Been a while since last post. Ill give you a summary on Mort path the last 4 months.
Mort (human) left Creekstone with the 2 temple clergy of Avisse and Liam. He agreed to go undercover into the Gortrung cult and find out more about the Zombies being made and other nefarious deeds.
The 3 traveled about 2 months on the main roads toward New Doz a city where their next tip led. On the outskirts of Pigeonville, Avisse with his magical staff of black pigeon direction finding, was pointing to a small farm off the beaten path. All 3 decided to go to the farm and investigate, since the Gortrung cult used black tailed pigeons as their message carriers. They found a farmer raising the pigeons for Gortrung . The farmer thought the 3 were Gortrung members picking up a new order. They found out from the farmer that a shipment was to be picked up in a week. They left and entered Pigeonville, a half days ride from the farm. Here Avisee being a temple priest of Tudamon got them lodging at the temple with the residing priest. Once the villagers heard that the Saints Avisee and Liam were there, the whole village was buzzing with excitement. While Avisee spent the next 3 days blessing children, presiding over weddings and impromptu banquets, Mort and Liam did some searching around to find the Gortrung delivery men. Thier discovery found that that the constable with a couple other ruffians had a house and barn which needed investigation. Avisee also ran into a party of Tudamon investigators led by Bishop Altima that were on the hunt for Gortrung members also. They were heading down to Creekstone to find the one who got tattooed recently and was an agent of Gortrung. Avisee knew it was Mort and Liam who did it, but wanted to keep their mission and identity secret and didnt tell the Bishop. (In fact later, when Bishop sent messages by pigeon to his superiors in New Doz, Avisee intercepted them at Pigeonville and destroyed them. ) Back with Mort and Liam they entered the barn of the suspicious place and Mort found evidence of bird cages under a tarp. When Mort touched the tarp he felt a dark chill cold from the seed inside him and knew evil was near. The sheriff joined LIam and Mort to search the house later. When Mort opened the door to the house, he was shot in the gut with a crossbow. Mort goes down and on the verge of death, and Liam jumps in and 2 of the ruffians immediately surrendered . Liam sends for Avisse for help since Mort is bleeding out and dying. While Avisse is being summoned, Mort and Liam find the house is sectioned off with a large metal gate. Behind the gate are about 50 shuffling zombies. Avisee approaches the gate and sees a couple zombies run at the gate with supernatural quick time and try to reach him thru the bars of the gate. All the zombies have tags around thier neck with names. When Avisee arrives, so does the whole village following. Avisse is ushered in the house and villagers kept out. Avisee sees Mort on the table dying and tells the others Liam and the 2 temple guards who were accompanying Liam to bring the table outside. Outside with the villagers looking on, Avisee pulls out his cup of increased faith made by magic and calls for miracle upon the dying body of Mort. It works, and with Mort moaning and sitting up the villagers go crazy and start singing hymns and dancing. (unbeknownst to Avisse this miracle started a chain reaction between the gods and trouble is brewing.) With Mort raised from the dead the party decides to investigate the zombies more. Upon inspecting the 2 ruffians, a list is found of names. The party recognizes some of the names as being kidnapped and not found. They surmise that these were people of prominence, kidnapped and now in this state. Avisse tells the group that he knows that Bishop Altima is on this way back and if he finds them here and connected to these zombies, fact or fiction, their days would be on a short rope around the neck. Standing back between the bars, they systemically kill all the zombies with crossbolts in the head. Then they leave the sheriff and the ruffians to bury they dead in the house. Evening approaches and a constable says he hasnt seen the sheriff. Mort returns to the house where the zombies were buried and finds the sheriff dead from a blow to the head, and ruffians gone. Mort takes the sheriffs body and disposes of it on the outskirts of pigeonville to not him connected to the house and the zombies. The next day they leave for the provincial capital of New Doz.
Mort has a vision that night.
You find yourself standing in the pouring rain of darkness. The lightning flashes showing a landscape unknown and strange. A Volcano is seen in the distance, its red and yellow lava etched upon its vast steepness oozing its primordial spreading. The seed inside you is chanting an ancient song you can’t understand. Lightning flashes again and you see around the volcano a multitude of flying creatures. The seed inside you confirms your fear, and speaks the word “Dragons”. The dragons are in great numbers. You can only compare this to migrating geese in the fall. You stare in disbelief.
The ground beneath your feet is muddy and wet and slippery. The seed is still chanting and you turn around and realize you are in the mouth of a gigantic cave mouth. Slivers of lightning show it dark and deep. Drenched in the rain,something seems familiar to you, not to the man of Mort, but to the seed. Your ear catches something more than just rain, thunder and rock slides around you. You strain your ears as a sound begins to emerge from the cave chasm. You become deathly chilled and cold upon recognizing it. The chant of the seed is heard. It’s calling you to come.
You wake up in a sweat and your fingers ache and hurt with raw pain, where there are none. You bite your lips to squelch a cry, and in a few moments the pain recedes. The seed within becomes hidden and unfelt again, as you sit there in the dark drenched with sweat.
Upon arriving at New Doz, the 2 saints Avisse and Liam head to the temple to find lodging and contacts, while Mort heads off to find his brother Bert. Mort goes to the university and finds out that Bert doesnt live there and not a full time student. Mort is angry since he has been sending money here for his education in the past. He finds Bert in the midst of being kicked out of tavern. Bert tells Mort he is still a student, but more of a rogue scholar, more rogue than scholar. Bert does have connections with a lot of people in New Doz, and Mort says quiet about his mission with the Gortrung cult.
Later Mort is confronted by 3 men claiming to be with Stephen and wanting money or his life.
**emphasized text*You grab your side and grimace in pain. Looking down you see your tunic torn and a cut in your side. The blood isn’t bright blood when you pull your hand away, which is a good thing. *
You suddenly remember the men surrounding you, and spin, getting your eyes to focus in the shadows. Eyes and adrenaline pumping, you see 3 men dead around you in a space of great disarray. One has a knife in his throat, one is in a grotesque position against the wall, and the last seems to have his head caved in.
- The seed inside is burning hot, but within a few breaths the heat is gone and you’re left cold. The last thing you remember before the pain in your side, was the sneer of one of your faces and a flash of a knife.*
Mort tells no one of the assault, not even Avisse and Liam. Mort then tries to find a introduction into the gortrung cult with the aid of his tattoo and note from the gortrung man he found a year ago.
He finds a contact and they let him into a few meetings over the course of the next year. Then seeing he is serious they offer him a promotion in the gortrung ranks, if he wants. Mort says yes. They then use Mort as muscle in extortion rackets of merchants, making Mort do more and more gruesome and cruel things to prove his loyalty. Mort does them all, seeking Gortrung the head prophet and the curse of the zombies.
One day in year 2 in New Doz, Mort is accused of being a spy. One of the ruffians from pigeonville points him out and says hes a traitor. Mort talks himself out of immediate death, but they decide to have him fight in a pit with a vicious killer.
*You come to your senses and are standing in the middle of a frenzied crowd who are chanting. *
*You look beside you and see a man dead at your feet, and a hole in his chest. The hole is bloody and gaping. Your hand is holding something, as you look at it and start to focus on your surroundings, its a heart. A human heart. *
*The chanting is loud and reverberating off the walls. *
Behold the Messenger for Gortrung!! At last the prophecy shall begin!!!
You feel sick to your stomach and nauseous. The seed burns in your chest , as the rest of your body is bone cold. It feels the seed is feeding from the chants. Slowly the heat and cold pass away and you feel the seed no more, as the crowd is smiling and lifts you up on their shoulders chanting and yelling in this confined pit.
The snitch is killed instead and Mort proves his worth and trust once again.
Meanwhile Avisse locates an old teacher and friend Cassius. Cassius now retired and blind welcomes Avisse and their friendship is renewed. Avisee confides in Cassius about his mission and needs help in knowing about who Xul is. They brainstorm and know that Tudamon their god gives an answer to a question once a year to the high priest, or to someone who can find the chalice of becoming and use it. The Chalice is 6 months away in a remote temple. Avisee decides to travel and ask the god a question regarding Xul and Tudamon.
While Avisse is gone, Liam gets romantically involved with an old friends daughter and gets married. He moves in with his inlaws who own a tavern. When Avisee returns a year later to find Liam with a daughter and another on the way.
Avisse tells Liam that Tudamon is at war with another god named Xul. Avisee doesnt know the name of this god Xul and Cassius will use his contacts to research it.
A plague hits the city and its locked tight upon decree of the King. People are perishing and the usual healings of the temple are not enough. Food and safety are now in peril. Liams father in law dies and he now takes over the Inn.
After 2 years working his way up the cult heirachy, Mort is ordered to a keep within the city where Gortrung visits. Mort doesnt have time to tell Avisee and Liam where he is going.
Avisee in this prayer duties falls into a coma and receives this vision.
You wake up on a grassy knoll with a harsh wind blowing. The wind is cold and the grass is whipping in the wind. You see a large moon with a ring around it in the sky. Looking around you see a cliff ahead of you and rolling hills of grass behind you. The sound of waves can be heard in the wind, and you head to the cliff. On top of the cliff you see a shoreline stretching in both directions from you. Waves are hitting the sands below and a chilling fog ebbs and flows along the coastline. You head down to the beach below.
Chilled from the water spray, fog and wind you hug your arms to try and stay warm as you walk the beach aimlessly. After a long time walking you smell something up ahead. Its the smell of smoke and something cooking in the fog. Soon you see on the beach a fire with 3 figures sitting around it with 3 poles flying banners in the whipping wind. You get closer and see the figures are of men and the 3 banners having the symbols of Tudamon, Uneys, and Renset on each. You recognize the symbols of 3 gods.
Standing at a distance, one stands up from the fire and hollers to you, “ Avisse, your welcome to join us, come.”. You approach and take a seat, and start warming yourself up at the fire.
Sitting around you are 3 men. All bearded and full of long hair. All 3 are big and muscled but with the look of being old in their eyes.Each of the 3 are wearing different types of armor, weapons and beads and runes in their hair. They are eating some fish from the fire and the one who asked you over, takes a fish and hands it to you. You notice this one sits under the banner of Tudamon.
Eating your fish you sit in silence as the other 3 are sitting in silence as well. “ The one who gave you fish says “ You may speak”.
“ Are you Tudamon?” you ask.
“ I am called that, and other names”, Uneys chuckles at that remark.
“Where is this place?”
“This is one of the many places we come to hunt. It is not from your world as you can see.”
The other 2 get up and gather their banners, and start off towards the shore, nodding at you and Tudamon as they leave.
“Ill be there in a moment friends.” Tudamon says to both Uneys and Renset.
“Xul is coming,”
“I know”. Stirring in the fire, Tudamon stretches. “When he rises to the surface he will be the only god of that plane and will be…well…unstoppable by all there living. We all who have ascended have only our servants and some powers to contend on your plane now. It wasn’t meant to be that XUL would take rage and vengeance upon the world.”
“What do you mean?”
Hunching his shoulders Tudamon stirs the fire again. “ We were once young and being so often foolish as gods can be. Some of us, including me, were cruel to Xul because of his looks. In our youth 3 of us lured Xul to the center of the earth and left him there to dig out. We did not know the ascension was coming so soon. In our preparations, we each thought the other had helped Xul reach the surface and join us. Not till we got here did we realize he was left behind.”
“ Why did you tell me to find Yag?”
“ahh…Yag. He is the only god left in the world that has not ascended. You have to convince him to help save you.” Tudamon gets up and grabs his banner and starts walking away towards his companions on the beach.
“Wait…how do we find Yag? Isnt Yag dead?”
“ You’ll have to find the answer. If not, you’ll all be bowing or dead under Xul.
I have a leviathan to catch now, so ill take my leave Avisse.”
You stand up and say in the wind, “ When shall I see you next?”
Tudamon turns to face you and says “ It will be soon, your death will not be peaceful, but at least you won’t be Xul servant when it comes”.
You watch the 3 figures enter the frigid water walking as if on a leisurely stroll and see the banners go under the waves.
You wake up and feel faint, and famished.
Avisee has been in a coma for 3 days and Liam is frantic to find out how his friend is, and tries to gain audience to see him but to no avail. On the 3rd day Liam with his daughter on this shoulders sees Avisse waving from a balcony during a temple ceremony and feels relieved.
Mort is taken to the keep and learns the following about more of Gorturngs design.
The tower has 7 levels. The first 4 levels are for Gortrungs workers and couriers. The first 4 floors house the barracks, cooking area, ready room and armory. The 4th floor houses maps, scrolls, and looks like a war planning room. There is a basement also storing supplies and a grate to the sewers that have you seen men enter and leave thru. Outside the tower is surrounded by a 2 story tower and a stable of horses are kept there. The upper 3 are for Gortrung when he visits. Only upon invitation are you allowed up to Gortrungs lair. When Gortrung is there, 2 meals are sent up from the kitchen by a religious acolyte, or by someone Gortrung wishes to confer with.
*There are about 50 men, a couple dwarves, 1 or 2 orcs at any given time. There are horses and couriers that arrive almost daily and messages are sent to the 4th floor of the tower. The 4th floor also houses scribes, cryptographers in separate quarters from the rest of the tenants.There is also a pigeon hutch with a door to the 4th floor. There are black tailed pigeons in the cage. *
You have overheard some of the couriers speak and can tell they are not from your region. Many are from other kingdoms, and lands, due to the clothes, dialects and foreign languages spoken. They are mostly couriers and not at the tower long, giving scrolls or messages or taking them and leaving by horseback.
You have had a chance to glance in the war planning room of such. You saw an orc, 2 humans and a roden peering over charts on a table. On a wall you saw a map, and 8 red circles on the map with red lines drawn to and from the circles. You know it’s a map, but cant read cartography.
You have overheard that at the wharf high ranking hostages are unloaded and sent to the sewers below. Lots of ransom money is paid, if and when the hostages are returned always sick and comatose. They also have black eyes.
After about a week at the keep Mort is ushered upstairs to meet Gortrung himself. Gotrung wearing a mask and flowing robes is hard to distinguish. A brief glimpse of his skin while reaching for a pear reveals his skin is golden with wisps of blue, and silver in it.
Gortrung needs a enemy killed, his head as proof, and a artifact that Gortrung claims is his. Upon doing this Gortrung promises to make Mort his second in command and will reveal his ambitions in full. Mort agrees and leaves with 2 men that night to kill this enemy of Gortrung. Later that night the 3 assasins make way into the compound killing 2 men to approach the enemy. Mort sneaks in and from behind cuts the head off his target, puts the head in a bag and grabs an ancient looking horn .
Mort has another vision. ( in this vision I used the game “Mythquipment” rpg and we made a god like weapon with his vision. The players had alot of fun in this mini game). Mort finds out the weapon is from Xul and used to kill Xul enemies, which are the gods of Tudamon, Renet and Eyenes.
On the way back to Gortrung, he kills his fellow 2 companions, and decides not to give the horn to Gortrung as its a god weapon. The next day after the assassination, Mort finds out he killed Cassius, Avisee dear friend and confident. Since Gortrung is gone for a couple days, Mort gets an excuse to get out of the keep and tells Liam at the Inn what he has done and is sorry.
Liam finds Avisee and tells his the awful story of Cassius death and Morts involvement. Avisee goes to Cassius home and finds some research papers left behind.
He finds tUpon studying and researching the scrolls, you have come to some conclusions
*Cassius was researching the diaries of ancient educated explorers and scribes who had contact with Trolls and Orcs. These men were given at times oral history passed down from eons in the Troll and Orc tongues. *
*Common knowledge to elf, dwarf and human scholars is that an event called the ascending, is where the gods met and from there ascended to the plane of existence they are now at. This place is known as the stones of ascending. All gods ascended according to beliefs. Trolls say that many Titans, dragons and something called the discarded were left behind on purpose. One discarded is called XUL by the Trolls. *
In Cassius’s works he was also investigating a relic uncovered in the library. It was a tiny spike from XUL himself and shaped like a horn. This relic is known as Knuuteautae (New-a-tot), translated in human as “ Finger of god given to his servant”. If the horn is filled with wine and a praise to the god is uttered, then the finger of god appears for the servant. Not much is known without further study of Orc or Troll knowledge. he following.
Avisse now need to find the connection between Xul and Yag another god unknown to most of the world.
Avisee meets with Bishop Altima and finds a common interest in finding the truth of Gortrung and his designs. Avisse prepares to leave the city with a letter of travel from the Bishop to get past the kings army beseiging the city to enforce the quarantine of the plague.
Gortrung returns and calls for Mort. At the keep it seems that Gortrungs people are getting ready to leave the keep and records are being destroyed. Mort is asked to sign off for a message to be sent, and does so, being a officer now in Gortrungs hierarchy. Mort arrives and sees his brother Bert in the room with Gortrung. Mort doesnt know if Bert is being held hostage or there of his own will. Gortrung sees the head and is pleased and ask for the horn. Mort lies and tells him the horn was not present at the killing. Gortrung tells him the Zombies are made from a ichor from an ancient beast ( Mort surmises its from Xul) and uses it on people they kidnap and using them to create an army to wash over all the earth and kill the elves. Gortrung has a profound hatred for elves and doesnt share why, but tells Mort he will be his 2nd in command for his loyalty.
A fireball crosses the sky from a window and Gortrung smiles and says its time to go. Another one crosses the sky and then rocks. The army outside has suddenly now attacking the city with fire and rocks. Gortrung heads down a portal to the sewers and tells Mort he will find him again after this. Mort heads down to find Bert who had left eariler and sees the keep now being attacked by temple guards from Bishop Altima. Mort remembers a sewer entrance below and head there during the battle.
In the sewer Mort gets lost and then realizes his weapon is phasing . In the darkness Mort sees phantoms and ghosts and they start attacking Mort. His horn now turns into a weapon and Mort crushes all these ghosts easily. More ghosts appear and he slaughters them as well. Going deeper in the sewers he is drawn to a place where these ghosts and specter’s are seemingly trying to protect a door. Mort weighs through them with his weapon and reaches the door. He opens the door, and evil is unleashed. He is mobbed by thousands of zombies clamoring out of the door. The Zombies dont attack Mort and seem not to even notice him. Mort falls under the weight and has a vision.
You get lost in the sewers and hear zombies close by splashing. You hear the sound of the high shriek again and bones crunching in the dark. Staggering away from the high shrieks you push farther in the sewers.
The seed moves within your bosom and it starts to sap your strength. Fighting to stay standing, you slump in the muck and filth and go under.
You don’t remember how or what, but you find yourself standing in a vast cavern. The ground is rock and dirt and in the distant dark you barely see a light. Walking towards it, it turns into a fire, where the light is dancing shadows across the cavern walls.
A figure is sitting near the fire, as you approach. The closer you get the bigger the figure sitting. The figure sitting is 20 feet tall, you think, and you can only see its red eyes. The flames from the fire lick at the walls but are absorbed by the blackness of the figure sitting it seems. The fire is not from wood, but a hole in the ground and its red hot liquid is warming and lighting the surroundings.
From the form you hear “ Sit, and warm yourself.”
There is a rock across from the form and you sit down, warming yourself over the firepit. Time passes.
The form stirs and finally speaks again.
“ You have a part of me in you. Its good to talk with someone. It’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to a being that walks on 2 legs. The time is coming when I shall do that more. I remember walking like you once, but its only a fading memory and I can’t remember it.
You don’t know if it’s time or how to approach this being, so you just say as confidently as your shaking voice can, “ You are Xul I believe. Others call me Mort and others call me The messenger of Xul.”
“I know what you are called, that is why I’ve called you here. I have finally come to the surface and will take my vengeance soon. “
Without looking up and staring at the fire hole you ask, “ Who shall the mighty Xul wreak vengeance upon?”
“ My enemies and their offspring, in whatever form they have now. It has been eons since I was trapped and left in the center of this world. My time to ascend and take my rightful place is coming. Eons ago, I was a trusting one and knew nothing of cruelty or jealousy, but lived a life of bliss and enjoyment. My enemies, who I thought were my friends, wanted to show me a secret place that is wonderful and full of adventure and fun. I agreed to go and the 3 of them. They told me i would have to blank my mind so i wouldn’t remember how I got there, they didnt want anyone to know except for the 4 of us. I agreed as a naive sweet being and did it to gain the favor of the other 3. I was transported to the center of the world alone. I still remember the laughter of the other 3 to this day, when they sent me there. I cried in the darkness and heat to have them send me back. I cried out to my other friends and they couldn’t hear me. I was there for a while and then I heard the call. I clawed at the rock and tunneled feebly at escaping. The pull of the call was calling,but I could not get there in time.”
Looking up a bit you see the red eyes glowing. After a while in the silence you ask, “ What was the calling you speak of?”
“ The ascension. The other ones got to the stones of ascension and became gods. I was left here to rot. But i didnt. I dug, and dug, and dug, till my fingers bled and dug more. Out of my rage I kept alive. Time has no meaning in the ground, and I dug for eons of time. In time I forgot what I looked like and what was before. In the dark depths I found other creatures hidden from others up top. It was war and love among the creatures. Some creatures taught me things, while others I fought, some betrayed me, while others followed me. My only thought was to get back and take my vengeance. “
You ask another question. “ If the others ascended and became gods, who is there to take vengeance upon?”
“ The followers and those who they created and left behind to serve and worship them. Before I ascend only my followers and creations will inhabit the earth. “
You ask “ Is that what Gortrung and the zombies are for Xul?”
Xul laughs. “ I don’t need those creatures. Gortrung of who you speak of I met eons back, when I first discovered the vents to the top. He said he was a Gortrung, a servant of the gods, and he is. However, since the gods left, he didnt recognize my form and deceived me. In my yearning to learn what was happening above and him being a Gortrung, I succumbed to his trap. He stole a small spine from my shell and left. That is why I leak from it to this day”. You see a small pool of black ichor dripping to the ground in the light of the fire. “ The zombies are of Gortrungs design and my spies now tell me he is using my name to create his army. What a fool. I shall use his army for my design some day. So that brings me to you Mort. You are the only one that has ever taken my ichor and not become lost. How is that so? You must have been touched by another god to do that. You will be a king of my people when I conquer my enemies above. I will need a representative among those who walk on two legs. You shall be that king for me. “
“Before I tell the Mighty great Xul who touched me, may I ask who the 3 are?”
“They are Tudamon, Eneys and Renset.”
You recognize them as gods who are worshiped by men, dwarves and others. You know if you tell Xul that Tudamon healed you through Avisse, it will not go well and will probably die, even though this is a vision you believe.
You look up in the eyes of Xul. “ I was dead or close to it, I don’t remember what god used to resurrect me to the living. I never asked the name, Xul.”
“ It will bring forth in time. Now i’m sending you back Mort. Wait till I call again. The seed will let you know. The zombies are the dark lost and will not hurt you Mort. I’m glad you are using the weapon. It destroys only the enemies of Tudamon, Eneys and Renset. Remain in the service of Gortrung and be my spy in his midst. When the zombie reaches 1 million followers and I ascend, I will use my power to release the lost and have them become found again.”
In the eerie shadows of flickering light from the fire, you see Xul turn a bit and see his form as that of a giant scarab, foreign, horrific, and strong.
Watching the fire, time passes till you feel your chest begin to heave and restricted. You feel yourself sinking in the sand where you sat. The sands envelope you as you thrash and try to climb out. Your chest burns and you can’t breathe. You feel something pull your leg and turn you over. Cold again and damp, your whole body is cold and now wet. In the dark you hear sounds like rats as you suddenly raise up and spit out water from your lungs. Staring at you are 2 rodens, eyes big and terrified with you in the sewer.
Mort wakes up 3 days later.
Meanwhile 3 days earlier.
Avisee sees the fireballs and rocks setting fire and destruction to the city. He desperately runs to a magic scroll shop to find some scrolls for his journey. Outside he starts to see people running and zombies eating and transforming others into zombies. The shop keeper and Avissee are frantically searching and then Avisee looks out the window and sees Cassius standing there. Avissee shakes his head and looks at a younger version of Cassius in the street, lot younger and beckoning him to come. Against his fear, Avisee leaves the shop and walks to Cassius. Cassius whispers in his head to trust him.
You feel smothered and restricted as your life ebbs away. You thought the feeling of death would come to you with a balm of peace, but pain and loss of hope is what you feel now. Deeper and deeper into a well you go, and you can almost taste the dead putrid smell ready to devour you.
Time passes. In the darkness you still feel smothered but not restricted. Reaching out with your senses, you feel your chest is heaving and feels heavy.
Time passes.Coldness surrounds you.
Opening your eyes you see flashes of light above your head, and suddenly realize you’re underwater. Panic sets in and you start to thrash around trying to find air, or the surface.
Something seizes your tunic at the neck and pulls you to the surface. Lightning flashes, and the wind whips cold ice across your face as you gasp for air. Another flash of light and you see something dark and looming beside you. Your ears hear the thud of wood and creaking, as you feel yourself being hauled up by your tunic out of the water. Another flash of lightning and you see Tudamon holding you aloft in the air. Your eyes sting from icy spray, squint and you see a mighty Viking ship with roaring waves of ice and rain all around.
Tudamon drops you on the deck and you lay there prostrate, heaving water out of your lungs and feeling the tossing of the boat, as cold water sloshes on deck.
“Catch something interesting?” a voice booms out in the dark, while another laughs.
“It’s one of mine I think” as you hear the voice of Tudamon once again.
Tudamon helps you up off the rolling deck, “Get your feet under you, make your way under that tarp near the mast, Avisee”.
Coughing up water you squeak out “Am I alive?”
Tudamon looks at you and smiles, “ Its a matter of opinion, but yes Avisse you are.”
Staggering from the waves, and wind, up, you shuffle to the tarp best you can amidst the waves breaking and dousing icy reams upon your body.
Tudamon comes up from behind and tosses a fur cape across your shoulders. “There, that should keep death away from you.” Light flashes as you look up and see Tudamon face and a smile while rivets of water stream from his beard, “Been a change of plans it seems, so stay warm and Ill be back shortly.”
The fur cloak is more like the size of a large bed covering, but it’s warm and the chill is fading. There is dried meat of some sort, and bread on a table with a lantern for light under the tarp. A few minutes pass by and Uneys and Renset from your vision before come under the tarp and sit down. Uneys pass you some meat, and motions for you to eat. Eating the meat, unlike any meat you have ever tasted, Uneys and Renset speak to each other in a tongue not known to you.
A gust of wind chills you as the tarp flies open and Tudamon appears again, shaking off the water and sitting down on a barrel near you.
“We’re on our way hunting, and the sea is not our friend tonight it seems” cracking a smile as the other 2 gods laugh.
“You weren’t expecting to see me again like this, were you Avisee? I know I told you that your death would be painful, but something has changed, so that is why you’re here now. You know Cassius?” Shaking his head, “ He is quite a pain in the neck, but does hold his ground when pushing an issue. Somehow he has convinced us 4 to do something we normally never do, and that is why you’re here. Cassius has either given us an interesting path with the realm of men it seems.
Xul will be devouring many and the time of mortals will become bleak, till he ascends. It is our fault, us three, motioning to Uneys and Renset, that the fury of Xul is unbridled.”
The 3 gods now stand up and tighten their cloaks and Tudamon motions for you to follow them out on the heaving deck.
With the wind whipping in a frenzy Tudamon, Uneys and Renset make a circle with an opening for you to stand to complete it. You step up and complete the circle.
Shouting above the storm Tudamon shouts, “ We have decided to send you back Avisse. We, (looking at his companions) cannot enter the realm again of men, however you can pass something of us past the nose of the other gods and maybe help the age of men. But it’s up to you to agree”.
LIghtning flashes again, and looking at the aft of the boat you see a large troll at the rudder.
“Who is that?” you shout.
“Cassius got to him first. He got us out here in this terrible sea to fish you out. That is Trollheim, he wants to see his son again.”
“You mean Yag?”
Tudamon raises his head and roars with laughter. “Yes it is, you are a smart one as Cassius said you would be “.
No longer shivering and feeling something well inside your breasts. Looking in the face of 3 gods you summon up your next 3 words.
“ Ill do it.”
Tudamon smiles and nods to the others, “You’re either an imbecile, a fool, or romantic Avisse. In any case, legends will speak your name whatever the outcome.So if you’re truly ready and of your own free will wish this, then stretch out your hand. Becoming the tool of Tudamon, Uneys, and Renset against the rise of Xul and a light to the darkness of men to come is a journey that you have decided upon.”
You stretch out your hand in the middle of the circle. A single plain ring sits upon one of our fingers. Uneys with a red ring places his hand upon yours, followed by the hand of Renset with his blue ring and lastly Tudamons white ring sits upon the top of 4 hands grasped. All 3 gods start chanting in a tongue not known. Your eyes glance over at the immense troll at the rudder and see him staring at you and nods. LIghtning flashes down to the circle and a bright flash of light engulfs the hands.
It goes dark again, but you feel warm.
You sleep well.
Avisse vanishes in from mortal world, some saying they saw him turn into a rod and then a ring in the air and disappear.
Liam and his family and friends during the attack hid out in the Inn cellar. On the 2nd day, they heard fighting outside and investigated. Soliders are fighting zombies and crowds are running from the fighting. Liam convinces all to go now and escape. They escape the city with about 1000 survivors from a city of 100,000 souls.
Mort escapes the sewers and finds out he is wanted and roams the countryside trying to find Gortrung and finally meets up with Liam 4 years later.
Liam learns this after he and his family escapes New Doz.
In my journeys since the burning of New Doz and the loss of my great friend Saint Avisse, I’ve been trying to piece together the riddle of the gods Xul and Yag. Sometimes a piece falls in place when you’re in the right place at the right time. This is one of those unexpected events.
I was passing through a town asking if there were any Gortrung followers and had a man looking the size and demeanor of a soldier walk up to me on the streets.
The man put a hand to give a greeting and approached me and said “ I can’t help but notice you sir, but are you Saint Liam?
I nodded and replied, “ I am, and who might you be?”
Man looks relieved and his shoulders sag a bit “ I am Gront, an aide to Captain Hoen. Captain Hoen is on his deathbed and desires to give a confession. The Tudamon priest is gone on business, and I was wondering if…”
Interrupting him I state “ Thank you for saying hello to me, but I’m not a priest, just a saint conferred by the temple, I can’t take confessions.”
The man scratches his head and looks at me “ I know you’re not ordained, but being a Saint you’re the closest to Tudamon blessings there is, and it’s my duty to bring someone to hear his confession. It would honor me and my house if you would do this great service for my Master Captain Hoen. It wouldn’t be official, but he insists on confessing before his time is over. I beg of you to reconsider and come.”
I would never usually consent to this, but thinking of all the horrors and darkness I’ve seen, maybe giving an act of kindness like Avisee or my wife would do, I shrug my shoulders.
“Lead on Soldier, I’ll come.”
I’m led outside of town to an area of farms and orchards. Inside one of the orchards is a spacious villa and I’m let into a room where a man ashen gray lays on a bed. He is not old, perhaps in his 30s, but can tell death is calling him. The soldier bends over and whispers to his ear, I’ve brought Saint Liam to hear your confession, Captain.
The Captain opens his eyes and motions to his aide, whispers something and the aide tells everyone to leave the room and looks at me, “I’ll be outside the door if you need anything Saint Liam. Thank you again.”
Left in the room I sit there for about half an hour, and then he stirs and motions for me to come closer. I move my chair so I can put my ear close to his mouth.
“I was assigned to General Visnt at the Siege of New Doz. 3 Weeks after the burning of New Doz, the general had his troops pull back beyond the River Anz in anticipation of the zombie horde army overrunning our forces and gaining access to the kingdom thru the only bridge left intact. I was asked to report to the General’s tent the next night.
“Captain Hoen reporting to the General.” as I saluted smartly before him.
General Hoen is eating a meal at a table and motions me to a chair, “Sit Captain.” With a mouthful of food he asks “ Where are the zombie hordes again? They seem to have disappeared, Captain.”
“Our volunteer scouts on the other side of the river are giving us sketchy reports sir. After the burning of New Doz and the zombies increasing their size thru possessing others, its been hard to get scouts to get close sir. Our forces are heavily reduced due to Zombie attacks and our own soldiers turning into Zombies.”
“ I don’t care about that. I have a kingdom to save here. If no volunteers, then force them to scout. Quit pandering to my men and get me information Captain.” Swallowing his food, he then raises his hand and tempers down a bit in next words. “ We had a bad run, Captain. I thought burning the city after the order was given, would have been the end. I never thought Gortrung would have had zombies under the city. We were given orders to do what was to be.”
I blurted out “ We never should have burned the city and those people, the king’s own citizens, all dying except for a remnant. The Zombies consuming those and the countryside afterwards. It’s horrible sir.”
“I’m responsible for the order, Captain. He gave the order and he had a reason.”
“If the King finds out about the order given…”
The General taps his shoulder…” We are both in this to the end Captain. If the King finds out about this.(pointing at my shoulder with his fork) we are both dead. Now, tell me where the zombies disappeared to Captain.”
“Last night our scouts gave me reports that the zombie army was approaching the other side of the river. We had confirmation they were massing last night. Sentries heard splashing all night long up and down about a mile on the river. This morning, a message arrived that a large force of Zombies turned away from the river and are making for the Mountains of Amwn.”
General pushes his meal away, and stands looking over a map on the table. Points to the mountain range “ There is no way we will follow that force up there, and get ambushed. So no Zombies in the river or any trace?’
“No sir, my gut feeling is that they entered the river and are somewhere using the river as a passageway of sorts.”
“Damn irregular. Leave a picket force here to observe any zombies that might return. Captain, what is the name of the village we are camped next to here?”
“Its called Godne, sir.”
“I would venture to say about one thousand sir.”
Without looking up from his map, the General said, “ Well then, round up all the town people of Godne. Have the tattoo artist dye all their eyes black, kill them and throw them in the river. Have the bodies recovered down stream and my report will say Zombies died in the river trying to cross.”
“ You can’t be serious General?”
“That’s an order, Captain. I’ll have you sent up on charges if you refuse. Either way, you can’t refuse if the King finds out who we both work for anyways.”
Stunned, I stood there.
“That’s all Captain, you’re relieved, oh…one more thing.” The General looks around for a scrap of paper on his table. “Ahh yes, I want you to start searching for this…Mort. He was one on the order slip to start the assault. “ The General then walks over to a bird cage, takes a black tailed pigeon out and lets it fly out of the room with a message attached to it.
The Captain on the death bed says to me then.
“May Tudamon pass mercy on to me for the evil I have done. Send in my aide please.”
I speak the name of the aide and he comes in and kneels down to the Captain’s mouth and listens. The aide nods and goes over to a table and pours a goblet of wine and then adds a vial of something else. Brings it to the Captain, helps the Captain drink and sets his head down again. The Captain dies 5 minutes later.
When the aide left the room to tell the others of the Captain’s death, I reached over and drew his sheet back from his shoulder. The tattoo of Gortrung is there.
That is the path of Mort.