(Life is no Pony farm)
"Life can be challenging"
"Vhat ees Deadt mey neverh Die. I neverh geve much zought to our femeely creedo. Zat is... unteel eet cem strheeding een my frhont dur." Beldon Hardrider
I had heard the stories of Ogden the Hardrider, first of his name. Fierce Sergeant of the Purple Dragons of Cormyr. I don't remember how he earned the moniker, but it was some great deed that went down into history, until his name was struck from the record for his fate. Our family was shunned after that, then betrayed. Got turned in Waterdeep during the Time of Troubles he did. My Great-Great-, too many Greats honestly, grandfather.
We're a long way from Waterdeep, our family has spread out as far as here in the Dalelands. Never expected when my father drug me out of the worst nightmare of enveloping darkness I've had in my life, (no really - enough to make a grown man piss himself - and I was about to) what awaited me downstairs about made me want to jump back in if given the choice or chance.
My entire family was waiting, not just my immediates either, I mean extended too. They were all huddled with hushed whispers, the doorway to the shrine below our house was opened which was unusual. All I heard was the door blowing open with what felt like a winter storm washing over my flesh, no cold sinks down to the bone marrow in seconds - not like this, when everyone immediately dropped to one knee and bowed to me... not me, something else. The chill of death crept up my spine and I was frozen in place. I couldn't hear anything but the sound of my own heart. No one moved, not even the wind.
Finally, something dark moved beside me. A cloak? A disembodied voice broke the silence, like a hollow wind in a cave,
(I think I spider/spinning yarn)
"I think I'm going crazy"
Blood is blood, another credo of ours. No one travels in winter, yet here we are. Heading south our patriarch says, while astride his Gaunt and backed by the eerily silent Cavalry of Bone. No more hiding, no more fleeing. That we will be the first to reclaim the lost glory of Eltabranar, re-establishing the Church of the Bone Lord there, where the Order of the Undying Dragon and their Eternal Knight Lord Commander Sarduris have a base of operations for us in Castle Al'hanar and will be waiting. I've heard the tales. That castle has achieved great renown.
"Excess weight put on by emotional overeating"
"To be ashamed of, and on behalf, of another"
I can't tell if we're getting anywhere, this is stressful. It's cold and I can't feel my toes. These women seem completely unaffected by the cold. The descriptions of the Runescarred don't do them any justice, great hulking jotuns is what they are. The mist clouds they breath in the frost air is as big as my entire body. One of my cousins was an idiot and casted Detect Thoughts on one. It's blue skin lit up, like the stories surrounding spellfire, and it turned around while promptly smashing him with a hammer larger than my torso. It's eyes narrowed, then with some sort of self satisfaction, strode off to resume whatever it is that jotuns do. Pick their teeth with tree branches, arm wrestle bears, drink a barrel of mead, I don't know. How do they even manage to feed all of them? There can't possibly be that many animals in the woods to hunt. Of course my brother couldn't stop laughing, but I was in such shock that it took me a moment to tend to my cousin with Cure Wounds. What a waste of a spell for the day. Imbecile said something about complaining to their leader Losk of Half-Demon Fortress. I imagine that we'll be conducting burial rites for him before the day is out, I feel sorry for my Aunt...Myrkul's scythe.
I saw her today. She was with a Coven. There were many Rashemi women that looked to be part of the House of Seasons in velvet, wool and fur lined coats, (there has to be Illusion magic at play, there can't possibly be that many lovely women in Rashemen all cloistered in one place) but you can always tell the ones in a Coven. They stand out with their beautiful intricate crowns adorning their heads that look like magnificent bone, they're not of this world for sure. I don't know their gods, but an aura of death blends in with them. Myrkul? Or someone else? Couldn't be Kelemvor or Jergal. But her voice is like music, in this place where there is white as far as the eye can see, she is like a dancing bright flame. I don't even know what she is, I was so enraptured that it took me a moment to notice the taller one next to her, who blended in with the snow. I overheard their names, Alla Breve and Cadenza Morendo, but I don't know which is which. I've never been in love before, I'm absolutely certain that what I felt was love. No, not for the tall one, the one that is like fire... like my heart... my heart is on fire...
It's irony that the Wychlarans are so righteous that they think they are on the right side of history, when they have to wear masks to protect themselves from their own berserkers and populace. We Myrkulites wear masks to honor Myrkul, and for the comfort of the living so that those of us who serve in undeath do not disturb them. I heard that our temple down south will have a Deathbringer, or is it two Deathbringers? It has been a long time since the faith has had one, let alone two, but rumor is they are called the Honored "We". Not sure what that means, other than there must be two of them. Last time we had a Deathbringer, we also had a Grey Ones when the Doombringers of the Bone Lord walked the plane before the Horned Harbringers existed. I think things are starting to look up.
(Now we have the salad)
"Now everything is a mess"
Thankfully I had a candle in my pack and a bit of ink left. Well, if they weren't going to join us before, they certainly are now. The City of Weeping Ghosts, this is called. This is unlike anything I've ever seen for necromancy. The Undead here are different from any I've studied.
The Witch Wars spilled over into our camp in the Dalelands, there is no way we would have made it down south on foot now. Not with having to go through all of Rashemen or Thesk, Thay, Murghom, Mulhorand and then the Beastlands to reach safety. I can now see why Thay has, "not been able to take one inch of Rashemen soil" in the many centuries they have been at war with the witches. We had to take this chance. I don't know how many of us will make it, and I hope the Durthans are right and that portal down here still has a hope of working. I remember reading that the last King Arkaius sacrificed his life to close it behind his people the last time someone was in a situation like ours. Whether we like it or not, we're in this together now.
I do not fear death, I'm as devout a Myrkulite as they come and probably as apathetic about life as I can get, but it would be a shame to die here. I don't even know where my soul would go, if the Reaper walks our world then the City of the Dead and the Bone Castle, (Crystal Spire) are still under the domain of Kelemvor. I can't wait to reach Castle Al'hanar, study at the academy there and I've read that the temple there rivaled the one that housed the Conclave of Doom in Skullspire.
Beldon Hardrider Accent
DM Note to my Wonderful Players:
Our worlds are ethereal until the player character's eyes fall upon it. Our stories don't come true until they're lived through. The lore 'Secrets' we write down together aren't facts until they get revealed during the game through 'Discovery'. This is through the often overlooked/underrated third pillar called "Exploration", (The Three Pillars of Play are: Combat, Roleplay, Exploration). Part of what has driven me to make this site for us - is to enhance this pillar, which often is an overlooked opportunity, to delight our group. I provide you the 'Secrets' and we get to see how you play with them.
Secrets are seriously powerful magic. We create single lines of fantastic fiction that can fuel entire worlds and have dialogue that will be remembered for years. Secrets are small, they're packed with interesting things, and they should not burden us. If we were to worry about archiving our old Secrets and managing them, their simplicity and flexibility becomes lost. They gather dust. What Secrets get to live on in our story are the ones you Discover, and help others Discover, and the rest must be let go because they are simply not true anymore.
We sometimes hold onto concepts because of FOMO, (Fear of Missing Out) that become links in a chain of useless unused words that anchor us down and ends up never getting roleplayed/experienced, (through downtime or similar means). The world we create together here will change in this campaign. We might have better ideas later. Events might shift and things go in a new direction you, or I, didn't expect. Pursue what Discoveries interest you, and your character. Hold nothing back. No regrets.