Festival of the Lion

A Note to my players
A Kick Ass Year

I just want to thank all of you involved in the past year and the roller coaster that was Festival. Those that have been there since the beginning and those that have joined later in the story. You all effected the story more then you know and I can not take credit for all the changes.
Thanks to Jess and Mark for letting us into their home every Monday. Thank you all for sticking through the more role-playing oriented boring diplomatic sessions. Thanks for your feedback and again for the overall experience. The final night I had some emotions running through me as I watched it all play out. I couldn’t of asked for a better finale.

Keep an eye out I still owe you backstorys that will answer some questions that were not answered.
I am definitely going back to this world in the future. It will most likely be in 4E, you guys will have first dibs on spots when I do.

Thanks again

In loving memory

She kneeled in silence beneath the oak tree, silently weeping for her loss. It seemed even now she could still hear his thoughts in her head, whispering words of comfort despite his fate. He was her anchor, her best friend, her family… what was she to do without him now? With the back of her hand, she wiped the tears from her eyes and buried her face in her lap. It hurt, physically and mentally. It hurt so badly… As Rex leapt to his death she could feel the blade as if it had pierced through her own flesh. Remembering his final moments, Pip again burst into tears. With his last breath he gave her a look, as if to say, “I did what must be done. This was my destiny, now go forth and fulfill yours.”

Storm clouds began to fill the sky as she helplessly sat by his grave. She pondered her fallen companion’s thoughts, partly hoping this was all just a dream. So many had given their life in on the journey to stop the Dark One, and although many of them had been spared (including herself) by spells or that of a divine power, there were still those that would never return. Her thoughts then drifted towards Kagaga and Azreal. Despite their flaws and their crazy antics, they were her friends, and now, being alone with her thoughts for the first time in months, she suddenly missed them. At that moment a wave of emotion hit Pip as everything from her past suddenly caught up to her. Everything she had run away from came crashing down upon her. She found herself overcome with feeling while her memories held her captive. The fate of her mother, father, grandmother, Kagaga, Biggs, the Kings of Mordent, the gnomes, Grace, Desmond, Dubai, Bart, Captain Kiwi, Grunwin, Dragon, The Dark One, James, Ariel, Ignacious, Saphir….

So many faces flashed through her mind, one right after another after another, and suddenly it stopped on Amanda, the one who gave Pip a second chance to set everything right. It was then Pip realized that her life was no longer her own. She was given a second chance to set things right, but without someone to maintain the order and peace between nations, it would all be lost. She had made so many friends from so many different places all over the world: Ignacious the ambassador from Tristinia, Ellie the princess of Mordent, Saphir the new queen of the Elven kingdom, Biggs the prince of the isles, amongst so many others. Not only did she know them but she had either saved them in a time of need, traveled with them, or was in a relationship with them… With her contacts she could work hard to ensure peace between the people so that when another nation needs help or another evil arises they are ready. The Dark One said himself that one day another shall rise in his place, and when that day comes we will be ready.

She thought of Biggs, and how much she longed for his embrace. She hoped he would be arriving in Mordent soon. An animal messenger had been sent on the road back to Mordent asking him to meet her as soon as possible. She didn’t want to admit it, but with Rex gone, now more than ever, she needed him.

Her hands fell upon her stomach. Her life really was not her own anymore. The world was at peace for the time being, and she was going to make sure it stayed that way for the generations yet to come. The deaths of her comrades would not be in vain. Their sacrifice would be remembered.

After a few moments of silence, Pip rose and whispered, “Goodbye Rex. You shall never be forgotten. May you rest in peace dear friend.” A light rain began to fall as Pip’s tears fell to the bare Earth, and together, Mother Nature and her child mourned the loss of the fallen.

Amanda's Story Part 2
All is well


The lever squeaked with each rotation. As the old wooden bucket awkwardly spun and swayed, making it’s ascent up from the depths of the well. A beautiful girl of 17 with auburn hair slowly turns the crank waiting patiently for its arrival. Slightly short of breath she smiles at the challenge. Once it makes it to the top she reaches out a delicate hand guiding it to the ledge of the well. Carefully she pours the water into her own vessel. Filled to the brim she gives a satisfied nod with a smile and guides the bucket back over the well. She stands stretching out her arms ready for the trip back. She takes a moment to enjoy the air. Evergreen from the nearby forest fills the air mixing with the smell of the clean well water. The sun gently warms her skin as it darts in and out of the clouds. A bird sings a beautiful song as if just for her. She smiles and reaches down for the handle. With 2 hands and one quick motion she lifts the bounty of her work off the ground. Swinging it awkwardly through the air. She hums a song and spins as if dancing in a ball.
The water lapping over the sides of the bucket wetting her dress.
She makes a small frown but quickly brings back her smile. A day like this is just to good to be ruined by a little water.
“Amanda!” someone calls her. She looks down the path to the village and sees a man heading in her direction. She blushes, slightly embarrassed with herself. So into the beautiful day she had forgot anyone could see her.
“Michael, I didn’t notice you” Amanda responded, awkwardly taking the bucket in one hand she waves with her now free hand. The bucket lurches to to the side spilling some of it’s contents on the ground.
“Oh, please let me help you with that” Michael said jogging the remaining distance taking the bucket from the now blushing Amanda. “Oh shame, you’ve spilled on your dress.”
“Water will not stain, it will be fine if I spend some time in this wonderful sun. What are you doing out here, where is my sister?” She says brushing at the wet spots on her dress.
“I’m not sure, I was looking for her and I ran into you. She’s hard to track down.”
“No doubt she is looking for you. She’s not one to let her possessions out of her site,” Amanda smiled. Michael laughed.
“Possession am I? Well I can’t say I mind that. I am a lucky man even to have her attention.”
“Lucky man indeed.” Amanda paused “Michael, I know you care for her, I don’t doubt that. Just know she is a strong woman. This is the first time I’ve seen her seriously interested in someone. She is difficult to read with her emotions. Just don’t do anything to harm her and I’m sure you will be fine.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Michael slowed his pace for a moment, “Amanda when are you to be wed?”
Getting a little ahead of Michael, Amanda stopped and turned. Her face felt warm with the question and she knew her face was red.
“Abel and I are to be married by start of fall. Although I fear it will not come soon enough. It took him 2 years to ask me I don’t understand why we just can’t be done with it tomorrow and start our wonderful life.” She giggled. “I expect to see you there, Oh! You and Ariel can be the maid of honor and the best man!”
“I would be honored to attend as either the best man or a guest, but unfortunately I would have to decline depending on circumstances.”
Amanda’s jaw dropped slightly in a cute look of surprise.
“Michael! Would you have a bride cry on her wedding day, to know that her sister would not be dancing with her love?” She pouted
“I was hoping to steal some of your time in the sun, perhaps kill 2 birds with one…. stone….” Michael trailed off,
“I am insulted that you would not attend my wedding not so much for me but for…. wait what?” Amanda eyed Michael, “Two birds one…. oh my heavens… you mean? You’re going to ask for her hand?!”
Michael gave a shy nod yes,
AHHHHHH!!!!” Amanda screamed girlishly jumping towards him embracing him in a hug. He stumbled and gave an expression of surprise. The bucket of water fell from his hands, Amanda’s previous hard work soaking into the ground.
“To gain a husband and a brother on the same day? I am overjoyed! We must have a joint celebration, in fact I demand it! My sister will be so pleased!” Releasing him from her hug she smiled and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“I am so excited Michael, now lets go refill that bucket you spilled before it gets too cold out here.”

“I spilled? You were the….” Their voices muted by the sound of the trees swaying in the afternoon breeze.
From just outside the clearing she watched, silently, a rage building in her. The embrace, the kiss on the cheek, too much for her. She fumed and whispered to herself
“How could she be so excited by what he has to say. What of Abel, what of Me. Your treachery will not go unnoticed, you will not be stealing him from me sweet sister.

Sleep would not come easy to Corinthas. He had already been defeated once by the dark one. He couldn’t let it happen again, especially since this time the consequenses would be much more severe. The fate of the nations lies with him and his party. A random conglomeration of misfits, with eccentricities outnumbering the entire population of Mordent.

“With such a huge battle upcoming, it’s more important than ever that everyone performs at their best,” thought Corinthas. “Garonis is an extremely capable ranger, his reactions are faster than I could imagine but he’s completely incapable in any sort of conversation…Vek is pretty much in the same boat; his arcane power is so enormous, however, he can’t control himself, he’s like a sex starved teenager…and Azrayael, oh Azrayael…Saphir, she’s almost faster than Garonis, and more subtle than a pin drop, though in combat she tends to take her time, she is somewhat capable…Pip’s druidic powers are impressive, and she really knows how to handle herself in pretty much any situation, though all these cats get annoying…I pip will have to be the one to talk to about the battle. She’ll at least have more input than ‘explosion!!!’ or ‘MORDENT!’.”

Corinthas sighed at the thought and sat up. He took a deep breath and attempted to sneak as quietly as possible over to where pip sat awake, deeply in thought.
A New Role

It was time… A battle had begun with her revenge incarnate, and she stood face to face with him.

She readied for this moment, waiting for the most opportune time, and seeing a chance prepared to strike…


Blood sprayed as two arrows swiftly entered Lai’thor’s chest. Saphirs head snapped to the Mordentian Ranger and a quick flash of anger sang through her eyes. Malice coursed through her. If the ranger had slain her nemesis, so help her, she would kill him right then and there.

But Lai’thor, on his last ounce of power, dripping in blood, still stood. Others stood back to defeat the other guard that still lived. Whether they had seen the hostility that flashed through Saphirs eyes at the ranger’s actions, she was not sure. But they were giving her the space she needed to finish the entity that had haunted her for well over 30 years.

As Lai’thor turned to her she sank her longsword into his stomach, the warm blood coursing down the blade. She came close to his ear and whispered “This is for my parents.”

With a quick twist of the blade she made him gasp. “This is for Apri.”

She pulled the bloody sword from his body, and his knees hit the floor. Moving with ease, she struck the final blow and severed his head. “And that was for me.” She flicked her sword to rid of it disgusting blood of the former Emperor.

Somewhere in the distance she heard the Paladin offer the last remaining guard safety if he surrendered. She couldn’t hear the reply. Her ears buzzed. Her goal, her one purpose in life, was complete.

She felt thrilled, excited, but empty. She had done what she set out to do. But now, what was left for her? She was only 122 years old; she had an entire 500+ years to go.

Lai’thors advisor stepped forward and called all to attention. He had helped Saphir and her group earlier with calling the 7 noble houses to vote Lai’thor out of power. The vote had passed, but only with Saphir stepping forward to reveal herself as the daughter of the 8th house of Apri. With his power lost, Lai’thor had snapped, and called his personal guard and himself to make a battlefield of the counsel room.

Bringing silence to the room, the advisor halted the chaos and called for the Lords and Lady’s of the other houses to action. Before word got out, they would need a new emperor to replace him. Saphir only vaguely listened, the buzzing still really the only thing that sank through to her.

One after another, houses casted votes for themselves. It was only she heard the Lord from Yen’sira speak did she snap back to attention.

“I call for the House of Apri’s Saphir as the new Empress.”

Murmers sang through the room. Saphir stood still, believing that her ears were deceiving her. When the house of Kivar gave its consent to Apri as well, Saphir had to fight to stay in control of her body. She couldn’t even begin to think… her as the Empress of Ethe’ron? Sure Lai’thor had offered her position more than once through marriage, but the thought of ever being with him made her shudder.

Seconds seemed to pass like hours. Her eyes straining to grasp every word the last houses said. It was as the final house spoke that Saphir could only stand in dumb silence…

She was the new Empress of Ethe’ron.

Her world tipped and spun. She had been so bent on revenge for so long, how in the hell was she supposed to run a country!?

But while she questioned herself, fate seemed to click things into place for her. With her ambition done, the gods seemed to place her where it needed her next. Here, in Ethe’ron.
As acceptance claimed her, she began to think of all that needed to be done, to be learned. She would have to heavily rely on her advisors-

The clapping and cheers from behind her snapped her from her thoughts. Her companions… What was she to do about them?

She could (and would) of course offer them what she could, but would she stay with them? Ethe’ron probably needed her here, but the war with the two warring nations escalating it would, of course, begin to show itself on its front lawn of Ethe’ron. Not to mention the fact of an evil being also knocking on the worlds door…

Saphir would have to excuse herself for a time from the group to decide what course of action to take.

Whatever it would be, she hoped it would be to right one to choose.

The Party of the Big Cats

Corinthas sat awkwardly, thinking about the events that have unfolded in the last…year? Ever since he arrived in Beccna on his way to Mordent he had been travelling with these people. He had seen more than he had ever dreamed and had dreamed that he hadn’t seen some of it…oh, southern baptists…
The Lord and Lady of Yen’sira had requested the story of the group and Corinthas believed that a good place to start would be with the big cats…puppies, to some; the Krenshar, and how the party had all come together to alleviate the town of Beccna from this menace. He told them of the Orcs and Goblins that they encountered and all of their adventures while in that small, highway town.
“Eventually we got to Mordent…I suppose…once we wreaked all the havoc we could on Beccna,” Corinthas continued. He told them of his great sportsmanship regardless of the name-calling during the tournament of the great Festival.
“Yes…we know all about that,” said the lady when Corinthas mentioned the King of Mordent being murdered. Corinthas tried to explain how there appeared to be some underlying mischeif. To which the Lady replied, “There’re always some eccentric conspiracy theorists out there…”
Corinthas decided it was someone else’s turn to talk…and he promptly shut up.

Corinthas awkwardly looked around the room, urging the others to speak up with looks and gestures…

Why Bother?

Saphir was wondering why she was even caring anymore.

It seemed like the fate of her home was just a mockery to some of the others she was traveling with. Sure she had not explained what she had gone through, but would it really matter?

She had seemly contemplated just to suicide this mission and taking down Lai’thor with her. Saphir let out a strained laugh. She bet the group would just pick up another homeless person who only had a child’s proficiency with weapons to take her place.

The seemingly went through so many people on their “adventures” another replacement would not be so unexpected.

But even so, their most recent trial to gain the Lady Faroths favor had gone amiss. Her opposite, the brave and loyal Paladin, had seemingly been slain.


Even after managing to slay the Shlamaha or something (The hell that was its real name. Lady Faroth was probably laughing on the inside every time the group said it) they took the fallen bodies back to Lo’tess. (Lady Faroths young human ranger was also slain the fight, but the Lady did not seem to care).

It was as Saphir and others were discussing a way to bring back the Paladin (rebirth as a random creature! Saphir refuses to see that happen to one such as a Paladin) that he awoke on his own. Lady Faroth said she detected a cold chill through the air right before the Paladins re awaking, while Saphir did as well, but the absolute feeling of relief washed through her that made her totally ignore it.

However, instead of everyone feeling as relieved as Saphir did, others seemingly took the Paladin to be evil, the snobbish human ranger even went as far as to handcuff him! Baffled Saphir immediately undid the handcuffs in a snap and released the Paladin.

Others around him continued to give him questions and have him prove he was still holy.


But finally achieving the hurdle that the Paladin was NOT evil (aren’t they looking at the wrong person!) we continued on our way, with Saphir hoping things will go better from here on out.

Yea, right, that suicide mission was starting to sound better and better…

Not Quite Dead

Azrayael was never a simpleton in his youth. Often in trouble in Darkshire, telling little white lies like “I never cheated on you with Cassie”, to “That house collapsed on its own” and various other petty crimes. Instead of being punished he had fond memories of his parents thinking he needed activities to keep him out of trouble so they took him to the ball pit (complete with slide) in most instances, the fencing club, and to farmer marc’s all you can eat chicken. Even a child can put 2+2 together, and so trouble seemed to follow young Azrayael.

They say when you die your life flashes before your eyes. This was not the case, instead of his entire life Azrayael saw only the ball pit (complete with slide). He was not a child anymore, and no one seemed to care he was playing in it, unlike last time 10 years ago.

Azrayael finally realizing that he had just been in a battle, stopped to look around. “How did I get here? Darkshire is overrun with undead, were-wolves and the plague now… this could not be real.” “Heironeous!” he called out. He heard Heironeous respond “They still need you, your mount and I await for another day!”

Suddenly he noticed a familiar female angel in the ball pit next to him. “Hello Azrayael” said a soft seductive voice. Azrayael always having a weakness for any damsel, blushed uncontrollably. “Hi” he responded sheepishly. Still unsure of his presence here, he raised his right hand and whispered “Detect Evil”. After detecting no evil he let his guard down.

“Your friends are preserving you for a resurrection right now.” she said playfully splashing some of the plastic balls around towards Azrayael.

Gleefully flirting back Azrayael splashed back, than stopped suddenly. “Wait, I thought I wasn’t dead?”

She smiled and tossed her long silky hair back. “You have not yet passed, you are merely unconscious.”

“So Heironeous is protecting me”? Azrayael questioned, almost surprised that Heironeous would intervene a champion of hers joining her.

“She has always watched over you Azrayael”. she replied. “The dark one has committed many sins and seeks to tear Mordent and Tristana to pieces, with the loss of the two human capitals the rest of the outlying cities will fall to ruin to the impending army of darkness he now commands. Azrayael I need you to promise me, you will defeat the dark one. With your word you will awaken from this dream.” The angel promised.

“I give my word as a paladin, I will do this task or die a truth death in service”. Azrayael pledged proudly.

“Just what I wanted to hear”. The angel beamed. “Let’s go down the slide.”

They climbed the ladder to the slide, at the top Azrayael sat down ready to slide, the angel bent down and kissed his forehead. A soothing feeling of warmth ran through his body and a comfortable, soul relaxing ease washed over his feelings.

“Oh, and one more thing, I wouldn’t tell your companions about this, they probably will think you’ve suffered brain damage from the beating that Hydra gave you.” she said before she gave Azrayael a soft push down the slide. “O.K.” he responded as he began to slide.

With the wind in his hair and picking up speed rather quickly for the height of the slide, there was a flash of light, Azrayael felt a sharp pain through his entire body, he felt the dried blood on his skin and several of his bones fractured, it was suddenly very hard to breathe and his head felt like it had been kicked in by a few horses.

“ugh” Azrayael groaned as he pulled a sheet off his body and looked around.

EVIL!!!!” Gar responded immediately rushing over to shackle him. Normally Gar’s weak frail body would have been no match for Azrayael, in his current state Gar shackled him and began badgering him with ridiculous accusations claiming he had been turned undead and was now likely an evil creature.

Saphir overjoyed for the first time about anything to see Azrayael alive, rushed over to pick the lock on the manacles.

“That’s ridiculous!” cried out Corinthas almost immediately, being the only one to have been back from the dead, Corinthas was a bit less naive about this sort of thing.

Pip also started to rant on badgering and making slanderous claims. Very uncharacteristic for her, Pip was generally his ally and a wise, calm, collected druid.

With a loud click, the manacles fell off, Saphir had easily dispatched them.

Corinthas detected evil on Azrayael, detecting a strong aura of good, he demanded the paladin heal a simple wound that had been inflicted upon his arm. "If he really was “still” a paladin he would be able to heal it". Corinthas told the others. Unnecessary but logical enough, Azrayael agreed and cured his scratch with great ease.

The party dropped their guard, Corinthas shook Azrayael’s hand and welcomed him back like a brother.

The party always did have a “charming” and “charismatic” relation with any new townsfolk or ambassadors they came across, but this was Azrayael he had been there for damn near close a year protecting them. Had he really given them all reason to distrust him?

With a smile he thought. “No… not yet anyway…..”

Stress Relief

There is always an underground.

Saphir knew this, even in the sacred cities that surround Ethe’ron that there was a hidden underground.

It was with that one singular thought that made her confident. She had had it with the out of control small cleric…thing. Today’s antics had broken rather fragile patience.

It was that night that she took matters into her own hands. Moving silently and quickly, she incapacitated the sleeping cleric. It took only a little bit of poisons from the surrounding area. How could she not want to test what she had learned so long ago? She was the daughter of Bal’ir Liadin, Lord of the farming city of Apri, she knew her Ethe’ron plants well. After a quick check, she took the clerics possessions with her and left what was not.

Saphir had contemplated a note of sorts but decided against it, her knowledge of the creature she held was a bit limited. Perhaps a quick exit would not bring up as much suspicion.
After moving to a safer location, she waited for the creature to awaken. During this time she had procured a disguise from a new “acquaintance”. She would rather not have the cleric screaming bloody murder if she were to somehow revive like the other one.

As for her new friend? She always managed to slip off easily from the group around her. It was on one of those occasions she had met the figure. It took simple eye contact and a smug smile from each to know that they were similar. She had sought the figure when her mind was made to kill the bothersome cleric.

Once the cleric seemed to come out of her stupor, Saphir only let the thing get out a groggy “huh?” before smiling and slicing its throat with a clean swipe of a dagger.

She watched as it gasped for breath, the gurgling was slick and blood seeped down the front of it. She only removed her guise after the cleric had let out is last soft gurgle. She turned away from the dead body and saw her acquaintance greet her with a grin.

They talked quickly and briefly about what were to happen next. After, she handed all the possessions of the clerics over to the figure next to her, as well as a small purse.
She moved farther away from the body and only glanced back to see the figure beginning to remove the limbs of the cleric from its torso. The acquaintance had mentioned jokingly that it might pass the body off to a bakery nearby that made meat pies.

Smirking morbidly, Saphir noted to never eat any pies until they had left Ethe’ron for good. Turning back, she headed back to the place in which her other companions were residing.
As she quietly moved back to her place, she began going into her mental rest period with a smile on her face.

Morning could not come soon enough.


After the party had had its rest and before they set out from their location, Corinthas sat down to say his prayers before the day ahead.

“Great and mighty St. Cuthbert, may your vengeance be swift.
Lord, I pray that you will grant me patience in my dealings with this…gnome, and please grant me wisdom. I have reached my limit and am anxious to exact the retribution due, but I know that I must wait as she may serve useful in the events to come. Please give me your sight and help me choose how to act because her acts demand vengeance, but there is a greater injustice that may require her. My lord please shut her damn mouth and stay my mace. Also diseases might be nice. Actually, if she left, that would be…”

Corinthas was interrupted

“Grace is gone!” Pip exclaimed.

“Thank you lord.” Corinthas finished.


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