Cornered in the home of the rancorous sage Lashimer, our friends find themselves allied with the odious psion against an angry githyanki deathsquad!!! But the real question remains – which side is worse?
This is a story that Umbrecrom has been telling young children on his downtime. Umbrecrom derives great pleasure from entertaining young children and knows that seeding them with entertaining accounts of their adventures at every opportunity will give the Shards (who he refers to as the Fist of Umbrecrom because it amuses him to give the impression that he leads them) a measure of notoriety years down the road.
A tale of the Fist of Umbrecrom
(Umbrecrom mispronounces the name Carnen in this tale with a K sound instead of the proper S sound so as to make a play on words and because having a generation of children mispronounce the name amuses him.)
In the year 5005, Yestamir Carnen, who was a distant nephew to the ruling Carnens of Fennas Ear, was called upon by the Elven War Council. It was the Warlord Celethor Carnen himself who saw fit to call upon Yestamir, who had discovered some historical information that might be of use in the dawning Elven Warrage.What is warrage you ask? Why warrage is like carnage, only done with war instead of being done with Carnens as is the tradition amongst the Elves. That it was, in fact, a Carnen that was interested in warrage shows how close the apple falls to the tree. As it would happen Celethor had assembled a mighty band of adventurers to attend and safeguard the good Yestamir in his task of finding more information to unlock the secrets of what he had earlier discovered. Upon the recommendation of a Bronze Dragon- That’s right! A Bronze Dragon whom Celethor had reason to both know and trust- upon the good recommendation of this most ancient and respected of creatures, Celethor had chosen a curious little Gnome- for all Gnomes are little, but there is little curious about that- this Gnome, a Master Quingle Gemshadow, was a Sorcerer of great renown- both for the dazzling array of arcane magics at his command and for his amazing companion. Quingle Gemshadow had befriended a baby Copper Dragon Wyrmling, who we’ll call Mali. That Quingle would chaperone the rearing of a Dragon marked him as someone deserving of great respect and not just a little fear! A Dragon! Can you imagine? The Bronze Dragon, to be sure no small babe such as Mali was, but a full grown adult, who, when speaking, should at least be listened to, if not agreed with- The Bronze had also offered one other to accompany the Lord Yestamir upon his journey. A Grey Elf by the name of Pr’Gillis, who was in the habit of dressing in silks. This one was a mystery, and more than that I cannot say for such are the ways of mysteries! Now as it would turn out, when Yestamir had arrived from his far off home of Amcarofarne he had brought with him a delegation of his own people, although none were as himself versed in the ways of the mind magics. There were other Elves, maybe their hair wasn’t as blue as his or there skin not so pale but you should understand they were Elves just the same, as not all Elves, I’m told, have blue hair. It’s true so I’m told! One of these Elves that had accompanied his journey from Amcarofarne was a Druid who we shall call Nique. You are of course familiar with the magical nature of the Druids and their connection to Nature. Ever-nurturing, and shepherding the growth of all things within the bounds of nature, yet capable to command the storms overhead, and the very rock beneath your feet should they have cause to, which is why we have cause to be grateful that Nique was very interested in helping Yestamir on his task. Nique had with her a rather formidable companion, something like Quingle’s Mali, yet all together different. Nique’s companion was called Nelke. Yes, that’s a funny name, but you should know that she referred to her as such because Nelke was a Saber-Toothed Tiger, which as you may be aware is a large Tiger with two very long, dangerous teeth. You see, not like Mali at all. Were as Mali could hide in Quingle’s belt satchel, Nique could hide behind Nelke. And being a tiger, well, all tigers are dangerous creatures I assure you! Finally, there is myself, Umbrecrom as I am called. Yestamir being a very dear friend, I had taken it upon myself to follow Lord Yestamir from Amcarofarne. When I learned that my very good friend Yestamir was pledged to voyage to gather a piece of a puzzle, which vexed the Warlord Celethor Carnen, hardly could I not be expected to volunteer myself to lead this expedition. With five principle members: Yestamir, Quingle, Pr’Gillis, Nique, and myself, I saw that we were like the fingers of a hand- Lord Yestamir was very much the pinky because he was the first, Master Quingle, who I sometimes refer to as The Lord Arcane in deference to his mastery of the Arcanic Arts, would be my good thumb for when you make a fist to strike, it is the thumb which holds the others in place. Pr’Gillis, the mysterious Elf would be that mysterious finger next to the pinky. What’s it there for? I cannot say, but it is there and is very important, for without it we would only count to four on one hand, and that would be very odd, would it not? But it is there and we don’t question it, we accept it and are glad it is there! Nique was like the pointing finger, capable in guidance and giving direction. As for myself, well, I am large so it might be fitting that I am the largest finger. The finger around which all others gather themselves, two to the left and two to the right as if a commander flanked by his guard. And this is why I refer to our group as the Fist of Umbrecrom. It was the Warlord himself that requested I take my band to a far off place in search of an unknown person that was called Lashimer. We should have known then at that moment, with a name like Lashimer, a name that sounded very much like the lash of a whip, both cruel and painful, that we would be sorely tested. We were off guard because he was rumored to be a sage of some repute- a man of learning, but he was like no kindly teacher, no benevolent instructor as we would soon enough find out. The good Lord Kelroth Carnen, younger brother to the Warlord was so kind as to allow his elder brother the use of a boat of a very fast speed for missions of the state which the Warlord had interest to complete with all haste, and it was upon this very fine boat that I took the Fist of Umbrecrom upon its very first voyage. Now if you ever have opportunity to ride a boat upon the water, be aware that it could be very unsettling if you are not accustomed to the floor you stand upon moving up and down upon the waves. Sometimes if you are not accustomed to this movement, it will make you sick. Alas, the youngest of our band, the babe Mali was afflicted as such. There! Do you see the stain upon my boot? That marks his favorite spot on which to be sick, for he became ill and relieved himself of a rat he had eaten earlier when he was below deck and less aware of the boat’s motion. Being a baby, being a Dragon, being the friend of Master Quingle, and most importantly just being a delight to be around, I could hardly be upset. In truth, I hoped that he would feel better, and was happy to give him the comfort of allowing him to be sick upon my boot! You see, when you lead others, you must become accustomed to give comfort in whatever way you can, so that having been given comfort by you, those you lead will better understand why you lead. And who among you can say that that you’ve had a Dragon get sick on you? Hmmm? I image very few living creatures can boast this experience! We then arrived at the location where we had to start searching for the precise location of the home of Lashimer. Relieved at being off the boat, Mali offered to fly out and check the nearby isles, but having been unwell during the voyage, he was not as up to the task as he would have liked to have been, and after a brief time he returned more exhausted from flying against the inclement weather than he could have anticipated. The weather continued in its inclemency. It was the mysterious Pr’Gillis who discovered the location of Lashimer’s home, but being mysterious, it was a village on the shore he was looking for, and when he realized he was lost, and didn’t know how to get back to the boat, it was, in fact, the boat that he was looking for when he spotted the small shack on one of the tiny islands out at sea. I told you he was mysterious! The boat then sailed toward the Island, and the Fist finished the journey by taking out a small boat to the small island. The island, no larger than several hundred feet in any direction is where they discovered a small wood shack and a path that led to the islands peak. Pr’Gillis and Nique and her feline Nelke ventured up the path to investigate, despite the terrible winds that made walking along the rock very dangerous. The others, Quingle, Yestamir and myself investigated the hut. Yestamir, as any civilized person would do when visiting someone’s home, knocked at the door, which brought no answer. After a short time of this something very unexpected happened. One moment there were 4 of us outside the shack, and the next, as if by some unexplainable magic we were surrounded by 6 strange and violent beings with their otherworldly weapons drawn and pouncing upon us with no warning! Lord Yestamir turned seeing he was flanked to either side by these strange beings, myself behind him also flanked and another in front of me when I turned about, and Quingle was threatened by the one in front of me and the one to my side. I strove to protect Lord Yestamir, but couldn’t deflect the attack aimed at him. We were all hurt in that initial assault, yet Quingle enacting one of his magics, flew above his attackers, where at least he was safe. I endeavored to break the weapon of one of Yestamir’s attackers, thinking without a weapon they would not be able to attack. The strange glowing blade shattered into a hundred spinning fragments as my great sword slammed into the odd weapon, but in seconds the magic that infused the blade reconstructed it back to its original form! “You must use your magics!” I commanded as another assault descended upon the Carnen and myself. Quingle began to draw upon his vast abilities and speak words of arcane might, gesturing at the creatures below him. It was very hard to discern where the greatest threat was, being surrounded as we were. Lord Yestamir, having no arcane magics which to respond with, offered his own unique abilities and spat a spray of dangerous liquid that doused two of the enemies. Quingle cast again, having defeated one of the creatures, and even Mali flew by offering a blast of dragon fire. Slowly the creatures lost their advantage and began to diminish under the might of The Lord Arcane and the Lord Yestamir, I myself even defeated one with nothing but my blade! Dragonfire and Gnome Sorcery proved too much for our attackers, though. In the end even Yestamir left the field of battle, allowing Quingle a better scope of attack. By the time our wayward Druid and Pr’Gillis returned with news of a strange cave, the rest of the Fist was surveying its victory, and praising the Good Lord Gemshadow for his arcane mastery. The shack was then searched but it was empty- a ruse possibly to keep us from discovering the cave at the top of the island. Once there, we discovered a nearly impenetrable portal in the ground. “Nique. Maybe you can learn something if you talk to the stone…” I suggested. She then began invoking the essence of the stone. Nique was able to determine that Lashimer was indeed inside, but discerned no way we might be able to open the portal. Nique, had another idea for that… She cast yet another magic and summoned an elemental creature of rock and orange-hot lava- a Thoqqua. At her command it pierced the portal several times, melting through the layers of rock, like a worm digging through the mud. The series of holes through the portal caused it to fall through to the floor some forty feet below as the elemental beast, having completed its task, disappeared back to the dimension from which it was summoned! I then tied a rope around a sufficient outcrop of stone and lower the other end into the exposed room. Nique cast a magic that shrank Nelke so that she could be carried down as it was too far for her to jump. We descend into a room that had several halls leading out of it, one in each direction. We found other rooms, a bedroom, a study, a workroom, and one holding a 10’ tall man-shaped stone made out of red crystal. Once we descended into the cellar below the study, Lashimer discovers that his home had unwelcome guests! We’d invaded his home without his permission, and he was quite upset about it! He entered his study screaming at us- we broke his door, and we invaded his home! This is true, we did break into his home, but we were concerned for him- we were attacked just outside his home and thought more of the monster that attacked us might try to get him, or may had already gotten him. I spoke with Lashimer. He had not been aware of what had gone on outside, and as it turned out was grateful for our presence, as invading monsters were not entirely unheard of on the island. Lord Yestamir then spoke to him dealing more directly with the reason we traveled all this way. They retired into Lashimer’s study to discuss that in more detail and the rest of us did not need to hear it so we remained in a corridor. And just then from the main room, 6 more of the strange creatures open the door to the corridor. Strange yellow creature holding swords that appeared from nowhere! They bleated their strange language at us as two swung their swords at the strange Elf Pr’Gillis and myself who were guarding against just such an assault. Pr’Gillis occupied them by swinging his bare fists, confusing them by pretending to try to dodge past them into the room. Seeing that our curious Elf had the situation well in hand, I made my way to the door behind which Yestamir and Lashimer conversed. The sound of my fist slamming upon the door alerted them, as I called “Lord Lashimer, your home is invaded!” By now Master Quingle, who you should know was a Sorcerer had found it very useful to be well-versed in many languages and had managed to discover a language which was common to both himself and the leader of the invaders. I do not recall if it was Infernalli- the language of devils… or mayhaps a variant of Ilythid, for you see I did not understood what was said, but as I walked back to my station beside mysterious Pr’Gillis who still moved about in the ways of his discipline as to make it impossible to anticipate how one of these strange creatures with the twinkling blades of light might land a strike upon him, Master Quingle was leveling his demands at the creature. She must have understood what power he commanded as each word seemed to cause her to flinch and shrink back. She made the sounds of whatever language they spoke, and our master sorcerer made his demands known again! The sly and cunning Lashimer opened his door and began to speak to this leader in its own tongue, but without worry as the very Fist of Umbrecrom lay between the creatures and himself. Then without warning, he unleashed the cruel black power of his corrupt mind by extending his hand forward which issued a beam of some foul corruption which struck down one of the creature Pr’Gillis had earlier occupied. With that Lashimer groveled “Protect me!” as he tried to shut the large iron-bound door so that he was once again inside with Yestamir. The blue-haired Elf had other ideas and prevented the door from closing. By commanding him to “Stop!” while everyone looked on. There was disapproval in his eyes, yet he anticipated there was more the sage could offer for our cause, which had brought us to this far off land. “You must protect me if I am to be of any further service to you…” the vile Lashimer pleaded. Once more Quingle spoke to the leader. In moments they were conversing in the language of the Dragons and this was a language Yestamir understood. The leader then offered that she recognized that she had no grudge against able members of the Fist of Umbrecrom, but only with Lashimer, for what he’d done to her guard and other matters, which caused her to track him to his home. We agreed that it was a just vendetta. Little did anyone realize that Lashimer himself understood enough of the language so that he understood his impending doom. A desperate “Noooooooo!” escaped his lips, and he marshalled his dire mental energies for another attack. It was not as powerful as the attack on the creature moments before, but had a disabling effect that momentarily confounded those before him. That provided him the opportunity to affect his escape! Not knowing where he went to, Pr’Gillis offered to lead the creature in command to the basement, where he had reason to believe that the object of their mission resided. Nique, myself and Yestamir went into the study which we had reason to believe held information that would help us with the reason for our visit. Master Quingle, still under the effects of his magics that allowed him the gift of flight, hovered in the main room like a vengeful dragonfly, ready to counter the vile assault of the villainous Lashimer. In the workroom the other soldier creatures- for I believe them to have been a military band, had found a creature of such evil, and sinister disgust that I have not the words to even describe it. Sadly these soldier creatures that fought its inevitable advance would not prevail. As I gathered the information that would prove to be the only answer to our long journey’s quest, our Lord Carnen offered his assistance to the soldiers that fought the evil monstrosity with an energy manifestation that when it struck had proven to be the most effective attack. Master Quingle turned his attention to the 10’ tall red crystalline golem that Lashimer had then led back into the room from yet another entrance. “Get them!” Lashimer screamed, spittle flying from his mouth. Immediately our Sorcerer began to cast a spell which caused both Lashimer and his stone construct to be held in place by thick roots which erupted from the floor. Although the golem easily broke free, Lashimer was still bound tight, so he called to his construct to assist him. There was issued from the red crystalline monolith an effect that negated the magic Master Quingle had so expertly orchestrated, and also caused Quingle’s magic flight to be disrupted so that he fell to the floor within reach of the giant golem. Before Lashimer could escape yet again, Master Quingle casts upon him once more causing his eyes to be clouded with magical darkness! Although we were coming to understand the evil that was Lashimer, we still resisted attacking with the full fury of our might. I then entered and confronted the red crystal creature with a vial of remarkable Stone-breaker’s acid, hurling it at the rocky creature which proved to be a devastating assault that continued to eat away at its crystalline body for some time after it was struck. It then turned upon me with a crushing blow! Nique behind me had started casting her healing spells to immediately counter the wounds the golem had bestowed upon me. “Heal me of these devastating wounds Nique!” I asked of the powerful Druid. She then lay her enchanted hands upon me and the life-giving nature of her magics filled my being restoring my health and vigor! The mysterious Pr’Gillis, who had mysteriously returned from the basement without the leader of these strange yellow creatures, managed to position himself on the other side of the golem, and, I tell you I know not how, releases a electrical blast so obliterating that it shattered through the stone of the construct’s torso, ending forever its rampage! Pr’Gillis who was very concerned with my good health inquired if I was all right after having traded blows with the giant stone construct. It was when I turned to him to reply, that I witnessed the monster emerging from the other room reach out to strike our mysterious Elf in the back. Struck to the ground, Pr’Gillis scrambled behind me so that I might strike at the creature if it reached for him again, and then we cautiously backed away into a corner near the door, for such was the nature of this monster that we were not eager to approach it closely. It was through that doorway which we stood near, that Master Quingle strode, speaking words of arcane command, gesturing his spell to engulf the monster. The light that erupted was too bright to look directly into, and you know what that did to the monster! It was defeated! Finally, the Fist could gather together to assess their mission. Yestamir spoke, “I can sense that Lashimer has departed. He is no longer here. Otherwise I could sense his cowardice and evil!” “If he is gone then we leave this cursed place.” I told my friends. Quingle, Pr’Gillis, Nique, and Yestamir nodded in agreement. I then walked over to the shattered remains of the ruby construct and retrieved a piece of it. This right here on this chain came from its very head! "Let us remember this fine mission and our success by always carrying with us a piece of this red crystal. By this Umbrecrom’s Fist shall be known as ‘The Shards’! “Here, here!” said Yestamir first to agree. “This would be wise.” agreed Nique. “Aye! We’ll be called the Shards!” Master Gemshadow announced in a voice with an accent that can only be called magic! Pr’Gillis gathered the shards and passed them out, saying nothing, but doing so with a smile. And so ends the first adventure of the Fist of Umbrecrom!