The Dragon's Court and The War at the End
Emma- walking in the garden with the Prince talking about something. It’s a cool damp morning on the imperial grounds and you watch insects navigate the dew collected on the undersides of leaves. You reach out casually and squash one between your fingers. You return your attention to Robert.
You are talking about something, but for some reason you can’t remember. He pauses and turns to you locking his large blue eyes with yours. You don’t see a small rock in the path and you trip and you stumble to the ground. Robert is beside you helping you to your feet.
It is the night of Robert’s wedding and coronation and he helps you and only you to your feet, while everyone else in the room remains still in genuflection. As Emperor and Empress you ascend to the thrown and take your seat as ruler of all of civilization. The kneeling masses before you do not stand and you remember that they all died a very long time ago.
“Is this what you want” The prince says to you. You turn to look at him. His eyes are an albinial pink.
He repeats the question as if he was two people and there is and deep primal and chaotic undercurrent to the second voice.
“It is a shame your talents have been wasted so long and among such undeserving rabble that you have been tricked into thinking that being queen of the insects a lofty pursuit.”
The subjects before you dissolve into piles of vermin and insects.
“Though you take their shape, you are not of their weak and crude form . You are of us. Something special. Something unique. You have potential they do not. I can help you, but there will be certain things you will have to do.”
The fount of the universe is all power. Power over everything. The Deceiver is using you. When he is finished, he will chain you as he chained me. You are to be used and then discarded. You are no different to him from the black wardens, and where are they now?
The first thing you must do, is kill your last remaining sister.
You are walking down a road. You don’t know where you are but it looks like somewhere in the Balgor Wastes. As many young brothers of St Gregory at your age, you took a pilgrimage there during Taub’s Reclamation Crusade. You hear one of the Emma’s giggling up the road. It is cold and foggy.
You see a hooded figure standing some way up beyond you by the side of the road. The giggle turns to terrified screaming.
When you approach the figure you see he is an old man with abinal pink eyes. He wears the holy symbol of the Monastic order the Brothers of the Silent Vow.
He points to a small hut in the fog. You don’t know how you didn’t see it earlier. The Screaming is coming from inside.
Inside is Brother Slade. Emma is pinned to the wall by her arms and legs and He is jamming her repeatedly in the heart with a stake but she neither dies nor turns into ash. Six other broken and bloodied Emmas litter the floor.
(Finally he throws the bloody stake to the floor and turns to you. His jaundiced yellow eyes are replaced with the pink of the Brother outside.)
(Look what you have done. You have lost the all the others. Only two remain is enthralled to our Enemy. So hear me now Grand High Cleric Taub II. I am in your soul now. You will protect the one you travel with. You will defend her. You will sacrifice your life if need be. You will do anything she requires, or I will rend and devour your spirit a piece at a time.) Your head starts swimming and you feel like you can’t breath. You collapse to the floor. Slade stands over you staring with pink eyes and a deeply mocking smile of dark and receding gums.
Didn’t anyone ever tell not to make deals with demons, holyman?
You are having a typical dream of starring at Quintilis Maximil Drantago Veraxis III’s body decay. You are about halfway through the night when the body starts to jerk. It falls inanimate for a while longer before jerking again. This repeats a while longer for more sustained periods of time. You start to even hear a rasp coming out of his throat. Eventually toward the morning, the head turns to face the mirror and says
It’s me Quintilis Maximil Drantago Veraxis the Third. I have something important to tell you. When we bound the old one, something tried to get in. I turned it away. I said there was no more room in the inn. I’m not so sure about the others. If it came to you it could have gone to them. As much as I hate to say this, I trust the rockhumper. He isn’t a capable enough wizard to overcome his incapability with this chaotic force.
Sitting across the room in a chair, is the 1st, you just notice him. He’s not wrong you know
Steve HEY GUYS WHAT IS GOING ON? HOW COME NOBODY INVITED ME.. I don’t even sleep. Come one, do you know how boring nights are for me?
Dream, Morgus the Grey, Grey Elven wood mask, grey bones, grey hood.
Tell me why you seek the dragons, young wizard?
If you are wise, you will not go to them. Leave what has been lost forgotten.
Knock at the door.
Envelope addressed to Mariatta and Fabrizo at the door, Mariatta turns to leave.
For your eyes only chief, from the bossman
Our timetable has been pushed forward. I am meeting you at the Travelling Santiago. Get the location of the dragons BEFORE I arrive. Look out for suspicious behavior from the others.
Breakfast- MP is there drinking tea.
“Our mutual friend is on his way. It would be best if we prepared for a speedy departure.”
Everyone except you freezes in place. A spiny black ball laced with red eyes descends.
Zarazik, 1st with old one, what do you see here.
Something missing- hard to quantify but spent enough time ripping shit out of and jamming in Johann head. About that size missing.
This is a problem.
I knew this binding thing was going to go tits up. Trusting Vampires not to fuck this up. What the hell were you thinking. In case we’ve forgotten, we already have my siblings to deal with, and now there is a rouge old one on the loose.
A large warrior standing a full head taller than Johann stands covered in ornate bronze plate at the entrance to a large floating crystal island in silence. He hold a Large flaming great sword that crackles with a bronze fire.
First “I will protect you if I can, though if I lift a finger to aid you in battle, any hope of any truce will be forfeit and we will have to fight and kill every dragon they have squirreled away in there.”
Floating islands of crystal.
Enough of this, I have lost enough family to this Monster. I shall not lose the few I have left.
What is it that you want?
A grey dracolich descends upon the crystal island.
I told them, they should not have come here. I did not know they would bring the Deciever with them. Had I known I would have destroyed them. You insult my Brothers Memory by coming here, Deciever.
I agree with Talandir, but we are at an impasse. Even he would not dare come here for trifles sake.
Sense Motive “Silver lady and The First have not broken each others gaze, there is obviously something that you were not told”
We will hear you, but there will be conditions. The Deciever will not talk at all, nor would he move if he values his life and the life of his companions. You have brought, delegates so let them do the speaking for him. There is a darkness that clings to those three. While you may confer with one another, we will speak only to and through the Elfkin (Knowledge History/Religion- ancient name for elves) who is after all this time still very much as a child and can be trusted. Afterwards we will decide what is to be done here.
Three more elves enter the room. Three more elves enter the room and stand before you. One is a young small women is dressed all in yellow with long blonde hair and similarly golden eyes. Her face is the picture of elven youth. The other is dressed in damp blue linens draped along her body, her hair and eyes are blue as well. Her large full lips are blue as is the area around her eyes. She is beautiful in a sensual way and her large blue eyes give off a passionate gaze. The third is a tall elven man, dressed head to toe in an exquisitely embroidered light but sturdy tunic and leggings of green. His sharp mustache and goatee are also tinted that color. He wears his green hair in a long pony tail and covers half of his face in a green highwayman’s mask.
The Elven and protohuman pantheon is as follows
Golden Lord sometimes known as the Golden Martyr- Sacrifice, Loyalty
-—Silver Lady- Sister to the Golden Lord- Wisdom, Truth
The Black Lord- Brother to the Golden Lord and Silver Lady, Death, Finality
--The Grey Mage- Brother of the Golden Lord and the SIlver Lady, Knowledge, Magic, Secrets
-—The Blue Lover- Elven Mystara whom the Elvens named the rivers that they lived along after and the elven word for wife, Fertility, Harvest
-—The Green Ranger- Luck, Wilderness,
-—The Bronze Warrior- Son of the Golden Lord and the Lover, War, Struggle, Conflict
-—The Yellow Maid- Daughter of the Green Ranger and the Lover, Innocence, Purity
The Red Trickster- Son of the Green Lord and the Lover, Mischief, Chaos
The Purple Prince- Son of the Green Lord and the Lover, Hedonism, Intoxication,
Each fortress is 3d6, each turn each fortress surrouded by four unoccupied squares gains one blood point. Three blood points can generate an additonal army
Move in intititive, every other cycle roll 1d20+1d4 and a 1d12, that square is destroyed.
The First (5)
Dragons (up to 6)
Frederick (1) Vampire Army (5)
The Firsts Army 4 x (6)
(Wizards 3d6 +3x(6))
As you approach the the miniscus of the black you can hear the wails of thousands of tormented souls and watch the forms and faces of beings both familiar and strange writhe around the surface of the black dome in twisted agony. When you reach its perimeter, a singularly large pupil descends to stare at you, Upon matching your gaze the whole sturcutreinstantly retracts into a caricature of the land you once knew to occupy this area. The riverlands of the Conquered Throne. Warped trees along the road sprout flocks of carrion birds who eye you as you pass. You cross a village and watch crude reenactments. Silhouettes of the Brothers of the Silent Vow massacre sihouettes of villagers as you pass. They push their children into the fire as they feigned to save themselves. The black projectiles merge and pass effortlessly through. The pile of bodies rises and fills the town, crushing it beneath, vultures grow like tumors from the mass and devour the corpses into nothingness.
You approach a recreation of the left arm of the Mystara. The black grapes of the vinyards that grow along its banks over ripen and fall rotting to the ground. The effigies of the elves of old who tended these ancient groves murder themselves as their crop fails before their sightless eyes.
You reach the waters edge. Black metal water cascades violently before you. There is no bridge here as there was since the First Elven Empire, and instead of the soft rushing of the whitewater that once crashed along the marble outcrops, all you hear is a chorus of burbling laughter.
Leave the army behind?
Similar pantomimes of horror follow you along the route to Rysa.
anchors appear out of nowhere, demolishing buildings and black recreations of the glass towers of elven old. Before they shatter, the wind does not cause them to sing so much as scream as Bodies pour out of the broken rubble and flood the streets, and they become almost impossible to navigate.
After the last hurdle you are on the
The long road to the Imperial Palace are lined with bodies standing at attention. As you pass each tells you in hushed whispers how you specifically failed them. They start of relativley unknown. Gnomish Resistance fighers. Average Citizens. Enslaved Orcs. Denizens of Mybitchencamero. Exiled Dwarves. Soldiers from the Civil War. Burnt victims of the Stormhollow Holocaust.
Gradually they grow more personal. Cassandrix’s Victims. The guests of Whitemarsh Hall. The half-orc bastard Grom looks out at you with his noose still dangling from his neck. The knights who had accompanied you on the hunt parade the corpse of a great centipede above their heads and sing to the Emperor’s Glory. The Masquerade’s party guests cease their jovial chitterings as you pass stare at you with dead eyes behind their masks. Zarazik’s interns are there as well, the more unfortunate ones are maimed in whatever horrible way they died. A young boy familiar only to Zarazik also stands among them, and consists of nothing more than his empty skin. Emma’s class mates and courtiers are there. The headless bodies of rebel leaders burble blood you pass and at their front a butchered torso twitches at Johanns presence. Members of the ELF stand wreathed in flames that produce neither heat nor light. Members of Simon’s Cult weep and avert their eyes, chanting hymns of sorrow and disappointment, of a salvation that never came. The Missionary and the family you protected when you returned to the dark future shake their heads in sorrow at approach them.All these are interspersed with Brothers of the Silent Vow who stand in voiceless judgement.
Halt, a familiar voice shouts
Demon, Large monstrous construct of bones and corpses held together by tight leather straps, five arms on the left wielding a different weapon, the right arm has been replaced with a sythe (wisdom-same as the demon in haunted manor)
You will not pass beyond this point. I will finally wash away the humiliation of being defeated by mere mortals all those years ago. I will present your flesh to the master in tiny bloody strips.
There all of Johann’s children stand patiently waiting for their father to come home. His Eldest stands nearly cut in half. The Imperial Ministers and the Hierophants of the Church bow meakly before you. Sister Sally March and Brother Slade look somberly onwards to the Grand High Cleric. Taub the First is there as well. Bavril Tavik stands clutching his bloody stump looking just as disheveled and disoriented as after your first teleportation. The submerged Quahir Eoniel and the chared bones of his lich father, Amul, grind their teeth in their ridgid frames at your approach. Seldom, still flayed along every bone, looks on with an empty gaze.
“You left me”
Beside him stands the Duke Mavon and his Wife but they have nothing say. Finally, in the four spots nearest the grand gates of the Palace stand the three Emmas and Prince exactly as you had seen them before you left them for the first time.
“You came for me.” He says happily. “I knew you would.”
His words ring hollow and mocking.
The First approaches the locked gates.
“Whatever happens, I will do my best to protect you.”
He sticks his hand through the door and it shatters, an empty black void sits before you.