Discord codes usually expire fairly quickly. So, use it ASAP.
Most Thain players use it for text messages, posting screenshots and RL topics. Rarely for voice comms, I can recall only one instance in the past two years in which I got a fellow player to join me in its voice channel.
Registered Member #25505
Joined: 9:19:39 pm GMT 07/17/20
Flyers start popping up all over the Island.
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OOC: This will be held on Saturday, June 5th at 1 pm PST. Crafters: Please message me (crayzee4dnd on Discord) ahead of time to let me know you are coming so we can set up a spot just for you. All others: feel free to come by and enjoy the fun! Any other questions you can catch me on Discord or in-game. Thanks!
Registered Member #1009
Joined: 7:04:13 am GMT 03/26/07
The Grey One
The information had been quite useful. Well worth the cost as one might often hear said. Gul'ver was a disgraced and broken duergar leader from the Underking's once mighty army. Yet in truth he was a rare gem worth more than a dragon's fortune. Thankfully so far the expense of tracking him down had not been so steep... yet. An information broker shared some of the secretive whispers from Chudrak-Dum with the Kralshaman. They told of a prisoner who might have information about his whereabouts, if the Clan could manage it they might be able to pick up the trail of Gul'ver once more.
Preparations were made without delay, several of the Cloaked as well as prospects were gathered together and supplies for an extended foray into the Underdark were pulled from the stockpiles. The Clan could always manage to be discrete when the moment mattered, but generally that wasn't their style. This search however did require it at least be somewhat difficult to be traced back to the Clan. Especially as things began to get a bit chaotic. For the most part it had been a quiet entry into the City, easy enough to do if you have the skills the majority of the Cloaked possessed. Unfortunately the Kralshaman was always the lead weight. Lacking the mobility of most of the rest of the Cloaked, getting him into the city had made things difficult. However the healing magic he had access to was essential for the chaos that was sure to exist in the departure.
And chaos it was, they hadn't barely made it into the dungeon before a mistiming in the patrols revealed their presence and the point of subterfuge was gone. The running battle moved through the dungeon lingering in the records room only long enough to discern that the prisoner had not survived interrogation. However, the prisoner had been part of a patrol that was hit by the Drow and had escaped. He didn't know exactly why they had attacked the patrol but had seen the drow checking the faces of every warrior they had killed. There were some notes about ramblings concerning Gul'ver but the interrogator had been over enthusiastic and nothing more had been gained from it. The battle out was a bloody one but fortunately without majority incident. The Duergar had been plundering under the Shire for a very long time so the Kralshaman had little sympathy for those who died.
Registered Member #23976
Joined: 1:31:54 am GMT 11/30/15
About the Orcs of Hellshire
A brief guide to those half-orcs played by Saadow, and their relation to the clan
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In his younger days in Thay, a young Gunnak made his living with brutality
Gunnak Lurd grew up in the streets of Bezantur, with only the faintest memory of a maternal figure in his life, carrying him in the market in a wicker basket. He remembered fondly the pink flowers a girl sold on the street, and sees that color pink in the gemstone Phenalope. Obsessively, he collects these. At a young age, those memories of being carried faded to a forgotten thing that happened in his youth that despite his best efforts, he could not remember. The result was living on the streets and largely seeking sustenance from the refuse of others. He was not very bright at all, and seemed mostly vacant, if not feral. However an incident in the streets landed him in a position that barely evaded enslavement; those who were going to collect him felt he was going to be too brainless to be useful, save for one man. Utilizing the ignorance of his peers, he managed to trick the orc to hold a pen in his hand and guide it into a rough approximation of a signature when they were not looking. It was a contract that his service as a sellsword would give ninety percent of his profits to the named man, who is lost to history at this point, for reasons to be revealed.
This half-orc was ushered into service for the office of the Autharch of Pirador, doing simple grunge work at the prodding of the man who essentially indentured his servitude. The basics of food were an easy locus of control to hold over the half-orc, who in a freak incident of combat on a shake-down gone south, was discovered to be a savant with crossbows. For no reason that could be determined except an errant memory or way he had grown, the young half-orc had actuated, racked, and fired two bolts in succession into a target. This caused the scenario to devolve into full combat, and the others were around this as-of-present unnamed sellsword, who died in the battle but wounded the others, giving the young half-orc a fighting chance, and cementing a sort of strange luck that followed him. With the money he earned now going back to him, which wasn't much, he was able to afford the creature comforts of actual food and clean water. And further work. Some of this work took the shape of trail wardenry, when the office of the Autharch needed to track missing targets into the woods, they sent the orc. Mostly, this was because they were hopeful he'd be killed off, but eventually it became a matter of actually resolving the situations set before him.
Gunnak had managed to now gather some attention from a local apprentice to a Red Wizard working in the office of the Autharch. He was an insufferable balding man who had a voice that flirted with the unholy union of a squeaking wagon axel and an immolated goblin. This man gathered a series of sellswords to head towards the border of Pirador to hunt down a rival's spellbook, but as with many cases of life in Thay, it was populated only with the quick and the dead. Thankfully, Gunnak was another form of quick than mentally speaking. In the field, he was set at a hillside to sight down into the valley ruins and to pick off anyone that attacked the apprentice or his men. However, what he did not know was one of the other men was stationed up wind from him on the top of the hillside. A solid thunk of the trigger on a crossbow and the heavy cord pounding down a bolt caused the head of the apprentice to jolt back and his body to fall in a heap! Gunnak looked shocked as he processed what happened, and the men charging up the hill to kill him. The sniper disappeared behind the hill and left the scene, allowing the half-orc time to rise, fleeing from the men charging the hillside to bring him to "justice." It was a matter of fleeing from Caravan to caravan, either stowing away or working among them to be one step ahead, just barely so, to eventually make his way west away from the horrors of what happened. Eventually, the last few coins he had was poured into the palm of a captain taking goods across the sea, eventually making his way through a storm, and coming across an island not on his maps, Thain.
On this island, he had many misadventures and connections over time, between the elf Dele and her desire to help heal his injured mind, and her hard work on that front, to Tyfar the priest and his service to him and his friend, to finally meeting the Kralshaman of the Hellshire, who discovered the half-orc had developed an addiction to the feeling of potions that improved his intelligence, causing a permanent scarring and staining on his lips from the caustic nature of the decoctions. This Kralshaman offered Gunnak a new chance at life, eventually bequeathing him a cloak that named him one of the people of this clan, and leading him down a new path of clergy, of shamanism to their patron, Gruumith, the father of the unloved, the father of the half-orcs. The highlight of Gunnak's service to the Hellshire was how he represented himself and his people to the wizardess Issen Nepring, during the matters where the Hellshire attempted to help those afflicted with a particular plight that changed their shape and built up their violent tendencies. He learned the process to make special crossbow bolts which would do great damage to these shapechangers of this particular kind, and he also earned Issen's field guide, which she enchanted to help him understand through the illustrations in the book. Her work, Dele's, and his own eventually resulted in Gunnak growing stronger in mental faculties in his advancing age.
An incident during the situation of the Altar of the Called put a huge schism in the second founding of the Hellshire Orcs, which resulted in Gunnak taking off his cloak and leaving, and the druid Avaggdu walking away, leaving his cloak behind. Gunnak was seen recently at an effort of the Clan to explore the recently damage to Feywood, and he was seen in his cloak again.
Pishnak Mammu - Deceased?
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This half-orc was a stranger from far beyond the veil, forgotten history with just a tattoo of a horned skull surrounded by a circle.
Arriving by boat once upon a time at the wharf of Webster's Landing, a craven figure that did not spend much time in the light, or speaking to those around him. The only evidence of a slight was the imperceptable pain at his neck and a hole over his jugular vein, and an empty syringe that rolled around on the floor of the hull around him. Pishnak did not know his history, where he was from, or anything else. He had a piece of paper in his pocket that said what his name was, as far as it could be believed, and that the answer to what happened to him would come in time. He did not delve far into Island politics, but he did discover a collection of Half-Orcs that lived in the south. What was strange about Pishnak was not so much what he was, but how. Pishnak was a man skilled in the antithesis of the martial path of the Ranger. He was known as a Dark Ranger. These cruel men that cast their black blades into the hearts of the weak did not warden or protect nature, but they stole from it, pulled from its power by force of their will. They were gifted with fell powers over the dead and instead of calling the creatures of the woodland, their presence often placed them as the alpha of their small pack. This was the case for Pishnak, who pushed his influence on a big cat that he had seen in the Shadowleaf Jungles during his explorations.
This dark ranger began to share his path with the hunters of the Hellshire, who kept their learning of these abilities in secret, not displaying them openly across the island when they called on ancestors to rise up, or on the bleached bones of forgotten adventurers to strike out at their foes. They did not do this in their homeland, in the open, for fear it would make an enemy of their closest neighbors and to bring ruination on their home in danger, but given all of the death the clan has suffered, and the terrible forces, this goes back to their deepest roots, and in turn, it is a weapon used to defend their people or respond to terrible tragedy, if all else fails. Pishnak had taught the values of using axes in combat, how their utility and their lethality as a weapon stood at the pinnacle of many hand-held tools of entropy, further did he educate that the use of the longbow often stood superior to other forms of launchers, that while they were larger and more unwieldy to the pack, their use in battle put the enemy into the soil, returning them to the cycle as they should be.
The Death of Pishnak was something that the Kralshaman kept quiet, but still got around to the hunters, who were so driven by this outsider and his influence they began to adopt his quirks and ways. The hunters began to take the bones of their intelligent or powerful foes and carve them in scrimshaw, letting their skin oils stain the bleached bones and the patterns they carved into them, and to braid hair of their victims or targets, and use them to make charms and bangles that hung from their bows and their axe handles, and the best of their hunts to dangle from their belts. The hair gripped dead leaves and grass, and made them harder to see, made them like shadows of death that passed over the land. Pishnak delved deep into a secret ruin with the Kralshaman and others, where they found a terrible place that pulled all life around it, and opened a yawning maw into a place far away. With boots of human flesh, he removed them and gave them back to Hugdish so they could be passed on if something happened. He turned and he walked into that yawning maw, to be never seen again. It is presumed Pishnak is dead, swallowed by the void.
Eskarok Kurgendak - ???
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This is a picture of the copper-haired debonair Eskarok Kurgendak, or as he should have been known, Eskarok Glühendberg
Born from an illegitimated pairing between an adventurous and younger Manfred Glühendberg of Kressian nobility, and a woman named Kurgendak, who is presumed to be of Split Rock ancestry, Eskarok Kurgendak stepped on the scene wearing a bronzed plate armor and a masque in the shape of an impassive sun. His bombastic personality was the product of a man proud beyond measure, of his heritage and the burning magic of fire in his blood. He glowed, and he was not afraid to shine, even in the darkest of places. When he knew who he was, he was one day determined to take the heirloom of his signet ring and to be recognized for his parentage for which his father could be proud of, where he was cast out there was only shame. Eskarok was treated like a ward in his father's house, and a black sheep, he was barely seen only in their closed in yard as he grew up. Physical labor was part of his upbringing and his father treated him more like hired help. His brother treated him much less. Klauss Glühendberg, the eldest of the household beyond the patriarch, used to beat his brother. It started first with unkind words, then it turned to hitting, then it turned to striking with switches, and later with the tools of the fireplace. Eskarok was beaten severely, but only wished to love his brother. Finally, his blood and the magic within flared up to protect him, which terribly and irreparably burned both the life Eskarok was born into, and the face and skin of his only brother. With fear of retribution and the screaming of his aging father, Eskarok fled with nothing but his savings in his hands and fled out into the world. For years, growing up to his coming of age, he worked in Webster's landing and the road north, doing small tasks and courier work to build up his funding and become a self-sufficient adventurer, never forgetting who he was and why he was there
The moment that propelled Eskarok Kurgendark into the public eye was being in the right place at the right time. A group of adventurers gathered together to make for the terrible living wall in the Drakamyre that parted the pass to the wastes and the path back into the old mountain of Felkhorn's decimation. Here, though he had done his best not to falter under the terrible foe of living stone and flesh, his name was remembered among the other heroes for being involved in that faithful battle. He used this localized fame to promote the cause of the half-orc people, who had no home of their own, to be proud of their heritage, to be proud of their strength and their bright-burning, emotional motivation and vicarious growth. It was his intention to some day both return to his home but to promote the people of the Hellshire for their good will towards the half-orc plight in finding a home just for themselves.
It was through this heroic nature that the knightly man who burned with the fire in his blood turned his heroics to help a young White Rose, who was taking a venture to a city on that same mountain, a place of devils and deceit. A trap was sprung by a terrible senator, LaVierde, who sought to gain control of her and her powerful voice to use her as a tool for the city. A devil faced down at her and threatened to take her away, but in a moment of heroics, he shouted down all the voices and demanded to take her place, as he would be the one to decide his fate, and to do his job; protect her from the terrors in store.
This was his undoing though, for first a pact tied him to the hells for three hundred years, and in his state of duress and exhaustion from torment unending, LaVierde took the tired orc and held him out from the hells long enough to ask his delirious form if he would take another pact to free him from the hells and bind him to the city, and to him, instead. Something would be lost. In the course of all he had done, the fiery orc fell in love with a Hin warrior with the touch of a dragon in her blood. When asked if he would at least remember love, LaVierde cited that love was the most powerful thing, or so he had heard; it would be a test if it was true. The powers of Hell were great though, and all but one memory remained: A silver scale was held in the city and it was most important, and to find it was of the utmost importance.
Released in his damaged form, covered in bandages as a wretch, the creature was unleashed into the streets of Steinkreis and left as a beggar, with a helmet bolted down onto his misshapen head that pinned his skull together so it might heal. Two women, Lady Pasch and Lady Rasdovian, both of the Iron City, took him and spirited him away from other helpers, taking him back to the iron city, and nursing him back to health. Here, under their reeducation, he took the name Enseric, and lived as a swordsman, slowly rediscovering his fire, but never who he was for himself, only on the word of others. The gnawing hole of the losses of that love and true understanding of self was ever-present, and the toils of the city beat him far more than his brother ever could. Attempts to work to his freedom were made, but nothing ever came to fruition. Even the White Rose stopped singing about him, even the people stopped remembering the burning bright light, that became nothing more than a smoldering candle wick in the memory of just a few. Even the city that consumed him stopped seeing him, he was last seen in a door of the Thermae that now never opens. Not for food, for water, or anything. Eskarok is presumed dead, but nobody knows.
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With aspirations for candlekeep, a chronicler and librarian, with a dark and mysterious patron from beyond the stars, an ever-present worm coiling behind what is behind the wall, Prag is a Warlock first, a researcher second, and a half-orc third
Prag Greyjur is a researcher from the Western Heartlands, originally a scribe and later librarian for a small local Arcanum, the chronicler and researcher sought whispers of whispers, and largely was considered a hack for what little he would extend his neck to look into these dark whispers. In libraries, especially smaller ones long lost and far flung, the writings of mad-men could be found in the dusty book returns and lost corners, hidden under cobwebs and dead silverfish. It was those whispers of whispers that brought his curiosity towards something that by all rights should not exist. It is a place of nightmares and dreams, of colors and sights that reek, smells that buzz, and tastes that talk. It was a place that made no sense, and had no predilection to make itself understood to any but madness itself. It was in this place, in the quiet corners, where one day in the twilight of waking and dreaming that he rose to a door that did not exist in the library. Overlooking a river out the same wall, a door opened to a hallway impossibly long and unfathomably tall. Here, book after book on shelves unending looked the same. Some had words in languages unknown, some had twisted the eyes to even look at, but finally, one book of strange leather stood out and sat on a shelf, it was clean while others were caked with dust. Within were charts in the stars, constellations like the captains of ships use to identify their way. Reading this, he fell asleep, and to a field of stars he awakened. Each star, one at a time, winked out from light to darkness, until there was only one star left. It illuminated the impossible roiling body of a worm of countless size that filled all the darkness around them. It looked poised to eat that star, but it stopped. A voice filled all things, childlike and curious, and this was the voice that he would live forever on, swearing under it's maddening might yet paradoxically gentle curiosity, that it would hunt mysteries and find them, in order to find the greatest mystery of all; what is itself.
Prag woke up renewed with a new understanding. The Arcanium looked poorly on him for his lack of magic, but now understanding cantrips from an unknown source, and using them with such proficiency, the other librarians and users of the space had looked on with curiosity as the half-orc strode out with his journal and this strange book in hand, heading further west towards the Sword Coast. He served at various establishments and places of study up and down the sword coast, eventually eying and planning on service to Candlekeep for the prestige, he searched these fragments of mad men on the topic of the Far Realm, a place that nobody spoke of. Thayans would not even think about and violently reject the idea on the notion the very place would warp you for thinking about. It was a challenge, but one he was equipped now with magic profane and forgotten. The half-orc searched far and wide for researchers on the topic, where his broad net cast landed him off the waters of Luskan, locating a man named Willard Winfred. This man shared notes and understandings on the Far that Prag had been searching for, and the two began to search in renewed earnest. Finally, the half-orc discovered pieces of a conjuration ritual designed to reach far into this place, to see that field of stars again and call something forward to speak. However, the Luskanite was cunning, and drugged Prag's wine the night before they planned their ritual. Groggy and delirious, the half-orc came upon the circle cast, in time to see a tear open as a great maw and swallow Willard into a field of stars, where he sat in abject horror, his shape losing all color except a dull red-scale before the maw closed. Beseeching his patron, who interceded in this moment, taught a mystery to Prag to call his compatriot as a wizard calls a familiar.
Prag followed word that the deep mysteries could be located on an Island called Thain, that there was whispers behind whispers of a place of complete darkness, where things went to be forgotten and lost. He arrived on the island and worked in quiet, seeking allies to help his companion, Willard, but as his magic improved, Willard deteriorated, to the point he could no longer respond to the magic used. Accepting he was gone, Prag used his cautionary tale to never act in haste on matters regarding the Far. He caught the attention of the elderly elven mage, Elith, who took a shine to the studious half-orc as he lived in the academy of the Silver Scroll. He assisted others in teaching reading, writing, and library etiquette to those who wished to learn. Time was spent here between the city of men, the city of elves for the mage tower of Greenvale, and the half-orcs in the south, when the matters of the locals at the academy of the silver scroll became too dangerous for the casual researcher. Among his people, with peace to research, he delved deeper, and expanded his power. To this day, he is found looking at the stars on the rock just down from the dias where they meet, using a ships spyglass to peer up into the sky at the moon and stars to seek the shapes in the book, or modify them in the book he carried.
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Stolen from the Bagnorn as just a whelp, Eragor was part of an effort by the Kralshaman to passively improve the bloodline of the Hellshire
Armor of gold and black like hornets stormed across the bridge. Magic flew, arrows launched, and steel clashed. Violence is the language of the orcish people, emotion is the accent, and the tools of death are the regional dialects that at the end of the day make their meaning known, by force. The Hellshire had dwindled heavily since the travesty of the Call. Dead laid over dead in a violent upheaval the likes of which not seen with the dire energies that impacted the Shire so long ago. In a gambit, the Kralshaman knew that the Bagnorn found more of their own with such frightful consistency, that they had a source. Their source was then taken up with violence, and fighting back their warriors and distracting the forces, a lonely room in ruin where children huddled were seen. Those too old were left to fend for themselves, but the youngest, too young to know better, were taken. A small child was scooped from a swaddling of bloody rags in the hands of the Kralshaman, and he brushed back the cloth to look at small amber eyes, that peered fiercely. A small hand reached and grasped his thumb, and wouldn't let go. Leaving this place and the bloodbath they had wrought, the Hellshire carried bundles with them carefully, pensively. Years had passed, and gradually the young began to grow in their caves. They were raised to the values of the clan, they wore the colors of the armor but as the majority, they were not swathed in cloaks, an honor that the Kralshaman bequeathed on the most worthy.
Young and brash, Eragor showed promise with a bow and arrow, and could hit a target from twenty-five paces at the age of six. By seven, he could hit the center ring at fifty, and by eight, he was as fast as his peers. Unlike them he was smaller, apparently he was a runt among his people. Though good eating among the clan helped him grow, he still in his youth had more room to reach for the sun above. He spent his days in the wood, camping, following older hunters in their twilight and learning from them to track game based on the wisdom of the landscape. When he came of age, he was told to dither north to human lands, to explore their places on the island, for the Hellshire walked where they pleased and made this whole island their home too, even if they laid their heads in the shirelands. Here, he practiced, and faced the dangers of the island, exploring the ways of the people here. Where he met a half-orc that caught his attention. He did not stand his full height, and though he wore dark colors, he was only seen when he wished to be seen. He took from nature as he chose, and lived with violence as his right to draw breath. It was the first time Eragor saw Pishnak. Gradually, he followed him on his adventures, back to the Hellshire. Old enough now, the young man busied himself gathering food and sundries for the tribe. He had experienced the state of the island as the people across her land had left her.
Eragor idolized the work of Pishnak, as did other younger rangers. The elders cared little, as the results were found in his methods and that was a matter of pragmatics to the Half-Orcs, age yielded to efficiency that made things easier, and so the methods of less asking nature and taking as needed, was balanced with only taking what was needed when it was needed. The clan lacked a strong druidic guide at the time to change that path, but that would not always be the case. The hunters mimicked what Pishnak would do, taking bones as trophies from their felling, and decorating them with carvings and scrimshaw, stained and discolored with either blood or oil from the hands kneaded into the bleached surface, giving unique colors and identifiers to the hunters, based on each and their individual designs. These designs were taken to the people of the Darrowscale, who the Kralshaman began to deal and help, expanding the tools of the Dark Rangers, the Hunters of the Hellshire. Eragor was excited to this achievement, as he joined the battle and even with the treachery of mankind striking them down, they unified to fight the darkness that inflicted itself on the rotting wood. Eragor had a staff of this power he was given, that he held to, and brought back to show the Dark Ranger that had inspired him. Pishnak, however, was lost. The hunters did not know why or where he went, and the Kralshaman was silent on the matter.
Though without knowing why, the memory and way of the Dark Ranger lived on in the legacy this interloper left behind. Eragor was deeply touched by this one and his way, discovering he himself found it second nature in all but the finest details. However, the wisdom of the Kralshaman was displayed to him around their fire, consider what he had and what would enhance it all? To do this, in the depths of the Ashwood, he was inflicted with a rotting disease. He saw the cycle as a whole in himself, and realized what he was missing was the bones. The dead crumpled, and using a scroll as the catalyst, he forced his will and power through the crumpled body, which staggered back to its feet and fought against its former brethren. A moment of pride was shared between who might be as father and son, and the Hunter took its shambling form to battle, where it fell bravely against the foes they faced.
Registered Member #25505
Joined: 9:19:39 pm GMT 07/17/20
Hugdish sat in her room in the Taureglond with her legs crossed and her eyes closed thinking about all the things that were coming up. There was a knock on her door and Hugdish opened one eye peeking towards the door. She slowly opened both eyes and then stretched out, standing to open the door.
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“Greetings Hugdish!’ Sarorim stood before her hands clasped behind his back and his head held high not looking her in the eye. “Hello Sarorim, How are you?” “I am well. I am ready for the meeting,” he said, glancing at her only slightly. Hugdish nodded and led him through the halls of Taureglond to Sylvox’s meeting room. They both nodded politely to the patrols as they passed through. They came to the large doors and Hugdish knocked wanting to not intrude if Sylvox was busy. The doors swung open allowing her entry and she walked in with Sarorim in tow. She approached and smiled nodding in greeting to Sylvox. Sarorim approached with his hands still clasped behind his back and his head held high. He did not look at Sylvox in the face but looked slightly down.
“Greetings Hugdish” Sylvox said with a nod.
“Greetings Sylvox” Hugdish smiled.
“Welcome, Hugdish. Who is your friend?” Sylvox asked, looking at the Half-Orc male with her.
Hugdish gestures to the Half-orc. “This is Sarorim. He has been a member of the clan for quite some time. He is one of our hunters.”
“Vedui, Sarorim.” Sylvox gives the half-orc a small nod. Sarorim nodded politely back.
Sylvox looks back to Hugdish and asks, “Is there something we can help you with?”
Hugdish nods and replies “I hope so.”
“Please, tell me- what is on your mind?”
Hugdish presented her case of needing to be released as a hostage and that Sarorim would be taking her place. She explained that she was needed more and more in the shire and was finding it wearing to have to be traveling back and forth so much. Sylvox did not see a problem with such an exchange. She thanked him and then they talked about other things happening in the world as Sylvox asked about the Tel’Mordere. She informed him of what she knew and he thanked her. They parted ways and Hugdish showed Sarorim to where he would be staying. “These are my new quarters?” He asked her. “Yes, you will be able to return to the camp during the day if needed but you must return here every night. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know. You can also ask others here. They have been decent to me. Be well. I will let you settle in.” Sarorim nodded and moved to put things away in his room as Hugdish took her leave. As she walked to the shire she felt a small loss having enjoyed her time here in the Taureglond and also a sense of excitement at the possibilities in front of her.
Registered Member #23976
Joined: 1:31:54 am GMT 11/30/15
The Orcs of the Hellshire
Seeking Allies: The Werewargs
"Eragor, we need you and the hunters to use your skills and locate a group that has proven elusive."
The orc peered up from under his helm, amber-eyes blinking in curiosity, as he leaned on his wormwood rotten staff. Listening to the Kralshaman, he nodded slowly in acceptance. "I will get two other hunters, and we'll search. What am I finding?" The Kralshaman's hand opened up and extended it forward, within, was a tuft of black hair in gnarled knots. Taking the hair, he examined it carefully. His understanding was that this was a tuft of wolf, or warg hair. "I thought, the only place we could find Wargs, was in the Grey Iron mountains?" The Kralshaman shook his head, leaning forward heavily, "Looks can be deceiving, look closer. That's no ordinary Warg's hair. That's the hair of a Werewarg." The dark ranger sat upright and held onto the staff, examining the hair pensively. He looked back up to the Kralshaman. "As you wish, I will go at once. Where were they last seen?" Slowly rising from his seat, the Kralshaman cast his gaze across the trees leading into the distance, pointing off into the green haze where the poison of the poisonwood glinted in the hazy morning. "Fleeing from the aftermath of the Call," he began, gesturing with his gauntlet covered hand, "They were seen entering the woods now called the southern end of Ashwood. Start your search in the woodlands nearest us, see if they happened to settle closer than we thought."
"At once, Kralshaman."
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The party of three hunters went together as a group, it was to be four, but Sarorim was called upon to take to the deal with the Tauerglond to be a hostage in the stead of Hugdish. The loss of a hunter was going to make things harder, they would have to do more to get food, but this mission was something else entirely. "Grogoth, Kanth. I want you with me. The Kralshaman wants us to find those that fled from the night of the Call." Grogoth frowned, bearing his tusks, he grumbled back, "Shite day, 'at was. Wot's e' want us t'find?" Looking at the hair, he rose his brows, and nodded his head solemnly, "Callin' in 'at one, is 'e? Alroight. Ye been to th' Ashwood, Eragor, ye take the lead. We'll follow ye an yer cat." A set of golden eyes peered out from the woods and a panther padded out, stepping beside the Dark Ranger. Inclining his head, the Orc took out a pot of his camoflauge, and began the ritual of preparing for the hunt; he would have to find something to bring back to the Kralshaman. The four stealthily left their lands and delved off the roads, creeping through the woodlands with care, to avoid the fey and twigjacks, to avoid the roclings and displacer beasts, before delving further off into the Ashwood bordering the Tauerglond's lands.
The party of four hunters delved further into the thick smoke from still-smoldering roots. Sneaking around the moving, massive treants, the four came up on the gnarled roots just ahead. Suddenly, from the brush, the shapes of the drained-to-the-brink forces of archers and the husk-like thorns bore down on them. "Scatter!" Eragor barked in Orcish. Ethos ran and tried to draw fire, hit by multiple arrows, the cat tumbled and landed down on the ground in a heap. Diving behind a rock, arrows and darts pelted where Eragor had just been. The older ranger, Grogoth, let out a string of curses and leveled his crossbow, and bolts flew out at the shapes firing on them. Bolts hit him, and he limped into the brush, wounded. Eragor ripped out from behind the rock and began to fire rapidly from his two quivers, on his hip and over his shoulder. An arrow drawn from the side was pulled up and pulled on the bone-bangle longbow, firing off onto one of the archers. The other wove his hands and spoke in vitriolic hate, causing charred roots to rise from the ground and try to snake around him. With his force of will, his steps were unbound by the nature trying to influence over him, and he escaped from their grasp to keep firing arrows into the dropping shapes. The exchange settled, and Eragor looked as he began to staunch his injuries with some tincture. He approached Ethos, his cat, and began to treat his injuries. He was weak with poison, soon joined by Kanth. Looking to him, "--Take Ethos, and Grogoth. Get them back to the camp. I-I'm going in by myself. Too much to see with all of us, and they're hurt. Get them help. Get them to the Kralshaman."
When all was still, he pulled his boots off, and slipped on a pair of boots made from the skin of husks from an event long ago, a dark deal among two rulers of their people. This was a gift from a figure he respected, a gift from beyond the void. Quietly, he used the magic, and the wisps of smoke coalesced from the burning roots, into the shape of a man, tall and gaunt. The fringes of the limbs and waist billowed out into nothing, but the burning eyes of the vengeful spirit locked ahead. Switching back to his other boots, supple and more nimble. The Spirit and the Dark Ranger stalked into the remains of the settlement, the stones and burned vines across them gave them cover as they delved further and further within. Shambling dead rose to attack them, but with quick arrows and the distracting presence of the vengeful spirit, the two stole further and further into the territory, coming on a circle maintained by two necromancers. They were deep in thought, these Firn'lilths, as they tried to maintain their circle. Shifting around the hollowed out stump of a tree that delved down deeper, the Dark Ranger uttered his oath against the weapon, and he unscrewed a vial slid into a loop on his gloves. The vial trickled down along the arrow shaft and drizzled across the arrowhead. He stoppered the vial, and chose his shot. Drawing, his breath let out and he pulled the bow further. Overdrawing this blackwood, bone-bangle crested bow, he sighted down the poisoned weapon, and let the arrow's aim settle on the neck of the caster. The weapon was released, and it found its mark true, hitting the necromancer but passing just centimeters away from the carotid. Fleeing out into the grounds, magic was cast as arrow after arrow fired off into her body. Blades of magic rose from the ground and the Orc nimbly bounced backward, buffeted by the spirit that slowed his push against the stone wall, before launching two more missiles into the core of her body. As she fell, the alarm of the other rose, only to be met with a fatal volley of arrows from the orc, shooting between the risen stones. Carefully, he waited, listened for movement, watching and peering into the gnarled and burned woodlands around them for any movement, yet there was none.
On the corpse of the necromancer, a bauble was found in her pocket; a dirty, ash-covered glinting amulet of gold, but impossible to tell more while in this place. He took it, and pocketed the item, before delving further around. Stepping with the spirit in tow, another hollowed out stump opened down into the stone underhalls beneath the clearing. Stepping down quickly, crouched, the young hunter peered around the corner. In the distance, another of their robe-wearing, staff-wielding casters murmured in the language of the elves to figures standing with their armor and swords. Leveling the bow on the caster, he fired a volley of arrows into her body. What was once graceful but terse words erupted into blood from her mouth, and she crumpled. The armored figures turned and with violet glowing eyes, charged down the stone hallway towards him. Rocking backward on his heels, he fired arrows at the nearest, the spirit rushing around him to bind them up in its violent hatred. Sword blows ripped into the visage, and arrows managed to fell one of the knights, but more poured out from the hallways nearby. They began to overtake the spirit, as it fell to wisps and then nothing, their gaze turned on the hunter. He managed to fight off another, but as they began to strike him, he could only move so effectively to ward off their blades. Nimbly, he grasped a wand on his belt, and cast it on the ground. A shape rose from the earth and was overrun in but seconds, and the running hunter used it but once more, as he passed around the corner, distracting his pursuers long enough to get back to the topside.
It was this action, though, that lead to the greatest danger; the Dark Ranger stalked into the light, and troops were wandering across the grounds, searching for him. He delved into the brush, and hid from their gaze, using distractions and conjurations of the old bones under the ground that never saw proper burials. He stalked around. Finally, he headed back to the bramble in the pit, smoldering. He lept across, and ran away from their land, with the amulet stashed in his pocket. Though injured and cut apart by spells and blades, the Orc returned to the camp, and in the waters just alongside, he cleaned the amulet of the ash that stuck to it, revealing something he deemed important, to bring up to Hugdish and the Kralshaman with haste.
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Joined: 1:31:54 am GMT 11/30/15
The Orcs of the Hellshire
Hellshire Dark Rangers
A guide for the curious on how to play the metaclass
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Note: For the curious, I was inspired by this particular 3.5 homebrew in this design, here.
"It wasn't always this way." The balding orc said, sitting at his encampment, hidden in the mountains. He spoke slow, picking his words with care, and somberness. "We knew there was a change though. We didn't see it coming, not in advance. It started when we didn't know what was decided. But others did, some did. Some knew. They struggled, finding guidance towards nature. Some of us, like me, we knew a little bit. Others of us, Marta-Hin, Avaggdu, he hurt. When Cuchwyn exclaimed about the wrongness of it all, his heart bled. Some come and go, but they didn't stay. The hunters, they just found another way. They made a way." -Gunnak Lurd, talking about what he saw years ago.
The Hunters of the Hellshire are a key part to the well being and safety of the camp. They often times hold the solemn duty of being the first line of defense for the Clan; whether stalking outside the borders of the camp, exploring the countryside, or hunting for food where they could avoid the wrath of man, elf, or monster. The nature of the Hellshire is not one of harmony, it's one of taking as survival demands, and the Hunters are the masters of its intricacy. Some of them remember back to times of old, the terrible plight that caused the dead to rise and rise again in the shire. The need to kill those they buried again, and again, night after night, and fending off the banecrows as they swarmed in the day. Darkness has kissed the people of the Hellshire since the beginning, and there is no escaping it. With a life as this, the first of the Hunters learned to take what could be taken, to grasp the fringes of life and use it to defend themselves; to reach for the dead and push the source through them, using the bodies of the broken to defend themselves from what would drag them to the grave in an endless embrace with the rot below.
Undeath is a part of life in the Hellshire. This is one of the first lessons of the Kralshaman; to study it and learn ways to protect yourselves from it, to know how your enemies might use it, and in the direst of circumstances to assert the means to utilize it. The Kralshaman was known to teach all of these points openly, save the last which was taught only to those who showed worthiness. This was rare in the Clan even among the Hunters, at least before the dark times. While now they grasp at the source, their understanding then worked though to their nature by force instead of by request or bequeathing. This left the magic of the Hunters weaker than those who followed a more traditional route. A reconciliation of the needs at a moment and nature acquiescing, with room for improvement in one direction or another.
It took one who was not born of the clan to show the pinnacle of the Hunter's traditions. Under the watchful eyes of the Kralshaman, his potential, experience, and skills were married with the teachings of the past. Pishnak showed that he was worthy of the hard work, trust, and investment of knowledge afforded to him, though it came with a terrible price as he sacrificed himself in a situation of grave danger to the members of the Hellshire. Remembered as a hero, he is honored among the Hellshire Hunters by wearing bangles of bone on their belts, arms, and armor. Among the Clan the formal declaration was made that his way be forever known as, "The Path of the Dark Ranger"
Q: How does this differ from the base game's ranger?
A: Mechanically, as a metaclass, there is no mechanical support for a difference from the base game's ranger. However, the lore and explanations of abilities are different, where a Ranger is given the gift of a connection to nature, the Hellshire Dark Ranger takes from nature as much as needed, essentially forcing what they need when it's needed.
Q: What do you gain by taking this particular path as a ranger?
A: You get the ability to summon undead creatures on top of the ability to use other summons, this is granted mechanically by the application of Spell Focus: Necromancy. It also provides a little temporary hp boost to the undead you summon, which may help with their survivability, as well as encourage you, on this path, to use them when needed. You also gain a new way to describe your abilities when roleplaying. Most rangers I know play their ability as a boon from nature, this gives you an opportunity to play a more hostile relationship with nature without seeking to necessarily destroy it. The Dark Ranger respects the cycle because it exists, and without the cycle they'd have no power at all, but they'll not balk from forcing it to whim or need, save where it's wise not to do so.
Q: How does this class differ from the 3.5 Homebrew class?
A: The requirements are less demanding since certain late-game benefits afforded to the Dark Ranger would be unbalancing and thus not pursued, and a little outside of the scope of the class. It's a big jump to a phylactery and deathless mastery from just some negative energy influence and the ability to perform necromancy. Given this is just a metaclass, the restrictions aren't even hard limits, they're just suggestions on what makes sense.
Q: What are the programmed in-game benefits from taking this path?
A: Absolutely none, there is, at the time of this writing, no programmed changes to Thain, this is purely a player creation and an invitation to see some of our culture as we grow and develop.
Q: I'm interested in playing a Hellshire Dark Ranger, how can I go about it?
A: You absolutely could do or play whatever you want, however, if you're interested in exploring this with us as a group, we welcome you with open arms to reach out to Hugdish or myself in game or on discord, or to come to us in game to spend time with us and explore how we do things and learn from us first hand. Playing Half-Orcs is also a more expedient way to join in with us, you can just as equally say you've had come from our lands and wear our colors, cloaking is a special ceremony for important members of the clan and comes with time, trust, and understanding of our ways and trying to benefit them.
Registered Member #23976
Joined: 1:31:54 am GMT 11/30/15
The Orcs of the Hellshire
Plans within Plans
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The matter of the Wereworgs left two hunters injured, from their exploration into the Ashwood. However, the matter was resolved when the young hunter took to the path himself, creeping in the dark to avoid detection, which lasted until he was well within their domain. The Hunter knew this kind of trap, from exerting influence over nature. The honeypot, a matter of placing honey or an appealing target deep within the bowels of a trap that could not be easily avoided. It could turn the hunter into the hunted, and while he was not the most brilliant orc to walk the face of Thain, Eragor turned the idea towards pragmatism, while sitting near his injured companion. The words of the Darrowscale came back to mind; the fortress the Kralshaman showed excitement for was held by the Hydrabreakers, who by name alone could be considered perhaps some of the most fearsome forces of the Tel-Mordere. The Clan had been in the northern end of Poisonwood before. A hunter was always the most capable of recalling the prey they tracked in their domain, it was no doubt to him that the colors of their clan were known now to the Tel-Mordere. He had an idea, a plan to try and weaken them.
The plan was simple in its essence. While they were bestial, and perhaps too impulsive to directly work with, there was a tribe of orcs that settled in the poisonwood not far from the Tel Mordere. While they were not as strong as their cousins in the Grey Iron Mountains, one thing he knew is that, from a distance, quarry looked the same. If the hunters believed there was an excellent chance to get the jump on their prey, like these Hellshire, they were likely to take it. This plan went as such: Take the arms and armor from fallen Bagnorn soldiers. Use dyes to tan and color the leathers, and brassing to color the metals, in the style and design of the Clan's colors of Gold and Charcoal. Equip these orcs with arms and armor, the activity within their cave was sure to entice the biting elves into attacking. To descend on their prey as proper predators, only to discover the Hellshire waiting inside, weapons readied assault the hunters.
It was not a perfect plan, the elves might even catch onto their ruse. That's why the armor and weapons of the Bagnorn were a good base rather than the simple things made by the hands of man for newer adventurers; the quality of the tools these high orcs use, was vastly superior, and if the biting elves had seen through their plan, both the orcs within their den--fighting in one's home turf was superior often to fighting in unknown territory--and then the Hellshire joining them, it created a situation that could bear fruit in a lot of different directions. For one, it might create an alliance, which could furnish bodies, usable bodies, expendable living bodies. For two, it could yield an expansion of territory, while not immediately close to the camp, the caves the Ashwood orcs live within are fairly close to Greenvale. Greenvale and the Hellshire had a decent connection. The history of the Tel-Mordere having killed within the walls of Greenvale might sour, potentially, the connection between the biting elves and the city of Elisara. Plans within plan. There was one other potential possibility; the Tel-Mordere might not bite at all, they might show no interest. That would give room for them to work, to see if there was any benefit for the smaller Hellshire clan to interfacing with the Poisonwood clan. Could the strength of the Hellshire members make a play of power against this clan? To bring them to heel? Could they use their prowess to exercise over them as if a war chief? These were possibilities that could be explored, it depended largely on what happened in the world around them.
Within the Hellshire Cave, Eragor had taken his power from the source, he had used this power claimed by force to protect himself from the elements, and delved deep into the burning caves. In his time in privacy, while all else happened, he pondered the altars within. He considered the duality of them, and let his plan rest on either altar in his thought. Would the savagery of their blood or the capability of their civilization yield fruit into either plan? He prayed, to Gruumith, to the Kryst, to the fell power that once stained the ground, that influenced his people long before his birth. Rising, he soothed the burns that made it through his magic, and bandaged himself, heading deeper into the caves to find some of their food stores and make something for himself to eat. By the tents, however, he saw the old warrior Andarm working with his weapon, and frowning at it. "Damn thing will not hold an edge anymore." Eragor stepped in and placed a hand on his shoulder, causing the fighter to turn with a Grunt, and a nod, "I heard you. Your blade isn't sharp enough?" The warrior, and the ranger, began to speak. Andarm was one of the most respected warriors of the Hellshire. Plans within plans folded, over and over again, finally culminating on the need to see what this Clansman could do. "Let me share with you something I have learned."
With the somatic motion of his hands, plucking at the strands of this tapestry of the source, his finger hooked on one associated with the earth and he pulled. He intoned guttural utterances, and spoke the spell over the weapon. One of the greatest gifts of the path of the Dark Ranger was the blessing of the Black Blade and Arrow. It grew in strength over time, and it came from the earth. Earthly things could do terrible harm, be it the sharpness of obsidian glass to cut deep into flesh or the heavy metals that if eaten made madness, sickness, and death. Be it the chalky white which made bones strong, or the rock that would crush them to dust. To weapons made of the Aspect of Earth, the metal or shaving-sharp bones and rocks, the blessing of the Black Blade would stick like tar to the blade, and though it faded from view, Andarm tested the blade on a length of sinew, which it shaved like a razor of glass. "It's like the Kralshaman blessed it." Eragor grunted, "He teaches the foundation of these gifts, it's thanks to him and the old way." Eragor developed an idea, and looked to the warrior quizzically, "Do you want to test your weapon on flesh?" The two exchanged a look, and there was a nod before Andarm asked, "What had you in mind?"
The conversation is recalled as the two bedighted Orcs stepped from the caravan onto the soil and stone of the Grey Iron lands, "The Iron Clan has no love for us," he began, "We will cut through their land, and head up the mountainside. I need the arms and armor of the Bagnorn Warriors. I need this for my plans, a gathering of it that we can carry. I will bring Ethos. We will attack at night into the morning. As morning comes up, and those within the keep become aware of our attack, we will leave with everything we have." It proceeded as planned, and the two, Eragor and Andarm, climbed the foothills of the Grey Iron Mountain. They fought off the denizens of this land, some patrolling goblinoids, and later Giants hunting for food with their boulders, hoping to smash either man, goat, goblin or steer in the higher elevations. Arrows and blade served each other, and the fighter would find that though surrounded, one by one those that opposed him fell sick with poison, and the terrible ichor of the Black Arrow blessing, just like the Black Blade he wielded.
Trials and tribulations faced the two as they delved through the trees, facing detatchments of hunting Bagnorn. The high orcs were powerful warriors, and their Amber eyes and yellowed teeth were met with blade and bow, and the biting jaws of the Shadowleaf cat, far from home. Violence begets violence, and many tried to turn their focus on the Dark Ranger, as he peppered them with arrows from afar, those who could reach their bows turned their arrows on him. They were overwhelmed by the hulking might of the Hellshire's older warrior, who drove his blade into them and held them for their last breaths. Their assault culminated, stepping from the mouth of a cave where the bone-bangle covered hunter stalked into the bush ahead. He was careful of sticks and leaves, to walk silent and unseen among the woodland debris. Orcs were moving around these ruins outside of the bridges leading to their great keep, as sunlight was cresting over the horizon. A decision was made, and a solitary arrow flew from the ranger, striking an archer. Fire and flame crashed down in a display of magic as a shaman of the high orcs stepped from his cover, joined by two others. Diving and tumbling behind cover the Hunter was nearly overwhelmed as the forces charged around. Snarling to Ethos, the panther rolled away and charged around the corner, hiding from the orcs before lashing out and biting for their legs to hamstring them. Andarm stepped around the corner and smashed his shield into one, causing his legs to fly from under him and he landed hard into the leaves. The three were attacked soon by Wargs diving over the bodies locked in combat, one went sailing towards the Dark Ranger, before landing before him.
This Warg stepped forward, and looked on him with dripping fangs and snarling visage. Bow leveled and crouched low, the Dark Ranger snarled back, peering from his helmet with a fierce projection of dominance, rising to his feet. At first, the Warg seemed unimpressed, before amber eyes looked on the amulet hanging from his belt, a Gold Necklace with the head of a Warg, with one eye missing and the other crazed. In this moment, the Warg looked back at him, licked his chops, and turned to bite the nearest High Orc, dragging him down by the arm before sinking teeth into his neck. The battle was joined! Arrow after arrow sailed into the warm bodies, the Shamans rounded the corner only to be struck and fuddled with the pain of death. Andarm endured blow after blow on his great armor and turned to his foes, forcing them to endure the same. Oaths and epithets in Orcish were yelled and screamed between the clashing forces, until the battlefield fell silent. The Warg sat and licked at its wounds, before eying the ranger, and walking off into the underbrush. Eragor looked back to Andarm and the two went about the solemn duty of picking through the dead, as the keep only showed the faintest life, in the morning rise of the sun. Soon, their own would pour forth to see what came of the warriors that did not return, but with the collected usable arms and armor they could gather, the two left from the mountainside, with only a glance back at amber eyes that followed them to the edge of Bagnorn Lands, where they exited towards the Grauer Suden, on the long trek home.
Andarm and Eragor went forth to the Crossroads, though bloody and tired, Marie pensively did business with the two figures. The two parted ways, and Eragor moved out with the coin he had collected from lesser trinkets that would not be useful to the tribe in the Ashwood, selling them off for what good Gold would do him in any of these things. Striding up the hill, he paused, and sat in the grasses, still covered by his camouflage. It was in that moment though, a terrible figure strode across the grasses towards the river. People screamed, as great red wings crested his shoulders, and a terrible burning blade was brandished. Widening his amber eyes, the Hellshire Dark Ranger remained hidden, and watched as two of Steinkreis' own fired their crossbows on the beast. Like a terrible storm, inevitable and violent, the Bloodwinged stood over the two knights who tried to assault him with their weapons. Bravely did these two fall under the strokes of his weapon. When the battle started, Eragor in a momentary lapse of wisdom almost considered jumping in, but after seeing what that weapon and its wielded did, he knew better. A good hunter knows what an apex predator is, and when to stay hidden from its sight and violence; he had plans within plans, and they would not survive his death at this point.
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Joined: 7:04:13 am GMT 03/26/07
The Grey one Pt. 2
The Clan's pursuit of Gul'ver led them right into drow territory. The Underdark was never a place the Kralshaman felt comfortable in, and the Drow City was just worse. A raid on one of the outposts on the fringe had provided additional information. The Drow were ambushing specific patrols looking for people, they had notes about the failed attack but nothing on what they knew or how they were deciding on who to attack. Perhaps it was a perfect timing, or the Gods were smiling on the Clan that day, for in a stroke of luck the city was in the midst of some manner of discord. Jiztroyir couldn't be sure what exactly was happening, only that it appeared the the city guard along with one of the Drow Houses was in conflict with another drow house. The disorder was enough to cover the Clan's movements through the city as they pushed towards one of the Barracks. Once inside they scrambled to get their hands on whatever notes and maps they could in the hopes of finding out something more useful. Time was not their friend and at any moment they could become the target of Drow. Fortunately their only major conflict was exiting out of the city, the watch was on high alert and it was not as distracted as the rest of the city. A running battle with patrols was the only sign that the Clan had passed through the territory at all. What consequences might follow them for their actions could only be surmised at. All that could be done now was to hope that it had been worth it.
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Joined: 9:19:39 pm GMT 07/17/20
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Cloaks and Crowns
Hugdish sat on a group of cushions warming up by the fire as more of the clan gathered around to hear what the Kralshaman had gathered us to share. As she looked at the faces around her, Vroshnak, Eragor, and Jiztroyir, she reminded herself of why she joined the clan all those years ago. These people were her family. She cared for each and every one of them and wanted the best for them. The fire illuminated the faces bringing a soft glow to each one as they sat there. As the last one arrived, she smiled as Orn stood nearby listening in his own way. She sat up straighter as the Kralshaman cleared his throat preparing.
“This Clan has faced many trials to achieve what it has, and it will face many more. In this dream we are bound, forever striving to its fulfillment,” Jiztroyir said as he looked around the circle. “Each of you bears a cloak upon your back, and armor upon your body. These colors earned by blood, sweat, and sacrifice, they herald to all around you that you are one of the Clan. These colors pay respect to those who have died before you, who paid with their very life to see us move but one step closer to the fulfillment of the dream.”
Hugdish nodded thinking about her own cloaking day and then remembered that she needed to be paying attention to these words. She needed to remember how this went so that she could soon perform this ceremony.
The Kralshaman continued, “Know that as you wear them, those who follow will also know this respect.” a long pause as he glanced around the circle one more time focusing his gaze on Eragor. “Eragor, please step forward.”
Hugdish smiled and watched as Eragor approached where the Kralshaman was and dipped his head in respect. She knew what was about to happen and she was so excited for Eragor.
The Kralshaman nodded back with respect and spoke to Eragor, “You stand before us as an adept of the hunters, follower of the path laid before you by the Dark Rangers who mastered their ways. You tread in the boots of one who honored the Clan with his sacrifice, with each step proving yourself worthy of possessing them. You have faced our judgments and endured our trials.
Hugdish notices as Eragor stood a little straighter at the accolade, breath hitching a moment. She could tell that he was honored to have that recognized.
“For this, I now formally invite you to join us as one of the Hellshire Orc Clan. Become our brother and take upon yourself our dream of a homeland.” The Krlashaman paused to let that sink in and then looked at Eragor and asked, “What say you?”
Hugdish leaned forward on her cushions waiting for his response, hopeful that he would accept.
Eragor looked around the circle and then back to the Kralshaman as he spoke, "I wish to be your brother, a-all of you. I accept, e-eagerly!" Eragor dipped his head and then smiled
Hugdish watched and paid close attention making sure to commit the words to memory. She noticed the Kralshaman as he grinned and nodded saying, “Welcome brother to your family. As befitting one who joins us, you will bear our colors. But you shall choose a color for yourself. I bear the Blood Red alone for upon my back is all the blood spilled in the name of this grand dream. Any other color shall be yours to ask.”
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Hugdish thought about whether or not she would take the blood red, as Eragor decided on a color. She figured this would be a decision she could make later but thought about what it would mean. Eragor finally decided on green and the Kralshaman found the perfect cloak for him, handing it to him. Eragor pulled the cloak around his shoulders and it rested around him, he dipped his head and brushed the cloth in thought, and looked up to the Kralshaman happily saying, “Thank you, Kralshaman.”
There was a lot of flurry and excitement as everyone there congratulated him with handshakes or hugs and Eragor beamed with pride as everyone complimented him on his choice of color. The Kralshaman cleared his throat and looked around at the excitement and asked that everyone return to their seats for the next order of business. Everyone settled into their cushions after clapping Eragor on his back. Orn leaned against the tree and looked on with a smirk. All eyes fell back on the Krlashaman as he spoke. “Hugdish, please stand.”
Hugdish looked around the circle and then back to Jiztroyir as she stood to her feet again as the Kralshaman continued, “You came to us ignorant to the policies and politics of this island, unaware of the suffering of our people, or the Clan. You bore fear and hesitation in the face of duty but did not allow it to bind you in stillness. I have with patience laid before you the challenges of leadership and command. The weight of your words in that moment have directed the course of our people. Though every moment was not success, neither was it failure. Each was however a lesson, a moment to be reflected and grown from.”
Hugdish nodded, remembering a few moments that she thought were failures. She smiled to herself remembering the lessons that the Kralshaman had taught her.
The Kralshaman continued, “I am with pride as I have watched those around you show honor to your efforts, followed your commands without instruction, and stood beside you without hesitation. You have instilled within each of us a greater invigoration than has been found alone. None who stand in this circle asked to be here, their actions showed their worth and they earned it without hesitation.” He paused as he looked around the circle and then focused his attention back on her. Hugdish did the same returning her gaze to the Kralshaman as they stood among them.
“Yet even among our honored number must stand those of note. The ones we look to in the important moments when a single voice must decide our course. No leader of our people is elected, they are not given to public displays of pomp and circumstance. They prove with more than words and simple promises their worth.” He continued speaking as Hugdish smiled and nodded at his words thinking of all the things she has gone through.
“Though many here do not see the trials given, they are given all the same. You have proven yourself to each here tacit or otherwise. With this knowledge, I publicly declare you as a Leader of the Hellshire Clan. You are permitted to bear for yourself the Blood Red so long as you commit to your duties. Never forget that upon you and your choices are the lives spent. The blood that drips from the blades of our enemies, and the rivers that flow from our failures. May the burden of each breath mingle in the thoughts of your choices. That you may never forget with each step on our hallowed lands, the lives given as surely as the bones lay beneath our feet.” The Krlashaman spoke these words with conviction and honor recognizing the qualities of the Half-Orc in front of him.
Hugdish inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly at the thought of the weight that was now hers to bear. She looked around the circle at the faces that were there and thought of all the others that she now represented. “Hugdish,” he continued, “do you have for the Clan a title that you would request others acknowledge you as? Know that your legacy exists beyond you, and the bards of ages forward shall refer to it.”
Hugdish looked around thinking, she looked to each one and then back to the Kralshaman. “I shall be known as Kralschema” she replied, glancing around the circle for the reactions of the others. The Kralshaman nodded and then looked around the circle gesturing, “Stand brothers and sisters in recognition. Honor to the Kralschema of the Hellshire Clan.”
Everyone stood honoring her in this moment, some from their cushions and others from leaning against a tree. Hugdish looked around and stood taller with pride at being recognized in this moment. She smiled at each and spoke, “Thank you all for this honor. I do not take this responsibility lightly. You have each been such a strong supporter and even confidant since I have been here.” Jiztroyir nodded and replied, “Good to hear.”
Eragor spoke up, “We follow you, Kralschema, and your e-example.” She smiled at him and nodded her thanks.
"May your future be filled with long ssspeechesss and long periodsss of time, ssstanding and doing nothing." Orn said with a grin.
“I will do my best to lead this clan with pride and…” Hugdish tried to continue before everyone was laughing. “Thank you Orn!”
Jiztroyir smirked and then straightened up saying, “Now to our last piece of business. I am soon to depart the Island.”
There were gasps heard around the circle as this news was unexpected for most that were gathered as Orn spoke out, "That'sss bound to make a lot of people happy."
“As I do not know the extent of the time I will be gone, I am entrusting the future of our Dream to each of you.” He motioned towards Hugdish as he continued, “The Kralschema is a capable leader and I have no doubt that each of you will support her as she steps into a role long held singularly by myself.”
Hugdish watched with soft eyes as Eragor stirred in his seat and asked, “D-did we do something wrong?”
Jiztroyir focused his gaze on Hugdish as he continued, “No matter your feelings, do not doubt your capacity. Do not hesitate to look to those around you to aid in the manners you do not feel strong enough. Do not shy from failure or glutton in success. The future is not written in stone, nor in the predictions of Dragons.” Hugdish chuckled lightly at this reference and nodded.
Jiztroyir looked back towards Eragor and replied, “My duties have always taken me places I have not expected. It has been a pleasure that I was able to remain here for as long as I have. Yet I have foreseen greater things to come for the Clan, though my presence here is not within that. You are not abandoned, for each of you has built a great family. And I am grateful that I might look forward to one day returning and witnessing the efforts to come for each of you. The seeds planted, that will one day sprout and grow to great things.”
As the night was wrapped up each, in turn, spoke kind words of how Jiztoryir had guided them or helped them in one way or another. There was a heaviness in the air as well as a sense of anticipation. It will be a night that Hugdish will remember for a long time.