viernes, 16 de marzo de 2007


Our story takes place in Harodannon.

Harodannon is a very wide land which is covered mostly by pine forrest. It’s deliniated to the East by the Great Lake Sea, and to the West by The Sea of Worms. The country is mostly inhabited by men. though there are also a few dwarf towns and the ever present but unpleasant Orcs. Other races are told to be seen but are not reckoned in books. The power groups in Harodannon (at least known) are The Tahdrim (also known as The Order), which is a peace keeping group as well as the guardians of all land south from the Uruz (the crack on the earth). And the other is the Mithril Hammer, conformed purely by dwarfs. The story unfolds in a time of troubles for the peace of Harodannon.

Chapter 1 – Life giver, death bringer.

Farthias is riding his horse at full speed, the two swords hanging on his back are clinging with each other, his horse is a sturdy and beautiful brown horse that his father Barmien gave him when he left home to join The Order telling him; ‘I want you to have this horse so you can ride home and visit once in a while, and I take it you will visit, you’re not thinking of forgetting your old man, are you?.’ Barmien was not a very learned person and very far from being considered a man of lore but he had a good heart and always wanted Farthias to seek a better life away from the farm and when a man from The Order came looking for him his father was overjoyed in tears (for it is well known that it takes more than a good heart and basic skill to be taken in by The Tahdrim) and so he bought him a horse with coin he had long been saving.

But in this very moment the tears in his father’s old face are the last thing on his mind. Wolves are at his chase, three gray, big, long legged wolves are speeding right behind the horse, and four or more closing by a few meters behind, Farthias’ horse is a fast one, but wolves can be very quick on the chase when they smell fear and both the horse and his master’s hearts are beating rapidly and their eyes are as if about to pop out, the grass is humid and slippery because of a whole week’s rain, the horse tries to make a tight turn and slips, Farthias flies and as he falls he glances at the wolves’s mad faces, he rolls on the ground and then puts his arm infront of his face to receive the attack, the horse stands up desperately and flees, some wolves pass by Farthias’s sides and chase it, the darkest wolf lunges towards Farthias enraged, fangs gnashing, Farthias moves his hand slowly to the hilt of one of his swords but just then the wolf shrieks in panic and retreats with it’s tail curled down, a greater wolf (twice the size of the rest) chases the whole pack away a few yards and then turns back. Farthias stays on the ground half trembling and half in awe, the huge wolf then shapeshifts into a man and speaks out in a strong and sound voice; ‘It would be good to watch your actions while in this forrest.’ Farthias fades.

* * * * *

When he woke up, he looked left and then right, he was in a cabin half of rock and half of wood and with not much furniture in it but the bed, a table and two chairs, the shapeshifter was by the fireplace boiling something with a strong and fresh herbal smell, the man approached with a large jug and Farthias just now realized how big he was, he was dressed in very weathered studded leather and his boots where made of wolf fur. ‘Quaff this’ said the man handing over the jug ‘It will restore you’ Farthias took the jug and drank almost all of it, it tasted like tea but the herbal flavour in it was one that he had never tasted before. ‘What time is it?’ he asked looking at the bright light on the window, ‘It is ten in the morning, you’ve been sleeping for quite some time now’ ‘Who are you?’ he asked still holding the jug in his hand. ‘I am Dzibanche, the wolf master of Labsken and you where lucky that I was nearby to witness your mischance’ ‘Is my horse well?’ asked Farthias, ‘Yes, it is in now but it was not very wise to enter this forest galloping and calling every beast’s attention and of course it didn’t help either that your horse had it’s eyes fully uncovered. A rider must go slow and quiet when passing trough the Forest of Labsken, the horse must keep it’s eyes to the road for it is crowded with wargs and other beasts and it is best to keep your steed calm, for they can smell fear from a great distance and they can also trace animals if they’re panting.

Those wargs are no longer a match for me, but they would have torn you and your horse to pieces. Now tell me young man, who are you and where is it that you’re heading towards?’

‘I am Farthias, I come from a small town in the south called Louisville and I making for Garand’ ‘Ahh! Garand!’ replied Dzibanche ‘And what are you going there for?’ ‘I’m going to Staukmar…to the Tahdrim Castle to be more precise’. When the shapeshifter heard this he looked at Farthias with new interest. ‘Hmm you are going to join the Tahdrim, well that is good news I suppose they need more young people there with the things that have been going on lately’ ‘What has been going on?’ ‘Well I do not know in detail but words spread trough the forests and I’ve heard that the last orc raids on Garand have been strong, and no matter how many orcs the Tahdrim kills they seem to come back in greater numbers each time. Things don’t look promising and I fear....’ Farthias jumped out of bed in a hurry and picked up his stuff. ‘Then I’m wasting time resting here, I must go!’ ‘I won’t keep you more then’ answered Dzibanche but with the wargs outside it wouldn’t be safe to venture out alone so I will accompany you until we reach the edges of the Forest

With Dzibanche on his side the journey trough the forest went on safe and unhindered and all along the road Farthias noticed that many white wolves had joined them, some where walking at some distance behind and some others deep on the forest at both sides of the road, they seemed to be friends of Dzibanche and guarded them the whole time. Soon they reached the edge of the forest. ‘Here is where I turn back’ said Dzibanche, ‘You will be fine on your own now, young one, Garand is no more than a day’s journey from here. Keep riding north on this road for some hours and at the foot of some hills east from the road you’ll see the village of Garisdell, there you should spend the night, there’s an inn there called the Laughing Ranger.

The sun was already low on the west when just as the wolf master had told him Farthias saw the small but cheerful village of Garisdell.

When he arrived he saw the gathering of many people around a play of actors and bards who where representing a fight with a dragon, which was supposedly inside a cave and from time to time flames would come out of the “cave” and the people would lift their voices in awe and step back a few steps while the smallest of kids would just stand there with their mouths open.

Amidst the laughing people of Garisdell and with the golden wind of the sunset on his face, for a moment there, he forgot all about Orcs and the peril that layed ahead.

When the play ended and night was over the village, he rode to the east side of town where people told him he would find the inn.

There at the end of a road that went east at the very foot of of the hills was a wooden two story building with the yellow light of its windows flashing out on the trees outside., when Farthias got closer he heard the noise of chattering and music coming from inside, and above the door, there on a flat and long piece of wood was the drawing of an arrow pointing to the right, and above it read “The Laughing Ranger”

When he got inside he felt the glances of many people siting at the tables and gathered round the bar and he felt a little awkward but then he noticed that every time he looked at someone in the eyes, people would reply holding their cups high and bowing with a friendly gesture. He felt welcomed and went to the bartender. ‘Good night to you sir!’ said a fat, big man with a kind bearded face ‘and welcome to the Laughing Ranger!, what can I do for you?’ ‘I need a room and a glass of Dragon Breath Ale please.’

Farthias now with both the key to his room and his glass of ale, sat with his back to the bar and as he drank he looked at the rest. On a corner, a large table with eight dwarfs sited around caught his attention. They where chatting vigorously and laughing out loud and suddenly one of them stepped on the table and calling the attention of the people in the tavern said; ‘This is a fine night for storytelling, a warm and quiet night it is and if you will have it, I would like to be the first to tell you a story, I’m afraid that if you ask me to tell it later I might be too drunk!’ The people on the tavern laughed, ‘Go ahead dwarf!’ they screamed ‘Yes go on Dralig!’ ‘Allright then’ he said ‘I will tell you the tale of ´The Great Victory of Nushgarah’

‘The story tells there was a great city on an island not far from the eastern shores known as Nushgarah. The inhabitants of this city where experts in navigation, they where the first men ever to cross the Great Sea and conduct trades with the Men-of-the-other-side, thus Nushgarah became an important trading port. But in doing many travels overseas, many of the seamen and ships of Nushgarah where lost each year to the wrath of the sea, so the sages started studying ways of foreseeing the tides and predicting the storms. As the years passed, their lore became so advanced that they learned to craft instruments that could not only foretell the weather of the sea but actually manipulate it.

It was during those years that they crafted the Horn of Tides, and with it, they brought doom upon themselves, for though they where able to sail the seas unhindered for many a year, when the other races learned of their sea-controlling device they sought to stole it. So it was that orcs, ogres, and even goblins made war upon them.

The Nushgarians built fortresses on their shores and raised walls around their city and repelled their foes for almost a decade until one day finally the attacks ceased.

Throughout the years they continued being the most important port city until one spring the orcs marshaled a great fleet and set sail towards the island. When the Nushgarians saw the size of the fleet, they knew, right then and there, that any attempt to repel the invaders was futile and that the Horn of Tides was going to fall in the hands of the enemy, and so they did the ultimate sacrifice.

Blasting the Horn they called upon themselves a great storm. The ships of the Orcs where assailed by gigantic waves and their whole fleet was destroyed and drowned, and so was also the great port city of Nushgarah.

It is said by sailors that since then, on the same night of spring every year, a sound is heard coming from the depths, the sound of a mighty horn.’

* * * * *

The next morning Farthias set out with the dawn. He rode north for four hours and there where dense clouds hiding the sun which was still on the east when he came upon a line of high walls of stone like ridges on a hill to the right of the road, Farthias noticed there was something queer about them as if they where watching him. Farthias’ eyes were deep in them when a cold wind stroke his back and then flew to the grove below the ridges, it crashed upon the trees violently, bending their trunks and agitating their leafs until it finally crashed against the pale gray walls of rock. Then Farthias thought he heard whispers bouncing back and forth on the ridges. He felt a slight shudder, the horse seemed disturbed and something deep inside him urged him to get away from there as fast as possible. He bent forward and trotted hastily away.

* * * * *

Palistad; The Thadrim Fortress in the high woods of Garisdel, seven miles north west from Staukmar.

‘The snow is falling just as my strength is Seleucus’ said Moiers the chief of The Tahdrim ‘and yet we must ride on to battle again. Have we had a day of rest in the last month? I feel that our efforts have been fruitless, I don’t see that the horde has lost any strenght, have our spies brought any news about this… necromancer?’

‘No Moiers…the spies have not returned’

‘How far did the messenger said the orcs where from the Wall?

‘60 miles, he said the tower watcher saw about 10,000, and that many wargs where with them’

‘Are the men ready?’

‘Yes, Arganis and Lathvasis have set out earlier with a company of scouts, they are to meet us at Agrilos’ Wall.’

And so Moiers and Seleucus set out from the fortress with a company of 600 archers, 2500 full armored riders and about 3000 knights on foot, and 16 men of the Elite Guard, these had a darker, thinner but actually stronger armor and where armed with different exotic and custom made weapons, the other 4 members of the Elite Guard where, Moiers, Seleucus, Arganis and Lathvasis, these last two were brothers.

Ordinary soldiers came and went, joined the Tahdrim and died in battle or lived long lifes but didn’t distinguish themselves in battle. These men where different, 20 of the most skilled and deadly warriors known in the lands of free men. “The Core” the people called them.

Right then a wizard rode past the lines of soldiers and into the keep, he gave his horse to a guard and rushed into the hall to meet the King, the King saw him from across the hall as he was walking towards the gate.

´Vauldak!...Having transportation problems my old friend?’

´You will not take the stone from him and risk to alter that which has been prophesized.’

´Since when do you carry on the will of dragons?´

´Alvirik has lived in this world for ages, his wisdom and keen sense of things is far greater than what even I could achieve. He’s helped us before and he will not betray us now´.

´We have the strength to deal with any army and…´

´Not an army like this we don’t. The sight of tenths of balrogs with demons skilled in dark magic riding on their backs, driven by hate and an insatiable desire to destroy all that is beautiful in this world, is a sight no man should ever behold. That is what I saw and I tell you now, sending an army to fight against that would be foolish. Violence is what feeds these beings.

We must deal with the source and Alvirak is the only one who can do this. Our part in this is over, this conflict is now between the most ancient forces of this world. Evil should’ve never grown so much but it did, now is the time to turn the tide in our favor´

´You speak the truth, the stones will be given to Alviak by Farthias´

So it was that Alvirak flew to the top of Lavatkuk (the mountain of lava) and after a fierce battle with the balrogs he sent his chilly breath over the mountain, freezing it and thus ending the Era of the Balrogs.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

This is how the account follows after the battle at Agrilo’s.

With the balrogs out of the picture, the battle at Agrilo’s is won, the Necromancer is wounded and retreats, riders give chase to him but he’s rescued by a winged creature.

Farthias arrives in Palistad four days after the Battle at Agrilo’s. He meets the King. One day later he meets the Thadrim to receive training.

Right as Farthias is being introduced to the Tahdrim, a messenger breaks in and yells that the Haven of Lamansar has been laid siege by pirates helped by black giant serpents of the Sea of Worms

The Thadrim leading a small fleet of 2 ships are sent to recover the haven but Seleucus volunteers to stay in Staukmar to train Farthias.

The dwarves offer their help to the King in recovering the haven with the only condition that they are allowed to mine the mountain at Lamansar and establish a base of operations there for the Mithril Hammer. The King agrees.

The fleet led by the Tahdrim is the first to arrive in the great island, they switly capture the ships left on the shore by the pirates and engage the black serpents on the beach.

By dusk the Thadrim and the King’s men have defeated the serpents and are preparing to attack the haven’s defensive outposts which have been taken by the pirates. Right then they see the dwarf ships arrive in the horizon. They march together to defeat the pirates and take Lamansar back.

The dwarves begin rebuilding the haven and mining the mountain, The Tahdrim decide to go back to the main land but a huge storm destroys all the ships. They are left stuck in the island so the dwarves begin building impressive ships.

While this is happening in Lamansar let’s go back to what goes on with our friend Farthias.

Chapter 2 – At Solovann Inn.

Solovann Inn was the biggest and most popular in Staukmar. People of all trades and corners of Harodannon could usually be found there. It was like an information outpost, a trading and business center and a place where adventurers gathered to talk about their travels and to plan new ones. They also happened to serve very fine beer.

As soon as Farthias entered the room, something really attracted his attention; it was a big table replete with all sorts of weapons and armor. A few people round the table where trading and selling the gear that they had found on adventures but that was not useful to them, either because they didn’t use that particular weapon or because the armor didn’t fit them.

Farthias took one of the swords and started playing around with it when a dwarf approached him; ´Do you like it lad? It’s a valuable sword and you don’t look the wealthy kind, but you sure seem to know how to handle a blade and I recognize a bold lad when I see one. Maybe we could put that to good use, follow me’

The dwarf led him trough the crowd, he followed to a table where a man a dwarf and two female elves were sitting. ´Listen up, this lad here seems to have some skill with the sword and something just occurred to me. Why not let him earn it by helping us in our search?´ He said while grabbing a mug of beer from the table and handing it to Farthias. ‘Sit down and join us lad, we’ll tell you what we’re searching for and then you tell us if you’re interested, drinks are on my account’

Farthias left the sword on the table and sat with the strange company.


Copyright Javier Quesada 2006 under the Berne Convention.