Age of Supremacy

Chapter 1
Into the Eslanian

Gene’s Personal Journal and Adventure log

It was in the early evening that I hurriedly stepped in to the raggedy tavern to escape that cold rain that fell like the Allfather was taking a piss. Even amongst the crowds I noticed right away the man at the table who argued with the bartender noisily and the large white cat at his side. I knew right away that this Northerner would be trouble; what I didn’t realize was that just an hour later I’d be standing on the cold wet cobblestone road about to duel him in the street…
I just bought this journal and I’m already getting ahead of myself; my name is Gene and some weeks ago I was…forcefully ejected from my home and family. Interrupted in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong woman; I grabbed my Masterwork Rapier and leapt from the second story window of an estate. With only my sword and the clothes on my back, I’ve done my best to survive on the road until I came across this dinky little town that I’ve heard had an adventurers guild.
The rain hit suddenly, catching me off guard and with nowhere to go. I did what any sensible person would and pushed my way in to the tavern, managing to talk my way in to a drink even though I had not a coin to my name. It’s funny, isn’t it? To go from such wealth to absolutely nothing so quickly? That obnoxious northern fellow couldn’t keep his mouth shut; I’d dare say he was trying to start something. That must have been the case, because even though he left before me I found him standing outside the tavern waiting to make a point. Thankfully (for him) a guard intervened.
I thought this would be where our paths would split, imagine my surprise to find that he had decided to follow me as if he had suddenly forgotten previous events. Maybe I just don’t understand the northern ways and beliefs, but moments later he was vying for a job with me at the counter of the guild. It was then that we learned we needed to have a broker, somebody that vouched for us. Essentially, we worked for the broker and the broker worked for the guild; simple enough.
I made sure to announce our presence, though it seemed we were easily ignored. A man in the back caught my attention, though before I could say much to him another man approached me; One Marcus, an older bald fellow with a scar across his eye. For such an intimidating figure, you’d never expect him to be so nice. He offered to be our broker, and gave us our first job. We picked up a third in the guild, a Barbarian I should have known better than to trust. We had just started, and already we had made our first mistake.
Wait a moment. Why am I suddenly working with the man I very nearly fought to the death moments ago, with hardly a word to one another? Fucking Northerners.
The job was pretty simple; a caravan of supplies had decided to shortcut through the nearby forest down a secret route. Likely to avoid the legalities of registering cargo and follow the known roads. Somewhere along the lines, it had entirely disappeared and it was out job to find out what had happened to it. There was also a bonus for bringing back as much of the supplies as we could.

We hired a caravan driver to take us northward up Salvation Road, which goes past the forest. We knew the secret route could be seen by hopping out when we spotted the nearby fortress and heading northeastern, which was what he did. I was the first to leap from the carriage, and a few moments later my two companions followed me; having robbed our money back from the poor caravan driver from what I gathered. How disgraceful
Of course, I was the only one in the group to actually spot out hidden path. A few moments later we were in Eslanian
To elaborate, Eslanian is a very well known; the forest spans down near the middle of the continent and separates the north from the south. It’s surrounded by myth and legends and had a high death toll for travelers going through it. This is why people go so far around it to take Salvation road, because the woods are a dangerous mystery, we could see this as we entered. The trees and vines acted as if they were alive, curling around our legs dangerously. We trudged on however and made our way to the nearby clearing without harm.
We found our caravan, destroyed and abandoned. Dead men and horses sprawled about as if it was not enough that they were cut and torn, but not a sign of the cargo. Bandits? It seemed that way at first, certainly. That was until the strange fellow made himself known; a man with pointed ears, dark clothing, and a bow.
There are stories and legends from the travelers that come through here for a race or nation of people who live hidden away here in the woods. My suspicions were confirmed as the man called us humans, as if he were separate from us, and identified himself as belonging to the El’feiyon. It was through discussion with this man that we learned the grim fate of these men. Little green monsters he referred to as greenskins, and he could show us where they camped.
I also noticed our Northerner friend, a fellow who I’ve learned goes by the name Bryeweulf, mentioned Ymir; a pagan god.
True to his word, the El’feiyon fellow took us to the camp of the greenskins, a large gathering of small tents around the face of a cave. I should of expected our Barbarians brain couldn’t process the concept of a plan, as he rushed out headlong in to the open. There were easily twenty of them, little men that came up to maybe my hip and certainly earning the title of greenskin. Fortunately they couldn’t keep up with me, and my sword cut them down with minimal effort.
Bryewulf though was quick to confirm suspicions I already had. It wasn’t his control of the large cat that tipped me off; it was the fire he commanded as if the elements were just at his heel. Pagan magic, he was a druid and now I was certain of it. Between him, the barbarian, and myself the little green skinned monsters were no threat. With the monsters taken care of, it seemed the opportune time to search the camp. That was, until the green monster dog appeared from the cave, held by the chain leashes of two more of the little monsters; which it slaughtered and broke free of.

Even when we outflanked it and dug our weapons in to the creature it still felt like it took a hundred blows to cut the creature down; its skin mended and pulled itself like nothing I had ever seen. Keeping itself healed until Brye managed to remove its head. Once it was dead, and weapon sheathed, we had time to find the weapons. Several crates of them, which we managed to retrieve the entirety of thanks to a rather ingenious use of the nearby tent’s cloth to drag them.
With the help of the forest fellow from before, we found out way out from the forest. Magic and monsters aside, we needed to find a way back to town and we headed towards Salvation road to find a ride back. It was there that the barbarian betrayed us, who would of thought. He attempted to bash me over the head while I was conversing with the driver of a carriage, and if it wasn’t for the quick reactions of both myself and Brye one of us may be dead. A short battle, but a tense one as we cut him down, unfortunately cost us our carriage ride back.
Fortunately, after a few hours of dragging crates we eventually managed to find another ride to town…

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Chapter 2
As advice it’s written, not a fable

We returned to Marcus that night triumphant, dragging boxes of weapons and armors in to the guild behind us. Of course we entered with a bit of a boat. I played up the story, threw in a dragon. Everybody fears these woods and we came out alive. “The best sword this side of the ocean and a man who can summon and control the elements!” We were on top of the world.
We hardly had time to collect our gold before we heard the thunderous clash of a boot against a door and the town guards poured in. I bit down on my teeth, I knew what it was. That damned barbarian, he had robbed the first caravan and scared the second. When they announced their presence and why they were here the only thing I could think was: “I hate it when I’m right”
I did my best to explain, we put it all on our deceased barbarian friend. Explained how he had traveled with us, and then betrayed us. Fast talking and sharp words, yet through it all I could hear the two in the background. Through the corner of my eye I saw the Hengstfordian fellow and his friend, snickering about us and our predicament in the background of it all. Fortunately the guards seemed to take my story, and left with little more than a glare that felt nearly as sharp as their blades may have. I felt as if a bolder just rolled off of my shoulder.
“Allfather, what did you two do?” Marcus announced, to which we explained why exactly the barbarian was no longer with us. We got paid all the same; gold actually split a bit less thinly without a third person to pay. It was then that Marcus introduced us to the two fellows that had been sitting nearby, Vormec and his hireling Luko. It seemed they were like us, new to the guild and looking for work. Marcus had promised them a job alongside us, and it seemed he already had one.
A group of scholars from bLawrenzia had come in to town to investigate some ancient ruins near the town. Unfortunately the local priest had begun claiming that the ruins were blasphemous, that they contained withcraft and evil. For this reason the scholars were chased off by flame and pitchfork before they had a chance to investigate the ruins at all. We were to meet one of the scholars in the city’s square and discuss the job with him. “And one more thing, don’t kill the priest”
I spotted him amongst the crowd; he was not hard to catch sight of. Wearing those Lawrenzian scholarly robes he stood out. I approached with Bryeweulf and we introduced ourselves as from the guild. Motioning him from the prying crowds we disappeared in to the alleyways. He rambled on in what I swear was a single breath that rang annoyingly in to my ears.
“Thisisn’trightwehavethekingspermissionwe’reallowedtobeherewehave-“. He stopped when I gave him a bit of a shake and reassured him that I was on his side; after all I was on his payroll. With some discussion, we learned that the priest had basically taken over the ruins with his men. It was our job to run them out.
We arrived at the site of the ruins later that day, after we had a chance to rest and repair. The fellow we had brought along, Vormec, was from my home country and like many of my brethren he had skills with a crossbow like you could not imagine. Making it to the ruins just outside of town it was clear what the scholar had meant when he said we could not miss them. Intimidating stone and structure, slowly destroyed by the passage of time. That wasn’t all that was there, however, as it was hard to miss the men and grunts patrolling the ruins and worse yet…destroying them with maces and hammers.
Entering the ruins Vormec instructed his hireling to stay behind and quickly broke from the group, finding a tall structure some ways away from the commotion and climbing upon it; readying the impressive heavy repeating crossbow he had slung over his shoulder. Approaching the priest and his men any attempts for subtly were destroyed where Brye quickly announced what we were hear for, and denounced their faith loudly. Speaking of Ymir and this and that I was really only left with one choice. Leaping on the near object and drawing my sword, I announced my presence; after all I am the best sword on this side of the ocean.
Scared as they were, when the priest gave the order to attack his men did. It was hardly a challenge as they naturally came to me, attempting to take out the most threatening target first no? Parries, rolls, and perfectly timed cuts and strikes allowed me to hold my own. Maneuvering the field like nothing with Bryeweulf not far off; that was, until he used his druidic powers to create fire from the air. Stunned, the priest announced “Witchcraft!” and backed himself against a wall.
Those enemies that didn’t meet my blade or Brye’s fire were met with the powerful bolt of Vormec’s crossbow. Large bolts fired in rapid succession, taking men clear off their feet like it was nothing. Not to mention the large white cat that accompanied our druid. Before long it seemed like the fight was in the bag. Blade, bolt, claw and fire we cut down or forced them to flee. A larger, bulkier fighter was hardly any extra match. A smaller man though, bearing a knife in either hand, managed to inflict quite the injury on me; gashing down across my back and very near disabling me.

Moments later though he was taken down just as swiftly; allowing attention to finally turn towards the priest. With several hasty steps forward I pressed his back to the wall and my blade to his throat. I told him to leave, and to not return to this place. He seemed to get the hint rather quickly and took off deep in to the woods, likely heading towards down. A moment of consideration on if letting him go was really a good idea, but even if I was willing to antagonize the church I could never bring myself to slay a holy man.
Investigating the ruins we had some time to get to know one another. Vormec, the archer, approached us from some distance. “Is that magic, the witchcrafts?” he seemed very interested in Brye’s druidic magics. We soon found out why: “Luko, the boy I’ve brought with me. He is my cousin and..he can do the magics as well. He’s been able to since a young age and I fear what would happen if people were to find out. So I shall keep your secret, your powers. So long as you will keep mine a secret” – “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us” – “Gene you told the entire guild I could control the elements” – “Well, that was different!”
At least he seemed to trust us, and for now we formed a very cohesive group. Stepping away from them as they spoke, I took the time to investigate the ruins and what I could of the destroyed wall. I bet nobody expected that I knew ancient ruinic. The following is what I have managed to transcribe:
Save thyselves from the endless night
For perish those that stand and fight

As advice it’s written, not a fable
Pay sacrifice to the insatiable

Yet steel yourselves the good and lawful
Lest they walk the lands again
Harbingers of fate most awful
Those we name the hollow men

Be not tempted by the depths most black
For when you stare into the maw
The maw stares back.

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Chapter 3
Feast of the Divine Raven

Times have been good; we made quite the set of gold from the scholars and we got a good night’s rest. It seems we’ve formed out own little group here. Meeting back up in the early morning we headed back by the guild, certain good old Marcus would have another job for us; we were right. Back at the guild we sat across from Marcus at the familiar table.
“Have you ever heard of the crow knights?” Asked Marcus, “They’re knights without a king right?” Giving what limited knowledge I had on the subject; though Marcus soon filled us in;
“Kingless knights that serve the word of Asmael the Polygod aspect of sorrow, they’re considered bearers of ill omens, nobody knows what exactly their mission in this world is, they tend to go on “pilgrimages” which almost always end bloody”
Marcus went on to tell us that they had embarked on one such pilgrimage. A letter had come through pigeon that said the knights were attacking a town not far from here. The request was for the guild to put a stop to it. There was another man on the same job out at Trader’s Square, we were to keep an eye out for him. We took the job, of course. Going that far out there, we certainly weren’t going to walk or rent more transportation. Vormec had his own horse, but for the rest of it I took it amongst myself to purchase a carriage and two horses to carry it for us.
It was while we were out in trader’s square just after our purchase they we heard the CLASH and a swing. Groans of pain not far off we made a hurried dash over there to see a large man in branded armor fighting off several ruffians; ‘Come on!” announced as that mighty flail rolled over head and then smashed in to the ground again. Of course, they did now; infact they ran for the hills only for the man to give a huff. He turned to us, his face entirely disguised by his helm. Introductions went well, Breuz was from the guild same as us and it was clear he was the other man Marcus had mentioned. He was a northerner from Davinsgrad, the same country as Bryeweulf and seemed to prefer the flail.
Bryeweulf and I settled in to the carriage and Luko drove the horses, Vormec and Breuz road alongside us on their respective horses. I spent most of the ride right here with you Journal, got to keep you updated after all. I’v spoken with Breuz, our new companion, some; he seems mostly to be interested in finding a good cause and a good fight. He never seems to take his helmet off, so it’s difficult to describe him outside of calling him a walking suit of armor.
We arrived at the town to find it practically deserted, pulling up through the dirt road we could barely catch sight of the people before they pulled their windows shut again I climbed atop the carriage, standing with sword drawn so I could catch early signs of our enemies. It felt deserted, if not for the knights standing opposite of us down the road. They stood clad in black armor; their helms were shaped like the crows they got their name from. All but one of them used sickles as their weapon excluding the larger, meaner looking fellow in the middle who wielded a large scythe.
Vormec rode off hard to the side, heading for the nearby buildings and I leaped from the carriage with blade drawn; a quick sleight of hand brought my weapon twirling through the air before snatched in opposite hand. Cutting out in to the air they got their warning; “You’d best turn and leave now, you face the best sword this land has ever seen! If you so much as draw…” of course they didn’t listen, they never listen.
They paid attention to Breuz though, that flail practically roared as it sailed through the air. Large armored man with a huge weapon, intimidating to say the least. Visibly shaken but not deterred they stepped forward, obviously intent to fight and quickly interrupted by a heavy crossbow bolt to the shoulder. Vormec had found himself on top of one of the buildings, and with a pull of the repeating crossbow’s lever he was ready to fire again. In that same moment, conflict finally broke out.
Flanking and maneuverability seemed to be quickly winning the day as we cut through them. It was hard not to notice the growing caws of the crows above. Distracted by them for a moment, I felt a grab on my arm before I became ill. My legs wobbled, my vision faded a bit. It was some kind of poison or magic, I’m not sure I could tell. It became rapidly harder to fight each time, and the sky only grew blacker with the cawing crows.
The scythe wielding one had the worst magic, fires and damage that nearly slayed us. I was quick to realize though, which each use of his power that scythe glowed. Stepping in, I caught it just under the blade with my rapier and with a step in and a well-placed grab I was able to disarm him of the weapon, not before he gashed me across the chest however. That certainly hurt, weak from the illness I could barely stand let alone fight. We kept at it though, only finding that his allies could heal him. More magic, more crows, my heart was beating in my chest.
We kept at it though and after a tense fight we were able to cut them all down, leaving a bloody mess. I only wish it was all our foes blood, and that so much less of it was mine. Before I could even fall over doors erupted open and people flooded from their houses. “Are they dead?” “Are they gone?” “Did you kill them?” “Did you save us?”
How could I not leap on to our carriage and use what strength I had left to assure them that we had saved the day! Clapping and roars erupted around us, this must me what it feels like to be a hero. Our injuries were treated by professionals and we slept well in a comfortable end. We did good that day, we really did.

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Chapter 4
Ignem aeternum

Another job well done; returning to the guild we were paid and all the more confident. We had defeated the famed blood crow knights, and Breuz had even managed to take one of their helms. It seemed he took a liking to us, and now we were a team of four making good money. We didn’t rest up long, leaving the small town practically heading back straight for the guild

We entered the wooden hall of the guild again, paying introduction to the clerk that was always there; a rather rough looking woman with a scar across her face similar to Marcus and Tempest. Turning from her we went to our usual table and sat around it with Marcus. This time, however, he had a rather worried look on his face. He had a job for us, and he was the client. “Do you remember those scholars you helped out before? I think…perhaps I have you bad advice when I told you to spare the priest.”
It turned out the priest had struck back, and while we were dealing with the blood crow knights they had killed all of the scholars, save for one. The excitable fellow we had met before had managed to escape with his life and Marcus was keeping him safe at an abandoned house he had just outside of town. The agreement was to load him up and take him back to Lawrenzia where he would be safe and Marcus would pay us from his own pocket.
Of course we agreed, Marcus had done so much for us I’m sure we’d have accepted the job if he wasn’t going to pay us a single coin. It was a short ride outside of town where we met with the scholar, thankfully much less rambly than before; although much more distraught. We could do little more than apologize for the death of his friend, and treat him well. We promised his safety, and even then he still seemed a bit shaken.
We put together a plan to transport him, we’d set up two carriages. I would ride with him and Luko in the first carriage, Brye and his cat would ride in the other with another drive, and Breuz would ride on his steed in the middle. We planned to head straight for Lawrenzia where we would drop him off and return for our pay just after. Loading him up, we took a hidden route there off of the main road.
Even doing our best to avoid attention it was inevitable that raiders would notice our caravan. Shooting from the forest on the back of horses there were two riders to a steed. Jumping right in to action I lept atop my carriage, fighting them from my position there as Breuz pulled his horse back to smash that flail in to them and send them flying. Bryeweulf wielded his powerful control of the elements, shooting them from the backs of their horses using orbs of water and other magics.
Other than the raiders, dealt with swiftly and harshly, we made it to Lawrenzia without much worry. It was a beautiful place, home of the scholarly. Riding in through the gates it was hard to miss the large white decorative buildings that went high in to the sky. Pulling off in to the side roads, we let the young scholar disembark.
Before he left though, he handed me something; a little cylinder…

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Chapter 5
No mercy, no retreat, no respite

I tinkered with the cylinder for what felt like hours. It was a fascinating little puzzle in a way. Finally I managed to find a part on the handle I could turn and push, and when done properly a small compartment opened in the side, revealing a piece of paper. On it was something written in Lawrenzian that I could not read; it’s very fortunate that we do know someone who reads that language; our friend Marcus back at that guild.
Returning to the guild, however, it seemed that Marcus wasn’t available. He had left for a job some time ago and never returned. We managed to get paid, but without a broker we wouldn’t be able to find work. We were, perhaps, fortunate that Tempest stepped in to offer us work in his place. He talked big and acted like a smug bastard, but he had work and we needed it. Fortunately, nobody in our little team really submitted to his insults; quick to retaliate and eventually earning him the nickname Whirlpool. I liked that.
Whirlpool’s first job for the team was to transport a war criminal to Barbatos. It paid a lot for an extraordinarily easy job, which was the only reason it seemed he was willing to give it to us. Not quite so confident in our skill, it seemed. More importantly, however, it was a chance to build our reputation in the guild as the job came directly from Barbatos’ head general. In their twisted political scheme, he had nearly as much power as the king; known as a dominating presence and intimidating man.
There really wasn’t any prep needed, we got a vocher from the guild and loaded up the carriage before heading towards the guard house to pick up our prisoner. They didn’t give us any trouble at the guard house, and we found out the man we were transporting was apparently a military deserter. After that we began the load trip to Barbatos. Perhaps it wasn’t so long in literal terms, but speaking with the man we were transporting was no small ordeal morally.
He swore that, despite what we had been told, there would be no trial, not a real one. He’d be paraded about, before finally being put to death for deserting. They couldn’t risk letting him live after all, he knew too much about the Barbatos military and he could, and probably was going to, sell this information to their enemies.
When asked why he did it, all he would say was that he had come to his senses. It was easy to see what he meant; we all knew what Barbatos was: A war hungry country lead by dreams of conquest. If Lanzeheim wasn’t trying so hard to remain neutral in this conflict they’ve cause, we probably wouldn’t even be delivering this man.
In the end though, we decided to stand tall and road in through the front gates of Barbatos on carriage. We gave the gate guard our voucher and road on through in to the city. It was a spectacle, amazing in ways so extremely opposite to Lawrenzia. Instead of tall decorated buildings everything was fortified. Tall structures were shaped for resistance, spikes hung on walls. Not anything was without a purpose, it was more like a stronghold than a city.

We met with the General in a park near the city’s center. Probably the only attractive place in this whole damned nation, really. An intimidating figure none the less, he showed up clad in armor and surrounded by guards. We spoke only momentarily, but I think we all felt that urge to draw our weapons. Something about him really invoked that feeling. Ultimately, we handed over the prisoner and left with his troop. A sigh of relief overcame us all before we turned to head back to our carriage and out of the city.
Normally we rested a day before returning back to Lanzeheim, but not today. I didn’t want to spend another minute here.

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