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 2: Ip

Previousplugin-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…
IndexNextplugin-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.
2018-07-17
Author: Hana’rah

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.

Our sergeant barks first and thinks later. The troops are eager to fight but laughably inexperienced to know when to act and when to hold. The Seraph commanders see us as expendable. And the impetuous, stone-brained dwarves… The Kreegarians are the least of my worries.

That's not to say the Kreegarians aren't foes to be wary of. They seem to have assembled an army full of psionics. Some of them quite powerful. This gives them a hefty advantage over the Eastland Federation regulars. If I had ever forseen that I'd find myself where I am today, maybe I would have tried to develop my own abilities more when I was younger. Instead, I rebelled by rejecting the old ways for what? Poetry? Alchemy? Diplomacy? None of that was any use then, and it won't be now.

My psionics are withered and atrophied, no more advanced than they were when I was a child. I'm too old to develop them now. I'm left bringing parlor tricks to a fire fight.

There's a young half-orc in our platoon– immature in more way than one– that has strong psionic force within her. She's clearly high-borne. She's dainty and speaks with an affectation, and holds a sword much the way I imagine she'd hold a skinned rabbit. How she ended up with this lot, I don't know. For now, she's our only hope in battles of the mind.

This evening, I witnessed something I've only read in legend.

I haven't spent much time with the healer in our platoon. He's a Brother of the Temple, and I figured he was just biding his time through a mandated mission of service before returning to some secluded monastery. He heals and keeps to himself. That works for me.

This afternoon, however, he performed some kind of funerary rites on the Kreegarian psionic after the Seraph had interrogated him to near death. I thought nothing of it, none of us did, until the same Kreegarian walked into our camp hours later.

His eyes were vacant, his mind void of thought. His living essence gone, but his corpse reanimated. A revenant. Our healer seemed more surprised than anyone. Reanimation was obviously not his goal. The only explanation we could gather, mostly from the revenant's very much alive Kreegarian companion, was that Ip, the Kreegarian god of death, had forsaken him for some unknown reason. I need to work on my Kreegarian.

The Namadi have a very accepting relationship with death. Life is harsh in the badlands, and death comes often and unexpectedly. The expression for being raised from the dead is the same as being revived from dehydration. My men showed barely any surprise at seeing the revenant. In their eyes, this is no more than a little lucky break before death gets its due. Sun rise, Sun set. Ata'rah, Ata'rux.

I, however, find little solace. I've read prophecies from the afternoon dynasties of the Lunarion Empire that foretold a great war where the dead would rise and return to the living. When the sins of the world are too great to be redeemed, no one is too innocent to be spared eternal damnation upon the earth. I used to dismiss those myths as nothing more than stories from a bored old empire. I don’t know what to think anymore.


Detailed Summary by Hana'rah

EXT. Alley in Strica. DAY

Duri carries the drunk, unconscious Kreegarian into the street. Some Kreegarian soldiers see him, and start to approach.

Duri hussles past us down the alley.

The three soldiers from up the street come up to us. Hana'rah gestures for them to follow us into the tavern. We all (5 undercover and three Kreegarians) go in.

Hana'rah sense two psionic officers in the bar. The Kreegarians we entered with find us a table. We sit down. Hana'rah gets a round of Ale from the human bartender (who doesn't charge). We all sit around the table laughing at appropriate times and not talking.

Hana'rah indicates to the rest of the team the closest officer at a big round table not too far away from our table.

Tephna, fakes coughing, and goes to the bar to try to get some water. She's given some Ale. She stumbles toward the officer's table.

As she approaches the table, another one of the Kreegarians at the table steps up to block her path. The officer says something, the Kreegarian that just stood lunges at Tephna, who dodges backward.

Hana'rah sees this, and flips the table and grabs one of the Kreegarians. This distracts the guy around Tephna, but the other Kreegarians grab Tephna and whacks her in the head. Her Kreegarian form shimmers a little.

Tephna goes up to the officer and signals to the officer than communicates to him psionically that “Hana'rah” is with “her”, and the officer should accompany her out back. The officer and one of his men follow Tephna toward the back door.

As the guy is shaking Hana'rah, Caidis sticks his quarterstaff between the guy's legs and trip him a little. He releases Hana'rah. Cilia is getting agitated and draws her sword, ready to fight.

Hana'rah shimmers and becomes full human form. People start to surround her. Tephna tries to tell the officer to get them to stop, but the other officer on the other side of the room barks an order for everyone to stop.

The two officers seem to get into an argument. The one beside Tephna seems to win. The officer, two of his men, Tephna, Gane, and undisguised Hana'rah go out the back with the officer. Caidis and Cilia go out the front door and circle around.

Out back, the officer tries to probe Tephna's mind. She resists, and spits on the ground in disgust. One of the Kreegarians tries to take a swing, Tephna dodges.

Caidis has Cilia and Gane fire their bows at the two soldiers, they both drop.

Hana'rah tries to punch him. It's ineffective. Tephna psionically blasts him and Cilia whacks him with her horse.

We tie him and load him on a horse with Caidis (the only one of us with a disguise left). We all ride toward the nearest gate.

Four guards come out to inspect us. The surround Caidis, in the lead. Tephna psionically blasts one of them a little. He collapses, we ride through the gate.

As we go through the gate we see a dwarf pushing a wheelbarrow and whistling. It's Duri, with his unconscious prisoner. We give him his horse, he gets on with his prisoner.

We ride toward our meeting point. We can see it in the distance. Between us and there, we can see a group of orcs (maybe ten). Likely mercenaries. They seem to be taking a rest from building some kind of siege engine.

On top of the siege engine, there is a human and Kreegarian talking. They say something to the Orcs, and the orcs move out to block our path.

The human calls out to us in common and asks us where we're headed. Tephna tries to say we're just passing through. The Kreegarian and human discuss something, then the human calls for the Orcs to surround us.

We tell the human that we're also mercenaries hired to undertake a mission and we should be left to pass. The Kreegarian officer doesn't like it. Tephna sends him a mental blast and he falls over off the siege engine.

We take the opportunity and flee on our horses and bolt. The orcs start loading a round into the siege engine and start to arm it. They try to fire, but it misfires, and the rock crushes one of the orcs.

EXT. THE FALLBACK POINT. LATER

We wait for Feyn. The prisoners start to stir, we knock them unconscious as they do. The psionic officer is difficult to knockout.

Hana'rah tries to threaten him with a dagger to the throat, but he blasts her psionically. Caidis whacks him with his staff. Hana'rah kicks him in the head and knocks him out.

EXT. THE FALLBACK POINT. NIGHT

Once the sun finally sets, we hear the flutter of wings and a platoon of men ride in from the South. It's Gorbus and his men.

Feyn descends from the sky. Gorbus salutes Feyn. Feyn orders Duri and Tephna to cut the wrappings off the two prisoners' faces.

Feyn questions Duri as to why he captured the first prisoner. Feyn, looks over the second (the officer). The prisoner reaches out psionically, Feyn seems to blast him unconscious, possibly to death.

Feyn examines the second. He tells us that even Duri's prisoner has some limited mental abilities. It seems all Kreegarians can communicate telepathically. He wonders aloud if Kreegarian military rank correlates with psionic ability.

Cpt Feyn nods, and tells Gorbus he's in charge, and flies off.

Caidis considers healing the officer, but decides not to. He reads the dying man's mind as he passes. He sees some images of planning to take over Strica. He sees some images of his family. Just a normal soldier/officer.

Caidis releases the other prisoner and sends him walking back toward Strica.

Gorbus assembles us, and we all ride off south.

EXT. FOREST CAMP. NIGHT

After two hours of riding, the platoon sets up camp in a forest. Caidis, Tephna, and Hana'rah are on watch together.

We hear a group approaching in the dark. Two Kreegarian figures approach. We wake the camp and watch them approach. We call out to them, they stop, sort of hide. Gorbus sends us to capture them.

Hana'rah and Caidis get close. They're unarmed. It's the two prisoners from earlier. The officer that was left to die appears pale. Gorbus comes up. He orders them be bound.

Caidis tries to see if he can read the dead on the officer. He's not alive, but not dead either.

Hana'rah tries to talk to the 'live' Kreegarian. He doesn't say much, seems to suggest they're hear because of the undead officer. The undead officer doesn't talk. He doesn't seem to respond at all. His face is expressionless.

Caidis tries to heal the undead officer. He changes into a normal color for a second, then turns back to the undead pale color. Tephna tries to read his mind, she gets nothing.

Gorbus orders us to tie them to a tree and hold them to morning. Stab them if they try anything.

Caidis stays to watch over them with Gane. He tries to heal the undead officer again. He turns back to a lifelike color, terror crosses his face, and he starts rambling. They wake Hana'rah and bring her over. She tries to talk to him. He's asking “why am I here, where am I”, and saying something about his family.

The healing starts to pass, as he fades, he looks up to the stars and says 'Ip'. Hana'rah asks Caidis if he knows what 'Ip' means. He seems to recall that it's the Kreegarian equivalent of Vil, the god of Death.


Previousplugin-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…
IndexNextplugin-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.