Metal Heart

Chapter 3
The Forest

As the party continued into the forest, the feeling increased that something wasn’t right…
They felt their trepidation growing as they ventured further into the trees. The birds had stopped singing, there was no sound other than their footfalls on the damp ground.
Out of nowhere, the hooded stranger appeared in front of them. He stood there, silently, staring at them, watching, waiting…
Kalus Auriath: What do you want, my mysterious friend?
The stranger finally spoke. “I thought you were strong enough to save this land. Apparently, I was wrong.”
“I saw what happened back there, and I’m disappointed. I really thought you were better than that.”
“Did you even check your surroundings? For anything? What about that unfortunate soldier? Can you tell me the first thing about him?”
Brynn StarGazer: He’s dead- That we know for sure!
Veil the Sly: Can’t say that I did, other than he looked like he was sacrificed.
His misfortune wasn’t really my concern at the time.
The stranger looked between the three of them. Although they couldn’t see his face, theyt could feel his disapproval
Brynn StarGazer: We WERE sort of ganged up on…
Stranger: “Excuses? Excuses matter not. What is important, is results.”
Kalus Auriath: I knew he was going to say that…
Stranger: “Excuse me, wizard? Do you deign to know who I am?”
He glared at Kalus, his eyes taking on an unearthly glow.
Kalus Auriath: Excuse you I will.
Stranger: “I have no patience for your games. Give me one good reason why I should even allow you to continue on your quest? How can I know you’re worthy?”
Brynn StarGazer: Wait a minute, weren’t you the one begging us for your help? You asked and we said yes, so there’s your reason.
Veil the Sly: Perhaps make your intentions more clear? If there was something we should have been looking for back there, perhaps it should have be been stated no?
Stranger: “My point, Was not that there was something for you to find. The point, is that you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know what is around you. Not get caught. By. Surprise.” He glares at Brynn.
Brynn StarGazer: scoffs I knew they were there…
Veil the Sly: Was plenty aware of the evil that was afoot, thank you.
Kalus Auriath: whispers i saw dead people…
Stranger: “Perhaps you did… Very well, I will give you another chance. But I know for sure you will never survive in your current state. I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m afraid it’s become necessary.”
The stranger raised his hand, and an incredibly bright light issued forth. The heroes were all stunned, and dropped to their knees, helpless.
They were consumed by blackness.
They awoke, some hours later. Feeling somehow more alive than they’ve ever felt…

  • * *
    Veil the Sly: stumbles around after standing What… the hell… was that…? walks over and kicks Kalus Hey! Old man!
    Kalus Auriath: Old man yourself, whippersnapper! I’m still in my prime, sir!
    Rolling over, Kalus spotted a note lying on the ground next to him.
    It read: “I have granted you powers, in your fight against evil. You are all now much more powerful than before. Use your powers well. I will be watching.”
    Where there should have been a signature, there was only an inscribed skull.
    Veil the Sly: I feel… stronger, and more adept. I wonder if that’s what he means…
    Kalus Auriath: Right well, I feel… thirsty.
    Kalus Auriath: Well, shall we travel on then?
    Veil the Sly: We should probably wake Brynn here…
    Kalus Auriath: Brynn says: Onward we go!
    Veil the Sly: nudges Hey, m’lady, We need to get a move on.
    Brynn StarGazer: Onward we go!
    Veil the Sly: Well she seems right as rain… Seems we haven’t moved from where we were
    They picked up their belongings and continued in the same direction they were headed before.
    Veil the Sly: Lets press on
    Kalus Auriath: That way! points exactly the wrong way
    After trekking for some time, they arrived at a river. The river was about 15 feet across, and the only way across seemed to be a large felled tree.
    Veil the Sly: You know wizard, I’m starting to wonder how smart you were in your prime, if this is any indication… Almost leading us astray back there
    Kalus Auriath: I AM in my prime, wastrel!
    Brynn StarGazer: I feel like a troll is going to pop out from under that tree… Remember guys, keep a look out!
    Kalus Auriath: Indeed.
    Suddenly the forest grew still around them… Kalus’ Raven began to grow restless
    Kalus Auriath: You had to say something.
    Veil the Sly: Oh great, I love it it when everything grows eerie and quiet… Lets continue moving.
    Brynn StarGazer: if you say so
    As they moved towards the tree, an arrow streaked from the the other side of the river, piercing the raven clear through. The bird fell to the ground, dead. Peering across the river, they saw six goblins waiting for them…
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Chapter 2 - The Adventure Begins
As they ran down the nearest alleyway, a shadowy figure, dressed in an obscuring hood and dark clothing, stepped out in front of them and held up a commanding hand. Not even knowing why, the trio drew to a halt. A voice issued forth from the cowl; “Come with me if you want to live.” The figure disappeared around the nearest corner. After some discussion, the party followed him. As they rounded the corner, they found the door he had used, and entered. They were in a corridor. At the far end was a large oaken door, to the right was a staircase leading up. After Kalus sent his familiar to check out the door, and Veil tried to unlock it, they discovered it led to a pub, and was locked from the other side, leaving them only the stairs. At the top of the stairs, they found themselves in a small storeroom. At the far end stood the shadowy figure. As they moved to face him, he spoke.

“You’ve made the right decision. We Are not safe here, but I must speak with you. I saw you fight in the arena. Although I can’t say you necessarily fought fair, you did prove that you are not easily subdued. I am in need of assistance. As you may or may not know, the ruler of this kingdom is assembling an army of darkness at his castle. I know not how, I know not why, I know not even the numbers he commands. It is far too dangerous to walk right into his lands, but I must know what he’s up to. My compatriots and I suspect evil is afoot. If you can find a way to bring me the information I seek, I shall see to it that you are handsomely rewarded.”
Veil the Sly: Hm… are we talking a substantial reward here?
Although they couldn’t see his face, they got the feeling that he was glaring at them. “I said handsome, did I not?”
Brynn StarGazer: We definitely don’t want evil ruling the kingdom.
Kalus: So says the Paladin!
He threw a large bag filled with gold onto the table. “This is about what you would have won in the arena, had you thought to collect it. It is yours now, and I promise, it is but a taste of things to come.”
Kalus: We?
“Concern yourself not with my alliances, just know that we want what’s best for these lands.” The stranger turned slightly, addressing Brynn; “You’re right. We do not want evil ruling this kingdom. We exist to prevent that from happening. What do you say?”
Before anybody could answer, a hubbub broke out in the barroom below. The sounds of a table overturning, and a brawl made their way through the floor. The stranger stared at the group. “We are not safe here. Meet me at the southern end of town, and I will get you out of here safely.”

  • * *
    At the south end of town, you meet the stranger, at the edge of a dark woods. He tells everybody; “Go south through the forest. I will meet you on the other side, and then I will meet you and give you further directions. I must deal with this crowd of…. Simpletons.”
    He turns and walks back into town. As he is almost out of sight, he seems to simply disappear. A cold wind blows, almost as if a signal of things to come…
  • * *
    After walking through the woods for a few hours, the party found a large clearing. In the center was an enclosure, in the middle of which was a large stone altar with a dead soldier laying upon it, apparently a sacrifice of some sort. As the party advanced, they were taken by surprise by a group of 5 goblins. Brynn was felled almost immediately, leaving Veil and Kalus to dispatch the rest. After a long, drawn out battle, leaving Brynn on the very brink of death, the party was victorious. After searching the area, the party found a chest containing some gold and a map of the land. The party quickly hurried onward…
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Chapter 1 - The Arena
After arriving in the arena waiting area, Kalus Aurianth, Brynn StarGazer, and Veil the Sly all introduced themselves. They barely had time to do anything other than say their names, when the crowd in the arena grew to a deafening roar. The door behind them opened, revealing a large arena, with an intimidating soldier standing on the other side. They walked in, and the door closed behind them. Kalus had only one concern; finding the pub, but the others were here to fight. The three heroes attacked the soldier, Kalus taunting him constantly. The soldier decided he didn’t like Kalus much, and beat him within an inch of his life. this gave Veil and Brynn the opportunity they needed, and they dispatched him fairly quickly. After the arena medic came in to heal the party, and left angry at Kalus’ shenanigans, the party went up against their second foe, a burlier, stronger soldier. They slowly wore him down, and eventually destroyed him, though Kalus wasn’t much help, being horribly clumsy. After the match, the arena manager came in and sullenly threw down the sack of their winnings. Before they could retrieve it, a large, bumbling drunkard came from out of the crowd, somehow stumbled his way into the arena, and drunkenly challenged them to a “real fight.” After discussing it amongst themselves, Veil and Kalus decided to meet him in battle, while Brynn, feeling that he was defenseless and not really able to offer a fair fight, decided to stay aside. Veil stepped forward and delivered a flurry of attacks, leaving the man dead and mostly limbless in a matter of seconds. The crowd started booing and closing in on the party, leaving them no choice but to run for their lives. After Veil picked the door lock, the three ran out into the street, and down the nearest alleyway…
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Prologue

You have come to the port city of Hanna in the Realm of Arroth, seeking adventure, fortune, and whatever else may come your way.
After wandering the city, you find yourself in front of a small coliseum, sporting a banner that reads: “Battle Tournament: Today Only, 50 Gold top prize.” This piques your interest, and you enter the building, pay your entry fee, and go to one of the waiting areas, where you meet some fellow competitors.
A deep voice rings out: “Five minutes!!” It is the Arena Manager. He has an imposing presence, but you are not intimidated. You check your gear, and ready for battle…

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