Adventures in Theia

Alexios, We hardly knew ye

Looking for Judoc and Liannen

The day following the battle with the horned being and white hounds, the group returned to Kaer Kilmaren rather uneventfully. Maslorias and Bros stayed at their farm while Cadmus returned to the Kaer with the other Mitraics. In the morning, Cadmus awoke to find he had been abandoned by his comrades. Alexios and his men had ridden out early in the morning. He returned to the farm to discuss this turn of events with the other outsiders. While the three of them talked, Ygr the Dvergar from the Maghswold appeared and was quite distraught to find Judoc missing.

Ygr mentioned that two other sets of stones like the Pelloryns had been similarly attacked. This was seriously weakening the Ring of Khell, a mystical barrier keeping the Fomhoire from the world. Their return could start a new ice age. He stated that the caves they had been traipsing about in was an ancient city called Barakus. It had been home to the Keltic gods and precursors to today’s Dvergar. His people had been slaves there, even if well treated. He claimed to be the smith who forged the orichalchum sword Bros now carries, and that he had filled it with all of his hate. That it was cursed and should be cast aside. Bros scoffed at the idea. He identified the ancient short sword and stated the ivory rod held some compulsion over the Dvergar, but had no idea about the ebony heart. He confessed to betraying the gods on the eve of battle with the Fomhoire, stealing and hiding away Briannac spear of the gods. All this talk put Ygr into a deep funk.

Cadmus returned to town to speak with Ultan the high druid. Ultan seemed to know nothing of recent happening but was surprised Cadmus knew names from ancient lore. He agreed to speak with Maslorias and Bros, but only after the Samhain festival. While he was gone, Maslorias tried turn the Dvergar’s depression into determination with limited success. He agreed to stay at the farm and meet Ultan when the time came.

With six days ahead of their meeting with Ultan, Maslorias, Bros, and Cadmus decided to follow the cold trail of Judoc and Liannan. Following the now familiar trail towards the caves, the encountered a tangle of vines across the path that wasn’t there the night before. When Maslorias used witch sight, it was clearly unnatural growth coming from the south. Dispelling the growth revealed a figure sprawled off the path. This was the Mitraic crusader, Alexios, strangled by the vines. While a disgusted Cadmus looked on, Bros looted the body and Maslorios recovered some items from the crusader’s dead horse. Among Alexios’ belongings was a feminine ring on a bronze chain glowing with enchantment to Maslorias witch sight. In the Pict’s hands, the ring seemed to pull toward the south. Rather than following the ring’s pull through the wilderness, they decided to proceed to the game trail they identified earlier. The trail and the ring eventually led to Liannan’s corpse, a few days dead. Her throat had been cut and the ring Maslorias returned to her stolen. Towards the river to the south lay an odd hill. To their sarcastic delight, the circular hill held another cave…

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Lore dump:

Glossary of names & things:

  • Daoine Sidhe (DOY-ne Shee): Proto-hyperboreans from thousands of years ago? A tribe? A distinct group? Not entirely clear from Ygr’s (EE-gur) mumblings and manner of half-speaking to himself. From what you could glean, Ygr was a thrall/servant of the Smith Goibhnie (Goy-VEE-nee) (who the Kelts now revere as a god). Apparently the Daoine Sidhe fought the Fomhoire and lost. Ygr blames their defeat on his treachery — his theft of the spear Brionac forged for the warrior-king of the Daoine Sidhe, Lugh Lamhfada, supposedly purpose-built to slay Balahr. He said he hid the spear deep in the earth under Cnoc Crua, a 10,000’ tall mountain in the heart of the Maghswold (A.K.A. the Mazewood) that lies about 40 miles north of Kaer Kilmaren, Currently a Dvergar Stronghold. Little is known about it, save that the Dvergar have a small citadel built into the base of the mountain where they sometimes accept traders and emissaries.
  • Aes Sidhe (EYE shee): Another proto-hyperborean group, that succeeded the Daoine Sidhe. They seemed to have been crueler and more domineering than the Daoine Sidhe from Ygr’s description. It’s uncertain if the Daoine Sidhe became the Aes Sidhe, or if the Aes Sidhe are a related folk that succeeded them
  • Dev-Rhaan: A sorcerer-King of the Aes Sidhe who erected a ring of dolmens around Getae that tapped ley lines and empowered a focus called the Stone of Drodh, that somehow imprisons the Fomhoire. Despite this one “good deed,” apparently he was a cruel despot and had used Ygr’s true name against him, binding him to service. At some point in the dim past, there was an uprising of the local human populace and the enslaved Dvergar (with Ygr’s aid?). These ancient people somehow trapped Dev-Rhaan in his city of Barakus and summoned an “Earth Lord” (whatever that is?) and the city was consumed and pulled down into the ground (This story about Dev-Rhaan and Barakus isn’t a local legend or myth that you’ve ever heard anybody talk about).
  • Ring of Chell (Khell): A series of dolmens or natural monoliths, that apparently tap and focus the power of ley lines.

The known dolmens, crommlechs, and/or stone rings: The Pelloryns in the Maghswold (the only one you’ve seen), The Stone of Drodh a magically defended nexus of ley-line energy near the eastern shore of Loch Oerni that supposedly empowers the seal on the Fomhoire prison. Hadrwyl (Had-ROO-eel) A dolmen over a hundred miles distant to the northeast, that Ygr says was broken. The Eorl Ring: a crommlech just north of Garstag, toppled by the invading Kurgan during the war six months ago. Urruzur A giant flake of Obsidian about 100 miles to the west, south-west, near Kaer Nudd (Nooth), called the “wetstone.” Ygr didn’t mention any other stones of the ring by name, but you are able to infer that that there may be several to many more; their condition and locations are unknown. The Kelts recognize the various standing stone monuments around the valley as places of power, but aren’t necessarily holy to them. When asked they don’t claim to be the builders, usually pointing to a giant race called the Fir Bolg as the likeliest architects (this seems to contradict Ygr’s claims).

  • Barakus a ruined city of the Aes Sidhe, consumed and sealed by an “Earth Lord” in a mass uprising that threw down the Aes Sidhe in Getae. The upper caves of Barakus seem to be mix of features formed from natural fissures and water erosion, along with much older purpose-built architecture.
  • Ygr’s Geas (gesh): He claims he was cursed by the Daoine Sidhe queen Danu, to wander until the Fomhoire destroy the world and drag him to Limbo. He didn’t seem all that confident that he can lift his curse. He also claims to have retreated to the Maghswold after the razing of Barakus, first for solitude and then finding some purpose as self-appointed steward of the wood, removing himself from the concerns of men for a dozen centuries or more. You suspect that the disorienting enchantment of the wood is at least partly his handiwork, though he claims to possess no sorcery.
Alexios, We hardly knew ye
FlightlessScotsman Grimgravy

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