Accumulated RolePlay and FanFiction by Joe D. Machado.
All attempts, be it persuasion, stealth, offense, defense, crafting, or singing are done by a base D20. I know where the story may go, but I do not know the true ending until it is written.
Guardian: Amicus Horizonborn, Age 25
Amicus crouches down into the brush. The gentle patter of rain stirs the forest air, bringing up all the earthy smells. All is silent save for the rain, the small creatures skittering in the branches, and the approaching caravan of bandits.
The Guardian looks across the dirt path, up the hill, and into the brush on the other side. He looks past the twigs and leaves and into the mix of shadows, spotting a pair of vibrant green eyes. He nods and watches the Kypiq scouts nod back.
The scouts had informed The Guardian that the bandit chieftain would be taking this route after his malicious deeds bore fruit. True to their word, the Chief sits high in the center wagon, raised high by his ill gotten cargo.
The caravan starts to enter the space between the scouts and The Guardian’s menn. It was time to act.
The Guardian sounds the War horn and his men charge in, though perhaps too early. However, as the bandits turn to engage the warriors charging in, the Kypiqs sneak up behind, taking out bandits one by one.
By the time the Chieftain realized what was happening, Amicus, silver cutlass ready, had hopped atop the wagon and gained the Chief’s attention.
“You May have got the jump on my menn,” The rugged Brudvir says, readying his two steel axes. “But I am my own army!”
Amicus raises a brow, and shrugs. “We shall see about that.”
Zareth glides across the battle, dodging arrows and thrown axes. He flies over to the wagon and attempts to distract the Chief, but the Brudvir appears unphased. Zareth retreats back into the branches and waits for another opportunity.
While the warriors and the scouts are having an easy time dispatching the bandits, The Guardian wishes he had the same. The Chief is a more fearsome opponent than what Amicus had expected and the furiosity of his attacks wore The Guardian out. Sweat drips from Amicus' black brow as he dodges and parries each attack. The silver cutlass ringing with each blow from the axes. Amicus gets himself ready to strike after the next parry and when the next blow from the Chief's axe hits, he takes his chances.
The Chieftain parrys the forward strike of the cutlass and disarms Amicus by swinging down on the blade with his other axe.
The Guardian quickly dodges the axes as it comes up, but he loses his footing and falls off the wagon. The wet path meets his back end and he huffs, quickly looking up to see his opponent smirking at the scene.
"Aren't you supposed to be a hero or something?" The Chieftain mocks, kicking the cutlass off the wagon.
Amicus watches it fall and clatter against the rocks of the forest floor. He looks back with a cocky smile, "It's a work in progress."
The brute of a Brudvir hops down from the wagon as Amicus gets up. He makes his approach with bloodlust in his eyes.
Amicus takes a few steps back. "Zareth!" He shouts.
Zareth, hearing the command, dives down from the trees and glides low, catching the hilt of the cutlass in his talons. As the crow shoots upward, he lets go of the blade, tossing it to Amicus.
The Guardian catches the hilt just in time to block his opponent's attack. As the battle ragged, the two traded attempts at attack, parrying and dodging each other. As the warriors and scouts begin to finish up their battle, Amicus decides it's time to end his.
As the Chieftain launches forward with his first swing, Amicus dives and rolls bellow the attempt, but his armor makes him awkward to rise and the Chief's second swing cuts through his back. The Chronicler lets out a painful cry and falls to his knees.
The rain patters on the ground as Amicus falters to his hands and knees. The pain in his back racking up with each move of his muscles. He gasps at the pain, gripping to his blade hilt tightly.
"You see!" Shouts the Chief, getting everyone's attention. The remaining bandits smirk at the sight while the warriors pause in shock. The Brudvir lifts up his axes for the killing blow. "This is what happens to heroes!" He brings the axes down hard and Amicus grips his cutlass.
The Chronicler spins around, ignoring the pain in his back, and catches the axes on his blade. With one turn of the blades, the axes fly from the Chief's hands and Amicus' cutlass cuts through the Brudvir's leather armor, sliding clean through the mann. As blood trickles down the silver blade, Amicus looks at the fading light of the mann's eyes and smirks. "Couldn't have said it better myself." The Chronicler gets up to his feet and pushes the Chieftain off his blade, watching him fall to the wet ground, dead. Chronicler Amicus Mourchaux turns, cutlass raised overhead, and rally's his men to defeat the remaining bandits.
Guardian: Amicus Horizonborn, Age 35
As the sun starts to set on the day, Amicus makes his way through the brush of the forest, being led by a map obtained by bandits some time ago. “We are going East, right?” he asks the crow perched on his shoulder.
Zareth nods, looking around at the still trees.
“A few more yards, then. Straight ahead,” Amicus says, putting the map away. He steps down a small steep and crosses a ford, weaving in and out of shadows cast by the sunset.
Eventually, Amicus and Zareth reach a stone barrier almost hidden within a natural alcove and partially shrouded by nature. The Guardian cuts away the vines with his cutlass and examines the barrier face, looking over its circular design and the ornate symbols enclosed within several rings.
“Combination lock; Hrothi design, as expected by the map,” Amicus says aloud, pulling a book out of his satchel. He turns to a section on ancient Hrothi symbology and re-examines the lock.
Zareth looks at the book from Amicus’ shoulder, then looks at the door. “Caw!”
“I don’t know,” Amicus seemingly responds, flipping through some pages. “Hrothi building in the woodlands? Perhaps they were trying to hide something.” Amicus furrows his brow as he looks back and forth at his book and the lock. “This... This is going to take some time,” he says with a frown.
Amicus steps up and grips a ring and pulls it hard, forcing it to turn to a wavy looking symbol. The ring turns, sounding like a grinder in a windmill. “Well, the center symbol means ocean,” Amicus says aloud, turning another ring. “There is a symbol for river on all the rings and the river always leads to the ocean, so...”
The rings click into place and barrier splits open, slowly revealing a dark entrance to some underground dungeon. Zareth caws and turns his head away.
“The air is rather foul, isn’t it?” Amicus says, wrinkling his nose a little. “Well, let’s check it out.”
Lighting a torch he quickly made from the forest around him, Amicus steps down into the ruin. The stairs continue further and further, seemingly never endless. It is well beyond the sunlight before the stairs end, having led Amicus and Zareth to a large hall of intricate carvings on the wall and floor tiles. This place is near ancient. The space is silent save for The Guardian’s breathing. Shadows dance around broken pillars as the torch light pass by. The darting shadows play tricks on the mind, causing anyone to grip their sword hilt in anticipation of an attack. Amicus is no exception. Though having dived into such dark places before, there are some things that simply remain uneasy.
Eventually, Amicus reaches a narrow straight in the hall with no visible means to go around. It’s a clear walk through, but the singular symbology on each floor tile and the numerous holes from the carvings on the wall indicate a clear and obvious trap. Amicus sighs and pulls his book out again, looking over the tiles and the symbols in ”Ancient Hrothi Symbology for Beginners” by Giblee Toran.
“Ok, it should be the same as before. Follow the water,” Amicus says, putting away his book. He moves his foot to the first tile and steps on it lightly. Nothing happens and he breathes a sigh of relief. He moves one foot in front of the other, managing to get mostly across. But then Amicus furrows his brow. “Maker, why...”
The tiles remaining lack a symbol for water and there are no clues to indicate what steps should be taken. Each tile is a different symbol. Zareth calls out worryingly.
“We’ll be fine, just give me a second,” Amicus says, trying to keep balance on one foot while holding a torch in one hand and fishing out his book with the other. He notices himself starting to lean right as he opens the book. “Zareth, move to my left.”
Zareth hops onto the other shoulder and Amicus begins tipping to the left. “Right! Right!”
Zareth caws at Amicus and hops onto his head and spreads his wings. The two tip back upright.
“Well...” Amicus sighs. “Shit.”
The Guardian's eyes dart around, examining every inch of the surrounding area. His eyes finally settle on the path in front of him and he raises his brow.
“Ok, I have an idea,” Amicus finally says, feeling the strain start to come around on his leg.
“Caw!” Zareth shouts with worry.
“No, no. It’s a good plan,” Amicus assures, starting to struggle to keep balance. “If we step on the wrong plate, then only one trap should be set off, not the entire hall.”
“Well, think about it. It’d be wasteful. So, I’m going to toss my book onto the plate halfway, set that trap off. Then I want you to hop on top of the book and see if the trap goes off again-“
“CAW!” Zareth pecks Amicus on the head.
“Hey! You’re an immortal ass crow, I don’t want to hear it from you.”
Amicus closes his book slowly, aims, and then tosses the book onto the plate just ahead.
One single click later and everything goes to hell. Arrows begin shooting, spikes start stabbing out, fire spits out from the cracks in the tiles, and a giant axe loosens from the ceiling.
Amicus dodges, dives, rolls, and jumps, acting quickly on instinct and sheer bloody panic. He lunges out of the hall just in time to avoid being split in half from the swinging axe. An arrow in his left arm and a bleeding cut just above his brow are his rewards so far from this dungeon. Well, that and Zareth’s deep long glare of disapproval.
“Yeah, yeah, shut up.” Amicus bats the fire out on his shoulder and grips the neck of the arrow in his bicep. He grits his teeth and with one good tug, the arrow slides out with relative ease. “Worthless ass chain mail,” Amicus curses, tossing the arrow away. He reaches into his satchel and pulls out some bandages, wrapping up his arm and doing his best to ignore the pain. He suspends his arm with a strap over the head and looks down another flight of stairs. This time, a pale red light radiates from below. He sighs and calls Zareth back to his shoulder, starting his way down.
After what seems like ages, Amicus makes it down to the end of the stairs. The red glow from before has completely enveloped the space and now has a searing heat to it. Amicus blinks his eyes and looks around, hardly believing the sight of lava pouring down in perfect square columns. A long bridge leads to a massive statue of a skull, which sits atop a small flight of stairs. "I'm getting really tired of stairs," Amicus sighs, brushing the bloody sweat from his brow.
He and Zareth make their way across the bridge, wary of any potential traps. There were no plates or symbols or contraptions though. With caution, he makes his way up the small set of stairs to the skull. At the last step, Amicus and Zareth find their treasure. A spherical diamond the size of a Brudvir's fist, radiating a golden glow. It sits on a pedestal within the mouth of the skull. Behind jagged, razor teeth. "Zareth, do you mind?"
The crow jumps and glides into the mouth. He kicks the diamond, making it slide off it's plate.
As expected, the jaw of the skull slams shut. Amicus waits a moment and raises his brow. "Zareth? You alright?"
"Caw!" Zareth crys, hopping out of the skull's eye socket.
"Yeah, I know. What do you need?" Amicus replies.
Zareth looks back at whatever is in the skull. "Ca-caw!"
"Alright, fine." The Guardian reaches into his satchel and tosses three lock picks up to Zareth. The picks fly into the eye socket and fall down into the contraption. "Erm... Sorry..."
Zareth sighs and hops down into the skull to get to work.
Amicus holds his wounded arm and looks over the bandages, but then something catches his ear. A sudden vibration quakes through the hall, like stone scraping against itself. He quickly turns in time to see the columns start jetting out lava. His eyes widen in horrific realization that the lava is starting to rise. "Zareth! You need to hurry!" Amicus shouts as the molten liquid consumes the bridge back out.
"We only have three of those! Make them count, Zareth," Amicus shouts, looking for a way to climb onto the skull if need be.
Within moments, the jaw un-clamps and Zareth hops out with a lockpick in his mouth. A swirling sound echoes through the hall, which must be the sound of the lava draining back down. The bridge appears with a fresh, heated glow and the way out becomes clear once more.
Amicus nods, cutting an eye at Zareth. "What? I wasn't worried."
Zareth rolls his eyes and spits the lockpick back at The Guardian.
Amicus looks inside the mouth and sees the relic they had come to retrieve. "I wasn't expecting it to be so... shiny," He says, plucking it from the skull. He tosses it up and catches it at eye level, looking through the diamond at the mysterious force just within. It's at this moment that the pale glow radiates outward, touching Amicus' wounds and mending them completely.
Zareth cocks his head and watchs. "Caw?"
Amicus blinks and shakes his head, clearing a slight disorientation. He smirks and shrugs. "I do like happy accidents," Amicus says, stretching his left arm free and putting the relic into his satchel. "Come on, Zareth. Time to go."
The crow hops to his shoulder and the two begin their ascent to the surface.
Amicus and Zareth emerge into the sunlight. They both pause at the entrance and take a long breath of fresh air, then a curious sound tolls from Amicus’ satchel. He reaches in, pulls out his map of the continent, and watches as borders are drawn and colors are filled. “Looks like we missed some stuff, Zareth,” Amicus says, putting the map away. “We have a dedicated home now. That’s what’s important. We should stop by the Capital on the way to Raven Grove.”
Zareth nods his head in approval.
The two make their way through the forest, finding their way back to the horse. Amicus checks his bag to look at the relic one more time before galloping his way back home.
Guardian: Amicus Horizonborn, Age 40
A red and white carriage with gilded frames is pulled up to the front gates of Duke Donovan’s estate house. It comes to a stop and the door opens. Out steps Amicus, wearing his best formal attire. A cerulean blue robe with golden embroidery along the seams. A bright red silk sash is wrapped around his waist. His silver cutlass dangles from his leather sheathe and his oaken staff remains in his hand as he walks up to the estate, following one tailored leather boot step after another.
A mighty group of knights stand before the gate, all clad in high quality plate armor. One knight raises his hand to the Guardian, ordering him to stop.
“And who might you be?” The Knight says, looking Amicus up and down with slight suspicion.
“I am Amicus Horizonborn, Guardian of Tyria. And I am hear in place of King Archibald Von Rothe,” Amicus replies, handing over the invitation. He then returns the look and says, “And you are?”
The knight glares back. “I am Ser Derpaderp, Guardian of this estate.” Derp looks over the invitation with suspicion.
Derpederp hands back the invitation and nods. “You may enter the estate and join the party on the gardens, but you are not the intended member of this invitation, so I must ask you to remain outside the mansion.”
Amicus frowns, ponders a moment, and then nods. “Sounds reasonable. I’ll be on my way.”
Ser Derpederp raises his hand again and points to the Guardian’s cutlass. “No weapons on estate grounds. We will take care of that for you.”
Amicus grimaces and reluctantly nods, removing his sheathe and handing over the blade. He gives Derp a quick smile and heads for the gate-
“Sir! Your staff as well.”
“Shit,” Amicus mutters under his breath. He turns around and attempts to look like he’s favoring his right side. “Must you depart me from my walking stick? Ever since that.. er.. otter bear attack, my left knee has never been the same.”
Ser Derpederp, which totally happens to be a common Hrothi name, rolls his eyes and snatches the staff away. “I know your tricks, Guardian. Be happy that I’m still letting you in the party rather than locking you in the cellar until the patrol guards come by.”
Amicus gives a weak smile and awkwardly limps through the gate. Only when he is behind the hedges does he begin to walk normally.
It didn’t take long to find the celebrations. Tables filled with food and wine take up the garden, nobles in their finery chatter away endlessly, and illuminating it all is a long string of miniature, glass lanterns, zig zagging all the way to the mansion. On instinct, Amicus immediately lifts a wine glass from a servant.
The Guardian moves slightly away from the party, darting behind a hedge. He hears a raven calling up head.
Zareth dives down to the estate in the cover of night and releases something square from his talons. It falls down and lands perfectly in his master’s hand.
Amicus takes a look at the small satchel and opens it, seeing five new lock picks. He nods and tucks the picks into his sash before returning to the party.
Standing beside the buffet, Amicus picks up another glass of wine and quietly contemplates his next move forward.
Walking about the garden and chatting with a few familiar faces, Amicus gets a good look around and finds three possible points of entry to the mansion.
“Where do you think your goin’? You’re only here cuz your father bought a cow!” A grumpy older man shouts, sitting alone at a table. Richard Donovan, Duke Donovan’s not as successful older brother. Where the Duke is renowned for his research, his brother, Richard, is renowned for his insatiable drinking and low tolerance. While potentially hard to handle, he still has a key to the mansion.
Amicus turns his eyes off to the side and looks down near the mansion’s foundation, where a cellar entrance sits wide open. Servants going in and out with bottles of wine and trays of food. The trick would be getting past the servants and into the mansion without causing too much of a fuss.
Then there is the front door. Wide open, yet guarded, the more nobler guests allowed entry. Could he persuade his way in? Perhaps.
The Guardian bites his lower lip and contemplates his choices, not really favoring one above the others.
“Front door it is,” Amicus says, gulping down the rest of his wine.
“Oo! Strawberry!” The Guardian says, picking up a jam tart. He takes one bite and picks up a silken handkerchief. He steps up the marble steps, whipping the crumbs from his thorny chin. Stepping up to the side of a planter, he looks around at the two guards watching over the threshold. A duke from Vornair and his wife present their invitations and glide inside with their rustic finery.
Amicus grips his hand and rushes up to the guards. “Oh, by the Stars! I’m horribly sorry, but I’m afraid the Contessa and I got a bit carried away with the wine bottle. I just cut my hand a little. You mind if I go get myself patched up? You have a on site physician, don’t you?”
“The Duke has a wash room for guests on the main floor, sir. That’s as far as you’re permitted,” The Guardsman says, allowing Amicus through.
“You are a true saint, sir. Thank you,” Amicus rushes through the door and into the foyer. Servants guide him to the east wing and open the doors to a spectacular ballroom. Marbled pillars stretch high up to actual golden, not gilded, chandeliers. Every tile, brick, and door knob from the front to the back is carved, painted, and sculpted into its own art piece. A half orchestra plays in the back, the mid hall is full of nobles prancing about to the tunes, and there are fountains, literal fountains, of wine.
“I should come here more often,” Amicus mutters, tossing the silken handkerchief onto a server’s tray and licking the strawberry jam from his finger.
“You’re not supposed to be here,” A woman says from behind.
Amicus raises his brow and turns with a smirk on his face, seeing a Dras in a dark purple dress. Her black hair pinned up into a bun. Silk weaves around her arms and hangs loosely. The amount of skin showing is near scandalous. “Lady Belladonna. It’s been a while.”
“Not long enough, some would say,” The Lady replies with a smile.
“I’m made to disappoint, what can I say?” Amicus chuckles and looks over Lady Belladonna, seeing a certain Hrothi knight walk into the ballroom. He quickly bows before the lady and offers his hand. “The next song is sure to be crowd pleaser. Might I have this dance, your grace?”
Lady Belladonna cuts an eye at the knight and back at the Guardian. She shrugs and takes his hand. “You may.”
Amicus and Belladonna become part of the next group to dance and as the orchestra plays an introductory tune, they enter the mid floor. The Guardian bows and The Lady curtsies in response in unison with the rest of the noble dancers. They take hands, the music plays in earnest, and they’re off!
The Music Played
“Curious to see you here, your grace,” Amicus says, leading the Lady around the dance floor. “What would Isolde’s agent be doing in a place like this? Shouldn’t you be collecting mushrooms or stabbing someone in the neck right now?”
“Careful, that someone could be you,” Belladonna replies jestfully, hopefully. She twirls to the side and meets The Guardian’s hand with her own. “Shouldn’t you be protecting a monarch right about now?”
“I, like you I suspect, have other matters taking my attention.” Amicus pulls Belladonna close and side steps to the center of the floor. “I wonder if we’re on the same side here.”
“Perhaps,” Bella replies, moving in close and placing her hand on his shoulder. “It depends on what you want.”
“What I want-“ Amicus quickly trips the Lady and trying to get her to dip, but she being adeptly agile reverses, causing her to dip Amicus instead. “-.. Is to get to Donovan’s study. Can you bring me back up please.”
Belladonna brings Amicus back up right and remains quiet for the next few steps.. “I’m here to... remove a thorn from Lady Isolde’s side.”
“Let me guess,” Amicus says, raising his gaze up to her bun. “Hairpin to the throat? Bit cliché, don’t you think?”
They follow the other dancing nobles in a counterclockwise turn around the mid floor, separate to meet different dance partners, then, with a twirl and a step, meet back again.
“The door at the end of the Ballroom,” The Lady says upon meeting back up. “It will take you to the servants wing, which will take you to the top floor.”
“Noted,” Amicus replies, cutting an eye to the back. The orchestra begins a final concerto and the dancers prepare their final steps. “I recommend spiking the drink by the way. Isolde always loves a good poisoning.”
“I recommend you don’t miss the last step,” Lady Belladonna says, glaring at Ser Derpederp as he travels down the side.
“My foot!” Belladonna hisses.
The song rises and ends. The dance is over.
Amicus looks down at the purple and black slipper. An slightly dark impression has embedded itself on top. “My apologies, your grace,” Amicus says sheepishly.
“Oh, just get out of here before you get us both caught,” She hisses through her teeth before storming off.
The Guardian nods and heads for the servants’ door.
Stepping from the servants’ wing, Amicus finds himself in a long, wide hall. Tapestries hang from the ceiling, empty suits of armor stand guard, and benches await to be seated on. Torches and moonlight from the windows illuminate the hall. It’s quiet and cold. A decent change of pace from the ruckus downstairs. Amicus looks down the hall and spots a large, reinforced door with a bronze knob at its center. “That’s got to be it,” Amicus says, striding to his target.
“I’m tellin’ ya. That woman tried to kiss meh!” “No one would kiss that wretched mouth of yours.”
Amicus turns to look down the hall. Guards. He tries to open the door, but it’s locked. He cusses and looks around for a place to hide. The sound of armor clattering approaches around the corner.
“Watcha sayin’, Willis? You think I got the fog?” “I think you got more than the fog, my friend.”
The silver moonlight glints off the armor of the guards as they walk down the hall and turn the corner.
“Might have somethin’ to do with that last tooth.” “Mhmm, just don’t walk too close to me.”
The hall is silent once more. Only the crackle of the torches can be heard.
A suit of armor hops off its pedestal and removes its helmet.
“Oh Stars,” Amicus gasps, taking the armor off piece by piece. “How does Gustavus does this all day?”
Amicus walks to the door and looks over the lock. “Hmm bronze lock, updated steel pins. Springs should be the same though.” Amicus pulls the first lock pick from his sash and slides it into the lock.
(Roll: 4) Snap!
“Damn it.” Amicus pulls out the second lock pick and tries again.
(Roll: 6) Click, Click, Click...
“Bloody Seven. Let’s try again.”
(Roll: 17) Click, Click, Click, Click, Click!
A mechanical rattle stretches across the door and sends a shiver down Amicus’ spine. He closes his eyes and inhales. “That’s the sound I love to hear.” He scoops up the broken bits and stands up. He places a hand on the door of one of the greatest studies in all of Elyria and pushes it open.
Amicus steps into the study and takes a look around. A white hearth glows brightly, stretching its light across the walls of bookcases. It shimmers over the mechanical astrologer’s table and lays nicely done over the Duke’s desk.
A devilish smile stretches across Amicus’ face as he closes and locks the door.
(Perception 50 possible. Roll: 6)
The Guardian darts up from a pile of books that may not have been there previously. A copy of ”Snok’s Anicent Drasian Terminologies” by Severus Snok sits open and crooked atop Amicus’ head. It remains there as he looks over the display cabinets with glee.
“Ooo, what does this do?” He says, picking up a golden mirror. He looks at the tag on it and reads, “Spectrum Glass. Determines sexuality? How on Elyria- ow!”
A bright rainbow flash stings the Guardian’s eyes. “Ah! Ok! I think I get it.” He rubs his eyes while sticking the hand mirror into his sash.
(40 possible: 16)
Amicus wanders by the fireplace and glares back at the portrait of Duke Donovan. “I would have gone with less red, but it works with the shading.”
He looks at the clock on the mantle and raises an eyebrow. “Hmm, the hand is off by an hour.” He pops the glass cover off and pushes the hour hand back until he hears a click. His eyebrow raises as his peripheral views begin to turn.
The wall with the fireplace rotates into another room, taking Amicus along with it. When it stops, Amicus turns to look. Glass bottles and jars line this oval shaped room. At the end is a unique set of brass and crystal alchemy equipment. The Guardian steps up and looks over the notes left carelessly on the work station. “Hmm.. Working recipe for some type of blood enhancement? Peculiar. Isolde may want to take a peak at this.”
The fireplace turns back to the study and Amicus steps back in, folding the recipe notes into his satchel.
(30 possible: 27)
The Guardian walks along the wall of book cases and spots something familiar. A happy, proud smile stretches across his face. He rubs a finger against the spine of a silver and blue velvet book. “Well, by the stars, I didn’t know the Duke was a fan of my work.” The book is only capable of pulling out halfway.
A loud rattle racks through the wall and the center bookcase sinks back. The wall splits into far a larger room with a glass ceiling and tile flooring. It looks like it used to be a ballroom before the Duke repurposed it for his studies.
Amicus frowns and looks at his hollowed out book. “I don’t know if I should feel insulted or flattered..” He pushes away and steps into the hidden room, scanning everything in sight.
The room is lined with boxes, cabinets, wardrobes, crates, etc. This room is a treasure trove of artifacts and information or a hoarder’s dream come true. At the center is a long desk covered in papers and hanging above is a skeletal, winged beast with candles lit on its many sharp teeth.
Amicus nearly jumps out of his skin and quickly turns. His heart pounds in his chest as he glares at Belladonna. “What are you doing here?” He says, looking at her from head to toe and back. She’s now sporting black combat leathers, a deep purple cloak and hood, and a black bow with matching arrows.
“I decided to stop waiting for my target,” Belladonna replies. She looks at Amicus and knocks the book off his head. “And what about you? I thought you were only looking for information,” She says, pointing at the hand mirror poking out of Amicus’ sash.
“I am,” Amicus says, turning his attention to the desk. He walks to it and starts shifting through the notes and maps. He raises an eyebrow and looks back at the assassin. “You’re after the Duke.”
Belladonna goes wide eyed for a moment, but then shrugs and points at the massive skeleton up above. “That a wyvern?”
”She knows that’s not a wyvern,” Amicus thinks to himself, but it’s not like he’s going to pass on the correction. “No... It has two additional legs in the front. I suppose it’s a dragon, but it’s probably fake. Why not go ask Richard where his brother is?”
Belladonna sighs and looks over the table. “The guards escorted him to his room after he made a big display in the ballroom. Have you found what you’re looking for?”
“I’m looking over it all now.”
The Guardian frowns and picks up a map. A circle is drawn on the southern mountain of Aranor. He also finds a few documents on how to enter the dungeon that is there. “Well, I was hoping for much more than this, but at least this confirms what I suspected.”
“You should get going then. Probably better if you don’t linger here much longer,” Belladonna says, sliding her fingers along her bow.
“You’ve read my mind.”
The Guardian walks out of the room. The Assassin follows closely behind. Back into the study they go and the wall seals the room away.
Amicus walks past the astrologer’s table and something shivers up his spine. He quickly turns and looks at the table with its gears and cogs. “Something feels a little off here.”
“Amicus,” Belladonna calls from the study door. “You need to get out now that you’ve got what you came for.”
The Guardian turns around and says, “Just a few more minutes, ok? Why not get a good look around while we’re here? It’s not like this opportunity will happen again!” (Persuasion Roll: 10)
“You’ve got enough,” Belladonna says, putting her foot down. “Don’t be an arrogant thief.”
Amicus glares at the woman and nods. “Alright, fine.”
They make it through the servants’ wing and find themselves in the wine cellar. This isn’t just an average little room under your kitchen; this cellar is made up of underground hallways with barrels running along each wall. Servants dart from the kitchen and run out the storm doors to serve the wine. Servants don’t usually mind guests roaming about, but guests with weapons is another story.
Belladonna hides herself behind a barrel and looks down the hall. “Alright. You’re exit is just straight down- Amicus? Where are you- Oh...”
The Guardian looks over at the Assassin while pouring himself a glass of wine. “When in Tyria, aye?”
“We’re not in Tyria.”
“Might as well be. Mmm.. that’s got a nice fruity air to it.”
“Amicus!” Belladonna hisses at him.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I can handle it from here.” Amicus provides Belladonna a kind low bow. “Good hunting, Donna.”
She nods and heads back into the mansion, leaving Amicus to the rolls of fate.
Amicus saunters down the cellar, casually nursing his wine glass along the way. Servants dart from his path as he starts to climb the stairs to outside.
“Have you checked the cellar, Ser Derpederp?” “That’s why I’m heading this way, is it not?”
The wine freezes in Amicus’ throat and he ducks back down into the cellar. He quickly darts to one of the servants and tosses him a gold coin. “Hide me!” He says through the wine.
The Kypiq catches the coin and looks around. He opens an empty wine barrel and ushers The Guardian to go inside.
Loud metal clanking and clinking echoes down the hall as Ser Derpederp and his men make it to the bottom of the stairs. “We’re looking for guest that has disappeared from the party. He may be trespassing. Has anyone seen anything out of the ordinary?” He says as his menn look down the hall.
A knight walks by the barrel and raises his brow at the crooked lid. Upon looking closer, he sees raven black hair and a wide electric blue eye.
“Here, sir!” The knight shouts, kicking the barrel over.
Amicus rolls out, spilling the wine from his glass. He curses and gets up to his feet, looking mournfully at his wine glass. He tips the remaining drop into his mouth and looks at Ser Derpederp. “I’m going to need more wine.”
“You’ve got some nerve,” Derp says, “Search him.”
“Whoa whoa whoa!” Amicus says, taking out the Spectrum Glass. “All I got is this. Here. Take a look!” The Guardian points the mirror at Ser Derpederp and shields his eyes.
Nothing happens. The Knights look at each other and back at The Guardian.
Amicus peaks an eye through his fingers and raises a brow. “Now wait a minute..” He turns the glass to face himself- “Ah!” A rainbow flash stings his eyes.
“It’s the foul Magick! Run!” One of the servants says and they all dart from the cellar.
The knights on the other hand close in and take Amicus. Soon after, The Guardian finds himself sitting on the cold, hard floor, shackled to a full barrel.
Amicus looks around at the cellar. The servants wouldn’t make eye contact and they kept their distance. If they had to get something nearby, they acted quickly and clumsily. The Kypiq lad that had helped Amicus hides rushes over a tosses the gold coin back at him.
“Keep your cursed gold, witch!” He says, shaking in his shoes. He runs away before Amicus could reply, not that that stopped him.
“Mystic, actually! By the stars...” Amicus sighs and clicks his tongue thinking. What he took from the study got taken back and are stars know where. His cutlass and staff are probably forfeit at this point. Perhaps Belladonna could lend a hand. “Zareth!” Amicus shouts.
A few moments pass, then The Guardian hears a loud CAW! Echo down the cellar.
Zareth darts down through the cellar doors, startling some servants. He glides down and finds his master. “Caw!”
“Yeah yeah yeah, go find Belladonna,” Amicus commands.
The raven nods and zips out.
Mayor Hawkaze wakes up with a searing pain on the back of his head and a massive headache. "by the gods, where am I and why does my head hurt so much?"
“I think the guard that brought you down here said something about you drinking too much and making a fool of yourself,” Amicus says, chuckling. “Welcome to Duke Donovan’s wine cellar. I’d offer you some wine, but...”
Belladonna turns a corner with Zareth perched on her shoulder. They both glare down at Amicus with unamused expressions. “I thought you could handle it from here.”
“Yes, well... Things didn’t quite work out that way.” Amicus gives Belladonna a shy smile and shrugs.
The Assassin cuts an eye at the mayor rubbing the back of his head. “Who’s the drunk? Friend of yours?”
“Hah hah.. Just a victim of a good time. Are you going to get me out of here?”
Belladonna takes a lock pick from her belt and starts working on the shackle. As she’s about to unlock them from the barrel, they hear armored feet approaching. The Assassin looks up and quickly flees the scene.
“Hey! Where you going?” Amicus hisses. He looks back up to see two knights arrive. “Gentlemen! Good evening. How’s it going?”
“Mouthy one, right?” One knight says. “Yup,” replies the other.
They unshackle The Guardian from the barrel and shove him down the hall. Amicus waves at the Mayor as he’s being taken away. “It’s been nice meeting you!”
They walk down a few halls and stop at a dead end, facing a wall with nothing but a torch adorning it.
“Get lost?” Amicus jests, but frowns as a burlap bag is placed over his head. “Oooo kinky... I must warn you. I have herpes-“ BANG!
“Mmm...” A throbbing pounds away at one side of The Guardian’s head. He struggles to open his eyes, not that it did any good.
Muffled sounds reach his ear, but he did not understand them.
Amicus tries to look up, but his vision is too blurry. Something wet was in his eyes. Sweat perhaps?
“Mmm mmm brr mmm drrr mmm mm mm, brr mmm mmm drr mmm.”
That is all Amicus could make out. He tries to ignore the pain on his head and look again.
“But this!” His Mentor’s staff suddenly comes into close view. He looks up and sees a bald, goateed Neran holding the oaken staff to his face like it is some kind of trophy. “This is one of a kind, is it not? Truly unique. I mean, there’s so much power, it’s practically tearing itself at the seams!”
Amicus looks at the man up and down before taking a look around the room. He is in a large circular room lit by brass braziers. The ceiling is held by stone pillars and the stone work itself is uniquely old. Near ancient actually. Nine people, garbed and hooded in black robes, sit on their knees around a sacrificial altar.
Altogether a very interesting and pleasant room despite the blood wall paint, occult drawings on the wall, and all around bondage vibe.
Amicus looks back at Neran and raises an eyebrow. “You’re Duke Donovan.”
“The one and only,” The Duke says with a grin.
“I thought you’d be taller.”
Donovan snorts. “I hoped for a better response from you. Are you not quite the joker?”
Amicus flicks his head aside, banishing a loose strand of hair from his gaze. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll come up with something better when my head swells down a bit. What on Elyria was I hit with anyway?”
“Frying pan,” A husky voice says from behind.
Amicus turns his head as much as he can to look over his right shoulder. The two knights that had taken him guard the only exit out.
“They really like to aim for the head,” says a more familiar voice.
Amicus swivels his head in the other direction and sees Richard Donovan and some other poor shmuck tied to their own chairs.
Amicus raises his brow. Rope or chains? He tries to get past the head pain and feel for his wrists.
Standard chains. Amicus frowns and looks back at the Duke. “So, what now?”
Duke Donovan walks over to a table off to the side and sets down the staff. He picks up a set of documents and walks back over. He whacks The Guardian over the head with the papers and tosses them to his lap. "Look familiar?"
Amicus didn't need to look down to know. "Kinda."
"Now, the map I can understand, you want the frozen heart like I do. Why take a silly little mirror and these alchemical recipes?" Donovan walks over to the table and opens a box.
Amicus raises a brow, wondering what he was doing. "They just happened to be within arm's reach."
"What an opportunist." The Duke snaps his fingers and two of the cultists rush the poor older man beside Richard.
"Oh no! No please!" The noble quivers uncontrollably from fear.
The Duke turns with a silver dagger, which tears Amicus' gaze from the screaming man to the blade. Donovan catches The Guardian's gaze and chuckles. "Yes, an athame. It took me a while to craft my collection. I went from Feadin altar to Feadin altar, forging each dagger's power.*
"A power you can't actually tap into," Amicus says, looking back at the poor man being shackled to the sacrificial altar. He tests the strength of his bonding, but metal just doesn't want to give like rope.
Donovan walks over to the altar and stares down at the noble. "My research has yielded many truths. Here lately, the truth of the athame became clear. Let us see what power it holds within."
"Enough of this, brother!" Richard shouts. "You can't just kill the man!"
"You'll get your turn, brother!" Donovan shouts back. He holds the dagger up with both hands and drives the blade down into the heart of the noble.
"Oh." Richard stares in shock. "I guess he can just kill him."
A warmth fills the room and travels up Amicus' spine. It prickles the hairs on his neck and creates a static feeling along his finger tips. This feeling Amicus recognizes; what comes after does not feel recognizable. A chill stretches across the room and creeps across the stones. It brings the brazier light down to a low smolder and slithers up the altar. An unnerving low whistle echoes throughout the chamber, like wind being funneled down a tunnel. Richard fidgets in his chair, looking from side to side, as though he's seeing shadows dance. Perhaps they were. The cultists chant some strange ritual mumbo jumbo and the knights grip the hilt of their blades. Amicus looks onward, focusing his attention on the athame sticking from the noble's chest.
His eyes widen and fixes on the blood beginning to rise up the blade. It travels up the silver and begins coating the handle, crystalizing into a full hilt. Donovan takes hold of the pommel and begins to pull. A sharp whistle and rush of wind strikes their ears and the noble begins to wither away instantly into a hollow shell. The duke finishes his ritual and turns around to reveal a full blade made from blood and desecration. "Behold!" He shouts, watching his follows dive down into a bow. "This blood blade is forged. Arise Sonodan."
One of the cultists stands and walks over and is given the blade.
The light and warmth of the room returns. "Now," Duke Donovan exhales, coming down from the power high. "It's your turn."
Amicus feels the shackles pop from his wrists and his eyes grow wide as the knights grab him. "Whoa whoa! Wait a minute! Shouldn't we talk about this?" Amicus says, being dragged to the altar. "If anyone knows anything about occult stuff, it's me! I'm the Guardian, remember! I'm no master of the mystic, but I know a thing or two."
"Stop!" Donovan turns to face The Guardian, holding another silver athame. He walks over and looks deep into Amicus' electric blue eyes. "No."
The metal cuffs lock down, holding The Guardian on the altar. The shape of the altar forces his head to look straight up. His heart pounds and he tries to move, but all he can see is underground ceiling. Then Donovan appears to his right.
"If it's any consolation, I am quite a fan of your work," The Duke says.
Then he lifts the dagger to kill.
(Roll: 19. Yay!)
A dagger flies through the air and strikes the athame.
Donovan instinctively lets go and watches as the blades tumble down the opposite side of the altar. He turns to look at the newest intruder, seething with anger.
It is Belladonna, who jumps from her hiding spot, sliding her two short blades across the knights’ necks. She rolls forward, cutting two cultists’ in the thigh then piercing their throats. As she stands and thrusts the cultists off her blades, staring at the Duke.
“Oh goody! A rescue!” Richard shouts, still tied to his chair. “Now, would you kindly untie me and get me out of here?”
Zareth leans over the left side of Amicus’ view. A lock pick is in his beak. Amicus breathes a sigh of relief as the raven begins working on the cuffs.
“I take it that you are the Assassin that’s been nipping at my heels of late?” Donovan asks.
Sonodan stands between the Assassin and the Duke, wielding the blood blade. As the four remaining cultists charge Belladonna, Zareth works on the final cuff.
The lockpick snaps.
“You know, I wouldn’t mind being set free here!” Richard shouts at Belladonna.
She rolls her eyes along with a dodge roll to avoid an attack.
Zareth hops down and grabs the second to last lockpick. (Roll: 7)
A dagger slices by Belladonna and cuts into her sleeve. She kicks the cultist away and moves back towards Richard.
The clasp pops opens and Amicus quickly rolls off the altar, peeling the back of his robe from the blood. He crouches down like this is an Elder Scrolls game and makes his way around the chamber to reach the table. His pops up and looks in the box, seeing two more athame. He frowns and stuffs the documents into the box. He closes it and grabs his cutlass and staff.
Amicus looks over like a deer caught in.... torchlights... and sees the entire room staring at him.
Belladonna removes her bow and shoots at Donovan, but her shots are blocked by Sonodan’s blood blade. Each arrow head shatters into dust upon contact. The Assassin shouts in frustration and charges, running quickly, sliding under one cultist then vaulting over next, bringing her blades down upon Sonodan.
Her blades shatter into silver shards against Sonodan’s blade, which quickly counters and cuts downward.
Belladonna twists and falls to her knees, a diagonal gash stretches across her chest. Amicus tosses the box into Richard’s lap and is about to cut his ropes when he looks up at the scene.
A spark of lightning stretches across his eyes as the blood blade stabs straight through her heart.
Amicus’ chest quakes and his eyes sting as he tears himself away from the sight. With a swift slash, The Guardian frees Richard and pulls him to the chamber door. Wielding staff and cutlass, Amicus guards their escape.
The Guardian slams the door shut and waves his staff over it. An orange glow envelopes the metal frame and welds the hinges and locks in place.
“Ooo... That should keep them in,” Richard gawks, holding on to the wooden box.
Amicus turns and starts pushing Richard away from the ritual chamber. “This is an escape. Be quiet, stay out of the way, and do as I say.”
They make it to the main cellar hall. Richard and Amicus look down and see the storm doors leading to the garden, but they also see the twenty knights summoned to stand guard.
They all turn and draw their blades. Richard slinks back behind The Guardian, who glares at knights with a storm brewing in his sapphire eyes. He swings his staff to the left, casting aside the tables, barrels, and chairs in their way. The knights flinch back at the sight of magick, but keep their stance.
“Stay behind me.”
The first five knights charge, striking down with their steel long swords.
The Guardian steps forward and blocks with his staff, bringing his silver cutlass around to cut away a knight’s throat. He then pushes the assault away with the force of his oaken staff and focuses on each knight individually, stabbing through them one by one. (Roll: 9)
Second wave moves forward, running at full pace.
The sounds of metal clashes as The Guardian counters the attack, spinning through the number. The cutlass drips with blood as the knights throw themselves in his way. (Roll: 14)
The third wave hesitated slightly, but charges anyway. A Brudvir with a long shield runs up to rush.
Ducking down, The Guardian swings his staff to trip the Brudvir to the ground. He stands up just in time to whack a knight in the chest. A burst of bright light sends the knight crashing into the wall. The cutlass moves quickly through the air, blocking a steel blade aimed for the Guardian’s head. He brings the blades down and pierces into the knight’s side while blasting the other two into a couple of full barrels. (Roll: 13)
Wine flows from the barrels and floods the cellar floor. The final five stand guard at the exit, huddle together but quivering in their boots like a fortress with a weak foundation.
“Charge!” Ser Derpederp shouts, leading his men forward.
Amicus brings his staff up and taps it down, freezing the wine before him. The knights slip and slide, giving The Guardian the opportunity to easily slide through with his cutlass.
Amicus and Richard make it to the stairs and head up through the storm doors.
“Wow, that was...” Richard says, stepping outside and into the rain. “Terrifying...”
“What did I say about being quiet?” Amicus snarls, kicking the doors closed. Thunder echoes over head as he attempts to seal the doors the way he did the chamber. The orange light fizzles in the water however. “Too late for that. Let’s move!”
Richard nods and heads down the now abandoned garden.
“Where is everybody?” Amicus asks.
“Probably went inside because of the r- whoa!”
Richard ducks just in time to avoid decapitation. He scampers off to the side as the black robed man turns his attention to Amicus.
“I am Talion,” he says, raising his own blood blade to point it at Amicus’ heart. “The first of Lord Donovan’s chosen.” He steps around the central fountain, ignoring Richard completely. His darkened eyes pierce through greasy wet strands of black hair and his voice brings a chill to the air. “Your story ends here.”
“Richard,” Amicus calls out, readying himself. “Get out of here-“
“On it!” Richard bolts out of the garden, heading for the estate gate.
Talion’s thin lips widen into an uncomfortable smile and he charges The Guardian.
The Guardian attempts to dodge and step out of the way from the charged attack, but Talion simply steps back and swipes upward, slashing up Amicus’ back.
The Guardian shouts in pain and stumbles to a table. He grits his teeth as he turns to face Talion.
Amicus quickly steps forward despite the odd burning sensation rising in his back and swings his cutlass. The silver blade shatters into shards as Talion blocks, leaving Amicus with little more than a dagger.
As Talion swings, The Guardian ducks down, steps to the left, and drives the broken cutlass into the cultist’s side.
Talion shouts in pain and stumbles backward towards the fountain. He pulls the broken blade from his side and tosses it aside.
(Roll: 20) ((New RPer)) Seeing the Guardian in the fence around the manor and the approaching guards, Jace knows what he has to do, remembering the token Ason presented the Guardian one time.
“The things I do for duty”, Jace says.
He unslings his bow, and takes aim at some of the approaching guards. With speed and precision, Jace looses three arrows at guards coming from a side door watching two of them collapse with arrows protruding from their chest, and the last one sliding down slumped against the wall with an arrow in his neck.
Amicus swings his staff around, pulling embers from a smoldering brazier. He twirls the staff overhead, charging the wisp into a full flame before whipping a bright bolt at his target.
Talion simple slices through it with his blade, then charges. He lifts the blood blade high and swings down with all his might, catching The Guardian’s oaken staff.
A bright flash of light strikes out as the staff blocks the blade and sparks streak out from the blade. Talion quickly raises his blade and strikes again, but Amicus blocks again, sending out more light and sparks. He slams down again and again, then Amicus falls to a knee.
“AAHHH!” Talion yells, bringing down his blade to meet the staff again.
BANG BANG BANG, crack!
One final strike of the blade breaks the Guardian’s oaken staff in half. Amicus drops his other knee and watches the halves burn with white flame at the point of breakage.
“Impossible,” Amicus gasps, trying to breath in more air than he can.
Talion smirks and crouches down, taking Amicus’ chin between his finger and thumb. “Now, aren’t you the one that said nothing is impossible.” Talion gives Amicus a little slap across the face before standing back up.
Amicus grips the two halves of his mentor’s staff and stares Talion dead in the eyes as he raises his blade for the kill.
Zareth dives down into Talion face, clawing and scratching away at the eyes.
Amicus thrusts the two halves of the staff into Talion’s abdomen.
A flash of white light consumes the garden and an electrical surge sends Talion flying into the fountain crumbling the ornate statue that was there.
The blood blade drops, then ignites, disintegrating in the rain and burning a sword shaped hole in the ground.
As Jace reaches into his quiver he notices the last 3 arrows are all blunted training arrows.
“Rats, it seems I have been carrying an Apprentices Quiver the whole time...”, Jace uses his reed whistle and calls over his horse stationing him in the shadows near the wall while he stashed the ledger pages and sack of gems into the saddlebag. “Storm, wait here until I call, okay? I’ll be back for you shortly.”
Jace then slips back into the compound and makes his way over to the Guardian seeing if he needs any aid.
“I take it that your one of Ason’s rangers?” Amicus says hoarsely, standing up. He looks at the broken halves and tosses them aside. Looking back at the ranger, he nods. “We should get going. It won’t be long before more dangerous foes arrive. Zareth!”
The raven stops feasting on Talion’s eyes and returns to his master’s shoulder.
“Aye, you’re the fancy one Ason gave the token to; and I wouldn’t say we’re ‘his’ per se, but we do have relations with the Mayor," Jace responds in a way to not affiliate his brother with the more secretive actions of DiNolfol. He turns to leave with the Guardian and his crow. “So what was your business here? Seems you had an interesting tumble,” Jace responds slyly.
“I would not call myself fancy, but sure,” Amicus says, quickly striding past the open estate gates. “It is Guardian business that I am here.”
Richard pops his head out of the Tyrian Royal carriage and waves. “Hello! The box is secure! Ready to go when you are!”
“You know this lad?” The old man in the driver’s seat inquires.
“Yes, I do, we must ride to Tyria with all haste. We may have chasers on our tail soon as well.” Amicus looks back at Jace and eyes him up and down. “You don’t necessarily look like an invited member of nobility. What was your business here?”
“County Security,” Jace responds coolly, “nor were you treated Iike a respected member of nobility back their either. We may cross paths again in the future Guardian, but until then, we both have our own jobs to do. You have our ears.” Jace tightens the saddle bags on Storm, and gives a nod from beneath his hood with a hidden smile turning away and begins a steady canter back to the Corps Clearing back in Danu.
“We should head back to Tyria quickly, sir,” the driver says.
“Yes, we should. We don’t want to be caught out here.” Amicus says, reaching for the carriage door.
“Not just that, sir. I received word from Moroes. You’re mentor’s sickness has gotten worse.”
Zareth jumps off Amicus’ shoulder and flys quickly to the South. Amicus nods and gets into the carriage, sitting down across from Richard.
“Well, this night was truly... horrifying!” Richard says with consistent smile. His fingers have gone white from clutching at the box. “I don’t suppose I could get a glass of wine soon?”
Amicus rolls his eyes as he pulls the box away from Richard. “We travel to the land of wine. There, you will have your fill of drink and I will gear up to work against Lord Donovan and his minions.”
“You truly think you can take him on?” Richard asks worriedly. “The odds are not in your favor, my friend.”
Amicus’ mind turns to Belladonna and he looks out the window. “It doesn’t matter what the odds are.”
The carriage travels quickly through the rain, skidding on every turn and bouncing off every rock. Though this adventure here is over, something in the Guardian’s stomach tells him that it is just beginning for him.
Thus ends this book's Story.