The Lost Lands

The Fall of Heroes

The defeat of chaos requires great sacrifice

- The musings of Kaelmourn. Excerpt from his unpublished travel logs.

The Past
Loss…regret…a strange mixture of feelings has engulfed me. I remember when I first bought him. He was but a young runt in the slave market of Nightstorm. He was sickly, starved, on the edge of death’s realm. It was a fleeting whim which caused me to purchase him from the slave monger.
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I myself was cut and bruised that day, my sisters had once again banded together to “teach me a lesson” in respect. Although I strived to respect the laws of my city and house, it seemed that others simply sought to find ever inventive methods to circumvent the laws and every time I would point this out or call others to task I was ridiculed or the subject of harsh vengeance.
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It was after a particularly nasty session with my sisters, this time even my twin sister Qilmourn joined in, although I could not admit it to myself then, now I know that her actions cut me far deeper than any other when she delivered the final kick that sent me to unconsciousness. That was the day I bought Orgoth, a toddler hobgoblin runt, for a single silver piece. My sisters laughed at me, but I nursed him back to health, I taught him, I procured the best fighting trainers for him. He served me at the Magus Maestrum while I finished my arcane studies. For the last thirty years he has been by my side, and now stony silence…

The Present
The Spire continued to pose enigmas unending. Strangely shaped rooms, devices with no known purpose, machines that dispense curiosities and bona fide magic items. Also, strangely devices that seem magical by observation detect as non-magical in nature. All surrounded by the ever present lightning of death that prevents full observation of the Spire and hinders exploration.

Many rooms are empty after we defeat the last of the altered primitive humans that have blades for hands and a paralyzing touch. Looking for rest we find little when a phase spider offers a final challenge at the end of the second of the four eggs, but is seen off with the combined magical and martial might of the Dark Hands.

Hobbs fails to live up to his epithet
Within the second egg of the Spire in a room of strange providence at the rim of the egg shell lies a strange and deadly story. After suffering the power of the lightning air the Dark Hands arrive in a long chamber with a tranquil pool at one end. Within the chamber are three orange skinned blue haired peaceful souls that seem to be worshiping the pool. Through gesture and magical comprehension Kaelmourn is able to communicate with the beings.

Amazingly they seem to be able to treat the shell of the Spire as a mist and portal to some other realm of existence. Before I could fully inquire as to the origin of the pool worshiping beings, Hobbs ran and leaped into the pool. As best as I can discern a guardian or great power dwelled there and its four tentacles reached out ripping Hobbs into pieces as the pool turned red with his blood. The orange humanoids ran into their mists yelling about the guardian’s anger while the rest of the Dark Hands took a moment to be surprised by shock and then beat a hasty retreat back over the wall into the lightning storm.
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I felt especially pained by this loss, so much potential, so stalwart a servant of Horus that had courageously defended Orgoth as he fell to the spasms of paralysis higher in the Spire, such a waste of ability, such a waste of life. So ended the Tale of Hobbs the Living.
The third and fourth eggs offer a combination of teleportation circles, empty rooms, confused Tengu and an aberrant tentacle horse headed humanoid of frightening power.

Battle with unspeakable power
We breathed heavily. We had explored all we could. We knew the final chambers were accessible only by going over the wall, into the lightning storm. With a cry of unity we charged over the top, some few of us under the protection of Obsidian’s lighting protection. Suddenly a room was below us, a large chamber, we had arrived at the back, in an area curtained off from the rest of the room.

Magpie and Orgoth almost ran into the beast. It stood double the height of a drow, humanoid in form, but with a horse’s head and tentacles extending from its side. Kodrin and I moved away, I launching a magical assault on the beast, Kodrin maneuvering for better position. Orgoth, Magpie attacking furiously in melee. The beast soon grapples and batters the heroes, I cast a sepll to magically accelerate my allies, doubling the attacks of The Dark Hands. Shockingly Magpie is turned to stone by a sudden unleashing of powerful magic, Ifurua resists being turned into a bunny.
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Magpie gets grappled…

Orgoth loses Kaboom when the beast grapples him within its tentacles. Grabbing his short sword he stabs the best repeatdedly. Then in an instant Orgoth is turned to stone, with lightning quickness I cast feather fall on him ensuring a soft fall for his now stony form.
Teetering on the edge with two of our members down we renew our attacks and the beast falls upon our renewed onslaught.
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Magpie and Orgoth meet a stony end…

Dawn
I breath slowly, I walk to the stony form of my Hobgoblin slave, Orgoth. I remember the slave market of Nightstorm, I remember as he cleaned my rooms and fetched me food as the young hob I called “Ori”. I remember securing swordmaster Karn to train him, I remember as he took his beatings on the practice field and always gritting through the pain to rise again, never being cowed by the drow who would use him as a practice dummy. I remember the other slaves calling him “relentless.”
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A teenage Orgoth the Relentless

I remember as we journeyed from Nightstorm to the Over Realm, day after day of danger for months on end as we followed the maps of the explorer Drast Holan, navigating past caverns and tunnels altered by time and the dangers and denizens of the Under Realm. Always guarding each other, each other’s only companions on the most dangerous journey of our lives. No ordinary hobgoblin, his mind had picked up pieces of knowledge regarding my arcane studies and we would often discuss esoteric matters of the mind as we traveled.

My slave, my servant, my ally, my companion, my friend…
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Gilgamesh

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