The Lance of Marduk

The Time of Cool Winds - Part Six
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

Aye, I don’t have to man the watch this evening, but I just cannot sleep or be calm – ‘tis already past the witching hour. The expedition will be a failure if I don’t try to rest, at least. Perhaps continuing in this chronicle will help me at least relax.
I’ll at least take the time to talk about my comrades – I’ve only been explaining our actions up until now. The only one, dear reader (if someone else reads this), that I have addressed would be Phenex, for obvious reasons stated already. I look forward to consider many of my comrades to becoming my adopted family – I would pledge my life to them when that time comes.
Let’s start with our Halfling, Vairis. I had found him tr’ying to steal Phenex’s belongings while she was in a drunken stupor. He has passed. No doubts about that anymore. He behaved exactly like my younger brother. So mischievous and always getting into trouble with everyone, especially the dwarves. He was rather nimble with his fingers, stealing things, gambling, whatever, you name it. But at the end of the day, he was a good-hearted fella – meaning well, but controlled by his impulses. I have a sense that he had to behave that way. I’ll never truly know now. Sleep well, brother. Aye, how he came to travel with me? I’ll tell that now with Phenex.
My sister’s doppelganger, Phenex. I found Phenex on the outskirts of Bern as I was departing the lands – it was the end of the third week of my exile. As you have read, Vairis was trying to steal her belongings, I stopped him and knocked him unconscious. Aye, the minute I paused and gazed at the whole scene. I saw my sister. Always drinking, always fumbling around and sleeping wherever and whenever she could drink no more. Aye, a problematic habit, but she was such a sweet-heart and a formidable mind. I could never get mad at her. I had no idea how she would behave when I first encountered Phenex. Either way, I could not leave her there, and it would not be wise for a Halfling to be left to the wolves (figuratively and physically). I slung both her and Vairis over my shoulder and they have been traveling with me since. Her skills are interesting – she has the Power of Tirlor, a rare and treasured gifts among the Dragonborn. I cannot truly explain it, but to put it simply: she has a way with words. Her combat skills are rather good too, I still feel that she need some more technical refinement though.
Aye, next we have our Half-Elf, Aryawnn. I know you reader. I know you are thinking that she reminds me of another sibling. Not this time. I do have an elder sister, but she behaves more like me, and is generally far more successful than I am (AND NOT EXILED).
I am technically under Aryawwn’s employment, but she sees me more as a peer than anything. I’ve missed this type of interaction with people – just an appreciation of skill and knowledge between two people as equals. I met her in Fallcrest – I was recruited to investigate the strange-goingson in Winterhaven. I’ll be joining her as a peer this time around – a hired arm is less effective than a comrade if you ask me. She is rather quiet and straight to the point. I like that in people; the more direct, the better thoughts can be formed, if you ask me. There is much more to her than it appears, but her mind is guarded well. I cannot read her on occasion because of that. This should not be worrysome, she follows logic more than emotions (though there is a time and place for emotions). Her skills are formidable and rather convenient at times. The problem is that her luck is not so high – she misses quite frequently. She has the skill, but something is nagging me that something is interfering with her full power. To put it in perspective, if she and I were gambling, I would win frequently. I am horrible at gambling.
Following Aryawnn, we have Bjorn. Aye, the team continues to get more diverse. He may be small, but the power that he wields is great – he is affiliated with the Ravenqueen, one who I recall to bestow great strength to her more devout followers. He is a rather hearty fellow. A thirst for life (figuratively and actually) that I have rarely seen. I don’t know much else about him right now except that he was Vairis’ lover and his combat skills are… well… I’ll say that I am not looking forward to being hit by him in any way if it reaches that point.
There is also Mykhail, our pyromaniac wizard. Most of us don’t like him, but we acknowledge his power. Either way, he is currently sitting…hanging… in a jail right now. We will probably fetch him eventually.
Aye, the fatigue has at last set in. Farewell for now.

Loyalties
Phalanx

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The Time of Cool Winds - Part Five
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

Not much time for writing later today, so might as well get it done now.
Aye, we’ve made it back to Winterhaven. I’ve set down our dwarven friend back in the inn – he is fine, he’ll be up proper later today. We’ll also be setting out later today to quell the rest of the local Kobolds – a request from the local noble. Of course, we will receive payment. Before that, I’ need to make my way to the market: we need some extra gold for supplies, and three platinum statues of Bahamut would give us some extra money (we of course kept two. – one for me and one for Bjorn, and it sounds like he has a plan for the platinum).

Oh, there’s a new sight. Phenex is up early.

Aye, ‘t’was Phenex. She’ s up and about buying supplies, and it looks like she is preparing breakfast again. Her cooking reminds me of my sister’s – she might as well be my sister’s doppelganger! And like my sister, I do not want to disappoint her, but there is no clean way to tell her that I cannot grant her request for the aid of my Riiae – I affirmed that I would ask, but I did not bluff well enough, I feel.
That being said, there is no clean way to tell the others that I am an exile. What a burden and a shame for me… my comrades know me honourable, and I am justified in that title by my Riiae and actions. Yet, the title “Exile” bears such a weight that I cannot truly escape. “Exile. Exile.” Such an odd word, now that I think about it. So fleeting, such a bitter and sour taste when spoken.
I wonder how my family is. . . .It will be a long while… how much I miss them…
Aye, but this is no time to get too sentimental, I still have my duty to do. I only hope that Bahamut guides me well.

Loyalties
Phalanx

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The Time of Cool Winds - Part Four
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

Aye a strange day indeed. We run into the first non-aggressive undead for the first time, and Bjorn has to go into a faith-charged assault.. I’ve never had to hit an ally with so much force before. He did not leave me with much choice. That and Ser Keegan would have torn us to shreds – his bones were moving too smoothly for an undead.. While I sympathize with Bjorn on the undead aspect, I noticed that Bahamut had left him intact when I prayed at the altar outside of the room yesterday – he was on the good side as far as I know. After our detaining of our now unconscious dwarven bag of potatoes, we had a strange discussion regarding raw grain consumption – I’ve never heard of such names for grains: Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and the sort. Afterwards, we got down to business and Ser Keegan began to elaborate about the dark forces that once plagued this keep. He cracked a few jokes. I forgot that the undead still have some sense of humour. They are rather Humerus at times (hehe…).
In the process, we managed to find out about the origins of the rumors to our necromancer problem – a cult of Orcus. We WILL run into some problems with them. Ser Keegan has entrusted us with solving this problem as well as Marla, and as proof, he bestowed upon us his enchanted blade. Aye, what a fine blade, with the crest of Bahamut nonetheless! But I felt that Phenex would make better use out of it in the long run – her old blade is a glorified mace at this point.

Loyalties
Phalenx

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Below
The Princess Diaries

Trestin, do you sleep soundly? I hope you lie that none may disturb you.
Our journey lead us to the depths of a keep today, old and abandoned. Maybe abandoned is the wrong word – the place was over-run by goblins and the undead. So many bones, so many dead, so many viciously locked in that limbo of undeath. Mindless, heartless, hopeless, ad infinitum… The mind was yours, your heart was mine, and the hope died when its heart ceased to beat. Please tell me some aspect lives beyond that.
I killed something.

I saved someone. The paladin fell, but I brought him back up. Maybe my attacks are as blind as ever, but now I can see a companion in need. Now I can rush in aid, mend damage, reinvigorate the falling. I can stave off death. But I can’t fix the damage done. Were my hand to falter, it’s as though I struck down a friend. If only then were now.
I killed someone.

Today is better to recount those events.
Interesting fellows those goblins: they apparently crafted themselves an alarm system of sorts using old animal bones, not that it was of much utility with our noisy gallivanting about. Rather, it gave us the liberty to enjoy our descent knowing that there was indeed something lying in wait, prepared for intruders. Evidently not well enough prepared, as the final blighter decided to flee rather than face us. I think I’m starting to get the hang of combat, and mercy have it, that dwarf can hit.

Thank Avandra we’ve got Phalanx with us, or we’d still be fighting – or more likely fallen victim to – an interminable swarm of zombie minions. Thank Bahamut we did not. I feel almost a twinge of guilt for taking his relics to sell.
Bjorn has more need for guilt than I though! We encountered an ancient Sir in his own sealed chamber of high acclaim, speaking with reticent wisdom, clearly wielding the power to destroy us all, should we choose not to cooperate, and lo and behold, Twinkletoes leaps straight into combat! He damnably near ruined all attempts at diplomacy, until dear blessed Phalanx knocked the half-a-man clean unconscious in one blow! Esteemed Sir Keegan told us much of an ancient encounter with the cult we face today, and I pray to any gods that may listen that this resurrection remains sufficiently weakened. He collapsed to ash, leaving Phenex his sword.

Phenex’s recent actions have been of interesting note. Where Phalanx, Bjorn, and myself all failed, she proved her knowledge of religion. She helped me stay alive, that’s for sure. She kept Bjorn at bay while he was being a pigeon-headed, witless runt. She gave me a guardian stone. It’s beautiful. It’s going to die.

Today, we seek out cultists.

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The Time of Cool Winds - Part Three
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

Just a day’s walk and we’ve reached the keep. From there, it is just a regular day as a soldier again. Except with more death (not us of course) than I’m accustomed to. First we skirmished with a small force of goblins – just as annoying as I remember them to be. I cannot believe that they were as lucky as they were: we took several severe hits. We survived well enough, but one escaped. Either way, he is hurt. He won’t last long without help.
But the fun did not end there. We encountered reanimated corpses,. The first ones were rather old and decaying, but as we proceeded further, we fought more… intact ones, for lack of a better word, that were bearing the crest of Bahamut – strange considering how Bahamut does not like the undead. This is concerning. Perhaps I will find the answer tomorrow. Either way, we have resolved our conflict simply by asking Bahamut to protect us – I should have guessed this in the first place. We are resting for the night; We need the rest. I could barely stand earlier – the dead are more deadly than I remember them to be.. Yet something bears ill. My scales do not sit well. I should steel myself for what I may need to do.

Loyalties
Phalanx

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Entry Four
A Tiefling's Story

It’s been a good long while since I had wrote in this journal, I hadn’t while in Winterhaven for a couple reasons which will become abundantly clear as I explain why. I’m currently writing in… well technically it is a keep, but fuck it, it’s a dungeon. We do have a new companion though: Bjorn. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
We entered Winterhaven before sundown. The wizard now re-bound and in the possession of Aryawwn and Phalanx when we got to the town, but the important thing was that he is not my responsibility, because if he was in my custody I’m certain I’d be leading him along by his intestines and not a rope. I was cradling the corpse of our fallen comrade, wrapped in his bedroll of course. Winterhaven was not a well-kept looking town. It wasn’t in disrepair; it just looked like it hadn’t the ability to maintain it to its full degree. Aryawwn and I gave our cargo to Phalanx as we gained entrance. I had Vairis’ letter and sought out his lover, asking the inn-keeper for his room number. I made my way to the room and after knocking, I heard the scuttling of feet and the sound of locks clicking open. The door opened slightly, revealing the Dwarf’s face. He wasn’t tall, even for a dwarf. He asked me who I was and what I wanted in a deep-throated voice. I told him my name and handed him the letter, which he promptly read with glistening eyes. He asked if Vairis was here, but I told him that he has since passed, even told him that it was the wizard who killed him. This detail is left out when some of us are telling people what happened. The Dwarf let out a single manly tear, before beginning to bawl. I embraced the odd cloaked dwarf and began to cry as well. This was when Aryawwn, Phalanx and Mykhail entered the hall, looking bewildered at the sight of a cloaked dwarf and a demon crying in the center of a room.
Bjorn’s tears turned to rage as he rushed past me and Phalanx with such great speed, the fastest I’ve ever seen a dwarf move. Aryawwn tried to grab the dwarf, but ended up in the oddest piggy-back ride ever. Bjorn punched Mykhail with such force and to a place so low that I thought the wizard’s balls just burst. The Dwarf began to lay a beat down on the wizard and was only calmed when I struck a deal with him that he may kill Mykhail when the quest has completed. After a cool-down Phalanx took Mykhail and went to the forge. Aryawwn pulled up conversations with the guards and an elven merc, who looked more than a little bit… well… off, to put it lightly. Bjorn and I had rounds at the tavern, which soon delved into a drinking contest like this city hath never seen before. I awoke in the morning with a major hangover, unsure of what had happened. Luckily Phalanx left some of that herbal stuff on the desk. I later found out that Mykhail is bound in the jailhouse until we can find out what to do with the porkish man. Aryawwn told us that we’d be heading to an old keep now swamped with goblins in search of the cultists. I doubted that we’d find anything, but she was the one in charge.
The keep seems like a bad idea now that we are here. Our entrance was none to graceful as Phalanx, Bjorn, and Aryawwn managed to alert all enemies to our presence with such efficiency that I was certain we’d be swamped. Luckily all we had to deal with were the jumpiest set of Goblin’s I’ve ever seen. As we went deeper into the crypt we did battle with many undead, like a metric shit ton of undead which is 23% larger than an English shit ton of undead. We’ll sleep in the altar room tonight.
~Phenex Bat-Laylah

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The Time of Cool Winds - Part Two
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

We have reached Winterhaven, but at a great cost. Vairis has fallen in an ambush set up by Kobolds.
It happened in a flash. They stormed from around the trees and flanked us from all sides. I was immobilized with what appeared to be a crude glue. I tried to hold the front and shield our band from the heavy attackers. Content Not Found: aryawwn-thetryn, Phenex, our Halfling named Vairis, and Mykhail tried to hold the rest of the forces back. Vairis tried to escape from the pincer that the Kobolds formed around him and I. However, they predicted his action and knocked him clean off his feet – he had the misfortune of landing on a rock and falling unconscious. It is what our pyrous and lardaceous friend, Mykhail did next that was the worst thing. He tried to sear the front with fire magic – he did, too well. I was burned, and the two Kobolds next to me were incinerated.
At my feet, I saw the charred remains of Vairis, .
There was a bitter taste of Kobold blood, and it tasted as sweet as it used to.
Another death that I could have prevented. If only you were not so rash, friend.
It grows late now. I shall recall what has happened since we have reached Winterhaven. We found Bjorn, Vairis’ boy toy (or was it the other way around? Whatever) and delivered a message from Vairis to him. Aye, he was not happy to find out about his death. We have Bjorn and Phenex settled down and drinking now – I swear, we could irrigate a farm with the tears they shed, but enough teasing them, it has been a long day. We plan to head out to an old keep that is supposedly occupied by goblins – the rumors stated that this would be a good place to start searching for that damned cult.

Loyalties
Phalanx

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- 1
The Princess Diaries

Dear gods. I’ve seen death before, but not like that. Not on my hands. Not of wounds that I was meant to heal. A closer friend, yes, but not my charge, not under my direction. The rogue wasn’t, it wasn’t my direction, he followed his own plans, joined of his own volition… didn’t we all? But there were none above. Trestin and I knew what we were getting into, or really we didn’t know, but we chose it. He died following their plan, the same plan I followed, so the blame was off my hands. Was it? They were the ones who orchestrated it, the ones to admit fault, not me. Here… no one else may answer to it. The rogue fell on my quest. My prayers are filled with repentance, and I shall not forget that small sir.
That was real combat, nothing like a hypothetical training environment, nothing like the choreographed advances of an army. Motions are not predetermined responses. Actions are fluid. The opponent is unpredictable. The allies are unpredictable. Most of all, the stakes are real and tangible. Too tangible…

We notified Bjorn; Mykhail shall be the last of his bloodline. Bjorn shall join us to avenge the halfling’s death. Burial rites were succinct and less than formal.
To business: Winterhaven is an underwhelming town. Within the city, there was very little of note or help. Overworked guards simply stood watch over daily happenings, otherwise oblivious. The one notable citizen I did meet seemed reluctant to communicate, though somewhat relieved to hear that the cult was indeed under investigation. She identified a nearby waterfall as an area of interest, but seemed eager to end the conversation shortly after. Pity Bjorn couldn’t have been a beautiful creature the likes of her.

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Entry Three
A Tiefling's Story

I write as we walk to… it’s not that I don’t remember I’m just too distraught to care.
We were following the forest path, not a worry in our minds. I had the wizard on a rope behind me, tugging him along whenever I felt him drift; I could feel him try to step on my tail, but to no avail. I didn’t raise a fuss, as someone raised with older cousins; I was use to the treatment. The Halfling and the Paladin were arguing about the migratory patterns of local wildlife, such as the deer that Phalanx has failed to spot. And the hobbit pointed out deer do not migrate. I and the wizard were singing travelling tunes to pass the time; because of this I guess I failed to feel the Cleric untie the wizard’s bonds.
The attack happened quickly, without warning the wizard shot a fireball in a direction just beyond the bend and a pack of Kobolds launched from their roosts surrounding us on all sides. I took out one, as Phalanx took out a couple others. The hobbit tried to get a good distance away, but ended up impaled at the end of a lance. He pulled himself off it, only to back into another. He repeated this in a comedic fashion, but the humor turned to horror as he collapsed to the ground; before I could help him that… fucking ingrate… launched a fiery explosion, hurting Phalanx, killing two Kobolds and the Halfling. I saw the life be scorched from his eyes. Even the Cleric was in shock, as she managed to whack herself in the head with her own mace… ouch.
Phalanx killed the last of the Kobolds. As it began to calm down, I clutched the body of my fallen comrade, cradling the crispy corpse in my hands I began to weep. A letter fell from my deceased friend’s pocket; it was addressed to his lover. I realized why leaving Fallcrest was important to him he was hoping to go home to the one person he loved. I learned my friends name was Vairis, why he never told us was beyond me, but I didn’t care. I didn’t open it, I just slipped the note into my pocket hoping to find the man it was addressed to… Bjorn.
My tears turned to rage as I launched myself at the wizard; Phalanx caught me and held me back. I wanted to gouge out his eyes, I wanted to rip out his tongue, I wanted to noose him with his fat intestines, I wanted to leave his mangled body to be devoured by the buzzards and eagles. Even though Phalanx held me firm, the Wizard seemed to go on the defensive, but Aryawwn stood in his way, she told me to be calm.
Be calm… be calm… BE CALM!
My anger was focused on the worthless sack of meat that called itself a man, but my hatred held fast to them both…
~Phenex Bat-Laylah

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The Time of Cool Winds - Part One
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

This has been an eventful past month. (and a long time since I have written here). The path of an exile does not leave much for me to do in my free time other than my job as a paladin and running from bounty hunters…
I encountered a drunkard Tiefling and a crook Halfling; I had to drag them out of Bern. Yet there is no motivation for me to reprimand them, just to make sure they stay out of trouble – they behave just like my younger brother and sister. The resemblance is uncanny. So, for my brother and sister, I accepted them into my family. I’ll be damned if I am unable to protect them..
Second, I got into a fight in town, in the Great Cathedral of all places! So be it. The fool that started the brawl was a rotund wizard with the most red eyes I have ever seen. He seems rather crafty and has an enthusiasm for fire (as noted due to his use of fire spells in general).
It turns out that a Half-Elf was searching for a party to go explore the area around…what was it… .Winter…? Winterhaven? Ahh…I remember Winterhaven, now. It has been far too long since I have ventured there. Perhaps during my next wanderings that I will visit there more often. I digress. The town has appeared to be the host of necromancers. for several years. I have heard the rumors around the Cathedral, but there is nothing there for certain..
I best return to the watch. It grows late in the night.. I have a rather uneasy feeling about what’s to happen.

Loyalties
Phalanx

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