Our roots are as A Shroud of the Avatar fan based Podcast series from Lord Baldrith, Lord Asclepius, and Stile Teckel. Recapping recent news, poetry, and fan fiction from the community for this great game (website located at http://www.shroudoftheavatar.com). Echoes from the Cavern is sub-cave of Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond at www.thecaverns.net.
We also look at non-SotA projects from time to time and may expand out interests into other communities, genres, games, etc.. as interest and opportunity present.
Our fan fiction is made similar to that of Old Time Radio Shows and audio books. We have done full cast productions with over 30 people voice acting to the simple one person narrator. We work with people from all over the world who donate their time and talent for these productions.
Please note: This is a community-run project, and any and all content may deviate from the fictional canon of the game, movie, or other origin material. This show may contain adult/mature content and by choosing to listen to it you will not hold anyone liable if you are offended by any content.
The Stone Dragon Series – Book 2, Chapter 9
Read by Addy
Chapter 9. Tempers and Explosions.
Before the Lodge…
Finally in Darkshire Hills, and after greeting Sergeant John Benton, Aslinne Gradh and Jenny Hawkins, with the mage in tow, had arrived near the third town boundary at the forked road and took a moment to talk before they went on.
“We go left here, but if you want to carry on to the village you would take the right fork.” Jenny pointed the two paths out as she spoke, not really looking at the mage while she did.
“We might as well go to the Bent Bow Inn and stay the night. It’s still a distance to the Hunting and Fishing Lodge and the day is not fresh.” Aslinne spoke with authority. “The undead we encountered on the road on the way here may also still be near, too. Travelling in the dark isn’t wise.”
The mage looked down both paths for a moment before nodding his head and indicating he agreed with Aslinne’s decision.
Meanwhile, Jenny had been catching up with the sergeant stationed at the fork; he was a local too, someone she knew from childhood, apparently, from the whisps of the conversation that Aslinne overheard.
“OOO the TREES!!” Jenny excitedly exclaimed, as she had for the last hour or so of the journey, about the local fauna and flora. “John, I forgot how majestic they are, and how fragrant the forest. Do you remember that time that little Jimmy got stuck up in one and you helped me get him out before Ma and Pa found him up there? He still owes me for that one!”
The sergeant laughed a lout guffaw before remembering his respected position.
“We don’t want any trouble here.” Standing to attention, Sergeant John Benton sounded quite stern.
Jenny giggled and told him to stop being so hard-hearted. “I’ll meet you later at the Bent Bow for a cold one?”
He nodded and smiled before going back to his gruff guard at work attitude and waved them along, “Take my advice friend; don’t make me angry.”
Aslinne smiled behind her hand. The ease between Jenny and Sergeant Benton was obvious.
“Don’t be daft!” Jenny called out behind her as she walked away from him, “See you at the Bow after your shift.” Then she boldly winked at the sergeant who was now a scarlet shade and trying to hide his smile from someone who might have been his captain who was walking toward the sergeant from the guard tower that overlooked the sergeant’s position at the crossroads.
There were mushrooms of several varieties in the forest all around. Jenny begged until Aslinne relented and agreed that, early in the morning, they would go gather some before Aslinne continued on her journey. Jenny assured her that she hadn’t had anything like them.
“Look! FLOWERS!!! OOO I love those red ones!! They are what I remember most from home.” Jenny took a large sniff with her nose right in the flower.
“I think you may be right. I definitely haven’t seen one just like this one before.” Aslinne winked picking a random bright red flower and holding it out to the girl.
Jenny giggled, grabbed the flower, and went skipping on ahead, singing to herself as she went.
Aslinne followed with the mage walking companionably by her side. None of them this day had seen the snowy lynx that had followed them off the Sea Byrd, and which had trailed them for several days up until now. They all assumed she had finally gone on her way to wherever it was she was headed, but they missed the big cat’s silent presence none the less. By the time they passed Captain Mike Yates just inside the borders of Darkshire, Jenny was starting to recognize and point out places she had known while growing up and telling funny tales about her adventures in each one.
“And this is where I got that scar on my knee that you asked about, Aslinne.” Jenny pointed to a big rock along the path.
Louisiana Myths & Folklore, Volume 5
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths & Folklore
Volume 5 – “City of Darkness”
“So tell me about the vampires,” I said, in a casual manner, having bumped into Jacque once again, this time in the Ordinis Mortis marketplace.
The man truly was everywhere, these days.
“Vampires?” he said. “Fiction, pure fiction.” He made a dismissive gesture and pretended to be immersed in examining the merchandise on the stall in front of him.
“You’ve told me of the loup-garou, of the marsh fires, of the voodoo witch. You’ve told me of ghosts and hauntings and the eerie above-ground cemeteries where any of the above may be lurking, it seems. But vampires are fiction?”
“There are legends of course,” he began, leaning casually against a nearby stone facade. “There were murders. Bodies found drained of blood. That sort of thing. “
He paused then, gauging my reaction. I kept my expression neutral. He continued:
“John and Wayne Carter, brothers you understand. Worked normal labor jobs, lived in the French Quarter. Seemed nice enough folks, at least, until the police found those bodies at their place, drained of blood. Found over a dozen of them.”
“What happened to these brothers?” I asked, feeling a bit nauseous.
“They were executed. Took 8 men to subdue them, they were so strong. Locals said they drank the blood of their victims…that’s how the nonsense started.”
Jacque’s stiff posture and reticence in elaborating on this story made it clear to me that he did not think this was nonsense. I gave no response, and waited for him to continue. Eventually, he did:
“Folks say their bodies went missing from their tombs. And that one of the victims that survived, went on to also kill people and drain their blood. Then you have the usual folk who claim to still see the brothers roaming the French Quarter at night, looking for victims.”
I recalled our first meeting in Aerie, hearing his footsteps behind me on the dark, empty streets. I felt a chill.
Jacque straightened himself and began walking past the market stalls. Vendors were packing their wares away and hurrying indoors.
He looked at me carefully, as if making up his mind about something. Then he walked over to the devotional fountain.
Removing a glove from his hand, he let his fingertips gently brush the surface of the waters.
Steam billowed from the fountain, accompanied by a resounding hiss. He touched the side of my face then, with that same ungloved hand.
I felt the beads of the fountain’s water trace burning paths down my neck.
I reached out to push him away, laying my palm flat against his chest. No heartbeat….?
I took a step back.
“Oh come my dear, you were never in any danger. I know you are an Avatar.” And then he was off again, walking across the grass over to the river.
“I call this the Ordinissippi. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
And there, further up the docks, I saw the drydocked ship, being loaded with assorted barrels and crates. Colored banners flew, glowing with their own luminescence under the starless sky.
“What is it that you want from me? Why have you been following me?” I asked, as I followed him toward the ship.
“Why, to tell the story, of course!” he said, laughing, as he climbed up onto the docks.
He hopped down off the platform and gestured over at a brightly lit cafe down the street, still open and bustling at this time of night.
“We all have much to learn of this world, but we must never forget where it is we came from. Here is where we have gathered, to rebuild our city as it once was…or as close as we ca...
Louisiana Myths and Folklore, Volume 4
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths & Folklore
Volume 4 – “The Voodoo Queen”
It was early evening and I had just come through the pass, and I could see the lights of Brittany ahead in the distance.
Rather than head straight for the city, it was often my habit to pass through Midmaer to gather reagents that only bloomed in the moonlight.
And of course, that’s where I ran into him again. Jacque, in his fine coat, stood at the forest’s edge almost as if expecting me.
He didn’t seem to have any particular agenda, and trailed alongside me as I walked the path through North Midmaer way, gathering nightshade and mandrake root as I went. He made small talk mostly, but seemed on edge as we passed under the shadows of the trees.
I left the path then, heading into a grove of trees I knew had bountiful roots and herbs. The grove was well lit by a shimmering will-o-wisp.
I headed toward it, watching my step to not trip over brambles and branches.
Suddenly Jacque’s hands grabbed my shoulders, halting my forward movement.
Fifolet!” he whispered harshly, then gestured I should turn around. I looked around, trying to figure out what he was so worried about.
“Its just a will-o-wisp,” I said, gesturing at the hovering purple floating creature. There are many of them in Novia.”
He looked at it dubiously.
“It is quite harmless,” I added.
Jacque did not look convinced. He continued to look at the will-o-wisp, then at me, then back at the wisp, frowning.
I laughed, and gathered my focus, calling upon the powers of moon magic to summon a will-o-wisp right there in front of us. It appeared with a whooshing sound, then sat placidly, glowing softly.
“Feu Follet” he said, more slowly. It still sounded like ‘feefolay’ to me. “Devil spirits. They lure you out into the woods, often to your death!”
Well, this one’s not leading anyone anywhere, look…” I said, running in a circle and the wisp followed me obediently.
Jacque still did not look convinced. “You have this as a pet? In my homeland, these fairy spirits lure people to their doom – you’ll follow it right into a lake and drown!”
I decided that this would not be a good time to demonstrate that I had taught my pet wisp to dance. I dismissed it with a wave of my hand. Jacque relaxed noticeably.
In the sudden darkness, the lights of a nearby house became visible in the distance. Without a word, Jacque started toward it. We passed under the eerie branches of trees; trees that seemed to watch us as we moved. It was an unsettling feeling. I had never strayed this far from the path, before.
Jacque walked to the side of the house, which itself seemed to be carved of a giant tree, and peered in one of the windows. He then mumbled to himself at some length in that same creole patois he’d spoken the night we first met, then walked back to where I stood, hidden in the forest.
“It is her,” he said simply, and started back toward the road. “We should leave this place.”
“You mean the supposed “witch” of Midmaer?” I asked. “She’s known to live in these parts. She does herbal remedies and such for folk. Similar to my line of work, really.”
He shot me a glare.
“I’d recognize her anywhere. Your Midmaer witch is Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen. I knew the rumors of her death were false. Look, there in the window! She lives still!”
I raised an eyebrow. And then Jacque told me her story:
Marie Laveau, The Voodoo Queen did indeed provide herbal remedies, and was a well known and influential member of society in her day,
Louisiana Myths and Folklore, Volume 3
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths and Folklore
Volume 3 – “ The Haunted Mansion”
So I was making a delivery to a regular customer of mine up north in Harvest. As usual, the place was busy with many people going about their business, even though it was late evening and the sun had already set.
I heard a commotion down in the square, and saw a man in a familiar looking, fashionable yet out of style, overcoat being led by the hand by a group of young children who are chattering and gesturing wildly.
Of course, it was Jaque, who seemed to be turning up everywhere these days. Or at least everywhere that I was. That thought nagged me a bit, but I let it lie for the time being, and went to see what all the fuss was about.
Jaque smiled as I approached and said “These children have been telling me that the house up on the hill here is haunted. What do you know of this?”
I briefly explained that yes, strange things had been known to occur in that house after midnight, but that many adventurers had come through and investigated the matter. It wasn’t something I was particularly worried about, just local legends.
Jaque seemed to be considering something, and then finally he crouched down on one knee right there on the street and said “Children, do you want to hear of a haunted house from my homeland?”
I expect that some of the children probably did want to hear this tale, but the fresh lemon buns that Jaque was handing out to his would-be audience were likely the more deciding factor.
I loitered nearby, out of curiosity more than anything to hear the storyteller spin his tale.
Jaque sat down on a bench, and the children clustered around eagerly. He glanced up at the house on the hill, and then back at his audience, and began.
There was a house very similar to that one where I am from. Yes, a beautiful mansion and the home of Doctor LaLaurie and his wife Delphine….
Jaque went on a several minutes long tangent about the fabulous parties thrown at the LaLaurie house of which he had of course attended many though the nuances of wine and dancing, and the general behaviour of New Orleans socialites was probably lost on his current audience, who nibbled on their lemon buns and started to look bored.
“So their mansion was haunted?” I asked, trying to steer him back on track.
He grinned his famous grin at me, and carried on. “This house was, you understand, just a few houses down from my own home on Royal Street, and I can personally bear witness to some of the …activities… that went on under that roof.
By this point, some of the other residents of Harvest had gathered round to hear the tale. As Jaque began to describe the events that took place, it became evident both to myself and the surrounding parents, that such a tale was certainly not fit for children’s ears.
Suffice it to say that the mistress of the house, Madame Delphine La Laurie, was exceedingly cruel to the people in her employ, treating them as property and punishing them horribly for the smallest slight.
I could see that Jaque was trying to explain the origin of the haunting without going into what I later learned was gruesome detail. “She did bad things, very bad.” was about the best he could come up with. Parents were trying to usher their children away from the crazy man in the antique clothes – It was far past their bedtime.
Jacque did not seem perturbed by the loss of his audience. He continued talking, half to himself, half to me, while brushing the lemon bun crumbs off of his jacket.
“Anyway!” he said after a while, snapping back to the present. “The people, they found out what was going on. They gathered around in the streets demanding justice. And there was a terrible fire……”
So the story went, one of the cooks, tired of the cruelty of the mistress, set fire to the kitchen,
Louisiana Myths and Folklore, Volume 2
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths and Folklore
Volume 2 – “Beware the Loup – Garou”
It was some days after my chance meeting with Jaque at the Tavern in Aerie, when I was going about my usual business. I am an alchemist by trade, and often visit local swamps for rare herbs and mushrooms.
I’m more than capable of dealing with most of the swamp’s hazards, but it was unusual for me to encounter other people when I made my collection trips.
Even more unusual for me to be taken by surprise.
This is why I jumped a little, startled, when I heard a voice behind me suddenly utter in a raspy voice “Don’t move.”
Instinctively, my hand began to tangle with the channelling of Earth magic, and I turned to face the threat. Who was it but none other than Jaque, the strange man from New Orleans.
He backed away a step, and smiled what I would come to recognise as his famous disarming smile, and said “Mademoiselle Shimizu. I did not mean to startle you.”
I let the earth magics recede.
Satisfied I was no longer on the offensive, Jacque took my hand and led me back through the thick reeds aways, ducking behind one of the old Cypress trees. He pressed one finger to his lips. “Sssh” and with the other hand pointed out into the fog and gloom.
“What is it?” I whispered, seeing nothing but the usual foetid swamp waters, and hearing nothing but the usual cacophony of insects, buzzing from every direction.
I opened my mouth to ask him again, but he quieted me with a gesture. “Listen,” he whispered.
I listened to the sound of the water’s surface disturbed by fish. I listened to the sounds of creatures rustling through the underbrush.
Nothing out of the ordinary for South Fetid swamp.
After an indeterminate amount of time listening to nothing out of the ordinary, Jacque sat down on a fallen log and said “Well, that’s a relief.”
He sat there for a moment, straightening the cuffs of his shirt and carefully removing bits of leaves from his hair.
I had spent enough time with the man by this point to realise that an explanation would be forthcoming, but that he had to tell these things in his own way. Storytelling being, according to him, one of his most passionate entertainments, as I had learned during our meeting in Aerie.
Finally, satisfied that he had removed as much of the swamp muck as was possible while still sitting in the middle of the swamp, he turned and asked me, “Have you ever heard of the Loup-Garou?”
I, of course, shook my head that I had not. And so he told me the story.
In his homeland, Jacque explained, there were stories of a strange creature that inhabited the swamplands. the Loup-Garou, or what the locals sometimes called the Rougarou, was said to inhabit the swamps around New Orleans and Acadania.
He looked at me with his still empty eyes and said “It’s a werewolf of course. That’s what the word means.”
I smiled. Of course it was a werewolf. It seemed silly to believe in such things, and yet we did cross a rift into Novia, and I had surely with my own eyes seen and even fought stranger things than werewolves.
This loup-garou, Jaque explained, carried with it a curse – If it were to bite you, then you must tell no-one of it for 101 days, lest you also turn into a loup-garou.
“At least that is what the old wives used to say. In this world – who knows?”
We sat in silence for a time, listening to the chirp of crickets. “So,” I asked him, “It’s just a large wolf?”
“The head of a wolf, the body of a man, so the stories say. Or perhaps It was the other way around. I never saw it.”
“Hmm.” I said, not sure what else to say.
We sat a while longer, but it was getting late. Not that you could see sun or stars in fog this thick. I picked up my bag of herbs and stood up, preparing to bid Jaque good evening.
Louisiana Myths and Folklore, Volume 1
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths and Folklore
Volume 1 – “Meeting with a stranger”
People have come to Novia from so many places it was inevitable that some, at least, would hail from Louisiana. And while they have seen some strange things indeed in their time in this world, perhaps things are not so strange considering the tales they tell of their homeland.
One such traveller, I met one late evening on the streets of Aerie. He was going nowhere in particular, it seemed. It almost felt like he was waiting for me or at least for someone. He watched me walk aways, following at a respectful but unsettling distance.
A light drizzle began to fall, and I quickened my pace. My pursuer matched my strides. Finally, I stopped, turned, and stood beneath a guttering streetlight to face him. The night breeze pushed aside my cloak, revealing me to be harmed.
After sizing me up for a few moments, he laughed and mumbled something I couldn’t understand in a French patois, then gestured at the tavern across the street and offered to buy me a drink.
Since prior to running into the stranger the tavern had been my destination, I saw no harm in this – besides, the rain was picking up, and it would be best to go indoors until it relented.
As we walked through the doorway, his eyes took in the entire room, meeting the gaze of the few assembled therein – a tired barmaid, and a few late revellers in the corner. He seemed to relax, and it wasn’t until I saw this change in his demeanour that I realised how tense he had been before.
Then, as if we not just met by chance in the rainy street, he patted me on the shoulder and called the barmaid over to bring me a drink. Now that the light was better, I could see that he was quite handsome. He was young – not much older than I, certainly – but his eyes seemed ageless and ancient. I did not stare at them long.
It was there as I sipped some wine from some local vineyard, that he said quietly, “Pleased to meet you. My name is Jacque.”
I introduced myself in turn, and it seemed once this verbal barrier had been breached, there was no stopping the flow of words from him. He began with stories of Europe from an earlier time, and stories of Africa from the age of explorers. The level of detail in his recountings was remarkable.
As he spoke, I reflected that he seemed someone more accustomed to be around people. His clothes, cut from an older style, were ornate and clearly belonged to a man of wealth.
Finally, I asked of all the exotic places he had described which of these was his home before coming to this world?
“Ah,” he said, leaning closer to me, his voice dropping to a whisper.
His expression suddenly looks sad, his eyes misty.
He then proceeded to tell me about his home on Royal Street in New Orleans. The dinners, the parties, the food, the women!
He talked and talked and talked until the first glimmers of dawn began to flicker in the windowsill.
Then, quite suddenly, he was on his feet, donning his hat and cloak and bidding me farewell. In a quite antiquated gesture, he bowed and kissed the top of my hand and slipped a shiny bauble in my hand. He said it had been quite a while since there had been someone he could talk to so openly. Then, with a flourish, he was gone, disappeared into the pouring rain.
It wasn’t until after he left that I realised, he had never touched his own drink.
It was some days later that I asked a local jeweller familiar with otherworldly artefacts about the shiny bauble. He wasn’t able to discern much, says it looks by style to have been from the 18th or 19th century France, but he couldn’t tell for sure.
He was able to translate the old text for me; it read simply. “House of Saint Germaine”. Neither of us really understood the significance of this.
Finally a SotA podcast
I finally found a SotA podcast I can listen to on my commute.
The content is OK, but the audio quality needs work. One of the hosts audio has background noise, and when you add the background music, it makes it really hard to hear him clearly. If I where you I would remove the background music and try to clean the noise from the host's mic.
If you remove the background noise and background music it would be a five-star podcast!
I wanted to like it..
When I saw a podcast for shroud of the avatar I was excited! However I was quickly put to sleep by the slow, droll reading of the news by these guys. Seriously, you will get more excitement watching paint dry.