The Cimmerian's Shadow

Chapter 6: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

The party leaves the crypt worn out from the battle and is surprised and dismayed to see a group of Purist standing before them. Surprisingly the leader of this group is none other than the man they had killed before. Mocking the party and revealing that he had been healed by the Purist clerics he smirked and told them they should check bodies next time.

Quickly the Purist moved in, this time their numbers were even larger. The party grew more and more worried as one by one they were cut down by the sheer numbers. Mariposa despite all her martial arts was defeated as she was surrounded by countless soldiers and cut down. Serade, surrounded by large numbers tried to battle, but in the end she was defeated as well. William was the next to fall, and finally the mighty Grizwald was defeated by sheer numbers as well.

As the world grew dim the party collapsed, sure of their death. Serade barely retained conscious, forcing through sheer will to wake up for just a bit longer. As her eyes opened she saw blood and body parts flying everywhere as a figure enveloped in shadows tore the Purist apart as if they were paper dolls. Even as the sheer numbers raced towards him, any that got close were ripped to pieces and murdered brutally. Serade’s injuries, however, caused her to collapse before she could see much. But she did see the man’s hair was the exact same as Kurosai’s.

The party was woken up one by one by Kurosai who asked if they were OK and congratulated them on defeating so many Purist, though he was surprised by how brutal it was. Confused the group told him they didn’t do it. Serade however was in a frenzy freaking out from all the blood. She then pointed to Kurosai and began to say she was someone with black tentacles and hair like his ripping them apart. Kurosai tried to assure Serade she was simply suffering from shock of seeing so much blood and was hallucinating, but it wasn’t working. As Kurosai tried to convince the party she was just in shock, suddenly Serade began dancing around and acting insane. The group worried for her knocked her out and carried her back to Alteria where they lay her in the bed to recover.

When Serade awoke she had no recollection of anything since the Purist attack and after talking with Mariposa decided they needed to talk to Kurosai. The two women quickly raced to the castle to try and find him, but realized they needed William to help them get it. Quickly kidnapping William, they raced back and got inside the castle. However, when they arrived at Kurosai’s room they found it empty.

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Chapter 5: Into the Crypt

Once again the party left Alteria and headed for the crypt that had been reported to contain a shadow crystal. As the party arrived, the group headed down into the crypt with Kurosai remaining in the back under the protection of the band of heroes. As the group begin quietly slipping through the crypt they finally saw a large number of zombies and skeletons inside the giant tomb. Drawing on the power of his bardic music, William powered up his allies and the group took to battle. With Grizwald and Mariposa striking down countless zombies and skeletons, the group cut their way through the crypt finally reaching the source of the shadowy magic that was powering the undead.

As they entered the final room of the crypt they were surprised to see a large undead minotaur zombie standing before them guarding the crystal. Quickly charging, Grizwald used his small size to slash and cut at the zombie avoiding the giant’s strikes while delivering countless blows of his own. Mariposa rushed forward to aid the gnome and was not as lucky. With a powerful strike, she was hit by a mortal blow and collapsed to the ground dying. William seeing her peril quickly drew on his magic and healed her, saving her life and yanking her to safety. Serade not willing to risk dying cheered from the background as Grizwald and the zombie began their deadly duel.

As Grizwald weaved and cut and slashed, William drew on his own magic to fire magic missiles to aid the gnome. After a quick battle, the zombie was defeated and the party, though tired, was victorious once again.

Kurosai stepped forward and began his ritual, once again asking the party to wait outside. Little did any of them know, just what was waiting for them outside.

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Chapter 4: The Tournament

The group returned to Alteria late that night and returned to the inn to rest and recover. After a full night’s rest, the party woke up to find that Kurosai had already headed to the castle to report their success and get their next mission. Serade was starting to feel sick and after William learned she had been bit by a ghoul he was able to use his bardic knowledge to discover she had goal fever. Realizing she needed to find a cure quickly she began to look for someone in town who could aid her.

As she looked for a healer she found a magic shop that soul scrolls and bought a healing scroll to take back to William. Begging William to try and use the scroll, he quickly got to work trying to learn the divine magic. While not skilled in divine magic himself, he was able to use his magical abilities to cast the spell successfully and cure Serade. Glad to be healed she headed out to spend some of her reward money.

As each party member went shopping and spent their money, Serade and William learned of a fencing tournament. Serade, seeing this as a chance to get more money, quickly signed up. William, seeing this as a chance to become a better fighter and have some fun, also signed up. During that same time, after a judge had gotten sick, Mariposa had been recruited as a judge.

The fencing tournament started with Serade defeating her first opponent, William defeating his, and two other fighters advancing to the semi-finals. In the second round, William fought his opponent and defeated his in a close match. Serade, however, had unluckily been drawn to fight the favorite of the tournament, a professional duelist named Allen, who defeated her. With William and Allen going into the finals it was a very close match, however Willaim barely defeated his opponent in a duel that came down to the next hit being the winner.

William awaited to be awarded his money, and was surprised when a ruling came back saying that both him and Serade won. Mariposa, a friend of Serade’s, had voted her to also win and the other two judges, who had simply been looking at Serade’s boobs, agreed. The money was split between the two and they were both declared the winners.

Kurosai had gotten their mission and watched the tournament, and upon the finish he gathered the group and told them that their next mission took place in a crypt. Countless undead were spawning in the area and the King suspected a shadow crystal was imbuing these corpses with life. Their next mission was to search the crypt and find the shadow crystal.

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Chapter 3: The Temple of Shades

After a short rest, the party awoke and arrived at the temple. As reported the temple was dark and enveloped in shadows despite it being mid-day. Kurosai, being unable to fight himself, told the party to take the lead and once they had cleared the dungeon, he would use his magical expertise to destroy the shadow crystal and complete their mission.

The party entered and with William leading the way and Grizwald guarding the rear, the party made their way through the small hallways and closed passages of the temple. Mariposa heard a sound behind her and quickly turned to see Grizwald being strangled by a chocker that had dropped from the ceiling and ambushed him. Quickly knocking him to the ground and into an open room and calling for aid, the party raced to rescue the gnome. They quickly took the creature down and upon helping the gnome up continued their journey.

After walking for a short bit, the party arrived at the altar room and saw a black shadowy crystal on the alter. However, it was not unguarded and between them and the crystal stood a group of ghast and ghouls. The party raced forward to defeat the monsters and after a short battle they had defeated the enemies. Serade, however, had not gone uninjured and head been bitten by a ghoul and unknown to her had contracted ghoul fever. Kurosai arrived and informed the party that he would need them to stay back while he preformed the ritual to destroy the shadow crystal since he didn’t want them to get hurt. As the party left the temple to wait outside, Kurosai remained inside and began his ritual.

After a few minutes, Kurosai exited the temple and told the party he was done and the group returned to Alteria once again.

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Chapter 2: The Purist

The adventurers began the trip to the temple to find the Shadow crystal and after a long trip they were almost there. However, as they began the final trek of their journey they were stopped by a group of men in red armor. These heavily armored men were lead by a large well built man who ordered them to halt. “This area is off limits. You are ordered to leave.” The large man told them. Kurosai informed the group that they were there by order of the King and was shocked when he heard the man rudely speak about the King stating that the King had no power where they were and that they didn’t care what he said. Sarcastic, rude, and apathetic towards the parties cause the man ordered them to state their names. Mariposa went first and stated her name. “Alright, that’s one person I don’t give a damn about. Next!” He said pointing at Serade. “Name?” “Serade.” “Whole name?” He said rudely. “Serade Lanarae.” She replied. Suddenly the group got quiet as the man turned and whispered quietly to his group.

After a short quiet debate, the armored men came back and ordered that Serade would go with them, while the others would leave. Serade refused at first and was surprised when the men mentioned that they knew her father. Wandering where her father was, Serade considered it, but was stopped when Kurosai informed her that these men, called the Purist, were lying and planning to use her to lure Kouta into a trap. Surprised that Kurosai also knew her father, Serade attempted to question Kurosai, but was cut off when the Purist stated that she was going with them no matter what she wanted. In typical smart ass fashion Serade replied, “Come and get me then.” An order the Purist happily obliged.

The leader of the group ordered his men to kill the other members of the party, while he went straight after Serade to knock her out and take her alive.

A tough battle ensued and multiple times it seemed like our heroes would fall before the strength of the Purist’s power. While Grizwald held off a large portion of the group, Serade found herself being slapped around by the leader. Racing to her aid, William’s pet dragon Cecil was almost cut down by the man and was forced to retreat. Even the might of Mariposa and Serade combined was not enough to stop the man and with a powerful backhand, Serade was knocked out. William quickly drew on his magic and revived his fallen teammate, but it still seemed rough. As things started to look grim for the group, William’s magical powers finally ran out and he quickly raced forward to help the two women, drawing his rapier. His rapier proved ineffective however and the leader stabbed William straight through the stomach. William collapsed dying as the group tried to defeat this powerful warrior. At long last, the two women barely defeated the men and Grizwald defeated his foes as well. Racing to help William the party was worried when known of them could heal. Luckily however, Kurosai was able to draw on his own magical abilities and saved William as well as healing the rest of the party.

The group was worn out and exhausted from the tough battle and feeling very discouraged. Realizing the party needed time to rest and recover, Kurosai found a good camping spot near the temple and the party went to sleep.

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Chapter 1: The Kingdowm of Alteria

Kurosai, Serade, Mariposa, and Grizwald awoke early the next morning and after renting some chocobos left for the Kingdom of Alteria. Shortly after they left the town, they saw a trail of dust and a mounted figure racing towards them. Preparing for combat, the party was relieved to see that is was William Chaucer and the baby dragon that he always had with him. He told the party that the shadow creatures had apparently attacked his ranch and all his baby dragons had been killed. With nothing to keep him at the town anymore, he agreed to help the party and united again the group continued on their journey to Alteria.

The group arrived at Alteria, the largest kingdom around. As they traveled through the crowded city seeing countless magical shops, blacksmiths, tailors, and more the party saw hundreds of various races from all over the world. Kurosai took them to an inn and told them he would meet with the King and return after getting their next mission. After Kurosai left, the group decided to wander around and explore the city. As they wandered around together and got to know each other better, they came across a shop being robbed. The owner, a strange and creepy man, begged the group to aid them and informed the party that the gang had not only robbed him, but also kidnapped his daughter.

After a short debate the party quickly raced off to aid the shopkeeper and followed the gang to a large empty warehouse. Due to a small confusion between Grizwald and William, William knocked on the door and got the gang’s attention. Thinking on his feet William convinced the gang that he was a pimp and was there to sell some beautiful women. The gang was confused but opened the door and let them in. William tried to barter for a bit and then sighed realizing that at the moment all they were doing was wasting time and they’d have to fight at sometime. Motioning his friends behind him he turned and faced the gang members that had all gathered in the hall. Surprisingly, William then apologized for lying to the gang and told them that they had been sent to stop the gang and rescue the girl. However, while everyone was stunned the party was surprised to see a giant blast of cold come from William’s mouth as the man breathed a cone of ice.

Quickly racing to catch the gang off guard the party dropped the gang and began looking for the leader and his hostage. They quickly encountered the man who had heard them and was holding the woman hostage again. After the man yelled out countless racial slurs, the party made a deal with the man. If they would let him go with the stolen money, he would release the girl. Serade was against this, stating, “So we either get the girl or get the gold? I personally like gold.” However, Mariposa agreed to the deal and they rescued the girl, but was forced to let the man go free.

Returning to the shopkeeper, they returned the captured girl and were rewarded with very well-built masterwork weapons. As the party started to head back to the inn to meet Kurosai they came across a fire. The group raced to help put out the fire and after saving as many people as they could they learned that a gang of men lead by a very racist man had started the fire. Realizing it was the man who had escaped them the group was determined to find him for the sake of pride.

The group began gathering information and looking for the man’s base. William got lost in the process, but the others made it to the base and infiltrated it. A fight broke out and the party defeated the racist man and his group and returned to the inn where William was waiting.

Kurosai was waiting for them and after the group talked a bit about what had happened, Kurosai told them of their next mission. They were to head to a temple that had suddenly become very dark and shadowy. The King suspected it was the work of a shadow crystal that was causing the unnatural darkness and wanted them to investigate.

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Prologue: Enter Kurosai

In a small town in the middle of nowhere a group of strangers are sitting in a tavern minding their own business. Unknown to the this group of strangers, a strange occurrence will soon bring them together as teammates, friends, and allies against the forces of darkness.

A violent and angry gnome named Grizwald is at the tavern in between jobs as a mercenary. The little gnome carries a small great sword and unlike most gnomes seems to lack the intelligence or magical aptitude that is gnome brethren possess. However, unlike his gnome brethren, he seems much tougher and stronger as if willing to snap your neck rather then build some magical toy for your baby. The great sword and violent nature imply perhaps a Napoleon syndrome as if due to his small statue he feels he must use a giant sword and push people around. He’s crude, rude, and most the other patrons are sitting far away from him.

Next on the list of future allies is a very tall and palish monk named Mariposa. She appears human, but is very tall for the average human. When you toss in the fact that she looks Asian, her size is even more impressive. This tall female doesn’t seem to have any weapons or armor on her, only simple clothing and a travel sack of basic goods. She doesn’t seem as if she plans to stay long in this town and is only stopping by to grab some food and drink before continuing on her long quest to find her place in the world.

The third member of future heroes is barely noticeable. Unlike the gnome who is clearly sitting in the middle of the tavern and drawing attention by his rude manners and such or the monk whose size draws attention, Serade is wearing almost all black robes and is sitting in a shadowy area of the bar. She clearly doesn’t desire to draw attention and is content to watch the group from afar. The shadows seem natural around her and most people wouldn’t give her a second glance…assuming they saw her with their first glance.

The fourth member of this group, however, is the most eye-catching of all. William Chaucer draws eyes however, not because of his clothing or his nature, but because of what he has on his shoulders. Sitting on his shoulders is a small baby dragon of the same color as the strangers white hair. The man’s clothing is fancy and regal looking and despite actually living in this tiny village he looks much more regal than one would think. His posture is straight and the fancy, well-crafted rapier on his belt seem out of place in this town almost as much as the dragon.

It seems like a normal and quiet day in this backwater village as usual, but this peaceful aura is suddenly interrupted when a guard stumbles into the inn, arrows in his back, and cuts on his body. He tries to speak but can only get a few words out before he takes his final breath.

As the patrons look around confused and worried goblins come barging in from various entrances. Many citizens flee and hide fearing for their lives, the four future heroes however draw their weapons and prepare to fight.

With a few slashes of his great sword, Grizwald easily cuts down his opponents not even getting a scratch. Serade is not so lucky as her attempts to get into a safe location to use her crossbow are hindered by a javelin thrown by a goblin strike her. She takes out a few with some shots from her crossbow before Grizwald aids her with a powerful slash from his great sword.

Meanwhile William and Mariposa battle their enemies. Jumping onto a table, Mariposa begins fighting countless armed goblins with just her bare hands. Being unarmed is not a weakness for her as she battles the goblins with impressive martial arts trainings. As a goblin tries to sneak up on her from behind, oddly his face is ripped open by an unseen force as claw marks and bite marks appear on his body. William duels his opponents with a beautiful grace dodging and thrusting with his rapier and expert fencing tactics. After a short battle the goblins are dead and aside from a few minor injuries easily treated the party is fine.

William, worried for the sake of the towns people, quickly races outside with Mariposa right on his heels. Serade and Grizwald follow behind shortly and the group battles goblins as they fight through the city saving as many people as possible. Eventually they come into a clearing with a large Ogre holding a man in noble robes hostage. The Ogre has a small group of goblins with him, but oddly these goblins seem different. Their skin is darker, their eyes red, and a cold aura of evil seems to radiate from them.

Determined to stop this army of goblins and save the hostage the group begins to fight. A powerful shot from a crossbow drops one of these shadow goblins quickly hitting the unsuspecting goblin right in the throat. This, however, would be the only easy opponent the party would face. A tough battle ensues and unlike the previous goblins the heroes barely triumph, each of them with their own injuries.

On his own, facing five heroes, the Ogre seems unimpressed. He orders the party to leave and forget about the hostage since he was of no concern to them. Confident because of their latest victory Serade opens her mouth and tells the Ogre off. “We just took out all your friends, we aren’t scared of you.”

The Ogre doesn’t seem offended or insulted and simply laughs. “My friends? No those are my summoned minions and weaklings. I could summon more if I wanted.” Then with a snap of his finger more shadow goblins appear. Once again the party is forced to fight for their lives once again defeating the goblins.

Knowing now not to give the Ogre a chance to summon more, Chaucer lifts his dagger and holds it up in a cross shape. Then he looks at Mariposa and tells her to trust him and charge the Ogre. Mariposa nods and runs full speed at the Ogre. As she approaches the Ogre lifts his club to crush the monk, but the weapon suddenly turns and strikes the Ogre holding it. As he stumbles back badly injured from the weapon and confused a powerful kick nails him in the stomach before a punch strikes him in the face.

The Ogre is caught off guard and before he can recover Grizwald runs forward with his great sword and jumps up and delivers a mortal blow. The ogre collapses dying and the triumphant party quickly rescues the captured man.

The former prisoner reveals that his name is Kurosai and that he works for the King. He promises the party a great reward for saving him and offers them even more if they will work as his guardians and protectors while he travels around for the King destroying shadow crystals that are the key to opening a portal to the plane of shadows.

Serade falls madly in love with the man and agrees to gladly go with him, especially after he mentions money. Grizwald simply sees it as another job and accepts since it would give him a chance to kill some people and get paid. He also surprisingly feels very friendly towards Kurosai and views the man as one of his bros. Chaucer politely declines and while he feels bad letting down a man who he feels is a good person he has a job raising dragons and can’t just leave the babies. Mariposa, however, seems suspicious of the man not trusting him, though she does agree to help.

With this, the group heads to the inn and turns in so that they will be rested and refreshed for the trip to Alteria to meet the King and begin their quest.

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