Astograth

Heroes of the Realm, pt. 1

The story until now

A fateful meeting. The tavern encounter in the town of Nowhen between Kulvain Hestarius and Avallach Sclarrsson was nothing if not. Although radically different, they teamed up temporarily to explore a mine which had been overrun by goblins upon hearing the news from a local. Not having brought any torches and finding that the ones there were useless, they relied upon Avallach's darkvision to navigate the winding tunnels. Maybe they relied on it too much, for they soon found themselves with rough golbin steel at their backs, voices in a harsh tounge presumably telling them to move. Kulvain took a chance, however, and with a spell made the goblin behind him scream and run away. Distracted by his cowardly companion, the other monster was easy prey for the dwarf's battleaxe.

Further exploration led them to finding a storage room. Most of the items were useless, but they salvaged a miraculously intact mirror, some coins, a (thankfully) still useful torch and a very strange rod which stood up straight no matter how the placed it on the ground. Lighting the torch revealed that they were surrounded by goblins and a burly orc, who seemed to be the leader. The fight was challenging, but the pair emerged victorious. Avallach expressed his disgust at the uselessness the elf's magic had been, but this one merely sneered and replied that he wouldn't be saying that when he had an army of undead a this command.

Back in Nowhen, the adventurers were not so much as given a nod for their troubles, and they parted ways. But just two days later they were awakened by loud noises in the town square, which turned out to be a group of soldiers sent to recruit troops for what would later be known as the Ruby War, which had recently begun due to the rising price of rubies imported from the Kingdom of Bruscania. The king of Larken, of which Nowhen was a county, needed men, and he needed them fast. Both Avallach and Kulvain applied for a position in a mercenary company, and were duly assigned to the group that called themselves 'The Conquerors', led by a rough man known to the troops only as 'the Sergeant'.

The troops departed from Nowhen towards the capital, Ruumia, and they stayed there while the rest of the army gathered. Bored due to stagnation, the elf and dwarf looked for entertainment and found it in the coliseum which dominates the city center. Betting and drunkenness resulted in the theft of their belongings, but a messy fight was avoided with the right choice of words.

Having seen the gladiators beat each other to a bloody pulp, the adventurers learned about a wheat field that was being raided at night, and set off for it, accompanied by their mercenary friend Torumir. Goblins attacked them and set fire to the field anyway, and Kulvain was in critical health when he was carried back to the camp's healer. Noting that their latest adventure had not been very successful, the pair decided to carry on with their boring routine instead of innovating.

The day came when the army finally departed and reached the military docks at Glensor, and the mercenary company was given its own ship, to act as the spearhead of the navy. Being the spearhead meant they inevitably came under attack, and although victorious, a valued companion sank into the waters as he tried to cross the gap between ships. Soon after, a storm buffeted the boats, and several people, including Avallach and Kulvain, fell overboard.

The two woke up on a rocky beach, devoid of most of their belongings which were still on the ship. Nearby lay the drowned corpse of another mercenary. The decided to explore the cave in front of them, and while resting they came under attack by a trio of dark elves. No quarter was given, those defeated were slain. Further down the cave was a large block of stone with a pair of swords embedded on top, a riddle carved on one of its faces. Careful investigation of the notes taken by the deceased dark elves and long meditation gave them an answer, and their reward were those swords.

Finding nothing else in the cavern, they turned back and inspected the body lying on the beach. A slightly damp map concealed in a metal tube let them note their location, and that of the landing site. They marched for a day and a half before arriving and finding that the battle was over. Amidst the looted corpses and ragged banners they found a man gasping for breath, and although Kulvain was reluctant, they carried him towards the place where they suspected the camp was. He was left with the healer, and the adventurers rejoined their comrades

Their next mission was to occupy the town of Dwensdale. After marching in and securing the area, they discovered that the mayor had barricaded himself in his house, along with the town guards. Kulvain proposed that torches be lit and thrown at the building, and its occupants killed as the escaped. The Sergeant merely shrugged and went with his idea. It was Kulvain himself who landed the blow that killed the mayor, in the process discovering that his sword could burst into flame. Avallach did the same with his, but it resulted in a blade as cold as death. Dwensdale was occupied until the end of the Ruby War, which was about a month later. During this time, the injured warrior that had been found on the battlefield visited, announcing that he was the Count of Nowhen. Upon learning his saviour's identities he gifted them each with a ring he said was magical, but whose properties he did not know, adding that they should visit him back in Larken. The Conquerors dissolved after the war's end, with Torumir mentioning that he was going to fight for the orc tribes in the recently started Antoran War.

Stranded far away from Larken, Avallach and Kulvain attempted to learn how they could return. The elf questioned a man on the street, but poor communication led to a brawl, in which a huge man intervened on the adventurers behalf. Gruffly, the giant accepted an invitation to a drink at the inn. Once there, amidst grunts, the pair learned that his name was Grunar. Intoxicated, he threatened to kill them if they didn't give him all their belongings, to which they objected. Unsurprisingly, it resulted in a bar fight, during which Grunar was knocked out and given the coup de grace by Kulvain, who also took the man's sword.

Just a while later a mob formed, demanding that the cruel elf who had begun the tragic bar fight and the street brawl be apprehended. Kulvain fled, and in the process discovered that the ring gifted unto him was a Ring of Feather Falling when he fell out of a windowsill. He was eventually captured and, lacking a mayor (ironically, Kulvain being the one who killed him), beat him senseless and threw him into a nearby stream. Avallach, who had stayed at the inn, learned of this and hauled his companion back to town.

They eventually learned of a nearby port city, and once there payed the ridiculous price of 30 gold pieces each to be taken back to Larken by a merchant ship.

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