Yesterday I mentioned in passing that one of my favorite parts of classic-style gaming is the “emergent story” that happens at the table (opposed to say the newer habits of heavy pre-layering of GM meta-plots). Dice fall, combats are won and lost, jokes made and in all that chaos a “story” is made after the fact.
David Rollins playing the “pretty boy” ministrel-gladiator (a strangeness made possible by my Conan/ZeFRS random gen system) Nireus in the second one-shot composed one of the better (or at least amusing) first-person accounts I have read. I present his mighty ballad here for readers.
The Tale of Nireus and the Foul Sorcerer Mogg
Hark! Gather close and hear the tale of how the great Nireus of Argos came to save the people of Ifar from the terrors of Mogg and the temple on the blue mountain.
It is a tale that begins, like so many, with a betrayal. Betrayal that lead to the destruction of the fierce company of warriors known as the Free Companions. With the rest of the Companions scattered and hopeless, Nireus gathered a small group of stalwart warriors to him and struck out across the steppes.
It was a journey that would purify their spirits with hardship. When they finally drank deeply of the pure waters of Ifar their minds were clear of purpose and their souls full of mercy and determination. Aye, such men as these could do naught else when the warrior princess Larissa beseeched their aid in the protection of the sacred village of Ifar.
Long had the foul necromancer plagued the good people of Ifar but lo, of late he had taken to capturing the fair maidens of the town to sacrifice in his diabolical rites.
Nireus, moved by their plight, gathered his men: Galbor of the Steppes, Iago the Zigaran and his faithful retainer Virain the Poet and bade Larissa lead him to the fell, blue mountain of the necromancer and priest of unmentionable gods, Mogg.
She lead the courageous troupe over dangerous mountain paths filled with harrowing heights and fierce creatures without number. Still, the men of Nireus won through with little trouble. When they reached the mountain the fair warrior maiden gave them three choices for the assent to the foul temple. The first was far in the distance, an easy trail up the mountain which they could see was clear of enemy and danger. The second was closer and offered a simple walk up a mountain path cut by a lazy river. The last was closer still; an arch that lead into the darkness beneath mountain and into the lower levels of the temple. Surely the enemy lay there in wait for the heroes that the gods would provide to the good people of Ifar!
The trials of the journey had done naught but wet the appetite of Nireus for battle. He chose to immediately grapple with the darkness of the temple and plunged into the inky uncertainty of the archway.
He ordered Larissa wait at the entrance for their inevitable return but she was noble and brave and would stand with her saviours, come what may.
The first door was a simple puzzle which Nireus had open in a mere moment but they were forced to walk in single file through a narrow corridor. Keen-eyed Iago took the lead, ever wary for the foemen of the terrible mountain while Nireus came behind him leading the beautiful Larissa by her hand.
A heavy door slid out of the wall and struck a terrible blow against Nireus; though he kept to his feet. Even so, while Nireus regained his balance an awful creature of the grave came from behind the door to tear poor Larissa from his grasp! The creature returned to the darkness with Larissa in tow and the heavy door began sliding closed behind him. With no holds or rings upon the door to grasp, the determined Argosian jammed his trident into the narrow space left and levered the stone door open with a might unmatched in these times.
While he held the cyclopean portal wide his men dashed into the secret way to give chase to the foul creature and his fair prize, Larissa. Understanding the will of their leader, Galbor and Virain quickly dashed through the door, though Iago was distracted by the decor of the room and had to be commanded to follow. The great door slammed shut behind Nireus as he followed his men but alas, they were slower than the preternatural creature and soon lost him in the maze of tunnels beneath the mountain.
Their trials as they searched the mountain for the fair princess Larissa were many and unnatural but there were a few battles note.
In a great cavern two demonic creatures, horrific blending of bats and men, descended from the darkness to harry the courageous band. Iago and Galbor fell upon one and tore at the thing's wings. Nireus shrugged off the pain of the fiend's claws as the larger creature raked his muscular flesh. He struck it to the ground with a sweep of his trident. Virain, with no martial skill of his own but a great loyalty to his friend and master, grabbed at the demon's wing to keep it from escaping Nireus' wrath. With a single blow, Nireus transfixed the the foul thing with his trident and sent it back to the hell from whence it had come.
Soon after the cavern, the bold band of heroes entered a great hall filled with pyramids of bones. What suffering these corpses had to endure the heroes could not know, even so they steeled themselves to avenge each and every one of the multitude strewn before them. They did not travel far when they were confronted by a terrible ghoul such as had taken the fair Larissa. Quick witted Iago pulled an ancient tapestry from the wall and wrapped it about the creature. Nireus leapt upon the bones of the fallen to prepare to deliver the final blow as brave and sure Virain touched his torch to the tapestry. The foul creature writhed widely in the flames but it was for nought as as a mighty blow from Nireus' trident brought it low forever.
Galbor and Virain turned to face two more ghoulish horrors as Iago ran from the battle to tear another tapestry from the wall. Galbor fell beneath the savagery of his foe while Virain stumbled out of reach of the blows meant to bring his own death. Nireus bellowed and dipped his trident into the fire of his still burning foe so that it might know the heat of his rage and struck Galbor's killer squarely. It too knew the heat of his fury as it burst into flames and died it's final death in screaming agony. While Iago swung from the second tapestry in his efforts to dislodge it, Nireus delivered another mighty blow to the final ghoul and laughed as it too suffered a flaming death of righteous fury.
Their thoughts on the peril of the fair Larissa, the heroes quickly cremated Galbor's remains over the burning bodies of his vanquished foes, praying his soul would rise upon the smoke of vengeance to the heavens.
Climbing upward through the gloomy halls of the temple the heroes came to a room with no floor. Housed beneath the scant and narrow beams, a creature of shadow and malice approached the three companions. Furious at what the delay might mean for the fate of fair Larissa, Nireus brandished his fearsome trident, Tribrand, and prepared to deal the hellish fiend a mortal blow. To the surprise of all, as he shook the fell weapon, a flame shot out of the fork toward the darkness of the creature. It recoiled from the furious light and cowered at the entrance to its lair.
Iago, emboldened by the creature's cowardice sauntered across the narrow beam with only the gentle sway of his hips to hold his balance. With the sure feet and powerful gait of a mountain lion Nireus also crossed the chamber. Virain followed with a watchful eye on the shadowy evil below.
The heroes then came to a chasm so deep it seemed to be without a bottom. Though a red glow far into the depths promised a fiery death should one of them fall. Even so, with the Ifar and Larissa depending on them, they did not hesitate and swung across the deep wound in the earth on a rusty old chain that hung from the ceiling.
A dark and twisting tunnel lead them to the decayed temple on the mountain peak. As they alighted the heap of rubble at the entrance they saw the evil Mogg chanting and preparing Larissa and another daughter of Ifar for sacrifice to his foul god. With a bellow of challenge, Nireus charged across the distance to bring Mogg's unnatural life to an end with Iago on his heels. Virain scuttled behind the rubble and made his approach to the fair victims with all speed that he safely could.
Mogg dispatched a lion's corpse, bound by unholy necromancy and strengthened by it's unnatural attachment to the mortal realm, to intercept the two valiant warriors. It was a worthy challenge for Nireus' skill and Tribrand twitched in his hands at the creature's approach. Still, he knew his duty was to rescue the the women and rid the world of the sorcerer Mogg's evil so he dug the butt of Tribrand into the rubble and vaulted over the beast so he could continue his charge.
Iago's twin blades flashed and struck the beast like lightning striking the steppes. He hacked chunks of dead flesh from its carcass and still it clawed vainly at him while they danced their fearsome duet. Iago leapt upon the great creature's back and plunged his daggers deep into its eyes and rode it until its spirit returned to the land of the dead for its final rest.
While Iago fought heroically against Mogg's hell-spawn minion, Virain struggled to cut the bonds of the Fair Princess Larissa and Nireus rained mighty blows upon Mogg in an effort to cancel his horrific magics. Mogg's chants evoked a terrible vortex of blood red mist above the alter. A dread creature from beyond entered the vortex and slapped vainly about the heroes with a multitude of tentacles.
Virain freed Larissa but was struck down by the dread god's tentacle before he could reach other fair maid.
The titanic struggle between Nireus and Mogg raged as the storm rages. Nireus cast aside the bindings of Mogg's magic like so many cobwebs. He struck a mortal blow, driving Triband deep into Mogg's chest. Even so, the bond between the sorcerer and the monstrous creature of the vortex remained unbroken. Nireus gripped his great trident in two hands and tossed Mogg into the air as a farmer tosses sheaves of wheat with his fork. Still he chanted, invoking the dread god alight upon the mountain's peak. Once more Nireus struck the sorcerer, Tribrand biting into his neck and chest. With heaving of his mighty arms he tore out Mogg's throat and collar bone, forever stanching the flow of hellish filth from Mogg's mouth.
And so it was finished. The mist cleared and the dread creature of the abyss disappeared. Virain recovered quickly from his wounds and Iago sauntered sexily down the mountain trail weighing double by Mogg's treasure.
A toast to the mighty warrior and hero: Nireus of Argos!