Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cora's new armor

What Cora's new leather armor might look like..
Photos by Beebichu

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Balance

"Walk always in balance, and beauty."

Everything in our Universe has its opposite - This is never absolute though, only comparative. No one thing is completely Evil or completely Good. There are no black and whites. Each contains the seed of its opposite and they can be transformed from one form to the other depending on many factors. For example, cold can turn into hot; or the season changes throughout the year. Also, one cannot exist without the other. There's not absolute Evil or absolute Good.

In order to have a harmonious change, Balance must prevail for both. But this is rarely the case. Most of the times things are out of balance and they affect each other,  too much of one can eventually weaken and/or consume the other. Conversely, one can also BECOME the other. For example, life changes to death. Hot changes to cold. Night changes to Day etc. One can change into the other, but not randomly. It is happening only when the time is right.

Monday, June 23, 2014

An Endless Expanse..

The more I study about being a Sacred Druid, the more makes sense with regards to my encounters so far. The book I was gifted with has provided me with much information regarding the history of the druidic tradition. There is an affinity for life as a whole that resonates within me. My god/dess is the world itself, and Life in balance is apparently one of the keys to this order.

In the weeks that I have studied, I have expanded my capabilities remarkably, although there is still much to learn. Perhaps there are others out there who might be able to provide more insight. The K'oa - the bird people- that I have long held trade with might also know more.


We made a short stop at the trade point just outside of Na'Silar to restock and reoutfit ourselves appropriately. While we were spending some time in one of the local taverns, we heard several bards telling stories that the adventuring party was directly or indirectly involved with.It was both amusing and a little disconcerting to hear of the world-news, knowing that we were somehow involved with each of the things mentioned.

We also picked up a new party member - Fife MacDrosten. He touts himself as a huntsman, and shows a remarkable proficiency with the darts and knives he toys with. I noticed that he was trading archery tips to the city guards. Perhaps we can teach each other a thing or two? He has agreed to travel with us, I think more for the sake of the adventure itself. Regardless though, he seems capable.

We saw Shalev safely back to his family-home, so that he could reunite with his people. He did make quite the impression, and his people reacted to him with due respect. His mother seems quite capable, and very proud of her youngest son. When he introduced me as his teacher, she rose to greet me in an unprecedented display of equality. There was a shared moment between us there, an unspoken and understood statement that he has made both of us proud, and that I will do all in my power to ensure his safety (although I know he thinks he's ensuring mine.) so long as he and I travel together; and that she would ensure he has a safe and prosperous home to return to.

Much was said without words between she and I. 

It will be interesting to see what his mother negotiates with regards to his betrothal to the Princess of the White Palm Oasis. She seemed rather ... determined on a few of the points that he mentioned with regards to the way things played out in returning the Princess to safety.
There will be stories told about this match for eons, I'm certain. The bards that tell of it will certainly get their money's worth from the tale.

There is apparently some ....strife with regards to his older brother. Jealousy perhaps? He's already shown blatant disrespect on a number of levels, and has made one obvious and failed attempt to assassinate Shalev. I imagine that will only make his life more difficult. I hope that he is not stupid enough to attempt it again. The consequences of his actions have already started a bit of political upheaval, that I think will go unfavorably for him in the end.

While we were there, Kellyn refilled the city cisterns, at Shalev's request. It appears that the gift Martek gave her in making her younger also may have erased a little bit of her control. She's volatile to begin with, so the learning curve here might prove to be a bit unstable. The gift of water in the desert cultures is always a profound one, so this almost effortless act on her part accorded her to be treated almost like royalty.

Once things were settled with his family, and the preparations that he needed to be a part of were complete, the party decided to continue on toward the port city where we would hire a ship to take us to our next destination. 

How I can describe something I have no memory of ever seeing before now? I was asleep when my people crossed the oceans two and a half millennia ago. I am a desert creature, and the shifting sands are my home.

The sea. It's impossible. Seeing that stretch of endless water. It's... wrong. Chaotic. Unpredictable. Unsettling. So much larger than I could have ever imagined.

The ground moved and swayed with no rhythm or discernible pattern. It literally left me speechless, and more than a little horrified. It made me feel... insignificant. I can't say that I like that feeling.

Lan seems quite taken with the chaos here, and quickly shifted to her seafaring form to frolic in the waves and unknown depths. The travel through the desert has been difficult for her, so we stayed for an entire day to allow her the freedom to play and rejoice in the turbulent waters. 

Hiring a ship made for quick and uneventful travel, and here we are. A half a world away from all that is even remotely familiar to me, and traveling toward who-knows-what. That is the life of an adventurer though, is it not?

I feel... exposed here. Perhaps that's partly due to the change in attire. Desert silks and robes have no place here, and the leather armor that I acquired in the city fits well, and comfortably.  But it will take some getting used to. It's good to have a bow in my hand once again. I have the layan bow that I picked up from the dread-priest during the quest to resurrect Martek, but I can not use it yet with any reliability. I will continue to practice and hone strength and skill to be able to use it, but in the mean time, I picked up a Penician bow to use.

New equipment, new outfit, new place.
The party as a whole remains the same though, and it's good to have something familiar to ground me here. I do look forward to seeing what else lies over the horizon. It will be interesting to be in a place where no one knows of me. Perhaps I could use a little humility?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shifting sands - a Desert Ranger's meditation

In the desert the most urgent thing is–to wait. The desert does not take kindly to those who tackle it at breakneck speed, subjecting it to their plans and deadlines. Instead, the desert welcomes those who shed their sandals of speed and walk slowly in their bare feet, letting them be caressed and burnt by the sand. If you have no ambition to conquer the desert, if you do not think you are in charge, if you can calmly wait for things to be done, then the desert will not consider you an intruder and will reveal its secrets to you.

The dialectic of searching and finding has a strange structure in the desert. The search has a surprising ending. I could not in all honesty say whether, after all this time, I have found what I was looking for. All I know is that I have been overtaken. Overtaken by a Voice. Surrounded by a Presence. It is difficult to define what I have found.

The desert constitutes a most paradoxical challenge. You are given a vast territory with boundless possibilities of escape. Your courage is on trial. Are you courageous enough to be captured? Are you heroic enough to offer an unconditional surrender?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We’re finally going home.
Well… “home” is relative, I suppose, as my home tends to be wherever I find myself wandering for the moment.

This particular moment, it finds me wandering back towards the city of Na’Silar however briefly.

Even I recognize the necessity of visiting structured civilization periodically.

We finally succeeded in returning the desert to the people as a whole. The enchantments that cursed it have been broken. After over a year of traveling through the sands, battling mages and efreets, exploring lost tombs, buried libraries, and forgotten ruins; we have at last succeeded in resurrecting the Arch-mage Martek, and returning the desert to his watchful eye.

It seems that I have taken the first steps in becoming the last …the ONLY…of the Sacred Druids. The last of my kind. The ONLY of my kind. These titles are not new to me. I have no idea if any elves like me remain, but I do know that I am the only Sacred Druid in living memory, and current existence at this time. As a gift for helping to resurrect Martek, I received the only remaining copy of the Initiate’s guide to Sacred Druidry.

Hopefully I can do justice to the role I have been given. Being a Sacred Druid meshes well with my natural inclination as a Ranger; and while it will potentially mean leaving the desert behind, perhaps it’s time to continue on. Oh I’ll not move too far. There’s a peace that I find in the shifting sands that I found no where else in my nearly three millennia of traveling. For all of my desire to learn if there are others like me out there, I can not deny that the desert is home. Certainly the longest I have ever stayed in one place.


While this adventure may be complete, it has succeeded in stirring my wanderlust with a fierce vengeance, and given me a sense of family that I find myself growing quite fond of. A somewhat dysfunctional little family to be certain, but we work well together when motivated, and can be quite intimidating as a whole.
Each of the party members has their place in my thoughts now:
  • the surly destruction mage, Kellyn. Even with her turbulent temper and highly unpredictable magics, is an interesting traveling companion, and I am apparently one of the few that she considers friend. There is certainly much more to her than meets the eye, and she keeps her story close. I find myself watching with a little amusement to see what she will do next. As a gift for helping in his resurrection, the Arch-mage Martek gave her a book of knowledge, and also made her considerably younger. With her already awe-inspiring power levels, this might prove to be an interesting combination for her.
  • the strange seal-fey creature Lan. She’s a selkie. A fey-creature that can shift from humanoid (appearing as both high-elf, and orc as she chooses) to seal. She has a strange relationship with Kellyn, as apparently she is the avatar of the goddess Kellyn follows. She has her own brand of magic, and seems to be able to find whimsy in any situation. Her gift from Martek was a palantir. We do not yet know what it does, but she finds amusement bouncing the shiny glass ball on her nose as a seal.
  • the wary blacksmith, Ishmael. I do not know what he thinks of the adventures and of the party now. He still seems afraid, and almost resigned to whatever fate traveling with us might bring to him. I’m glad he decided to continue traveling with us for a time though. His gift was information. He now has the knowledge of where to get a special hammer that will allow him to work with any metal; as well as a bar of a specific material that he can use to trade with the gnomes for additional information and skill training.
  • Sha’lev. First my student, now my friend. Of all of my students, he has shown the most promise. I have watched him grow much over this past year, and he seems to be coming strong into his own. He has taken on the role of First Paladin of the goddess of Law and Order, Ma’at. It makes me proud to see him succeed and make a powerful name for himself. He has found himself a bride too, it seems. It is his marriage that we are returning to the city to bear witness to. I don’t think his bride (the party-rescued, and newly reinstated Princess and Priestess of the White Palms Oasis) quite realizes what she has gotten herself into, but I imagine she will see soon enough. His gift from Martek was a book that, when read for a week, will help to restore the Dexterity and skills that he lost during an encounter with the undead. He also received specific knowledge on where he could go to advance his fighting skills, information on how to dedicate a temple to his goddess, as well as knowledge on beginning a quest to further his advancement as a Paladin of Ma’at which would give him a sword comparable to his needs.
  • there’s ’Lev’s cat Amit. A giant liger, powerful and intelligent, he is a valued party member in his own right. I recognize a loneliness in him, as the only of his kind. Perhaps as a Sacred druid I can help him find a mate somehow. It’s a thought worth considering anyways. I’ll have to ask him what he thinks. Martek gifted him with a limited-use metallic coating on his claws that would allow him to take levels from his enemies and transfer them to himself. Amit is already a truly impressive creature. This makes him even more so.
  • and finally Tobias. My heart. I never thought I would find love again, after so long. I didn’t even think it possible. Yet here he is. Renowned warrior in his own right, my desert elf has become more than just a companion, and I can not deny that what I feel is love. The thought actually frightens me a bit, believe it or not. Maybe there’s more than one wedding in the works? Who knows. Elven courtship can take centuries, although my Tobias has picked up the quick pace of the humans. So we will see if he takes his time, or decides to go ahead and pursue more. Martek’s gift to him was a spiked mace that would be nearly impossible to damage, making it extremely useful for Tobias when he is running.
In the course of the adventure, we sadly lost three party members along the way.
Ahriman, a mage of noteworthy skill with regards to mental magics, sadly was lost in an encounter with a ghostly ship on the glass-sea. He encountered something that caused a crisis of faith within, and he could not cope. The party members tried to help him through the crisis, but were unfortunately unable to do so. This crisis of faith caused a loss of his powers at a critical time, and the loss of his power contributed to his death.

Alex, a fighter whom we encountered in the hidden village at the gates to Martek’s place. His party had been killed by the warring factions of peoples there, and he accompanied us through the labyrinthine maze of the traps and passages to find the minarets that we needed to resurrect Martek. He was sadly lost in one of the wings of the crystal towers, when he could not follow the other party members through one of the puzzle doors.

and Timu, a blind mage of some skill, whom we discovered lost within the temple proper. He made it through to help us resurrect Martek. His gift for helping, was a one-way ticket back to his homeland. I hope he does well wherever he returned to, and is treated with the respect he deserves.


This particular adventure has been a long, and difficult one. We’ve lost several party members along the way, and gained a few new ones. It will be good to relax for a space of time regardless.

As a final parting gift, Martek made it so that anyone we encountered along the journey remembers nothing of us, or of our accomplishments. This is a blessing in many regards, but also a curse in a way, as any story we share of this adventure will be thought as nothing more than a drunken sand-tale.

Resupplying, resting, and re-outfitting the party will take some time, and quite a bit of money, I imagine; but it is well earned leisure time for us all. This will give us the time we need to take a look at where we are going next. There are several options open to the party, and as adventurers I’m sure new opportunities will arise along the way.

Cora'sol Tyrtlarn - an introduction

AKA "Legendary Memory" or "Mistress of Memories"

3195 years old. At 6 foot 4 inches tall, she is willowy and carelessly graceful. Poetry in motion, every move she makes is done with effortless and beautiful elegance. She is constantly shrouded in gauzy robes, and very rarely shows her face at all. The only visible feature are her eyes, which are a starling deep blue against the flash of pale sylvan skin, and fathomless with age and knowledge of things long past.

As a desert ranger, she lives in the heart of the desert and is wary of cities and enclosed population centers. A master archer, she relies on her bow and arrows for hunting and for deadly defense, preferring to keep at a distance rather than risk injury.

She wears an oddly shaped pendant on a leather thong around her neck, on the outside of her robes and gauzes, but will not talk about what it is or what it may mean.

They call me the Mistress of Memories and Immortal.
I have seen the world trees and soul forges. I remember coming across the land, through ice and fire. My homeland is now a long-forgotten world of eldritch forests and great energies.  Times before civilizations that have now been dust for aeons. I remember old forests where the trees knew your name. Peoples and races come and go, and yet I remain.

I recall that I had a great family at one time; and I remember that we were happy. It makes me sad to know that I can no longer recall the faces of my children. The recollection now only brings me melancholy, as it also recalls the tragedy that took them from me. Strange that I can recall, quite clearly, the smells - fire, smoke, and the terrible scent of death.
I have no memory of how - or why- I survived, only that I did.

The pain of that loss drove me away from all that I knew. Drove me to lose myself in solitude, to try and find peace among the circadian rhythms of the world.

I tried living in cities for a time. I found them to be too much. Too odious, to cacophonous, too chaotic. Oddly enough, though from forests I come, it is from the ever shifting sands of the great burning wastes that I find the most peace. The sighs of the winds among the sands is an echo of my inner thoughts, and I keep up hope that I might, one day, find something that interests me once more. I find myself occasionally envious of the fleeting lives of the creatures and other humanoid races here. Short and brutal, but they still find time for grace and laughter.

Occasionally people will seek me out. Adventurers in search of stories, Younglings in search of knowledge, or novelty, or whatever sentiment. There is always some reason, some entreaty to accompany them on whatever treasure they seek, or name they choose to make for themselves.

A few times I have chosen to help these travelers.. these supplicants.. if their story is unique enough, or if I'm tired enough of my solitude.

Life as a nomad means that I have no real need of significant material possessions. Money is meaningless to the sands. I get what I need through bartering with other nomads, tribes, or by the adventures that I choose to participate in.

It's been several hundred - I lose count - years since I've ventured out of the desert. Part of me wonders how much of the world outside has changed in my absence. I was approached not too long ago by Shalev Ben Barak in search of knowledge, and his story piqued my interest enough; stirred my wander-lust enough; that I chose to end my seclusion and adventure once again into the wilds.

Mayhaps it's time again for me to see what the world holds in store for me?