The Redtail Revolution

Also around the Docks

Aryo popped the bottled rum’s cork. Ordinarily it was in poor taste to drink alone, but this was anything but an ordinary situation. He needed something to help him cope with…everything that had happened. Aryo took a swig from the spirit before putting it down at his side. He didn’t want to drink too much and wake up in the morning with a splitting head – just enough to get a buzz so he could forget his troubles and put his mind at ease.

He sat down at the edge of the docks, his legs dangling above its waters. Aryo was somewhat unsettled by how…quiet the place was. Two months ago, a day for the elf, Arndern’s nightly docks were full of swearing sailors and muttering crooks. Now they were nowhere to be heard. And just when Aryo was getting used to them.

Arndern was becoming familiar to Aryo in a different way though – the stench of blood, smokey air, taste of gunpowder and morbidly grim atmosphere all reminded him of home. Miserable, miserable home. How he wished he could just use his new sorcerous powers to wash it all away. Maybe he could, and didn’t just know how to.

Instead, Aryo decided to take another swig of rum. Then he produced a roll of tobacco and lit it with a snap of his fingers. He was going to enjoy doing that from now on. It felt so cool. Aryo took a drag, blew some smoke rings in the air and stuck the cigar back in his mouth. Then he sat back and stared at the dark blue sea before him, doing his best to relax and purge himself of his senses.

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The Docks
BROODFEST, LOSE HYPE

Tap. Tap. Tap. Every third step, tapping his cane on the moldy wooden planks of the docks, making a rhythm to follow. Second step was a breath, which he would release quickly on he fifth step. The salty sea air felt… foreign. Not unwelcome, but unfamiliar. Alien, he was hesitant to say with the circumstances. Hard to think one such as Innes would be on a quest from a god. Especially one as, frankly, ridiculous as this.

Tap. Tap. Tap. His mind had a habit of moving fast, trying to trip up Ragnorak. Mask his doubts behind sarcasm and wit, unrelated memories, experiments from his youth he’d practice with L’Archel. Often times, just views from the top of his mountain, a literal ivory tower from which he saw the world. A gleaming beacon of society, magical and proud. A rare sight for any other race, yet he saw a few wandering his families halls before he left.

How much of the world had he seen? It had been years since he left the mountains of his home, an escape or vacation? That depended on who you asked. The Archmage was beginning to think it was fate. Rolling plains, in the company of orcs. Half dead on the side of the road they found him, nursed him to health. Why? Fate, likely. A decade he spent with them. Their ways were ingrained into him, their honor too. Was that why he stuck to that group, of criminals and anarchists and tomb raiders and thugs? Perhaps he was too fond of them. Perhaps fate, again. They had their charms, even the little one who knew too much. Had she told them? How much did she know? That fire, the smell of burning flesh…

Innes stopped, too familiar. Kat, she knew. Or he thought she knew. How long ago? Innes stood his cane on the flat bottom, stretching out his arms as he looked over the city. A month or two he was gone. His body felt no different, no lack of training or severe aging. Not that he would have noticed that anyways, his elven heritage let him live so long. Days blurred as hours. If it wasn’t for his spells and hunger, he’d have no internal clock at all. Like Tana. She tinkered away in the basement for so long, but she always came up for special occasions.

Like his birthday. Innes thought, months had passed, if Bjornn was reliable… today was his birthday. Innes looked over the city, a wry smile dancing on his lips. His gift was power, from a goddess herself. The pillars of smoke breaking the skyline were his candles, his company murderous rebels in a city ruled by harbringers of the apocalypse. He was reminded how truly alone he was. Not like when he was with the orcs. The orcs, their short lives meant every day was an achievement as well as a struggle. Innes had never known that feeling, the date of his birth was only an excuse for his father to invite other politicians over, show off his perfect family.

Almost perfect, he reminded himself. No one spoke of him for so long, did they remember he existed, or were they simply being polite? “A tragedy,” some said, “a waste,” said others. Neither to his face, for fear of Gerik’s wrath. They simply let the forgotten boy play in the basement, with Tana. The boy without a mind and the girl who acted like it. Innes heard their rhymes, their rumors and mocking whispered as he beat his practice dummy, till his hands grew blisters and bled. It made mommy proud, before her accident. Then it was simply honor to her memory. A true prodigy, was he, stronger than most adults and a mind for magic. His skill were a gift of superior breeding. Simply fate in his favor again.

Had he ever worked for food before his time with the orcs?

His knuckles had grown white, gripping his sword so hard he could hear it scream in his mind. His grip slackened again. His mind always came back to that, and he always lost himself. Innes took a deep breath, looking up at the stars, not as beautiful as up in the mountains he found. Close second. He exhaled, only a minute this time. Or was it 10? Another breath in.

The salty air felt foreign. Welcome, but unfamiliar. The archmage smiled a cynical smile, tapping his cane on the molded wood as he started back. Tap. Tap. Tap…

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In the stables

The stables outside the Warden’s current headquarters weren’t exactly high quality. The rough structure seemed to have been thrown together with whatever materials were close at hand, with scraps of wood making up most of the walls and tightly knotted rope serving in the place of nails. Still, despite its slipshod appearance, the building was sturdy enough, and it already had that raw, almost physical scent that any regularly-used stable possessed. It would do.

Under other circumstances, the stable would most likely be packed with horses and other beasts of burden settling down for the night. However, considering Arndern’s current state, it didn’t surprise Thorfinn that the building was barely half full. In times of war, work didn’t stop just because the sun was down. In any case, the dwarf certainly wasn’t going to complain about having more room to work in, and didn’t waste any time leading Askeladd into the large central area. It was time for some long overdue cleaning.

First, the tack. His fingers moving along with practiced skill, Thorfinn undid the various knots and buckles that held the griffon’s gear together. Askeladd, meanwhile, held still patiently, moving only when doing so would help the dwarf take the tack off. The halter and reigns can off first, freeing up the beast’s beak and head, and were hung on a nearby peg. Next was the saddle, with all its straps and ties. Grunting a little, Thorfinn lifted the great chunk of leather, carried it a ways, and slung it over an open gate. “Don’t remember it being quite that heavy…” he muttered to himself, sparing a quick glance towards his arms and hands. After the saddle came Askeladd’s chain mail, as well as the various other straps and bits of gear that held everything together. They were quickly joined by Thorfinn’s own belongings. All of the equipment was quickly stored in the appropriate shelves, and though each piece would need to be tended to, they could afford to sit for a few minutes longer.

Without saying anything, the dwarf and griffon both exited the stable, walking silently but confidently over to a large trough of water. A few buckets and bars of soap lay nearby, and Thorfinn wasted no time in readying a few buckets of water. “Now hold still,” he lectured, hefting one of the containers, “or else the soap’ll get in your eyes. Again.” Though Askeladd growled a bit at that, he still obediently fell to his haunches, his front shoulders hunching forward and his eyes squeezing tightly shut.

Few animals look particularly dignified when they’re soaking wet, and griffons are no exception. Askeladd’s fur and feathers hung straight down with the weight of the water, making the once-majestic creature look like a half-drowned poodle, albeit a rather large one. Rivulets of soap and bubbles ran down the griffon’s lower, leonine half to splatter against the cobblestones below, and as if his miserable expression wasn’t enough, the low, pitiful whine in Asky’s throat made his feelings readily apparent.

Thorfinn, however, didn’t have much in the way of empathy. “Oh, hush,” he stated brusquely as he scrubbed a damp cloth across Askeladd’s body. “You’re starting to smell like blood and gunpowder. If you’d just rinse yourself off every now and then, we wouldn’t have to do this, but nooooo… Someone doesn’t like getting wet. Pansy.”

Askeladd flicked his tail in response, timing it so that some of the soapy residue would splash across Throfinn’s eyes. He was still soaking wet, mind, but Thorfinn’s spluttering and half-shouted curses made him feel a bit better.

After another few minutes of splashing and washing (during which Thorfinn got almost as clean as the griffon), the pair finally settled down. While Thorfinn mopped the water out of his hair and beard with a towel, Askeladd went with the much more refreshing, if messy, shake-dry technique. It did something to restore his former floofiness, making him look more like a griffon and less like a suffering lap dog, and also got Thorfinn and a few nearby Wardens wet again. Ha.

Once they were mostly dry, the two retreated back inside the stable. Askeladd settled down and began to preen; while his beak wasn’t much good when it came to cleaning his leonine half, the earlier bath had mostly cleaned out his fur and paws. All he really had to worry about was getting his feathers oiled up and set in an orderly fashion. Thorfinn, meanwhile, sat down by the tack and gear with a few rags and a few tins of metal and leather polish. Griffon and dwarf alike quickly settled back into a long-practiced routine, one that had been drilled into their minds and muscles after years of repetition. Alone in the stable, the pair worked in silence, each other’s presence the only company they needed.

At least, they worked in silence until Thorfinn finally spoke up.

“The hell are we doing here?”

A less observant individual would’ve missed the subtle pause in Askeladd’s cleaning, or the way the griffon slightly adjusted his head so that one golden eye peered at his companion. Thorfinn, however, didn’t even need to look up to know it had happened.

“I mean… We can fight. We can fight good, even. If this was just some matter of taking down that bastard Arvanskr down, then we’d be done in a week, tops. Point me at some enemy troops, and I can fight them no problem. But, but all this…”

The rag and halter in the dwarf’s hands fell to the ground, as Thorfinn wearily covered his eyes. “We went to the moon, for Ardor’s sake. We woke up a god, met one of the first dragons, and all this strange… stuff’s been happening to us. I can apparently summon an Eye-dolon, whatever the hell that is!

“This isn’t shit I know how to handle. I’ve never wanted anything like this, ever. And if Meren and Manari were telling the truth, then there’s only going to be more of it down the road. How the hell are we supposed to handle that, huh? They expect us to fight things that the gods themselves couldn’t handle!?”

Words started spilling from the dwarf’s throat more and more rapidly as panic steadily slipped into his voice. His hands started twitching, gesticulating at random as he continued to speak. “We… I can’t do this. I couldn’t handle the army; how can they expect me to do this!? There’s gotta be some mistake somewhere, someone else that should’ve been there, someone else instead of me. Askeladd, I’m scared, and-“

Thorfinn didn’t notice the griffon suddenly stand up, nor did he see Askeladd cross the distance between them with a single quick stride. What he did notice, however, was the mass of muscle and feathers suddenly covering his face, and the great weight of his companion’s head bending down across his shoulder. Forgetting dwarvish dignity and stoicism entirely, Thorfinn tried his best to return the hug, although his arms could barely reach halfway around the griffon’s shoulders.

The two of them simply sat there for a few minutes, feeling each other’s warmth and steady breathing. Askeladd may not have been able to speak, but his message got across all the same. “…I know, Asky, I know,” Thorfinn muttered eventually, his tone regaining its former steadiness. “I’ve got your back too. Not going anywhere without you. Never.”

Finally, the pair separated. The griffon returned to his cleaning, though he left the feathers across his chest as they were. The dwarf, after blowing his nose (and immediately cleaning the polish out of his nostrils), continued his work as well.

Regardless of what they wanted, fate had made it clear that their lives were going to get a hell of a lot more complicated. And there was no sense in facing that complication with poorly maintained equipment.

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A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

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