Pa'Aerth

Avignon: Trying to Turn the Orc Tide

August 26, 1208 SA

The air is filled with rumors of the oncoming horde. Word on the street is that the horde of orcs have met with Avignon’s advanced scouts and are about a week away from the city. Prices within the city have tripled since you first entered town.

From Marseille has come Lord Marsh Chopin.

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Readying for War

The obsidian serpent pulsed angry and red. To the eyes of the devotees, its raised head, ever ready to strike, wavered sinuously in the heat of the brazier.   

“Yvulglath syha’h xadishtu lw’nafh hilyaa naf’lyght,” came the words slow and calm from Erebus’ lips as he signaled the young Stygian warrior to approach him.

The warrior, like so many mercenary Stygians, was an archer. His bow, unstrung, was secured to his back and a reed quiver, filled with the red and black plummed implements  of his trade, was belted snugly at his hip. A fierce and intense blue radiated from the warrior’s kohl darkened eyes. His name was Huda Naguib and he was glad for this opportunity to worship his god in a place so far from his birth.

Hands raised in supplication, Huda approached the portable altar. Erebus took the young warrior’s left hand and guided it directly over the glowing snake.  Erebus then placed the silver blade of an ornate ritual dagger firmly against the warrior’s palm and invoked, “Y’ai xuh hroneth, Huda!. Adula Sutekh!  

“Xuh nwnyth!  Adula Sutekh!,” Huda replied to make it clear to all that his offering was made of his own free will.

XEOZAS NASTAHNDA WECAT KEOSAN!,” Erebus continued and pulled the dagger swiftly across the outstretched  palm of the warrior. The dagger bit into flesh with practiced ease and released the blood offering.

An audible hiss erupted from the glowing snake as the blood made contact.

Fist clenched, as was custom, Huda stepped back from the altar and allowed the next devotee to approach. As such, the procession continued until all supplicants had honored Sutekh Djet with offerings of blood and faith.  

An iron-heavy scent wafted from the brazier and mixed with the intoxicating odor of ritual incense. Erebus inhaled. The smell reminded him of long distant days when he had prepared for war as a supplicant and had offered his own blood instead of collecting the blood of others. The smell made him crave the opportunity to wade into battle. To crush his enemy beneath the weight of his assault. To honor Lord Set with those that fell before him.

The enemy was coming and the ancient Stygian god of War and Vengeance hungered for his share of their blood and pain. With this realization, something feral and primal stirred deep within Erebus. Visions or war filled his mind. Scenes of mass death and incredible destruction washed over him.

It was clear to Erebus that although he chose to remain silent and unknown in this place, his god had accepted the offering.

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Time well spent
Avari's Thoughts

Avari ponders…

So we begin by finally setting to the task of creating an exit strategy from this accursed place. We will find a rally point outside of the and secure a place to launch our next action. Our resources have been fortified and all articles have been secured so that we can leave at any time without hesitation. Alas we are forming into a cohesive group.

Avignon bridge.jpg

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A Sunny Summer Day in Avignon
The Gray Hand Prepares for War

Monday, August 22, 1208 SA

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The time has come...

Late August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waning, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar

As with many times in the past, Holy Week devotions have proven to have been transformative.  Spoken words always carry weight and power – and when properly chosen…they can undo the inertia of petty discomforts and the trivial hindrances that can pull focus away from committed tasks.

So it is with my words. Their strength and meaning, while lost on my companions, have not been missed by the Lord of Dark. Words so spoken in Holy Devotions put voice to offerings for the coming season and form an Oathbond between servant and Master.

My words now rest in the memory of Lord Set and my actions will be judged against them. I will not be found wonting.

It is now time to become more focused on the trail ahead. Bringing a god to heel proved difficult when we were many in number and at the height of our power. Now, we are a scant fraction of our former selves…and not only are we separated and at cross purpose with our former companions…we fight among ourselves. The sundered portions of our ka seek one another out for the purpose of consumption. These facts add more than mere variety to the nature and severity of our term in this prison…they give cause to casting suspicion on any and all we encounter – even those among the Faithful.  

In ancient teachings, the Darwishi Gaur stated that hardship exists only for the weak. The weak struggle because they cannot rise above the trials of the moment. In contrast, those with the strength to do so do not bend a knee to their troubles…they overcome the challenges before them. This behavior has always been the basis for rule and reign. In the realms of both men and beasts…the strong rise up on the backs of their lessers.

Esoteric studies teach that Strength is found at the point where CLARITY OF PURPOSE meets FORCE OF WILL. Clarity of Purpose allows one to pass effortlessly through situations and scenarios that do not afford benefit while maintaining the awareness to seize those opportunities that will afford advantage. And where Clarity of Purpose both armors and nourishes the mind and spirit, its counterpart, Force of Will, seeks control of physical flesh.

I will no longer be held back by the circumstances that have brought me here. Nor will I bow to those who currently hold sway in this prison. There was…and will be…a time when the mongrels that populate this place will tremble at the names through which my deeds are known.

The coming battles swell with the opportunity to begin anew. From this I will rise to glorify Lord Set and become Erebus Typhon once again!

Yweso wecat keoso. Xunewe athanatos nywe zumquros rurom veverator.
Xunewe athanatos nywe zumquros rurom orary ysgewot zuy Gururogos!.
Menhatoy dywethorosto veverator zuy zebethoos
Ysech yweso xroroseth xoneo koxese pioth oxas zaegos.
ADULA SUTEKH DJET! XEOZAS NASTAHNDA WECAT KEOSAN!

[Translation:

As I will, it shall be. With blood and fire I will mark my path.
With blood and fire I call the Render of the Veil
I command clearance of the path before me
That I may sweep away all that would hinder progress

Praise the Lord of War! In his name, it will be done!]

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Avignon - The Horde Approaches - Scouts, Part II

Sunday, August 21, 1208 SA

Transported into the hills beyond Bollène to intercept one of the roaming orc and worg scout groups.

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Avignon - The Horde Approaches - Scouts
Brother Marcel Returns

Saturday, August 20, 1208 SA

Brother Marcel….

word of the approaching hoard and the fall of the town of Bollène.

Return on the morrow at 6 o’clock to go against the scouts to capture one of the leaders.

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Avignon - Manning the Walls - Part II

August 15 – August 19, 1208 SA

Each night the few members of the Queen’s Guard are joined by the Battling Eyes and the Gray hand to continue their nightly watches upon the wall guarding Port Limbert at the beginning of the Third Watch.

During the day the group explores the city, does research at the Bibliotheque Avignon, enjoys the serenity of the great park, or other activities.

On August 18th, the posters advertising the desire to bolster the ranks of the Gray Hand are posted about Avignon.

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Avignon - Manning The Walls

Sunday, August 14, 1208 SA

Captain Edmond Beauson of the Queen’s Guard, blinks a lot, silky curly hair the color of red brick, cream colored skin. Leader at the Port Limbert gate on the walls of the city.

The Gray Hand was asked to report to Port Limbert at the start of third watch to fulfill the requirements of their commission as a mercenary band serving the Queen.

Joined on the walls by the “Battling Eyes” on the wall. The “Battling Eyes” are led by Nikola Sepp. These mercenaries all cary pikes and long boys.

After the first night on the wall, Kael Sylali suggest that they go to the Silver Helm boarding house for food and merriment. The Silver Helm is run by the Agirya, a whitty and charming female elf. She and Kael seem to be very familiar with each other. Agirya reaches out to Erebus Typhon to lighten his mood and even creates a story on the spot to the delight of the patrons of the Silver Helm.

Monday, August 15, 1208 SA

The Gray Hand spends their second night on the wall at Port Limbert…

That night Erebus egages Oliver, Inali and Merisel in that night’s worship to Set.

Erebus and Connor hire a scribe to put out posters soliciting mercenaries to join the Gray Hand. The scribe will have the posters available on August 18th.

Merisel manages to convert the raw mithral ore into coins and distributes the coins with the other members of the Gray Hand. The group uses the Avignon Exchange to create a letter of credit. For a 1% fee the group deposits their funds and secures a 10 × 10 storage locker within the Avignon Exchange.

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Putting the past behind and musing on a clear purpose and a glorious future...

Middle August, European Calendar; Khoiak Waxing, 4th month of Inundation, Stygian Civil Calendar


Nearly a fortnight has passed since I last penned words to these pages. The days are busy and attention is urgent – for the city prepares for war.

War.

Months ago, almost a year by the common calendar of this place, a mighty host assembled to make war upon the Church of the Deceiver. We fought them to their stronghold and overcame them. Our onslaught swept away the defenders of The Lie and…and now we are here. Here, by the Deceiver's treachery. I know not where…stripped of what we once were and…

…Were my heart not so filled with hatred for The Beast, I would wonder at his comedy.

Chaos is on the march. Their first stroke, as presaged by the stone tablet found in the Book of Faceless Hate, has been to take the Valencian Pass. The pass has fallen and it is expected that the Chaos Host has gathered and now moves toward Avignon.  And it is here, in this Avignon that we are positioned to defend a mewling flock of…the Deceived. 

The Scroll of Thurizdun tells the story of when Atum-Ra, the Deceiver, sought to rob Humanity of their birthright…their power to create…their power to RULE…he moved secretly to secure the favor and alliance of the other Aeons. One by one the Deceiver filled their heads with tales of woe and misery, poisoning their thoughts to the point they rejected the wishes of the Creator, Ammon-Re. Not all were initially convinced…and sought time to ponder or seek the counsel of others. This enraged Atum-Ra as he did not wish his secret to be revealed. Those that refused to embrace him he set apart through lies and falsehoods about their intentions and allegiances.

Lord Set, as Ammon-Re's appointed Protector of Humanity, was to be last on the Deceiver's contact list. Atum-Ra knew that Lord Set would not favor a plan to betray his commitment to protect his charges and wanted to ensure the support of the other Aeons against Lord Set before approaching him.

Lord Set knew of these actions because he imbued his Ka into flesh and placed it that among those loyal to Atum-Ra. Through this homunculus, he embraced the teachings of Atum-Ra and learned the ways of those that gathered around and supported the Deceiver. The homunculus was able to gain favor for its dedication to Atum-Ra and even was elevated to a trusted position among those in the court of the Deceiver's House. 

Thus Lord Set knew of the Deceiver's plans and actions long before he was approached. He knew too of those that aligned with the Deceiver, those that sought time to ponder, and those that stood firmly against him.

This knowledge allowed Lord Set to prepare for War. War against his fellow Aeons. War to the Death.

Despite the unfathomable odds and the powers of the rebellious Aeons arrayed against him, Death did not claim Lord Set. He yet lives and it was his willingness to embrace his enemy, to do that which he abhorred…that positioned him to not only avoid it, but emerge stronger and hardened for the many battles ahead.

I am reminded of this story now…because my current company…a loose gathering of the lost and the damned if ever there was one…stands at a precipice. Behind them lay the past. A past where their deeds and accomplishments rivaled the heroes of legend and their might and power made them as gods. Before them is a chasm…the dark and unknowable future. A future where what once was may never be again.

Not unlike Lord Set, the events surrounding us and the enemy arrayed against us may seem awesome and overwhelming. We must not bow to this. It is an illusion. We must make a decision and act. In so doing we can reshape the illusion…and begin the journey toward reclaiming what was already once ours.

We must prepare for what lay ahead and forge a bright path through the dark to the future we want.

This is how it WILL be. That which finds itself arrayed against us…must bow to serve or be killed. There can be no exception.


NOT ONE.

Even among our number…there are those that we must be reminded of this simple fact. They MUST embrace the idea that we are on a path to regain AND SURPASS our previous glories…and achieve our quest to see the Deceiver undone. Or…if what Kael tells us can be believed…they would need to be sacrificed to avoid their death being of benefit to those that would oppose us.

The war here in France, against the degenerate minions of Chaos is a stepping stone. A paltry thing in the scheme of events that lay ahead of us, but a step that will make clear those that have the mettle to pursue our goals and those that do not. Soon, by will of The Dark, we will separate those that will join us in our ascent from those that must be left behind.



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