Shackled Dreams

Griffins summer of enchantment
or not so much

Griffin_Boy.jpg

Griffin d’Vadales, the charming, endearing, lovable boy you all know and love had a… wait wait, Im already getting ahead of myself…

After the disappointing wave echo caves fiasco, we were returning home when I realized I had a mission of my own to fulfill. Ok guys. Ill level with you. I know you have all seen Cutie.

I am a warlock.

She keeps me connected to this MASSIVE tree that the sprites call the Father Tree. And well basically I promised it my soul for the power to ensure my house remains dominant throughout the lands. But I digress.

Basically Cutie said it was time for me to gain more power and so I dropped everything and ran, but it was at the Father Tree so I didnt want to expose the location of this magical sentient tree which is sacred to the whole forest and would probably get you killed. Anyway, I went to the tree and before I knew it Piper was frozen in terror between TWO beholders.

My first thought was oh fuck! and my second thought was oh my god fuck!

Before I knew it the beholders EXPLODED and suddenly the entire area was growing Mushroom people that gave hugs which ate peoples FLESH. it was the most horrifying sight I have seen. Imagine the person next to you becoming a living fungus incubator in the matter of seconds! Ugh!

Next thing I knew, Cutie Piper and I were in the middle of a Fairy-Mushroom WAR with screams on all sides as fungus and fey fell to one another. I was pummeled by one of the mushrooms (after making several excellent tactical decisions…) and was knocked out. Next I awoke to the fairies crying victory! My stomach fell as all the mushrooms began getting back up.

As it turns out, the Mushroom kingdom and the fey are on great terms with one another and apparently, this group plays “war” on a daily basis… nobody died, all injuries, regardless of how intense they felt, lasted more than a minute. Fey culture is so weird.

So anyway, I came there to recite a fairy chant, contact the god who lays claim to my soul, and ask for the power they promised to the end that was specified when I made the agreement….

I was turned into a horse.

Yeah…

So, I was told I basically had to walk a mile in their hooves because my family has fallen away from the old ways… and I hate to admit it but the tree was right…

There were some pretty significant consequences which I will get to in a minute, but yeah, my family is screwing things up…

I set off to learn what the tree wanted me to learn and apparently Piper made friends with a unicorn. That came in real handy as I found poachers attacking the herd I was trying to integrate with intending to sell the animal to my family, can you say embarrassed?

The Father Tree wants me to figure out a way to deal with this otherworldly blackness that is growing, its hard to explain but it looks like death incarnate, and fire horses came from it.

I spent the rest of the summer with the herd I had found, having already bested the herd’s stallion they couldn’t throw me out, and not knowing my role, I didn’t exactly fit in.

I learned a lot, about many things.

But eventually, I had to return. The Father Tree asked me what I had learned and I recounted my experiences. For a brief moment the surrounding area seemed like spring just sprung though that was short lived.

The tree said it was pleased and then I became a human again. Cutie returned to me and I began my Journey home…

On the way back Cutie was talking constantly and I had apparently forgotten how to tune her out over the last three months of not having to. Between her constant chatter and trying to get used to my human body again, I couldn’t think. I constantly felt like I was going really slow and would try to break into a gallop. Needless to say, I fell several times.

Upon reaching my dorm, which I thankfully prepaid to keep throughout the summer, I was excited to actually bathe. Once I reached the mirror I was in for the shock of my life. On top of being dirty, I barely recognized myself! I looked older!

The most powerful message the Father Tree wanted to instill in me, wouldn’t come till I got back home… Horses only live 15-20 years and they reach full maturity within the first three. If I were a horse my whole life rather than just this summer, most of my life would be over, rather than just beginning. I might be a great-great-great grandfather by now and my family has these animals in pens their ENTIRE lives. it’s mind blowing.

I got myself cleaned up…

Griffin_after_horse.JPG

and headed to the Drunken Morkoth. I spent a couple gold on ale and watched as Piper doled out a half shot of fairy wine to some of the richer, braver, customers. She came around and refilled my drink several times but didn’t seem to recognize me. I was trying to get drunk but that didn’t work… how I don’t know. Thankfully Piper was too busy with the other customers being… themselves… to pay any attention or ask any questions to who she thought was a quiet newcomer. I just needed to be alone with my thoughts and Cutie wasn’t letting that happen in the Dorm. oddly enough the rouddy tavern was the most peaceful place I could find.

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The Day of Dancing - Part 3

Strangely, no one in the audience detected that anything was unusual or amiss until the next day. Spontaneous musical numbers were accepted as a thing that happens. Which is a good thing, because what the other band had in store next was nothing short of a spectacle.
Piper lit her torches, got into her beginning pose, and braced herself for what was sure to be the most important performance of her life thus far. A hush fell over the crowd as the sky seemed to darken suddenly. The rain and the wind stopped. One voice could be heard, magically amplified to carry across the entire docks district.
“Ladies and Gentleman, the time for gaiety is past. A darkness has spread within this city that threatens to rot it to the core. Its filth literally trickles down from the homes of the mighty and into this humble neighborhood. We’ve been told that the city needs more guards to fight this wave of crime. But they aren’t sending the guards to patrol the right neighborhoods, oh no.” He looks directly at the judges. “If you want to see true villainy, look to the dining tables of the Lords who choke down meat paid for with the blood and ashes of our fathers! … We are here to bring you a new kind of adventuring party, one that will do anything for the right price. No business is too bloody for us. But beware to those who seek to do their dark deeds in secret, for we keep no secrets from anyone. We are the demons who drag the unworthy to hell. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! WELCOME TO THE FREAK SHOW!”
Then fireworks erupt over their heads and the scream of elemental guitars pierces the night. As the band plays, Piper begins her fire dance, incorporating fantastic spins, tumbles, and flips into the dance until finally balancing on the highest outside edge of the arena, where a fall would mean certain death. Her performance was flawless.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X7vc0ChS_s
The crowd erupted with applause, and that is how metal was invented. The band went on to get several gigs all over town, although only Piper would be invited to perform at the Cusp of Sunrise.

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The Day of Dancing - Part 2

Eddie looked over at the opposing band with contempt. These rich folks were the reason both he and Maurice had lost their fathers to miner’s lung just a few years ago. All those years of work and nothing to show for it. Well, he would show them today. “Hey Maurice. Isn’t that the chick you were dating last year? Sissy?”
Maurice glanced nervously over at Mary Jane, who was still busy rearranging her drum kit. He hoped she hadn’t overheard; he wasn’t ready to have that conversation right now. “Cecilia. Stay away from her, Eddie. She’s nothing but trouble.”
“Relax, man, I’m not looking to bang any of your exes! Shit, after today we’re all gonna be up to our eyeballs in ass. Right Piper?” He gave her a little shoulder nudge. She rolled her eyes and was ready with a witty retort, but Eddie interrupted her. “Check this out… HEY CECILIA YOU FAT BITCH! I HOPE YOU BROUGHT A CHANGE OF PANTIES BECAUSE YOU’LL NEED ONE AFTER YOU HEAR ME SING!”
Cecilia shot a look of shocked anger his way, to which he responded by biting his thumb and laughing.
“Shut the hell up, Eddie!” Maurice punched him in the arm. “You’ll get us disqualified. Besides, that Vadalis kid is giving you the stare.”
Griffin looked angry indeed. Piper watched as the sprite Cutie suddenly appeared, struck Eddie, then disappeared again. Eddie thought he felt a tiny foot kick him in the back of the head, but when he turned around there was nothing there.
“I think he’s going to come over here and challenge you;” Maurice remarked with mock seriousness. “Daintily slap you with those fancy gloves of his.”
“Nah, he ain’t got the guts. More likely he’ll write home to his daddy about it.”
“Hey, lay off Griffin.” Piper interjected. “He isn’t that bad for a dragonmarked. He hasn’t done anything bad that I can tell, other than dating Cecilia.”
“He’s Cecilia’s new boy toy? That poor bastard.”
-
“Everyone knows he’s one of those Alleybashers that should be rotting in the dungeon by now.” continued the pimple-faced Johnny Vanderboren. “Do you want me to assassinate him for you? He’d die from a sword in the gut the same as any stinking kobold.” To emphasize his point, Johnny made a squelching sound as he thrust an imaginary sword forward.
“We’re not murderers, Jonathan.” Zachary warned sternly. He grew tired of always being the voice of reason and maturity in this group.
“Right.” agreed Cecilia. “We mustn’t let the common filth drag us down to their level. With any luck, they’ll put a bounty on him soon enough. Until then, let him run his stupid mouth all he wants. I will be going home with the prize, just like last year.”
“I don’t see how this harp of yours is going to win us any adventuring contracts.” muttered a very bored looking Sharona d’Cannith as she absent-mindedly twirled a knife in her hands. With her short hair, wiry build and leather breeches, she could have easily been mistaken for a man; compared even to her boyfriend Zachary, she was severely underdressed for the occasion.
“I think fame for any of us will help all of us. We’re a team, right? It means a lot to me that you’re here.” Cecilia batted her eyelashes. She was good at reading people, and knew that all her party members secretly desired her. She was also good at playing innocent and letting them compete for her favor.
She turned her gaze to the stands and pointed. “My prince is here too. See him sitting up there in the commoner section? He’s so modest.” She smiled her biggest smile and waved up at Griffin, who waved back excitedly while his friends rolled their eyes or made faces.
The judges arrived, and called for silence. “Please listen quietly and respectfully so that all may enjoy the music!” shouted a member of the City Watch, with the unspoken threat to anyone who was less than quiet.
Cecilia’s father, Anakin Taskerhill, was among the judges. That didn’t seem very fair or impartial. Lord d’Lyrander was also in attendance. A very severe looking noblewoman announced that they would be hearing Cecilia Taskerhill’s performance first.
Cecilia began playing a very traditional song for harp with accompanying strings. Suddenly, a strange otherworldly storm blew in and caused her to pause for a moment, then to stand up and sing a very different song that more accurately reflected her emotions. As she approached her boyfriend in the stands, she burst into song while accompanied by the other Stormblades, whose choreographed dance moves were too flawless to be anything but supernatural.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj5L9SYhoSE

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The Day of Dancing
Part 1

It was that time of year everyone in Cauldron looks forward to – the annual Flood Festival. The yearly downpour of rain always threatens to flood the lower streets of the city – where the poorest citizens live – but it provides a very welcome respite from the hot temperatures that people endure all year long. It also happens to coincide with the last harvest of the year, so food is plentiful. For decades, the three major churches of Cauldron have worked together, using their magic to keep the flood waters under control. In return, the people give generously to the churches at this time of year. To keep their spirits high, everyone (with the exception of the priests and the guards) takes a week’s vacation to dance in the rain and be merry.
Aside from the numerous musicians, actors, jugglers, and food carts clogging up the streets, the festival’s favorite activities are a swimming scavenger hunt for the “Crater Lake Monster”; the “Obsidian Belt” which is a marathon footrace around the city; a drinking competition called “Drink Down the Flood”; the Halfling toss; and of course the Demonskar Ball, an opulent affair for the city’s elite, that is invitation only.
For those who appreciate the arts, the best day of the festival is the fourth day, the Day of Dancing. This is when the city’s streets and taverns become truly packed with minstrels, acrobats, theatre troupes, fire dancers, sword swallowers, and other performers. A council of judges, of which 50% are nobles and 50% are randomly selected townspeople, tours the city and awards prizes to the best performer in each category. The whole affair concludes with a hedonistic drum dance.
It was the Day of Dancing, and a number of tarps had been erected at the Lakeside Pavilion to give shelter from the constant rain. However, the occasional strong breeze ensured that nobody remained entirely dry. At the shoreline nearby, Brom and the other local clerics could be seen patrolling the beach and periodically waving their wands of Control Water to keep the flood under control. Two new musical groups were getting ready to be judged. On one side of the pavilion, Eddie Van Riggle and his thugs were tuning their instruments. Maurice Maavu, a pipe hanging from his mouth, adjusted the volume of his elemental guitar. He looked as though he hadn’t cut or washed his curly brown hair all season. Holding his bass guitar, Terrance Lidu looked at once entirely apathetic, and positively villainous; he wore a black trench coat, clawed bracers on his arms, had used Prestidigitation to change his eyes to a burning red color, and his face was painted white to resemble a vampire. Mary Jane wore red devil horns atop her red hair, and a tiny pair of imp wings on her back; she was excitedly hopping around and setting up numerous drums, cymbals, and things that go bang. Piper was there too; she was dressed in a multi-colored acrobat’s outfit, and Mary Jane had painted a few red “dragon scales” on her face. As for Eddie, he wore a black robe over his spiked red leather armor, and had painted a skeleton grin upon his face.
Seated in the stands were some of Piper’s friends had come to watch her perform. Nim the tinker gnome was wearing her latest invention, a pink umbrella hat to protect her pink hair. The dwarf Hadubrond was less than excited by the Festival, having been to quite a few in his lifetime, but he welcomed a brief break from his research. Griffin As was often the case, Brom had to miss the fun because of his priestly duties.
Contrasting this demonic group was the band across the street from them. A proper orchestra had assembled, and the musicians were dressed in the finest aristocratic fashions (the male musicians even wore powdered wigs, which they would likely regret should they get rained on) and used classical instruments like violins and horns. “Cecilia Taskerhill and the Stormblades” a glittering sign proclaimed, although of the four aristocratic adventurers, only Cecilia knew how to play an instrument; Zachary, Johnny, and Sharona were merely present to give their support to her. Wearing an expensive flowing pink gown, she looked more appropriately dressed for a ball than for a performance.
-———-
Although perplexed and disappointed that his girlfriend had chosen to leave him out of her new club, Griffin d’Vadalis was still smitten with her. The past six months had been a whirlwind romance during which Cecilia had introduced him to the glamour and the decadence of aristocratic life, along with forbidden pleasures that would shame his family to know of. He had drawn the line at alcohol and gambling, however, despite her urging; his father had raised him better than to fall to those vices. Cecilia was as musically talented as she was intelligent and fascinating. Now if only he could get her to appreciate the company of his less wealthy friends. Her single greatest flaw was that she seemed to have an unhealthy preoccupation with popularity and with knowing a person’s income before befriending them. Still, her popularity had helped him to make a number of powerful contacts and acquaintances throughout the city that should make it easier for his family business to take root.
Griffin recalled how their relationship had begun, his first kiss in the dormitory hallway, and then Cecilia’s unusual giddiness in meeting with him at a private room in the Cusp of Sunrise after classes each evening, to teach him a plethora of social rules that he must follow at all times if he wanted to move up in Cauldron.
“Griffin… now that we’re friends… I’ve decided to make you my new project.”
“You really don’t have to do that.”
“I know. That’s what makes me so nice!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_uM8bUnlGQ
-—————

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The Wicked Way

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Griffin's Fairy Tale Begins

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Session 1 - The Nightmare

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(all players are allowed to add/change adventure logs)

Griffin d’Vadalis and the Temple of the Nightbringer

Prologue

The lightning train hummed along to its destination at an impressive speed of 30 miles per hour. Within the first class passenger car, a young man fidgeted nervously in his seat. Griffin d’Vadalis, a youth of fourteen years, was dreadfully itchy on account of his aristocratic garments. His suit, though custom tailored, seemed confining, and he was fairly certain that he had tied his cravat incorrectly. Back home on his father’s ranch estate, he was allowed to wear whatever he wanted, and that was usually the same practical leather work clothes as everyone else. But today was a special day, and Griffin knew his father would want him to represent the family well at the Academy.

He looked around at his fellow passengers in first class. They too were fancily dressed; some even wore porcelain masks that were at once beautiful and unsettling. One of the women noticed he was staring, and scandalously flicked her tongue at him. The room stank of perfume. Griffin decided to seek out some fresh air.

He walked into the standard passenger car, which was more crowded but less perfumed. The merchants here either discussed business quietly as they ate breakfast, or buried their faces in the pages of the latest issue of the Cauldron Echo. Griffin was able to make out today’s headline, “UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCES”.

Continuing his exploration, the boy walked into the rear car, reserved for those who wished to smoke pipes. The air was thick with smoke, but this scent was at least more familiar than the musk of the nobility. What he saw next through the smoke chilled him to the bone. Seated towards the back of the train were two familiar faces: the dwarf and the warforged from his nightmare. But that couldn’t possibly be! He must have seen them somewhere before, and then dreamed of them. Yes, that was it. He kept his head down and quickly walked through.

The caboose of the train finally rewarded Griffin with the fresh air he had been seeking. He took a deep breath and looked out the large windows, marveling at the sights and smells of the surrounding jungle.
“Can I help you, son?” asked a middle-aged man wearing a blue and gold House Orien uniform.
“I am not your son.” Griffin snapped back defensively. “I am the son of Baron Dalin d’Vadalis. And I would like to be left alone.”
“My apologies, my lord.” the watchman said as he retreated into the other car. It would not be his fault if the lad fell to drow snipers or was carried off in the jaws of a dinosaur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV9vKnBxdlk


Nim, Piper, Spencer, and Griffin each had a disturbingly real nightmare in which their worst fears all came true – and a 10-foot tall man was chasing them, wielding a glowing black greatsword. He had one red eye, and one empty eye socket from which black smoke poured out. Growing from his back were several long black tentacles, and each tentacle ended in rows of sharp teeth. To look upon him was to know terror.

They were rescued by a red-haired gnome girl named Mary Jane. She explained that they were dreaming and that she had been trying to wake up for the past several hours.

They stuck together and tried to navigate through a confusing place that looked eerily similar to Cauldron, but different. Red lightning bolts thundered overhead.

They ran through mazes, and nightmare dreamscapes made of human flesh, for what seemed like forever. Then they saw the exit – and their own sleeping bodies in their respective bedrooms. But the demon blocked the doorway, laughing at their pathetic attempts to flee.

………………..

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