The New Tanaan Mercenary Academy is the finest school of it’s type. As such, it operates under some very strict rules. Rokkath has been my trusty companion for a long time now, but it’s time for his apprenticeship to end. After saying my farewells to him, I was given an unexpected honor. The Academy chooses its field experiences very carefully for its students, especially for those who are ready for more advanced training. I was selected to be an advanced trainer for a Journeyman level student.
Tokris is a Vah’Shir, just as Rokkath is, but the difference in his abilities is quite marked. Halmar noticed it immediately, as we plowed through the Plane of Innovation together the other day. His upkeep is more costly, but he’s worth the hire, and I think the learning experiences we can give him will be most valuable as we shape a new adventurer in this world.
At first, when my good friend Halmar hired the mercenary healer Kataura to accompany us on our adventures, I kind of shook my head. It was a convenience, more than anything, I told myself. After all, my trusty Rokkath had fallen just a couple of times before my complete heals have gone off. Should I annoy some of the beasts we encounter, it’s nice to have the healing support. Halmar, even more so, as his magical robes don’t protect the great wizard from falling fast under the crushing blows of some of our adversaries.
I guess it all changed a couple of nights ago, when after a tough fight where I was throwing heals as fast as Kataura to keep us all alive, Halmar cast an evacuation spell after Kataura had exhausted her mana, even though I was keeping everyone healed to over fifty percent health. It suddenly became clear to me – Halmar’s opinion of my ability was rather low.
Sure, Kataura always looks busy. She’s got to brag about every spell she casts, announcing it to the group like a bard tooting her own horn. Sure, she has all the newest spells in her spellbook. She often ends up stepping on my toes when someone’s in need, and wasting mana with her annoying heals directed at party members who have 95% health.
You may think that it sounds as if I’m jealous of Kataura. The truth is, since Kataura has come to join us, my powers and skills have deteriorated. I haven’t obtained all of the spells I could, and I’ve turned not into the “battle cleric” I told myself I was, but a completely replaceable party member.
That thought was unacceptable to me. I had to redeem myself.
I made a plan. I searched Norrath, Luclin, and the Planes for every spell I could get my hands on. It was not easy, but I dug up a set of spells comparable in power to Kataura’s. The playing field was now level.
After some intense prayer, Mithanial Marr directed me to the perfect place to hone my skills once again. Grieg’s End tested my powers and my sanity, but after spending a week in the mad sorcerer’s realm, I emerged renewed, in full fighting form. When Kataura runs out of mana as she always does if the fight lasts longer than a few minutes, it will be clear who really keeps the party alive.
Wait until Halmar sees me now!
Some heroes are born. Others are created. Still others are called. When the god of Justice asks you if you love justice; if the fire of justice burns in your heart? Halmar and I were compelled to say, “Yes,” to both.
“Excellent,” beamed Justice’s avatar. “If you are strong of mind and body, you may be able to see this task to completion. The time has come for the most heinous fiends that cower in the shadows to find the light of justice shining down upon them. I ask you to seek them out and deliver our sentence.”
We did not have to ask what the sentence was. The gravity of his words told us what we had to do.
Our first criminal was Branack Welk, whom we tracked to the Academy of Arcane Sciences in Freeport. We decided to hail him, on the off chance he would understand the error of his crimes and appeal to the Tribunal for mercy. We quickly realized that the reason we had been given this task was the criminals in question were so hardened that there was no saving them. As soon as we identified ourselves as working on Tribunal’s behalf, he attacked. His last mistake in this Plane.
After Branack we were able to follow some local tips that led us to Neriak, where we found Encan V’Dal in the house of D`abth. Needless to say, his fate was identical to that of Branack. The same was true for Eoando Kelu who we found in North Felwithe, Gloribo Hammerbreaker who was hiding in Kaladim’s warrior guild hall, and Snogge who was tucked away in Oggok.
Tomee Stenk in Qeynos’s Lion’s Mane Inn put up quite a fight. We were able to corner him in a first floor room. He nearly slipped out past us, but my trusty Rokkath blocked his retreat. “Going somewhere?” he growled. He must have felt he had nothing to lose, taking on the three of us. He was, of course, wrong. Wrong also was Doran Keez in the tall trees west of the waterfall in nearby Surefall Glade. Then, in Grobb, we met another hardened criminal by the name of Bronkks in a tunnel near a froglok prisoner. We suspected his friend Uzak the Jewelcrafter was helping to hide him, based on his proximity, but in the end, Uzak watched on the sidelines as Bronkks succumbed to Justice. (more…)
Written by Community Member Amphar in honor of Okosar the Raconteur
In the beginning, before my home of Ak’Anon was threatened by the shadow of the Bloodmoon, I was a simple clockwork engineer, fresh out of the Academy. It was only a decade after Ak’Anon was opened up to the world, and all I knew was my peaceful life of gears, machinations, and books. The books were what my father objected to.
It is not the norm for a Gnome to dream about faraway adventures. Conventional wisdom is that the Creator, Brell Serilis, frowned on that kind of a life for us. Tinkering is a noble profession, and it should fulfill any reckless desires that might creep into one’s consciousness.
It was a time when a steady stream of great tales started to flood in. There were tales of Steamfont and the Dragonscale Hills, of course. But there were even more faraway places, places that sparked my imagination. I couldn’t get enough of these books.
Everything changed for me one night when I had the most disturbing of dreams. I dreamt the clockworks I spent all day servicing started to crawl on me, to cover me, to dig into my skin, creating an exoskeleton that was slowly choking the life from me. Unlike our beloved King Ak’Anon, however, these machines started to take over my being, and I started to fade away. With a desperate cry, I exploded to cast away the machines, waking up in a cold sweat. The dream troubled me for days before I decided to seek out help from a most wise counselor, an Academy instructor of mine named Julene Urncaller. (more…)