Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Minor Update...

The Characters tab has been updated with another of Silva's Army, fledgling seeress Morana Vornov, of the Lovani Darine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: The Oracle Stone

“This one thinks, perhaps, it would be best to follow the Bhuradhest. Torenwyr this far from the mine… Pyrklist finds this distressing.” He wrung his hands, squinting as he looked fretfully from one outcropping of rock to another.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From the PbP: Kingsman

image source:http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/97666971#/d1j4xyl

Kingsman is the Blackmoor equivalent to chess, or go. The board consists of a twenty-five square by twenty-five square grid checked off in two different alternating colors. Each side has a fifty-piece “army,” with each piece or pair of pieces having its own movement and attack patterns. The game ends when either all the pieces are captured (called a rout), or when one army outmaneuvers the other, either leaving only openings that would mean the pieces are captured (being in check), or outright blocking all the available moves (being check-mated). Capturing the Kingsman’s piece is automatic victory (called a (capital-C) Capture), is the shortest way to win, but is also the most difficult of victories to obtain.

Noblemen of the Thonian Empire would frequently make wagers, with each having to give up gold, or lands, or slaves with the capture of pieces from the board. In more than one occasion, marriages were determined by victories. It is said that Leansethar's terms of marriage were that her suitor had to defeat Rowena at Kingsman by all victory methods (route, check, check-mate, capture) in four consecutive games.
The only known instance of any victory against Rowena was by the Great Svenny, who won by Capture in an otherwise rout-oriented game in 1020 UC. The match took seven months to complete, and Svenny had only three pieces left in play. 
Rowena subsequently challenged him to an alternate version of the game, played on a hex grid, with her single Kingsman surrounded by 150 pieces of Svenny's choosing. That game took three years to play out, and Uther's daughter won by rout. Unfortunately, there is no record of the moves used. It took the bank of fifty difference engines working in tandem twelve years to come up with but a single iteration, in the Last Days.

Needless to say, Leansethar never took a husband.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thorn's Mystara: Bestiary: Dragonstone Lich

Blackmoor University did not get the soulbound technology right on the first try. Before settling on synthetics, they made many attempts to bind a soul into a “normal” material body beyond its natural bounds, most of which resulted in utter failure. The bonds were not strong enough to keep the soul from dissipating across the mortal boundary. The wizard-priests were only partially successful in calling the souls back. Some returned out of a sense of duty to the Empire. Very few, either twisted by the experimentation, or simply evil to begin with, returned bent on vengeance against the scientists, and the Empire that sponsored such abominable research.

Thorn's Mystara: Kor-Karrest, the City of Crystal Splendors

They say a dragon sleeps beneath Kor-Karrest. They say the Karrnath defeated it in single combat, and when it refused to serve him, he cast it down into the deeps, bound in chains forged from the gold and silver of the dragon’s own horde. The Karrnath built his fortress of brass from the melted-down copper coins of the dragon’s hoard. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Throne of Stars prologue: The Hour of Truth

The Last Days of Blackmoor play by post is nearing it's beginning.

She has taken the Empire by storm with her songs.

Can one voice determine the fate of an entire world?

What lengths will Evil go to silence that voice?

It all begins in The Hour of Truth

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Throne of Stars: Some background...

I've had some 'background' questions from soon-to-be players in the upcoming Play by Post, and thought I'd share that material with the rest of the group at large, as well as the audience:

I have based a lot of my own work on Thorn's Blackmoor on the timeline compiled by Simone Neri, found on Havard's Blackmoor site here.

There is very little canon material on Blackmoor just before the Great Rain of Fire, save that the society made vast amounts of progress in the thousand years since Uther declared independence from the Thonian Empire, and that this meteoric cultural rise is due to the technologies garnered from the City of the Gods, the Federation Survey Ship Beagle, which crashed into the Valley of the Ancients south of Blackmoor in UC 1019.

You can read about how Thorn's Blackmoor diverts from canon material on my blog, in the "Blackmoor, Thonia, and the Fey" series of articles, as well as the "Thorn's World That Was" series on Havard's blog.

Blackmoor in its last days is not really described in any detail, but hints are peppered here and there, and I have taken most of those and run with them to weave my own version.

In its Last Days, Blackmoor is in some ways a lot like Earth of today (they have ubiquitous information services, nearly-instantaneous communication); the Empire's spaceflight capabilities are about where they were on Earth in the 60s: orbit is in reach, and they've set their sights on the moon. Their environmental situation is a bit better off than ours, though. An energy similar to fusion has been teased apart from reverse-engineering the engines and power plants from the City of the Gods, and that power has been used as weapons in the wars against the Afridhi and beastmen. Combined with the energies and powers contained in the rare dragonstone minerals, it is little wonder that Blackmoor's enemies fear her weapons of war.

Blackmoor still has a king*, but is largely still ruled by the Regency Council, which consists of the elders from all the leading houses. This form of government simply scales up to the Empire level. Over the past century or so, some of the Guilds and Companies have been granted seats on the Regency Council.

*rumors abound that the line of kings after Uther were not the rightful rulers of the Kingdom after Uther passed away, but that his true heirs deserved the throne. Some say their refusal to assert their rights meant they were forfeit. Others whisper that the First King's daughters are simply biding their time, waiting for the opportune moment to take the Imperial throne and dissolve the Councils. Of course, as medical technologies have grown more and more advanced, the success rate of any such pretenders has become slimmer and slimmer as time goes on.

That opening pan of Asgard is pretty close to how I envision the Blackmoor metroplex, but there are portions of the city that are dark and dismal, as seen in Blade Runner.

The Regent's Council makes laws, or ratifies those proposed by the king, and the king pretty much takes care of enforcement. The king has much power, but it is curtailed by his having to cater to the Regent's Council. 

The University, founded by Uther Andahar, was at one time an institution of the government, but soon grew beyond government, border and nation. It is very nearly a power unto itself, and if it ever decided to keep the fruits of its research for itself, it could very well make that claim and have the teeth to back it up. But all that research is costly, and the various governments within the Empire fund the various schools and branches within the University. It is very nearly the bundle of squabbling and politicking that the Empire's Regency Council is.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thorn's World that Was: The Throne of Stars

The Throne of Stars, one of twelve such satellites orbiting Mystara, was lifted above the skyshield in the early days of the second Beast Man crusade.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Sisters

Aurora sighed, and rose, the ceremonial knife at the ready. But Silva sang out the sealing note again, and the orc’s jaws dropped slack.
Gilliam drew his foot back to take another kick at the thing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From the Netbook: Druid of Traladara

Druids in Thorn’s Mystara do not necessarily follow the classic D&D trope of champions of nature, but take on different roles according to their native culture.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Light Against the Darkness: Alphatia's Silver Flame

Emblem of the Flame,  worn by all
priests and templars of the order

While the Alphatians brought lycanthropy with them from their home beyond the Stars, they also brought with them a means of combatting it: their worship a a being/entity/philosophy they call the Silver Flame. Those devout enough, strong enough in mind and spirit to study the Path of Light gain great power through their connection to the Silver Flame, using it to root out malicious intent and expose falsehood where it does harm to the greater good. They are as of yet the only ones able to successfully drive out a fiendish presence once it has taken root in a willing (or unwilling) host.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Mystaran Artificer

Prime Requisite: Strength and Intelligence. Con 9 or greater. 
Experience Bonus: 5% for Strength of 13 or better and Intelligence of 13-15, 10% for Strength 13 or better and Intelligence of 16-18.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Torenwyr

They came silently, rising from the edge of the rocks above. They wore high collared vests riveted with hundreds of brass hexagonal scales, and helms of bronze and leather. Reddish eyes gleamed beneath the rim of the helms, framed by some sort of coppery tattoo.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Foothills of the Cruth

Again, it seemed I’d just closed my eyes, when the sound of a hard sizzle on iron and the smell of bacon drew me up from a brief moment of slumber.
I sat up, stomach growling even as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. The halfling puttered around the fire, prodding at the hissing iron skillet, stirring at something in another pot.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Work in Progress: TC2: The Stone and the Maidens

Still very much a work in progress, the next adventure in the Thorn's Chronicle Adventure path, TC2: The Stone and the Maidens is under development at the Piazza.

Having disrupted Bargle's plans in the depths of Mistamere, and tamed the goblins of the Black Peaks, the girls are returned safely to their families. The heroes can rest easy, having earned the baron's favor.

Or can they...?

Strange creatures prowl the farmlands around Threshold, beasts who's skin throws up sparks at the touch of steel, who's bite turns the farmers and their livestock to stone. The full moon brings another surprise, when the petrified victims come to life!

Can the PCs unravel the riddle of the Stone Maiden's Curse before Threshold becomes a garden of statues?

You can follow development and offer feedback either on the Facebook Page or the thread at the Piazza forums.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Chosen of the First Ones

The clash of iron on air never came. There was a brightening of the darkness before her closed eyes, but it was a warm reddish color, not the cold blue light of metal against sorcery.
And the gnoll howled, this time in genuine pain, rather than annoyance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Kurgonklist

Aurora reached out, but Silva slapped her sister’s hand away from the stones in the halfling’s palm.
“Nieah!” she said. “They are Holding. But…” She leaned closer, tilting her head to watch the firelight reflect off the facets of the dark dragonstones. “The Sealing. How is this done?”

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Hurgonkres

The clanking of the chains was barely audible as the figure lifted his hands, tugging at one side of the too-large hood and then the other, until it fell back.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nuwmont 6, 998 AC: Uninvited company

First Quarter Moon (on or about Nuwmont 6, 998AC)
I had just dropped into slumber after my turn at the watch when Sera’s wards vibrated. I had time to rouse myself, and had just laid fingers upon my staff when the campfire roared to life, followed by a shrill shriek.
It was not the voice of anyone from the camp.

Handmaidens of Petra: Descent of the White Witches

Jasna’s cry choked off as the beast man’s great paw clamped over her throat. She kicked, to no avail. Even without its arm extended all the way, her feet came nowhere near to connecting.
“Let her go!”
Brynne launched herself at the brute, but it slapped her away with its other arm, sending her splashing through the mud a good yard away.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nuwmont 5, 998 AC: Three Axes

First Quarter Moon (on or about Nuwmont 5, 998AC)
With the exception of a steady drizzle of icy rain, Nytdain passed uneventfully. Demarra’s trail cut across the fold in the Black Peaks, rather than following it, so the roadway was clear of rockfall, and we made good time. I sensed some sort of magic at work, not of the Spheres, nor from the lands around, but somehow connected to the road. Demarra simply smiled her knowing and enigmatic smile, patted my cheek, and shrugged before taking a bite of my waybread when I asked her about the nature of the magic she seemed to be working.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nuwmont 4, 998 AC: A game with Giants

First Waxing Crescent Moon (on or about Nuwmont 4, 998AC)
Every rustle and skitter and flap of night bird wings brought me instantly awake and alert, half expecting to have to somehow channel dragonflame into the earth and away from where it could do me or my companions any harm. It would have been a fool’s errand, anyway, since a dragon such as Ulghfriss would have made the infernos of Verge look like mere candle-flames in comparison to his mighty breath.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Escape

The Beast Man roared, sinking its fangs into her neck. She felt it tearing at her arm, felt bones crack under its grip as if they were no more than matchsticks. She had no breath to scream--
Jasna gulped for air, kicking, only to fling her blanket off. The sudden chill raking across her sweat-drenched tunic did more to awaken her than the terror of the dream.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Monsters, monsters everywhere....

You can check the tab above for stats on some of the monsters unique to the Chronicle: The Rock Wolf, Frostreaver, and Fireling from the first arc of Thorn's Chronicle, and the Brute Gnoll, from the adventures of the Guardians of Threshold Company of Maidens Handmaidens of Petra, trapped in Traladara during the Beast Man invasions.

Nuwmont 2-3, 998 AC: Peace edged in silver

It was slower going, picking our way around the other fallen ogre. The trail wound to the north, the ground becoming rockier, and Demarra had to navigate  off the trails around two rockfalls. We had to lever the vardo from a boggy patch, after which most of us were covered in clinging, half-frozen mud past our knees. Once the vardo was freed, it was agreed that we would take a midday meal.
The gray light of the late morning dimmed further, and when it did not immediately brighten again, I glanced up to see just how large the clump of clouds must be. I nearly fell over backwards. It was no cloud at all, but a steadily growing winged, serpentine shape.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: No heroes

“Perhaps we should begin with introductions,” the tall man said.
“You are Zirchev, called the Huntsman.” Brynne pointed towards the pair outside the Circle. “That is King Halav Red-hair, and his Queen, Petra of Krakatos.”
The Huntsman looked momentarily shocked, then smiled. “King? His queen?” His smile turned into a laugh. “Perhaps it is good that we sit within this circle of silence, lest either of them hear you say that.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nuwmont 2-3, 998 AC: Ogres of the Cruth

The air shimmered, about a foot over Silva’s head, and blue-white sparks and splinters showered over us as the ogre’s club smashed into what seemed to be empty air.
Sera stood nearby, hands outstretched, fingers flexed as she held together a weaving of Thought.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nuwmont 2-3, 998 AC: Cruth Lowlands, continued

I put the twins to work feeding the horses, and busied myself making a similar morning meal for my companions: a gruel of oats and a bit of barley, spiced with cinnamon and sage. Gilliam nearly wept when he saw that Demarra had a store of kaffa beans.
“Thorn, if you do not want the Darra, I will gladly take her off your hands,” he said, counting out the beans and then setting to work with mortar and pestle.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nuwmont 2-3, 998 AC: Cruth Lowlands

First Waxing Crescent Moon (on or about Nuwmont 2-3, 998AC)
I nearly forgot just how cold mornings were in the mountains. Particularly the mountains of northern Karameikos. Particularly in the tail end of an unusually savage winter from which the lands still recovered.
Our second day on the road was unremarkable. Despite the conditions of the trails, Demarra’s vardo did not falter in the muck. It only took until sundown for Gilliam to give up placing bets with the woman on whether or not the wagon would mire.

Handmaidens of Petra: Halav's Camp, continued...

Jasna dipped another strip of cloth into the boiling water, holding it there, watching it dance amidst the bubbles. She didn’t want to watch Katarin work, although it was somewhat satisfying to hear the girl giving orders to a Traldar queen as if she were some chiurgeon’s fetching boy. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Nuwmont 1, 998 AC: Cruth Lowlands

Callarii whites. A half dozen of them. I did not ask how Demarra managed to secure them. I was not alone in glancing over a shoulder, expecting to see Prestelle at the head of the Homeguard. Gilliam kept his shoulders hunched, as if expecting at any moment to feel the sting of elven arrows as we rode away from the camp site.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Reblog: The Hinlands

“Fields and farms and forests, the Shire has them all.
A people hale and hardy, just don’t call them small!
Men and orcs and dwarves thought they could come to call.
But hindul showed them sword and fist and boot,
we gave them all quite the brawl!
Under shadows again, our folk will never fall!”
-- an old hin tavern song

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reblog: The Warforged of Blackmoor

Once mindless troops turned out by the thousands from Blackmoor University’s creation forges, the machines of war took on a new role in the aftermath of the disasters wrought in the wake of the activation of Andahar’s Engine and the Great Rain of Fire.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reblog: Thonia, Blackmoor, and the Fey: Fairwind's Attraction

Originally posted 29 January, 2011

Not all of Uther’s time was spent crusading from one end of the Kindgom to another. One of those well-known secrets was that he enjoyed mingling with his people, often times rubbing elbows at one tavern or another in Blackmoor Town.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reblog: Thonia, Blackmoor, and the Fey: Chasing the Fallen Star

“A sound like all the giants of the North raising their voices in a mighty roar, joined by the dragons: not even this could describe the sound of the falling star as it streaked across the sky. The night was lit as if it were day, and when the star met the horizon to the south, the earth quaked down to its very bones...”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reblog: Thonia, Blackmoor and the Fey: The Heiresses

“We were not delicate songbirds, to be kept caged and sheltered by the Seneschal. More often than not, it was one of the King’s Companions or the Fetch himself that wound up fishing one or the other of us from the center of one mess or another. I, at least, did not have to be plucked from the moat.”
--- Rowena, Firstborn Heiress of Blackmoor

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reblog: Thonia, Blackmoor, and the Fey: Bargains

    Known as “Morgana” among humans of the North, “Malbeth” by the dwarves, “Al’mistra Solodon” by the elves of the Red Woods.
    Those of an age to remember her from the time of the Second Republic in Thonia name her as the Mother of Secrets, the Grey Lady, She of the Mists, Gatherer of the Dawns. 
    The Valemen called her “Namestealer.” Among the Peshwah she was known as “Faceless Night,” for there it is said she only appeared during the new moon.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reblog: Thonia, Blackmoor, and the Fey: Initial Thoughts

    Known as “Morgana” among humans of the North, “Malbeth” by the dwarves, “Al’mistra Solodon” by the elves of the Red Woods.
    Those of an age to remember her from the time of the Second Republic in Thonia name her as the Mother of Secrets, the Grey Lady, She of the Mists, Gatherer of the Dawns. 
    The Valemen called her “Namestealer.” Among the Peshwah she was known as “Faceless Night,” for there it is said she only appeared during the new moon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Halav's Camp, continued

Katarin stumbled into Brynne’s back as the girl stopped short, causing both of them to fall. 
“Careful, there, whelps,” one of the dwarves jeered.
“She wouldn’t be so clumsy if you’d take that sack off her head! Or unbind her fingers, so she can at least catch herself.”
“And have her roast us where we stand? Not bloody likely.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nuwmont 1, 998 AC, continued...

By late afternoon, we’d reached the northern edge of Radlebb. Another hour’s travel through a winding path among the hills was brought up short by a whistle from Gilliam, who’d been scouting ahead. A winter thrush’s call meant possible trouble ahead. Aurora worked the dagger loose in its sheath at her hip, her golden eyes scanning the trail ahead as well as the overcast sky above. A shiver brushed the nape of my neck, there and gone, and Seraphina shook her head. Her magic had not detected any of the humanoids Varis had warned us about. I didn’t think she would, the Greenwardens’ reputation well known among the goblins and gnolls.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nuwmont 1, 998 AC

First New Moon (on or about Nuwmont 1, 998AC)
I cannot go into the specifics of the Greensinger’s ritual. Some would equate it to the  Naming ceremony of the Ylaruam. Certainly there was water involved— cold snowmelt from the Black Peaks. Much to Aurora’s irritation, her sister had to shed a few drops of blood, as did I. Vows were spoken in the Druid’s tongue. Offerings were made to several different Immortals. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kaldmont 28th, 997, continued

We ate in silence, another of the lay druids bringing us bowls of winterberries and the yellow-gold apples originally grown in Darokin.
I nearly lost a finger carving one of the apples as a spike of anxiety tensed most of the muscles along my left arm, the fingertips stinging.

Handmaidens of Petra: Halav's Camp

“And how did my Lady fare?” the big red-bearded man asked, looking up as Jasna was pushed into the tent. The man frowned, but rose. He kicked one of the men next to him, and the other two men got to their feet as well. With some effort, Justin struggled to rise. The wine, and the heat of the tent made him dizzy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Black Peaks, and the Riverside Village

“The horses are gone,” Brynne said. “The entire campsite is gone.” 
She and Katarin stood at the wide spot in the path before it doubled back on itself, where they’d narrowly escaped being overwhelmed by the goblin scouting party.
“And no signs at all of passage,” Katarin said. “It is very hard to hide a horse’s passing.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Windrush Lake, and River

Jasna slowed, her breath coming in short, painful gasps. She’d run as if… well, as if she’d had gnolls at her heels, and put quite a bit of distance between herself and the hunting pack.
Her heart sank, as she saw it was all for nothing. The bridge wasn’t there. It was no trick of the fog, either, for there was no clinging gray mists, no flickering blue lights within. The bridge wasn’t washed out -- it would take a giant to make the arching stone bridge budge even the littlest bit. The bridge simply was not there. As if it had never been built.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Lake Windrush, continued

Justin nearly gagged on the reek of wine that spilled from the man’s lips, along with his words. The hand on his shoulder was thick-fingered, soot-stained, scarred and calloused, and he was immediately reminded of Old Padrig, the smith at the garrison.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Lake Windrush

A rock splashed into the lake, off to her right. Another skipped across the water, closer. A third clipped Jana’s shoulder, and she stumbled.
The stone-tipped spear whistled past her ear, where her neck had been a mere moment before, and she gasped a curse, followed just as quickly by a prayer of thanks to Korotiku. She snatched up the weapon.
Though she wasn’t as good with the spear as Brynne, the bigger girl had taught Jasna a few basic moves. But she had the spear, not the gnoll. That was Koritiku’s fifth rule: The enemy’s weapon in your hand means it is not in his. She combined it with Korotiku’s third rule: The enemy that cannot catch you cannot hurt you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Quest, continued

A sharp jab in the side snapped Jasna awake, and she choked as she drew in water with the sharp intake of breath. She coughed, sputtering, rolling onto her side.
She blinked against the high sun’s brilliance, and then it was blotted out by a shaggy long-snouted head.

Kaldmont 28th: Dreams, Remembrances

Last of the Longwinter’s Year (on or about Kaldmont 28, 997AC)
I awoke from dreams of flame to the sound of Sera’s quiet weeping. The ghost of woodsmoke clung to my nostrils, my eyes feeling of gritpaper though the night was cool and clear. My heartbeat began to slow, as the earth beneath my fingers told me of no sign or trace of the roaring inferno that awakened me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crunch: Magic: Tenser's Transformation

Named for the battle mage who first unleashed the spell in the Second Afridhi War:

Tenser’s Transformation
CL/Dr 6, MU 7
Range: 10’ per level
Duration: Special (see below)
Area of Effect: One or more Daughters of Uther (see below)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kaldmont 27, 997 AC: No Cages, No Cure, No Rest

“Nobody will be making cinders of anybody else,” the Hierarch said, looking down at Aurora. “We fully realize the danger that your sister is in, and will do what we can to help, as we would for any of her kind. What of you? Do you require the same aid?”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Chamber of the Guardians

“Justin, come away, unless you want to be spitted three ways from Soldain,” Brynne said.
He took a reluctant step back. The statues relaxed their guard, but did not stop watching him.
“Well, now we see what sidestepping the tests has cost us,” Justin said, crossing his arms as he stared down at Jasna.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Pool

“You’ve all kept this from the Baron? She could be--”
“She’s our friend!” Jasna spat. “It doesn’t matter what she ‘could be.’
Justin glanced down at his hand. “Ixion’s fire, she bit me!” His grip tightened on the hilt, as he looked up at the girl.
Brynne’s hand closed over his wrist. Jasna stepped in front of Petra, her own hand resting on the hilt of the silvery blade at her hip.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Corridor of Knowledge, continued

The corridor split again, to the left and right, another speaking carving adorning the wall between the two halls. Justin sighed as the air began to thrum, tapping his foot as the voice spoke, the words a spidery tumble in his head. Silva’s gifts translated the verse:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Corridor of Knowledge

“She was here. Well… not… here, but…” Jasna scratched her head. The pain there was mostly gone. Had she dreamt it?
To her other side, Justin twirled a finger at his temple, and Brynne did her best not to laugh. Katarin merely scowled.
“Do you  hear Silva now?” Katarin asked. She bent down, taking Jasna’s chin in one hand. She held up three fingers in front of the girl. “How many fingers do you see?
“You’re going to see five of mine up close if you don’t let go of me. I’m fine!”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kaldmont 27, 997AC: Rowena and Leansethar

Silva looked almost as shocked as the rest of my companions. Even still, we found ourselves going to one knee. All of us, that is, except Elder Ivonov.
“Impossible!” Ivonov snapped. “Rowena and Leansethar is a fairy story. They never really existed. Why… if they did, they would be…. thousands of years old by now. There are barely any dragons that old.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thorn's Chronicle: The Druid's Council

I recognized the Elders from Riverfork and Achelos, and nodded greetings to them. Their brows furrowed, bushy eyebrows growing closer above eyes as stony as those of the Hierarch. Only the Eldress of Dymrak showed any sort of favorable reaction, if you can call quirking a gap-toothed smile, only to hide it behind long-nailed fingers “favorable.” Her black eyes glittered, hungrily, it seemed, lingering on the bracelet and lead.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kaldmont 27th: Partings

Waning crescent of the Deep Snows (on or about Kaldmont 27, 997AC)
We parted ways at Rifflian, the Baron continuing north to his holdings, with Saoirse and the ranks of Silva’s Army (who spent the entire two days’ trip until Kelven arguing over whether they were to be called ‘The Defenders of Threshold,’ ‘The Company of Maidens,’ or ‘The Handmaidens of Petra.’)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Temple, continued

“I could have fought him,” Justin grumbled.
“That thing was not…” Katarin started.
“Alive?” asked Brynne.
“Dead,” said Jasna.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ten days and counting...

Ten days to go until the first installments of the third arc of Thorn's Chronicle go up.

Thorn's Chronicle of the Last Daughter of the Lost Kingdom Saga.

Last Daughter of the Lost Kingdom

Keeper of Dreams, Waking Dreamer
Sleeper Wakened, Walker in Moonlight
Blood of Kings, Bane to Those Beyond
Her Life, the Prison’s Binding Chain.

Lost Daughter of the First Empire
Wearer of Masks, Darkling's Schemer
Sleeper Wakened, Stalker in the Moonlight
Blood of Those Beyond, Bane of Kings
In Death, the Prison's Chain Unbound 

"Masks of the Dreaming Night," begins in the spring

An abandoned dwarven fortress.........
A drowned city ............
A forest of unquiet stone...........
One daughter's choice........
Another's sacrifice

Handmaidens of Petra: The Temple, continued

The stench of death grew thicker as the curtains parted. A figure, robed and hooded in tatters of brown and gray cloth, stepped down from the mold-ridden mattress and bedclothes. The hood swiveled as it took in the intruders, and each of the girls shivered as the cold glare washed over them. Lord Justin’s sword rattled in his grip, though he did not lower the blade.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Temple, continued

“Yeah, Jasna can be like that, sometimes,” Petra said, as Justin hefted her from the pit. She patted his hand, then joined the other girl in the corner by the bookshelf, picking through what few papers were left in readable condition.
“You might want to wipe a little more at your cheeks,” Katarin whispered, as he hauled her over the edge. “It won’t do for Jasna to see you crying.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: The Temple of the Shield

“Stop pushing!”
“There’s nothing here. It’s just a slimy old hole in the rock.”
“I told you this is a waste of time. We could have been eating sweetmeat pies. But nooo, you had to--”
The girls crashed to a halt against Justin’s backpack.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Lake Windrush, continued

There was a brief squawk, and thud, somewhere ahead in the mists.
“Never mind!” Petra called. “Katarin found it! The next one is over here!”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Lake Windrush


“These pages smell like beer,” Jasna said, wrinkling her nose. Half the page was stained a yellowish-brown, the lettering smeared, barely legible. Not that she was having much luck deciphering the words anyway.
“That’s because somebody blew all the papers into the big puddle from the broken cask,” Petra said, glaring across the table. “While you were off racing, I saved as many as I could.”

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Fogor Island, continued

The young man may as well have been cast in stone, so still did he keep himself. Except for the panting. And whimpering. He flinched, as the creature’s teeth nipped the flesh at the base of his thumb. Not hard enough to break skin. The boy’s sudden movement caused the bindings around his wrists to snap, most of the rope having been chewed through.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Fogor Island

“Go left!” Jasna shouted, over the ringing of hooves on cobblestones. “Left!” She reached up and hauled on the reins. The warhorse veered to the left, off the stretch of the Market Way they’d been galloping.
“Let go!” the young man called. “Are you trying to get us killed? This isn’t the way they went. We’re going to lose them!” The horse thundered down an alley barely wide enough for it to fit.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Merchant's Square, continued

The four girls and the young man huddled around a small table in the corner of the kitchens at the Hook and Hatchet. As loud and crowded as the common room was, the kitchens were even louder. Extra serving boys and scullery maids dodged back and forth around the usual staff, all of them directed by the head chef, at the top of his lungs.
“Fiala,” her father said, looking down at them, “this is not a charity house. I cannot have you bringing in strays that will eat me out of business.”

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Merchant's Square

Merchant’s Square
Sollus had just crested the far ridges of the Altan Tepes by the time Jasna made her way to the gates of the temple quarter. It was nice to actually walk through them, rather than have to climb the scrubby lemon tree by the wall. She had to be extra careful in the winter, what with the branches being bare. 
She was glad to be out of the stuffy dining hall, breathing the cold, crisp morning air. The sting of the cold against her cheeks was invigorating, and chased away the last of the stickiness clinging to her thoughts that the past night’s dream had left. Surely, the dream was just a remnant of the memories in the tombs beneath Krakatos. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Handmaidens of Petra: Prologue and Part I

The Handmaidens of Petra and the Shield of Halav
(or, “How I Spent My Winter Festival Holiday”)
Prologue: A Wager
“You must be gentle with my broom, Little Flower, or you will wear the bristles down to nothing, and then what shall we do to keep the snows off these temple steps?”
Jasna looked up at the old patriarch’s admonishment. She hadn’t been sweeping that madly.
“It isn’t like anybody ever attends services here, anyway,” Jasna muttered. At the old patriarch’s sigh, she immediately regretted having actually spoken the words aloud.

Twenty-odd days until the first installment of Arc 3: "Masks of the Dreaming Night." For those new to this blog, you can catch up on the "Rise of the Winter King" and "Wake of the White Witch's Wrath" either by-installment at the Piazza (links on the sidebar), or writ large on the Chronicle's archive at the Vaults of Pandius, here.

The tl;dr versions: Arc 1 covers the meeting of the group, the rescue of Silva's Army from Mistamere, the  saving of Verge from total destruction, the capture of Bargle and a slightly-altered version of B10's Lost Valley. Winter's hold over the weather is broken, and some secrets of Ancient Blackmoor are discovered.

Arc 2 covers the aftermath of the hero's separation just prior to the B10 section of Arc 1. The heroes are reunited, Bargle reappears, and the Eye of Traldar is found and then lost beneath Krakatos.