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In an abyss of my own
I wake to birds tittering in the trees. I roll over on my straw-filled mattress, sleepily rejecting the still-darkened world, scrabbling vainly for one last vestige of sleep, but I will not find it.

I hear rustling on the other side of the cottage I share with my mother, and I finally open my eyes. The noise is from her stirring of the darkened coals in the little fire pit and the quiet collision of a wooden spoon with the kettle hung carefully on a tripod above remembered flames. Almost as if she senses my wakefulness she turns to me with the black iron pot in her hands and brandishes a horsehair brush in my direction; this is her unsubtle demand for me to begin my morning routine.

I lever myself up from the mattress--but I do not allow myself to groan, as I know I'd get a tongue-lashing for it--and begin towards my mother with the pot and the brush in her hands. As I hobble towards her I allow myself to rise above the ground, but she hisses in disapproval and I drop back to my own feet for the rest of the short distance across the single room of our cottage. She thrusts the items into my hands and I turn towards the door and begin to hobble towards a new day.

My destination is the stream that leaps and cavorts from the recesses of the wood down to a small pond just outside the shelter of the trees. Many animals gather here for a sip of the crystalline water; even now, before sunrise, several deer, a fox, and some birds scatter as I approach, but the fox slinks cautiously back after a moment and when I make no moves to pursue them the birds again alight at the edges of the pool. Not unlike them, I am here to drink; unlike them I will gather water to bring back to the fire to be heated for tea. After a quick sip from the stream I must scrub out the inside of the pot before I can fill it and lug it back to the cottage.

At the edge of the pool I notice a rat dipping his paws in the water, then leaning back to sit on his haunches and run those little hands across his snout and whiskers. I'm struck with his movements and I crouch, entranced, as a memory seems to float into my consciousness of a friend of mine with a very dear rat friend of his own. Then the rat scampers away, and I'm left slightly bemused as I struggle to remember what I was just contemplating.

Through habit I finish scrubbing and filling the pot quickly and I am soon walking back along the path. As I make my way back, the sky is now shades of pink and purple as the sun peeks over the eastern horizon, but it is not yet visible over the trees of the forest. Suddenly, a vision that seems to come from nowhere, yet is strangely familiar, hits me so hard I almost spill the water in my kettle as I struggle to keep myself upright. I see the sun, and it looks identical to the sun I've observed every day of my life but inexplicably I know it is different. But slowly, incrementally it begins to resolve into a different star. By fits and starts I begin to see that it is embroidered onto a tabard of purest white, and it sits upon a breast, the breast of a true and righteous man.

As suddenly as this vision occurs to me, it is gone. I can do little but try to catch my breath as I watch the memory flees my mind; the more I try to catch it and examine it, the farther away it is, until I'm left wondering what just happened that almost brought me to my knees in the dirt.

When I do stumble in through the front door, my mother is waiting for me.

"And where have you been, lass?" she chides affectionately, cuffing me playfully upside the head. This is part of our daily routine and it plays out though it has taken me no longer than any other morning to get the water. I move toward the tripod over the now glowing coals, but stop, thinking of some strangeness that has touched me this morning, but I cannot precisely think of what it was, and as it slips from my mind I continue to the fire and affix the kettle above it.

We make the tea and share some coarse gruel, and I go outside to commence my daily chores. I walk toward the logs to be split for firewood and heft the axe as I position a log on a stump, but as I lean back to start my swing the head of the axe wagging in the empty space around me is suddenly intoxicating and I am paralyzed as another dream-memory slams into my consciousness. I have the distinct and utterly foreign memory of seeing such a weapon wielded against an enemy; seeing the weaving axehead, I have the baffling feeling of being defended and the equally baffling certainty that I am safe among friends.

With the suddenness that it came upon me, I am released from this strange paralysis and the knowing of it fades quickly. I split enough wood for a few days and stack it next to our hut, then bundle myself inside to sit before the fire to drive away the growing autumn chill. My mother is sitting at her work table, weaving herbs into braids to hang from the ceiling that will scent our living space all through the winter. I watch her at her work as I warm my hands at the now leaping fire.

I stare into the flames and suddenly they look like shimmering locks to me, and I am struck with the half-remembered image of a woman with hair that color. Like the flames, she has such warmth and light in her soul that I am immediately heartened, and she smiles at me with such caring that I know I could count on her to stand by my side until the end of days.

"Lass. Lassie!" my mother calls, and I snap back to this reality in which flames are only flames. She sounds as if she has been speaking to me for a while, and I sheepishly turn to her, bowing my head to show my obeisance. Apparently satisfied that now I am listening to her, she holds out a bundle of herbs. “I need more!” she exclaims, gesturing with the foliage. I nod obediently and head once more to the door, once more to the woods

I am well among the trees, searching the muddy undergrowth for the plant my mother had specified, when I feel as though I am not alone. Of course, I know that the forest is full of life and so among the trees one is never truly alone, but this feels—different. But the truly strange thing is that this feeling is not distressing in any way; in fact, I feel comforted and safe

Out of the corner of my eye I see a shadow flitting and frolicking between tree trunks and bushes, in blooms and brambles, always just out of my full gaze. I think piskies must be toying with me, but I feel no malevolence from any direction so I am baffled. The shadow once again zips across my field of vision; could it be the shape of a small man?

I walk farther into the forest and the half-glimpsed shadow follows me. As I lift my foot to take a step, the shadow suddenly appears to dart frantically around my feet and I glance down without putting my front foot down. My heart beats suddenly harder.

I’m looking at a snare apparently intended for large animals. It is composed of a tripwire that snaps shut two sets of iron and bone teeth around the limb that’s triggered it. It’s a hunters trap, and a cruel one. My little shadow saved me from being ensnared to wait in pain and delirium for whatever fate would befall anything caught in that trap. I shudder. As I go about my gathering—which is now painfully slow as I scour every inch of the ground before me for similar evil-looking traps—I reflect upon my good fortune to stumble upon a friendly little half-man.

These events, along with the feeling of pleasant camaraderie, fade rapidly in my mind as did the other strange events of the day. But I am left with a yearning to belong to a group that leaves me feeling so safe and cared for. I don’t often feel these things, as I am reviled by the villagers and my mother—though I sometimes sense her affection—is brusque and snappish with me. I wonder if such a group exists, somewhere, if in all the worlds there might be a band as misfit as myself. I’ll likely never find them. I’ll likely never even know.
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Memoirs of a Teifling: The Life and Times of Delphinius Neptunio (Excerpt 3.5)
Part III 

My Life as an Adventurer

Chapter 5 - Pirates!!!!!

The entirety of Port Nyanzaru had packed themselves into Kara’s to hear the latest tales of my adventures while my companions dined on the finest dinosaur steaks. The crowd gasped and cheered, we sang songs of my accomplishments. It was a night unlike any other on the isle of Chult.

After a lengthy autograph session that lasted into the wee hours of the morning (I always stay until the last autograph is signed), we were summoned to give Syndra Sylvane a status report. Lady Sylvane’s chambers assaulted the senses with competing scents of sickly sweet flowers and rotting decay. She was covered from head to toe in rags to hide her corpse-like appearance. She was running out of time and the Soul Monger was still wreaking havoc on the world.

Before we left, Wakanga offered us a spell book if we could recover a lost shield guardian. I had no use for such a trinket, but Rev was certainly interested in the prize. We agreed to look into the matter, but first, there were pirates to deal with. Those rogues had terrorized the seas around the port for too long. It was time they were dealt with and we were clearly the only ones capable.

Captain Swift practically begged me to take command of her ship once again, relishing any opportunity to watch me work. We set out in search of the pirates. Aramag, the great dragon turtle stopped us to pay me tribute and compliment my sailing technique just as a violent storm rolled in. I of course navigated the waters exquisitely keeping the ship safe from harm. My shipmates devised a cunning plan to fool the pirates. Under cover of the raging tempest, we disguised the ship to appear damaged from the storm.

Just as I suspected, the pirates took the bait and attacked during the night. They pulled up along side us and prepared to board dropping a ramp onto the deck. We held until the scalawags were almost upon us when I unleashed a fearsome presence that sent terror and dread rampaging through the villainous crew. Half the pirates hid below deck cowering from the scary half-devil captain haha!

We stood our ground as the remaining pirates launched wave after wave of crossbow bolts. Dumbfounded they stood as Ishketh’s magic shield protected us from every shot. This, however, was a mere distraction so the soggy sorcerer hiding in the crows nest could summon his lightning storm causing us to break ranks and scatter.

Charging into battle, Rev blasted the pirate rigging setting the ship ablaze, Ish chased after the cowering pirates trapping them below deck. Pog took on the half-orc first mate, while I stayed behind to support my crew. Meanwhile the swarthy pirate captain easily cut down Pog and teleported directly behind me landing a cutlass in my back. Infernal instinct took over and blasted him with hellfire. When I came to, Rev had used his thunder magic to throw the captain and some of his crew overboard.

Ish revived Pog, then stood back to back defending against the pirates and their first mate, all while the crusty sea sorcerer peppered us with lightning from the crows nest. Pog suddenly remembered his hookah charm and summoned a parliament of giant owls to distract and kill the sorcerer.

Pirates are a cowardly lot by nature. With only their first mate left to guide them, I persuaded the remaining crew to lay down their weapons with the promise of safe passage back to the port. The half-orc continued to rage and bark orders, but Rev quickly launched him overboard like the rest. The owls finished the job. I don’t usually derive joy from the misfortune of others. I must admit, the first mate’s screams as the owls tore at his face and eyes brought a satisfied grin to my face. Perhaps I had fallen too deep into this role of Pirate Captain.

A quick search of the ship revealed some potions, a magic cape, and the dwarven guide Hew Hackingstone imprisoned by the pirates. We allowed Hew to join our group, though he continually pestered us about a dragon he wanted dead. We eventually conquered the dragon, but that is a story for another time.

The pirate captain was found attempting to flee in a dingy, but Ish convinced him to stick around and give us info on the pirate hideout. We sailed triumphantly back to Port Nianzaru. The Mother of Prosperity, Mother Sibonseni, was awaiting our arrival. Even she, who usually draws her own sizable crowds, was in awe of the great Captain Neptunio and his brave band of pirate hunters. We were paraded through the streets, the guests of honor at the pirate captain’s sentencing where we were paid handsomely for our efforts. One down, two to go.

My companions and I headed back to Kara’s for the night. On the way, an old woman stepped out of the shadows. It was Eku the guide we had spoken with weeks before. “It is time. Omu is waiting. We must make haste and end this.”
Session: Pirates! - Friday, Mar 02 2018 from 9:30 PM to 1:30 AM
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Epic × 2!
Session 5
The party had a week of downtime to repay Emir Wadya for trashing his office.

Wykeera -

I sort of learned how to blacksmith from a woman named Bertha. She doesn’t talk much. I like her! I also shooed some bears. Pretty chill week.

Thane -

Based on my time in Etir leading up to my legendary battle with the manticore Bertrand, I found it to be rather poor, worried, and hopeless. The seas of poor and abused broke my heart in the face of such opulence as the Jade Palace. Were it not for my oath to being a divine power leading broken souls to salvation, I would have stolen the palace’s money and redistributed it myself, I was so moved. However, upon my return I did instead decide to steal from the rich and give to the poor, by slyly swindling them at their very own game. I partook in a game of cards at their most opulent stakehouse, expecting to walk away from the table with more fare than I entered with, to be redistributed into the gaping maws of the hungry. I instead left with the love of yet another kind admirer, and valuable information on a Djinni of the city. I left to the Djinni’s fabled shop, and it was just as I suspected, the wizened court jester of a man that we had last stumbled across in Nisa, surrounded by his sea of shattered wares, was a powerful Djinni in disguise. Laughing at my own perception, I strode into the store and declaimed the truth of his identity. After being assured that his identity was a safe secret in my large hands, he transformed into his true body. I had gone from Robin Hood to Robin Williams. I asked him if he had any goods to help alleviate the pains of the poor in Etir, and he directed me to his Abbacus of Many Things. Realizing the potential of equalization that this erudite device could have for Etir, especially at the hands of some great mathematical beast such as Hagar, my only solace on our crusade, I immediately knew it must be mine. Or the people’s that is, since our possessions are a joint account in a loving marriage. The Djinni was charming, but ultimately a miser, unwilling to charitably donate to my holy cause. I decided to dispense with him as I did the rich of the city, with a battle of wits, written on cards already. My charm, good humor, and infectious smile managed to break the Djinni’s poker face, and open his heart to good charity. We made a compromise, as I’m not a man (or demigod that is) to leave anyone without their fair share of wealth, and I strode back into the city eager to redistribute my goods to the needy. However, before I was able to help a soul, I had to return to my new admirer and ensure that her love was not mistaken. Unfortunately she was caught so off guard by the intensity of her emotion, that she fainted, and while I was trying to nurse her back to heath I was attacked and knocked unconscious. The scoundrel who trapped me then absconded with my body and my possessions, the people’s possessions by extension, which enraged me enough to immediately rebel against my captors, even though I was bound and outnumbered, leading to my honorable defeat once again.

- Midzaynov

Dearest Venerz,

I think I might disappoint you again. I don’t mean to keep doing this to you. Hopefully this is the last time.
I found a lead for Yoseph and Tanya. Some noble dude here has a scroll of sending and it’s my best bet for reaching them. I can confirm that they are still alive, find out where they are in the garden, how they’re being treated, and what is happening there. But this noble, Wadya, he’ll only give me the scroll if I trade in my drum.
I didn’t know it was worth that much, Venerz. I mean, I knew it was strong, - it’s my most prized possession, but, I didn’t realize it would be valuable to other people. It was my first instrument. The one you gave me after I kept scratching yours. I tried to find another way. I visited blacksmiths, artisans, instrument makers, no one could reproduce it. Or they were going to charge me 300 gold pieces for a replica. I don’t have that kind of cash.

Venerz, where did you get this drum? How did you afford it? You said Emil made it, but I just can’t believe it. Venerz, I’m so grateful for everything you’ve done for me.
I don’t want to give it up. But I couldn’t live with myself if I passed up this opportunity to reach Tanya and Yoseph. If I didn’t do this, how could I face my family again? How could I face myself?

I’m so sorry.

Your worst student,

Dearest Midi,


Don’t fuckin’ worry about the drum, love. It was a training instrument - to learn on so you would stop breaking my drums. It was time to move on anyway.

Also – you’ve never once disappointed me. Not when you went home to see your parents, not when you decided to stay with them, not now. If you had kept the damn thing and left your friends alone, then I would be disappointed.
Buck up, kiddo – you’re in the big times now.

Your thoroughly annoyed and very proud teacher,

P.S. Also maybe now you can use a sword like a grownup.

- Hagar

Spent his week serving in the kitchens of The Jade Palace by day and brawling in the illegal fight club behind The Marquis at night. Met a halfling woman by the name of Lidda Hilltopple in the ring and a man named Zaeshir. Beat Lidda in a fight, became the current reigning champion known as "The Accountant." Found Elis, who had previously stolen from Hagar and was currently taking bets for all fights, and made him give back his stolen gold plus change for his winnings.

- Fia

Commissioned a stingray riding a shark from a gnome stonecutter named Rona. Found some reputable people to do crime with. Ended up in a heist situation in Aria's Promenade with Wadya and some other nobles present at a ball as Fia's ill-fated accomplices realized that there was something much more valuable than the silver silverware they had intended to steal: a fist-sized ruby known as the Sunstone. Two attendants of the event - a black dragonborn with an eyepatch and a half-elf wearing a belly dancer's outfit - fought against the criminals. Fia was able to deceive Wadya and the present nobles that she had been coerced into committing the crime, but served three nights in the local prison for her involvement regardless.
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The Wounded World
Pathfinder 2 Must-Have Link
Here it is.
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Death of an Age
Chapter 1 - The Beginning of the End (Game Session 14)
The Lunar woman it seemed, was non other than the ancient concubine to Kelsang. She seemed intent on taking him from the palace, but the rest of the team was ill at ease on letting him leave on his own. After some discussion, they decided that all would travel with her, away from the place. The woman turned into a massive bird and all of them climbed upon her back as she took off.

Much to their surprise, the woman flew them into Malfeas itself. Here within the desert, they tried to determine what the woman wanted and if this were the best course of action. Acting upon a desire to make life easier for her, they settled down the ground (more violently for some than others) and instead rode across the sky Merida's golden chariot. Their presence certainly stirred up interest from the denizens of the place as the very desert and wind tried to stop their travels. They were even viewed from a distance from the Ebon Dragon himself, along with a woman who looked strikingly like the Scarlet Empress.

After passing out of Malfeas, they landed at the home of the lunar, where she laid out very plainly, the state of the world.

- The Deathlords were wreaking havok in their coming and would continue to do so if they were not stopped
- The Fae are gathering at the edges of creating, waiting for their moment to strike again
- An army of metal soldiers has appeared in the south and is quickly moving across the land, capturing everything in their wake
- They are the only Solar exalted that still exist in creation or otherwise

With an almost insurmountable weight upon them, the team was taken to the edge of the forest to find their own path either back to their home or to one of these scourges. No sooner had they set about their path however, when Ruby, the god of their manse, appeared before them. She told them that the island had moved to a new location about 350 miles south of where they were currently at. She also advised them that the island had begun Omega Protocol.

With the odds continuing to build against them, with more questions and no answers, and with nary a friend in sight to help them, the team wondered what they should do next.
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