Crimson Dawn
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Crimson Dawn

The Story:

Chapter 1plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 1: Scouts

It has been two months since I took a position as healer for this army. Perhaps my ideal profession would be to work as a temple priest, but those jobs are in short supply, especially for a man my age who still has the title of Brother, and I need money to survive. While not ideal, this work is respectable enough, and it allows be to delve deep into a question that has bothered me for years. In war, each side sees themselves as good and their enemy as evil. Whether aggressor or defender, this vi…

Chapter 2plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 2: Ip

It's always the dwarves. Stubborn. Impulsive. You can always rely on them to throw the best laid plans into chaos.

It has been a long time since I’ve concerned myself with matters of war. But what I remember from back then still holds true today: the incompetence of your allies is a greater threat than even the most cunning enemy.

Chapter 3plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 3: Breadguy and the King of the Troglodytes

I’ve never been much of one to keep a journal. Azi assured me that despite the risk it would help me focus, but I left the little books blank. Of course, now that I have the urge to write my impressions on paper I cannot afford to do so. I doubt the supply officer would even know what I was asking for.

Chapter 4plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 4: The Trial of Uruk Ta

Long have I held sway upon my people, manipulating the course of our history as had been passed down by my father before me, Balik Ta. He had bequeathed unto me the secret of our power. And better still, he had taught me how to manipulate hearts and minds, even the physical elements that surround us, with but our thoughts. And lo, we are but limited by the sun’s deadly light. Within the caves, we dwell, hidden in shadow and secrecy.

Chapter 5plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 5: Better off with Federov

Since I joined the army, I've had a somewhat privileged position. As someone who can heal using both mundane and magical means, I'm in slightly higher demand than the average soldier. However, it's been made clear to me that I, like everyone else, am expendable and replaceable. In the end, I'm one soldier among thousands, so why have some people put so much effort into protecting me? I restored Federov to his half-life. When he got into a fight, I explained his purpose to him and thought he was …

Chapter 6plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 6: ...

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Detailed summary by Hanah'rah

Crimson Dawn

Chapter 1: Scouts

Previousplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Crimson Dawn

* Index

The Story: Chapter 1: ScoutsChapter 2: IpChapter 3: Breadguy and the King of the TroglodytesChapter 4: The Trial of Uruk TaChapter 5: Better off with FederovChapter 6: ...
IndexNextplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 2: Ip

It's always the dwarves. Stubborn. Impulsive. You can always rely on them to throw the best laid plans into chaos.

It has been a long time since I’ve concerned myself with matters of war. But what I remember from back then still holds true today: the incompetence of your allies is a greater threat than even the most cunning enemy.
2018-07-04
Author: Caidis

It has been two months since I took a position as healer for this army. Perhaps my ideal profession would be to work as a temple priest, but those jobs are in short supply, especially for a man my age who still has the title of Brother, and I need money to survive. While not ideal, this work is respectable enough, and it allows be to delve deep into a question that has bothered me for years. In war, each side sees themselves as good and their enemy as evil. Whether aggressor or defender, this view prevails, but it is self-contradictory. I would like to find the truth of it. Is one side always good and the other evil? Are both evil, or both good? Or do the conflicts of ideals that cause war transcend morality? As a worshipper of Vil, god of death, this question is important to me. If one side is evil, or if both are, then death in war has value, but if neither side is evil, what is the value of that death?

Such a lofty question will take much work to answer, and it's likely that answer will never been complete. In the mean time, I do what I can to heal the wounded and earn my keep.

I was recently placed in a platoon under Sergeant Gorbis, with the usual mix of dwarves, humans, elves and half-orcs. One woman, Tephna, has an unusual combination of orc and elven features, and a bit of magical talent. Maybe once we are better acquainted, I'll offer to tailor her clothes a bit. I'm not a master tailor by any stretch, but I can handle a needle and thread, and her clothing was clearly made for someone of much sturdier build. Besides, if she could afford a real tailor, she wouldn't be in the army. Another who stands out is Hana'rah, of the Namadi, who, despite being of the lowest rank in the army, has a few other Namadi soldiers under her, in other platoons. I don't know how that complex command structure works.

I wonder if all Namadi women shave their heads. Somehow that, more than the intricate tattoos all along her arms, surprised me.

We had several skirmishes over the past couple of days, first around Carda, and now in Strica. Most went poorly, with little gained but injury, and despite my efforts, one death. New as I am to the army, I know not to charge into battle during a scouting mission. Some of these soldiers are less sure of that than I. Though what they believed in their hearts was the right thing to do and why, I cannot know. Maybe they all had good reasons and I judge them too quickly.

More notable than the skirmishes was the shrine. There is a temple outside of Carda, with a hidden shrine to Lily, goddess if the harvest, in the basement. For the first time in my life, I witnessed true manifestation of power attributed to a god. When I entered the shrine, the room vibrated with energy, and the vibrations became more powerful close to the mural of Lily. Was it a magical effect that was built into the shrine, or the actual power of a god? While I would suspect the former, I have to admit that, when I kneeled before the mural and prayed for a good harvest, I felt like my prayer was heard. And when Theli entered the room, she was stunned so powerfully that she slept until late the next morning, supposedly because she didn't wash her feet. The monks were extremely evasive, first about what the room contained, and then about the power of the room, but surely they felt it. What were they hiding, and why?

I attempted to redeem two souls today. Mali Cannis was a good woman for most of her life, but when she caught her husband sleeping with another woman, she was overcome with vengeance. She poisoned him, and nearly killed him. Unfortunately, she became ill shortly thereafter, and died before she had a chance to repent. I took the empty vial of poison from her home, and this week, filled it with a healing potion which I used to help save a life. Unfortunately, the woman I saved died the next day.

Goverlin was an unrepentant counterfeiter, who would debase gold with silver or lead and re-mint the coins. After closing a fatal wound of the heart, I fused one such coin with bone to repair a rib. I hope that whenever Theli sees the part of the coin that will forever protrude from her chest, she dedicates herself to doing good deeds in memory of Goverlin. May his soul be saved through her actions.

I hope that Vil received my prayers and considers giving these two a second chance, but I fear that redeeming the objects of their crimes may not have been enough to save them.


Hana'rah

EXT. The edge of a forest near Carda. Night.

A light drizzle. Tall grass land. Dirt, grime, filthiness and hunger.

There are six folks near a campfire with us (three PCs):

Male and female dwarf, three humans, a male elf.

Everyone is wearing standard issue, brown, drab, leather armor. A human 'fighter' wears splint armor.

SGT. GORBUS, a half-orc, the squad leader, appears, barking orders. Gorbus gripes about the quality of the recruits he's been assigned.

The human fighter identifies himself as FRARDER.

The 'squad' has recently been reorganized. Hana'rah has been separated from her fellow Namadi.

The male dwarf indicates that we're supposed to be taking a fort on a hill in the distance tomorrow. He identifies himself as DURI.

The human woman gets up and goes off into her tent without talking.

Others excuse themselves. All that's left is the male elf and a female human (and three PCs).

One of Hana'rah's Namadi comes and brings her a loaf of bread he acquired. He gives it to Hana'rah, who splits it with the five that remain. Tells them they should eat before the combat tomorrow.

The human woman identifies herself as CILIA. The elf identifies himself as GANE (round face, thick white hair, grey eyes).

As the night progresses, eventually Caidis and Hana'rah take the last watch before dawn. The observe what appears to be monks meandering around the structure on the hill.

A little later, Sgt. Gorbus rises everyone, and instructs them (calls them “maggots”) they are to take the hill. Kill any unfriendlies that get in the way.

Everyone selects a spear, short sword, or short bow.

Sgt. Gorbus marches the squad out. He assigns Frader and Caidis to the back.

As we approach the structure, we see it's a church. Robed figures seem to be sweeping the ground around it. They see us approaching, hurry into the church.

At the site of the movement, Gorbus tells everyone to get their bows ready.

Gorbus splits the squad into two halves. Sends the first group (including Hana'rah and Tephna) up to the church while everyone else stands overwatch.

Tephna and Hana'rah come upon a monk drawing water from the well. Hana'rah overtakes the monk, strips him, and sends him walking back to Gorbus.

Caidis sees the monk approaching, tells Gorbus he thinks they're all monks and it would probably be easiest to just negotiate a surrender.

Everyone assembles at the front of the church. Caidis goes in through the unlocked front door. There is no one visible inside.

He identifies himself as 'Brother Caidis'. Asks if there is anyone he can speak to. Two monks pop up from behind the altar. Caidis identifies himself as a representative of the Eastland Federation (ELF). Tells them the ELF wants to use their hill.

Gorbus and some of the others barge in impatiently. Caidis tells them the monks have offered to allow them to use their land .

Gorbus instructs his men to search the monks. One monk looks at the other (who appears to be the had priest). The priest starts walking towards a back room. Gorbus's dwarves draw their swords. The priest says he was just going to wake his brothers. The dwarves go back to investigate.

The NE corner of the church can see the town of CARDA. A human female on watch sees townspeople coming up the hill to the church. 20-30 people. The priest says that they aren't expecting anyone to come to the church until the service tomorrow.

We get the priest to send Brother Malus to go down to send the people coming up the hill away. Tephna probes Br. Malus's mind. He seems legit, just scared. Caidis offers to go with Malus to make sure things go well.

Malus walks to the edge of the hill. The people are maybe 300 feet away. The people approaching are in robes (monks?). Malus calls out for them to turn back, there is no service today. Arrows come flying, four hit Malus. They are clearly enemy arrows.

Caidis sees the 20-30 people fanning out. They are shedding their robes. They've got greenish skin and pointed ears. They're maybe five feet tall. Caidis falls with Malus, pretending to be hit.

Caidis checks to see if Malus is alive. He's in rough shape. He left his healing supplies at the church, so he performs a healing spell.

Tephna and Hana'rah are within the church, aiming and firing arrows at the approaching attackers.

Gorbus ignites an arrow and fires it into the air. The rest of the platoon surges up the hill.

The hill/church is secured. Three Kreegarians are taken prisoner. No one in the platoon speaks Kreegarian. The struggle to interrogate them in common.

Caidis goes up to a dying Kreegarian. He uses his ability to try to read him. He sees the Kreegarian forces assembling in Carda and deciding to attack the hill. He lets the Kreegarian die.

Caidis goes into where the prisoners are being interrogated and notifies the officer of the information he acquired. The commanding officer (a beautiful blond man), overrules Gorbus and tells Caidis to speak. He tells them that he thinks ~200 soldiers have taken Carda. The officer is pleased with this information, and says he'll go back and report to the battalion commander. As he leaves, giant wings appear from under his robes and he flies off.

Sgt. Gorbus takes command of the whole platoon (~30 people). Everyone sets up in the NW corner of the church facing Carda. Everyone told to set up fighting positions in preparation for an attack.

The head priest comes up to Caidis and asks what he and the monks should do. Leave? Caidis recommends their safest place is to stay in the church. The priest says the monks all have family and Carda and would like to return there. Caidis dissuades him. The monks retreats to stay in the basement quarters.

INT. Church. Later

The winged officer returns and gathers his sargeants and gives them orders.

Gorbus relates our orders. We're going to wear monk's robes and sneak into Carda under cover of darkness. Observe and report.

We are given disgusting stew to eat. The same Namadi shares a loaf of bread with Hana'rah. She shares it with the other eight of the squad.

Caidis notices that the dwarf Duri was wounded in the skirmish earlier. He has a limp. The wound is pretty bad, starting to fester. He is resistant to being treated, but he relents and shows Caidis. Caidis uses some healing magic on it (the skin goes translucent, the bone becomes visible), healing the wound. The magic weirds out Duri.

Gorbus comes by later with Brother Malus. He is going to lead us into town.

EXT. Heading into SE corner of Carda. Sundown.

Sgt Gorbus leads. Brother Malus finds it suspicious that the two houses we're near have the lights off at this hour. He knows the inhabitants, they shouldn't be asleep.

We're about 200ft from the stone structures.

Hana'rah and Tephna volunteer to check out the houses. They sneak up to the “left” house. Hana'rah uses a mirror to peer into the window. She sees a large, salamander-like tail stretching out of view. They sneak over to “right” house. Hana'rah peaks in with the hand-mirror. There are two Kreegarian guards, armed, sitting around.

Hana'rah tells Tephna to stay put. She sneaks away to report back to Gorbus. When Hana'rah is ~100ft away, the guards come to the window and look out. They see Hana'rah, and fire, hitting her in the back with an arrow. Tephna induces a headache in one of them. Hana'rah returns arrow fire and hits one of the guard.

The surviving guard runs for help. Hana'rah signals to the squad that join her, she reports what she saw, the squad (minus Corbis and Malus rush in to the houses).

The squad assembles by the house near Tephna. Two Kreegarian soldiers come out and engage the squad. Tephna sees someone in the window, a Kreegarian. She tries to read him. She feels a “wall”. The Kreegarian looks down on to her and smiles. Tephna fires an arrow at him, through the glass. Hits him. He staggers back, and mentally screams loudly into Tephna's mind.

Several soldiers and an eight-foot komodo dragon like creature emerge from the “left” house. Tephna sneaks into the “right” house and fires an arrow at the psionic officer, killing him. She hears whimpering from within the house, and finds a family tied and bound. She releases them.

The lizard thing starts battling with the squad.

Hana'rah gets healed by Caidis. They move closer to the lizard skirmish. Caidis looses an arrow at the lizard, hitting it in the rear leg.

The lizard tackles and chomps down on one of the human women in the squad. She screams, starting to raise an alarm. Tephna strikes the lizard, causing it to retreat a little. The woman's jugular has been severed. Gorbus calls for everyone to fall back to the assembly point. Duri fireman-carries the wounded woman. He's moving slowly. The lizard starts to pursue.

Caidis has Duri place the woman on the ground. Duri engages the lizard. Tephna tries to project a headache onto the lizard. Fails.

Hana'rah fires an arrow from distance. She hits the lizard squarely. Duri deals the coup de gras. Kreegarian sentries are closing in. Caidis heals the wound on the woman's neck. They pick her up and try to carry her back to the hill.

INT. Back in the Church. Night.

The wounded woman is in rough shape. Caidis says she needs to eat. Hana'rah suggests the monks probably have food stores. She and Tephna go down to the lower level to check it out. They find a monk suspiciously handing out in the pantry. He acts like he's doing nothing, shows them the food and offers to help. They get him to help carry stuff upstairs. Hana'rah sneaks back into the pantry, finds a small trap door near the floor. She breaks the lock and looks in. It's a tunnel (big enough to crawl in) that leads to a lit room at the other end.

They bring the monk back and get him to explain what is. He says it is just a prayer room that is not intended for the 'unclean' (indicating Hana'rah and Tephna). Tephna reads him, and thinks its the truth. Hana'rah crawls through the tunnel and looks in. It is a candle lit room with a painting of what appears to be the same god worshipped upstairs. She returns through the tunnel without going into the special place.

They go back upstairs, where Caidis is treating the wounded woman (Sarrey). He says a prayer to Vil when he does so, and feels a little ill at ease, possibly because he's doing it in the church of another god. Hana'rah reports what went down. The monk explains that they worship Lily, goddess of the harvest. Carda is known for its wheat.

Caidis asks to see the hidden room/altar. The head priest leads him down and gets him to wash his face and go in. He goes in, things feel strange, electrical. He looks at the painting of the god. It looks male, despite them saying it was a church of a female god, Lily. The eyes of the painting seem to be following Caidis.

Caidis touches the mural. The wall seems to be vibrating, more so the closer to the image of the god.

Gorbus bellows from upstairs for everyone to get in formation. As Caidis leaves, the candles put themselves out.

We start getting ready to sleep in the pews. We talk amongst the squad. When Frarder hears about the hidden shrine, he and the female dwarf head down to investigate. Caidis tries to convince them not to bother with it, there's nothing of value in it.

Hana'rah looks Frarder in the eye and tells him “There's nothing of value in there”. He repeats the sentence, then walks away, back upstairs. The dwarf pushes forward and crawls in, disregarding the monks and Caidis. As she crosses the threshold into the shrine, we hear a zap and a thud. Caidis crawls in after her, making sure that his feet are clean before he goes in. He finds the dwarf unconscious and singed. He brings her out. The priest claims that it happened because her intentions were impure.

INT. The Church. Morning.

Sgt. Gorbus is angry at formation because there are only seven of nine of the squad. SARREY was injured by the lizard in Carda yesterday, and THELI, the female dwarf, is still sleeping off being “zapped” in the shrine. Caidis goes to wake Theli. She gets angry when he wakes her and tries to attack a monk, Caidis tries to diffuse her. She goes to the tunnel and starts trying to smash the newly made lock on the tunnel with her warhammer.

Gorbus calls everyone in before anything can happen. He gives the new mission. He wants us to do reconnaissance. Theli, Duri, Gane, Hana'rah, Tephna, and Caidis volunteer.

Fifteen minutes before we depart, another healer runs up to Caidis and tells him “Sarrey is passing”. He runs back. The moment Caidis gets to her side, she dies. He says, “May Vil guide you”. He does not attempt to communicate with her.

Caidis returns to the group and reports her death. Gorbus orders the reconnaissance team out. He says we have two hours. If they don't hear back from us in two hours, they'll assume we're captured or dead.

We move out.

EXT. Western Edge of Carda. Day.

Forty minutes later, we come to the edge of Carda. We see an encampment in the distance (~mile) to the west of the city.

We see three carts with large, empty cages (for big lizards?).

We hideout and wait to watch for patrols for the 30 min or so we have. After 15 min, we see a group emerge from the camp on horseback, riding quickly to Carda. They're dragging a cart. There's an even larger lizard (~20ft) in a cage on the cart.

They ride past us. Meet up with some guards. They bring out the lizard on a leash.

We can see people assembling on the roof of a building, like a guard post, nearby.

In her head, Tephna can hear psychic incantations in Kreegarian. She's hit by a psionic blast in her head. She strikes back, psionically.

Kreegarian archers on the roof fire flaming, arching, arrows as signals. Arrows start firing in our direction. We all start to run.

We get out of range of the arrows, but we hear horses emerging from the North end of the city.

NOTE: The church on the hill is to the SE of Carda.

We wait to ambush the horsemen. Seven of them approach. They fire arrows at us, we fire back at them. Tephna kills the lead horse psionically. Theli takes an arrow to the chest. We take down five of the horseman. One of the remaining ones dismounts and attacks. Caidis shoots him in the chest. Hana'rah finishes him off with another arrow.

Hana'rah collects the confused, riderless, horses. Caidis tries to heal the wounded Theli. We hear approaching horses. Hana'rah insists that we need to leave now, whether Theli is stabilized or not. We ride out.

EXT. Back at the Hill Camp. Day.

We debrief Gorbus. Tell him the size of the camp (>500). Tell him about the lizards and Tephna explains that they seem to employ soldiers with psionic abilities.

Theli seems to be stabilized. Gorbus returns with the beautiful blond angel. Tephna explains about the psionics. Another angel flutters down, both the other angel and Gorbus kneel in front of him.

We overhear the officers talking about telepathy in the Kreegar ranks. They seem to be surprised that this ability exists. They seem to have thought the Kreegar were “simple”. They want us to find out more about their ability. The higher ranking angel departs.

The blond angel comes over question us. He establishes that Tephna can detect psionics. He asks everyone else if they have psionic abilities. He doesn't believe Hana'rah when she says no. He says he detects something in her.

The Blond Angel says he wants to redirect Gorbus to STRICA. He wants them to try to capture one of these psionic Kreegarians for study.

NOTE: CAPTAIN FEYN is the blond, beautiful Seraph.

Strica is larger than Carda.

Duri, Gane, Cilia, and the three PCs will be sneaking into Strica to try to kidnap a psionic Kreegarian.

We bed down for the night.

The next morning, Caidis tries to enter the hidden shrine again (washing his feet, etc). He hears the hum again. Sees the eye-following mural. He says a prayer to Lily, god of the harvest. He feels strengthened and rejuvenated.

As he leaves, a monk stops him. Caidis asks him about the mural and the ability to 'zap' Theli. The monk doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.

EXT. The Road to Strica. Day

We ride for several hours North, rest, then head west for a while until we see a cluster of trees we were told about. When we get there, Cpt Feyn flutters down from the sky. He casts something on us, makes us all look Kreegarian. If someone stares at us hard, they can see through the Kreegarian illusion. It will last for 2-4h.

We ride into the town, see an outpost on the outskirts with four guards. They come out to inspect us. In broken Kreegarian, Hana'rah looks the one in charge in the eye and says, “we have to go”. He nods and lets us through.

We ride into Strica. There are three humans, flayed and splayed on Xs around a fountain. They look like important people from the village (eg. the mayor).

Caidis makes a show of poking the one that looks like a mayor. He heals him a little. Barely alive, the mayor asks him “who are you?” He says “allies”.

A Kreegarian comes out and shakes a fist at us, telling us to leave them alone. We move further into town. We see a tavern. There are clearly a bunch of officers there.

Tephna suggests we wait in the alley behind the tavern for someone to stumble out to relieve themselves.

A lowly ranked officer stumbles out and vomits. Duri seizes the opportunity and attacks him. This causes his illusion to shimmer off. They roll around fighting, and eventually Duri over takes him.

Duri throws the unconscious officer over his soldier and walks back into the street. Some soldiers see him and think it's weird.


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* Index

The Story: Chapter 1: ScoutsChapter 2: IpChapter 3: Breadguy and the King of the TroglodytesChapter 4: The Trial of Uruk TaChapter 5: Better off with FederovChapter 6: ...
IndexNextplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Chapter 2: Ip

It's always the dwarves. Stubborn. Impulsive. You can always rely on them to throw the best laid plans into chaos.

It has been a long time since I’ve concerned myself with matters of war. But what I remember from back then still holds true today: the incompetence of your allies is a greater threat than even the most cunning enemy.