Archive for the 'nevermet press' Category

05
Nov
09

pretender to the throne

Regaining my armour is the beginning.  My banner shall fly anew and our fortunes will be restored. What was sundered can be made whole and our throne is within reach again.
— Simkin Lanternon, exile and pretender to the throne.

Born of a lampmaker and a disgraced lady-in-waiting Simkin Lanternon grew up in a land where noble blood assured power.  His ambition was pricked and he turned to deception.  From this Simkin learned the seeming of nobility with the blessing of his embittered mother and ambitious friends looking for a fast path to power and court.  His intellect and semblance to a former king set him on a collision course with the nobles of his homeland who spurned this newcomer and his grasping friends.

The king was newly crowned, resented by his subjects for heavy taxation and hated abroad for overthrowing the former monarch, a practice the foreign kings hoped to quash.  Lanternon travelled to their courts as a knight errant who decried the tyranny afflicting his homeland.  Nobles in exile confirmed his lineage with divinations (Simkin was a bastard of the former king’s uncle) and began to groom him for greater things while Simkin bought legitimacy with his treason and flourished as he toured.

A certain king had come to possess a demon-ridden helmet that whispered dark thoughts to it’s wearer, he presented it in a set of armour for Simkin. He knew Simkin would fail as he was skilled in tourney but not battle. Giving away the helmet removed a burden and left a trap for Simkin’s slayer. Mnemesyx and Simkin fed off the other’s incitations and the growing cruelty in Simkin was heralded as ‘the will to conquer’ by those courts who sheltered him and his exiled supporters.

Convinced he was ready, the exiles hired mercenaries and a seasoned captain eager for war. Simkin would lead a popular revolt and usurp the usurper.  When Simkin landed, he was joined by friends and disaffected nobles.  Mnemesyx saw it’s chance and rallied the forces.  The mercenaries took a coastal town loyal to the king and ravaged it then sailed up the coast to a new attack. This attack failed as Simkin resisted Mnemesyx’s influence and the resulting bad tactical decisions allowed the enemy to regroup.

Changing plan, Simkin chose to attack a town further inland at the behest of Mnemesyx. After three days of fighting, the town fell yet the conquerors were besieged as the king’s general came with a greater force who slaughtered the mercenaries and punished the treasonous.  Simkin was captured alive by a knight errant who claimed his armour as a prize and ransomed Simkin to the exiles.  The exiles plot with Simkin again for the pretender is now a scheming demagogue. Mnemesyx has taught him well.

Simkin plots to steal the armour and helm from the now-titled knight who took and keeps them as trophies, being ignorant of the demon within.  He presents himself as the unfortunate victim of a melee in which he was robbed yet ‘enemies at court’ would see him dead were he to return home to his friends.  Once the armour is restored, he will recommence his plans for usurping the king.  This time he intends to give Mnemesyx full rein in his ambitions. Adventurers may find themselves on either side of this plot.

This post is inspired by Mnemesyx, The Twice Fallen  by Nevermet Press  and Perkin Warbeck.

09
Sep
09

the breaker of machines

“It was not so long ago I got this hand… and for me,  the old saying ‘You can never go home’ is the truth.  Unless the idea of danger appeals to you…”
                                      — Adaun Ludlam, mercenary

Adaun Ludlam was a retired mercenary who lived in the Vale with his brother’s widow,having lost a hand for looting the wrong treasure vault. He was one of the first to accept Forgegrinder in the Vale, having fought alongside dwarves. Rendersson saw the soldier without a hand and began work.  The steel and silver hand took a month.  Adaun’s friendship was repaid and he took work as a caravan guard, sending money back to his kin.

He tried to return after Rendersson had set constructs to guard the pass.  The drover was a fool and the caravan paid the price yet the constructs avoided Adaun until he attacked one.  Were it not for his warhorse and the straps on his saddle, he would have died with them.  He rode into town mauled and his horse died under him, pursued by a cloaked figure that vanished as the militia raced to him.

Adaun recovered in time and learned how to fight constructs, of Raithen’s soldiers visiting the Vale and of the assassination of the warmongering king.  He fears the soldiers knew the assassin and have made the Vale their domain, using Forgegrinder’s craft to help them. He believes Forgegrinder is dead for no wizard can find him.  Adaun fought inconclusively with the cloaked stalker once and has managed to stay one step ahead.  For now.

Adaun will offer his services as bodyguard or soldier to anyone travelling near the Hidden Vale.  He has a reputation among the merchants and locals as being bad luck and disliking warforged.  He knows that people who knew of his old home keep dying and now keeps quiet about where he comes from.  He knows that the Vale can last a while but he cannot face the constructs alone and offers a season’s pay to those willing to help.

This post is inspired by the Nevermet Press post Automated Antagonist.

19
Aug
09

the cold hunter

“I remember the forest… before the winter, before the witch-girl, before the deaths, and now… the ice, wind, cold. The hunger. One brings the other, so sit and eat my friends! Outside the ice and wind will flay you and wear your skin. In here you can fill your hungry bones – I am the best hunter here and my hearth is never bare!”
— Vonn Gutturke, hunter.

Vonn Gutturke lived in Neraive’s village for years. Then as she became a woman, she changed. With the snows, her hair turned white, her skin grey, the cold shone from blue eyes and as she sang, icy winds keened with her. Spring was long returning and her powers grew so none could control her in the dark months. With that realisation came fear. Elders and wives muttered and she became their scapegoat. One year some bullies beat her with birch rods, then she screamed and the wind threshed them like corn. After that, they left her alone.

Vonn didn’t care, he had mouths to feed. Desperate beasts ran through the woods, seeking food depleted by ever-lengthening winters. Vonn and the other hunters fought wolves, bears and even each other. When Neraive vanished, it was one less. Yet the winter would not relent and shapes were seen in the trees, one even looked like her. The bullies took to the woods with sword and spear. They were seen among the trees that spring, icicles forming spiked armour around their joints and hoar-frost crusted on their grey skins.

Vonn got lost chasing a deer. The wolves found him with it and his axe killed four yet they tore open his flesh. As he lay dying, her voice called his name to him and her hands cooled burning wounds. Snow and ice patched torn skin and sinew as damned hunger pressed into his wounds and he rose up, dead yet moving, his axe ready. Then he saw her, a perfect figure of ice and knew no ordinary axe would bite. Helpless and ashamed he fled her laughter and his hunger – greater than any mortal man can bear – into the winter woods, seeking his prey.

Now he dwells in a lodge apart from the village, amidst woodsmoke, cured meats and hunting trophies. On the hunt he is dead silent. His arrows and axe bring needed food, while people go missing in the deep woods, the village is thankful for Vonn’s skill. He visits the village to trade jerky, bonemeal, meat and furs for axes, pots and spices, he is boastful but well-received for his much-needed supplies. If he finds lost travellers he will offer them a meal but lone travellers learn too late that this is their final meal. Their bodies become a feast, then jerky and bonemeal.

Vonn seeks to maintain his hunter’s lifestyle. As undead he must feast on human flesh to retain his corporeality. He keeps his limbs hidden for the white ice that patches his flesh traces strange glyphs on his skin. His face is often touched with hoar-frost yet the gleam in his eyes and vulpine smile with sharp, crooked teeth belie the cold shadows of the forest. He dislikes fires, keeping his hearth burning low and steady and constantly cooking or boiling something that can smother the hearth quickly so it can’t be used against him.

Sometimes the figures in the trees pass close by his lodge but they do not bother him – his heart is as cold as theirs and his punishment already meted out. Now he need only feed himself yet his life is lonely so he feeds the others out of habit and to keep them from suspecting him. Yet his boasts will surely condemn him as young hunters seek him out to learn his craft for is he not the best hunter they know? He cannot eat them all and should one survive, the village will have no choice but to hunt the hunter. And so it goes.

This post refers to The Sleepless Drift, Neraive from Nevermet Press

10
Aug
09

the cenobite of the crags

“Once I was as you. Then I met a blessed man who teaches of a hidden kingdom where physical needs are set aside for spiritual contemplation – he healed me and bade me spread his message, that we can all find that kingdom through discipline and service to others. It is a worthy quest my friends – I do not regret it. “
— The Cenobite of the Crags

The Cenobite of the Crags is a relatively new arrival in the area; his red robes and golden mask hiding bandages and dark red wrappings around hands missing the odd finger. Once a leper, tormented in body and spirit, he keeps a leper sanctuary and offers shelter to the poor and the desperate in the name of a hidden kingdom where suffering will end.

Once there was a man called Japher. He was a soldier cursed with leprosy by a vengeful priest; he could not return home so he wandered the roads and became a lone bandit filled with hatred for priests and hunted by the law. By chance he noticed Brother Ptolemy and three Red Monks travelling back to their dwelling after their work in the city. Japher saw a target and threatened them. Brother Ptolemy began to speak to him – offering him the hidden kingdom. In return, Japher stabbed him with a sword and saw him fail to bleed. The Red Monks fell on him and he was swiftly subdued and taken to the dwelling where Ptolemy worked and Japher left his life to join the Red Monks of the Hidden Kingdom.

Japher was sent out with orders to create another dwelling – Ptolemy could not afford his hatred of priests to prejudice his work in the city. Knowing that other lepers would desire this new state; Japher built a leper sanctuary at the border of three baronies, knowing full well that none of the barons would accept a sanctuary solely on their land. The sanctuary rests among some lonely, craggy hills. A lone bard seeking shelter from a hostile goblin audience found him and a handful of lepers and so Japher was named The Cenobite of the Crags. Half-frozen and blinded by the smell, the bard warmed his bones there then to visit each baron in turn, telling of the compassion of the red monk and his leper charges.

The barons were suspicious of talk of a hidden kingdom (it seemed treason) but the odd figure kept the lepers safe, fed and off their lands. They saw wisdom in charity and sent surplus food and small amounts of coin to the cenobite as lepers travelled the crags to find sanctuary; despite the occasional desperate goblin raid, the sanctuary remains secure and undisturbed. Yet should priests seek to cure the lepers, they will find a rude refusal. Japher and the lepers believe that their leprosy was sent by the gods to test them, who are these priests to tempt them away?

The lepers are devoted to Japher who believes that Ptolemy will come to redeem them as he has been redeemed. Japher faithfully changes his bandages and notices that his disease has not gone any further yet he doesn’t know the ceremony to cure the lepers himself, being a warrior he has no knowledge of such. Brother Ptolemy sometimes sends a Red Monk with messages of support and a little extra coin. Japher maintains an effective out of town bolthole if the Red Monks ever need one – and one known to the neighbouring barons as a place of mercy.

This post refers to Brother Ptolemy and The Hidden Kingdom by Nevermet Press.