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Chapter Fifteen: The Wayward Wanderers Return to Highwind!

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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
As Kaerri pulls the contents of the scroll-case out into the afternoon sunlight, another small scroll joins it - this one with the regal white and green colors of Highwind's own livery. Meanwhile, a very large, very wide human clad in Saint Cuthbert's own livery over a gleaming suit of full plate mail so magical it shines with enchantment, comes walking from the Church-fortress of Saint Cuthbert. He seems intent on you.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna is too busy oohing and aahing over the four constructs to notice the man coming up towards the party.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

Sitting back and quietly sipping coffee allowed the Half-elf the ability to behold the wonderful gifts stood before the wagon and also to observe the approach of the Cuthbertine knight.
“Hail and well met, Sir Knight. What brings you to our door this fine morning?”, the sorcerer-rogue called out cheerfully, and loud enough to draw his companions’ attention.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth does her best to hide her smile at the childlike joy that Luna is showing as she examines the four constructs, and gives the wizard an attention-getting elbow to break her free from her focus. With a deep bow of respect, she faces the man with the livery of Saint Cuthbert on and joins her own voice in welcome. "Greetings, good sir. You give the impressions of a man on a mission, and that mission is having something to do with the Wayward Wanderers. How can we be of service to you and St. Cuthbert?"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Between Otiorin and Oreleth, Luna's attention is yanked away from the four wonderful constructs and turns to see just what is going on that is important enough to pull her attention away from the new toys. Once she sees the knight, she drops into a deep curtsey. "Welcome, Sir Knight! What is it that brings you over to see us?"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
Kaerri just waves, carefully so as not to drop either scroll, or the case they'd come in. Having read the one, she wants very much to read the other, but her new friends are right -- this knight does look like he's here for a particular reason. She slides the scroll about the figurines back into the case for safekeeping, holding the white-and-green one in her other hand for now.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
( Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!)

Bria comes out of the Wayward Wagon, the bright sheen of restfulness and cleanliness about her being. No more cold and vicious caverns, icy snows that drained the spirit, or unyielding rock to call for a floor - sleeping in the Wayward Wagon was simply rejuvenating and it shows in her face and spirit. "Hi, hi!" Bria waves to everyone and moves to stand beside her favorite half-elf (sorry, Kaerri; that's not Rainshadow - that's Otiorin, though Rainshadow comes close!). "Um... are those stone golems?" she points to the jade hippogriffs. Powerpaw and Mamapaw are still inside the wagon.

"Indeed they are," whispers Oscar of Highwind to Bria, strawberry in his paws, from atop the cushioned seat of the Wayward Wagon. There, he catches Bria up in the quick and concise way that only the truly intelligent can compose and deliver on quick notice. Duchess Bellcastle takes little notice of him, perhaps believing he is one of your familiars much in the same way Sparkle is to Luna.

"These are presents from King and Queen Wildegard? Oh! Oh my!" Bria folds her hands and blushes red in happiness.

“Hail and well met, Sir Knight. What brings you to our door this fine morning?”, the sorcerer-rogue called out cheerfully, and loud enough to draw his companions’ attention.
The huge approaching figure seems like a golem himself. Donned fully in shining well-polished magical steel, his height is like Brendoran's but he is as wide as some men are tall. His arms are large like the muscles of a strong man's legs and his legs are like that of a young barbarian's torso. It is as if someone had cast Enhance Ability - Strength and Enlarge on an already-muscular dwarf and clad him from head to toe in plate mail armor. A large triangular shield is clasped to his back and he has a brutal-looking well-worn mace with an oversized head on one hip and a curved longsword on the other. He marches up to you and pulls up his face-plate, revealing a dark-skinned, bright-eyed man with a neatly-trimmed moustache and beard. But it is the eagerness in his demeanor and expression that shine the most.

"Sir elf! I am happy you asked!" he speaks in a heavy, gravel-like voice filled with good spirit.

Duchess Bellcastle smiles at her fellow knight of Saint Cuthbert and nods her head as she tells you, "Wayward Wanderers, may I introduce to you, Lord and High Cleric Kenny Bellcastle, Archbishop Du Blake's Herald of Protection and Crown Guardian of Oscar the Sage of Highwind... and my devoted husband."

"Baby, you are looking good! You make my every morning a good morning, you know that?" Lord Kenny beams as he gives his wife a beaming once over. Duchess Bellcastle cannot help but grin and shake her head at him. Then he returns his attention to you, especially Otiorin, Luna, and Oreleth who addressed him. "Yes, I may be mere Lord Kenny, but the real lord is not me at all! I am but a servant! Saint Cuthbert is the real lord! The granter of good sense to the wise! The giver of justice for all who are denied justice! And the deliverer of retribution against the wicked and the heartless! That's the real lord there! Saint Cuthbert is the might that brings delight! The power from every flower for all things know of his greatness! When you are in palm of Saint Cuthbert's hand, nobody, and I mean nobody can get the better of you - and that's where He wants you to be!"

Duchess Bellcastle leans toward you and murmurs with a knowing smile. "He is just getting warmed up."

"Lord Kenny," Oscar sits up on his furry haunches and intervenes. "I take it you have come for me."

"Oh!" both High Cleric and Duchess Bellcastle straighten in shock. A moment of quiet passes as they both stare incredulously at the furry black-pawed forest creature that speaks with Oscar of Highwind's voice.

"Master of all sages," Lord Kenny slowly, reverently, steps forward until he is face to face with Oscar, and then the High Cleric drops to one knee and bows his head. "I... heard you had been reborn, returned to great and green Sharseya, but..."

Oscar grins. "...you had not been informed that it was reincarnation magic that returned me to Highwind's soil?"

Duchess Bellcastle joins her husband in kneeling. "We... tried everything to restore you! We cried when we failed!"

"Then weep no further, holy crusaders of Good Sense and Retribution. For it was not your lack of faith that prevented my return, but the artifact itself which barred and denied all clerical and arcane magic from returning my soul to by broken body. The creator of the artifact, however, was not without fault for they overlooked the small-numbered and humble people that dwell beyond Highwind's walls, beyond the rivers we fish in, to live atop the mystical Phoenix Mountain. It was the work of the Healer, here, Miss Bria of the Ko, the Last of the Healers, whose magic is quite unlike any Cleric's or Arcanist's. Were it not for the Wayward Wanderers who keep her as part of their beloved number, my astral soul would been lost to realms rarely-touched by mortals, and would have flown where the book intended - beyond the reach of mortal magic. Good for us, myself especially, that the book's maker thought little of the Ko, and did not work to include them in the fell magic of the artifact."

As Oscar spoke, Powerpaw and Mamapaw emerge from the Wayward Wagon. Quietly, they take in the scene and listen. Oscar turns to all of you, his paws folded in thought and his tiny black eyes gazing up at each of you in admiration and more.

"Wayward Wanderers. We have traveled to a far-off realm together, nixed the Curses Three and freed more of the Maiden of Pain's prisoners beside, perhaps the mightiest and most-elusive she could ever claim. And now, like you, they are free and so am I. But now is the time we part company, for my knowledge and wisdom does not and has never belonged solely to me, but to my kingdom - my Highwind - the one realm in all Averlund, perhaps all Sharseya, where all good-hearted creatures may live and prosper together under one banner! It is you who have returned me from the grip of permanent death and I who have helped you along a little in your adventures by training you in the arts and paths each of you adore. Rise, Bellcastles."

Slowly, they do.

"Do you have my crystal ball?"

Duchess Bellcastle nods, reaches into her pack and produces a beauteous sphere of crystalline majesty, one that sparkles like a second sun in the afternoon. "This... is the crystal ball given to me by Grand Vizier Randall Flagg whom some of you have made acquaintance of," Oscar looks to some of you but twice to Rainshadow with a wink. "Keep it safely inside the Wayward Wagon where all of you can access it, perhaps in the study. With it, you may use it to contact me or one of my staff who will know where I am. Do this when you have need of my wisdom, my ability to train you, or..." he adds with a soft sigh and smile, "...if you simply desire to chat with an old dreamer who wishes he could continue along with you in your adventurous journeys!"

Oscar of Highwind turns to Lord Kenny and extends one paw. Lord Kenny pulls from his own pack a purple and gold pillow. "I wondered what this was for!" Oscar makes it his perch and turns to you again as if thinking many things and experiencing many emotions.

Lord Kenny points a thick armored finger at Oscar. "And don't you worry! Nobody, nobody is gonna lay a hand on Oscar if he doesn't want them to! The King has made us Oscar's personal bodyguards and woe to the unruly person, devil, or beast that tries step toward him on our watch!" His hand trembles as it nears his mighty mace while Duchess Bellcastle's hand simply slips over the silver mace holy symbol about her armored neck.

Oscar the red panda sage of Highwind looks to the Church-Fortress of Saint Cuthbert, then to the incredible Castle of the Four Winds where His and Her Majesties reside, then back to you. "Do you have any requests of me before we depart?"
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14

Kaerri listens with some amusement as Lord Kenny starts to wind himself up, hearing some of Archbishop DuBlake in the knight's words and enthusiasm (though the energetic delivery is all his own). She manages not to laugh when the Cuthbertians* learn just who the furry one in the Wanderers' midst is, and stifles all amusement when their guilt and regret manifests.

Rogue that she is, she reaches for the sparkling sphere when it is offered, accepting it on behalf of the party. Curiously, she stares into it, then back to Oscar with a sly smile. "Er, does he know we're getting it? Or might we just surprise him one day if he happens to be on the other end?" If no other in the party seems interested in looking at the crystal ball right now, she tucks it away safely for now (though with every intention of placing it in the aforementioned study, of course).

She grins up at Lord Kenny and Duchess Bellcastle. "I believe you, good sir! You both look more than capable."

Looking back down(ish) at Oscar once more, she considers what she might ask, and a mischievous thought occurs to her. "Hope I don't offend anyone's dignity here," she says, not sounding terribly apologetic, "but before you go -- can I get a hug?" She holds out her arms to small, furry, red panda Oscar.

*not their actual name
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!
She grins up at Lord Kenny and Duchess Bellcastle. "I believe you, good sir! You both look more than capable."
"Of course, you do!" Lord Kenny replies.

Duchess Bellcastle grins and nods in a humble fashion. "It is a good thing to be among the worthy, and by that I mean those who can help others instead of being forced to sit on the sidelines."

"Another gift from the Lord above!" Lord Kenny points heavenward.

Looking back down(ish) at Oscar once more, she considers what she might ask, and a mischievous thought occurs to her. "Hope I don't offend anyone's dignity here," she says, not sounding terribly apologetic, "but before you go -- can I get a hug?" She holds out her arms to small, furry, red panda Oscar.
As in everything he does, Oscar seems to take a moment of pause to consider the statement and reflect on what his unusual life has taught him, and only then does he take action. To those who know him, it is like Oscar of Highwind, sometimes called the Greatest Sage on Sharseya, it is as if he has been polymorphed as opposed to reincarnated - it is clearly him in that little fuzzy form for his mannerisms have not changed much despite his return to life and transformation.

"Yes." He looks up to Lord Kenny who answers this cue by leaning down to Kaerri. Oscar gives a rare grin and holds out his paws. Then Kaerri and Oscar embrace.

The unseen voice of a woman enters the conversation. The voice has a human accent of some kind and a tone of snarkiness about it. "Oh brother!" she says. "They keep this up and we'll be back in Rhumia trying to find one of her own! Don'tcha think, Wave?"

The majestic, ancient-looking trident that Kaerri has moved out of the path of the hug, glows bright gold and green for a moment. Then a masculine human-like voice is heard - deep, powerful, and clear - each syllable enunciated, each slowly-rolling word seeming to echo like a call from under the ocean deep. "My wielder goes to where her destiny calls, whether she is aware of it or not. Yet to cross the sea to the land haunted jungles and screaming deserts would be another adventure in itself."

Powerpaw flinches and looks around. "Uhh... Who's talkin'?"

Mamapaw points at Wave with one great claw but the second claw has no such clear target. "'Haunted jungles' indeed! By brave and beautiful Bastet, we spent good years tromping those shameful spirits into the dirt and burying their corpses rightly! Those jungles are not so haunted as they once were!"

Wave does not reply as his glow diminishes. Oscar leans forward over Kaerri's shoulder. "I will miss our talks, Herald of Poseidon. I imagine chatting with you is the next best experience to speaking with the Greek God of the Ocean himself."

Wave replies without hurry. "You would have made a fine Poseidonite, Sage of Highwind." And this statement indeed comes across as the highest of praises.

Oscar sits up and continues. "Eris, Wave, all of you. I would be remiss if I did not mention what I have learned this very morning. Stewart the Steward is now here in Highwind, having recently returned with his lady Beatrice. Bonny and Whittle Meadowsweet have returned to their home at Hobbitcrest at the highest neighborhood in all of Highwind, along with their 'seven stars,' their children. None of them know that you are bound to leave Highwind on your adventures to aid the troubled Kobolds of the Silver Sun." Oscar puts his paws together. "Would you like for me to send my runners to their homes and perhaps make them aware that you will be at Ben and Misha's Magic Shoppe for awhile?"

Mamapaw looks to Powerpaw in mild confusion. The Felane gladiator silently replies with a nodding grin and a thumbs up. Mamapaw looks pleased at this and they both return their attention to the matter at hand.

"Your other alternative is to attend them at their homes - I have the addresses of both should you desire them. However and furthermore, you should all be aware that Paladin Brendoran is awaiting you at Ben and Misha's, or rather, Powerpaw specifically."

Powerpaw punches his scarred fist into his palm with a meaty smack! "Oh boy! He finally wants ta see if he kin get me at Hammer Smacks, don't he?!"

Oscar pushes his whiskers back. "Ah... no."

"Wut?"

"Bren has another matter he wishes you to attend. I do not recommend leaving him waiting."

Oscar then waves to all of you. Lord Kenny and Duchess Bellcastle smile to all of you and say their farewells. As they make their way toward the Church-Fortress of Saint Cuthbert, Oscar spins around and raises his paw one more time. "Kaerri! Otiorin! Oreleth! I nearly forgot. See that the three of you have a conversation about the Forest Eternal, for Otiorin is attempting to aid the Wild Elves that still make the Wood Elf home their own." Oscar grins. "That should give you something in common to talk about! I would say, 'Boccob watch over you...' but it is Boccob - he won't." Oscar grins again at his own joke as they make their way onward.

"HAY!" Powerpaw yells. "What if we wants dose runners or addresses you talked about?"

"Use the crystal ball!"

Powerpaw scrunches his Kitty-face as he turns to all of you. "Sometimes bein' da melee fighter in da party makes a guy feel dumb!"

With Oscar gone, what now do the Wayward Wanderers do? Psychie Psychie (What say you in OOC, party leader?)
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth does her best to hide her smile. "Powerpaw, there are many different kinds of intelligence in this world. There is the book learning that our esteemed Lady Luna has, but there is also the simple wisdom of the fighter that knows the truth of knowing which person or creature is your enemy, and knowing how to deal with that enemy. Usually with a sharp blow to the head with a large cudgel. Cling to that wisdom, my large furry friend, and never let it go."

Oscar sits up and continues. "Eris, Wave, all of you. I would be remiss if I did not mention what I have learned this very morning. Stewart the Steward is now here in Highwind, having recently returned with his lady Beatrice. Bonny and Whittle Meadowsweet have returned to their home at Hobbitcrest at the highest neighborhood in all of Highwind, along with their 'seven stars,' their children. None of them know that you are bound to leave Highwind on your adventures to aid the troubled Kobolds of the Silver Sun." Oscar puts his paws together. "Would you like for me to send my runners to their homes and perhaps make them aware that you will be at Ben and Misha's Magic Shoppe for awhile?"
Oreleth nods as she runs a hand through her hair. "Yes, Master Oscar, I feel that letting them know we plan on being at Ben and Misha's shop would be ideal. That way, we can, with any luck, add some much needed magical gear to our inventories. Shall we go, my friends? The day is not getting any younger."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Taaag!

Usually with a sharp blow to the head with a large cudgel.
"Uhh, uhh," Powerpaw's eyes roll about in his head as you see a Hammer Smack-lovin', Felane gladiator attempting to put something diplomatically (you can smell the timbers burning from between his fuzzy ears). "Heyuhh, Oreleth? Uhh, hate ta break dis to ya, but ain't no such ting az a sharp blow wif a hammer to da face! An' a cudgel iz a hammer!" He makes slowly swinging motions with excellent form. "It's all... blunt damage. If ya wanna do sharp damage, ya need arrows. Y'know, dem tings on yer back?"

Powerpaw turns and nudges Kaerri. You notice he seems to veer away from making any kind of contact with the golden-green shining trident on her person. In fact, Powerpaw seems to act almost as if the weapon were on fire. Once he is comfortable, he says, "Kaerri, don't worry. She ain't always like dis; she hadda lotta spirits last night an' she's still a bit rocky."

Mamapaw leans forward and adds, "And sometimes, 'sharp' means 'precise,' my somewhere-between-sharp-and-dull son!"

"Aww c'mon, Mooom! I'za Fighter! I'm supposed ta be dumb! Fighters got reputations ta live up to!"

From around Luna's neck, Sparkle the pseudo-dragon becomes visible to the naked eye for a moment, her colorations becoming distinctly purplish and regal. "You realize your leader is a Fighter too, do you not, oafish one?"

"See, Sparkle-face? Ya prove my point! Fighters iz stupid!" Powerpaw eagerly points at himself. The implication that Oreleth is as dumb as he is portraying himself has completely flown over his head like a shot from a catapult.

Sparkle puts her paw over her face. "Shall we make our way onward?"

* * *​

Oreleth makes her wishes known to Oscar just prior to his departure and he replies that he will see it done. But her satisfaction in making this communication might be overshadowed as then, Oreleth finds four terrifically-large jade hippogriffs staring at her, each of them with a slightly different expression. They are awaiting her command. At a word, they all move as one and unlike mounts of flesh and bone and of animal mind, the Wayward Wagon does not slowly and sluggishly pull forward as you have known it to all this time, but instead it launches forward with great power and momentum! Suddenly, you are all off and moving! Without Stewart to guide your mounts, it is up to one (or two?) of you to guide this mighty quartet of Highwindian figurines that appear willing, ready, and able - again unlike mortal horses - of smashing over and through anything in their path during their travels.

This creates a new responsibility (some might use the word "hazard"?) in that the magical figurines follow your every command, but only when you provide them! The figurines thus require constant watching. True, they march majestically down the road and follow it closely enough, but they appear to have zero fear (or perhaps awareness) of city traffic, hooved, footed, wheeled, or otherwise!

It soon becomes obvious that someone with a responsible nature coupled with the skills of guiding animals is required to get you through the many roads of Highwind, none of which are empty of city-goers, natural dangers, and other obstacles (like, perhaps, losing your way - the Wayward Wagon is so large that even on these streets, it will be a bear to turn the huge wagon around if you make a wrong turn!).

Psychie Psychie Who does Oreleth put to driving the Wayward Wagon through the (currently-friendly) Highwind streets?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Before they set out, Oreleth asks of Luna, "Madam Wizard? Would you like to do the honors of steering these new constructs? I feel that it is only fitting that it falls to the most skilled wizard of the party."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna claps her hands in excitement. Getting to steer the hippogriffs is going to be a thing of much fun! Then, she sees the look that Oreleth is giving her, and she quickly composes herself. In a much more dignified manner, she replies, "Why, yes, of course I will do the honors of controlling our gift constructs to the magic shop. It will be an interesting experience."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
( Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag! =) )

From the driver's chair on the Wayward Wagon, Luna is able to guide the quartet of jade hippogriffs down each busy lane and bustling street. One tremendous advantage becomes clear - no one in their right mind wants to stand in the way of an oncoming stone behemoth, much less four of them pulling a huge and tall wagon of obvious magical nature! Merchants with their carts, packs of school-bound Highwindian children (mostly human, but definitely not all!), and workers from all over the city pause and stare as the Wayward Wanderers pass by on their enchanted wagon. Even the circling dragons overhead with their curious riders come down from time to time for a closer look. None, however, bar your way.

In what seems like a short time (and possibly in part to the directions provided either by Kaerri or Bria), you find yourselves coming to a stop beside Ben & Misha's Magic Shoppe. The memories of your last visit pay a visit of their own in you as you recall being unfairly and suddenly teleported out of this very building and into realms dangerous and unknown. Well, call it a portent if you will, but there before the huge shop and smithy stands a broad-shouldered handsome figure who wears his steel armor as if he were born to wear it.

Count Brendoran Killaneson stands before the shop and you see those blue-gray eyes of his turn your direction as the Wayward Wagon comes around the corner. Mamapaw and Powerpaw, currently riding on top of the wagon, wave down at the Mielikkian Paladin. Not far from Bren are the eight great team of muscle-bound horses that once pulled your very wagon. They are dressed now in tack and harness with leather bags hanging all over them as if readied for great travels.

Bria hops up and waves. "Hey, that's Bren! Hi Bren!"

What do the Wayward Wanderers do?
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
Bren the Mielikkian paladin waves at all of the Wayward Wanderers, making sure to catch the eye of each one in turn and give them a friendly smile. Bria and Otiorin get a particularly warm one, while the look he gives Kaerri seems almost questioning. Finally his gaze settles on Powerpaw, and he beckons the big Felane over. "I have something for you," he says when Powerpaw is close enough that he can speak in a normal volume. "I'll be leaving soon, but I wanted you to have this before I left. Well, I suppose it could be for all of you, but you're the only one that can use it properly." With an effort, he hefts a clearly heavy, grand-looking maul and offers it to Powerpaw. "There's some things I'll need to tell you about it, and there's a belt, too, so you can get the fullest good from it."



Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
Kaerri just offers a sort of wave-salute from her perch on the wagon, letting the others go ahead for now, though she watches the Bren-Powerpaw proceedings with interest.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna climbs down from her perch on the driver's seat of the Wagon and goes over to Bren and gives him a friendly hug. "It will not be the same without you in our midst, but when your Goddess calls, a paladin must answer! I may not be a cleric, but I do wish you the best blessings of both your fair patron and Boccob, too."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
"Heya Bren-face! What iz you doin' here?" As Bria and Mamapaw echo their greetings, Powerpaw steps forward, at first to slap Bren on the shoulder, but his attention is quickly diverted to the most magnificent two-handed hammer the Felane has ever laid his blood-red eyes upon. "Whh--- Whuuuut? Holy Bast! What da face iz dis ting?" Powerpaw shakes his head in confusion as he beholds the mighty weapon, his cat-curiosity growing by the moment. However, he also appears hesitant to take it into his hands almost as if he doesn't quite yet believe what is going on.

"Mom? Izzit me birfday or sumthin'?"

"Not yet, son, but it certainly feels like a birthday should, doesn't it?" Mamapaw points at the maul and then at Bren. "My fellow Mielikkian, if that is a normal maul, then I am the daughter of a meerkat! What is that thing?"

"Oh heavens," Bria of the Ko sees and approves with a touch of awe in her soft voice. "Oh Bren, I never thought about putting these two forces together before," she says, referring to Powerpaw and the maul. "Bad guys Sharseya-round will have cause to tremble. That's... as brilliant as it is thoughtful of you! Did Mielikki put you up to this?" She waves. "Oti! Oreleth! Kaerri! Come look!"
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth looks on with interest at the mighty hammer, trying to discern what is so special about it that draws the attention of her companions like this. "I know bows, not hammers. Would you please share with me why you are so excited about this one? I wish to know!"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
"It's called the Maul of the Titans," Bren begins to explain, "and it is one of the best, possibly the best, hammer out there, if one has the strength to wield it and knows its secrets. It has long been a party item belonging to my last adventuring party, The Light in the Dark, but as they've disbanded, I've assumed responsibility for most of the party items. And I cannot think of a better use for it than to put it in your hands, er, paws,. If they knew you, I'm sure the others would agree that you'd use it well -- and enjoy it, which to some would be just as important!" He smiles up at Powerpaw. "I'll teach you all I know of it, so that you may make the fullest use of it you can.* It also works best when the wielder is wearing a Girdle of Frost Giant Strength..." He trails off, glancing at Kaerri.

* Brain blank moment. There's a password its true name and some other things, but I can't remember them right now, nor find them in my notes, but Bren does know a great deal and would tell Powerpaw and anyone in the party who seems interested (but not random passersby, so he's adjusting his voice volume accordingly).


Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14
"...which was a party item in one of my previous parties," the red-haired rogue replies, grinning. "Which you knew. I'll fetch it soon's I can. Good thinking, oh mighty holy one!" Kaerri looks at the other Wanderers. "We might just create a monster, but it's the bad guys that're gonna be trembling in fear!"
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth smiles. If there is anyone in this party that would do well with such a fine weapon, it is Powerpaw. "An outstanding gift, Brendoran. I am impressed. And with this Girdle of Strength, Powerpaw will truly be a terrifying foe on the battlefield."

While this is something wonderful, she is still interested in seeing what goodies she can get for herself from the wares of this magic shop that they are at.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
"It's called the Maul of the Titans," Bren begins to explain, "and it is one of the best, possibly the best, hammer out there, if one has the strength to wield it and knows its secrets. It has long been a party item belonging to my last adventuring party, The Light in the Dark, but as they've disbanded, I've assumed responsibility for most of the party items. And I cannot think of a better use for it than to put it in your hands, er, paws,. If they knew you, I'm sure the others would agree that you'd use it well -- and enjoy it, which to some would be just as important!" He smiles up at Powerpaw. "I'll teach you all I know of it, so that you may make the fullest use of it you can.* It also works best when the wielder is wearing a Girdle of Frost Giant Strength..." He trails off, glancing at Kaerri.
So we don't slow the game down, I am going to allow Kaerri Rainshadow to have the Girdle of True Frost Giant Strength upon her person. This belt increases the Strength of the wearer up to that of a true adult Frost Giant (29!). After having chatted with Kaerri the Player, she has consented to handing it to Powerpaw and thus allowing the next scene to unfold before you. Boom-done, thank you Kaerri, game on!

After Mamapaw casually explains to him what a titan is (as they don't seem to have those in Rhumia!), Powerpaw stands there before you looking mighty, ever-ferocious, and completely stunned! His scarred hands curl around the fabled Maul of the Titans as his eyes examine every inch of the heavy metal, incredible leather, and stout wood that make up the massive unique weapon. Eight deadly feet in length, there is no inch of this thing that you want to be hit with. It looks like a timeless piece of history involved in more adventures than most will ever know - and the element that swung many battles in the favor of the side that wielded it!

In my head, the Maul of the Titans looks very much like the maul used here. Just have to show this scene. Probably not safe for work (fantasy melee). =)
Oh! Ha ha! And I just love what one YouTuber (Dan Radu) posted about the music some 4 years ago: "Perfect example of how a good soundtrack can take a movie to another level. When the brass comes at 33 sec you know some big lads are going to be swinging some heavy shit."

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN: Palace Battle"

Powerpaw's fierce red eyes glance a warning at everyone within melee distance of him - a warning that shows he is about to take some action. With a mind to all things near him, he steps into the clearing before Ben & Misha's. Some Highwindian onlookers, most simple people going about their day, pause and take a moment to watch. Once in the center of the clearing, Powerpaw hefts the marvelous weight in his palms, testing it, gripping it, getting to know it. With the power of the Girdle of True Frost Giant Strength, he swings the Maul of the Titans a few times at about half-force, being careful not to plow the thing into any destructible target - including the cobblestones at his feet. He thrusts it forward as if using it in close-combat (almost quarterstaff-like).

It is when he applies his entire body behind a single full-power swing that things change. When this happens, the air around you pulls with the maul. Luna's robe and those wearing cloaks see them very briefly follow the curve of force behind that blow. This cosmic combination of maul (from The Light in the Dark), girdle (from The Last Resort), and the one warrior in all of Sharseya that might be best-suited to using mauls (from the Wayward Wanderers) makes itself known! Powerpaw notices the full fury of this combination and stares at all of you, dumbfounded. He would be a bit scared... if he knew fear.

Meanwhile, a gathering of smiling, watching dwarves from Ben & Misha's cheer at him, encouraging the Felane to swing more. Powerpaw does and is just getting into the "swing of things" when the dwarves produce a huge ball that can only be a catapult shot. Together, they hurl it at him with all of their might and the following exclamations.

"Here, me boy! See what you kin do with this!"

Powerpaw doesn't know what they are talking about until he sees the ball flying at him. Like any boy, give him a ball, and he'll play with it - in this case, he takes a full-bodied twisting all-out Hammer Smack! This connects! There is a tremendous cracking sound and the catapult shot is sent flying out of the clearing, over Ben & Misha's, over the many houses, past the flying dragons who scatter above to get out of its way, and out of Highwind and well into Shandra's Evergreen below!

"Har har har!" chortles the armored knight in his bloody mail as he points his wicked sword at the destitute family of serfs that have become lost in the woods. "Made a wrong turn, have you? Well, now you have to pay my special tolls if you ever want to reach Highwind's gates! Starting with... your daughters!"

"Nooo!" the unarmed parents rush to shield their fair daughters from the evil knight's gaze. "Have mercy, sir knight! We have done nothing to you!"

"Oh, but you will!" The evil knight cackles. "See, being a knight in the service of the Armies of the Black Fang has its rewards! Now bring them to me before I get angry and hack off your foolish heads!"

The parents lift their hands and look heavenward. They cry out. "Oh, Mielikki! Blessed Lady of the Forests, your every step is good and green! Save us from this evil!"

"Ha ha ha!" the knight holds his gut as he trembles with laughter. "You're... you're praying?! Stupid serfs! There is no one out here that's going to--"

Suddenly, from far away, a rising whistling sound is heard, rushing closer and closer, getting louder and louder! Everyone is turning their heads, unsure of what to do, when a crunching and resounding CLANG!! fills the forest, immediately followed by a crashing thud of flesh and metal against the earth. The serfs gawk in awe at the body of the evil knight and the huge catapult shot that has just now replaced his head!

"Praise be to Mielikki!" they sing as they retrace their steps to find the true way to Highwind. "The Forest Mother looks after all!"

"Well," one daughter remarks. "All except him," she points at the sorry smashed corpse in the mud.

"Never you mind," the father replies. "He doesn't count. He chose his path when he joined the Black Fang. Onward, my dears!"

Back in Highwind, the Felane Gladiator comes walking back to the Wayward Wanderers. He is stammering. "Bren-face... Kaerri... Dis... dis ting iz... da best maul I haz ever imagined!" Powerpaw looks at Bren and Kaerri as if he is about to prostrate himself and kiss their feet in gratitude. "How... does I repay you fer da use of dis? Who does you want me kill? Name him and he's splatted!"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna is looking on in amazement. "Oh my! I've never have heard of such feats of strength outside of my history books talking about some of the strongest and greatest heroes!" Once she is certain that the big, fuzzy goofball is done swinging the Maul around, Luna goes up to him and gives him a happy hug. "I am so happy for you! Now, all we need is to get me a Staff of the Magi, a Songbow for Oreleth, and . . . I have no idea what Kaerri would need as an epic weapon, so forgive me there. Even Otiorin has a cool new weapon! Wow. I'm jealous!"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Oreleth laughs out loud at both the massive display of power and the giddy schoolgirl reaction of Powerpaw and Luna. "Indeed, this will make Powerpaw a terror on the battlefield! And Luna, I can only guess at how loud you'd squeal if we actually did come across a Staff of the Magi. Might blow out our ears if we did!"
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Luna sticks her tongue out at Oreleth, trying to look fierce, then bursts out in giggles. "Well, could you blame me for getting excited at that? The Staff of the Magi is a item of historic deeds and legends! I mean, just think of what I could do with such a wondrous item in my hands!" She realizes that everyone around is staring at her, and probably laughing a bit, too. Calming herself, she musters up her dignity and says, "Um, yes. I believe it is time to go and see what wares we may be able to buy with our coin from the good shop of Ben and Misha's. Shall we?"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter

Character sheet
Hit Points: 128/128
Armor Class: 27 (+2 vs evil creatures)
Touch Armor Class: 13?
Mighty Blow uses remaining: 12/12
Interpose uses remaining: 12/12
Action Points: 12
Color code: 3399ff
" 'There is no owing between friends,' " the paladin replied, quoting a wise man*. "As I said, it had belonged to the adventuring party 'The Light in the Dark,' but they are largely scattered to the winds, each to his or her own path. I do not imagine they will be re-forming, but I think they would agree that this ought to go where it can do the most damage to the forces of evil. Will you do that for us, Powerpaw? If you need to make repayment, take it when you go to the temple of Tapio, my lady-goddess's mate, and use it in its reclamation from Loviatar's evil, since I have been given a different task and cannot go there with you."

* Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael, of the Brother Cadfael mystery novels.



Art by Peritwinkle
Character sheet
Hit Points: 99/99
Armor Class: 27
Touch Armor Class: 17
Shadow Illusion: 3/3
Shadow Call: 2/2
Shadow Jump distance: 80/80 feet
Defensive Roll: 1/1
Rogue Talent Resiliency: 1/1
Stinger -- uses of Slow remaining: 3/3
Charm of Bastet -- uses of Cat's Grace remaining: 1/1
Action Points: 14

"Sounds like a plan," Kaerri agreed. She had watched Powerpaw trying out the huge maul with a grin on her face. Now she turned to Luna. "I don't either," she admitted. "I've already got some pretty cool stuff that'll do me for a while, I'd think. Unless Ben or Misha have something extra special, which they do sometimes. Lead on!"
 
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