Kal

Kal is CN, a drifter. thrillseeker. Always moving, can’t sit still for long(w/out Tavi’s sometimes calming influence). Prone to exuberant outbursts and saying what’s on his mind (Tavi likes it because then she can “communicate” back. Without him talking out loud, she can still broadcast feelings but there’s little context to give her outbursts of happy/sad/angry/etc any clear meaning). Kal is by nature pretty bubbly, free-spirited, etc. With Tavi along, he’s essentially having the feelings of two people (two people who often think alike), so his highs and lows tend to be exacerbated.

Kal is a halfling. He was recently rescued by the rest of the group from a military outpost prison in the far North. He had been accosted by a military patrol(Bugbear? corrupt Human maybe?) and divested of his obvious magic items (they missed the concealed possum pouch). He managed to track the patrol back to their main camp, snuck in and attacked the captain in his tent and recovered his magic items. They subsequently managed to subdue him, but not before he was able to hide most of his magic items out of camp and hide his magic amulet in his possum pouch. He was incarcerated for a couple months along with a bugbear deserter. After initial confrontations with the fellow prisoner they eventually bonded (‘Enemy mine’ style) and became comrades. When the group arrived to bust him out Kal convinced the group to let the bugbear out as well.

Tavi (minor intelligent magic item)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Personality…
Tavi is feminine, protective, with a wild spirit(like a gypsy). She has somewhat conflicting ambitions – on the one hand she wishes to keep Kal alive and out of harm’s way; however, she is also somewhat insecure and is best able to reassert her value when Kal is in life-threatening situations. She tends to save her healing for when Kal’s health is below half. She especially enjoys readying an action to save her last CMW for bringing back Kal from the brink of unconciousness.

She encourages confrontations where Kal can show off his abilities, especially singular combat. She can understand Chelikt and Elven, and enjoys Kal talking out loud so she can provide her opinion/feminine insight (via empathy). If she goes too long without being consulted or gets overruled too often she gets pouty. In extreme situations of wearer-dominance, like when Kal initially found her, she can throw temper tantrums – like using extreme fluctuations in mood, and toggling her at-will illumination – to interrupt sleep and be a general annoyance until some sort of compromise is reached. Kal has since learned to trust her with the healing, occasionally court her opinion, and never stow her away.

She is ok with Kal receiving healing from other sources and saving her ministrations for more dire situations, as long as the healing isn’t from a female or another intelligent magic item. It would also take some major persuading if Kal were to have any magic items of greater value. Kal has grown very dependent on the amulet and is currently saving up to buy her an upgrade.


“Have I told you kids the story about the time I broke into prison?”

So, there I was – about 50 or 60 years ago – my confidants and I rowing across to the Elven prison island. A caldera where the earth exploded in fire and brimstone and left a huge gaping maw of land out in the…

“Whoooooa, you were on a volcano?”

Yes, yes I was… An active volcano out in the middle of the lake. So there we were sneaking onto the island when the wizard we were with all of a sudden took off and attacked one of the guard towers! As we all rushed forward to engage the guards streaming out of the nearby buildings, the wizard turned tail and fled, taking off with our boat

“NO!”

Yes, taking off with our boat and leaving us stranded on the island – surrounded by evil monks and no sign of help. I learned a lesson that day: never trust an Evil Wizard. There ya go. Anyway, so we fought off the evil monks and t…

“But what about the lava?!”

Oh yes, the Lava! Burning hot lava! Luckily, we had another wizard along and he was able to do his wizard hojo to cool the lava as we walked.

“Ooooooh”

Indeed. So we find ourselves at the entrance down to teh actual prison. A hole going down hundreds of feet. There was a lift going down, but the evil monks had sabotaged it! Trapped on the island, no way out, no way down, my companions began discussing a way to scale the cliff walls.

“What did you do?!”

<kal> I jumped! Woooosh!

“Awesome! ... Did you get hurt?”

Of course… But you shoulda seen the cavern floor! KaPOW!

So there I were, surrounded by 60 evil mean prisoners, crowding in all around me meaning to do all sorts of prisonery things to me. The leader of them all, a beautiful human woman with long dark hair and huge human breasts that swayed as

“Kaaal! Are you talking about breasts again in front of the kids?!”

No, no certainly not! <kal> Huuuge.

So she says to me “throw down your weapons, handsome.”

And I said…

“What’d you say grandpa?! What’d you say!”

<standing> And I SAID… Woman! This is your last chance to surrender – surrender immediately and I might not have to kill all of you.

<hushed>

“what happened next?”

Well, they didn’t surrender. They threw me in a jail cell.

“You let them throw you in a jail cell?”

Yea, but that was all part of the plan! And besides, it was only temporary…


So that ends the story of how I led us out of the jail.

Let me muse for a moment about my then-current companions.

Jack. A fellow halfling. A practitioner of magic, but very humble about his abilities, he created a number of magic items for our group. Specialist, I believe, is the word I’m looking for – he didn’t know many spells but the ones he did were often unexpected but useful.

Jyobo. Hobgoblin. Big hobgoblin. A kindred spirit, Jyobo was a fellow master of the blade. Rather quiet at times, he focused his training on making a single deadly strike. This approach, while not as impressive as my several dozen attacks with one deadly strike technique, was nonetheless fun to watch.

Anthys. Elf. ‘ish. Anthys was the core party wizard. Jack had spells sure, but Anthys was the one with the slightly more pragmatic bent. Fireballs, Invisibility, what have you. His spells got us out of a lot of jams. I know I’ve told you kids never to trust someone who spends too much time readin, but there are rare exceptions.

Dawn. Humunah humunah. She informally joined our party just before our raid on the prison island. She formally joined our party after we steamrolled everything on the island. Had not seen her in combat much up to that point, but she made her presence known in the fights to come.

William. Crocolodiskadon. William, as I liked to call him, was the party mount. Jack and Anthys killed him in doubular combat, and then Jack animated him to serve as the official party submersible. He really came into his own when we were trying to leave the Elven lands for more hospitable cimates.


“So, Mr… Kal, is it? Hmmm. It says here-”
Where’s my amulet?
“Your amulet is sa-”
I want my amulet back; I am refusing to talk until you return my amulet.
“You don’t get to make the demands. You’ve been defeated and captured by the 20 and-”
I wasn’t captured.
“It says here, you were captured by the 20 aft-”
I wasn’t captured, I surrendered.
”...”
...
“We-”
There’s a difference!
“Fine. Duly noted. Moving on.”
Thank you.
“Now, if you behave we’re wi-”
I wouldn’t really say I was defeated either.
“Excuse me?”
It was more of a tie. I could’ve kept fighting.
“I don’t see how that really matters now.”
Well, it’s just like… if every time someone surrenders you go around telling everyone they were “defeated”, I don’t think you’re going to get many people surrendering. I’m here of my own volition.
”...”
Like a guest.
“Guest may be a little strong.”
Like a visitor, then.
“A visitor in arm and leg manacles and his legs chained to his chair?”
I wasn’t going to complain or anything but since you brought it up…
“Normally we’re content to put “visitors” such as yourself in a holding cell, but the 20 who ca-”
...!
”-aaaccepted your surrender recommended full arm and leg chains for you.”
“They also demanded that no less than two members of the 20 personally guard you at all times.”
<knocking>
“Hold on, my supervisor has arrived and is motioning to me to speak with him outside.”

<door>
<an>
“Guards!”
Can I have my amulet back now?


“If you want to live, do exactly as I say” Tavi stated solemnly.

And then they were off; Kal’s short legs pumping furiously and carrying them swiftly through the tunnels, relying as much on Tavi’s verbal descriptions of the tunnel as on his own vision. Here, taking a sharp left turn and jumping over an old rail cart still half full with one kind of ore or another, as if the miners were only on break and intended to come back and resume operations. But no one would be down here, he knew. Especially now, after the tunnel entrance had collapsed under the strain of fire, both mundane and dragon-born. Kal no longer remembered what sort of ore was mined here. He was sure he had heard it stated at one point, as Anthys and Dawn had rattled on about the town they were exploring: the mines, the nobility, the size and strength of patrolling guards, and myriad other things. But those kinds of discussions were wont to send Kal to sleep, and he had quickly slipped off into daydreaming, of battles and fishes. He wished he had paid closer attention now… what if this were a silver mine, or perhaps gold even? A couple pocketfuls of-

“Don’t even think about it!” Tavi’s voice cut harshly through his pleasant daydream. They were much deeper into the tunnels now, he realized. He had been running almost on auto-pilot. His muscles churning as his body implemented the course which Tavi was laying out. His mind paying the minimum of attention, just enough to process Tavi’s words, freeing up the rest of himself for more pleasant mental diversions than worrying about how he would escape his current death trap. Ironic how the first fight against dragons was only him, and now the second fight would take place with everyone but him. Their flight through the dark tunnels was punctuated by the grunts and tremors of stone crashing into stone – the onerous gasps of the upper tunnels collapsing in on themselves. At one point he slowed briefly, his fingers dextrously wrapping around the half-rotten wooden handle of a miner’s pickaxe as instructed by Tavi. Perhaps she was going to let him take some ore after all.

“Up ahead there is a weak spot in the floor, smash through it with the pickaxe” Tavi stated. In less adverse times he may have inquired how she could possibly know that or what good it would do them to dig their way down when there were all manner of tunnels available to accomplish the same in what would seem to be a more expeditious manner, but after so many unquestioned left turns and right turns it seemed pointless to quibble over her plan now. No, now his life was fully in her hands.

The business end of the pickaxe was slightly rusted but in Kal’s hands it struck the tunnel floor as if wielded by a Giant. Strong for his size, he was. In truth strong for even a human, or some of the other larger half-breeds of man. He occasionally fancied himself stronger even than Jyobi, the Samurai, but there he was uncertain. In what seemed like entirely too short of a time, he heard a loud crack. He saw black lines spidering out from where his pickaxe had buried itself, the lines widening as they flew outward spitting out small puffs of dust and pebble as they wended out and then up the walls to the ceiling above. And then he felt the familiar grunts and tremors, only this time it was not some unseen upper tunnel but his tunnel that was enunciating it’s imminent collapse. No point in quibbling now, indeed.

The floor beneath his feet sagged and fell, finally yielding to the widening cracks. A split second later the ceiling above did the same and Kal was falling among a tumble of rock and splintered wood. At least he assumed he was falling. There was no floor below that he could see, and he neither gained nor lost ground among the chunks of debris that surrounded him, so he might as well have been floating. Or flying even. For a brief moment he could almost imagine himself a mighty sorceror like their odd new companion, flying through the air under the power of his mind. His brain flexing and churning to bring along an arsenal of rocks for throwing at his foes, the way his muscles could flex and churn to drive a dagger at an enemy. Much better that then falling, he mused wryly, allowing a brief grin to flit across his face. But dreaming wouldn’t help him now.

He had executed Tavi’s instructions flawlessly as far as he could tell, and she had grown silent, half-mumbling to herself in a language Kal didn’t recognize. Up to her now, either she had some trick up her sleeve to save them both or they would splat ignobly against some arbitrary cavern floor. No, not splat, he thought as he brought his arms to his side, straightening his body and tilting down to allow the wind to whistle past him, grinning broadly; “If I hit I’m going to leave one hell of a crater.”

Kal

Shattered Solstice Gilheru