings turned aside the companion’s attacks but the press of three warriors proved too much for the Master. Uttering not a sound, his bloodless body fell in a heap. The four companions were sorely disappointed to find no riches in his tomb, only a gold amulet about his neck containing a symbol – the same symbol found on the dagger of the yellow-robed creature.

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They Joined Him in Death

Leaving the bodies where they fell, the four companions retreated to the entry chamber. Whatever other dangers the tomb held, they must at the very least secure the entry chamber for the night.

Disaster struck in the first side chamber they entered. From stone biers flanking an alien, inhuman idol, six skeletal warriors rose to the attack flashing iron swords. Mokk, unaccustomed as he was to battle, nevertheless rushed headlong at the nearest guardian, who slashed a vicious gash across Mokk’s chest. His white druidic robes now soaked with crimson blood, Mokk fell moaning to the ground.

Grolach leapt to Mokk’s side while Duco and Ailyn held three of the fiends at bay. The fight was short and sharp but the three warriors prevailed. Mokk was still alive, but barely, as Grolach bandaged his ghastly wound. Making fast the chamber’s doors, the four passed the night undisturbed.

 

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Disturbing His Rest

The entry chamber was large, damp and empty. Torchlight cast ancient carvings into orange relief, spirals, knots and unknown runes. Any color that once adorned the walls had long since faded, leaving them bare and drab. All that remained were three passageways upon which hung three crude but relatively recent doors. Doors were not traditionally found inside tombs; the dead had no need of them. Outside, the crash of lightning and hammerfall of hailstones continued.

Grolach forced upon each of the three doors in turn and the party was swarmed each time by hordes of hungry, black, wet rats, which were quickly dispersed by his iron and Mokk’s flame. Proceeding down a long, dark passageway, the sounds of the storm were muffled by the stifling blackness of the tomb. Suddently, the sound of shuffling and mumbling emanated from far down the corridor – someone or something was alerted to their presence. Two figures appeared from a chamber ahead and slowly drew down the passageway towards them, silhouetted by the light of a torch. The flickering flame cast ghastly dancing shadows of the cloaked pair, whether by chance or cold calculation to intimidate intruders.

Finally, they were revealed in the light of Mokk’s torch to be yellow-robed creatures akin to the corpse outside the tomb entrance. Iron short swords flashed from beneath the folds of their robes as they challenged the party, "Who dares trespass in the house of the Master? Prepare to meet him!"

Grolach and Duco leapt to the attack with longsword and knife as Ailyn leveled her longspear in the gap between them. The wild-eyed creatures were no match and were swiftly cut down. The blood on their robes mignled with the mud and dirt of a long road. All they carried were their weapons and near-empty bags of hard tack and flagons of bitter water. One, however, possessed a strange knife of cruel-edged flint whose handle bore a strange, solitary symbol. This same symbol appeared carved in many places upon the walls of the tomb, but none, not even the druid Mokk, could puzzle its meaning.

 

 

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A Storm Breaks

[Game master log]

Grolach the Berserk, warrior of the Sessair, found himself two days out of Murias when the storm hit. The clouds were gathering dark and foreboding as the day waned and gusts drove the rain into his eyes. The caravan he accompanied on its way to the great Beltaine feast in the capital city of the Sessair stretched for more than a mile along the muddy track and came to a halt as the rain gave way to hail of increasing size.

As travelers scrambled desperately for what shelter they could find, Grolach spied a structure on a nearby hill to the east, silhouetted against flashes of lightning. Along with his traveling companions — Mokk, the druidic initiate; Duco, the dwarf; and, Ailyn, spear warrior of the Sessair — he said a quick prayer to Danu and made for the the hill.

Drawing near to the hill they could see the remnants of a round, stone tower on the summit, 20 to 30 feet tall and almost completely obscured by vines and brush. Searching for a ledge or rock outcropping under which to shelter the companions found something quite shocking and unexpected.

A stone lintel framed an opening in the west face of the hill; perhaps this was a tomb of some long-forgotten warrior. But more surprising still was the crumpled and singed body of a yellow-robed man which lay in front of the portal. Fragments of a large stone were scattered about the figure, also singed by an unlucky bolt of lightning or some other powerful force. Closer inspection revealed that the being had been dead no more than several days. Being, not man, for it had the hooved legs and horns of a goat and a wickedly wide mouth full of sharp yellow teeth.

Torches were lit and weapons were drawn as the companions entered the darkness of what they had hoped was safe and secure shelter.

continued…

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