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Reader (played anonymously)

Screams, fire, blood, smoke, and the clashing of weapons filled the night. Horns and bells blazed their hardest as they tried to warn everyone inside before the impending doom struck. The wooden walls could not hold them out for long, and even then some saw a battering ram approaching the northern gate. The last bastions of safety being the Lord's keep, the Guard Barracks, and maybe the tavern. As the battering ram struck it's last against the northern gate, the Sorceress' army flooded in.

It is dawn on a foggy morning. The sun's light among the pinkish-blue sky bleeds over the ocean's horizon, and lights up what is left of the southern port town of Vallan. The Keep and Barracks, while still standing, have many rafters and supports either burned down or broken. Some walls and pillars have even collapsed in on themselves. And the tavern blessed be, has most of it's walls charred or turned into piles of ash. The basement and it's door however, remained completely untouched by anything.

Most of the ground is covered in ash, and bones and charred bodies litter the areas near the gates. In the training ground of the barracks lies a large corpse of some burned beast, looking like something between a large lion and a scorpion. Most of the houses are burned or destroyed, same for the various stalls or shops. And the faint noise of a feminine voice crying out for help breaks the silence, ringing out from the now mostly ruined jail building which housed the prisoners and cells. And last but most certainly not least, in the northern distance, dark swirling clouds can be seen encircling the mountain's top.
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

“Well I certainly wasn’t expecting this,” an elderly figure clad in black robes stood on a nearby cliff opposite of the dark cloud, “it’s like Kvatch all over again.” Beside him, a Clannfear howled into the wind, seemingly conversing with him. “Don’t talk rubbish, Dagon,” the man scolded, “I know full well you weren’t there.” It screeched back, and the man threw up his hands in exasperation. “It doesn’t matter now,” he waved his hands, peering into the past with his Psijic knowledge; it seemed the town had been attacked by a sorceress of some kind, though he couldn’t make out every detail. He put a black hood over his horned head, an adequate disguise when worn right, took up his staff, and ventured into the ruins, keeping an eye out for any sort of dark magic.
Rook (played by Juls)

It's going to rain today, the outrider, Sarah Rook thought, eyeing the morning sky turning pink. She'd been up since slightly before the first hint of dawn, riding her gray gelding named Hobo back toward Vallan and was eager to reach the port town before the rain set in. A nice mug of ale at the tavern and a dry stable for her horse sounded like a lovely treat, particularly after the two day scouting mission that had taken her west. Maybe even Leonardo had arrived? She'd not seen her childhood friend in a long time, but he was to arrive soon via a ship and they'd each agreed to leave word at the tavern so they could meet up.

But as she drew closer, she caught the smell of smoke that grew steadily stronger. Worried, she pushed Hobo into a canter, covering the last mile before what was left of the town came into view. "By the gods," she said, pulling the horse up sharply, simply staring for several long moments at the smoldering remains of the town. But whatever army had done this seemed to have already left, so she kicked the horse once again and they headed toward the smashed gates, then down the main road, picking their way over debris and bodies. Tears came down Rook's face at the massacre.

And then the cry for help caught her ear. Without hesitation, she heads toward it and dismounts as she wipes her tears away, focusing on the task at hand. The jail... well, no matter, even if it's a criminal, there is no sense in just letting her starve to death trapped in there. "Are you here?" she calls into the debris. "Call again. I'll try to get you out!"
Reader (played anonymously)

The keep looms in the distance, with one of it's pillars crumbled to debris at it's right side, and it's wooden gate ripped off it's hinges. The smell of smoke is still ever present, and the burned bodies are starting to attract flies. Strangely, no birds dare to sing on this morn around the town, possibly scared away from all the fire. And then lies the remains of the jail.

A long building, and nearly all of it's exterior had crumbled to debris, it essentially being fashioned like a long hallway with small what-used-to-be cells lining the walls. At the very end lies a wooden door near part of the building which was mostly still standing. The door is blocked by a wooden support, it remaining slumped against the door by some dusty stone debris at it's base. Banging can be heard coming from it.

Some of the cells have puddles of blood, and others full on bodies either long dead, or covered in rubble with limbs peeking out. The voice rings out again from the blocked door. "Over here! The dungeon door's blocked! Help!"
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

Clearly, this was the work of something foreign, perhaps interplanal, if the scorch marks had any indication; it appeared to spread in all directions, rather than straight upward as normal flame would. Dagon screeches, directing the sorcerer to the remains of what must have been a dungeon, though with all the damage strewn about, it was difficult to be certain. He strode past the empty cells, his tail dragging behind his long robes. The tapping of his staff with every other step echoed in those that still had some depth to them, though not many did at this point. He made certain to avoid falling rubble, though some caught him by surprise; these, he froze in time using Psijic magic, letting it fall behind him after he had passed. He noticed a few unusual symbols on occasion, each a different motif than the others; this intrigued him, but he was unable to translate or even originate them, despite his time in Sadrith Mora and Ceporah Tower.
Lord knight Tron Pentre, commonly called Terrible Tron by the locals, was, by far and wide, no less cruel and sadistic than the sorceress that had just scorched this village to near complete obliteration.The difference being that what he lacked in magic he made up for it with the heavy weight of the law. There seemed to be two things he was completely void of, those two were fear and compassion. All justice, no mercy.

The morning rose like any other at the village, with some ships leaving port after dropping off the monthly cargo and a handful of newcomers. It seemed rather normal until the disturbance happened, Leonardo, a known wandering ranger who occasionally dropped by to sell skins and buy provisions, had been accused of sorcery by no other than the bartender, known for blackmailing and cheating customers. The accusation issued was that Leonardo had been using dark magic to haggle a lower price with which to secure the trade and sorcery of that nature was entirely forbidden and heavily punished.

Lord Pentre cared not for the truth, the rumour was spread, the turmoil present at the tavern and he had an expectation as head knight of keeping peace and enforcing law and order. Besides, he disliked those righteous sods like Sir Arnold and ranger Leonardo whose rivalry was well known. Given this opportunity, he wasted no time at all to come to apprehend the culprit and force the trial with a likely outcome of capital punishment. He had Sir Arnold seize Leonardo and bring him to The Keep. It was all going rather well, Pentre was looking forward to the gory execution, for things had been much too quiet for his liking... when it all unraveled at that very moment.
Toyle, the lord of Valan was resting in The Keep as he always did. It was early in the morning when the knights and guards left the barracks, some making their way to the dungeons and some made their way to the port village to keep peace. Later on, at noon, he saw Sir Pentre and Sir Arnold bring a shackled prisoner to his presence, undoubtedly a petty criminal waiting to face justice. Upon arrival he learned that this ranger had been accused of causing disturbance at the tavern and using sorcery; an account of breach of peace was concerning but the latter was an even graver matter. They had been at The Keep passing judgment upon this wanderer when disaster struck. The dark clouds, the ominous roars and screeches of the unholy creatures, the hellfire and suffocating smoke that had a sulfuric stench to it, morbidly complimented the unbearable heat of the fire, the horrid loud screams and pain filled wails of the defenseless villagers as they were suddenly attacked and slaughtered, getting caught entirely unprepared. There was raw fear, despair and sorrow in the air, for the sorceress was sowing chaos everywhere... until there was nothing left but ashes, hot coals and a dreadful silence.

Sir Pentre, Sir Arnold, the lord Toyle had tried in vain to round up their armed men, gather their small army to defend the village but the efforts were of little or no avail, loosing track of the captive ranger in the process of organizing and commanding the meager defense attempt. In the end they barricaded themselves and took shelter in The Keep where the walls were strongest while out there lay the outcome... death, bloodshed, destruction and burnt corpses. Most of the houses had been lost to the flames along with the provisions and the very few survivors to be found lay mostly wounded and scattered among the ruins.

Once it was over, Toyle sent the guards to accompany him to assess the damage... much too great to be work of human hands for sure. With this in mind, there was only one thing left to do, retrieve and heal the wounded, bury the dead and start the painstaking task of rebuilding what had been lost though resources were scarce and it would be a whole month before more provisions were brought.
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

He continued down the ruined halls, strange runes and falling rubble aplenty; he was starting to get annoyed with this whole endeavor, and found himself wanting something, or anything, to give him some semblance of excitement. The door was blocked by a bit of wooden rubbish, keeping it from being opened on either side. “I’m certain this is why my people never build permanent structures,” he muttered, “other than the tides of change, of course.” He started an incantation that would burn the wood, and only the wood, down to allow him to move the doorway and allow whomever was trapped within to escape; no one deserved a slow death, not even those who had committed atrocities against mankind in the past.
Rook (played by Juls)

"Over here! The dungeon door's blocked! Help!" The voice was a bit faint, but this time Rook was able to detect where it came from and headed toward it.

Though as she was drawing close, a hideous lizard thing emerged from the rubble. It was as tall as a tall human man, horns upon its head and a long tail. Never had the ranger seen such a creature and Rook's breath caught in her throat as it came close to the door. Was this the creature responsible for the destruction?

It hadn't seemed to notice her, intent upon getting to the survivor. Probably so that it could kill her too, she thought. Rook slipped quietly behind one of the still standing columns, knocking an arrow to her bow string as the creature began to speak... some kind of incantation it sounded like. She couldn't let it finish. The woman trapped there would have no defense. "LEAVE HER ALONE!" She yelled, trying to not let the fear be heard in her voice as she stepped out from behind her cover, arrow trained at the monster's chest.
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

“My dear,” he sighed, his ritual interrupted, “you really need to learn not to startle a Telvanni wizard-lord when he’s performing an attempt of rescue; on that note, it might be a wise idea to put down the bow before I loose my Clannfear on you.” Dagon was right next to her, having managed to sneak around and get into a position to aid his master, should he need it. “I suspect you’re here to help this prisoner, too,” he continued, “I would have gotten them freed, had you not barged in like a Wamasu in heat. Now do you intend to introduce yourself, or are you eager to taste the storm of a Psijic mage?”
Pentre's approach to survivors was as ruthless as his reputation. Anyone he found injured beyond feasible and easy recovery, he merely slaughtered with his sword, commanding all the guards to finish off those they came across in like manner.

"Sir... it is murder of innocents" protested Sir Arnold the righteous knight.

"Nay... it is being merciful by putting them out of suffering and misery. They would not have recovered given their injuries and infection is a worse, slower death. Besides our healing provisions are too limited for them all and food rations are scarce too after this. Sacrifices must be made for the greater good to stave off starvation" informed Pentre coldly, running another moribund through whose pleas of help and mercy turned to silence

Seeing the rising turmoil at the further end, lord knight Pentre made his way over to them, sword and shield to hand, bringing what few guards he had left and used a stern commanding voice and posture.

"I suggest you all sheathe weapons and withdraw from this rubble, peasants. It is against the law to free prisoners and break captives out of jail. In fact, it is high treason to release prisoners, even in these circumstances. You will be arrested if you dare interfere with justice and the penalty is often capital punishment" informed firmly the knight causing Sir Arnold to tighten his fists as clearly, Pentre intended to let those trapped die beneath the rubble
Rook (played by Juls)

Half of what the horned creature said was gibberish to her. But one thing she understood all too well was the movements of the second creature... another vicious looking reptile that looked much less humanoid than the speaker... like that of a hunter, trying to circle around to her side, getting into a position to attack and she moved a few feet to the left so that it could not come straight at her. She swung the bow toward the Clannfear instead, realizing she was in a very bad spot indeed, the rest of Arun-Ja's speech overshadowed.

Luckily, others were approaching and she risked a quick glance backwards before immediately returning her gaze to the lizard creatures. Humans, good. Though she blinked in surprise at the knight's words. Peasants? Did he not see the horns? The tail?

"M'Lord," she said, backing toward him and the guards slightly, her bow still trained on the Clannfear. "It was attempting some sort of dark magic." She now recognized Terrible Tron and certainly held no love for the cruel man. But right at this moment he seemed the lesser threat. She could always come back and help the prisoner later, once they'd moved on.
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

“It?!” He happened to find that word offensive, especially for one of his power. “I am Arun-Ja Xercles, not IT, as you so blatantly suggest; I am a Wizard-lord of House Telvanni, Loremaster of the Psijic Order, Apostle of the Clockwork God, and a savior of Nirn not once but thrice over. I am not to be equated to an animal or monstrosity, especially not at this moment. I have no power in this specific dark magic, as you suggest; rather, I was conducting a ritual to burn away the wood and allow for those trapped within to escape. Though, if you would prefer them to die... well, normally I’d say I’d oblige, but with this ‘noble’ claiming they don’t deserve to live, I’ll have to say otherwise. Now, explain who you are, or I’ll summon more of these Daedra.”
Reader (played anonymously)

"Pentre! Someone! Stop arguing and let me out of here! I've been in here all night!" The voice screams again, banging on the door. Some of the rubble shifts at the base of the wood, but it nonetheless remains blocking the door from opening. After a few moments of banging, it stops, only to resume again but this time accompanied by the sounds of it being struck by something repeatedly. The edge of some sort of sword can be seen occasionally poking through the door with each strike.
"Goodness, Aria! I thought you would have been at The Keep with the other guards" grumbled Pentre from the outside. "Hang on in there" shouted Pentre looking back at Arun-ja, Rook, Sir Arnold and whoever else was nearby.

"Don't just stand there like fools, get digging you peasants, and I might just this once, spare you all a charge of sorcery and the gallows!" barked Pentre he himself taking the trouble of leaving the sword and shield aside and coming to help remove the rubble and dislodge the trapped door
Rook (played by Juls)

Telvanni, Psijic, Clockwork God, Nirn?! She had little idea what the lizard creature was talking about, but he said the words as if they were something she should be deeply impressed by. Rook eyed Arun-Ja suspiciously as he claimed to have been trying to aid the trapped person. But even more bizarre to her was complete disregard of his presence by Pentre and his men. Were they in league somehow? Did Pentre himself have something to do with what had happened here in Vallan? The unanswered questions ran through her mind, but she trusted none here to ask them.

The ranger looked up, as if asking the gods to help her make sense of this. And that was when her eyes landed on the northern mountain and the dark swirl of clouds that encircled it. The sorceress... she lived there. Did the dark clouds mean the witch was the cause or that she, too, had suffered the same fate? Yet more questions.

As Pentre went to free the trapped person... Aria, it seemed, Rook took the tension off her bow string and put the arrow back her quiver. "I have rope in my saddle bags," she murmured her excuse, as if that could aid the effort, then headed back toward where Hobo waited.
Pentre paused briefly to clap his hands off the dust and dirt, catching sight of Rook trying to leave on pretext of having rope back with her horse. "Be quick about it, woman, you rangers can be quite light fingered, loose tongued and fast footed when it suits you. Failing to assist adequately I shall return to the consideration that all rangers use sorcery and thus are guilty of high treason" reminded Pentre to get her cooperating harder and better

"I might end up having to use your rope to make you dance in the wind, should Aria perish... you know, an additional account of murder by failing to provide aid to a royal guard, another for summoning these creatures of the dark" mentioned Pentre now blaming Arun-ja presence because of Rook

"Perhaps we might even blame your guild of inciting or even summoning that wretched sorceress and hold you rangers into account for this mass slaughter. After all, you rangers are known to dabble in the black arts and magic and the sorceress did strike just as we were about to hang a ranger, conveniently foiling the execution altogether" remarked Pentre suspiciously, briefly rubbing his chin thoughtfully before returning to removing stones, debris and help clear the way to open the door.
Arun-Ja (played by Arcol)

“I’d hardly consider myself a creature of the dark,” the sorcerer retorted, “Dagon, maybe, but me? Never in a thousand lifetimes. Sorcery is not evil, nor is it necessarily dark, at least where I am from; there, I am a legend. Here, nothing more than a ‘monster of darkness,’ as your ‘high lordship’ suggests.” He took a moment to examine the symbols from earlier, taking notes of each one he found. “I don’t suppose these symbols have anything to do with that dark, ominous cloud, do they,” he inquired, the stern tone of his voice emotionless, “I noticed them as I made my way down here, but neither my Psijic magics or my knowledge of runic languages could decipher them; Aldmer, Falmer, Daedric, not even Aedric. I suppose that’s given, though; none of those tongues would apply here.” He returned his gaze to the nobleman, clearly thinking himself above all others. “It’s so rare to see the high and mighty among the low and filthy,” he remarked sarcastically, “what have these survivors done to receive your blessed graces, I wonder?”
Pentre paused a moment. "Not all of the captives will be released... no... just Aria. The rest... I shall ran them through with the sword if they are not dead already. With Aria there, I doubt I have any leftover work to do disposing of criminals. We are aiding Aria because she is my favored acolyte, an assassin that never fails to accomplish orders and leaves no loose ends when she's done. Unlike the witch from the mountain that left all these scattered bodies to be cleaned up after her. Aria is an outstanding executioner with finesse, trained by the very best of course" boasted Pentre flattering himself as if his pride needed more polishing.

"Arun-ja I would suggest you blast that door and free the woman. If you can manage that, then we will make you the court's healer, a royal apothecary, tasked with treating the wounded sent your way or perhaps a royal adviser at the service of the king. With your knowledge, we might find a way to defeat that sorceress who dares outshine my cruel reputation. However, once Aria is free, you will refrain from mentioning the word magic or powers. We shall spare your life and forget you have anything to do sorcery" proposed Pentre happy to sell his soul and bargain with wizards and sorcerers to have his right hand woman released.
Rook (played by Juls)

"Of course, m'lord," Rook said, biting back any further retort to the threats he'd made. She was introverted by nature, having always gotten along better with animals than most people. With people, she tended to weigh her words so long that usually the opportunity to say what she might had already passed her by before she determined how to say it.

She hurried to the horse, Pentre's threats weighing heavy on her. And as much as she might want to put as much distance between herself and the man, as well as whatever that Arun-Ja thing was, it was Pentre's last statement that convinced her to get the rope and try to help free the woman.

She returned quickly and tied the rope around the wooden support that is blocking the door, venturing a tentative question as she worked. "Who is the ranger, m'lord? I should report it back." She looped the rope around a still standing stone column to use it as a pulley, then pulled hard, trying to move the beam...

(Edit based on that pathetic roll... lol)

"Here, it's too heavy... help me with this..." she said, gesturing to the rope.

rolled 1d20 and got a natural 2. After the modifier of +1, got 3

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