Legacy of Brutality

Twill's Tale of Bargle's Fall

The Tale of Bargle’s Fall

Companions we awoke beneath
   The broken castle wall
That sheltered once our nemesis
   Before we came to call
Now he has fled, soon to be dead
   Or else become our thrall

O Bargle, Bargle wicked one
   You can’t escape this song
For it is loud and full of life
   And it goes on and on
What darkness grows on wings of crows
   Will scatter in the dawn

Such haste, you made your dragon cry
   To never see you more
It longed to die upon the blade
   Brave Cedric bathed in gore
The lair is burned, your plans are learned
   From journals on the floor

Despite our mission’s urgency
   We paused to hear the news
Stephàn gave to a sheepherder
   A treasure for his clues
For it is thus, we’re generous
   To all that life issues

Those wicked plans we must forestall
   Warn first the friendly gnome
Fond of the elderberry wine
   Thence from his hearth and home
Xan by our side, new friend and guide
   A dragon of our own

Come Dyffyd, Finch and Iorweth
   Come wolf the dark to stalk
Come find the mischief in the night
   If you would beat the clock
Across the vale of Delver’s Dale
   To free prince Caradoc

There in the clearing down below
   A tryst was underway
Bargle’s birds and the beasts of Nakt
   Before them something lay
The prince was bound with head face down
   And then began the fray

O treachery, O treacherous
   The snake had bit its tail
Greed on both sides no balance makes
   Temptation made trust pale
Now blood is drawn and before long
   Kenku and beast will wail

“D’Annunzio! For Honor!” and
   For the Finch’s father
For prisoners and innocents
   Caught like a breath in water
Companions we charged fearlessly
   Into the growing slaughter

Such feats and cunning were displayed
   That have not been seen since
Another tune had best be made
   Or else you’ll start to wince
So here’s the thing, we’ve now a king
   Who once had been our prince

A sword, an arrow in the air
   The price of death was weighed
The beasts fell down, the birds blew off
   No one your place would trade
For you we’re offed while stunned aloft
   By this, my serenade

O Bargle, Bargle wicked one
   You can’t escape this song
For it is loud and full of life
   And it goes on and on
What darkness grows on wings of crows
   Has scattered in the dawn

To right the wrongs the one who erred
   Knows better what to do
So as there is no end without
   Beginning something new
Your life is spared, Dyffyd has dared
   To give it back to you

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Stephan's Second Dream

Stephan cannot breathe. Sinking beneath cold waters he looks up to see the last moonlit glimmer on the surface of the lake and descends once more into the darkness. She is there in the underwater cave. Her face in his dreams floods him with dread and desire. He dons his meager crown. She laughs. Anger wells up in the wounded warrior’s heart, another cave, this one filled with fire. The great bull is there, wreathed in might. In the ritual of blood and burning, he makes another promise…

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Finch Diaries: New Wings

The drip of melting ice eased me from slumber this morning. Friends new and old lay scattered and sleeping all about the cave floor, their bodies relaxed and their minds blanketed in the good spirts of Volder and Lema. I remembered hearing our talkative compatriot Xanxuiloxozzyr retelling our exploits in the Battle of the Scarp before I finally succumbed to fatigue and warmth last night.

I followed a fellow early riser, Twil, out of the cave mouth and down to a creek to drink and bathe. All around us the previous night’s snow glistened and melted in the strong morning light piercing the icy cover of steel clouds. An unusual softness was on the air.

Not speaking, Twil unslung his Harmonizer and wandered along the creek, his head tilted to the side in curious concentration. His long fingers began a gentle dance along the strings and a sparse rhythm began to form. Captivated by my friend’s playing I trailed behind, careful not to interject any sound. Although no discernable melody appeared, his playing seemed to compliment the murmer of the waking earth about us. The soft ripple of the creek was answered by delicate triplets, the light breeze in the bare tree limbs was echoed by rounded chords, even our footsteps in the melting snow added a layer to his acoustic explorations.

Spying the the ranger Cedric at rest ahead on a sun warmed boulder I settled down cross-legged beside him to observe Twil’s work unfold.

“Twoooooeeet..tweeep,tweep,tweep….Twoooooeeet..tweep,tweep,tweep”

With that introduction, a bright speck of a songbird flashed into view. The creature lit briefly upon Twill’s Harmonizer before floating to rest directly in front of me on the stone. Amazed, I could only stare at the minature beast. Golden of body with its head covered in deep black feathers, the songbird returned my curious gaze. It hopped from here to there and cocked its head back and forth in excitement as it seemed to give me a thorough once-over.

“Rhiannon smiles on you Finch,” spoke Twil softly.

“Tis highly, highly unnatural for this type of bird to linger in the wood this late in the season,” whispered Cedric, “they usually don’t survive Wyrm’s Turn if they can’t fly south.”

Dazzled by the moment, I uttered the first thought that came to me:

“The Gods reward us. They have sent their smallest messenger upon the Sun this morning to bless our blades and brows with grace.”
Taken as a sign of wild Rhiannon’s favor and a most postive omen, the Finch has taken a familiar. After much consultation with his mystic father Prince Caradoc, and his mad, feral druid companion Iorweth Wolfsblood, the correct binding rituals were completed and the songbird Seeleid has joined the young man in spirit and fate.
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Dragon Slain and the Battle of the Scarp
To Rescue the Cursed Prince

Session 3 – A Tale of Two Dragons

Twill Bell circled the glittering stone throne. He cocked his head and listened to the echo and thrum of sound rebounding within the stone walls of Bargle’s subterranean redoubt. He strummed his Myrdonic Harmonizer and followed the trail of resonance with an unerring ear of perfect pitch. The acoustical waves lapped about him and crisscrossed his hyperactive brain, triangulating on a specific place in the wall. There, behind the throne, the wall concealed some sort of secret door. Its mechanism was not obvious, but there had to be something. Perhaps the throne! Indeed, a hidden lever at the foot of the throne caused the outline on the wall behind to widen, crack and finally open, quickly when it did; bringing with it a gust of smoke and smell of burning books that swelled into the room and then up out the chimney, following the path of the former master of Old Skull Point. With the smoke came an angry ROAR!

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Tales of Cedric - at the Balean Nakt Scarp
From the minstrel tales of Cedric, Lord of the Forest

Cedric’s Journal- 12th day of Winter Finding – Year of Four Dragons

Or, the tale as told by campfires and hearths of Eamonvale, a tale of one of their own:

This is how Cedric called the Lazy Dragonslayer came to wield the sword called Honor Among Thieves

. . .

Like the fabled dwarven hero king, good Finch drew the weapon from the stone. Alas, the sword was as big as the lad. Thinking quickly, Cedric rushed forward shouting “Bayta!”, hoping Finch of Delver’s Dale would remember that children’s game.

And surely the clever Finch remembered and placed the silver bladed baton in Cedric’s passing hand. Cedric sped forward and smote the dragon the killing blow.

The two youths were thus bound together in friendship, as Finch bound many men to him during his career.

. . .

The band, with their new found friend, the dragon Xan approached the grisly scene. Four poor people lay, strewn about on the ground, bound and helpless, while the vile beast men and vile bird men haggled over their bargain.

But Evil will eat itself, and the two sides began to fight. It was a mighty battle, the nimble bird men against the massive beast men. Brave D’ANNUNZIO and brazen Iorweth launched themselves into battle, followed by Brother Dyffyd Kinewatcher.

Clever Twill looked about and saw that the greatest threat was not the warriors, but that foul pretender Bargle, and so he acted! Striking up a pounding tune, Twill stared down that wizard and dispelled the foul magic.

But what of those poor people? Old-man Jeb was one of the bound and helpless wretches, beaten and bloody by the hordes of vile birdmen. He can tell you what happened. They said prayers to Demeter and hoped for a quick end. Till they heard the unseen voice of good Finch, saying all would be all right.

And lo, through the maelstrom, Cedric crept unseen. Carefully the woodsman and kind Xan helped those poor people to safety before joining the battle. The battle raged, and Cedric and Finch and their allies were victorious! By the bolt from Twill’s hand was the evil wizard felled, and so the mighty heroes retired from the field of battle.

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Finch Diaries: Skull Point

The bravery of my companions and the battle song in my chest have kept me warm these last dark hours. We are wounded and weary yet I am elated. I can feel my story unfurling and am eager to press on once we have regrouped.

We have siezed our own destiny and are howling in the face of death and menace. D’Annunzio’s lust for combat and fury against our enemies drives us forward. None amoung us have faltered in the face of otherworldly evil. Iorweth has often told me that the Gods love chaos. We are to be their favorite children.

Our party has battled into the heart of a nightmare. We are a scorching light blinding all fell foes. I feel my father Caradoc’s blood boiling in my veins and have eagerly set upon a path of high adventure with my sworn brothers.

We are destiny driven and glory guides our blades towards uncertainty, fortune and carnage.

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In the Lair of Bargle
Prologue for Session 3

Drip drip drop drop op gurgle oooh Thunk thunk thunk Rooooaaaaawwwwwr It is not a restful night. Although the feast that you discovered in the Trencher of Divine Sustenance provided much needed nourishment, still you huddle in this dark throne room, a place that only a madman could call palatial, tryng to rest, fearing at every moment that the wizard Bargle will come flying down the shaft in the ceiling. But, no, instead, you hear the fierce rumblings and crashings of a dungeon that seems alive with terror. The jewelled throne sparkles with semi precious stones reflected in your lamp light. The shimmering quivers as the stone throne itself rattles on its dais. Something is angry, not far away.

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Stephan's Dream

Deep in the bowels of a ruined fort, drunk with wine and bloodlust, Stephan descended into unconciousness. As his body struggled in the wasteland that lies between the world of life and the world of death, his mind traveled to the world of dreams. There he met his god, Mithras, in the form of a great minotaur. Mithras made a convenant with Stephan – that he may never again drink wine or cut his hair, that he would make of his body a temple, and that in return Mithras would make of him a great warrior.

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Out of Town and Into the Dungeon
Session 2 - Assault on Old Skull Point

Out of Town and into the Dungeon

Twas a sodden, mud spattered quartet of wretches that emerged from out the castle sewer that first light of morn. Staggering from wounds held closed with clamped hands, from deprivation of blessed slumber, and worse still the shadowy premonitions of deeds and divinations upon the land such as young innocent minds do not easily fathom, these brave volunteers for Fate’s mercy shook their heads at the weary wonder of it all as they picked their way down the boulder strewn riverbank, seeking the path that would take them to town that lay upon the cliff above, Delver’s Dale.

The ever present mists parted then, to reveal two hooded figures standing in the waters so that their legs were submerged in the icy grey stream. One held a small five spoked wheel aloft, and a small cup which he used to pour ablutions upon the brow of the other, a simple woodsman by the look of him. This was the ritual “Washing Away of the Nights’ Terror’s”, a common sight. The woodsman looked up and noticing the three armed men accompanied by a feral grey wolf quickly ducked behind a large rock. The priest however, turned his benificent gaze upon stragglers. “Well met! Would you like blessings bestowed upon your morning bath?”

The small towheaded boy called the Finch turned towards his companions, his eyes blazing with feverish intensity, “You must all swear me this oath now, that we shall never speak of what befell this night—wait, where’s Stephan?”

“Oh old D’Annunzio caught a rope and climbed up to the castle directly,” said Twill Bell breezily.

The wolf called Dog growled and his Master Iorweth grabbed his crotch and spat.

“Indeed,” Twill called out to the priest. “I am in need of a bath just now as digging for crabs this morning was not the cleanest of work! Let us bathe, and then we will return to the Inn and take a much needed rest.”

And so the waters of the River Eamon washed the muck and blood from soiled clothing and skin. All Finch could do to stand it was to think of the roaring fire that would greet him at the Drunken Dwarf Inn.

The priest introduced himself as an Acolyte of the Goddess Demeter, called Dyffyd Kinewatcher, and when the woodsman could be coaxed out from his place of prudence he gave his name as Cedric (the lazy). They were all hungry and so they climbed the narrow goat path up the steep cliffside reaching the central square just ahead of a fishwife bringing her first catch of the day.

The taproom of the Drunken Dwarf was quietly empty at this early hour, although the massive hearth was ablaze and the kitchen was bustling with activity. Already the ring of hammers could be heard echoing down the Dale as the Dwarves of Clan Ironbeard began their daily toils.

The lads gathered around the fireplace and there they ate their morning bread and drank hot spiced wine and spoke in many directions at once, caution, even paranoia warring with youthful excitement. They were fugitives now, they were certain, it was just a matter of how long until their culpability was made public. The Finch worked quickly to secure witnesses, using his childlike charm to befriend the Kinewatcher, and striking a deal with Cedric the Woodsman to guide them through the wilderness. For it had become apparent that the absent Prince Caradoc’s Map of Delver’s Dale was the most fruitful (if confusing) clue they had found in the wizard’s study.

Finally it was decided that the Finch would stay out of sight in the apartments upstairs while Twill Bell and Iorweth sought an audience with their liege Sir Trousdale of Lorchester . For they were nothing if not loyal.

Arriving at the Castle Daha, Twill Bell became so excited at the prospect of performing for royalty that rather than ask after his master, he instead petitioned to the royal seneschal Steward Mordeln that he might play a song for Queen Vivian. “That,” Mordeln assured young Bell, “is impossible. For the Queen is awash in grief and cannot yet grant audience to itinerant minstrels.”

Despondant, Twill retired to the Commons Hall to experiment with the acoustics. There Iorweth curled up with Dog by the fire and fell asleep. Dyffyd Kinewatcher, who had walked to the castle with the bard and the druid, paced the circumference of the hall, swinging his censer about, splashing holy water on the rushes and castle dogs and whatever servants happened by, many of whom approached the acolyte for a blessing. Dyffyd was most pleased to oblige.

Soon enough prayers were answered as the very august personage of Sir Trousdale himself came striding through the door. And who walked behind him? Chin up and looking about at the rabble daring any to challenge his most pricklish pride? The great Stephan D’Annunzio, well groomed and seemingly unsullied by the sordid events of the previous night, events which occured not far from the very room in which they now stood.

Without breaking his stride or expression of haughty disdain, D’Annunzio approached Twill and Iorweth and spoke quickly in a low voice, “Look sharp now! For the honor of our Lord, we must not be seen about this place any longer! Our fate is tied to the Finch now, and we must see him to his destiny. I have spoken with Lorchester and this is his will. We go!

With sudden haste, the companions regrouped at the Drunken Dwarf and at the hour of noon they threaded their through the crowded midday market and, joined by Dyffyd Kinewatcher (who complained that the beautiful Ahleena took such good care of the church that he felt hardly needed there), led by the soft spoken Cedric to a side exit of the town, found themselves gathered on a bluff next to Steep Creek, across from the dwarven edifice that was called a Waterwheel, looking down upon the whole of Delver’s Dale, whose brightness glistened in the cold winter sun. A wind whipped up the valley.

The yoeman Cedric leaned on his longbow and cocked an eyebrow at the motley crew, “So my lords, where do you want to go?”

Twill Bell looked up from the tuning fork of his Myrdonic Harmonizer, “Let’s go to Old Skull Point!”

“Old Skull Point? Really? But that’s just an old abandoned watchtower. Nothing there but crumbling rocks and bird nests.” Cedric was confused.

“Bird’s nests, exactly” said Iorweth.

“Here, our map show’s a skull, and so we shall obviously journey there as the Prince would not draw a skull in such a place upon his map if it were other than to indicate sinister activities,” D’Annunzio spoke with grave determination.

Cedric just shrugged his shoulders and started off down the hill. “Old Skull Point it is then, but let’s hurry, we probably wont make it by nightfall and tis a bitter wind these winter evenings!”

And so the band of young would be heroes descended into the Dale, with naught upon their shoulders but their armaments and a vague sense of responsibility for the land, a feeling the their deeds could perhaps tip the scales of power, influence and righteousness in this imperilled land. Cedric was indeed in a hurry and so he led them directly to the Imperial Road where they maintained a brisk pace upon the frozen mud track. It was but a few short hours before the spire of Old Skull Point loomed above, but in those short days of winter already the sun had dipped behind distant crags and the temperature was dropping precipitously. Small snow flurries drifted about. Atop the mount, the ruins of the old tower could be seen in silhouette, like the broken teeth of some fallen giant.

D’Annunzio seemed to get more impatient with each passing moment. Dusk falling as the group approached the crumbling ruin. The old keep kept its back to the cliff of the bedrock spire rising behind it, and a wall of 20ft held intruders at bay. There was a crude timber gate in the center, looking curiously like a woven birds’ nest, and toward the left corner the wall had collapsed, creating a 5ft gap. D’Annunzio ignored this gap and hurled himself upon the gate, crashing into in with all his might. Unfortunately, his mighty strength was not enough to break through. Casting about, the heroes gathered wood from a nearby tree. They would burn the gate down! Why not? Darkness had fallen and the winter wind tore desperately at their meager cloaks.

Cedric approached a pair of crumbled wooden doors, the old gate. It looked like burnable wood. It was in fact the lair of a horrid monster, a tentacled land mollusk whose questing tentacles wrapped the happless ranger in a numbing embrace. Although Cedric was quickly rendered helpless, his new companions came to his rescue and slaughtered the creature, and its green ichor stained the ground.

Finally a fire was built, and before long the gate itself was burning. An arrow shot down from the wall above. D’Annunzio leaped to his feet and jumped through the fire. Again he put his shoulder to the gate, but this time, weakened by the fire, the barrier burst asunder. Frightened Kenkus scattered left and right. The battle was joined. After easily defeating the birdmen, the group forged ahead into the castle proper. The fighter led the way, kicking down doors in seemingly random fashion. A pair of over large beetles were discovered and destroyed.

The other’s searched for scraps of information and treasure until the Zingaran’s impatience got the best of him and he again barged ahead. It was a frontal assault without much subtlety. Before long a long abandoned dining room was discovered. Three skeletons sat slumped in great chairs around a table still set with what looked like golden place settings. There was not much time to investigate, for in an instant a hauntingly harsh melody drifted from out the fireplace, a hypnotic song that stopped the young heroes in their tracks. Only Twill Bell had the willpower and then the presence of mind to combat the perfidious song. Quickly Twill struck the Myrdonic Harmonizer and added his own voice to the tumult. Point for counterpoint, the siren song was demolished ‘neath the power of Twill’s mighty battle of bands. His elation did not last long, for no sooner had he begun to sing when two creatures of nightmare swooped from out the chimney flu in a cloud of ashy dust. They were a strange amalgamation of a witch and a dirty dirty bird. Tattered wings and vicious claws greeted their victims with menace and the display of the creatures’ wildly flopping dugs. Their song was ineffective, but still they attacked with a fury born of hate for Men. Stefan struck with power as did the others. One of the Harpies, for that is what they were, was slain, while the other, when she saw the doom of her sister took desperate flight past the Finch and Twill and out into the cold cold night.

Further investigations and battles ensued. It was a veritable blur of desperate combat and struggle. The lower dungeons of the old keep were dank and cold as ice. It would not do to let the body cool down. Only perhaps to ponder a strange log suspended above a solitary chest. More Kenkus were slain. A shrine was discovered, depicting no god known to Twill’s Bardic lore, nor to the traditions of Iorweth. The tapestries and statues described a man in his middle age, of darkly sartorial inclination, bedecked in jewels and bloodred robes, his long black beard curled into perfumed ringlets that shown in the light of golden lamps. One of the statues was a living crystal approximation of the man’s cruel visage, but his location was mysterious. Who was this stranger sorcerer who seemed to live like a god below the grond so very close to the lights and lives of Delver’s Dale?

The answer came too soon, merely the wrong door opened and the showdown was upon them. There, seated on a throne on the far side of an underground stream that bisected the vaulted room was what could only be the man himself. But who was he?

“I am Bargle the Magnificent,” said the warlock, stroking his luxurious beard. “You have invaded my inner sanctum and disturbed my investigations into the netherworld, and for that, you must all perish, to be squashed like all you ‘knights’ and ‘heroes’ who dare approach my ribald iniquity!” With that said, Bargle made a curt gesture and a veritable curtain of flame descended upon the flagstones on his side of the natural moat. The battle was joined in a flurry of fire and fang, spell and spear.

The wizard summoned a Gelatinous Cube of uncertain planar origin which proceeded to engulf those who opposed it. Others jumped the moat, braving the crackling Wall of Fire. Some telling blows were struck to the Magnificent Bargle as he floated above his throne but each time his image seemed to shimmer and shift and transpose and some began to wonder if he was really there at all. Eventually it seemed, the iniquitous summoner grew bored of the futile struggle, or perhaps his power waned. For with a diabolical laugh he flew up through a shaft in the ceiling and vanished into the gloom.

The Men of Trousdale breathed a sigh of relief.

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Tales of Cedric (the lazy) - the path to Skull Point
From the minstrel tales of Cedric, Lord of the Forest

Cedric’s Journal- 8th day of Winter Finding – Year of Four Dragons

Also check out a proposed Calendar for Delver’s Dale. By this calendar, we fought the unnamed sorcerer on the 11th Day of Winter Finding.

Or, the tale as told by campfires and hearths of Eamonvale, a tale of one of their own:

Gather round and hear the tale of Cedric, Lord of the Forest, Strider in Dark Places, Protector of the Peasants, one of our own from this very valley, the valley of Delver’s Dale.

Cedric, who was known as The Lazy Woodsman, was a young man of barely 16. His beard was just beginning to grow. And none knew of what was to come. Cedric would walk the forest, hunting game for the Drunken Dwarf or leading travelers up the path.

He had no dreams of glory. He did not search for fame. And yet, one day, when many came to mourn the death of King Brandoch the Great, Cedric fell into legend.

As the story goes, Cedric offered to guide some strangers about the valley. Little did he know, they would take him to Skull Point.

. . .

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