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Session 0: And so it begins


“Now what?” Trinique adjusted in her seat and strained to hear what the young magic student was saying. He was called Sparrow, but the rumor was that he was the great grandson of Reslin Kine, the famed adventurer. And as some knew, Kine’s fortune had never been found. It seemed that Sparrow was booking passage on a caravan to Drellin's Ferry. Was this related to the treasure? Perhaps it was just an errand for his masters in The Citadel.

Every time she thought of that name it made her laugh. The Citadel sounds so foreboding. Indeed, the Brindol Academy of Magic Arts was headquartered in a large tower complex near the middle of the city, but it was by no means a citadel. Yes, there were some magical wards around the place but there were also mortal guards and any mortal guard was a weak point in any defense. Of course, while they had not been sufficient to block her from getting inside, they had been more than enough to keep her from gaining any magical training. Even with her father's influence and wealth, she had not been able to make the planets align for her to be admitted as a student.

Yes, he was booking passage. The mage was trying to convince the man to take him all the way to Oakhurst but there was no way the caravan master would agree to that. He was one of the Black Knives men and he would surely be arranging a way to steal the cargo before they hit Drellin's Ferry. Perhaps to rob young Sparrow and leave him for dead too. So, if the mage was going, Trinique would make sure to be on the trip too . . .

*****

A golden apple? Why was she dreaming about a golden apple? That and a death white apple, twirling in torchlight. And those beasts with their pointy ears and feral eyes? There was something to it. Were they the ones who took her from her family? No, that was not it. She touched the scars on her neck. Then why did it terrify her so much? Surely an apple could not grow in darkness whether it was golden or not. But she got the distinct feeling that that apple was in her future and it was not in a place in which she would be comfortable.

This was not the first vision Quinn had had. Ever since she had “returned” she had a jumble of dreams which were surely more than just her brain trying to figure out the day. Sometimes they were premonitions and guided her in the face of danger. Sometimes they led her to new discoveries including her new ability to cast spells. But this golden apple was new. She needed a sage to help her explain.

Quinn splashed her face with water, ran her fingers through her hair since she had no comb, then shouldered her pack. It had been a long time since she left Witchcross. Too many days to count. However, she should be in Brindol City by night time and perhaps she could get an answer about this golden apple.

*****

“Hello little one. How was your day?”

Trinique did not think her sister even knew the possible darkness in her future. If she could not find a way to buy her freedom, Jasmine would definitely become a prostitute or a gangster’s wife if she stayed here much longer. The money Trinique was able to scrape together for extra jobs was enough to keep her sister in the kitchens away from the worst of the crowd but she could tell by the way the rougher men and women looked at her, that it would not be long.

Jasmine, covered in the smell of cooking all day, looked up from the wash basin where she was cleaning dishes. She broke out into a smile at the sight of her sister. “Hey you. What are you doing here?”

“Checking on you. Going to be away for a while. Have to go to Drellin’s Ferry for work.” Trinique came around the side of the wall, grabbed a dish and began drying. Jasmine frowned, “work? What type of work? Is it dangerous?”

“Nah,” said Trinique, drying another dish. “Just a little bit of an armed escort. But the pay may be good enough that we could leave this place behind once and for all.” With that Jasmine smiled but her mind was elsewhere.

The sisters washed and dried in silence for a while then Trinique moved over to Jasmine and brushed hair out of the young one’s eyes. “I will get us out of here soon, Jaz. I promise.” Trinique left the room and went back into the streets.

*****

Quinn did not like this city. It was big and fascinating, but it also stank, felt stifling and was way too noisy. She did find a respite. The garden within the walls of The Citadel was quiet and filled with plants, flowers and trees. She could not exactly ignore the walls that seemed to jail the growth of the wild things, but it was better than nothing. She also found information about the golden apples. Talking to an apprentice who had the misfortunate of being assigned to the entry and public question area on the day she arrived, she discovered that the golden apple was real. The apprentice was named Sparrow and he said that he was on his way to Drellin’s Ferry, near the place known for the golden apple, Oakhurst. He invited her to share his wagon at least that far. He was to meet a priest named Derny who had information about his great grandfather, an adventurer of some sort. Apparently, the old adventurer had hidden away some treasures and Sparrow believed there were things too important to be left to the dead.

As for the golden apple, Sparrow said that legend has it that a goblin tribe from near Oakhurst has turned from raiding to trading with the town (that in and of itself sounds like a tall tale). However, every year, slightly after the summer solstice, these goblins sell a single piece of magical fruit to the highest bidder in Oakhurst. The fruit, apparently an apple of perfect gold hue and shine, heals those who suffer from any disease or other ailment. The townspeople sometimes plant the seeds at the center of each fruit, hoping to engender an enchanted apple tree. When the seeds germinate in their proper season, they produce a twiggy mass of twisted sapling stems. Not too long after the saplings reach 2 feet in height, they are stolen — every time. The townsfolk assume the goblins send out thieves to ensure their monopoly of enchanted fruit. Of course, this must be a myth, but it is the only story that seems to involve a golden apple in this area of the Vale. How could a band of wretched goblins ever possess such a wonder, and how could they steal every sprouting sapling grown from the enchanted fruit’s seed without the townspeople noticing? This is a mystery worth pursuing.

*****

Sparrow was apprehensive about the caravan driver and his crew. Luckily there were other passengers heading his way. There was safety in numbers. And at least he had met Quinn, a traveling Druid, and Trinique, a guard of some sort, before the start of the journey. They were the only passengers with him on the way to Drellin’s Ferry. Of course, Quinn was going beyond, all the way to Oakhurst. But it would be good to have their companionship on his journey.

For now, they had been on the road for several days, stopping in the towns of the Dawn Way and either dropping off or picking up goods. Mostly it seemed just heavy barrels and crates with markings indicating linens, ceramics, weapons and other sundries. Nothing too exiting and hopefully nothing that would attract the attention of ruffians. Today they had left behind the last of the towns before Drellin’s Ferry, Terrelton. The only memorable thing about Terrelton was the smell. In the early summer heat, the smell of the tanneries that lined the way into the town from the east, hung low over the entire place, making being outside difficult. Luckily, they were there just one night. Tomorrow, they should reach the banks of the river and his destination. He hoped that Brother Derny had received his letter and knew he was coming. To think that he was close to finding his great grandfathers tomb and treasure was exciting. Particularly exciting was the thought of bringing the Sryix back to the Citadel. Magical artifacts were too important to be left to the dead and had to be studied and observed and used to better the lives of the living. That is exactly what he would do even though he was not sure exactly what a Sryix was . . .



*****

“We have to pull over and water the horses,” said Goran, the caravan driver. The man hopped down from the first wagon and motioned for everyone else to stay put. He then walked a bit away to the side of the road, making no move towards the barrels of water on the second wagon. Shortly thereafter, a group of armed men came out of the woods. While Sparrow was consumed with reading over the notes from his great grandfather’s old journal, Quinn looked up from her notes long enough to notice a man in leather armor and a crossbow hiding behind a nearby tree. She started to say something but Trinique put a hand on her shoulder and shook her head to indicate they should not do anything quite yet.

One of the armed men, clearly the leader, began a friendly looking conversation with the caravan driver but the words were indiscernible as they were too far away. Goran soon returned to the party though and explained that he needed their help in making one of their deliveries. The men were concerned about receiving their shipment in town due to bandits and decided that they could just have the items they were expecting offloaded in a nearby cave. It would go quicker if the three adventurers would help with the unloading.

The cave was just a short distance away from the trail. It was clear that it was an encampment of some sort and had been for some time. Quinn and Sparrow began helping with the cargo while the man with the crossbow climbed into their place and observed. Trinique made no effort to hide that she recognized the men as Black Knives and spoke to the leader.

“So, what is the plan here?” she asked.

“Well, which one do you like the least? We have to kill at least one of them to make this look good. Perhaps both of them.” He laughed harshly and wiped spittle from his red beard.

“That’s not going to happen” Trinique said calmly. “Seems we are going to have to lose two of your men on this job.” She looked him in the eyes without hesitation.

“Fine, we can just hurt them if they will play along. I will talk to them.” The man walked away from Trinique and entered the cave.

“Hey, you two look like smart people who could use a few kronas. You may have figured this out already but you see, this here is an arrangement. We help unload some of this cargo early, make sure it looks like bandits attacked the caravan then we sell it and the owner gets some insurance money for his loss. Everyone wins. You can win too, 10 krona for the two of you to split. But to make it look real, I am going to have to hurt one of you. Fair?” The man looked at both Quinn and Sparrow expectantly.

“Fifteen” said Sparrow. “Just not in the face. I know how this works. I’ve been through this before.” The mage braced himself for a punch to the gut. When it came it was a bit more painful then he expected but not too bad. Quinn looked very uncomfortable. Between the darkness of the cave and this whole situation, she was starting to hyperventilate and panic.

“Well,” said the man, “that’s not enough. I am going to have to hit you both . . . a few times. You’ll heal.” He grinned and took a step towards the hunched over Sparrow. In a flash, Quinn and Trinique were there. The fighter stabbed the man in the shoulder as he looked on in horror. “Trinique! What are you doing? Your father will never stand for this!”

“I am not my father,” Trinique said as Quinn struck with her staff and pushed the man backwards.

Sparrow scooped up a pebble from the floor of the cave and gripped it tightly while saying something arcane. Light burst into the cave, illuminating it like sunshine and the wizard dropped it to the ground. “Now that is better,” he said. Quinn said nothing but appreciated the darkness’ retreat.

Seeing the other men beginning to enter the cave she raised her hands and pleaded to Obad-Hai. The patch of ground around the cave mouth quickly sprouted into a tangled mass of vines, flowers and shrubbery. The bandits barely escaped being entangled in it.

The bandit leader was alone in the cave with the three adventurers now but underestimated their battle prowess. He quickly succumbed to their blows but not before scoring a hit on Trinique. He was supplemented by bolts from the crossbowman but none of the others dared cross Quinn’s barrier of flowers and brambles. After his death, they were at a stalemate.

“Come out and no one gets hurt any worse than they are. We can work out something,” the bandits outside the cave yelled.

Sparrow cupped his hands around his mouth and they glowed ever so slightly. “Leave here and you will be spared. Stay and be doomed.” His voice came out as an incredible deep and loud bass, echoing in the cavern and shaking the leaves on the trees just outside.

There were a few chuckles from the bandits and two ran off at the direction of the caravan driver. He had shouted something about bringing wood and oil to the cave mouth. The closest bandit growled into the cave saying that the adventurers would soon be crispy unless they surrendered. None of them seemed concerned about Sparrow’s trickery.

Quinn responded by producing a ball of flame in her hand and flinging it at the man. He screamed in agony as his beard disintegrate in a twist of foul-smelling smoke. Hands slapped the fire out but not before dropping him to his knees from the pain.

Quiet settled in again as the bandits awaited the arrival of the fire making materials. The three adventurers stayed out of sight as best as they could but occasionally a crossbow bolt streaked into the cave, letting them know that they were trapped. Quinn and Trinique quickly consulted each other. Perhaps there was a way out after all.

Quinn stepped into the light and held her hands outstretched. With a whoosh of air and tinkling like icicles snapping in the wind, a snowy, icy dagger of pure ice appeared then streaked toward the ruffian. It struck him in the chest then exploded in a shower of jagged crystals, showering both him and the Goran in a storm of deadly ice. Both men were knocked back then fell into the dirt. Their faces were pocked with bloody shards which began to melt and their beards were frosted as if from a blizzard. Their eyes flickered and remained open, staring at the sky above but without any sign of life.

Sparrow again cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted for the men to abandon their siege. A crossbow bolt was returned in response. Still an impasse but the effort to smoke them out would soon be underway.

Trinique looked at Quinn and shouted, “Now!” Instantly the bramble of flowers and vines were gone and Trinique was in a run. She passed by the bodies of the dead and leaped up towards the wagon’s side, vaulting over it and right beside the crossbowman. Her rapier flashed and was at his throat before he could blink. “Drop your weapon,” she said through clenched teeth. He did and got down on both knees, his hands in the air.

Quinn and Sparrow followed quickly, rushing out of the cave with fire bursting from Quinn’s hands and Sparrow’s booming magical voice echoing through the cave and out into the clearing beyond. Fire sparked from the balls of it that Quinn threw, none hitting their marks but certainly adding dramatic effect. The remaining bandits surrendered without further combat. But one, Jarrald Halfgiant, who had been returning with a load of branches, turned and ran. Trinique sent the remaining wagon driver after him but the tall bandit eluded him.

The adventurers searched the dead, finding numerous kronas (gold pieces), soldats (electrum pieces) and talents (silver pieces) as well as a heart shaped bloodstone. The crates and barrels were filled with mundane items which may fetch some krona, but were not worth the trouble of having to fence them by the party itself. Trinique told the remaining bandits to carry on with their theft and insurance scam but add that a rival gang, perhaps the Shadowbanks, had attacked and killed the others. They all swore to Trinique that the true events would be kept secret and there would be no hard feelings.

Once everyone had their stories straight and the dead were buried in the cave, Trinique motioned to the new caravan driver and they continued on their way. She could not help thinking that allowing Jarrald get away would present a problem but also knew that he was a coward and would likely disappear for long enough to allow her to make appropriate arrangements. Either that or she could ensure that he turned up in the Elsir River after a tragic accident.

The rest of the trip was uneventful and before nightfall, the thatched roofs of the village could be seen up ahead and the caravan entered the town of Drellin’s Ferry . . .




Session: Session 0 - Friday, Nov 30 2018 from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
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No races, three deaths, and ANOTHER library!
{Day 38} We intended to return to the Inner Archive, but we were intercepted by a servant of Muminofrah. She was in despair, we had to come immediately to her pleasure barge. She. was. So. Bored. We spent the whole day trying to cheer her up, with only partial success at this.
On the way back to our lodgings, we were attacked in a crowded street by trained assassins! Amestri and Ostog were killed instantly, Sallah immediately after! The remainder of the party killed the three attackers and hustled our corpses out of there. Khismia gave Muminofrah the tragic news of the murders of her favorites. It was so sad! Her Excellency insisted that the Pharasmans bill her for the Raise and Restoration spells!

{Day 39} Several expensive spells later...
We visit Her Excellency to express our thanks, despite our weakened condition. She introduces us to her friend visiting from Ipeq, the noblewoman Talibah. Ostog, having just been raised a few days before, is particularly fatigued, and returns to his house in Wati to recover.
{Day 40} This time, we did make it to the Inner Archive, though Ostog stayed home to continue his recuperation.
Behind the disgusted face, the left door led to a square, cobweb-filled, room filled with 16 sarcophagi. Behind one of those sarcophagi, we found another square room with a vast collection of scrolls! One of the sarcophagi is labelled for Khmenti. This sarcophagus had signs of being opened before, and when we opened it, a golem mummy attacked us!
Behind the golem, we found the mummy of Khmenti, and learned that this room was the Hall of Lost Curators, and all of those here had been mummified alive.
The Secret Archive behind the Hall revealed the Scrolls of Inquiry that had been hinted at earlier.
- Sacred Order of the Blue Feather took the Mask and Heart of the Sky Pharaoh, because his ib and Ka were inside. They wanted to learn his Shori secrets.
The Heart was sent to Sothis, and hidden beneath Azghaad's Spire
The Mask was sent to a shrine in Wati (the Erudite Eye, of course)
- Khmenti's notes about the architecture of Hakotep's Tomb were sent to the Vault of Hidden Wisdom in Tephu, which can only be seen from atop Ra's Tower of Glory (since destroyed) on Midsummer's Day.

We found a small side tunnel, which had nothing inside.
The secret passage from the Secret Archive to the Inner Archive was labeled the Way of Obedience.
At the end of the day, the adventurers travelled home to Wati for the night.

{Day 41} We returned to the Great Chamber of Knowledge, intent on recreating the location of the sun on Midsummer, so as to pinpoint the location of the entrance of the Vault of Hidden Wisdom. Ostog stayed home, as before.

Session: Game Session 18 - Saturday, Nov 10 2018 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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A race, a death, and another library
Day 34: We return to the library's Inner Sanctum. We thank Ud'jebet again for yesterday's aid, and I give her a ring that I'd picked up in our work. In today's research, we gather one useful bit.
- A curator's catalog from 103 years ago, the Scrolls of Inquiry were moved to the Dark Depository-- another Nethysite sealed library.
Ud'jebet's never heard of this library.
The Inner Sanctum's librarian says it's here in Tephu, but access is controlled by Hatt'iya Deka (of course). This is where the most dangerous tomes are kept.

So, we go round to Deka's office and request another appointment. On a lark, as we wait, most of the group wandered the streets of the Wadjet's Walk neighborhood, looking for the entrance to the Dark Depository. It must be hidden, since no one spots it.

Meanwhile, I take the ferry across to Wati, to sign the deed for my new house (bought from Seh-Hosep), move my small pile of things from the inn there, and spend the night.

Day 35: I take the early-morning ferry across the river, to meet everyone for breakfast in the Inn of the Desert Winds. Just in time, as they receive a summons from Her Excellency Muminofrah!

At the Palace of Gentle Reeds, she's noticed the many camels about the city, and has called for a chariot race through the streets! Eager to please her (and win favors), we agree to pair up and join the race. It turned out to be very dangerous, with almost all of the racing teams crashing or being attacked by citizens.

Amestri & Novid took an early lead, but then wiped out past the halfway mark. I was knocked out when Khismia & I crashed, but her magic was able to bring me back.

Her Excellency is disturbed by the violence and has the Watch put onto it right away, and as a reward for being good sports, grants us our firman to visit the Dark Depository. Hatt'iya Deka (reluctantly) passes on the permit. The hidden entrance for the Depository is a grate in the sidewalk, so we really shouldn't have found it yesterday.
Day 36: The grate opens to a shaft with a ladder, 450 feet down!

But first, double bronze doors with a greater glyph placed on them-- Knock spell works better than Dispel. We found a 4-way intersection beyond. Each of the remaining exits have a statue, with differing faces: Sad, Frightened, and Furious.

Sad corridor: Jes set off a flame-strike trap, but found a magical headband (un-ID'd yet)
Frightened corridor: Behind a secret door, there were 3 (shadow mastiffs); Amestri fled from their baying cry, but we finished them off. Here were the Shadow Stacks, where we could do better research, as the cataloging was improved.
- Scrolls of Inquiry [relocated here 103 years ago] are mentioned, they had the Blue Feathers' confessions, which were hushed up to cover Nethysite involvement in the theft of the Sky Pharaoh's artifacts.
Furious corridor: Something dropped from the ceiling, a clockwork winged centaur armed with chains! (A zelekhut inevitable, guardian). Amestri shows it our permission to research, which it grudgingly grants. Amestri is placed under a geas: to research ONLY the Sky Pharaoh while we are here.

There is a hidden hallway behind the Furious statue: another room of scrolls. One pile of them radiates abjuration magic, so we leave it alone. This is the Inner Archive of the Dark Depository, and it is packed with scrolls!
- from the personal journal of Kh'menti, who was obsessed with the Sky Pharaoh and his Mask: "Mask of the Forbidden Pharoah holds a piece of his ka, his soul, which should grant abilities." He was on a quest to learn more about Hakotep and unravel his mysteries. The Sacred Order of the Blue Feather was hoping to commune with him and learn his secrets, their results were ambiguous.
About this time, I spoke aloud that I had "found something", and that triggered the glyph trapping the pile of scrolls that we had left alone for now. IT was a Slay Living glyph, and I was killed.

It was after dark by the time everyone else brought my corpse up the 450 foot ladder and across the river to Wati.

Day 37: I got better. Wati's Pharasman temple was pleased to Raise and Restore myself, for which I am very grateful. Our party funds took a hit, though, so I spent some time selling off some more of our accumulated wealth, and unpacking my belongings in my new house.

I set up Sigrun in my spare bedroom as a house-sitting job, where she could also write her novel.

Tomorrow, we will return.
Session: Game Session 17 - Saturday, Oct 06 2018 from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Entry #1 : The Party and the Potions Mistress
Day 01, Year 831;

Fate has brought me to the company of uncanny folks; adept but uncanny. The team that I have been working with for some time are quite diverse in both race, class and expertise. It is more than enough to say that our differences in the aforementioned classifiers definitely come with different ideals, beliefs and objectives.

The small one, Ducky, is perky. I do not remember if she mentioned her full name when she introduced herself and if she did, I must have forgotten but her pet name suites her quite well. She’s very boisterous for a paladin. You would think that a person of such class would collect him or herself in a manner that is noble and of divine elegance but she does not exude that at all especially when she punched me while we were in the dingy kobold’s lair. The little one makes me think that she’s on an adventure for two reasons 1. For the sake of it and 2. To learn more about the world. Her going out of her bubble was a big mistake and I hope she notices it when it’s too late.

It amuses me how the world is slowly corrupting her “sense of self and justice” so to speak. Surely, the world will twist and break her like anyone, who is birthed to this realm, experiences. One would expect that someone would care but that someone is not me.

On the other side of the spectrum is of unholy appearance. He goes by the name Barakas Obamas and almost refers to himself in the 3rd person but let's just call him Barakas. It is of utmost importance that power does not fall in his hands which is regrettable since he has obtained a drake which he calls his son and is responsive to the name, “Jerod”. I have seen a lot of daft sentient creatures in my lifetime but this “thing” is no more than a beast in his conduct. One evening when we were running and hiding away from our pursuers, we failed in avoiding combat and had to fight due to my own bad luck. Instead of grabbing and using his weapon, he opted to throw a pebble which did not do much. Luckily, we were able to defeat them and the members of the team were unharmed.

If this is the kind of able-bodied beings that are being drafted, I cannot say much as to how the army will be victorious against the monsters that we are facing. It will take a miracle to win such a war and I’m pretty sure that you, gods of the realm, are enjoying your little game of thrones - throwing your set of dice around, devilishly enjoying this realm’s misfortune yet being gracious at the last minute no?

Let us not forget the silent but deadly leader of the pack, Corporal Martell. All men, even in their extreme machismo and bravado, know when to stop being such an unwanted thorn on one’s rose. Yet, I am pretty sure that Des would love and look up to this person. After all, my little brother loves a good tragic hero - a man who is in search of power, who wants to prove himself because he feels inferior but blind to his own superiority complex which ultimately causes his demise. To weave such a story, to be able to direct it and to induce suffering to this man over and over again even after his passing would be amazing.

Have you ever then wondered what it’s like to be this guy where people love him but no one actually likes him? If he were to die due to DEATH’s untimely knocking at his door, it would be appropriate to say that he died in vain

Finally, the most fascinating creature that I have ever come across is this anthropomorphic bird who is somewhat a harbinger of death. To say that he is DEATH would be an insult to the being himself but this bird, Jean Luc Pikaw, comes close. This Pikaw has a fetish for feet, dead feet, that he would happily nibble on. The touch of his black flipper was able to disintegrate a drake to its bare frames and when you look into his beady eyes, they are just like endless pits of pure nothingness. I wonder what would happen if I scoop his eyes out of his skull - will it just be literally pits of nothingness? Ah but if I did, he would not be as interesting anymore since no one would have any windows to look into this creature - we would have no way of knowing what he thinks since he cannot be understood and he will be in complete isolation unless he channels his consciousness to what lies beyond this realm. Of course, that is he ever finds someone like him.

To be honest, what I find more unusual is that I have been conscripted into the army even if I am of abnormal origin. Half-elves are, after all, not exactly of the mortal realm nor are we of what humans would think is beyond the boundary.

The mortal beings must be so desperate to defeat these gigantic serpentine creatures that leave nothing but destruction and demise in their wake when they, themselves, are of destructive nature albeit capable of good deeds. If there is one thing I am most aware of and have taken to heart in my 225 years is that no matter how good a person is, if they have no strong sense of who they are and/or what they stand for, give them a little push, inspire their greed, cloud their judgment and they will certainly do wrong. It’s the same for doing the right thing as well and yet, here we are.

Similar to the case that we are currently handling. Commander General Softpaw has given us a task to escort a potions mistress, Lucinda Alhertin, convicted of dragon-worship. Dragon-worship is considered as treason. Her nephew, Dylan, confessed to the crime yet all testimonies are against the boy being the prime suspect and even if he is, it is uncharacteristic of him. Everyone who knew him thought of him as a sweet boy and thus, the party has been led to believe that he has been controlled or brainwashed to murder his Aunt. Supporting this information is the fact that Jerod smelled a third unidentified smell in the area.

Other pieces of information found were the green orb and the blood in the bowl. Corporal Martell figured out that the murderer was left-handed and that the swing came from above. He also visibly noticed that Lucinda was kneeling while she was struck from behind as the ceremonial dagger was found lodged in her back. It is sufficient to say that either she was in the middle of her worship or that she was forced into that position to stage that she was a dragon worshipper instead of her just simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is also worthy to note that she has a lot of cuts found on her arm and a fresh wound was found on her decayed body that the blood found on the bowl could be hers but what if it was made to look like that?

A lot of creatures do self-inflicted wounds for sheer pleasure. Her being a potions mistress could mean that she’s been using her blood to make potions that require blood. Also, the halfling mentioned something about the cabinet/table holding the dragon statue. During our first investigation, it passed over our heads that the dust has been newly settled on both the “altar” and where it has been placed as opposed to the other areas of the basement. I cannot get rid of the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, the whole town has been under the influenced of the orb and that everyone’s memories have been...altered. Instead of Lucinda being the traitor, she might have been in fact trying to lift the curse since the elf who was posing as a vagrant did mention that she was inquiring about a scroll that could lift the curse.

I am now in possession of the green orb and of the dragon dagger. The team does look at me funny when I nonchalantly cut myself and offer my blood in order to find out the answer to this murder mystery. The vagrant did warn us that this orb is of otherworldly aura and has the power to alter memories and so, I have taken it to myself to write down everything that happens. For as much as I want to forget and just live my life entertaining the masses, I cannot especially my own personal mission. This, however, would be a good story to tell.

I have a lot of hypotheses to this riddle and it has certainly gotten my attention that I have forgotten to look for clues and the whereabouts of my remaining family. Coming from someone who used to be the star of the theatre troupe, you wouldn’t expect such a mind but literature and the humanities do offer insight to the psyche - almost to the point of paranoia.

I’m torn, my dear gods.

On the one hand, I’m still bent on exacting my wrath against those who tore us apart but on the other hand, it has been… fun being with this ragtag group. Who would have thought that it’s possible to find people[I] that you can consider er… a new family? in this wretched world. [/I]

It’s concerning and I hate it. I’m not religious but if you gods are real, someone… anyone, please give me a sign that I’m right.

As above, so below.
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Marpenoth 26: A Night To Rememer
We begin this evening at the Temple of Shan'Tia in the village of Greenest, having been sent there, in the midst of a raid by the Dragon Cult. We fought off the cultists in the rear of the temple, and we were able to contain the fire that they were trying to set in the rear of the temple, as the main force of raiders assaulted the front door with a battering ram. Balamin, our hero, was struck down, revived by his sturdy dwarven friend Delg, and then struck down almost immediately again.

Nym made a good account of himself in bear form, but had to briefly switch back into his normal form and then reappeared as a Dire Wolf. Nym changed back into his normal, tall form, as the last of the raiders left their dead and dying comrades in the back. In his normal form, Nym approached a window and convinced the civilians inside the temple to open the back door.

The party found for stout volunteers holding the front door of the temple against a horde of dozens of mercenaries, kobolds, cultists and their leaders. The situation was hopeless and a quick retreat was in order. Balamin volunteered to hold the front door while the rest of the party ushered the two-dozen women, children, elderly and clerics to the keep. His offer was refused by the volunteers who saw it as their duty. So the entire party headed back to the keep with the civilians in tow. They made it back without incident.

Upon reaching the keep, the priest of Shan'Tia, Eadyan Falkenwood, healed all of our immediate wounds but could not revive the spirits and fortitude of the adventurers. We were pushed to our limit. Goverenor Nighthill of Greenest, along with his dwarf Castellan, Escobar would not let the party rest and had another mission for us on this Night of Nights. He took all the party, except for myself (for I was too depressed at the loss of the four men at the temple as well as from being revived for near death twice in rapid succession), up to the battlement where the carnage wrought by the electricity spewing dragon upon the men manning the ballista's was evident. Nighthill also also pointed out the Commander of the Dragon Cult Army, a large dragonoid character as well as a female who seemed to be the leader of the entire operation and was ordering the dragon around.

Nighthill wanted answers to why his village was attacked at this time. A plan was hatched to capture a leader of the Dragon Cult from a small outpost observed by the edge of town. The purpose of the capture mission was to gather the intelligence that the Governor requested. So the party, without more the a short rest, made its' way down the tunnel in order to head the opposite direction from the Temple, where they went earlier that evening. They followed the riverbank and avoided Dragon Cult patrols and looters, although Delg had a hard time with the (on him) chest deep water.

When we drew close to the small command post, we observed a Dragonwing giving orders. Nym took the form of the Half-Dragon General we had observed from the battlements, and put up such a good ruse that the Dragonwing followed him to the edge of the river bank where the rest of the part waited in the reeds and mud. They silently pulled her underwater and held her there until such time as she was rendered unconscious due to asphyxiation. She was then bound and brought back to the keep for interrogation.

Balamin was able to intimidate the Dragonwing into sharing the following details: The leader of the Black Faction of the Cult of The Dragon is Rezmir. This Rezmir has a camp a dozen miles Southeast of Greenest. Rezmir is also in the possession of dragon eggs. The female commander of the raid, observed from the battlements was one Frulam. The general of the army that looted Greenest was on Commander Cyanwrath, who seems to be of particular interst to Baltrix. The prisoner also indicated that the Dragon Cult and Rezmir's intention is to gather a horde and treasure worthy of the Dragon Queen. Even as the interrogation was ending, word came from the battlements that the Dragon Cult army was sending its' loot-laden wagons back to Rezmir's camp.

As the last of the raiding army was leaving, Cyanwrath came to the wall of the keep and presented three children and a woman who would be executed if the defenders of the keep would not send their champion. The uncle of the children and brother-in-law of the woman prisoner volunteered, but Baltrix took his place and would not allow anyone else to face Cyanwrath. Baltrix, who had participated in two major missions (one to the temple and one to capture a prisoner), had no strength for a fair fight. Baltrix argued against Cyanwrath's honor and requested a three-day in which to rest so that he could present Cyanwrath with a fresh opponent. Cyanwrath would hear none of it and demanded an immediate battle.

Cyanwrath allowed Baltrix to lunge at him with his axe, but each time he would step back. He taunted Baltrix, who was overcome with fatigue. Balamin, in turn, taunted Cyanwrath for not having fought all night and challenging a man who had fought with honor in many battles in the last six hours. Balamin suffered a loss of decorum and referred to Cyanwrath as Cyandiaper. The taunting did not do any good. After Baltrix landed three good blows, all the while Baltrix was saying some kind of chant that sounded like names but we could not be sure because he had lost his voice over the course of the night's fighting. AFter taking a number of solid hits from Baltrix, Cyanwrath finally pulled out his greatsword and with speed that these eye have never seen, landed three blows in quick succession that rendered Baltrix unconscious. Cyanwrath spared Baltrix' life because he knew that Baltrix had fought with honor and with distinction. Also, he knew that Baltrix was basically fighting with one hand tied behind his back due to his fatigue.
Session: Episode 007 - Saturday, Oct 20 2018 from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM
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Epic!
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