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Author Topic: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)  (Read 34338 times)

Offline Cameron

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Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« on: October 16, 2012, 09:55:01 AM »
Continued from this thread.

Please proceed.

(It's nice to be back.)

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 11:27:18 PM »
The Gorger, moreso than the other monsters, was hurting.  His limbs ached, and his very skin itched as they approached this mysterious energy, no doubt a reaction to his vengeful and angry nature.  It was a poor follow-up to his still recovering hallucinogenic mental state.  However, he refused to show weakness, regardless of his "discomfort."  He would not give Father Rau the satisfaction, having previously mentioned the damage such an energy could cause to the ghoul.

Each step brought more pain.  And with those steps, he grew increasingly stubborn and unflinching.

Offline Radobe

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 09:51:57 AM »
The party was on the move and Rau was happy to be sane again.

Rau was trying not to listen on the discussion of this morning’s events and he was attempting to repress those memories to no avail.

"Do you hear that?" Walter asked, and the group strained to listen.

Rau focused on the noises in an attempt to hear, but he did far more than just hear. There was so much holy energy that for a second his mind went blank. The feeling itself was extraordinary and it was like nothing he ever felt before. The sensation struck him unprepared and the priest almost fell to his knees. He quickly got a grip of himself and continued onwards.

"This place is...unnatural." Axel said, looking around.

“Unnatural is surprisingly correct Axel.” Said the priest with vexed expression ”I can feel it. It is everywhere... It is in the animals, in the trees and in us.” Rau looked at the Gorger “It is in you as well creature, more so than any of us.” Rau looked around one more time ”This place is dangerous, don’t be fooled by the calmness and don’t let your guard down.” Rau tried not to show it, but a keen eye could see. The priest... was afraid.
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Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 03:22:23 PM »
Alucard's departure is eerie, like most things about the man.  But there isn't time to linger.  The group starts moving and Wu falls in step.

He shares in some chuckles about the mornings oddness during the hike, but mostly keeps to himself.

"Do you hear that?"  Sir Walter asks after calling for a halt.

Indeed Wu does.  A bird singing in the most unlikely place.

As they travel further into the unusually serene part of the forest Wu hears the trickle of a stream.  Due to his affinity he feels a building amount of peace as he listens to it.

Remembering that a few paces away the waters still lie in shadows he begins to grow uneasy.

"Whatever is causing this is a wonder indeed..."  Sun Wu says, as he follows behind the bulk of the party.

Offline Shadow Chorus

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 07:20:33 PM »
As the group strode on into the depths of this enchanted forest, the realm seemed to come alive around them. Animals seemed to be heralding their arrival to something deeper in the forest. As they walked deeper in, the animals became less frequent. But then something new seemed to be hounding them. There was faint rustling in the trees, leaves dancing around the group.

"Adena falla-nore. Ishen Adena Lor-inore." The whispers from the trees seemed like they were spoken from ghosts' mouths. The voices that spoke them were light and harmonious, and flowed like music. The words themselves seemed like soft notes from a harp, but they bore a strong resemblance to Akavashani, the language of Sun Wu's people. Still, there was enough difference that the words seemed as nonsense to the monk's ears, as well as those of any who knew the language, as well as their own native tongue and the common language they had all been using. But the harmonious lilt of the language brought recollection of the similarly vibrant tones of the southern dynasties.

But then the harmonious language was interrupted by a more coarse one, and the light rustling became a definite thumping in the forest about them, almost like rapid pounding on the earth.

"Makaggan, Okrag Nakag Svartal." toned in the new voices, coarse like stone and deep, rumbling like a landslide. This language stirred the memory of the Nords among the group, as it bore oral similarities to their own native language, though again, they could not decipher the words.

The wind kicked up around them, as if they were being buffeted by great fans, and the group was forced to stop, and yet still they could not see what the source was.

"Venite observáte eos ulterius." This newest voice was booming, like the fire of a volcano, and its commanding tones and terse words evoked memory of the language of the Imperial nation. But all of these ghosts of the past seemed to be observing these visions from the future. But still the group could see none.

"We must stride on..." Walter commanded, making the next step forward. His men began to move behind him, Walter spearheading the slow advance as they moved through buffeting winds.

"Hoc unum habet passionem. Ipsi proficiscemini in." And with that final command from the booming voice, the winds stopped, and the group could move forward again.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 09:21:18 PM by Shadow Chorus »

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 10:21:11 AM »
That voice almost sounds like one of merchants in the village near his Monastary.  Almost...

Wu can't make out any of the words, but it is definately Akavashani in origin.  He looks to his fellow countryman the assassin to see if he recognizes any of the words, but Wu can't even find him in the throng of people.  Sneaky assassins...

The next voice sounds similar to the Nords when they're in their drink.  Course, loud, and incomprehensible.

A strong wind kicks up following the Nord voice.  The group stops and Wu raises his arm to cover his eyes.

Another voice, this one resembling the Imperials.  Walter commands everyone to move, and Wu does not disagree.

The last voice issues a command back, and the wind stops.

"Ghosts." Wu says reverently.  He is on high alert.  Individuals who's strength of will carries on after their physical death must have a monumental purpose for doing so. 

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 07:10:21 PM »
"Ghosts." Wu says. 

The Gorger was surprised; he had thought they were merely more illusions.  Each of their languages differed, all clearly from very different lands.  How did ghosts with such differing cultures become bound to a single place?  Stranger still, they haunted a holy place that made The Gorger's skin feel as though he was walking through entire bushes of thorns, and yet they seemed unaffected, even calm.

One thing was clear: the ghosts had an unforeseen interest in the group.

"It seems they do not burn in this place as I do.  I doubt malicious intent." The Gorger searched the area as they approached forward, his keen nose attempting to sense any possible living threats.  However, from the holy aura that emanated from the area, even his most reliable senses were dulled by pain.  He snarled, frustrated, and continued.

"However, few things that involve the holy powers of this world end without trial."

The Gorger's claws sharpened.

Offline Radobe

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 05:19:18 AM »
Rau proceeded deeper into the forest with the rest of the party. He was still afraid of this energy, but he kept his calm and began to observer the surroundings, hoping something would ease his mind. The holy man noticed that, the further they went, the fewer animals were there to be seen, which stressed him out further, contrary to his hopes.

"Adena falla-nore. Ishen Adena Lor-inore."

A voice was heard coming from the trees. Despite his vast knowledge, it was not a language Rau knew. It did resemble Akavashani.

"Makaggan, Okrag Nakag Svartal."

A second voice followed soon after. Rau did not recognize it, but by the looks of the nords in the group it seemed like they knew it. The priest had no time to ponder what the voice was saying. Strong winds stopped the group from venturing further and a third voice echoed.

"Venite observáte eos ulterius."

Unlike the last two, Rau knew this language. It was the language of the ancient Imperials.

“Qui estis? Ostendite vos! (Who are you? Show yourselves!)” Rau shouted at the top of his lungs, hoping his voice will reach through the strong wind.

Sir Walter commanded the party to advance and all followed suit, as he pushed forward against the wind. The third voice spoke one more time and the winds died down, allowing the group to move further into the forest.

Rau’s fear was gone. The chance to meet an ancient Imperial got him shaking with excitement. So little is known of the ancient times and here could be the only opportunity for one to learn more. The only way for the priest to do so was to go deeper into the forest.
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Offline Shadow Chorus

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 08:08:27 PM »
The group walked on without further interruption, though the sounds of leaves being rustled and mysterious voices whispering in the woods continued. It was clear they were being watched. Soon, the sky grew dark, even here, as night began to fall unnaturally fast. But it wasn't the dark, oppressing night of the rest of the blacklands. It was a peaceful, serene night, as one only experiences in places of rest. Even the unbearable oppression of the holy energy on the beasts of the group lessened, allowing them to walk without pain in this peaceful nightfall. As the group walked, they came upon a shimmering pool of water in a clearing in the forest, and sitting before it, with its back to the group, was a strange being. It was almost like looking at Seth in a distorted lens.

The creature stood no more than four feet in height, adorned in a pointed wizard's hat, a gnarled staff in his left hand as he stood over the pool. A great, gray beard could be seen flowing out on the creature's sides, wider than its own torso. The creature seemed to be stout, a low, wide build, but nonetheless strong, even for one who seemed so old. The creature turned to face them, and its age became even more apparent. A hawkish nose stared out at the group as the true volume of his beard revealed itself. A voluminous facial mane that reached down to his belt and billowed out to his shoulders on both sides, its gray color did nothing to diminish its impressive appearance.

"Vorkeggan, grelbolg korhaken." the creature said plainly in a more modern rendition of the Norse language, looking pointedly at Seth, who stepped forward from the group.

"Vorkeggan. Mur Erkorhannen?" Seth replied.

"Jor. Mordiggian kuronen svartalen?"

"Bor. Mirdiggian ner kuronen sur svartalen."

"Sharot sur konrakt svartalen."

"Jor."

Seth and the Dwarf both extended their free hands, and a spectacular light show began. knowledge, like a prismatic light, flowed between their hands, a wizard's way of exchanging information. Bot of their eyes shone for just a moment as their minds melded with this new knowledge before they blinked back into their physical world.

"So. Yer friend tells me my kind're supposed ta be extinct. Well....Now tha's a stretch...Still, ye're all welcome here. Come, sit by the pool. We've much ta discuss." The creature said, speaking a fluent, if accented, common tongue. the creature turned and sat down in front of the pool of water, looking into its shimmering depths.

"Indeed..." Seth said, walking over to sit beside it, creating an almost comical contrast between the tall human wizard, and this diminutive but no doubt powerful creature.

"I apologize if th' others seem suspcious. They'll be about soon. Though I'll warn ye ta keep yer heads down when Valkaroth comes swoopin' in. My name be Khadmas."

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 11:06:21 PM »
The pain faded, and The Gorger was grateful to whatever being created this eye in the storm of holy presence - this balance.  It was serene, and quiet - enough to give even the blood-thirsting ghoul a moment of pause as he gazed off into the distance.  He wondered if in all his forgotten memories he had ever seen such a thing.

"Khadmas" offered them a seat, but The Gorger was not so complacent just yet.  Though he clearly showed no ill will, his surroundings were simply too strange for him to feel comfortable.

"First the necromancer, and now this fellow... my, my what friends we are making." he muttered almost inaudibly.  One could not deny though, that whatever information this small bearded person could give them would be useful.  His domain itself was a shining beacon against the darkness, and The Gorger was well willing to listen to its dweller should it bring him one step closer to eradicating the vampires that would deny him his free will.

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 03:13:07 PM »
Sun Wu blinked back the brightness of the light show enfolding between the two wizards' hands.  He had not seen such a thing before.

The little man spoke with an accent unfamiliar to Wu.  He mentioned others that may seem suspicious, as if he wasn't suspicious enough. 

Wu crossed his arms, and wondered just where the current was taking him this time...

Offline Radobe

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 01:43:18 PM »
The priest was buried in his thoughts, as the party continued to advance to the heart of the forest. He was still excited, from the events with the voices. It wasn’t until the group reached a bizarre creature, siting in the forest that Rau’s excitement loosened up.

After Seth’s exchange with the creature, the priest’s mind raced once more. What knowledge could this creatures offer?  What is their purpose here in the Blacklands? What is the source of the holy energy? There were many more questions in the priests head and now that there was a source of information, he was determined to find out.
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Offline Shadow Chorus

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 11:36:42 AM »
Sir Walter took a seat next to the dwarf, and the rest of the group soon followed, taking seats around their side of the large pool of water.

"Now. While we wait for th' others, I'll explain some things." Khadmas said. He lowered his staff and tapped the head against the pool. The shimmer vibrated out and upon reaching the edge, vibrated back in, and the pool began to shift, reflecting the image of this land, fertile and peaceful.

"We, being me an' my friends, live here, in the enchanted forest Mordinthel. This forest has been this way for ages untold, since this world was young. t'is one o' the immutable facts of this world. No monster has breached this place with ill intent, and none ever shall. But outside its borders, the world has undergone a dark metamorphosis."

The pool shimmered and changed, showing the countryside of the Blacklands as it once was, a beautiful, natural realm, and how it descended into darkness, with monsters and beasts taking hold of the land. Then the pool vibrated and grew dark, and a single figure was shown, hooded and dark, his face obscured in shadow, but his bright red eyes shining bright, and his pale hand extended. His dress was elegant, his manner regal.

"Dracula. The source of the blight. The first vampire. He is the reason the realm outside is the way it is. He was the originator of all of the monsters of this realm. And to this day he sits in his castle, lording over his realm. None can hope to defeat him alone."

"Aye. But we hope to defeat him together." Walter interjected. "Our group, the Black Crusade, was put together of the finest men and monsters of the realm, aimed at destroying Dracula and leveling his dark castle."

Khadmas looked about the group. "If you're serious, then that malicious presence I felt is your trump card, I assume."

Walter nodded. "Alucard, yes. The closest thing on this world to Dracula in power. We hope the remainder of our group can balance out the equation and even tip the scales in our favor."

Khadmas shook his head. "Alone, no. But I believe...perhaps...With our aid."

A lithe figure slipped out of the trees, tall and agile, with lengthy silver hair. Her feminine figure adorned in supple leathers, her pointed ears revealed only after she pulled down her hood.

"Meet Elryndyae, elven ranger. And if I'm not mistaken, here comes Valkaroth, the word of dragon's fire."

The wind kicked up, and the sound of flapping wings filled the air as the scaly being descended. Easily the size of a small manor, Valkaroth descended, and laid himself down on the other side of the pool, his large, serpentine head observing the group with interest.

"And I." Khadmas said, standing up and sticking his staff into the ground. "Am Khadmas, the Dwarven Sage. Welcome to Mordinthel."

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2012, 04:40:11 PM »
The Gorger raised a curious brow.  "Yes, what pretty pets you have." He stood straight, and slowly approached the dwarf in a less than friendly manner.  "So with all these resources, with this safe haven, with this power... what stops you from moving, old one?  Why are men, women, and children consumed while you sit by your sparkly little lake with only a handful of servants to share your safety?" The Gorger inquired with hostility as he gestured to the landscape surrounding them.  He leaned his head in close to the dwarf.  "Surely, no being with all this at his disposal has sit idly by for so long..." he grinned,  "...or is that you have tried?  Tried... and failed?  No... perhaps I give you too much credit.  Perhaps you truly have been asleep - idle while the world turns to ruin, tucked away in your cradle."

The Gorger chuckled as his posture returned, and stepped back, nearly satisfied with his tirade.  "I do wonder... who is the greater evil?  The murderer, or the one who watches - doing nothing as the victim's life bleeds away?"  With uproarious laughter, he withdrew.  "My apologies.  I should not be so rude; after all, you and your... 'friends' shall be valuable fodder."

Even in a place as docile and peaceful as Mordinthel, The Gorger found little peace of mind.

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 11:44:10 AM »
The dragon, Valkaroth, is a wonder.  Wu studies its form with intent.  He contemplates fighting a creature the size of a building, and grins at the contest.

Having had his fun, Wu settles his mind to Khadmas's story.  The aid of these three individuals would be well received.

"So with all these resources, with this safe haven, with this power... what stops you from moving, old one? ...

"The Gorger, as uncouth as he is, has a valid point."

The clearest of water, can sometimes be the dirtiest.  Wu has a great deal of suspicion for this Mordinthel.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 11:20:53 AM by Kitharsis »

Offline Radobe

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2012, 10:12:52 AM »
Rau stood and listened as Sir Walter spoke with the dwarf, he even listened through the tirade of the Gorger. Something was not right. Nothing they said made any sense.

“You said this forest was never breached with ill intent.” The priest began to speak quietly, his eyes focused on the ground. “Yet those spirits stood watch, didn’t they?” Rau’s gaze rose and he looked into their host's eyes.  “We came looking for the holy energy, instead we find you. You don’t offer any explanation to the source of the holy energy, which may aide us greatly in the coming battle, yet you are eager to aid us in fighting perhaps the strongest monster the world has ever known. If you were protecting this place you wouldn’t want to leave. Or are you trying to protect it by making us leave?”  The priest pauses, while trying to read their reaction. “None of this makes any sense. What is your purpose here? What is Mordinthel?”
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Offline Shadow Chorus

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2012, 11:13:36 AM »
Valkaroth's booming voice cut through the rising argument.

"Khadmas. Concede mihi vestram scientiam."

"Aye, Valkaroth. Perhaps you'd best explain."

The dwarf turned and proceeded the same exchange with Valkaroth he had with Seth. When it was over, the Dragon stood on all fours and reached its neck across the water, its head resting on the shoreline before the group.

"My name is Valkaroth, the word of Dragon's fire." The deep, mountainous bass of his voice spoke with purpose. "I am a priest of the Dragon Order. I will tell you all. You stand before your progenitors. Imperials." The dragon's eyes looked upon the Gorger, Sir Walter, and father Rau. "I am a priest of the order whose values and codes your own empire pulls from. Nords." his eye fell upon  Seth, Wrynjolf and the other nords. "Khadmas calls forth the natural magic of your eldest sages because his kind are your own, ages past." And last, he looked upon the Akavashi, sun Wu and and the silent assasssin. "And you. The Elf ranger Elryndyae is more agile than your greatest assassin because it was her kind that first taught your ancestors the ways of your people. You stand with your ancient history, and you question us for our hidden nature."

His head reared back, and his full imposing height towered over the group.

"I will tell you why we have been hidden. No creature has breached this forest with malicious intent because it alone is a place of peace. Violent intent cannot parse these walls alive. Those who truly hold intent to kill will either find it wither from their bodies or find their bodies wither away. We do not leave because it has been ordained we shall not. Not by us, but by our people's trusted leaders. We have been assigned as watchers not to protect the forest, but to maintain it, and see that any young humans who arrive with intent to end this land's misery be welcomed. So you have proven, and so you stand here. But do not doubt our intent. You have seen only the barest extent of what remains of our people. You will be shown. resurgunt, antiquum ostium!"

The pool in the center began to shimmer, and from its depths rose first a walkway, and then a stone platform at the end of said walkway. On it stood what appeared to be a doorway, which lead deep down into the earth. The door swung open of its own accord, and lines of torches could be seen descending into the earth.

"Enter, young humans. Khadmas and Elryndyae shall be your guides. You will see the true secret of Mordinthel; the ancient city, Mordintharas."

At this time Khadmas had finished transferring his knowledge to Elryndyae, and beckoned for the group to follow. He walked over to the door and turned, waiting for the others while Elryndyae entered the doorway, leading the way down.

"Well, you heard the dragon. Move it, lads. Ye'll learn much more with yer eyes than with yer ears."
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 11:24:35 AM by Shadow Chorus »

Offline Kitharsis

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2012, 01:46:53 PM »
So they were gatekeepers, ancient ones at that.  Sun Wu bows to each of them in turn.

"I meant no disrespect.  I'm sure you understand our apprehensiveness, given your wisdom."

Elryndyae's kind was the teacher of his people.  Wu feels compelled to talk with her about his origins.  Perhaps she can shed light on lost knowledge after ages of reteaching. 

A walkway rises from the pool, ending in a door.  Torches light the path downward.  Mordintharas.  If these beings were evil in intent one of his companions would have sensed it by now.  Their story rings true, and the only thing left to do is to trust in them and their knowledge.  If Sir Walter has decided to follow them, the Wu will also.

The monk falls in line and walks over the walkway and through the door, eager to see what lies below.

Offline Archdemon Stu

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2012, 01:53:26 PM »
"Ah, that puts my mind at ease.  It is not you who are the craven cowards... just your gods." With a smirk, The Gorger crossed the bridge.  It was time to see what this place had to provide.  Armor, weapons, food... it would be interesting to see what the "cowards" had in store for the ghoul.

As he smirked and his cheeks elevated, he came to a realization... some of the scar tissue on his face had been restored.  Though his face was still quite mutilated, small bits of muscle tissue had been restored in his jaw and cheeks, and the claw marks from his encounter from the vampire and his pet werewolf were slightly smaller.  It would appear the sheer amount of werewolf meat he had ingested, combined with his own regenerative abilities, were healing him steadily.

His smirk faded.  Could it be, one day, he might know his own face?  The thought was intriguing.  However, he would have to consume a great deal more beasts, and maybe, it would spark memories from his past - memories he was not sure he even wanted.

The Gorger shook his head, and continued about his journey with the Black Crusade.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 06:14:07 PM by Jorumn Fargazer »

Offline Radobe

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Re: Shadowhaunt: The Black Crusade (Part II)
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2012, 03:51:46 AM »
“I knew you had no ill intent, I was simply eager to get answers. I apologies if I have offended with my words.”

Rau stood and waited as the group moved into the gateway. When all but him have entered he faced the dragon once more.

“Before I go I have one last question. You mentioned you are here to guide humans who come to face the evil this land represents. Others must have come before us. Tell me, were they stronger than us?”
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