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Epistles of the Paladin

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Epistles of the Paladin

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:44 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to my esteemed supervisor at the Tower of the Golden Dawn, Dawnmaster Alokkair, greetings.

I arrived without incident at the port city of Turelve in the afternoon of the 1st of Alturiak. On my way to speak with Dawnlord Redleaf, the keeper of the shrine near the city, a man approached me by the name of Jace Arclight. He is a mage specializing in the element of water, and was looking for companions with which to seek employment. He seemed an honest and hardworking type, and was willing to accompany me to the shrine.

The Dawnlord, as one of the saurial race, was unable to speak with me directly, but through a series of notes, he was able to tell me that he has discerned a growing threat to the Northwest. He directed me to Haranshire and more specifically to Milburne, where I should find a retired paladin, Lord Garyld, the constable there and he would be able to direct me further.

To help cover our travel expenses, my new companion, Mr. Arclight and I set off to Savory Swallow tavern to seek an employment opportunity that might take us to the area of Haranshire.

We were able to find work transporting a chest of equipment to a mage named Tauster, located in Milburn. We are to deliver the supplies preferably within a week, and we will receive a stipend of 150 gold for our group.

The growing band now consisted of myself, Mr. Arclight, a very soft-spoken halfling named Jayashree whose soft voice compliments her soft heart, a gold elf named Nas who has been reluctant to divulge much about himself as of yet, but has impressive skill with his double sword that is disguised as a staff normally, and a bard by the name of Riffington, who had the unfortunate experience of being tied to a tree for two weeks before entering the tavern! An interesting ensemble, and enjoyable company!

The crew departed at dawn the next morning of the second to set off on the road. About halfway through the day we came across a golden-haired dwarf named Torin, carrying a dead dog over his shoulder. He seemed confused as to where he was going, and apparently he had just left his mountain home to learn more about the lands of men! The dog he killed had moments before been chewing on a man’s leg! That very man of whom he spoke, stood just over a hill to the west of our trail.

He appears to be about my age with very long, shaggy dark hair. The man has many scars on his legs and arms, as well as scars on his neck and at the corners of his mouth as well. Strange places for scars, but stranger still are the tattoos on his forehead and chest. He has one on his abdomen also that I have yet to examine. He was very weak, very tired, and staring directly eastward. His leg was bleeding badly from where the dog had shredded his flesh. Still, he hadn’t even attempted to bandage the wound! When asked why he was standing there, he replied, “Preeminence has forbidden me to move.” He went on to say that he had been ordered to stay and think of nothing and that he was the property of this ‘Preeminence’. He had been standing there for a full three days! This ‘master’ of his doesn’t seem to care much for the man’s well being. Strangely though, he didn’t seem malnourished at all, but still maintained a healthy weight. He had been given no name with which we could refer to him, so Jayashree said he should be called ‘friend,’ and Riffington said he should be called ‘Carlos.’ Friend Carlos he shall be until we find out if he has a true name. Torin was able to bandage up the wounded leg quite expertly, and perhaps it would behoove me to learn such techniques from the dwarf. I should speak with him on the matter.

While looking this poor man over, I checked to see if he had any emanations of evil magic about him. I have to tell you, Dawnmaster, that I have never felt such intensity of evil! It was all I could do to keep my legs beneath me from the shock of it! Not only did the tattoos radiate a powerful evil, but there was an aura of evil magic around the man himself, though he did not harbor evil intent.

When I asked the man where this ‘Preeminence’ was from, he said, Thay…

I know you must be as horrified as I was upon first learning that this man was magically being kept as a slave to serve the whim of a cruel master! I can only hope that you or the High Morninglord may have heard of this practice somewhere, and a way to break this magic. I was unable to determine whether clerical or wizardly magic has been employed here, though I suspect wizardly, and once I can examine the rest of the man, I will include information detailing the tattoos in a letter.

Though it was only mid-day, Friend Carlos was so exhausted from his ordeal that, after eating, he simple passed out where he sat. He had to be commanded to do anything, which I of course refused to do! I have no desire to direct a man who should have freewill of his own, though if it should become necessary I may have no choice. For now, the halfling, Jayashree has been ordering him only as needed. She has a good heart and treats him as an equal.

Since we couldn’t carry the man along with us, we decided just to set up camp there for the evening. Torin has decided to join our little band, and since Friend Carlos has no where to go he will be coming with us also.

As we continued our travels the next day, Friend Carlos kept three paces behind and to the left of Jayashree at all times. He has also taken to calling her master, though she is obviously uncomfortable with the title, and of that I am glad.

Our travel was largely uneventful, and on the ninth of Alturiak we approached Milburn. Two farmers with a wagonload of hay were passing us when we asked if they knew where the man Tauster was located. They replied that he lived in Thurmaster just down the river. As the men were about to take their leave, archers from the nearby wood attacked!

It was an ambush! After two of us ran into the woods to stop the archers, the two farmers and a man that had been hidden in the hay, grabbed their meager weapons and assaulted my comrades. One of them called out to kill the mage, and fortunately Mr. Arclight was able to put up a Wall of Fog. Otherwise he might be lost to us now! All in all three of the men had been dispatched, but we were able to take two prisoners.

We took the prisoners to Lord Garyld who is a former paladin of Lathander, due to a debilitating injury he had received. He was able to tell us of a commotion in the local inn, the Baron of Mutton. He also mentioned the New Mire; a swamp that has appeared within the last two years. We elected to go to the inn and see if we could be of some assistance.

Last night a woman named Jennelith was found missing from her room. Her boyfriend was very concerned about her well being. We checked out the room, and Nas was able to discover that she had been dragged upright with no struggle to the open window. The bed had not been slept in. Outside of the inn, beneath the window, he found that three or four people had headed down to the river, where a boat had been waiting for them.

It is late, and there will be a barge coming in the morning that can take us downriver. There is no way we’d be able to stop the kidnappers if we’re on foot. Tomorrow we will make up the time by water and deliver the chest to Tauster to complete our employment.

I continue to share a room with Jayashree and now also Friend Carlos. Until I am able to better determine what magics are at play against this man, I’d feel more comfortable keeping a close eye on him. There is some hope that this Tauster that we have been sent to, might have some more insight, and if not, there is also a temple to Tyr here we might try though Lord Garyld seems to dislike the head priest there...

I hope this letter finds you well and vital as always, Dawnmaster. Thank you for your advice to find companions. Already this mission would have ended in disaster had I the arrogance to try this on my own!

Until the Dawn,

Lady Darya Nishan
Alturiak the 9th, 1370

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Alturiak the 14th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:20 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the radiant Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

There have been no developments in the search for the missing Jennelith I’m afraid, though we continue our search! On the morning of the tenth, we spent the day traveling by barge down the river toward Thurmaster. We were warned of possible orc and lizard men attacks, but our trip was uneventful.

It was around 8 AM when we reached the small village. It is in a horrifying state of disrepair… Most of the buildings are made up of little more than sticks and the wall surrounding the village is better suited for keeping in sheep. The people here do not have an easy life, though they seem reluctant to talk about it.

Our companion Nas spoke with the Dock master, who was able to tell him that Jennelith is Tauster’s apprentice! We met with the wizard, who seems an eccentric sort. He lives in a nicely kept home with a two-story tower attached, with a hole blown through the roof of it. After the delivery of the chest, he gave us a letter to give to the Squire, who would provide us our payment. We told him about Jennelith, and he was naturally very concerned for her well-being. He asked that we travel by foot back up the river to visit a farmer and adventurer friend of his named Kuiper, who keeps tabs on things happening around the river, and might have seen something involving Jennelith. He told us that he’d pay ten gold pieces to each of us for information regarding her whereabouts, and fifty gold pieces each if we were able to find her.

I asked him if he could check over Friend Carlos’ tattoos to see if he could find out what they had been created for. He was able to tell us that the tattoo on his forehead radiated alteration magic, the one on his chest was alteration and necromantic magic and the one on his abdomen was also alteration and necromantic. Also, the aura surrounding him was of enchantment. Tauster agreed to do some reading to see if he could find examples of such magics worked in the past. We will be returning to him at some point once we are able to recover Jennelith, so hopefully he’ll have more information for us then!

After a small lunch at the local inn, I purchased Friend Carlos a set of sturdy traveling clothes to replace the rags he was wearing, and we collected our payment for our brief employment before setting out of Thurmaster on foot, back up the river towards Milburn.

On the twelfth in the late afternoon, we reached the home of Kuiper, a well-constructed homestead surrounded by farm fields. He was also very concerned about Jennelith, and headed out with us immediately to check the edges of the river for signs of a boat being pulled up on shore. They must have taken her off the boat before they reached Thurmaster, as they would most certainly have been seen if passing by that village. He was able to provide us a bit more information about our quarry. She is the daughter of the miller in Milburn, and her boyfriend Andren is the son of the innkeeper. Also, Jennelith has been Tauster’s apprentice for two years.

While we walked the subject of Friend Carlos’ condition came up again. We asked if he had ever been trained in any sort of combat, which he said no. He said that he did whatever Preeminence commanded him and no more. The dwarf, Torin, inquired what Preeminence’s last ten commands to the man had been. Most were mundane things like lighting the fire, preparing the meal and so forth. The last command had been to stand in the place where we found him, facing east and think of nothing. However, the sixth command was more informative… Preeminence had told him to speak with the Kossuthian! I know I don’t need to tell you of those mad fire priests! Friend Carlos did as he commanded of course, and the Kossuthian priest said a prayer in front of him then used some phonetic sounds the man didn’t understand. He said, “The Kossuthian gave me the words.” I have no idea what this means, but I find it terribly interesting. I hope to question him about it further sometime soon!

While searching the riverbanks, we encountered a feral woman with a wolf pet, whom Kuiper knows as Oleanne. She is a druid in this area, and though she’d seen no sign of a barge landing or a woman being carried away, she had spotted a werebear in the woods that apparently Kuiper had been looking for. A boy named Maxim, with suspected werecreature heritage, had run away some days ago and he had been keeping an eye out for him.

It was getting too dark for tracking, so we stopped for the evening. I was on fourth watch when I heard movement in the woods and altered our companions. Eleven orcs launched arrows at us before charging, one sticking Jace in the shoulder! One of the orcs, perhaps their leader was carrying a metal shield with some sort of tribal symbol painted upon it. With the help of Kuiper and his druid friend, we were able to dispatch them rather handily. Aside from the shield, which was given to me to use, some coin was found on the creatures as well as a jeweled brooch.

It was after dawn by that point, so we headed out to search for the boy, Maxim. After some time we came across a few dead orcs that appeared to have been mauled by a bear. They bore the same symbol as the one we had fought earlier that day. Kuiper was able to pick up the tracks at that point, and he gave us two nets to use to try to entangle the boy-beast. No one wanted to hurt him after all! It didn’t take long before we found the hulking bear, who looked none too thrilled to have been spotted. He charged us then, and Kuiper stepped up trying to talk to him while blocking his attacks. It took a few throws, but we eventually managed to ensnare the bear, who calmed down after about twenty minutes and shifted back into boy form.

After that confrontation had ended, it had begun to rain, making it very difficult to track down where the orcs had from. Oleanne and her wolves went off to try to hunt them down by scent while Kuiper headed back to his farm with Maxim in tow. He asked that we keep checking the south banks of the river for signs of a boat, and if we discovered anything, to go find him at his home. We searched for the remainder of the daylight, but found nothing but a warthog that made for a tasty dinner before we made camp for the night.

At dawn on the fourteenth, we made our way back to Kuiper’s farm, arriving in the early evening. The boat had to either put in before Thurmaster, or they could have headed up the river if they were in a small craft, and since no signs were to be found along the banks between Milburn and Thurmaster, we presume that they headed north… Kuiper suggested that we head back toward Milburn and perhaps speak with Lord Garyld about Jennelith before heading further north to meet with a friend of his named Shiraz near a place called the Eel Hole. Hopefully that will prove more fruitful than this last search had been! I worry for the girl’s safety, as does everyone we’ve spoken with thus far. She seems to be genuinely well liked in the area.

Kuiper kindly allowed us to sleep in his barn for the evening, and we will be setting out again after sunrise!

May the Light of the Glorious Dawn open our minds and strengthen our hearts in these dark times!

Lady Darya Nishan
Alturiak the 14th, 1370

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Alturiak the 18th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:29 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the perspicacious Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

I am finding that there are few things as frustrating as a mystery that defies resolution! Our quarry, the elusive Jennelith, is still missing in spite of many days searching for any sign of the woman or her abductors.

Then there is Friend Carlos, whom in truth we’ve not yet had a chance to do some real research into. Tauster is looking into those tattoos of his. I was able to discover that while they appear to be the same sort of subcutaneous injections that pirates and other ne’er-do-wells mar their bodies with, they are in fact much more ghastly. It is as if his skin has grown around the tattoos, like it has been seared to the mark so that he might be one with the dark magic imprinted on him. I hope to speak with someone else knowledgeable in the ways of magic as well. I am not sure how much experience Jace has in such things, as he is an elemental mage, but perhaps in his research he may have come across something that could provide us a clue. Perhaps I shall ask him to look the man over once again. I’ve still yet to see the tattoo on his abdomen…

We arrived back in Milbourne in the early evening of the 15th, having seen no evidence of a boat being pulled up along the shores of the Churnett River. We split once we got there, Torin, Jayashree, Friend Carlos and myself went to speak with Sir Garyld about the hunt for Jennelith, and to tell him that Kuiper is also looking into the matter. The others, Nas, Jace and Riffington went to the inn to speak with Anden the missing girl’s beau.

At Sir Garyld’s shop, he introduced us to a new ally in the struggle against dark magic! A wemic of all creatures, and more importantly, a noble priest of Nobanion! His name is Cleander Alparslan. His tribe was wiped out by armored assailants, who held and tortured him for months before he was rescued by a powerful human mage. Since his salvation, he’s become a powerful friend to the human race and seeks to aid us on our quests! I hope someday to bring him to meet you, Dawnmaster, if he would be so inclined. I’m quite sure our alliance will be to the benefit of all, and perhaps we could be of some assistance in helping solve his mystery and bring to justice those beings that destroyed his tribe!

While we were being introduced to our new ally, my other companions were questioning Andren about her family. Jennelith’s parents seemed to honestly have no idea who would possibly want to harm their daughter. The same was true for Sammerin, her adopted brother and a giant of a man that works in the smithy.

We gathered together over a meal to discuss our options, and decided that though we had no further leads, we should still pursue our current course of heading up river to the Eel Hold to speak with Shiraz, and to check along the banks for any signs of a boat.

Before retiring for the evening we spoke once more with Sir Garyld to tell him of our intentions. He maintains contact with Shiraz via messenger pigeon, and also mentioned to us that there has been a bit of trouble with the dam up at the Eel Hold. If it were to burst it would flood all of the towns in the area. He also mentioned the New Mire again, which has grown quickly over these last two years, turning fertile farmland into swamp. This is yet another mystery that will need to be solved soon, but the safety of Jennelith was our primary concern.

We spent the next day and a half traveling up river to the Eel Hold. Not much sleep was to be had, as we apparently camped right next to a den of giant frogs that attacked us all night long! On a related note, we’ve discovered that Jace is actually a very good cook, and frog legs are delicious!

When we reached the Eel Hold, we met Shiraz who said she’d neither seen nor heard anything of Jennelith, or anyone who might have taken her. She also told us of the trouble there at the dam. Apparently there is a nixie in the area named Shenjurth, who until recently was able to control a water elemental that lives there in the lake. She’s been having trouble with him now and he’ll occasionally cause great waves to rip through the water that could damage the dam.

We have no way to control this elemental. That is even beyond Jace at the moment, and to do battle with such a powerful creature IN the water… That would be unfortunate. Shiraz was at a loss for what to do about the situation as well, so keeping that issue in mind, we again headed south toward Milbourne.

On our southern travels, we stopped by the mines where the two captured bandits had been taken, to ask if they had any idea of who may have taken Jennelith. Unfortunately they weren’t able to provide us with information either, and Nas assured us that the treacherous criminals were telling the truth.

We arrived back in Milbourne on the afternoon of the 18th and spoke briefly with Sir Garyld about the goings on at the Eel Hold, and the utter lack of clues to Jennelith’s whereabouts. He assured us that there were many capable people out looking for her, Shiraz, Kuiper and Oleanne to name a few, and if there was any information that turned up, he would be sure to let us know!

So, we decided for the time, to head south to Harlaton, and look into the mysterious New Mire. One of the barmaids was able to tell us that one of the young boys had seen something strange in the swamp, but other than that, we learned nothing besides what we had already been told. We’ll spend this night at the Pitcher and the Pitchfork, and pray that tomorrow will be more productive, and more good will be accomplished, than what has been achieved these last few days!

In the Dawn, beauty reigns and the way is clearer…

Lady Darya Nishan
Alturiak the 18th, 1370

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Alturiak the 28th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:10 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the benevolent Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

It is possible that we’ve solved the mystery of the New Mire. It seems that a tribe of goblins had moved in nearly two years ago, and their shaman carried some sort of magical ring that seemed to be ‘summoning’ water in a sense. I don’t think the shaman was even intentionally creating the water, as he said it just slowly appeared even as they traveled north from the caves where the ring was initially found.

I’m getting ahead of myself I believe.

We trekked into the New Mire, with Nas following some old tracks that would hopefully lead us to the ‘blue, pointy-eared monsters’ that the boy in Harlaton told us he saw. We were told that the occasional sheep or cow would go missing from town, but only after I had asked them directly if any people or animals had been killed mysteriously. So, we knew that the creatures hadn’t attacked any people, and they took an animal every once in awhile for a meal (as we would learn later).

The water itself in this place radiated very faintly of evil magic. Summoning magic, but whether divine or arcane, neither Jace nor I were able to tell.

We spent the evening in an abandoned farmstead and during the night we see five goblins outside of the building. They seemed to be just fooling around in the muck, and didn’t even know we were there. I went out to confront them, to see if they could understand our language and perhaps to see if they knew something more about this strange swamp. They were defensive of course, and raised their spears, but did not attack. Unable to understand what I was asking, they fled and we let them go.

In the morning, Nas was able to find the fresh tracks and we followed them to a cave on the northeast edge of the New Mire. Out of the cave flowed a stream of water with the same faint emanations of evil magic. They didn’t want us to enter of course, but we went in after a minor discussion. Thankfully at least a few of them spoke common. We approached them non-threateningly, or at least I did, and they fled before us as we continued into the cave to find their leader and get some more answers as to what was creating all of this water.

In the back of the caves we found a king and their shaman. The shaman told us that their goddess, Maglubiat, sent the water to them as a sign of her favor, and that they’d been here nearly two years, as I’ve stated earlier in this letter. They had mentioned food several times, and I began to suggest that perhaps they could move somewhere else, with lots of hills, a large body of water and lots of tasty eels to eat, when Riffington jumped in to suggest the same thing. I was happy to let him play to his crowd until he began to suggest that they destroy the trees in the Eel Hold area, which would infuriate the nixie, and to defecate in the lake itself which might rouse the water elemental, and in turn destroy the dam and the villages to the south! Not a great idea, and he was trying to send these goblins to their demise when they have never posed a threat to humanity, and stolen only a few sheep because they were hungry.

I thought it possible that they could live in peace up at the Eel Hold. Plenty of food. Very few people to bother them, and I’m sure as long as they didn’t wantonly harm the area’s wildlife, that Shiraz would have been fine with them staying there and could have kept an eye on the tribe.

They finally decided that they didn’t want to move; that the place was a holy place to them and they saw no reason to uproot themselves. So the fight ensued, the goblins attacking us only after we initiated the fight, and seven of their number were killed. Fortunately Jace had put the shaman and the king to Sleep. Torin discovered that a ring that the shaman was wearing was magical, and Jace recognized the item as being somehow related to water magic. Perhaps we have our source of the mysterious water! Nas woke the king and convinced him to take the shaman and the remaining goblins to live somewhere else.

We decided to travel east to Thurmaster and speak with Tauster about the ring, and I had hoped that perhaps the man had found some useful information regarding Friend Carlos and his tattoos. He had no information regarding our companion, but we gave him one hundred gold to buy the components he would need to cast Identify on the ring. The spell should be completed tomorrow, so I will have more specifics at that time. It was also suggested that we speak with the Carmens of Milbourne, who own those flooded farmlands. There is perhaps a reward to be had for our services.

I have been sent here because evil magic has been detected in this area. It is possible that this evil magic was radiating from the New Mire itself, though I wonder if the magic was too weak to be detected at such range. It is possible, if we are between missions, that I might follow a caravan back into Turelve to speak again with Dawnlord Redleaf on the matter. Perhaps he will have some more information regarding the evil magic that I’ve been sent to seek out.

We’re staying this night in the burned out ruins of a house just outside the gates of Thurmaster. I look forward to seeing what new discoveries the dawn will bring, and perhaps I shall need to adjust my approach to my companions. No one seems to appreciate waking on time, so I think I’ll let them sleep and foster some good will. I am not used to those who would choose to start their day hours late, but there is plenty for me to do to stay busy while they rest.

A few of them have called me a fool for my attempts to try to negotiate honestly and openly with the goblins, whose home we intruded upon. Yes, I will concede that they did threaten us, but they were an extremely cowardly lot, and did not attack us at any time until we initiated combat. Yes, they killed livestock for food, but I hardly believe that to be reason for slaughter when they could have been convinced to leave and live in peace elsewhere. If I am a fool for standing up for what is right and just even toward goblins, then may I be a fool for the rest of my days!

May Lathander's Radiance foster renewed hope and comraderie in all of our hearts!

Lady Darya Nishan
Alturiak the 28th, 1370

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Ches the 2nd, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:56 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the resplendent Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

There have been some very interesting developments over the last few days, and something of a breakthrough regarding the mystery that is Friend Carlos!

We had a bit of a confrontation regarding the incident at the New Mire that night we stayed in the burned out building. As difficult as it was, I think it was needed in a way, and we find ourselves a stronger group now because of it! We are making it a priority now to learn what we can about our companions. Those things they are willing to reveal of course, as there are a few of our number that have things they are leery of sharing for one reason or another. I do not count it against them, as things may develop more as we grow together as a unit. I miss the discussions you and I would have, Dawnmaster, and gleaning from your wisdom and experience in all things…

Nas, our elven ranger, was able to hear many rumors while we were in Thurmaster. It seems the Haranshire area is, as we feared, fraught with evil! We may be able to pursue some of these possibilities if we find ourselves without any immediate work.

When Tauster finished with the Identify, he was able to tell us that the ring is some sort of malfunctioning ring of water elemental command that is leaking water from the elemental plane! We’re planning on taking it up to the Eel Hold so the Nixie can regain control over the water elemental in the lake, and thus protect the village of Milbourne and the other settlements along the rivers. Seems like the New Mire problem will be solving the Eel Hold problem! We also need to alert Shiraz that the goblins may be heading up to her area, and that though they seem to want nothing but to keep to themselves, that she should probably keep an eye on them in case they become a problem.

I spoke with Tauster again about looking into Friend Carlos’ condition, and he said he’d need a day or so to study him. We could spare a bit of time in hopes that some information could be learned, so we left Friend Carlos and Jace with Tauster for the day while we headed north to Palfray’s Keep to see if there were any issues in the area that we might attempt to solve with our particular set of skills.

Count Sandior Palfray told us that his quarry workers had discovered an ancient tomb while excavating, and now they are too afraid of what might lie within, to continue their work. Obviously Nas and I were quite eager to put to rest any undead that may inhabit such a place, so the four of us, myself, Nas, Torin and Riffington all set out to the quarry.

There were undead within, and I’m glad to report that aside from a few worrisome moments we destroyed the evil there and survived our injuries with the help of both Torin and a priest at Palfrey’s Keep. Eight skeletons, six zombies and a wraith! Most of us were ill equipped to deal with such a menace, but fortunately, as an undead hunter, Nas had some vials of holy water that we were able to use on our weapons. We’ve since rectified the situation, and both of us now carry vials. Just in case… I may look into purchasing a silvered weapon just for those instances.

Count Palfray was kind enough to allow us to keep the 4,000 gold that we found within the crypt, and from that amount, the four of us bought horses to speed our travel. I’m sure the others will follow suit when we meet up with them once again. Once the New Mire begins receding, the Carmen family may also reward us for our work, though it will likely take a few weeks for any change to be seen. We will approach the family at a later date and explain to them the events.

When we returned to Tauster, unfortunately he wasn’t able to tell us any more about Friend Carlos, in spite of his efforts. He did suggest that we meet with a wandering priest of Illmater that visits the temple of Tyr in Milbourne on occasion. The wizard said he might be able to better understand the mental or emotional trauma that our broken friend has been subject to.

Now for the most exciting portion of this letter! While speaking with Friend Carlos over a couple bowls of stew, I was able to glean some very interesting information! It seems that he…or more accurately, his tattoos serve as spell storing devices! Preeminence would give him various orders such as, Heal, Protect, Dispel, Dismiss, Slow, etc, and then the appropriate spell that he had previously stored within the tattoo would be released! He would be sent to a Kossuthian priest to receive ‘Healing’, and the priest would touch the tattoo on his abdomen. At a later date, Preeminence would order Friend Carlos to Heal, and an injury would be healed! I thought to try this idea for myself, and asked Torin to cast a healing spell into the tattoo on our friend’s abdomen. He did so, and I sliced open my hand and requested that Friend Carlos Heal, and the wound on my hand sealed up before my eyes! Interestingly enough, he doesn’t realize that he is doing these things, or seems to comprehend at all that he is ‘storing’ these spells.

Below, I’ve attempted to recreate the tattoos that he wears. The first, the one on his forehead is Alteration and Abjuration magic. The second, on his chest is Alteration and Necromantic, as is the third on his abdomen. He said that the priest would only touch the tattoo on his abdomen though, so I wonder if these tattoos can only store certain types of spells. It’s hard to say at this point, and I hope when Jace returns to us, that we might be able to do some more experimenting. The aura of evil enchantment around him still especially concerns me, and I wonder if it is this aura that keeps him in a servile state or he has been ‘broken’ as many slaves are. He certainly was shamefully treated during his time! I fear that blindly trying to Dispel these things could result in much harm to our friend, so I’d like to do some more investigating before taking such drastic action. Perhaps the priest of Illmater may be able to tell us more about the strange aura.

There is still much more to learn from him, and as we make our discoveries, I will as ever, keep you informed!

May we always reflect the Radiance of the Morninglord, in both word and deed!

Lady Darya Nishan
Ches the 2nd, 1370

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Ches the 10th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:15 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the magnanimous Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

After taking the Ring of Water Elemental Command up to the nixie at Eel Hold, we spent the last number of days in Milbourne training, equipping and ‘experimenting’ on Friend Carlos.

I had the opportunity to do quite a bit of sparring with the wemic, Cleander. Definitely a worthy opponent! I hope that he was able to gain some benefit from our exercises, but I have a feeling that I was the one who learned most of the lessons this time…

Jayashree, justifiably concerned about Friend Carlos’ welfare in combat, took him to Sir Garyld for some pointers on how to defend himself. He was equipped with a shield, which he was keenly uncomfortable with to the point of shaking, and Sir Garyld merely tapped him on the shield with his weapon, which caused Friend Carlos to drop to the ground screaming and writhing in agony! Gladly, Jace was there to cast Sleep over him to give the poor man some comfort, as nothing else was working.

“To wear armor is to be crushed by it,” he said some time later once he had regained his senses. “To wield a weapon is to be hurt by it.” It sounded as if he was repeating phrases that Preeminence had drilled into his mind. Hopefully not literally…

Later that same day, Jace and Cleander began testing out spells on Friend Carlos’ tattoos. After much trial and error, they were able to discover that only the tattoo on his abdomen would accept any spells. Priest spells by touch, and Wizard spells by casting into it. What the purposes of the other tattoos are, we have yet to find out. It’s possible the spells that are available at the moment are not the ones that the other tattoos are meant to accept. It’s hard to tell at this time, but hopefully we’ll gather some more information soon.

Today we were able to speak with Lafayer, the priest of Illmater, who gave us some advice about how to help our friend. He suggested we press him for answers, giving him time to formulate a response. Also to order him to make choices and then ask him why he chose what he did. We should also reward him for doing well.

I understand the concept I believe. That he really needs to start over from the beginning as if he was a child, but Dawnmaster, the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like we’re treating him as a lesser at times, when he most obviously is not. Still, no wrong is being done here except that which has already been done to him by Preeminence. My only hope is that with time, this ‘breaking’ that has been done to our companion, might be counteracted.

I made an attempt to Dispel the evil aura of enchantment that surrounds Friend Carlos today, to no avail. It is a powerful magic, yet I believe in time that it might be possible to destroy it. I hope so. Seeing him in pain like we did a few days ago was horrifying. Even though Preeminence is no longer physically near him, he’s still tortures his slave from afar.

May the Tower’s light ever be a beacon of hope to the downtrodden of Var and beyond!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Ches the 10th, 1370

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Ches the 16th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:05 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to ever-persevering Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

We set out on the 10th with our new mounts, seeking to speak with Kuiper about how to approach the Aarokocra in order to help them with their orc problem. Along the way we were ambushed by twelve bandits, led, or at least aided by a distinctive-looking priest of Loviator. Unfortunately this malevolent fellow escaped justice, using a magical cloak that granted him flight to escape combat. I intend to keep my eye out for this one. He will not elude our grasp a second time… A few of us were significantly injured in the melee, but thankfully we have with us two priests of our own of a much more noble character!

When we reached Kuiper’s farm the following day, we were told he had gone out searching for Oleanne who hadn’t been heard from in some time. The ranger should be back in a few days, and we may yet have need to return to talk with him on some other matters as well. I hope Oleanne is safe… You were right, Dawnmaster. This region is fraught with much peril, and I am concerned that something tragic may have befallen the beautiful druid.

In Thurmaster, we attended to some business, before heading out to the Palfrey estate to look for some work. Lord Palfrey told us that there have been some…squashins…in the Half-cut Hills. Giants have crushed mostly livestock so far, but also one farmer has been killed. He suggested we find ourselves some allies to aid us in disposing of these dangerous creatures.

On our way to the hills, I spotted a dragon flying high overhead, using invisibility to attempt to cloak itself from sight. It seemed to be flying into the Shrieken Mire. Considering that Thurmaster lies on the northern edge of the Mire, I’m surprised that we’ve not heard of draconic activity in the area.

At one of the farms where some ‘squashins’ had taken place, Nas was able to determine that there were four sets of giant prints. Two adults and two children it seemed. A formidable force indeed!

We spent some time, after tracking them to their camp, observing their habits. Apparently they sleep in shifts, two at a time, and go out at night in search of food. With this information in hand, we began planning on what we might do to defeat these monsters.

Two of us were almost killed while scouting out a cave where we hoped to take refuge for the evenings. The creatures looked like living stalactites that dropped from the ceiling onto their prey. Again, we are fortunate to have our priests with us…

For now we wait just outside the Hills until we can come to a consensus about which plan to put into action.


Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Ches the 16th, 1370

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Ches the 20th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:44 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the veracious Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

There has been a lot of travel and a lot of combat over the last few days! Unfortunately none of our objectives have yet been completed…

We decided that it would be prudent to seek additional aid in combating the giants. A couple options presented themselves. We could either attempt to gain the assistance of a green dragon that seems to be peacefully residing within the Shrieken Mire or we could again try to assist the aarokocra with their orc troubles and hope that they may be willing to aid us in return. Opting for dealing with the goodly race of birdmen first, we headed off to the ranger, Kuiper, for some tips on how to approach them.

Oleanne has still not been found, and he is quite concerned for her now. Considering the danger we all have encountered in this area so far, there is much cause for concern! We assured him that we would keep an eye out for the druid, and headed south into the forest toward the Feather Fall region to speak with the aarokocra.

The birdmen make their nests high up within caves on a cliff face. Jayashree was able to very carefully pick her way up there, where eventually she made contact with them and explained what we were there for. To aid them in their trouble with the orcs and then discuss assisting us with our own trouble with the giants! They happily agreed and pointed us in the direction of two orc camps.

Yesterday we came across the first of these camps. Nas and Jayashree took out the sentries while we waited to charge what we believed to be the leader’s tent. Unfortunately one of the sentries manage to cry out while he was dying and alerted the camp, but we were still able to deal with them quite well, and sustained little damage to ourselves. Five of the orcs managed to escape our grasp. This tribe of orcs had a different symbol than the ones we fought previously.

Nas was able to track the five escaping orcs, and we followed them fearing they would alert the second camp, but they continued past it to the north, so we stopped our pursuit and turned to address this second camp.

The second camp we found empty, and it was much larger in size than the first one. It appeared to have been vacant for a couple of months now. Interestingly enough we found another symbol of their tribe, and it matched the symbol we’d found on the orcs we’d first fought in this region!

We decided to continue the pursuit of the escapees to see if we could find out where this orc tribe had relocated. It took a good portion of the day, but we were able to run them down. They were looking for the same orc encampment we were. Apparently there are ‘LOTS’ of orcs in this rival tribe, and after they’d gotten a new chief they’d moved to the north, but these orcs weren’t sure exactly where. We stripped them of their weapons, Jace put them to sleep and Cleander tied their feet together before we left.

We headed north toward the Hogbrook to try to find signs of this new encampment. Nearing evening we found a clearing with some apparently abandoned ruins within. Thinking it unwise to go searching through ruins at dark, we decided to camp a distance away for the night and approach again at dawn.

This morning Nas and Jayashree went in to do some scouting of the clearing area. Apparently it is well protected! A trap was sprung and a warning bell went off. After seeing that nothing apparently happened, they went back into the clearing and began taking fire from crossbow-armed humans standing behind crenellations upon some of the ruined walls! These may well be the bandits that we’d fought a week ago, with the priest of Loviator!

Nas and Jayashree returned to us and after healing their wounds, we discussed what should be done. Though we know that these bandits will need to be dealt with at some point, we have given our word to the aarokocra that we would deal with their orc troubles. PLUS we still have the giants to deal with! The bandits may have to wait for another day… Not for too much longer though I hope! That priest needs to be met with some harsh justice. Preferably in the form of my morningstar…

May the Brilliance of the Dawn light our paths and blind our enemies!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Ches the 20th, 1370

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Tarsakh the 2nd, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:24 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the faithful Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

Within this last week we have made some definite progress toward pushing back the darkness in the Haranshire region! Much still remains to be sure, but I must admit it feels good to accomplish a few of the tasks that have been set before us!

We explored the Thornwood along the Hogbrook hoping to find some evidence of the large orc tribe known as the Bloodskull, but to no avail. We met up with Kuiper who confirmed that there was no evidence of orc activity within a day’s walk from his farm. He also mentioned that Lord Palfray owns the lands of the Thornwood, and would probably have some information about the ruins that the bandits are holed up in. For the time being we decided to head back south to the aarokocra to bring them the head of the orc chieftain Cleander took, as well as news of the second, relocated tribe. One mission completed.

The birdmen were quite grateful that we’d taken care of their problem, but they were leery of battling giants and with good reason. Cleander suggested one of their number join us for a time to serve as a scout, and thus we met Blackbeak.

While we spent some training time in Thurmaster, our new ally headed off to scout the giants for us. Apparently they’d again threatened if not killed the residents of one of the homesteads that we’d visited previously. We needed deal with these giants as soon as possible! The morning we left for Lord Palfray’s estate and then to the Halfcut Hills, I again attempted to Dispel the evil, magical aura that surrounds Friend Carlos, this time with some success! It seems to have worked momentarily, but I believe a Remove Curse will be needed to remove the magic completely… I will have to speak with the mage Tauster about this as soon as we return.

Lintern Palfray, Lord Palfray’s adventure-eager son, was the first to meet us at the gates. He said he would give us information about the ruins in the Thornwood if we would take him out adventuring with us. We already know that his father is completely against him choosing that path, and while I might sympathize with his need for adventure, we can hardly abduct him from his familial responsibilities! If it had happened that my family disagreed with my desire to take up the shield, then I would still be at home with them today. Just because we may not be pleased with the responsibilities we have been given does not make us any less obligated to see that they are met! Still, it is easy for me to say that since my family understands enough to allow me to choose which road to travel… Lord Palfray seemed immovable on the subject though. It would not surprise me if one day soon, Lintern runs off on his own. I hope not for both of their sakes, but he seems quite desperate. Perhaps I shall speak with him on the subject when we return there.

On the subject of the ruins, Lintern told us that his father tends to “silence” talk and questions about those particular ruins. We’re not clear what this “silence” entails yet… More darkness. More deception… The Lord himself pretended to know nothing about the matter, and Nas was able to determine that the man was lying. Those bandits pose a significant threat to travelers, and if there is a priest of Loviator involved, who knows what kind of dark deeds they might be conspiring! We will need to deal with them soon as well!

On our way to the Hills, we began formulating a plan. Blackbeak said that he believed he could get seven more of his people to aid us with their javelins, and if we could harvest those living stalactites from the caves we’d stayed in last time we were here, we could drop them off the cliff onto the giants’ heads. No plan involving giants is without risk of course, but we believed that with our newfound allies and a surprise attack, that we could keep that risk to a minimum.

Blackbeak went to gather his people while we went to gather our ammunition and explore the cave further. We found a sinkhole in one of the far recesses of the cave, which dropped down about one hundred feet. We may yet go back and explore that, as we have heard rumors of magic in the area.

It was just this morning that we launched our attack! The birdmen with their first volley killed the adult sleeping giant outright! The other adult was alerted to the aarokocra’s presence and Torin used…as I stated in my last letter…the Brilliance of the Dawn to blind our enemies! More specifically to set his face afire, but the effect was the same… The young, previously sleeping giant woke and while he attempted to leave their cave, was killed by the stalactites we dropped on his head.

The two that were still standing made their way up either side of the hill towards us. Ranged attacks took out the second youth so we turned our attention upon the adult. He was only able to attempt his “squashin’” once before he was felled.

A great victory for the forces of good has been dealt in this place, and I am honored to be traveling with companions who seek to bring light to this dark land!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Tarsakh the 2nd, 1370


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Tarsakh the 8th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:55 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the judicious Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

The last few days have been filled with mostly training and travel, but there was a great breakthrough made in the case of Friend Carlos! Tauster and I were able to simultaneously Remove Curse and Dispel Evil Magic upon Friend Carlos, abolishing the aura of enchantment around him.

Nothing appeared to have changed at that moment, but shortly afterward we discovered that he was able to hold a weapon without collapsing into painful spasms! I count that as progress!

Cleander seems to have taken him under his…paw… They’ve been fishing together quite a bit lately. It makes me wonder if the wemic ever had cubs of his own!

Our current business is to determine how best to take care of the issue of the bandits, holed up in the ruins within the Thornwood. Our aarokocra allies were able to do some scouting for us and counted five humans inside the walls, but with the size of the roofed structures in there, there is likely many more of the brigands within. It is also possible that the Bloodskull tribe of orcs that we’d encountered in the past may be working with them…

Tonight we begin the first stages of planning our assault upon the bandit hideout!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Tarsakh the 8th, 1370

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Tarsakh the 14th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:57 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the favored Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

Oh, Dawnmaster, I’m not even sure I know where to begin… These past six days have changed my life in ways I hardly ever thought possible! I suppose the beginning would be as good a place to start as any.

I had just drifted off to sleep on the evening of the 8th of Tarsakh when I was awoken by a ferret who’d perched himself on my chest! He looked at me and sniffed a bit before turning so I might see the small pouch that was tied to him. Within the pouch was a scroll, and on that scroll was written a message in the most beautiful script I’d ever seen! It reads, “Please do not alert your friends. I would like to meet with you. If you are concerned about my intentions, please consider my messenger. To find me, merely go east.” The note is simply signed, “O.”

I could find no evil magic compelling the ferret to act as the messenger, so after putting my armor back on and gathering my things, I excused myself from among my friends and set off after the enigmatic, O.

Not long did I walk before coming upon a small campfire. There lounging casually within the firelight was the most stunningly attractive man I’d ever laid eyes on… I hesitate to share these details with you Dawnmaster, in fear that you may believe me to be acting the part of a silly teenage girl, but I pray that you will not think less of me for pouring out my heart in this letter! There is no one with whom I yet feel close enough to share these things, and you know me better than anyone save Lathander himself!

As I approached the camp he stood and greeted me by name in a voice that raised goose bumps on my arm… The man stood a few inches taller than me with golden blonde hair that swept back over his ears and curled up slightly at the base of his neck. He had a bit of scruff growing in along his jaw line, but far from detracting from his appearance it served to draw attention to the dimples that were set on either side of his radiant smile. He was dressed as a commoner, but he carried himself with the confidence of royalty, and his very presence exuded goodness…

I find my breathing to be labored even now as I write this, so you can imagine my state while standing there under the gaze of those bright blue eyes! By the Dawn, I’ve stood before giants without a hint of a shiver, but in front of this man…I have never felt so nervous and awkward in all of my life!

I stood there like a mute imbecile for a few moments before returning his greeting, and he invited me to sit at his fire so we might speak. His name is Ollimer, though he asked that I call him, O.

We talked for some time, but he managed to avoid directly answering most of my questions about his ‘superiors’ and where he was from by simply stating that wasn’t allowed to say more. Even so, not once did I feel that he wasn’t trustworthy. Ollimer oozed of confidence and though I’m sure he must have recognized the effect he was having on me, he was gracious enough not to point it out. I wish I could have been as at ease with him as he seemed with me!

He told me of an artifact known as Lathander’s Lantern. It was found about a century ago and every ten days it would open and its light would point in a certain direction. Eventually people began to believe it was pointing to something in particular and there were those that set out to follow that path. Enemies recently set upon the pilgrims and the Lantern was stolen! O. gave me the charge of finding this holy object and leaving immediately to do so!

I remember him saying that he was not permitted to directly interfere, so he was doing what he could by helping indirectly. It seemed that he cared very much about the duties presented him by his superiors and wanted to honor their wishes. Another trait I find most admirable! I assumed he was referring to the recovery of the lantern, though he did not specify and just before I pressed him further on the issue he commented that he thought me very pretty… I fear I may have missed a portion of the conversation after that, while my heart pounded in my ears…

After my hearing returned, O. assured me that he would tell my companions of my temporary departure. I would not need my horse, which was good, as I hadn’t brought him along. He said that he would be taking me where I needed to go, and that I must remember not to fear the beast!

Again, I didn’t get a chance to ask about the beast before he requested that I shut my eyes and not peek… I’m quite positive my face betrayed my confusion at that point. He said that he needed to hug me to take me where we were going, and he promised his intentions were honorable, which of course I had no thought otherwise!

I did as he requested, and I felt him approach and wrap his arms around me. I wonder if I was actually shaking as badly as I fear I may have been, or whether my mind simply exaggerates the moment now… That near to him, I could smell the subtle scent of fresh spring grasses, and all anxiety drained from my body as I felt something akin to a soft cloak close around me. Disorientation followed, and when I opened my eyes, O. was gone. I stood alone among rolling hills that sprawled out in all directions. Although I was disappointed not to have the opportunity to say goodbye to the mysterious man with whom I find myself smitten, I was determined to complete the mission that he had set me upon.

Off in the distance, within the moonlight, I spotted some irregularities among the hills and started out in that direction. A plaintive howling could be heard on the wind and I guessed then that I must have been taken to the Howling Moor!

It wasn’t long before I came upon a number of human corpses, recently deceased. They all appeared to be warriors, but O. told me that there were priests also following the Light of the Lantern… Among the fallen I found one man who, before breathing his last, was able to tell me that there were two persons that came and attacked. Two leaders of men he called them. One, a redheaded man, took the pilgrims to the West. The other person took Lathander’s Lantern to the east. I fear that the redheaded man mentioned might be the same priest of Loviator we’ve encountered in the past… It is hardly a certainty, and I don’t understand why the bandits would capture them instead of killing them outright. Plus it’s quite a distance to their hold in the Thornwood… Still, the thought nags at me!

It was in the darkest part of the evening at this point, but the half moon was bright enough to make my way around. Unfortunately it wasn’t bright enough for me to follow any obvious signs of a procession through the moors, though I did attempt it for a short distance before deciding to turn east to find the Lantern and complete my assigned task.

I traveled for a very long while, when at some point I realized that I had lost my way. Lathander blessed me with a robin, which sang me back onto the right path, where I came across an enormous statue in the shape of a behir just standing there in the middle of the moors. Next to it laid the desiccated remains of a man that appeared as if he’d been there for more than a month. He bore a symbol on his robes that told me he was of Halruaa, likely a mage… His left arm was missing up to the elbow, as if it had been torn away.

The statue was facing east so I continued in that direction until I found a larger hill in which a cave had been dug. On the top of the hill lay dozens of stone birds and bats that had fallen from the sky. Perhaps this was the lair of a basilisk…

Hearing no noise inside the cave at the time, I slowly and quietly made my way inside. A distance ahead of me, I could hear two voices. A loud, bestial voice said, “It is good that you have found it.”

“Yes,” a feminine voice answered, “it will be a fitting sacrifice! It is too close to the Dawn now, it would be better to wait until tomorrow.”

“Better to make the distance under the cover of night,” the beast agreed with her.

Convinced they were talking about the Lantern, I waited until I heard the loud, rumbling snore of the beast before lighting a torch and hiding it behind my shield to get a better look around.

After a long passageway, a great cavern opened up in front of me. At the far end well, tucked into an alcove, lay a black, winged, reptilian creature probably about 20 to 30 feet long. What I could see of it didn’t appear to be a basilisk, but it didn’t look much like a dragon either… On the other end of the cavern, close to the tunnel I was standing in, was a priestess wearing red plate mail. Both of the cave’s occupants radiated very strong evil, but that hardly came as a surprise after hearing their brief conversation. She was sleeping facing the wall, and a number of feet away from her sat a good-sized bundle that simply had to be the Lantern I’d been sent to retrieve! It was a far enough from her that I decided to take the risk and sneak over to it. I think Nas and Jayashree would have been proud of me in that moment, though I believe what I lacked in stealthy skill was made up for by the sheer volume of the great snoring beast!

The Lantern safely back in Lathanderian hands, I quietly left the cave and headed back in the direction of the stone behir I’d come across earlier.

The priestess and her reptilian cohort needed to be dealt with, and perhaps the behir could aid me in bringing justice upon them… The hatred that behir hold for draconic species is legendary, and if the black creature in the cave had done this to him, he might be looking for some retribution himself! Ollimer did tell me not to fear the beast…

Dispelling the evil magic that had entrapped him, the stony coloration fell away revealing dusky rose-colored scales! He’s about twenty feet of long serpentine body with ten legs and two long horns sweeping back from his head. He stretched and flexed his stiff muscles before flopping his head down to the ground to meet my eyes. Seemingly grateful to have been released!

He is quite intelligent, and was even able to tell me his name, Szeraal, though it took me a few tries to pronounce it! It seems that Halruaan mage was his former master, and he was wearing some sort of ring that the behir felt should be retrieved. He also was eager to exact revenge upon the priestess and the black beast!

It was very near Dawn when Szeraal accompanied me into the cave once again. We made our way inside; it was amazing to me how such a large creature could move without making a sound! And sideways along the walls to boot, clinging to the stone with his sharp claws! He crept into the cavern and perched himself just above the black creature as I positioned myself near the priestess. I gave the signal and Szeraal loosed a lightning bolt before leaping onto the winged reptile and tearing into it with tooth and claw!

The priestess was wearing a symbol of Tchazzar, the dragon cult under Tiamat, as you well know! When Szeraal attacked she jumped to her feet as I charged. She was incredibly strong and wielded a powerful hammer, the head of which was shaped as a dragon’s head that she set alight with magical flame! I couldn’t tell how Szeraal was faring back on the other side of the cavern, and I had my hands full with the priestess, and then the six skeletons she summoned on top of that… The battle was brutal and bloody, but the dark priestess and her undead minions finally fell! Szeraal joined me shortly afterwards, happily spitting out the skeletal hand of his former master with ring still in place…

He nudged it toward me with his nose, so I slipped it on at his request. Along with the red plate armor and the hammer of the priestess, we also found a small horde of treasure that the black beast had accumulated. There are a few items that I will need to have Tauster Identify for me.

As we were about to leave the cave, I picked up the Lantern and felt the warmth of healing magic flow through my hand, closing some of the wounds I’d sustained in battle! With the Halruaan ring now in place, Szeraal bent down to allow me access to his back. Electricity is produced within his body, shocking anyone that touches him or anything that he attacks. The ring protects me from that damage I would otherwise suffer from riding him.

Our mission here complete, Szeraal and I headed back out to the west, hoping to catch the trail of the pilgrims that were taken. Having been awake for nearly two days at that point, and with no evidence of a trail to follow, we had to stop and sleep.

The next day we woke before Dawn and continued West, hoping to find some kind of game to make a meal of. We happened upon a shepherd, leading a herd of sheep across the moors, and he allowed us to purchase two of the sheep. He told us of the two-headed dogs that would plague the flocks, and told us to keep a lookout for the big white one that we would recognize by the cold chill that would run down your spine when he was near! So warned, I thanked him again for his help and moved off to make a meal of our mutton. I managed to polish off a leg and Szeraal swallowed the rest… It’ll be interesting to see how much he needs to eat and how often!

After hours of travel, we began to see what had to be the Hardlow Wood in the distance. Then we began to hear howling again, this time directly in front of us. Just beyond a hill, eight of the two-headed dogs were gathered around…the Big White One. Just as the shepherd had said, I felt that cold chill run down my spine…

Szeraal loosed lightning at the beast as we charged, but two white heads turned at us and breathed two jets of frost as the behir jumped atop him! That was the last thing I remember before waking up the evening of the following day… Szeraal had thought to place the Lantern on my chest, which I believe was the only thing that saved my life! The big white one was dead, along with two of the smaller dogs. The others had been chased away… Still exhausted from the near death experience, I curled up against my scaly friend and slept for another night.

The next morning I tried using the Lantern, as I had the previous mornings, to see if it would shine in a particular direction. Somehow I think I willed it to cast Light, because a soft glow appeared in the distance. This will need some more examination! We continued west into the Wood and near dusk we ran across ten gnolls who were just as surprised to see us, as we were to see them. They attacked, but were taken care of without too much issue. Half of them carried halberds and I picked one of them up to use as a makeshift lance in case we came upon any further trouble.

It was the afternoon of the 13th when we reached the edge of the Hardlow Wood. The Great Rock Dale stretched out beneath us like some gargantuan quarry. There were caves and holes everywhere in the place. Seemed like a great underground city, though for what, I was unable to tell… With no trace of the pilgrims, we turned south back to the Thornwood where we would hopefully meet Ollimer and then my companions.

We reached Kuiper’s farm at dusk. He had found some evidence that Oleanne may have been abducted by orcs, which we had suspected, but the evidence of the wolf bodies a few weeks dead and the orc activity that Kuiper had found in the area seemed to confirm it. While in the area, he had seen a few of the Bloodskull orcs, and followed them to the southeast in the direction of the ruins before darkness and rain cause him to lose the trail. The evidence strengthens the suspicion we’ve had that the orcs and the bandits are working together… He was also able to tell me that the Great Rock Dale was home to hobgoblins and orcs that warred with each other constantly. Kuiper said he watched the area to ensure that they kept the trouble within the Dale and didn’t pose a threat to anyone but themselves!

At Dawn the next day we headed south into the Thornwood. Oddly, the Lantern seemed to no longer respond to our need for healing. When we reached the area that Ollimer and I had met, he was gone…

It was a quiet ride back to the camp near the aarokocra where I had first left my companions. I find myself wondering if it was all a dream… Could such perfection even exist in our mortal realms? I still have the note that he’d written and delivered to me via ferret. It rests beneath my armor against my chest so I will never forget the truth of him…that I will continue to hope that someday I may again meet the man who, within such a short period of time, has claimed my heart as his own…

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Tarsakh the 14th, 1370

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Tarsakh the 15th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat May 01, 2010 3:08 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the diligent Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

There have been some interesting developments in our current situation. Let me first begin with the one that doesn’t pose a threat to our lives…

I was very pleasantly surprised to find Ollimer waiting for me at the camp with my companions! He hadn’t intended for me to return the Lantern to him, in fact, he said that it is to be carried by whomever Lathander wills and that for now, it seems that I am that person. I cannot think of a greater honor than to be entrusted with this holy relic, and I hope only that I might someday be worthy of that honor! I must do what I can to discover the uses the Lantern might have…

Ollimer continues to perplex me… He seems to know more about the Lantern than he is allowed to say. In the short time I’ve been able to spend with him, he’s Healed my wounds, and Teleported me a great distance… I don’t know what to make of it. Is he a priest? A mage? He carried himself like a soldier at times… Apparently he told my companions that he’d traveled different planes! Cleander said he was training with him and that Ollimer also worked with the wemic and Friend Carlos teaching them to read! I wish that I could have been there for that… There were duties that he needed to attend to, so he left us this morning much to my sorrow. I miss his company. It’s silly, because when I was with him, it seemed I could barely string two words together correctly, but now that he’s gone I feel very lonely. Like I’ve lost a good friend. A kindred spirit. For now I must try to focus on the tasks that immediately present themselves, and I look forward to telling him of our successful exploits when he returns!

After I returned from the quest that had been appointed me, I was told that Nas and Jayashree had been gone to scout the ruined keep. They said they’d be gone four or five days, but it was day six and they hadn’t returned yet. With Blackbeak’s sharp eyes assisting us, we started heading north east to look for them. Scouting ahead, our aarakocra friend saw the pair bound by the hands and being escorted by three bandits into the keep! I have witnessed the skill of these two in battle, and I cannot believe they were captured by three bandits!

With this surprising change in the situation, we immediately set out to create a new plan of attack… Tomorrow evening we intend to storm the keep put down the bandits that plague this area, free our friends and the other captives that they’ve taken, and perhaps even find Oleanne and Jennelith! A tall order perhaps, but one I have every faith that we may be able to accomplish!

Blackbeak has recruited seven of his family to aid us from the skies if the bandits poke their heads out or begin attacking us in the courtyard, so they will be arriving tomorrow afternoon. Torin will be using spells to assure that we don’t spring any of the bandits’ traps on the way into the clearing, and will be prepared with Charm if need be and Silence if we run into that priest of Loviatar... Jace will be attempting to put the lookout to Sleep, so we may climb over the back wall of the keep without alerting anyone to our presence. Once we get in…may Lathander guide our steps in the right direction, as we have no idea where our friends are being held! I fear for their safety if they are indeed in the hands of the faithful of the Maiden of Pain!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Tarsekh the 15th, 1370

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Tarsakh the 17th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon May 10, 2010 4:00 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the virtuous Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

I find myself both physically and emotionally exhausted this evening… We have so far been victorious in our assault against the ruined keep, and a great blow to the forces of darkness has been dealt in this place! However, the horrors that we have seen here, and the concern for those that may still fall victim weighs heavily on me.

We began the assault after the sun fell below the horizon. Jace gave us the advantage of surprise when he successfully put to Sleep the guard atop the watchtower, which allowed the rest of us to climb over the wall at the back, less-guarded area of the keep. The aarokocra provided aerial support while we quickly made our way to the gate tower and engaged the enemy there before moving along from room to room. We had no idea where our two companions, Nas and Jayashree were being held, but fortunately they’d managed to escape their cell and ended up meeting us after we’d cleared out the top level of the keep.

Nas was carrying the druid, Oleanne on his shoulders when they found us… She’d been flayed it seemed. Healed, then flayed again… Blackbeak flew off to procure her some mistletoe so she’d be able to cast a few spells of healing, and then she left for the forest. We will have to remember to tell Kuiper of her rescue when we see him again. I have a feeling she will be even more reclusive, and for a long time to come.

Our two formerly captive companions told of a terrible, blood-drenched room and zombies that lay within, but there were no other prisoners that they’d seen. They did say that a good number of prisoners had been led into the keep some days before, but there was no sign of them anywhere… We had taken one captive in the melee, and he was reluctant to speak to us at first, but admitted that he feared the red-haired priest, and told us that he stayed below on the second level. The priest of Loviatar is surely waiting for us, but with our element of surprise lost, and so many of us badly wounded and out of spells, it became prudent to wait until morning. Torin and Cleander were able to put up wards and set traps for our protection.

A few hours later, we were alerted to the presence of two zombies rifling through a food storage room, which was surprising to us since we believed we had guarded the only entry to the floor below. They moved much faster than normal zombies and were unhurt by normal weapons. Nas referred to them as ju-ju zombies. It must have taken a powerful practitioner to create such malignant creatures!

After their destruction, we discovered that the zombies had come up from the level below through a trap door, so we sealed the thing off and attempted a few more hours of rest before descending the staircase.

At dawn, Torin and Cleander did a bit of healing for those injured the most severely, before we headed down to the second level. Nas and Jayashree had shut the woman that had been watching them while imprisoned into one of the cells. She was tongue-less…likely tortured by the priest as well, and when asked if there were any other prisoners, she merely shrugged and pointed down the hallway. We put our captured bandit into the next cell, and provided them with some food and water before continuing our search of the lower level.

Shortly thereafter we walked straight into the ambush the priest had set for us after opening a secret door in a hallway! Six zombies (though not the ju-ju zombies we’d previously encountered), four orcs wearing the Bloodskull tribe insignias and the priest, attacked us as soon as the door was opened. It was a hard-fought battle, but again we came out victorious with no casualties, though many wounded. The evil priest of Loviatar fell, much to everyone’s relief, unfortunately one of the orcs managed to escape our grasp… He’s likely alerted the rest of the Bloodskull tribe as to what has happened here in the keep.

After the priest had been dealt with, we again made our way down the hall when we came across what could only be described as a torture room… A large, blood-spattered table stood in the center, while full, human skins with faces still attached hung from the ceiling. Against one wall was a shrine to Loviatar, soaked in blood. A tray of sharp, nasty looking torture devices sat atop the shrine. Upon entering we were attacked by two more ju-ju zombies, which were quickly dispatched. It seems that the shine used to be dedicated to Torm, and we agreed that after checking out the rest of the level, we’d come back and see that the room and shrine were cleaned up properly.

We continued our search, finding one room with sarcophaguses, in which the ju-ju zombies had likely been raised from, and in that same room was large pile of bodies that had been there for some time, though not long enough for all the flesh to rot off… Nas suggested that we alert Sir Garyld and the priest of Tyr about the situation here as soon as we can. They may be able to recognize some of the bodies down here as locals that have gone missing. Hopefully we can get up that way soon. There is much to report!

We also found a room that looked much, much older. A skeleton with a broken neck lay on a bed as if it had been sleeping. Farther into that room was an old wizards laboratory as well as a library of sorts, but the books were desiccated enough to make removing them from the shelf virtually impossible. If indeed this bandit infestation was recent as Kuiper thought it might be, then perhaps something more tragic happened here in the keep’s past. Maybe that’s why Lord Palfray doesn’t wish to discuss the matter… We never did mention the bandits to him, and it would be interesting to see his reaction when he learns of them and the fact they’ve been cleaned out of what may have been his ancestral home as Kuiper suggested it might be!

After searching out the rest of the level, we found no evidence of the recent prisoners that had been brought here, so we headed back into the room where we’d killed the priest and through the hidden door that the orc had escaped through. Inside we found the priest’s sleeping chamber, and against the wall was chained a very burly, very unconscious gnome! We were able to rouse the fellow, whose name is Shobe. Apparently he’d been used as torturous entertainment for the priest, and he was unable to tell us how long he’d been down there… He had been traveling with a group of others, though he didn’t know what became of them. I asked him where he was from and he responded, the Dustwall, I assume referring to the mountains northeast of the Golden Water. The gnome seemed less than willing to provide more information which, after his ordeal I can understand. I provided him some iron rations and water for the time being, hoping that after some food, rest and healing; we might be able to speak with him at greater length.

At the back of the priest’s bedroom we found another secret doorway, but again…there were many of us badly wounded and again, we found ourselves out of healing spells, so we decided to make our camp back up on the ground floor of the keep for the night. A few of us spent the remainder of this day taking down and burning the human skins, cleaning up blood and the desecrated shrine, trying desperately to remove a bit of the evil taint that may forever stain these stone walls.

I admit that for the last few hours I’ve not made a very good companion, keeping mostly to myself and honestly I don’t believe I’ve spoken a word to anyone since helping Nas light that mountain of human hides… I know that at least the elf has seen some atrocities in his life that will affect him until his dying day, but this was a first for me. Never have I witnessed such cruelty and horror first hand, and it only supports the knowledge that the path I have been set upon is a necessary one.

Tomorrow we hope to find the equipment taken from Nas, Jayashree and Shobe, before we continue on our quest to find the captives!

Your training, Dawnmaster, as well as that of Lord Gaspar, has served me admirably in these situations, and I pray that the actions taken here might not only make you proud, but also bring ever-greater glory to the Morninglord!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Tarsakh the 17th, 1370

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Dawnmaster Alokkair

Post  Eddick the Steady (XIV) on Tue May 11, 2010 7:11 am

Dawnmaster Alokkair, a humble servant of the Dawn, to Lady Darya Nishan.

Greetings to you, my dear child. To receive news from you has been a blessing to us. Your letters find us well, and things around here are pretty much as you remember them to be. Your mother informs me that she looks in on you from time to time, and that both she and your father are pleased at your successes, although the only one I have record of yet is the incident with the goblins and the New Mire. I am sure by now, you have more indeed.

One bittersweet sorrow has come upon us, and that is that Raethe has gone to be with the Morninglord. He died from the poison of an Ettercap in The Scarlet Jungles, but not without slaying it as well as the spiders that accompanied it. His actions saved a small village that had recently settled in the area. He will be sorely missed, but his deeds will be remembered forever.

I would give you advice concerning your situations, but any advise I would give would arrive at least two months beyond the necessary time table, so I will say this: your training is as sufficient as we could make it, now you must rely on whatever resources are available to you. Lord Garyld has a reputation here, as Lord Gaspar said they faced each other in a tournament once, although he would not reveal to me who won.

Make sure to visit Redleaf in Turelve if you are able to do so. I am unsure of who sent him to that place, but he is quite lonely there. You may find some kinship with him, being far away from kin and dedicated to a cause and fight you did not begin. He is also a good resource for you.

May the Dawn grant you success as you better yourself in his light,

Dawnmaster Alokkair
Ches the 11th, 1370
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Mirtul the 6th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri May 21, 2010 11:12 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the humble Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

I was so grateful to receive your letter a week ago, Dawnmaster! I feel so far removed now from the goings on back at home and to receive word back was both welcome and needed. I’m sure my mother is keeping you informed of some of our activities in between packages of letters!

The news of Raethe came as a blow to me… As you know, he was my closest companion at the tower, and I often hoped that we might be sent out on assignment together again someday. He had uncompromising valor, strength of arm and of spirit. Raethe was the best of my class and his loss is a tragedy… Still, from your letter, it sounds like he left this life honorably and as a great hero! I can only hope that if I am to meet my death, that I might do so in such a manner as to bring glory to Lathander’s name as he has! I always did look up to him, educationally and physically, though I was the elder… If you could be so kind, please send my regards to his family. When my mission here is complete, I will be sure to visit them personally.

In my last letter, I told you what happened during our assault of the ruined keep, and we were about to continue our search for the captives. Unfortunately we were unable to discover their location at that time…

We entered the secret door in the evil priest’s chambers, that the orc had escaped through, and found ourselves traveling through natural tunnels for miles upon miles! It is a good thing we have Nas and Cleander with us, who are able to track in this terrain, but even so it was difficult to determine where the captives might have been taken, though we were able to find the orc tracks.

We were down in the dark tunnels for seven days, and were thwarted in our efforts three separate times before we were forced to turn back to the keep. First, we lost the orc’s tracks after a gelatinous cube erased all evidence while scouring the area with food. We eventually came across the oozy creature and destroyed it. Second, after recovering the orc’s tracks, we found that they disappeared under a set of enormous brass doors with two locks. One of the keys we’d found in the keep fit one of the locks, but neither might nor magic could get us through those doors without the second key. The third time, we came to a set of stairs whose top seemed to be sealed over by stone. Again, we were unable to find any secret doors, nor get through the stone slab with magic, so we were forced to backtrack and take some tunnel branches that we hadn’t yet traveled. Those stairs may need a second look if we ever return… Stairs that lead to nowhere just doesn’t make sense!

By this point I’d completely lost track of time… I’ve never been underground so long, and it started to feel that we were going around in circles. Without the sun, it felt as if we were traveling through a night with no end, and I must say that I found it extremely unpleasant! Cleander was having some issues as well, having grown up around the plains all his life… The next time we find ourselves underground, I will need to do a better job of keeping my head. I’ll admit that I was starting to experience some adverse effects!

After checking out all of the passages and coming up empty handed, we had little choice but to return to the keep, where Szeraal and Riffington were waiting for us.

It was the 26th of Tarsakh when we reached Milbourne with our two prisoners in tow. Sir Garyld will see to it that justice is done in their cases… We also told him of the hill of bodies found down there in the keep, in hopes that he and the priest might go down and see if they could identify them as persons that had gone missing in the area.

We learned that the town of Milbourne held a funeral for Jennelith since we’d been there last… That was hard to hear. I know it’s been months now since she went missing, and honestly I feared that perhaps the young mage was among the corpses found in the ruined keep but by the grace of Lathander she wasn’t there. It can’t be a coincidence that she had been kidnapped and we know that these bandits (and likely orcs too) are involved in abductions… I am choosing to hold out hope that she may yet be found alive with the others that we know entered the keep and went down into the tunnels far beneath the earth. I understand the families need for closure, and I wouldn’t want to speak to them and give them false hope since we really have no evidence that she’s alive. However, we also have no evidence that she’s dead either! I hope to be among those to deliver her whole, back to her family in the near future.

After days spent in Thurmaster, training, we’re now heading to Turelve to take care of some business and equip ourselves for the battles to come. Shobe, Jace, Cleander and Riffington took the faster route by barge, while Nas, Jayashree and Torin joined me on the overland route since Szeraal couldn’t very well travel by river.

I’ve been working with the Lantern every evening, and am finding it very perplexing. I was hoping that Tauster would be able to Identify it, but the spell was unable to work on it. He suggested I find a mage to use Legend Lore, so I believe I should be able to do that in Turelve.

It seems…sentient…in a way. It sometimes responds to my requests to cast certain spells such as healing or Light or Faerie Fire. Sometimes it doesn’t. Then once it cast a protection-type spell on me when I had not requested such of it, when I was in the presence of a very evil object. Much work needs to be done before this particular puzzle is solved. I think I’ll try soliciting the insights that the others may have on the situation if we have some downtime in the city!

Thank you again Dawnmaster, for the letter from home. I miss you all! We celebrated the Greengrass festival in the tiny village of Thurmaster, and I couldn’t help but think of the Tower and the grand festivities that are always held there. While I have no doubt that my assignment to this place was a necessary one (and one that I am indeed honored to have been given!), I do find myself thinking often of home, and looking forward to the day I might deliver my letters in person!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Mirtul the 6th, 1370

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Kythorn the 1st, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the temperate Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

Our trip to Turelve was a productive one. We were able to equip ourselves with better armor and weapons and spells that we couldn’t have procured in Milbourne. Cleander was also able to commission some plate barding which will be a wonder to behold when it’s completed! A few more days and we’ll be making another trip down to fetch it for him.

The wemic stopped in to see Friend Carlos while we were there, and reports that he seems to be learning and is being treated well under the care of the priestess of Yondalla. He also delivered ‘FC’s’ portion of the Fellowship’s earnings over our last adventures. Hopefully the funds will come in handy for him in the future.

Dawnlord Redleaf is doing great things in Lathander’s name for the refugees that are encamped just south of the city walls! The tithes are going toward providing them with the materials needed to ply their trades and begin to earn a living again. The people have also begun building more permanent structures to dwell in.

The shrine itself has seen improvements as well. Dawnlord and Kadeth, a new Awakened that assists him, have been working to erect a wall around the altar to protect it from inclement weather. I was very pleased to see him again, and meet my new brother in the faith! I will be sure to pay them another visit upon our return.

After speaking with Jace, I went to visit a mage named Eltarias, whom Ollimer (the servant of the Morninglord you may remember me mentioning in previous letters) had suggested he speak with about obtaining some new spells.

I told him a bit him about the holy Lantern, and my suspicions of its intelligence, and the mage suggested that perhaps it is actually a planar being who has taken the form of a lantern for a certain purpose! A purpose which likely will be revealed if we follow the light that it shines every ten-day.

He also mentioned that it is possible that Ollimer himself is of extraplanar origin. A belief that Jace also seems to hold. I will admit that it would certainly explain much, but until I am able to speak with the man in person, I will try not to presume anything as I find the implications of that possible truth to be…distracting.

We headed back to Milbourne after Szeraal’s saddle was completed, since it will be a number of days yet until Cleander’s barding is ready and our funds are rapidly depleting. We’ve decided to follow the Lantern’s light north of the village, into the Hardlow Woods where there are reports of worgs and the possibility of undead as well before making “the loop” and heading over to the Palfray estate to tell him of the fate of the bandits in the Thornwood. Some of our number are convinced that he is directly involved with this bandit group but I sincerely hope he’s not. He will have much to answer for if that is the case. If such a thing could even be proven…
Hopefully during this little incursion into the wood, we will also discover the purpose of the Lantern and where it is leading. I do wish to have something to report to Ollimer when he returns…

Last evening, we were attacked by bugbears riding giant lizards! Likely scouts from the Great Rock Dale to the west of us… None survived to tell the tale of our discovery this time though, and Torin and Cleander quickly treated our injuries. Today we’ll press more deeply into the forest and seek out this threat of undead. We were told that it might be linked to a deceased group of men that had been sent into the area by a former Palfray lord. It will be quite interesting to see what may come of that, and if we manage to remedy the issue, what the current Lord Palfray will have to say on that matter.

The Light of the Glorious Dawn peaks through the trees even as I write this! It is time for us to be off!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Kythorn the 1st, 1370

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Kythorn the 23, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:48 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the demiurgic Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

Much has occurred since the last letter I’d written nearly a month ago now, and I do apologize for my tardiness in passing along this news.

We were able to destroy the undead menace that plagued the Hardlow Woods. It seems that the poor men loyal to a former Palfray, fell victim to a shadow and had thus become shadows themselves. The area they inhabited was large rotted glade with no signs of animal activity. There was some latent evil in the area, which we searched thoroughly after dispatching the undead but after turning up nothing but the remains of the men, decided that the corruption must have been due to the prolonged presence of the undead themselves. The land will likely need to heal itself… I do hope to travel through that area again someday in the future to be sure that no further problems have arisen.

At this point, we were looking for some sort of entrance into the tunnels below Haranshire, to seek out the Bloodskull tribe of orcs, and hopefully find those prisoners that they continue to abduct from the area. The Lantern pointed us in the direction of the Great Rock Dale, and so we headed west into the chasm inhabited by so many foul creatures.

That evening of the 4th of Kythorn, we ended up in a skirmish with what was likely an entire goblin tribe. When I’d spoken with Kuiper after completing my mission for O, he mentioned the tenuous balance within the Dale. The goblins and hobgoblins and orcs fight amongst themselves and he believes that it’s likely their own infighting that keeps them out of human lands. I hope that our dispatching of so many of them doesn’t tip the scales and prove to be dangerous for the surrounding goodly populations!

The Great Rock Dale is a very large scar upon the land and it was a few days before we discovered to what the Lantern was directing us! At the southern end of the Dale we discovered a valley within the valley. A hole dug about fifty feet deep, in which stood a reddish-white granite monolith covered in filth and gore from the creatures who’d been tossed atop its pointed peak. At the base of the monolith, six orc shaman swayed and gyrated, lost in their dark and twisted chanting!

Earlier we’d seen patrols of orcs wearing the symbol of this monolith. It seems that a tribe here venerates what seems to once have been a holy relic! We could not let such an atrocity continue! The orc shamans were quickly dispatched and by Lathander’s power I was able to Dispel the evil that the orcs’ enchantments had created upon the stone.

While a few of us were beginning to clean the monolith, thirty orcs attacked, defending their once unholy object. After they were dispatched, we were able to interrogate one of them. He said that about two years ago, they’d moved the monolith from its original place above ground to this hole, so it wouldn’t ‘hurt their eyes’ any longer. He was also able to tell us a bit about the Bloodskull orc tribe. He called them the ‘bad smell’ orcs. Said they smelled like fish! My thoughts went immediately to the potions we’d found within the ruined keep, which also smelled…fishy… They radiated a faint evil and when Identified by our good mage, Jace, it was discovered that they were to be used to not Dominate the imbiber, but make him more easily dominated. Strange… I can’t imagine that the ones taking the potions knew what they were doing, but it begs the question…who is doing the dominating? Who is running this show? Might the now dead priest of Loviator have been responsible for all of this? As we were to find out later, the kidnappings did not stop with his death...

We'd been told some time ago that the Bloodskull orcs moved north out of the Thornwood after finding a 'new chieftan' perhaps when we find him, we will have our answers. The captive orc told us that the ‘Bad Smell Orcs’ headed west from the Great Rock Dale, and if they were heading west, they are likely living somewhere within the Blanryde Hills. A large area indeed…

The monolith, once it had been cleansed and purified, felt strangely warm as though it had been out in the sun during the heat of the day, which was impossible considering it stood in a dark hole. Touching it healed me of some of my wounds, and even Szeraal as well!

For the next couple nights we worked to get the thing out of the ground, where it most obviously did NOT belong… Mainly our newest companion, Shoby, who is quite an accomplished engineer, managed the feat of removing it from its underground prison! It was decided that if the holy relic wasn’t removed from the area, that it would just be taken again by the tribes of the Dale, so it was decided that it would be sent down to the shrine at Turelve. The granite monolith will be a wonderful addition to the temple that Dawnlord Redleaf wishes to build there!

It was the 14th of Kythorn when we arrived by barge in Turelve, with the monolith in tow. During the journey, it was revealed that the stone seems to absorb sunlight and using that light, glows brightly throughout the evening. The Dawnlord and the recent recruit Kadeth, were thrilled with the new acquisition and wasted no time in erecting it. They send along their warmest regards to you, Dawnmaster!

When we finally returned to Milbourne on the 23rd, there was a good deal of commotion in town. Apparently late during the evening of the 20th, there had been an attack on the temple of Tyr. Lafayer and Samheis are missing… Unfortunately they are not the only ones. Some of the townsfolk caught glimpses of nine people being taken by bandits towards the mines to the north! Nas was able to track them a ways and discovered that they are indeed heading in that direction.

A dwarf living in Milbourne, appropriately named Old Grizzler, was able to provide quite a bit of information that may well prove invaluable! The Garlstone mine is abandoned, not having been used in over 150 years…he believes it would be a perfect hideout for any bandits and other foul sorts. He gave us directions to where they might be able to set up ambushes, and also some advice to stay out of the water at all cost! It seems his nephew, Snagger, was one of the folk abducted the other night and he is of course, eager to see him back safely…

Tomorrow we make our way to the mines. Two of our quests could possibly merge in this place. The quest to find the captives of Milbourne, and that to find the Bloodskull Orcs and hopefully the captives of the ruined keep. Actually…maybe three quests… Even Jennelith may lie within the mines…

May Lathander’s Dawn ever renew us; strengthen us both in arm and in resolve, and drive us ever onward toward a more perfect union of spirit that we might purge the great stain of evil from this land!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Kythorn the 23rd, 1370

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Kythorn the 25th, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:41 pm

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the indefatigable Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

It is quite late now, or early as the case may be, but nonetheless I felt the need to put these most recent developments to paper.

We’ve been successful on our first foray into the Garlstone mines, and have returned with the eight captives in tow, along with one bandit who is glaring at me from his cell as I write these words to you now. It’s possible this…person…has information that still might prove valuable, and I’ll not risk having him break out or be rescued by any of his surviving banditing brethren!

Shortly after we entered the mine, six bandits ambushed us. There were four archers launching arrows at us from the front while and two halfling scouts snuck in from behind. The halflings and two of the archers were taken down but two others escaped through a forest of stalagmites, which we had no intention of charging into without precautions taken.

Turned out that the two scouts had fled the scene completely, one going down a sinkhole farther back in the mines, and the other hiding in a secret…closet…waiting for us to descend the ladder into the hole so as to drop the rigged ceiling above, down on top of us. We were very fortunate that Jayashree discovered that secret panel, which was very well disguised! Otherwise I don’t believe we’d be coming back with all of our number…

The bandit within the closet was Charmed by Torin and then readily answered all of our questions about the mine and his fellow evildoers that he chose to consort with. He told us of two priests of Loviatar that resided below, along with two warriors (one of which had escaped us through the stalagmites) and twenty zombies animated by the priests. Our captive also mentioned that there’d been a patrol leaving toward the ruined keep in the Thornwood just a couple of days ago, so it seems we’re not completely rid of that particular menace…

Apparently the bandits take captives from the surrounding regions and bring them to the mines to be held captive until they hand them over to the Bloodskull orcs every few weeks or so. What’s more, this fellow was one of the people responsible for kidnapping Jennelith! She’d been delivered to the orcs about a week ago.

One of the priests, using a big brass key (the twin of which we carry with us) opens those huge doors and sends the prisoners along with the orcs. Strangely, the orcs don’t take ALL of the prisoners… Those they don’t take are turned into zombies by the priests of Loviatar, or perhaps fed to some of the ravenous fishes in the pools of water within the mines.

The captured bandit even drew us a nice map of what we’d find on the lower level of the mines, including dangers of eels and fishes and cave fishers we would do well to avoid. We left the man above, thinking that the magic of the Charm would have him stay put until we could take him to the proper authorities.

All was as described on that second level. We did check it thoroughly before proceeding however, avoiding those things he suggested. On our next spelunking expedition, we may have to watch for the cave fishers who might have migrated out of their little hole by then… We were told that they hate light though, so that might provide them with a sort of deterrent from snatching us away from our companions.

Within the last cavern, the remaining bandits were waiting for us as we were warned they would be. They were defeated, though we were not without injury. It was a difficult fight. It was noticed only after that battle, that one of the warriors smelled of fish…much like the potions we’d discovered in the keep. Who is doing the controlling here? I would guess the priests of Loviatar, but I have a feeling we’ll discover more the deeper we travel into the earth.

The captive townsfolk were locked in a cage inside that large room and were more than pleased at their release. Samheis and Lafayer aided Torin in patching us all up. Unfortunately Snagger, Old Grizzler’s nephew had been taken by the orcs at the same time Jennelith had been… Hopefully we will still find him well when we descend again.

Another dwarf was being held, going by the name of Hathrik. He is a prospector by trade, seems a kindly sort and is quite willing to aid us in our confrontation with the orcs or whoever else insists on kidnapping people for some nefarious purpose that we’ve not yet discovered.

We found that the secret door that lead down to the huge brass doors through which they would meet the orcs, led down a very familiar staircase. During our travels below the ruined keep we came upon this same set of stairs but could not find a way up. At least we now know that it wasn’t a staircase leading to nowhere! The path here is big enough for Szaraal to squeeze through, so we will no doubt return here to go below in our quest for the orcs.

Hardly ready to pursue and entire orc tribe, we gathered up all the kidnapees and headed out of the mines, only to discover that our bandit captive had made a run for it! With Nas’s tracking ability we were easily able to apprehend him though and brought everyone safely back to Milbourne at around two o’clock am this morning. There was much rejoicing to be had even at that hour!

Tomorrow…well, today we begin preparing ourselves to go back into the mines. I may speak with a few of my companions to see if they would be willing to join me in staying within the first level of the mine in case those bandits from the Thornwood return. We’d rather not have any of the Bloodskulls alerted to the goings on here. They already know what happened at the ruined keep thanks to one of the orcs that escaped…

We will also have more questions for our captive. Such as when precisely the priests were to rendezvous with the orcs again and how many of his fellows left to visit the ruined keep a few days ago. Also, one of the archers that was slain was wearing a silver signet ring engraved with the letter ‘J’. I can’t help but wonder if it belongs to Jennelith, so I may approach her beau Andren on the matter.

Much work awaits us with the Dawn!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Kythorn the 25th, 1370

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Kythorn the 25, 1370

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:05 am

Lady Darya Nishan, a holy paladin of the Morninglord, to the unequivocally virtuous Dawnmaster Alokkair at the Tower of the Holy Dawn, greetings.

Herein is written the account of Shoby “the Strongarm” Nobonoozor as pertains to the tragic events inflicted upon the gnomish clan of Glitterguard, in the year of 1312.

The information within this letter is most sensitive in nature, and I have every faith that you and the High Morninglord will see to it that justice is done in this regard and that truth and righteousness will again shine as brightly as the Dawn.

Fifty-eight years ago, two men claiming to be clerics of Lathander (whose names are unknown by my companion due to his young age at the time of these events), approached the gnomish clan of Glitterguard, which at that time resided in a valley about eighty miles northwest of the town of Ulara. They had come to the skilled gnomish engineers to help them with a solution for bringing water to their drought-wracked city.

Their head engineer, a gnome by the name of Debezner, came up with an ingenious means of routing water from a nearby underground river up to the city above to provide them with an abundant source of water. Plans were drawn up for the two men and the gnomes even offered to lend workers to help with the excavation and construction of the project, to which the clerics politely declined.

Six months after the Lathanderians’ visit, twelve Glitterguard gnomes, including Head Engineer Debezner himself headed to Ulara to see what progress had been made on the project they had designed for the relief of the city. The engineer inquired about this to the first persons he came to in town and was apparently overheard by some nobles who immediately took them all into custody, imprisoning them in the noble’s private dungeon for claiming the project to have been invented by themselves.

For over a ten-day they were held without cause in squalid conditions during which they received no visitation from any of the clergy of the Morninglord. Not even those men who’d come to Glitterguard in the first place. Before being released, eleven of the gnomes lost their tongues, and Debezner’s hands and therefore his very livelihood were stolen from him. Along with the gnomes was sent a letter written before them in Debezner’s own blood, warning the Glitterguard to vacate their homes and move from the region else an army from Ulara would do the clearing out for them. It was stated in the letter that the gnomes, by claiming invention of the irrigation project, were speaking falsehoods against the Morninglord who had by then become the patron deity of Ulara.

My companion tells me that it took just over a year, but the construction project was finished, and that there now stands a temple of Lathander in the city as well.

After receiving their mutilated fellows and the warning written in their head engineer’s blood, the gnomes of Glitterguard moved to the Dustwall and became the gnomes of Tempersedge. Debezner passed within a year of the incident, though not of complications due to his injuries as Shoby tells it, but because since his maiming he felt useless to his community.

Dawnmaster, I realize these events took place well in the past and that those original men to visit the gnomish settlement may no longer live, but the reputation of the Morninglord has been stained in the eyes of these brilliant and goodly folk and they’ve since become averse to interaction with the other races because of this incident. With good reason.

If these claims are true, and my companion Shoby has proven himself to be true to his word, than I humbly recommend that an investigation be started in this matter in Ulara. If members of the clergy have committed this wrong against those who so willingly gave them aid in their time of need, than apology must be given and recompense must be made!

Even if no one alive can claim responsibility for this tragedy, it falls to those brethren in Ulara to ensure that the truth of the matter is brought to Light and that due honor is given to those gnomes who came to the city’s aid in its time of need.

If it is desirable, and if my mission here has concluded by the necessary time, I would like to put forward my request to aid in the investigation of these events. A companion of mine has been directly affected by them, and I have a marked interest in seeing that both justice is done for his people and that Lathander’s righteousness is upheld even if that means temporary disgrace for certain members of his clergy. It is my opinion that a temporary setback in the region means little compared with what could be gained by proving ourselves to be those that walk in Truth and Light.

I hope this letter finds you well, Dawnmaster. Know that I miss you dearly and all of the faithful of the Tower, and I hope that one day soon we shall once again share a Dawn!

Lady Darya Nishan
Fellowship of the Opposing Eight Signs
Kythorn the 25th, 1370

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