Rocky Roads: The Mountains of Grinadier

Freeing Imbrix
A dragon of another color

Chellosine 24th
Beyond the guard room we found a throne room. The ogre on the throne died immediately, however, thanks to Tanka’s arrows.
Hawthorne and Nuan Shu strode out boldly to meet the other half dozen ogres, while Jalen ran around to find exposed flanks to exploit. However, the room was large, and our front line was too thin to keep the brutes away from our more vulnerable rear guard, so I called upon a divine version of the creature that had once swallowed me whole in Mortimer’s pocket world to help hold off the advancing enemies. It was a thing of beauty, despite it’s comically short upper limbs, and my dinosaur managed to occupy and eventually kill almost half of the king’s guards.
Meanwhile, Hawthorne and Nuan Shu were also cutting through the others easily. Jalen had boldly gotten behind several ogres and was able to pick his targets with deadly effect. Something seemed wrong to me, however. We still hadn’t faced anything that could have challenged the Gold Dragon, Gornax, that we had come to find. I suspected that somewhere in the room an invisible dragon was waiting for the right moment to pounce. So, I called upon Diakris’ power to call into light any hidden evils and strode into the throne room…just in time to reveal the real ogre king sneaking in behind Jalen. Unfortunately, in the moments that it took our warriors to come to his aid, Jalen was struck several times with brutal power. It was only by divine power that our scout’s life was spared again.
Once the king was dead we had time to take stock and look around. There was still virtually no coin to be found, but the ogre leader was impressively attired. I don’t know what we’ll be able to do with ogre sized enchanted plate mail, but someone is bound to pay well for it back in the city.
The only other thing of note was an altar along one of the walls. A crude depiction of a dragon covered in spikes had been drawn above the altar. Also, one of the dead ogres appeared to be a priest. It took a while to search the room, but eventually someone found a concealed door behind the altar. This led to a long passage the stretched out into the darkness. A foul odor wafted out as the door was breached. It was the sour stink of bad breath mixed with rot. None of us had ever smell dragon before, but we assumed that this meant we were getting close.
Jalen led the way and soon found a series of trip wires attached to noise makers. Additionally the smell grew stronger the further we went. Eventually the hall opened up into a vast, dark cavern. Stone spikes covered the floor and cut through Tanka’s boots as he now took up the lead. After a moment of discussion, Faelyn concealed Tanka with invisibility and I gave my brother the power to walk above the sharp stones on the ground. After a short time of waiting near the entrance to the cavern we heard Tanka shout and start racing back toward the tunnel. However, before he could reach the waiting group, a wall of force appeared, blocking his exit. Fortunately, Jalen and Faelyn were able to think quickly and circumvent the wall of force in order to rescue Tanka from a grim fate.
Later, Tanka described the dragon as enormous and covered in sharp spines like the ones in the ogre’s drawings. We decided to fall back and wait til morning when we’d be stronger before attempting the attack again.

Chellosine 25th
I suppose it went well. I mean, we made some deadly mistakes, but in the end we achieved our goal.
The attack on the spined dragon went sideways from the start. Faelyn and I carefully coordinated our spells to get in quickly and shield the group from the acid that we assumed the dragon would employ. Everything about the dragon suggested a connection to ‘Earth’, and Faelyn was confident that such dragons breathed acid.
This one didn’t.
When we appeared in the middle of the room we were mere feet from the beast, and despite the invisibility that Faelyn had provided, it knew exactly where we were. Our protections were also of no use against the sonic force it projected. Within seconds, our battle plan was useless and several of us were gravely injured.
We fought on, as we had to, and found that at least some of our preparations had been effective. Having seen it the day before, Faelyn was able to disintegrate the wall of force that the dragon used to split the group. Also, while the dragon hadn’t summoned stone spikes to cover the floor, our fly and air walk spells enabled the warriors to close on the creature every time it tried to get away. However, it was still a very near thing. I spent all of my time healing my companions, but in the end, I was unable to save Nuan Shu from the dragon’s maw. I will need to raise her in the morning.
Toward the back of the cavern we discovered a deep pit that led down to another, slightly smaller cavern far below. Here we found a dragon’s hoard, and a magical force cage that held a human man. The man appeared unconscious and in poor health. Faelyn reminded us that some dragons, Gold Dragons in particular, could take on the forms of other races. It seemed likely that this human was actually the dragon, Gornax, that we had come to rescue.
After finding no mechanism to turn off the force cage, Jalen mentioned that he had found a gem attached to the spined dragon that looked like it would fit the odd indentation at the cage’s base. Sure enough, when he pressed the gem into the hole, the cage shimmered and faded.
After I revived the man and explained the situation, he confirmed that he was indeed Gornax. He was confused as to why we had sought him out, however. When I explained the orb we had found, he immediately understood and knew that it was Imbrix’ soul within the orb. At my request, he eagerly shifted back into dragon form and breathed fire onto the orb, barely waiting for me to get out of the way.
As the flames engulfed the orb it glowed brightly for a few moments and then a pulse of magic seemed to be flung from the sphere and passed through us and into the rock walls of the cavern. We could all sense the immense power that had been released. After that, the orb dissolved quickly, the smoke coalescing briefly into the shape of an enormous dragon. As the form also began to break apart we all felt a profound sense of joy and relief that could only have come from the freeing of Ibrix’ soul.
Afterwards we all were silent, no one willing the be the first to disrupt the magic of the moment we had all just experienced, until finally Gornax simply said ‘thank you’.
With the deed done, we were able to take some time to answer the young dragon’s questions about how we came to possess the orb and the trials that we went through to learn it’s secrets and to find a relative of the mighty Imbrix after so much time. For his part, Gornax was deeply thankful and promised to help us in the future, should we need it. He will be returning to his home in Mount Gorall for now, however. He also noted that, though they were few now, each of the remaining dragons of his kind already knew what had just happened, and that he would spread the word of our actions to good dragons everywhere.

View
Looking for Gold
Are Ogres supposed to be this easy?

Oberine 10th
After gathering the effects of the fallen giants we made our way as quickly as possible back to Rengar. Rand felt very responsible that we had been harmed under his watch and insisted on carrying Jalen’s body. It took us two days to make it back to the city, and to my relief, Rand took Jalen straight to the Temple of Diakris where the priests took charge of his body. They will perform a resurrection tomorrow.
We had hardly made it back to our quarters when Onyx came to talk to us. News had spread quickly. He too was very concerned about our encounter, but I made sure to emphasize Rand’s bravery and selflessness in the battle and to dismiss any negligence that might have led to the conflict in the first place.
Onyx made it clear that there was a major upside to this event, however. We had battled and defeated a known traitor, Ferrick, and in doing so had probably saved countless Dwarven lives. He felt that this would lead us to being named ‘Dwarf Friends’ which in turn would hasten our admittance into the Great Library.

Oberine 11th
Jalen was resurrected this morning at the Temple. Although I could have performed the ritual, I was happy not to bear the cost, and the Dwarves made a great ceremony out of the event.

Oberine 17th
As Onyx predicted, we were summoned today to the Great Hall of the Dwarf King, Kildrith Giantbane. We had been given a couple of days warning, and so were able to make sure that we were dressed appropriately for such an audience. Nuan Shu and Tanka looked uncomfortable in their finery.
No one does pomp and circumstance better than the Dwarves, so it was quite a ceremony when we were called up and named ’ Dwarf Friends’. The Dwarves had always been friendly toward us, but now many of them were quite warm. It was the difference between hosting unexpected guests and welcome friends.
Later Onyx, after congratulating us for the 5th or 6th time, explained that he should be able to get us access to the Great Library within a week now. Now it was just a matter of getting some paperwork completed. Nothing in Dwarf society moves quickly it seems.

Oberine 24th
Onyx stopped by this morning to tell us that it was official now, and gave each of us a letter that would grant us access to the Great Library. It was quickly decided that Faelyn was the most suited to this sort of work, and that if we all tried to help we would just get in the way. So, while we all went together to the Library, only Faelyn and Jalen actually began the research. I wandered about on my own in awe of the amazing artifacts that were on display, careful not to cause any disruption or give cause for concern to the librarians that watched us closely.
Meanwhile, Faelyn spoke with one of the librarians who led him to a tome entitled “The Orbs of Power”. In short order, he and Jalen learned that our artifact was an ‘Orb of Dragonkind’ and contained the soul of an Ancient Gold Dragon. Its power was immense but at the cost of forcing the dragon within to perform at our command. Our discussion later that evening was lively. Jalen initially insisted that it would be foolish not to use this power. Faelyn pointed out that to do so was to earn the enmity of Gold Dragons everywhere. Eventually everyone was in agreement that we needed to find a way to release the imprisoned soul within the orb.

Oberine 25th
Faelyn and Jalen returned to the Great Library to research how to destroy our artifact. It seems a shame to destroy such a powerful artifact, but it’s use would be evil and unacceptable, so there doesn’t seem to be an alternative.

Oberine 28th
Our intrepid researchers are getting frustrated. Existing artifacts are apparently well documented, but ways of destroying them are not. Work continues on that front. Meanwhile, the rest of us are enjoying our new status. We are free to roam, although Rand is still offering his services as a guide. I’ve been able to see many amazing places that had been forbidden previously. Apparently the Kingdom extends to interconnected tunnels across most of Grinadier. We didn’t travel far from the city, however.

Chellosine 8th
Faelyn finally finished his research, but soon realized that this has simply led him to another avenue of exploration. Apparently the orb can only be destroyed by the breath of a blood relative of the dragon within. The dragon, he believes, is named Imbrix. He was captured and killed many thousands of years ago and through some lost dark art, his soul was then bound up in our orb. Imbrix was either the King of Gold Dragons at the time or closely related to the king. However, finding a blood relative now may be impossible. During the 2nd War of the Heavens, good dragons were systematically hunted down and killed. The king at that time, Jorell, was known to have perished in the pogrom. Faelyn would do some digging, but it was possible that Imbrix’ line had been erased.

Chellosine 18th
Faelyn and Jalen have finally given up finding any useful information in the Great Library. The information there is simply too old to be useful for our current search. However, the librarians suggested that they continue their research in another library that contains more recent history.
Additionally, we heard some rumors today. King Jarrod has apparently been raised by Durian, but only after many others had failed. This is disturbing. Either a soul can be raised to life again or it can not. I suspect that Durian is some kind of powerful Necromancer who found a way to compel Jarrod’s soul back, or else he learned how he was being blocked and removed that obstacle. Troubling either way.

Chellosine 20th
Our researchers finally dug up something promising. Around 10 years ago a young Gold Dragon named Gornax, who is believed to be a relative of Jorell, traveled to a village to the North and East of Ortfort to protect it from a group of ogres who had been attacking. Nothing more had been heard of him afterwards.
Although this was a promising lead, it was also 10 years old. Gornax could be practically anywhere in the world by now, or even dead. However, it didn’t look like we were going to find a better lead, so we decided that I would consult Diakris about the situation before committing to a long journey.

Chellosine 21st
This morning I prayed and learned that Gornax is alive and near the same village from all those years ago, but needs our help. My assumption is that the ogres somehow managed to capture the dragon and imprison him. We’ll need to be careful. Even a young dragon should have had no problem confronting a group of ogres. Obviously they have some power beyond what is normal for their kind.

Chellosine 22nd
After saying our goodbyes and gathering supplies, Faelyn teleported our party to the last known location of Gornax, North and East of Ortfort.
We found the remains of the village pretty quickly. It had been burned down, and not recently. Tanka estimated that it had been years since anyone had been here. Jalen began to do some scouting, hoping to find some evidence of either the dragon or the ogres, but it was Elanor, Faelyn’s Raven, who spotted the cave a few miles away. A pair of ogres guarded the entrance.
We traveled to within eyesight of the cave and saw no evidence of activity beyond the two inattentive guards. We discussed a frontal assault, but decided that we might be running into a trap. Clearly they were powerful if they could capture a dragon. So instead we decided to spring our own trap.
We traveled back to the village and started a large, smokey fire with the hopes of drawing them to us. Sure enough, just before Dusk a group of Ogres left the cave and traveled to investigate our fire. Our ambush worked quite well. I don’t think that any of them even managed to get close enough to attack us. It was so one-sided in fact, that I had a nagging feeling that I had wasted the spells I had used in defeating them.
We hid the bodies and waited for the next group that would come to investigate why their scouts hadn’t returned. I assume it will be stronger than the first group, though Ogres are stupid and might not think of that.

Chellosine 23rd
We waited all day for the response team, but it never came. Elanor patiently waited on a branch within sight of the entrance to the cave, but the only movement was for an occassional change of guards. By nightfall we were getting restless.

Chellosine 24th
This morning Elanor reported that there was still no activity at the cave and we decided that we couldn’t keep waiting. We traveled as quietly as our heavily armored party could to within about 80 feet of the cave entrance.
One of the guards was clearly sleeping, the other didn’t seem to be paying any attention. In an effort to prevent an alarm from being raised, I blanketed the area in silence as our warriors rushed in. Between Tanka, Nuan Shu and Hawthorne, the two ogres were dead before they knew that they were in danger.
After a few moments we were convinced that no alarm had been raised, so we sent Jalen in to do some scouting. After a few minutes he returned and drew out the first few corridors. He had also found a large cave with half a dozen ogres in it.
Once again we proceeded as quietly as possible and found a group around a large table playing a card game. They were all dead a few moments later. So it continued from room to room. The only trouble we experienced was from one who appeared to be an officer of some kind. At least, he had nicer quarters and magical armor. Most troubling though was the almost complete lack of money. I didn’t expect them to be rich, but years of raiding caravans and attacking villages should have left them with gold and other treasures, yet we found virtually nothing of value among their corpses. We’re unsure what this portends, but I fear that a dragon may be involved. Hopefully they didn’t suborn Gornax.
When Jalen scouted down the last unexplored passage he found what looked like a guard room. Four large ogres who appeared to be alert stood, weapons ready, while a passage opened on the far side of the room. This is likely where the leader is, so these are probably his best warriors.
However, when we surprised them, they went down almost as easy as the rest. I don’t believe that this will be as easy as it seems. Somewhere soon we are sure to have a real fight on our hands.

View
Rengar
Long line at the Library

Pelbintine 9th
This morning Diakris raised Faelyn and Jalen at my request. Everyone but my brother and myself are very weak from our trials. We can’t return to Grenadier today. I had forgotten that Faelyn would also need to spend time in study, reading over his spells before he would be able to transport us back to the city. We briefly considered riding, as Faelyn insisted that it would be nearly impossible for him to get all of us and the horses too in one day. Nuan Shu, however, has grown far too attached to her horse to leave it behind. Faelyn promised to do what he could, but he’d need another day in order to cast anything.
We decided that it would be wise to put some more distance between ourselves and the tower before setting camp. We knew of at least one powerful vampire that we had not been able to destroy.
Around Noon, Tanka found us a nice Sunny place near a stream. Faelyn had no dome for us, so we made do with tents and a fire. It was nice to be able to just sit and rest as we talked about what had just happened in the tower. I brushed over it in my last entry, but Jalen’s sacrifice had really saved the day. Our whole purpose for entering the tower had been to find and return with the dagger. Had he not been able to find and gain access to the vault then our trip would have been for nought. No…not for nothing. We did manage to release Mortimer’s spirit. That was a noble purpose by itself.
We also had a chance to really look at the other items that had been in Mortimer’s collection. Although Faelyn couldn’t cast much today, he was able identify the nature of the various items. Many of the items benefited Jalen the most and will likely make him quite effective in the future.

Pelbintine 10th
Not surprisingly, Faelyn figured out a way to get us all back to Grinadier today. It took him 7 trips to get us and the horses too. Something about the size of a horse makes them harder to bring. It also took Tanka’s skill to calm the horses as they appeared suddenly within our compound. Teleportation is alarming even when you understand what is happening to you. For a horse it must be traumatic.
We spoke with Westin at length and discussed the need to destroy the dagger. He promised to use his contacts to find an answer to the riddle.
I went to the temple and spoke with Gamedes about what had happened and tithed while I was there. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I sense that there is less and less guidance that my old mentor is able to provide these days. He still has insight and wisdom, but it seems like much of what I’m doing lately is over his head. Nevertheless, I still appreciate his wisdom.

Pelbintine 11th
After a day of rest yesterday, today we began to train again. It seems that life is now long periods of training interspersed with bright flashes of danger and excitement. I guess this is the life of an adventurer.
This evening I went with Nuan Shu and Tanka and we found buyers for our unneeded gear at the usual shops. The coin will come in handy as we prepare for whatever our next adventure throws at us.

Pelbintine 12th
I visited Bjorn’s Fine Armors this evening and arranged to have the enchantments on my armor and shield strengthened. I know that there are several arcanists in the city that could do the job, but Bjorn likes to see his handiwork come back to visit and he doesn’t charge any more than if I went to a wizard directly. I imagine that he has a business arrangement that enables everyone to share the profits.
Ingvar, who did a lot of the detail work on my armor, has apparently been named a master now. Apparently he has no immediate plans to set off on his own and will keep working for Bjorn for a while.
Also, Dayton stopped by to visit today. He seems to be doing much better after a few months of recovery. However, despite his physical injuries being healed, he still seems to need some time for his psychological trauma to work its way out. Speaking of which, it was really fascinating to see Nuan Shu being so respectful to Dayton during his visit. I asked her about it later and she said that she was impressed by the courage he displayed while being tortured.
“Biting off your own tongue to keep from talking…that’s dedication.”
Everyone did their best to make him feel welcome. Hopefully he’ll spend some time with us while we’re in town.

Pelbintine 18th
I heard an odd rumor today. Or rather, Jalen returned from one his trips into the city with strange news. Apparently there was an attack on a priest of Chellos outside of Fallham. He didn’t have many details, but for some reason it got me to thinking.
Was the Syndicate involved? Did this have anything to do with our recent presence there? Was he attacked because he disappointed the Syndicate, or because he was transporting some dark items that our enemies wanted?

Pelbintine 27th
Westin visited us at our manor today with some interesting news. He believes that Baron Hawthorne is still alive. He seems to know more than he would tell us, but I got the impression that the Baron was not in a good situation. I will be praying for the Baron.
He also mentioned that it appeared that either Radley or Jacinth were responsible for Stewart Bowman’s murder. Seems like either one of them had motive, though for different reasons. Westin agreed.
It’s interesting to see him confiding in us more.

Pelbintine 21st
The Earl invited us to dinner this evening. He’s been in and out lately. It was nice to have a chance to chat with Millie again. After a few glasses of wine she let slip that the Earl’s recent travels related to Baron Hawthorne’s rediscovery. Hopefully he’ll be able to get him back.
The dinner turned out to be more like a private party. The food was incredible, the company engaging, and the music sublime. The best part, however, was the feeling of respect and acceptance from such esteemed people. Jalen seems like he can fit in anywhere, but it was great to see everyone having fun. Even Tanka seemed to be enjoying himself. Nuan Shu spent most of the night talking to Dayton. She seemed almost protective of him.

Hegeline 18th
The Highguard feels that we’re ready to move on now.
Our next stop will be the Dwarven city of Rengar. Onyx should be pleased to hear that Mortimer’s spirit was given peace. Hopefully he’ll be able to make good on his offer to get us access to the library.
As we were preparing for our trip, Jalen brought a friend to meet us. Hawthorne seems like a competent warrior, but I’m not sure if he’s up to the the kinds of challenges that we so often face. Jalen was insistent that he come along and Hawthorn seemed eager too despite my warnings of the kinds of deadly dangers ahead of us. It will be nice to have another melee fighter, however. Talus’ departure left an unfortunate void in our combat team.

Hegeline 19th
Faelyn teleported us to just outside of Rengar. Our travels are less dangerous and much faster now. However, the roads will be less safe with the HighGuard no longer traveling them. The guards either recognized us, or knew of us. In no time at all we were ushered into the waiting area while someone went to find Onyx.
Onyx joined us in short order and brought with him a young dwarf that he introduced as ‘Rand’. Onyx was most interested in the story of our trip to Mortimer’s tower, and much relieved to learn that his ghost had been put to rest. I had assumed that we would be quickly admitted to the library, and was a bit surprised to learn that Onyx had not been being modest when he had offered only ‘to use his influence’ to get us access. I think I hid my disappointment well, but I hadn’t realized how jealously the dwarves guarded their knowledge. For his part, Faelyn didn’t seem terribly put out. I half expected him to make some complaint that would have been unhelpful in speeding things along.
Onyx accompanied us as far as the guest quarters where we would be made comfortable while we waited. Rand, however, was to stay with us and actively host us. That was a nice touch and did much to make us feel more like guests and less like prisoners. Of the other 4 of us…5 counting Hawthorne, only my brother seemed bothered by the arrangement. I asked him about it later and he said he didn’t like being penned in and didn’t like being underground and especially didn’t like being kept away from Ko, but that he would be ok.

Hegeline 20th
No sign of Onyx, but Rand has been showing us around Rengar. Apparently it’s much larger than just this city, however. The young dwarf was bothered when I referred to it that way. The tunnels stretch long and far and contain other towns and cities and is in fact an entire underground kingdom.
The architecture here is amazing. So much detail. But the most impressive sight I’ve seen so far is the Temple of Diakris. Soaring and vast and strong. It is a tribute to the faith and the work ethic of these people, and a fitting offering to the god of justice and valor.
The food here is palatable and plentiful, but a bit strange to our tastes. Faelyn especially, has been grumbling about it. I’ve decided that a good compromise would be to prepare Diakris’ table each morning. It will help us stay fit and also provide the foods that we topsiders are more comfortable with. I have invited Rand to join us and he graciously accepted.

Hegeline 21st
Breakfast went over well. Rand especially was impressed with the feast and has invited us to join his family for dinner. It’s nice making friends.
Rand’s family was quite welcoming, but the food left a lot to be desired. It seems local cuisine is heavy on cave fungus, and that Rand’s wife, while a proper hostess, is not a good cook. Still, we all had a good time.
Still no sign of Onyx. Rand explained that the library was controlled by groups that were hard to gather and that this delay didn’t seem unusual given the request.

Hegeline 22nd
Onyx visited us today and explained that he was making progress, but that it would take time. I don’t pretend to understand Dwarven culture, but it really sounds like they don’t like to be rushed. The library is controlled by a council of librarians that normally wouldn’t meet for another 8 months. However, Onyx promised to try to get us an audience sooner. This was still likely to mean several weeks at the least and that was only if he managed to convince the powers that be that this was important. He did mention that if we could be deemed ‘dwarf friends’ that we would be given almost immediate access. He couldn’t think of a good way to make that happen though. I guess there’s nothing to do but wait.
Jalen was given access to another library however. One which contains mostly histories and such. He and Faelyn spent much of the day researching the Grey Cabal.

Oberine 1st
Still waiting. After a few days of research Jalen and Faelyn learned all that they thought that they were going to be able to about the Grey Cabal. They definitely sound like a potential problem. They are actively gathering all the pre-cataclysm artifacts that they can for no other reason than to have all the power.
Everyone is getting bored and about the only thing to look forward to now is Diakris’ daily feast. I understand now why they build the ceilings so high. It would feel oppressive otherwise. Tanka seems to be handling it better, but he’s also gone out a few times to ‘check on Ko’.

Oberine 8th
It seems that no matter where we go trouble manages to find us. Jalen is dead.
We were touring the mines earlier with Rand when we heard sounds of fighting ahead. Rand seemed torn between wanting to rush ahead to help his people and taking us back to safety. I suggested that we might be able to help in the combat, but he was under strick orders to keep us safe, so we turned around to return to the city.
However, as we were passing through a nexus, a group of giants charged toward us from one of the tunnels. The cave giants (it turns out) were fearsome, but no real match for Nuan Shu, Hawthorne and myself. It appears that they were a decoy, however, as moments after we engaged them I heard Tanka cry out. Rand had spoken a few weeks ago about a renegade Dwarf named Ferrick that was causing some problems for them. I had sympathized, but hadn’t though much about it after that.
Ferrick had sneaked up behind Tanka invisibly and nearly killed him before we even knew what was going on. With the giants being held up in the tunnel by Nuan Shu and Hawthorn it fell to the rest of us to try to stop the mad dwarf. We soon learned that he was protected by layers and layers of enchantments making it all but impossible to strike him. He was having no such difficulty getting past our own defenses. Finally our warriors killed the last giant and came to help us. The combination of our efforts gravely injured Ferrick, but he managed to escape by tunneling into the stone floor of the cave.
Hopefully we saved many of Rengar’s miners by confronting their traitor, but in the meantime, I must see to our own casualties.

View
Mortimer's Pocket World
Finding the Dark Devour

Once Mortimer’s form had disappeared, we were left in deep silence. The peace left behind was palpable. It was disturbing that the Wizard’s unfinished business was so tied up in his need for recognition and glory. There are many in the world that thrive on admiration, but I hope it’s a very small number that would consider it such epic injustice if they didn’t get it. Perhaps it’s more common than I realize, but my inherent humility blinds me to it?
With Mortimer gone, we had a chance to investigate. No one had forgotten that our purpose was to find the blade called the ‘Dark Devour’. We did find a large chest full of gold, but little else of value. The only other unusual item in the room was Mortimer’s mirror. It was clearly magical, and seemed to form a sort of portal. As we discussed our options, Faelyn pointed out that ghosts often hid the treasures that they had possessed in life, so that they would have access to them in their undead forms. He also noted that the portal appeared to be a type that had to be opened daily, and that our time to explore what was beyond was limited.
Thus it was that we plunged ahead before we could heal or mitigate the effects of the vampiric and Spectral draining that many in the group had endured. Faelyn pointed out that the portal could lead to a plane of fire, or water or any number of other difficult environments. None of us had any way to mitigate fire or acid, but I had prayed for Water Breathing this morning and so bestowed that power on everyone in the group. It would prove prophetic.
The mirror did turn out to be a portal. Jalen scouted ahead and then stuck his arm back through the mirror to beckon us to follow. Beyond lay a canyon awash in heat and humidity. It was shocking after leaving the cool dryness of the mountains.
As unexpected as the weather was, my biggest concern was that I was having trouble sensing Diakris here. Clearly we were no longer on the same plane. Faelyn also sensed limitations to arcane magic as well.
To either side of the portal stood a life sized statue of Mortimer. Offerings had been laid at the foot of each statue and, based on the advanced decay, it had been quite a while since anyone had been here. We traveled a few hundred yards down the narrow canyon before it opened up into a large wooded bowl surrounded by cliffs. Once again, life-sized Mortimer statues flanked the entrance, and evidence of offerings remained.
Within this area we discovered all manner of enormous creatures. In rapid succession we were attacked by horse-sized mosquitoes, packs of ravenous bipedal lizards, and a 40’ tall lizard with a gaping maw and underdeveloped forearms. In each case, Tanka’s deadly arrows weakened or slew the beasts before they could cause much damage. However, the creature Faelyn called a Lizard King defied our ranged attacks, and when I rushed to engage it, it tore into me and then scooped me up in it’s maw. It’s hard to think back about that fight, but I do have a strange memory of a large tooth piercing my heart, and then a moment later the tooth had just barely missed. It was a minor victory, however, as moments later the beast swallowed me whole. Within, it was hot and dark and the acid in it’s belly burned. As I fought to maintain consciousness, I felt a moment of vertigo as the creature fell.
I awoke some time later as healing liquids were poured down my throat. The others had cut open the creature and pulled me out before it was too late. Faelyn cleaned me up magically and we moved on. Off in the distance we saw a small herd of enormous spiked lizards. Faelyn indicated that they would likely leave us alone as long as we didn’t get too close. What a strange place we had discovered.
The woods seemed to be thinning out as we progressed, and soon we discovered a large pool of water. We approached carefully, but as Tanka began to look for tracks, a huge crocodile shot up out of the water and grabbed Nuan Shu. We rushed to attack it, but almost as soon as it appeared, it returned to the water, our warrior clutched in it’s jaws. During that short time, we had managed to hurt it, but not enough.
As we stood around deciding the best course of action, the creature once again emerged and this time it grabbed Faelyn. I managed to leave a deep, firey gash along it’s side, and Tanka pierced it with more arrows, but it returned to the depths of the pool just as Nuan Shu came walking back out.
We hoped that Faelyn would likewise be left forgotten within the Croc’s lair, but knew that the Elf was not as hardy as Nuan Shu. Several minutes went by before Jaelyn noticed a large log floating toward us was really the beast. A quick volley of arrows finally finished the croc and we were able to begin the process of searching beneath the dark waters for Faelyn. We found his body torn and wedged beneath a log near the bottom of the pool.
I had no way to revive Faelyn. That would need to wait until tomorrow. And so, we continued on with Nuan Shu carrying Faelyn’s corpse. Beyond the now bloody pool the area between the cliffs began to narrow. A quarter mile away we also saw that the floor of the valley that we were in gradually rose like a ramp that would take us to the top of the cliff walls. However, near the base of the ramp we came across a cavern opening flanked once again by statues of Mortimer. The offerings here were much fresher and more copious.
Before we could venture in, however, a group of men came down the ramp to intercept us. I assumed that these were part of the people that had been leaving offerings, which meant that they worshiped Mortimer and likely considered the cave a Holy place. Indeed, they seemed upset, but unfortunately, none of us understood the language that they were speaking. Perhaps Faelyn would have been some help, but he was too busy being dead to provide any assistance. As the usual spokesman for the HighGuard, I approached the four, armed warriors and tried to communicate with them. I pantomimed that we were not looking for trouble and wanted peace with them. Then I implied that we too were here to pay homage to Mortimer. eventually their body language relaxed and the strange primitive clubs they were holding were lowered into a less aggressive posture. It appeared that my guesses were accurate, that they wanted us to stay away from the cave. They watched approvingly as Tanka laid food offerings at the foot of the statues. Afterwards, however, they made it clear that they wanted us to come with them. I saw no peaceful way to refuse, so I followed along with Nuan Shu who was still carrying Faelyn.
Tanka, however, indicated that he wasn’t done worshiping, and so he stayed behind with one of the warriors guarding him. It was at this moment that I realized that Jalen was missing. I assumed that he had sneaked into the cave when I had the envoy’s attention.
At the top of the hill, a short distance back from the cliff face stood a small village of these primitive humans. Everyone gathered around to meet us, including one that I assume was the mayor or elder. They brought us food and welcomed us to stay with them. About half an hour into the party, Tanka joined us. He was carrying the lifeless body of Jalen. There was no sign of the warrior who was guarding him. I was glad for the language barrier at this point as Tanka explained that he was attacked by the warrior when he entered the cave and had to kill him. He found Jalen’s body in front of a large vault. He surmised that Jalen had set off a trap on the door. The door was ajar, however, and so Tanka was able to enter. It looks like he found Mortimer’s stash of equipment, including the dagger.
It wasn’t easy to get away from our new ‘friends’. They seemed insistent that we join them. However, as we were deciding our next course I recalled what Faelyn had said earlier. The portal would likely close in a few hours, and with Mortimer gone forever, we’d be stuck here forever as well. Somehow I managed to convince their elder that we had to go, and he relented. The trip back through the pocket realm was blessedly uneventful and the portal was still open.
Mortimer’s tower left us alone. As we descended from level to level, we were quite pleased that nothing appeared and attacked us. It was getting dark but we decided to put a few hours between us and the tower before we settled down for the evening. Only then did we take a better look at the treasure that Jalen and Tanka had found. Indeed it appeared to be the items a sorcerer adventurer would have accumulated. Evil and corruption emanated from the oily, black, obsidian blade and left little doubt that this was the item we had sought.
In the morning, I will raise our dead and begin the process of restoring life that has been drained from the others.

View
The Tower of Death
Putting Mortimer's ghost to rest

Tarine 24th
It’s good to be back in Grinadier. There are still dangers, to be sure, but here we know what most of them are. We also have powerful allies in the government and in the church. Still, I think most of my relief is just being home. Fallham, I have learned, is no longer my home. There are constant reminders there of my past life and a few old friends, but I guess I have moved on. I think that living in such a degenerate and corrupt place also took a toll on me. Grinadier certainly has issues, but here the prevailing undercurrent is one of law, order and stability; the pillars of my faith.
We are each taking some time to train and reflect on all that has happened. There was a lot, so it will likely take a few weeks to process it all. I began by visiting my old mentor, Gemedes. I no longer tell him everything, and in his wisdom, he doesn’t ask many questions. He understands that my current work requires a certain level of secrecy. It also seems that, despite the difference in our ages, that he is treating me more as a peer than a student. Perhaps more fascinating is that I am beginning to see him as an equal as well.
I spent most of the morning chatting with old friends. It was especially pleasant to catch up with Master Darius. He always seemed like such a hard man when I was under his care, but seeing him now with fresh eyes working with his new students I see that he is simply pushing them to excel.
“Sweat today so that tomorrow you won’t bleed.”
That always seemed so abstract before. Now I understand it so much better. The church here is quite prosperous, but I tithed nonetheless. “The giving is as much for ourselves as it is for the church.”
Perhaps, but in the future I will look for other, poorer places to return my blessings.

Tarine 30th
I received some strange promptings during my prayers today. Perhaps it was simple reflection upon what Westin said the other day, but I had a very clear vision of speaking with an elderly and noble dwarf.

Aldrine 15th
We received a visitor today from Earl Bowman. He was inviting us to attend his daughter’s wedding three days hence. I was hesitant to accept as the Earl of the South may be involved in these plots against Earl Summers, and we know that the assassin, Pat, works on his behalf. Perhaps this was an attempt to draw us out. Westin didn’t seem to think anything of it, however, so we accepted.

Aldrine 18th
Well, that was an exciting wedding. Lily Bowman was a lovely bride, but the real excitement came during the reception. The Earl was assassinated. Perhaps it is a coincidence that Pat was seen shortly before Stewart was murdered. Jalen sidled up and casually pointed her out. She didn’t seem to notice either of us.
No one saw the assassin either. Likely, he or she was simply invisible. The most curious thing, however, was that the dagger evaporated after the deed. Many were on hand, and there was a lot of chaos, but I was able to get close and see the blade. As it was pulled out of the Earl’s back it simply vanished in a small cloud of vapor. This means that his son, Radley, will take his place. I hate to say that I predicted this, but it was not a complete surprise. From the letter, it would seem that the Earl of the South may be in play as well. Perhaps the enemy is simply hedging their bets. If they have two earls in their pocket then it increases their chances of a successful coup later.
Westin grilled us all for almost an hour, trying to get the details. I get the sense that he had another set of eyes in place as well but either wanted to see what we’d tell him, or else, learn what the other might be holding back.

Aldrine 29th
We all are starting to feel restless again. It’s nice being home, but after a month it starts to feel boring. We sat down with Westin again to discuss going after the dagger mentioned in the letter, the ‘Dark Devour’.
Everyone agreed that we needed more information before we blindly wandered into Mortimer’s tower. Westin was able to provide us with some useful history. Apparently, Mortimer was a gnome sorcerer/adventurer who made a name for himself along with his group, the Heroes of Redwall. In addition to Mortimer, the Heroes consisted of a Barbarian named Krawl, a Dwarf named Onyx, a Falakian warrior named Sabra, and a cleric of Belin named Jichan. Of these, only the Dwarf was known to still be alive. If anyone would have information about Mortimer, it would be a fellow adventurer. Apparently he still lives nearby in the underground Dwarven city of Rengar.

Andurtine 1st
After a nice long break it was good to get back in the saddle again. Rengar is about a week away. We were only a few hours outside the city, however, when we were ambushed by a group of Stone Giants. They had chosen a spot along a switchback in the road that looked directly down on the lower section we were on. From our perspective, they were almost directly above us on a cliff. Fortunately, between my brother, Tanka’s deadly arrows and Nuan Shu’s deadly blade, the giants were felled quickly. Several of us had been struck by rocks in the beginning, but once Nuan Shu engaged them on the cliff, Tanka was free to fire at will.
The giants had obviously been in this location for a while as there was evidence of looted caravans among their possessions. The gems and valuable furs we gathered will go a long way toward equipping us in the future.

Andurtine 8th
We reached Rengar today. A large, ornate door was built directly into the side of a cliff at the end of a short box canyon. The guards there were very polite when we asked for an audience with Onyx. Two of them led us inside a short ways into a cozy side chamber that was set up for meetings like this one. The room was only small in comparison to the grand promenade that continued further into the city below.
We enjoyed refreshments and a cozy fire while we waited for Onyx. I was not entirely surprised to recognize him from my vision a few weeks ago. Despite being well over 100 years old, his back was straight and he still seemed quite capable. He also had an air of wisdom and nobility. Onyx welcomed us and gladly answered our questions about Mortimer. His, apparently, was a sad tale. The Gnomish sorcerer had sacrificed much in preparing for the final battle in what would come to be known as the 2nd War of the Heavens. The Heroes had realized early on that the sheer numbers of demons and devils would overwhelm the defenders and so sought to raise additional armies for the fight. Krawl had returned to his tribes and united them under his rule in order to bring their strength. Onyx had made his case to the Dwarves and secured their help in the alliance. Sabra had gone oversea to Falack and returned with an army from the South. Apparently she had helped to place a Prince in power in order to secure his aid. Mortimer, meanwhile, turned to the dead. He embraced an avatar of Chelos named Kathan and learned the dark arts of necromancy. In the process, he gave up his mother and a large part of himself. However, his undead forces apparently turned the tide of the war and led to victory for the allies. But then, after the war, he was shunned for his new affiliations and secluded himself in the tower that now bears his name.
We also mentioned the need to use the Library, well, Faelyn kept interrupting to bring it up, I should say. However, if Onyx felt any irritation towards our Elven Wizard, I couldn’t detect it. Onyx promised to use his considerable influence to grant us access if we were successful in putting to rest the ghost of his old friend. As that was our goal anyway, it seemed easy to promise.
How does one defeat a ghost, however?
Onyx did have some useful information about ghosts. He explained that it is rare for someone to remain after death, and that only a great injustice will usually cause such an event. He went on to tell us that powers greater than ours would be needed to defeat such a creature, but that a ghost could be ‘put to rest’ if the perceived injustice were rectified.
None of us were certain what Mortimer would have felt the injustice was, however. But we did understand that it was critical that we guess correctly, or the whole thing would backfire. We didn’t want to be speaking to a ghost when it decided that it didn’t like us.
So we all took a short break while I prayed. In my divinations, Diakris made it clear that Mortimer desired fame and recognition for his deeds.
I shared my revelation with the others. If Mortimer had lived out the rest of his days isolated in a remote tower then he must not have received that glory. Also, as we recalled the history of the war, Mortimer’s contributions were largely overlooked in the official versions. Perhaps we could play to that, to explain that his contributions were not forgotten. Onyx agreed that this was an important aspect of Mortimer’s character, and would need to be taken into account.
It was my brother, however, that suggested that we write a book. “History is written in books”, he said unexpectedly. The more we thought about it, the better it sounded. A written account would allow us to carefully construct the narrative that we wanted and would also be clear evidence that we were serious about reversing the wrongs that had been done to Mortimer when his sacrifices were forgotten.
Onyx was able to find us to an accomplished local writer who was able to weave our ideas into a compelling story. Felspar had published several historical books and was able to give our account the tone and gravitas we wanted.
We’ll likely be here for a few days at least, so a suite of guest rooms near the entrance of the city were made available to us. Additionally several younger Dwarves were left to ensure that our needs were met and to guide us around the parts of the city where we were permitted. I am amazed at the hospitality and courtesy that the Dwarves have shown us. My preconceptions of Dwarves as miserly and untrusting seem to be misplaced.

Andurtine 9th
We spoke to Felspar this morning and explained the direction that would need to be a recurring theme in the book was that Mortimer had made a noble sacrifice in order to destroy a great evil. Onyx was also on hand for much of the day as we explained the ‘forgotten’ history that he would be writing. It was a great help to have Onyx there as he was able to remember many of the events. After taking notes all morning, Felspar asked to be excused to begin working.

Andurtine 10th
We met with Felspar again this morning and looked at the outline he had prepared from yesterday’s notes. We deliberated over a few points but agreed that the basic outline was good. He took our critique and started working. I have to admire the work ethic I’m seeing from these Dwarves.
After lunch, a friendly young lass stopped by and offered to give us a tour. Rengar is amazing. In a way, it reminds me of the temple of Andura. The scale and the attention to detail is incredible. But, where the temple was all flowing lines and soaring heights, Rengar is order and perfectly straight lines.

Andurtine 15th
Felspar finished his work today. As I read the final version I felt that Mortimer’s contributions were definitely accounted for now. Some of the language seemed a bit over the top, but Onyx disagreed. He knew Mortimer best and felt that the Gnome would revel in such flowery attention, so we let it go. Now let’s pray that it works. Onyx saw us off, also wishing us the best and renewing his promise to get us into the library if we were successful.

Andurtine 22nd
We arrived back in Grinadier around mid day. We spent most of the rest of the day shopping. We sold the loot from the giants and bought provisions for the trip. We hope to leave in the morning for Mortimer’s tower.

Andurtine 23rd
We headed out at first light as planned. The weather is pleasant. It’s warm, but the altitude helps ensure that it doesn’t get too hot in the afternoon. Today’s ride was uneventful. It is getting a little chilly at night. Thankfully Faelyn is able to make our campsites comfortable with his magic.

Pelbantine 8th
We arrived at the tower today. It took more than 2 weeks, but there were no serious problems along the way. Now that we’re here however, the building doesn’t look anything like a tower. It’s short and squat, though solidly built.
As we approached the front door, a magic mouth bid us welcome in a pleasant voice.
“Welcome to the tower of the great wizard, Mortimer. Mortimer is on the top level. Say hello to the other guests”, it intoned.
For some reason, we were all more unnerved by that than if something sinister had greeted us.
Inside the fun began.
The front door was unlocked and untrapped. Within was a large open area with rooms in each corner and a spiral stair in the middle. We also heard the sound of a well played harpsichord. As we rounded the corner to see where the music was coming from, we saw a ghoul look up from his playing and charge at us. Each of the dark doors also spewed forth another ghoul. Fortunately, they were easily overcome. It was at this point that we noticed that the spiral stair did not actually pierce the ceiling, but rather ended abruptly. The darkness coming from each room entrance was absolute and radiated dark and evil magic. It was decided that we probably had to overcome something in one or more of the rooms in order to proceed past this first level, so Tanka volunteered to make the attempt. Fortunately, we tied a rope to him before he entered, because no sooner did he disappear into the room than he collapsed.
We had to drag him back out. Fortunately, he was still alive, merely drained and unconscious. I was able to recoup what he had lost, but this left us with another quandary. How do we proceed?
It was then that Jalen mentioned the harpsichord. Perhaps there was some magic tied to that. Faelyn checked, and indeed the instrument was enchanted. None of us were musicians, but Jalen volunteered to try to play the music that was in the stand. It was entitled, “The Great Wizard, Mortimer”.
After a few sour notes, the rooms spewed out more ghouls.
Eventually we was able to play a decent rendition of the music and this caused an opening to appear in the ceiling above the stairway.
We climbed up into a similar room above. Again the stair continued up into an unbroken ceiling. This was surprising, since, from the outside, it appeared that the building was only 2 floor high. This level contained a number of skeletons, one of which was recounting a liturgy on Mortimer’s greatness. The head skeleton was a difficult foe, but eventually he was defeated along with the others. His armor was powerfully enchanted.
Once Jalen recited the text that the skeleton had been reading, the opening appeared and we were able to continue up.
The 3rd floor was like an art museum. Numerous statues and paintings of Mortimer were on display. All of them depicted a larger than life-sized gnome that seemed to ooze power. The stairwell continued to spiral upward into a solid ceiling.
This level contained spectres, however. It was here that I stopped to cast Death Ward for the first time. However, I was unable to keep up with the spectres and they did their damage before we killed them. Looking around we noticed a single painting of Mortimer that had been started, but wasn’t complete. Based on the lower levels we decided that we’d have to finish the painting in order to proceed. After some missteps that drew another spectre into the room, Tanka completed the painting and the ceiling opened for us.
It was dark above, but we could hear a gnome casting spells.
I called out for Mortimer, trying to explain why we were here, but the casting continued.
Eventually the darkness vanished and we could see that we were in the top level of the tower. The ceiling was vaulted and the stairs had ended. However, 3 vampires were waiting for us. The first 2 were likely thralls and they fell quickly to sword and divine wrath. The other, however, was a sorcerer and put up a challenging fight. In the end, we hurt it enough that it retreated to it’s dark room in the corner. We dared not try to follow. Instead, while Nuan Shu and I guarded the entrance, the others searched the room. Mortimer was not here, but the path had ended. We must have missed something.
Sure enough, a concealed door was soon discovered that led up and out…outside the walls of the ‘tower’. Clearly there was something extra dimensional going on here.
At the top of the straight stairwell we found another door. Beyond that was Mortimer’s madness.
A dozen or more incarnations of Mortimer floated in the room. They laughed, they joked, they jumped around…then they asked why we had come. I explained that we were seeking to correct the history that had ignored Mortimer and gave him the book. The minutes stretched on as he read. His laughter turned to weeping. When he finished the book, it floated to the ground and Mortimer’s copies began to disappear. Eventually we were left alone in the room.

View
The rescue
Down in the sewers

Tarine 22nd
The path ahead was not a pleasant one.
The sewers of Fallham were mostly fifteen foot wide hallways with a sunken channel in the middle where raw sewage flowed. The stench was horrid, although after a few minutes we acclimated somewhat and the odor dropped to merely vile. That was before we had to submerge in it, however.
A short way in, the Prince explained, we had to go up a smaller channel that involved opening a grate and crawling through. The only blessing was that we didn’t have to put our heads down into it.
If only that had been the worst of it. Eventually we came to large room with a huge inverted pyramid. The sides were metallic and full of tiny holes through which filth oozed. Apparently this was some kind of shit sieve…and we had to get through it.
Jalen quaffed a potion that enabled him to fly, and headed up for a better look. It didn’t take long for him to find a small locked hatch. Opening that sent a deluge of less filtered matter cascading down into our room. Fortunately, Jalen managed to dodge most of it. This is when we realized that the worst was yet to come. Before long the holding tank above us had lowered enough that passage into the pyramid holding tank was possible and so Jalen tied off a rope and we began ascending into the room above. In this room, pipes from every direction fed into the filter pit which was a deep pool of the city’s detritus and bodily waste. Above the pool the gasses had collected which made breathing difficult and lighting a torch dangerous. The biggest danger, however, were the creatures that lived in the pool.
Through our mental connection, Faelyn warned us that these bizarre creatures were called Otyughs. Thick, slimy tree-trunk-like torsos ended in a large toothy maw above. Additionally, they had tentacles with which they lashed out at us. We felled them, but I’m not sure I’ll ever feel clean again. Nuan Shu took the worst of it as she challenged the largest of the Otyughs. That’s when I noticed that Faelyn was completely clean. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to use his magic to clean the rest of us too.
“Believe me, I don’t want to smell you either”, Faelyn responded.
A small walk way surrounded the pit, and there were locked doors in two of the corners. Jalen inspected the doors and discovered that one of them was of much better construction and had a very high quality lock on it. The other was fairly ordinary. The Little Prince cautioned us that the Syndicate would most likely be in the direction of the best locks and traps. Jalen thought it best to open the both doors, “just to see”, and it turned out to be a useful endeavor.
“If we have to run, we’ll go down through the crap door, but they’ll think we went through that door”.
The better door opened into a hallway that led away for a hundred feet or more. We figured we were getting close, so I created an aura of silence. This also proved to be prophetic, as halfway down the hall a lone guard stood vigil. He never got a chance to sound an alarm, however, as we came at him from the dark in absolute silence. He was standing beside a portcullis that led to a small prison. Sure enough, we found Dayton Golding in one of the cells. He was in terrible shape, but was mercifully unconscious, when we found him shackled to the wall of his tiny cell. Many of his joints were dislocated, and he was clearly the victim of torture. Among his injuries, an eye had been put out, one of his feet had been flayed and his manhood had been cut, or possibly torn off. No mere cure would be enough to get this man up and moving, so I entreated Diakris to fully heal him. Unfortunately, some of Dayton’s injuries would require regeneration, including, we soon learned, his tongue. It didn’t take long to calm him down and explain that we were rescuing him. He balked, however, as I tried to lead him out of the prison, pointing at a blank section of wall with his mangled hand. We soon discovered the secret door that he was indicating. His cell looked out on it, so no doubt he had witnessed his guards using it. Beyond the locks and traps that Jalen bypassed was a large room. We found the note that Dayton wanted in a desk.
All was going well up to that point, but I feared that the longer we delayed the greater the chance of being discovered, which would threaten the whole mission. Sure enough, as we hustled back towards the poop pit we heard an alarm go off. Once through the hatch, we re-closed and latched it. From above the small door would soon disappear under the filth and any pursuers would have to assume we went through the second door that Jalen had opened.
We were not home free, however. As we went back through the soupy gate we were attacked. As Jalen and Tanka were waiting for the rest of us to get through a dwarf suddenly appeared in front of the scout and struck him repeatedly. Later we realized that this was the same dwarf that we’d seen talking to Keltin. His nick name was ‘The Answer’. We eventually slew him, but he led us a merry chase all over the sewers, knocking our weapons aside and striking with blinding speed and surprising power. We managed to keep everyone alive, but only barely. Both Nuan Shu and Jalen were knocked unconscious at one point and needed to be pulled from a grim death beneath the stinky stream.
In the end, I left his body hidden in murky liquid. If his friends looked for him here it will be unlikely that they’ll find him. This will also make our approach and escape that much harder to understand later.
We made it out of the sewers and through the city streets without further trouble. Faelyn cleaned us up with his magic before we set foot outside. Not only was it disgusting, but would also draw unwanted attention to our group to be walking about covered in shit.
We met up with Marala back at the camp after a few hours. We were still a little nervous about being followed, so we broke camp and traveled another hour or so away from town with Tanka carefully obscuring our tracks. Faelyn wouldn’t be able to teleport us until the morning, so we wanted to have as safe a place as possible to spend the night.
Once camped we also got some decent clothes for Dayton. He is about my size, but my spare clothes hung so loosely on him. After our ordeal, no one had much of an appetite, but I prepared Diakris’ Table to sup us all. At the very least, it would cure the diseases that most of us likely contracted in the sewers.
Wow, I know that I am completely clean, but I still can’t seem to get that smell out of my nose.

Tarine 23rd
Faelyn returned us to Earl Summer’s compound in Grinadier, saving us a month of travel. One of the Earl’s servants saw us arrive and let us know that Westin wanted to see us immediately.
Westin was at his desk when we arrived and made us wait for several minutes while he finished writing something. At one point that may have annoyed me, but now I see it for what it is…a silly little power play on Westin’s part. If we have to wait for him, then he has to be more important than us. I grinned and waited patiently once that realization came to me.
When he finally looked up and saw Dayton with us, Westin seemed genuinely pleased. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him smile before. Even before debriefing, he called someone in and gave him instructions. Soon after, a priest arrived and regenerated Dayton’s tongue. I guess the other parts have to wait.
We spent an hour or so giving Westin all the information we could remember: The state of Fallham; what we knew of the Dark Syndicate etc. The letter that Dayton found in the dwarf monk’s room was of special interest too. Naturally, Westin was able to glean a lot more information from the writing than we were.
The letter read:
Claw,
You should thank your stars that you have not had to deal with our employer’s candidate! He is a complete idiot. I’m sure you would have ripped him in two by now. Believe me, I have considered it! But I’m slowly learning how to manipulate him and as he gains some maturity, he may be useful yet. At any rate, we are stuck with him.
Our efforts to discredit the target have been ineffectual. It appears our plan may have been compromised. I suggest we reconsider our original plan. As we discussed, the target is highly protected and our information indicates he is further protected with a contingency (teleport) and clone spell. Although the contingency is easy to overcome, I do not believe our Permanent Death will prevent the clone spell from saving him. I have read about a powerful dagger called The Dark Devour, which will not only destroy the target, but his soul as well. This may even make the Permanent Death unnecessary, saving us a tremendous amount of gold. I suggest we look for the location of this dagger to implement our original plan.
It sounds as though things are going smoothly back home. Continue to rely on the Answer. He is very wise and has always provided me with exceptional counsel.
The Brain

We shared that Aldin Barrington was often referred to as ‘The Brains’ of the Dark Syndicate, so it seems logical that he had written it. Since we knew that Aldin had been, and likely still was, in Grinadier it seems logical that the ’Employer’s candidate’ was someone here in the city. Comments about needing maturity suggest a young person.
We discussed this at length and it seems to me that they are trying to position the Earl of the East to replace the Duke. Obviously they aren’t working with Earl Summers. He’s the one they are hellbent to discredit. The Earl of the North, Howard Whitfield is middle aged and pragmatic. He doesn’t match the description and doesn’t seem likely to be easily manipulated. The Earl of the South, Steward Bowman is also middle aged and likely set in his ways. He’s also the least popular due in part to his sadistic nature. His son, Radley, however, might fit. At 22 he may be immature. Apparently he fancies himself a ladies man as well. If his father were to suddenly die, few would be upset, and if Aldin were positioning Radley then perhaps he is the ‘candidate’.
However, my money is on the Earl of the East. Stuart is just 17 and the two people that stood between himself and the Earldom strangely vacated. His brother is missing and presumed dead while his father unexpectedly stepped down. I know little about the boy, but he seems the most likely candidate and bears gathering more information. Westin agreed and indicated that he would be putting some resources into doing just that.
The second paragraph seemed to refer to their efforts to discredit or kill Earl Summers. Apparently they have moved to plan two which is to kill the Earl. They are looking for a dagger called the ‘Dark Devour’ to bypass the protections the Earl has. This may be the object that The Claw was looking for that Myla’s note said was in the top of Mortimer’s tower. Westin was familiar with it. Mortimer was a powerful sorceror a couple hundred years ago and his tower was South of Grinadier. Apparently he started worshipping Katlan at some point. Followers of Katlan are often either assassins or powerful magicians looking for ways to cheat their own death. Looks like we have our next mission. Westin pointed out something that I had missed. The details in paragraph two suggested a spy in the Earl’s camp…someone who would know what spells he has and what spells are active. Later it occurred to me that his apprentice, Millie, would likely know that. She’s been with him a long time though. We’ll need a list of people who would have that information.
The final paragraph was satisfying. By killing the Dwarf Monk we had likely removed the Claw’s main source of guidance. By disposing of his body in the sewer it is my hope that they never find him and never learn what happened to him.

The last bit of information we shared was Lilliana’s comment about the levies being called. Westin seemed to think that Duke Canard of Celedon was planning something.
I can’t imagine living a life of constantly parsing random details to search for useful information. Hopefully we will not be involved in more intrigue any time soon, but I suspect I may be disappointed.

View
The Little Prince
Bring out yer dead

Tarine 19th
It was more than a little disturbing that this teen had been able to identify and track us. Later we realized, however, that his group was one that had eyes that saw but were seldom seen. They also would make a very useful ally if we could trust them. I think that we can, but I hope that this trust doesn’t come back to cause problems.
Once we decided that the request was legitimate and worthy of our efforts we agreed to meet the boy near the gates of Point Breeze. From what we’ve learned so far this disease is spreading and no one seems to be concerned. If permitted, it could end up an unstoppable epidemic.
I was a bit surprised to see constables posted at the gate between the Western Docks and Point Breeze. They looked us up and down as we approached, but didn’t say anything or try to interfere with us. I assume that they are on the look out for signs of the disease. Beyond the gate the road was narrow and the houses shabby. Here and there we saw abandoned houses and businesses marked with red painted ’X’s. The Little Prince later confirmed that these are quarantined buildings. We also saw very few people on the streets.
Before long the boy found us again and thanked us for coming. He repeated his warnings about the Breezy Point Gang and took the lead. Before long however, we heard the bold laughter of men ahead and when we looked to the Prince for guidance, saw that he had vanished. We didn’t have time to make a plan, however, as within seconds, a pair of toughs rounded a corner ahead. Behind them were several others, and Tanka elbowed me to indicate that he heard someone on the roof as well.
I hoped to avoid a confrontation, but the way they approached us led me to believe that it might be inevitable. They demanded to know who we were and why were here as they tried to size us up. I went with the truth, explaining that I was a priest and was here to help with the plague problem. Surely this was a concern of theirs, street toughs or no. However, they insisted on trying to extort us, and I really wanted to not have to kill them all despite their efforts to convince me otherwise. If they didn’t care that people all around them were dying from disease, perhaps they would care if it was more personal. So I made up some likely sounding symptoms and pretended to see them in one of toughs. As hoped, their tone changed quickly, and they quickly agreed to give us free passage in the district in return for curing their stricken brother. I also enjoyed the panic in the eyes of the others as they edged away from their ‘sick’ friend. Once I completed the ‘cure’ we continued down the street until the Prince reappeared from a side alley. He was pleased that it hadn’t come to violence.
“Even if you kill them you’ll bring trouble down on ya when The Claw finds out”
Our guide led us about halfway across the mostly empty district and then past some barricades and into an alley. The alley ended in a small cul-de-sack surrounded by boarded up warehouses. The children lived in one of the warehouses.
Inside, nervous, gaunt faces peered around corners to get a look at us. Some of them seemed just short of terrified to have armed adults inside their sanctuary. The Prince had quarantined the worst cases to try to prevent the spread, and I noted that despite the squalor, the children had kept the place surprisingly clean and tidy.
There were five children, including the Prince’s friend William, in the quarantine room, but he appeared the worst. The most obvious physical symptom was a red, angry rash that seemed to begin in the ears. Now that I could see the symptoms, the nature of the disease was obvious. This was Mind Fire. After the rash finished spreading, the disease began affecting the victim’s mind, subtly at first, but eventually leading to insanity. Fallham had seen this outbreak before. It could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to run it’s course, but in the end it was usually fatal.
William was in the last stages and didn’t have long.
However, he responded immediately when I called upon Diakris to remove the disease from him. In total, there were nine affected children out of the twenty five to thirty that lived there, so I decided to feed them with the Lord’s Feast. They needed to eat anyway. It was rewarding to see their eyes light up when I set the table.
As we were eating I asked the Prince if he knew any others that needed Diakris’ help and he mentioned a woman that ran a restaurant that often fed his family. He hadn’t seen her in a while and was concerned. So, after the meal, we all set off to find her. William went with us and we got to see them in action. They worked as a well polished team to guide us through the warrens while avoiding the dangers.
The little diner was closed when we got there, but a woman eventually answered our knocks. Sure enough, Martha showed signs of the disease, but I was able to cure her.
We let the teens lead us back to the Western Docks where we said our good byes.
Although I could make a difference, it occurred to me that this outbreak was more than I could handle on my own, so I headed over to the Temple of Farian. As the largest and most well funded church in Fallham, I figure that they could do the most to help. The High Priestess was unavailable, but I made an appointment for the next day. Before returning home I also stopped off at the Temple of Diakris and spoke with High Priest, Urian Alger. He promised to do what he could.

Tarine 20th
Jalen headed out after breakfast to gather information, or to frequent some taverns. Both activities look pretty similar to me. As usual, he adopted a fresh disguise so hopefully he will not draw attention to himself or to the rest of us. He learned that Duke Canard was planning a visit soon. He would be the Earl’s superior, apparently they were friends as well. This makes sense, as we’ve seen an unexpected bit of work being done to repair and tidy up the city. This stands out from the usual neglect. Apparently the Earl is also calling in the levies. I can’t imagine what that might portend, but it seems like information that Westin should get. He also spoke with Parts who said that he overheard a conversation that the Claw had with one of his people. It seems that they have someone that they can’t get to talk. Given the other clues, it seems likely that this is Dayton. If so, the Dark Syndicate has him and are trying to interrogate him. We need to spring him immediately.
Meanwhile, I went back to the temple of Farian to speak with their high priestess about the plague. We’ve decided that it’s unwise to travel alone in the city, so Tanka accompanied me. I guess I’m starting to come to terms with him being my brother, but it’s still strange to think about.
I was able to speak with High Priestess Arana, and she seems to understand the importance of acting and acting quickly. It took all of my charm and wits to get her to look past her mercenary inclinations, however. I just hope that we aren’t too late.
This evening, Faelyn and I took another look at the orb. Despite our divinations and incantations, however, the purpose of this orb remains a mystery to us. It occurred to Faelyn that our best hope would be research. Unfortunately, the best library for this sort of thing is owned by the Dwarves in Grinadier. This will have to be tabled until then. We’ll have to worry about how to get the Dwarves to grant us access to their library later.

Tarine 21st
Apparently the Syndicate is on to us. We left Faelyn back in our rooms while, Jalen, Tanka, Nuan Shu and I headed out to try to sell some of Archer’s gear. However, along the way we were attacked. Jalen recognized the half elf and the human twins as Syndicate toughs. The Halfling was new to him. Fortunately, we had most of our strength. Nuan Shu managed to cut down the three warriors, but the halfling managed to slip behind me and get a blade past my defenses. Tanka nearly killed her, but she got away.
Clearly time is no longer on our side and we can’t wait any more. Ready or not, we need to try to break into the Syndicate’s dungeons and find Dayton.
We decided we’d still need to wait an extra day because we had important information that would die with us if we didn’t succeed with the jail break. So, Jalen met with Raven this evening and filled her in.

Tarine 22nd
The Prince knew a way into the dungeons. It wasn’t going to be a pleasant trip, but hopefully it would give us an element of surprise. Given the strength of the Dark Syndicate, we’d need every edge we could get.
Apparently there was a way in through the sewers, and the Prince was confident that it would not be guarded. There might be other dangers, but it still seems like our best choice. It’s not a pleasant option though. He led us through several locked doors down near the waterfront and finally left us when he felt that we couldn’t get lost. We would be wading through raw sewage and human waste, however. No one balked though, not even Faelyn. Diakris, give us strength and guidance.

View
Interrogation

Tarine 17th
It turns out that obtaining the Earl’s secretary was the easy part. Although not especially wise or mentally adept, she has the stubbornness that old age often brings. She was also more afraid of the Dark Syndicate than she was of us. She answered a few of my questions, but was annoyingly defiant in them. In the end, we needed Faelyn to ‘befriend’ her. However, even in that she seemed more apt to manipulate the Elf than the other way around.
We were able to determine a few useful tidbits though. She was in fact the one who had told Keltin, aka, The Claw, about Dayton. She didn’t know what they had done with or to him, but she was confident that they were behind his disappearance. Interestingly, she believes that Dayton may be alive still. Apparently Keltin doesn’t like to waste an opportunity to make an example out of anyone who would cross him, and Dayton certainly seems to fit that bill.
Apparently she had been feeding information to Keltin for some time and being paid handsomely for doing so. She sent him anything that she thought he’d be interested in. Important people arriving in town; official actions that affected the Syndicate; valuable cargoes available at docks etc. She also confirmed that Alden Barrington was frequently a guest at the castle and that he and the Earl had a good relationship. From her telling, the Earl was not directly involved in the corruption, however. Myla made it seem that he was simply an inept ruler which made it possible for those below him to be corrupt.
She also confirmed the presence of another source of information in the castle. A squire named Harold would sometimes feed her intelligence. If he wears his necklace outside his tunic then he had something. I don’t see how this will help us, but perhaps.
Once it was clear that we had as much as we were going to get we sent Jalen to meet with Raven. This was something that Westin would want to hear as soon as possible. Once I had given him sufficient time to get back to town and meet up I sent him a mental message. His reply was surprising. He was returning WITH WESTIN, who would personally take charge of the Earl’s secretary. No doubt he would be much better at discovering her secrets.
When Jalen returned, he was with an old woman…an impressive disguise. Westin made veiled threats to us while comforting Myla, so we took the hint and left. This cloak and dagger business is not my strong suit apparently.

Tarine 18th
We woke this morning to a commotion down the street. After arming ourselves we followed the crowd and discovered the mangled and dismembered body of Captain Sylban Reach left on the docks for all to see. The note pinned to his chest with a dagger made it plain that he had angered Keltin by allowing someone to steal the Syndicate’s gold. It read: “The Syndicate’s reward for failure and cowardice. The reward is greater to those who have stolen from us”. Nearby his legs had a separate note that taunted saying that the Captain would never run again.
Later, we attempted to meet up with the Captain of the Black Wind. Talus wanted to warn her that Archer was planning to attack her. Unfortunately, Willow was not at her ship and the guard there either didn’t know where she was or would not tell us. Talus and Nuan spent an hour waiting at the tavern where they had first met, but to no avail. Finally, it was time for Talus to meet up with Archer. It turns out that we found both he and the Captain at the same time. We arrived at the Silver Anchor just in time to see the Ranger fill Willow full of arrows. We raced to stop him before he could reach Willow and take his prize, but he proved a difficult foe, launching arrows with as deadly accuracy as Tanka. His horse was also well trained and attacked Talus and Nuan Shu as they approached. In the end, his arrows slew Talus, but we were able to kill him and also save Willow.
Once healed, Willow took us all to her nearby apartment. From the look of things, she maintained the room for her visits to Fallham. It was not large, but it was well appointed. She was grateful and gave us a detailed version of the story of the orb. She had tried to sell it in Corisand, but didn’t trust the small, spidery man that had made contact with her. She fled Westsage after being attacked shortly after that meeting and sailed along the Southern coast to Fallham. She had decided that it wasn’t worth holding on to, and so offered it to us as a reward for saving her life. Faelyn and I will take a look at it tomorrow to see if we can figure it out. She also promised that she would be happy to have us aboard her ship any time we chose. We’d have to travel where she was going, but we could do so at no charge.

Tarine 19th
We woke this morning to a knock at the door. We’ve taken great pains to not be tracked back to our rooms, so this was disconcerting. The boy at the door was apparently one of the street urchins who survived as pick pockets and through other unsavory means. He said they called him the ‘Little Prince’. I assume he’s the leader of their group. He was asking for my help specifically in healing his sick friend. Apparently they have eyes everywhere and noticed when I healed Narala the other day near the docks. No good deed goes unpunished it seems.
He was quite open in answering our questions though. From his replies it sounds like the crazy disease in Breezy Point is spreading and no one is taking note. We may end up with an epidemic on our hands. Although extremely suspicious of the boy at first, by the end of our interrogation I believed his story and came to the realization that I had to help and would have to act quickly.
We warned us of the gang that ran Breezy Point as well. Feargus Mander and Cappy would be trouble if we crossed them. It occurred to me that if this went well we could find ourselves in possession of an excellent source of information in this little gang. Well, time to pray.

View
Forging alliances
Continuing to sort the clues regarding the missing Dayton

Belintine 30th
Last night we scuttled the ship and got as far away from the cove as we could before crashing. The Laetitian woman, Marala, was distraught over the loss of her people, as one might suspect. However, with Faelyn visiting his ancestors, no one could speak to her. I was able, with Diakris’ power, to understand her, but we were limited to playing a game of Gestures to communicate back to her. It was also a chilly, damp camp without Faelyn’s protective dome.

Tarine 1st
The trip back to Fallham has been a bit stressful. With the ship captain, Sylban Reach, out in the wind, we were concerned that the Dark Syndicate would be looking for us. So we took a more round about route.
I returned Faelyn to the living. It’s sad to say that after just a few times, this power over life and death is starting to feel routine. I must be wary not to take Diakris’ power for granted. I will also need to find a replacement diamond as soon as we get back to the city. Without a gateway for the soul of the departed, my power is useless. It’s odd watching the diamond turn dark and then collapse in on itself after it serves its function.

Tarine 2nd
We made it back to Fallham some time in the mid afternoon. We decided a new venue would be appropriate and so said our good byes and relocated to the Crystal Sea Inn. We have a bit of a complication, however. Marala doesn’t want to leave us. On one hand, I want to help her. She’s alone in a foreign land with no friends, no money and a heavy burden. On the other hand, we have a job to do that could lead trouble to her if we make mistakes. On yet a third hand, I am suspicious of the timing. We are struggling to know who we can and cannot trust here already. Having a stranger live with us is troubling. Also, there is a strange dynamic between Tanka and Marala. She is clearly no fainting maiden, but it’s still odd to note that she seems to think that Tanka needs to be under her protection. On the trip back there were several occasions where she treated the Ranger like he was a dim-witted child, unaware of the most basic and obvious things.
However, I don’t have the time or inclination to get involved in their situation. I just hope it’s not a mistake letting her stay with us.

Tarine 3rd
I’m not sure where to start. A week ago I was a lone, surviving orphan. Today, I have learned that I have not one, but two brothers who are still alive.
I went to dinner at Carson’s home this evening. Talus came with me for added security. It’s too dangerous to travel alone if we can help it. Carson is an interesting character. On one hand, he seems like a stand up guy who is trying to do right by his friends and his city (or at least, his district). On the other hand, he is incredibly bigoted and accepts that the Dark Syndicate is in charge.
It was odd, seeing Toby again. We both assumed that the other had died in the attack on the Smithy all those years ago. He’s doing well though. Carson took him in and got him a job with the constables when he was old enough. Our relationship felt strange though. We were both glad to see each other and to talk, but our lives have grown in very different directions. It’s not clear what the future will hold for us.
However, it was one of Carson’s stories that really threw me for a loop. Apparently he and dad both worked for the Syndicate years back. From his description, it didn’t sound like they were in deep with them; they just acted as armed escorts for various people. However, on one of their jobs dad helped a Laetitian woman escape slavery. He brought her back to town and apparently had a relationship with her. Carson seemed more embarrased that his friend, my dead father, had been sleeping with a Laetitian than he did about the fact that he had been cheating on mom. Apparently disdain for Laetitians runs deep around here. Both Carson and Toby think of them as barely Human. Anyway, dad apparently knocked up this woman and then sent her off, setting her up with a home and apothecary business near Grinadier. This piqued my interest, and the more questions I asked, the more clear it became that the woman in question was Tanka’s mother. It was not a giant mental leap to then realize that Tanka and I had the same father.
Later this evening I spoke to Tanka and he confirmed that we were brothers. He’s known it all along and apparently went out of his way to get into my unit in the military and stay with me all these years. But he never told me. I…I don’t understand. I’m both thrilled and pissed about this. How could he not tell me?! Why would he not think that I’d be happy to know? Did he think I’d be upset that my father had cheated on my mother? Did he think I wouldn’t accept him because of his Laetitian blood? I’m not sure what this knowledge will mean in the future, but right now I’m just happy to know that I have family, even if it’s strange, brooding, Tanka.
We also discussed the situation with the spreading madness that seems to have taken hold in Point Breeze, and the rash of murders taking place in Upper Hill. Frustratingly, Carson doesn’t seem concerned because it isn’t happening in his district. He proudly pointed out that The Docks’ caught their murderer…as if people are incapable of crossing district lines. Strange fellow, and potentially useful, I’ll just need to be careful how I handle him.

Tarine 4th
We are staking out the Whispering Wave tavern again. Jalen met with Raven last night and she wants us to intercept the case the next time Myla makes a transfer to learn what is being transported. After discussing it, we have decided that once she makes the transfer, we’ll intercept the Dark Syndicate courier and make it look like a robbery. Jalen reported that last time, he did not seem at all wary. Well, if the Syndicate thinks that their ownership of the city makes them safe, then it’ll just make our job easier.
Fortunately we know the time window for this since we all need to be on standby. Now we just need to wait until the transfer takes place.
Meanwhile, I’ve decided to try to get Rolden back into the fold. After discussing it with the others I think the best approach is to befriend his girlfriend. Faylinn is a sweet girl. She seems genuine and hard-working. I met her when I went into the Island Pearl for lunch. She was suspicious of my motives at first, but once I made it clear that I wasn’t making a play for her, she was very friendly and quite willing to chat with me.

Tarine 8th
We continue to stake out the Whispering Waves tavern, but so far, no 3rd glass of wine and no case transfer.
I’ve also gotten very chummy with Faylinn. Rolden the Cursed is a lucky man.
We also caught sight of the ship captain, Sylban Reach, entering the Syndicate’s club, The Riposte. No telling how long he’s been in town, but this confirms that he’s part of their organization. We will need to be careful not to get noticed.

Tarine 13th
Myla made the transfer this evening and we intercepted the Dark Syndicate courier in an alley that we had staked out. He went down quickly and without raising an alarm. It felt odd ambushing a man in the middle of the city. However, knowing his employers, it also felt like justice. If only we could so easily purge the rest of the disease that has beset Fallham.
The contents of the case were two notes. They seemed to be written in code, so Jalen took these to Raven immediately to see if she understands them. The notes read:
“Blue putting pressure on Harry. Expect visitors in Red Square tomorrow night.”
“The item you seek is rumored to be located at the top of Mortimer’s Tower.”
Raven thinks that Blue refers to the weathy people the city and that Harry was likely the Earl. This was a warning that some place was about to be raided. The other note is less clear, but doesn’t seem to be pertinent to our job here. News of an unknown object somewhere isn’t actionable.

Tarine 14th
We heard a rumor about a gambling den in Upper Hill square that was raided by the guards. Without the warning this likely resulted in a damaging raid for the Syndicate. I’m sure it won’t be long lasting as the Earl is in their pocket, but perhaps it will put a strain on that relationship. Better than nothing.
Talus and Jalen also visited the Captain Willow Stormsense. She told a very different story about the orb which suggested that the horseman had been lying to us. The captain’s story was interesting. Apparently she found the orb in the belly of a fish and tried to sell it to the Gray Cabal in Corisand. However, she sensed that something was wrong once she landed and had started making inquiries, and so she fled. Later she was attacked in Westsage. It appears that the Star Cloaked wizards want this orb and are willing to kill to get it. Being on the wrong side of that group is a good sign as far as I’m concerned.

I had dinner with Rolden and Faylinn today. Rolden seems like a stand up guy. Once he realized that I wasn’t moving in on his girlfriend, we got along well. I dropped a hint that I wanted to talk to him one on one and he mentioned a tavern that he frequents. Hopefully tomorrow we can catch up there.

Tarine 15th
Lilliana set the plant out in the window today, indicating that she wanted to talk to us. In fact, she had some interesting gossip. A minor noble named Harold Lightfoot had bragged that he was about to be elevated to an Earldom. I don’t know how this affects us, but we can pass it along to Westin. It also means that she is willing to continue to provide intelligence for us. Hopefully we’ll finish up soon and can pass her along to someone else (or back to Dayton if we find him alive and well somewhere). We have decided to assist her financially to the tune of a gold crown per week.
Similarly, I met with Rolden and explained that I was trying to find Dayton. He rightly feels like he owes a huge debt to Dayton for turning his life around and is very concerned that his benefactor has disappeared. He too will likely be able to continue to assist us. One tidbit he gave was that a group of three assassins passed through the harbor from the islands. They arrived on Diakrine 4th and as we discussed it later, it seems that this is what Marlo’s mysterious note likely referred to back in Cordine. I don’t know the significance, but I have a feeling that it will be important later on.

Tarine 16th
Jalen met with Raven again today. She told us that Westin wants us to question Myla Reynolds. We discussed it among the group and have decided to grab her on the way to the Whispering Waves and teleport her somewhere where we can be undisturbed. Once we have the answers we need we will hand her over to Raven who will smuggle her out of the city and into a new life. We can’t have her running to the Earl or to the Syndicate, but she doesn’t deserve to die.

Tarine 17th
Our plan to snatch Myla seems to have gone off perfectly. Faelyn and Jalyn approached her invisibly as she was walking to the tavern and teleported the three of them to where the rest of us were waiting, outside of town. Lets hope she is willing to talk.

View
A troubled city
Searching for clues in Fallham

Belentine 12th
After a difficult encounter with Lilliana that left her antagonistic toward Jalen, we all sat back and did some planning. We need to be careful how we proceed. As I mentioned previously, we are in dangerous place and don’t even know where the traps are.
Although we’re a little apprehensive to split our group, we finally decided that as long as we didn’t do anything to make waves or to draw attention to ourselves, that we should be safe simply observing and learning ‘from the shadows’, as Jalen kept saying. I reminded him that most of us are not very stealthy, and he explained that being unseen in the city was about blending in and looking like you belong, rather than actually remaining out of sight.
To that end, Jalen and I will be spending time in Upper Hill, learning what we can about the Splendid Manor and about the goings on there. I will start by shopping for the clothes that will let me blend in and then I’ll linger in the nicer taverns there to listen to the gossip and to see what’s going on. Jalen will be nearby skulking. Oh, turns out he does not care for that term. However, from the streets he will hopefully be able to learn different things about the area and the brothel.
Tanka and Nuan-Shu will spend some time on the docks. As a Laetitian adventurer it seems likely that he will not draw undue attention there while he observes activities of Roland and learns the goings on around the docks. There is likely a lot to learn there as Southern Imports and its people are active in that area. It seems unlikely that Nuan Shu will be bothered either. Much easier for folks to go about their business than to poke that hornet’s nest. Besides, toughs and muscle are common in that place.
Faelyn is going to play the part of an Elvish merchant with Talus as his bodyguard. He will spend hours every day in a Dart Hill restaurant observing and letting Elanor fly around outside watching.

Belentine 19th
It’s been an informative week. We’ve learned a great deal about what’s happening in the city. The city is divided into nine Wards, and apparently each Ward is run fairly independently. Catch the attention of the authorities in one Ward and it’s unlikely that the constables in neighboring districts will have any idea.
From Upper Hill, Jalen and I have learned that the girls at The Splendid Manor are not well treated. They are essentially indentured servants. The exorbitant prices they command go into the pockets of the owners, and Jalen also discovered that the Dark Brotherhood has a stake in it. This isn’t unusual as the more we learn, the more we see that they have their fingers in most things in the city.
We also learned that the women who are most in demand have a little more freedom. Lilliana and a few others are given a couple of days off each week. Jalen seems to have learned her schedule and he followed her when she left. She was extremely nervous and suspicious as she took a long, circuitous route back to her home in West Park. She was hiding a secret. She has a young daughter there and a nanny that watches her during the week. We’ve decided that if we confront her, this is the anchor that will get her to talk to her. We’ll need to handle that carefully though.
Meanwhile, Faelyn and Talus learned that Myla leaves the castle every evening around 6pm and walks to a nearby restaurant called the ‘Whispering Waves’ for dinner. She dresses well, but not extravagantly, and carries a small, lockable, handled case with her. Her routine is such that as soon as she enters, the tavern girl (a halfling), brings her a bowl of porridge and a glass of wine as soon as she is seated. She takes her time with dinner and always has a second glass of wine before leaving after an hour or two. As dull a routine as that appears to be, Faelyn did notice something yesterday. Last night she ordered a third glass, and as soon as the halfling delivered the wine to Myla, she slipped into the kitchen. Elanor saw her leave through a back door and disappear down an alley. A few minutes later the servant returned. Also, when Myla left, she ‘forgot’ her case. While she was gone, a man that Faelyn had not seen before entered the tavern with an identical case and sat at the same table. He left after a drink with the case that Myla had forgotten. When the secretary returned a while later for her forgotten bag, she took the one that the man had left behind. Clearly she was performing a slick and well practiced exchange. We’ll need to get Jalen to follow the man the next time in order to see where he goes and to see what the case contains.
On the Docks, Tanka and Nuan-Shu settled into the ebb and flow of life there. They learned, much to our surprise, that Rolden the Cursed is possessing of two good legs. After talking to folks it seems that this transformation is fairly recent; within the past couple of months. He also has a girlfriend that works in the Island Pearl in Upper Hill. He lives in the Western Docks and works for Southern Imports. They also observed a somewhat amateuring group of older children running a pick pocketing ring. They were working together and targeting well-to-do visitors rather than locals.
In general news, we heard multiple accounts of murders taking place in Upper Hill and Dart Hill. The victims appear to be clawed and ripped apart in a gruesome fashion. I suspect lycanthropes, but the victims are apparently all young, pretty girls, so perhaps there is some other motive.
We also encountered a man with a trained horse, hustling the streets for tips. The man’s name is Archer Kipling. His horse is Ulysses.
Today, at the docks, Tanka and Nuan Shu observed an encounter where a man challenged a regular named Keltin. Keltin appears to be in charge of the docks. People come to him and he tells them what to do. He is also an enormous and intimidating man. The challenger announced the Keltin was going to ‘pay for his sins’, shortly before Keltin disemboweled him with a pair of wicked, curved daggers. We later learned from a beggar named ‘Parts’ that this is none other than ‘The Claw’, who is a major figure in the Dark Brotherhood.

Belentine 20th
After discussing the situation with Lilliana, we decided to confront her. It seems unlikely that she is the culprit behind Dayton’s disappearance, but there is a chance that we can learn more about him if we handle her the right way. Our plan was to confront her when she was away from her home, on the streets, so we waited til she left and then went to talk to her. Jalen opened the conversation with the knowledge that we know about her daughter. Needless to say, this put her on the defensive, so I did my best to calm her fears, telling her that we had no intention of causing her any trouble. Between us, we managed to discover that her connection to Dayton started when he bought her the house so that she would have a safe place to raise her little girl. She would tell him tidbits that she had learned at her job, and he helped support her. Jalen offered to continue to support her and asked that she continue to provide information. I’m not sure what we’ll learn, but it was a pretty good outcome after such a shaky start.
This evening as I was returning home I happened upon Boylee, a thug that I recalled from my childhood. He was eating dinner with a constable; a singularly hideous man that I dimly recalled being a friend of my father’s. Here we had a member of the city’s underbelly chumming with the law. I think I should go talk to Martha about the constable. She will likely know more about him and his relationship to father. Maybe this is an avenue for information. Maybe this is someone to avoid.

Belentine 21st
Today I took some time off from sitting around in nice taverns to go talk to some people. First I stopped off at the candle makers’ shop. Martha confirmed that the constable Carson, was a good man and apparently had been a great friend of my father’s. She informed me that, more than once, they had adventured together. I had no idea my father had ever been an adventurer. Perhaps I should go and talk to him.
I also ventured out onto the docks to speak with Parts. Here was a man who had to have seen everything going on there, and as a beggar, was likely willing to share for some coin. I wasn’t wrong. He confirmed that the Claw ran the show for Southern Imports here on the dock. Here was more evidence of the Dark Syndicate controlling Southern Imports. He also shared his horrific tale. Apparently he had been mistaken for someone else when he was a young man. As proof that they had him, the kidnappers began sending back pieces of the man to someone else’s family. Before they figured out thier mistake, the man now known as ‘Parts’ was missing many important pieces of himself.
This evening Talus also reported that he was contacted by Archer Kipling who wants him to help him find and collect something from a pirate named Willow Stormsense; the captain of the Black Wind. The horseman wants to take Willow back with him for judgement, dead or alive. This seems a foolish and unnecessary distraction, but Talus is focused. He seems to think that it will lead to great personal wealth.

Belentine 23rd
Jalen met with Raven today and shared our intel. He seems to think that much of our information was news to her. Good. If anything happens to us, the knowledge may still get to where it can do some good.
We also heard a rumor today about the House of Silk, a whore house in Breezy Point. Apparently the girls went crazy there. Many strange things seem to be happening in the city.

Belentine 27th
Today Myla made another bag transfer. Jalen, followed the man who made the exchange and was surprised by how confident and unaware he was. The man led Jalen to a building in the Western Docks that had a sign declaring it “The Repost”. Outside the building, lounging and drinking he observed The Claw, along with the Elf Archer from the Splendid Manor gold shipment a few days ago. Also present was a cloak-wearing Dwarf. When we were discussing these discoveries this evening, Tanka remembered seeing a Dwarf that matched this description on the docks. Interestingly, he was one of the few people that met with the Claw there that The Claw did not seem to try to intimidate. Probably a higher up in the Dark Syndicate.

Belentine 28th
I met with Carson today. I found him at a tavern in the Docks and approached him. Once I explained who I was he became very excited and pleased to see me. He alluded to his friendship with my father and then dropped a fireball on me…my brother, Toby, is still alive! In fact, Carson took him in when my parents died and raised him as their own. We agreed to meet for dinner. He even told me that he’d get ahold of Toby and have him there too. Unfortunately, our plans were interrupted.
As I was walking toward the docks to find the others I ran into Tanka who was holding a badly injured Laetitian woman. Apparently she had run to him while being pursued by some men who were trying to kill her. Tanka had killed her pursuers only moments before I arrived. I sent messages to the others to meet us back at home and, after healing the woman, we quickly retreated to the safer location.
Jalen was late, however. He reported that while walking through the docks he was attacked by a man. From his description it sounded like he was hte victim of a confusion spell. Calm one moment, raging the next. I wonder if this has anything to do with the problems at the House of Silk.
Apparently Marala was the leader of a group of Laetitians who had been captured by a man named, Branish, and was forced into slavery. Since then they had been sold to a Captain Hardlaw who took them to the Southern Isles. There they were sold to Captain Sylban Reach who had brought them to Celedon. She had managed to escape, but had taken several arrows in the process. She begged us to go with her to free her friends. It smelled like a possible trap, but the severe injuries she had sustained attested to the truth of her story. It didn’t take long to decide. While Jalen and Nuan Shu ran off to find horses, the rest of us gathered our gear for the trip. As we were leaving, I paid a boy a few Coppers to take a message to Carson, apologizing for not being able to make it to dinner. Our mission was just too time sensitive. The slaver’s ship had landed in an isolated cove and would likely be meeting with a buyer soon.
It was late afternoon by the time we were able to set out, but we traveled until fairly late before setting camp. It may not be bitter cold, but Faelyn’s protective dome was still welcome for keeping the dew off of us.

Belentine 29th
We decided to skirt the market town of Seabarrow. It took us a little out of the way, but potentially saved us all sorts of entanglements.
When we came up to the little hidden cove that the slavers ship was on, we made some quick decisions about how to approach the situation. Jalen brought back the intel that there was a group of about 2 dozen sailors gathered around a fire on the beach, drinking. He couldn’t see anyone on the ship. That’s when we decided to skip around the sailors all together. Frankly, until they attacked us or we saw slaves, I was reluctant to just attack them. No one else seemed to have any such qualms. Marala stayed back about half a mile with the horses.
Things started off well. We managed to get almost everyone on the ship before they knew we were there. Things fell apart quickly after that. It seems that the captain is a sorcerer. At one point he confused Nuan Shu and she began attacking the group. Additionally, the pirates had a skilled archer hiding on the beach. Between those two, they kept us pinned down and running in circles. Eventually Tanka killed their archer. However, the captain escaped, fireballing his own ship to try to kill us, and he did manage to kill Faelyn. When we questioned one of the sailors after the fight he informed us that the ship was tied to the Dark Syndicate. With the captain on the loose, it seems we may have more troubles now.
Oh, and there were no slaves on board. Apparently they had been sold already. I feel like we did the right thing, but nothing worked out the way it should have. I’m not sure what Diakris is trying to teach me here, but I need to figure it out soon.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.