Saturday, October 8, 2011

SCI-FI FANTASY FRIDAY! ACTION SOCIETY #5

Fantasy Friday

I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday. That is to say I run a 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign every Friday set in the country of Beniro. As such I've decided to chronicle the hero's adventures from the perspective of different characters my friends play. Each week and each short chapter I will rotate the perspective so you can get a feel for all the characters. I will try my best to capture my friend's characters and the adventures they go on. I might change some elements but know I do it for the story.

A lot of the art I will be using is not credited, so if you know the artist, tell me and I'll label it appropriately.
CHAPTER 1- Lorafaine 
CHAPTER 2- Aramil
CHAPTER 3 - Ryjac
CHAPTER 4- Lucius

THE ACTION SOCIETY
BOOK 1
RISE OF THE WHITE SPIDER
CHAPTER 5
NADARR


At the crowing of the first rooster, Nadarr Thunderstone awoke and climbed out of his makeshift bed in the mule stables behind a small inn. He looked up at the darkness hanging overhead and a soft steam rose from his face as he breathed in the air of an early morning. He shook his body out, morning dew having settled on his warm scales overnight, the dreadlock-like extensions on his head rustling. With another breath, Nadarr sat on the stone floor beneath him, in not but a pair of green long johns, and he cleared his throat with a deep rumble. He took the chain from around his neck and held the ornament on the end of it to his forehead and then to his lips, before placing it on his lap. The ornament was a metal fist holding a lightning bolt. He closed his eyes and began to pray to Kord.





As he prayed, the dragonborn relived every vibration of the previous night’s storm. Most of the inhabitants of Doktham were unaware of it, tucked away under the ground, safely, protected from the tempest above as they slept. Yet, Nadarr had felt every lightning strike against the Shale Mountains, and had heard the thunder shake ever loose stone and coward from where it cowered in the dark. Every bolt of lightning is a lashing from Kord’s blade, and every roar of thunder is a roar of impatience from the Thunderlord, as he surveys all below him from his throne above the world, and finds himself disgusted with all but the most brave, the most strong and the most honorable. Kord decides who among the dead are most worthy; worthy of being in his army in the unending battle of the next world. Nadarr knew this, and so he prayed.

 Nadarr had known this since before he knew anything else, before he was even born. His father, Derrak, and his mother, Krina, were farmers, raising chickens and cattle, on a mountainside in Southern Mardunar, just across the border from their ancestral homeland, Arkhosia. The most important god to the dragonborn peoples of Arkhosia is Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon; the god who stands in opposition of evil, and protects the humble and weak. Yet, Mardunar was a land that shared a border with two enemy nations, and had no patience for the meek. Mardunar was a land of warriors. Most Mardunian dwarves and dragonborns worshipped Kord, above the other gods, and practiced their martial skill in all things. Even Derrak and Krina woke up every morning at dawn to pray to the Thunderlord and, after doing their farm work, spent their evenings practicing their swordplay in the same fields they had sown. In a land of warriors, battle is the greatest opportunity to impress their gods. 

Yet, Mardunar, and the entire Beniro kingdom, had not seen a full-scale war in centuries because the people had beaten back all worthy enemies into submission or death. The Mardunarians grew restless, but still trained even though, without the opportunity to prove their mettle in combat, they felt as if they were wasting their time. Derrak and Krina believed they were being punished by Kord for this time of peace. They had been married for decades and, despite their efforts, they had not a child and, because dragonborns live short lives, they feared they would have no one to carry on their legacy. They prayed every morning for Kord to bless them with a strong warrior to carry on their name.

Finally, after years of trying, Krina laid a clutch of dragonborn eggs. But at the same time, Derrak had visions of a disaster befalling their home and the eggs being destroyed. He believed Kord had stopped protecting them and, that any day soon, the path of a war band of savage gnolls or a giant would stumble into their farm’s land or an ancient red dragon would seek revenge and destroy their eggs. So, the couple trained harder than ever, in order to protect the eggs from any who would harm them. 

One day while out in the field’s training, a storm brewed overhead, and the elderly couple did not even stop training as hail began to fall. It had been raining and sleeting all day. Suddenly, a great warm wind blew from the West and over the side of the mountain. It was so intense that they had to find shelter behind a rock from the cutting wind. That was when they heard a sound worse than thunder tearing down the mountain. The two dragonborns looked over the boulder and saw the most terrifying sight they had ever seen.

It was more ravenous than a horde of thousand starved gnolls, greater in size than a storm titan and roared louder than any dragon imaginable. It was a black tornado that stretched from the ground, which it tore as easily through as a shovel through sand, to the dark heavens above, where it seemed to go on and on forever. It tore great trees from the mountain side that had stood a hundred years or more and it threw boulders through the air as if they were blades of grass. Nothing seemed safe in the twister’s path as it carved a vicious path of destruction across the hills and brought a tempest of lightning in its wake. Suddenly, it veered to the right and tore through their fields and toward their home. “The eggs!” They shouted in unison and, without a second thought, climbed over the boulder and sprinted for their cottage to save their unborn hatchlings.

Just as the couple made it into their home and, they each grabbed one handle of the chest they had been keeping the eggs warm in, the black twister pulled the cottage apart. Krina and Derrak held onto the chest with all their strength until, their muscles screamed in agony and the chest slipped from their grasp. They were thrown into the mud below, as the tornado carried on its path of destruction down the mountainside. Derrak awoke first but did not see where Krina had landed. Desperately, he shouted her name until his throat was raw and he could barely stand from the beating he had just taken. He then found their chest. To his horror, its contents had spilled out and their eggs were cracked and crushed. He let out one final roar of anguish as he sunk to the mud and squeezed the cracked shells in his bloodied hands. That’s when he heard a hoarse croak, “Derrak…?”

Stumbling to his feet, he dragged himself toward the voice, and saw his wife, curled up in the mud. Derrak reached to pull Krina to her feet and found that she was holding something to her chest. It was one last egg, the lone survivor of their clutch, and it was whole. Derrak pulled his wife to her feet and found them a shelter in the storm. Krina lay next to the fire he built, holding the egg, and not saying a word. Derrak walked to the mouth of the cave, overlooking the decimated valley below, through the downpour of rain that had replaced the wind and, trembled with fury. He cursed Kord and demanded an answer for why he would bring such ruin upon him and his wife. His words were drowned out by a crack of thunder as a bolt of lightning struck the mountain crag. Krina called from inside the cave, and Derrak rushed inside to see that the lone egg had a big crack in the middle of it. 

Derrak rushed forward but Krina stayed him with her hand and, lo and behold, a little face looked up at them from the egg. Krina stood up and carried the infant dragoborn, pale as milk, to the mouth of the cave. She held the baby up, rain falling on its head and a thunder crack rolling across them. Yet, the baby did not cry. It let out a laugh. Derrak held his wife and his infant, as all three of them laughed, and cried, in the face of the storm. Derrak named the baby boy, Nadarr; the name of his father’s fathe; the name that in Draconic meant, “Storm blessed.” The elderly couple then sat with their child in the cave and prayed to their god-the Thunderlord, and prayed that their son would serve him well.

Nadarr opened his eyes and uncrossed his legs. Rising to his feet, he stretched his arms and legs, before returning his holy symbol to its place around his neck. He then reentered the stable and picked up his breast plate, dusting the dirt off and pulling bits of hay from where they had gotten caught between the scales. He pulled on each piece of armor with great care and pulled his shield onto his back. He then picked up his sword, Gerhester, Draconic for the very same storm that killed his unhatched siblings, and attached it to his belt. He stepped out of the stable and began walking to the gate. 

At 15, he was fully grown physically and had been trained by a skilled Knight of the Azure Sky, Sir Ekkbar. He had squired the knight since he was just a boy. He had killed goblins and wild men. He had defended a fort, through a siege, against an invasion of zealous Templars from the south. He was as brave, honorable and strong as his parents had always hoped he would be and they were proud. Yet, he had never had a quest; and for a chance to prove his mettle against foes and struggles worthy of his effort, Nadarr prayed.

*****


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