As our party left Jalizar, they were led across the vast land of the dread Sea Dominions. Passing through the region of Zandor. Travels through the Iron and Imperial trade routes built by the Iron Empire. Our heroes passed through the mountain ranges only to be haunted by dreams and visions of the future. Dreams and visions that may come to pass or merely glimpses of what might be.
As the group came onto its last day of a fortnight, it found its way to the Independent Cities and finally to the gates of Aquilonia, the city kingdom of Conan the Barbarian. The guards at the gate took down the names of our heroes and brought them before the king and Lister, Hi Sargent-at-arms. Salazar, Feng Tzu and Sigwolf all informed the king of their intent.
Conan looked at the three and said, “Well you don’t look better than those that came before you and they didn’t pass the test.”
Salazar looked at his companions and then back at the King, “Test??”
Conan smiled and said, “Of course there is a test, would you think I would let anyone ride with me? You look road worn, perhaps we should start in the morning and you will join us for this evenings meal.” He motioned to his page, “set them to separate rooms and give them bathing attendants”
Salazar thanked the king for the group and they went to their rooms and set about the task of getting cleaned and bathed for the evening meal.
After their bathing and freshening up, the three were summoned to the main hall where three long tables were set with meats, joints and various breads. Ale and wine were provided and the heroes took their seats next to the king and Lister. The three began questions the king and were informed of the kings children. Connobar, Conn, Den Selinia and
The king spoke of the island of Acensia and how he came to take an Amazon bride, all the while piquing the interest of the barbarian of the group. He spoke of his daughter and how she was taken back to Ascencia at age five and of her nurse maid.
When dinner was over, they returned to their rooms and Feng Tzu quickly met with Salazar and discussed his dreams that occurred during their journey to the kings city. Salazar told him that they should meet with Sigwolf so he could hear as well. Upon knocking upon Sigwolf’s door, the sounds of procreation. Feng Tzu and Salazar looked at each other and shook their heads.
They knocked on Sigwolf’s door and there was a brief pause then the sounds of footsteps. Sigwolf opened the door without his loincloth and said, “Enter – my bathing attendants might be able to walk for a few hours but…we can speak freely…”
They all three discussed their dreams and what they might mean…it was Salazar who then stated that he did not put much faith in dreams but the steel of his blade. They bid each other good night and went to practice separately for their trials in the morning.
Trials by Fire
Sigwolf was first to hear the knock on his door letting him know he would be soon tested.
As Sigwolf entered the main hall, he was escorted to a courtyard. Their he was met by Conan and Lister and a few other members of the kings army.
“Who shall be the one to test me?”, Sigwolf said. The king looked at him and said, “I will…the only way to test a barbarian is by another barbarian”
Sigwolf paused and then smiled. “We will not be using real weapons as I need you fresh, not beaten so this will only be to first blood”, said the king. So the pages brought out two short sword made of wood. The bowed to each other and then the test began. Sigwolf was indeed a skilled fighter and was matching the kings blows if not surpassing him. When Sigwolf made a skilled move and drew first blood from a blow to the kings back, there was a murmur amongst the soldiers.
“Quiet,” Conan said, “Sigwolf, you are indeed mighty as you have claimed, please head back to your rooms and wait to be summoned for the evening meal.” Conan called for his page, “See Sigwolf the mighty to his rooms and bring him two…no bring him four bathing attendants for his worthiness in his test here today!” And with that, Sigwolf was led back to his room smiling, having past the test and impressed the king…
An hour later, there was a knock at Feng Tzu’s door. Feng Tzu answered and then followed the page to the main hall. Conan, with a wrap around his midsection, said, “Feng Tzu, which shall you be tested in, your marital skills or your…other skills?” Feng Tzu looked about him and then said, “Martial skills, your highness” With that, Conan snapped his fingers and said, “Bring us Ming!”
From a side corridor came a Jademan of the same stature as Feng Tzu. “Ming, who is as you can see a Jadman monk as well. He will administer your test.”, said the king. Ming removed his tunic and went to the side to lay it neatly in a small bundle on the floor. He came back and removed his soft soled shoes and then preceded to bow before Conan, who merely nodded to Ming. Ming then walked to Feng Tzu and then bowed, keeping his eyes on the task at hand and then the test was on as Ming reached for his bo staff.
Feng Tzu bowed as well and started twirling his staff, a whistle coming from the staff emitted. Feng Tzu was quick but not quick enough for as he reached out with his staff, Ming was already extended and made contact on Feng Tzu’s shoulder.
Feng Tzu then came around looking to attack but was met again with a thrust of Ming’s bow staff to the stomach. Bending over, Feng Tzu was getting winded but was able to come around and connect to the temple of ming. Taken back, Ming twirled his bo staff and detached it into two batons…since this was a match to first blood, and being a monk as well, he remembered his teachings – “Learn the ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check; check rather than hurt; hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill; for all life is precious, nor can any be replaced.” …
Ming twirled his batons, and began his decent upon Feng Tzu, with a crack to Feng Tzu’s arms splitting the skin drawing first blood and ending the test of Feng Tzu.
Ming bowed to Feng Tzu and turned to Conan and bowed. Conan returned the bow with a non, then Ming walked ever so lightly to his tunic and left the main hall. "Feng Tzu, that was no easy task. Please return to your room, for while you did not pass this test, I will speak with you later.
An hour later, Salazar heard a knock at the door and a page entered begging the soldier’s presence within the main hall. Salazar was up earlier in the morning fully clothed, spear and shield in hand…awaiting his test. He rose and gripped the extensions of his limbs and once more, readied himself for battle. As he walked into the main hall, he noticed soldiers from Conan’s army gathered about. “Salazar, are you ready for your test?” Said King Conan,
Salazar, replied, “I am” and Conan motioned to Lister who was followed by two pages, each carrying a wooden sword. “Since you are a soldier and Lister here is of your ranks, he will be the one to administer your test” Lister saluted, Salazar returning the gesture. Conan simply stated, “Begin” and the two men began circling each other. Lister, confident as he was, reached out first but was met with an uncanny defense by Salazar. Salazar, motioned for Lister but no words were spoken, for each knew what the motion meant. “Come”
Lister drew in for a strike but was met with a strike from the head of Salazar’s shield. Lister shaken, reached back to strike but was deflected. Salazar reached out and struck lister in the arm, and with that as quickly as it started, Salazar drew first blood and the test was ended. There was a murmur among the soldiers and Lister drew back and saluted.
Conan, “Salazar, please return to your rooms and await the evening meal,” he motioned for his page, “Fetch two bathing attendants and see them to his room”
Later that evening, in the main hall, Salazar, Sigwolf and Feng Tzu were brought to the main hall. they feasted and again had an audience with Conan and Lister. They were to leave in the next morning, Conan, Salazar, Sigwolf and Feng Tzu and accompanying them would be two pack animals with provisions and two rangers. Sigwolf, asked Conan for a double headed axe he took from a Ivory Tribesmen. And on the following morning agreed for it would be fitting to pass along a piece of his history to one so much like Conan was when he was young.
The next day they set off to the the priest house of Conn. They traveled for two days and on the second day while in the midst of the crags, Sigwolf and Salazar felt as if they were being watched. Similar to his dream, Salazar hung close to the king. Sigwolf noticing the sound of rocks moving ahead of them motioned for all to be ready. Salazar heard a bow sting snap from his left and with a second nature, lifted his shield up and caught an arrow intended for Conan. Sigwolf and Conan drew their swords. Feng Tzu readied him self and his staff. And then from above on their right, another bow string snapped and a big arrow sunk its way deep into Conan right side of his chest. Falling to the ground, Salazar quickly moved to cover the fallen king.
Above, was the black robed figure of Connobar, his brother Den with his Hell hound, and an archer. Connobar addressed Feng Tzu, “I warned you monk, victory will not be yours” And in his hand he produced a lightning bolt and sent it hurtling towards Feng Tzu. Missing, Feng Tzu bolted up the side of the rocks. Sigwolf, threw a hand axe he had and it missed Connobar. Salazar stayed in place guarding the king.
Connobar again swirled his hands and produced another bolt striking Feng Tzu. Den the druid brother of Connobar sent his hell hound after Feng Tzu. The archer let loose an arrow and intended for Sigwolf, bounced off of his loin cloth hero-ed chest!! (Unbelievable)
Sigwolf, too began to climb the crags. Salazar again remained there to protect the king.
The hell hound upon reaching Feng Tzu was burned badly by Feng Tzu’s magic as he touched his staff to the beast and a howl emitted from it nearly freezing people in their place. Connobar let loose another lightning bolt at Feng Tzu this time, striking the monk who was taking shelter amongst the rocks. Sigwolf approached and swung his axe at Den who went down quickly as he was not as mighty as his brother Connobar. Feng Tzu sent Connobar back again with his staff and the archer let loose another arrow which again, bounced off of Sigwolf’s chest.
Connobar picked himself up and went to his brother, looking down at his father said, “you will die father, and it will be by my hand” and with that he looked up at the heavens and screamed “WIND!” and a dust cloud engulfed Den and Connobar and they were gone.
Sigwolf began chasing the archer but he was bounding down the crags to escape. Salazar lifted his shield from Conan who grabbed his arm and said, protect my son and my daughter, any that get in your way destroy them!
Feng Tzu tried to heal Conan but it was decided that it would be best if he returned and that one of the rangers take him back. The other ranger would be able to lead them to the priest house of Conan’s son Conn and the unknown that awaits.