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Ayleera
Posted by the GM
The Hidden Blade
The Journey Begins
4th week of the month Airum first month of the 40th year of the Teriin Virth era: The journey begins with you inside the kingdom Thuk'Anule. A mass of slaves were being lead into the dark citadel with a group of hunters leading them. Darcio was among the hunters while Izara and Rif/Gor were among the slaves. Marash, Sharam, and Ian watched the slaves be lead in knowing that they needed to get inside they used the slaves as cover to sneak in. Once inside it soon became apparent that something was wrong as. The slaves were made to create a half circle inside the room and once finished the Illithid high cleric appeared.

After the Cleric appeared a few slaves were brought down and dragged into the darkness behind the cleric. Without saying anything the cleric spread out its arms and tables of food appeared meats, fruits, and wine of all types were displayed in front of the slaves. Having never seen such food many slaves rushed forward and began eating. At that moment slaves began to foam at the mouth and fall over poisoned and paralyzed. once more the bodies that fell were pulled into the darkness behind the Cleric.

Not long after that for reasons unknown a dark tendril shot through the neck of the Cleric and pulling it into the darkness. After this a huge lumbering hulk of an Illithid appeared before them. Upon its appearance all of the food began decaying. The Illithid began talking to the group during their conversation the ground shook and only those with saw the quick change of the monsters facial features. At the end of their conversation another force greater than the last occurred knocking many to the ground the moment they hit the floor dark tendrils came into sight moving towards those that had fallen. Before the tendrils reached anyone a voice rang out "oh silly Viksheer why do you still hide in the shadows."

A blinding light flashed in the room dispelling the darkness. As sight began to come back the true form of Viksheer became known. A huge mass of flesh in the process of absorbing many other creatures. Upon seeing this Rif began to switch to his alter personality Gor, and upon complete transformation Gor raged and grabbed a bone and smashed open a hunters skull and continued pounding even after the body had fallen. After coming to terms with the sight of Viksheer the group noticed the female Kitsune that wasn't there before, But upon seeing this woman Izara became angry and demanded to know why she had appeared. Amused the woman answered Izara mockingly, and before continuing she turned to Viksheer and blasted apart its body with 9 elements. She then turned to the group and held out her hand the remaining slaves and hunters had their life energy drained and their bodies shriveled up as if they had been decaying for years.

The woman finally introduced herself as Syleine Vystyille the one known as the greatest of the dark apostles. She began to tell the group that she would give them everything that they were seeking if they did a single job for her, and she also told them that if they chose not to finish this job she would kill them. The group agreed and satisfied she teleported away. While the rest of the group was speaking Marash felt a presence and saw a tear in space. He walked over and reached out the presence was his god Bhunivelze telling him to be careful of Syleine and also to use the rest of these people to get the artifact, but to talk with him once the artifact was in their possesion.

After introducing themselves and a few interactions the group headed toward the coliseum. After a couple of battles the group found a stairway down once they entered the stairway they could see on the walls of the stairway was a mural depicting the divine wars. Upon touching the mural a vision of the past appeared to Ian he group decided after that they would no longer touch the mural as the deeper they went more traps appeared. The group entered a wide cavern and the sound of running water could be heard in the distance. off in the distance barely seen what looked to be makeshift tents could be seen and it was decided that would head that way. They came upon a giant crevice with rushing water discussing their options they decided to go across the bridge. A little ways into the bridge humanoid shapes could be seen with the top a human and the bottom of a snake. It was decided that they would continue forth, however as they got further in what started as a low whisper like sound it soon became clear that it was a chant.

The bridge collapsed under the feet of the group and they plummeted into the rushing water below. While the rest of the group were struggling in the water Sharam managed to keep herself afloat and as steady as one could be in such waters. She managed to turn her head in time to see a giant sea leviathan rushing towards in a desperate move she threw out a dismembered hand she had collected. Luck was on her side as the creature took the bait and gave Rif time to steady himself and for Sharam to help Marash to get him steady above water. The leviathan rushed forward scooping Ian, Izara, Darcio into its mouth while Rif, Sharam, and Marash grabbed onto its head. After being pulled along by the leviathan the group was thrown out of the waterway. Once they collected their surroundings they saw that the cavern was filled with giant eggs. As they were making their way out they caught a glimpse of a shadow as they tried to reason and have him come out he refused and broke an egg. Upon the breaking of an egg the leviathan shot out of the water onto land the group ran to the nearest exit, and thinking that it would not notice Ian taunted the serpent. The serpent slammed its head into the entryway and shot out toxic fumes on the party. Looking for a way to stop the serpent Sharam spotted a weak spot in the wall and caused a cave in on the serpents head. With a moment of respite the group came out into and open cavern with a small little camp that looks like it has just recently been used. The decided to take this moment to get some rest regardless of if the previous owners came back or not.
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Miracle Gro
Flossin knew he had perfected a combination of plants, flowers, and oils that resulted in rapid growth of his flowers. Within minutes corn would grow from a seedling to knee high tassels. He wondered how this would affect a living thing with perhaps less chlorophyll. After falling through the bank vault into the sewers, he knew he would need something to help him get back up out of the hole. This was his chance. He quickly mixed a piece of creeping Kletch vine, a crushed crocus flower, and expensive essential oils from a giant black orchid.

He could feel Gerry smiling in his head. They gave a nod, and Flossin swallowed the mixture. The test was quite astringent and initially he wasn't sure if he could keep it down. His stomach settled, and his feet doubled in size. He ankles plumped into giant cankles, reminding him of April's mother. A shudder at the thought, and his calves grew into huge rippling muscles the size of hams. His quads became tree trunks, and his whole body grew two full feet. Finally, his ears felt plugged, and as he cleared the pressure, he heard a "pop" and his head became proportional to the rest of his body.

It Felt Great To Be Big! Flossin towered over his friends and could feel life flowing through him. His strength felt nearly endless. He felt almost invincible. This was the physical manifestation of Gerry's favor. He never wanted to feel small again. Hmm...maybe a little geranium root might make this mixture even better. In the back of his head Gerry smiled, pulled their fedora lower on their head, and puffed on a thin stemmed pipe.

Thanks Granny!
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Jade Forgetting
The boy is safe now. His glow has gone down by far and so has the big one, who has introduced himself as "Dega." He is good and cares for the boy but I do not know if that is what I am going to be called to do. The boy reminds me of a group Amatha spoke of: The Chosen of the Stars. She was not very keen on their kind. I will keep my heart distant if actions must be taken.
----
The boy's name is Einar. A sweet adolescent who wishes nothing of the life that has been laid before him. The shifty one brought back meat and has also introduced himself as "Xhangda." He is previously of the Immaculate Order which might serve my duties to the Pact well. As we talk, Xhangda speaks of this life as if he has been cursed and all who live the same life are also cursed. I feel pity for him that he does not feel blessed. Maybe that is a journey he must take soon.
----
Xhangda and I left to go take care of some business in the village. Xhangda to a home to take some goods, and I to put up the threatening orders to warn the village of their doom. I think Xhangda is a better person than he thinks he is. He treats my spirit shape well without even thinking. Only those with good Heart's Blood have done that for my Spirit shape before. This is a good sign
----
Who is this boy? He waves at me and smiles to both Xhangda and I but I have not memory of him. I try not to stare but his joy of us does not make sense. Xhangda and Dega say I know him but why can't I remember? We must be protecting him. I will keep him close and try to not forget again. Amatha will wish to hear of this.
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A Piece of Cake
Flossin was sure that the upcoming job would be easy. Gerry seemed to think things would turn out all right. While he didn't find a turtle, he was sure that Foosten would be at the party. Flossin and the rest would grab him before he could cause trouble, and voila they would be the heroes of the city. Piece of cake. Of course, it never occurred to Flossin that Foosten might not show up to this shindig. So when the trouble started, he did the best he could with what he had. I guess it turned out ok in the end. Even if the house didn't get set on fire, or he didn't get to ride a war turtle through the garden. Better luck next time.
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Epic!
Ever Onward
While we were resting, another kobold named Aga wandered in, escorting Trinique. Sparrow and Smalls leapt up to escort her back. Meepo was still looking pretty bruised from the revenant fight, so I used some of my magic to heal him. It wasn't much, but it was nice of him to act so impressed. Frank and I examined the black candle a bit closer, too. It was weirdly cool and wouldn't go out or catch on anything, and covered in arcane runes. Frank decided to take it along for more light, and Trinique left to scout ahead.

The eastern side of the hallway up ahead ended in a cave-in, while the western side had another door. Shuffling tracks that looked like they came from the twig blights went south down the hall towards us. Further north the hall was lined with cells, with scurrying noises coming from the inside. I wanted to avoid those. At the end of the hall it opened up into another room, but a large open pit trap blocked the way. Another one was open on the west end of the room too. Trinique said she could see a similar looking dragon fountain as before, but according to Candy this one read, "Let there be death".

We decided to avoid the rats in the cells and the pit traps, and instead took the first hall door leading west. It was plain and nondescript, and none of us heard sound beyond it so we proceeded onwards. It opened up into another empty room, but we found more human-sized boot prints leading to another door on the north wall. I noticed some damage on the door, like someone had hammered three nails in a triangle formation about two feet off the floor. We thought the door might be boarded up, but it opened easily when I tried the latch.

I slowly eased the door open, and found the source of the nails to be a large metal bell nailed to the center. If anyone swung the door open too quickly it'd ring and let anyone up ahead know we were coming. The room up ahead was completely dark, but by the light of my lantern I could make out scattered caltrops on the ground just in front of me. Jax walked on ahead without taking any light, wincing as he accidentally stepped on one caltrop, then crying out when he hit another. I could barely make out his shadow 30 feet in front of me when two arrows shot out from the darkness beyond, clattering against the wall. It was another trap!

Trinique threw Frank's candle to get some more light in the room, and I ran to to bring my lantern as well. Just beyond the edge of the lights radius I could make out two shadowy figures hiding behind a battlement wall. We all returned fire but the darkness and the wall made it hard to land a hit. Meepo ran in to help Jax and I in the attack, but two more goblins joined the fray and rained down arrows on the three of us. Screeching, "Retreat!" Meepo ran back to the cover of the door, just as another arrow got me in the stomach.

Next thing I knew, Jax was leaning over me, softly singing a healing song. Candy took down one of the goblins, and I threw out a pinpointing spell on the three ones left. But it failed.

I panicked. I ran. Obad-Hai, I thought Jax was right on my heels. I should have grabbed him. I should have made sure he made it out with me. I should have been better. Gods damn it.

Three arrows sank deeply into his chest as Jax sprinted forward with a strangled cry. He went barreling over the wall, and another goblin shriek rang out as he took it down, then eerie silence. A moment later, a low whistle from Frank using the Night Caller.

I peeked out. Incredibly, Jax was up again! He bashed the brains out of one goblin while another, also risen from the floor, attacked the final creature. My heart leapt to my throat but Jax looked... wrong. His movements were jerky and unhinged. Jax was gone, and whatever magic Frank called upon with the crystal whistle turned him into someone awful. Finally it was silent.

I pulled the bell off the door and stuffed it in my pack. Trinique swept through the room and collected all the caltrops. We made our way across the room to the battlement to survey the remains. Beyond the wall, another door opened into a hallway leading south. Around the corner to the west side we found a larger empty room covered in straw, with the zombified bodies of the goblin and Jax lying still in the center. Globs of glowing ooze dotted the walls, casting a dull green glow. I could make out 5 practice dummies lines up against a similar battlement wall, with 3 doors to the north, northwest, and southwest. Frank suggested we burn Jax's body before the goblins could find it, so Candy, Trinique, and I helped sort through his belongings.

Jax had an interesting collection of supplies on him. Deep in his pack we found a very fine set of robes, like what a noble would wear. Candy found a letter that looked to be for a noble from Brindol, and a surprisingly delicate, elven-looking signet ring. Maybe those will help us find his family when this is all over. I added his song sheets, ink, and quill to my own writing bag. I'm sure his relatives will want his music. As a memento.

We set a pyre and continued onward. There are people we can still save.

The southwest door was held shut by a heavy lock, and we could hear high pitched voices just beyond. Frank managed to break the lock, and inside were four small cages. Three of them held kobolds, and Meepo eagerly bounded in to open the locks. The last one held a gnome, and his face broke out in the biggest smile at us.

The gnome introduced himself as Erky Timbers, and said a goblin ambushed attacked him on the Old Road a few months ago, and he's been forced to dig tunnels as a prisoner here ever since. Obad-Hai, I can't imagine being underground that long. The constant darkness is getting to me after barely a few days. I asked if he'd seen any human prisoners recently, and he said Talgen, Sharwen, and Sir Braford were here a few days ago, but were taken to Belak. Karakas was killed before they were taken prisoner. We're too late. Again.

Erky thinks Belak is some sort of spellcaster, and he and the goblins have an enchanted grove where golden fruit grows from something called the Gulthias Tree. The name doesn't make much sense to me; history says a man named Gulthias secretly lived as a noble in Brindol by day, and vampire feeding on the common folk by night. He was a scourge in the city until he disappeared, and no one knows what became of him. I don't understand how a tree named after such a monster of a man grows a fruit that brings life. The deathly white apple does make some sense, though.

Erky and Meepo eyed each other uneasily, and the gnome seemed on edge at the idea of us rescuing the kobolds' pet dragon. I tried to explain it, but I think I just made it worse. Now Meepo was upset too. Frank said something in gnommish to Erky, and he seemed to relax a bit.

The northwest door led to where the goblins live, according to Erky, so we went through the north door instead. Beyond, we found another hallway leading to the west, with a door directly ahead and another at the left end of the hall. More ooze lined the walls, and when I took a closet look, it was weirdly solid and rough, almost like bark, and smell like dirt and sulfur and something else I couldn't place.

Trinique and I heard goblin voices from the northern door, while the west one just had quiet thumping beyond it. Meepo said it smelled like sweets! None of use could pick the lock on the door, so we had to resort to breaking it down again. Loudly. The door swung open to reveal a small white dragon crouched on a table! Meepo was ecstatic! Frank and I, not so much, as the white reared back to unleash a flurry of icy breath in our direction. We managed to slam the door shut just in time, but turned around to see four goblins had joined us in the hall from the northern room.

We were surrounded. Uh-oh.

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Epic!
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