Talarian and the misty swamps [pt. 1]

There are these special characters in the life of a roleplaying-gamer. When you first play them you know they are so very enjoyable, when you share them they’re almost everytime good for some smiles or laughter and you know you’re going to have some fun even before the adventure really starts… Talarian (black) circle mage of Waterdeep is one of those characters, when I created him he was just another wizard, I played around and tried to find something that felt right, I concentrated on making him a summoner, switched from Wizard to Sorcerer, enjoyed the thought of an Eldritch Knight even more and voilà, it started to feel just right.

Yesterday it was Martin’s PathfinderRPG debut as a dungeon master and when I try to describe it, I end up with one word: Impressive. Because his story was quite sophisticated, because his descriptions were quite in-depth, and mainly because I did not expect him to find such a very successful combination of story, fun, descriptions, player-integration and (again, because it was a lot of) fun; but he did find it. Furthermore it was an excellent gathering of players in one evening to remember.

Talarian, black robe of the waterdeep circle

Day 41 of the cross-breed study.

While my colleagues are still hesitating on the new calling, I am a step ahead. I’ve found a rare cross-breed of giant cockroachs and giant grasshoppers whose excrements are showing positive effects on the calling itself. I’ve convinced my near-sighted colleagues that I’ve retreated from this most valuable of studies and am currently working on a bat-dung replacement for their all-beloved fireballs. Fools, they can not see their mistake. The noble Duernatar has helped me greatly in locating these cross-breeds at the very watersides of the moon-sea. Shortly after I’ve taken two of those precious teleport-scrolls and started my journey, but there it started – everything was to go a little wrong…

Somewhere I might be meant to be but did not mean to be

“Talarian, Master Talarian?”, a young, almost childish voice woke me from the teleportal statis, after effects – my first assumption was it was an aftereffect of the guano smell that was still prominent in my nostril, I hope it was guano – or at least I hope it wasn’t anything else that could leave that gut wrenching stench one one of my (formerly) superior perceptive organs.

I remember that when I shook my head and took a look around, I saw shades, one of them with huge wings, it took me a second moment to clear my vision and recognize on the very right of those it was the incredible Kangia, a gnomish friend and bard of mine. I have not been very good with time of late, moments ago I could have sworn it was winter, but this one has passed rather quickly, so I made one comment that left her stunned, honestly I don’t even remember what I said but I gave my very best smile, (something I can rely for more than 30 years with women) and gave my best to return that welcome and appreciation she was offering. It hit my like a rock when I finally managed to turn my head and started realizing with whom she was travelling, it looked like that beautiful girl-mage was controlling a creature of the heavens that outmatched everything around in beauty. It felt like my old heart was going to stop, I even considered fainting for a breath, but then again how would that look like… So it was the explorer side of mine that got hold of me first and kindly asked the purple-robed wizard if she could spare a few feathers of the Aasimar, first I thought I just made a good catch for nigh 3 silvers and tried to get into some small-talk. Next thing I can remember is I had to dodge an offended aasimar’s slap to my face, at least that was what I visualised, to be honest I don’t remember it exactly if it was my superior reflex or my smile that saved me from the pain. I realized too late that I blundered into something I shouldn’t have mentioned when I called Cenwen, the wizard the owner of that beautiful aasimar specimen, but once again I think my unmatchable smile saved my day and maybe even life. With the pride of the anim- creature hurt it took her mere seconds to lift her great sabre into the air and that very movement revealed the lady of mystery signature amulet on her breast. I knew it was my life that might be taken by a sword so sharp and presented my very honorable and favorable side which finally turned not only the tide but also us a little bit more into friends. I still wonder how I managed to bind the empathy of both Cenwen and that particular specimen which listens to the unusual name Dakora, but I managed. It must be some latent spell I triggered or maybe it was just that Eagle’s Splendor spell I invoked before the journey that literally saved my very soul when only a few hours later Cenwen manipulated me into talking about the cross-breeding of Aasimar and Tieflings. I have to admit, it was a tiring journey on horseback, especially when Kangia talked me into leaving the first of the windhorses for her to ride. I should remember not to call a pony when she is around.

Where was I? Ah, yes the tavern where I started talking about crossbreeding of Tieflings and Aasimar, according to my information this is a most promising experiment, if performed with the right precautions it can speed up the development phase and skip right into a formidable creation of war or service. The main complication are, as always, the mentioned precautions and the severe problem of obtaining suitable, stretchable bodies while controlling the skip of several stages during creature development. It was a most enlightening discussion when my dear Kangia started a most heartwarming tale, a tale of vivid imagination so colorful and well-told that I started to get the impression that pictures of her tale were appearing right where she stand, captivating the audience and keeping all of us on the very edge until she stopped and proclaimed the second part of those adventures were to be told at another day. I have to admit, the gnome has learned a lot since I last saw her, not that I am much used to the presence of bards, some of them tend to be pretty annoying when you’re trying to get a good rest after a long day, but Kangia has always been different, her stories and songs are a mixture of genuine perfection and vivid imagination. I now know where this comes from, her stories are not always told truths but she makes up a good deal of them – a level of storytelling only few are ever to master, so I am sure, is to tell these stories fluently and without hesitation, captivating the mere man and the scholars alike with her descriptions, surroundings, colors and sounds – smells and emotions. The most positive benefit were free board and lodging, a benefit I’m not that accustomed to. After sharing a tub with the gnome and hearing even more stories what has really happened in the weeks since we last met, I’ve had the instant pleasure of sharing a room with the astute Cenwen only after having a marvellous back massage and scratching by Dakora. The plumy specimen has an incredible endurance and my shoulders were really, really feeling better afterwards. Not that I had severe problems before but it really felt great afterwards, I don’t even remember her closing the door so very relaxed … Before I really felt asleep I had a short talk about Dakora with Cenwen, it must have gotten me weird butterflies in my stomach travelling with three so beautiful and extraordinary women, all so very different but sharing either a beautiful intellect or a beautiful heart that captivated me – got me quickly into a deep, long night of sleep. Everything felt so much better than these painful stares from the wizard when she brought the topic of a Kelemvorite, one she obviously was in love with. Knightly manners demanded I blunder into that topic as well, but not even my smile could get me out of this easily, I was so glad the topic was no longer imminent, I was so glad that her stare had not killed me as I first expected… I was really sleeping very well considering that circumstance.

Day One, an interesting start – kinda fascinating

I remember it was the silent syllables and astute gestures performed by Cenwen that woke me that next day. I felt peckish to say at least and the plates served seek their match in half of Faerun I tell you. The milk smelled and tasted so fresh, the bread still warm, cheese and ham were just tasty – it was a great start, again I don’t want to forget mentioning my incredible luck accompanying or being accompanied by so beautiful, young women, into the day. I remember we started quite philosophical that morning when all of a sudden it struck all three with an important errant for a druid named Kek, which obviously was of uttermost importance and since I was far astray the moon sea I volunteered to stay in this favorable party. That day took us to three different magistrates and the high temple of the lady of mysteries. The first part of it to a impressive looking elven archmage living in this settlement, the second one taking us to an half-orc called (abbreviated) Zuwo, a high-ranking captain of the guard and finally we ended at Gromsh, an elaborate economist of the town. It took me almost the whole day to realize the wealth that was everypresent, it felt like the whole city consisted of noble man and women, not by their looks but by the coin they spent.

The hours passed quickly, even quicker than one might anticipate, when the sunset grew close and we had to hurry back to make Kangias appointment in time. This time it was interesting to analyze the psychological potential of the proud plumy specimen, leading through a mass of people that were already waiting in front of the tavern. Most interesting of it, the pride of Dakora seems to leave her a little bit off balance and not to hard to manipulate, she is still on the right track, but I dearly pray for the guiding light of Lady Tymora that keeps creatures of the lower planes far from her. I’m not so sure that her companion wizard would even consider risking her life for the aasimar, not after all we’ve talked and exchanged over the last hours.  Anyways, the illusions weaved by Cenwen, with a devastating black dragon appearing right from the inn’s sign and afterwards disappearing right into it will leave the yokels talking for ages. I don’t remember seeing anyone weaving illusions to such effect for many years, actually I can’t remember seeing so much detail to an illusion ever before. Did I mention the local magistrate Zuwo offered his sword in our noble quest? Oh, I think I’ve blundered again into forgetting mentioning the quest at all. You have to understand, the town of Thunderpeak is located at a highly frequented trading routes, and several weeks ago, inmidst of their southern neighbourhood, a swathe of land suddently disappeared, instead of chilled plains a partly frozen, misty swamp had appeared, an all consuming swamp.  Eversince tradesman and marketeers from the south had stopped reaching the city. Tradesman from the north could not continue their journey through the swamp and very quickly a mysterious weave of half-truths had been woven to this place. Now Thunderpeak is offering a fair share of money of the cartographing and de-mystification of this particular area. It is said that no one has yet returned who ever set foot into it, and more importantly there is this particular myth to a fallen aasimar cleric called Andrious that rang even my old ears. I remember when I first studied the Mystera Theologica and the Mystera Conjuratio libraries in Thay, I’ve overheard a saying that a fallen lathander cleric had disappeared. There was some ancient and epic tale to it with a phenomenal black dragon, but I guess that could have been Kangias tale after all as well, but with some truth hidden as in most stories, I have that particular gut feeling that this name was true and whatever may come with it, I’ve already made up my mind since curiousity and free will go hand in hand together, I will try to help and lift the veil of this swamp. And since the magistrate Zuwo insisted it would be a good idea, we would focus on dealing with another local animosity that eats away farmers as well.

An unusual mount for some of us

I admit it, I’ve not journeyed for the best of my years and the outlook of two or three weeks of walking through the woods and vale made me kinda uncomfortable. For all love I share with fellow riders, I’ve never been too used to the appearance of horses, my admiration of efficiency had me, years ago, modifying the general thesis of the conjuratio phantom mount to call something more comfortable, something more efficient and something more intimidating – giant, black arboreal tarantulas. The looks on the faces told a lot, but I’ve tried my best to convince all of the invaluable advantages of the oligopedes. I remember with a smile in my face and close to a tear in my eye that setup of trees, bandits might have use in our path and the intimidating intonation of Cenwen which just announced the problems any bandit might encounter when attacking us. I even considered helping her out with a small illusion but decided against it – her impressive performance would have to be sufficient and it apparently was. When we rested that night, tired as all of us were, it was on the last watch when, I think it was either Dakora or Zuwo, they heard a really strange monstrous noise. I guess whoever had that watch was frozen by fear, I remember that watch on the battlefield at the borders to Amn when the undead appeared… I couldn’t move or breath by just seeing them – but I’m losing focus – Cenwen proved to be indeed valueable and versatile by not only the ability reading and following tracks of the beast but furthermore transforming into a wolf and using the trunk to her advantage. I’ll spare you the details on how Kangia and Cenwen brought down the enormous tiger we spotted. It was a gruesome fight and I tell you never judge a gnome by her size, for I would surely have fled instead of looking into that giant cat eye.

I’ll continue my little story, but first would you help me up? I’ve got that really bad back and I tell you I could really use a little help with that nasty shoulder of mine.

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