Creation

The thoughts of Devin

The morning starts quietly in this bard town. Nothing happening is a nice change of pace. Demons here, alliances there, stupid personal vendettas and quests there, it can all get overwhelming and moot after a while. I feel slightly betrayed that my supposed allies do a minute worth of work a day and demand a break until the next morn. The world does not stop.

Regardless, I make my way to this Crestfallen character who resides in the main library of this own. The library reeks of age but in a good way. He seems rather busy and merely nods at my presence. Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow when my allies are here and more purpose is given to my visit.

Tonight I work on the ritual. Peedles has brought me most of the materials needed to complete it and we are going to follow this cryptic message best we can. By that I mean we are going to skip steps in order to finish it early. I cannot let this chance at becoming whole escape my hands. This Box of Death holds a single fragment of Franz. Perhaps if it can be released we can become whole again.

Dawn breaks again and while out on my morning walk I find my allies. With the threat of eminent war they move quickly for once. I inform them that I have secured our stay at the Sparkling Lion Inn for the evening. We make our way to Crestfallen and make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon to officially speak to him. Sydell seems distracted about some personal issue the entire afternoon and evening.

I attempt to be social during the evening but my mind is elsewhere. This ritual to open the box needs to happen. Sydell makes friends with a local bard who seems to have an interest in Kip. Penelope and Marcel attend to themselves per the usual and Dee relaxes. I’ll be attempting the ritual early and with pieces missing but all I wish to do is peek inside.

When the moon is high I sneak out of my room and into the basement of the Sparkling Lion. Peedles is already downstairs awaiting my arrival like an obedient guard. More than likely she is here to guard me and not the other way around.

Troll’s blood, some feathers, cloth scraps, blood, and the box are all in order. I chant ancient words and the box opens! Success!

Wait. No. Something is wrong. Terribly wrong. My essence is being dragged into the open box. I sense my Dwarven side inside but also something sinister. This sinister essence is more powerful than I imagined and is definitely not the squirrel soul that should be inside.

Shit!

We are unable to resist being pulled inside completely. That sinister essence leaves somehow and the box shuts. Everything is black and time ceases to exist. As the essence speaks words seem to take months to pronounce but sentences take mere seconds. I think the essence is talking to someone. I can sense a familiar set of presences somehow. My allies! How did they know I was down here? And why did they arrive so quickly?

“You have released me from my prison and for that I should thank you. I’ll give you one minute to stay goodbye to your pitiful mortal souls before I devour them,” states the essence. He must have materialized outside the box somehow. This will probably not end well. He continues to speak.

“I see you’re trying to figure out what I am and why I exist. I’ll give you a hint: I ate your friends’ essence. I am unnamed. I am destruction. I am death incarnate. I serve only to destroy but were banished years ago and my entire being remained inside that horrid box. Your Dwarf friend served as an excellent catalyst for power but I tore as his soul a little too hard and he split apart. Parts of him escaped and parts remained here. Luckily for me, the Dwarf forget why he escaped in the first place and his fragments returned searching for completion. This gave me enough strength to escape on my own and to make use some of his power and memories.”

“What magnificent power this is. One of your friends knew how to channel negative energy. Another had deadly close combat attacks. And this last one had some sort of magical power. Don’t worry; I’ll make the most of it to destroy you.”

“The blood of my enemies flows through me and gives me life. The gift of the Gods lets me feast on their suffering. You mortals move slowly and make excellent prey. I will not be defeated and will not be sent away.”

Something is amiss and I am not completely trapped here. In fact, a flow of lost souls rushes past me. I have to take this opportunity and contact the outside world. Screaming does nothing but telepathy may work. Excellent! They can hear me.

What I am about to do may lead to my own death but sacrifice is necessary to handle this demon creature. If what it speaks is true, my allies will not survive.

With what remaining strength left, I sacrifice a part of my very being to aid my allies. As time is skewed inside this horrid box I cannot tell how long my aid will last so cycling through them as fast as possible is the best option.

Damage immunity. Ignoring a creature’s defense. High damage potential.

Over and over again. This is all I can supply to the outside world.

“I refuse to die to your mortal hands!” screams the demon.

Finally! I can only hope what little aid I gave somehow assisted them. A very dark warm power flows over me. Light breaches the darkness and I fall forward against my will.

Fresh air fills my lungs and I finally feel as whole as a sword forged on a Dwarven anvil. My memories have returned! A wee more than expected but I’m back!

I stand up for a good stretch and notice my feet are hairy. Way more hairy than usual and small. Small feet?! Wait, more isn’t right here. Why do I have tiny Halfling boobs? I reach for my beard forgetting I sold it to Peirce and come across a female face. By the Gods! Is this Peedles’ body?

Ack! Sydell lies dead before me! As I reach down to heal him none of my magic is present. What is this? Arcane magic? Devin! By the Gods this is not right. My body and magic is gone! Rather, it appears to have been mixed with my soul fragments rather than everyone coming together and forming my past self.

Aunt Froddle definitely won’t like a Halfling attending her annual “Meet and Meat and Greet” fest. I wonder if Peedles could hold her drink? I’d rather die than have a Halfling’s alcohol tolerance. I even smell pretty. Yuck.

I barely recognize myself and manage to scope out the room. Looks like a Dwarven party in here. Rubble all over, people covered in spew, someone near dead on the floor, and the box. The Box of Death is cracked! I scoop up the box faster than an Orc scooping a Gnome at the semi-annual “Scoop your own Gnome and cook it” event. I tried Gnome once. It was bad. It was also an evil Gnome so maybe that had something to do with it.

Anyway, with the cracked box back in my possession I realize that Penelope, Marcel, Kip, Dee, Kessler, and Sydell don’t even notice me moving about yet. Perfect. I can’t let them see me like this. Hell, I’m not sure I can stand seeing myself like this. Although, my eyesight is really, really good even for a Dwarf. Damn Devin must’ve done something to my body. Or Peedles’ body. Or his body. I’m not sure.

Peedles’ memories kick in faster than mule on a summer day and it begins to make sense. Devin, that fool, misused magic and now here we are. Oddly enough, I know how to fix this. I know how to help the war efforts. Time to test out this teleport spell Devin knows and get to work.

With that being said, I quit the game. Good luck and have fun.

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The Order of the Vale
Protectors of Dromaria

The Order of the Vale

Purpose: To protect the natural balance of Dromaria. The vale has no concern with mortal affairs. The rise and fall of kingdoms is as natural as the rise and fall of any species in the natural world. the Order is concerned with those who would unbalance the scale and pervert the natural order. To this end they focus on Outsiders, Undead, and Abberations and the mortals that chose to work for/with such entities.

Structure: The Order of the Vale is led by a council of seven headed by the Heiarch. The council is composed of two members of each neutral alignment; True Neutral, Neutral Good, and Neutral Evil. The Heiarch can be of any alignment. When a council seat is open the existing members of the council may nominate people for the position. All nominees must be members of the Order of the Vale and years of experience count highly in the consideration. the Heiarch is chosen in the same way. Once the nominations have been made it comes down to a simple vote.

The main headquarters of the Order is located near the Ember city of Stonehome in the shelter of the World tree (planted by Devrem Wolfborne) the symbol of their order. Smaller groves dot the rest of Dromaria tasked with watching and maintaining their individual territories. The Order prides itself on its constant flow of information, which is imperative to their work.

The Order also approaches the kingdoms of Dromaria in an effort to form a connection to the mortals of Dromaria. Mostly it gives the rulers a direct line to the Order in case of threats from the Orders enemies. In the case of a large scale attack that threatens much of Dromaria it allows for the forming of a war council composed of the kingdoms involved, one delegate each, and the Heiarch, or his delegate if necessary. The war council’s job is to take stock of the situation and work out a joint defense and attack plan to free Dromaria from the threat.

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The Trouble With Dopplegangers

Standing in the Vale I look around me at all the destruction. The fighting never ceases. I feel like we’ve been traveling for eons, and for what? For this? I know that we must continue, so that this does not become the fate of all of civilization. I’m not certain we will even succeed at our tasks, but I know that we must go on.

As we’re helping the druids prepare to move I heard someone call my name. I looked around but no one seemed to be seeking me out. I recognized the voice, but cannot place it. I hear it again, followed by what can only be described as a one-way conversation. Ragna, the bard who had traveled previously with this group was contacting me. She and I had often traveled in the same circles until she disappeared. I know now that she had been taken over by the succubus Lillith the Cruel. She is traveling with us as a slave to Sydell, repayment for her crimes against him I’d guess. Ragna has been an ambassador between the Dwarves and the Embers as we need the two factions to work together as war is imminent. She told me that both groups are preparing to attack Blarek with the army of Ania, led by King Carus. Knowing that there are many factors at play and that an attack this early would prove disastrous for all involved, I gathered my comrades and informed them of this new, disturbing situation. Sydell decided that the best course of action would be to contact Everbody who, in turn, contacted Ragna so we could actually converse. We advised her that the planned attack on Blarek should NOT go forward and that it would be in everyone’s best interest to just wait until we can all sit down and talk. Ragna set up a meeting with Ram, the leader of the Darkstone Clan as well as the leader of the Embers. We set the meeting in Stonehome, as it seems to be the safest place for all of us.

Veera, Harper’s ship, touched down right before noon. He will be taking us to Ania and helping D and Kessler move the druids to the World Tree (D and Kessler will not be joining us as this is an important undertaking). Sydell confirmed with Lillith that the info on the demons is coming along, and begins compulsively studying her completed work while we travel. We are all a bit weary of this venture to Ania, knowing that anyone could be that lousy doppleganger Durant. Devon thinks that Ram might actually be Durant, as it appears he is pushing for the early strike on Blarek. I don’t feel the same, my gut tells me that our King Carus in Ania is actually Durant. I would say only time will tell, but we don’t have that luxury – we’ll be seeking out any information from townsfolk and vendors in Ania, making our way up the ladder of importance. I hope my intuition is wrong, for all our sake.

As we land outside the city limits of Ania, I decide that a disguise would be my best bet on getting information from those who hide in the shadows. It really is amazing what you can find out by being invisible. I put on my disguise and distance myself from my traveling companions. I entered the city behind them, not paying them any mind as I passed them as they stop at a vendor’s wagon. “Pierce!” I hear Sydell call out – seems they know this vendor. I keep walking, making a mental note of a strange familiarity I feel with this man, though I know we’ve never met. I’ll have to stop back by or seek him out another time.

Making my way through the main thoroughfare of town I notice that I’m being followed. I’m not sure by whom, but I am not getting caught unaware. I pass between two buildings and draw my blades into my gloves, disappearing into the shadows. I see a human, maybe a half-elf (from the clothes) who doesn’t see me. I grab them from behind and bring them close to me – turns out it’s a man which really fooled me. Nice. He dropped his weapon, and put up his hands in defeat. He tells me he works for Barktooth, the local and newest underboss. He is a man I remember well, coming up in this profession at the same time we share quite a bit of history. The follower tells me he is only following me because I’m new to town, just trying to get a feel for what I have and how he could get it – standard fare coming into a new town, I should’ve figured. But, with all that’s going on it’s better to be safe than dead. I give this boy some slack and he says he can get me a meeting with Barktooth. I agree to it and get all the cloak-and-dagger info to set it up. I’m off to meet up with Devon, oddly I think he could be an asset to this meeting.

After finding Devon and letting him know about the meeting, we prepare identities and disguises and set out for our meeting. Devon gets to the bar first and is chatting up the barkeep as I walk in. “You must be Pam,” the bartender says as I walk up. Great, Devon is really good at this whole secrecy thing. We are directed to the back where a large, burly man sits. He knows I’m Pam and tells me to head downstairs, but detains Devon as the meeting I set up was for one. I go down alone, drawing my blades into my gloves. As I’m making my way around, I notice a smaller-statured female notice me and step behind a pillar. Probably just another watchman for Barktooth, whom I see barking orders to those working around him. He appears to be strictly business down here, no outward sign of weapons on him. As I look around him, I notice that we are in a huge underground city basically. He sees me approaching and motions me over. I introduce myself and remind him that we (he and Pam) go way back – and compliment him on the amazing work he’s done in just the short time he’s been the underboss. Amazingly, he remembers Pam and begins to spin a yarn that, if I wasn’t aware that Pam didn’t exist, I would’ve believed. He has someone go up for Devon, who soon enough is striding toward us. Just as he’s about to clear the stairs, he’s jumped from behind by the female hiding behind a pillar. He recognizes her and they have a seemingly kindly exchange. She departs and he joins the meeting.

Barktooth tells us that King Carus has not been in the city on a regular basis, no more than a few days in a row at one time, for the past two weeks. People that have been in his service have been charged with crimes and put away for seemingly odd reasons. His wife, Layla, stays mostly in the castle. She’s not much into politics, but loves games and sport. Barktooth says that any more information will come at a price, but will be well worth it. I agree, and he gives me a drawing of an underground tunnel into a room in the castle. This room contains a book, Adventures of Asir, and if I get this book, then that will be payment for the info. Because Pam and he go WAY back, he takes it on a promise and spills the information. As of late, a dangerous group known as The Trust have been infringing on his areas. The castle servants have been reporting King Carus is discussing high-powered magic and using a lot of different tongues to do it in. It’s been reported that something is being built under the castle. Reports are coming back that there are a number of underground tunnels and large rooms have been constructed and it seems that this project should be finished by now, or at least close to it. However, he instructs us to be very careful as a number of his informants have not returned after venturing into this area. We thank him for his time and I again compliment him on the amazing work he’s done since coming into power, knowing that this is far from the last time he and Pam meet. We head back to the ship. The strange female Devon met with is coming with us and I know now her as Peedles. I don’t know a lot more than that and the two continue their discussions as though I wasn’t there. It’s good to be a rogue.

On the way back to the ship I see the aforementioned vendor Pierce and slow my pace to let him notice me noticing his wares. He’s preparing to close for the night, to move on to a different area – I’m sure we’ll meet again.

After meeting up with everyone and exchanging information, it seems that all of us wound up meeting with Barktooth. Separately. We both got generally the same information and decided to take off to find this book. I feel that finding the book may wind up with a two-fold result. Not only will we fulfill a promise, but I think we might just find more than informants could ever bring back.

Heading into the tunnel, I see light where there should be none. I know we’re not close to the study we seek, but Sydell can’t leave well enough alone. I swear his curiosity will be the death of us all. Devon and I continue along the path, but Sydell bursts through the wall, revealing a hastily built mine shaft-like corridor. Sydell inspects it and yells up to us that it’s a hallway in a mine – maybe this is what’s being built? We all continue along our mapped route until I’m sure we’re in the right spot. Penelope finds our opening and we all head into the study. It’s dusty and fairly cleared out, possibly in a hurry. Devon senses the book is behind the desk, but behind the wall, seemingly blocked by a thin sheet of lead. Once again, Penelope finds the book, along with 2 rings. We take all and head back the way we came in. As we get to the newly opened mine area, a strange voice calls out to us. “Hello? Is someone there?” and continues to urge us to find where it’s coming from. Devon uses some sort of magic and suddenly we know it’s a door. Yes, a door is talking to us. Devon tell us that the door has a man and a troll in the room behind it. A group decision has us standing in front of this strange talking door, attempting to get it to open. A riddle will open the door, and a riddle did just that. Once inside we find the troll, a hideous being with 9 heads. Behind it we can make out a man, possibly a half-elf, surrounded by what appears to be a LOT of blood. The man is alive, but barely. The room we’ve entered is exposed as a torture room. The troll is ready to attack, and we go on the offensive.

Sydell charges and attacks the troll with his war hammer, massively wounding one of the heads. The troll reels and attacks Marcel, knocking him about. I move up to attack and it hits me – knocking the wind out of me, making me miss with all but one hit. He attacks Sydell and grapples him. He hits me again, clubbing me somewhat. Sydell swings and misses, Devon casts anti-magic and Sydell lands a solid hit. The troll looks to be hurt and Marcel wastes no time adding to the damage. Penelope, never ceasing to amaze me, takes the form of air and flies above the anti-magic barrier to cast disintegrate from above, effectively turning the troll into dust! Wasting no time we make our way to the injured man. Cleaning him up and tending to his wounds we find that this is no ordinary man, it is King Carus. Just as I had thought. He’s in and out of consciousness but gets out that he thinks he’s been here for about two months. Devon found another tunnel, probably under what would be the stables. We disguise Carus and make our way back to Harper’s ship. Harper, being very knowledgeable about dopplegangers, will be keeping a very close watch on this King Carus while we take care of business in the city. Before we venture out again, Carus tells us of a stash he wants us to get to. Specifically he wants a small satchel but we are welcome to anything we’d like beyond that. I went back to Barktooth with the book. I let him know why I thought his men weren’t coming back but said nothing of King Carus. Barktooth rewarded me with more information – this time about us. It seems that someone or a group of someones is seeking information about my traveling companions. He has seen to it that no one in his guild will put out this information. I thanked him, let him know that I would be available while in town at his request.

As another night falls on Veera we are in greater danger now than ever before. Even dealing with demons and monsters isn’t as treacherous as what we face now. I keep my fear at bay, knowing that Sithir is watching and so are others like me. I know I need to utilize this, but I’m just not sure how. I will commune and seek out answers. I just hope that our path is leading us in a victorious direction, for the alternative is too terrifying to imagine.

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The Dragon and the Grove

Excerpt 141 of the journal of Marcel Fisher, son of Lumen Fisher of Staffons and Gwenethlane Lamisine of the noble house Felisima, Chosen of Light in the service of the almighty Lothar and Paladin of the Shield in the Holy Order, husband of Penelope Naïlo, savior of the prince elect of the royal line of Ania, and last student of the fabled knight Saber Dharst.

The last few days have been trying, to say the least. Master Harper’s ship, Veera as he calls her, is looking better but is still damaged from the fray. Hopefully it shall be working again on the morrow. His recent disposition fills me with dread. It as if his heart-strings have been twisted into the strange knots that bind the rigging’s of his ship. The power he possesses is great, but I fear he worries too much for the plane of his birth. No one’s support has helped us more. I must remind myself to see if I can offer him payment or services for his aid.

I am filled with concern over the enemies we now face, desperate to protect those I love.
I fret to tell my companions of the true power of the demon sent against us. While they have seen the immense strength for themselves, our victory may give us a sense of false resolve. We must remember to be humble in the eyes of Lothor. Only in humility will we find true strength.

Devrem found a strange artifact amongst the ruins of Tolak Broke. It was a beautiful gem, swirling with mist and clouds. Upon touching it we were shown a vision of a past betrayal. Lucca appeared upon the back of a Primal Cloud Dragon, slaying it shortly after landing in the ruins we now tread. The dragon beckoned us to avenge its death, as well as his fellow brethren who were slain at the hands of Lucca. We have agreed to undertake this task, albeit at our own pace. The closest remnants appear to be under the ocean; those of a Primal Magma Dragon that went by the name of Ferrous. Upon agreement the gem transformed into a pair of daggers which Kip has taken up with the intent to tear down Lucca’s throne.

A Chosen of Polurn by the name of Requiem arrived with the night, coming in from the sea. Her somber disposition was comforting considering the mantle she carries. She informed us of events taking place in Ania, gauging our reactions. From what I can glean, those in power are going to attack Blarek early. This could be disastrous for humanity as a whole. We must make our way to Ania with haste, hopefully in time to avert this catastrophe. My concern is that Durant has placed himself in power within the capitol.

The day continued at a fierce pace with a visage from The Order of the Vale appearing before Devrem. The grove was under attack, flames consuming plant-life and bodies alike. Harper was able to transport us to battle through some mechanism aboard Veera. It did not matter that we were stepping into a trap, we set out to save those we could.

Upon our arrival we saw flames rising and falling with the whims of the wind. In the distance the air became chill with the screams of those under a foul curse. Before us sat a dwarf, relaxing upon a stump, trimming his nails as if the chaos surrounding him were mere frivolities. The trees nearby shook with tremors.

Sydell and Devrem launched themselves against the dwarf while Kip took to the woods, finding the shadows she is so familiar with. It was in these moments that I realize how familiar I have become with the constant fighting. Our war feels as if it is never-ending, driven forward by the desire to save those we love dearest. Nearby Devin began to summon creatures of the Abyss to his aid. Spotting a giant figure to the west I charged in, slicing into his forearm with the bite of my sword. From deeper into the grove a bone-grinding scream split the very fabric of reality, shaking the resolve of any nearby. Many of my companions fled, leaving only myself, Devrem, and Devin. Thankfully the fearsome beast with which I was engaged also fled.

From within the depths of the woods a creature from the very bowels of the earth flew around the field. I now know that it was a Wendigo, something from nightmares themselves. Even with the protection and resolve given to me by Lothor, I never wish to see such a horror again. The next few moments of the battle became a blur of steel and magic. Devrem engaging the Wendigo, Devin making some kind of pact with the dwarven mage, while I was engaged with his dog-like familiar. Walls of ice and force lined the field, elemental faced off against the horned outsider, and I did what I could to lend those around me the strength of Lothor.

Thanks to the quick thinking and new skills of Devin, as well as the might of Devrem, we were able to hold off the force until our companions returned to the scene. With their aid we finished off the Wendigo. From the distance we heard the thunderous yell of the giant creature. Without too much aplomb we struck him down. My dearest Penelope turning him into a pile of ash.

With tensions high, Devin struck a deal for information from the wizard, a man known only as Club. He was hired by Serenity, something that pulls deeply at my conscious. There appears to have been weeks of planning, striking at The Order of the Vale when the Wendigo had done its work. Club left quickly after being payed, sensing the disapproving glare of those surrounding him. I fear if he had stuck around much longer even I would have been tempted to get revenge for my friends. From the area the Wendigo had come from we found many of Devrem’s peers inert. Their stares still haunt me as I write this entry. Penelope, with the aid of Vale, healed Hunter’s mind. Hopefully he will be able to shake free of whatever torment he was part of and gradually heal the others of the order. I will have to speak with Devrem about this development. His bond with those here is deeper than we are aware of. I fear we may be without him for some time.

Master Harper will arrive shortly. Baring any further setbacks we shall soon move onto Ania. I am terrified of the prospect of striking at the wrong foes. Penelope and I will discuss matters further before getting what little rest we can. Lothor guide me in the trials I will soon face.

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The Beginning of the End
The definitive part of any trilogy; the ending

Devrem: Hi there everyone. Its been awhile.

Kessler: What are you doing D?

Devrem: Just saying hi to our readers. Hows that whole talking thing coming along?

Kessler: Readers? odd. The whole talking thing is still strange. though now I know why you humans
don’t stop talking. So many sounds to use; I used to have four.

Devrem: Ha, I bet. Now where was I?

Kessler: Saying Hi?

Devrem: (blank stare) thanks. I think Sidell is cooking pork today and I’m sure he’d like some help.

Kessler: (already running off) Great idea! enjoy talking to yourself D.

Devrem: (shakes head and chuckles) So weird to hear him talking but that does bring us back to
the beginning of our new story…

Meeting Gromath was an indescribable experience. It has been a long time since I’ve put faith in anything but Nature itself but the Demons care nothing for balance or any life but their own. Gromath also fears the imbalance that the Demons bring; the world is always in flux, balance is an ideal that can never be attained, the scales will always tip one way or the other but the Demons mean to destroy the scale completely and I can’t let that happen. I feel that Gromath and I share many of the same ideals and I know I can put faith in the knowledge that what he does he does for the health and protection of Dromaria.

After our showdown with the less than mysterious Shadow (cause I can’t remember who he was), the appearance of Luca and Serenity followed closely by Serenity’s bloody choice we find ourselves aboard Harper’s airship debating our next move. Our planning was rudely interrupted by one of the crew members revealing himself to be a man sized demon bearing a decree from some Demon bitch named Sacrimitas (sounds like VD to me). Turns out Sacrimitas is in charge of the invasion of Dromaria and she sent us a present. At this point the small demon exploded into the biggest, ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. Its bulk preceded to put our airship on a crash course for the surface. The usual offenders charged and attacked while the rest set about managing the battlefield. Good thing too, some of the demons henchman had managed to get on board the ship. Luckily the first one to come up from below decks was met with a beautiful drop kick from Kip; sending the poor bastard shooting overboard. The battle continued in the usual blur of sound and blood. Sidell took some serious hits but managed to dislodge the demon from the airship giving Harper a chance to save us all, with some nice spell work from that impassive mage guy that hangs out with us. I took the last bit of fight to the demon, nothing escapes Dust Elemental D, while the rest of the party cleared the ship of enemies.

After the battle Harper had to land the ship because of the massive amount of damage it had suffered in the battle but he was pretty sure he could have it up and running in four days or so. Harper has parked the ship in a strange valley that seems scoped out of the earth. While Harper works on the ship the rest of us have been pitching in when we can or exploring. ON one of my trips I ran across a strange air elemental in the form of a dragon. I approached it as an air elemental and it asked if I had come to free it. I found a strange gem in some rubble below where the elemental appeared. When I picked it up it showed me a vision of a man bringing a strange dragon to this place and spearing it through the heart in a bizarre ritual. I’m going to see if I can help free this tortured spirit before we leave.

As for our next move; we learned of a man named Durant. He is friend, or the demon form of a friend anyway, to Luca. He is also a very dangerous assassin capable of looking like anyone. Through communing with his god Sidell has learned that we should target Durant first. I tend to agree, something with that kind of power is to dangerous to have running around. There is also an item that can help us but we have no idea where it may be.

Devrem: That catches you up to speed so far, we still have so much to do.

Kessler: (licking his chops) the foods done but you should hurry somebody keeps eating all the good pieces.

Devrem: Ha, thanks for the heads up Kessler, lets go get dinner.

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The Embers; a short story.
Looking for answers and all we seem to find is more questions.

Hello everyone. D here, “woof!” and Kesler of course, we’ve joined up with a rather rag-tag group of adventurers that came through the Elvenari lands seeking materials for a cleansing ritual. I decided to join them for a couple of different reasons and I’m glad they agreed to take us along, partly I’ve been in one place to long and these Elvanari are so intent on ceremony its crazy. It should not take a 2 hour prayer before you can eat breakfast, hell by the time your done its already time for brunch. However; my major reason is Sydell and his party themselves. Sydell has been infected by a demonic presence, a very powerful one if I’m not mistaken, and such things do not happen by chance so something much larger must be going on. I haven’t heard from the order in quite some time so perhaps they are ignorant of these events.

After the rather harrowing test for the Elvanari and the rescue of an old wizard we were transported to just outside Blarek, the city of mages. Here the group agreed to separate for a time, Sydell wished to search out the Embers and their deity, Mighty God, to learn the next step he should take while Lily felt that the mage city was the best place to find more information about not only the demon but the forces that seem to be working against my new friends. I have heard of the Embers but have never had the chance to meet one so I decided to join Sydell on his journey and Marcel came along as well.

We headed northeast towards the mountains, Sydell had met Ember’s before but it had been on the other side of Dromaria so we know it would be a bit of a hunt or so we thought. The journey was a pleasant one and gave me a chance to get to know Sydell and Marcel a bit more. After about two weeks on the road we came across a very cleverly hidden opening in the cliff face and heard voices from inside so we went to investigate. When we entered the cave the first thing we noticed were two figures standing next to some small cages, then promptly one of the figures seemed to fade away. The other figure stepped forward and turned out to be a rather dangerous looking orc, “growl!”, who said, to our surprise since we’d never been here, that he’d been waiting for us. It was then that we noticed the small bodies that were in the cages barely moving and one not moving at all. With an obvious enemy barring our way and another lurking somewhere in the darkness we knew we couldn’t waste any time so we struck.

The fight was rough but ended quickly. I launched my spear at the orc to by some time as Kesler darted in to strike at his legs and managed to keep the orc off balance. We were joined shortly by Sydell and Marcel. As we continued the attack on the orc I caught the flash of movement out of the corner of my eye as a crossbow bolt went shooting past us. The second bolt took Sydell in the shoulder but it didn’t seem to bother him and he turned to deal with the shooter. To keep the archer from making an escape I used faerie fire to outline him. The orc was a fierce opponent and no matter how often Kesler and Marcel struck he wouldn’t stay down. The archer was another matter, Sydell had drawn his scythe to reach the archer, where he sat perched on the side of an overhang, and managed a strong blow to his legs sending him sprawling and begging for mercy. Sensing a chance to get some answers I leapt from Kesler’s back, leaving the orc to him and Marcel, and made my way to the side of the cliff. I shaped the stone of the cliff face into a cage holding the archer. During this time the orc lashed out crushing heavily into Kesler’s side before he was put down by Sydell. The fight over I went to check on Kesler and the people trapped in the cages that I could only assume were Embers.

Between the Embers and the captured archer, who turned out to be a gnome thief, we learned that the Trust had sent similar groups to all the places Sydell’s group had found shelter and help. Few of the Ember’s survived the slaughter but Marcel and I managed to save the ones we could and find the few that had fled into the caves. These ember’s have a unique ability to mold earth and stone much like me but theirs seems to be inborn. After seeing to the Ember’s Sydell began to ask about Mighty God and whether there was a way to speak to them. In the past Sydell has dealt with Mighty God’s emissary on Dromaria, the lady in the lake, and this was seen as a great honor to the Embers. For our help they took us to the stature of Mighty God they keep in there cavernous home right next to a large underground lake. Apparently hearing the voice of Mighty God Sydell simply walked into the lake. After awhile Sydell reemerged from the lake bringing both good news and bad. While he now knew the next step he had to take on his personal journey our friends where in great danger in Blarek. We thanked the Embers for their help and left the gnome thief for their justice and began a hard ride towards Blarek hoping we weren’t to late.

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My name is Jon and I do not trust you.

My name is Jon and I have replaced Franz Thunderhammer. I have been posing as him since the day the party met me and rejected Franz’s offer to have me accompany the party instead of him. Franz wrote a note in Dwarven explaining the situation which would be forfeited should my secret identity every be found out. Naturally, Franz failed to think this through beyond what his Dwarf instincts told him because to my knowledge there is not a single person besides myself that can naturally speak Dwarven.

Franz picked an odd group of people to adventure with and quite frankly they have every right to feel betrayed; however, it pales in comparison to my feelings against them.

First, we have Sydell. The very first week travelling I noticed he was evil. Pure and simple, something inside of him was evil. I figured since Franz trusted him that this individual posed no serious threat. At one point we met a druid who also gave an evil aura. Naturally, the group was angry with me for not telling them or taking action to attack the druid. Why should I? What makes this druid so different than Sydell? Well, the druid did attempt to kill everyone. However, Sydell has a living demon spirit inside of him that he is unsure he can contain so what is to say he will not try to kill us and when that day happens no one in this group has a chance at survival. I might as well just point to every passerby and state their intentions if the group is going to be whiney.

Next up, Penelope. Wow. Why is she alive at all? First she refuses to hand over the child, which is the responsibility of the church, and next she carries it with her while we adventure. On top of that, she put the baby at risk when the evil druid attacked. How am I supposed to feel towards someone who puts someone else’s child at risk like that? It is obviously not hers due to the race and she even acknowledged that it had an affinity to the church. What is she anyway? All she did for the first week was put the child at risk and heal Sydell who has spent the majority of his time killing.

Lily, The Great, is the accompanying bard. Not sure what to make of her. If anything, she aids in Sydell’s killing sprees and is very knowledgeable of whatever area we tend to venture upon. She’s tended to keep to herself around me and stay out of trouble. I have seen her play her harp on several occasions and the results have been exceeding my expectations. She did shoot an innocent child’s pet once.

My acceptance of Marcel Fisher is based on our shared alliance to Lothor and nothing else. He escalated a bar fight to physical means and did not go out of his way to aid travelling merchants. At least Penelope took interest in the merchants’ wares. Also, for being as holy as he proclaims, he tends to have no issue allowing selective murder. Death is not the only solution to conflict. Of all people, he should know this.

Also, there is a staff that Penelope uses quite frequently to mend whoever is injured. I had my chance to use this staff to resurrect Penelope, a child, and a child’s pet. Such great power wielded by a foolish elf? Oddly enough, the staff seemed powerless after I had my time.

Devrem Wolfborne recently accompanied us. He seems rather neutral on every situation and I have yet to see him take preemptive strikes against a foe.

The travelling group consists of someone I would consider a kidnapper, a lore master that records the daily events, a farmer turned vicious murderer, a holy avenger who tends to place the priority of the church under his friends and himself, and a man that has a wolf pet. I trust no one.

Franz is lucky he ordered me to cover for him. I have relied on my own healing capabilities since the staff has not been used on me. Every foe has been slaughtered rather than captured and interrogated. The elf finds a valuable lost item, discovers the protectors and owners, and then refuses to turn it over. It is a blatant affront to my church.

My sole purpose for being here dwindles. My very life is being put at risk daily and for what now? Even if I knew where Franz was located I would not tell this group even if they wanted to confront him in person. They are just as likely to murder him if they see him as a threat. I must keep an eye on Marcel Fisher. As an inquisitor of the church, it is my duty to necessitate their priorities and Marcel must aid in that task. I fully understand why Franz left. Before finding out my true identity, they treated me poorly if at all and mock Lorthor. Only under orders am I here anymore. They’ve done nothing to bring intentional harm to myself but have also done nothing to aid me in any way.

Beyond this mistrust of the entire group, Steel Bouldergate arrived. The group had decided to return to the Dwarven city and handle the entire situation there. Bouldergate informs everyone that it has been demolished and before my questions were even asked there appeared a raid of dragons.

These dragons were of the same breed that had attacked the city. Bouldergate moved us to a safer location atop a platform armed with ballistae. I truly did not care what everyone else did or even if they died. I will show them the same respect and care they showed me since I have joined.

I fired ruthlessly upon the dragons. I hold such a neutral stance against everyone here. It had crossed my mind to aid them rather than protect myself above all others. Three dead dragons later, the platform was encased on protective magic. Sadly, Bouldergate’s mortality got the best of him and he was nowhere to be seen.

The platform had a basement which was rather old. The main room held an orb and evil presences. It was more than Sydell this time. Did I have a responsibility to scout for the auras prior to inspecting the orb? No. Not with this group. For all I had known at the time, it could be more people like Sydell. These auras mean absolutely nothing anymore. I must judge people on their actions rather than their intentions.

Naturally, the auras belonged to unfriendly creatures that were soon dispatched. I aided in their departure from this world since I had no time to worry about possible interrogation. The orb that sat in the middle of the room was revealed to be a prison of sorts that held an old man captive. Upon his release he teleported us to one location of our choice.

The group was dropped off outside of Blarek, the magic capital of the west side of Dromaria.

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Golem and.....who cares.

The group decided once again to make their own way on this mission. We hiked to the site of the golem and after closer inspection realized there was nothing we could do to finish the rite faster. In fact, there was nothing we could do to leave the area of the golem. Dev, the new guy, also showed up to help out. I really don’t care for what happened much less anything else at this point because of what happened after the fight.

There was a secret passage under this pond where the fight took place and beyond the passage was a bland room. Those who defeated the golem were rewarded with a coin inscribed with their face on it. These coins were of course sitting in the middle of the room and showed everyone’s real face.

In other words, there was no Franz coin. I had to come clean so I handed over the note and prepared for the worst. This was a fantastic day. Risk my life for someone else’s personal goals and get rewarded with questioning and betrayal.

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Snowbound and Hellbound

Sydell here once again with another installment of “Holy shit, holy shit what is this thing thats taking over me!!!!”, and boy didnt we get waist deep in it this time. After we downed the Ogre we rested up a bit and set off once again. A bit further down the road we encounter a mass of tracks. Upon further inspection i am able to determine they are orc tracks, and a lot of them. Their tracks were heading the same way we were headed on the road so we decided to take a detour through the near by woods to avoid any more orcish entanglements. Unfortuantly what i had not expected was a major weather change for the worse as the sky broke upon and unleashed a frozen wasteland upon us. Had it not of been for Penelopes magic aiding our bodies from freezing and Lilys music stopping our snowbound insanity im not so sure we would have made it. Eventually we could go no further and had to seek shelter in a rocky outcropping that looked previously lived in, but since it was this or nothing we decided to rest there for the evening. Bad Call.

Not long after we settled down for the night when we heard some noise outside our makeshift fort, and before we even knew what was happening we were under attack by Yeti…Yeties…there were two of them. It was a brief, yet violent clash ending with us as the victors though were didnt come out completely unscathed. Regardless we won our selves shelter for the night and thats was more worth it then anything. Im not sure why but the other dont seem to be as affected by this winter madness as i am. How can they stand the feel of thousands of icicles constantly stabbing you? Atleast my sword doesnt seem to be affected by the cold, in fact it seems to be far stronger out here… A little longer and another batch of elementt protection spells for Penelope and we are on our way again. Whats this the appears before us? It seems to be a gaping chasm with the only way across being a bridge apparently mad of solid ice. I didnt like my chances of making it across that safely so i did something for the first time, I let my companions deal with the issue as i could just magically show up on the other side due to my new magic belt. Bad Call No.2. As i was on the other side i really can tell you in great detail what went down but i can tell you what i know. As the others began making there way across the ice bridge a little boym suddenly appeared on the bridge. He called himself Ignatious of the North or some such nonsense and began demanding payment from the other in the form of organs and limbs, it was weird. After awhile it became apparent that this was gonna come to violence though im not sure i can say who started the attack. The others retreat back to the start of the ice bridge as I through my fireball special right at the kids head. The kid is incenrated as is the bridge! Suddenly my chest began the tear and burn fiercely. I fall to my knees as i hope and pray the burn stops spreading and glance up to see…Ignatious floating in mid air seemingly unharmed. Chest burning, mouth agape at the fact that my best did nothing, no way to get back across with risking tearing my soul asunder and no ranged abilities that could be of use i find myself useless and spent. I retreat and cast some defensive spells (oh ya, I cast spells now too!) and hope that my teammates can win the day. Eventually Ignatious retreated sure to return to annoy us another day and another ice bridge appeared, ughh thank god cause i wasnt looking forward to finding another way across for my partners. They make it across with hasty yet caution and we walk on. Eventually we make it to the last town before we get to this dock so we figure we can restock and get out of the cold for the night. We were met by a strange creature called a Malkari. He had four arms and a passive demeanor and he was a delight. After such a dangerous trek across the forested freezer this respite was exactly what we needed. He let us stay in his house and told us all he could of the Elvenari. I sure hope these fellows dont hassle us to much cause i feel like i may need the water from that fountain sooner then later! So with the new knowledge of the Elvenari and a night in a bed we are ready to head to the dock. It wasnt to far and fortune favored us with an easy trip since we could stick to the road once again. The dock was exactly that, just a dock with a small shack next to it. The ferry master came out to greet us and when we told him where we wanted to go he didnt seemed to enthusastic about it. He tried to charge us an absurd price but with a little encouragement from Lily he lowered the price considerably. We make it across just fine and wind up on a deserted beach. The Ferrymaster was just gonna leave us here, but once again Lily to the rescue as she secured on of his rafts for us so we atleast have a way of this island. That Lily sur eis resourceful, shes like a walking Triple A membership! Once on the island we have 2 choices, walk on the beach, or go in the jungle. We chose the jungle since on the way in i noticed some movement in the tress i took to be the Elvenari. After a while we decide to set up camp but we didnt rest long as a little Elvenari girl comes running for here life into our campsite with a snow leopard seemingly hot on her heels. Finely a lucky break, we were in need of an elvenari guide and here comes one right to us and all we have to do is kill this tiger chasing her. Well apparently Lily had the same thought process ass she took a shot at the cats flank and brought it down. Bad Call No.3 The little girl stopped dead in her tracks and looked at us as if we were monsters! Oops, apperently the cat was a friends and as we could see shortly there after she was merely running away from this giant five headed hydra that burst onto the scene, snorting fire and screaming from all five heads. We seemed to have everything under control pretty well until the hydra opened all five mouths for a gout of hellfire that torched everyone and everything but me. Little girl, tiger, and penelope all down for the count. NNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Marcel and I hack into it with everything weve got while Franz and lily did everything they could to get the party back to life. Eventually the Hydra was downed and Penelope, girl and Tiger all back on there feet. We used all but the last of our healing resources on the resurrection, which left Penelope in a weakend state as it was, so we cant count on anymore close calls last that. If one of us falls again it could be for the last time. The little girl was grateful though unable to communicate with us due to the language barrier we shared though she seemed to warm up to us quickly and offered to lead us to here village for a feats and reward…apparently, i dont know i could never tell what she babbling about though penelope seemed to understand her at times. We get to her tree top villages to a less the warm reception, i guess they dont get to many visitors. We are lead to ther high priestess or head witchdoctor or mayor or some such and luckly she spoke common. She wasnt thrilled to see me but she seemed to know what i was there for. She knew i had a dark presence in me but she was the first to tell me it was a second, not just a darker part of me. I know now that i am under attack from an alien presence, and im not winning. She tells me of the fountain but only briefly. If we want a shot at the fountain we gotta go through a right of passage of sorts. She would not elaborate on it further and we were lead to tent to contemplate on it. Lily seemed reluctant to journey with me this time and i cant say I blame her. Its my fault were in this place and if it hadnt been for me Penelope wouldnt have been nearly raped in one instance and nearly killed in another. Also Franz would still have his beard and Marcel would still be a douche. Unfortunatly the High Priestess informs us that we all most go or none of us can so its left my teammates with no options but to stay forced into aiding me or leaving me to be consumed by this darkness. Like true friends they agree to come and I am so grateful, i wouldnt have survived this long without them and i wouldnt last long with out them. We are taking down to a sort of training ground/ archery range to test of to see if we are strong enough for this test which apparently we were because we all hit our targets solidly. Having passed intiation we set out on our test to win the Fountain and hopefully to recover my back to humanity.
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