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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

TLDunn213

Quill-Bearer
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Everything posted by TLDunn213

  1. TLDunn213

    Behind the House of Usher

    After almost an hour, of working our way around bogs, that were too thick with mud to sail through, but still too wet to walk on; we reached the central island or islands. Hard to say which as there were streams everywhere with fallen trees bridging most of them. In any event there was a building in the middle of the whole thing, which we eventually made our way to. There were Runes and Glyphs, more than half hidden by moss and vines, above the doorway. We really should have taken the time to study them. But we were all wet and tired, and beyond the archway was a courtyard covered with smooth, dry, solid, flagstones. I don't think words can really convey how good solid ground can look after an hour or so of slogging through knee deep muck, and slipping on moss and slime covered rocks and treetrunks. So we all rushed through the archway into the courtyard. And as soon as we were all inside, the magic snapped into place. Every one of us knowing that this is the Lair of a Dracolitch. Every one of us well versed in Magic; even Targon. He might not be a spell caster like the rest of us, but he's faced enough magic using foes...And we blunder through a Rune covered archway like amateurs. Thankfully our tale doesn't end here, with us becoming the undead servants of a Dracolitch. No, our story didn't end here; it just started a new chapter, or maybe a new volume.
  2. TLDunn213

    Behind the House of Usher

    The House of Usher is not too far out from Arkem. Just down the lane and around the bend in the road with the big dead tree that's been there forever. You may have heard of the place. Several paranormal professors at Miskatonic have stayed there over the years. Most of them distant members of the Usher clan, even if the Usher name has mostly died out these days. Around to the back of the House you'll find a small, walled in, patch of woods. Small that is if you measure it around the outside. But if you go in... Well that's where things start getting... Interesting. You may want to take a Crescent of Astare and/or some other protective charms with you. You'll want to set out around sunset as it will be close to dawn when you get where you're going in there. Where are you going ? Well this is the Woodland of Weir. And if you follow a certain alley of Cyprus You'll come to the Lake of Auber. Watch your step it's rather foggy down there. Following the shoreline around will lead you to The Tomb of Ulalume. There's a Styx Horn hanging on a Rune covered Obelisk Next to the Lake. Auber is a sort of oxbow of the Styx close to where the Leth joins it. Watch out for the cross current. The Runes on the door-arch of the Tomb form a Gate Leading to a place on the slopes of Mount Yaanek Not too far from Leng and its fabled Library If you take the Styx route You will want to sound the Horn About an hour before dawn According to the stardial next to the Tomb And it is best if you pick a season that Puts the moon in Leo at that hour. The Lethe crosscurrent isn't as bad then.
  3. TLDunn213

    Grendel 621

    Over the next several days, their dinner conversations allowed me to learn a great many things. Both amout my hosts, and the history of the world in general. I won't bother going into detail about that here, as such matters are both better recorded elsewhere and likely already well known to most of my potential readers. It is enough to note that my earlier speculations about how far I was from my own time and what had happened in the interim were largely correct, with the remaining details being as unknown to my hosts as they were to myself. The other gain from my spying, was a steady supply of items that needed doing around the farm. Various small items that I could easily do in such a way as to both repay them for their unknowing hospitality and to hint at my presence without fully revealing myself just yet. I was still stuck as to a plan for how to approach them and was hoping, once they were aware of a shy yet helpful presence around the place, That they would hatch some plan to draw me out. Then, I would need only play along. Not a great plan, I admit, but the best I could come up with at the moment.
  4. TLDunn213

    Grendel 621

    I awakened, Alone and in darkness. I waited. Someone will come and tell me my purpose, Give me a mission, a goal, And the tools and information need to carry it out. But no one came. I searched my mind for information, For purpose, For Anything. There were gaps, holes, places where information should go. But thankfully all was not emptiness. I was Grendel 621. An ID tag more than a name. Names would be provided, if needed. Tools; I could see, even in the darkness of the empty room in which I lay. I knew language, The names of things, How things worked. I had a purpose, of sorts. Observe, Learn, Remember, Analyze. My analysis of this told me that it was meant as a sub-directive to be related to an on going mission. If no ongoing mission, Gather useful information, Survive, Return to Base. If Primary Base compromised or abandoned seek closest active base. A purpose. Yes. Not much of one, but enough. I sat up and looked around. The room was a cube about 10 feet on each side. Containing myself, The table I was sitting on, Stale air, and darkness. I got off the table to inspect it better. There were faintly glowing Runes around the edge. A now failing Stasis Spell. Instinctively I reached out with a tongue of Shadow Flame from my hand and drained the last bits of magic from it. A tool I hadn't known I had until then. I looked at my hands. Claw like nails, Sharp, Dangerous, and able to inject a Venom that would grant the subject Fast Healing and pain resistance while also making them very open to my commands. Useful, if there were people around to use it on. At the foot end of the table was a metal plate "Grendel 621". Conformation of existing information. I thought about taking it with me, but realized I had no practical way of carrying it. I lacked clothing or even a utility harness. A lack I had not noticed until now as my scales and fur had been adequate covering in the closed room. A quick examination lead me to the remaining point of interest, The door. A smooth slab of stone with only a faint seam separating it from the wall. Then I found the small rectangle off to one side. I released some of the Magic from the table into it, and was rewarded with a faint grinding noise and slight movement of the door. I applied more power and the door rose about a foot off the floor. As this was enough space to get out I chose to save the little bit of Power I had left and slid under the door. On a last second impulse I grabbed the ID tag from the table, It might be useful for something later.
  5. TLDunn213

    Garm and Tanis.

    !!KABOOM!! "*What was that ?!*" "*Things not going according to plan. Well, not according to plan A, at any rate. *" Anna gave Garm a questioning look Garm resumed human form and spoke a Word to restore Anna as well. "By this point she was supposed to have lost the Naazz and be slipping quietly through the trees not setting traps to try and take them down. And if that wasn't one of her traps going off, I'll eat my boots." "I'd love to get you some hot sauce for them; but, assuming you're right...?" "They'll probably be coming out of the trees over there near the edge of that field. If they're in human shape and walking, we relax a join them. If they're in cat shape and running..." Garm paused to string a longbow he'd pulled from his pack "...We get to find out how good you are with one of these." He finished passing her the bow and pulling a second one from his pack.
  6. TLDunn213

    Garm and Tanis.

    As promised. Assuming you ever find time to read it. Garm is a wolf type Wylding. Which is almost a given, what with him being in the Gray Guard and all. Not that they don't have a few non-wolf members, but still. Anyway he's a gruff grizzled veteran who looks about 30 and is closer to 50. Which isn't all that amazing for a Wylding. He's seen his share of combat and taken a turn at training new recruits. Something you have to do to move up the ranks. And now that he's at a comfortable pay grade he's quite willing to take the less exciting jobs. Which you can't really give to cubs anyway. They get bored and stop paying enough attention and end up getting volunteered for the unpleasant messy bits like bleeding and dying, Which totally gets in the way of enjoying the fun bits, like drinking and gambling. Tanis is a cat type Wylding as you would expect from someone in Bast's Elite. She's in her late 20s and looks it. The whole slow aging thing is only now starting to take effect with her. She started training as an assassin but found herself fascinated by the brewing of poisons and their antidotes to the point of taking extra healer training. All assassins take some, for obvious reasons. She took enough to qualifie for full healer training but discovered that while she loved the lore and could learn it quickly, her real love was just learning. So on to scout and spy training. It's rumored that she's pulling bodyguard work as part of a project to find ways to train new recruits in dealing with boreing duites. Garm's aproch of sneaking up on lax guard trainees and shaving the fur off their necks while explaining the importance of staying alert, While effective. Isn't the sort of thing that can be built into regular training.
  7. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Has anyone heard anything about the "no moving parts" airplane? Works on an ion thrust process. So far they only have a proof of concept drone sized thing. I have a few ideas on how to scale it up; but would need to know a lot more about how what they have works, before I could say if any of my ideas would be worth looking into. Anyway this is mostly a PSA to anyone who is into this stuff and hasn't heard about this yet.
  8. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    If someone is already doing this topic let me know. Anyway I was looking at a thing on magic in here somewhere And it got me thinking about the whole ancient lost science idea. And while I don't buy everything from that show on the History channel They do make a good case for ancient advanced science. It's the alien part I tend to discount. Not to say that aliens aren't out there or may have come here But the aliens "gods" they tend to point to in the series Looked human acted human mated with humans. Look at all the half gods in the Greek stories. So I hold to the view that most of these "aliens" were humans Who just happened to have higher level technology. Easy enough to see how that could happen Take the world as it is now. Pick a disaster. End of civilisation level. Wait oh... 50 years or so; and then come down from a space station Or out from under a mountain. We have modern tech while the other survivors are people in remote jungles and such who didn't have much tech to start with... Would we not be taken for "gods" ? Maybe I'll take a shot at trying to write a story along that line. See how long I can keep people guessing as to when it's taking place Ancient past or post apocalyptic future. Anyone else who wants to try something along this line; Go for it. If you want help with such a project; I'll do my best to be useful And if you don't want/need help; well, let me know about it anyway as I'd love to see a good story done along this line. And so far all I've got is the concept.
  9. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Still haven't found anything on gravity resistant materials, at least not as such. Have found vids on You Tube talking about the Secret Space Program; Which included some stuff about craft that just sit there a few feet off the ground. Same way as Luke's sand speeder and the hover board from Back to the Future. I forget which vids was talking about them, But just look for Secret Space Program on You Tube, And you'll find a lot of stuff. Several channels posting stuff that's an hour, hour and a half, Two hours. Long, but if you've got the time and are into this stuff, it's worth a look. Love to hear what you/anyone thinks about any of this.
  10. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    South American Shamans Stone Softing Liquid. 10 parts Acitic acid 9 parts Citric acid 8 parts Oxalic acid Just noting it here so I don't forget. Check out stuff about Geopolimers to learn more about this. Geopolimers, by the way, are how a lot of the Megalithic structures were made. See also Egyptian "concrete"
  11. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Magnus Wing. I'm putting this here because why not. Anyway, I'm assuming that anyone reading this has heard of the Magnus Effect and the few attempts made at using it for aircraft. If not, go look it up so you'll know what I'm talking about. My idea is to try using the Magnus Effect in a way that gets around the biggest problem with how it has been tried before. That is, if you use a single large drum in place of the wing, when you lose power you fall. Because a drum doesn't let you glide. My idea: a wing made of several rows of smaller drums. This should allow one to tap into the Magnus Effect for extra lift while still having enough of a wing that you would still be able to glide without power, at least well enough to land. I can't be the only person to have thought of this, but I can't find anything about anyone having tried this. If anyone reading this has heard of this being tried, let me know I'd love to see how it worked or didn't. After all we don't have these things flying around. So, either I am the only one who has thought of this so far, or I just haven't found the info on where it was tried and what the problem was that keeps it from working; or maybe just keeps it from being practical. Anyway, if anyone knows anything about this, let me know? Thanks. Well, I found one thing where the drum was replaced with just a flat piece. Just an RC model, so they weren't looking at safety features like locking the panels in place in case of power failure. Might work, but still risky. Panels might not lock in at the right angle, and being a flat piece and not a true wing shape, probably wouldn't glide all that well. And still not close to what I have in mind.
  12. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    While poking around on the gravity resistant thing I ran across a thing Where this guy; Bushman; had done a test involving crazy strong rare earth magnets. Placed N to N and dropped off a building they were landing later than two equal sized pieces of the same stuff that weren't magnetized. Claims that this is an anti-gravity effect Sadly I can't buy it without better testing. Steel rebar in the wall of the building is most likely to be why the magnets fell slower. Take the magnets up in a balloon and drop them over an empty field. If you get the same results, then, Then, we are on to something. Until then, it's just a pipedream fueled by wishful thinking and sloppy science.
  13. TLDunn213

    Dread Foundries

    Dread Foundries of Under Louis By Tracy L Dunn It was a gray dull day on the Styx, not that there were ever any other kind. And the term "day" didn't mean much when there was no sun to mark the passing of one day into the next. Still Stephen Fox noted the day as dull and gray. Of course this was mostly to distract himself from what was to come once the great Iron Boat had finished pulling alongside the sandbar that was just a few dozen yards from the shore. Close enough to tempt one into trying to swim. If one happened to be a fool or protected by very strong magic. Then again risking swimming the Styx was the act of a fool in Stephen's book no matter how much magic you had protecting you. And Stephen was not a fool; or at least not that much of one. If he were truly not a fool of some sort or other he wouldn't be following the lifestyle of a wandering gambler/mage along the banks of the Styx. There were after all safer ways of making a living. Many of which paid better than gambling or mage craft. Not that mage work didn't pay; if you were good at it. And that was rather the point. Stephen wasn't good at it. Oh he could cast a few spells well enough to get himself out of a tight spot. But brewing potions and enchanting objects day in and day out was just sooo dull. Which made his current picklement all the more vexing. It would almost be funny, if it were happening to someone else. Cheating at cards by way of magic. Really. If he were good enough to bewitch a deck of cards without being noticed on an Iron Boat while it was underway.... Well if he were that good he would have opened a shop a long time ago and likely be ready to retire by now. The Iron Boat swung around and came to a stop alongside the sandbar with its blue energy field crackling softly. "Steady there."Called the Captain. "We won't be long. Will we Mr. Fox?" he added turning to Stephen. Stephen looked at him and then at the spell shackle on his wrist. "Is this really necessary ?" he ask. "No." said the Captain softly "But they insist. And as they own most of the cargo on the boat..." he gave a shrug. "I see." Stephen said flatly. "For what it's worth, I don't think you was doing what they say. I know a thing or two about how hard it is to do mage work while a Boat's underway. No hard feelings between us?" he ask offering his hand. Stephen looked at the offered hand coolly for a moment before spotting the glint of something hidden in it. "No. No, hard feelings between us." he said taking the hand and the key hidden in it. "You were just doing what you had to do." he added slipping the key into a pocket. "Right then. RUN OUT THE PLANK !" he yelled turning to the two general purpose Synthoids standing near the rail. The "Plank" was a yard wide, ten foot long, six inch thick slab of Rune covered FerroMantic Iron. The Synthoids lifted it as if it were Balsa wood and quickly ran it out over the lower bar of the ships railing. Once it was hooked in place and the upper bar was swung aside the Captain turned to Stephen "You may now go ashore Mr. Fox." he said with a grand wave of his arm tword the "plank". Which was greeted with grins and snickers from the cargo owners who weren't able to deal with the fact that Stephen was really just that good at cards. Not sparing them so much as a look he strode down the "plank" and on to the sandbar. managing not to flinch as the energy field snapped back once his trail foot had left the plank and touched down on the mud of the "sand" bar. He stood there not moving until he caught sight of the Iron Boat's blue glow moving on past the bar and then he turned his back on it and looked the other way. Once the boat was out of sight Stephen took out the key and applied it to the locking rune on the Shackle, and sent power through it. There was a click, and the Shackle opened. Amateurs. If you want to hold a wizard you need to use two Shackles. And I might have been able to pick badly made ones like this even if they had used two. But the key was faster. He admitted to himself, as he pulled a bit of string out of his pocket and hung the key around his neck. Never know when you might need something like that. and then after a moments thought he passed his hand over the key and murmured a Word. The Key shimmered and a simple Rune stone charm took its place. Then he took a Scrip out of his belt pouch and went to work in the Shackle's inner surface. About half an hour later, during which an Iron Boat had passed without even slowing down, he made a few quick changes to the Runes on the outside of the Shackle and then snapped it closed around his left wrist. A touch to the locking rune and then the two on the side and then the one on the bottom and it shimmered and faded from view. Never hurts to have a trick or two up your sleeve, especially when people you don't like do most of the work for you without even knowing it. But Stephen's smirk of satisfaction quickly faded as he stood there waiting for a someone to come along with the only change of view was a slow but steady rising of the Mist over the Styx. Once Stephen had finished his work on the Spell Shackle he turned his attention to the problem of getting off the sandbar. His best hope was a Boat or a Barge coming along. Hopefully before his Styx charm failed. The rising mist wasn't as dangerous as the lapping waters at the edge of the bar; but without the charm it would still wash away his hope and memories; just more slowly and less noticeably. He glanced at the Charm its glow was undiminished, for now. Calling a Boatman wasn't an option; other things that couldn't reach him on shore would hear/feel, the call and get there first. Using the Shackle to power a bridge spell could work, if his Charm held long enough to let him charge the Shackle slowly. A fast charge would be as bad as trying to Call a Boatman. Then he saw it. Low to the water and half hidden by the rising mist. But clearly there; the spell glow of an Iron Boat or, given its lowness to the water, a Rune Barge. As it drew closer, it became clear that it was a barge. While far less shielded than a Boat a Barge was far more likely to stop and pick him up. So, once it was close enough Stephen cast a ball of light into the air above the water a little way out from the bar. "Ahoy, the Barge!" he called. "Ahoy, yourself." a voice called back, "What in the name of Cerberus are you doing out here?" "Waiting for a kindly soul to save me from the malice of those who can't bear their losses like gentlemen." "HA HO !" the voice called back, "I'm a mercenary soul more than kindly one, but if you've a bit of bling to trade for passage..." and the Barge to a stop even as the voice trailed off expectantly. Stephen was less than thrilled to see that the speaker was a Cyclops with a crew of orks. Still, having no other real choice..."I think we can work something out." he said stepping onto the Barge. "Well," Said the Cyclops, "what have ye ta offer for passage upon me fine craft?" 'Fine craft ?' was pushing things a bit to Stephen's way of thinking, altho the Rune carved Darkwood looked to be in far better shape than most craft of this type that he'd seen; not that he'd had reason to see very many. "I've a fine light crystal." he offered pulling one from an inside pocket. He didn't expect it to be nearly enough, but saw no reason to offer the full price all at once. He might get the giant to settle for less. "It's a start." the giant said after looking at it. "I've a bit of coin, but I'd rather your whole crew not know where I keep it." he said. "A wise thought that. Cronk; I'll be in my cabin talking business, see we're not disturbed." the giant said tossing the crystal to a large, rough looking hobgoblin whom Stephen mistrusted as soon as he saw him. "Aye, Captain Pheron." the hobgoblin said catching the crystal and hiding it without even turning to look. "Not easy to look at, but useful for keeping the rest in line." Pheron remarked as he lead the way to a small hut at the back of the barge. "Push off and get us back in the current." he called to a burly ork standing atop the hut holding the rudder pole. "Aye, Captain." the ork called back. "Shove off ya lazy swine; Cap'n wants us underway!" the steersman bellowed as Stephen followed Pheron into the hut. The room held a bed, a desk, and a chair. With the faint glow of locking spells on the bed; which was really a box with a mat on top; and the desk, which Pheron was opening. "See to your secrets while I see to mine. Then we can talk for a bit." "But we've not set a price." Stephen protested. "Half of what you've got in your money belt should cover it." "Very well." Stephen said drawing out five of the twelve gold pieces hidden there as he gave thanks that the three platinum pieces were hidden elsewhere. Pheron counted the coins and slipped them into a pouch on his belt."The Crystal is worth about a gold, so I'll let it slide. But you shouldn't try shorting people like that; it'll get you into trouble one of these days. Stephen flushed as re d as his hair and gave silent thanks that the spell shackle kept him from shifting. Altho the Cyclops might already know his true nature. Pheron laughed "Now that you know lying to me is a waste of time, will you have a drink and tell me of yourself and your travels; starting, perhaps with your name ?" and with that Pheron held out a glass of green liquid which Stephen recognized as Saurian brandy. Very good Saurian brandy, he discovered after a careful first sip quickly followed by a full swallow. "Ah, that's good." Stephen observed while resolving to be careful about drinking any more. Saurian brandy packs quite a punch. Pheron drained his glass, refilled it and took a sip of the next, waiting. Stephen took another sip. "I am called Stephen Fox; among a number of less disserved and far less suitable things." Pheron had raised his eyebrow at the name 'Fox', but said nothing, finishing off his second glass and refilling it again. Stephen took another sip of his drink and wondered if he could hold his own even at a glass to sip rate. "I am a mage, of some small skill;" he went on, "and a gambler of rather greater skill." "Which leads some to assume you use your first skill to improve the second." Pheron observed putting the cork back in the bottle and putting it and his glass back into the desk. Stephen drained his own glass and handed it over. "And so the question of your arrival on the sandbar is answered; yet the answer spawns the question of why you travel the Styx in the first place." "No great mystery there." Stephen said, "I had heard that Under Louis offered opportunities to use my second skill set to acquire the means to improve the first, and places where those means could be applied without need of further travel." all of which was quite true, as far as it went; his other reasons for traveling to Under Louis were ones it would be better to keep to himself, even if Pheron were a trustworthy sort, a boat full of orks, goblins, hobgoblins, and their ilk was no place to talk about matters of that sort. "Ah" said Pheron, "So you plan to settle in Under Louis. "Yes." Stephen said "But what of you; I'm assuming Under Louis is just a stop along your way?" "For now; but a few more loads of Nether Ore and I'll have enough Feromantic Iron to start turning this into a Boat. There's more money in travelers than cargo; even if cargo doesn't complain as much. Stephen smiled at that, then added, "If you don't already have a Mage lined up, come see me when you're ready to start building and I'll give you a good price on the Inscribing." "I'll bear it in mind; but I managed the Runes on this tub well enough by myself." Stephen blinked and let his eyes go silver for a moment. The Spell Weave on the Barge clearly matched Pheron's Aura and his mere ten foot height should have been a tip off to his other than pure giant blood. Which lead Stephen to revise his estimate of Pheron's age upward by a couple of decades. After all a pureblood wouldn't start coming into his magic until his first century or later. But a half-bread... "and a fine job it is too." Stephen said letting his eyes shift back to 'normal' "Still; a bit of help could save me some time, and work space don't come cheap in Under Louis; even in the best of times." "Best of times?" Stephen ask hoping not to seen too interested. "Scorpanoks; or so I've heard. Not just a few, and not just passing through a company's worth, and staying around. "Doing what?!"Stephen exclaimed, "I could see a few loaner types taking a warehouse guard job to get by till something better turned up. But a company...?" "Arms and armor; would be my guess. And they might be needing transport for it." "Careful there." Stephen warned, "Scorpanoks aren't noted for paying for what they can just take." "Depends on the Company. Some are better than others." Pheron rumbled; clearly not pleased at the thought."Anyway, I plan to dock in the goblin quarter until I can get their measure." Stephen didn't think that was much safer than dealing with Scorpanok mercenaries but held his peace, as getting out of the goblin quarter and into a better part of town unnoticed was a better plan than landing at the main docks or trying to find his way through the tunnels beyond Under Louis from some uncharted landing point. "So how far are we from Under Louis ?" Stephen asks, wondering how long he could stay awake, or if he'd have to risk trying to sleep on the Barge somewhere. "A few hours yet." Pheron said getting up, "a bit less if I push things. You can catch a nap in here if you like. I'll catch up on my sleep in Under Louis." "I wouldn't want to put you out." Stephen said; even as he took an appraising look at the bed and decided it would be quite comfortable. "No bother, I've got a meal and a bed waiting for me at the Stag." Pheron said opening the door and stepping out. 'The Stag' !? Well that was interesting Stephen thought as the door closed. He was to meet the Lady Fantasia there and learn what he could from her before poking around on his own. Could Pheron be one of Melkior's agents? Best not to know, if what Melkior feared was true. But would Scorponoks work for Thulians? Of course if they were using Varna agents there would be no reason for the Scorps to know who they were really working for. Deciding that further speculating would be pointless until he knew more; Stephen set a simple alarm ward on the door. Anything more would have been too much work with the Barge underway. And with his privacy secured he unlocked the holding spell on the Shackle and returned to his true form. And after giving himself a good bone popping stretch, lay down on the bed; not bothering to take his clothes off or turn down the covers. And was quickly asleep. A few moments, hours?, later he snapped awake. The Barge was slowing and the energy field shutting down. He quickly Shifted and reset the Shackle. Which he noted was now almost half charged. He'd just taken the alarm ward off the door when Pheron opened it. "We're here.” he said, "Will you be needing a Cloak?" "I think not." Stephen said glancing at the Styx Charm around his neck: it would need recharging soon. He added a Disguise Amulet. As the Amulet fell into place next to Charm and hidden Key Stephen's form seemed to waver for a moment as the image of an ork overlay his own. "Aye. That should do; if no one looks close."Pheron allowed as he lead the way out of the cabin. "Unless they already know the truth." Cronk said pointing a crossbow at Stephen's heart. “Let’s see what you really look like.” said the Scorpanok standing to Cronk’s left, reaching forward to grab Stephen’s disguise amulet and jerk it off. The ork image shimmered and vanished leaving his human form behind. Stephen wondered if his true form had shown during his unmasking, but could think of no way to check. “What’s the meaning of this Cronk?!” Pheron demanded. “Sorry Captain, but they made a better offer for him; and you.” The Scorpanok looked closely at Pheron, “Yes, there’s a bounty on this one too.” he said. More Scorpanoks moved forward from among the orks, energy crackling around their lower hands Shackles held in upper. “Rest of the crew’s secure Sarge. What about this one?” One of the new arrivals ask indicating Cronk with a wave of his Shackle filled hand. “He works for the Boss.” the Sergeant said. The Shackle waver took a step back. “You mean he’s…” “…Not your problem.” the Sergeant cut him off. “Right. So, just these two then.” he said turning back to Stephen and Pheron. “You going to come along quiet like or do we stun you, chain you, and wait for you to wake up?” “No waiting.” the Sergeant said twitching his tail with impatience. “If we stun ‘em, we drag ‘em. “You heard the Sarge. So how ‘bout it?” Stephen held out his arms; there would be chances to escape later. Trying to fight free now would just get him stunned and dragged. This way he’d at least get a look at where they were going. To his relief Pheron seemed to have reached the same conclusion; as he also held out his arms with a muttered growl. The Shackles snapped shut around each wrist and then came PAIN!!! Blinding; Searing; Pain! Then it was gone. “Just a taste of what you’ll get if you cause any trouble.” the Sergeant said as Stephen and Pheron climbed back to their feet. Stephen didn’t even remember falling, but a pain in his shoulder bore witness to his meeting with the deck. “All right; Let’s move you maggots. You two, up front; The rest of you rabble form up behind them; Four wide. Move it; Move it; Move it!” the sergeant yelled waving his upper arms while keeping the pain rod in his lower right hand close to his side. Stephen set off at a quick trot, having no other choice. Pheron was lucky to be tall enough to keep pace at a walk. Scorpanoks were everywhere, carapaces gleaming, tails held high, pain batons held in their upper arms. This wasn’t a company, this was an army. An occupying army. How could they have taken over so quickly and completely? They had only been marching for about 20 min. when the Foundries came into view and a feeling of unease started stealing over Stephen. He glanced down at his Styx-charm and breathed a Work of Power over it and only just managed not to flinch at the pain from the Shackles. WOW ! Picking these things will be a real trick (if I can do it at all) a nagging voice of doubt added. After all, he’d be not only trying to pick top of the line pain shackles, but trying it in a dread field strong enough to give him the creeps this far out. The Charm was helping, now that he’d boosted it, but it wouldn’t last long in the Foundries. A day, maybe less. Well, he’d just have to work fast, once he got a chance; if he got a chance. Another half-hour of quick marching and they had reached the Foundries. And the Dread field was like a wool blanket soaked in ice water. Even through the Charm, and small wonder with the amount of Neather-Ore being smelted and Feromantic Iron being quenched in Styx water. The wonder was that anyone without a charm, of some sort or other, could stand to stay here at all. Then a low-level pain started spreading over him from the Shackles. Like an electric shock set low enough to just be uncomfortable. “That should be enough to keep you working.” The sergeant said. “And if the Dread starts slowing you down; we can always turn up the shock.” “Now get to work. You lot can start shoveling black-rock into the furnace over there.” He said to one group. “And the rest of you can start loading ore into the smelter.” He went on indicating Stephen’s group. Stephen struggled to hide his dismay. Neather-Ore drew magic, likely strongly enough to trip the pain shackle, as if he wouldn’t be working with enough problems and distractions. Now he’d be lucky to have any magic left by the time they were finial allowed to sleep; if they were allowed to sleep. No, surely the Scorps would allow them food and rest, just to get more work out of them in the long run. Stephen closed off his mind to block out the pain and slow the relentless draining of his magic by the Neather-Ore. Survive now, escape later. And for the next several hours; he didn’t really notice how many; Stephen’s world shrank to a pile of ore, a smelter and the short path between them. Then, water. He hadn’t noticed his thirst until the water skin was at his mouth and it was only starting to ease when the skin was gone leaving his thirst more pronounced than satisfied. Another timeless interval of ore and pain. Another mouthful of water. More Ore. Then finial; Food. He couldn’t have said what it was, just that it was something to chew that gave energy and almost awakened hunger before fatigue took it away along with everything else. “Fox…” a voice called. Then again louder, “Fox; wake up. It’s time to go.” “Wha..? Who?” he muttered trying to force his eyes open. “Good. You’re awake. Drink this; it’ll help” and he felt a glass bottle against his lips. “Who?” he tried to ask again as the bottle was tipped up forcing him to drink or chock. He drank, swallowing quickly. The warmth of the Ambrosia spread through him quickly and the world came into sharper focus. He almost cried out at the sight of a Scorpanok guard leaning over him. “Relax, it’s me; Fantasia.” The ‘guard’ said. “How do…”He started to ask. “Would a ‘real’ guard be helping you?”She snapped. “Good to see you too. Now about these.” he said holding out the Shackles. “You haven’t got them off yet; you’ve been awake a good minuet now.” She teased, and then grew serious. “I couldn’t get a key. They don’t seem to believe in keeping ant handy.” “Stephen muttered a curse. “Fine; I’ll just have to do this the hard way. Go see if you can get Pheron up.” “Who?” “Cyclops, half-bread; over that way, I think. Shouldn’t be too hard to find.” He said pointing off to his left. “Friend of yours?” “I think so. His first mate sold us out to the Scorps. But I think he was really a Varna.” “The mate?” Stephen nodded. “o.k. I’ll see what I can do for your friend.” She said and moved off. Stephen watched the doppelganger go “unnerving, but useful.” He muttered, “Not that I have room to talk on that score. He added after a moment’s pause. Then he turned his attention to the Shackles. The one from the Boat was like a toy next to these. But the fact that they had missed that ‘toy’ might just give him the edge he’d need to beat these. He reached for the hidden Shackle with his mind and Power. Yes; as he’d hoped it was fully charged; having caught a good bit of the power being pulled from him by the Neather-Ore. Now what to do with that power? He studied the Runes on the Scorp-Shackles. Yes, more complex than the one from the Boat; even after he’d worked on it; but a Shackle is still a Shackle and so there has to be a lock and key rune set up somewhere on it. “ah ha ! There you are. And you are a nasty, tricky, bit of work too aren’t you?” Stephen muttered as he traced the spell weave from Rune to Rune. Tweek the wrong Rune and the pain spell would keep building until it kills you. Nasty. But, if I link this back to here; and this over to here… He reached into his belt pouch for his Scrib; somewhat surprised to find that it was still there… He was just finishing when a guard came by. “And just what do you think you’re doing?” he demanded. Stephen didn’t hesitate, he channeled energy from the hidden Shackle through the one he’d just finished working on and sent a bolt of pure Pain at the guard; who crumpled with only a soft moan. He was taking aim at a second guard when he spotted Pheron behind ‘him’ just as she called out “It’s me.” He lowered his arm in relief.
  14. TLDunn213

    Dread Foundries

    "We need answers, and to get them we need more information, and one place to get that is the Scarlet Stag." I said getting up from the table and putting my dishes in the sink. "O.k. I'll head over there and see what I can find out." Fantasia said adding her dishes to the sink. "I was thinking of going myself, Need to talk to Tatanya about something that's between us, and get it settled before we go forward with any sort of alliance for dealing with the ongoing problem." "I see... Well, don't let me get in the way of resolving a personal score with a Fay." "Now, Just a minute;" Pheron said sliding his plate across the table, where Fantasia could reach it. "Didn't we just escape from the Scorps ? And won't they be looking for us ? Which would make walking the streets a sort of crazy thing to be doing just now ? " "Well, it would be; If I was to go out there looking like this; Or relying on a glamour. But Full on shape shifting is a lot harder to see through. As Fantasia demonstrated by rescuing us." "Okay, fine, have it your way. It's still crazy. Then again so's leaving a personal score with a Fay standing any longer than you have to; Or even having a personal score with a Fay in the first place. How did...? No. On second thought; I don't think I really want to know."
  15. TLDunn213

    Behind the House of Usher

    It took us a couple of hours to get to the side channel we were looking for. Surprisingly, none of the Styx Gollums from the fortresses followed us. I wondered if I should take it as a good sign or a bad one, but came to no conclusion on that point. I took the time to swap out the sleep spells for binding ones, and take a look at the rest of the book. As expected there wasn't much of use to us just now. But quite a lot that Melkior could use in his research. After all knowing how a Styx Gollum or Dracolitch is made can be quite useful in figuring out its weak points. Once we reached the point where we were on the map it was a simple matter to repair the spell that keeps it up to date. In fact it took longer for the map to settle down after. It seems that the map has a rewind abilitie; allowing one to check for trends in the way things are moving around. I took a few minutes playing around with it, but didn't spot any shifts likely to be fast enough to matter to us. As to paths in and out, There weren't any good ones, But I found a couple that we could deal with well enough.
  16. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Maybe they did ask and it was edited out. But then they'd just edit out the oops part. As to being watched; This is a writing site, it's a fiction thing isn't it. 😊 "Gravity resistant" I'm going to have to do some poking around to see what I can find on that one.
  17. TLDunn213

    On Nerfs and Gribbles

    Going back to the hidden passageway, Zatar takes a moment to scan the still unconscious Snypiuer. After finding no major damage, and placing a general purpose heading spell on him, just in case, teleports him to the, by now customary, couch in the Tavern. "He'll be fine. Now, bring me up to speed on what happened to you?" "O.k. " Qwerty said, putting the stunner in its holster and setting off down the hidden passageway "I was down by the Vaults of Time, trying to figure out which way to go to reach 'just a bit past' " " Sorry, about that. You Teleported in next to the Vaults ?" Qwerty nodded. "I'm normally coming from the Kitchen/Larder direction." "Ah, of course, picking up food for the hatchling; I should have thought of that. Anyway, before that insight had occurred, this evil looking clown shows up and starts wrapping me up in this sticky sleep cocoon stuff. Would have had me too, if I hadn't remembered this spare body I'd left at your place last year." "I'd forgotten about that, So, the breakaway stasis spell broke when you mindshifted in ?" "Had to give it a bit of a mental shove, But it worked pretty much like we wanted."
  18. TLDunn213

    On Nerfs and Gribbles

    A Nerf according to "The Prince and the Gift" by G K Dunn Which I helped with a little Is sort of a cross between a llama and a goat. Llama body, neck about half as long, goat head, Long shaggy fur Gribble Option one A giant tribble Option two A grabber tribble A nasty bit of work by an insane tribble breeder who got ahold of some Thulian biomancy text. (Zatar becomes fascinated by the ceiling at this point) Anyway They are bald scaley things with retractable tentacles That pack a nasty one two bioelectric neurotoxin sting They mostly sit around looking like rocks Until someone or something wanders by... And you don't need me to keep going do you ? They are said to be quite tasty breaded and fried. A delicacy in some regions of the Underdark. Or so I'm told.
  19. TLDunn213

    On Nerfs and Gribbles

    Zatar looked back and forth between the two Qwertys reflexively shifting to Magesight and aiming the med-Scaner at the armed Qwerty... Zeta; and with traces of a stasis spell clinging to him. Zatar turns his gaze and Scaner tword the other Qwerty, only to find him vanished. A stunner beam rips through the empty space a second later. "Really gone then, I was hoping he'd just gone invisible." "Should I have you bring me up to speed now or after?" "After, if you can get a lock on his teleport trace. I'm not sure what he/it Really is; So no clue how hard it will be to track." "Very;" Zatar said after a few minutes of murmured spells and adjusting of settings on the Scaner. "He didn't teleport, so much as dissipate. He seems to have turned into smoke or vapor and drifted off this way... and then sank through the floor... about here." Zatar finished coming to a stop a few yards further down the original hallway. "Seems to be an innate ability too, as I'm not picking up any traces of spell work of any type I've ever seen before."
  20. TLDunn213

    On Nerfs and Gribbles

    Snypiuer's screams of panic had stopped rather abruptly. Growing worried Zatar sends a small glowing mote of magic trailing after his earlier spells, and lengthens his stride. He's almost running when his light mote takes a sharp left into and through a large wall hanging. Skidding to a stop Zatar reaches out with his magic to lift the tapestry out of the way. Revealing a secret passageway with an unconscious Snypiuer on the floor. Pulling a Med Scaner from his cloak Zatar notes a lump on Snypiuer's forehead and a low support beam. "Knocked himself silly, I take it ?" Qwerty observed as he glided to a stop next to Zatar. "Looks like it. Now to see if he did any damage to..." "IMPOSTOR!!" Qwerty yelled from further down the passageway; charging forward with some sort of ray-pistol in hand, aimed at the Qwerty standing next to Zatar.
  21. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    ???? Like...Dude What are you smoking?
  22. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. I was asking the other day; why we don't have water fueled cars, if everything needed to make them is off the shelf technology ? And then I went looking for an answer. And I found one. Which begs the question of why we don't hear this tidbit of information trotted out whenever the topic of water fueled cars comes up ? Oh, the answer; Disappointing really; Which may be why it's not brought up. The energy needed to break water into Hydrogen and oxygen is the same as the energy you get when you burn that Hydrogen as fuel. A bit more actually as no system is perfect and some energy gets lost along the way. So, yep, Thermodynamics strikes again. But...We see these water fueled cars driving around? We do. But there is always another source of power in play one way or another. Extra batteries, gasoline being mixed with the Hydrogen, or stuff added to the water that reacts to give off extra hydrogen. Sorry, but you can't get around thermodynamics. Spread the word, so we can stop wasting time on this a focus on options that do work.
  23. TLDunn213

    Warlocks

    While I don't have the D&D books for this class I've heard enough to see them as being more or less the same as the Dracons that I already have in the Shardscape. With the only real difference between the two being what they are bonded to. Or are drawing their Essence from, in the case of Ronini Warlocks. Now D&D doesn't have Ronini Warlocks, at least as far as I know. But I see no reason to not include them in the Shardscape. As well as "Blood" types; which D&D does have; sort of. In so far as they have Plane Touched, Tieflings, Azamars, etc. They don't really seem to have anything for those descended from The Great Old Ones, But the Thulians here in the Shardscape could cover that fairly well. And with the Ronini option also comes the Mongrel Warlock. Someone who, in their quest for power has been grabbing whatever supernatural essence they can get, and so are now well on their way to becoming...? If you are having trouble following what I'm talking about here, Check out my Dragons and Dracons post. And if you have questions after that, Please ask. And I will try to explain.
  24. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    So, I've been doing some research and; Vibro-blades are a real thing, Go figure. Not a huge surprise but still cool to know. And there's some evidence that a sort of tuningfork sonic drill was used to cut and carve stone back in ancient times. And that the stones used to build the Great Pyramid are a type of geo-polymer cement/concert. Which in a way could also explain things like the London hammer and other stuff found in ancient stones. Bad part about that idea is that "natural " geo-polymer processes are a thing geologists should already know about. And if they somehow didn't That would put the age of a LOT of stuff into question. Unless we just have really bad geology work on these few "out of place" artifacts. Any thoughts, anyone ?
  25. TLDunn213

    Ancient Aliens

    Interesting thought about the great pirmaid. There is the idea that it was some sort of power generation system. Which has left me with the question of Where was the control room? And now they are talking about finding a big empty space above the grand gallery. If it is the missing control room then there should be a connecting passageway starting not too far from the front door. But haven't we already looked for hidden doors and passages all along the way there ? Mostly just thinking out loud here, But if anyone reading this knows anything or has any thoughts on this...
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