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Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:45 am

Neth the 26th, 4710

Still raining…

I can’t contribute my restless night to the rain this time. We face a serious challenge at Fort Rannick this morning and I was not the only one of our number whose sleep was affected. I feel confident that we have come up with a good plan to assault the keep but we get into the thick of it, it wouldn’t take much for things to go sideways. I must trust that we will win the day and learn more of this plot and the connection to Rune Magic.

It was still a couple hours until dawn when we rose and gathered our gear. The horses were left a short distance in the woods. There will be no place for them in this battle. I only hope that wolves do not attack them while we are away, though I bet Skookumchuk’s horse could give a pack of wolves quite a challenge.

We made our way into the ancient tunnels that the rangers had told us about and Skook had explored the previous day, giving them a more thorough search. Remember those shock lizards that the rangers said were down there. Yep, we found them. A whole nest of them actually! Their name was well earned, but we determined that we had to clear them out to ensure ourselves a safe place of retreat. Just in case.

After the job was done, we were able to locate another secret door. This one just behind the new barracks! This was immensely helpful to our plans, allowing Zerye and Nuari much better access and putting them in far less danger.

It was almost dawn and we were ready for our assault (after a minor debacle with a very old bridge in the tunnels that is.)
Seconds before the sun rose, Zerye walled up the new barracks with rock, preventing the exit of all the ogres sleeping inside. From just outside the keep, Jakardros shot a flaming arrow into the barracks at the same time that Nuari launched a fireball into it, setting it ablaze. Trapped and screaming, there was little the ogres inside could do except die.

Meanwhile, Skook, Titus and I had entered the keep through the northern secret tunnel during all the hubbub and used spells and might to take out one of the old watchtowers supporting legs. It fell to rubble injuring one of the ogres and burying the other. Skook was able to dispatch them with little assistance while I used a scroll that we’d found with Mammy to reanimate one of the ogres.

The words of the scroll rolled off my tongue with such ease, that after I read them, I knew them. Knew them like I should’ve known my real name… How many simple scribes know such a powerful spell? What secrets has Doctor Noenn kept from me?

It occurs to me that Titus mentioned his ability to speak with the dead through spell usage. Perhaps once Doctor Noenn is hanged, he will be more forthcoming with me. Seems another trip to Magnimar will be in order sooner rather than later.

Daydreams for another time.

Now with Benny in tow (seems as good a name for an ogre zombie as any), we ducked back into the tunnels while the commotion drew the other ogres out of the fort. The Black Arrows knew their quarry well, and made good on their promise to draw them out of the fort and lead them on a wild goose chase into the woods. They bought us invaluable time.

Even though the outer fort was now clear, none of the ogres left the keep itself. That was for us to deal with.

We met in the courtyard and entered the keep together going room by room. Quickly we learned a few things about ogres, or at least our knowledge was reinforced. Number one, ogres are dumb. Number two; ogres nearly make up for their idiocy with sheer, frightening brute strength.

Wielding wicked metal hooks the size of Zerye and Skook, the ogres put up quite a fight and I was reminded how thankful I am to have Titus with us now. One of them had a magical ogre hook, which Benny is now using.

One of the rooms we encountered was a large hall, where four ogres were amusing themselves by fighting over a horse head. They wanted to use it as a sort of grotesque mask/hat. A Stone Call a Fire Ball, and a zombie ogre quickly soured the mood of that little group and created four more corpses for me to collect at a later time.

It wasn’t long before we came to a decision whether to go upstairs or down, and as has been our habit, we chose the latter. Better to ensure nothing will attack our backs.

Down those stairs we found a lavish apartment and in this lavish apartment was a woman fitting in every way, the description we had of Lucretia!

She tried to talk and recruit us to the cause of her Lord, of whom she would not give name. There was information gained however. Mokmurian. A leader of sorts, someone who is very much involved with the whole plot to steal souls. All she would reveal to us though, is that he wasn’t human. It’s not much, but it’s a clue.

More shockingly, she told us that Kaven, one of the Black Arrows that we rescued, was responsible for the downfall of Fort Rannick. Lucretia used him as the inside man. I was instantly worried about the other rangers whom Kaven was currently with… Would he somehow betray them yet again?? Perhaps he’s trying to redeem himself for his treachery in some small way, but that will be up to the rangers to handle in due time. It is they who were directly wronged by the man and it should be they who deliver his punishment, whatever it might be.

Lucretia had enough chatting and since we weren’t buying her sales pitch, the fight was on! This was another of those times that I was glad Titus was along with us. The woman’s form shifted into the snakey lamia, the same as her conspirator, Xanesha, and like Xanesha, she was a powerful caster as well as combatant. This time though we were a bit more prepared.

A bit.

It still felt like an eternity of pain and fighting before she fell. Hmm… I wonder if I could animate her… Daydreaming again.

We took a few moments to recover from the brutalization and to dig up any more information she might be carrying. (Read: Loot her body).

We found a seven star tattoo on her body as well as a few sundry items, but most interestingly we found a scroll, which listed favorite customers of the ill-fated Paradise. Those who had agreed to grant their need to the ‘master’s’ need. It was a list of probably more than 150 names, and circled in blood red ink was the name, Kaven.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:08 am

Neth the 26th, 4710 - Continued

There wasn’t much time to waste in contemplation. The Black Arrows still had the ogres distracted out in the forest and we still had a job to complete, so we left Lucretia’s remains where they lay and pushed up the stairs to the second floor of the keep.

The first room we came to was the one that Zerye had seen a glimpse of before, and within that room was that same ogre of enormous size that she’d described. Pa Kreeg. A hulking fourteen-foot monstrosity who looked no less than twenty feet tall due to the sheer freakish mass of him!

Gore hung from trophy antlers lining the walls in the room and adorning a desecrated alter, was a crudely fashioned idol depicting a three-eyed jackal. Lamashtu. Been seeing entirely too much of her lately.

The Kreeg didn’t notice us right away and was merrily going about the business of creating ‘sculptures’. A Black Arrow’s body, horse head, deer antlers… Crude work. A terribly unpracticed hand too I might add, but with meat hooks like his, Pa Kreeg was just not built for the more delicate arts. What he was built for was beating the tar out of anyone who stood against him. Yep. He was good at that…

It was a brutal and bloody fight, but we were able to defeat him, though not without casualties. Gruffle fell to that wicked hook. Well…it was more like cleaved in twain. We couldn’t take much time in mourning; just briefly patch our wounds before moving on.

Looking over the altar after clearing off the gore, revealed it to have originally been an altar to Erastil. That would take some…undesecration? Ressicration? Purification? Eh…soap, water and a priest.

Zerye turned into a water elemental to (I assume) disguise her tears for her fallen comrade, and we moved into the next room where two ogres were waiting for us.

Once a sort of war room or planning room, there was a large table upon which lay a tattered and now disgustingly stained map. Within the room, three dead rangers were hanging, being bled out, likely for parts of Pa’s sculptures.

Skookumchuk found a small room with many maps and scrolls, but none magical. We took a few of them with us that appeared to be in good shape. These are maps of the tunnels beneath Riddleport, five levels of some unnamed dungeon and the hidden paths of the Lurkwood’s interior. Maybe they will never prove useful, but we find ourselves in a position where any little advantage could mean the difference between life and death. I’d prefer to have every potential advantage we can get our hands on!

Next we came to a well-furnished bedroom. It used to be nicely furnished anyway. Inside, two ogres, apparently not deaf, were ready for us. One of them was a big round one with a trap jaw that I believe Zerye described after her initial scout, and one female. At least I’m fairly sure it was female…

My poor zombie Benny was felled…again, but better him that Skookumchuk. The female-ish one turned out to be a caster of sorts and when Zerye conjured an ice storm in the room, she seemed to be a bit put out and attempted to put all of us just outside the doorway to sleep. Zerye, still in elemental form, fell into a sleepy puddle and Titus passed out cold. By the time they woke up, the fight was over and thankfully there were no other casualties.

Titus magically patched up our wounds while we explored the room more thoroughly. We found a number of magical items on the female’s body, which will aid us immensely on our quest. In a cabinet, we found a pair of magical boots that I was able to determine were Boots of the Mire, allowing the wearer to walk on top of water no deeper than five feet, such as that in swamps. Considering the current weather…well I’ll admit it would be nice to have a pair of dry boots. There’s something unnatural growing between my toes from all the mud and moisture we’ve been slogging through.

We also found a coffer secreted away which held many sheets of parchment on which were written love poems to a woman named Miriana. Bad love poetry… Beside the coffer was a small jewelry box that contained a silver locket on a chain. Inside the locket was a lock of golden hair. Miriana’s I presume.

Thinking we had nothing but an embarrassing tidbit of information on a fallen Black Arrow, we finished checking the last section of the keep, which was the tower. A secret door led to the alarm bell at the top, but that secret must have been revealed by a certain traitor, for through that secret door in the ceiling was a broken table and chairs stained with blood. The bell’s clapper had been removed and replaced with a very dead ranger. The doomed Black Arrows had no warning of the attack until it was upon them.

The entirety of the keep was cleared of ogres, but our ranger allies had not returned yet. Zerye shifted into the form of a bird and flew off to find them while we raised the Black Arrow flag from the tower once more.

Jakardros, Vale and Shalelu returned with Zerye some time later. They’d destroyed all the remaining ogres, but somehow the fiend Kaven had gotten “separated” from the group. When the two remaining Black Arrows heard of their brother’s treachery, their reaction was rightly one of fury. I would not want to be in Kaven’s shoes when Jakardros finds him, and I’ve little doubt he will find him, for the look in that man’s eyes told me that he would hunt the traitor to the ends of Golarion. Kaven will never and nowhere be safe.

We spoke to Jakardros about the things we’d found in the upper bedroom and he confirmed that was their leader’s room, but that he would’ve been away at the time of the attack, which Kaven would’ve known. Lammatar went on a regular walkabout to ‘commune’ with nature, and by nature, he meant a nymph who lives in Whitewillow, which Zerye recognized as a small section of the Shimmerglens. That would explain the embarrassing love poetry. However, Lammatar should’ve returned by now…

It was agreed that upon the morning we should head out to the Shimmerglens and see if we could find the man. Jakardros had a few messages for us to pass along to Mayor Shreed of Turtleback Ferry: Send help. We’re taking volunteers, and if you find Kaven…bring him back.

The rest of the day was spent helping out in the keep. Cleaning and reparations will take a very long time and it will not be pleasant, especially for those who are cleaning up the remains of friends.

Zerye disappeared into the secret tunnels for a time and came back with two shock lizard eggs. It will be interesting to see what comes of that… However, it would take time and training before those shock lizards would be grown enough to become appropriate companions for our druid, and with the unpleasant death of Gruffle, Zerye was eager to be off and look for a new animal. We said our goodbyes and agreed to meet her in Turtleback Ferry as she flew on ahead.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:15 am

Neth the 27th, 4710

Still raining…

We took one more look through the lower room of the keep where we’d found Lucretia holed up, but we discovered no other clues we might have missed. Nothing about ‘Our Lord’ or about Mokmurian. We’re flying a bit blind here and seem to be out of leads, but for now our goal is to locate Lammatar and bring him back to what’s left of the keep and his Black Arrows.

Off we go to Turtleback Ferry. It’ll take about a day and a half of slogging through the mud to reach the settlement. I’m glad I have my horse, Matilda. I’m glad I have my boots… Lammatar may not be getting these babies back!

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:32 pm

Neth the 28th, 4710

It was barely morning when Titus kicked me awake. Yes, it was still raining of course, but it was a distant and ominous roar that had me sitting bolt upright. A flash flood was barreling down the Skull River threatening to overtake everything in its path, including…Turtleback Ferry!!

Faster than I thought it was possible for the four of us to move (Zerye was still away on her search), we threw our gear onto our horses and galloped for higher ground and continued to ride hard south. There was no way we’d get there in time to warn anyone what was coming, which only added to our fright. Would anything be left?

We got to the bridge where we were to cross over to the other side of the river, but the bridge had been washed away. The horses were able to make the jump, but not all of us were able to stay on the horses… Nuari and I were safely across when Skookumchuk was aiding Titus in his crossing. Most unfortunately Titus was unable to keep his seat and accidentally pulled the monk with him into the rushing water! I’d honestly thought we’d lost Titus in that moment, but thanks to Skook’s excellent strength and swimming skills, he was able to lug the large man up onto the river back just before he went under for good. Titus, to his credit, recovered quickly and we were off again to Turtleback Ferry.

By the time we arrived, half the town was underwater and each moment saw another building washed off of its foundations. Skookumchuk didn’t hesitate. Without a word, he threw himself into the churning water started swimming over to rescue a group of children who’d taken refuge on the roof of a building. But he wasn’t the only one who’d seen the children… A huge black-bellied boa constrictor was taking advantage of the new hunting grounds and was also swimming quickly to the children. Skook wasn’t going to get there in time. Nuari and I might not be the best of swimmers, but we can do is help from a distance. A mighty blast of fire flew from the elf’s hand, while a stroke of lightning blasted from mine, both striking unerringly into the belly of the beast, sending it to the bottom of the lake permanently.

The gnome was able to safely reach the children and commandeer one of the turtle shell ferries to sail them over to the temple of Erastil. The trouble was not over however. A large log (or so we thought at the time) was floating on the current toward temple and would likely take out many of the people gathered there for safety.

The reality was much, much worse! It was no log, but a great tentacled monstrosity with a serpentine head filled with fangs and ‘eyes’ on the ends of some of the tentacles. Skook had gotten the children to relative safety when he turned on the great beast, which wounded him badly in its first strike. Blast after blast Nuari and I sent into the creature, but only a fraction of our magic was able to penetrate its strange hide. Somehow, between our magic and Skook’s might, we were able to drive it off. Not kill it by any means, but convince it that it could find easier meals elsewhere.

Only the flood was left as our adversary, and thankfully it was a more manageable one, for we were able to see the rest of the people saved and brought to dry ground.

Mayor Shreed, who also happened to be the priest of Erastil, told us that the strange creature that had attacked the town had to be the Black Magga of Storval Deep. The Deep, which is the lake that lies beyond the Wyvern Mountains, must have flooded over with all the rain that has been continuously falling and released the monster from its confines to the north. Not good news. Claybottom Lake is going to have a new and most unpleasant resident.

For the remainder of the day, we helped the people pull their belongings to higher ground and salvage what they could as well as delivering the message to Mayor Shreed that was given us by Jakardros. Fifteen of the townspeople volunteered to head up to Fort Rannick and join the Black Arrows. A good number. They would need all the help they could get up there.

Zerye had not yet arrived to meet us in what was left of Turtleback Ferry, but after the day’s adventures, we were glad to have a dry place to sleep. I worked for a time on a new headband for the druid that should be of use to her. It was no shiny dagger, but as a special surprise, I’m designing it to be as pointy as possible without the threat of injury to herself or to others. We hope to see her arrival upon the morning, for we have a Black Arrow commander to find.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:28 pm

Neth the 29th, 4710

Still raining…

Still loving my boots!

We were able to sell some of our equipment in town this morning to lessen our burden a bit before our travel to Whitewillow. Zerye came back as hoped, with a new companion; a huge wolf named Grimjaw. Appropriate. He didn’t seem to want to eat any of us, so personally I’m calling it a win for now.

After filling her in on the remarkable events of the previous day, we talked a ferryman to sail us west along the edge of Claybottom Lake toward Shimmerglens.

I’m not ashamed to say that I was white-knuckling it the whole journey. Not only am I uncomfortable on the water (even while in sight of land), but also the threat of the Black Magga thinking we were easy pickings made me feel like Nuari after he drank a glass of Nora’s slimy water. Throwing up blood over the side of the boat probably didn’t lessen our chances of meeting the monster, but I couldn’t help myself.

Somehow we avoided death along the way and the ferryman dropped us off at the edge of the Shimmerglens. Zerye would take us the rest of the way. She says that Whitewillow is a region inside the Shimmerglens that is near a portal to the first world. I think that’s what she meant anyway. What she said was that gnomes get both excited and sad there. Gods help me if I’m starting to understand her…

It was raining when we reached Whitewillow, but a lighter rain than what we’d dealt with on the east side of the lake. It was cold and murky with black, twisted trees. I was informed that something seemed wrong about the place, but nothing felt that off to me. The druid spoke to one of the trees that murmured back to her some hateful things about how the darkness, sorrow, loathing, despair, and death were going to cover all the land. Okay, I can see how that’s ‘off’.

Zerye took bird form and flew off to find the extent of the decay and perhaps the center of it. We were fairly sure that it was there we’d find the problem. While she was gone, ghostly forms of fey appeared around us, watching us in great sadness, but doing no harm. They moved silently toward us from the north, hundreds of them, touching us gently as we passed by and chilling and unnerving my companions.

Nevermore alighted on my shoulder, showing no fear of the specters, but I stroked his head comfortingly regardless. These dead did not want to harm us. They wanted our help.

When Zerye came back she was able to tell us that the sickened land covered a full four miles from north to south and about two miles from east to west. She also told us that she’d found Miriana, though not in the same state as Lammatar must have known her. We set off to find the nymph…or whatever she’d become.

We came to an enormous and twisted black willow beside a large pool of crystalline blue water. The tree appeared to be ‘weeping’ into the pool. The water didn’t appear magical, but Nuari took a sample just in case it could be useful later and we continued to press on to the north and Miriana.

Another large tree loomed out of the mist, this one badly smashed by something…large. A dead dryad hung limp from her tree, but as we approached, her ghost rose to speak to us. “She should not have fallen in love. Her heart brought this upon us… Why can’t she let go?” And then it dissipated.

Titus and I looked over the corpse, which appeared to be about a month dead, so reincarnate wouldn’t work on her. Again, with nothing we could do, we kept on toward out goal.

The tangled swamp gave way to a clearing that hid an unnaturally still pool. There was a malevolent breeze here but the trees did not move. Then she rose out of the pool. Mirana’s ghost, twisted with rage, turned her burning eyes upon us. “You let him die!” She hissed. “You would not save him!” We tried to explain that we were here looking for Lammatar and asked where he’d gone. She told us that the ogres and a snake woman came for him and took him. Lucretia!!?? Kaven must have told her where the captain had gone! They had the keep, why would they want him? Or did they take him first?

Miriana demanded that we were to find Lammatar and return him to her, but it was she who was responsible for killing the land and all its fey inhabitants and she refused to stop the spread of her curse while we went to find her lover.

She didn’t appreciate my attempt to gain control of her mind. Go figure. The fight was on and it was with no small amount of difficulty seeing that she was floating above the center of a large pool, not to mention that ghosts are notoriously difficult to put down. This one proved no different. Still, we defeated her, though it was only a temporary fix. As she sank back into her pool, she warned us that her curse would continue to spread until Lammatar or his body was returned to her.

We have no idea where Lammatar may have been taken, but we know where lies the corpse of the one who does. Titus can use his magic to speak to Lucretia’s corpse. There we may find answers…back in Fort Rannick.

There was no ferry to take us back to town this time, so we took the overland route that was probably shorter in the long run anyway, since it was the more direct path to the fort. We managed to cross the Yondakabari River at the Wickerwalk Bridge and walked a few hours into the Kreegwood before nightfall.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:54 pm

Neth the 30th, 4710

Still raining…

Today was spent entirely in travel and occasional conversation, though this day I kept entirely to myself. This morning I discovered that some of my scars that have been puffy and irritated for days, have begun to open up ever so slightly. I don’t know what this means precisely or how long I have, but it seems that as my power grows stronger, my body fails.

I am thankful not only for my boots, but for this magical Hat of Disguise that allows me to keep the truth of what is becoming of me from my companions. I see no advantage to confiding in them any further. It would only distract us from our mission, a mission that might allow my brief life to mean something. I won’t risk jeopardizing that.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:19 am

Kuthona the 1st, 4710

Still raining…

It took us two hours to reach Fort Rannick after waking and we were glad to find repairs already underway. The fifteen new recruits were hard at work at their morbid task. I do not envy them this initiation, but it is a noble duty they’ve undertaken.

We went immediately to Jakardros and told him what we learned in Whitewillow. He and his men had seen no sign of Lammatar’s body and believes that if he had been taken back to the fort by Lucretia and the ogres, that he is not here now. That is something of good news I suppose. Perhaps by some miracle the man is still alive.

Lucretia’s body had not been removed yet, which gave us the opportunity to hear what she had to say on the matter. Titus cast his spell, giving us two questions we could ask of her. The angry dead are so touchy… She was hardly forthcoming, but we managed to garner a lead. Lammatar was taken ‘home’ to ‘the mountain’. It was better than nothing. While we went back to find Jarkardros again, Zerye stayed and attempted to scry for Lammatar.

Jakardros has every confidence that ‘the mountain’ she referred to is the home of the ogres. Hook Mountain. Doesn’t that sound ominous…

Zerye was also able to provide us with an interesting bit of information. She found Lammatar alive in some dark cavernous place. Alive, but not unspoiled. His body had been transformed somehow and he was entirely blue, with one huge claw where a hand had once been. What happened to him?? Was this a willing transformation as Nualia’s had been? Was Lamashtu at work again?

We know now that our destination lies to Wyvern Mountains in the northwest. To Hook Mountain, to save Lammatar, to stop the decay of the Shimmerglens, and to get to the bottom of these sihedron sacrifices.

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Post  Saoirse on Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:11 am

Kuthona the 1st, 4710 – Continued

Still raining…

It was about noon when we set out into the mountains, trying to get a bit of the journey under our belts before evening came.

The going was treacherous enough that we had to take the journey on foot but that by no means ensured our safety. Endless rain made the already dangerous path even more so. Skookumchuk is part mountain goat. That’s all I can figure. It’s good that he was there to get us through the rough spots because there’s no way I at least would have made it without him.

Zerye proved invaluable as well. As we climbed ever higher, the endless rain became a beautiful snowfall and I was reveling in the change in weather for quite some time before I realized that my companions were starting to feel the effects of the cold. Nuari even had frostbite starting on the tips of his fingers. The druid was able to help them bundle up more effectively and give them tips on how to keep even warmer in the dropping temperatures.

I watched her and committed her advice to memory, all the while terrifyingly aware that I felt nothing… Nothing but the blissful sensation of not being wet for a change.

As the sun began to set, we found an overhang on the side of a cliff to take some shelter for the evening and thaw out frozen limbs over a small fire. I kept my limbs where they were. I’ve little doubt that I would go up like tinder and while that would keep my companions warm, it would only hasten the degradation of this body. No need to push things along faster than they’re already going…

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Post  Saoirse on Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:12 pm

Kuthona the 2nd, 4710


Titus shook me awake this morning. No flash flood this time, but he was obviously concerned. A thin layer of snow was blanketing my body, face and all, and apparently the priest thought I was dead. He’s not a stupid man…he knows something is wrong with me, but as of yet he hasn’t asked, which is probably for the best. I’ve no idea what I would tell him if he did.

Before unconsciousness set in last night, I was able to finish Zerye’s magical headband, which she placed on every part of her body except for her head initially. As expected she seemed to enjoy the shiny, pokiness of it, so I will consider this creation a success.

We walked for seven hours before we reached our destination. Seven hours seemed like an eternity hiking through those craggy peaks, but with Zerye assisting the warm blooded among us, and Skook practically carrying some of us up the side of cliff faces, we all arrived at the mouth of Hook Mountain without incident.

‘Mouth’ is a good way to describe the entrance to the home of the Kreeg clan. The huge opening was about fifty feet wide and belched smoke, thick and black. Titus used his divine abilities to look around inside the mouth, but the smoke and the darkness made even his magical sight nearly impossible. What he was able to see, was a giant bone sticking out of the ground to the north.

We approached cautiously, but did not go unnoticed, and two ogres appeared out from the smoke. I doubt any of us held onto the notion we’d simply sneak into the ogre-infested mountain, find Lammatar and sneak out without incident. Battle was thusly joined.

The ogres did not prove difficult after a few fireballs, and a vicious gnome attack, though one of them made a dash for a large gong just inside the entrance. I decided he was tired, and he flopped to the ground before he could alert the rest of his fellows. I bore witness to the druid catching…catching an ogre-sized javelin thrown at her. Now bear in mind, she is not quite half my height. An ogre javelin is taller than I am and about as thick as my thigh. Essentially she caught a tree hurled at her tiny frame. I’m not entirely sure how she didn’t go hurtling backwards with the missile and off the side of the mountain, but that would have put quite a damper on our plans here.

Inside, we found enormous and ancient bones lining the inside of the tunnel. Dragon bones! Blue to be exact, Titus was able to discover, though how he would know that I don’t want to ask. Upon these bones were carved thousands of seven pointed stars and other glyphs that we are unable to decipher. Oh boy… What are we walking into!

The tunnel lead to a huge chamber that our meager light source did little to illuminate, but we were able to see the feet of a huge statue. Though we could not see the top for the height of it, we were able to see that the statue wore a sihedron medallion about six feet in diameter…identical with the exception of size to the one Skook wears. My companions were able to get a better look at it with their superior vision. The statue is about forty feet tall, and depicts a giant wearing gemmed armor and holding a great glaive.

Glaive… Glaive… I remembered that was one of the symbolic weapons of the Runelords but it took me a moment of discussion with Titus to remember that it was tied to the domain of Greed. Karzoug’s realm. I will file this information away for later contemplation.

Moving on, we scaled some large, ogre-sized, stone stairs up to a landing. On this landing was a large pit, which I hoped we would not need to explore. Nuari cast Light onto a small stone and dropped it down the pit. It must have been at least a hundred feet deep and with nothing but ash and bone at the bottom. It was decided to continue our climb.

Exhausting work. Each step came up to my waist and for the gnomes, exceeded their height. Skook took to the challenge with typical eagerness. No doubt he will remember this difficulty fondly. Hopefully he’ll see this as enough exercise to forgo using the bear trap as a piece of inner thigh work out equipment. Somehow that just seems…unnecessarily dangerous. If he’s trying to impress Zerye, which on occasion I suspect, then accidentally chopping off his gnome bits will in no way serve that function. I would enjoy the awkwardness of watching her have to heal that wound though. Is that wrong?

After completing that second climb, we stumbled across another landing guarded by two ogres and a hill giant! Nuari was able to Charm the big fellow, but unfortunately could not speak his language. Without the sorcerer directing him, the giant just stood there confused. He was out of the fight, so mission accomplished.

We fought the ogres in a room dark and large enough that we couldn’t see the other end, in spite of the Light on the end of my spear. The darkness cloaked a gong on the other side of the room, so when one of the ogres bolted to ring the alarm, we didn’t realize what he was doing until it was too late!

Quickly, Zerye summoned in some monitor lizards while Titus patched us up and I tried giving Nuari some of the basics of giant speech. I quite clearly annunciated exactly how to tell the hill giant to call off the alarm, but the elf bungled it thoroughly and told him to ring the alarm instead!

From another tunnel, one connected to a huge forge area, ogres started pouring in towards us. It was a poor decision on their part. We all stepped out of the way as Nuari breathed a line of acid down the bottleneck melting a couple of ogres before they knew what happened and then between globes of electricity and strokes of lightning from Zerye and I, the brutes were cut down quickly and without incident.

We collected some magical equipment from the ogres before exploring the forge area. The place was massive. Fire and thick, black smoke belched from more forges that I could see. Skookumchuck calculated the size of the room to be about one hundred feet long and one hundred feet wide. Three separate tunnels led out from the forge area but these appeared to be mining tunnels. That left us with two choices: north or northeast, from the room where we’d first encountered the hill giant.

After a few tries, I was able to instruct Nuari on how to tell the giant to answer my questions. The elf is quite quick at picking up languages, but he has some kind of mental block with giant and it does not easily roll off his tongue. Actually now that I put it that way, I believe that’s to his credit.

The giant introduced himself to me as Lunderbud. Apparently Lunderbud was working for the Kreeg clan before a stone giant named Barl came to the mountain and took over. The Kreeg leader willingly submitted himself to decapitation once he saw that Barl was wearing a sihedron medallion like the one Skook wears.

I wonder how old that enormous statue is that we’d found previously… Did Barl have that recently constructed in honor of himself?

Lunderbud, who I’m becoming quite fond of in his Charmed state, was able to tell us that the northern passage led to the Sisters of the Hook. They sound unpleasant. Not giants, he said. Not ogres. Covered in boils and disease and stuff. Great. I’ve had enough plague to last a lifetime.

To the northeast lay an abandoned temple to Lamashtu, where Barl and his bodyguard now reside. Lunderbud had no idea where the blue, clawed Lammatar might be, nor who Mokmurian is, so that was of little help, but we were all quite sure that Barl would know. The giant also was able to tell us that all the ogres were working to make weapons for a war, but that was all he knew. Ogres and giants in a war sounds problematic. Maybe we can convince Barl to be more forthcoming…

Of course I would suggest this manner of questioning only to realize that I was the only one who could speak giant. Brilliant Morelen. Brilliant.

Skookumchuck gave me his sihedron medallion to wear so I looked all official, and sucking it up, I marched into the room with my companions behind me. Barl’s bodyguard was there at the entrance completely at ease and unworried at our approach. That made one of us… The creature was huge! I’d seen pictures and read of encounters of stone giants, but their noble, angular features and immense size was really something you had to experience in person.

With as much authority as I could muster, I told him bluntly that we’d been sent by Lucretia to speak to Lord Barl. He seemed…amused…but allowed me to continue onward up to the next step. Whether or not he knew of my deception, I do not know, but I’d played my hand. I had to follow through.

The ‘room’ was open to the night sky and tiny snowflakes drifted down upon us. It would have been beautiful but for the tension we all felt. Barl sat upon a great stone throne on the other end of the room and between him and the rest of us was a narrow passageway with ten-foot walls on either side.

I did not feel good about the group being penned in like that. Especially when we were flanked by two stone giants now!

I moved in a ways farther while the rest of the group stayed back. Bowing, I told Barl that Lucretia had sent us to find out how the preparations were going for the war. He asked if we’d not seen the work being done and I told him yes, but that it appeared to be coming along quite slowly. The giant wasn’t exactly forthcoming on that point and since Lucretia must know the plans, it wouldn’t do to inquire about them so I moved on to the next order of business.

I told Barl that we were supposed to bring Lammatar back to Lucretia at Fort Rannick because she had some use for him there. He replied that he’d given the man to the Sisters of the Hook. Ugh… Plague can simply not be avoided I guess.

Finally I questioned him about Mokmurian, but all that I could learn without completely giving us away, was that the stone giant know who…or what, Mokmurian was and that he was well. I thanked him for his time and left the room with my companions.

I’m still not sure if the stone giants bought any of it, but we have some answers now (horrifying though they be) and now we know what the room looks like and can plan accordingly. After seeing how easily we dealt with the bottlenecked ogres, none of us were desirous of putting ourselves in exactly that position!

Quickly we prepared and went back in. Skookumchuk snuck in Invisibly behind Barl’s bodyguard and struck fast and hard, giving us the signal to move in.

Lunderbud was very leery of attacking Barl, but he lifted me up the ten feet to the edge of the trench so I’d have some cover as I extended my spectral hand toward the king of Hook Mountain and drained a portion of his soul. Barl had a little surprise for us. He’d prepared for our coming as well, as evidenced by his own enormous spectral hand rising from its place of concealment behind him! It was trained on me, but deflected by my conjured armor.

Meanwhile, Zerye took advantage of the open-air room and summoned a Lightning Storm to blast the giants from the skies. Nuari blasted the giants with fire and Titus prayed the favor of his god upon us while Skookumchuk mercilessly pummeled the giant bodyguard and laid him low.

Barl was left and he wasn’t going down without a fight. Piece by piece I drained away the giant’s soul until finally his own spectral hand reached me and delivered the spell. I knew instantly what the nature of the spell was, but not in time to do anything about it. Barl’s Ghoul Touch paralyzed me where I stood and forced my companions to move away quickly to avoid the wretched stench of me. I hope this isn’t some kind of foreshadowing. Hat of Disguise does little to cover stink.

I could only look on while Barl took to the air and moved toward my companions. Zeyre was able to Dispel his Fly and the giant leader came floating slowly down to the doom that awaited him in the form of a tiny brown monk and a foaming-at-the-mouth wolf. Skookumchuk managed to stun the giant senseless in one hit and bring him down in the next.

We found many of useful items on Barl and a stash of treasure in a room beyond his throne. The most interesting and harrowing bit of information we found came in the form of a note that the giant carried. It reads as follows:

Barl –

Latest contact with Teraktinus indicates he has narrowed the search – he believes a human town called Sandpoint could hide what my lord seeks. Teraktinus will lead several of the people, as well as the dragon, on a raid into the town soon. When they return, they may be pursued, and I may need your ogre slaves to aid in Teraktinus’s retreat to Jorgenfist. Be ready to return at my command!
- M


OUR Sandpoint?!?

A small army of giants and a dragon would make short work of Sandpoint… By the bloody bones of the goddess, ONE giant would make short work of Sandpoint!! We’ve got to get down there as quickly as we are able and see what we can do to prepare the people and stop the attackers!

There was a happy surprise for me among the giant’s things; a large pouch of black onyx gems, which are components for Animate Dead. It’s so useful when the bodies I intend to use carry the components with them!

Barl is mine…

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:02 pm

Kuthona the 2nd, 4710 – Continued

Still snowing...for now!

Once everything was put in order in this room and we secured what treasure we could carry, we moved on to the next. Down the stairs we found a large room with an altar to Lamashtu in the back and a shallow pit in the center. We didn’t get much of a chance to look around before an arrow streaked out of the shadows and plunged into Grimjaw’s flank!

Those with superior vision moved in to face this new threat, but it wasn’t until Titus launched a torch into the middle of the room that I got a good look at it. At him! The flickering fire revealed an obviously undead creature with long, stringy white hair, a crown of ice growing from his head, blue skin and a great icy claw on his left hand. Lammatar!

I don’t know what I’d been expecting, but it wasn’t this. I hesitate even to write the way my heart quickened at the sight, not for the reason that Skookumchuk would erroneously suspect, but for the power that I’ve come to wield over the dead. The feel of control and of dominance over them…it’s intoxicating…

I called out to Lammatar by name, Commanding him to halt his attacks, which he did immediately. My companions to their credit, stood down as well. After a few questions it became obvious that his memories were still shattered from the transformation, so he would be of little help to us piecing these various puzzles together. He had heard the name Mokmurian spoken of as Barl’s leader, but he’d neither heard nor seen a dragon, or did he know of an army being raised beyond the continuous manufacture of weapons. He did however, remember the way to Whitewillow. Good. That will make things easier.

We finished looking over the room, and found only that Lunderbud’s description of this temple being ancient and unused was completely accurate, so with nothing else left to do there, Barl was good enough to heed my demand that he smash the all-too-familiar altar of Lammashtu to rubble. Lammatar pointed us to a doorway that led up to the Sisters of the Hook, a coven of hag witches, so we left him in the temple while we dealt with the last threat in Hook Mountain.

The hags knew we were coming. They would have to be deaf not to…but they did not attack us at first. Instead they pled for their lives, saying that they’d go off into the mountains where we’d never see them again. I believed that they were telling the truth, and stepped up to question them, inferring that if they were helpful perhaps they would be free to go. I had no intention of leaving this place with the three of them still breathing, but it gave Zerye a chance to start a summoning spell.

It was the hags that had kept the rain going, ordered by Barl to keep it up until the Storval Deep broke through Skull’s Crossing to drown Turtleback Ferry. Half the job had already been completed as we’ve seen first-hand, but there were ogres there working on it and if the rest of the dam gave way, there would be nothing left of the town.

So much fell into place in that moment! Lucretia had marked so many people with the sihedron symbol and only a fraction of them went down on the Paradise… This was how she intended on “winging” the rest of those souls to her lord! Drowning them in the Deep.

The hag sisters told us that they’d first served the Kreeg clan before it was taken over by the more powerful Barl, and of course they chose to serve him as well. Perhaps they meant for that to be an excuse. If they left Hook Mountain, they would simply seek another evil creature of power to serve and we couldn’t have that.

They had no information on Mokmurian. They had no information on a dragon and in fact had never heard of dragons in these mountains. We were done talking and they were not long for this world. Zerye brought in an ettin and between the two giants, Skook and Grimjaw, the ladies fell.

Once the deed was done, we search the filth-covered room and even the cauldron of human and humanoid parts they were going to eat for their afternoon meal, but found nothing.

There came the problem of where to go next. We had to get to Skull’s Crossing as quickly as possible to save Turtleback Ferry. We also had to get Lammatar back to Whitewillow and his ghostly lover to stop the spread of the curse, and my control over him would only last for a little over a week. Not enough time to deal with the Crossing and make the trip to the marsh.

We chose to briefly split up.

Lammatar knows the way to Whitewillow and doesn’t need to sleep. It will only take him a couple of days to walk there. Leaving Grimjaw here to defend us, Zerye will accompany Lammatar in bird form to ensure that he makes the journey and that Miriana holds to her agreement. After commanding that the ranger do no harm to anyone including Zerye, but only in the defense of his own unlife, the pair walked off.

I hated to see him go. I would’ve liked to learn more about him…what he is. Neither Titus nor I know what type of undead he is, only that he must have been created by Barl who had been a necromancer. I couldn’t have asked for more poetic justice than to be leading around the corpse of the once proud leader of Hook Mountain who created undead of good men.

Tomorrow, the remainder of our group will begin the journey to Skull's Crossing by way of Fort Rannick and meet up with the little green bird when she returns. Until dawn, we will stay here for the evening to finish up some business. Barl proved himself again to be a tremendous asset. He climbed up the large stone giant statue at the entrance and pulled off the large pendant of the sihedron symbol. We did not expect that doing so would cause the enormous statue to crumble to dust… Thankfully the gemmed armor survived. Barl will be carrying it for us on our journey until we can find a place willing to break it down for gold.

Also in order to ensure a peaceful night sleep, the two giants were ordered to destroy the forges and close up the mining shafts that likely still contained ogres. No more weapons would be flowing out of Hook Mountain.

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Post  Saoirse on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:25 pm

Kuthona the 3rd, 4710


Of what curious stuff it is made… A substance formed of thought? A dormant potency granted by the soul in times of need? With hope a man can overcome all perceived limitations but without it he falls to lethargy and ruin.

I’d given up on the hope of life. All I wished to accomplish was a bit of good…to make a name for myself before I ran out of time. And I most certainly am. Running out of time.

This evening hope found me on the wings of a little green sparrow; Zerye of all people, though she couldn’t know what her tale would mean to me.

Lammatar reached Miriana’s pool in Whitewillow and they were rejoined, but not in death as I’d expected. The nymph Reincarnated him… REINCARNATED! Undead cannot BE reincarnated…it…it is an impossibility, but there they were, her words understood clearly in my ears even after I asked a second and third time! Miriana’s ghost reincarnated her lover into a dwarf and after she had sunk into the pool for the final time, the land began to heal and Lammatar chose to live in that place.

Her tears were the key to his Reincarnation. Ghost nymph tears? How rare a component… But it is there that hope lies. Hope for Lord Aldern Foxglove and perhaps yet, hope for me.

Aldern has been dead too long now for a traditional Reincarnation spell, but this strange magic offers a sliver of hope that perhaps he might yet have a chance at a new life and to right any wrongs he might have committed in his too brief years. I look forward to visiting his grave site on Chopper’s Island again. It has been too long.

We reached Fort Rannick just after sunset this evening and my companions were glad for a warm bed. Titus was able to keep them magically protected against the elements in Zerye’s stead and we had no troubles through the mountains on our way back.

Lunderbud was left as the lonely King of Hook Mountain. It was a decision that I didn’t agree with, but one that Nuari felt strongly about. I understand why. He didn’t feel comfortable killing the Charmed giant. He didn’t feel good about what we’d done to the Grull that was Charmed once we were done there either, and truthfully I didn’t feel good about how not uncomfortable I was with it. I had to defer to his morality on this one for my own seems to have been built on a less solid foundation.

Once we arrived at Fort Rannick, we filled the rangers in with all that had happened over the last days. Jakardros didn’t care for the fact that I brought with me a giant zombie to leave outside the fort, but he is a practical man. We are, after all, the ones who saved his fort and brought down Hook Mountain. He can’t complain too much.

Titus and I began working on a few items of magic last evening and we continued doing so this night. I am creating a powerful amulet for Skookumchuk that will enhance his attacks, and the cleric, a Wand of Inflict Light Wounds that will allow us to patch up Barl. I was surprised at his offer to make it. The man is not squeamish around the dead, nor is he burdened by misplaced morality to put down a creature whose soul has already flown. I find this personally reassuring… Given the recent information about Reincarnating the undead, Titus may become even more invaluable than he’s already proven himself. A cleric of Nethys could have access to many kinds of unusual magics and research thereof. I no longer question his loyalty for he has proven himself to be a great ally even in the face of pain and death. Perhaps it is time that he learns the truth of me. He may have insights into my condition that no one else could. Insights…and maybe even a solution.

I have hope.

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Post  Saoirse on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:36 am

Kuthona the 4th, 4710

We left this morning for Skull’s Crossing under clear skies. Clear. Skies. It has been nearly a month that we personally have been assaulted with the hags’ rain. I look forward to drying out a bit, for this constant dampness has wreaked havoc on my condition. My scars have been red and irritated over the past couple of weeks but I was inspecting them a bit last night and found that they’ve started to open up to the point that I can see some of the permanent sutures within. There’s nothing I can do about it now, but I may have to attempt to sew them closed again soon to avoid possible infection. Unfortunately that is not a job I can attempt on my own…

The journey to the foot of the dam was uneventful and only took us a few hours from the Fort. We came to the base of a long stone stairway lined with all variety of skulls on pikes. Each skull bore on its forehead, the symbol of warning carved in the language of giants. Not enough warning to sever us from purpose however.

At the top of the stairs was a large cave that Skookumchuk volunteered to go in and check out before we brought our little entourage in, so after cloaking him in an Invisibility spell, the gnome entered inside. He came back to report an ettin guarding the entrance so we moved in with Skook taking the first invisible strike. As it turned out, that was all he needed. The gnome monk felled the giant with a wicked flurry of blows before the creature even knew what was happening. Okay then. His abilities will make our job here much easier.

Skook scouted ahead a bit farther through the cave until he came to the exit and could see a length of the top of the Crossing until it met with the hub building in the center of the dam. Five ogres with pickaxes were chopping away at the stone, weakening the structure with every swing. Invisibly he came back to us to report, scaring Nuari out of his wits. Somehow the shrill scream of what sounded like a tiny elven girl, did not disturb the work of the ogres. Their looming demise remained unknown to them.

Zerye came up with the brilliant idea of Raising the water on the high side of the dam just enough to wash the ogres off the edge. Upon the first casting, four of the ogres were washed over to fall three hundred feet. The second time, the overseer ogre joined them. I can’t imagine they could survive such a fall.

We made our way to the hub and found both doors locked, so Barl saw to it that one of them was opened. The door led to a hallway. We first entered into an empty room with three windows overlooking the dam and we could see where the Storval Deep was spilling through a broken section of stone into a great waterfall that fell to the Skull river far below.

Even if we can stop the ogres from destroying the dam, the sheer water pressure from the Storval Deep might break through the weakened stone. I am hopeful there’s something that can be done to save Turtleback Ferry. The first step will be to end the Kreeg threat.

Across from the windows was a door that opened to stone stairs descending into darkness. Upon the door was scrawled, “Below dwells Wet Papa Grazuul. All hail Wet Papa Grazuul!” Okaayyy… We’ll just get back to that later.

Off of this room was a sort of closet…a smaller room overgrown with fungus. I wanted nothing to do with it. I’ve seen enough fungus to last an elf’s span of years. Zerye checked it out and determined it to be a natural form of fungus and nothing jumped out to eat her, so we moved on back down the hall.

We were confronted with a pair of double doors, which always seems to spell bad news. This one proved no different. Skook swung the doors open and we saw four nasty trolls in the back of the large room. A Fireball, a Cone of Cold, a Fire Snake and a Searing Ray later, the room was cleared. Finding nothing of particular interest, we returned to the stone stairway and headed down the long distance to meet this “Wet Papa Grazuul”.

The Light on the end of my spear revealed a large room with a pool in the center and double doors at the back blocked by a large pile of skulls. Out from this pool sprung what must be Papa himself, a great sea troll wielding a terrible trident. Well, it was two-pronged, so maybe you could call it a dident? He speared Nuari who had been trying to circle around the pool, there was little room along the sides to do anything else, and nearly killed him in the single blow.

We attacked and Zerye, after the success above, employed her Raise Water spell to this time lower the water, sending Grazuul dropping fifteen feet to the stone floor, but there were two tunnels through which he could make escape. I ordered Barl into the pit and he fell in, managing to smash the troll hard with the giant earthbreaker while lying prone.

He’d been hurt badly. Grazuul wasn’t about to stick around and try his luck so he fled though one of the tunnels. Skookumchuk and Grimjaws went through after him and killed him in a small room at the end of the tunnel that had a passageway in the floor that was filled with water. Is that how he gets to and from the Storval Deep? My swimming skills don’t lend themselves to underwater exploration but if necessary someone might need to search it later.

Two more rooms with pools flanked that central room. The tunnels from the central pool led to the pool in each of them. Skookumchuk checked out one side and found it empty, but the other room was most decidedly not empty.

A horrific construct of some sort skittered across the wall to attack Skook! It appeared as an enormous scorpion covered in skull-armor and the sight of it sent a couple of my companions fleeing from the room. It snapped up the gnome in one of its pincers while still attacking us with a second claw and a no doubt poisonous stinger. I was concerned that one of us might fall in that room, if not more, for we were badly wounded by the time we finally were able to cut the thing down. How did that get in here, and who might have made it!?

Titus is patching us up while we recovered from the battle. I can’t help but think of all that warm troll blood down there in the tunnel, just going to waste. I’ve not eaten for days now. I don’t seem to require it much any more, but I will need sustenance soon and maybe the slain trolls can provide that for me. Could consuming troll blood help to heal these opening scars? Unlikely, but the thirst is driving me to distraction.

Fortunately there’s plenty here to provide greater distraction… Near the skull-blocked door in the center room is a miniature model of Skull’s Crossing. From what we can see, it appears to be an exact model of it, with the five skull heads on the front and the hub on top and everything. We did find however that the skull heads lift up to reveal small tubes that go through the model and then up into the wall in different directions. Perhaps this is some sort of control…

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Post  Saoirse on Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:48 pm

Kuthona the 4th, 4710 – Continued

After fiddling with the miniature bridge for a while, Skookumchuk started in on moving the large pile of skulls from in front of the double doors. Of course he made it a training exercise, and was having such fun with it that I hated to deprive him of his workout. Instead I excused myself and under the pretense of collecting troll blood samples for components (though I use no such components myself) I went down into the pit to attempt to sate my thirst.

Gods…I think I drained the beast dry too… Probably best I couldn’t taste anything as I’ve heard foul stories of trolls.

By the time I returned, tummy full of sloshing blood, the pile of skulls had been removed and we opened up the double doors.

Within stood two cells, one on the west and one on the east of the small room. Inside each of the cells was a summoning circle. The west circle contained a pile of crimson ash, while the eastern circle held the body of a dead demon. (We found out later that this type of creature was a devil, not a demon, not that it would’ve changed our actions at all.)

As it turns out, the devil was only mostly dead, which meant he was still slightly alive, which meant that the room suddenly got very warm as Nuari’s thoughts went directly to making it completely dead. Somehow he controlled the rage and we weren’t all rendered to ash, of which I was thankful.

The devil, though helpless in his state, was able to talk with us and he begged us to release him. It seems that Karzoug….the Runelord of Greed…ten THOUSAND years ago, summoned two devils into this chamber to power Skull’s Crossing. The whole structure is a machine, made to regulate the water level in the Storval Deep. The problem is…it’s not currently working. Zerye shifted forms and went to check out the discharge pipe just to verify the size and function and whether or not we’d be washing the rest of Turtleback Ferry away by activating the machine. Thing is…the Deep is already pouring through a great crack in the dam, so if we don’t do something quickly, the choice will be stolen from us.

Zerye returned and we decided that if we could get the machine running, that we should try to let it do its job. The second devil was destroyed, so the druid summoned a Cyclops into the empty summoning circle which immediately activated the magic, draining life force from both entities, killing the surviving demon and opening the floodgates.

Finished with our business below, we went back out into the open and watched the water draining slowly into the Skull River, safely releasing the pressure and saving both Skull’s Crossing and Turtleback Ferry. Titus and Zerye patched up some of the damaged stonework using magic, but we couldn’t afford to take the time needed to fix it completely as we’ve got an army heading for Sandpoint.

We’re spending the evening at Fort Rannick and then heading out at first light. Jakardros and the Black Arrows were very welcoming and offered us a place to stay and a hot meal if we are ever in the area. They assured us that once the fort was back in working condition, that they’d be sending some engineers, Vale piped up at that point, to work on repairing the Crossing.

Personally I’m just glad to be alone in my own quiet room this evening, working on this amulet for Skookumchuk. Well, alone with the exception of a raven at my window.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:25 pm

Kuthona the 5th, 4710
We arrived this afternoon at Turtleback Ferry, pleased to find that it wasn’t underwater.  At least it wasn’t any [i]more[i] underwater than it had been when we left it.  Concerned about the army that we know is coming toward Sandpoint, we didn’t waste any time finding shelter for the evening, but instead purchased a small keelboat that Skookumchuk named Lola. 
Lola’s hold is big enough for Barl to lay prostrate, and the boat is small enough for the gnome to pilot on  his own.  Lola is perfect for our purposes.  
We will travel first to Magnimar to sell and resupply before heading to Sandpoint.  I look forward to seeing the evidence of Doctor Noenn’s death or at least hear about the trial they will undoubtedly insist on giving him despite my warnings.  I should find out in a little over two weeks.   Until then, Titus and I will be busying ourselves with magical creations in preparation for our face off against giants and a dragon.
Unless, that is. . . we’re not already too late.

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:42 pm

Kuthona the 24th, 4710

The days on the water went by slowly, but peacefully as I spent most of my time along working on Skookumchuk’s amulet.  Titus finished a healing wand for Zerye to carry and also a wand of Inflict Light Wounds that will help patch up Barl when he needs it.

I resisted the urge to talk to the priest about my condition, though I realize after attempting to sew together my opening wounds, that I really need some help doing it.  The leg sutures were closed pretty well.   I’m not as practiced a hand as Dr. Noenn.  The arms and neck are impossible for me to get to properly, so I will have to get some assistance.  Perhaps after we deal with the new trouble at Sandpoint.

When we arrived in Magnimar, I was in a better mood than I can ever remember.  We sold our excess equipment and purchased a wand that will allow Nuari to change the energy type of his fire spells to acid in case we come across creatures resistant to fire.  No doubt that will come in handy at some point.

When we went to go inquire about the fate of Dr. Noenn, my mood went from superb to black.  Someone broke my creator out of holding.  Flesh golems and another type of golem that had a green glow . . . Nuari identified it as a type of sky metal that the golem was made of, came and took Dr. Noenn to who knows where!

I resisted the urge to panic, but I wasn’t kind to the guard that I spoke to about the situation.  This is my fault I realize.  I should have killed Dr. Noenn when I had the chance.  Now who has him?  Where is he?  What kinds of people make golems out of sky metals!? 

The Golemworks.   I should check there for rumors or evidence . . . something, but we don’t have the time now.  Not with Sandpoint in danger. 

I was able to have Dr. Noenn’s journals released to me at least.  They are in a cipher that will take me some time to make sense of, but I hope Nuari will assist me in the work when I gather the courage to begin.  As of now I’ve only once lifted the cover of the human leather bound tome. 

This evening we left for Sandpoint.  It will take two days of travel and I have begun a new work, crafting robes for myself that should help to focus the necromantic energy that is leaking from my opening wounds.  Might as well put it to use!

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Post  Saoirse on Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:19 pm

Kuthona the 26th, 4710
This afternoon we arrived. . . home.  It was almost surreal being back.  Skook’s first stop was Sandpoint Savories, where Arika and Aneka swooned over him and offered the monk mounds of pastries and bakery items.  He only chose a loaf of bread, but promised to return, which sent the girls into fits of giggles and tittering.
Then it was to visit Mayor Deverin.  She was not pleased by our news of giants and a possible dragon coming to her town, but she took it more stoically than I would have believed.  Quite to her credit I think. 
She will do what she can to prepare the town for battle, but Sandpoint has got to be the least defensible position ever to build a town!  Three entrances from the north, east and south, no walls to speak of, and the sea binding us in on the west. 
We told her that they were here looking for something hidden beneath the town, but she couldn’t say what that might be, so we hoped to speak with Mr. Quink about it.
Bad news just piled atop bad news.  Apparently a carnival came through Sandpoint a few days ago and then headed off north toward Windsong Abbey and then east along the trail.  Brodert has not been seen since they left. . .    He doesn’t seem the type of man to go running off with carnies, but it’s the best lead we have to his whereabouts since he’s not been seen down in the ruins below the Glassworks either.  We needed to check out his house first to look for any additional clues.
Before we left the mayor, I came clean to her about Barl.  She was not thrilled about having an undead giant in town, understandably, but she had no problem with me keeping him on the ship or on Chopper’s Island, as long as I didn’t take him into town and alarm the people.  I was quite pleased by her acceptance.  More than pleased. . .relieved.
Next we went to Brodert’s house, which was locked up tight.  We’ll repay him for damages when we find him.  We did find some notes inside that told us he was looking for more information on the sihedron rune and that he went to talk to a Varisian fortuneteller who is rumored to know quite a bit about Thassilon.
So he did run off with carnies!
Zerye used her magic to scry for him and interestingly, had to view him through some sort of abnormal distortion.  I’m not familiar with scrying magic, but she said (after some interpretation) that it seemed to be a dimensional distortion.  Quink was resting in a cot in some sort of jail!
There was some discussion about whether to wait for an army to come to Sandpoint, which we have no idea when they might arrive, or go rescue the scholar.  We settled on having Zerye fly off in bird for to look for signs of the army or the dragon while we started north to look for these carnies.
We didn’t get far.  Zerye flew back to us after only about a half hour of travel, having found a homestead flatted by what appeared to be four giants.  Tracks headed to the west, only twelve miles out of Sandpoint.  That stopped our northward travel and we turned back to town while she shifted into an air elemental and attempted to see where the tracks led.
They were followed to Devil’s Platter, a great plateau southeast of Sandpoint.  It was getting dark by now.  Too dark to go poking around the barren lands looking for giants who can see us as clearly as day, so we retreated to town for the evening.
I can’t help wondering if more will come.  If they are gathering there, then we will attack in the morning.

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Post  Saoirse on Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:22 am

Kuthona the 27th, 4710

I find it curious how desperately a soul clings to life even after the body has all but failed. Mauled and stabbed and torn in a dozen different places, I felt my spirit slipping free of this mortal housing. I embraced the darkness. It was almost as if I felt relief when I sensed Her coming for me, but then I was pulled roughly back to life; back to the blinding agony of my wounds.

My rescuers stood above me. In spite of it all, I thanked them for I realized that I wasn't ready to die. Not yet.

This Toilday started as just that. The Heroes and I bustled about town making a few preparations before we were to head out looking for giants. While I was down in the extreme south of Sandpoint, getting Barl ready for another busy day, the giants found us.

I didn't even hear it at first, so far was I from the action. Stones came crashing into town from the north. Three stone giants stood on a rock strewn rise nearly two-hundred feet from the wall, but I learned all of this well after the fact. Nuari, Skookumchuck and Zerye ran ahead to engage the monsters while Titus stood with the soldiers on the wall, ready with support and ranged spells. Everything happened so fast, that I knew there was no way I'd traverse that distance with Barl in time, but I cast invisibility on him and climbed onto his shoulder to begin slowly moving in that direction. I couldn't help but think that there would be more coming. . .more from the south, where we'd tracked the giants to Devil's Platter. With an eye in the opposite direction, I allowed Barl to keep plodding along northward.

At the northern wall, my companions were in the heat of battle. Fireballs, fists, fur and furious casting brought down the three giants, but not before Skookumchuck was badly wounded by the giants' clubs. Once again, I thank any gods who care to listen, that Titus has joined us.

While the heroes were conquering to the north, Barl and I were continuing that way in our slow pace, When I saw to the northeast, two more giants and three huge dire bears crossing the eastern bridge into town! I forsook my current manner of locomotion and commanded the zombie to continue northward without stepping on anyone, before Hasting us and bolting toward the new threat.

The dire bears were breaking large openings into the sides of the buildings, allowing the giants to reach in and grab as many people as they could carry and then stuff them into huge sacks. This did not bode well. They needed to be stopped!

With my companions fighting in the north, there was only myself and my pokey zombie friend to deal wth the trouble here. Trouble that I thought I could handle, but I. . .most unfortunately, underestimated the speed of the bears and more importantly, their incredible sense of smell.

After letting a few sleep spells and ghoul touches fly, it was enough for the standing giant to get a location on me before I ducked behind a building to cast a more powerful form of invisibility. The bears found me anyway. . . One of them got me in a hug, not the friendly kind, and I could not for the life of me escape from its crushing embrace.

Meanwhile, fire exploded from the northwest of my position. A young red dragon had made his appearance and was battling with Skook and Nuari. I later learned that after taking much punishment, the beast flew off in retreat, leaving my companions to rescue the jeweler and his family from the burning smoke-filled building. Shockingly, no lives were lost there.

I was unable to provide any assistance, wrapped up as I was with my furry friends. Three bears were biting and clawing at me, though I still retained invisibility, while the one conscious giant attempted to stab me in the back with his spear. Time after time I drained the bear of life, but casting without lungs and face proved quite difficult at the end and that's when everything went black.

When I awoke they were standing there with horror in their eyes. The invisibility had dropped. The illusion granted by the Hat of Disguise had dropped and for the first time, my friends saw what had become of me. The wounds inflicted by the bears were grievous yes but Titus could heal those. I think he put it best when he said, "No bear did that!" I can't even imagine. . . My throat is quite opened up now and the inner sutures are easily seen. Patches of hair and scalp have ripped off my head to reveal the white bone beneath. My gums are retracting and my cuticules as well, making it seem that my teeth and fingernails are ghoulishly long. As far as I can tell, my tongue is the same length though, so. . . Yay upside?

That will need to be dealt with later, but for now, TItus told us about another group of giants that had collected on the west side of town, on the Old Light. Was it there that they would find what they were seeking? There was no time to waste.

Titus healed me enough so that I could run and cast haste on all of us, included Barl who had finally caught up. He'd have to keep on catching up. We were off and running to the Old Light.

Three giants stood on the mound of ruin. Two of them appeared to be guarding the third, larger one, who was milling about the stones looking for one in particular. We engaged the first two, who were destroyed quite quickly through the might and magic of my companions, but my focus was on the leader and making him less less effective.

Teraktinus, whose name we later discovered, raised an enormous horn to his lips calling for retreat of his other forces, just before I sapped his life force with one Enervation and then a second, which made him utterly vulnerable to Nuari's charm spell that followed.

He'd been sent here to look for a stone that lay beneath the Old Light. No specific markings or anything, but apparently a piece of rock that could 'tell tales'. When asked about Mokmurian, he was elusive as everyone had been to this point, but I'm not sure how much the giant actually knew of his leader. A Child of the Stones, he said.

They were to meet him in Jorgenfist with one of these stones and sackfulls of 'greedy people'. More souls for his lord? Teraktinus recognized the sihedron symbol as the mark that stands for Mokmurians's legions. Seven tribes, he said, and several lamias (like Xanesha and Lucretia) served him. Tribes of not just stone giants, but ogres and trolls as well.

We were also told the number of giants that were with him in this raid, and after counting our kills, that left five others that must have retreated. He told us that he was to meet them on the tors when he was finished. They would have to go. Can't have them bringing news back to the mysterious Mokmurian.

A foolproof plan was devised to go up the narrow pathway to the top of the plateau upon which the giants awaited their general. We were told that there was no way to get up there without the giants seeing us, so we went up invisibly. Skookumchuk and I tucked into Barl's pack so I could give him some beneficial spells before he waded into battle.

Things took a sharp left at this point. The giants had their captives in bags along the edge of the plateau and were milling around when one of them came up to Teraktinus to ask him what was going on, and what was the deal with the rotting giant. Meanwhile, the invisible Nuari ran past them to see about rescuing the townsfolk whom he was probably afraid would get smushed in the fight.

He almost got there too. . .

Giants, like bears, have pretty good senses. One of them either heard him or smelled him and then started poking around the area with his spear. Once that giant found him, the monster pointed him out to his buddies and they all came down stabbing wildly. Back inside the pack, I heard the commotion but at the time was unaware of what was going on.

The giant that had come to 'greet' Teraktinus immediately attacked him once he realized they'd been had and the general followed suit. Skookumchuk was magicked up and went to town in a blur of feet and fists. Five giants are tough though and it took some time to get through them all, enough time that I again found myself being stabbed by spears as Barl obediently tried to hold them off me.

Eventually they fell. That included my poor Barl and Teraktinus whom we had to kill once Nuari's charm was broken. Our first clue that our friend was dead. . . Zerye could fix that though, she assured us and we loaded him up to take him back to town.

Skookumchuck freed the townsfolk from the sacks and they were quite grateful. One of them was the mayor's son, Gavin Devrin. Many of the others were Scarnetti's. . . I guess they knew where to find the greedy ones! One of the sacks was full of valuables that belonged mostly to the Scarnetti's and Skook worked for hours afterward hauling their things back to town.

I waited until everyone had gone before I Animated Teraktinus, and took him over to Chopper's Island where he would stay for the time being. There I paid my respects to Lord Foxglove's grave and reiterated my promise that if there was something I could do to grant him another chance at life, I would see it done.

Nuari's body was taken back to his room at the White Deer. There he would wait until morning when Zerye could prepare a spell of Reincarnation. I hope he returns to us. . . I can't help but wonder what new form he might take and whether he might accept it or reject it. That's a worry for the morning though.

Tonight I've called my companions together to my room to discuss the. . .state of my being. Long overdue I suppose, but there's no turning back from it now. Unless Zerye has already forgotten it? Skookumchuk had already run off when my invisibility wore away so he didn't bear witness. It's possible that today's events will distract our druid. Titus however, will likely not forget it.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:42 am

Kuthona the 27th, 4710 - Continued

Tonight was the awkward capstone to one of the most frustrating, frightening and terrible days I can remember experiencing.

After the battle with the giants, the death of our friend, and my own near death experience, Titus, Zerye and Skook came to my room to discuss my. . . “condition.”  It is something of a relief to have it out in the open now.  No doubt there will be further questions along the way from the gnomes, but Titus held the most interest being a priest of Nethys.  When I mentioned the rune on my chest, he asked to see it of course and I complied in spite of the immodest placement.

He was clinical in his inspection.  Similar to how Doctor Noenn once was.  Cold. . .as if he was observing an object not a person.  Maybe he was.

In spite of Titus’ tragic bedside manner, I believe he is my best chance to discover answers about the magic that holds me together.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:44 am

Kuthona the 28th, 4710

Today Nuari was returned to us.  Thanks to Zerye’s magic, a new body was created to house our friend’s spirit, but it was a much different body than the one he left us in.  Nuari now travels with us in the body of a dwarf!  Same stark white hair.  Same icy blue eyes. . .   Just no longer an elf.  He has a new body to grow accustomed to now, and I hope to be able to offer some assistance since I do have some experience in that area.

Interesting enough, he still seems to have retained his sorcerous powers though perhaps not in quite the same form, which begs to question whether it really was his heritage that gave him his abilities or whether his magic was given to him by some higher power for some higher purpose.  Something he is no doubt pondering himself as we travel.

After reequipping Nuari’s new frame, the Heroes of Sandpoint headed north toward Windsong Abbey in pursuit of Brodert Qwink and the carnies.  I left Teraktinus (Tiny) on Chopper’s Island for safe keeping until we return.   I wouldn’t do to go dragging a rotting stone giant with us when we’re going through towns.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:45 am

Kuthona the 29th, 4710

We arrived at Windsong Abbey only to find. . .nothing. The carnies had come and gone in a day, and the people we spoke to have no recollection of an older gentleman with spectacles and a white goatee, so we must continue on. We were told that the caravan was heading toward the small town of Galduria only a day’s journey away. I do hope we can catch up with them and find out Qwink’s fate! Zerye’s scrying again showed the man in the same situation as he’d last been seen: in a jail cell and through some sort of distortion.

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Post  Saoirse on Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:53 am

Kuthona the 30th, 4710

We reached Galdurian to find the gypsy-folk camped outside of town.  It was early yet but when we found a sign that read:  “The All Seeing Haziak”, we were pretty sure we’d found the wagon of the fortuneteller Quink had gone to see. . . the one with knowledge of the sihedron rune.

Upon knocking, we were allowed in to see a beautiful Varisian woman who did claim to have met Brodert.   She told him of a library she knew of that held much knowledge of ancient Thassilon and then offered to tell us of it too!

There was something off about the whole exchange, but I didn’t realize what it was until she flipped the entire Harrow Deck at us, which created some kind of magical vortex!   Just before we were sucked into an alternate dimension, I saw something in her eyes that was terrifyingly familiar.  It was Xanesha!  The lamia that got away had just trapped us in some kind of dimensional prison!  Not good. . .

We all landed in a field.  At least that’s what we thought at first, but overhead the sky seemed to be painted on, and the sun was held up by an enormous mechanical arm that caused the sun to rise and set.   The Harrow cards were scattered all about, so we collected them quickly and stacked them back into a deck.  The magic inherent within them told us that we could use these cards to affect changes in the world we found ourselves in, but which ones to use?  And when?  That we were going to have to figure out on our own.

It wasn’t long before we heard cries for help and came running to see what it was.  A man dressed as some kind of cook was surrounded by four tengu clowns that were pecking at him and beating him up!  Now if there’s anything that irritates me more than raves, its man-sized ravens in clown costumes!   We commanded them to stop their attack but they only shifted their attack to us, drawing short swords.  

We made short work of them and turned to the bruised man who named himself as Bio the Cook.  He was quite helpful in telling us a bit of what was going on here in spite of his shaken state.

This world was created by a fortune teller named Senora, who created it with aspects of her Harrow Deck.  Her own creations rose up in mutiny against her, nine of them plotting and succeeding to steal her nine aspects which allowed her control over this world.  Unfortunately after she was out of the picture, things started to go haywire.  Each of these aspects was taken by a different conspirator, and if we can manage to get all of the aspects together into Senora’s scarf, then we can set things right here and create a way out for ourselves.

Bio also was able to tell us that he had seen a man fitting the description of Brodert Qwink though he didn’t know where he’d gone.  When we mentioned the jail cell he told us he had to be inside of the Striding Fortress.  It. . .strides.  Not something we’re going to be able to catch right away, though the cards may help us in that regard.

Behind Bio was a great tent that he said was Bernaditti’s.  One of the conspirators.   Upon entering we found a juggling giant and three bears on unicycles performing inside of a ring for an audience and an alligator headed rakshasa sipping tea inside a cage.

Ooookay. . .

That’s when we remembered the Harrow cards.   The insanity before us was painted on some of their faces!  The Juggler, The Bear, The Carnival, The Rakshasa!  Nuari threw The Juggler card at the giant just as he threw a pie at us.  Whenever we drew blood against the creatures, the crowd would boo, but every time we affected them in a nonlethal manner, they would cheer.  Bernaditti looked on casually, and I can’t help thinking that if we’d played to the crowd that things might have gone a little more smoothly, but at some point we got very tired of the game and ended it.

Bernaditti was next and he offered for us to answer a riddle.  If we won, then we could keep Senora’s aspect.  If he won, then he would get to keep one of us as a slave.   That wasn’t going to happen. . .  He was a difficult opponent but eventually he surrendered and from within his teacup he withdrew the aspect.  A garnet and gold pendant called the Songsmith’s Kiss.

After leaving the tent we had to decide where to go next.  Bernaditti said that we must simply focus on where we want to go in order to get there, but that didn’t seem to help overmuch at the time.  We played The Fortress card, hoping that would take us directly to where we might find Quink, but it had no effect and now its magic is spent.  I hope we won’t come to regret doing that. . .   After some discussion we headed off into the forest which eventually became thick with brambles.  We found The Brambles card within the deck and played it, which allowed us to be able to move through without any difficulty.

Emerging from the brambles we entered a small glen and within the glen we found The Rabbit Prince.   He was a pretty jovial and adventure-loving fellow and it was enjoyable speaking with him.  He too was one of the conspirators against Senora and eventually agreed to give us his aspect if we would set things right again in this world so he might escape the glen and go seek out adventures of his own.

He was able to tell us a bit about the other conspirators as well.  We’d met Bernaditti at the Carnival.  He was Brambleson of the Briar, and gave us the Dancing Heel aspect.  Next there was Mourningchoir in the Demons Fen, Marzali the Weaver in the Manmoulds, Sonorea in the Prophet’s Garden, Baleo in the Sanguine Playhouse, the Tick Tock Man in the Smiths Caldera, the Night Peddler in the Trackless Dearth, and finally Zastrain the Pathchwork Lord in the Striding Fortress.

Off we went back into the brambles, choosing to focus on the destination of the Demons Fen.  Thankfully it worked and we found ourselves before Mourningchoir, a great rainbow serpent who had taken Senora’s aspect of Compassion and fell into a great sobbing depression ever since.  Now wallowing in her own pool of rainbow tears, she was able to tell us that in her melancholy, she’d vomited up the aspect which was taken by the Barrow king just across the bridge in the middle of the lake.  She was not keen on allowing us to go, wishing that someone would stay with her to keep her company, but after some convincing, she allowed us to leave on the promise that we would bring the barrow king back to her for company and would use the aspect to fix all the things gone wrong in this strange place.

As we moved across the bridge to confront the Barrow King, a wave of near paralyzing depression washed over Zerye and I and we could barely continue on.  The druid’s shadow became a physical thing, dragging behind her like a blanket.  I looked on the graveyard that lay before us and longed desperately to find my rest there in the cold, comforting ground.  It wouldn’t happen that way thankfully.  At least not yet.

The Barrow King was a wight of impressive power.  He did not parlay with us for possession of the aspect, but came on in a fury, resisting my Commands which I found terribly annoying.  Skookumchuck eventually brought him down after we expended nearly all of our magical energies attempting to do so.  

It’s evening now and we plan on resting here in the graveyard before starting out again when the great mechanical arm pulls the sun up past the horizon once more.

Last edited by Morelen on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Saoirse on Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:27 pm

Kuthona the 31, 4710

It was still dark this morning in the graveyard when we woke, huddled together in the wight’s crypt. Cozy. . . Strangely, both Nuari and Zeyre were cuddled up with soft blankets that had somehow been expertly sewn to their feet! Now, I had noticed Zerye’s last night before we fight the Barrow King, but I was hardly in the presence of mind to pay it much heed suffering from the magical despair as I was. This morning we were able to get a better look, but somewhere along the way Nuari had acquired one as well at the expense of his shadow! It must have happened during his watch.

Skookumchuk searched around the area the dwarf had been sitting last night and discovered human-sized bird tracks leading up to his position. The tracks of an owl more specifically! A giant owl stealing shadows and replacing them with blankets? Even for this mad pocket dimension it seems peculiar. . .

We went back across the bridge to speak with the sobbing Mourningchoir and deposited the promised Barrow King at her feet. She’d made her bed. Let her now lie in her pool of tears. Such things are the consequences of treachery and I will not pity her.

She was able to tell us of Ember Comesbynight, a giant owl who nests in the area around the island. It seemed to us that one’s shadow must have some importance and we were loath to simply move on without retrieving them, so we headed off to look for an enormous owl nest. It was not difficult to find.

Nuari played The Owl card from the Harrow deck and we were able to convince the creature to give us our shadows back and return his blankets.

With that annoyance dealt with, the Heroes of Sandpoint ventured into the Brambles once again, this time with the intent to find the Manmolds and the conspirator, Marzali the weaver. After a few hours of hiking, we came upon an old and dilapidated mansion belching smoke from the chimneys. It appeared deserted, and even inside, the only population we could find were wax sculptures of people. We came to a sign that was written in an ancient dialect of the Varisian language, but even so I was able to make out its meaning, “Visitors will be scalded.”

Not exactly laying out the welcome mat here.

We soon discovered the meaning behind the message when Nuari found a secret door that took us to a secret hallway that led us over a secret pressure plate where he and Zerye found themselves partially cooked from a burst of hot steam from the floor! They were injured, but Titus was able to heal their wounds. It certainly made all of us much more aware of where we put our feet!

We wandered through a veritable maze of secret passages and avoided well-hidden pressure plates until we came to the heart of the building. A huge. . . factory? Workroom of sorts? Four giant vats of molten wax bubbled and boiled, and in the center stood Marzali, a giant queen ant and a dwarven female holding something that looked larval. . .though it had a human face.

Marzali saw us immediately and screamed as she summoned giant wax globs from the vats that came to her call and attacked us! The battle was brief and while we struggled to deal with the wax clumps that almost swallowed Skook whole, we were not too badly off to continue our search after collecting the items that Marzali had upon her ‘person’. A magic mace and cloak and of course, the aspect! A bracelet known as The Busy Hands. One more step on the road to free Brodert Qwink!

Again we headed off into the Brambles, this time to find Sonorea in the Prophet’s Garden. After about an hour of travel we actually met upon the road by a paladin named Algon the Ever Seeking, who demanded for us to halt. He ‘required’ that we give him all of the aspects that we’d so far collected.

Um. . . No.

He couldn’t be talked out of his desires though, claiming that he needed the aspects to get to Zastrain the Dragon in the Striding Fortress. We were more than willing to team up with the man in order to accomplish our mutual goals, but the prideful knight would have none of it. At an impasse, he drew steel and attacked, but Skookumchuck doesn’t need steel to fight. He is steel! The gnome pummeled him to unconsciousness and we moved on toward our destination.

I’m glad we didn’t permanently hurt the fellow. Misguided or not, I would not feel good about bringing down a paladin, but we may end up running into the man again. We’ll have to watch in case he makes a second attempt.

The Prophet’s Garden finally rose before us after another hour of walking. Great marble walls and pillars filled the space, while bronze angel statues dotted the landscape. We came to a pear tree with a magnificent unicorn lounging beneath, beside. . . a goblin wearing a unicorn mask. The unicorn had one of the pears speared upon its horn, with a bite taken out of it and the goblin was begging and pleading and simpering to the beast to try to acquire the fruit, but the unicorn was a wall of apathy.

We listened to the bickering for a short time and played the cards that suited the situation, but both parties seemed dead set on their course. Fine. We had come for Sonorea anyway. The unicorn told us we could find her in the center of the garden.

In the central portion of the garden stood a large stage with marble pillars splattered with crimson stains encircling it. An old wooden writing desk took the space in the middle of stage. As we approached to inspect it further, an eyeless hag suddenly appeared directly in front of me and laid a clawed finger on me, shaking me to the core with crushing despair. Again. Battle was joined, and it was brutal! Sonorea possessed a resistance to magic that was difficult to overcome and her own magics. . . well, let’s just say that we all learned what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a Cone of Cold. Multiple Cones of Cold. . .

By the time the hag fell, we were all sorely abused. Only this body’s resistance to such cold temperatures allowed me to survive the day, but Titus was not so fortunate. For a moment he stood, frozen in place where Sonorea’s spell caught him, but just as she died, his body, already off-balance, fell to the floor of the stage where it shattered into a thousand crystalline pieces.

I felt sick. I still feel sick. . . Only days ago we lost Nuari only to have him come back as a dwarf, for which I am grateful surely, but he still has not adjusted to the change. Will we be able to bring Titus back as well? Zerye is confident, but I wonder what the priest will come back as. Tomorrow will be revealing.

As for tonight, we take our rest near the pear tree with the pompous unicorn and the ridiculous goblin. It seems safe enough. We acquired the Black Nip, the aspect of Senora that had been held by the hag, and tomorrow after Titus returns to us, we will be back in the Brambles and make our way toward the Sanguine Playhouse. The sooner we get through this twisted land, the better, and I fear for Brodert’s safety as well as our own.

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Post  Saoirse on Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:11 pm

Abadius the 1st, 4711

Happy New Year from this strange pop-up book world!  

We celebrated Titus’ rebirth-day this morning, though he didn’t seem to be celebrating. His new form was so wholly different from the original that I can’t imagine him ever becoming used to it.  At least I was placed in familiar packaging!  Titus Arvantius, proud and reserved priest of Nethys, is now a goblin!
Digging through our gear we managed to scrounge a few things together to equip his itty-bitty new form, as he cannot use any of the weapons or armor he had been carrying before.  He is grouchier than usual and has every right in the world to be. . .

The Sanguine Playhouse was next on the list and we were eager to get on with it.  A giant cricket and an enchanted violin threatened us with dance (a legitimate threat to one whose arms and legs do not feel nearly as secure to the torso as they should be), but we were able to drag our merrily jigging companions from the foyer area and into the theater proper before we all succumbed.  

The whole enormous room was draped in ghastly, stained and threadbare red velvet, which undoubtedly gave the Playhouse its name.  The proprietor and his puppet were directing some action on stage when we arrived.  Balimar and Baleo.  Puppet and Puppeteer.  We told them we had come for the aspect, the White Lily, and he agreed that we could have it if we could successfully manage to act out part of his play with the resplendent diva, Eliara.  Naturally he chose Skookumchuk for the job. . .   Naturally Skookumchuk was eager to rise to the challenge. . .

This was going to be interesting.

It definitely was the most epic scene of a play I had ever witnessed.  Granted, it is the only scene of a play I can ever recall witnessing, but I have it on the authority of my companions that it was indeed a grand spectacle!  The gnomish monk gave it his all with all the monotone gusto he could muster, but the directors were not happy and neither was Eliara.  Cockatrices appeared on stage to attack just Skook I think, though the gnome continued ‘acting’ as if this was just a continuation of the play and he had to rescue the fair maiden from the evil monsters.  Of course he demolished the hell-chickens handily.  Even this did not woo the particular maiden and she revealed her true form.  Nothing other than a lamia!  Another one!  Are they all this grumpy?  Maybe so, for she attacked as vehemently as the others had!

We all joined in this battle, though as the chivalrous gentleman he was portraying, Skookumchuk wanted to do her no lasting damage and simply knocked her out instead of doing her in.  That done, Baleo and Balimar cheered loudly and pronounced it the greatest show they’d ever seen, and when we demanded the aspect of Senora, they cast an illusion and threw us into a strange-looking world before attacking!  Baleo seemed to have some monk training and he was difficult to subdue, but Skook beat him soundly and the larger monk disappeared.  The illusion dropped.  Balimar, the wooden dummy was the puppeteer!  He agreed to give us the White Lily in exchange for his life.  After obtaining our quarry, we wasted no time exiting the theater and heading for the Brambles, where Titus patched us up a bit from the battle before we started walking with the destination of the Smith’s Caldera firmly in mind.

Only about fifteen minutes had passed before Zerye drew our attention to a very large fellow struggling against the brambles which had him caught fast.  Though we called out to him, he could not hear us even though the distance should not have warranted it, so the druid strode over to him and whacked him with her stick, which is her method of saying hello.  And showing affection.  And being protective.  And wanting to kill something.  

She likes to whack people with sticks.

Startled, the man turned and struck back and the offender, missing by about four feet due to her stature.  Turns out he is quite deaf.  What transpired next was nothing less than hilarious as Zerye, whom we can barely understand on a good day (though drinking helps), began to question this deaf man.   It seems he had been in Galduria and decided to visit the fortuneteller, no doubt Xanesha, when he was sucked into this world by a similar vortex as the one that brought us here.  Khassyr, as he introduced himself, is just as trapped here as we are, and without cards to aid him!  It was decided that we would all work together to achieve our freedom and that of Mr. Quink.

With Khassyr freed from the brambles, we continued on and came to a large clearing.  Suddenly came a sound like muffled thunder and the screeching of metal.  The “moon” jolted on its arm into the place of the sun at entirely the wrong time!  Armored skeletons began marching toward us from out of the brambles. . .   A LOT of armored skeletons!  

Much pleased by this sudden turn of events, I began calling some of them to my side to fight with us as the others battled.  Nuari found a card in the deck called The Eclipse and immediately played it, which seemed to crack the moon overhead.  Did we have to break it to stop this onslaught??  Okay. . .   So yes, Nuari and I took turns playing Shoot the Moon with fireballs and lightning bolts as the others fought off the skeletons, which was not as easy as it may sound.  These were not your run-of-the-mill animate bones that fought us, but skeleton warriors, well equipped and bent on mayhem!  I wanted them for myself. . .   Alas, it was not meant to be, for after expending a hefty portion of our magics to destroy the moon, it finally was blown to bits and all of the skeletons, including the ones I had claimed for my own, crumpled to dust.

A short rest was needed after that long battle, but after gathering our energy, we continued on into the Brambles toward the Smith’s Caldera.  I pouted for two hours about the loss of what could have been such excellent skeletal assets before we stepped out of the brambles and found ourselves at the foot of a great volcano!  A long stairway led to the top, where we could hear the pounding of hammers on anvils.

As we neared the summit, we could see three flame-bearded dwarves who shouted obscenities at us before beginning to hammer on the mountain with such force that it began an avalanche!  On the narrow stair as we were, there was no way to wholly avoid the fall of stone coming down upon us, so as Nuari threw The Avalanche card, I summed an encapsulating hemisphere of ice, which seemed to protect us from the worst of it damage and provided a bit of a bubble beneath the rock that gave us more air to breath than we would have had otherwise.  

Grimjaw and Skookumchuk, who were outside of the ice, were nimble enough to actually hop on top of the rocks as they came barreling down at us and thus avoiding their own entombment.  Grimjaw began to dig us out as Skook ran on ahead to confront the offending dwarves.  Meanwhile, those of us beneath the rubble were working on digging ourselves out.  Khassyr had with him only one tool that he felt the need to bring to the carnival that day.  A shovel!  Really??  From this foresight, and the divine magic he’d been casting, I determined the man could only be an oracle of some sort!  He put the tool to good employ as we struggled back to the surface, but it was the great wolf that broke into our tomb first and with some assistance we all climbed out of the hole just in time to see that Skookumchuk had already dispatched of the three flaming dwarves.  I’m glad he’s on our side!

The top of the volcano was some sort of smithy, but apparently we needed to go deeper inside to find the aspect we were seeking.  A set of huge double doors set against into the rock and we went in to take a peek around.  It was a public house!  A giant was tending bar and five dwarves were scattered at various tables throughout the room drinking.  Nuari, who seems to not have lost his silver tongue with his new form, Charmed the giant and convinced him that though we were not “big ones”, that we were big enough to be allowed passage.  Enlarging Skook and Zerye seemed to clinch the deal, but we had to leave poor, disgruntled Titus the Gobbie outside to wait for us.  

Through the public house lay the Caldera.  A massive sinkhole dominated the room; a giant stone head poked up through the space, still attached to a similarly huge body below.  Beside the sinkhole, leaning against a chair, stood a fire giant with an enormous sword and a scowl on his face.  He demanded to know why we were there and we replied that we were seeking the Tick-Tock Man and looking for the aspect of Sonora.   Seems he and the Tick-Tock Man don’t get on well. . .   After discovering we were not friends with this person, he revealed to us that he wanted to hurt the Tick-Tock Man for what he did to the smith.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the Smith is that stone statue buried in the sinkhole.  

The giant let us pass through and we found that the man we sought lay beyond in the midst of a strange sort of work room.  He wore a glove fitted with keys for fingers.  The Tick-Tock Man didn’t seem particularly interested in the aspect, and offered us an exchange.  He wanted six grubs from the Manmolds to help him do his work here in the Caldera, and after fetching these for him, he would give us the Clouded Vision.  A lens of brass and quartz.  

Since we’d already visited the Manmolds and dispatched the queen ant, it proved no trouble to travel back through the Brambles and retrieve the nasty, white, wriggling grubs for him.  We were all thankful to avoid another fight, for it had been a long and eventful day for us all.  

After obtaining the aspect, we traveled down to the foot of the mountain and chose to rest there for the remainder of the day.  Tomorrow we make our way into the Trackless Dearth as we seek out the Night Peddler.

Last edited by Morelen on Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:17 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:24 pm

Abadius the 2nd, 4711

The sand!  Oh gods the sand. . .  

It’s everywhere!  In everything!  Boots, hair, teeth, ears, eyes, gaping sutures. . .   This cannot be good.  I suppose if my opening wounds were ever to become infected, it would have been in the damp misery that was Turtleback Ferry, but that minor assurance does not lessen the discomfort of sand grinding into raw flesh.

I was thankful for the relief that Titus was able to supply us with his Endure Elements spell, else I would have been faint as well.  Only a few minutes into the Trackless Dearth, we saw in the distance what appeared to be a man on horseback barreling toward us at full tilt, but upon closer inspection, we realized it was a centaur laden with goods, being chased by a cyclone!  He was most definitely in trouble but what were we to do against a cyclone?  And how does a cyclone purposefully chase anyone?  We chalked it up to this crazy dimension we’ve found ourselves in and moved to help however we could.  Of course in doing so, most of us got sucked into the swirling vortex which is why I have sand in my nether regions, but at the time we were more concerned with getting out of there alive!  

The violent winds pummeled us mercilessly, blasting sand over every inch of exposed skin.  Some girls say that exfoliating helps the skin to look healthier, but part of my cheekbone is now exposed and magical healing didn’t touch it, so I think this may not be what they meant.   The centaur was eventually ejected from the vortex and healed up by Zerye while we worked at dispersing the cyclone, which we were later told was sentient!  Nuari and I used our magic and Skook grappled with the wind. . .and won.

Once we were all patched up (as much as could be, for there’s no longer any hope for my face aside from that Hat of Disguise), the wandering centaur thanked us and for saving his life, gave us four thousand gold worth of credit toward his wares.  He carried a ridiculous amount of gear on his back and after watching him pull out a few requested items, I can only believe that every bag on him is an extradimensional space.  

We purchased a few more healing potions as well as some gear for Titus who’d been kicking around in the scraps we’ve found in the past.  He was pleased to get some more usable equipment.  Also, we acquired some potions of protection from electricity.  After being told by that paladin fellow that Zastrain, ruler of the Striding Fortress, is a dragon, we looked through the Harrow Deck and found a card called The Tyrant with a blue dragon wrapped around the world.  These cards have been remarkably accurate. . . if that is the case with Zastrain, then some potions of protection will serve us well!

We were also glad to be rid of an old wand of vampiric touch, which allowed us to purchase an adamantine sai for Skookumchuk!  How fortuitous that an old centaur packrat was carting one through the desert in this crazy world!  Then again, the centaur told us that the cyclone was chasing him because it was drunk on alcohol that he sold it. . .  Anything can happen here!

Upon finishing our business, the Wanderer pointed us in the direction of the Night Peddler and wished us well.  It took the rest of the day trekking through the desert before we came upon the encampment.  There were cages and tents and camels and groups of ragged looking people walking about with chains on their feet and wrists.  It appears the Night Peddler is a slave trader.  I suppose we all need to find some kind of employment, and I’m not entirely sure that these. . .people are actually people.  The moon is paper after all.  Excuse me.  Was paper.  Is everything here merely figments created by the mind of Sonora?  

We were led to the Night Peddler who, though pleasant enough in his conduct, reeked of danger.  After what we’d already been through. . .after Nuari and Titus, I had no desire to provoke a fight when other methods to achieve our ends might prove less costly.  The All-Blossom, the final aspect, was indeed in his possession and he asked what we might give in trade.  Remembering how keen the Tick-Tock Man was on getting his hands on grubs in the Manmolds, I spoke up and offered that possibility.  There were six remaining when we’d last been there and he agreed to the deal.  

Perhaps he will grow them into slaves. . .  I admit that although I question the reality of this place and everything in it, there is a miniscule part of me that feels uncomfortable with this trade.  However, considering our circumstances and the volume of what is unknown about this dimension, I don’t feel like we have the luxury for moral outrage right now.  There are bigger issues that demand our attention.  Not to mention a lamia in dire need of a beating back in the ‘real world’.

It was getting late at that point, and the Night Peddler offered us shelter for the evening before we were to take up our journey back through the Dirth to the Manmolds.  It was good to be out of the elements.  After de-sanding myself as thoroughly as possible, I now plan on spending some time working on my cloak.  It is nearly complete!

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Post  Saoirse on Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:00 pm

Abadius the 3rd, 4711

I started awake from hellish dreams this morning.  Memories I fear.  They are different now than they had been at the beginning though. . .   Before, I was the victim of Doctor Noenn’s experiments but lately these dreams have made me feel more villain than victim.  Considering the state I find myself in, how could that be true?  I don’t know what to believe anymore but perhaps in time these memories will become clearer.

The day was spent traveling back through the Dearth and then the Brambles to reach the Manmolds once again.  It is fortunate that these grubs are such a valuable commodity, repulsive though they be.  Ironic. . .me calling anything repulsive.  

I was able to irrigate most of my suture sites when we arrived at our destination and clean the sand from them.  It was a mess, but the chafing was becoming unbearable.  It occurred to me to employ some of the wax this place is brimming with, to fill in some of those gaping wounds.  Doing so, and then wrapping them with bandages should keep most of the particles out when we head back out into the. . .

<this portion of the journal is completely illegible due a rather large ink blot spilled upon the page>

Chronicle of the Heroes of Sandpoint - Page 3 Black_10

. . .and that is why I’ve no doubt he’ll father a litter of his own one day.

Nuari came to sit and talk with me awhile tonight.  He is doing well.  The new body suits him and he has adjusted quickly to the changes, especially after being stripped of his father’s tainted blood!  In fact, our newborn dwarf seems happier than I have ever known him!  I think some of that optimism was infectious, for I’m feeling a good deal better after our conversation.  It may behoove me as a friend to mingle more.

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