The Shattered Lands

Blackscale's Journal I

It’s been years since my colony was wiped out, since then I have found work as a mercenary type group with four others: a small Kobold that has taken himself as leader, a fragile elf that is uncommonly pale and has somehow learned my language, and the other two . . . seemingly brother and sister and unknown to my knowledge but seem to be from the North as far as I can tell. Their names? Unimportant to me, some may find us as a small team, as odd as it may be, but I have always been a lone hunter and plan on working with my comrades as a support but I will do what is in the best interest to myself.

The one we call “boss” has sent us out here with a job to give aid to a caravan making it’s way to Sanctuary. Making our way through lesser traveled paths, we come across a downed wagon with dead bodies on the ground. We secure the area and acknowledge that this isn’t one of the wagons of the caravan we were looking for. The bodies have a tabard with a cog pictured on it.

We had encountered magical goblins coming from the ground, a good portion of the group had ran off but not without some casualties, we had kept one alive for questioning, he didn’t say much, you’ll find him posted on a pointed shaft near the wagon. On the wagon was a bits and pieces of a metal golem type thing, when the brother touched it, it seemed to come alive, according to it the siblings were part of it’s family, and because of that it came along with us.

We arrived at Three Roads Crossing and were told to see a dwarf that would know a quick way around Bastion, only thing was he had lost his mind, so we are retracing his steps up to when he lost his mind, we’re on our way to an ancient library due North East.

The Library was an interesting encounter to say the least, ancient glyphs were roaming around the walls and the ground everywhere. Not to mention the strange keeper of the library whom ended up being a spirit of some extinct underground species. On a plaque there were instructions to an old temple, we decided to continue our search there.

The temple was very much in ruins, but when the small kobold messed around with some stones on the pillars, smoke had risen out and formed the keeper. He had spoken about how the dwarfs used to enslave his kind and that the dwarf’s soul must be punished. Some fiery shades had risen from the crypts nearby and started to attack, along with the keeper. After a short time, the keeper had vanished once again and the shades had been slain. Not long after the keeper vanished, a bull-headed creature appeared and had started to attack, the elf froze the demon and I shattered it with my sword. Soon the dwarf had reappeared from where the demon was, then the siblings began to bound him, don’t know why, the dwarf clearly didn’t know what was going on. Once he explained himself, he said he had been doing research on the temple and had found a sword in a hidden drawer by the alter, intrigued I immediately go to the drawer and unsheathe the weapon, upon me wielding it, the dwarf explains how it’s called “wayfinder” and to whom wields it finds good luck but has bad risks in the same.

We are now off to meet with a druid, a friend of the dwarf’s, said to help us along the way to Sanctuary.

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Journal of Malakar Jarem Caragutha Karuum, pt 2
Fragment of Malakar’s journal, as recovered and recorded by Chryseth, the Archivist:

…ainsmen tribes and fishing communities on the shore had all been affected by Eurek’s designs, though they were hesitant to request aid from Kir Monastery, or the settlement of Narrwell. The freedom these tribes maintained would be compromised by requesting aid of the cities, as they would demand tribute in the form of taxes. Apparently this had been an issue before, but the conflicts were much smaller and easily managed. Eurek would not prove so easily handled.

The privateers of the Northern coast were too busy “keeping the peace” on the seas to be of any real assistance, and the feuding between the tribes was for so long engrained in their history that it was a risk even attempting to call a council of the elders. But I had to try.
There was only so much I could do alone to figh…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…und his home. I’m not sure why, but I just assumed the hells had spat him out, too sickened by his foul flavor. Here I stood, however, in what could have possibly been the room in which his mother birthed him. A worn, old, wooden bed frame jutted into the center of the room, the hay sticking out in places from the sack that was at one point white, now darker than the dirt path that brought me here. A small desk and chair sat opposite the bed. The sea air blew in through a small, open window, whatever curtains had been on it long since rotted off, and no shutters to bang about in the breeze. I pulled open the center drawer in the desk, which toddled towards me, one leg shorter than the rest.

In the drawer remained a few pages of parchment, a dried-out inkwell, and a broken quill. I pulled out the parchment, most of which flaked away at my touch. The remaining pieces were clearly a journal of sorts.

“…other is angry. She thinks I am lying, but I told her the truth. Rusty died, but I brought him back, he’s better than before, now we don’t have to feed him. Mother says I shouldn’t tell fibs. I get mad when she doesn’t belie…

…y still needs to eat. He gets upset when he doesn’t. I fed him the cat. He ate the whole cat! I giggled when the tail disappeared down his throat. He’s funnier now. One of his eyes keeps falling out, so I have to put it back in all the ti…

…ting scared whenever Rusty is in the house. She complains that his fur is falling out. She doesn’t like him anymore. He can tell. He doesn’t like her either. He always barks at her when she comes home. He almost won’t let her friends come in with her. I tried to tell her if they spent more time here he would get used to them, but they always leave after their private time in her roo…

…ied to hit him, so I got in the way. He hit me, and Rusty was just protecting me, he didn’t mean to kill her friend. Mother said I have to take her friend out in the woods and bury him, and that she doesn’t want Rusty in the house anymore. Rusty already ate most him, it shouldn’t be too har…

…is gone now. She tried to kill Rusty, and Rusty killed her. It’s okay. I can bring Mother bac…

…sty and Mother get along fine now. They go for walks together at night. I always have to clean Mother’s clothes when she comes back in the mor…

…ve. The people in the village are after Mother and Rus…”

The village nearby had been abandoned for years. Local myths kept people away, it was a cursed place. Apparently a plague struck the village, a sickness that drove the people mad. They killed each other. After finding this, I think the legends are closer to the truth than the surrounding communities can possibly know.

Where Eurek went during all the years between writing this journal and now is a mystery. Why he harbors such a hatred for the people of this lan…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…ner was awkward and uncomfortable. The Prince and the delegate did most of the talking, with only the occasional interjection by members of this band. I couldn’t concentrate, the sounds of their beating hearts drowned out their words. I could barely focus on their faces, the pulsing in their throats pulled my eyes to their necks.

I tried to quell the hunger by drowning it in mead, but to no avail. The sweet burn of the alcohol did nothing to distract the beast from his prey.

“Feed.” I excused myself and headed to the kitchen. The servants seemed to understand that I was an honored guest, and didn’t protest my presence. I grabbed a plate full of uncooked lamb, and began to head to the back. One of the cooks tried to warn me that the meat was raw, and that I’d get sick. My glare silenced him quickly, and I stepped out the back of the kitchen into a garden on the side of the building.

Finally alone, I feasted on the bloody meat. I felt the hunger subside. Briefly, the beast was quiet.

I cleaned up and headed back into the dining hall, only to see the rest of the band stepping outside. I followed, curious as to what had happened, given that the delegate, the Prince, and other guests were still seated and eating.

In my absence, a message had been received, from Max. Apparently he was informing us that our job details had changed. We were now to murder the delegate, using one of the Hell Hound’s blades (presumably recovered from a fallen foe before I met these mercenaries). A brief discussion ensued, some believing it to be a bad decision, and wishing to take no part in it, others having no problem at all.

Personally, I feel it was a poor choice. However, I am new to this band, and I felt it best that I keep hushed my tongue, and see which way the wind blows.

Brelynn, the huntress, and Kacee, the Angel-blooded, refused to contribute to the assassination. They left for the manor. The rest had no problem with murdering a man who had not wronged them. I will have to keep this in mind in my dealings with this group. Eurek’s wealth is beyond imagination. Years of conquest have that effect on a treasury. When he is done toying with me, will he simply hire someone to kill me? Will he hire this group? They knew me only a few short hours longer than they knew the delegate, and they had no problems murdering him.

I left for the manor with Brelynn and Kacee. The journey was quiet, it seemed none of us wished to discuss how readily our traveling companions turned to murder for profit. Or worse, it might have been only me that contemplated this dark reality…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…ell their tale. They did not give me details of the murder, nor which individuals exactly were involved, nor did I want to know. If they are to be implicated in the murder of the delegate, I would rather they know that I could not have been the one to expose them.

[ Archivist’s note: The Demon-spawn known as Zarek poisoned the Ranken delegate while he ate, to induce sickness. Once the delegate returned to his chambers, the Human Telepath named Astrid performed the mortal art of seduction to remove from the vicinity of the delegate his guard. Zarek killed the delegate while he rested in bed, using the sword of one of the Hadean Prince’s guardsmen, then summoned an optical illusion to lure the pursuers away, while Zarek and Astrid escaped the Prince’s castle.]

I expected a disagreement between the Angel-blooded and the rest. I doubt her patron would approve of her traveling in such dark circles as these, but she seemed to be more or less disinterested in the events of the evening. I wonder if her worship of Pelor is a ruse…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…rid is much older than her physical appearance would indicate. By all human measures she is a teenager, but she speaks for this group of warriors with an authority that is unquestioned. The largest and most physically intimidating in the group seem to do her bidding immediately and unfailingly.

It is with her that I discussed what the aims of this band of mercenaries are, and how they feel their actions are impacting the lands around them. With the death of the delegate, and the frame-up of the Prince’s personal guard, it would seem that they have started the ball rolling towards another war between the Hadean and the Ranken empires. She seemed to care little for the possible repercussions of the assassination.

Astrid did confirm, however, that she considers those to be traveling with her under her protection, and that she takes care of her own. This was countered by something the Orc mentioned, which gave me the impression that he has murdered one of their number in the past. I didn’t pry, as the details are unimportant. All I need to remember is that they are willing to kill their own. As if I didn’t already have to watch my back around the Eye of Gruumsh, reasons continue to mount.

Astrid and I began discussing the possible benefactors of a war between Hadea and Ranke. Someone wants the Ranken Empire to believe their delegate was murdered by one of the Hadean Prince’s men. Escalating tension between the empires and the possible eruption of open war could point to an arms dealer; is Max expanding his horizons to the weapons trade? Destabilization in the region would also allow for smaller, petty warlords to rise to greater power. The self-proclaimed High King Herald would certainly benefit from a weakened political power structure in Hadea.

Astrid and I bantered back and forth for some time, ultimately agreeing that the tyrannical self-proclaimed king should be remov…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…aded North-Northwest, traveling through the pass towards Bastion. Without sailing, this was the only way we’d be able to pass through the mountains without spending months in the peaks. The road was untended, unkempt, and untraveled. Oddly, though, I found tracks belonging to four individuals and their pack animal, who’d traveled this way just a day or two before us.

We found the camp of the four who came this way, and it was here their story ended. Four incredibly life-like statues, horror frozen forever on their faces, stood near a smothered camp fire and two ragged tents. Across the path and into the woods they stared, though whatever it was that caught their gaze so was long since gone from view.

We tracked the creatures, bodies of snakes they had, to a grizzly sight. The half-eaten remains of the travelers’ pack animal lay in the path. I discovered on the remains not only the marks of the animals’ jaws who’d eaten it, but stab wounds, as might have been made by an arrow, and not all the meat had been removed by tearing, some had been cut away.

We were facing intelligent opponents at night, in unfamiliar woods. Common sense would have dictated we turn, and leave whatever creatures these were to their own affairs. Of course, we kept going into the forest.

We found them in a cave. Two snake creatures, long viperous bodies where legs should be, a humanoid torso and arms. Their heads were shaped like a man’s, but snakelike features would have prevented them from ever passing as humans. Their den was littered with the bones and equipment of previously slain prey.

[Archivist’s Note: Based on all accounts gathered, cross-referenced with source material, most logical conclusion is these two creatures were Medusas. “Snake-like” being an accurate description of their appearance, the Medusa possesses the ability to turn living creatures to stone, primarily with their gaze, though reports of other methods have been documented. They are intelligent, and will hunt other intelligent beings. Popular theory suggests these creatures are exclusively female, though academia shows this to be incorrect.]

We headed back to our own camp, relieved that we would not need to wor…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

…re in the woods. The others slept, and he appeared to me. He expressed his dismay at my abandoning my quest. I ignored him until I could stand his prattling on no longer.

I began to explain. He listened with all the rapt attention of a patronizing parent. I didn’t think about it until just now, but perhaps his knowing that he made me this way creates in him a sense of fatherhood. Perhaps this can be exploited. In the moment, however, I was far too angry to think clearly.

I assured him that I would be coming for him again, that the hunt was not over. He warned me about the High King Herald, telling me that things would not go as simply as the child and I thought it would. I glanced back through the trees to where Astrid rested, meditating.

“Oh, you don’t believe me? I assure you, Malakar, she is a child. As powerful as she may be, she is still but sixteen years of age. You know, she and I aren’t that much different. She has almost as many faithful servants now as I did when I was that young. I remember how naïve I was then, how simple my creations were. I’m so happy I grew up before meeting you. I really have perfected my craft…”

I interrupted him, hissing and spitting, my anger couldn’t take another word.

“Testy, Malakar, far too testy. You wouldn’t want your new friends to see how close to the edge you ride. But I am happy that you are going to be contesting this High King’s rule. This might distract him from certain areas that have been causing me some…problems. You see, Malakar, despite all your rantings and your protests, you serve my purpose in the end.”

I reached out to grab Eurek by the throat, but as always when he contacted me this way, I could not find purchase. He laughed, I growled. As composed as I could remain most times, he could always crack that veneer.

The sound of the group’s rustling pulled my attention toward the camp. Morning had come earlier than expected, and they were rousing. I turned back to Eurek, and he was go…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in progression]

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Throught the Eyes of Astrid Vol.25
The new order....services will be rendered
Time is a great motivator, as with all request from max we do them in a timely fashion, as it stands I will be requesting more than our normal rate for this job for he still has not held up his bargain. I do not enjoy being hunted down like the dogs we chase to their dooms. Strange is the manner in which this order is directed as it is being delivered by a person of race I am not familiar with something is off with this one but I will not spend the energy to figure it out for I am tired and wish to prepare for this new mission. Escort service for a delegate is not my idea of work but ok I’ll bite, for a change its doing something for work and a chance to let the boys keep their sanity and edge. I wonder still when I am going to see max I want what’s owed to me. Well the good thing is we have the whereabouts of our precious cargo. The new guy has definitely got my attention, why has Max sent him with these orders but he had the note with Max’s symbol. I hope this job has an abrupt payment after words as word of Max is close by. Well at least we can walk around with ease for the Prince of this land has given us a keep and his blessing for the time being. Finding the delegate and his so called guards was not at all as difficult as I expected, fortunate for us the little band of refuse that litters the darkness was easily dealt with by the group due to puppy and his acute hearing. Talking my way through was another minor obstacle as I usually can talk my way through most any situation. With everything secure for the night I begin to wonder about our new found messenger and wonder. With the Delegate safely at the castle we return to the keep to find Max has left us a message and a new task, damn this shit gets old. Figures typical of our bipolar boss to issue an order to go ahead and take down the gentleman we have just delivered to the Prince. Assassination is always a tricky business, its times like this I am thankful for all the training and hard work I go through oh ya and for Zarek who has proven over and over again to be handy at dispatching life quietly. With the new orders I new the boys would be up for it who doesn’t like free food and drink and with any luck a good time, I know I do and tonight I’m wearing a revealing number, I believe I will play a little game with the Prince. I can’t resist my self as I walk over to the Prince I love to toy with the weak minded it gives me a thrill and all the while actions go almost unnoticed by all but the trained eyes, a few things are always going to need special attention. Example when you notice your knife man needing to control his target. I like to encourage growth so I aided Zarek in poisoning his target even though I could have supplanted a command to the target to go to bed, But I like to watch my family happy doing what they do best. With the Delegate in his room safe and err…. sound. I continue to keep the Prince occupied for a few moments till the mental trigger for incoming message triggers and I realize I need to be elsewhere, I go to the top the tower where the delegate is and before I round the last corner I dishevel my hair and make a mess of my dress and put on my I’m going to get lucky face like desperate little drunk women I see at the taverns and inns. With the performance of a life time I am able to pull away the guards, and they move me to a nearby room. Thanks to the impeccable timing of Zarek I was able to save my dress from a messy ending to the night, Looking to the window I step to the edge listen to the sounds of the Guards pursuing a ghost, take a deep breath of the outside air and jump out of the window, I love the feel of flying the breeze that brushes across my face, but mostly it helps clear the tears from my cheeks, I will never demean myself again.
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Journal of Malakar Jarem Caragutha Karuum
Fragment of Malakar’s Journal, as recovered and catalogued by Chryseth, the Archivist:

…been here, I know he has. The stink of his minions covers this village. The empty stares of the dead children paint the perfect picture, tell the complete tale of the wanton destruction to which his unholy appetites drive him. Eurek, I will find you, I will end this.

His creations still wandered the village before me, the mist of the morning still clung to their rotted forms as they shambled from the buildings, once homes and places of commerce, now mausoleums, tombs. They saw me but didn’t, as with all the others, I was nothing to them. As with all the others, they fell to my blade…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in the progression]

…has gone cold. He knows I am tracking him. He knows I won’t stop, any more than he will.

I found another woman. He left her in her home, to await her husband’s return. He got there just as I did. I couldn’t save him. She tore his throat out and drank his blood. I freed my blade from her corpse just as the townspeople arrived. I had to flee, just like last time. He does this to toy with me. They don’t know that I just saved their entire village, and all the surrounding villages. Instead, they hunt me now.

I’ll head West, hopefully once I reach the co…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in the progression]

…barely dodged his strikes. He was skilled. I wondered briefly how much he had charged the communities to find me, but quickly refocused on the task at hand. A series of slashes and parries and he had me cornered. He was very skilled.

“Kill him.” The beast was never far from the present. I realized as I heard its voice in my head that it had been a few days since it had been fed.

“Kill him and feed me.” No. Bounty hunters were despicable creatures, but he didn’t deserve that.

His blows landed more and more fiercely upon my blade. I was not tiring, but despite the strength of his swings, neither was he. I tell him he is mistaken, that I did not do what they told him I did. He spits in my face and calls me a liar.

“Kill him. He is weak. He is chattel. He is made for your teeth.” I can feel the surging of the beast in my veins. It has been so long since I felt my heart beat when it is not the beast beating it.

The bounty hunter slams his sword against mine, causing me to block high. I was distracted, that is my only explanation for it, the beast kept murmuring in my head. As he held my sword high with his, I didn’t notice his off-hand pull a blade from his belt. He plunged it deep into my stomach. I felt the pressure of the knife break through my armor and then through my skin. I felt the tip scrape against my spine. His eyes, full of bloodlust, fixed themselves upon mine. He smiled. His smile faded as I, in turn, smiled back.

I was wounded. I couldn’t very well walk around with a hole in my stomach. I would have to feed on him now. That’s what the beast wanted all along. The clever animal, distracted me so I’d get wounded. It is growing more difficult to control.

Faster than I’m sure he’d ever seen a mortal move, I caught hold of his off-hand, and held it steady. The blade, still in my stomach, didn’t move. I dropped my sword and snapped up his wrist, and with a powerful twist, broke it. He howled in pain and dropped his weapon. The clang of the steel on the wooden floorboards sounded through the room.

Like a macabre dance, two lovers locked together, I walked him across the room. For the first time he realized that he was not in control of the situation, and sweat beaded fiercely on his brow. I stopped when his back hit the opposite wall. He struggled, in vain, against me. As the sweat dripped from his brow to his cheeks, his eyes widened in the realization of what was to come.

Though I had not lied to him, of that which I had been accused I was certainly innocent, though that did not mean I wasn’t capable of horrors equal to those described to him, and more.

I believe it was the moment I leaned in, and bit into his cheek, salty with sweat, that he finally let himself scream. I wonder now, as I search through his belongings, whether he had, in that moment, forgotten that he had paid for all the rooms in this secluded travelers’ tavern, that way I wouldn’t have anyone come to my aid when he took his opportunity to murder me. He screamed as though someone would come to help him.

I admit, to my regret, that I took my time with him. Bounty hunters really are despicable creatures.

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in the progression]

…nter’s pack contained a copy of a wanted poster being circulated in the region. A shoddy description and drawing of what I can only assume is supposed to be me. Shouldn’t be too difficult to dodge the hounds, but it will force me to leave the area for some time.

Fortunately, Eurek’s scent has grown stale here, he has moved further South, towards Sanctuary. The bounty hunter worked for a man named Max. Perhaps I’ll seek him out, he could be of some service to me…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in the progression]

…their keep was clearly once a place of opulence, despite its military location. It has been left in a state of disrepair and neglected for quite some time. However, this group has many servants already working to correct that. It seems they trust Max, as they don’t have any problem accepting that he sent me and leaving me unattended in their home. My intentions, as noble as they are, are unknown to them, and yet here I stand, unguarded and unwatched, in their foyer.

Apparently I am to help them escort a diplomat to Sanctuary. Despite the peaceful intent, the diplomat’s life is in danger. I can only hope that Max was correct in stating that this group would be more inclined to help me if I help them for awhile first. If I have to, I will hunt Eurek alone, and end his foul undeath, but my chances are much better with these people. At first glance they seem quite capable.

They have with them a large beast, a Gnoll, I believe. I wonder if he understands that we, he and I, have much more in common than first glances would otherwise indicate. His beast is readily apparent, mine more subdued, but there nonetheless. The wilds are in his eyes, can he see them in mine?

An Orc follower of Gruumsh, identified easily, as he has put out his own eye, travels with them. I expected much more violence from him, given my being an Elf, but he seemed not to care. It is possible that there are followers of Gruumsh that don’t mind Elves, or he could be simply waiting for the best moment to strike. I will be wary of him.

Astrid, a young human female, appears to have some sort of cult following. She has a Dwarven manservant who caters to her every whim. It seems all the servants in the keep are under her employ and direction. She must be royalty of some sort, and possibly the de facto leader of this group of mercenaries. Perhaps if I can convince her of the necessity of aiding me, she can convince the others.

Brelynn, a huntress, seemed curious as to exactly what I would provide the group, were they to accept me as one of their own. How can I answer this question, at least, how can I answer it truthfully? If I travel with them, it will be the first time since leaving home that I will be spending more than a few hours at a time with anyone else. I fear the beast, and what it might make me do. Should I tell them? I can keep the hunger sated, but what of when they discover my craven nature? What of when they discover that it is not always my mind that guides my hand, but the beast’s?

This band carries with them beacons of both light and darkness. An Angel-blooded, complete with wings, walks among them, the radiance from her is almost blinding. Surely if she knew of my nature, the demands her patron would make of her would not go well for either of us. And hidden in the shadows her brilliance creates, the demon-blooded. I did not see him until he wanted me to. He is dangerous, and his intentions cannot be read. Which is more a danger to me, I do not know yet. My heart pulls me towards the light, but this light would burn me if it could, if it knew. It would seem that I am more at home in the shadows, with the demon-blooded, and with the beast.

Shortly after arriving, the group, with me, went back to the tavern, where I had met with Max. It seemed as though they wanted to speak with him directly…

[transcript of journal lost in this section, damage to the Archivist caused a lapse in the progression]

…found the diplomat. His caravan under heavy guard camped on the road. The night hung heavy and there was a stillness in the trees that could only mean an imminent slaughter.

Kaycee, her feathered wings spread above us, kept watch from the skies, while Astrid approached from the road. The Gnoll and I crept through the woods, as quietly as possible, North of the path, while the demon-blooded and the Dwarven manservant took a Southerly approach. The Gnoll spotted them first, the assassins in the trees. The diplomat’s arrival was known to those who would have his mission ended prematurely. We made short work of them. Whoever it was that hired them apparently did not want to pay for quality services.

Astrid and the others spoke with the diplomat. I quelled the beast with the flesh of the hired thug I had dispatched. The innocent would be spared another night.

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Holg's Journal XXIV

On my way down the tower, I notice that Kacee’s body was gone, once I get down to the base of the tower, I find out the paladin had resurrected her, not sure how I feel to have a once dead member of the team.We were able to get back to the ship without any problems and soon we were on our way to Sanctuary once again. Another day into travel and we see a figure out in the horizon on a barrel, once he is close enough, we get him aboard the ship. Out of caution, we instantly tie him up to the mast, once he wakes, Astrid immediately starts to interrogate him, turns out he was aboard a traders ship that sunk when it got stuck in a current and hit a reef. The lost sailor asks us to see if we could go and see if anyone survived, I suggested not look into the wreck, mainly because it was too much of a threat to us.

Another day or two passes and we make it to Sanctuary, almost as soon as we dock, both the paladin and the ship wrecked sailor leave, thanking us for saving them. Our job with the captain was officially over, but unofficially, I still had a job to do, mainly to just see whats inside the crate. The captain tells me that the deal is going on at sundown, didn’t say where, smart of him, he didn’t think about me finding him though. I hear the others are planning on going to the Ravage Unicorn, a rough tavern in the middle of town, known as the Maze, where all the low life’s and thieves live. It only takes a few minutes for a pickpocket to reach out of the shadows and cut Schurr’s purse, soon everyone is attacking the thief and his other “friends”. Once all are dead, Schurr pins their bodies on a wall and writes a threatening message, I see the sun starting to go down, so I run back to the ship to see if I can catch the captain.

I see him and his hired thugs, they are walking alongside the bay, I catch up and just start walking with them, of course as predicted the one thug not carrying the crate pulls his weapon. Not showing fear I just stand there, the captain says it’s okay, but asks why I’m here, I just simply say for extra protection. A little ways down the harbor and we enter a warehouse, I’ll simply just wait by the door while the deal goes down and then when the ward goes off . . . people are gonna die. BANG! The ward goes off and I’m instantly in the fray and start killing the ones getting the package. During the battle I was shot by an arrow, but at the end I notice the archer was dead, turns out Zarek was watching over the deal as well.

Once everyone was dead, besides the thugs and the captain, I pried open the crate and find three pieces of stone, shaped as body parts. I look at the captain with a odd stare, what the ell was he doing with stuff like this, what was it for? The captain becomes furious and starts yelling at me saying I messed his job up. He wouldn’t tell me why he was delivering it, all he told me was that he just does his job, whether or not he was lying I couldn’t tell. The captain’s newly hired thugs grab the crate and leave, I didn’t stop them, no reason to, I’ve done what I wanted to do. Seems like Sanctuary is gonna be a great place for the group, we fit right in.

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The Journey of Kalob Vol 17

We all gather at the base of the tower to find that the cleric had stopped to rez Kacee. Puppy proceeds to look for the flaming sword that the warrior on the roof dropped and then we headed back to the ship.

We traveled for a day and came across a sailor floating on some drift wood. We rescued and questioned him. He told us what had happened to his ship but it is nowhere in sight. So we just sailed on. We finally came across the poor mans ship hours later. With all but the front of the ship underwater, there was no reason to stop.

We made is to Sanctuary and were told by the captain that our services are no longer needed. I took this time to try to find someone with knowledge of psionics, but none was to be found. So, I decided to leave the group and find a way to make this thing work.

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The Journey of Kalob Vol 16

We continued up stairs and found three pillars of ice containing different creatures. Above them floated an orb. The cleric says that it too is made of ice. I decided to just rush by it to the next floor. As my head popped up over the floor, I was greeted by to females that were just as shocked as me to know that we were not alone. I let out a yell to alert the others.

Puppy was the next to enter, so we did what we needed to do, we attacked. The fight did not last long before one of them cast a darkness spell. I heard some movement around me. All of a sudden, Guinness approached up the stairs shining as bright as the sun and I notice that the females are gone.

I ran down stairs to lend a hand, but by the time I hit the floor, it was over. So, back up stairs I go. I found that to two females are here. One of the females continues up the stairs to the next floor while here ally falls under our might. Naturally we must follow since it is the roof and she can not run anymore.

The roof offers a very trick situation. Along with the female warrior, there is a snake like creature coiled around the crystal at the peak of the roof. With the fight traveling over three floors, it doesn’t take to much longer for the warrior to fall. Now for the snake, which with one touch from Guinness, dies instantly.

The creatures body is removed from around the crystal to make it easier to access. Holog decides that he is going to smash it, but before he does the rest of us ran, fast.

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Holg's Journal XXIII

Not much love was shown for the lost of Kacee, so we continue on. leading up to the next level was Zarek, who stops abruptly in front of me, a shadow blocking the candle light within the next room. I look past Zarek to see a rather big human with full plate armor and a small quarter staff in hand, he announces he is Galland Murth, a cleric of Prelor. He begins to tell us that he is trapped here by some wizard named Alstrand, he used some sort of magic boundary to keep those who try to use “portals” to enter to stay, he points out a small journal on the table in the room. Not much for the magical arts, I think of this room as a nice place to rest, Astrid can deal with this fool.

Once Astrid is done talking with Murth, she tells us he is going to help us through the tower, not to sure how I feel with him but I’ll just keep my eye on him. He warns us what is to come further up in the tower; the next level holds a glowing orb that has the power to freeze, and beyond that there is two female “demons”, and last but not least there is the room that holds the portal trap, further up he has no clue.

We continue up into the room with the orb,along with the orb is three frozen statues, one an elf, another a horse with a horn, and some demon looking thing. I see Zarek get into the room and disappear into the small shadows, Kalob runs into the next room, getting hit with the ray, he clearly did not want to deal with the orb. Seconds later I hear screams for help from Kalob, Schurr runs up next then Guinness and Murth, now it’s just me and Astrid against the orb, I pull my crossbow out and aim to hit it. My shot hits the orb but the bolt seems to just melt into the orb, hard to say if it did damage, so seeing as I might not be any help, I run up the stairs, and see what I can do up there, instantly being blinded by a powerful light coming from Guinness.

It appears the party up here had taken care of whatever was here, cause I don’t see anything, but what I do see is two tables full of armor and weapons, but what ever was good the others must’ve taken. As the others continue up to the next room, I hear ice breaking and some sounds that sounded like talking and fighting, it soon ends, and Astrid comes up the stairs and runs up into the next level.

I figure it’s time for me to run up and see what I can do, once I enter the room I see one dead body on the ground and a form of webs on the ground, from the webs I see a small female women, with everyone’s attention on the dead and apparently the next level, I check to see if the human is friendly or will attempt to kill us, it just stares and says nothing, so I swing Gruumsh’s claw and seem to have hurt it a good amount. But for whatever reason Kalob cuts in front of me and pulls the small human aside, now I’m confused, she had no facial expression and didn’t talk, I would see that as a bad thing, but apparently Kalob sees different. Oh well I’ll deal with them later, I’m gonna go see whats good to loot on the body. Immediately I am stunned by the helmet the body is wearing, it was a all around helmet that had the squid like tentacles covered by armor, I was expecting another squid, but underneath it was a beautiful women, too bad shes dead, along with her stuff I find a ring and a stick.

After looting the body for anything good, I head up the next set of stairs which leads to the roof, on top of the roof was a dome like structure and on top of the dome was both a crystal and a snake thing, but as I got up there the creature had already died. Everyone begins to head down stairs, don’t know why, we still haven’t found the wizard the cleric was talking about. Growing impatient I attack the crystal and shatter it, it creates some sort of explosion but then all the pieces are sucked back into where it was, but when the explosion happened I was knocked back almost falling off the tower, luckily I was able to grab a ledge and pull myself up. Now we can leave this damned place and head to Sanctuary, although oddly enough we’re bringing both the cleric and human that I nearly killed back to our ship, we might need the to repair that other small boat.

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Holg's Journal XXII

Well with BLuffside behind us, we make our way to Sanctuary, the captain says it’ll be roughly 5 days. A day in the travel and in the distance we could spot a ship with no flying flag, predicting the worst, me and Schurr load up the two ballistas, but as the ship got closer it showed no sign of aggression. It’s until the night fills with fog on the second night that we stop, while we are sitting still in the ocean the captain sends word that he wants to see us, once we meet up he tells us the usual; “stop making trouble”, and “we’re too much of a problem”. Astrid reminds him that we can handle our own problems and that he needs us to protect his merchandise.

After speaking with the captain, I notice a eerie glowing light in the distance, it appears that the others had spotted the light as well, we ask around the ship about the light, they tell us about a haunted tower with a corrupted mage inside sinking ships that come too close to the tower. Both interested and doing our job of protecting the shipment, we tell the captain that we’re gonna set out and check it out. We set out on the spare dingy the captain had, we arrive at the base of the tower and find multiple wrecked ships. Everyone gets ff the boat and I begin to search the wrecks, despite the damage to another boat on the rocks, it looked repairable, while looking around, 3 ghosts popped up out of the wreck. It wasn’t long for them to “die”. I continue looking through the other wrecks, I find nothing good but 100’ rope.

We finally make our way in the tower, and of course more spiral stairs, once we make it to room, we see a glyph in the middle of the room, almost as soon as Zarek stepped into the room, the glyph spit out fire all around the room, everyone makes through the room safely, although there were some close calls. As we kept climbing the stairs we enter another room, this time it holds a five headed monstrous creature, at first glance it seemed like it might be a good battle, but as I study it more, the monster seemed starved and weak. Again we continue up into another room, this time with a spiky statue with multiple black holes within it. I examine the statue a bit when several shadow like spheres came out of the stone, Kacee jabs her staff into one of the holes, and pearls came out, soon enough everyone is attacking the statue, I hear Astrid yell out for us to get out of the room, but I didn’t listen, one moment later, a loud echoing sound went around the room and destroyed the statue, and Kacee whom was previously hurt from the hydra, I collect up the pearls and Guinness heals us as much as he could, I still wasn’t feeling 100%.

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The Journey of Kalob Vol 15
Shining light in the mist

So I am woken up with everyone else on the middle of the night. We are told that we are leaving port “early”. I shrug my shoulders and go back to bed.

In the morning, I sit on the deck and try to figure out how to activate this gem, other went over to talk to the captain. After spending some time meditating, I can not seem to figure this thing out. I guess I will have to wait for Astrid to come back and see if she can help.

I ask her and she says yes. She puts her hand on the scar and tells me that we have to perform a ritual to get it to work. Hmmmm, now what.

Time goes by. We pass a ship who seem very determined to stay away from us. I am glad. I am not in the mood for a fight with pirates.

On the next day, a weird fog appears in front of us. High in the air there is a light and the sailors tell us it is a haunted lighthouse. They also said something about a wizard. Now that is a fight I can get into.

After rowing over to the light, I find myself faces with three creatures that were in some wreckage that Holag was looking in. We all took our shots at the three. I did find out that the rune on my new sword make it glow blue, but I still don’t know if it is fire or ice. We quickly dispatched two of them, while the other ran and hovered over the water at a distance. I tried to mind blast it and missed. It finally came back to shore but did not live to long.

We headed into the tower and climbing the stairs until we came to a room. On the floor in the middle of the room was a glyph. I went around the edge of the room but Kacee went to the middle. If it wasn’t for my power to evade, I would have taken damage from the fireball that came out of the glyph like she did.

Moving onward up the stairs we came to another room. This one had a sickly five head monster. It too did not last long against the group. Although, it did get some of it’s own hits in, it was no match in it’s starved condition.

The next room did not offer up anything of interest.

To me, the statue in the middle of the next room did not look promising with it’s spikes. I was not going to take a chance on this one, so I proceeded to the other door. I can not say the same for Kacee and Holag. I turn around to see Holag touch the statue. Then I see dark blobs appearing on the ground. Kacee shoves her spear into a crack in the statue and one of the blobs vanishes. We all start smashing the statue. When all the blobs were gone, three orbs appear. Astrid yells out “I would step away from it and leave the room”. I step into the stairway when she lets of a sonic blast that destroys the statue…… and horribly damages everyone else.

When the smoke cleared and I can look around. I noticed that Kacee was not moving. I guess her injuries were to much for the blast. I must say that after that I am not doing as good as I would like.

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