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“Well How ‘Bout That.”
Adriana sat annoyed as she watched people suck at archery. Really. A blind kid with one arm could do better than some of these pretentious fuckers. The vixen grumbled as she adjusted to get a wrinkle out of her dress. At least she looked cute. That was a first. She’d rather look cute with a crossbow and be nailing these assholes, but sometimes you gotta keep your eyes on the bigger prize. Even if twenty magic arrows would sell relatively well. “Damn, I’ll just be sure to drink the sale value in free booze here, that’ll make up for it,” she thought to herself. She would if she could, but she knew there’d be some stupid reason why she couldn’t. Adriana scowled at that, and then recounted details in her head.

“Armorboy is in the smithy. I figure if someone were there then his loud ass would have found it by now. Red went to the kiddy maze, and Uncle Touchy was there with Sam the Slaver. They’re up to no good, but I can’t prove it. Kerreth did a flyabout and didn’t see shit that’s useful. I dunno where Dagi is, I guess somewhere. At least I can trust him to show up when it matters. Lydia I really hope she struts her stuff. If she can make it so Daddy Cancer isn’t knocking on death’s door, that’d be great. …Good luck, our little angel.”

“Know what? I know where we haven’t checked yet. Servants’ quarters. Prep rooms. Be a damn shame if one of the servants fucked up in an innocuous enough way to seem like an accident. Who knows. The family seems decent enough. Maybe they don’t pay the servants enough and the little lackies have had it? We’ll see…”

Adriana watched the show. She was impressed by the one outsider chick. She was actually pretty damn good. “Eh I’d have still won.” The show went on and ended. Adriana shrugged as the opportunity passed her by… she had more pressing matters to tend to anyway. Going into the smithy, there was Rurik, sitting with his thumb up his ass. “Anything happening yet?” the dwarf asked. “Not a damn thing.” Adriana left the bit about Mr. Tall, Dark and Dangerous out – she kinda hoped she wouldn’t have to fight him. He was sexy. “Going to the servants’ quarters. Gonna see what I can find.” “Okay, let me know when I need to get my armor on.” “I swear, that boy and his armor,” the fox thought to herself. With the smithy door shut and nobody but Rurik around, Adriana used her blessings from Ng to go invisible. “Not the best ninja out there but this’ll help,” she thought.

She snuck her way past the guards with a little effort and positioning, following some clues from different servants. Past a guarded door, down a hallway, down some stairs aaaaaaaaaand Cult of Zyphus. “You just can’t make this shit up, can you?” Adriana thought as she watched the group. One dumbass was already in her decked out fullplate, waving around a heavy pick like it totally belonged between the soup spoon and the salad fork. “Well how ‘bout that. Big dumb armor, check. Big dumb weapon, check. Big dumb unholy symbol of Zyphus, check. Leading a bunch of idiots so they don’t ruin the plan, check. Making sure they’re all on the same page, check. Yep, here’s the sabotage attempt planning. Got it.” She’d seen enough to at least get the guards to investigate, that’s probably what mattered.

“This going to end up being the single nicest thing I’ve ever done. For anyone. Fuck this kid.” Adriana snuck her way back to the Smithy before becoming visible again. “Hey, Rurik. Start getting your armor on. Saw some real suspicious shit in the servants’ quarters. Big boy wants a fight, well you’re gonna get one.” Rurik grinned. Admittedly, Adriana did too. With a wink to the dwarf, the vixen made her way to the guard station. “Hey, Scotty! Got somethin’ for ya.”

In private, she spoke to the oblivious moral Orel who wouldn’t make eyes at Mordana. “So… get the family to safety now. Big cult of Zyphus in the servants’ quarters. It’s a big show. Chick in fullplate with a heavy pick and the symbol to the god of accidents down there. Guiding all the servants to not fuck up her attack plan. Corbus is likely involved too, buddy of mine caught him sneaking around up to no good with the Vudrani guy whose name I can’t f… remember.”

A man appeared from nowhere next to Adriana. “Fuck! Look man I’m on your side!” Adriana knew better to add in “…this time” at the end. She felt like the biggest fucking snitch in the world but… a job’s a job.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Jun 09 2018 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
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Session 12 [Epilogue]
From the journal of Tysha Hetoria, Spymaster of house Maldren

They came back today, almost ten months after they left. Seeing them standing in my office so long after I sent them to Drasek has me feeling ... nostalgic? Optimistic? No, not optimistic. Fia didn't come back with them. It's bittersweet.

I, of course, did my research on Fia's background and upbringing before selecting her for this mission. She came from a poor farming family in Sidun. She had five siblings and a good heart. It's a shame, her natural talents as a rogue and her unique changeling heritage would have made her a valuable asset for our house. I wish that she had come back.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only dissapointment from this mission. Evet was compromised. She was one of my best spies, and she would have done whatever it took to survive right until the very end. I'm sure that she had a strong reason for making the choices she did, but now I'll never know. I'll have to make the training for my agents more intense. It's the only way to ensure that a fiasco like this doesn't happen again.

In happier news, they managed to clear the garden of whatever threat was keeping people there and ensure that the Galmranian high command will have easy access to the archalium that rests beneath the Spirekeep Mountains. Better yet, they'll know that house Maldren helped to make that happen. Better yet, they'll know that house Terroc was unfortunately not quite up to the task (they apparently got imprisoned in Etir, how dreadfully embarrassing). That means a bonus for me and a boost of influence for our house. Midzaynov also mentioned to me that she made an influential friend while she was abroad in that cold hellscape. That will be an interesting lead to pursue...

I just escorted the four of them to the Grand Axis, where they can use our system of teleportation circles to travel to friendly forts or allied capitols. They told me that they were leaving for Sidun to inform Fia's family of her passing. I think that, in the long run, this will be beneficial for them. They need time to mourn, and to understand that their actions have direct consequences in this world. They need to learn that as they grow in power, the ripples that they create will attract more powerful allies and enemies alike. The four of them are powerful, moreso than I think they realize. Well, except for Thane. He knows how powerful he is.

I do hope that those adventurers elect to keep working with us. For one, I've already sent agents into the countryside to spread the word of what these brave folk did and the noble house that sponsored them ... but, despite my urge to use them to gain a political edge, I can't help but admire them. They fought their way past crossbow-wielding thugs, wild cockatrices, a manticore (still not sure how they pulled that one off), a coven of hidden wizards, dragonborn raiders from the Frostjaw Forest, ravenous undead monsters, and finally, Xeridal herself. They described her as an elven woman who had the ability to transform into some kind of shadow creature who was somehow causing the the plague. None of my research turned up anything on who Xeridal was, and her motivations still confuse me. But I still can't help but smile as I write this - not only did they find a cure for a plague that they didn't even know existed when I gave them this mission, and not only did they prevent a scourge of zombies from escaping the garden and ravaging what was left of the Drasekian countryside, but they managed to do it all while snubbing house Terroc (a feat that I will continue to be excited about for as long as I can be).

Still, not knowing all of the details about Xeridal is worrisome. If she represents some kind of extraplanar threat, I'm not sure that we're adequately equipped to defend ourselves. Thinking about the power that these other planes must have access to is sometimes exhausting. They've had access to magic for far longer than we have, and seem to have abilities beyond our understanding. Elves that can turn into shadow creatures? Plagues that can create undead? How can we possibly defend ourselves against that?

I can feel my breath quickening. Drasek was ripe for takeover, yes, but what if Attessal, what if all that we've built is nothing compared to the power that these extraplanar beings wield? What if we are ripe for takeover? What if they're just biding their time, waiting for an opportunity to strike?

I need to calm down. All I can do is try to increase our understanding of what these extraplanar beings are and what they want. I'm not going to solve this today. I just have to hope that the agents I sent to recover the archalium can learn more about what Xeridal was after. I need to stay focused on the present.

...

I've just been informed that the ambassadors from Janav have arrived in the harbor. Finally, something actionable to focus on. I will need to greet them at the docks soon.

One more thought before I leave you. The status quo in Gallius is changing, and there are so many unknowns. I cannot predict the future, and I need to remember that. However, having these adventurers back in Attessal reminds me that there are still people in this world who are willing to put everything on the line. People who will defy the status quo, delve into fierce wildlands, and face unknowable dangers. Whether they do it for riches, redemption, glory, or because it's simply the right thing to do, they have something in common - a unique desire that pushes them ever forward and ever upward into challenges that most people couldn't even fathom. As long as people like that continue to exist, no matter what trials we face in the future, I feel better about our chances. Maybe even optimistic.

I have to go, I'm being called to the docks. It's the beginning of a new era, after all, and there is much to discuss.

- Tysha
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How to get away with murder
1. Don't post the video of the murder on the internet.
2. Don't follow the cop carrying the body into the morgue.
3. Don't go into the morgue carrying the murder weapon and the victim's clothes.
4. Don't let your friend eat half the body.
5. Just don't
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Battlefield Notes 20180615
Akai Nonamme, Cinderland Cmyth, Luddite, Nicodemus, Pythia, wandering cleric encounter (Zubin)

Luddite investigated the ring we recovered earlier and discovered it is a ring of spell storing with Breath of Life in it (and at least 6 spell levels worth of storage in it)

With renewed vigor, we reentered the 2nd sublevel. Having Luddite with us, we returned to the chime chamber so a skilled bard might learn anything we missed. The Qlippoth is decaying astoundingly fast and is a slimy stinky mass after just one day. Holding his nose, Luddite thoroughly investigated the chamber but in the end came away with, "it is just a massive wind chime, kinda cool."

Nearby, we find a small shrine with a statue of Sarenrae and a beautiful stained glass window. Offering up a quick prayer and statement of purpose, the goddess responded with a vision!!! We learned the elf demon Ardathanatas is redeemable! He was a priest of ? in the abbey a century ago when something changed in him and he killed the abbess. He was driven out at that time. Now he has returned to finish what he started back then. But there remains a spark of hope that he can be redeemed...

Cinderland did some advance scouting while we gave devotions and found a dormitory and laboratory area. In the lab was a pair of new type of Qlippoths. In the other chambers were many were-bears! The Qlippoths are powerful charmers and send Cinderland to battling the bears. They also weaken minds (Wisdom drain) and I quickly found myself making foolish battle decisions (lost 11 wisdom). At least my instincts were good as when Nicodemus fireballed and killed one of the bears, I saved it, and in the end it turned out they are actually good residents of the abbey who had been slave-charmed and were emaciated and in dire need of saving. I shall have to remind the group of this in the future when they start to slide toward violence over diplomacy.

The lab is a full alchemist's lab, although any materials that could spoil have. We did find a large rock that seems it may be more of a geode that in fact may be a Philosopher's Stone! This coming into our hands so shortly after the vision from Sarenrae makes me think it might be employed in the salvation of Ardathanatas!?

Further investigation of the sublevel revealed the nest of one of the Qlippoth we had slain earlier. The chamber has a remarkably realistic bas relief of a portal-gate. We were unable to find any magical element to the image. The room made us very sad. There was another chamber off of this room but I was so sad I cannot remember much of it. There are stairs leading down from this room of sadness, so we took them as the sublevel appears to be fully revealed at this time.

Returning to the 3rd sublevel we were on our guard as the nighthag, efreeti, and water elemental were all still active here when last we left. The chamber at the bottom of the stairs has a couple of exits and a Doomsday door. This one seems off to us, and with some investigation it seems that the powerful magics on the door are somehow askew, and using the Doomsday Key on the door is not likely to be without consequence. So we left it for now as we did not feel weakening ourselves against the door while powerful foes were about was a smart decision (Pythia had cured my brain damage at this point).

Heading down one of the corridors, we quickly encountered two of the giant killer crab Qlippoths! With great luck, Zubin Dismissed one of them! With only one to fight, the challenge went from dire to manageable and we slew the foul thing.

< end of night >
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Session 11

We defeated the being that was holding the Garden captive, but I think we will be here for a while. Because while Xeridal might be gone, the plague she created remains.

And we don’t have nearly enough time to treat it. Wykeera found a cure thanks to Miletia’s notes, but there were only enough supplies to make 5 doses. 2 we used trying to convince the Null Army to help us, and 3 we gave to the Cobalt Company to fight Xeridal with. They are all gone now. And while Tanya and Yoseph are cured - thank god - there’s no guarantee they won’t get sick again. The only way to ensure the Garden’s security is to treat everyone.

A part of me wishes that the Null Army wasn’t being played for their numbers, but instead was ass-backwards hateful bastards we first thought they were. And that they were holding the Garden captive for food or something. But no, they were only trying to protect the rest of Drasek from a horde of zombies and the plague that caused them. I can’t blame them for that.

Lord only knows what will become of them now. I’d like to think that they will become a protecting force, empowering their people and keeping them safe from bandits and the like. Hopefully with Merrick in charge they will learn that magic isn’t evil. And from watching our actions, likewise learn that non-humans aren’t all that bad either. I really hope so.

Tanya seems to think I’m too trusting here. She never changes. The Null Army have been keeping her and Yoseph alive for the past year and she’s the one to tell me I’m naive. The Cobalt Company saved her and Yoseph, using 2/3 of their most effective weapon against Xeridal to keep them alive. And she still thinks that I’m too willing to put faith in them. “Are you sure that they need to stay? Can’t they leave and do their own thing?”

I reminded her that Dorkuul helped Wykeera make the cure. She reminded me that he mostly just watched her work.

She wasn’t entirely wrong about me being too trusting. If I hadn’t told Evet about her and Yoseph then they wouldn’t have been captured. Yoseph was quick to point out that they wouldn’t have been cured either. I don’t know if Evet was truly evil, anyway. She took down Ostan on her own, and helped us fight the creatures that were ambushing the Null Army. Honestly, she was probably in the same position as the rest of the Null Army. Xeridal was probably threatening her. Too bad Thane killed her before we could find out more.

Anyway, Xeridal is dead. We still don’t know what she really was or why she did what she did. Why was she poisoning the garden? Why have everyone killed? Why have the Null Army killed if she wanted the garden killed and they were willing to do it? Only 5 members defected. Even if they included the two most competent members of the Null Army it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Hell, we almost didn’t make a difference. If Thane didn’t have the abacus’s fireball, or Wykeera didn’t have moonbeam, or if Xeridal didn’t seem to cower in fear for some reason, I don’t think we’d still be alive. Oh lord, and we almost lost Wykeera too. Whatever power Hagar seems to have gathered, it saved her life, and by extension, everyone else's.


Most of the Null Army survived, and so did the Cobalt Company. So we’ll work with them to distribute the cure. In a week this nightmare will be over or most of the Garden will be dead, we’ll see. Musasi already left to pursue his brother in the mountains. He was already so many days behind him. Thane and Hagar almost went too, but ultimately stayed. Thane gave Musasi his last mastiff, and with some money from Wykeera, Musasi was gone.

I wish him luck on his mission, and wish we had been able to talk more. I hear rumors of dragonborne in Kelkenheim. I’d like to go. Find out more about what I am, why I keep spewing lightning. But that will have to wait. Because no matter how successful the mission may seem, we can’t take joy in it. Because while the Garden and everyone in it may survive, Fia still died.

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