Sagas of the Radiant Age

Prologue 1
A simple job...

“Who are we killing again?” Asked a fair skinned lad in his late teens while looking through a spyglass. “Yer not killing anyone, Dalen. Yer only my spotter so this kill only gets credited to me.” Said an older half elf man, covered in scars. “Some cultural dignitary, I guess.” The half elf was assembling a large crossbow in the summer heat on a rooftop only dwarfed by the holy tree to the south. “Mind if I check the scroll, Caeryn? Target isn’t supposed to show up for another hour.” Caeryn strung the crossbow and begin assembling the mechanical broad-heads he was famed for. “Go ahead, kid. But don’t be gettin’ too attached to yer victims. I’ve known assassins who studied every man they planned to kill, but when he closed his eyes at night their faces are what he saw.”

Dalen shook his head and rolled his eyes, believing that his youth and bravado could overcome any challenge. The lad quickly opened the pressed parchment scroll from it’s leather and metal scroll case. Dalen always wondered how the Blood Guild got their intel. Name: Manard Rahl, Occupation: Chief of the Grey Tribes of the Karutan, Time: 15:30, location: Nightstone Academy of Magic. “This guy is apparently a chieftain of something call the ‘Karootans?’ Why the hell is that important?” Caeryn saw a flicker of light out of the corner of his eye. “Put that damn scroll away and put yer eyes back on, I think the ground team arrived early and is looking for confirmation. Dalen did see the flash of a signal mirror stage left of the target location. He waited for the correct pattern in flashes and then returned the code with his signal mirror.

“You ever hear of these Karootans, Caeryn?” Asked Dalen, whose curiosity is piqued. “I have, they were once a tribe of folk in the Northern Republic. Kind of like cat-folk, if I remember correctly. But unlike the lazy thieves the cat-folk are, these one’s were skilled hunters and craftsman. I met an assassin who claimed he was descended from one. Carried a weird weapon with dragon fangs driven into it and made claims of his ‘Hunting prowess’.” “What happened to him?” Asked Dalen. “Botched job against a dragon-mage. Was roasted alive by some dragon queen. Enough talk Dalen, get your mask on and let’s get set up.”

The two assassins set their cases and bags near the exit and began watching the entrance to the academy. They put cloth masks over their noses and mouth. The masks were made of woven cotton and simply had a mouth sewn shut upon them. Dalen set up a small gray flag to show direction of wind and watched through the spyglass. Caeryn placed the crossbow on a tripod and got into a prone position. Dalen pulled two marble sized glowing glass stones and set one by Caeryn and one by him. Dalen signaled once more with his mirror and they waited.

Meanwhile inside the academy, The very tan and very muscular chieftain Mannard and his bodyguard were speaking to some of the Alexandrian professors. “I trust you will find these scrolls to be very informative. Unfortunately the teachings of my ancestors no longer hold any value beyond academic studies.” Said Mannard, whose eyes were filled with shame. On the table were dozens of scrolls, written on mammoth hide, preserved with magic runes and carvings. “It is no fault of yours, Chief Mannard, I am glad you agreed to let the Academy have these relics for posterity. Once we have cataloged them, we will send a hedge mage to carry them to the capital. Although your tribe has withered, we can ensure their legacy will be immortal.” Said the lead professor. Mannard’s bodyguard, dressed in a blue robe with a medallion brandishing a torch burning blue-green fire, stepped up. “Are you sure this is the right place to have this knowledge rest? The Mandate could always hold them in White Wall, if you wish to keep them in their relative homeland.” Mannard sighed and shook his head. “The Grey Tribe haven’t been the lords of the north in a thousand years. Even when I look to home, it’s not the place our ancestors would remember it. The golden glow of the setting sun pressing on our glaciers, the noble pine forests rebelling against the falling snow. White Wall is a lake now, and even that is Alexandria. I fell that the capital is the right place for it.”

Mannard and his body guard exited the academy. The ocean water steaming off the cobblestone streets baking in the afternoon sky gave the town a pleasant smell. A small crowd had gathered around to see who was in town. As Mannard and his bodyguard walked to the carriage, they had no idea what fate awaited them.

click whistle

At that instant the bodyguard’s medallion began to glow. Time seemed to slow down for a moment, as the bodyguard threw off his robe revealing himself to be a middle aged human with many scars over his bare chest with runes carved into it. He took a deep breath and shouted.

“Torfn gol yban!”

His skin erupted in blue-green fire as his words created a visible shock wave of energy. The bolt and the spell struck together with a underwhelming “fizzle”. The bolt blackened, fell to the ground, and was scattered like dust in the northern wind. “Get to the carriage, chieftain!” The burning mage said as he shouted another phrase.

“akod davr iemal!”

A prismatic bridge of wind picked the burning mage up and carried him to the source of the bolt. He saw the two assassins. The older one pushed himself back and through a glass stone on the floor, releasing a yellow doorway he jumped through. The Younger one’s finger slipped and the stone dropped safely on a canopy a floor down. The burning mage’s eyes began to smoke as he asked “Any last words, pup?” Dalen reached into his parcel and dropped a silver scroll case. With practiced routine he said the words he had been trained to say. “A payment of were-gild from the Blood Guild. Our quarry is not you, lest you be dead.” The burning mage smiled and said “keep your blood money, it won’t buy the lady of keys and it shall not buy me.” The words the mage spoke now were not even recognizable, though the force and fury of the words tore young Dalen apart.

The town below had erupted in screams, the carriage had not made it ten feet before screams could be heard within it. The burning mage repeated his bridge spell, but it was too late. Chief Mannard had been slain with a stiletto in the throat. The guards were called and the entire road was searched, but the killer was never found.

Hours later, in the south ward of Nightstone, Caeryn and the two assassins from the ground team met up in the Ocean’s Tear pub and inn. “Where’s your spotter?” asked one of the assassins. “Got caught. He’ll pay were-gild here, Alexandrians usually take it. I’ll pick him up in the morning, after getting some more whistling bolts.” After half an hour they are joined by a dark skinned handsome man. He was wearing gold and red finery, with a gauntlet of moving parts on his left arm. “I trust it was done?” Asked the man. “Yeah, yeah. Gonna have to charge another 15% to cover were-gild, and 20% hazard for dealing with mages. We really don’t like surprises like that.” “My deepest apologies, I will pay that and more.” His gauntlet hissed with minor spouts of steam. He pressed a button near his elbow and a key popped out of his wrist. “Three Thousand, in gems.” Caeryn hesitantly took the key “Isn’t that a bit much? And where is the lock that this key opens?” The man’s face stretched in a diabolical grin. “Elven Bank in Sentinel. Marvelous doing business with you gentlemen.” Caeryn began to grow uneasy. “Then the contract is completed, the Blood Guild will not hear from you again for at least a fortnight.” The strange man began to walk out. As he got to the door, he turned his head back and said “May the fiery wings of vengeance carry you ever forward…”

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Prologue 2
Gathering storms...

“Hugh, get back here you big meanie!” A young girl yelled up to a treehouse built into a strong dragonsap tree. She was wearing a bright yellow dress which complimented her blue tinted black hair. Her name was Bridhe, and today was her seventh birthday. A birthday she was not going to let be ruined by her know-it-all big brother. “No stinky girls allowed in my treehouse, even dad said so!” Said hugh in a defiant tone. Bridhe felt a smirk widen on her face as she ran under the tree where she was pretty sure that Hugh couldn’t see her. She got down on her knees and started gathering the wet mud near the roots of the tree and rolled in into a flat disk. She shut her eyes closed as hard as she could and tried to concentrate. She whispered some words and breathed a silver mist onto the drying mud disk in her hands. By the time she opened her eyes, by all appearances it looked like one of mom’s best chocolate chip and pomegranate cookies.

She waited a few more minutes before she cast the same spell again, only this time she made the mud also smell like a cookie. “Oh Hugh!” She said, almost singing. “Mom made some cookies and I am supposed to give you one.” Crashing sounds could be heard from up in the treehouse. “A cookie for me, on your birthday? Wowzers that’s great!” Hugh jumped out of the tree and circled back in front of Bridhe. Although raised with Bridhe, Hugh was actually a person-sized dragon with copper colored scales. He eagerly grabbed at the cookie with his claws, careful not to scratch his sister. He took a big sniff and wolfed it down in one bite. Much to Bridhe’s delite, he immediately started spitting up the mud. “No fair using magic, sis.” Hugh said irritated by the trick but admiring the creativity of it all. “Your definitely getting better, it’s the only down side to you being in Bright Halls almost all year.” Bridhe blushed. “Thanks, but we got to get back to my house it’s almost time for my party!”

The two rushed back to their town. Rynen was a small farming and orchard town in Iona, and famed for it’s pomegranates. Iona was famed as the Dragon Kingdom of the world. The Dragon Queen was renown for being a tough but fair leader. In Iona, all dragon-kind was at peace and was protected by oath to the queen. As the two rushed through the orchard they came within sight of their town. Black sands as far as the eye could see. Their town and it’s farmlands were built on magically created earth to keep it fertile and prevent it from being desert. After a few more minutes they were at their cottage.

“Mom, Dad, we’re home!” Shouted Hugh, shaking the windows near shattering with the force of his voice. As they quickly ran around the house they were puzzled as to where the rest of the family was. The two agreed that it was time to look for clues, as maybe the party was being held at some secret location. Hugh looked downstairs and Bridhe took the upstairs and attic. After a very complete search of the kitchen for a quick snack, Hugh found some very suspicious things. He first found fathers wedding bangle in the pantry, he noticed the magic stone in the mantle that keeps their hearth burning gone, and lastly he found great grampa’s sword out of it’s sheath on the floor under a chair.

Bridhe looked around upstairs, starting in the hallway. She found great grampa’s sheath and a brass tube that smelled like gunpowder. It wasn’t until she looked in the closet that she became alarmed. The doors were off the hinges and bloodstains on the painted white walls. She felt a scream try to escape her, but she instead ran into her room. In her jewelry box she knew she would find her wizard’s ring. She learned how to make it at Bright Halls. It’s only really magical to her and helps her channel her spells much easier. She put on the ring and grabbed her spell pouch belt and through it over her shoulder. “Think like a wizard, she thought to herself. Wizards and dragons can’t get scared!” She whispered to herself fighting the tears out of her eyes. She went back into the hallway and properly donned her belt. She pointed her ringed hand at the strange copper tube and cast the spell she knew that would help her see magic.

After muttering the spell she had studied so hard a silver third eye opened above her two physical ones. Everything went black and white, but the copper tube was giving off a smoking green aura. She looked closely and all the energy that went into the tube. It was like the magic was a piece of cloth stiched together very tightly. She wasn’t familiar with that kind of magic, who makes an item that’s only good once? After a minute of studying dying magical aura, she though it looked like the magical gates that her school had. She grabbed the sheath and went downstairs to find Hugh.

Hugh was distraught at the news, but Bridhe reminded him that she was the kid and he was the dragon and they had to do something. Bridhe sheathed her grandfathers sword and strapped it to her back. “Let’s look around town, someone can help us.” Hugh sniffled as he went out the front door. Bridhe climbed onto his back and flew around town looking for someone to help. Unfortunately, all they found was someone who needed more help. They found Hugh’s friend Jakkerl, the silver dragon. A grown up silver dragon almost 70 feet long. But he was injured. His wings had been cut off and he was bleeding a lot. There were many black spears through his body. “What happened?” Said Bridhe.

Jakkerl opened his still functioning eye and replied, barely audible. “Bandits and dragon-slayers. Flying boats swooped down and took everyone. They said they needed slaves for the coming fires and that my kind wouldn’t survive.” Hugh tried to remove a spear, but the metal burned his hands. He wimpered in pain. “What…what is that metal? If they have metal that can break our scales…we…we should probably fly to the capital and tell the Dragon Queen. She’ll know what to do.” Bridhe agreed, they would have to go. But they didn’t want to let Jakkerl die, but then again neither Bridhe nor Hugh knew anything about healing. “Go tell the queen.” Said Jakkerl. “You have to go quickly so she can find these bandits and get the town back. You staying here won’t save me, so go.” Hugh defiantly protested, but Jakkerl’s mighty roar startled them into going.

Hugh flew as fast as he could south with Bridhe holding on tightly. Bridhe remembered a little spell she had learned that her know where north was. Even with flying at top speed, she was able to cast it and she pointed Hugh in the opposite of that direction. “South, the Dragon Queen’s palace is to the south!” As they flew, Hugh noticed that they were being followed by something very strange. A human in metal armor was flying after them, being supported by a metal device that used blue cloth stretched over a metal frame to fly. As the human drew closer he drew what looked like a crossbow, but without the bow part. It hissed with steam and then a horizontal column of fire shot at Hugh. Hugh screamed in pain and began to fall, but was able to regain control. He hastily breathed acid at the guy, but he missed. Hugh hadn’t had a lot of target practice at home since he accidentally melted a neighbors garden, and was made to promise he would never do it again in town. Bridhe only knew one fire spell, but she needed both of her hands to aim it and she didn’t want to fall off.

The chase went on for a while, Hugh was badly burned and quickly exhausting. This human was faster then he was and couldn’t land any hits on him. “Do you trust me?” Asked Hugh. “Uhh what are you planning?” Bridhe nervously replied. Hugh looked into the distance and saw a mountain pass with a villiage beyond it. He quickly dived, hoping that the human’s larger wings would have a hard time following him.

He was right. Hugh was able to regain some distance between them and the attacker, but he knew it wouldn’t last long. “I’m going to need to to get your floating spell ready, sis.” He said as he darted out of the right pass. He spiraled then flew straight up, throwing Bridhe off the dragon and plummeting to the rocks below. Bridhe concentrated as hard as she could and used her last spell to make a silver magic disk of light under her, slowing her fall. The persuer followed Bridhe instead of Hugh. Bridhe knew she was an easy target for him up here, so she mentally commanded the disk to descend as quickly as possible.

As soon as she landed, she used her ring to move the disk in front of her, like a shield. The human shot another beam of fire, but Bridhe blocked it with her makeshift shield. As he approached, he drew a mace. She quickly ran towards him and swung the disk at him like a giant fly swatter. It was not that effective. For about 2 minutes he continued to assault her, and Bridhe’s will holding the shield together was cracking.

Meanwhile, Hugh was surprised to find that he had not been followed, he had to think quickly. If he just rushed in to save Bridhe they would both die and these people would just keep doing this to people. He quickly flew to the nearby town. Hugh didn’t know that many spells, not even as many as his sister, but as a dragon of Iona he was taught one or two if he ever needed them. He landed on top of the temple in town. He used his tail to ring the bell as he cast the alarm spell he had been taught for just such an occasion.

This was no small town of orchards. This was Omblo, township of the golden scale dragons. A score of dragons took to the skies looking for the source of the alarms, it didn’t take them long to find Hugh. Who had gone unconscious in his injured state, but with one claw pointing towards where his sister was fighting for her life. The dragons flew much faster then Hugh could, and it took them almost no time to find Bridhe as soon as her shield shattered into motes of silver colored light. The attacker dropped the mace and quickly drew a copper rod with a gem in it. He pressed his finger against the gem and he was gone, only the clatter of the remaining copper tube and the ornate mace was left.

The two were taken to the temple of Umbria and were allowed to recover. The news of the attacks were sent to the Dragon Queen, even Jakkerl was saved before it was too late. Bridhe and Hugh were moved to Bright Halls to keep them safe, and they remain their even now. The Dragon Queen now has her forces scouring the kingdom, trying to find who ever dared attack her kingdom, and yet so far only a few items is all Iona has to find these “raiders.”

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Prologue 3
The price of 1,000 years of peace...
“Papa,” questions a little girl. “Are we moving again?” An older man replies with a tired smile, “That’s right my dear! And do you remember why?” He turns from her to hide a grim face as he pulls out garmets from an old dust wardrobe. With a naive smile she exclaims, “’Cause the cows have a-” “It’s because we came to late,” he interrupts in a stirn voice, stuffing the last of their belongings into an old chest. An awkward silence fills the room as Alexander takes a deep breath to regain composure. With a veil of happiness returned to his face, he recites like clockwork, “We are too late hunny. All the land was taken up! We’re going to a better place now!” “But, this was s’pposed to be better papa,” she replies as she plops to the floor almost in tears. “Oh, Suzannah, don’t cry!” Alexander turns from his stuffed chest to crouch in front of his daughter. “How’s about this: We will go aaaaaall the way to the sea!” He puts his rough hands on her messy blonde hair. “And you can go to school!” “Really daddy? Really?” she exclaims. Her eyes light back up as if all notions ofsadness leave her. “Yeah really,” the man stands up, walks to his chest, and closes it with a resounding “Clank.” Alexander opens the front door of their old wooden shanty, walking out with chest in one hand, his daughter in the other. Their hopeful mood shifting abruptly as the wafting smell of rot and decay fill the dusty air. They hastily aboard an waiting cariage and put Eastmarch behind them.
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Forged in Hellfire
Tessa Brodi to Tessa the Avenging

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Forged in Hellfire
Entry 1 in the Book of Vengeance

Allow me to tell you a fairy tale, dear reader. Once there was a young woman who lived in Tairese. Her name was Tessa Brodi. She was trained as a midwife and community mediator in the name of Adamina. In her small town of Breckenburg, she was very happy. Her guardian Mr. Stoneysmyr kept her safe and all was well. One fateful day, she was asked as a journeyman to help a woman in the capital with her baby. Tessa was amazed at things she had never seen before in her small farming town. Iron pipes that made thunder, strange people, and even a flying boat! It was in that moment that she was filled with a great wanderlust. For the world was so big and she was so very little. After delivering the baby in Shamushain, she decided to see the world. She was so filled with hope that she would see wonderful and impossible things.
Her naiveté would lead to her realizing she was half correct…
She found her way to Alexandria, the realm of heroes. This was the same earth the first king of Tairese walked on, and also gods! She had met some interesting friends along the way, too. She met Zephyr, a kind but quiet hunter from parts unknown. She met Belren, a quirky and fun knight who was fond of his horse (and so was Tessa!). She also met Titus, a witty blue man who used magics she didn’t understand.
Now that I look back, I don’t think that Titus understood it either…
The newfound friends went on many exciting adventures together. They fought in bars, they fought in arenas, they even fought sick wolves in a bog. They met gunsmiths, actors, dancers, prostitutes (or close enough), and even a man who was rich and poor at the very same time. After helping some performers in a town called Whitewatch, they returned to Eastmarch to resolve the wolf problem.
It’s like blaming the knife for the assassin’s thrust…
People had died, and Tessa and the others were quick to try to get to the bottom of it. Tessa performed last rights, sang poems (badly), and was even kind of shunted to a dream world. What she didn’t know is that she was an honest tadpole in an ocean of evil. She tried to see the best in everyone and over willingness to help got an innocent man killed.
I guess this is when bastard godspawn come in to play…
Titus was being harassed by something in visions. For all the cosmic might the man may weave, he doesn’t take being bullied well. Don’t get me wrong that’s actually what Tessa respected about him. He was his own man and let no creed that wasn’t his get in the way. He had insulted the thing into a frenzy and he woke up with dormant symbols of pain on his body. Tessa was furious. Godspawn or not, she did not tolerate bullying. She took Titus to be cleansed by clerics of Alexandros, patron to Heroes, Soldiers, and Pilgrims.
Next part gets kinda fuzzy…
The godspawn materialized itself in anger that it’s will was being defied by mortals. His wrath was…to…damned…much. Tessa confronted the godspawn, Adamina’s symbol in hand and tried to purge it from the town. Hellfire was everywhere and no matter how much grace she called, it wasn’t enough. Mr. Stoneysmyr was able to help enough to push him out, but the cleric died. Everyone was upset, even Titus. Titus said that he respected what a man did to find his final shape. I was exhausted. For all of my faith and love, I lacked the conviction and power to save that man’s life. I took his holy symbol, partially melted by the hellfire, and his ashes. On the altar to the Conqueror I left the tools I had used for so long. My healer’s kit, my scythe, my walking stick, my stupid broken sling, and most importantly, my wooden holy symbol to Adamina. I don’t blame mother for what happened, but her neutrality put me in a no-win scenario.
She can’t help me anymore…
I jarred all the ashes of the priest I could find. I wear it on my face, because his sacrifice now carries me, and a part of him will now be what powers me. I went to the market and spent almost all of my money. I found a book about guns, some tools, swords, chainmail, and a small buckler. I vowed to become stronger and no longer allow weakness in myself.
Then I saw the pilgrim.
He was wearing a brown leather doublet. He had a green silk half cape and a vambrace of gold with a fist sized topaz set in it. He called himself the pilgrim. He gave me a gun, called it a musket. Although it is tarnished and dented, the angel wing filigree on the stock interested me. He said it was my sword, that I was an avenging angel.
So that’s it. Tessa Brodi didn’t survive the bath of Hellfire, now I call myself Tessa the Avenging. I will not allow some blasphemous godspawn to wreak havoc on my friends, on my world, and least of all, me.

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Three Feathers Log
So many masters!

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Dear diary, merciful diary,

Three Feathers is having a good year. Three Feathers has sold many many many things to many masters. Three Feathers has barely been struck all year! Many friends, many masters. Three Feathers sold dagger to his friend Gaspar, but Gaspar died because of ghosts. Not to worry, not to worry, the dagger was recovered and now belongs to a prince in Skarn. All things are going according to plan, diary. If I sell all daggers, my families will not be killed by the Raksasha. Some daggers I sold to dragonmen of Thrumfaust. Now many baby daggers rest in many hands, all listening, all whispering to Raksasha. Three feathers did very well. Almost done! Sold some in GuaXiaa, and now going to sell some in the dwarf lands in Alexandria. Short masters will like my shiny daggers, and will then have all the worlds in the eyes of the Raksasha.

Wish me luck, diary.

Three-Feathers

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